It is the most sacred observance of our religion, mentioned in many sources as the premier means of communicating with the Gods. Implementing the establishment of sacred space, the use of the many holy tools, and the creation of the hallowed stalli of hǫrgr. The Blót is the principal standard of Sedian worship, which is why it is intergral for us to dissect its meaning, its purpose, and its usage. In making the connections that we have, we recognize that the performance of Blót must come with an understanding of its placement within the larger system of the religion, and that when the person leading the rite has this understanding, their performance is going to be that much more profound. This requires training and skill, it requires knowledge and wisdom, and should be placed into the hands of those who have dedicated their lives to its practice.
The first and foremost thing a person needs to know about Blót is that it is an offering. The very etymology of the word denotes this: FromProto-Germanicblōtą(offering, sacrifice). Cognate with Old English blōt and possibly the first part of Old High German bluozhūs (heathen temple), and was retained in the Norrœn Blóthús “Blót-house,” seen in several Sagas, including Ólafs Saga Helga ch. 118, Harðar Saga ch. 38, etc. Ultimately fromProto-Indo- European bhlād- (to offer, sacrifice). The original meaning of ‘sacrifice’ comes from the Latin sacer which means “sacred” and facere, meaning “to make.” So, to sacrifice means to make something sacred, which leads to the idea of blessing an offering, making it holy, and sending it to the Gods. In the Vedic practice we see the idea that providing sustenance to the deity gives them strength, and this strength bolsters them in their giving of the sacred blessings.1 The same idea can be found in our faith, although the blessings take on a more specific meaning.
The Blót Formula
In examining the sources, we find a common theme within all of the descriptions of Blót, which becomes a standard by which we develop our sacred rites. This standard begins with the very important passage in Hávamál that we looked at previously under the rite or Rista ok Skafa (see). This is, of course, verse 144, which lists what we believe to be elements of the ritual, and shows us the direction we take in developing our rite. From an understanding of the terms within the verse, we can dissect it into two half-strophes, and realize that the first half is talking about the risting and understanding of rúnar, and the second is of the formulation of the Blót. But the two do actually go together, because you need to rist the rúnar into the mead before you can even begin the rite, as we have seen previously. This provides us with four of our segments of the rite: Biðja (Prayer), Blóta (Offering), Senda (Sending), Sóa (Cleansing/Atonement).
We look to the nine Fimbulljóðar that Óðinn learned from his ordeal in the great tree,1 Yggdrasill, an understand that these nine songs relate to the nine songs of the sacrifice or Blót. It is Mímir who allows Óðinn to drink from the well to obtain these songs, and it should be noted that Mímir’s Vedic counterpart, Soma, is also connected to these nine songs, which we find in the ancient ceremonial liturgy. He is the one who made the songs manifest, and as Brahmanaspati, “the lord of hymn, the lord of prayers,” he is the one who created the holy songs that become a weapon with which the Gods use to chase away evil and drive off demons, much like we do with the Blótar and Jǫtnar.2
These nine holy songs then become the basis for our ceremonial worship, and as such should be recognized as the cornerstone of our religious practice. We will now examine the sources surrounding each section of the Blót, keeping in mind that in the second volume of this work we will be reconstructing the actual rite using the sources that connect to each section.
-Excerpts from Æfinrúnar: A Sedian Book of Rites and Prayers, book 1