Then I started reading more and more about Viking long ships, and the great Scandinavian explorers who sailed their ships fearlessly into the unknown. I became fascinated by how they were able to navigate using the sun, or on a cloudy day use sunstones, or by the stars at night, or by watching the currents, or even by studying the waves themselves. I also realized that the oceans were, and still are, a very dangerous place to be. Just look at current events with ferry's and cruise ships sinking with great loss of life to see that even a small miscalculation can be deadly even with all of todays technology. Back then it must have been scary as hell ! I also started think about Aegir, Ran, and their nine daughters. ( Himinglaefa, Dufa, Blodudhadda, Hefring, Unn, Hronn, Bylgja, Kara ( or Drofn ), and Kolga). The realm of the ocean needed and deserved an altar too !
I started out by finding three beautiful wooden Viking longship models. The first represents the first voyage of exploration from Norway to Iceland. The second the voyage of exploration to Greenland. And of course the third ship represents the voyage of discovery to Vinland. Everything on my altars has to have some deep related meaning to the subject of the the altar, and those being honored, and this altar has more than most as you will see. In between the three ships I placed statues of Leif Eirikkson, and his father, Eirik the Red. On the side of the third ship a statue of Aegir stands guiding, guarding, or menacing depending on the ever changing moods of the great God of the oceans. In front of each of the ships I have placed a sunstone, and all around the ships and statues I have placed sea shells to represent the great life supporting waters of our oceans. The final piece on this altar is a copy of " The Vinland Sagas" placed on a small plate stand so it will stand upright.
The second altar, number eleven, is one to Skadhi. I took it's theme right from my short story, " Skadhi :The heart of the Huntress". In the middle of the altar is a beautiful statue of Skadhi. Surrounding Her are two dozen, or more, evergreen trees representing the mountain forests that She loves to call Her home. Two white wolves prowl through the trees, while by Her side is Her adopted bear cub " Little Growler ". I added a fawn as well to represent the game of the forest where Skadhi hunts. To me this is the way I will always see Skadhi, and I know that she is happy with the effort I put forth to honor Her. Anyone wanting to see these altarscan see them. I have pictures posted on An Independent Asatru's Facebook page which is available to all comers. Some of you have already been there and commented on the altars.
Though I fully intend that these will be the last two altars I ever erect to the Gods and Goddesses ( Lets face it 11 is a lot ) I am always fine tuning the altars I have already set and dedicated to the Gods. On my ancestor altar for instance I have various pictures and items that belonged to my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. I also have a copy of the " History of the Bergen Family", written in 1866, by Teunis G. Bergen, and a copy of the 3 volume " History of Middlesex County",(1920) in which my family is mentioned several times. The one thing that I have always lacked is something to connect with my Norwegian ancestors who came here in 1633. That is until just recently when I found a company that has Norwegian statues from the different districts of Norway all dressed up in regional dress ! Although they did not have a couple from Bergen, Norway, they did have a couple from the Hardanger area which is only about 47 miles from Bergen. These will represent the parents of my first descendant Hans Hansen. From his name I know that his father's name was Hans also. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find out what his wife's name was. Hans Hansen's wife's name was Sarah Jansen de Rapalie. She was descended from the Vikings of Normandy, France.
The rituals we perform for our Gods and Goddesses, heroes, martyrs, and ancestors is the most important thing we do for them. The next most important thing we do for them, and to honor them, is the thought and care that we put into the altars that we build to them. Do not take this process lightly ! When building an altar take your time, and put real thought into every item you place on them to honor their memories. Remember, the altar may be built by us, but it is our ultimate gift to the ones we honor.
Don't forget to check out my altars at An Independent Asatru's Facebook page !
An altar to the
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !