Dance of Lovers

Date: May 1st

Mart’uinserma (from the [Tolkien] Elvish cord / string serma + of the uin + fate marta) [mar-two-in sir-muh].

Nornoriel describes this holy day as including the maypole and ritual sex (m / f, f / f, m / m, and the King / Queen represent trans couples) not uncommon in rituals around this time of the year.

In my practice, the dancing and weaving of ribbons around poles seems to be the larger focus than the ritual sex (it seems to be a private optional activity). Colors are chosen for specific purposes and wishes are usually written on them as well, and then there are a lot of poles.

Priests dance and weave a pole for all of Vanaheim at the Henge (televised), priests dance a separate one for each Tribe in the largest gathering place of their area, and then smaller towns and cities usually put up their own. Smaller poles often go up for individual families as well.

Not everyone wants to go through the trouble of putting up a pole, so related acts of magic are done that bring in colors and tying / weaving. This can be individual cord magic, magic related to knots, sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving, and other textile related magic. It’s not uncommon for ribbons to be woven and braided into hair for the day, and some Tribes have specific traditions around colors and someone else assisting / braiding hair.

There’s often a feast at the Capitol for ambassadors and allies, as the energy of tying things together is seen as a good time to work on ties between Realms. Mediation and working out problems can also happen at this time in order to untangle the ties between people.

. . .

Ways to observe in Midgard:

  • Color magic.
  • Utilizing cords / ribbons / string in your magic. Whether you do knots, sew, knit, or do something else with the material.
  • Braiding your hair or otherwise creating a hairstyle with intent.
  • Maypole celebration. Dancing and listening to / creating music.
  • Working out interpersonal problems, if you’d like to. Personal shadow work.
  • Sharing food / drink with Someone, if appropriate / able.
  • Ritual sex and/or sex magic, if appropriate / desired.

The Howls of Spring

Spring Equinox – the Howls of Spring. The Howls of Spring celebrates a tapering off of winter and the beginning of spring (the winds of spring blow in hard and strong, howling). It’s often very festive to celebrate surviving the winter.

The Wolf and Hare from the Bones of Prey (Angrboda and the Hare representative) meet at the Henge where a bonfire has been prepared and lit. The Hare gives thanks for Prey being able to survive the winter and asks for blessings of fruitful spring births. They often dance and request blessings for the land as well, as a nod to the Vanic celebration of Green Awakening. Angrboda gives thanks for Predators being able to survive the winter and burns a portion of jerky, asking for blessings in finding food and prey.

Angrboda, the Hare, and assistants present share a meal with the small crowd of attendees that may show up. The event is televised, so many Tribes prefer to watch that and proceed with their own feasts around bonfires. Vanir often gather in the Capital or travel to Vanaheim in order to celebrate Green Awakening. The observance in the Capital includes burning that which they don’t want to take into the new year in a bonfire, any Hares present dancing to bless the land, often some dancing by most in attendance (even if They’re not Hares), decorating eggs, and a feast.

Observing the Howls of Spring

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible. It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them.
  • Lighting a candle or otherwise giving an offering to Angrboda and the Hare Tribe of Vanaheim, as representatives of the Predator and Prey.
  • You could also attend the Green Awakening observance in the Capital, travel to Vanaheim to attend there, or otherwise observe here in Midgard.

Green Awakening (intro)

Date: Spring Equinox

Tuwenya-cuivië (from the [Tolkien] Elvish green wenya + spring, sprout tuia + awakening cuivië) [twhen-yuh cue-vee-ay].

Nornoriel describes the activities as there being a bonfire for burning away the year’s negativity the night before, fire dancing / spinning, and watching the Hare Tribe dance throughout the realm on the day of (their dancing helps flowers to bloom).

These basics are still true for my practice, and I’m honestly not getting very much beyond this. I keep getting indications of a dance party, basically.

. . .

Ways to observe in Midgard:

  • Burn away the past year’s negativity and grieve on the night before (whether a bonfire, candle, or something else is used).
  • Dancing and music to help with grieving are not discouraged, though it depends on your personal preferences.
  • An offering for the Hare Tribe on the day of – food / drink, dancing, noticing flowers in your area, etc.
  • Watching someone fire dance or spin fire, if you don’t have the training for it.
  • Dance. Listen to music. Attend a concert.

A Day of Tinkering

The Twisted Rope

When everything came to Be during the very First Time, everyone agreed that everything was perfect and in its proper place. Time flowed perfectly and the holidays and seasoned synced in perfect harmony. The gods reveled in how everything aligned so well for them. Their world and existence centered around ma’at and Zep Tepi, and this allowed them to keep their world in harmony with seasons, holidays and mythical time all working together in a circular fashion.

However, the humans lived in a place where try as they may, Zep Tepi could only be enacted and recreated for short amounts of time. As the era of humans began to sprawl forever in one direction, they found that time progressed further and further away from Zepi Tepi. Their calendars and seasons became unaligned and everything started to become chaotic for them.

As the calendar and seasons slowly drifted further and further…

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The Missing Spoke in the Wheel

There is no Jotun equivalent to the Lights of the Winter Storm (Feb 2nd), as winter is often still as harsh as ever and not going to ease up until spring comes. The Vanir in the Realms often gather in the Capital to observe Lights of the Winter Storm with candle lighting, offerings and prayers, and a small feast. Jotun spouses and family typically show up, and the event is often open to the public as long attendees are respectful during the proceedings. Depending on how harsh the winter is, Dignitaries and ambassadors are the only Ones allowed to travel outside the Realm, so traveling from Jotunheim to Vanaheim to observe Lights of the Winter Storm isn’t always guaranteed.

For those of us in Midgard

  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them. This can be a simple meal, or you could opt for some sort of ‘treat’.
  • Lighting a candle and saying a prayer for fire to return to the world (addressing Sunna or another member of the Family of Fire).
  • If able, continuing sharing food and drink and lighting a candle once a week [typically started at Gnawed Bones].
  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend the Lights of the Winter Storm observance astrally may be possible. Alternatively, you may observe it in Midgard or (if appropriate) travel to Vanaheim to do so.

Lights of the Winter Storm (intro)

Date: Feb 2nd

Wáloselena (from the [Tolkien] Elvish wind + snow los + of the stars elena) [wuh-lahs el-eh-nuh].

So, the English translation of the name and the date are the same. However, I’ve received no indication that any other component of Nornoriel’s description of this holy day is the same when it comes to my practice. Horn Father is the main player for this day.

In the morning twilight hours, Horn Father blesses various tools associated with Him and His activities (via His priest) in a ritual in Vanaheim. This noticeably includes any farming tools and seeds to be started indoors as winter ends, but it depends on the Tribe and family as to what Their focus is. At sunrise, Horn Father blesses a breakfast meal shared by attendees, then He can be consulted for advice, blessings, aid, etc. throughout the day as He visits each town. As the sun sets, He blesses the heads of each family.

His official priest Who visits several towns in each Tribal area, but additional priests in each Tribal area are used to reach Everyone in Vanaheim. While Horn Father leaves His official priest (and any others) when it’s dark, there’s enough residual energy from Him in the air for many priests to take divination requests from citizens throughout the night.

. . .

Observing this holy day:

  • Blessing any tools used for farming, food preparation, hunting, or whatever your livelihood is. Seeds and the ‘initial’ versions of whatever relates to your livelihood can be blessed as well.
  • Sharing food with your corporeal family and/or edible offerings with non-corporeal Family, friends, associates, etc. as breakfast (or another meal).
  • Divination and magical requests can also work on this day.
  • Any other activity associated with Him as acknowledgement.

. . .

A little more about Him and this day:

Thanking the animals killed and eaten as food, blessing their kin to be fruitful come spring, requesting blessings and aid to end winter on a high note, and a general day of acknowledging Him. He blesses Spirit-Guardians as various species enter into mating season, to be fruitful here in Midgard. He breaks down bodies to bless the soil and lead to good harvests. A comfortable inside while it’s winter sort of day, ideal for solitary and group based activities.

Yule Tree

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Hail Sunna

Hail to m’Lady Sigyn

Shout out to the Vanir

Sometimes I’m not sure who is more excited when the tree gets done – my People or our cat. Either way, the first step of celebrating Yule is done because the tree’s up and lit.

Certain People are honored on some of the 12 days of Yule, and I do a shout out to two Tribes of Vanaheim each night. I shared a break down here, so I’m not really feeling like taking up a lot of space with sharing the same info in a different format.

With my personal versions of the Vanic holy days just getting implemented this year, it’s going to be the start of having a “free space” nature to celebrating Yule. I go into it more in the Lights of the Serpent post, but Star Mother and Horn Father pick a different ritual that will benefit Vanaheim and the Vanir each year.

This year Yule will acknowledge different alliances and Allies that the Realm has, and I’m doing something each day here in Midgard to recognize that.

  • 1 – Helheim – I’m going to be starting a knitting project for Hela, and I have to check in with my dead (and some People I associate with because of my dead).
  • 2 – Niflheim – I’m going to check in with Fenrir.
  • 3 – Museplheim – I need to make cleaning progress for Sunna.
  • 4 – Svartalfheim – Blith. I’ll find out what to do the day of.
  • 5 – Nidavellir – Njord (on behalf of Andvari). Find out the day of.
  • 6 – Ljossalfheim – Nectë. Find out the day of.
  • 7 – Midgard – Jormundgand. Find out the day of.
  • 8 – Jotunheim – Angrboda. Find out the day of.
  • 9 – Asgard – Odin. Find out the day of.
  • 10, 11, 12 – These days are for other pantheons, and I don’t have as much to do for them.

Because the 10th day is 12.31, I’ll just do my New Year’s divination for 2016, and I’ll do something for my Infernal contacts on the 11th day. The 12th has nothing extra (unless Someone surprises me later).

Gnawed Bones

Winter Solstice – Gnawed Bones. Gnawed Bones is a Yule celebration, though it doesn’t last 12 days as some other Yule celebrations may. It celebrates the survival of winter so far and seeks to ensure survival until spring.

Depending on the Tribe and its territory, winter is very harsh and survival is closely tied to food prep and storage. Because food needs to be carefully planned out to last through winter, feasting usually isn’t associated with this day. Starting now and lasting until the spring equinox, the equivalent of ‘government assistance’ helps Jotuns to stretch their food storage.

The expense of this is considered the trade off for planning and hosting a large event that typically happens with other holy days. Angrboda and the priest for the Family of Fire do a televised Skype conference(esque) ritual featuring the lighting of candles and prayers for fire to return to the world (typically mentioning Sunna and the sun as well).

Those watching often join in the prayers and candle lighting, and that’s often the extent of this holy day. A treat or a nicer meal than usual is hoped for, but many turn to setting out candles and lanterns with shortened versions of the Yule prayers over the next few weeks. Dignitaries, ambassadors, and important People in orchestrating holy days are often involved in politics, treaties, and visiting the Yule celebrations in other Realms around this time of year, so a low key celebration works best for Them as well.

Observing Gnawed Bones:

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital (one of the many designated locations to watch a televised event with others) in order to attend astrally may be possible. It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration elsewhere, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • Lighting a candle and saying a prayer for fire to return to the world (addressing Sunna or another member of the Family of Fire).
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them. This can be a simple meal, or you could opt for some sort of ‘treat’.
  • If you interact with Someone married to one of the Vanir or also interact with the Vanir, it could be appropriate to observe Their Yule celebration. Some return to Vanaheim to do this, while Others gather in the Capital for offerings and a small feast (with the rest of 12 days being marked back at Their homes).
  • Political relations with the Aesir have changed over time with the Realms working on a beneficial truce, but that doesn’t mean individuals have. You may be able to observe Their Yule celebration; observing here in Midgard may not be an issue, but journeying to Asgard should be planned and arranged ahead of time to avoid problems with being allowed in.
  • If feasible for you to do so, sharing food and drink and lighting a candle once a week until the spring equinox can be done.

Lights of the Serpent (intro)

Date: Winter Solstice (start), lasts 12 days

Urulóci-elena (from the [Tolkien] Elvish fire-dragon urulóci + of the stars elena) [er-roo-low-see el-eh-nuh].

According to Nornoriel, there’s ritual sex among the consorts of the King and Queen (on the night before) as well as between the Queen and King (the day of) with public orgies to add fuel. There’s also feasting and the King and Queen do a Krampus and Perchta procession, and then the rest of the days are feasts (presumably on a smaller scale).

My personal deviations prominently include the non-English name (hyphenated here), that the King and Queen are priests Who do not hold these royal titles, and that the priests do not have consorts. There’s also deviation in what happens and Who does what for this day.

These priests serve as a bridge to Horn Father and Star Mother, and there is no guarantee as to how Horn Father and Star Mother may wish to proceed with this holy day. It depends on how the year has transpired and what blessings They feel the land and people of Vanaheim need. Some sort of ritual takes place on the first day followed by a feast. The rest of the days are often family celebrations for many citizens, but there may be additional rituals in some years.

The main ritual may be sexual, but it is not a guarantee. The priest Who serves as the bridge to Star Mother has reenacted Star Mother’s masturbatory creation of all Worlds via ritual masturbation, and the priests have had ritual sex together. Star Mother wanted a ritual for mothers who had lost their children (no matter how old they were) and provided a safe place for grieving and comforting. Horn Father wanted a mirroring ritual for fathers, and the priest orchestrated rituals for other relatives to grieve throughout the 12 days. Just depends.

It’s not uncommon for couples to elect to engage in ritual sex, whether it’s to add fuel to the blessings of the main ritual, for catharsis, or for personal reasons. If the main ritual didn’t include sexual activity and provide space for citizens to also engage in sex, couples often choose to wait until they’re home after the feast. Just because the citizens of Vanaheim can engage in sexual activity publicly, doesn’t mean that they will always do so.

There’s some sort of gift-giving on the first day, usually before the feast, but it isn’t always as Nornoriel has described. Sometimes visiting ambassadors / dignitaries Who are able to [it’s something They already have the power to do] will hand out gifts. In the past, Odin, Kari, and Holda have all done so on this basis. Sometimes Star Mother and Horn Father will want Their priests to do so, and at other times, it’s a matter of drawing Someone’s name out of a hat. Through this method, the leaders of a Tribe, the Prime Minister of Vanaheim, and Deities (as we know Them) have filled this role.

So, the first day has a main ritual decided by Star Mother and Horn Father, gift-giving, and a feast. Various kinds of ambassador events, traveling between Worlds, and Tribe specific rituals often happen for the rest of the 11 days. Two Tribes celebrate each day (including on the main one), so that relatives in other Tribes have time to visit and priests don’t have to do every ritual in one day. The order typically changes every year, and there can be a fair amount of information in flux if you’re not involved in the actual planning of this holy day (such as me). There’s usually a ritual for each World of Yggdrasil, a ritual for non-Norse allies, something to acknowledge the dead, and there can be additional rituals chosen by Star Mother and Horn Father as well.

Observing this holy day:

  • With how important the sun is to the land and areas related to the Vanir, I can see acknowledging Sunna as being compatible with a Vanic holy day even though Sunna isn’t classified as Vanic.
  • Someone could journey to the Capital and take part in the main ritual, unless indicated that the ritual is ‘non-citizens by invitation only’ that year.
  • It’s possible to do ritual sex and/or sex magic, whether solo or partnered, corporeal partner or non-corporeal.
  • A candle can be lit, a prayer can be said, or some appropriate action can be taken to acknowledge Star Mother and Horn Father.
  • Sharing food and drink with corporeal family and/or non-corporeal family, friends, associates, etc. It just depends on how you handle edible offerings.
  • Lighting a candle, sharing an offering, or doing something else to acknowledge two Tribes a day for the 12 days.
  • Gift-giving. Christmas will probably be expected for corporeal family, but if you’re giving Someone a gift, there may be a different day that works.
  • If you’re close to Someone, you may be able to join in Their family celebrations. It can depend on how close you are, what relationship you have Them, and whether Their job kicks into high-gear around Yule or not.
  • Depending on the year, there may be additional rituals and/or counterparts that you can do in Midgard. This will take planned spontaneity in not scheduling too much time for other (known) activities.

The Howls of Winter

Nov 3rd – the Howls of Winter. The Howls of Winter marks the beginning of winter and honors those who have died in the past year (from the start of the last year’s winter until now with the increased winds of the season being ‘the howls of the ancestors’).

A priest from each Tribe and Realm travels to the Capital of Jotunheim with a list of the dead from their Tribe / Realm. The priests and their assistants gather at the Henge along with Angrboda and certain other Dignitaries. While open to the public to attend, the proceedings are typically watched from designated locations within Tribe territories / Realms.

A bonfire that has been built in the preparations for the day is the focal point. Angrboda howls and invites the dead to gather there. (Jotun dead often stick around until this ceremony for this purpose.) The bonfire is lit by the priest of the Family of Fire who read their list of dead first.

A moment of silence is given for each name, and there are frequently candles lit at the respective designated locations whose dead are being acknowledged. At the end of the list, everyone in attendance and watching howls while the priest adds their list to the bonfire. This process is repeated for all the Tribes present.

Angrboda offers up jerky that has been divined and tailored to be this year’s offering to the dead and to appease the forces of winter. A set amount is added into the bonfire with a prayer from Angrboda to Her daughter Hela that the dead may find their way to Her and Her realm, to rest in peace until they can join their Families again. The priest for the Family of Snow and Ice adds a set amount of the jerky to the bonfire and puts out the fire with a display of snow dexterity.

If anyone lit a candle while watching the televised event, they blow out the candle now. Angrboda howls one last time to signal the end of the ceremony. The remaining jerky is divided among the attendees, assistants, priests, and Dignitaries in order to take the blessings of the rite with them into winter. A feast closes out the activities at Henge with a particular focus on food made with winter in mind – jerky, canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables, jellies, soups / stews, etc.

For those who didn’t travel to Henge, a family dinner often ends their day. They may have dishes with items made with winter in mind, but they may also mix in favorite dishes of anyone who was remembered at the ceremony. Some families also enjoy the last of the dishes they can make with autumn food, and some go with their own dishes that get brought out for the occasion. Regardless of what is eaten, many families include homemade jerky at some point in the meal.

Observing the Howls of Winter

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible. It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • You may light a candle to honor those who are being remembered. If you would like to, you can also acknowledge your own dead and/or anyone who has died in the past year.
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them. This can also be extended to sharing a meal with your dead, if you would like to.
  • If you are able to eat meat, you could include the blessing of jerky to survive winter. Homemade would match what’s given here, but you can check to see if store made options (or buying someone else’s homemade jerky) would be appropriate.
  • Jerky preparation is passed along in the family and is closely associated with storing and preparing food for winter. With this intention, engaging in an activity passed on from a family member, reconnecting to those activities, and/or preparing for winter in Midgard in appropriate ways may also be acceptable.