This I originally celebrated this as the Feast of Ullr, but the last few years I added the great ski huntress Skadhi to the celebration and ritual. Skadhi and I have one thing very much in common, we both hate the sea shore. In my younger days I hiked 1, 800 miles of the Appalachian trail, and climbed mountains so I feel that she, and I have similar tastes in the environments we feel comfortable in . I am also fair skinned, as most Scandinavians are, and burn to a crisp on a beach. The other reason I added Skadhi is that Freyja has given me the "hint" over the years that She feels that the Goddesses are short - changed here in Midgard compared to the male Gods. My rituals and articles tend to over - compensate for this shortfall. Skadhi, however, does not need me to promote her deeds. She is a warrior supreme who does not even fear the mighty Gods of Asgard. After the Gods killed her father, Thjazi, the Eddas recount her actions this way : " Skadhi then took up helmet, byrnie, and all weapons of war to avenge the death of her father Thjazi. " Either out of fear, or respect for her brave actions, the Gods offered her compensation instead of battle. If the Gods and Goddesses honor Her with the utmost respect, than how could I possibly not include Her in my Feast of the Hunters ?! I noticed recently on - line that others have also combined the two great hunters into one ritual, though they hold their ritual, and feast, at the beginning of the New Year. To each their own.
Ullr is the son of Golden - Haired Sif, and the step - son of Thor. This great bow hunter lives in Ydalir, and it is upon his ring that warriors place their oaths upon. He is a great warrior as well, and fully deserves to be honored in any ritual that honors great warrior - hunters.
The main objective of the ritual, which of course is held before the feast, is to seek blessings for any weapons that are used for hunting. These weapons once blessed by the two great hunting Gods will then be more sucessful in the winters upcoming hunting season. This ritual is also used to ask for personal success in our lives. Life really is a little like a hunt. We find what we want ( the prey ), we track it down ( examine different paths in life to this end ), we target the game ( a career or goal ), and then we shoot for it, and make the prize ours. I ask more for personal success because I am not a hunter. In a modern world I personally do not need to kill animals to feed myself, and to kill for sport seems against the natural laws of our world, that govern the balance of nature. Besides, I do not believe that Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson, my mentor, would approve of killing wildlife for sport.
For the ritual I place every weapon I have. Don't worry none of mine are sharpened ! They are, however, museum replicas, and therefore very authentic. These include three swords, a dirk, a seax, a Danish axe, two spears, ( I cross them ), and a shield. In front of the altar I place a simple bow to represent the two great archer - hunters I am honoring. When I am speaking to the great archer Gods I hold up the bow in their honor On the back of the altar I place a beautiful picture of a deer, to represent the hunters game, that I took while hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I don't only ask these great God to bless my weapons, and maybe give me a little success, but also thank them for the wild game animals that inhabit our forests, and ask them to protect them from disease, and over - hunting, so that future generations can enjoy their splendor, and if it is their desire, a really good hunt. I also take this opportunity to ask Skadhi and Ullr to help those who do not have enough to eat . For in a modern world no one should have to go hungry ! Remember to use your own words ! The Gods and Goddesses do not want to hear you repeat something that you read in a book. Say it from your heart and the Gods and Goddesses will be truly honored.
The feast that takes place afterwards should reflect the wild hunt as well. If wild game is available, such as deer, duck, geese pheasant, grouse, or rabbit it should be placed on the table with other foods that are found in the forest such as berries, mushrooms, wild onions, etc.... DO NOT PICK WILD MUSHROOMS YOURSELF ! Go to a store and buy them. Many mushroom species look very similar, but are very poisonous. Mead, or ale should be available of course as well for the feast. And it is expected that you will invite Skadhi and Ullr, so put out a plate for each of them as well.
I love rituals that are followed by a huge feast. While the ritual enriches your soul as well as honors our great deities, the wild game of the feast brightens our spirits, and gives us a commonality with our ancestors, and our Gods and Goddesses. The wild hunt is in our blood, and has been passed down from the earliest men to walk in Scandinavia to the present day modern hunter. The Gods and Goddesses, represented well by Skadhi and Ullr, show us that we have one more thing in common with our great deities, the wild hunt.
Hail Great Ski Huntress Skadhi !
Hail Great Archer - Hunter Ullr !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !