Full skal signa
ok við fári sjá
ok verpa lauki í lǫg; þá ek þat veit,
at þér verðr aldri meinblandinn mjǫðr.
The Full shall you sign,
and guard against peril,
and a leek cast in the liquor: then I know that you
will never have mead mixed with treachery.
As shall be demonstrated, the Veizla is broken up into three different parts: the Leikr, the Reið, and the Blót. The Reið, or Procession, is a very important aspect of this, with the Vagn or Wagon/Cart as its central device; therefore, this can also be called Reið. We have several accounts of these, which are important to our efforts in that we can develop an entire structure based upon what we have. The most striking account is that of the Nerthus procession found in Tacitus’ Germania ch. 40:
Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis ac valentissimis nationibus cincti non per obsequium, sed proeliis ac periclitando tuti sunt. Reudigni deinde et Aviones et Anglii et Varini et Eudoses et Suardones et Nuithones fluminibus aut silvis muniuntur. Nec quicquam notabile in singulis, nisi quod in commune Nerthum, id est Terram matrem, colunt eamque intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis arbitrantur. Est in insula Oceani castum nemus, dicatumque in eo vehiculum, veste contectum; attingere uni sacerdoti concessum. Is adesse penetrali deam intellegit vectamque bubus feminis multa cum veneratione prosequitur.
Laeti tunc dies, festa loca, quaecumque adventu hospitioque dignatur. Non bella ineunt, non arma sumunt; clausum omne ferrum; pax et quies tunc tantum nota, tunc tantum amata, donec idem sacerdos satiatam conversatione mortalium deam templo reddat. Mox vehiculum et vestes et, si credere velis, numen ipsum secreto lacu abluitur. Servi ministrant, quos statim idem lacus haurit. Arcanus hinc terror sanctaque ignorantia, quid sit illud, quod tantum perituri vident.
Further on lie a number of tribes, Reudigni and Aviones, Angles and Warings, Eudoses, Suardones, and Nuithones, all with their ramparts of forest or of river. There is nothing that calls for notice among these tribes individually, except the worship of Nerthus or Mother Earth, which is common to them all, the goddess, according to their belief, mingling in the affairs of men, and visiting her various peoples in her chariot. On an island out in the ocean there is an inviolate grove, where, covered by a robe, is a sacred car dedicated to her. One priest, and only one, may touch it. It is he who becomes aware when the goddess is present in her holy seat; he harnesses a yoke of heifers to the car, and follows in attendance with reverent mien. Then are the days of festival, and all places which she honours with her presence keep holiday. Men lay aside their arms and go not forth to war; all iron is locked away; then only are peace and quietness known, then only are they welcomed, until the priest restores her to her temple, when she has had enough of her converse with mortals. Then the car and the robes and (if we choose to believe them) the goddess herself are washed in a mystic pool. Slaves are the ministers of this office, and are forthwith drowned in the pool. Dark terror springs from this, and a sacred mystery enshrouds those rites which no man is permitted to look upon and live.
This description provides us with traditions surrounding the festivals and the Reið itself. There must be a declaration of peace, the cart must have a “holy seat” upon it (cp. Vǫluspá 6, 9, and 23 on the rǫkstóla or “judgement seats” of the Gods). Nerthus has been associated with Frigg, Óðinn’s Wife, and processions such as the Wild Hunt or Ásgarðsreið are certainly led by the Alfǫðr. We can also look at the description of Freyr in Ǫgmundar Þáttr Dytts, which provides us with more details and can actually be linked to the festival of Freyr, which we find in the Vetrnætr or Winter Nights. Just as with the Nerthus procession in consideration of Óðinn, the account describes his consort involved within the rite. In both the Flateyjarbók (Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta ch. 268) and Njals Saga ch. 87 there is mention of Þórr’s Car (kerru), and Þórr also has the name of Reiðatýr, or God of the Reið, which means both a chariot and a procession or ride. In Alvissmál 3 Þórr is call “Wagon-Guider” (Vagna Vers). In this sense, we have a procession in relation to the three “chief” (hǫfuð) Gods of the three festivals or Veizlur of the year.
En er þeir kuomu í hofit skorti þar æigi skurgoð. Þór sat í miðju hann var mest lignaðr. Hann var mikill ok allr buinn gulli ok silfre. Sa var umbanaðr Þórs at hann sat í kerru. Hon var mjǫg glæsilig. Firir henni voru beittir tré-hafrar í harðla vel gervir. Á hvelum lek hvǫrtveggja kerran ok hafrarnir. Hornnatǫg hafranna var slungit af silfri. Allt var þetta smiðat með undarlíga myklum haglæik.
As they entered there was no lack of Skurðgoðar; Þórr sat in the middle, for he was most worshipped; he was large and ornamented all over with gold and silver; he sat in a splendid chariot (Reið), to which were harnessed two very-well made wooden he-goats. Both the chariot and the he-goats rested on wheels, and the rope around their horns was of twisted silver. All was made with wonderful skill. –Olaf Trygvassons Saga Flateyjarbók, ch. 268.
Um nóttina fór Víga-Hrappur til goðahúss þeirra jarls og Guðbrands. Hann gekk inn í húsið. Hann sá Þorgerði hǫlgabrúði sitja og var hún svo mikil sem maður roskinn. Hún hafði mikinn gullhring á hendi og fald á hǫfði. Hann sviptir faldinum hennar og tekur af henni gullhringinn. Þá sér hann kerru Þórs og tekur af honum annan gullhring. Hann tók hinn þriðja af Irpu og dró þau ǫll út og tók af þeim allan búnaðinn.
That night Víga-Hrappur came to the God-house (temple) of Jarl Hákon and Guðbrandr, and he went inside the house, and there he saw Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr sitting, and she was as tall as a full-grown man. She had a great gold ring on her arm, and a wimple on her head; he strips her of her wimple, and takes the gold ring from off her. Then he sees Þórr’s car, and takes from him a second gold ring; a third he took from Irpa; and then dragged them all out, and spoiled them of all their gear. –Njals Saga ch. 88
We can look at the archaeological record in regards to the cart or wagon we could use, as this provides us with some remarkable examples. Most notably would be the cart discovered in the Oseberg ship burial, and indeed other accounts demonstrate carts made in the form of ships that could provide an example for us. Tacitus, in Germania ch. 9 there is the mention of “Isis” (likely a local Goddesses the author interpreted as such) having a ship as her emblem. A much later Christian account describes a ship-wagon created and driven through the village, much to the dismay of the local Christians, where people would dance “with riotous delight,” and the church tried to have the practice stopped, declaring it heathen, but the secular authorities would not allow that.1 Such a ship could easily represent those of the Gods in our lore, such as Freyr’s Skiðblaðnir or Baldr’s Hringhorni. Indeed, Gylfaginning ch. 43 tells us that the ship could act like a cult-ship, which would need to be stored properly:
Dvergar nǫkkurir, synir Ívalda, gerðu Skíðblaðni ok gáfu Frey skipit. Hann er svá mikill, at allir æsir megu skipa hann með vápnum ok herbúnaði, ok hefir hann byr, þegar er segl er dregit, hvert er fara skal, en þá er eigi skal fara með hann á sæ, þá er hann gerr af svá mǫrgum hlutum ok með svá mikilli list, at hann má vefja saman sem dúk ok hafa í pungi sínum.
Certain dwarves, sons of Ívaldi, made Skíðblaðnir and gave the ship to Freyr. It is so great that all the Æsir may man it, with their weapons and armaments, and it has a favoring wind as soon as the sail is hoisted, whithersoever it is bound; but when there is no occasion for going to sea in it, it is made of so many things and with so much cunning that then it may be folded together like a napkin and kept in one's pouch.
In any case, the sacred procession or Reið is indeed an important part of the Veizla, a representation of the transition from the frivolity of the Leikr to the solemnity of the Blót, and its commencement is a declaration of peace and coming together. It is interesting to note that the word reið can mean both “ride” or “procession” and “a vehicle,” “carriage,” or even “ship.” To reiða means “to carry,” which denotes the idea of carrying the Skurðgoðar across the land for blessings. Your wagon or cart can be simple or as elaborate as you can make it, set for your rites in a way that truly reflects the nature of the event.
-Excerpt from Æfinrúnar, book 1