Alfablot, the Nordic counterpart to Samhain, or as some of you may know it as Halloween, is a very sacred time of remembrance of our deceased ancestors. We gather around our close family, and exchange stories of great men and women within our family tree, who we honor that night with drink and warm food. We must keep them in our thoughts, for they overcame great struggles to bring us to life. This is their night.

Hail to our deceased brothers,
To our past sisters
To the mothers of our mother
And fathers of our father
Though you may be gone
We feel your presence
And honor your life
You will never be forgotten

The Álfar

The Álfar (elves) are perhaps some of the most elusive and contradictory figures in the eddas. They’re rarely mentioned on their own and the one time an alfa is the lead of a tale in Norse lore, he in many ways far more resembles a dwarf in ability and function. In addition, things become even more difficult as the depictions and associations of the alfar change drastically after Christianization. They go from demigod-like beings to being invisible pests and menaces in some tales and essentially land spirits in others. It is for this reason I think it’s worth noting Gunnell’s statement that one should be “highly wary of ever referring to the earlier manifestation of alfar as ‘elves’ unless we use the term in the Tolkien sense of the word.” For that reason I’m choosing to focus more on the functions scholars have discerned they played in pre-Christian Scandinavian religions rather than those of the “folklore elves”.

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