Tools of Asatru
As we become proficient in the arts of Blot and Sumbel, we find that as in all paths of Paganism, there are specific ‘tools of the trade’ each practitioner uses when entering in sacred ritual.
Although tools are not a necessary factor in veneration of the Gods, wights, and ancestors, they do add touchstones that aid in the process of switching gears from stepping out of the mundane world into the arena of the sacred.
Humans since day one have stood out from other mammals in the fact we use tools to make our tasks at hand more successful; and with our art of worship we are no different! Moreover with each activity we set out to perform, a specific item or tool delegated to assist us in our work is a natural way we humans acquire adeptness in whatever it is we which to accomplish; and this is true even with the act of ceremony and veneration of our faith!
This post is to get us familiar with the small list of ritual items used by most followers of Asatru. None of these things are mandatoryto perform Blots and Sumbels; however they set the stage for your spirit by signaling deep within your soul (when touched, viewed or held) that you are leaving the world of Midgard for a time, and standing in a space that is the sacred interface with the Gods and wights of the nine worlds, -as well as those realms that the Ancestors and Landvaettir inhabit, usually unseen in everyday consciousness.
Finally, the tools we use and the reasons we use them are given to us by the lore. That connection to the way our ancestors practiced rekindles a connection to them and provides the Gods, alfar, disir, and vaettir a familiar symbolic gesture. We let them know we are reclaiming the old ways and respect them.
Though some ways of Asatru practice have been altered to support the 21stCentury we live in, (for example, we no longer sacrifice animal or humans -instead we use offering’s of mead/alcohol and valuable items) we are trying to recreate what we can from the lore and surviving customs.
Here is the basic list as supplied by https://kaerhrafnr.wordpress.com
Alu : Ale(a beverage similar to beer). Alu is a primitive Old Norse word. It occurs in magical Runic inscriptions. It has to do with alcoholic beverages as mythical conveyers of inspiration, poetic and otherwise
Bolli or Hlautbolli : Blot bowlfor holding consecrated liquid used in sprinkling. In the lore the blood of the sacrifice would be caught in the Hlautbolli. It acted as a vessel to carry the energy of the sacrifice to the Nine realms or where it was directed.
Drekk(j)a(r) Horn: drinking horn. used to hold liquid for consecrating with a God’s or Goddess’ might and essence during a blot. Some is poured into the bolli for a libation and for sprinkling. The rest is drunk by blot participants. Drinking horns are clean hollow cattle or sheep horns with some sort of lining and stand.
Gandr/Stav : (magic or ritual) staff.
Recel:incense(Anglo-Saxon). Derived from a word meaning “to smoke.”
Recels: pot; censer or incense-burner. Used to clear sacred space. Many times the Gothi or Gythia stops and censes each person, and that person often “bathes” him/herself in the ritually cleansing smoke.
Stalli : an (indoor) altar for Heathen worship.
Moot Horn: a cow’s horn made into a blowing horn by carving the pointy end and putting a hole in it. A Moot is a word for a Heathen Gathering. So is an Althing (with more legal overtones), and the horn is blown to call everyone to the moot.
Harrow: an (outdoor) altarfor Heathen worship.
Hof : a Heathen temple.
Oath Ring: A large arm ring, often silver or Bronze, to swear religious oaths on.
Teinn: twig or branch used to sprinkle consecrated liquid on altar and blot participants. Traditionally we put it back under the tree or shrub it came from when we are done, along with a bit of the consecrated liquid as a small gesture to the plant for its sacrifice.
Hamarr,: Hammer, hallow this sacred space/temple and hinder (the entry of) all evil things. This is the most modern adaptation of Asatru ritual tools, but its use is gotten from Lore in the idea of at Norse weddings, Thor’s hammer was placed in the brides lap.
Again, don’t feel that you musthave all or any of these tools to start your regular practice of meeting with the Gods; -worst case scenario grab a paper cup, fill it with water, and Hail all the spirits of our Norse universe that walk along side of us every day! The main point is that we remember to include them in our daily lives; to whisper thanks for our experiences, and to give a heartfelt ‘Hail and well met!” to the forces that shape our spiritual lives. The ritual items are for ouruse to remind us that we have an incredible experience being humans in Midgard, and we have the wonderous ability to procure and use items as magical tools of our own design!