A candle gif (source).
A candle gif (source).
[Cross posted from a sideblog but not backdated because it was posted before this WP blog existed (21 Dec 2013).]
Gaze to the moon tonight, it is the longest night of the year! Celebrate your cold, black heart and know we love you.
After being asked to disassemble His shrine earlier in the year, I’ve recently put something together for Njord. It’s rather similar to what I had previously, and I found myself slowly putting things together today for the Pack.
I’m not sure why, but They’ve requested that I not share pictures of these spaces. I haven’t yet oficially opened the doors, but They seem protective. (Something about these being group spaces since Frey and Freya drop by the one for Njord.) Anyways, They seem happy with the set ups.
I accompanied my grandfather on a shopping trip since he was going past Best Buy, and I have my laptop back in my possession (ten days later). Things will take some time to get to a comfortable place because they had to do a factory reset (files were restored, but not programs so I currently can’t open anything, for example).
Because my grandparents had a freezer / fridge unit die on them, we also stopped by my grandparents for the dinner of things that thawed (pulled pork and cheese sandwiches and beef vegetable stew). I don’t know if I’ve paired pulled pork with cheese before, but it actually was pretty good.
(May you not howl alone.)
I was asked to nod to the Netjeru with birthdays during the Epagomenal Days leading to Wep Ronpet (New Year). Each Netjer wanted to share a card for the year.
For Wep Ronpet, I switched the shrine over to something more general for the while Netjeru.
Every year you see lots of Kemetics talking about the beloved Wep Ronpet that occurs every summer. It’s a great set of holidays and its one of the only holidays that I celebrate out of the hundreds of Kemetic holidays and festivals that I have to choose from.
So it’s kind of a big deal.
However, I was noticing that there aren’t very many resources out there for how you actually go about celebrating the holiday. So I wanted to pool some resources here in one spot for others to use so that they, too can celebrate Wep Ronpet!
So what is Wep Ronpet?
Wep Ronpet is the Kemetic New Year. It falls usually somewhere btwn late July and mid-August. The date for Wep Ronpet varies each year, as it is marked by the rising of Sopdet, modernly known as Sirius. In antiquity, the date would have been based off…
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Aug 1st – the Cleaning of Antlers. The Cleaning of Antlers signals the end of summer and beginning of autumn, though not all of the Realms (Jotunheim, Niflheim, and Muspelheim) experience signs of autumn this early.
Angrboda and a Deer (Vanir Tribe) along with priests from the Tribes and their assistants gather at the Henge. The Deer and certain priests divine the appropriate sacrifice for that year (a chicken, a pig, a goat, a horse, or a deer) and go about ritually cleaning and preparing the animal.
Angrboda and the rest of the priests(1) work on lighting a bonfire that has been built in the preparation for the day. When the last priest helping the Deer has made their offering, the Deer blesses the sacrifice as a representative of the summer season. Angrboda and Her ritual knives are blessed by Her group of priests as the representative of the autumn season.
Angrboda kills the animal and goes about field dressing it along the priests. They butcher the animal and prepare it to be cooked over the bonfire while the Deer and their priests continue to pray and give offerings. They watch over the meat while Angrboda and Her priests sprinkle the collected blood on those in attendance and ask for blessings on those who will be hunting and sacrificing for their families in the coming season.
Experience with cooking animals while doing this blessing portion over the years means that a minimum amount of attendees are invited from all the Tribes in order to have the animal be ready to eat at about the finishing point in blessing everyone. The assistants of the priests and other assistants prepare the food for the feast afterwards, particularly in this portion of time.
The sacrificed animal and the first portion of the food made for the feast is split between Angrboda, the Deer, and the priests. Everyone else in attendance is then able to dig into the food, and the official portion of the holy day is complete. Those who watch televised events will time their food preparation around this event as well, so that as many Jotuns are eating as possible in time with the attendees. Hunting season is officially open after this date.
Observing the Cleaning of Antlers
(1) Part of the preparation includes divining how the Tribes will be split, as it changes from year to year and does not fall into Prey helping the Deer exclusively, for example.
Summer Solstice – the Cleaning of Fishbones. The Cleaning of Fishbones celebrates the many types of harvesting that sustains the Jotun Tribes throughout the year. It depends on the Tribe as to which harvest is the priority, so Tribe specific observances frequently happen throughout the summer and autumn based on when the Tribe needs to perform rites.
Priests and their assistants gather at the Henge to bless the first rounds of harvest and ask for continued bounty. Who offers up what changes from year to year, but Someone will often touch on grain, fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish, other types of seafood, fowl, and other game. Offerings and prayers will bless the canning and preserving underway to store adequate food for the winter as well.
Because the start and end of harvest season differs depending on what is being harvested and where in the three Realms one is, many Jotuns focus on attending Tribe specific rites in the summer and autumn. The extra hours of sunlight on the Cleaning of Fishbones makes it ideal for working longer hours, whether harvesting, canning, or working on other crafts / projects.
The Cleaning of Fishbones isn’t solely about work and harvesting, though. The small feasts that occur throughout the Realms, including at the Henge after the official portion is over, focus not only on freshly harvested food but quite often on seafood. Depending on where one lives in the Realms, this is the main time of the year for fresh seafood to be enjoyed (rather than salted / preserved seafood).
As the sun starts to set, candles are lit and an hour or so of rest is also often part of the day’s activities. Many families enjoy less strenuous activities and games for the rest of the night and toast the sunrise the next morning with a seafood based breakfast. Mead is often symbolically offered up to Sunna to thank Her for working on the longest day of the year as well.
Dignitaries and ambassadors (often including Angrboda) are typically busy with strengthening Vanir / Jotun relations around this holy day. The Vanir don’t have the sole claim on the health and bounty of the land (and magic related to it), but it is unwise to needlessly upset this relationship around an important harvest festival. This often means that the higher ups are engaged in politics, working out trade and merchant information, and attending the Vanic holy day to help create a bridge for the blessings of Vanaheim to help Jotunheim (and to a certain extent, Niflheim and Muspelheim as well).
Observing the Cleaning of Fishbones:
Date: Summer Solstice
Nornoriel attributes various ritual sex to this day between the King, Queen, and their consorts, however I don’t interact with these People as Nornoriel does. It does seem to be a popular time for weddings, as Nornoriel includes.
On the level of Dignitaries and Rulers, this day is when the priests for Horn Father and Star Mother are consulted for big picture readings concerning the status and future of the Realm. Questions of the health of the Realm and the connections to other Realms are looked at, and the matter of compensational offerings are figured out.
On the level of the Tribes, priests for Star Mother and Horn Father can be consulted for any manner of divination, oracle work, channeling, etc. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to topic, and the difference between this day and any other day seems to be that there are so many more available priests on this day (questions may be asked as long as there is sunlight on this day).
On the level of towns and families, this is a popular time for weddings, blessing the land, and however ‘bringing forth abundance’ can be interpreted. Family celebrations are common, farmers often work during the extra hours of sunlight, and there can be a party atmosphere in a lot of places. Vigils are often held into the night to keep the energy of sunlight going.
. . .
Ways to observe in Midgard:
May 3rd – Rising of Our Stars. The Rising of Our Stars celebrates the beginning of summer and family.
Angrboda often gives a televised blessing for the Tribes, lights a candle, and ends the official portion with “May you not howl alone today”. Everyone gathers at designated locations in their Tribe / Realm to watch, light candles, and howl afterwards. The brunt of this celebration is the feasting and games that happens afterwards where the Tribes celebrate being a Family (think of a family reunion and multiply).
The candles stay lit throughout the day and are typically watched over by the elders who tell stories of the Tribe, ancestors, and current family members. Besides storytelling, the elders often work on projects (sewing, knitting, carving, repairing nets, etc.) and catch up with extended family. The many families within the Family often only meet up in such a fashion for weddings, funerals, and on this holy day.
Those seeking to have children but experiencing difficulties often seek out diviners and priests for the Tribe to work out solutions. Untangling wyrd through discussions with partners, offerings, and prayers often happens, as well as magic for conceiving. Mediation between partners, friends, and family happens, and today is a good time for strengthening ties between Tribes (many associate with one Family officially but have relatives in several).
There are games and competitions for adults and children. These include agility courses, knife throwing, judging animals and crafts for prizes, various kinds of races, and depending on the Tribe and how they’re affiliated with Midgard crossover competitions from our World. Children often enjoy racing and tag in their shifted form, in addition to learning skills and competing in child friendly versions of the adult games.
Children who have been born since the last Rising of Our Stars are blessed by priests, and offerings and prayers for their good health are said. Craftsmen and workers (farmers, fishers, etc.) often seek out blessings for their work as well, and various booths can be found to purchase crafts and supplies. These often include booths and wares from other Tribes, as intermarriage among Tribes is common.
While those with children are included in the crafters and workers, the representatives of the different fields of work are often childless in the blessing rites to honor family members who do not or cannot have children. Single Jotuns also represent the Family in blessings for the health of the Tribe as they prepare for winter to honor and acknowledge those who don’t prioritize marriage / partnership.
Vanir who married into Tribes typically celebrate a close Vanic holy day (Dance of the Lovers on May 1st) with feasting and sex on that day. They often request putting up a small pole at the Tribe celebration on this day to weave ribbons for blessings in the year to come. Sometimes it’s a small family within the Family affair, but if a fair number of Vanir are in attendance, a large pole is erected and they all dance to weave the ribbons.
After a final meal together that often lasts past sundown, the elders pray one last time for their Tribe before using the candles to light a bonfire (and often blowing the candles out). The priests and diviners can be sought for advice, while the merchants with their booths often pack up and leave with the families. Couples or individuals who desire privacy about counseling and/or need to discuss magic and courses of action ‘borrowed from the night’ (what humans would consider cursing and ‘baneful’ magic) are often the ones who stay behind. The priests and diviners are available until sunrise when the bonfire is extinguished and everyone returns to their homes.
Observing Rising of Our Stars:
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