My Ritual Format

Posted by Byron Pendason on January 4, 2020 CE, in ,

On the r/heathenry subreddit, we get a lot of new Heathens asking how to do offerings. Lārhūs Fyrnsida has a great page on their ritual format, but it is too formal for regular offerings for my tastes and, I think, best reserved for special occasions such as holy tides. What I want to do in this blog post is take you step by step through how I do my regular offerings.

The Basics

The gifting cycle is the foundation of Heathen spirituality. A gift in the ancient Heathen world required a gift to be repaid. Through the gifting cycle, bonds were created between people, cementing together society. It was also through the gifting cycle that bonds were created between people and the gods. You can read more about the gifting cycle on TheLongship website. So the most fundamental ritual a Heathen can do is the offering ritual, which is often called in modern Heathenry a blōt (pronounced like the modern English word bloat).

Next, I want to talk a little bit about the tripartite model of prayer that I use. You can read about it on the Lārhus Fyrnsida’s page about prayer format, but basically it has three parts: the calling, the petition, and the offering. For details on the theory behind this prayer model, see the above link. My template for prayer, therefore, is usually something like this:

[The calling:] Hail {Name of being or group of beings being addressed}, who {description or recounting of deeds}. [The petition:] I come before you today because {state reason the deity is being addressed}. [The offering:] I bring to you this offering of {beer/mead/salt/etc.}. May it be well accepted, that our bond may grow. A gift for a gift!

So, what do you offer? A popular opinion is to give things of value. To me, this seems to turn the gifting cycle into a vending machine for scenario. My answer is that the best offering is whatever you think the entity you are offering to will like, based upon research and/or UPG (unverified personal Gnosis).

Now that we got basics out of the way, I want to take you step-by-step through my ritual format.

My Ritual Format


First, I get my altar and offerings ready. At a minimum, you need a flame representing your hearth fire (for me, this is usually a taper candle), and an offering bowl. If you’re going to offer incense (a common offering), you will also need either an incense holder (if using incense sticks or cones) or an incense burner (if using loose leaf or resin incense). This is the bare minimum (although it is my typical altar layout), but you can also put anything else on your altar that reminds you of the divine beings (gods, ancestors, and wights) such as idols, as well as anything else you will be using during your ritual (maybe a divination tool, for example). Place your offerings on the altar as well.


The ancient Heathens had a clear distinction between the sacred and the profane. This isn’t our modern conception of profane being bad and the sacred being good. The profane was the ordinary, the things of this world. The sacred was that which belonged to the gods. The dirt that we naturally accumulate as we go through our lives is profane. Therefore, we must remove the profane before we can approach the divine.

This is symbolically done by cleaning ourselves. Before I do ritual, I will wash my hands and my face. Others have different traditions. They may shower or take a ritual bath, for example.


Before we can approach the gods or other divine beings, we must create a space where we can meet them. This space acts as a kind of gateway between the world of the profane and the world of the divine. This space, of course, is the altar.

The ancient Heathens used fire to hallow space. This act re-enacts the creation of the universe, order from chaos. I will use either my hearth fire or a candle lit from it to circle the space of my altar three times, each time saying one of the lines below (starting naturally with the first, then second, and finally the last line):

With this flame I encircle this space. Sacred flame, please cleanse this space. Sacred flame, please hallow this space.

[Update: I’ve switched to a new Hallowing ritual, which is based upon the Old English corpus. You can read about it here.]


Now that we’ve cleansed ourselves and made the sacred space to meet with the divine beings, we come to the main event. This is where we address the gods, wights and Ancestors and, through the gifting cycle, deepen our bonds with them.

If you’re making offerings to a hearth deity and gatekeeper deity, you will want to start with that. I generally start with a prayer to the gods collectively, thanking them for their blessings. Here is an example:

Hail the Ēse, those gods and goddesses worshipped by my Anglo-Saxon forbearers. You guided them and cared for them as they left their homes and settled a new land in England. I come before you in thanksgiving of the blessings you bestow upon Middangeard [the world], which you bestow upon all regardless of whether they worship you or even acknowledge your existence. Thank you! In gratitude, I offer you this fragrant incense. May it be well received. A gift for a gift!

If I have any prayers that I’d like to offer to individual gods or goddesses, I will now offer up those prayers.

Then I do a collective prayer to my house wight, the land wights who live on the land near my home, and the wights who watch over my family. Then I offer up prayers to any other wights I may wish to offer to.

Then I will do a collective prayer to my ancestors of blood, and of spirit, followed by prayers to any individual ancestors that I may wish to offer to.

Sometimes, my prayers are just three prayers, the three collective prayers to the gods, to the wights, and to my ancestors. Other times, it can be much longer.


Finally, I’ll give a sort of end speech. I will thank all the various entities for being present, for accepting my gifts, and bid them farewell until we meet again. I will then put out any flames, ending with my hearth candle. (I generally leave any incense to burn itself out.

So, that’s how I do my hearth cult. I keep it simple, saving the more elaborate rituals for the holy tides and other special occasions.

I hope this helps those new to Heathenry. And for any veterans who may read this, constructive criticism is welcome. Either way, please leave your thoughts in the comments!