I said I was going to post again about the Heathen Festival we attended at Solihull, and I haven’t yet, so I’ll do it now.
The second day, Sunday, was a little more rainy that Saturday had been, which was bright and hot and made my head hurt so I wore a cloak with a hood and people probably wondered what the hell I was wearing a cloak with a hood for in bright, hot weather, but that’s why. That and the fact that, the weekend before at the Derbyshire Pagans Lammas Camp I’d experienced the most spectacular bout of vertigo I’ve had since… well, since the only other bout of vertigo I’ve had — similarly spectacular — about three years ago, and if you’ve never had it it’s damn bothersome I can assure you and it meant I couldn’t drive home safely and we had to sleep in the car.
So I wasn’t taking head-chances.
But as it turned out, there was no repeat and we were able to enjoy both days without too much woe-is-me patheticism from yours truly.
As previously mentioned, we spent Saturday mostly wandering around talking to various stallholders, some we knew and some we hadn’t met before. Most were selling crafted goods from clothing to pendants and talismans and artworks and trinkets of all sorts – including Runecast Copper; H.v.Sharpart selling various artworks including the most incredible tiny sculptures in little glass bottles far too small for the sculptures to possibly fit into but she did it anyway and it’s godsdamned actual witchcraft I tell you; and Daniel at Firehound Forge showing his skills with hammer and, well, forge, and fielding a ready supply of blacksmithing jokes.
And we were supplied essential coffee by Really Awesome Coffee Coleshill, so that was okay.
But it wasn’t all commerce. The second day also featured the closing blót — a ‘blót’ being a form of Heathen ritual. (The word stems from an old Germanic term meaning sacrifice or feast, and apparently shares etymological roots with the English word ‘blood’, in that both originate from a meaning of ‘flow’,’bloom’, or ‘burst forth’. Just thought I’d mention it.)
This blót took place in a wooded area next to the festival site, where a fire and a number of small shrines had been set up, the latter dedicated to and symbolising various of the Norse pantheon.
With the appropriate thanks and offerings made the attendees processed out onto the field where, consistent with last year, a ‘frith cord’ of lucet-woven wool was fed out and cut into sections, and everybody got to take one home.
I’m not a Heathen — I think I’m clear enough about that, though it always bears repeating when I’m talking about Heathen things. I spend a lot of time around the traditions and have learned a great deal from my wife, who is. I don’t connect fully to the gods of the Norse and Germanic traditions, or to some of the values intrinsic to these practices (for example, the veneration of the ancestors is alien to me). But I have to say, having spent time at Asgardian this year and last, I’m always reassured by how welcoming the community is, even to one not entirely their own, and how at ease I feel in their company.
I’m looking forward to going to Asgardian again next year.