Alsherjargothi Matt Flavel
Ostara at Óðinshof
The unseasonal chill and cloudy skies didn't hinder the enjoyment of this day. Following our monthly Food Pantry, folks quickly set up tables and chairs within the hall. Our Alsherjargothi, Matt Flavel, made it over the snowy mountains in time to lead us in “Greeting to the Gods” where we invited the Holy Powers to be with us. In turn, we made personal introductions while raising the horn and toasting a favorite God or Goddess. Matt brought us up to date on AFA news, while Sheila followed with a summary of recent Odinshof District events and plans for the calendar year. The informational portion closed with Steve McNallen giving a talk on the deeper significance of this holy tide called Ostara, named for the Saxon's “Goddess of the Dawn.” We were all left with the reminder to look at the dawn of each day as a cycle of new beginnings.
Outdoors, children ran like rabbits trying to be the first to grab the candy-filled eggs. When their energy subsided, Gythia McNallen led our young Folk into the ritual circle for their own tribute to Ostara with a children's blot. Meanwhile most of the men settled by the campfire, while others tested their archery and knife throwing skills for Midsummer.
Krystal kept busy all day, putting lesser-known Irish dishes together for a grand feast. Sierra brought over a hundred cupcakes that she decorated with runes as Ashley added colorful touches to the clusters of flowers within the hall.
As the day waned, Gythia McNallen called the women together to discuss their roles in the upcoming blot. Young Dawson blew the blowing horn three times, to call people to gather. The women stood at the entry to the circle, “kulning” the men to come. As the call to Ostara was made, the clouds broke free so we were sun-blessed for the first time all day. In our rite, we gave our respect and dedication to Ostara and asked for her to bless the Folk in return. Gythia McNallen gave the blessing by sprinkling the mead from a sprig of delicate Baby's Breath. As the ritual closed, the women stepped forward to share the song, “Edelweiss.” Then men and women sang with full hearts the Asatru version of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” The words speak true. “Bless our homeland forever.”