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Thread: Reviving Old Rituals Vs. Developing New Ones

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    Senior Member Feyn's Avatar
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    Reviving Old Rituals Vs. Developing New Ones

    Hello fellow believers,


    when i see neopagans I often see that they try to revive old rituals they have found in all kinds of old texts. They try to follow it to the letter, only when parts are unknown they develop something new. Sorry for being so blunt, but i think thats nonsense. Often they dont know why they are doing certain things , but they do them anyway, because our ancestors did them. I think that doesnt make sense.
    Rituals are symbolic and have meaning, if you just mimic the rituals without understanding why it is done this way and what the runes, the movements, the dances mean your tiuals itself is meaningless. Much more important then the act itself is what is behing this act. The reasons you do certain things the way you do them. Sadly much of that is lost. So i believe the way to go is develop new rituals, and fill them with feelings and meaning. I believe if you are serious about that the gods will guide you and show you through your heart how to do it properly and much more importantr why to it that way.
    Let me explain this by a made up example. Lets say someone buys a horse to do an old blood ritual where the horse is sacrificed. Even if he follows it to the letter, it wont be the same thing. If our ancestors sacrifriced a horse it was a horse they knew and raised. Many feelings and memories connect them to the horse. It is something very valuiable to them, from the monetary value as well as from the emotional value. So it is something completely differen then what the man sacrifices that has bought the horse. In the old ritual they where giving up one of their most worthfull posessions, so it had a lot of meaning. But how much meaning is in buying a horse you can afford without trouble ? You allthough both did the exact same ritual, it was something completely different.
    Our times have changed a lot, we have changed a lot. But the old values and morals still mean the same, are as worthfull now as they where then. So we need to find new rituals to fill them with the same virtues, morals and values.
    Now i dont say we should just give up all the old tradition and rituals, no, of course not, just those we dont understand any longer and that have become empty and meaningless because of that.

    Now how could something like that look like ? I will give you an example. A friend of mine has survifed a very heavy accident unscathed. So he decided to thank the gods for that, by sacrificing something that was very dear to him. You see a year before he has bought a beautifull young mare and was riding here every day (he lives on a horse farm, with rider hollydays etc. )
    But he didnt kill it, instead he did something even more difficult for him. He promised that nobody would ever ride that horse again, but he would give it the best care he can give. Now when he is riding out the horse follows him without saddle or anything, to give it enough exercise, and he gives it the best care he can. It allways gets his food first, its allways the first horse to be groomed etc.
    The promise itself he did in a be3aultifull ritual he developped himself. I think that this is much more in the tradition of our ancestors, the copying and old horse sacrifice for which you bought a horse, for this stays much more true to what the ritual smybolized, giving up something that is very dear to you to honour your gods.

    What do you say about this ? Would you say i am right, or do you think this is complete bullshit ? I would appreciate your opinion, good or bad doesnt matter, as long as you have really thought about it and speak from your heart.

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    Senior Member Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Kind of reminds me of people who get their magical panties in a bind fretting over the correct pronunciation of the Enochian Keys. It's not the words themselves, but the state of mind, that is important for successful ritual work. A highly charged emotional state of mind is what's needed, not phonetically exact liturgies, although if maintaining an exactly attention to detail heightens then ritual, all the better.

    As for the gentleman and his "sacrificial" horse, If giving his horse to the gods in the metaphorical manner he did puts his mind at ease then I'd say more power to him.
    Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omnia nihil - HPL

    "Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about." - Willy Wonka

    “niemand bleibt hier” - Maria Orsic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schopenhauer
    A highly charged emotional state of mind is what's needed
    That sums it up perfectly, methinks. Rituals are just ways to this state of mind, it's not really important how the ritual looks like as long as it resonates with your inner world, speaks to you personally and gives you the frame of concentration you need and makes you feel good with doing what you do.
    Ein Leben ist nichts, deine Sprosse sind alles
    Aller Sturm nimmt nichts, weil dein Wurzelgriff zu stark ist
    und endet meine Frist, weiss ich dass du noch da bist
    Gefürchtet von der Zeit, mein Baum, mein Stamm in Ewigkeit

    my signature

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    Senior Member Feyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schopenhauer View Post
    Kind of reminds me of people who get their magical panties in a bind fretting over the correct pronunciation of the Enochian Keys. It's not the words themselves, but the state of mind, that is important for successful ritual work. A highly charged emotional state of mind is what's needed, not phonetically exact liturgies, although if maintaining an exactly attention to detail heightens then ritual, all the better.

    As for the gentleman and his "sacrificial" horse, If giving his horse to the gods in the metaphorical manner he did puts his mind at ease then I'd say more power to him.


    Not only that, it was also a hard sacrifice to him. You see he loved that horse, he bought it very young and was the first ever to ride it. If you have ever helped break in a horse or did it yourself you know how much work you have to put into that till the horse trusts you. How often you lie in the mud since horses have their own head ^^So he sacrificed also all the time and sweat he had invested into making that horse a riding horse as well, since now it will never be ridden again. Plus horses can get quite old and he swore that he will have that horse till it dies.
    But its also good for him. It keeps the memory of what happened to him fresh, an important reminder how much the gods held their hand over him and how lucky he can call himself because of that. Its pretty humbling, since it reminds him every day that being healthy and able to work shoudlnt be taken for granted but is something to be thankfull for, even if there are days you simply dont feel like working. I think that makes it a wise decision to do it that way.

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    Eala Freia Fresena
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    A good ritual has several ingredients:

    1) the intention

    It should be clear to you (and also to the Gods) what you want to do. In a ritual I made up I always say why I do things and the purpose of it. It can be helpful to keep the intention in a ritual, esp if you do a divination or a healing ritual.

    2.) the state of mind

    A ritual should not be done casually. the preparation is important, as that primes your mind. The ritual should bring you into another state of mind, which is elevated above your normal state.

    3.) The call of the Gods

    address them and ask them to attend. (would be good if you have some sort of offering for them, be grateful when they attend). The attendance of Gods will increase your state

    4.) The act of the ritual

    Should have some symbolical or mythical meaning which is somewhat connected to the intention.

    5.) Give thanks

    Thank the Gods for their help or attendance.



    Often one can use certain elements in a ritual: fire (transformation, light, warmth etc), water (purefication, life-force), smoke (cleansing, raising your prayer up to heaven/Asgard), flowers (beautifies and honors the Gods, offering), inscents (keeps the place sacred), florida water (to clean of bad energy), fruit (as an offering), alcohol (as an offering).


    For a ritual I usually open the 6 direction (south, West, North, East, below and above). That makes the place sacred and protected (like churchground). In that place the ritual can be done safely without interference of evil spirits (who are attracted to rituals too). After the ritual I close the directions and thank them.

    The rituals are free to do but why not use the templates of the ancestors with some adjustments.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

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    Senior Member Edgard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feyn View Post
    Hello fellow believers,


    when i see neopagans I often see that they try to revife old rituals they have found in all kinds of old texts. They try to follow it to the letter, only when parts are unknown they develop something new. Sorry for being so blunt, but i think thats nonsense. Often they dont know why they are doing certain things , but they do them anyway, because our ancestors did them. I think that doesnt make sense.
    Rituals are symbolic and have meaning, if you just mimic the rituals without understanding why it is done this way and what the runes, the movements, the dances mean your tiuals itself is meaningless. Much more important then the act itself is what is behing this act. The reasons you do certain things the way you do them. Sadly much of that is lost. So i believe the way to go is develop new rituals, and fill them with feelings and meaning. I believe if you are serious about that the gods will guide you and show you through your heart how to do it properly and much more importantr why to it that way.
    Let me explain this by a made up example. Lets say someone buys a horse to do an old blood ritual where the horse is sacrificed. Even if he follows it to the letter, it wont be the same thing. If our ancestors sacrifriced a horse it was a horse they knew and raised. Many feelings and memories connect them to the horse. It is something very valuiable to them, from the monetary value as well as from the emotional value. So it is something completely differen then what the man sacrifices that has bought the horse. In the old ritual they where giving up one of their most worthfull posessions, so it had a lot of meaning. But how much meaning is in buying a horse you can afford without trouble ? You allthough both did the exact same ritual, it was something completely different.
    Our times have changed a lot, we have changed a lot. But the old values and morals still mean the same, are as worthfull now as they where then. So we need to find new rituals to fill them with the same virtues, morals and values.
    Now i dont say we should just give up all the old tradition and rituals, no, of course not, just those we dont understand any longer and that have become empty and meaningless because of that.

    Now how could something like that look like ? I will give you an example. A friend of mine has survifed a very heavy accident unscathed. So he decided to thank the gods for that, by sacrificing something that was very dear to him. You see a year before he has bought a beautifull young mare and was riding here every day (he lives on a horse farm, with rider hollydays etc. )
    But he didnt kill it, instead he did something even more difficult for him. He promised that nobody would ever ride that horse again, but he would give it the best care he can give. Now when he is riding out the horse follows him without saddle or anything, to give it enough exercise, and he gives it the best care he can. It allways gets his food first, its allways the first horse to be groomed etc.
    The promise itself he did in a be3aultifull ritual he developped himself. I think that this is much more in the tradition of our ancestors, the copying and old horse sacrifice for which you bought a horse, for this stays much more true to what the ritual smybolized, giving up something that is very dear to you to honour your gods.

    What do you say about this ? Would you say i am right, or do you think this is complete bullshit ? I would appreciate your opinion, good or bad doesnt matter, as long as you have really thought about it and speak from your heart.
    I agree but doing a ritual may also help you uncover its intention.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feyn View Post
    Not only that, it was also a hard sacrifice to him. You see he loved that horse, he bought it very young and was the first ever to ride it. If you have ever helped break in a horse or did it yourself you know how much work you have to put into that till the horse trusts you. How often you lie in the mud since horses have their own head ^^So he sacrificed also all the time and sweat he had invested into making that horse a riding horse as well, since now it will never be ridden again. Plus horses can get quite old and he swore that he will have that horse till it dies.
    But its also good for him. It keeps the memory of what happened to him fresh, an important reminder how much the gods held their hand over him and how lucky he can call himself because of that. Its pretty humbling, since it reminds him every day that being healthy and able to work shoudlnt be taken for granted but is something to be thankfull for, even if there are days you simply dont feel like working. I think that makes it a wise decision to do it that way.
    It's because of the man's connection to the horse that its "sacrifice" has meaning.
    Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omnia nihil - HPL

    "Oh, you should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about." - Willy Wonka

    “niemand bleibt hier” - Maria Orsic

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    Senior Member Feyn's Avatar
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    I am very glad that so manxy people agree with me on this. I feared i would meet a lot of opposition against developping new rituals.
    I think its best i describe the ritula shortly :
    First we made 2 wooden statues after a picture we had from a book to symbolioze the gods ODIN and THOR, since those where the gods the ritual was intended for. We marked one with the runes for ODIN, the other with the runes for THOR then we called for them for a while in a sing song. Then we started a big fire and explained in a loud clear voice why we have come together and what we are planning to do. We then got the horse and let it stand between the 2 of us, so each of us stood before one statue.
    He then explained also loud and clear why he has brought the horse here, that he wants to offer it, and how and why (at that moment we both had chills down our spines, it was a very sacred moment, if you know what i mean, its the best word i can find to discribe it. He then repeated his promisse 3 times, and he had also written it down. The written version was no burned together with several herbs, idont remeber exactly which herbs, but each had a meanikng behind it, and he had collected them himself.
    We then started to heat an iron in the fire, to give the horse a new brand mark in runes. While we waited for the iron to get hot we cared for the horse a but, since my friend became pretty emotional. He decided to sit on it one last time and say goodbye to his back so to speak.
    then we secured the horse between 2 trees, and i held his head, while he gave it the branding repeating his promisse again. He did it very< quick with a real hot iron, soi it was allready over before the horse realized what happened and reacted accordingly ^^
    Then we sat down, ate something and played music for severall hours till the next morning. All kinds of stuff, but all having to do with religion or with the old sagas , only songs that fit for such an occasion. The horse could walk around freely, but most of the time stood there with us and listened to the music, only sometimes goinf for a short stroll, only to retrun pretty quick. It was as if she realized that she took part in a ritual here, and that it would be rude to wander of. The next morning we thanked the gods for taking part in our ritual, and as a last part we extinguished the fire.
    We decided to leave the statgues there for other rituals. I think after this ritual went so well its now full of positive energy and a good place to have other rituals. Its also a beautifull place, so ideal to do stuff like that. We would love to hold a sumbel there in the next few weeks.
    Sumbel is the german word for it, i dont know the english. In a nutshell ts a ritual drinking round with a sumbelgiver and a big bowl of mead. You fill a horn from the bowl,. and then let it circle around till its empty, just to refill it again till the bowl is empty. We then have certain traditions löike in the first round everybody whoi gets the horn says something to honour the gods (that can be a poem, or a song), the next round is for the ancestors, the next round is for those that cant be there tonight with us and so on and so on till the 1^0th round form then on its free if you want to do something. Usually we simp,y start to play our instruments then and sing. Its a beautiffull tradition i learbned a sa child (though then i of course wasnt part of the drinking, i merely sat on my moms lap ^^)

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    Reminds me of Hrafnkell and Freyfaxi..

    Quote Originally Posted by Hrafnkels Saga
    We learn of the Norwegian man Hallfreðr who becomes one of the original settlers of Iceland, arriving on the east coast around the year 900 with his teenage son Hrafnkell, a promising young man. Hrafnkell has ambition and soon – with the permission of his father – establishes his own settlement. He selects an uninhabited valley for his farm and names it Aðalból (Noble home). The valley subsequently receives the name Hrafnkelsdalr (Hrafnkell's valley).

    Hrafnkell also has a large temple erected and performs lavish sacrificial ceremonies. He dedicates the best of his livestock to his patron deity Freyr, including his favourite horse, Freyfaxi. He swears that he will kill anyone who rides Freyfaxi without permission. From his religious activities Hrafnkell comes to be known as Freysgoði (Freyr's goði).

    Hrafnkell longs for power and soon establishes himself as a chieftain by bullying people in neighbouring valleys. He has a penchant for duels and never pays weregild for anyone he kills.

    Now the saga introduces Einarr, a shepherd of Hrafnkell's. On one occasion Einarr needs to ride to perform his duties, but every horse he approaches runs away from him except Freyfaxi. He then takes Freyfaxi and rides him for the day. But after the horse has been ridden it runs home to Aðalból and starts neighing. On seeing his horse dirty and wet with sweat, Hrafnkell realises what has happened. He rides out with his axe and reluctantly kills Einarr to fulfil his oath....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hrafnkels_saga
    Later,
    -Lyfing

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    Senior Member Bearkinder's Avatar
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    It would seem to me that if the old rituals are all but eradicated (and they have been), much of their meaning lost (and it has been), but that they were given my the gods (if you don't believe in the gods, then do whatever you want, it doesn't matter), then those same gods will provide the rituals that those who seek them are to perform. It makes sense that the rituals will be apropos for today as the old rituals were in their day.

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