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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Feast Of Ullr

On Nov 27th is the pagan Feast Of Ullr, which is my primary focus for Thanksgiving this year. I am relatively new in paganism “in practice”. Paganism in general has always been a natural concept for me. The Feast Of Ullr is to honor our Gods and Goddesses of the hunt (it is deer hunting season in many parts of the country). We thank them for a successful hunting season blessings as well as honor those who hunt to support the family. Of course now days most of us hunt for our food in the supermarket and at this time of year it can be just as dangerous and challenging with all the other crazed “hunters” fighting for that deal. You can also utilize this day to honor familial ancestors.

So who was Ullr? He is  a major god, or an epithet of an important god dating back to prehistoric times. So old that by the time the Iron Age Norse myths were written down, not much more was known about him except that he was a god of archery, hunting, and the winter. He was shown frequently with skates or skis on his feet, and because of this he has been hailed as the modern God of Skiing. One story talks about him "crossing water on a magic bone", alluding to crossing the frozen ice on skates. He was also called God of the Shield, and the shield was referred to as his "ship", which may be a reference to using a shield or shield-shaped board as a sled … or to the ice of winter enveloping the world like a shield.

Ullr's name comes from wuldor, an Old High German word meaning "glory". It was pronounced "Ool" in ancient times, but today is generally pronounced "Ooler". The Anglo-Saxons called him Vulder; in some places in Germany he was known as Holler and said to be the husband of the Germanic goddess Holda. Some modern Pagans feel that he eventually took up with Skadi, the winter goddess and huntress, after she left her first husband Njord.
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