Monday, April 7, 2008

Vatni Ausa

Vatni Ausa Cover The traditional basis for the Vatni Ausa rite comes from the ancient Rigsthula. In that great work, in which we are told more of the origins of different human beings as the ancestor-God Rig traveled among ancient man, we see the fathers and mothers of newly born Children "casting water" upon their infant offspring and giving them names. In verse 35, for instance, we read:

"A son bore mother / in silk they swathed him,
sprinkled water on him / and called him Jarl
Was his hair flaxen / and fair-hued his cheek,
his eyes awfully / like an adder's, blazed."

It should be noted that "flashing eyes" were seen as a token of noble birth by the ancients, as Tacitus recorded.

In the Vatni Ausa rite, a child is formally accepted by its father on its ninth night of life, and sprinkled with water made sacred by Blots, and given a name. Of course, in the modern day, most children will typically have "mainstream" names and a separate name by which they are known in the Asatru faith-community. I sincerely hope that one day we have more children whose Vatni Ausa name is the same as the one on their birth certificates, but until that fine day, we go on as we are.

In this particular Vatni Ausa, our Steersman Thorgrimmr drummed slowly (30 beats a minute then 15 beats a minute) while the Blots were taking place. Jorhild acted as our Horn-dis, filling horns for me (I led the rite) and holding the hlautbowl when the time came to pour and sprinkle the gathering.

four Blots were made, one to the Allfather, one to the Disir or ancestral guardian spirits of the families of the mother and the father of the child, one to the Thunderer, and one to the Earth Mother.

To the Allfather we make a Blot and ask for wisdom and guidance on the child; to the Disir, we ask that a Fylgja-Dis or a protecting spirit attach itself to the child and follow him Through his life, protecting him; to the Thunderer, we ask for protection from the designs and baneful powers of Ill-wights, and to the Earth Mother we ask for health for the child.

Each time a Blot is done (and the text of the Blot calls is given below) a few drops of the consecrated ale is sprinkled into the water that will later be used to sprinkle the child.

When the four Blots are done, the father (and mother if she is participating) carries the child up to the harrow and dips the hlauteinn into the water. Looking at their child, they say "I acknowledge you as my son/daughter and name you _____". As they are saying this, they sprinkle the water lightly over the child's head.

At this point, the father and mother make their parental vows to the child- in the name of the Gods, they make whatever vows to the child they feel the need to make; to protect the child, to love it all their lives, to always support the child, etc. As long as these vows are kept, the luck-force binding the parents to the child, and the luck-force that surrounds their family, cannot be defeated.

That's our Vatni Ausa; below are the calls we use. Bear in mind that the mother, who is not Asatru, was not present for the blots. She was, however, present for the sprinkling.

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