Sígrblót for the Family
Sígrblót (aka Sumarsdag) is an ancient Heathen holiday that falls on April 26-29, 2021 (the fourth full moon after the winter solstice). It is a pre-Christian celebration appointed by Odin in the Ynglinga Saga, stanza 8. It's here Odin gives us three holidays we must celebrate with a blót:
Each of these major holidays fall on the full moon, in accordance to the lunar calendar (because in ancient times, people didn't have a calendar like 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 the night of April 26-29, 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.
Sígrblót for the Family
Now that we have the historical background covered, here is how can we celebrate such a historically important occasion with our families: 1. Greet the sun on the first morning Sígrblót is a three-day celebraton that starts at the first sun. Wake everyone up early to enjoy a favourite hot beverage and watch the sun rise. 2. Give an offering to honor 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 a bit more modern than this, you may chose to sacrifice wine, mead or something else favoured by Odin and gods of fertility and harvest, or something that's prized to the family (like your first plant of the year, or a sun-wheel you worked really hard to craft), or a food you worked hard to create. The offering is typically be spilled or placed on the ground or alter while verbally letting the god(s) know who it's for and why. After the offering is given, you may either leave it there or share it among 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 Wintersnight, Yule and Sígrblót! 4. Play some sun-inspired games In ancient times, different Norse villages had a variety of sun-inspired games, from twirling round objects around on sticks to whip them high into the sky, to racing others by rolling down hills in wheels (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 it was definitely used by both Heathens and Christians 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 :
- Craft a circle with a cross inside of it out of the straw of twig
- 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 every burning sun. Honor and enjoy it. Show the gods you're proud!
8. Enjoy a sumble (toasting drinks in honor of gods and ancestors) A sumble involves giving a toast to ancestors and gods you want to honor. Each person is honored through heartfelt words of appreciation followed by the toaster drinking an entire drink in their memory. 9. Share stories of your favourite victories Back in the medieval times, everyone had a battle or war to celebrate. Now few do, but we have personal battles we can be proud of overcoming. Focus on the bright-side and celebrate your victories - both big and small! 10. 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 these days, but we can set goals for victory in other ways. What's your goal going to be this summer? What are you hoping to achieve?
Ynglinga Saga, stanza 8
Heimskringla Saga, stanza 77
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