Blót Basics

        The Blót is the mainstay of Ásatrú ritual. Blót is an Old Norse word for blessing. The original Blóts as described in the lore were animal sacrifices precluding a feast at which this animal would be eaten. Essentially, the sacrifice itself was a sacralized butchering. The animal involved would be killed and its blood would be caught in a bowl, usually referred to as the Blótbolli. The priest, or goði, presiding over the feast would then sprinkle the gathered people and the walls of the temple with the blood, using a wooden sprinkling stick referred to as the hlaut-teinn. The remaining contents of the Blótbolli were then poured out over the heaped stone altar, known as a hørgr.
        In recent times most Ásatrú people do not live in a rural area where the butchering of animals is still considered normal practice. Therefore we have developed a different approach. We have replaced the blood offering with a votive offering of drink. Most prefer mead for the offering, but there are many variations on the theme, and often a group will often provide a non-alcoholic alternative for those who either cannot or wish not to drink.
        A Blót can be very simple or very complicated, it changes to serve the purpose, time, and the nature of the group. The true purpose of the Blót is to acknowledge the Aesir, Vanir, or other wights being hailed in the Blót and share drink with them, to renew bonds with the gods and goddesses, and to respond to the gifts the gods and goddesses give for a gift demands a gift.

A group Blót can usually be broken down into a number of steps usually between 8 and 10. For ease of presentation, I'll outline a 9-point Blót plan.

What follows is typical of a modern Blót.

1. The Gathering

The participants are signaled and proceed to the Blót usually arranging themselves in a circle.

2. The Warding

The area is sanctified, madeholy and set apart from normal space.

3. The Explanation/Reading

An explanation of the purpose of the Blót is given. Sometimes a passage from the Lore is also read here.

4. The Call

The Gods and Goddesses to be honored are called upon to witness the Blót..

5. The Hallowing

The mead (or other beverage) is made holy.

6. The Blessing

The participants and the altar are sprinkled with the hallowed mead (or other beverage)

7. The Sharing

Here the mead (or alternate beverage) is either doled out to each person's drinking horn, or a drinking horn is passed around. Each person takes a drink and either passes the horn or pour the remainder of the horn into the Blótbolli. This is often accompanied by an opportunity for each person to speak a hail over the horn before they drink.

8. The Offering

The mead in the blótbolli is poured onto the ground.

9. The Closing

The ceremony is ended, generally with a cstatement of conclusion that ties together the meaning of the celebration with what has been done.

Click here to view a sample Blót

A personal, at-need Blót need not be so complicated it can be done in essentially 3 steps.
  1. Dedicate some food and/or Drink to the God, Goddess, or wight you wish to honor.
  2. Have some yourself
  3. Share it with the God, Goddess, or wight through libation.

     The food or drink is often left at the base of a special tree, or just poured on the open earth. If one is lucky enough to have the land to do so, one could make a more traditional hørgr by building up a heap of unhewn stones, and then one can pour out the libation or leave the food offering there.

Some basic etiquette to remember –

     Ásatrú blóts are for the Æsir and Vanir only. We do not insist that they are the only real gods, nor do we discriminate against other religions, but the blót is sacred and dedicated to them alone.

Keep hails concise and on topic. It is good form to hail the god or goddess being honored before beginning your own hail.

Often when someone makes their hail, the rest of the groups echoes it. If someone hails something improper, do not echo the hail.

If stuck for a hail, either say "Hail the Gods and Goddesses all!" or copy another person's hail. Either is good form and proper.

Only drink once from the horn as it is passed, and if it is nearly empty, call over the person passing the horn (sometimes referred to as the Valkyrie) to fill it again.

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