By Gudellri Alexandra Ravenscroft and Kissi Nordtrop
Happy Yggdrasil Fest! Beginning on Earth day, this raucous festival heralds the start of Summer. For nine days and nights leading up to May Day we honor Odin’s sacrifice on Yggdrasil, the world tree, for the knowledge of the runes he shared with humanity. This is a festival of life and we honor deities of Earth alongside Odin and the World Tree.
Through the first 8 days of Yggdrasil fest, we make offerings to the Earth (represented by Jord) and reflect our relationship to the land on which we live as one of the most important relationships we have. The days between Earth Day to May Day are celebrated differently depending on personal practice; These days are a perfect time for shadow work, self-reflection, and meditation on Odin’s sacrifice for knowledge. This is also a time for making offerings to our patron deities and ancestors. Thor is the patron of this lineage, so offerings to Thor are appropriate as well as Vanir deities such as Frejya and her brother Ingvi-Freyr.
The festival culminates in Yggdrasil Blot on May Day. Typical May Day events are outside, where we hold Maypole dances, barbeques, and enjoy other frivolity. Balefires/Bonfires may also be lit in fire-safe regions. In the evening, our community gathers together to make fire offerings. Bonfire, or ‘Balefire’, comes from Old Norse and can still be heard in the modern day in modern Danish words such as pyre, ie, “bål.” Fire is an important element in many Forn Sidr holidays, including Yggdrasil fest and Midsummer. The fire holds our community’s collective frith to welcome life’s blessings, magic, and also burns away any lingering malevolence to purify the energy we will bring back to our homes, our lives, and into the next season. The fire blot renews our relationship with each other as a community and the land deities and spirits that make life possible.
With the passing of Yggdrasil Fest, we hope you find warmth and enjoyment in the days to come!