As I have stated in some previous posts, there are two main types of rituals that the typical Asatruar performs. These are the blot and the sumbel. The blot is an organized and sometimes elaborate ritual. The sumbel on the other hand is more like a ritualistic drinking celebration. It is usually cheerful but other times serious and deeply meaningful. A sumbel can be like a simple toast or an elaborate and structured ritual.
The most common purpose of a sumbel is to hail the gods, wights, or other beings. They can also be used to publicly make an oath or declaration. There are a few other uses as well.
Personal interpretation and uses of any particular ritual is important. Sumbels can be relatively unstructured but really it is up to you how you set the ritual up. Its basically sort of like a bardic where everyone gathers, tells tales, sings, and drinks mead.
There are usually a few steps to the sumbel ritual. They usually number around three to four steps. These are usually the following.
The Opening - The ritual begins as the gothi (priest) and/or gythia (priestess) begin by pouring the mead into the drinking horn and stating that the ritual has begun.
Hailing the Gods - Gods, Wights, Jotun, etc are hailed. Each participant hails, either drinks from the horn or kisses the horn, and then passes it on to the next participant.
Hailing the Heroes and Ancestors - Heroes of old and the ancestors are hailed. Again each participant hails, either drinks from the horn or kisses the horn, and then passes it on to the next participant.
- The Free for All - Poems, stories, and songs are recited. A lot of mead is consumed!
A sumbel is a fun and sometimes deeply touching ritual for anyone to perform with friends and family. It is also a great ritual to perform after a wedding. Simply pore a drink make a toast and pass the horn.
This is a relatively simple ritual. If there are any questions or comments please leave a reply below. I tried to make this simple yet informative.