Skip to content


Álfablót

It is by my reckoning that the time for the Álfablót is here; in a manner of speaking the final harvest blót of the year. One may ask why another harvest blót when most modern Scandinavian Forn Seðr only do one? Simply put the exclusion of the Álfablót has been over looked in modern times as unimportant; in part due to only two references of such a blót in the surviving lore. I am of the opinion that the Álfablót is important and completes the “3” tiers of wights to which we should be honouring for good harvest and for good luck.

Now I could get into the all importance of “3” but that really is not the scope of this post; lets just leave it at it being a significantly important number in Forn Seðr; as I give you these examples to think on: 3 Nornrs, 3 roots of Yggdrasil, 3 wells, 3 places in the creation (Niflheim, Muspell and the Gap), 3 levels of non human wights (Gods {Æsir & Vanir & Jotuns another 3}, non-Midgard wights (Alves, Dwarfs, Dísir) and the land wights which can be categorized into 3 different area of land, water and air. Coincidences … I think not!

Back to the Álfablót, the main source of information comes from Sigvatr Þórðarson, a Norwegian skald traveling through Sweden on his way to Skara in Västergötland. Upon arriving at the homestead called Hof located most likely in modern day Stora Hov, Sigvatr and his party expected the law of hospitality to apply to him and his group as they had traveled long and hard.  Despite how much Sigvatr  wanted entry it was denied to him and his group so they moved on after Sigvatr had cursed them by remarking that trolls should take them (the people in the household) away.

When Sigvatr reached the next farm he was confronted by a woman who demanded he not go any further:

“Don’t go further inside unlucky man! We are afraid of Odin’s wrath; we are pagans!”

The woman then chased Sigvatr away from the farm, treating him as if he was a wolf after the livestock while saying:

“We are having the Elven sacrifice at the homestead and Christians are not welcomed …”

There was three more attempts at other farms to finding lodging but all three attempts were meet with the same opposition they found themselves (Sigvatr and his group) being chased away by men called the Ölvir. Upon this Sigvatr decided to call upon the most hospitable man in the Västergötland region to which only called for the man with a pickaxe while he scowled at Sigvatr. Sigvatr replied that if this was the best man in Västergötland the worst man must have been truly evil.

Sigvatr wrote of this in the Austrfaravísur, which means East Journey Verses, believed to have been composed in around the 1020’s. It is a poem that reflects Sigvatr’s journey that was given to him by the Norwegian King Olaf and was sent on delegation to the Swedish King Olaf.

The passage in Kormáks Saga is a blót to the Álfar that was not necessarily related to the Álfablót:

Hún segir: “Hóll einn er héðan skammt í brott er álfar
búa í. Graðung þann er Kormákur drap skaltu fá og
rjóða blóð graðungsins á hólinn utan en gera álfum
veislu af slátrinu og mun þér batna.

Translation:

A hill there is,” answered she, “not far away from here, where elves
have their haunt. Now get you the bull that Cormac killed, and
redden the outer side of the hill with its blood, and make a feast for
the elves with its flesh. Then thou wilt be healed.

This shows the healing powers of the  Álfar and the importance of giving offerings to them. It is truly unfortunate that in modern times the Álfar are often over looked and not given their due respect and place within out way.

There are some things I want to point out; in Sigvatrs journey he mentions that the women fears Odin’s anger if she should allow Sigvatr lodging. I find it kind of odd that a) Odin would be mentioned during the Álfablót; b) this event occurred in Sweden the supposive abode of Freyr son of Njordr; would you not think that the woman would be more fearful of angering Freyr and the Alves more so than Odin? This to me seems very out of place and is the resulting factor of either Sigvatr mis hearing the name, the monotheistic encroachment of Odinism, as well Sigvatr bias could have influenced his decision to a tribute the anger of the Gods to Odin, Sigvatr being a Christian himself would likely have equated Odin to his Christ, as was frequently attempted in the times of conversion in Scandinavia.

The time to do the Álfablót is now for the Winter Nights blót should be occurring October 28 in coincidence with the beginning of the new lunar cycle, and thus the beginning of Winter. Far too often people get tangled up in the Christian calendar trying to figure out when things are to occur when all they have to do is look to what the Sun, Moon and the environment around them is doing. Many people would be further ahead throwing out the modern day calendar.

So go out forth soon and give the much deserved offering to the Álfar!

Noil

Posted in Forn Seðr.


2 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. marion says

    About the Odin thing. West Gotland, East Gotland, and the island of Gotland were at that time still very distinct from the land of the Svear. One of the reasons there was such a big difference was the Svear had kings descended from Yngvi-Freyr–but the Gotlanders/Geats were focused on Odin, as witness the name “Gautr” and the preponderance of Odinic symbolism on the Gotland stones. They were two nations and didn’t coalesce till later.

    I’m trying to put this in coherent order as we speak.

    Olof converted, and West Gotland was the first region of modern Sweden to convert; he was reputedly only able to practise his new faith there. Seems to me that that was the beachhead because that was where the road came in from Norway. Which was the subtext of Sigvatr’s trip.

    Not that this helps much with Álfablót . . .

    Frith,
    M

  2. Hrafnmann says

    Indeed Álfablót as a *known* blót from elder times (if we can believe the passages cited) is often overlooked or at the very least much reduced in importance in modern Fyrn Sed. I think the reason for this resides in the fact that one, we have little understanding of the true nature of these wights, and two, their standing within Fyrn Sed conception; thus, to some degree, making positioning the blót difficult. As I have spoke at length on the subject in other venues, I have this feeling that the term álf degenerated over time and by the immediate post-heathen era had become a vague, general term for various forms of wights especially with the tightening grip of the usurping faith from southern climes, i.e. without the lifeblood of belief, so waned the knowledge of a tradition. This leaves us in a bit of a jam when determining just whom we are dealing with in our offerings. At best we have a vague indication of the álfar’s position and implied importance via their association with Freyr, and at worst dribbles of corrupted folklore to go on. Throw in Iðunn and Völundr being called álfar, and we left with a fuzzy, puzzling picture of just what the álfar were and what they meant to the elder folk of our way. I hope in time understanding will truly come as folk reacquaint themselves with these wights.

    ~Hrafnmann



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Note: Click "@" to notify commenter of your reply.



Bad Behavior has blocked 1229 access attempts in the last 7 days.