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Kindred Etiquette

Great Valley Kindred hosts 12 Holiday rites throughout the year, and our friends, family, and close acquaintances are invited to celebrate with us. To get invited to one of these rites please contact us and we will arrange a time to meet in a public setting so that we can get acquainted first. For more information about this, please see “How to join GVK” page.

These events are intended to be fun and spiritually nourishing to our Heathen community. They usually include a pot luck meal, discussions about lore and our beliefs, a mix of laughter and heartfelt expressions of faith, and of course a rite dedicated to the gods, our ancestors, the wights, and to the folk. We are a Heathen “family,” and would like all of our guests who attend to feel that they are “at home.”

When attending a Holiday rite, these are some things to keep in mind:

  • We are a Heathen Kindred; as such, we worship the gods and goddesses of our Germanic/Norse/Anglo Saxon ancestors. Please refrain from invoking deities from other pantheons or religious faiths during the rites. That being said, we fully welcome others whose spiritual path is different from our own to attend and respectfully participate during our rites. During Blot, Faining and Symbel, saying a general “Hail the gods!” is appropriate if you happen to honor non-Germanic deities. If you do not wish to acknowledge a deity at all, and still wish to participate, a simple “Hail!” is appropriate as well.
  • Our liturgy may seem simple, and sometimes relaxed, but keep in mind that it is still a religious ceremony. Please do not be disruptive during our rites. When others are speaking, please show respect by listening and responding. Our Kindred usually attempts to familiarize our guests with the liturgy before the rite begins, but if questions come to mind during the rite, please save them for afterward.  And of course, turn your cell phone off (or at least on silent)!
  • Our liturgy includes a Symbel, or ceremonial drinking ritual. We pass a horn around for three rounds to toast the gods, the ancestors, and the folk. During Symbel, we do not toast (or “hail”) the following: Loki, jotuns/eotens, evil people or spirits, or anything generally considered dishonorable. The Symbel is a ceremony that promotes the positive and improves the Wyrd, or luck, of those assembled. It is meant to honor and thank our gods and goddesses, our beloved ancestors, and the community’s accomplishments. If you wish to make an oath during Symbel please discuss any oaths with a Kindred member prior to the rite – we do not take oath making lightly, and would appreciate the chance to discuss this before mixing our Wyrd with yours.
  • More about Symbel: If you do not wish to drink from the horn, kissing the horn or just passing it to the next person are both perfectly appropriate. If you are, or were recently, sick – please DO NOT drink from the horn.
  • We do NOT tolerate racism, sexism, or any bigotry whatsoever. Keep your negativity to yourself, and find yourself a different group to spend your time with if you espouse any of those things.  Also, our community consists of folk from many walks of life and are of many political persuasions. Please keep this in mind when engaging in political discussion and keep it civil!
  • Our guests are encouraged to bring offerings, including: Mead or another alcoholic beverage, food, crafts or poetry, or any meaningful and respectful token of your devotion to the gods, ancestors, and wights.
  • All of our events are pot-luck and guests are asked to bring a dish and/or beverages to share with everyone. If you have Facebook, please let a Kindred member know, so we can send you an invitation to the event. The event invitations always include a “meal coordination” thread where you can see what others are bringing. To make it really simple: meat, veggies, and beer (or cider) are always good choices. For those guests and members we know in-person, we have a closed Facebook group you may join (if you have not met us, do not request to join).  For those interested in attending our events, but need to meet us in person first, please like our Facebook Page.
  • Our events are held at our homes and children are often present. When children are present, please be mindful of what you say and do. Also, if you are allergic to cats or dogs, we have those too.
  • Since you are attending a rite at a members home, please respect any house rules of the host

  • While you do not have to bring a gift to the Kindred during your first visit, some feel it appropriate as a reciprocal hospitality for allowing them to participate. If you feel like you should bring a gift to the Kindred, we are always accepting incense, mead, candles, birdseed, grass-seed, and plantable flowers.
  • It is required that if you wish to bring a guest we do not know to our events, you ask the Elders for permission first. We do not allow anyone to join our rites without permission.

Ritual Etiquette:

  • As mentioned previously, it is not appropriate to invite, invoke, or give offering to Gods and Deities not of our Anglo-Saxon pantheon.
  • Please keep your cellphone silent during ritual
  • You are not required to give an offering during our praise offering portion, but if you feel compelled to last minute, we always have extra offerings designated for that purpose that you are welcome to use. Please do not use another persons dedicated offering.
  • You do not have to speak during sumbel if it is not comfortable to you. You can simply “Hail the Gods”, “Hail the Ancestors”, or “Hail the Folk”. Alternatively you can simply say “Hail” and pass the horn.
  • It’s recommended that you bring a portable chair. We are in process of building permanent seating in our ritual space, but for now we rely on guests bringing camp chairs or the like. We have no issues what so ever with folks sitting or standing during ritual.
  • We adamantly request no smoking within sacred space and no trash thrown in the sacred fire