Blotmonath – a Blot of Thanksgiving and Sacrifice

So Blotmonath in Bede’s Reckoning of Time was the month falling around November in which burnt offerings were made and the month in which cattle were slaughtered. Well we don’t have cattle to slaughter, so why not make some votive cattle. For this ritual I made a large bull out of hard-tack and also gave everyone smaller, individual pigs, cows, and bulls made from hard-tack. Those could be given or the person could have brought their own offering. This was not for any one god but in general thanks to each person’s individual god(s) of choice for their aid through the year.

(Hallowing)
May the gods guide us,
May our oaths keep us,
May our deeds free us,
May our ancestors aid us always.
May the gods banish from this land and wood all ill and wrong,
Hallow this space, shield this area from all baneful wights,
Let the gods’ blessing be over our heads!

(Light central fire)

Blotmonath was once the time of the cold, our ancestors would wait until the turn in the weather; that first prolonged chill would once have fallen in this month. With that came sacrifice, pigs and cows would be slaughtered and the cold ensured that their bounty would last and keep through the winter or at least long enough to be preserved. They would be offered up to the gods as a sacrifice and our ancestors would share in that feast in thanksgiving for their blessings.

We the few, the people who have not forgotten the gods and the wights, honor them so that through our sacrifices they may come to good. Today is a day of sacrifice, today is a day of thanksgiving, today is a day of remembrance for what we have received.

Be thankful, friends, for the gods do smile upon us few. We remember the old ways, we hold their blessings because we give and stay true.

All gods of those here gathered! All wights good and wholesome! Gods, we call upon you this evening to give thanks to your blessings upon our lives.

Many of you folks have come with sacrifices, tokens of your gratitude for the gods. You also have votive offerings, signs of our plenty: Cows, bulls, and pigs; these animals we will give to the gods as well in thanksgiving. When it is your turn you may come to the Hearg and have your offering blessed and if you will it you may proclaim to the gods and wights which of them has given you cause to be thankful this year.

(Offering)
(The section that follows is out of the ordinary for our normal blot. The idea here is to individualize this ceremony so that each person can make their own offering and receive their own blessing. The emphasis turns then towards the individual rather than the communal experience. Every person will come forward to hail, to be blessed, and then to place their offering in the fire. Because of this it helps if you go first or have an assistant go first so that people will see what is expected.)

(To one person)
Would you _____ come to the hearg to offer and give thanks for the blessings of the gods and wights?
(I will)

Take this horn and hail your thanks if you would have the gods hear you.
(Hand over the horn)
Hear them now gods and wights for they come with thanks in their hearts and offerings in their hands.

(Person hails with the horn if they so choose)

(Blesses the offering and person)
May the gods and wights receive your offering
May they smile on you and to you many blessing bring.
(Mark with the Gear rune)

_____ approaches this sacred fire; receive these offerings now for they have been given with open hearts and hands.

(Communal Offering)

One communal offering we give today, this bull, let this offering be from our community, let us all, those present and away be blessed from this sacrifice.

(Pour mead over altar on top of bull)

We give this bull now to all the gods and wights who have blessed us this year for the better – seen and unseen, heard and unheard, felt and unfelt, known and unknown, named and unnamed. For all these gods and wights, think upon them now as we commit this great beast to the fire.

(Offering)
From the gods, to the earth, to us
From us, to the earth, to the gods
(Put offering into fire)
A gift has been given, may it be well received

So let it be.

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