Norse sacrifice

Foreword

Nowadays many people have a wrong conception of « blót », at least that is different from the blót’s conception for norsemen, which came to us preserved by the “heathen oasis” and the Heimskringla. 

The word “blót” 

The word “blót” literally means “sacrifice”, but also “to strengthen” if used as a verb (with the suffix “-a”: “blóta”). It is related with the word “blóð” (blood) – from which it seems derived – and with the verb “blœssa” (to bless), but in this one, opposite from “blóð”, it seems derives itsel from “blót” and not that “blót” derives from “blœssa”. 
So, the word blót means yet a real sacrifice, and now I will explain what is exactly what it is. 

Blót’s ritual

Every blót has the the following preparation: 

1st – Consecrate a sacrificial victim to the gods. Vegetables are considered living beings; so a blót can be hold even with an apple as sacrificial victim. So, an animal victim is not mandatory. 
2nd – Sprinkle the sacrificial victim with the hlaut (sacrificial blood), the mjǫðu (sacrificial mead) or the bjóru (sacrificial beer). 

Then proceed to the proper blót: 

3rd – Kill the sacrificial victim. 
4th – Sprinkle the altar and the participants with its blood or vital fluids (such as resin, juice, etc.). 
5th – The remaining of the victim been eaten and burned. 

Now I will specify when the blót is holded and if they were held – in the past – with animal or vegetable sacrifices. 

There are three main blót among the year: the Jólablót, known today aslo as Yule, the Sigrblót and the Vetrablót. There are two others important blótar: the Dísablót, which actually are two (one in October, the other in February) and the Álfablót, less important only because restriced to a familiar circle and so without pubblic feast (veizla). 

During these principal blótar, it was mandatory the animal sacrifice. It would be a great dishonor to sacrifice an apple to Freyja during the Vetrablót, or a wood to Óðinn during the Sigrblót. In facts they were very important sacrifices, because their targets were so: the Jólablót, in the middle of the winter, was held to survive through the other winter’s half, and also to thank the gods for the half just passed; the Sigrblót was held to hope peace in the lands and to thank the Father of the Fallen (Óðinn) when the viking raid started; the Vetrablót was the year-beginning’s blót (and also of winter’s begin, because in the Norse calendar they coincide), to hope an happy and prosperous new year – in short, our New Year’s Eve –. The Dísablótar where held for the dísir (half-goddesses), who are the fate’s entities who one must be cozy because they can influece the mortal life, as the valkyries, the norns and the vettes. The Álfablót was held for the elves, bearers of prosperity, and it was held only in the familiar circle. 

For all the other blót, instead, which can be hold whenever one wants, were preferred vegetables. 

The blót today 

Today, blótar have been re-enacted by the neopagan association as vague copies of the neopagan wiccan “sacrifices”, or rather, burning straw statues, ears of corn, and other things that norsemen, for what the writtens sources say, don’t have nothing to see with the Norse Ancient Way. 

In fact, under the christian predominace, the blótar were banned with death penaly, but they survived in the aftermentioned “heathen oasis”. So we have the living testimonies of these heathens who survived from the Viking Age to today. One of these oasis is the one of the sacred forest (lunð) of Tiveden: Trollkyrka. In Trollkyrka there is a recording which describes well a blót: 

Elden den “köllas” av nio slags ved, | The fire is kindled with nine kinds of wood, 
det är gammal sed. | that is old custom. 
Offer till andarna skänkes, | A sacrifice is offered to the spirits, 
med blodet sig allom bestänkes. | everyone is sprinkled with the blood. 
Det bästa till andar föräras, | The best part is gifted to spirits, 
det som blir över skall av männerna täras. | what remains is to be consumed by the men. 

This is the irrefutable proof of the animal sacrifice, which is denied by many neopaganists. As one can see, the language is Swedish: the text is from c.a 1700 B.C., explaining that also in Modern Age who practice the Ancient Way practice also the ancient tradition of the animal sacrifice.

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