Many Asatruar, modern and ancient, used many ways and items to help better connect themselves to the holy powers, at rituals and other times. Every person is different, I personally have an altar, and when I can get some god pols and statues I surely will, but not everyone uses them, and some people do not even know what they are (god poles) and what they are used for! Today I would like to go over what they, ways to make them, and what they are used for! I hope this helps all those who were curious just like me =). Here we go =)
I would like to start off with my favorite, although I do not know too much about God Poles, I shall tell you everything I have learned about them. God Poles are ANCIENT there are many that have been found that are centuries, if not thousands of years old. Traditionally, they are made out of wood (what else would you make them out of?) they can be any height (remember however that it does need to go into the ground so make the overall length longer than you actually want it ) and diameter you want, I like ones that are about six feet tall and at least a foot in diameter. Once you have the type of pole you want, then you carve the pole to the likeness of the deity you are honoring. Don’t worry! You do not need to be a master artist, but if you want to have someone else do it, that is fine too haha. Then after the pole is all finished, it is time to put it in the ground and do the ritual that goes with it. I shall not go into details on how to put a pole in the ground, it should be pretty self explanatory. One thing that you can do as part of the ceremony, that I think is a nice little touch but is not needed, is to put offerings, (of whatever kind) in the hole before placing the pole. That way, they shall always be there, and I think it is a cool way to make an offering. Next you just pray to the deity you are consecrating a pole to, hallow it, and that is about it for how to make one. In ancient times, as well as now (this part is based off of my own opinions so tread lightly) God poles are used to get closer to the gods, to better feel their presence. People put offerings in the mouth, in their arms, around their necks. People feel that if the offering is placed on them, in them or near them, then maybe it shall reach the gods faster. I, and others feel that having a God pole watching over you during ritual, and during your everyday life gives you a greater sense of the divine. That particular god or goddess is watching over you, guarding you. If I had a God Pole in my back yard watching over my house, I know I would at least feel safer. It makes it so that the gods are closer. Is it because they have a better conduit to reach you? Are they drawn to the offerings? Are they there because they like to see themselves? I, and I do not think anyone else, can tell you. But it seems, to me at least that the gods are around more when you have god poles present then at other times. Not to say of course they are not around if you do not have a pole, for of course they are. When doing a ritual, I can only imagine that having a god pole watching over you enhances the already amazing feeling of blot and ritual. When I can get my hands on a few god poles, you can be sure that it will. Now we shall get into Statues, this section shall be very, very short for a good reason. Statues serve the same purpose as God Poles, save they come in more variety and can be used indoors. Simple as that, two different mediums for the same function
Now onto Altars. Altars, while may not be used to much in modern Asatru, I believe that they were used in ancients times. However, not as we see them today. The ancients maybe had large stones for altars, with a ring of god posts surrounding it. Effectively creating a temple or Hof. The altars, maybe were used for blood sacrifices, or maybe for any other ritual! I believe that there definitely were altars, and temples of some sort. Exactly what were they used for? Well I will not lie to you, I do not know. What I do know, is what I use mine for:
This is my altar in my room. I have two, this is the indoor one. What do I use it for? Well I pray before it at night, and in the box there I hold all of my ritual items (this I take outside when I do my blots for it has everything). To the right is my book of Asatru, Ritual, and Blotar which holds a hard copy of all of the information found here on my blog. The pictures, to me represent, although not as strongly, God Poles or Statues. I really do not do much here besides store my things and pray at night. (my morning prayer is outside).
Then, below is my outdoors altar. It is as simple as it can get. It is just a wooden mjolnir that I made hanging from an apple tree. It is here, “under Thor’s eyes” that I do all of my blots. I have never needed to replace the string and it has never fallen off. Through some crazy thunderstorms and strong winds, it has stayed right where it is and has never moved. Think maybe Thor likes it there? =)
I believe when we hear the word Altar, we think of a very specific thing, but in Asatru, at least the way I see it, it can range from a large variety of things. I just like to think of it as a place where you do your rituals and pray. Of course, this could also be your temple, ve, or hof.
Well I think that about does it for this post, it is a long one I know! I hope you liked it, and I hope it answers some questions you may have! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join my Facebook group Asatru Community! : https://www.facebook.com/groups/AsatruCommunity/
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May you all find the wisdom you seek and may the holy powers watch over you!