Today, I celebrated Freyfaxi with my first major ritual with the Norse pantheon. In this blog, I will explain shortly what the holiday means (to me), and my interesting ritual experiences. I am sorry if this blog gets semi-unorganized but I tend to get swept up in ecstatic ritual experiences. Also, I apologize if I get swept up in any personal anecdotes.
Freyfaxi is a celebration of the first harvest of crops. It is the day where we pay tribute to the Vanir (Freyr especially) as the Gods of earthen fertility and agriculture. To many Heathens (myself included), it is also a day to honor Thor (as bringer of the rains) and his wife Sif (who has associations with wheat/grain, as portrayed through her hair). According to Our Troth, Freyfaxi also marked the transition from war time to survival time (because people were more focused on surviving through the winter than disputes), so Odin is worth honoring as well. Normal traditions include dedicating the first sheaf of grain to the Gods, as well as performing a blot to the landvaettir and Gods.
To me, being a suburbanite, the harvest is slightly detached from my thoughts during the normal flow of life, so I take Freyfaxi as a way of thinking about how agriculture and farmers provide for life as we know it. Given that my ancestors were involved in agriculture, I pour out an offering to my Alfar and Disir.
Another way I honor the concept of harvest is to reflect on my year, and see how my actions have culminated. This year was certainly a large year of labor and change for me, on all levels. Breaking down my Hellenic concepts (which were enforced by years of practice) was certainly a labor, but I am glad to see that I am continually learning and loving what I discover about Norse Paganism. I also labored (when it truly counted :P) to graduate from high school- something I am so proud of. I cannot stress how important it is to reflect and see where your past actions have gotten you- doing so allows you to realize behaviors which need to be changed, and also which decisions were pivotal in deciding your destiny.
My ritual was adopted from the one presented in Our Troth, though I had to tweak it for solitary practice (and that I don't like to strictly script my rituals). It was pouring rain here all day, and it severely put a stopper in my plans for starting ritual. My ritual space is down the street at a sediment pond that has woods all around it, and with the Flash Flood and Severe Thunderstorm warnings, I didn't want to be that far from my house. However, I held out faith that I would get a chance, eventually giving in and taking advantage of what I thought would be the lightest rain that I would get today. I trekked down to my ritual space, and started to set up my altar on a stone by the pond. Suddenly, a raven landed in the tree above my head and crowed extremely loudly. For some reason, I knew it was the sign to start.
As I began my ritual, performing the Hammer Rite to ward my space, the sun started to come out. By the time I had finished the Hammer Rite, there was absolutely no rain left. It was so abrupt and "coincidental" it made me giggle. I read a poetic composition provided by the Troth's ritual outline, and felt such an amazing presence inside of my space. Caught in the moment, I decided to seriously deviate my Wiccan ritual structure- instead of invoking the Goddess and God, I decided to invoke the Aesir and Vanir separately. While this does not seem major for a reconstructionist, it is a major movement for someone with a decade of Wicca in them. I can't truly explain how it felt after I invoked them- the hair on the back of my neck stood and I got a shiver on my spine when I felt that presence. It was something I had truly been missing for quite some time. I did three rounds of offerings (Freyr, Thor+Sif, Odin) with each one having its own energy involved. I decided to meditate for awhile in my ritual. Initially, I was just going to reflect on my year's harvest, but this time I decided to name each God and thank them for something as well- each time I did it, I got some impression that it was truly heard and appreciated (something that had been missing before also).
After I came out of my normal meditation, I took 10 minutes just to observe nature and saw some interesting symbolism in a few things that happened. Firstly, a spider of a rather large size crawled up to me with sort of an aggressive air about himself. I interpreted that as needing to face my fears, and be unafraid to confront those who get aggressive with me (the Noble Virtues of Courage). Another thing- a dying moth was fighting to get out of the grass shortly off of my meditation area. I picked it up, and literally watched helplessly as it died. Initially, I wondered why I was meant to see it, but finally I realized the moth was echoing the Virtue of Perseverance. Many other things happened, some of which I am unable to put into words, others which I can only describe as feeling intense energies in varying degrees.
It was certainly a ritual experience to remember for me. I cannot wait for further ritual interaction with the Gods of the Northern Tradition- they are certainly a robust group! I hope this blog was entertaining and interesting for you! Happy Freyfaxi, and the next blog I am posting ought to be about my Full Moon ritual to Nerthus.
Until next time,