Hailsa! For this post, as it is the time of year for weddings; I would like to share some of the basics as I have found them in concerns to creating an ‘authentic’ Asatru wedding ceremony!
Firstly, all Pagan rituals have a similar process of what I refer to as ‘sacred pantomime.’ These steps are universal, as people began to venerate holy powers since we first began to walk upright; and actually, many ‘Christian’ elements of ritual ceremony were taken from the natural way ALL peoples instinctually approach the divine.
With that said, taking what we know of Norse cosmology, and the guidelines of what we are meaning to accomplish(our intention) we then can create a ritual structure that allows us to step between the worlds at our constructed point of interface(our hörgr or hof) and speak directly with the spirits, gods and ancestors of the nine worlds!
Step #1: Delegate and ‘hallow’ your space: (you will need mugwort or sage and your drinking horn, as well as your calling horn if you have one. I also carry a Stav as I am a volva.)
Start by blowing your horn as this is the traditional call to a ‘Thing’ or Moot.)Then hallow the space, and this is done by smudging the area and designating (or tuning it in) the space for your intended use. In this case it will be a wedding, So you walk the boundaries of the location and state that you wish this to be hallowed ground for the process of the union of two people, and you request the spirits of place (Landvaettir/genius Loci) will bless and welcome your endeavors. I walk the parameters three times, and I weave the boundary as I walk saying: “sacred space I call myself, be I Witch, Wight or Elf; sacred space I summon thee, into existence I call ye be.” I then leave an offering of mead or ale in the middle when I am done, and repeat my intention “I hallow this ground as hörgr and hof for the union of _______ and _________. By my words and your leave, it is so!” I then thump my Staff.
Step#2: For a wedding ceremony you then have the two who are to be wed, step into the area and Go to each of the directions and present them to the couple; asking for blessings and luck of the union. I say something like “Austri, Vestri, Sudri, Nordri! Ancient powers of Wind, Sea, Hearth Fire and Land! You who forces shape and keep our human lives, take notice this day of this couple in Midgard! Smile upon them and lend them your energies for a successful life that they will weave together! Grant them fair winds of change, soft cleansing rains, warm homes and safe hearths, and bountiful, sustainable harvests! It is by your leave we all find our core of life!”
(Again, pour out an offering after invoking the dwarves of the 4 directions.)
Step #3: Now you will begin the ceremony; and it is here you call upon the ancestors of the couple, as well as the Norn’s and the Patron Gods of marriage and fertility (Freya and Freyr) as well as the chosen Gods honored by the couple themselves. It is here that you state your intention again (this time to the audience) of the purpose of this gathering,(a union of two people) and you proceed to call to each of the Divine energies you are inviting as witness and benevolence to the hugr, or hof. I might say (while standing in the posture of Algiz) “on behalf of __and ___ standing here before us, I call upon Sif, golden haired wife of Thor, Mistress of the hearth and home; swan maiden! I ask you join us here today to bear witness to the vows and Oaths, made by __ and ___! Lend them happiness and peace as they interweave their lives together!” (pour out an offering)
~You would continue this process and invoke each God, wight, ancestor and Norn this way.
Step #4: Here is where you greet all gathered, would do readings, and where the couple say their vows to each other. I call this the ‘body of the ritual’, and you can make this as modern or as old school as you wish; meaning you can have them hand~fast by tying their wrists together, or to exchanging rings. You might choose to have readings from the best man and maid of honor, or to having the gathered audience do Sumbels and take turns toasting the couple. Some people use a unity candle lighting, some choose to bless and plant two vines with the intention to grow in an intermingling way. This is where it is up to the preferences of each couple, and what sort of wedding format they wish to include comes into play!
Step #5: You then after the vows are over and after introducing the couple, go through and thank all the powers you invited as witness in the order you invited them, and ‘open’ the sacred space by saying “ Sacred space I held you bound; power and blessings were here around, Sacred space formed with a mighty hail, I bid you thanks, skål and farewell!” I then thump by Stav and declare the ritual is done.
I hope this helps, and feel free to add, subtract or do whatever feels right for you! When hallowing sometimes I use the Hammer as a means along with smudging, as Thor’s hammer was dropped into the laps of the bride for fertility, but again, there are no hard and fast rules!
May the Norn’s ever bless your Wyrd, and may the Gods take a joyful interest in your kinship!