I totally love the show the Vikings on the History Channel. It really does show the general personality and culture of the Vikings, though in somewhat simplified form.
The one area though where they totally get things completely wrong and very completely so, is in the area of the way the Viking characters in the show dress. The clothing could not be further, in most cases, from Viking clothing styles. [Update: Here is a good accurate webpage on what they actually wore: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/clothing.htm ]
[Update: I have read some evidence that eyeliner makeup may have been used by both genders in Viking culture. Accounts of this being seen is suggested by a travel log written by an Islamic merchant that traveled to a Viking trade city.]
Also though they have not yet touched upon the religious aspects of Viking culture to a great extent, I am getting the impression they may be off in that area too based on some videos I saw with scenes from future episodes.
What is really good though is that the show does show the general spirit of Viking culture very well and introduces the general public to many concepts that are part of Viking culture that most would not previously have known about, such as a greatly simplified generalized representation of Viking laws and social customs.
Also I love when they show Odin! Of course they only show him in one of his many aspects so far! From what I saw on their website, they simplified the spiritual aspects greatly, but that does make it more easy for the general public to understand, what is a very complex subject.
Overall the real Viking culture was very complex and complicated and they did have a very advanced set of social customs and traditions, a very complex society. The show, the Vikings on the history channel simplifies this complicatedness so that it can make a good show that the general public can enjoy and learn some things from. The show helps to open up public discourse and encourage people to learn more about the Vikings. It’s entertainment value is very good as well. I am rather enjoying it and look greatly forward each week to the next episode. It likely would have limited the shows appeal to the general public if they had made it more accurate, but at least it does push the bar of knowledge that the general public has about the Vikings further.
Here is what someone said about the show, from the standpoint of an archaeologist. My own perspective on it is that of someone that follows a spiritual tradition based on that of the Vikings, but filtered into the needs of modern life. Thus I also draw in many ways inspiration for my cultural ideas from the Vikings as well, since religion and culture do relate to one another greatly.
I probably may have more to say about it as the show progresses. If you have not yet seen it I recommend it. You can view episodes at the History Channels page for the show.
• drinking horn
• mead (or beer or wine or even can use juice)
• spring water in small bowl
• fresh pine twig
• offering bowl
• wand (if you don’t have one you can use your fingers instead)
• Thor’s Ritual Hammer (optional, can use it for the Hammer Hallowings)
• Red candle. If you can dress this candle with olive oil.
• Many small slips of paper.
• Pen or writing instrument.
• Any representation of Freyja.
• Decorated eggs (real or plastic ones)
• Symbols of spring such as Easter bunnies and spring flowers.
• A fireproof metal cauldron or other fireproof container that paper can be burned in.
• Chocolate eggs.
This ritual, as are all Heathen or northern rituals, is done while facing north, except where otherwise noted. The altar should be such that it is in front of you when you face north.
If you don’t know how to pronounce the runes see my webpage on how to pronounce them here.
Put spring water in small bowl. Trace 3 Laguz runes over it.:
“LAGUZ… LAGUZ… LAGUZ”
“From the Well of Wyrd does this water flow, and to the Well of Wyrd does it return”
Make Hammer Sign at item and then splash each ritual item with blessed water using the pine twig and for each item say:
“I bless this ______ with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”
Now trace Hammer Sign at person being blessed and/or self and splash them with water using twig.
“I bless ______ with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”
Use twig to splash ritual space with water.
“I bless this space with the waters of the Well of Wyrd”
Few silent deep breaths.
All stand in Elhaz position.
“Bi-Frost’s rainbow light shine down upon this space and myself so that I may form a portal between the worlds of Asgard and Midgard”
Few silent deep breaths.
All face north and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:
“Hammer in the north hallow and ward this stead”
All turn east and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:
“Hammer in the east hallow and ward this stead”
All turn south and trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:
“Hammer in the south hallow and ward this stead”
All turn west trace the Hammer Sign while chanting:
“Hammer in the west hallow and ward this stead”
All return to north and look up and trace Hammer sign while chanting:
“Hammer above hallow and ward this stead”
All look below and trace Hammer sign while chanting:
“Hammer below hallow and ward this stead”
Return to facing north and all stand in the Elhaz position and chant:
“Around me and within me Asgard and Midgard”
and move into the Dagaz position in the end.
Few silent deep breaths.
(Highly recommended optional casting of the rune ring)
(face north and trace the rune shape in the air before you using your wand and loudly chant: “FEHU!”)
(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “URUZ”)
(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “THURISAZ”)
(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ANSUZ”)
(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “RAIDHO”)
(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “KENAZ”)
(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “GEBO”)
(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “WUNJO”)
(face north and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “HAGALAZ”)
(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “NAUDHIZ”)
(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ISA”)
(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “JERA”)
(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “EIHWAZ”)
(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “PERTHRO”)
(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “ELHAZ”)
(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “SOWILO”)
(face north and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “TIWAZ”)
(face north-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “BERKANO”)
(face east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “EHWAZ”)
(face south-east and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “MANNAZ”)
(face south and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “LAGUZ”)
(face south-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “INGWAZ”)
(face west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “DAGAZ”)
(face north-west and trace the rune shape and loudly chant: “OTHALA”)
(Few silent deep breaths)
Hold up the bottle of mead:
“I now brew the holy mead of inspiration. Won by high Odin long ago!”
Chant into the bottle of mead:
“Odhroerir! Son! Bodhn!”
“Now I hallow this drink with staves of light!”
Chant and trace these runes over the bottle:
Few silent deep breaths.
“Hail Freyja! Daughter of Njord. Sister of Freyr. Descendant of the Vanir. Possessor of Brisingamen. Od’s wife. Vanir-bride. Teacher of seidh. Love goddess. Gold-thirsty one. Queen of witches!”
Few silent deep breaths.
“Now is the first day of spring. The Earth at this time is starting to awaken from the slumber of winter time. All around us nature is starting to show herself after a time of hiding during the winter time. The weather is starting to warm up slowly now.”
“Earlier, when we celebrated charming of the plow, we had made the soil of the field of our life ready by breaking it open with the plow. This process applied to us personally in the sense of busting all blockages in our life, and thus freeing that energy up to be used for new things. Now the soil stands ready to take new seed. Most of us are not farmers nowadays, but this same cycle of planting and harvest applies to us in the sense of planning for the things we wish to enjoy in the coming year. By using the natural cycles of the seasons we can strengthen this process of bringing things into our life which we wish. This way too we live in harmony with the natural cycles of nature.”
“Seeds are any goals that are desired to be accomplished, things we wish to manifest in our life. In order for all things to manifest they must go through a process of being planted as a seed, be tended to so they may grow or doing actual things to make it happen, any weeds or obstacles removed, and finally harvest comes once it manifests.”
“Now at this time think carefully about any goals you wish to accomplish in your life. Take as much time as needed to do this. These goals can be anything positive such as positive changes you wish in your life, new things you wish to own, projects you wish to create or work on, advancement in areas of your life, new types of relationships you may wish to have, ways you wish to improve your health or well-being, etc. Write down each goal on a separate small slip of paper.”
(You may have written them already before the ritual or during it, or a combination of both. For either spend much time thinking about each goal.)
“Think of how it is that you will work on accomplishing each goal. Merely wishing for a goal without doing any work to make it manifest would be like planting seeds and not tending to them.”
“Hail Freyja goddess of the fires of life and vitality! Your fire energies are the sexual energies of creation itself! At this time of spring your energies quicken and grow to their strongest, as all life itself takes part in this quickening of the energies of creation of new life and growth. I desire oh lovely goddess, to plant these seeds into your fiery womb of creation, so that they may grow. May they grow in you till it is time for harvest, the time when that which has grown in you is given to your brother Freyr, for him then to give to us at that time as the blessings of harvest and abundance.”
(Light the red candle)
“This candle represents the fires of your sexual energies of vitality oh lovely Freyja”
(Now slowly one at a time light each slip of paper with the red candle and let it burn in the metal cauldron)
“Using your energies of sexual fire Freyja I offer each of these seeds to you oh lovely one. Please grow them for me in your womb so I may manifest each of these goals in my life.”
(Fill drinking horn with mead and hold up horn)
“Hail Freyja goddess of the quickening of vital energies. You are the one who stirs the desires to create more life as goddess of sexual desire! I make this offering to you oh lovely goddess! Hail Freyja!”
(Drink half of mead and pour out rest to offering bowl for Freyja)
(Hold up the bowl of chocolate eggs)
“Hail Freyja sweetest goddess, I offer this to you oh pretty one!”
(Eat half of candies and place other half minus any wrapping in the offering bowl)
Use the pine twig to splash a bit of the liquid in the offering bowl on yourself, on any others in the ritual with you, on your altar, on the ritual space, and in all general areas of your dwelling as well. Does not need to be much splashed around, just a little is fine. This helps to imbue more of the energies of the ritual on you, and others who may also in the ritual with you, and to your place.
“Now my rite has ended. May all gathered here fare well on their return to their home places. And may the bonds of frith between us grow, gods, wights, and humans alike. Until we meet again.”
Be sure to write in your journal or blog as a private entry all goal seeds you wrote down in this ritual. You will need these later during the harvest time of year.
Pour out the offerings from the offering bowl outside:
“A gift for a gift”
Trace gebo at spot offerings were given to.
Pour out remaining blessed water outside.
“I pour the sacred water back to the Earth so it may find it’s way back to the Well of Wyrd”
Now at this point it is very important to ground your energies. This should always be done after every ritual. Not doing so can lead to problems in the long-run. Grounding is like shifting gears in a car, except it is the process of shifting brain states. During rituals you create a trance like brain state, which is desired for during rituals or for during any spiritual practices. But trance states are not good for doing everyday mundane things. You need to return your mind back to the normal state of consciousness after the ritual is finished. That is what grounding is.
The most simple and common method to ground is to visualize yourself as a tree and see roots growing into the ground from the base of your spine and going down into the earth. Sometimes rituals require industrial strength grounding as they can really create some intense energy. In that case you can try the following triple grounding method.:
First visualize your chakras. You picture in your mind closing first the top one and then seeing a sort of lid closing over it, then proceed with the net lower chakra and so on. You want to leave the bottom most chakra, the root chakra fully open as this is your connection to grounding. Don’t be concerned about having the others closed, the normal proper function of them is that they open and close as needed. Problems with being ungrounded happen when one of more of them are stuck open. Only the bottom one is to be left open at all times.
Next step is to picture a ball of pure white light above your head. Now let this white light slowly descent downward into your body and slowly move lower. As it descends it takes with it any unneeded, old, and negative energies. It is sort of sweeping downward through your energies taking all you no longer need with it. Once it reaches your feet let it move lower till it passes down through the floor. If you are on an upper close let it pass all the way to the ground. Let the earth take this energy to recycle it.
Now final step is to do the traditional grounding. Picture yourself as a tree. Visualize roots coming out of the base of your spine and going down into the Earth. Feel the calmness of a tree, the rooted solidness.
If after these three things you still feel hyper or spaced out you can either eat some food, or put a small amount of salt on your tongue. Another thing you can do is prostrate down to the ground, placing your head on the ground and stay like this for a few moments.
Feel free to copy and use this ritual so long as you acknowledge the source.