A Sample Section of “Path to the Gods: Anglo-Saxon Paganism for Beginners”

One of the things that folks like about my book “Path to the Gods: Anglo-Saxon Paganism for Beginners” is the fact it is the first of my books to have fully fleshed out rites, and not just outlines. Below is the section on Éosturmónaþ complete with the rites (you can buy the ebook at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286086 or the soft cover at http://www.amazon.com).

Éosturmónaþ

Éosturmónaþ is sacred to the goddess Éostre and perhaps one of the most popular holy tides in modern Anglo-Saxon paganism. There are many traditions surrounding her holy tide, some of them perhaps dating back to pagan times. Water drawn from brooks and springs was thought particularly holy if drawn on her day (the Full Moon of the month of April). During the Middle Ages it was said that maidens in white were seen frolicking in the fields on Christian Easter. Eggs and hares are holy to Éostre, and they play a role in the activities of the month. Éosturmónaþ is a time of new beginnings, the first signs of spring. Trees leaf out and the first flowers bloom. Many animals begin to have young at this time. Some of the customs associated with Éosturmónaþ are below:

Bonfires

Many places burned bonfires on Easter. These bonfires had many activities associated with them, among them fire leaping (a practice I advise against due to the obvious dangers). Modern Anglo-Saxons can of course incorporate these into their rites.

Decorations

At Easter in many parts of England up until recently many decorations were put out. Trees, wells, houses, and other things were garlanded. Eggs were often blown out and hung on trees. In the United States this tradition is coming back.

Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny or Hare is a German tradition that caught on in England and the United States. Hares and rabbits are seen as symbols of fertility and begin having young in the spring. They are very good mothers being very attentive to their young. In parts of England, hare hunts were held at this time.

Easter Eggs

There are many customs associated with Easter eggs and modern Anglo-Saxon pagans have adopted these. If you are with a group, coloring eggs can become a group project. The night before your celebration and offering you can color eggs for the games the next day. Besides Easter egg hunts, egg tossing was also done. If you caught the egg unbroken it was thought a sign of good luck. In the group I worship with we have the opposite tradition. If the egg breaks on you it is though the next year will be a fertile one for you (eggs that break on the ground do not count). Egg rolling is a custom that is observed in parts of England. Eggs are taken to the top of a hill and rolled down. This could be incorporated into a race if you want.

Winter Effigy

Many groups make an effigy of winter at this time and beat it and burn it. In this way, they seek to drive out winter and bring in the spring. This makes a great activity for children.

Below is a sample rite for use with your Easter rites. You will need colored eggs, your blot bowl, a hlót-tán, a bottle of mead or wine, and your horn or goblet. This rite should be performed on the Full Moon of April.

1) The Creation of Sacred Space: Circle the area you will be performing the rite in with a candle and as you are doing it say:

Fire I bear around the frithyard
And bid all men make peace
Flame I bear to encircle this space
And ask ill wights to fare away
Þunor make sacred, Þunor make sacred
Þunor make sacred this holy site.

2) Hallowing: Pour the mead or wine or other liquid into the horn and blot bowl. Then place the eggs in the blot bowl with the liquid. You then hallow the food and/or drink by passing them over the flame of the candle or torch. As you are doing this say, “Þunor make sacred this food and drink.” If you are using incense, this is a good time to light it. As to what kind of incense you use, that is your choice. Use what smells good to you. I tend to use raw herbs and usually use a blend of mugwort and white sage.

3) Blessing: You then perform the blessing sprinkling the wine or mead or other drink on yourself and any others present with the hlót-tán.

4) The Prayers: Here you will want to say a prayer to Ėostre. Below is one I frequently use:

Wassail Ėostre, go well Ėostre,
Goddess of the dawn, bringer of day,
Lady in white bringing water from the wells,
Beautiful goddess, all pure and good,
Bringing waves of grass after winter’s chill.
Goddess of the spring, goddess of dawn,
All clad in white full of right good will,
We beseech you now, with this bede,
Give us wonderful days with your winsome smile.
We ask you now and call on your name,
Give us fertile fields and lives full of love.

5) The Myne or Toasts to the Ancestors: Make a toast to your ancestors.

6) The Housel: At this point you consume part of the food or drink. When you are through drinking from the horn, pour the remaining liquid into the blot bowl.

7) The Yielding: Then if doing the rite indoors take the blot bowl and any other items you are giving outside, and pour it out under a tree with the words, “I give this to Ėostre.” If you are doing the rite outside, you may pour the drink under a tree, or if using a hearg (stone altar), pour it on it.

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2 thoughts on “A Sample Section of “Path to the Gods: Anglo-Saxon Paganism for Beginners”

  1. mollykhan says:

    Hello! I am not a beginner to Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, meaning I know a lot of the basics: I have read Alaric Albertsson’s books and Brian Branston’s Lost Gods of England. But I am looking to explore further – from your books, would you recommend Path to the Gods or Hammer of the Gods? I don’t have much spending money and can afford just one. Thank you for your time!

    • I prefer “Path to the Gods…” myself. It is my favorite book of my own so I would recommend it. However, “Hammer of the Gods…” is more in depth and many like it. Myself I have never been pleased with it, and a third edition is in the works.

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