Persons Under the Age of 21 at Blot/ Sumble and other reasons for having multiple horns at events.
In the state where I live, people under the age of 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol unless consumed in small quantities in regards to religious practices, such as a thimble full for Communion, etc. Some states have slightly more relaxed liquor laws that allow a person of a certain age to be able to consume as long as they are accompanies by a parent of guardian. Please refer to the liquor laws of your own state or of the state you may be performing Blot in to be sure that you are following local and federal laws. It is better to abide by the local and federal laws than to get an unexpected lawsuit, fine, injury, or a bad reputation for the entire community.
For example, I once led an open sumble that included all of the following participants: a child under 5, a pregnant woman, a person who never consumes alcohol, an organ transplant recipient and a person with a cold. (Luckily that day, I had chosen to offer a linden flower & apple juice mixture, instead of mead.)
These are the guidelines that I and my kindred follow, when leading public Blot. Some of us may actively run public Blots/ Sumbles and the issue may arise. These options are only suggestions that may be used, improved or borrowed.
1. Always have a juice, milk or water horn at public events. (There’s nothing wrong with offering water or an herbal infusion, such as elderflower tea.) We usually bring it so that small children can participate, but it works well for older kids as well. It is also nice for those who choose not to consume alcohol for various reasons (i.e. pregnant women, recovering alcoholics, persons on medication or with other medical issues). Also, there are people with allergies to dairy, alcohol and honey. Sometimes we also have a separate horn for those that my be sick with things like the flu, colds- might fill it with mead, juice or some fizzy cold remedy.
2. Always offer the non- alcoholic horn as a substitute. Parents usually like this the non-alcoholic option better because then everything is out of the legal gray areas. Also, if on private and or state/ federal property (such as a park) please strictly observe the rules they have provided, so as to not give the law and officials a bad impression of Heathens and our practices. They may already think we are a bunch or weirdoes in the woods, and we do not need to fuel the media or any other group’s ideas that we should not be allowed to celebrate publically. Act responsibly.
3. When Blotting/ Sumbling in a state where parental consent is allowed, (This has not been an issue yet but we do have a plan for it.) the following is required:
A written statement that the guardian is allowing their child to partake in alcohol consumption. It must state that the parent/ guardian is responsible for regulating this consumption at said event and individuals other than the guardian are not liable for any of the following: Harm to child related to alcohol consumption (allergies, physical injuries, etc.), dealings with law enforcement agencies, and any future like for alcoholic beverages which may have been triggered by the guardian’s choice to allow their child to consume alcohol.
4. Refer to Troth Clergy Members (or other Gothi or Gythia) on ways to transfer “energies” from the alcoholic horn/blessing bowl (and such) to non-alcoholic horn. This is a concern among some individuals at Blot/ Sumble that if two vessels are going around, than the blessing of the gods and the folk are in two different places- it divides the group, which is counter productive of what Blot and Sumble stand for. I have spoken to some individuals that touch horns to transfer “power/energies” and others that kiss horns. The acting Valkyrie for my kindred I hold both horns and pass in front of each individual and step behind and to the left of them as they toast as to weave the people at the gathering together. There are many was to do this, but please, if representing the Troth at a public event please try the format that the Troth Clergy has as a guideline.
It looks good if we are consistent in our public practice, so that when groups intermingle, they are familiar with the basic ritual format, non alcoholic options, and legal precautions regarding minors in settings with alcohol.
Original document: Chris & Val Miller
Updated in 2012: Phyllis Steinhauser