Sunday, 8 November 2015

Thunor's Hammer, a Vital Ritual Tool

When engaging in any religious or magical activity in the Germanic tradition it is now customary to invoke the power of Thunar's Hammer and there is good reason for this. Thunar is the warder of both men and Gods, the guardian deity of Asgard and Midgard. His Hammer kept the Jotun, the forces of chaos and destruction at bay. His Hammer also had a sacralisng function and both these functions, ie protection and making sacred are important to us.

When we approach the Gods in oder to engage in ritual or magical activity it is vital that we create a sacred space, a space set apart purely for these activities. The reality for many of us is that unless we devote a room specially set apart for these activities or have access to an otherwise inaccessible outdoor sacred site we must use a space that is also used for everyday profane activities. It is thus essential to make this space sacred for the duration of the activity and we do this by performing the Thunar's Hammer rite. There are many variations of this rite that may readers may find in decent books on thus subject, most notably by Edred Thorsson.

In performing the rite we not only make the space that we are going to use sacred because for that moment in time it is set apart and we may encounter our Gods but also it provides protection from our enemies, both corporeal and incorporeal. It protects us from all harm, physical and spiritual, forbidding entry into the space of malignant spirits.

"Workings such as the hammer signing or the hammer working can sanctify you and your surroundings wherever you happen to find yourself." (True Brothers, 2002, Edred Thorsson)

I use variations of the Thunar's Hammer rite according to whether I deem the activity ritualistic or magical but as a general rule my readers can not go wrong if they address the four cardinal directions and both above and below with the following words:

"Hammer of Thunar/Thor, hold and hallow this holy stead and protect the folk/me from (all) harm."
Alternatively one may wish to actually address the said cardinal direction:

"Hammer in the north/east/south/west/above/below, hold and hallow this holy stead, Hammer of Thunar/Thor protect the folk/me from (all) harm."

Start facing north, then turn clockwise until you end in the west, trace the sign of either the Hammer or the Flyfot (also a sign of Thunar) in the air, imagining the symbol to be glowing. I visualise it glowing red, some may prefer blue. I suggest you go with whatever you are comfortable with. It is adviseable to also make the Hammer sign both above and below for complete protection, especially if the activity is magical in intent.

Whilst saying these words we must use either a ritual Hammer or a wand/staff consecrated for this purpose. In magical work I often use a wand, inscribed with Runes. I have found that different activities do call for a different kind of approach.

It is very rare for me these days to venture out of doors without the protection of a Hammer around my neck. If I feel the need to invoke the Gods, often Thunar I will grasp the Hammer and briefly invoke Him. As well as providing protection and peace of mind it can also be used as a witness to others. Often I find that people will engage me on the subject of my faith on noticing the Hammer or more often my runic rings.

Many books on Asatru/Odinism/Germanic heathenry recommend that we carry out a Hammer donning ritual on arising in the morning. I prefer to usually sleep with my Hammer around my neck for the forces of the Jotun do not sleep. However one could take the Hammer off on arising, carry out the rite and then place it back around your neck. The following is a suitable rite taken from  Edred Thorsson's A Book of Troth, 2003:

"This day shall bring new wonders, great doings, boundless luck and happiness unending-by the might of the hammer!"

Edred recommends holding the Hammer amulet in front of you at eye level when speaking the spell. One can also make the sign of the Hammer with your finger when blessing food and drink. There is historical precedence for this:

"The harvest thereafter, towards the winter season, there was a festival of sacrifice at Hlader, and the king came to it. It had always been his custom before, when he was present at a place where there was sacrifice, to take his meals in a little house by himself, or with some few of his men; but the bondes grumbled that he did not seat himself in his high-seat at these the most joyous of the meetings of the people. The earl said that the king should do so this time. The king accordingly sat upon his high-seat. Now when the first full goblet was filled, Earl Sigurd spoke some words over it, blessed it in Odin's name, and drank to the king out of the horn; and the king then took it, and made the sign of the cross over it. Then said Kar of Gryting, 'What does the king mean by doing so? Will he not sacrifice?' Earl Sigurd replies, 'The king is doing what all of you do, who trust to your power and strength. He is blessing the full goblet in the name of Thor, by making the sign of his hammer over it before he drinks it.'" (Heimskringla, Chapter 18, Hakon the Good's Saga, Snorre Sturleson)

Another version or method of making the sign of the Hammer is to visualise a ball of bright golden shining light above your head and with your right hand to reach up into the light, grasping it and bringing it down to your forehead. One should touch the forehead, intoning the sacred name of Tyr or Tiw, the shing polar deity. Then pull the light down to your mouth, intoning the sacred name of Woden/Wodan/Wotan/Odin for He is the God of speech and eloquence, His Rune being the Os Rune. The draw the light down to the solar plexus, intoning the sacred name of Thunar/Thunor/Thor/Donar. The move the light up and across to your left shoulder, intoning the sacred name of Frey/Fricco. Finally draw the light straight across to your left shoulder and intone the sacred name of Freya. This is the method taught by Edred Thorsson (see A Book of Troth)

Ron McVan however teaches a variation of this rite:

"To make the Sign of the Hammer, first touch the forehead with a clenched fist of the right hand, saying the name 'Wotan'.
"Bring the fist straight down to the chest, saying the name 'Balder'.
"Moving then toward the left shoulder, saying the name 'Frey',
"And finally toward the right shoulder, saying the name 'Thor'." (Temple of Wotan, 2000)

I personally prefer Edred's version but the reader is free to further adapt this rite so that he or she is comfortable with it.