My background is mainly Celtic Reconstructionist, but last year, I began following an Ásatrú path. At first I thought perhaps I would just celebrate the Celtic Feast days (Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine, and Lughnasadh) as purely Celtic, and have the Equinoxes and Solstices be Norse. As I’ve gone along, I have found it has been much more complicated than that. Combining two different (but related) traditions has been an intricate dance. I often find myself drawn to incorporating both into the same ritual. This ritual is a result of such combinations I’ve made.
Lughnasadh / Loaf Fest Blót
It is best that this ritual be held on a hilltop or near a stream or river. Bring bannock with berries baked in. Bring flowers to either bury (in which case, you’ll also need a small shovel) or float on the water. If you opt to have the ritual by water, the flower floating symbolism acquires a second meaning, especially if the flowers are sun-colored; as symbolic of the hot summer sun being quenched/subdued by water.
Saining: Sain with water and juniper. Ring bell (or silver branch) to signal beginning of ritual. (You may want to do a Three Realms blessing/meditation at this time.)
Introduction: “We gather now as our ancestors did, to worship the Old Ones and commemorate the turning seasons of the year at the time of Lughnasadh, and the feast of First Fruits and Grains.”
Fire Lighting: The family flame-keeper lights the Sacred Fire and says: “In the names of the Holy Ones, we kindle the fire of cleansing and creation, the first mystery and the final mercy. Let flame be quickened by flame, and may the holy flame of our Faith and Folk which ever burns, grow again to bathe Midgard in its sacred radiance.”
The Call: “Hail Sif, golden-haired beauty, goddess of the ripening grain. Hail Tailtiu, Great One of the Earth, you who gave your life to the clearing of land for crops. Givers of grain, shapers of sustenance, you who feed us, hear our call. Hail Thor, hammer wielder, Hail Lúgh of the lightning spear, storm lords who give nourishment to the crops through rain and lightning, hear our call. Hail Spirits of this place. Hail Ancestors of our people. You whose efforts have brought us life and livelihood, hear our call. Harvest fruits have all been gathered; Sif’s shining hair has been cropped; generous bounty of the gods and spirits, we give thanks to you and celebrate in your honor!”
Bread Blessing: Pass the bread over the fire, hold it up, and say: “Behold, it is the bread of life, harvested from the lap of Mother Nerthus. Spirits of the Harvest, Bounteous Earth, for the nourishment you have given, we are thankful. We honor the spirit of the grain. We honor the spirit of the sun and wind and rain which have gone into the grain, and the efforts of all who labored over the land. May the Spirits of Life live within us.” Break of a piece and toss into the fire, then break off a piece to eat. Pass around the circle for all to do the same.
The Hallowing & Blessing: the mead is passed over the fire. The participants and the altar are sprinkled with the hallowed drink. Leader says: “May the blessings of the gods, goddesses, and holy wights be upon us.”
The Sharing: the drink is shared and hails made. Additional prayers or readings may be said. When the last of the drink is poured into the blótbolli, say: “Holy Ones, accept our gifts! Hail the gods, goddesses, and holy wights!”
Farewell to Summer: “Summer lingers here but soon will fade. The shortening days will be felt by the Earth and Her children in crisp air and turning leaves. And so we bid our farewells to summer…” All toss flowers into the water and watch them float downstream and out of sight. (Or toss them into a pit in the ground.) If desired, for each flower folks may name an aspect of summer and say “Farewell _____.”
Reading: “Farewell to the Season of Beltane” from the Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews, or “Nothing Golden Stays” (original version) by Robert Frost (see the Lughnasadh ritual I wrote last year).
Offering & Closing: The mead in the blótbolli is poured onto the ground at the base of a tree or over stones, while saying: “From the Gods to the earth, to us. From us, to the earth, to the Gods. The cycle continues. The rite is ended”