My (somewhat long) analysis of the Facets ritual and how it went

The ritual was fabulous. Did you know that the whole audience (fifty-four people; almost a full house at 11pm on Sunday) applauded when we finished? I’ve seen that happen a few times, but not very often. Mainly, I see it in rituals in which the audience felt that they were an active part of the ritual and felt like they got out of the ritual all that they had hoped. (Or rather, that’s why I clap at the end of rituals. Who knows why anyone else does, so YMMV.) Also, many people cried–which, if you read the blog, you know is a big sign that Freya Was In.

As I had mentioned previously, this ritual was the culmination of many months’ worth of work done by all of Freyja’s Aett, including several members who were not able to be in the ritual itself. We had some great discussions about which facets She has, and what they meant, and how they interacted with other facets and other deities (which ended up being the basis of my “Freya as Goddess of Love” post). Other questions we discussed: What does it mean to be a “Love Goddess”? What does that entail? What are the challenges of working with a “Love Goddess”? What about her Seidhkona side? How does that interact with her Beauty side? Is She truly a Daddy’s girl? And what exactly is this “Vanadis” business all about?

The process of planning the ritual was also ended up being a lot of fun. It had been really important for me from the get-go that this be a collaborative process. I recognized that I only get certain aspects of Her, and I know that She is so much more complex than what little I can see. It was also very important to me that each person carrying a facet was portraying her own truth about Freya and not attempting to portray or trance something that I or another person said about Freya. And though it was very tempting, I tried not to make it be too much of trying to check off a box on a list of “Freya’s Facets ™”.

I had two main goals for the ritual: 1) That people got a chance to experience Freya’s energy (not just learn about it or see it happen to other people–Freya is a Goddess who needs to be experienced in order to “get” Her), and 2) That the experience would be just as empowering for those of us in the ritual as it was for those people who attended the ritual.

(I think that we really nailed both of those goals. Perhaps that’s why people applauded.)

The evening of the ritual, we met in my hotel room at the Doubletree (which itself was a gift from Freya, via the Morrigan–thanks, Rynn and Alley Valkyrie!). I know that I had been trancing Freya at a low simmer all week, and by Sunday evening, She was already halfway seated. The other priestesses arrived, and we were all already halfway there. There’s nothing like getting ready with a room full of Freyas, I have to say. Bling everywhere, generously shared and admired and complimented. 🙂

The group prior to us moved out of the room relatively quickly, and our set up went well, thanks to an extra Freyasman that Freya had provided earlier that morning (Thanks, John!). We also had a Freyaswoman on staff helping to organize the people outside. I went in and claimed the land; Ember cleansed the room and pulled up Vanaheim; Freybjorg and Bella made people welcome; Meredith exuded Freya energy; and Nightshade, Dee, and John set and held space as people slowly filtered in.

I ended up being at the door welcoming people in as well and had I what, in retrospect, was a  Freya-given moment. In our line up was the guy we call “Bathrobe man”. You may know him or someone like him–an older guy who uses every Con as an excuse to walk around in nothing but a short bathrobe. I strongly felt that he wasn’t there to honor Freya or to add to the intimacy and energy of this event, and that it was just one more chance for him to walk around almost-naked in front of a bunch of people. So I bounced him at the door. The Freya ritual would become some guy’s cheap thrill only over my dead body, thank you. If a person can’t respect my Goddess or the experience, then they shouldn’t be there. You may disagree, but it was what it was. As the facet of Her that I was carrying that night was Freya of Self-Love, this was a hard call to make, but She is also a Goddess of boundaries. And it really was the only call I could have made–check my monologue to find out why. (My decision was reinforced when the guy’s response to being bounced turned out to be, “[I can’t get away with wearing this] even this late in the evening…?” No, dude; you can’t. Not at my ritual.) After that was dealt with, everything went smoothly.

The ritual itself:

We started with me welcoming everyone and laying down the plan for the ritual. One of the things I personally appreciate being told what will actually happen, as that doesn’t always match what’s in the program guide. Then I led the audience through my version of a walk through Vanaheim. To me, Vanaheim is lush, green, and moist–not too warm and not too humid; just perfect. On the way, we passed the road to Noatun and gave our respects to Njord, and then passed the road to Freyr’s hall and gave our respects to him. For me, this was a way of honoring Freya’s tribe by placing Her back in Her original context: embedded in Her land with Her kin. Though the ritual was for Freya, she doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And while you can argue that all three of these Gods are living in Asgard somewhere, when I visit, I almost always Freya in Vanaheim. We ended up at the door to her Hall, which is where I stopped the journey.

At that point, we invoked the different facets of Freya. Ember was up first, as Vanadis, and about two lines into her invocation, BAM–the Vanadis was there. The same thing happened with Freybjorg’s Brisingamen, and Meredith’s Chooser of the Slain, and Bella’s Lady of Desire–BAM. BAM. BAM. Like switches being flipped. I could literally see it happening in front of me. It was the coolest thing to see and experience, I have to say–quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve seen in ritual, but then, I’d never been on this side of a huge ritual before. And by the time it was my turn to bring my facet, Freya the Generous Giver/Freya of Self-Love, I really didn’t have to do much of anything but stand up. I said my piece–going off script as most of us did–and whew, the energy! Craziness. I’m a former teacher, so I have some idea what it’s like to carry an audience in the palm of my hand, but damn. It was intense. Kudos to the audience for keeping up with that kind of energy. I know many people had already had their yearly quota of emotionally and spiritual intense experiences by that point in the weekend; but they were right there with us, every step of the way. After we each had said our piece, we went to our thrones; I got to mine as Dee laid down the rules of Freya Engagement.

Originally, we each had a Thing of some kind that we were going to give or say to the people who came to talk to us, thinking that people would make the rounds–Meredith had falcon (?) feather charms, I had the pendants and Love Notes (which ended up going missing before the ritual, but that’s another story)–but, as with most things regarding Her, Freya had other plans. I ended up doing a mini-seidh session for each person, complete with hugs and lots of crying. As often happens for me when I’m trancing, I only know that time is passing my noticing how much my energy was flagging, and I had started to flag by that point. Even so, when Dee called us all in, we were all, “What?! Just one more person. We totally have time for one more person.” According to Nightshade, I had a full line and met with 10 or so people (as everything’s kind of fuzzy at that point, so I can’t say for certain). In any event, we all had a continuous stream of attendees who wanted to talk to Freya. Clearly, my original thought of cycling through all 54 people in a half and hour was a tad unrealistic; but then I hadn’t actually expected more than twenty people to come–late at night, people exhausted, etc. Silly me.

In any event, we had to wrap up with less time than planned, so we had to rearrange the last part of the ritual on the fly to make sure we had time for the Blot, and I ended up walking people back through Vanaheim to Midgard faster than I would have liked. Now we know to budget more time for the trancy section of the ritual. I’d have liked to have more time for the Blot, too–give people a chance to thank Her individually–but again, no time. We really need two solid hours for the ritual (or a sixth Freya, or a smaller group of attendees).

We ended the ritual with a really powerful series of “Hail, Freyas”:

Ember: Hail Freya, Queen of the Vanir! Thank you for your blessings and guidance! Hail and farewell!
Dee: Hail Freya!     All: Hail Freya!
Freybjorg: Hail Freya, Bearer of Brisingamen! Thank you for your blessings and guidance!
Hail and farewell!
Dee: Hail Freya!     All: Hail Freya!
Meredith: Hail Freya, Goddess of War! Thank you for your blessings and guidance! Hail and farewell!
Dee: Hail Freya!     All: Hail Freya!
Bella: Hail Freya, Lady of Desire! Thank you for your blessings and guidance! Hail and farewell!
Dee: Hail Freya!     All: Hail Freya!
Cara: Hail Freya, Generous Giver! Thank you for your blessings and guidance! Hail and farewell!
Dee: Hail Freya!     All: Hail Freya!

…and again, it was literally like watching the light switch (not turn off totally, though–She ended up sticking around in us a lot longer than we had planned)–seeing the light change, the energy ground, and the ritual wrap up. It was tangible and powerful, and once we were finished, the audience gave us loud a round of applause and cheers. It felt like we had just finished Something, and that She was very, very happy with it all.

So, notes for next time: Pare down intro of ritual so as to save more time for the trancing. Add in another priestess to carry the Seidkona facet, which is the only one I really felt was missing (we had two of our priestesses cancel on us not long before the Con, and the rest of us were already settled into our Facet). Get more warders. (Our warding team was solid and clearly provided by Freya, and Freya Herself does a great job of respecting everyone’s boundaries, but honestly, if the crowd had been any bigger, we would have been pretty strapped.) As it was, we did have one guy who hadn’t made it to a Freya in time, so afterwards Meredith went over and tranced Freya for him, but it could have been a close thing. Freya does not want to be seen as a stingy host.

Afterwards we tromped up into my room, and poor Alley Valkyrie was inundated with five exuberant post-ritual Freyas. (Ha! I just realized that I was rooming with a Valkyrie–subtle much, Freya??) Though the ritual was well and duly wrapped up, it took us a long time to really wind down. But happily so.

All in all, it was a great experience. Thanks to my warders, thanks to my co-priestesses, and a big thanks to my Lady for making it all happen. Hail Freya!

8 thoughts on “My (somewhat long) analysis of the Facets ritual and how it went

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