The Raven Kindred has developed a slightly different form of the Blot ritual which we use. This has come to pass because of a desire for more personal involvement as well as a smaller group of people than would be appropriate for a major blot.
The major change, outside of a few cosmetic differences, is that we have added a "mini sumbel" to the blot ritual in place of the sprinkling in which we offer three rounds of toasts: the first dedicated to the God or Goddess being honored and the remaining two to anything the participants deem appropriate which is not inimical to the purpose of the blot. (i.e. don't toast the Jotnar during a ritual to Thor.)
Setting the mood: Chant to Odin, Vili, Ve
To begin each ritual we offer a three round chant of "Odin, Vili, Ve." This serves two purposes. First we are linking ourselves to the Gods of creation and thus to the connections between Midgard and the Gods. Second and perhaps more appropriately it allows people to get themselves mentally prepared for the service.
We offer an invocation to Fire and Ice which are the central elements of the creation of the world. We ask that the place we are meeting be blessed and Holy for the coming of the Gods.
Statement of purpose
We far too often ignore this, but it's a good idea to have the Gothi or Gythia who is presiding greet the participants and state something general about the purpose of the ritual. It need not be complicated "We gather together today to celebrate the Winter Nights as our ancestors did. To honor our ancestors, the Disir, and Freya the Great Dis and to renew our bonds as a family [kindred]."
At this point one of our members usually offers up a prayer to the Aesir and Vanir collectively to thank them for their bounty since the last time we met and to ask their blessings upon the kindred and its members.
We reserve a time between the opening of the ritual and the blot ceremony for people to offer any prayers or other invocations they feel necessary. This is the time when we Profess new members of Asatru. Other activities done at this time have included a kindred member thanking Saga, the Goddess of wisdom, for her recent graduation from college.
Invoke deity of occasion
At this point we make a point to specifically invoke and honor the deity that we are bloting. We attempt to list as many names and or functions of the God as possible and this serves a dual purpose in reminding the attendees of who the God is and why we are honoring Him. This is, however, separate from the offering.
At this point we like to remind ourselves why we are here and what the Gods mean to us. We sit and someone either offers a spoken meditation or more often reads a story from the mythology. While most of us enjoy the poetic edda, we usually use a modern prose version of the myth as it is easier to follow.
The Gothi takes up the horn and his assistant (often called "The Valkyrie" by Asafolk) fills it with mead. The Gothi then steps to the altar and holds the horn aloft and asks the God to partake of it and charge it with his power.
Toast to the deity of occasion
This is when we begin to deviate substantially from the standard Asatru blot ritual. Beginning with the Gothi the horn is raised and a toast drunk to the God. The horn is then passed around to the Folk and a personal toast repeated. The only rule here is that the round is dedicated to the God invoked. Many times the toasts are personal thanksgiving or requests for aid or wisdom.
At the end of the round the remains of the horn (and there should be some) are poured into the blotbowl.
We then take two more rounds to toast whatever Gods, ancestors, and beings each person wishes. There is not necessarily any continuity from one person to the next. Brags or oaths are also appropriate at this time. Professions, other major oaths, and major works of thanksgiving or praise are usually done before the blot. The second and third toasts are usually reserved for small things.
Finally we always remember to thank the deity and ask for his continued blessings on the Folk present.
Oath Ring ceremony
Our kindred has a ceremony that affirms our dedication to each other, to the kindred, and to the Gods. Each full Professed and accepted Kindred member comes forward and takes hold of the oath ring. (We are blessed in having a 6" diameter brass oath ring made for us by a kindred member.) One person then recites a rede concerning itself with the symbol of a ring and something which connects us to the Gods, the Earth, and to each other.
I should repeat, only kindred Members participate in this. If you haven't sworn on the oath ring, you don't take part in the ceremony. We have enlarged this at public events to all Professed persons, but change the rede to remove references to the kindred.
Finally we leave the Hof and pour a libation on the physical earth, adjourning outside to do so if we are indoors. The blot hitting the ground signals that the ritual is truly over. When we are working indoors in a living room or other non-dedicated space I always make sure I am the first to return and extinguish candles, turn on electric lights, etc. This provides a good hint to people's minds that the ritual is, in fact, over. If we had a dedicated space, the procession outside to pour the blot would also empty the Hof and we would adjourn to the feast rather than returning to the temple.
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