Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sumarmál 2016

On winter day there should be blood-sacrifice for a good year, and in the middle of winter for a good crop; and the third sacrifice should be on summer day, for victory in battle. – Ynglingasaga 8
Today the Skylands Asatru Fellowship celebrated Sumarmál. "Summer-meal" marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer, and is highlighted by the celebration of the Sigrblót, or "victory-sacrifice", made to Odin in hopes of securing victory and success in the coming season.

As I've mentioned before, one of the hallmarks of this area of the country is the profusion of Asatru kindreds, Theodish tribes, and other Heathen groups of like mind. We were honored with the presence of Robert Blumetti, chieftain of Balder Rising, and an old friend.

The Sigrblót itself was very powerful, featuring a recounting of the story of the giving the Langobards their name (and victory against their enemies) by Odin, and ending with dancing around the fire as the sacrificial offerings were consumed (ours is a joyous religion, and our religious celebrations aught to be marked with fun, joy, and laughter as well as awe). Omens and auguries were taken, and the sacrifice was deemed very successful. Afterwards we feasted on ham, salads, bread, and creamed honey.

Sumbel was marked by fine words, much laughter, giving of gifts, and the addition of a new member to the Skylands tribe. We do our sumbel rite somewhat differently than a lot of Asatru groups; rather than the standard three "gods/ancestors/open" rounds, three toasts are made at the beginning of sumbel to Odin, Thor, and Freyr, and then the horn is passed around the hall for a single round. After that, whomever wants to call for the horn is free to do so. As host and goði, I had to McNallen* a hefty quantity of mead from the horn at the end of sumbel. Such are the burdens of leadership. :-)

As people began to leave as the night wore on, some few of us were left talking about old television shows, absent friends, and making plans for the future.

Today was a good day. Just friends getting together, honoring the gods, and growing our faith and our folk. This is what really matters.

If more people concentrated on practicing Asatru, rather than bitching about how other people practice Asatru, the world would be a happier place.

_____

* Verb, meaning "to empty a ritual horn". A word entering the vocabulary of Asatru events, especially among AFA members, wherein the remaining contents of a horn after a ritual are drained by the person conducting the ritual. Based on the example of AFA Alsherjargodi Stephen McNallen. Example: "You're going to McNallen that horn, right?"

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