Wayfaring Woman: A Ritual in Honor of Odin and the Valkyries

an illustration of a man hanging from the branchges of a tree
Odin sacrificing himself upon Yggdrasil as depicted by Lorenz Frølich, 1895 / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

We are in a period of intense and tense struggle. There are many battles behind us and many more in front of us. These trying times have brought Odin more and more to forefront of my awareness. I hear him whispering of action and courage.

Odin is a complex, nuanced, and dynamic deity. When he tries to squeeze some segment of his enormity into my wee brain, he takes the form of fury, might, passion, and inspiration at all levels of being. Whether he consorts with poets or warriors, witches or kings, the living or the dead, he is consciousness and animating spirit, always seeking, always becoming, always empowering, and always encouraging the same in those he chooses. I came to know Odin first as God of the Runes in December 2008. In that aspect he comprehends the many mysteries of the universe as revealed through the runes, which are but one gateway to that knowing. For those who are willing to pursue the runes, to strive after their knowing, Odin may bless their ordeal and grant them victory as he chooses. I remember when I first read the tale of his trial, hanging among Yggdrasil’s branches. I was deeply moved, taken up by the inspired madness that must have fueled his decision to hang for the wisdom, power, and knowing that the runes bring.

an illustration of a fantastic tree with the city of Asgard located in its branches
“The Ash Yggdrasil” (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Among other things, Odin is also God of Victory. The victory he grants is traditionally viewed as victory in battle. Bloodied swords, carrion-clawed ravens, and Valkyries winging souls to Valhalla, are common elements of Odin’s lore and worship. It took sometime but I eventually came to realize that Odin can grant victory on more than the literal battlefield of war. He values that arena for sure but his influence stretches beyond military war zones. Odin can and does grant victory in social and political arenas as well. He also empowers wrestling matches with one’s inner demons. Remember, Odin sacrificed self to self on the Tree and won all the worlds’ wisdom. That’s a powerful statement about which battles are likely to lead to lasting victories and impart the kind of wisdom that can change the world.

As I prepare myself for the next round of social, political, and personal battles, I also prepare to honor Odin as master of victory in all its forms and the Shining Shieldmaidens, the Valkyries, covering me in the long fight. I have included the text of my Sigrblot or Victory Sacrifice here. It is presented for use with a group but can be easily modified for individual use. It is a ritual of sacrifice to and communion with the gods, as well as empowerment for the challenges ahead.

Sigrblot: In Summer, for Victory

Gathering Call

Sound the horn, signaling the folk to gather.

Hallowing & Warding

a rune comprised of two paralel vertical lines one begining at the midpoint of the other, and with a connecting line between the bottom of the left leading diagonally to the top of the right-hand line
Long-branch Sol rune / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Bless and protect the space by walking the perimeter with a tealight candle set inside a lantern.

With firelight, I hallow this hall. I make this place a hail-home for the God of Victory and his Shieldmaidens.

Facing each direction, intone Sowilo and speak the accompanying words

Sowilo, stand as radiant guard and searing ward against any bane that might rise in the North [Repeat in the East, South, and West].

Rede

State the reason for the gathering.

Together we stand in the fullness of summer. We have overcome the dark of winter, passed through the bright gates of spring, and now we celebrate the glorious summer sun. Sowilo is the rune of the sun, and in its radiant light we see Odin and the Valkyries as the Holy Powers of Victory. They hold strength and courage, power and might in their hands.

The lore is filled with tales of Odin’s chosen overcoming insurmountable odds. And the Valkyries often enter those tales as agents of Odin’s will, bringing grace and favor from the Lord of Asgard, the Victory Bringer. Odin and the Valkyries intervene on behalf of heroes, augmenting their courage, guarding their glorious destinies, and shifting the tide of battle in their favor.

Today we honor Odin and the Valkyries for their many blessings, and we rally for victory over the forces in our lives that dare to stand between us and success.

Calling & Offering

Invoke Odin and his Shieldmaidens.

armored women riding horses in the sky before clouds
The Ride of the Valkyrs (1909) by John Charles Dollman / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Odin, Mighty God, Lord of Asgard,
Splendid Ruler, High One,
We honor you this day and we invite you to our hall.

Odin, victory is yours in all its forms, and so we call to you as:
Sigföðr
Father of Victory, hail!
Sigðir
Giver of Victory, hail!
Sigrúnnr
Tree of Victory, hail!
Sigmundr
Protector of Victory, hail!
Sigtryggr
Sure of Victory, hail!
Sigtýr
God of Victory, hail!

To the Shining Valkyries we also call!
Shieldmaidens of Odin,
You grant victory as he wishes.
Fair-armed bringers of courage,
Bright-eyed goddesses of glory,
You are the fair faces of his favor,
Holding Doom at bay.
Victory-Maidens, hail!

Valkyries, hail and welcome!
Odin, hail and welcome!

The Runic character gebô, meaning "gift"
The Runic character gebô, meaning “gift” / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Bless the gifts to be given to Odin and his Shieldmaidens with these or similar words:

To Odin and the Valkyries we gladly give for they have gladly given to us. With the power of Gebo, the gift-rune, we bless our offerings.

Take a moment to sign and intone Gebo over the offerings. Then present each offering accompanied by prayerful words from the heart.

Blessing

Invite Odin and the Valkyries to imbue a horn of mead with their might. Invite those present to partake and offer toasts as they feel moved.  Pour the mead into the drinking horn. Ask them to lend blessing to the folk by projecting their might into the mead.

Giver of Victory, imbue this mead with your glorious might and your shining blessing.

Cast and intone Sowilo over the horn as a symbol of the blessing. Pour a bit of the blessed liquid into the blot bowl (with a little water to prevent staining the cloth), then set the horn down. Holding the bowl, say a brief prayer to Odin and the Valkyries.

Shining Valkyries, wing the Victory-Bringer’s favor to this holy place that we may know victory.

Use the blessed liquid in the bowl to anoint the altar, then carry the bowl to participants and allow them to anoint themselves, saying these or similar words:

May strength and courage, power and might be yours to wield. For victory.

Return the bowl to the altar. Take up the horn full of blessed mead again. Pass the blessed mead horn from person to person. Invite each to partake. It is customary to offer a toast before consuming the drink.

a woman, bare brested, raises her hands to the sky facing the sunrise
After being put to sleep by Odin and being awoken by the hero Sigurd, the valkyrie Sigrífa says a prayer; illustration (1911) by Arthur Rackham / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Pour the remainder of the mead onto the Earth with the following prayer or similar words:

Hail, day! | Hail, sons of day!z
And night and her daughter now!
Look on us here | with loving eyes,
That waiting we victory win.
Hail to the gods! | Ye goddesses, hail,
And all the generous earth!
Give to us wisdom | and goodly speech,
And healing hands, life-long.

(Sigrdrifumol, stanzas 2-3)

Closing

Thank Odin and the Valkyries for their presence and blessings. Give farewell using these or similar words:

Odin, Mighty God, High One,
Giver of Glorious Victory,
We thank you for blessing us today.

Valkyries, Shining Shieldmaidens,
Fair and famed goddesses of Odin’s favor,
We thank you for blessing us today.

Hail Odin! Hail the Valkyries!

Walk the perimeter of the sacred space beginning in the North and ending in the West, stopping in each direction to remove the wards. Carefully sweep the wards away with words of thanks.

May Odin and the Valkyries bestow victory upon you. Go forth, bold and sure.

The blot is ended. Encourage blot participants to convene for a community-affirming feast.


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