The Cleaning of Antlers

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).

Notes

(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.

The Cleaning of Fishbones

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:

  • 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. It would be particularly appropriate to aim for seafood, if you’re able to consume this.
  • Lighting a candle at sunset and doing something creative throughout the night, preferably until sunrise if you can make it.
  • You could also travel to Vanaheim and attend the Lights of the Phoenix observance or otherwise observe it here in Midgard.

The Rising of Our Stars

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:

  • It may be possible to travel / journey and 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 for Someone and Their Tribe.
  • Enjoying games and a meal with your family, even if you can’t hold a large family reunion.
  • Depending in your interactions and relations with the Vanir, elements of observing the Dance of the Lovers may be applicable (such as the pole and weaving ribbons).

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.

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.

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.

A King in a Court

I’m still in the burning period, to some degree. The Face of Mani that I primarily interacted with has turned away. I experienced a Little Face (I referred to Him as Princeling), and I was in a devotional power dynamic with Him (Caregiver / Little). Because His Void-of-course Face was connected to the Little Face, I’m no longer going to interact with Mani in that way either.

He’s been patient about this, thankfully. There were enough hints about a certain topic that I’m not surprised He’s here as a King, but that didn’t make me any more calm when I got the news. So many People have left, and I was just instantly worried that He was leaving as well.

In some of my not shared notes about Families, I refer to the Celestial Family (Mani, Sunna, and the various other Deities in the Norse pantheon associated with time passing), but that’s currently not accurate. It’s more like a complicated Court system, and there’s enough of a link to the Family of Fire to be included in Jotun affairs, while there’s enough of a link to the Vanir to be included in Vanic affairs.

I made a point of not getting involved in the Politics that must be lurking beneath this information because I honestly don’t have the spoons or time to try to get to know more. All I know is that Mani is a King of a Lunar Court and that this Face is Who is showing up now. (Well, He’s probably been showing up for a while, but I now know for sure.)

Disclaimer on Journeying / Travel

I am unable to journey or travel to other Worlds, or as some prefer to call it astral travel. Information that I know is dependent upon asking and receiving answers through divination, so concepts, words, and information that I do not know to ask are hard to convey without resorting to dream messages (where images can come through, but not necessarily languages I don’t know).

Not to mention that I do think the Tribes and Families are large enough for there to be differences in what is conveyed to us. Various ideas and theories have been put forward to explain differences and contradictions in what Deities tell humans, but regardless of how, it does happen. So, if you want to know something specific, you may need to be the one to ask.

Basically, I’m not the one to help with certain specifics. I’d suggest asking Someone if you want to know about social rules and what is considered polite behavior if you’re planning on visiting. Mind your manners, don’t be an asshole, and being upfront about visiting for the first time probably won’t hurt. If you want to meet with Someone, especially a Deity named in the Lore, it would probably help to schedule an appointment and let Them know you’re going to be dropping by.

An approximate map of Jotunheim from what I can discern (click to enlarge):

Jotunheim Map

Jotun Intro: Neutral (Ambassadors)

As far as I know, the last introducing Jotuns post

Neutrality – Ambassadors

Holding a neutral affiliation while being counted among the Jotuns is known for ambassadors Who live for extended periods of time in other Realms and for those Who marry as part of Their work. While Loki is a very well known ambassador, He returned to affiliation and took a considerable break from working as an ambassador and politician with His punishment in the cave. Some encounter Him as retired from politics once released from the cave, while others encounter Him with a very minimal Job that depends on how well He handles the mental effects of the punishment (a form of PTSD is possible to encounter).

Gerda married Frey in the course of Her ambassador work. She carries Mountain and Tree lineage and is very well known for Her work with and magic surrounding herbs. She has participated in ambassador work with Asgard, Ljossalfheim, and Vanaheim as part of Her marriage to Frey. With the improvements in Aesir / Jotun interactions and politics, Gerda has let other ambassadors take over working with the Aesir. She helps to maintain a cordial relationship with the Light Elves and interacts most strongly with the Vanir and Midgard.

Skadi married Njord in the course of Her ambassador work. She carries Mountain and Snow lineage, and Her ambassador work primarily dealt with Asgard and Vanaheim. Citing incompatibility with the ocean and seashore, She divorced Njord and They split amicably. She has retired from interacting with Asgard and the Aesir as They re-evaluated truces and treaties to treat Jotuns more fairly. Skadi now interacts most strongly with Vanaheim and the Vanir.

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.