What Are Your Rituals Like?

The first great ritual of Ásatrú is known as blót (blessing). Historically heathen rituals were bloody affairs. Oftentimes an animal was sacrificed to the Gods or to a specific God in order to win favor for a good crop or perhaps victory in battle. At times other times, food was used as an offering; this would have been an offering of crops or even ale or mead. It is said that there were also human sacrifices; most prominently offered to Odin and that such offerings may have occurred at the temple at Uppsala in Sweden. Today, typically an offering of mead or food is made.

The second great ritual of Asatru is sumbel, a Germanic term for “feast” or “banquet.” It is called sumbl in Old Norse and symbel in Old English. Some have called it “ritualized drinking,” but it is in fact much more than that. Performed properly, Sumbel is a powerful and magical ritual filled with transformative impact.

When we sit down to sumbel, we reenact a spiritual ritual that our ancestors performed. Our words, spoken over the horn, reanimate those self-same ancestors and Gods. The past and the present merge in the swirling depths of the mead horn as it is passed and all are transformed by the combined might and main. When we participate in sumbel, we celebrate with our friends in the hall, but also with our ancestors and our Gods whose deeds have been recorded deep in Urd’s well.