Vaniralia: the Vanir every month

In my first years as a heathen, my offerings to Freyr had no regular basis. I “went with the flow” so that there were long periods without any activity and then several ceremonies within a few weeks. At one point, I decided to pick a day for regular offerings – the 21st of every month. There were two reasons that lead me to that choice: first, it’s an odd number, and I find them to be very spiritual in the sense that they convey the notion of spaces or times in-between; secondly, it would coincide with two high moments in my religious calendar (midwinter and midsummer), plus my own birthday, as I have the personal tradition of leaving an empty seat at my right for Freyr in my birthday dinners. And so, on the 21st of every month for some time now, I’ve been making my offerings to my good friend Ing, along His sister, father, and the Elves of Alfheim.

Recently, I’ve been (re)organizing my religious calendar. These last ten years of my life have taken me from Wicca to Heathenry and then to the Religio Romana while keeping my devotion to Freyr; I moved from new aged neopaganism to hard reconstructionism and finally an open version of the latter. All of this left traces, baggage that’s more or less integrated, but which nonetheless is in need of some tiding up in ritual terms.

As part of the (re)organizing effort that ensued, my monthly vanic ceremony suffered minor changes. It has become a day for the Vanir in general, much like the first day of the month is devoted to Janus and Juno (the Calends) and the 13th or 15th of every month to Jupiter (the Ides). By default, I focus on Freyr, Freya, and Njord along with the Elves of Alfheim, but it can be centred around any Van as need, devotions, or contacts arise; especially since I’ve set aside specific days for each of those three Vanir and should add one for the Elves, too. I also gave it a name: Vaniralia, after several Roman festivals with the same ending (Vestalia for Vesta, Neptunalia for Neptune, Saturnalia for Saturn, etc.). The 21st is still its main date, but I moved it in some months, like February, for instance, when it would collide with Parentalia, the Roman festival for the deceased relatives that goes from the 13th to the 22nd. In that case, Vaniralia falls on the 23rd of that month.

This is not an historical festivity nor do I claim it to be. Is it simply the result of a year’s long devotion to a god and His tribe and the attempt to integrate it in the religious calendar of an open Roman reconstructionist. What I do at Vaniralia will depend a lot on which Gods am I addressing to and where: I may simply leave offerings by a tree, I may light up a fire somewhere and dance round it, or I can do some devotional work at home. So long as the Vanir and the Elves are well honoured.

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