An Ásatrú ritual can be many things from a group observance to a private offering. A blót is an offering of food or drink, commonly mead or ale, to the gods. A blót can be as simple as pouring out a bottle of beer to the gods in your backyard, or it can be an elaborate community ceremony. Its intent is always the same. An exchange of gifts creates a bond between two people. In a blót, Ásatrúar thank the gods for their gifts and offer gifts in return. This celebrates and strengthens the bond between the gods (senior kinfolk) and humankind.
A sumbel is a series of ritualised toasts. The participants sit in a circle, and a vessel of drink is passed around the circle at least three times. Words spoken in sumbel are witnessed by gods and humans alike and carry great weight. The rite of sumbel can be a profound experience that creates bonds of community among those who share in it. A boast therefore, is a declaration of intent, must be a real challenge for the person boasting, and will have consequences of laughter and loss of face when such talk is not walked.
Ásatrúar regard gods as honored senior kin, so we offer them our best. It is customary to use alcoholic beverages in blót and sumbel and to share feasts of meat and grain.
Blóts and sumbels are held to mark seasonal holidays and observe life cycles such as births, weddings and initiations and as needed to give thanks and request assistance for manifesting some idea (or boast). Public ceremonies may be held to witness important oaths (and boasts). Timing of rituals and rites is important and complex, yet not so rigid or complicated as traditions oriented by zodiak. In Ásatrú what is mostly used for timing are season, moon phase, and solar position.
|Winter Solstice||Midwinter-Night (Mother’s Night of Yule)||Odin, Thor, Freyr & all the gods|
|Trim the tree before blót. Ask for protection from the wild hunt during it’s 12 nights. Exchange gifts after blót. Major festival.|
|Dec 20-31||Yule Tide||Odin, Vili, & Ve|
|Each night do short divination ritual for each month of the year and write down for yourself.|
|Dec 31||Twelfth Night of Yule||Odin, Thor, Freyr & all the gods|
|Make vows on your troth ring, hammer, or Freyr’s boar, for the coming year. Celebrate the new year!|
|Feb 2||Disthing||Disir, Frigg & Nerthus|
|Honor motherly energies. Honor the Asynjur (female Aesir) as providers and protectors. Time to count your wealth and make plans for the next financial cycle. Charming of the plow (blessing of your work tools). Toast with milk. Offer honey and biscuits (grains).|
|Feb 14||Feast of Love||Freya|
|Blót to Freyja as goddess of love and sexual desire. Exchange cards (or stones) inscribed with runes to loved ones. Time to renew vows, and a good time for marriages/handfastings. Recommended lore: Poetic Edda, Svipdagsmál (lay of Svipdag)|
|Vernal Equinox||Ostara||Freya, Idun, Sunna & Landwights|
|Awakening of the vital powers of nature. Renewal. Stay up the whole night before and hold blót in morning once sun raises. Read the ‘hail to day’. Have fresh cut flowers on harrow.Honor the Gods and/or Landwights with seasonal offerings. The arrival of spring heralds bitter greens, early flowers, and milk and eggs. Also, an end to the near-starvation of the long, dark winter months. Celebrate with a feast of new greens, eggs, milk and cheese, and other spring produce like asparagus, leeks, and/or radishes. If meat eater, spring lamb would be another good addition. In all things, go for local or regional foods, especially if you are honoring the landwights.|
|April 30||Walpurgis-Night (Beltane)||Freya|
|A time of magic, purification. Honor Freyja as queen of seidh magic. Invoke the rune kenaz and leap a fire (or candle if indoors) for purification. Or have a great big bonfire!|
|May 1||May Day||Freyja & Freyr|
|Sex, love, and fertility. Enjoy the flowers of spring.|
|Summer Solstice||Midsummer-Night||Sunna & all the gods|
|Highest point of the sun. Vital forces at peak. Major festival. All gods blót.|
|August 1||Loaf-Feast||Sif & Thor|
|The first harvest. Grain harvest. Offer bread. Recommended lore: Prose Edda, Skáldskaparmál, Why is gold called Sif’s hair?|
|The second harvest. Offer golden apples, other fruits & hazelnuts. Recommended lore: Ynglinga saga, On the death of Freyr|
|Oct, 15||Winters-Night||Disir, Ancestors, and Alfar|
|Honor the dead, ancestors, and elves. Toast with milk. Offer honey & cookies (grains). The beginning of the thinning of the veil between the living and dead which reaches its peak at Twelfth Night of Yule.|
|Oct, 31||Feast of the Runes||Odin, and Loki as Odin’s blood brother|
|A blót to honor Odin’s ordeal on the world tree, Yggdrasil, to discover the runes. Recommended lore: Poetic Edda, Hávamál (Sayings of the High One). Summer’s End!|
|Nov 11||Feast of the Einherjar||Einherjar|
|Celebrate the fallen warriors in Asgard. Recommended lore: Poetic Edda, Grímnismál (Lay of Grimnir)|
|Last Thursday Nov||Feast of Ullr||Ullr|
|Recommended lore: Poetic Edda, Atlakviða|
And then there is a bunch of heroes days, giving us more excuses for some more sumbel and blót.