Religious Days

Historic Calendar, Religious Days, Feasts, Festivals & Sacrifices.

Religious Days

Post Number:#1  Postby mark » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:29 pm

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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#2  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:11 pm

Vintrnætr
Winter Nights are the traditional festival honouring the Disir or family spirits. It is a time to remember your family, the dead, and your ancestors. A Freyablot may be performed at this time as Freya is known as the Vanadis (i.e. the Dis of the Vanir) or the Great Dis, and she seems to be the Goddess of the Disir themselves. This is connected to Freya's position as recipient of half the battle-slain or her ability with seidhr. One might also simply want to honour the Disir as a whole, or attempt to summon and pour offering to your own family's Dis. A sumbel which toasts ones ancestors and passed on friends would also be in order. If a feast is held, it should be quiet and respectful of the character of the season. Another idea is a silent "mum feast," a custom which is found the world over.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#3  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:12 pm

Jól [Major Sacrifice]

Celebration of the Norse New Year; a festival of twelve nights. This is the most important of all the Norse holidays. On the night of December 20, the god Ingvi Freyr rides over the earth on the back of his shining boar, bringing Light and Love back into the World. Yule signifies the beginning and end of all things; the darkest time (shortest hour of daylight) during the year and the brightest hope re-entering the world. During this festival, the Wild Hunt is at its greatest fervor, and the dead are said to range the Earth in its retinue. The god Odin is the leader of this Wild Ride; charging across the sky on his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir; a very awe-inspiring vision. INorse children would leave their boots out by the hearth on Solstice Eve, filled with hay and sugar, for Sleipnir's journey. In return, Odin would leave them a gift for their kindness.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#4  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:12 pm

Þórrblót
Minor feast honouring Thor, the protector of Midgard. During this time, the height of the Storm season, Thor's power is invoked to drive back the frost Jotuns so that Spring may return to Midgard.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#5  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:13 pm

Dísablót
Festival of the Idises, when the effects of Winter are beginning to lessen and the world prepares itself for Spring. Corresponds to the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Disting is characterized by preparing the land for planting. Disting is the time when the cattle were counted and one's wealth was tallied; thus making it a festival of finance as well. It is said that new calves born during Disting were a sign of great prosperity for the coming year.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#6  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:14 pm

Ostarablót [Major Sacrifice]
Festival of Ostara (Eostre), the Spring Goddess. This is a festival of renewal, rejoicing and fertility, although for most of the Northern People, the forces of Winter are still at full sway. The gift of coloured eggs to one's friends and loved ones is a way of wishing them well for the coming season; a magical ritual of prosperity and fecundity. The rabbit is the symbol of this festival as well because of it's re-emergence during this season, and for its reproductive ability.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#7  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:14 pm

Thrimilci

The festival of Thrimilci is a blót at the culmination of nine nights both of remembrance and darkness marking the transition from vintr á sumar. The nine nights of April 22nd to April 30th are venerated as remembrance of the All-father's (Odin) self-sacrifice upon the World Tree Yggdrasil. It was on the ninth night (April 30th) that he beheld the Runes, grasped them, and ritually died for an instant. At that moment, all the light in the nine worlds is extinguished, and utter chaos reigns. At the final stroke of midnight, the light returns in dazzling brilliance, and the bale-fires are lit. On the ninth night, the dead have full sway upon the earth; it is the ending night of the Wild Hunt. May 1st is the festival of Thrimilci; the beginning of Summer. Thrimilci is a festival of joy and fertility, much like Ostara; however, most of the Northern World is finally escaping from the snow at this time.

vintr á sumar = winter to summer

The nine nights preceding Thrimilci...

1# Miðgarðr​ : The first night is devoted to Miðgarðr and is to be a day for tending and care of our home and sole environment; and even should we expand to the stars, and colonize other planets, Miðgarðr remains our home of origin. In Lore, Miðgarðr is made from the corpse of Ymir, the primordial giant who birthed the Jotnar. Ymir's death was necessary so that creation could come to the Ginnungagap. The nature of this is mythological, but we hold that Miðgarðr is not only the world in which we live, but the canvas in which many of our Gods are known. In this regard, the Earth itself is sacred. Thanks on this day are given to Thor, for the defense of Miðgarðr. Freyr and Freyja for the bounty and health of our crops, and Sif for the wheat itself. And Jord, as the embodiment of the Earth.


2# Niflheimr​ : The First of the Primordial Planes, Niflheimr (coupled with Múspellsheimr) existed from beyond The Beginning. They will exist after The End - they are ever present; driving life and death, the cycle of all, creating and destroying as they conflict. Niflheimr is primordial ice. Death and entropy, the dark void of empty space and the nothingness that permeates created matter. It is a realm that cannot be traveled to, yet is know; all drifted within it before creation, we feel its touch with bitter cold and death, and at the End of All, all that is will know Niflheimr again. At it's borders rest one of the Nine Worlds--Helheimr. The grave is ever-close to this consuming entropy, yet the dead still know some manner of life. Niflheimr, rather, is the incomprehensible nothingness; any knowledge of it is just barely so.

3# Múspellsheimr​ : The Second of the Primordial Planes, Múspellsheimr is life and heat. At the beginning of the cosmos, it clashed with Niflheimr, and that conflict created all that is, and set the law of chaos that makes and destroys all things until the end. Where Niflheimr is the entropy that takes all, Múspellsheimr is that which supplies. Yet a dangerous realm it remains; just as a midsummer's day can be overwhelmingly and fatally hot, so to is the vibrant abundance of Múspellsheimr.

4# Jötunheimr​ : The Jotnar are the children of Ymir, born of its sweat, and so Jötunheimr is the fourth of the worlds contemplated. Jötunheimr is the dwelling place of a great many of the Jotnar (though the also populate Niflheimr and Múspellsheimr), and is where the great fortress city Útgarðar rests. While a dangerous place for the Gods, Jötunheimr is also a great trove of treasures that have helped the Gods and mankind. In this realm reside the Mímisbrunnr - Mímir's Well - to which Odin sacrificed his eye for great wisdom. It is where Thor and Loki were tricked and tested by Skrýmir, and the Jotnar learned how truly mighty the Gods were. It is also, of course, where the many Jotnar who have wed, bred, and aided the Gods come from. From the tales of Jötunheimr, we can know and learn that from chaos - for the Jotnar are creatures of chaos and destruction - can come many good things, and can even help when the time calls for it.

5# Niðavellir​ : Niðavellir (also called Svartálfaheimr) is the home of the Dökkálfar (Dark Elves) and the Dwarves. While not much is known of Niðavellir, it is generally regarded as being a cavernous, mountainous world with limited sunlight. The Dwarves forge beneath the surface, close to the heat of the world; here at Brokkr's Forge were crafted - among many things - Freyr's golden boar, Gullinbursti; Odin's arm-ring, Draupnir; Odin's spear, Gungnir; Thor's Hammer, Mjölnir. From Niðavellir we can learn and see that the depths of the Earth hold many treasures, and offer us the ability to craft many wondrous things.

6# Álfheimr​ : Álfheimr, also called Ljósálfheimr, is the world of the ljósálfar (light-elves). The God Freyr rules this world, and was given it when he cut his first tooth (began teething, or was very young). As with Niðavellir, not much is known of Álfheimr, though the ljósálfar are regarded as the bringers of spring, sent by Freyr, and who coax plants and flowers back to life.

7# Vanaheimr : 
Vanaheimr is the home of the Vanir, the second tribe of Gods that first were at war with the Æsir, then joined with them in peace and unity. Notable Vanir are Njörðr and his twin children Freyr and Freyja. Vanaheimr is regarded as a realm of pure nature, and from example of the Vanir we can see the mutual benefits of an amicable relationship between nature and civilization.

8# Ásgarðr​ : Ásgarðr is the home of the Æsir, and the Vanir who live there as well. For sake of simplicity, all Gods who dwell there - even the Vanir - are called the Æsir. The vast planes of Ásgarðr house many notable locations. The field of Glaðsheimr is a realm within houses Odin's famous mead-hall, Valhalla. Vingólf, a hall for the ásynjur, or female Gods, also rests within Glaðsheimr, which itself is on the plane of Iðavöllr. The field of Fólkvangr, where Freyja's hall of Sessrúmnir is built. There she houses her share of those fallen gloriously in battle. It is also where Odin's hall, Valaskjálf, is built. Within this hall, his high-throne of Hliðskjálf is placed, and from there he can see all of the nine realms. The Bifröst - often depicted as a rainbow, but also as the arms of the Milky Way - connect Ásgarðr to Miðgarðr.

9# Helheimr​ : Helheimr is the Land of the Dead, presided over by Hel, daughter of Loki. It rests on the outskirts of the primordial ice, Niflheimr. It is where most of the dead go, and is not a realm of fear and punishment but comfort and peace. However, at the very outskirts of Helheimr, closer to Niflheimr, the hall of Náströnd is built. It is where the dragon Níðhöggr lives, and there he devours the dead who died guilty of murder, oath-breaking, and adultery, obliterating them. In this manner, they are lost from memory, and unsung. Helheimr is the last of the Nine Worlds observed, in that Odin died upon Yggdrasil after gaining knowledge from the other Eight Worlds and grasping the runes. Tonight, before the festival of Thrimilci, all lights are extinguished, and the feast plunged into darkness.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#8  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:15 pm

Miðsumar [Major Sacrifice]

The summer solstice is second only to Jól in importance to the Norse. This day is sacred to the Goddess Sunna, who is literally the sun, and the Summer Solstice when the power of the Sun is at its height is celebrated. Miðsumar is recognised as the longest day of the year; thus, the year began to age after this time and the days grow progressively shorter in a continuous wheel of life, and the movement of the sun & moon across the seasons.

It is at this time that most foreign trade is conducted, as well as shipping, fishing expeditions, and raiding. Thus, Miðsumar is the festival of power and activity. It is not without its darker side as well, the god Baldur is said to have been sacrificed at this time, but is reborn at Jul; the hero Sigurd was also said to have been slain by treachery at Miðsumar by his blood-brothers Hagan and Gunthur (Gundahar).

Most Miðsumar festivities centre around remaining awake all night long to mark the shortest night of the year, then at sunrise performing the "Greeting of Sunna" and a blót (sacrifice) to her. During the night there is also general merriment, drinking, feasting and great bonfires. A notable custom is the rolling of a (sometimes flaming) wagon wheel down a hill or along the streets to mark the turning of the wheel of the year and the movement of the sun to her highest point in the sky.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#9  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:15 pm

Lithasblót
Shortly after the men have mown the hay it is time to hold the first harvest festival of the year; giving thanks to the goddess Jorð for her bounty. Often alms are given to the unfortunate at this time, or loaves in the shape of the fylfot (the Sun-wheel). Lithasblót has long been associated with ceremonial magic and magical workings.
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Re: Religious Days

Post Number:#10  Postby mark » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:16 pm

Haustblót
There is a celebration held from the 20th - 21st of September called Haust blót, or the Autumn Sacrifice, the begining of the Autumn Equinox. As the season indicates, this is the time when the days grow shorter and the night and darkness will prevail till the winter times come to an end. This is the time to make festivities around the Fire Element, this is a time where everything becomes more magical and mysterious. This is the time to pray and to thank, to the landvaettir, the spirits of nature, to pray to the ancestors who still look over their descendent. The celebration starts with the sound of the horn, people also pray to the God Freyr and to Freya, the Gods of fertility, because the land itself also needs fertility, it needs to be prepared to be planted again, with need seeds, when the winter comes to an end.
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