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Norse Summer Solstice

as performed Summer 2008, Honoring Freyr & Freyja

Pre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining

A druid briefs the public on the general outline of the rite, and runs through the words (spoken) and tune (sung) of the chants being used. Meanwhile, other druids claim & sain the ritual space.

Grove Attunement

The Druids lead a meditation intended to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit. This might conclude with an intoning or a proper chant or hymn.

Processional:

Song: Come We Now as a People
Come we now as a people
To gather at the sacred well,
Come we now as a people,
Together in the warmth and the light of the flame.

Hammer Rite

A priest/ess goes to the following directions and makes the Hammer sign, saying:
Hammer in the North, hallow and hold this holy stead.
Hammer in the East, hallow and hold this holy stead.
Hammer in the South, hallow and hold this holy stead.
Hammer in the West, hallow and hold this holy stead.
Hammer above us, hallow and hold this holy stead.
Hammer below us, hallow and hold this holy stead.

Opening Prayers

Welcome to all who come to keep the Old Ways. We are here to honor the Gods, to keep the feast of Midsummer. Let us begin by remembering the Earth Mother.

A: Earth Mother:

An offering of Grain is poured around the Nemeton, saying:
We welcome Jorth,
Mother of Thor,
Daughter of Nótt and Ónar.
From fertile fields,
We name you near,
And ask your blessing.
Bring bounty to your children in this time of change,
Earth Mother, gaze on our work with gracious eyes,
And bless our stead with harvest's joy.

B: Call to Oðinn for Inspiration

A horn of mead or wine should be lifted, saying:
We give welcome to the granter of wishes,
The wandering god, the giver of wisdom,
All-father, Oðinn, who won Odroerir,
The magical mead that inspires men.
With hallowed horn we hail you, Grimnir,
And pray you pour us poetry's drink.
Grant us the gift you won from Gunlod,
The wisdom of word-wit 'til worship is done.

C: Outdwellers:

An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying:
Hear me all you wights unhallowed,
Etins, trolls and all the Out-garth,
Thurses and outlaws, enemies of Asgard,
Here we give you proper honor.
Take this gift, here freely given,
Bring not woe to our holy working;
Our hold is hallowed and here warded,
By the brawn of bold Redbeard.

D: Purification

Druids draw water from the Well and light a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperge the company, while the company chants:
By the might of the water
And the light of the fire
This grove is made whole and holy!

Triads: Fire, Well & Tree

Silver is offered to the Well, Oil to the Fire, and Incense and Water to the Bile as the Company sings:
Song: Portal Song

Chorus
By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky,
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.

Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing:

Chorus

We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.

Chorus

Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.

Chorus

Statement Of Purpose And Precedent

We gather here at the turning of Midsummer towards the harvest season. This Solstice day is the longest of the year. We hope the summer rains will be gentle and plentiful, so that we will reap bountiful harvests from our labors to fill our larders for the coming cold.

We will honor Freyr, god of gentle summer rains, sunshine and agriculture. His great love for Gerd daughter of the giant Gymir, is legendary.

We will also honor fairest Freyja, the most beautiful of the goddesses living in Asgard. Like her brother, Freyr, her love for her husband Oðr is profound. She is goddess of happiness in love, fertility, and wealth.

Since we have had so few fires this past season, we will fill this Viking ship to the brim with praise offerings for our fire.

Now let us open the Ways Between...

Opening The Gates:

Yggdrasil stands before us, the World-Tree, the axis of all. Beneath one of its mighty roots is Urdabrunnr, the Well of Wyrd. Stretching from our grove here in Midgard to the dwellings of the gods in Asgard is Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that is all aflame. And stretching to Hel, the land of the dead, is the Gjallar-bridge that is thatched with gold and clangs under the footsteps of the living.

Oil is poured onto the fire, saying:
Heimdall we hail. High-minded Ase in Himinbjorg, we ask you to hear us! Guardian of the gates to Asgard, watch and ward us as we work the elder ways. Lend us your might and main, so that we may open the ways between.

Oil is poured onto the fire, saying:
Móðguðr we hail. Ettin-maid who watches over Gjallarbru, we ask you to hear us. You who guards the way to Hella's halls, permit our praise and offerings to pass and blessings to return. Lend us your might and main, so that we may open the ways between.

Heimdall, Móðguðr, we ask you to open the Gates... Let the Gates be open!

Kindred Offerings

Offering to the Landvaettir

The horn is filled and elevated, saying:
We welcome the kin of stone and stream,
Of field and forest, of furrowed earth,
Of bird and beast, and sky above,
All wights of weal we welcome you.

Landvaettir come to the light of our fire,
We honor and hail you with horn of drink
And ask you to share the feast with our folk
So blessings may pass between us.

The horn is passed as the folk sing a chant:
Song: Fur and Feather
Fur and feather and scale and skin,
Different without but the same within,
Many of body but one of soul,
Through all creatures are the worlds made whole.

When this is done the remnant of the horn is poured into the offering bowl, saying:
Let all the earth and sea and sky receive with us the blessing of Midsummer!
Landvettir, accept our sacrifice!

Offering to the Alfar and Disir

The horn is filled and elevated, saying:
Hail to the holy howe-folk,
Forefathers of flesh and spirit,
Mighty men of the grave-mound,
Alfar, we give you welcome!

Hail to the holy mothers of men,
Honored women who ward our luck,
Bright maids of birth and blessing,
Disir, we give you welcome!

Forebears come to the light of our fire,
We honor and hail you with horn of drink
And ask you, ancestors, to share the feast,
So blessings may pass between us.

The Horn is passed as the folk sing:
Song: Mothers and Fathers of Old
From far beyond this mortal plane, mothers and fathers of old,
We pray that you return again, mothers and fathers of old.
To share with us the mysteries and secrets long untold,
Of the ancient ways we seek to reclaim, mothers and fathers of old.

When this is done the remnant of the horn is poured into the offering bowl, saying:
Hail to the Alfs, all ringed round us, the Fathers of our folk.
Hail to the Dises, all ringed round us, the Mothers of our might.
Hail to our kin in the hidden lands,
Hail the ancestors on this sacred Summer Solstice!

Offering to the Aesir and Vanir

The horn is filled and elevated, saying:
Hail to the High Ones, the Holy Regin,
Goddesses and gods who grant us blessing,
Ases awesome and wise Wanes,
We welcome you!

Elder kin come to our fire,
We honor and hail you with horn of drink
And ask you, Shining Ones, to share the feast,
So blessings may pass between us.

An offering of oil is poured on the fire as the horn is passed and the folk sing:
Song: Hail of the Gods
Hail all the Gods!
Hail all the Goddesses!
Hail all the Holy Ones!
We draw together!
Power of the Sky!
Power of the Sacred Earth!
Power of the Underworld!
We dwell together!

When this is done the remnant of the horn is poured into the offering bowl.

Key Offerings

Let us offer now to Freyr and Freyja!

Invocation of Freyr:

Folk-friend Ingvi-Freyr we invoke,
Bold boar-rider, beautiful and brave
Alfheimer's host and Skidbladnir's skipper
Gerd's godly husband who would forsake
Sword and safety to win her love
Be with our grove and bountifully bring
Marriage blessings, Alf's glory and gentle rains
For fertile fields to grow good harvests to hold
For having throughout the coming cold

Hail Freyr, accept our offering!

Invocation of Freyja:

Fairest Freyja, golden goddess borne by cats,
Bedecked with Brisingamen and falcon feathers
Sessrumnir's mistress, in fair Folksvangr
With red-gold tears dripping when wandering Oðr
Fairs far from hearth and home
Hie near and hear our hearty hailing
Seiðr we seek with your willing favor
Give us a good season for healthy harvest
And happy hearts and hearths full of fertile fire

Hail Frejya, accept our offering!

Praise Offerings

The Priest instructs the folk on giving silent offerings while songs are sung and poems recited. The Viking ship is filled with burnt offerings and saved until the end, whereupon it is placed on the fire:

We send you now to join the Aesir, carrying to them our love and honor.

The Omen

It is time to sing on the sage's seat
At Urdabrunnr,
I saw but was silent, I saw and thought,
I listened to men's lore,
Of runes I heard deeming, their rede was not silent,
At the hall of Har, in the hall of Har,
Thus I heard them say:

The runes are now cast to determine the wyrd of the folk.

The Blessing:

The blessing bowl is lifted, saying:
A gift calls for a gift. As we have offered to you, Holy Ones, we ask for your blessing in return. Freyr and Freyja, Aesir and Vanir, Goddesses and Gods — give us your blessing, let this drink become the holy draught.

The Hammer-sign is made over the blessing bowl then the horn is filled and passed while everyone sings:
Song: Sharing Blessings:
As our voices join together
(echo) As our voices join together
(together) Sharing blessings from the Gods
Drink the draught of holy power
(echo)Drink the draught of holy power
(together) Link us in this sacred hour

Final Blessing: Priest/ess leads a re-centering and focuses on the presence of the Blessing in the souls of the worshippers. She says:
Now let us rest in silence, with the power of the between in us, and know the blessing as it manifests itself in our lives...

Silence for a time...

Works

Works (if any) are brought before the Grove

Closing

When all is done, lead a resettling and begin to close the grove, saying:
We have been blessed by the Aesir, by Frey and Freyja. Offering we have given and blessings we have received from the Landvettir, Alfar and Disir, Gods and Goddesses. But now it is time to return to our common world, to continue our feast here in our holy stead in Midgard, always remembering that we mirror the halls of the Holy Ones when our love for them is in our hearts and our bellies are full with their Blessing!

With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the Powers they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship. Now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us.

Freyr and Freyja,
All: We thank you!
Aesir!
All: We thank you!
Alfar and Disir, Blessed Ancestors!
All: We thank you!
Landvaettir, spirits of nature and of this place!
All: We thank you!
To all those powers that have aided us, we say again...
All: We thank you!

Renew the company's center once more:
See the receding mist fade completely away: the Well, Fire and Tree becoming the common tools they were before, and remember that while our grove fades, the vision and memories of our rite are there always for you to use, and to carry with you in our common world.

Go to the center and say:
Heimdall, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, for guiding and guarding, we say...
All: We thank you!

Móðguðr, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, for guiding and guarding, we say....
All: We thank you!

Make the closing sign over the Hallows, saying:
Now by the keepers of gates we end what we began.
Now let the fire be flame,
Let the well be water,
Let all be as it was before, save for the blessings we have received.
Let the gates be closed!
All: Let the gates be closed!

Oðinn, All-father, for giving us inspiration and lending us word-wit, we say... All: We thank you!

Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying:
Mother Jorth, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.

All: We thank you!

Go now, Heimdall's Kin, in peace and blessings. The rite is ended!

The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove.