“A sacrifice was to be made for a good season at the beginning of winter…”
In pre-Christian Scandinavia, Veturnætur, Winternights, was a period of two days around the middle of October which marked the beginning of the winter half of the year. At this time the cattle would be brought in from the pastures and, as there was only fodder enough to see the breeding stock through the cold season, the remainder would be slaughtered and the meat preserved to provide food for the farmers throughout the harsh winters. This necessary yearly cull provided an excellent excuse for a big sacrificial feast at which gods, elves and ancestors were welcomed. Friends, relatives and honoured guests would gather at farmstead feast halls decorated with festive tapestries. Descriptions in the Icelandic Sagas suggest that they would play ball games on the frozen lakes during the day and eat and drink to excess during the night.
Also there was and still are two rituals that are held during this festival, álfablót and Dísablót, which i will talk in a later post when the time comes.
This is also a time to remember the dead ones, the ancestors, the importance they had in our lifes and still have as a memorie and their presence still lurk in the other world to this one, also it is the time to remember the female strong power and love, guidance and kindness, mortals, dead ones and Goddesses, but taht is a subject that belongs to Dísablót.
Also there is a similar celebration in the celtic wheel of the year, Samhain the harvest festival or the end of the harvest, when the christianity came into Europe, these pagan festivels, were turned to be a diferent celebration, All Saints’ Day or Souls day, it still has this only connection to the pagan roots, the dead, but nothing more, because Winter Nights or Samhain is also a day to celebrate the coming of winter and how good it was all the harvest till this day, to ask for protection, shelter, food and health, happiness and love for the coming winter, the harsh winter.
Dont forget that we are connected to all our ancestors. and they are a part of us, we in turn will be a part of our descendants, as i’ve told in a earlier post about the ancestors, they continue to play a big part in the role of our lifes.
This is also the time of the wild hunt, when Odin in the Norse mythology comes with the valkyries and the dead ones, and they can be seen in the sky in their wild hunt, hunt for other to join them, ridding in extasy, in trance, this is a great day and and opportunity, or in the Celtic Mythology, Cernnunos the Horned god, i had an experienc in this day, you can read all about it in a post in “Personal Thoughts and Experiences” for this is the day where a tiny gap is opened between this world and the other and the dead ones, the spirits, the gods and so many other beings can visit us and we communicate with them. Unfortunately this day is also called Halloween and it is simply celebrated by wearing costumes of monsters and other scary beings, and people have forgotten their roots and the real celebration, but this has a bit of the old traditions, for the Celts in this day, wear costumes ans masks to be mistaken in the midst of the dead ones, the souls that could come into the world of the mortals, and so no mortal nor spirit would be scared of one another and could celebrate togheter.
For a Shaman, this day can be an easier day to “work” but i leave here and advice, do not let yourself be troubled by this mystical day, the magic and mystery of it, let your mind flow and let your dreams take you away in a difterent journey that may change your life, dont struggle against this and do not be afraid.
Have good celebrations! Farewell!