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
- 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 Deer Tribe of Vanaheim, as representatives of the Predator and Prey.
- Depending on where you live and your stance on hunting, you could agree to offer up the first kill of the season to Angrboda and the Tribe / representative of the animal killed. You are not required to hunt, and if you go this route, you need to keep in mind your local laws (as hunting seasons often start later than this date, and there can be different dates for different animals / hunting methods).
(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.