Despite the countless pages of modern Heathen rituals I have seen (and participated in) over the years, and despite the fact that I instigated and headed the extensive five-Freya-priestess “Facets of Freya” ritual, Heathen ritual was never meant to be a big, choreographed affair. Heathen rituals, as such, were usually done at home, for the inhabitants’ ancestors, local nature spirits, and occasionally the Gods (depending on the family). Luckily, old-fashioned Heathen ritual does, in fact, lend itself well to my preferred style of ritual.
When I am in charge of a ritual, almost all of it comes from the heart and off script, if I can at all manage it. My main goals in most ritual are to interact with people one-on-one and share with them the love I have for my Gods. It’s not fancy, but it works; and all is usually good. However, this means I don’t have a lot of ritual written down, ready to hand out when needed. Also, this sometimes means my rituals are shorter than planned, or I miss including an epithet or myth or really cool turn of phrase that I’d thought of. So, when a friend came to me asking for ideas for a blot for Freya, I decided it was finally time sit sit down and write Her one.
The format is pretty basic and can be used for any deity, and you can add in more info or pare down the flowery bits as needed:
- Set space
- Welcome attendees
- Explain purpose of event
- Talk about Freya/Tell one of her myths/Wax poetic about Her
- Fill a horn with fruity alcoholic beverage and toast her
- Pass the horn around to group
- Hail her one last time, emptying the remaining liquid out for the landspirits
Here’s my version, for Freya.
A Blot for Freya
I like to set space prior to people showing up at the event rather than during the event. (Some people use Edred Thorsson’s Hammer Rite, or Hrafnar’s tradition of Calling the Dwarves. YMMV.) If I am the main clergy at the event and will be doing my own warding, I prefer to do a landtaking. This tends to be a quiet, thorough perambulation around the edges of the space we’ll be using, talking with the local landvaettir and offering them a libation of some kind as I go. This allows me to both be in tune with the participants and to be able to sense relatively quickly should anything go awry energy-wise near our group.
If possible, I welcome each person individually, either as they enter the space or while waiting for everyone to arrive and get seated. I also issue a general welcome once it is time to get started.
Today we are gathered here to blot to Freya, the Vanadis, the primary goddess of the Vanir, and my patron. A blot is an ancient Heathen ritual, common to the pre-Christian Scandinavian, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon cultures. To start the blot, I will tell you about Freya and Her myths. Then I will raise a horn to toast Her. The horn will then be passed around the circle, and you will also have a chance to toast to Her, or offer something to Her, or ask for a relevant blessing from Her. If you do not wish to say anything, you can instead say “Hail!”, take a sip from the horn (or hold it briefly to your forehead), and pass it on.
Freya is a complex, powerful goddess. She is a member of the Vanir tribe of deities, as opposed the Aesir, of which Odin and Thor are members. She, her brother Freyr, and their father Njord are the primary Vanic deities that we know about. The Vanic deities as a whole are concerned with fruitfulness, abundance, magic, sex, and wisdom. Freya Herself is the original seidhkona—a priestess who works with the seidh magic, and taught this magic to Odin. She is married to the Lost One, Odr, of whom we know very little; we do know that he left Her, and that She searches for him, weeping tears which turn to gold as the hit the land. It is said in the Lore that the reason she has so many other names is that each new land She visited while She searched for gave Her a new name.
Aside from this, She is very independent and firmly rooted in her own power. She is beholden to no one; no one can make her do what she does not wish to do. Freya has many lovers, both human, god, alf, and dwarf, and She reveres beauty in all of its forms. Indeed, She sees the beauty inside each of us and wishes us to acknowledge it as well.
One of her best-known myths describes how She acquired her magical necklace or girdle, Brisingamen. Loki was the instigator, as often happens when godly treasures are involved. Loki had his eye on four dwarves in Svartalfheim who were working on a beautiful necklace. It was easily the brightest, most glorious piece of jewelry he had ever seen, and he knew exactly who would be most interested in it. He went to Freya’s Hall and told her of the beauty of this necklace, and where she could find it.
Freya followed his directions and found the four dwarven goldsmiths who had created the necklace. She offered them many things for this beautiful piece, all of which they turned down. Finally, she asked them what they would have for it. “One night with each of us,” was their answer. Freya agreed. And so she snuck into their cave on four consecutive nights. On the morning of the fifth, she left their cave wearing the brilliant Brising necklace, which She proudly wears to this day.
(One version of this story tells how Loki ratted her out to Odin, who was furious that she would spend the night with any dwarves for any reason. He had Loki steal Brisingamen, and used it to bargain with her—that she would make 100 kings who each have 100 kings working for them go to war against each other endlessly; and thus she also earned the nickname “Strife-Stirrer”. Though one look at her—or even just the thought of her beauty—had also been known to cause jotuns to war with Asgard for Her hand in marriage, so perhaps She would have caused strife either way.)
Then, fill the horn with mead (or a berry or honey-flavoured beer or cider, or a fruit-flavored liqueur, or fruit juice). Toast Freya, saying:
Freya you are passionate and fiery, sweet and loving, beautiful, generous, and sensitive. Your Hall is called “Sessrumnir”, the many-seated. I know that you are ready to help and to share your love with any who are interested. Hail the beautiful Vanadis! Hail Freya!
Pass the filled horn to the next in the circle, reminding people to sip with the tip of the horn pointing downward. Also, if people do not wish to drink or say anything, they can pass or bring the horn up to their forehead with reverence. Note: You can also ask someone to “valkyrie” for the blot–to have them hand the horn to each person, who will in turn hand it back to her when they are finished. (Historically, this role was an honor reserved for the lady of the house or the highest-ranking woman present. For example, one of Odin’s Valkyries’ lesser-known jobs was to carry mead and ale to the warriors in Valhalla.) After the last person has toasted Freya, hail Her again once more, and pour the rest out onto the ground (or a hof, howe, cairn, tree,or body of water) for the landvaettir.
Thank people for attending; chat with people afterwards; and ask for help in clean-up if needed.
It’s that simple. in my opinion, neither the Gods, landwights, or ancestors need much in the way of ceremony. If you or your group feels the need to be more formal, you can always expand upon this foundation. As long as the community gets a chance to honor the Gods, the purpose has been fulfilled.