Iðavelli Hof holds blóts roughly once every month - usually on the last Sunday of the month (check the Calendar for actual dates and times). Blóts are held at various sites around the Triangle. Below is:

Sites Where We Hold Blóts

Eno River State Park, Fews Ford picnic area Map

Eno River State Park has multiple locations in the Triangle area. Fews Ford is located in Orange County and is the main Park site in the county. To get to the Fews Ford picnic area of the Park, take I85 to exit 170, which is just west of Durham. After taking exit 170, follow Hwy 70 west to the first intersection with a stoplight (it is within sight of the I85 overpass). At the intersection, turn right onto Pleasant Green. Follow Pleasant Green north and look for the first true intersection with a road that runs entirely across Pleasant Green (you will pass several left-only and right-only turns). At the intersection with Cole Mill Rd, turn left; you should also see Park signs pointing the way to the park. Follow Cole Mill Rd to the end, which is the Park entrance. After the Park entrance, stay on the Park road (do not take any turns) until the road takes you to a parking lot. In this area, you will see a bathroom building off the parking lot and an entrance into the woods that leads to both trails and picnic areas. We'll be meeting in the picnic areas.

W.B. Umstead State Park, Reedy Creek entrance Map

W.B. Umstead State Park is between Durham and Raleigh and has two entrances, one off of Hwy 70, one off of I40. The Reedy Creek entrance, where we hold blóts, is off of I40. Take the Harrison Avenue exit and turn north; the road runs straight into the park. We'll be meeting among the picnic tables under the trees away to right from where the restroom building is.

Umstead Community Park in Chapel Hill Map

Important: This is not W.B. Umstead State Park.

Umstead Community Park is a city park in Chapel Hill, near Highway 86 (a.k.a., Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd). From parts west of Chapel Hill, take I40 to exit 266. Follow Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd south. A little after the intersection with Estes, turn right onto Umstead Drive. The park is a little way down Umstead Drive. From parts East of Chapel Hill, take I40 to the exit for 15-501S. Follow 15-501 south into Chapel Hill. Take the exit for Franklin Street and follow Franklin to the main intersection downtown with Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd to the right. Turn right onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and follow it up to Umstead Drive on the left. Turn onto Umstead and take it to the park. We'll be meeting near the parking lot.

R.L. Rigsbee Shelter in Duke Forest Directions

R.L. Rigsbee Shelter is located in Duke Forest off of Highway 751. When you arrive, you may park on the road side or drive up to the shelter (the gate will be open). If you park on the road, it is only a 5 minute walk to the shelter. Please click the link above for directions. (FYI: alcohol is permitted at this site)

This link is to a pdf of Duke Forest's directions to the site: http://www.dukeforest.duke.edu/recreation/gate_f_shelter_info_sheet.pdf Once you get to Gate F, the entrance to the Rigsbee Shelter area, you may park on the road or drive into the site to park near the shelter. To help you get to Gate F, here are some addition directions:

If you're coming from the northern part of Durham or further North, take I85 South towards Hillsborough. Take the exit for Highway 70, which will put you on 70W. Go to the first lighted intersection and make a U-turn so that you get onto 70E. Then follow 70 to a lighted intersection where NC751 goes off to the right. Turn onto 751, and then Gate F (Rigsbee Shelter) will be the first Duke Forest entrance on the right.

If you're coming from West of Hillsborough, take I85 North towards Hillsborough. Take the exit for Highway 70, then follow 70E to a lighted intersection where NC751 goes off to the right. Turn onto 751, and then Gate F (Rigsbee Shelter) will be the first Duke Forest entrance on the right.

If you're coming from East or South of Hillsborough (eg: Raleigh or Chapel Hill), take 15-501 North into Durham; if necessary, take I40 to the 15-501 exit first. Once on 15-501 North in Durham, take the exit for NC751, and turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow 751 through a roundabout, past Constitution Drive on the right, and past Kerley Rd on the left. After passing Kerley Rd, Gate F will be the third Duke Forest entrance on the left.

Past Blóts

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

To Whom Blóts Could Be Dedicated

Below are suggestions, per month, for which gods and/or wights one could offer a blót, along with mention of traditional customs. These are suggestions only; if you are leading a blót, feel free to dedicate it to any of the Aesir or Vanir, and/or the landwights or ancestors.

January

During January, Plough Monday was celebrated in England as the start of the agricultural year. At about this time of year (Jan/Feb), ground would be broken for planting. In Sweden, a blót to the disir was held, in which the female ancestor-guardians of the folk were honored.

Freyr, Thor, and Sif could be called on at this time of year, for help with breaking ground to plant seeds. Preparing to plant seeds for crops, herbs, or flowers is a good idea now. Or, one might blót to the disir, or to Thor, for protection during the coldest part of winter.

February

In modern times, Valentine's Day is the main cultural holiday in the West. Freyja and Freyr could be honored at this time, as deities of love, fertility, and sex.

March

Easter was originally a Germanic pagan holiday, known as Eostre in England and by similar names on the Continent (but not celebrated in Scandinavia, where similar customs to Easter were done at May Day). Our modern Easter bunny and Easter eggs originate with the earlier Germanic holiday. Eostre was the celebration of the first signs of spring: new flowers, the first eggs of the year, a break in the cold of winter. The Easter egg was particularly important, being the first fresh meat available since Winternights and/or Yule. The first edibale herbs and roots also appeared at this time, and they, along with eggs, often made the difference between having something or nothing to eat.

Painting Easter eggs, eating eggs, playing Easter egg games (such as 'dueling' with Easter eggs, in which the broken egg blesses the person 'hit'), gathering spring flowers - all are good ways of welcoming spring. Blótting to Ostara would be most appropriate.

April

April now features April Fool's Day and Earth Day. Loki is an obvious choice for a blót on April Fool's! And Jorð, as the earth, and Ran, as the sea, could be blót-ed to in honor of Earth Day.

May

May Day, or Walpurgisnacht, is a spring festival related to Eostre. In Scandinavia, the first signs of spring would have appeared by May Day, so celebrating the arrival of spring would be appropriate. But in England and Germany, May Day was a time for celebrating spring in all its glory: the green plants, the flowers, the warm weather. Traditionally a time for flirtation and courting, this is a good time for erecting and dancing around a May pole. Playing outdoor games is also good, with the warmer weather. Freyja and Freyr are obvious choices for a blót in May. Frigga could also be called on, to bless a marraige or in honor of Mother's Day. Or, if one chooses to mark Memorial Day, one could blót to the einherjar, Odin, and/or Tyr.

June

MidSummer and Father's Day come in June. MidSummer has a long-standing tradition in northern Europe, and has been celebrated with bonfires and general carousing since at least the Middle Ages. It was also a good time for gathering herbs. Any of the gods could be called on for MidSummer. One might wish to call on particular deities for help in accomplishing a difficult or risky task, as this was the time in pagan Scandinavia for asking for victory in battle or success in trading. Tyr, Odin, Freyr, and Thor are all good choices for a blót in honor of Father's Day.

July

There were no special holidays in July in the pagan period in Germany, Scandinavia, or England. Everyone was generally too busy for a festival. The Icelandic Thing, however, could be held either in late June or early July, so gathering together and blót-ing to the gods in general would be good.

August

August was the beginning of harvest. Any of the gods associated with harvest or agriculture might be called on now: Freyr, Sif, Odin, Thor, Idunna. The emphasis in August is on the work of the harvest, rather than its fruits, however.

September

In September, the first bread and the first ale would be made from the first harvest of grain. Baking bread and brewing beer, and offering them in blót would be good during this month. Any of the harvest gods could be blót-ed to, as well.

October

During October, the last of the crop harvests were being completed. Again, the gods associated with harvest are good choices for a blót. Odin, in particular, is a good choice, due to his association with the Last Sheaf, in which the last sheaf of grain from the fields was collected, made into a dolly, and left in the fields as an offering to Odin, to ensure a good harvest next year.

Winternights and Halloween also come in mid- to end- October. Winter is blowing in, and it is time to slaughter any livestock that will not survive the winter. Feasting is perhaps the best way to mark the coming of winter, along with our modern Halloween customs which echo the terror of the Wild Hunt being abroad. Odin, as leader of the Hunt, again is a good choice for a blót.

November

For those who would like to mark Veteran's Day, Odin, Thor, Tyr, Skaði, Freyja, and/or any of the other battle gods are good choices for a blót. Thanksgiving often feels closer to the arrival of winter here in the southern US, so one might chose to celebrate Winternights at this time, or else honor the disir and the alfar.

December

Yule is the longest, and most celebrated, of the Germanic pagan holidays. Nearly all of our modern Christmas traditions (except the Christian mass) have their roots in Yule traditions, or have been nearly unchanged over the centuries: bringing in evergreen branches, lighting candles, singing songs, feasting, spending time with (or enduring the company of) family and friends, giving gifts, burning the Yule log, and so forth. Any, or all, of the gods could be honored at this time. Freyr has a particular association with Yule, due the Yule boar. This is also an ideal time for sumbl - it was traditional to swear oaths on the Yule boar. December, though not Yule, was also a time for alfablót in different parts of Scandinavia.

Hof Items

The Hof has several items (such as the blot bowl, god icons, etc) which may be used by Hof members for Hof events. Here is a complete list of these items and where they are kept. Contact the redespeaker if you would like to use one (or more) of them.

Nerthus Blót

Teaching (held away from blót site)

What we know about Nerthus; key points in the action of the rite, including call-and-response elements; emphasize that we will be giving a bread-child soul and name, then giving him to Nerthus.

Ask for 1 volunteer to help with fetch-and-carry during the blót.

Gather
‘Weapons are forbidden on this land. In that regard, it is already fitting for our blót today, for all tools of bloodshed are forbidden in Nerthus’ presence. If you brought any weapons with you, even pocket knives, leave them here. When you are ready, join us at [the blót site].’

"Hear me, Aesir" Song (borrowed from http://www.odins-gift.com/poth/G-K/hearmeaesir.htm)
Hear me, Vaettir
Hear me, Thurses
Hear me, Alfar and Dwarves.
Hear me, Aesir
Hear me, Vanir
Hear me, Disirs´ daughters and sons of Muspel.

Here on this place we mark our frithstead,
Here on this place we honor the Gods,
Here on this place we hold our blót.’

Blót: Opening
‘Hail the Aesir! Hail the Vanir! Hail the Elves and Holy Wights!
We ask that you hallow and hold this holy grove,
While we worship one among you.
Mead, we give to our gods; tobacco, to the wights of this land;
In the time-told traditions of this place and our people.’

Blót: Tribute and Blessing
‘Holy Mother Nerthus, kin-sister of Njörðr,
Lady of the tide-bound land,
Mistress of your people’s prosperity,
We give this bee-bound gold
In tribute to your glory.
May we be worthy of your regard.’

Open honey jar, pour honey onto earth; pour water into honey jar, shake, then pour into blót bowl. Pick up blót bowl, hand to one helper. Take blót-twig, go round with helper holding bowl, and bless the folk:

‘Hale and hallowed be you before Her.’

Set blót-bowl and -twig down.

Blót: SacrificeKneeling, arms held out:
‘Great Mother! Life-giver, life-taker,
We ask a boon of you:
Grant us the gift of your maegen,
Bless your people with a place,
Holy and sacred, set apart in peace
Where we may worship in the ways
of our gods and our ancestors.
Much work the Hóf yet has:
Words to be wrought, deeds to be done.
With your aid, Nerthus, we shall aid ourselves
And those around us.
Much, do we ask. Much, we shall give.’

Pick up breadman. One helper picks up palm oil and brush.

‘I bear before you a child of my blood.
Breath, he had not; wode, he had not;
Neither hue nor fair form.
Wood, I sought. Words, I wrought.
Flesh and bone, I made. Blood and wode, I gave.
Breath, he yet lacks, and hue.’

Breathe on bread-child: ‘Breath, I give you.’
Mark with palm oil: ‘Hue, I give you.’
Place hand on head: ‘May you receive the same from our gathered folk.’

Take bread-child around with helper holding palm oil and brush. Allow the folk to bless him.
Bring bread-child back to blót-bowl, hand bread-child to other helper. First helper sets down palm oil and picks up blót-bowl and -twig.
First helper sets blót-bowl and -twig down. Other helper still holds bread-child.

‘Breath, he has; wode, he has; hue he has.
Nought but a name remains.
With this hand-spun cord…’

Fasten gift-cord around bread-child,

‘…I give you life and name.
I name you Gifford
Long may you be remembered among our folk;
Long may your name echo in our halls.’

Turn to gathered folk:

‘What say you, folk of the Hóf?
Is the child fair of form?
Is he worthy of her Holiness?’

Allow folk to answer.

‘Shall he be remembered as one of us?
Shall he be praised at sumbl?’

Allow folk to answer. Bless bread-child: ‘Hale and hallowed be you before Her.’ (Three times.)

‘I bear before you Gifford,
child of the land, man of our folk.
He belongs to Nerthus.
Who among you will give him to Her?’

Allow someone to volunteer. Ask for 2 volunteers to help with pressing stones upon Gifford. Bring bread-child to stream. Dispatch Gifford. Bury him with stream-stones.
Return to blot site. Kneel and offer up words in honor of Nerthus. Allow moments of silence after, with head bowed.

Blót: Closing
Take up blót bowl. Offer the bowl, saying:
‘From the gods to the earth to us, from us to the earth to the gods. Gifts for gifts, words for words, deeds for deeds. May the bonds between us hold forever true. Hail!

Iðavelli Hof's Founding Blót

Opening
Hail to the Aesir! Hail to the Vanir!
Hail to the Elves and Holy Wights!
Hail to the landwights, the spirits of this place,
Hail to the Unitarian Universalists!
Hail and Welcome to you have come...
Hail to those of the hammer and the horn...
Hail to the Dead, Hail the Ancestors,
Hail the Heroes, young and old...

With word and deed,
By stock and stone,
'Neath Well and Tree,
together and alone,
We stand with Will,
We meet in Might,
to the gods give our fill,
and draw deep our delight!

Hail the Aesir! Hail the Vanir!
Hail Idhavelli Hof!

Closing
With word and deed,
By stock and stone,
'Neath Well and Tree,
together and alone,
We stand with Will,
We meet in Might,
Guided by the gods,
Asked by the ancestors,
Founded by the folk...

Hallowed and Hale
be this Hof and its Members!
Holy and Helpful
be this Hof for its Guests!
Hail the Aesir! Hail the Vanir!
Hail the Elves and Holy Wights!
Hail this Hour! Hail Idhavelli Hof!