Dominus Ingui: rituals (5)

As part of my effort to build a Latin cult of Ingui-Frey, I recently contacted the god Himself in order to get His insight. Of course, not being a spirit-worker, I had to resort to the services of a modern oracle, so I emailed Galina Krasskova, who offers monthly oracular sessions. It seemed the most appropriate option, since she works with Odin and He, like Frey, is a Norse god. I received some answers and, in accordance with what I was told, I’ve constructed a simpler ritual. It’s meant to be less formal, easy to use whenever one feels like honouring Frey, be it with an offering of food, poetry, dance or sex, to name just a few examples; it can even be used to make a vow. It also fills a gap in the rituals I have so far: while the ritus panis is a formal ceremony whereby a bread is shared with Lord Ingui, this new ritual can be used for offerings that are entirely given to the god.

Initially, I thought of naming it after Frey, but it occurred to me that, being a simpler ceremony, it can be used or adapted for ceremonies in honour of other Powers related to Him. So I drew inspiration from the Vanir Themselves and from the rune wunjo, usually translated as ‘joy’, and called it ritus laetus or joyous rite, though the Latin word laetus can also mean fertile, abundant, rich, happy and pleasant – all of which are Vanir things.

Roman dance

RITUS LAETUS
Basically, you just need one or more offerings and a bell. Anything else is up to you and the honoured god/dess, depending on how complex the ceremony is supposed to be, what you’re giving and exactly how. Also depending on its purpose, the ceremony can have three or four parts.

1. Opening (Praefatio)
Ring the bell. Utter or sing a hymn or prayer praising the Vanir god/dess you’re addressing before ringing the bell again.

2. Request (Precatio)
This part is optional. If you’re making an offering with no special request in mind, skip it. However, if you want to ask something in particular – aid, a specific blessing, guidance in divination, etc. – state it at this stage and name your offering(s). If you’re making a vow, utter it clearly, saying what you want, what you’re promising in return and what you’ll be sacrificing immediately as proof of your commitment.

3. Giving (Datio)
The act of giving something to a god implies the act of consecrating or making it sacred, i.e. making it property of the deity. That’s what sacer or sacred means: divine ownership! So this is the point in the ritual where you let go whatever it is you’re giving to the god/dess. To that end, present your offering(s) and ring the bell. Then while you declare it clearly (e.g. “I gladly give You…[specifics]… so that I may honour You”), perform a gesture that signifies the consecration: for instance, if you’re honouring Ingui, use a finger to draw an Ing rune over the offering; if it’s meant for Njord, sprinkle sea or salted water over it; if Freya, try rose petals. Depending on how long it takes you to do it, you can also repeat the words, pray or even sing while you dispose of the offerings (e.g. while pouring or burning them).

This ritual can also be used to offer a dance, sex, a race, a theatrical play, etc, but remember: by consecrating your actions, you’re giving them to the god/dess and not to yourself or anyone else! You’ll be using your own body, your own bodily functions and movements, as divine property. If you’re aware of this and feel prepared to do it, go for it: say the words as you do the consecrating gesture in a way you find appropriate (e.g. in the air, over tools, on the floor) and then perform the actions before closing the ritual. However, if you don’t feel prepared, simply pay tribute without transferring the ownership of your actions, much like one would perform something in the presence and in honour of a guest. Just state your intent and invitation in the precatio, make an offering to your divine guest (e.g. food or a wreath like a welcoming gift) and do your thing.

4. Ending (Exitus)
To conclude the ritual, ring the bell and utter or sing a prayer of gratitude. Make an offering to the local spirits, if you think it’s appropriate, and ring the bell one last time to close the ceremony.

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