Friday, January 27, 2012

To Boast: It’s Good For You


It’s that time of the week again. Friday means it’s my entry for the Pagan Blog Project. We’re on the Second week of the Letter B and be sure to check out the other posts written this week.

Last week when I was talking about Blots I mentioned a bit about Sumbel, the rite of ritualized toasting done after a Blot or separately on it’s own. Before I said how it has a minimum of three rounds, where the Drinking Horn is passed to each person and they say something. Remember that everything said over the horn is sacred and the words reverberate throughout the Nine Worlds. 

The first round is to the Gods, the second to the Ancestors, and the third is for Oaths, Toasts or Boasts.

What is a Boast?

I wanted to talk about boasts because they are something I always found Heathen Drinking Horndifficult to do and in some ways run counter to many peoples upbringing.

Boasts are telling of some accomplishment over the horn for all the worlds to hear. They aren’t bragging because bragging often has the connotation of something not fully earned or being over inflated in its telling.

Boasts include telling everyone of the promotion you got at work, the healthy birth of a child, or fulfilling some personal goal. The last is very important is that goal was made previously as an Oath over the horn at some prior Sumbel.

So What’s My Difficulty with Boasts?

I was raised, as I think many of Northern European mutt heritage were, that you keep your emotions pretty close to the cuff and bragging is wrong. When I first encountered the ideal of boasting I just couldn’t do it. Really though the biggest reason was I doubted if anything I had done was worthy of a boast. I was no great war-hero, I had never saved another persons life, I then had no children, and when I first entered Heathenry I didn’t even have a job. I was in college full-time.

It was probably not until I’d Heathen Drinking Hornparticipated in half a dozen sumbels or so that I finally did my first. Previous to that I just stuck to Toasts. After I did my first, which I don’t honestly remember what it was, I realized something. It felt awesome to vocalize a true accomplishment, have everyone recognize it and here that resounding Hail! in return. I also realized as long as I truly felt it was an accomplishment and deserving of a Boast then so would everyone else. No one was going to call me out in the middle of Sumbel over a Boast.

That’s reserved only for Oaths. We’ll get into that when we get to O.

Boasts are Good for the Soul

Heathen Drinking HornEven if you have never participated in a Sumbel and are not likely to in the future you can still take this to heart.

Make sure to acknowledge your accomplishments and let others too.

Write it on a piece of paper and put in on the Fridge for a week. Post into onto your Social Networking site of choice like Facebook, or Google +. Just whatever you do.

Don’t keep it to yourself!

Go ahead and start it here. In the comments leave me a boast about something you’ve done recently!



  1. Your posts so inspire me. :) Beautiful horn btw

  2. Lovely post! I had problems with the concept of boasting, as well, though for totally different reasons - my grades in school were always fairly good, up to the point that my family used to take them for granted, in a way, and would not be happy about them with me. So for quite some time I was having trouble being really proud when I did something well. But since I started writing short stories and poems, and people who don't know me at all do appreciate them, I guess I'm getting over the problem.

  3. You've been tagged!

  4. Love your blog! I think my boast that I have a nice and healthy baby in my tummy. That and I am finally getting over the fear of birth

  5. I like your post very much. It's sad that so many people just don't vocalise their accomplishments or achievements because they've been brought up not to. I am one of these, or was. I'm learning that it is OK, and good to voice ones achievements. After all we've worked hard for them, so why not voice them? I guess the word 'boast' has negative connotations in many societies. Well done for a great post...have a boast :)

  6. Your posts are inspiring and I learn so much from them!! This one really hit home, too! And here I am having a hard time to come up with one, haha. Well I have made it to 8 months of breastfeeding now! Even closer to my next big milestone of one year! ^w^ There were times in the first couple months I wasn't sure I would ever get this far but I have.



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