Sígrblót for the Family
What Is Sigrblot?
Sígrblót (aka Sommardag or Victoryblot) is an ancient Heathen holiday falling on the fourth full moon after the winter solstice. This year's full moon begins on April 6, 2023.
Sígrblót is a pre-Christian celebration appointed by Odin in the Ynglinga Saga, stanza 8. It's here Odin lists three holidays we must celebrate with a blót:
Each of these major holidays falls on a full moon, following the lunar calendar (because in ancient times, people didn't have a calendar as we have now. They had to follow the phases of the moon, sun and/or seasonal changes. The Wheel of the Year did not exist for these people either).
In Sweden 'Goa' moon is called Goje Month/Moon, and in Iceland, it is called Goamanuthr (Goa Month/Moon).
This year Goa/Goje Moon falls on April 6-9 during the fourth full moon after the winter solstice.
Sígrblót is also mentioned in the Heimskringla Saga, stanza 77, as an age-old custom held in Uppsala, Sweden. This blót (sacrifice) would be given to the gods for peace and victory for their king. People would gather from all over Sweden for this.
Sígrblót would include a blót, drinking and feasting.
How To Celebrate Sígrblót
Now that we have the historical background covered, here is how can we celebrate such a historically significant occasion with our families: 1. Greet the sun on the first morning Sígrblót is a three-day celebration that starts at first sun. Wake everyone up early to enjoy a favourite hot beverage and watch the sunrise.
2. Give an offering to honour your gods (and king, depending on your country) This is your sacrifice. Traditionally the offering involves a blood sacrifice from an animal (boar, horse, or cow is common). If your family practice is more modern, you may choose to sacrifice wine, mead or something else favoured by Odin and gods of fertility and harvest. You may also choose to sacrifice something prized by the family, like your first plant of the year, a sun-wheel you worked hard to craft, or food you worked hard to create. The offering is typically spilled or placed on the ground or alter while verbally letting the god(s) know who it is for and why. After the offering is given, you may leave it there or share it with your family.
3. Host a feast Get your family together to enjoy a feast worthy of grandeur. The modern world has Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Historic Heathens have Winternights, Yule and Sígrblót!
4. Play some sun-inspired games In ancient times, different Norse villages had various sun-inspired games, from twirling round objects around on sticks to whipping them high into the sky or rolling down hills in wheels in a race against others (cartwheeling is probably safer). The wheels and circles were meant to represent the sun.
5. Dance around a maypole The origin of the maypole is debated, but both Heathens and Christians definitely used it by the late Viking Age. The Heathen version is a vertical pole with ribbons attached to a circle at the top. The Christian version looks more like a cross. Today, people all over Europe continue to dance in circles holding the ribbon and weaving patterns around the pole.
6. Make Sunwheel Wishing Ships
For this, you will need twigs, straw, a body of water and fire :
Using straw or twig, craft a circle with a cross inside of it
- Weave a straight pole and attach it to the middle of your sunwheel like a ship mast - Optional: Decorate it with flowers - Place it on water like a boat - Make a wish - Set the mast on fire - Watch it sail away in flames
7. Have a bonfire The bonfire is meant to represent the ever-burning sun. Honour and enjoy it. Show the gods you're proud!
8. Enjoy a sumble (toasting drinks in honour of gods and ancestors) A sumble involves giving a toast to ancestors and gods you want to honour. Each person is honoured through heartfelt words of appreciation, followed by the toaster drinking an entire drink in their memory.
9. Set goals for the summer When Sigrblot was first celebrated, it was done for victory. Not many of us are sailing away to find land, trade merchandise or battle, but we can set goals for victory in other ways. One idea is running into battle to advocate for the planet to avoid our own Ragnarok. Whatever cause you think it worth battling for, the idea is to make the world a better place for our descendants.
10. Share stories of your favourite victories Back in medieval times, there were many battles or wars to celebrate. Now few do, but we have personal battles we can be proud of overcoming. Focus on the bright side and celebrate your big and small victories!
What's your goal going to be this summer? What are you hoping to achieve? Maybe this year's efforts will be a reason to sing of your victories next Sigrblot!
Ynglinga Saga, stanza 8
Heimskringla Saga, stanza 77