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Author Topic: Regarding Altars  (Read 3730 times)

A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Regarding Altars
« on: November 13, 2011, 05:54:59 am »
I've not got my hands on any parts for an altar yet, but theres stuff I've been wondering.  Sorry if it sounds like I completely lack common sense, but I've been told I was born without it, ha ha.

What do you do with offerings once a sumble/blot, or what ever the reason for making the offering was, is done what do you do with the material in your offering bowl?  Say for example I'm making a request of Odin at an appropriately decorated altar, do I leave the mead and salmon in the bowl when I'm done?  Do I mix the two during the ceremony/keep them separate or is it best to have either mead or salmon?  Do I dispose of the offerings afterwards?  Do I ingest them?  Would that make me an Indian tribe? :p

The book I have in front of me has a table which lists the totems for each deity.  In the above example would I have an actual spear on/near the altar?  Would a small scale version (say off of a plastic model) suffice?  Or would it be acceptable to have a drawing of one?  The table also lists the places significant to each deity.  Is it necessary for me to represent these places?  E.g. Vallhalla or Gladsheim in this case.

The book I'm using is Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson.  Is this a reliable source?
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A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 06:38:53 am »
P.S. Any help given would be very much appreciated
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hlewagastir

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 11:07:54 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29998
I've not got my hands on any parts for an altar yet, but theres stuff I've been wondering.  Sorry if it sounds like I completely lack common sense, but I've been told I was born without it, ha ha.

What do you do with offerings once a sumble/blot, or what ever the reason for making the offering was, is done what do you do with the material in your offering bowl?  Say for example I'm making a request of Odin at an appropriately decorated altar, do I leave the mead and salmon in the bowl when I'm done?  Do I mix the two during the ceremony/keep them separate or is it best to have either mead or salmon?  Do I dispose of the offerings afterwards?  Do I ingest them?  Would that make me an Indian tribe? :p

The book I have in front of me has a table which lists the totems for each deity.  In the above example would I have an actual spear on/near the altar?  Would a small scale version (say off of a plastic model) suffice?  Or would it be acceptable to have a drawing of one?  The table also lists the places significant to each deity.  Is it necessary for me to represent these places?  E.g. Vallhalla or Gladsheim in this case.

The book I'm using is Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson.  Is this a reliable source?


Well... Diana L. Paxson is a brilliant source for Diana L Paxson. If you want to learn about historic heathenry there are much more worthy books out there - Check the "Recommended Resources for Asatru and Heathenry" thread.

From a recons POW:
Two central parts of a sacrifice seem to have been; 1) Idols of the god(s), 2) an offering.
You can decorate and build your alter as you like, or you can flab through the sagas for inspiration, however, what is important is the physical presence of the gods (the idols) and that you receive heil in exchange for your sacrifice. All the nuances and finer details are up to your UPG.

In my kindred we have 1.5 meter tall idols of Thor, Frey and Odin and when we sacrifice we place a bowl of food and a cup of beer in front of each god, and toast to their honour and a prosperous future.
In the sagas we often see how the meat of a sacrificed animal is later consumed by the attendants at the symble, and based on that we offer the same food to the gods that we are going to eat at the symble.
The symble is a mixture toast, good food, strong drink, tales and healthy discussion. Like the sacrifice the traditions of and approach to the symble varies from group to group.

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 02:02:28 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29998

The book I'm using is Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson.  Is this a reliable source?


It's a good introduction book. Some recons don't like it since it is not so academic or "by the book".  

That book does explain this.  

You sip some and pour out the offerings into the ground (page 106 and 107 explain this). In the part about creating an altar it says, you'll need items such as a statue or image of a deity, a candle, some of the deity's symbols, a bowl for offerings, a horn for offerings, and what ever else you want there such as a banner or flowers.
This is on page 103 and 104.  

I'm not sure where you are getting the totem part from.  Is that within Odin's section itself?
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Juniperberry

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2011, 03:40:49 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29999
P.S. Any help given would be very much appreciated

 

(This'll be about household gifting/altars and not community gifting/ altars, btw.)

There are three reasons to give offerings: to give thanks to generous gods (these actually evolved into annual festivals--ie yule.), to appease an angry god, and to petition a god for assistance.

I haven't read Paxon, but the purpose of the idol is for it to house the spirit of the god. This idol *is* the god, and is addressed as such and the offerings laid before it.  If you have land, there may be a place that you feel 'holy' or in the presence of the gods. You could build an idol, an irminsul, etc at this spot and leave your offerings there, either hung on the tree, post or set upon a cairn. If you're more urban,  you can set up an altar on a mantle, or shelf, table etc to represent your hearth. Or both.  I give offerings in my home and leave them for awhile, then I take them outside and place them beneath a tree. Often I'll make a plate at the table and we share a meal with whomever we're honouring.
Another option, too, are burnt offerings.

If you're giving a thanks offering you could offer back something that they have provided to you, to appease them an offering should be appropriate to the 'offense' and a petition offering will probably depend on how badly you want it. ;)

Other than the idol and the offerings, the altar isn't really about tools, symbolism*, or occultic rituals. Its about giving the dead, the spirits and the gods a place in your home/ life. How you chose to make space for them, what you honor them with, how you please them and gift them is all up to you.


*Though idols symbolic of the deity are generally a good choice.

Hope that was helpful. :)
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Nyktipolos

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2011, 06:39:56 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29998
Would that make me an Indian tribe? :p


What? I don't get it.

Quote
The book I'm using is Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson.  Is this a reliable source?

 
It's a good book that comes from one of the many different flavours of heathenism. Although I believe Paxson has moved away now from strict recon heathenism, this book was written before that and I've really only heard good things about the content of it, kind of like what SatAset said. It's certainly not a be all end all type of book. I don't think one exists. :P
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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2011, 06:41:31 pm »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;29998

Thread moved to Worship and Ritual board at the OP's request.
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A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 04:46:27 am »
Quote from: SatAset;30024
It's a good introduction book. Some recons don't like it since it is not so academic or "by the book".  

That book does explain this.  

You sip some and pour out the offerings into the ground (page 106 and 107 explain this). In the part about creating an altar it says, you'll need items such as a statue or image of a deity, a candle, some of the deity's symbols, a bowl for offerings, a horn for offerings, and what ever else you want there such as a banner or flowers.
This is on page 103 and 104.  

I'm not sure where you are getting the totem part from.  Is that within Odin's section itself?


Thanks for the help and the totem part comes from the table on pages 74-75.
 
Quote from: Nyktipolos;30081
What? I don't get it.


Because I might be seen as an Indian giver.  I know - it was a terrible joke :o

Quote from: RandallS;30082
Thread moved to Worship and Ritual board at the OP's request.

 
Thanks very much.
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Asch

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 08:44:17 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;30106

Because I might be seen as an Indian giver.  I know - it was a terrible joke :o

 
Er, that's not a terrible joke, it's a racist joke.

stephyjh

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Regarding Altars
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 09:05:16 am »
Quote from: Asch;30127
Er, that's not a terrible joke, it's a racist joke.

Agreed. Being of Cherokee descent, I have a real problem with that expression.
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Asch

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Regarding Altars
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 09:24:55 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;30129
Agreed. Being of Cherokee descent, I have a real problem with that expression.

I don't have any first nations / Native American heritage and I find it offensive

A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 10:14:55 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;30129
Agreed. Being of Cherokee descent, I have a real problem with that expression.

Really?  Oh... I'd only ever looked at it as a figure of speech.  I apologise unreservedly.  Racism wasn't my intent.

Weird thing is I'm really interested in native American culture.  It's strange, I'd never made the connection before.  I won't use it again.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 10:18:08 am by A Disgruntled Scotsman »
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stephyjh

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Regarding Altars
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 10:29:29 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;30134
Really?  Oh... I'd only ever looked at it as a figure of speech.  I apologise unreservedly.  Racism wasn't my intent.

Weird thing is I'm really interested in native American culture.  It's strange, I'd never made the connection before.  I won't use it again.

It is a sensitive expression because of the truth in it, that NA/FN groups were given much on paper that never actually happened in reality and/or that was later taken away when the government decided not to hold to those treaties. Even more so because in its early usage, as best I can tell, that wasn't the reason it was said but rather as a reinforcement of the "you can't trust an Indian" prejudices common at the time.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

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A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Regarding Altars
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 10:40:14 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;30136
It is a sensitive expression because of the truth in it, that NA/FN groups were given much on paper that never actually happened in reality and/or that was later taken away when the government decided not to hold to those treaties. Even more so because in its early usage, as best I can tell, that wasn't the reason it was said but rather as a reinforcement of the "you can't trust an Indian" prejudices common at the time.

 
Seems kind of ironic/deeply hypocritical coming from the US government.  Its kind of a shame that the world's most powerful democracy was built on the back of cultural and literal murder.
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Asch

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Regarding Altars
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 11:11:00 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;30134
Really?  Oh... I'd only ever looked at it as a figure of speech.  I apologise unreservedly.  Racism wasn't my intent.

Weird thing is I'm really interested in native American culture.  It's strange, I'd never made the connection before.  I won't use it again.

There may also be some disconnect since there is likely little direct interaction with actual NA/FN persons given your location.

I had a friend once that didn't realize that saying they were 'gyped', 'jewed down' or that someone 'welshed' on a deal - were all racist figures of speech. He'd grown up hearing everyone using them as a matter of course. I imagine that since he and his family/friends had little if any interaction with those people & cultures he simply never made the connection until it was pointed out.

My guess is something similar happened with you.

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