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Harvest Time

As we quickly approach harvest time here in North America; it is that time of year in which we should reflect upon the lore and pause for a moment and observe. From the lore we know that a portion of the harvest was given to the Gods in particular Oðin and Freyr, but also offerings have been given to Thor as well.

Since 2004 we have been in and out of drought here in the Southern Appalachians, this year was a repeat of an exceptional drought with massive crop failures not only for us but for all in this region. Before Tropical Storm Fay even became a tropical depression; we did a blót to Thor and asked for some relief from the drought in the form of badly needed rain.

Without disappointment Thor delivered about a week later with 8 inches of rain over 32 hours; we were able to collect approximately 450 gallons of rain water in barrels. This will be used over the winter to aid winter crops. We have given thanks to Thor for his assistance and for sure an amount of the harvest will be given to Thor this year.

So far back in August we gave a part of the first harvest to Freyr and to Oðin; in the coming weeks as the harvest winds down an offering to Thor will given before the winter crop is set.

It is important that we continue the tradition of harvest offerings as these events are an important aspect of rural life and to a lesser amount to urban life as land restrictions are greater in the cities and large towns. As we as a whole enter a time when the food we buy can not be trusted we have to keep alive the knowledge on how to grow our own, be it via vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, etc. Farming practices are quickly becoming lost and if not re-embraced many folk will be doomed.

What have you done for your harvest?


Posted in Forn Seðr.

2 Responses

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  1. Hrafnmann says

    As of yet. . .nothing so grand. Despite the lore indicating that the elder heathen likely had multiple harvest festivals I’ve always been unsure of the validity of having such in my area. The growing season is short enough to not really warrant such repeated formal occasions for do so would sound disingenuous which is worse than not having any acknowledgement of the season at all. I’m hardly going to be knee wobbling overjoyed by the appearance of the first edible radishes nor that of rhubarb in early summer. I may be pleased but I hold to the maxim as found in the Havamal:

    “Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
    a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
    ice when ’tis crossed, and ale when ’tis drunk.”


    In other words I will give high praise when harvest is done for much can go wrong during those few brief months before the killing frosts. This is not to say I’m not thankful for the bits and bites I gather through the summer and early fall. What I usually do is acknowledge the moment with words of thanks as I pick and cut. I find this much more genuine. It is only sometime in October I then have my harvest rite when all has been gathered and safely stored.

    Some questions we should consider here are: is harvest and the thanks offered proportionally based? Should we be more thankful in times of dearth or that of plenty? Or should it always be evenhanded? And should we appeal to the gods in only times of want/desperate need as opposed to when matters are aligning well without bending their divine ears? Or is the latter a sign that the gods are indeed ensuring the need fulfilled? I think as modern folk returning to our elder ways we have to consider our motives, our sincerity, and exactly how the relationship with the gods truly works. We all have to seek out the answers to these questions individually and collectively.


  2. Noil says

    Well I think the amount of offering in part should be kept the same unless one is really feels they need assistance, the upping of the offering I think was something that was done in extreme times.

    I do not know how sincere others are, but I do know this that all offerings should be done with sincerity, if you can not be sincere in the offering then you should not be offering.

    In actuality we have only 3 major blóts here; Jul, Midsummer and Harvest. We will do small blóts at other times of the year for instance in spring for planting. The oddity of where I am is that we can grow crops all year round; unlike many others who are further north. Because of this situation; we make a point to highlight the end of the “traditional” growing season with the harvest blót; else it would just be switching out crops for cold hardy ones instead of heat hardy ones. I think it is also important that during a harvest blót that nothing is asked for that would not other wise help the future of the field, ie/ you don’t need be asking for gold or such things; it is to give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for what you have harvested.

    I think part of the problem has been the disconnect people have from where their food comes from since they themselves grow or raise nothing. So to them a harvest blót is not something they really understand. It would be different if they were depending upon what they could grow or raise in order to survive.

    Between what we have managed to grow ourselves from our land, livestock we have gotten, and purchasing from local farms and the gathering of other fruits such as apples and berries, in addition to wild game we should be able to reduce reliance on “Industrial Food” to less than 20% this coming year. Obviously some things we can not grow such as sugar cane or wheat but that is due to limited land space.

    Next spring we plan on getting at least one cow; with more chickens and foul of other sorts… so perhaps we can do a really traditional blót with the cow. Will have to wait and see.


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