Summer Solstice 2003 - Ormswald

The Blot was the centrepiece of the annual event which was spread over two days. It was organised by the people of the Ormswald Cultural Sanctuary, presided over by Pete Seymour, and can be found here:-

Most of the Saturday was spent building a ten metre replica of a Viking longship which was filled with dead wood. Quite remarkably, from a distance it looked very convincing in the bright sunshine. The whole endeavour proceeded fairly well, and the only mishap occurred when the sail was first hoisted experimentally and the mast broke under the strain, unfortunately hitting Pete Jennings square on the head. However, like the Monty Python parrot he was only lightly stunned and after a brief lie down was back to normal except for a graze.

A stronger mast was found in the woods, and the ship was completed in the early evening. After various supplies of food and drink were consumed it was beginning to get dark. The Blot itself was scheduled for around a 22:30 start, and the Ormswald regulars who comprise the re-enactment contingent changed into their period costumes complete with weapons. Other people also got changed into rather interesting clothes, although most were not historically accurate, but were nonetheless distinctive - the Heathen equivalent of the 'Sunday Best'!

The Blot formally began when a horn sounded calling us to the Hof. As we arrived blazing torches were being kindled and the area was beginning to light up. Those of you who have wandered around woodland at night, far from a town, will know exactly how dark it can be, so this was something of a relief as most people had not brought any lights, or had left them in their tents erected in the woods.

Then, as the first few torches were handed out something magical happened - there was a long continuous peal of thunder lasting maybe six or seven seconds. It seemed that Thor was blessing the enterprise, and was very unexpected as the sky had been clear throughout the day and evening.

However, nothing further happened and we continued with the preparations. When all the torches were lit we moved in procession from the Hof back to the open space in the woodland, called the arena, where the ship awaited with its sail fully deployed.

Pete Seymour, as Gothi, dedicated the Blot to Ingvi Frey and torches were thrown into the ship, lighting the fire. Immediately the sail blazed, lighting up the participants who had now formed into a semicircle around the ship with the Gothi and his assistants centrally before it. And again something magical happened. At the point where the Gothi, standing before the burning ship, dedicated the Blot to Ingvi Frey as bringer of the winds and rain so rain arrived. Just enough to make the remaining torches sputter noisily, and a wind arose making the torches roar. This then died away after a few minutes and the evening was once again dry and still. At the end of the Blot some 30 min later the sky was cloudless with stars visible.

The Blot ended with a display of fireworks. We then spent the next few hours in the Hof drinking and talking. Altogether some thirty to forty people were present at this impressive event.

The ship is finally built

Pete and wife wait for the proceedings to begin

As does Ray(?!) and friends

The torches are gathered...

And the procession begins

The ship is set ablaze

And the ceremony begins

The fire is watched...

It begins to burn fiercely

The Gothi calls on Ingvi Frey

Later in the Hof things are looking wasted...

It's a late night for the kids, not to mention Pete and Paul

Like a scene from an oil painting

And at other times...

Fiona and hawk

Fiona in a mask

And lastly a pic of Fiona and Freya in the Hof at the Seidr moot on 6 July 2003