Rituals and Affirmations

The resent poll about Daily Rituals and Affirmations prompted a question from reader Astrid. The request was that I elaborate on these topics as they relate to Asatru. That sounded like a good idea, so here we go.

The poll really covered two separate ideas: rituals and affirmations. They have many similarities but there are subtle differences. We usually direct our rituals outward, typically to interact with Gods, Elves, or Ancestors. An affirmation is something you direct inward to make changes to yourself. Each of these is covered below.

Rituals

You may be familiar with the typical larger ceremonial rituals such as Blots, Husels, Sumbles, and so forth. These tend to be far too elaborate for a daily activity. What's more, doing these daily would gradually devalue them. For daily use, you want something smaller.

The daily ritual tends to be a personal activity. You take a moment to invite the Gods, Elves, and/or Ancestors into your life and you give thanks for the things they have provided already. There may or may not be a small gift. Think of this as the same way you would say, "Good morning" to a neighbor.

This is a short activity that you would do every day. It should have some ceremony to it, but not as elaborate as a full Blot. If possible, you would want to perform the ritual at the same time every day. Here is an example.

  1. You've gotten up and gotten ready for work or school and are preparing to leave your residence.
  2. Go to your altar, or where you normally perform ceremonies in your home. If you don't have a permanent home altar, pick some place and try to hold a token of your faith.
  3. Close your eyes and take a deep breath to clear your mind.
  4. Think about the Gods, Elves, and Ancestors
  5. Open your eyes and say, "Hail Aesir! Hail Vanir! Hail Elves! Hail Ancestors! I welcome you into my life with gladness. I am thankful for what you have given me and I will strive to be worthy of those gifts."
  6. Take a moment to listen in case there is a response

Affirmations

Asatru people put up with a lot of hostility. Some of it is aggressive, but others are passive, such as the pervasive Christian language in mass media. According to an article in Psychology Today that says the negativity can build up in your subconscious mind and cause stress. Of course, stress is bad for your health. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.

Your subconscious mind takes in information from all sorts of sources and it doesn't have a good grip on how to value all of that input. When your history teacher tells you that Christianity wiped out all the Heathens a long time ago, that gets stuck in your brain. It doesn't matter at that point that there was never a total eradication of believers if you don't hear about that. How do you fix that? You feed your subconscious mind with real information so it gets a healthier diet of things. Affirmations are the tool to do that.

Affirmations are positive statements that are repeated in a way that gets the positive message into your subconscious. Typically they are short and easily stated. These can help you keep goals in mind but it can also help you build up your psychological defenses against hostility from the outside. You can use affirmations for both purposes.

How to make an Affirmation

There are several rules and guidelines for making and using affirmations. First, affirmations must always be positive. Positivity improves your health and negativity gnaws at your health. If you do have to address something negative, look at the situation from the positive side. For example, if you have to deal with an unpleasant co-worker, you would focus on having a pleasant work environment rather than focusing on how to get rid of that co-worker.

Keep your affirmations short and memorable. It can be a single sentence or a very short poem. The important thing is that you can remember it and repeat it often. It may help to include rhyme or alliteration. An easy meter will help as well.

Finally, phrase the positive thing as though it already exists. If you phrase it as though it will happen in the future, then it does not exist right now. That has the side effect of not being true today. Your subconscious may pick up on that.

Say it Daily

Make sure to say your affirmation at least when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. Try to say it more often throughout the day. The more you repeat it, the more it sticks in the back of your mind.

A trick that helps some people is to get a notebook and write the affirmation over and over. This helps in a couple of ways. One is that you see the text of the affirmation written a lot. This is similar to the bombardment of print advertising and news that you see every day and can help defend against that. Secondly, the act of writing adds a physical component that can help kinesthetic learners (people who learn by doing something.)

Finally, make up signs, posters, or other reminders of your affirmation and put them up in your environment. Put up signs in your home. Put a sticky note on your computer monitor. Write the affirmation on a small piece of wood that you carry in your pocket or wear as a pendant. Again, this helps fight all the media you encounter in your day.

Examples

There following are some examples of affirmations that you can use or adapt. The first three have a poem-like structure.

I am a child of Ash and Elm
Given sentience by the Gods
I strive every day to do my best
To be worthy of that gift

For something that rhymes more, you could try this one:

Every day I will find
Ways to live the Virtues Nine
In all things, no matter the odds
I put my faith in all my Gods

If you lean toward the mystical side of things, you could try something like this:

Everything is of the Wyrd
The Wyrd if of Everything
I am of the Wyrd
The Wyrd is of me

Of course, shorter affirmations may be best for many people. Here are some examples of some.

  • The Gods are on my side.
  • I am made of the strengths of my ancestors.
  • My faith is my strength.
  • I DO have a Hammer.
  • Thor is my homeboy.

Conclusion

Daily rituals an affirmations can help keep your religion in focus and shield you from many of the hostile influences in the world. Like everything, it is a tool that may have more or less effect depending on the person. Do your research and see what is going to be best for you.

"This line shouldn't be here."

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