Álfblót - A Hallowed Heathen Night
Updated: Feb 15
The tree leaves have turned vibrant in colour, the air has become crisp, and the pumpkins and squash are ready for picking! For many people October symbolizes Halloween, Samhain or Winternights. However this year is extra-special. This year we have the Blue Moon happening the same month as the Blood Moon (Blood Month on the historic Heathen calendar), and the Blood Moon means it is time to celebrate Álfblót! Álfblót is a time to honor your ancestors. It takes place in your own home. You can share your celebration or ritual with friends and neighbors. Strangers are not welcome because this celebration is private and your home is considered 'hallowed' for this night.
The Kormáks Saga tells us that a celebration around this time of year is a hallowed night intended to be a sacrifice to elves who have a connection to your ancestors.
I have been waiting for a good time to introduce this: The Swedes are believers in fairies, elves and trolls. It may sound crazy to the western world, but it is a cultural norm in many northern European countries.
My mother (son's Mormor) would simply say it is the time of year the veil between us and the afterlife is thinnest, and it is a time of year you can talk to your dead ancestors. She also mentioned, during the full moon of October, elves dance over mounds with the dead under the full light of the moon. How magical!
So what is the Hartman home doing for Álfblót?
To be honest, I am a big Halloween fan! This year will be our son's first time trick-or-treating. After we take our son trick-or-treating we will gather inside to start our festivities.
We will start our afternoon with a ham (traditionally boar) and harvest dinner. Two extra plates will be set out for the ancestors we are honouring. We will toast them by pouring a bit of our drinks into their cups and begin drinking and feasting. A candle will be lit on each of their plates to symbolize the light of their lives.
Currently we are racing to get our outdoor hearth completed. The idea is that we will set up pictures of mine and my husband's grandmothers on the mantle with a candle each.
Once dusk falls and our little Heathen is asleep, we will light a fire and make a toast to our ancestors; We will talk all night about the memories we have with them and what we loved most.
As my son gets older and joins us, we will include him in the fire celebration while we talk about all of our ancestors, from the ones who we remember to the ones who left a mark. We will explore our genealogy charts and stories with him and really give him a sense of connection with his lineage. For us, the smaller and more intimate events are the ones that hold the most meaning; but for many members of the Heathen community this is a major celebration that requires sacrifice; after all, it only comes around once in a 'Blue Moon'.
What is your family celebrating during this time of year? What are you planning to do? Please share them with me in the comment section. I would love to get to know you and your family a bit better. Sincerely,