WEEKLY GROUP RITUAL

A new weekly ritual will be posted here each week, which we will use in our Sunday meetings. For more information on these meetings, see the Get Involved page.

Preparation:
It is recommended that you have two bowls: one with pure water, another empty. You will also need a glass with your offering to the Gods. Typical offerings are wine, milk, or water, but the offering can be specific to the deity you are addressing. It is also appropriate to have a candle and incense.

Wash your hands in the bowl of water to purify yourself before the gods.

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The ringing of a bell begins the meeting. Then follows music and a stanza from Hávamál.

***

13. It’s as if a memory-stealing bird
flies overhead while you drink,
and steals your mind away.
I myself have been trapped
in that bird’s feathers,
when I drank at Gunnloth’s home

***

First, we worship our Gods,
pay reverence to the noble Heroes,
and greet the spirits of the Dead,
who dwell in otherworldly realms.
So let us offer this libation,
for the honour of their power
and communion with their souls.

Today’s libation is to Balder. The text is stanzas 60-62 of Völuspá.

***


The gods in Iðavoll meet together,
of the terrible earth-worm they talk,
and the mighty past they call to mind,
and the ancient runes of the great god.

In wondrous beauty once again
shall the golden tables stand amidst the grass,
which the gods had owned in the days of old,

Now fields unsowed bear ripened fruit,
all ills grow better, and Baldr comes back;
Baldr and Höðr dwell in Hropt’s battle-hall,
and the mighty gods.

***

As you give to us, so we give back to you!

Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.

Neither earth nor heaven were,
when chaos ruled the empty space.
But from the two that shape and form –
from light and darkness, sky and soil –
the world was forged and ordered.
So shall we be brought to order,
As we partake of this drink.

The remainder of the drink is consumed.

A bell is rung to initiate the reading.

Today’s reading is Gylfaginning chapter 17 from the Snorra-Edda.

For newcomers:
Each person who chooses to read will read one paragraph from asterisk to asterisk. One person will read at a time. We will read in alphabetical order and repeat this order as many times as needed till the reading is complete.

***

XVII. Then said Gangleri: “You know many tidings to tell of the heaven. What chief dwellings are there more than at Urdr’s Well?” Hárr said: “Many places are there, and glorious. That which is called Álfheimr [Elf-Home] is one, where dwell the peoples called Light-Elves; but the Dark-Elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature.

*

The Light-Elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-Elves are blacker than pitch. Then there is also in that place the dwelling called Breidablik [broad-gleaming], and there is not in heaven a fairer dwelling. There, too, is the one called Glitnir [glittering], whose walls, and all its posts and pillars, are of red gold, but its roof of silver. There is also the dwelling called Himinbjörg [heavenly hill]; it stands at heaven’s end by the bridge-head, in the place where Bifröst joins heaven.

*

Another great dwelling is there, which is named Valaskjálf [seat of the fallen]; Odin possesses that dwelling; the gods made it and thatched it with sheer silver, and in this hall is the Hlidskjálf [gate-seat], the high-seat so called. Whenever Allfather sits in that seat, he surveys all lands. At the southern end of heaven is that hall which is fairest of all, and brighter than the sun; it is called Gimlé [gem-decked?]. It shall stand when both heaven and earth have departed; and good men and of righteous conversation shall dwell therein: so it is said in Völuspá:

*

A hall I know standing, fairer than the sun,
thatched with gold in Gimlé bright;
there shall dwell the doers of righteousness
and ever and ever enjoy delight.”

*

Then said Gangleri: “What shall guard this place, when the flame of Surtr shall consume heaven and earth?” Hárr answered: “It is sad that another heaven is to the southward and upward of this one, and it is called Andlangr [wide-reaching]; but the third heaven is yet above that, and it is called Vídbláinn [wide-blue], and in that heaven we think this dwelling is. But we believe that none but Light-Elves inhabit these mansions now.”

***

This completes our reading. We will pause a moment for silent contemplation.

As we conclude our meeting –
in the honour of our Gods,
of our Ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of the Gods –
let us remember how to live
with justice, wisdom, temperance,
with holy thoughts and valiant deeds.

A bell is rung to signal the end of the meeting.

The offering can be left in the bowl for some time. Later, it can be poured outside into the earth.

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