Rituals for Lost Jötnar: Hyndla

As part of the greater project that is this blog, I have begun doing my best to catalogue the jötnar in order to provide a comprehensive list with information on them gleaned from historical sources and community verified personal gnosis, as is applicable. As I’m still working on this, my current spiritual journey/the time and isolation of the pandemic has taken me in yet another direction: writing and conducting a minor ritual of honor and reverence for each of the named jötnar. I figured this is a good place to share those rituals.

Due to some of the other things I’m doing in my spiritual life right now, I’m writing rituals for some of the jötnar sooner than I might have otherwise. Once I have completed the rituals necessary for my current trajectory, I will move to writing and publishing these rituals in alphabetical order.

Without further ado, the first of these rituals was written for Hyndla.

Freyja gesturing to Hyndla (1895) by Lorenz Frølich

Attested in Hyndluljóð (The Song of Hyndla). She is a keeper of knowledge of ancestral lines. Freyja attempts to flatter her, calling her “sister.” She seems uninterested in helping Freyja and her chosen, Ottar, chastising her for lying about the identity of the boar (Ottar) and then refusing to give Ottar “the memory-beer” Freyja requests until she is coerced by Freyja summoning a ring of fire around her. Even then, she stipulates that the draught given is laced with venom that will bring Ottar an ill-fate.

Based on this, it is very advisable to approach Hyndla with humility and the utmost honesty. Be clear on what your intentions and motivations are with yourself before you go to Hyndla, so that you may be as honest and direct with her as is possible to be.

Prepare for the ritual by reflecting on your intentions and purpose, and the motivations behind them. Write this all out on a piece of paper, and fold it up nice and tight. Prepare an offering as well—I am fond of offering drink, or a share of a meal. Hyndla has wolves, and through this association meat is likely a safe offering. Mead or beer is often a safe offering for the gods of the north. Staples that would have represented vital resources in the days of our ancestors, such as butter, bread, and milk are always good offerings as well.

Determine whether you will set up a ritual altar or simply lay your offerings on the ground/floor/earth, and prepare accordingly. This can be as elaborate as you want, or as simple as an offering bowl placed upon the earth—though I do suggest considering finding a stone to utilize as a ritual altar, symbolizing her home “in the rock and the cave.”

Once you have your reflections written down and folded and your offering selected and a place picked out to conduct the ritual, cast your circle if this is an element of your practice, and as you see fit. (I call on Jord for Earth, Ran and Aegir for Water, Surt for Fire, and Hræsvelgr for Wind/Air.) Place the folded paper in the bottom of a bowl and place the offering on top of it (if your offering is a liquid of any kind, you may pour it directly onto the paper).

“Freyja awakes Hyndla” (1908) by W. G. Collingwood.

Kneel before your altar/offering. Prick your finger or otherwise extract a drop of blood or a hair to add to the offering (either of which both symbolizes your bloodlines and offers a tangible sample of your genetic heritage). As you are pricking or plucking, (when you are done, lift your arms or hands into a gesture of reverence) begin to chant:

“Hail Hyndla who lives in the rock and the cave

Hail Hyndla, Keeper of the Memory-Beer

Hail Hyndla, Völva of the Mountains and the North

Hail Hyndla, Rider of Wolves

Hail Hyndla, Guardian of Knowledge of the Ancestors

Hail Hyndla, Keeper of Bloodlines

Hail Hyndla, Overseer of Family Groves

Hail Hyndla, Accuser of Freyja and of Ottar

Hail Hyndla, Who Sees the Webs the Nornir Weave.

“In awe and reverence Hyndla, I bring to you this offering of ________. I hope in this way to honor you.

“I come to you with this intent and purpose, Hyndla, not only to honor you but to find my way to my ancestors that I might [state your purpose/intention/motivation].

“I ask that you be with me Hyndla, as I undertake these endeavors. I ask [state your petition or petitions].” Place your hands on either side of the bowl with the offering and paper in it, and bow over or to the offering. “Please accept these humble offerings I gladly and in gratitude give.

“Thank you, Hyndla, for hearing my call.

Thank you, Hyndla, for receiving my offerings.

Thank you, Hyndla, and may you be ever honored.

With gratitude and reverence I leave this offering to you, and bid you farewell.

Hail Hyndla!”

Place your hands and forehead to the altar or to the ground and let any excess energy that may have built up in you through the ritual flow out of you and into the altar/earth as an closing offering.

If it is appropriate to your practice, close your circle. If you have a particular way of disposing of offerings, do so. If not, I recommend leaving it in a safe place (where pets or other animals won’t get into it and potentially make themselves ill) for at least a full day before burying it in a similarly safe place. Bury the folded paper with it as well.

When you’re all done, have a snack, hydrate, journal about the ritual, and take a little rest.

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