Naming Ceremony

The following is an example of a simple naming ceremony. To keep these notes simple I have given the child the name Erick Alfred (could be worse!) Refer to the notes below for further considerations:


Set aside an area of the room as an altar to the Norns. Use a blessing bowl filled with spring water to represent the well and branches of ash or yew for the world tree. If available a spindle, a skein of yarn and wooden rune staves, suitable artwork and other Norn symbols would be appropriate. The ceremony requires use of a blessing twig, this can be a leafy tree branch or a bunch of fresh herbs. Birch, ash, hyssop or lady's mantle would be appropriate for namings (avoid yew, it is toxic).


Family and friends gather in a circle with the mother and father standing beside the altar.

Male friend or relative: Carries incense or a candle around the gathering, requesting the blessing of the gods and elves. A hammer hallowing can be used if desired.

Father: 'I call the Norns to attend on this special day. Urd, Vervandi, and Skuld be welcome at our hearth and share our feast. We give you a gift of mead.'

Female friend or relative: Fills a cup with mead and places it on the altar.

Father: Explains reason for gathering, praises wife for enduring the nine moons of bearing the child.

Mother: Thanks father for caring for her through the nine moons.

Male Friend or relative: 'What name have you chosen?'

Mother: 'Erik Alfred'

Male Friend or relative: 'Bear witness Urd Vervandi and Skuld. The child is named, spin his destiny as a long strong thread and fix the strand high among the stars.'

Female friend or relative: Dips blessing twig into bowl and blesses child. 'Urd, Vervandi, and Skuld give your blessing to Erik. Frigg protect Erick through his tender years. Holda give Erik your protection. Let him grow strong and comely. Let him know good health and joy. Let him thrive in wisdom that he may know his own mind.'

Parent's Oath

Father: 'Holy Norns, gods and goddesses and elf folk bear witness. I promise to protect and provide for Erik through his years of childhood as best as I am able.'

Mother: 'Holy Norns, gods and goddesses and elf folk bear witness. I promise to feed and comfort Erik through his years of childhood as best as I am able.'

Male friend or relative: Takes blessing twig and blesses parents. 'Give your blessing on (Mother's name) and (Father's name). Let them know contentment and joy despite the testing times ahead.'

Mother: Explain why the child's name was chosen and its significance. 'I ask everyone gathered to greet Erik Alfred.' Carries child around gathering, all friends and relatives greet the child by name and touch him gently.

Spirit Parents (optional)

Mother: 'I declare that should I suffer death or serious illness before Erik comes of age, I would trust Linda to look to his welfare. Linda do you accept this burden?'

Linda: 'I am willing to stand as Erik's mother in spirit. I give a gift of silver as a token of my pledge.' Mother: Blesses spirit mother with blessing twig..

Father: 'I declare that should I suffer death or serious illness before Erik comes of age, I would trust Henry to look to his welfare. Henry do you accept this burden?'

Henry: 'I am willing to stand as Erik's father in spirit. I give a gift of silver as a token of my pledge.'

Father: Blesses spirit father with blessing twig.

Giving of Amulets:

Mother: 'Do any others have a silver gift for Erik?'

Female Friend or Relative: Collects silver tokens and wraps them in cloth and ties the bundle with cord.

Male Friend or Relative: Blesses bundle with blessing twig. 'May this bundle represent our love and blessings on Erik Alfred.'

Horn Passing

Female Friend or Relative: Fills horn and hands to father. She holds the bundle before him so he can lay his hand on it while giving his blessing. .

Father: 'I would ask all kin and friends to join us in giving Erik our personal blessings.'

Female friend or relative: Fills horn or cup and presents to the father.

Father: Adds his own blessing on child and mother, horn passing follows, relatives and friends can give blessings in the name of their own patrons. The horn should end with the Mother:

Mother: 'On behalf of Erik I thank you for your blessings and gifts. This bundle will be kept near his crib so that your good wishes will be near him in his early years. When he is nine years old I will entrust them to his keeping.'

Father: 'Remember the Norns are with us, so give them an offering that they my join us in our celebration. And now let the feast commence.'

After the feast and before the Norns and deities are thanked for their attendance, a bag of runes can be passed for the folk to enquire of the future. If desired the mother can draw a rune for the child.

Naming Ritual Notes
Choosing a name

If poorly chosen a child's name can cause no end of problems during its childhood, so think carefully before you burden a child with an outlandish Norse or Anglo-Saxon name. A list of possible names drawn from Germanic, Celtic and Classical sources is listed later in this issue.

Timing of Ceremony

The mother will need time to recover from the birthing. But if the naming ceremony is to have any relevance it should mark the introduction of the child into the larger family and kindred of the parents. Therefore a date between 9 days after birthing and before a full month has passed is desirable.


We have suggested using silver amulets and pendants as they represent both wealth and protection, and most heathens we know rattle with them anyway! If the child follows one of the pagan paths in maturity they will have a head start, and if not they will have a unique reminder of their welcome into the world.

Anyone unable to provide silver can give fragrant dried herbs such as lavender or rose petals to be placed in the bundle. Slips of paper with blessings written on them could also be added. Traditional English naming gifts (Yorkshire) are coins (for wealth) salt (for protection) and an egg (for fertility).

Gifts for immediate use for the parents and child can be presented after the ceremony. And on a less nostalgic note, up to date parents may wish to announce the child's personalised e-mail address!

Blessing Water & Twig

This should be as natural as possible. Water collected that day from a local natural spring is ideal, failing that use bottled spring water or fresh rain water. Ask the Norns/Goddesses blessing on the water either when you collect it or when you pour it into the blessing bowl. Spring water applied by sprinkling with a leafy twig or bunch of herbs (Hyssop, birch leaves and lady's-mantle are very appropriate. An evergreen herb such as rosemary can be used for a winter naming ceremony)

Single Parents / Lesbian Families

The ceremony given above can be very easily adapted to either of these situations.

Religious Dedication of Infants

Every heathen and pagan we have spoken to on this subject is adamantly against the enforced initiation of infants in the parent's faith before the child knows its own mind. Thus the emphasis of the ceremony is on protection rather than dedication. And no promise is made by the parents to seek to influence the child in this respect.

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