So, you’ve got your altar, you know what it is you’re coming to the table for, and you’ve got an idea for the lore (well, okay, you’re set for it, because unless you really hauled ass, you’ve probably not gotten all of that stuff in three days).
What do you do with it?
Well, you start walking. Proverbially, anyways. You want to reach out to the Gods and Ancestors, you want to start building a connection. You want to give them a gift, so that you can be given the gift of a relationship with them, and maybe even go from there and enjoy what comes with a relationship with the divine.
The most important thing to remember about a ritual or prayer session is the ideas of Offerings and Sacrifices. Our prayers are offerings to the Gods and Goddesses, our faith is as well. But that isn’t enough. There needs to be more to go along with Words, there must be Deeds. Now we don’t live in a time where we can offer a fatted calf that often. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make sacrifices. Candles, incense, trinkets, jewelry, weapons, etc. Some Gods like things that you make with your own hand, some are pleased by things you buy that you value, a few are just happy with expensive stuff, but the first two types tend to have the most faith in them, and thus are more valuable.
So here it is, your first ritual. You’ll end up changing it as you go along, building your own with things that mean stuff to you, to your ancestors, to the Gods, and maybe leaving stuff out that doesn’t speak to you.
Step 1: Set up your altar, unless it already has a permanent space. Focus your faith and when you are centered, let it fill your intentions and words through the following.
Step 2: Light the candle and/or any incenses that you have. Say the following: “I give this light/smoke as an offering unto my Gods and Ancestors. Hail the Aesir, Hail the Vanir, Hail the Ancestors.
Step 3: If you are close or wish to become close to a particular Deity/Dieties say the following: “Hail to _____, God/Goddess of _____, Who dwells in _____. I give praise and honor unto you.” If you have an offering specifically for them, offer it and say: “I give this ____ to you, _____, as an offering of kinship and faith.”
Step 4: Sit in quiet meditation. This can be for just a few moments, where you clear your mind and open yourself up to the divine, letting your faith flow out through you. It can be for a long time as well. It’s whatever you feel comfortable with and what you have time for. You may, after a while, find yourself open enough that the Gods and Goddesses, or even your ancestors will begin to appear and speak with you. But this is not the goal. The goal is to touch your faith, offer it, free of expectation of reward. For that is what faith is, beyond the trust in the Divine, it is the trust without seeking anything in return. Gift for Gift shall follow, but do not give a gift so that you may get a gift, for that is greed such that shall not be rewarded.
Step 5: When you’re done, blow out the candle, offering the smoke to the Gods and Ancestors. Thank them for their time, and anything good in your life that has been going on. The Gods work subtly, so that small thing you write off might be the reward they are giving you. Better to err on the side of caution. Even if it isn’t true, it’s a good practice for exercising your faith.
And that’s your first ritual. 🙂