In Folkish Wodenism we use the Wheel of the Year Rites which form an eightfold system where eight rituals are held, each at a certain time of the year -
Vali's Day - February 14th. This is, of course, 'St. Valentine's Day'.
Summer Evennight/Summer Finding - March 21st.
England's Day - April 23rd.
Midsummer - June 21st.
Black Sun Rite - August 17th.
Winter Evennight - September 21st.
Ancestral Rite - November 11th.
Midwinter - December 21st. This is also known as The Mothers' Night.
These rites are set down as a form of 'wheel' that turns each year from one to the next. They are written down on paper and read out aloud by an individual or a group-working. We have developed other rites too over the years, and also developed night-time use of gealdor and chanting since it is hard to read a piece of paper or Book of Rites at night. There is something else that I started to develop last year at our localised Midwinter Rite, and that was the use of 'Bread and Mead' as a form of 'offering' to the Gods.
The idea of 'Bread & Wine' being used as an offering predates Christianity since it seems to have come through the worship of Mithras, and also used in Zoroastrianism. There is a similar theme that can be found in the much earlier Vedas where we find an offering of ghrta which is usually translated as 'clarified butter'. Of course, some form of symbolism has to underly these ideas since an outer working has to be symbolic of an inner working. The key lies in the symbolism and not the physical object.
I have shown in the last post, and an earlier post, how the use of the term 'cows' in the Vedas is a symbolic term for the Light which has been stolen and held from mankind. The word go can mean 'cow' or 'light', just as I have shown that the rune Feoh can mean both 'cattle' and 'light/flame'. And the word ghrta can also refer to a 'rich or warm brightness'. These terms refer to the Divine Light of the Solar World (Swar/Scandi).
The 'clarified butter' is clearly the product of the 'cows' since butter comes from milk and milk from cows; it is thus the 'light' produced from the 'light'. So where would the 'bread' come in when looking at the symbolism? I have shown in the ideas on Scef-Ing that the Golden Corn represents the 'Light of the Sun', and bread is made from ground corn. We have thus, again, the very same symbolism of the 'light' from the 'light'.
We have always used an offering of Mead and the passing of the Mead around the Folk-Circle. Now I will go on to look at this type of offering too. In the Vedas there is mention of the Soma which has been the subject of long debate as to which plant this is 'pressed' from, sometimes that of the Red-Capped Mushroom and sometimes another plant. Such debate as to the physical 'Soma' clouds the inner meaning of this. This Soma is sometimes called the 'Soma-Wine' or 'Honeyed Soma-Wine' which seems to be a translation of the Soma-Madhu. We can see here that what is referred to is Mead - the 'honey' drink. So when the Gods have to find the Soma this is the same as Woden gaining the Mead of Inspiration, collected in the Three Cauldrons. It was at a later time that wine replaced the Sacred Mead.
But again this is the physical form that symbolises an inner form, and this clearly links to the idea of the 'Golden Nectar' which is released when the Fire-Serpent rises to the Head Centre. This is mentioned in Chinese Tantric Texts, as well as a short reference in the Eddas. It seems also to feature in Yogic practice as something that can be tasted in the throat. Once again, this is a chemical reaction in the body which occurs through the mental processes concerned in spiritual exercises.
With the ideas on this ghrta and soma in mind we can now look at how a type of ritual can be developed from them. We have to add two more elements in order to create the whole -
- Kindling of the Need-Fire; here the Need-Fire or Friction-Fire is used to create the 'spark' (Divine Spark) that births Ingwe (Agni) or 'creates' Agni if you like. This Divine Fire also represents the Higher Consciousness and the 'Hidden Light' or 'Hidden Sun' held captive within the subconscious mind. These mysteries are held in the Nyd-Rune.
- The offering of Bread & Mead; here they are 'offered' in physical form but represent a much deeper spiritual meaning. This would also have been true when animals were slain and eaten as a 'sacrifice'; they would represent something deeper than the physical. The 'sacrifice', as I have stated, is the self-sacrifice of the individual who is dedicated to a higher cause and a spiritual struggle. These mysteries are held in the Gyfu-Rune.
- The chanting of the Sacred Word - The Gealdor. The connection with the Os-Rune ('mouth') is rather obvious.
By the use of the 'hymn' (gealdor) and the offering the gods are increased; they are said to be born, created or manifested in Man. But this is a two-way process whence the gods are also increased by these actions of Man. This is similar to the ideas of Carl Jung on the 'dried riverbed' which are filled again through man honouring the gods again as he once did.
We can gleam a little more of these ideas through the root-meaning of the name 'God'; the original root-word was likely *gudan which is the subject of debate as to stemming from -
*gheu - 'to invoke', or
*gheu - 'to pour' (i.e. an 'offering' that is 'poured').
There is also another IE Root *gheu meaning 'to yawn' or 'to gape' suggesting, of course Ginnungagap.
Rather than arguing which of these is right perhaps we are best suited in seeing them as all being right since the root-sounds were no doubt similar. The meanings back up what has been said since they refer to sound ('to invoke') and offering ('to pour'). The idea of a 'Yawning Gap' also suggests to me 'The Vast' or 'The Infinite' which is the Solar World of Swar/Scandi - the World of Immortality. Whilst we are looking at this it would be wise to look again at the idea of the 'offering' known as ghrta or ghrtam in the Vedas. The word itself contains the term rta/rtam which is the Rita meaning the 'Truth', the 'Right', the 'True in Movement' as opposed to the Satya/Satyam which is the 'True in Being'.
'The secret well of honey (Mead-Madhu) is drunk by all those who are able to see Swar...'
There are three stages, according to Aurobindo, which are part of this process -
1. Make visible Swar.
2. Drink of the Well of Mead.
3. The outpouring of the Divine Waters (Seven Rivers).
It is important to note that Scef-Ing is linked to these spiritual concepts since he is a similar archetype to Agni in so many ways. Agni is said to have been 'born in The Waters' which refers to this higher world, Swar/Scandi, but he is also 'concealed in the Utter Light' (Super-conscious) and also 'in the Utter Darkness' (Subconscious). Strangely enough Agni is said to be the prototype of the Puranic Skandi and the 'child of the force of Rudra'. Rudra-Shiva is alike to Woden as the One-Eyed Hunter-God. Woden-Rudra leads the upward evolution of the conscious being and is the most 'terrible of the gods'.
The Greek word 'angel' means 'messenger' and Ingwe is the 'Messengers of the Gods'; the Flame of Ingwe is the power of The Will, and his is a pole of Light sent upwards from Earth to the Heavens. Thunor (Indra) is the pole of Light which descends from the Heavens to the Earth. Ingwe is thus invoked by the Fire-Ritual because he is the 'messenger' who will mediate between Man and the Gods.
It is important to do the rites from the Wheel of the Year in order to re-connect to the yearly cycle through the eight points of the year. Some sections of Odinism have twelve rites which merely adds four more so that one is done per month. There are other important dates such as Walpurgis Night-May Day which is on April 30th - May 1st. There is also the 'Blessing of the Plough' or 'Charming of the Plough' which is held in January; January 31st is also a time to honour the Disir. We have not developed the 'Charming of the Plough' simply because this is a specific rite which would be used in farming and the land. Of course, it could be changed to suit any form of growing, or even the use of the Old English Acerblot could be developed. But not everyone is involved in farming or growing of crops so this is a specific rite useful to these people alone.
The idea of using a simple form of ritual that involves the kindling of a 'Sacred Fire', the offering of 'Bread and Mead' and the chanting of the 'Gealdor' would not replace our Sacred Rites but would add something simple for even the individual to do. The idea would be to 'awaken' or 'increase' the gods within us, to manifest them here within the physical forms. Of course, the best means to do so would be to make one's own mead, or buy a good one not a cheap supermarket brand, and to make one's own bread, not a 'sliced loaf' from the supermarket. This would seem obvious. The role of developing such rites is down to Woden's Folk and the esoteric side of the WF-R because they are 'Inner Rites' not suited to everyone.
I mentioned certain runes that seem to link to this rite, and will enlarge on this theme through a future post on the Ar-Kan Rune-Lag blog which is more suited to the runic work. What I have said in this post and the previous post on Scef-Ing contains a good deal of ideas linked to the runes.