The "oath-rings" are the most mythical gold arm-rings in prehistory. The name comes from the Icelandic sagas, which tell us that rings were worn or held at the swearing of oaths, marriages, and other events, and that when given to another these rings create a bond stronger than that of blood. These same sagas describe temple rings or oath-rings which had been used by the priests, and keep these and other words and deeds of our Elder Troth alive so we may remain true to the ways of our honoured ancestors before us. The Hammer itself is a sign of Troth among the Asatru, a remnant of when our ancestors strove to keep their own ways whole. It is the sigil of all who follow the god/desses of the North, with its own oath-ring firmly attached through the handle. Whichever your choice, hammer or armband, this ring of precious metals is the holy oath-ring, which is also the sign of our equally holy fellowship with the Æsir.

The ring from the Parish of Södra Ving in Västergötland is cast in solid gold and weighs over 76 grams, but arm-rings were/are just as often made out of a thin gold foil folded to a tubular shape and then firmed up with a bronze filling. This was a technique used by the goldsmiths to supplement the precious gold. These ancient arm-rings show traces of wear from prolonged use, and there are some more than a thousand years older than the oath-rings mentioned of in the Icelandic sagas. Yet a third, cost-effective method, is to twist several strands of precious wire together and then bend them into a circular shape, which is closed off by twisting the ends back into loops, or by soldering end pieces on. One may also simply spiral several feet of 18 guage pure silver wire around and around until it becomes a visibly seamless whole. It should always consist of windings in three's - truly symbolizing a ring of Holy Troth, and weigh no less than one ounce.

The pattern of the thrice-wound oath-ring also calls on those three great oath-gods, UllR (Wulthur), Tyr (Tiw), and Thor (Thunar), or, the triad of "Freyr (Yngvi), NjördR (Nerthus), and the almighty Ase (your choice)". Yet these are not the only Gods of the Oath, some of the more prominent to be known are: Vidar, Keeper of Secrets and Holder of Oaths; Thorr, Wielder of Mjollnier and Protector of MidgardR; Oðin, All-Father and Observer of Troth; Freyja, Mistress of SeidhR and Keeper of Mysteries; Bragi, God of Eloquence and Smooth of Tongue; Vár, Goddess of Love and Observer of Marital Vows. To be sure, there are many that I have failed to list, and those that I have may have different traits one would prefer to call upon, but this should inspire one to seek on their own for ever more input.

One of the best and most holy times to make oaths is to state them over the horn during sumble, or to make them on the boar during the Yule blot. The baugeidhR, or ring-oath, is the holiest of oaths, but less common in practice, because of the somewhat ritualized manner, if not full ceremony called for, although they may be given at any time. One must realize that these Oaths, or Statements of Truth, are an essential part of the Northern Tradition. It is through the composing and then honouring of one's boasts, vows, and oaths which enables the full development of one's self-worth and increases the true comraderie with one's fellow, for it is one's words, closely followed by one's deeds, which enables one to be most remembered, fondly or otherwise, by others. There are known to be in fact, three main styles in which to make/take an oath.

The first variety of oath, as set forth by Winifred, is the boast. This term covers both the fact of swearing to do something, as well as the relating to others that one has succeeded in what one has set out to do. There is a four round Sumbel which is most appropriate for this style of oath. The first round is to Principles, a statement of what one thinks is personally important. Next round is to Heroes, either living or dead, who have personally inspired the participant, (must be a real person here folks!). Third round is that of the actual Boasting, stating one's own personal successes, (no matter how tawdry!). The final round is that of Oaths, to set an attainable goal within one's personal control. At the completion of this fourth round, the entire affair can begin again, or the group may give thanks to the gods and thus end this particular style.

The second variety of oath is that in which one swears to adhere to certain set standards of behavior, the act of solemnly giving an oath of kinship and allegiance, including the exclusion of others, which is common upon joining some groups and upon taking certain offices or official positions. These oaths may in fact only last until the individual leaves the group and/or the held position, although often there is no set limit on when the oath ends, and it can continue indefinitely. The Profession of Adoption is an oath of commitment to the Gods of AsgardR, the Aesir and Vanir. It is a simple ceremony usually done in the presence of a Gothi or Gythia and the rest of the Kindred, Hearth or Garth. It should be considered a life-altering act to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Holy Gods of AsgardR. It is taken/given upon some sacred object, and is the sort of oath which is very appropriate for taking on an oath-ring. One's progress concerning this style of oath should be regularly reported on in sumble.

The third variety of oath is of the style of personal relationships. Either between individuals, or between an individual and a group, this sort of vow is very important to the maintenance of society and to the keeping of frith. The common practice of holding the ring during the exchange of wedding vows attests to this simple fact. This Sacred Promise, or oath, can be stated and justly consecrated during any ceremony by calling on one's god/dess and in front of those present at the time. It is now a common practice to incorporate oath-swearing into modern Asatru wedding ceremonies as well. One should keep in mind that there is no major difference between contracts, whose terms you may well swear to uphold and oaths, which should be deliberate and carefully worded. Although traditionally, the marriage contract, which joins two together in society is simply less strict than that of the Oath of Blood, which bonds two together in siblinghood. Once sworn, however, any Oath is to be considered as carved into stone.

There are many things one needs to consider before making/taking any oath. A person should be sure to take careful thought and consideration to be certain that an oath does not interfere with any previously made oaths. Also, one should decide whether they can handle the responsibility they are about to take upon themselves, as well as how any others involved in the oath, either directly or indirectly, will handle or even be affected by it. Realize that for one to be able to keep their vows also requires the ability to have confidence in oneself, and it may be best to start off with small, relatively minor oaths, for none are simple, before jumping into truly life-changing ones. One should also be aware of any repercussions, for both self and community, if the oaths are not fulfilled.

Though one should indeed be cautious about making and taking oaths, it becomes even more important when one realizes that they affect not only the self, but also the highly involved community, which today is all around the individual. If one has thought carefully about what it is one is about to undertake, and thinks that it can be accomplished, it is very much to one's own benefit to do so. However, one should not let the dangers and responsibilities of oaths prevent one from making/taking them. The might of the individual does actually help to shape the main of the self and of the community as a whole. Thus it is when someone fails any boast, oath, or vow, they diminish the energies of those around them which, in turn, negatively shapes the community's orlog. Although we should indeed hold those considered as oath-breakers accountable for what they do because their actions, no matter how trivial they may seem, we should be willing to help them to change their behavior and in turn honour their oaths, for this will add to their own positive energies, and then to the community's as well, for the good of all involved.

Now that you hopefully understand a little better about the Oath-Ring, will you choose to journey off-site and make/take an oath before the Gods?

Yes! I will Swear an Oath to the Gods!

…compiled from various sources, no intent of plagerization is intended here, or anywhere! Be there something holding copyright upon this page, or elsewheres within this site, kindly notify us, and it will be resolved amicably. Credit is given unto: Thad Horrell, Horrell Maegdhred, & Stanland Hall for the article "Oaths"; and also to Edred Wodanson for inspiring this page to be risted.
        Thank you.

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