A Ritual for Nerthus

Nerthus by Emil Doepler (1905)

This is the text of a ritual for the Goddess Nerthus I wrote and performed at Heartland Pagan Festival, 2015 – feel free to use it or share with others with attribution!

As you are able, bend down and touch the ground beneath you. Feel wherever you are in contact with the ground – your feet, toes, knees, hands, or fingers, and take a moment to feel the Earth. Take a deep breath in. And out.

Here the Earth is green and grassy, wet from the rain, flattened by the soles of many feet. This is not the wild space of Her domain, but a land cultivated and cared for by people. And yet, though it is not a wild space, the Goddess of the Earth dwells here still. Take a deep breath in. And out.

Take a moment to feel the presence of the Goddess. As we find her primal power even here, the magic of death and decay, of life and growth, we reach out to Her in awe. Take a deep breath in. And out.

Feeling this tiny part of Her presence, the seed of darkness that gestates all life, we will now rise up, and call out for Her full attention.

Hail Nerthus, Primal mother of Earth.
First and Eldest of the Van,
veiled Goddess of peace and plenty,
your blessings trail in your wagon’s wake
like water from the dark pool that is your home.1
Turn your hidden eyes upon us here,
turn your ears to hear our praise,
turn your thoughts to our calls.
Join us here in this space that has always been yours.
Welcome Nerthus!

In Heathen tradition, a gift calls for a gift. We ask for the great blessings of the Goddess, and in return we must give a gift as well. Three gifts I bring to offer the Goddess: flower petals dried and crushed, pure water sparkling and clear, and the gift of song. As the gifts are given, feel the powerful presence of the Earth Mother. Her primal energy flows through this space, bringing life and vigor to all who come near Her. Feel the energy of the cool, dark earth that gives life to all things.

**offerings and spontaneous song**

We have given our gifts, and in return a gift is given! We call for the blessings of the Earth Mother, the magic of life and death that lies within the tiniest bit of soil, grown and magnified three and three times in the presence of the divine. Spread your blessings over this land, your primal presence and wild grace, that all that grows here might bloom and prosper. Pour your blessings over this soil, your dark and life-sustaining power, that wherever it travels your presence is remembered and prosperity follows.

Hail to Nerthus!

Once again, let us stop to feel the Earth beneath our feet or with our hands. Our thoughts and energy has been extended into the Earth by the powerful presence of the Goddess. Take a moment, if you wish, to return from this place of sacred honor and turn your thoughts once again to the mundane concerns of the world. I invite each of you to take a cup of earth blessed by Nerthus, to bring to your own homes or gardens or as gifts to others who may appreciate the blessings held within. Thank you all.

 

1. invocation reworked from “Yule 2006” by Raven and Carrion Mann, 2006 Liturgists Yearbook of ADF

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