Heathen Kinship Blessings

The Great Blessing of Winter Nights

Basket of Apples; a Drum; Ale

Harrow is arranged in standard fashion and all celebrants will be standing and facing the North. Celebrants shall chant Berkano, Othala, Raidho with rising energy directed to the North, until at a pre-arranged signal all celebrants shall shout, "Hail the Holy Dises."

1. The Hammer Signing
2. Adoration - sunset
3. The Hammer Rite

Hallowing: "This stead is hallowed for our work here tonight. As the god Heimdall wards the Bifrost Bridge, so is this stead warded against all unholy wights and ways. The Hof is now raised on high! Let all true and good folk now gathered be here of their own free will in full Frith and Grith!"

Keepers of the holy clan Kinswomen in Freya's world
Weal bring us, on this holy night.
Women all around, unseen, Awake, ye wights to ward.
Out of the darkness We call you forth
From your hidden, hallowed homes
Ever haunting, calling to our blood
Mothers of our holy might Weavers of the ancient Wyrd
Ladies light or dark as night
Standing round the harrow stone
Bring forth again The age-old might

“Hail ye Holy Ides Dises of the Harrow,
Hold ye whole the kindred:
Mighty mothers of old Turn our minds toward you!
Wend ye nigh these winter nights!”

Call: "Tonight we call forth the dises of the Folk. Ye have been known by many names, ye great mothers of our folk...O, ye spae-ides, ye wondrous womanly wights all-weird, we call you:

All: "We give thee welcome”
All: "We give thee welcome"
All: "We give thee welcome"
All: "We give thee welcome"
All: "We give thee welcome"
All: "We give thee welcome"
All: "We give thee welcome"

Loading: "If any here wish to bring forth signs of their harvest, bring an offering for the gods or dises, or call your ancestors by name to join us tonight, you may approach the harrow."

Speaker faces North and pours ale into the drinking horn. The speaker then takes the horn and proceeds to hold it aloft and says:

"We give this ale, blended with awe to you, O, mighty mothers all-old!”
“With blessing-basket bright with fruit, come to feast with your kin."
"We drink your minne-draught, we share the symbel with you!”

Drinking: This is performed in a standard fashion, being handed to each person individually. It is appropriate to hail the dises or an ancestor before drinking. The speaker then says,

"As we step through the winter's door, let us each take an apple and remember how death and life are woven together."

The basket of apples is taken around to each person. Each person takes one apple, then the speaker says:

“ Idunna brings her apples to the godly kind to bring them life and youth everlasting; from the eating of hallowed apples comes the birth of heroes. Our ancestors also placed apples in the barrows with the ships that bore their dead from this world to the worlds unseen. The flower must fall so that the fruit can swell; the fruit must rot so the seed, which bears the soul, may grow. Now we share these apples with our kin, living and dead. Though we fall and rise again, our clans are unbroken and the river of our blood runs mighty from our roots. Let us eat of the apples in silence, as we remember our fore-gone kin, with which we now share this gift.”

After a moment for all to partake of their apple and to reflect, the remains of the apples are gathered, and then the rite continues…

Blessing: Speaker makes the sign of the hammer ( ) and of the sun-wheel ( ) over the blessing bowl and begins to intone:

"This ale is hallowed to the dises of our clan and of our Folk!"
"This fruit is hallowed to the dises of our clan and of our Folk!"
“These gifts are hallowed to the dises of our clan and of our Folk!”

The speaker then circles the harrow three times while sprinkling the holy liquid. There should be a strong, yet soft beat upon the drums as this part of the rite is performed while the speaker intones:

"To all the dises and to all the awesome ides!"

Speaker begins blessing of the members of the kindred first, then the known good and true folk in the traditional manner. Avoid sprinkling any who are not true to the Troth.

Giving: Speaker pours contents of blessing bowl to the Northwest side of the Harrow, with the words:

“Holy mothers of men, Holy mothers of women,
Wyrd daughters of Woden
To you we give this ale!”

Leaving: “From the Winter Nights to the Twelfth Night of Yule, the walls between the worlds of the dises all-dead, and of the folk all-living, grow ever thinner – may the wisdom of these wyrd women, all loving, become known to us here tonight! Let us now go forth and make merry, for the year is yet young!”

"Thus our work again is wrought. It renews our hearts to do deeds worthy and true...to strive towards our goals with mighty moods, wise words and trust in our own powers and abilities...ever holding our oaths to ourselves and to our folk...(Onward to Sumble and) ONWARD TO ULTIMATE VICTORY!!!!"


Notes on Winter Nights: Food is put out for the dead. The remembrance of our fore-gone kin is not sorrowful, but a joyful thing, though there is a solemn aspect to this time of year. The awareness of the Folk is turned inward. It was the time to do things that needed to be done – fix tools, carve, spin, repairs, slaughter animals for winter meat, etc.
Last Sheaf – some believe the last sheaf was left for Odin’s horse, along with beer, milk and bread. Others feel it was left for the “Old Man” or the Corn Spirit. In Germany, a “Waul-staff” was made with the sheaf by adding bright ribbons and flowers. The harvesters danced around it in a ring, calling on “Wode” with charms. Each would take a bit of the sheaf and hang it over the door as a holy thing.
Others saved the last sheaf for the “Old Woman” (Earth?), and would dance around it and chant “We give it to the Old One/She shall hold it/Be she to us in the next year/As good as she was in this.” Since Earth is seen as a wife of Woden, and is the chief giver of the harvest, it is fitting to offer the last sheaf to her.
Apples were left hanging from fruit trees for “der Wod,” for “the birds,” or the last apple for the “weather maiden” or Freya.
Carving pumpkins is something the new folk are beginning to do on Winter Nights, to scare ill ghosts and wights away. This stems from the Celts making turnip-lamps for Samhain, but the Norse never minded borrowing from anyone, especially the Celts!