So, this week for the Pagan Blog Project we’re on the letter H, and I figured I’d talk about the Hammer Rite. I’ve actually been wanting to write about it since Steven T. Abel did his post on it over on Patheos, but since I was part of the Pagan Blog Project by then, I figured I’d just wait till we got to H.
The Hammer Rite is one of those things that isn’t really “Cannon” when it comes to Heathenism. It’s not really based on much of the historical record. In fact, a lot of people figure we Heathen picked it up from the Wiccan’s Calling the Corners thing. Even if that’s true though, I figure it’s still pretty cool to have. In magic, and faith, it’s the intent that matters when you “Cast” it.
Here’s the Hammer Rite, as I know it:
Hammer in the North! Hallow and Hold this Holy Stead!
Hammer in the East! Hallow and Hold this Holy Stead!
Hammer in the South! Hallow and Hold this Holy Stead!
Hammer in the West! Hallow and Hold this Holy Stead!
As it stands, I haven’t personally used the Hammer Rite, at least not outside of a few occasions in a story here and there. That said, I’m sure I’ll get around it. Probably wouldn’t hurt to hold the rite and use it to protect my home a bit more than my current wards, though so far those have done their job admirably. Since I haven’t been too a larger ritual, of any nature though, I haven’t gotten to see anyone else use it either.
I’ve heard there’s variations where it is added in the elements of Fire and Ice, which are really the basic elements of Norse practice. I think some invoke the dwarfs of the cardinal directions. The main idea behind the Hammer Rite though is that Thor, God of Thunder, is the one who defends and hallows things. A bride is blessed with Thor’s Hammer before her wedding (as Thor is also a fertility god, it is partially used to bless her with many children, as well as to defend her from ill).
From what few images I could find, I think most hold the hammer with the head down, though I figure one could probably get away with holding it either way. I suppose if you really want to get to it, holding the head down and the shaft upright invokes the masculine aspect as powerful that goes with Thor’s Hammer. So maybe you should do it that way, since a “limp” hammer might not be a happy hammer.
And that’s all I got to say about that.