Friday, April 13, 2012

Sacred Horns: The Journey of Creating Your Own



Years ago I had the opportunity to create my own drinking horn. It was thrilling that I would finally be able to make my own horn for use at Sumbel. I’ve spoken of Sumbel before, but in a nutshell it’s a Heathen practice of ritualized toasting. It involves toasts to the Gods & Goddesses, toasts to our Ancestors, Oaths, Toasts and Boasts along with Storytelling.

It’s an incredibly important practice because the Drinking Horn is seen as a sacred vessel. It not only holds the drink for the toast but it is the vibration of your words upon the surface of the liquid that carries your words through all the 9 Worlds.

Creating My Horn

A friend many years back got a few horns in the raw from a taxidermy source. When I got my horn the outside was still covered in caked on dirt, hair and other materials.

I had to painstakingly clean the horn by scraping the outside and then sand it until it came to a smooth finish.

At this point you could seal the horn and be done but that wasn’t for me.


Adorning My Horn

IMG_0816I found a graphic of Yggdrasil online that I really liked and used it as the inspiration to create an ingraved image in my horn.

Using a dremel I carved in the image and then took black ink to fill all the lines.

After the image was fully in I took the passage from the Havamal that describes the 9 words and wrote them in transcribed Elder Futhard Runes upon the horn.

31. Three roots do spread in threefold ways

beneath the ash Yggdrasil:

dwell etins 'neath one, 'neath the other, Hel,IMG_0818

'neath the third; Mithgarth's[42] men.

32. [43](An eagle sitteth on Yggdrasil's limbs,

whose keen eyes widely ken;

'twixt his eyes a fallow falcon is perched,

hight Vethrfolnir, and watcheth.)

33. Ratatosk[44] the squirrel is hight which runneth ay

about the ash Yggdrasil:

the warning words of the watchful eagle

he bears to Níthhogg[45] beneath.

IMG_0821It also bears the names of the Valkyries who are cupbearers as named by Odin in Grimnismal 36 (The Poetic Edda):




Hrist and Mist the horn shall bear me,

Skeggjöld and Skögul, Hildr and Þrúðr,

Hlökk and Herfjötur, Göll and Geirólul,

Randgríðr and Ráðgríðand Reginleif

To the einherjar ale shall bear

Using My Horn

IMG_0815I completed my horn many years ago and I’m horned to say it’s been used in many a Sumbel including a memorial event for a friend. The words spoken over it have reverberated through the worlds and the hearts of those present.

It’s been awhile since it held that duty but I look forward to it doing so again in the future.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project. Please visit the site and check out many of the other entries.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you as always for your comments. :)

  2. Beautiful! How did you cleanse properly the inside of the horn? After use, is it gentle soap & water?

    1. I cleaned it with soapy water and then used food grade poly-urethane to line it. I know some people like to use bee's wax to line the inside.



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