Which ever name you choose to call this ritual, or what day you hold it on is really of no consequence in my opinion. It is the sacredness of holding the ritual in honor of our great warriors that is important !
I honor these great warriors, past and present, not as a member of their ranks, but rather as a civilian priest who admires, respects, and appreciates the great sacrifices these brave men, and women, have made throught the centuries for their lands and their folk. To call oneself a warrior, one must be a warrior ! To call oneself a warrior, and have it not be true is a dishonor to yourself, your people, and all those who fought and died throughout history. Remember, only those who fight and die in battle shall sit in Odin' s Hall and feast with the All - Father. The rest of us are slated for other destinations once we are judged by the Gods.
This ritual is one of the longest rituals I perform because it is many faceted. There are so many individuals to honor from so many time periods that it is impossible to keep short. First there are the ancient heroes like Beowulf, Siegfried, and of course Sigurd the dragonslayer. Then there are the lesser known heroes such as Palnatoki, founder of the Jomsvikings, Hrolf Kraki, Vagn, Rollo, and Starkad. The Germanic warriors Arminius, Odoacer, Alaric I, Teutobod, and Widukind. The Scandinavian warrior kings Eric the Victorious, Harald Bluetooth, Sweyn Forkbeard, Canute the Great, Eric Bloodaxe, and Halfdan the Black. The Goths Fritgern, Alatheus, Saphrax, and Theodoric the Great. And finally the modern warriors such as Peter Toldenskjold, Gustavus Adolphus, and Frederick the Great.
Added to this is the fact that my ancestor John B. Bergen, was a private in the Jersey Blues Militia during the American Revolution and fought in the Battle of Princeton. His son Jacob Isaac Bergen also enlisted in the Middlesex County Militia during the War of 1812, but there is no record of him seeing action. My father and his brother also served during the Korean War. My father was in the Air Force, and was stationed in the Phillipines at Clark Air Force Base, and my uncle was in the army and stood in Germany as a reminder to the Russians that there would be consequences for any further intrusions into Western Europe. I honor all those in my family who served during this lengthy ritual.
Most of all though I honor those, who fought and died, without the notoriety of the great warrior chieftains, or later generals. Arminius could not have annihilated the Roman Legions if not for the common soldier. Nor would Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Ramses, or George Washington, be remembered for their daring and triumphant deeds if not for the common soldier. Most of which have not had their names come down to us in historical records. For these " common men " of uncommon valor are the true heroes, and the ones we must NEVER forget !
For this ritual I place every weapon I own, and I own quite a few ancient replica weapons, around my main altar. I make sure that I have plenty of Mead or Ale, for there are so many to salute, and I dress in period clothes. ( I purchased most of it from Museum Replica's Ltd. ) In the background I play lightly Richard Wagner' s Ring Cycle. Normally when I consecrate the altar and surrounding area I use just a Thor' s Hammer, but for this ritual I place the Hammer on top of a weapon, usually a sword or Danish throwing axe. After calling the Gods, I call to the Einherjar, and all warriors, to attend this ritual in their honor. I read passages from, Beowulf, The Saga of the Volsungs, The Nibelungenlied, and the Saga of Hrolf Kraki. Once again I will not speak of what I will say exactly because that is between myself, the warriors, and the Gods. Use your own words, and speak from your heart to honor these, the bravest of the brave, the greatest of warriors, and those who gave their all so that others might live in freedom !
All Hail the Einherjar !
All Hail the Ancient Warriors !
All Hail the Modern Soldier !
All Hail Odin !!
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor' s protection !