If I may ask: how will you acknowledge the Feast of Vali?
"I know that I hung on the windswept world tree for all of nine nights- wounded by spear, a sacrifice to Odin- myself to myself- on that tree who's roots no one knows. None handed me bread, nor horn they upheld...."
From this entire passage, the term that truely sings to me is "a sacrifice to Odin-myself to myself"
That's Odin's highest sacrifice and central to his legend- running himself through with a spear, bleeding out, then placing a noose around his neck to hang from Yggdrasil for nine nights. Nine is sacred to Asatruar because of it's relationship to Odin. Like Odin, it gives itself unto itself...
Demonstration. Multiples of nine.
When both numerals of a multiple of nine are added together, they equal nine. Notice how the numerals on the left are in numerical order from 0-9, and on the right the numerals are in reverse order from 9-0. At Ragnarok, Thor takes nine steps before falling dead after battling the serpent Jormungand.
The entire passage about Odin's time on Yggdrasil is as follows...I know that I hung, on a wind-swept tree
for all of nine nights,
wounded by spear, and given to Odin
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from what roots is rises.
They dealt me no bread, nor drinking horn.
I looked down, I drew up the runes,
screaming I took them up,
and fell back from there.
Fimbul spells I got from the famous
Son of Bolthor the father of Bestla.
I had a drink of the dear mead
that was drawn out of Othroerir.
Then I began to grow
and waxed well in wisdom.
One word led me to another,
one work led me to another.
You will find runes, meaningful staves,
very powerful staves,
very strong staves,
that Fimbul dyed,
that the Ginnregin shaped,
that the God Hropt carved.
Odin among the Aesir, but Dain for the elves,
Dvalinn for the dwarves,
Asvith for the etins.
I carved some for myself.
Know how to carve them, know how to read them,
know how to stain them, know how to wield them,
know how to ask them, know how to bloody them,
know how to send them, know how to sacrifice them.
It is better not to ask than to sacrifice too much.
A gift always looks for a gift.
It is better unsent, than over-sacrificed.
So Thund carved before the doom of mankind.
He rose up and came back after that...
- Havamal, stanzas 138-145, James C. Chisholm translation
After this portion of the Havamal come the eighteen rune-charms......"I know a charm that will heal with a touch. I know a charm that will turn aside the weapons of an enemy. I know another charm to free myself from all bonds and fetters. A fifth charm: I can catch an arrow in flight and take no harm from it. A sixth: spells sent to hurt me will hurt only the sender. A seventh charm I know: I can quench a fire simply by looking at it. An eighth: if any man hates me, I can win his friendship. A ninth: I can sing the wind to sleep and calm a storm for long enough to bring a ship to shore. For a tenth charm, I learned to dispel witches, to spin them around in the skies so that they will never find their way back home again. An eleventh: if I sing it when a battle rages it can take warriors through the tumult unscathed and unhurt, and bring them safely back to their homes and hearths. A twelfth charm I know: if I see a hanged man I can bring him down from the gallows to whisper to us all he remembers. A thirteenth: if I sprinkle water on a child's head, that child will not fall in battle. A fourteenth: I know the names of all the Gods. A fifteenth: I have a dream of power, glory, and of wisdom, and I can make people believe my dreams. A sixteenth charm I know: if I need love I can turn the mind and heart of any woman. A seventeenth, that no woman I want will ever want another. And I know an eighteenth charm, and that charm is the greatest of all, and that charm I can tell to no man, for a secret that no one knows is the most powerful secret there can ever be."
* * * *
The feast of Vali has been a source of a little debate lately. It's a more modern establishment, and I know that a lot of Asatruar don't practice it. It's on many official Asatru calendars, but a discussion has arisen as of late about it's importance and validity. Vali is a bit of an obscure
God. In the lore, his role is pretty limited to the slaying of Hoder in Baldrs Draumar
. The sun of Odin and the giantess Rind, he was conceived, born, and slayed the blind God Hoder in the same day. After that, it is only mentioned that he survives Ragnarok with his brother Vidar (who plays a much more prominent and important role in the lore than Vali). A large part of the association between Vali and February is the similarity between the words Vali
, or valiant
, and has nothing to do with romantic love. That may sound silly or superficial, but it's borrowing a page from the converting Christians- it's about making associations. If the idea, though, is to celebrate love in February- then a blot to a Goddess would be more appropriate. Perhaps Freyja, maybe Frigga, Sif, or Nanna... who in mourning flung herself onto her husband Balder's pyre.
That said, I've never celebrated the Feast Of Vali in February. If some of the discussion taking place now is any indication, I don't think many people do- and before too long may be off the official calendars. Of course this is not to say or even imply that Vali isn't deserving of honor, because he is- it is only unfortunate there are only twelve months in a year.