Nemos Ognios Yule 2010 ritual

This was the first year that our newest member, who is pursuing the Anglo-Saxon traditions, attended our Yule celebration. Since most of our other rituals are Irish or proto-Indo-European, we welcomed the opportunity to observe a new form and adapt our typically ecumenical Yule ceremony to reflect what we know of Anglo-Saxon traditions, by incorporating a Norse Yule ritual by Ian Corrigan into Nemos Ognios' common ritual format.

When we performed this ritual, the Chthonic Celebrant carried out the task of petitioning the Gatekeeper, and also served as our diviner.

Everyone gathers inside the house. Near the door, the wassail bowl (crockpot) is set up with a ladle and glasses. The Priest goes outside and at his musical signal, the folk go outside to meet him. The ritual begins with a welcome:

The Priest says:

Welcome to all who come to keep the Old Ways. We are here to honor the Gods, to keep the Feast of Yule. May we all maintain a holy silence.

The Outsiders

An offering to the Outsiders is given by the Priest, with these words by the Champion:

Hear me all you wights unhallowed,
Ettins, trolls, and all the outsiders,
Ravers, enemies of Osgeard,
Here we give you proper honor.
Take this gift, here freely given,
Trouble not our holy working,
For our hall will be well-warded,
By the Redbeard's mighty hammer.


The Fire Tender asperses herself and the others, saying:

May we be pure that we might cross through the sacred,
May we cross through the sacred that we might attain the holy,
May we attain the holy that we might be blessed in all ways.


A goblet of mead is passed around, and all who will have speaking parts in the ritual take a sip. The remainder is poured out as an offering to Woden, with these words:

Woden the One-Eyed/ Rune-lord of Wisdom
Hear us as we hail you/ Honor our working.
Waken our word-skill/ Quicken our speaking
Scop-speech be in us/ By your blessing, Woden.

Earth Mother

An offering of grain to the Earth Mother is prepared and given by the Chthonic Celebrant, with these words:

Hallowed Woman of the Earth
We give this gift to you.
Freo Holda, riding forth this night.
Look kindly on our work,
Berchta, beldame of the wheel,
Spin us good wyrd tonight
O Mighty Mother of us all
Pray, fill our house with joy!


The Priest says:

Set forth upon the shining path, the ancestral way laid out before us
Place your feet with measured stride, in ancient rhythm.

The Priest turns and touches the door frame, saying:

God of the door, who watches and wards,
with words we praise, with stepping honor,
right foot first, over your threshold.

He enters and turns to face the others. He says:

Enter in this holy dwelling,
welcomed be within its walls;
cider sings a song of blessing:
guests are gifts the gods bestow.

As each person enters he gives them a cup of the cider. When everyone is inside, he closes the door and says:

From winter's cold this hall is safe
protected by the spirits of house and home.

All go and sit in the living room. The Fire Tender lights the hearth fire (Yule log), with these words:

In the world's very center we light our fire,
here where the sacred and the mundane meet
Here we light a living flame.

Statement of Purpose and Precedent

The Priest says:

Come we together on this holy day, across the distances that lay between us,
To this time, to this place, for one strong purpose:
To worship the Holy Ones in the proper manner.
To honor Sunne and call her back from her wanderings,
that she may again warm our Middle Earth.

Sacred Center

All sing the Hallows song. The Fire, Well, and Tree are offered to and/or censed at the appropriate moments in the song. After the song, the Priest says:

Listen to my words, and see the Cosmos about you.

He sings:

The waters support and surround us
The land extends about us
The sky stretches out above us
At the center burns a living flame.
May all the Kindreds bless us.
May our worship be true.
May our worship be true.
May our actions be just.
May our actions be just.
May our love be pure.
May our love be pure.
Blessings, honor, and worship to the Holy Ones.


The Fire Tender sets up the image of Janus to the east of the hearth and pours a libation of red wine, saying:

Jan-e Pater, with honor, with worship, with thanks.


An offering to Eostre is prepared and given by the Chthonic Celebrant, with these words:

Hail Eostre, light of dawn, Spring's morning.
She who opens the way for Sunne, she who blesses each day.
Bright maiden, come to us now,
Open the gates with rosy fingers
Show us the way to the Shining Ones,
Show us the way to Osgeard.

A candle to Eostre is lit.

Let the Gates be open!
Let the Gates be open!
Let the Gates be open!
Let the Gates be open!
Let the Gates be open!
Let the Gates be open!


The Priest then sets up the image of Xáryomen to the east of the hearth. He pours mead into the offering bowl. He sings:

Xáryomen Dhétipotei,
Xáryomen, Lord of the Law of the People.
Sumēnesṇs prihons dṓtor
Giver of well-disposed friends.
Suwéstēr zdhi.
Be our good Herdsman.
Wédhe nōs som
Bring us together.
Xṛ́neu nōs sḗm.
Make us one.
Tebhyo sṃgénse spendemes!
May we worship you as one people!
The Priest:
Unite us, Xáryomen, make us one,
May we come before the gods, speaking with one voice.

Land Wights

The Priest raises the pitcher filled with cider, saying:

To all those who dwell in this land we give honor.
Kindreds of the soil, of the waters, of the sky;
clans of tree and herb, of stone and stream and lake;
tribes of bird and beast and creeping things;
you we remember with honor.
In the season of sleeping earth we ask the spirits of the land to join us at our fire and feast, that all wights of good will may be blessed.

He pours some into the offering bowl, with these words:

Let all the earth and sea and sky receive with us the blessing of Yule!
Land wights, accept our sacrifice!

All repeat:

Land wights, accept our sacrifice!


The Chthonic Celebrant raises the pitcher filled with cider, saying:

Alfs we honor/ Great men and Fathers,
Who in their highday/ Heros were reckoned,
Likewise the idises/ Great and good women,
Mothers, grandmothers,/ peace-weavers, wise ones
Ancestors aid us/hear as we hail you
Pour we this draught now/ in honor and love

She pours some into the offering bowl, with these words:

Hail to the Alfs, all ringed round us, the fathers of the folk.
Hail to the Idises, all ringed round us, the mothers of our might.
Hail to our kin, in the hidden lands, Hail the ancestors on this holy Yule!
Ancestors, receive our sacrifice!

All repeat:

Ancestors, receive our sacrifice!


The Fire Tender lifts the pitcher filled with cider, saying:

May all the holy ones come to us as we worship them here.
May they come to us on the shining path as we call to them with proper words.
Holy ones, we worship you with sweet offering.

She pours some into the offering bowl, with these words:

Holy ones, we worship you with sweet offering.

All sing "Hail all the Gods."

Descent into Darkness

The Priest says:

Sunne sinks down / into the dark sea,
Wolf and wind howl / outside the walls
Now winter shakes out / her snowy bed
Now are life-fires / hid in yew-night
Woden's grey steed / leads ghosts on the wind
Trolls fare from cliff-halls / the ettins are risen
Well are we warded / who watch this long night
By Fire and Water / by Thunor's great strength.

As this proceeds, the lights in the hall are extinguished, until only Eostre's candle is lit.

Now Sunne stands / in her lowest stead
Lost is all light / sleeping all life
The frost-cold wights / hold icy rule
We hail now the might / That howls from the north
Woden, from yew-dales / at Yuletide haring
Shield-God, ward us / with thy strong bow
Giantess Skadi / on skis come gliding
Huntress, give us / your holy rede
Freo's might hold us / here in our hall
Ing Frea's might / hold us in frith
All of ye Gods / and Goddesses high
From darkness we hail you/ from dragon-deep root
Lead us through darkness / and all dire dooms.

At this point, all the folk who wish tell sun-themed stories or myths. With each story, one candle about the Yule log is lit.

Praise Offerings

The Priest says:

Have the folk brought praise?

Fire Tender:

They have.

All folk who wish may give praise offerings at this time, to whomever or whatever they wish to honor.

Piacular Sacrifice

After the last Praise Offering has been made, the Priest takes a piece of bread, holds it up, and says:

Gods and Goddesses,
Holy Ancestors,
Spirits of this Place,
If anything we have done here has offended you,
If anything we have done here has been incomplete,
If anything we have done here has not been done in the proper manner,
Accept this final offering in recompense.

He breaks the bread into pieces, and puts once piece on by the Yule log, one in the fireplace, one in front of the image of Janus, one in front of the image of Xáryomen, and one in the mundus. He breaks the rest up and puts it in the offering bowl.


The Fire Tender says:

Diviner, take the omens.

The Diviner takes the omens, saying:

Wisdom rising / From Well's deep roots
Runes of might / roar in our minds
Up from the bairn-stock's / eldest roots
Woden give answer / reveal the Gods' wills.

The Omen is taken and interpreted. The Fire Tender says:

We hear what the Kindreds have to say, and are made wise by it.

Light's Return

The Fire Tender lights all remaining candles, while someone turns all the lights in the hall back on, while the Priest lights the fire in the fireplace from Eostre's candle, and says:

By Oses and Alfs / and Idises mighty
By Thunor's strong striking / and Frige's hearth-fire
We seek the shining / of Yule-morning's magic
Sunne we call you / Come forth from the night
Bear to us blessing / of spring and then summer
Shine on our land / In our homes, in our hearts
Increase and bounty / Be ours and our kindred's
Rising light welcome / we hail your returning.

The Waters of Life

The Priest lifts a bowl of cider as the Fire Tender says

Now let the weal-might / of Woden and Frige
of Ing and of Freo / of Tiw and all Oses
of Alfs and Idises / And all goodly wights
Shine in this Blessing / We pray as your people
Hallow these Waters / O mighty and shining
Offering we've given / Pray gift us in turn
Behold the Waters of Life!

All: Behold the Waters of Life!

The Fire Tender says:

What the Kindreds have given us, we distribute freely.

She ladles some into a cup and gives it to the Priest, who puts it between the images of Janus and Xáryomen, while the Fire Tender says,

May the Kindreds always receive their due.

The Waters are distributed and drunk. After all have drunk, the Priest says:

Filled with the mystery of Fire and Water, we rest in the presence of the kindreds.

After a pause, the Fire Tender says:

With wondering souls we have welcomed this mystery,
with grateful hearts may we accept its manifestation in our midst.

The Final Blessing

The Priest says:

Now by the might of Woden and Frige,
by every blessing of all the Oses,
may the rising light of Sunne be in our hearts
even as it shines in all the world.
May our strength grow with it, from good to good,
from gain to gain, through the turning year.
All hail the Sun,
the reborn Sun!
All hail the reborn Sun!

All Hail the reborn Sun!


The Priest says:

We have offered to Sunne,
we have prayed to all the Great Ones,
and they have given us only a token of what they will bestow.
We have asked, we have given, we shall receive.
So be it!

The Fire Tender says:

Never would we take without returning,
Never receive without appreciation.
We must end our rites, but we will do it with gratitude.

The Fire Tender offers mead into the offering bowl, while the Priest says:

Blessed ones, may you always be with us.
We thank all the Kindreds for their many gifts.

All: We thank you.

The Fire Tender offers mead into the offering bowl, while the Priest says:

Beautiful gods, whose continued presence is our constant joy,
we thank you for your attendance at today's rituals.
Know this: we are always your friends.
May we always have reason to feel gratitude towards you.
We thank you!
We thank you!

The Fire Tender says:

Our elder family,
you who have celebrated with us in honor of the ones
whom you in your own time looked to in worship,
we bid you return to your proper place,
leaving the land of the leaving to those who live.
We send you on your way with our thanks.
We thank you!

We thank you!

The Priest makes an offering of mead into the offering bowl, saying:

Xáryomen, who guards society's peace,
you have joined us together in our worship today:
though the rites may end, and the people scatter,
may our fellowship remain strong.
Xáryomen, we thank you for your presence and blessings.
May we grow and flourish under your benevolent gaze.
Tebhyo gwrtins dedǝmes.

Tebhyo gwrtins dedǝmes.

The Chthonic Celebrant offers mead into the offering bowl, saying:

Bright Eostre,
Morning maiden,
We thank you for opening the gate of the mysteries,
and ask that you close it again,
until the next time we call to you.
We thank you!

We thank you!

The Petitioner makes a sign of closing and says:

Let the gates be closed!
Let the gates be closed!

Eostre's candle is extinguished.

The Chthonic Celebrant offers grain, saying:

Having given you your due
we bid you farewell, Mother Earth.
But how can we do that, with you all around us?
How can we do that with you always in our hearts?
Not a farewell, then, but a giving of thanks
and a promise to remember you throughout our days.
Mother of All, we thank you!
Mother of All, we thank you!

The Priest puts the Yule log, with candle, on top of the fire, while the Fire Tender says:

Lady of Fire, Queen of the hearth,
who by rights receives the last,
bless and guard all those who worship you
whether in their home or without,
whether alone or with others
whether thinking of you or engaged in business.
Shining One, receive this offering.
We thank you!
We thank you!

The Priest says:

The ritual fire is the fire in the home,
the hearth is holy, as all hearths are.
Where we have offered is now the home's center,
the fire that burns to warm the feast.


We have offered to the Holy Ones and they have accepted our sacrifices.
Fire Tender:
We have worshiped the Old Ones as it is right to do.
We have done what the people before us have done.

Fire Tender:
May we always be mindful of those we have worshiped.
May we always be mindful of them, worthy of worship.
May this grove grow strong, under their watchful eyes.

The Priest raises his hand in blessing and says:

On all who have worshiped here:
Inspiration, power, peace.
On all who revere the kindreds:
Inspiration, power, peace.
On all who walk the ancient path:
Inspiration, power, peace.

The Priest says:

With the gates closed
With the gods worshiped
We will walk in wisdom.

The folk adjourn to the feast.