Monday, January 19, 2015

Boasts, Oaths, and Asking of the Gods

Almost a month ago, I had the opportunity to attend an intimate, informal Yule sumbel - one of the highlights of the ritual year for me.  Surrounded by friends, some Heathen and some not, we drank to the Gods, our ancestors, and spent a few rounds boasting and oathing.

Just a few days before, I had run across a real treasure online - a vintage organ with a full pedalboard, in brilliant condition, for a pretty reasonable asking price.  I'm something of a music nerd; I play several instruments passably well and am always excited by the prospect of something new and beautiful - and this organ was certainly beautiful.  The owner wasn't getting back to me, and I was getting a little anxious about it.  Organs aren't exactly in high demand, but this was a great price and a unique instrument.

From my research, it seems we don't have a lot of examples of exactly the form an oath would have taken during sumbel.  But thinking about that organ I was inspired to make an oath to the Gods - in exchange for Their assistance.  I promised offerings of music and song, practice sessions dedicated to deities, if only the Gods would help to make this instrument mine.

Now, I'm not one to place at the feet of the supernatural what can be attributed to good old fashioned work.  But the next morning when I woke, an email was waiting for me agreeing to my bargained asking price and asking me to come get that organ as soon as possible.  I called the movers and the instrument was in my house the very next day!  Of course it could just be coincidence, but I'm not about to short my deities on offerings if They were the driving force behind this sudden contact; and so nightly practice sessions have begun at my house.

I've had people doubt the fitting nature of music as an offering.  "Singing a song is so easy," they've said.  "It's hardly as good as a nice bottle of mead."  I couldn't disagree more.  Sure, singing a song is pretty simple - but first you have to learn it (maybe write it!), practice it, polish it so that it's fit for performance - we're talking hours of work and pre-planning.  Besides, I like to think that the Gods and wights (and I know my ancestors!) like a good song just as much as they like a good bottle of mead.  My deities know how to have a good time.

So that's the story of how my unconventional oath turned out amazingly for me, and the Gods and spirits got Their due in return.

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