The day comes for the sacrifice. It is a holy day. In the preceding weeks, since Divination first indicated and was confirmed, that Odin wished a sacrifice, there has been much to accomplish, so much to get done. Have we understood that You wish sacrifice? What precisely do You wish to see offered? Is it to be shared with the people after the rite, or do you wish it all for Yourself? What else do You require? Is there anything that we have neglected to ask or attend?
We’ve prepared. The youngling pig has been acquired, with poultry for the land and the dead, two roosters and a lively young pig. Over the past day or maybe two, they’ve been tended, cared for, fed well and often, soothed, and honored. Praise has been given them for their part in this holy rite. Divination was done by two diviners the night before the ritual, and again the morning of. The ritual knives have been sharpened to a scalpel’s edge. One person is assigned care of the animals, and the sacrificial priest spends the morning in prayer, and ritual cleansing.
The ritual begins with divination – we have learned this is necessary. A diviner and divination tools are kept on hand in case there are any omens during the ritual that must be taken into account. There is consecration, there are prayers, some are sung. Odin is invoked. The ancestors are called. The spirits of the land are thanked. Offerings are made, poured out upon the earth. When the time is right, the roosters are brought out. They are blessed, thanked, aspersed with fresh, clean water. The sacrificial priest carefully takes the bird and tucks it under her arm, holding it carefully both to support the body and restrain the feet. A final blessing is offered and the sacrificial cut is made. The bird is bled out, one for the land, one for the ancestors. The latter is field dressed and cooked up, presented to the ancestors as a feast, after the ritual is concluded. The former is given to the earth. Then it is time for Odin’s offering.
The assistants lead the pig forward. The same blessing and aspersing is given. The pig is stroked gently and given time to assent. The diviner and priest wait for the appropriate time. When the animal is read, the priest kneels and firmly makes the requisite cut. The body twitches, blood flows. The carcass is taken to Odin’s godpole and the blood allowed to flow.
As the sacrifice bleeds out at the foot of the pole, the ritual is concluded. Then the fire is kindled in the fire pit. The carcass is taken with thanks to the newly kindled flames, and people take their places to watch the slow process of immolation.
The priest goes immediately to cleanse, others to prepare the after-ritual feast. The diviner does that which diviners do in order to ensure that the sacrifice was worthy, was acceptable. (Sometimes it is not. Sometimes there is a flaw with the animal. Sometimes the priest or those present are not in the appropriate devotional space, or are unclean in some way. Sometimes the animal does not consent and cannot be sacrificed. Sometimes something went awry). The Powers received Their due. Our sacral contracts with the Gods, ancestors and spirits of the land have been renewed. The priest returns to the people clean and all celebrate the blessings of the Gods and that grace pouring forth upon the people.