Planning a ritual in the time of Covid may require some adaptations. My kindred usually does winter holidays indoors, as illustrated by the picture above of last year's Yule, but this year we decided to do a bonfire outside in my back yard. Outdoor events are considered safer than indoor ones.

Ritual planning can require some forethought even if you've conducted a lot of rituals. Here are some ideas for an Asatru style Yule ritual, which other kinds of heathens, pagans, and polytheists might like to vik as well. (Asatruars sometimes semi-humorously say we are "viking" something, because that sounds so much cooler than "stealing.")

The most basic part of an Asatru sumbel, or toasting ritual, is the drink. Some groups only have one beverage for the ritual, and if it is alcohol, those who don't want to drink alcohol just kiss the horn and pass it on. Other groups have a horn of alcohol and a horn of a non-alcoholic beverage.

For the past several years, my Yule planning has included making a beverage I call Northern Lights Goddesses Brew, which includes ingredients to honor specific Asatru goddesses. Each year I try to add a new ingredient to honor a new goddess. For 2020 I added beet root for Jord. I've posted about previous years' Brews here on this blog a couple of times, including recipes.

The most important question to ask onesself when planning a ritual event is: do I want to do a ritual that feels ritualistic, familiar, comforting, with repetition and fulfilled expectation, or do I want something novel, exciting, different for the sake of being different? If the former, then once you have a successful ritual format you will usually stick to it year after year, perhaps tweaking it only a little, like I do when I make a new batch of my Brew every June after I harvest my wheat, and add one new ingredient each time. If the latter, then you'll want to re-use only the most basic bones of each ritual. So, for example, you'd have a sumbel, but you might choose a different god to focus on each time, and select a beverage specifically for that god, and use that god's symbols as a decorating scheme for the space where the ritual will be held.

If you're wondering what to get a fellow heathen for Yule, I suggest a copy of my new book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Find it on this link: Asatru: A Beginner’s Guide to the Heathen Path - ERIN LALE AUTHOR 

What I would like from my readers for Yule is a book review. Reviews from readers don't have to be long, just a single sentence telling why you liked it still counts as a review. Review my book on Amazon on this link: Asatru: A Beginner’s Guide to the Heathen Path: Lale, Erin: 9781578637027: Amazon.com: Books and if that link doesn't work try this one: https://www.amazon.com/Asatru-Beginners-Guide-Heathen-Path/dp/1578637023/ 

For those who would like to listen to audio on how to do basic Asatru rituals: listen to Asatru Ritual 1: What to expect at your 1st sumbel, & 2: the blot ritual and how to do your own heathen ritual at home, on this link: Audio - ERIN LALE AUTHOR 

 
Image: "Raise a Cup of Wassail at Yule," photo by Erin Lale (using the camera's self timer) of the founding members of American Celebration Kindred with cups of hot wassail, which is spiced apple cider, next to the Yule altar. I (Erin) am wearing my gythia apron because I'm conducting the ritual. Tom is raising his mug and showing a little motion blur. Amanda is wearing a Happy Hanukkah sweater to honor her Jewish ancestors. The photo has a warm yellow glow because it's an uncorrected digital conversion of a 35mm daylight slide film photo shot by the light of candles, incandescent light bulbs, and Christmas lights. This photo was taken at last year's Yule, in 2019. At this year's Yule we'll be honoring Tom among our honored dead. This photo is part of the Heathen Visibility Project.