AFA: Blog

Words from the Alsherjargothi

Category Archives: Ritual

Why dress nice for a blot in honor of our Gods?

I get asked a lot of questions in my role as a Gothi of the Asatru Folk Assembly, but some questions come up more often than others. Probably one of the most common questions is “Why do some AFA members put on suits and nice dresses when participating in a Blot?”
There are actually several different reasons for this…..
First, and most obvious, is out of respect for our Gods and our holy rituals. Traditionally our Folk came before kings, queens, earls, etc. in all of their best clothing, looking their very best. When they would host guests, or go to the Thing again their finest clothes would come out…………Do our Gods deserve any less? Our Gods should be revered for the powerful, holy beings that They are, and one way of showing that respect, that reverence, is to look your best when presenting yourself before Them and when going to honour Them.
Another, less understood reason, is to put an individual into the proper mindset. A person entering into one of our holy rituals to honour our Gods should be doing so with a clear mind focused on the task at hand, not cluttered with the mundane everyday thoughts that often invade our thinking. By putting on your “ritual” clothes, something separate and apart from your everyday clothing, it helps to reinforce the idea that now you are stepping away from the everyday, profane world and entering into a timeless, sacred, otherwordly place and frame of mind.
No one is going to tell you that you can’t participate in a ritual because you have on a t-shirt and pair of jeans, we aren’t that kind of church, but this brief article should help answer the “Why are they all dressed up” question.

Blaine Qualls Jr.
Gothar Coordinator,
Asatru Folk Assembly

How the AFA preforms Blot

So it seems with all the recent influx of new applicants to the Asatru Folk Assembly that maybe it is time to outline the basics of an AFA Blot, or ritual, so that those new to our spiritual path may be able to honour the Gods in their own backyards, local parks, even living rooms and not have to wait until they are able to attend an official Asatru Folk Assembly function.
The Blot(rhymes with boat) is an integral part of modern Asatru, it is our primary ritual. In the blot we offer praise to the Gods, we offer our might and main to Them, and we symbolize these things with mead which we give to them once we have infused it with our gifts. Below is how a typical AFA blot will go, the steps by which it is performed whether at a local Folkbuilder event in your area or at a large national event attended by many. This regularity insures continuity for our membership so that no matter where they may go they will be familiar with what is happening.

STEP 1: Find a place to perform your ritual that is either private or, at the very least, where you won’t be interupted. Typically allow an hour or so for ritual, this includes arriving, getting set up, and roughly a half hour for the ritual proper.

STEP 2: The assembled Folk enter the ritual area in a circular, clockwise fashion (clockwise is the direction of the Sun and moon, the direction of natural order).

STEP 3: Typically now is when the women of the assembled Folk bless the mead. This is a uniquely AFA tradition in which we ask them women to pour their innate power into the mead before we share it with the Gods.
3B: Once they are finished the Gothi/Gythia goes to each of the 4 cardinal directions and hallows the ritual area by performing a Hammer sign.

STEP 4: Now is the time to invoke and/or hail the God or Goddesses you are honouring. Speak about their attributes, mention their nicknames, ask them to be there while you offer them sacrifice.

STEP 5: Now is time to “collect” the sacrifice, and then offer it up to the God. Within the AFA we have a structure for this, its called “Heart to hand to Horn”. This means each assembled participant visualizes all the love, well wishes, power, etc they wish to give, “see” it flood into their heart, then as the Gothi comes around the circle each person visualizes that power going from their heart into their hand which they then touch the horn with and pour that power into the mead. In this way the mead becomes a powerful vessel of energy we are sending directly to the God.
Once all have touched the horn the Gothi offers the horn up to the deity visualizing them drinking of our offering, becoming invigorated by our might and main, by our love and well wishes. He then returns back to the stalli(altar) and continues with…..

STEP 6: Asking of the Blessing. Now the Gothi asks the God to pour their power and energy into the mead so that it may inspire and energize the assembled Folk. Typically within Asatru a gift looks for a gift, gift giving is a well attested reciprocal affair.
Visualize the God pouring their power into the mead, “see” them infuse the mead with their energy.

STEP 7: Once They have infused the mead then the blessings must be shared with the Folk. Typically this is done in two ways, first, sprinkling the Folk with the mead using the branch of an evergreen (symbolic of Yggdrasil). Secondly the Gothi goes around and allows everyone to drink from the horn and take the blessings into their being.

STEP 8: Thank the God for being there, for sharing their blessings, etc. Wish them well on their travels……… all around, heart felt, thank you and goodbye. Also now is when the remainder of the mead is offered to the Gods by pouring it into the fire if you have one, or the ground if there is no fire.

STEP 9: The Gothi now goes to the 4 cardinal directions and opens the area back to the mundane world. The assembled may now leave in a clockwise fashion.

Obviously this is a very, very basic level format, each Gothi, each Gythia, will add their own personal touches here and there. The wording from place to place and region to region may change somewhat, but overall that is the structure Asatru Folk Assembly Gothar use to perform a blot whether in private or in public. I sincerely hope this helps our Folk in their living the path of Asatru. I fully encourage everyone who is able to perform rituals to the Gods on the holy days, and at other times of significance. Asatru is a path to be lived, lived out in the open and enjoyed by our people…. blotar are one way our Folk can begin reconnecting to their Gods, can begin living Asatru. Hail the Gods! Hail the Folk! Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!

Blaine Qualls
Gothar Coordinator, AFA