A Selection of Poetic Hallowings

This week, I have a some poetic hallowings to share. Unlike other types of poetry that I write, the reciting of the hallowings is specifically meant to be accompanied by actions for a specific purpose: the hallowing of what is ordinarily profane space in preparation for Asatru ritual. In the case of the hammer hallowing which is the first example, one would usually make the sign of the hammer (most simply, an upside-down “T” shape) in the direction indicated in the stanza while one is reciting that stanza. This can be done with one’s hand or fist, whether empty or holding an actual hammer. As is typical for a hammer hallowing, mine includes the four cardinal directions, plus above and below.

However, one can hallow with something other than the hammer. In writing other sorts of hallowings, one can make use of the lore to create hallowings that are more connected to Asatru than generic hallowings might be, making them more effective in my opinion. These might include hallowing with fire & ice, with dwarves, with water, or with the power of poetry itself — and I have an example of each.

But before I get to the more creative hallowings, here is a version of the hammer hallowing in ljóðaháttr that specifically calls on the power of Thor’s hammer.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer in the North,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer in the East,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer in the South,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer in the West,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer above us,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

Hammer of Thor,
Hammer below us,
hallow our holy stead;
Bane of etins,
banish evil,
watch and ward our stead.

At this point, I’ll remind the reader, as a mentioned last week, that not all Asatruar use hallowings to start their rites. If one has a site that is permanently holy, further hallowing of it would be unnecessary, of course. But even in the absence of such a site, some still might feel that a hallowing should not be used. I’m not going to elaborate further on that debate as it would be off-topic here; I simply wanted to make sure that my readers are aware of it.

Now for some rather unusual hallowings. Even if you are a veteran Asatruar, you may not have seen hallowings like these before. First, a short Fire & Ice hallowing. Fire and ice are the most significant elements in the Norse cosmogony — thus we call upon the power of primal creation in using them for a hallowing. One could just recite this to use it, but better would be to carry a piece of fire and then a piece of ice around the stead while doing so. (This, and all the remaining hallowings in this post, are in fornyrðislag.)

I call on the Fire
that fiercely burns,
a blazing brand
born of Muspell;
with primal power
I prepare this stead
and hold it holy
for helpful wights.

I call on the Ice
that’s always cold,
a freezing flow
formed in Nifl;
with primal power
I prepare this stead
and hold it holy
for helpful wights.

Now for a hallowing with dwarves. Yes, that’s right — with dwarves! In Völuspá 11, the four cardinal directions — North, East, South, and West — are also said to be the names of four of the dwarves. We might thus call upon them as follows in this short hallowing where I have used their original Old Norse names — their English correspondences will be obvious.

Hail Norðri,
your name we call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.
Hail Austri,
answer our call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.

Hail Suðri,
sincerely we call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.
Hail Vestri,
with vigor we call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.

In using this, one would face the particular direction when calling to that dwarf. Some may say this seems an awful lot like “guardians of watchtowers.” Nevertheless, Völuspá 11 combined with Gylfaginning chapter 8 from Snorri’s Edda is clear: in the Norse mythology, an actual being — a dwarf — is thought to be stationed at each of the cardinal directions. So why not make use of this piece of the cosmology for a practical purpose?

But what about above and below? To get really creative, we might suppose the existence of unattested dwarves for above and below, whose names would perhaps be *Uppi and *Niðri, respectively. Thus the following could be added to the above:

Hail Uppi,
eagerly we call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.
Hail Niðri,
with need we call;
hallow here now
our holy stead.

Now for a short hallowing using water. Here, the mythological referent is the notion of the three great wells of Urðr, Mímir, and Hvergelmir. One, of course, would sprinkle water around the area when speaking this.

I sprinkle water
— a splash from the Wells —
to hallow and hold
our holy stead;
the power of Wyrd
will ward us now
and keep secure
our kindred work.

Lastly, a hallowing that makes use of the power of poetry itself. Ideally, one would sprinkle mead while reciting this.

Through words and will
my wode is stirred;
with skaldic skill
I scour this realm.
The might and main
of the mead Óðrerir
hallows and holds
this holy stead.

In these hallowings, you can see one of my key ideas at work — that the lore should be used in writing new poetry for practical purposes.

Copyright © 2012 Eirik Westcoat.
Use these in your rituals! All other rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “A Selection of Poetic Hallowings

  1. Pingback: More Poetic Hallowings | Eirik Westcoat, Skald

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