I first heard of Sunwait from my friend, Karina of Mugwort and Rose. I saw her post her FUTHARK candles and asked what thsi was all about. She directed me to Vantljusstaken’s page. There I learned about Sunwait and became inspired by this modern idea of Heathen Advent.
Why Heathen Advent?
I can’t speak for everyone but my kid is in a holiday frenzy so I need a count down. Not only does it allow him to feel like we’re already celebrating, it also helps me bring in our faith and stories during times when he is inundated with secular and religious Christmas concepts.
This helps me too. Yule is a big deal in our home. Not only does it give us a chance to celebrate and give thanks and offerings to our Gods, Ancestors, and Wights, but it helps us balance our lives in Christian family/culture. Leading up to Yule, a Heathen Advent allows me to prepare that Northern Tradition mindset, get into the spirit of the thing, and make me feel less overwhelmed by all the secular commercial hubbub.
But There’s No Lore
I’ve seen a little bit of backlash about Sunwait. A bunch of Heathen Recons saying that the concept of a Heathen Advent is preposterous and demanding that those of us celebrating conjure up some lore to explain ourselves.
I’m not a reconstructionist. I love reading lore, archeological findings, poetry, etc but its not the foundation of my beliefs. The Gods, the spirits, and my ancestors are the foundation of my beliefs. In that vein, setting aside some time weekly during a season when things get hectic in order to celebrate what truly matters – I am certain our ancestors would be proud and I know my Gods don’t mind. Honoring the Gods, spirits, and Ancestors is DEFINITELY in the lore.
Besides – since when is stagnation something to be admired? Why not create new traditions so long as they are founded in piety?
How We Celebrate Sunwait
I saw that many celebrants of Sunwait were focusing on weekly rituals, most of them on Thursdays (Thor’s Day). These usually involve a lighting of one of six candles. Each of the candles are often marked with one of the first 6 FUTHARK runes (Feoh, Urux, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kenaz).
I chose to celebrate on Friday (Frigga’s Day). This would end my Sunwait celebration on Mother’s Night (December 20th), which also happens to be my birthday. I’ve been told I’m not the only person to do it on this night.
Each Friday I have/am lighting 1 candle. 1 chose 5 black tea lights and 1 white taper. These I am anointing with flax seed oil and setting individual intentions. I admit now, I’m playing this all a little by ear since, as I’ve said, there’s no lore around it.
The First Night of Sunwait
The first night, last Friday, I did a deep and thorough cleaning of my Ancestor and Frigga (and Her handmaidens) altars. That night, I lit a candle for the Ancestors, specifically the Disir as well as left offerings to them and to Frigga. Over the weekend, I did some genealogy work in offering to them and my descendants. I also did some bone throwing asking for some aid in that work – specifically regarding a branch of the family I have a difficult time connecting with.
This past week has been very interesting. Both my husband and myself have received a lot of messages, synchronicity, and inspiration that we both attribute to our Sunwait focus.
The Second Night and Onward
Tonight I light the 2nd candle and am focusing on Frigga and Her handmaidens – especially Fulla, Vor, Eir, Hlin, and Saga. Odin has also elbowed His way into much of my thoughts today so I am also honoring Him. My son and I baked some eggnog loaf that we are leaving slices of in offering.
In the weeks to come, I will likely do some more bone throwing, offerings, and Yule preparations. I will say that I feel more excited and grounded since starting this new tradition. This opposed to feeling grouchy about family Christmas and being inundated by the holidays whenever I leave the house.