Thursday, December 29, 2005

What to Offer?

What is appropriate to offer when we Blót the High Holy Ones?

Most usually we do use mead or other fermented beverage.

Sometimes it is a Gods' portion of a meal, sometimes a knife, bracelet, carving or other item of craft.

We are not offering just the drink (or food or other object) we are giving of ourselves: our effort, our thoughts, our skill, our time, our might, our maegn...

Something, which has been made or changed by human hands, is rightful to Give to Them, I believe.

If one is below "drinking age," a Good Gift can still be given.

There have been times when I have purchased raw coffee beans, roasted them, ground them and brewed coffee from them.  I have shared this drink with Uller on cold, wintry  days, and I believe He likes this strong brew of mine.

The key is not so much what is offered as is How and Why.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Ideas on Sumble

A fellow member of Nova Roma is a Druid, of a tradition it seems, which performs Sumble at Yule

The following is a précis I sent him on my impressions on what constitutes the strictures for proper Sumble.

Sumble is In Deed a Hallowed and Hallowing ritual.

I will take it as a given, as Druid folk are well-read, that Holy Sumble is known to you as one of the mechanisms that add Layers to the Well of Wyrd in my Faithway, which is Heathenry.

I have participated in many Sumbles, some Holy and the rest being what I call Folk Sumble (kind of like a Bardic Circle, with lots of mead ,-)

For Holy Sumble, which is what you are seeking to enact, there does exists a definite structure.

These "rules" are from the historical descriptions of Sumble, such as "Beowulf."

  1. Holy Sumble is performed within the confines of a Hall.  This can be an actual enclosure (dining hall, living room, large tent...) or as happened at the Virginia Thing several years ago, a set piece of the Land was roped off and dedicated as a symbolic Hall.  The participants will sit at Table together.

  2. The Horn should never pass from Man to Man.  In the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, man simply means any human. Instead, there is a Hornmay, Valkyrie, Meadwench, or other such styling (depending on Heathen Tribe); that gives the Horn to each speaker as it passes around the hall.  She is also responsible for refilling the horn as needed.

  3. There is a Lord of the Hall, who acts as the chieftain and priest of the gathering and sits with honored guests at a separate High Table.  He makes some opening remarks, asks the Holy Powers to bear witness, and blesses the Drink to be shared, pouring some out to the Gods (this is by means of a ritual bowl, which is emptied in a suitable place away from the Hall, returning the Drink to Mother Earth from whence it eventually arose).  He will also Speak the first words of each round, followed by the others at High Table and then the Hall Folk.

  4. There is a Thyle (thu-luh) who is a sagacious individual who will challenge Horn Boasts, which seem out of order or over the top.  He does this to guard the Luck of the Hall, and so that the Lord of the Hall will enter into no dispute.  He sits to the side of the High Table, closest to the Hall Lord.

  5. There are normally three rounds:
A: The first is to the Holy Powers.  It is a good idea to lay out before hand, which Holy Powers may be invoked in Sumble.  Many Heathens prohibit the mention of Loki in Hall.  All Heathens of my acquaintance prohibit the mention of "foreign" Gods and Goddesses, that is, those Holy Powers who are not of the Aesir and Vanir.
B:  The second is to one's Kin or Kith, or a Hero.  This is most usually a Minnehorn or Memorial round.  Again, beforehand, lay out the strictures of what this round entails
C:  The third is usually an Open Round.  This is the time for Boasts and Oaths, Poem and Song, Giving of Gifts, Stories, Philosophic discourse, Reflective Words...  Again, beforehand, lay out the strictures of what this round entails.
  1. When the Three Rounds are finished, the Lord of the Hall will call an end to Holy Sumble.  Depending on how things are going, he may then declare that Folk Sumble will ensue.

  2. The Holy Mead for the Hallowed Ones is properly poured to Earth.     This is my understanding of how a Formal, Holy Sumble will go.

As I wrote above, this is based upon Sumbles in which I have participated.     Hope this helps.

Hail we Givers, of Word and Drink
Who Stand to Blot, who Sumble Sit
In voices plain, or eloquent
We build Orlay, and fill the Well

Ye Piparskeggrsmal Stave 140