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  • Writer's pictureRobert Shotwell

Winter Nights and You



Start with the memories. Those Halloween memories from your childhood -- pumpkins, costumes, candy, and the thrills of spookiness! Back in the day, our Christian parents would never have connected this date with anything significant or spiritual. Most of modern society continues with that interpretation.


However, we’re different. If you came by way of Celtic culture, you know October 31st is known as Samhain – the last night of the Celtic year, when “the veil” is thin. This allows spirits to not just roam, but to enter our abodes and our psyche. Jack-o-lanterns have been the warders against dark and unwelcome spirits for centuries.




In Asatru, this focus on spirits exists but is transferred to a special group, our very own Mothers -- the Disir. In Sweden, they traditionally celebrate the Mothers in February with a Dísablót at the time of Disting, or a Thing-gathering by the tribe or community.


In modern Asatru, we celebrate in mid-October – a time that feels charged with mystical energy. In our Dísablót , we offer our own thanks and devotion, asking for our Mothes blessings in return. Who among us would not want to feel the loving touch of a mother from your lineage, in time of need? The mothers are there, barely seen through the veil. Vanadis, “Dis of the Vanir” is one name for Freya, and she too can be called on in this ritual. She and our Mothers, in their many manifestations, are described in Stephen McNallen’s epic poem, “October Women.”


At Oðinshof, we invite these ladies into our sacred circle – each of us calling out to one of our Mothers to be with us. As Asatru women, we become the Mothers to our men, calling them forth, guiding them in. Torches and fire, chants and song, movement and stillness, and runes chosen by our mothers are part of our Dísablót. For many, this can bring forth unexpected gifts





Gythia Sheila McNallen


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