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Dave Stephens

Ancient Ritual for Blessing a Forge?

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Greetings Worthy Comrades:

 

It's been many weeks since I arrived in this cursed land of heat, humidity, and unspeakable creatures of scale and wing that slither and crawl unceasingly through the ever present and sprawling undergrowth: this land known as Florida.

 

I have channeled my angst at the unbearable furnace in which I find my lot cast into work on my new smithy, in the hopes that the healing fires of the sacred, ancient forge might do battle with the sickly humid heat of this wretched swamp.

 

My toils near their end. The time draws neigh when this new sanctuary of the North--for I have imbued it with a mysterious and arcane technology known to the enlightened as "air conditioning"--shall see the birth of the first blade to come from its carefully crafted benches, tool stands and halls.

 

Thus, a query for our most esteemed and erudite band of bladesmiths: Is any soul in possession of ancient, arcane knowledge relating to rituals for the blessing of a new smithy in which mighty blades were hoped to be birthed?

 

I give preemptive gratitude for your assistance in this grave and most solemn of requirements.

 

Hail from Hell (with Palm Trees), my friends.

 

--Dave

 

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Well...

 

I know of none to bless a forge, but I know of a celtic pagan ritual to invoke good favor of the goddess of smithcraft.

 

You read that right.

 

The celts were into some pretty heavy stuff, and I'm not sure whether this is meant for humor or not :lol:

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In general the spirits like, well, spirits. A dash of your favorite (I don't recommend the smoked salmon vodka, shudder) on the anvil, a splash on the forge, a bit to the four prime directions. A bit of smoke always goes well in this kind of ritual, here abouts we'd use cedar and sage, but a good pungent cigar is traditional where you are. Oh, yes, and a ringing of the anvil to drive out evil. That should about do it.

 

Good fortune to you,

 

Geoff

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Well...

 

I know of none to bless a forge, but I know of a celtic pagan ritual to invoke good favor of the goddess of smithcraft.

 

You read that right.

 

The celts were into some pretty heavy stuff, and I'm not sure whether this is meant for humor or not :lol:

 

 

Well dude, let's hear it!

 

And, of course I'm engaging in humor/irony here. You're not supposed to notice/bring it up . . . (;

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In general the spirits like, well, spirits. A dash of your favorite (I don't recommend the smoked salmon vodka, shudder) on the anvil, a splash on the forge, a bit to the four prime directions. A bit of smoke always goes well in this kind of ritual, here abouts we'd use cedar and sage, but a good pungent cigar is traditional where you are. Oh, yes, and a ringing of the anvil to drive out evil. That should about do it.

 

Good fortune to you,

 

Geoff

 

I like the cut of your jib, sir. Drinking and smoking of cigars/pipes as an essential part of the ritual? Call me a convert!

 

By the way, our own Peter Johnsson really liked the smoked salmon Vodka. He's the only man I know that actually went back for a refill after tasting the aforementioned spirit. The Swedes are made of hardy stuff!

 

--Dave

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When I commissioned the current forge here back in 2004, I used scotch and absinthe to anoint to forge hood and anvil. Scotch for strength and perserverence, absinthe (the real French stuff before it was re-legalized) for artistry. A few ancient designs drawn in each spirit on the forge hood, a few drops on the anvil. Then a few swooshes of sage and cedar around the anvil, followed by tobacco in the firepot, with a pipe going the whole time wafting smoke in the seven directions.

 

I repeated the process when I got a new anvil in 2007, and again last year when I was having a forge-weld-preventing-gremlin problem. An occasional offering of the good stuff of whatever it is you like seems to help.

 

As long as you come up with something that feels meaningful to you it ought to work, that's the nature of ritual. B)

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ive also ways thought that the prime idea behind a ritual having any oomph is that you are giving up something you want. its not a sacrifice other wise.

 

just get your favourite tipple and smoke and apply liberally.

 

also, make something small on the first firing and bury it near by with more tipple.

 

so basicly... booze

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A common thing I've heard is "smudging" using tobacco and/or other herbs, sometimes things like cinnamon, and placing said herb on a hot piece of iron heated in the forge and allowed to smoke up the place.

As for "authentic" Pagan rituals, unless you're a practicing Native American- who didn't actually use or make much in the way of ironwork till recently, or planning on using the Shinto ritual blessings- remember that most of what is touted as "traditional Pagan ritual" dates back to the Neo-Pagan revival from the 1890's on. Or you could also go out to the nearest RCC church and ask about getting a candle lit for St. Eligius.

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The Homeric/Ancient Greek thing to do would be to kill an animal, roast it (burning the thigh bones and fat for the deity's share), and have a block party:

 

Once they had prayed and scattered barley grain,

they pulled back the heads of sacrificial beasts,

slit their throats, flayed them, sliced the thigh bones out,

and hid them in twin layers of fat, with raw meat on top.

Old Chryses burned them on split wood, poured wine on them.

Young men beside him held out five-pronged forks.

Once the thighs were well burned, they sampled entrails,

then sliced up all the rest, skewered the meat on spits,

roasted it carefully, and drew off every piece.

That work complete, they then prepared a meal and ate.

No heart was left unsatisfied. All feasted equally.

And when the men had had their fill of food and drink,

young boys filled the mixing bowl with wine up to the brim, [

and served it, pouring libations into every cup.

Then all day long young Achaean lads played music,

singing to the god a lovely hymn of praise,

honouring in dance and song the god who shoots from far.

 

Iliad book 1 line 450 or so--not my translation.

Edited by Tyler Miller

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I'll have to try to find the poem that goes with it, but other than that it's pretty simple.

 

You need a "sacrifice" of a small cup of any kind of grain to be burned in a small fire, and something you've forged. It could be a small iron athame, lock that in a wooden box with the ashes of the fire and keep it safely stored in your workshop. You need to have a positive outlook during the ritual.

 

I won't claim I'm any kind of true to heart pagan, but soon after I blessed my shop like this, I've noticed that I was much calmer and simple mistakes didn't butterfly effect into catastrophes. I've had many succesful forge welds and heat treats since then. ^_^

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Well it's not European in origin, but the Japanese believe that the spark from flint an steel is the purest form of fire. They use it to bless things. Maybe start your first forge fire with flint steel and tender. However anything to do with beer and pipesmoking would probably what I would go for!

Edited by Mike Sheffield

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It's not exactly a ritual, but you could put a horseshoe above the door to the forge, or better yet over the anvil itself.

 

As everyone likely knows, the horseshoe is supposed to be lucky. Now the interesting thing is that when one puts a shoe up, you have to place it so that open end is up so that the horseshoe catches the luck, sort of like a cup. To put one open side down is unlucky. For everyone except a smith that is! Blacksmiths install them so that the open side is down, pouring luck over the smith, his anvil & the work he would be doing.

 

I'm in favour of the scotch idea; a little in the fire and some splashes all around, all the rest for you! Maybe a smokey Ardbeg or Bowmore to remind the shop again of what it's going to be doing.

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Beer, home brewed beer is what's needed. Goibniu, the Celtic god of Blacksmithing was also the god of Brewing.

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A small piece of silver under your anvil before you strike the first blow, this will please the spirits.

 

A splash of good drink to the four corners will please the spirits and the smith.

 

I was told to bury a flint striker at the threshold of your shop after starting the first fire. The flint striker was supposed to represent the birth of fire and had much magic in it. If it started the first fire in the forge and was then buried at the door, no mischievous gremlins could cross.

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ROTFLMAO.....can't help with any of the "voodoo that you do"........but I can say WELCOME to FL. I can't imagine the SHOCK of moving from Alaska to Florida.........:)

IF you haven't already gone to a FABA meeting...that might be of interest. They have their annual conference in Ocala, FL this year. There will be a female bladesmith demoing.....Elsa Fantino

http://fabaconference.org/demonstrators/elsa-fantino/

 

general info:

 

http://fabaconference.org/

 

As a matter of fact....ALL the demonstrators are accomplished females metalsmiths.

 

bill

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Ah yes, welcome to the seething abyss that is the land of my birth!

 

When I read about your relocation, I was tempted to meet you at the border and warn you off, with dark looks, somber tales, and forboding mystery.

 

But what is done, is done.

 

The only advice I can offer you for living in that forsaken sandbar, is to get out! Barring that I think whatever ritual you perform should be done during the thunderstorms, under the flashes of skyfire, with an offering to the noble skunk ape on whose land you now dare to tread. Beware the swampbillies. Remember that the smaller and more legs a critter there has, the more poisonous it is. Forging a large flyswatter that you then connect to several car batteries will be your best defense against the swarming parasites. Pray that the ancient smiths of fallen Atlantis guard you from thier purgatory in the marshes.

 

I should be there again soon, within the next few weeks, and deem it a prudent thing to visit you to ally against the darkness of that accursed place.

 

I'll bring whatever liquid solace you care to ingest, you poor bastard.

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Thanks for this guys. Great ideas. I will share a video when the smithy is christened. It's almost ready.

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Whatever you do you should be sincere, the Gods are not to be snickered at.

 

Daniel

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Whatever you do you should be sincere, the Gods are not to be snickered at.

 

Daniel

 

Ah! But what if I'm appeasing a god of mischief, like Loki? He may enjoy a good snicker.

 

Manifold are the manifestations of man's mythical imagination when making merry with mischievous, mystical ceremonies. (;

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You wouldn’t happen to be in NOLE country would you?

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I bow to you superior alliteration skills. Snicker away!

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When I first took over my current forge, I went in one evening with a bottle of wine to meet and greet the resident genius loci (genii loci?). By the time the party had warmed up I had lost my shirt, one of my shoes and a little bit of hair (cigarette/oxy-propane torch misconnect). It was about then that Mrs. P came in and told me that given how dark it was outside, how brightly lit it was inside, and how big the forge windows that looked directly onto the street were, the adamant debate I was having with the denizens of the world unseen might make the wrong kind of impression in the small, conservative village in which I live.<br />So, that was my ritual.

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