Årsgång (pronounced Orshgong) is a Swedish pagan rite of the tradition of seidr that was later Christianized. Translating to 'Year Walk,' Årsgång is a complex divination ritual to foresee the future and discover mysteries . It can also serve to be used to contact supernatural entities. The structure of the ritual varies based off of the time period it is from and local customs.
On any of these days one may walk the Arsgang:
- St. Tomas' Feast Day
- Christmas Eve
- Yule (Winter solstice)
- First full moon after Yule
- St. Stephen's Feast Day
- Lucia Night
- Twelfth Night
- New Years Eve
- Summer Solstice
First, you must isolate yourself in total darkness and silence for 24 hours with no food. Only water may be consumed. You cannot speak or laugh. At midnight, walk to a church and circle it counterclockwise three times . Lay the Lasabrjotur symbol on the church lock saying, "All trolls reach into the lock; Devil reach in so that it may break!" Blow forcefully into the lock . The walk has begun. Your goal is to get to a cemetery and foresee the future without being killed by draugr along the way.
There are a multitude of entities one may encounter that should be considered dangerous.
The Huldra are seductive women who will guide you into the woods where they will kill you.
The Brook Horse is a type of supernatural animal who will entice a Year Walker to get on the back of the horse to get to the cemetery faster. Instead the horse will race itself into a body of water, drowning the rider.
The Myling are the draugr of unbaptized babies. They will accompany one forcefully to the cemetery, where they may either make the Walker bury it or drag the Walker into the ground with it, asphyxiating the Walker.
Church grims are entities that inhabit parishes and guard them from profane uses and desecration. They will be the first entity the Walker encounters, appearing when they blow into the lock. It will attempt to disguise itself as the local priest.
The Wise Man
If one Year Walks for seven years one will come across an armed man on a horse at the cemetery. He carries a wand decorated with magickal runes and staves on them. If one is quick enough, strong enough, one can grab the runkavle (literally "Rune Relay") and end the ritual. If one obtains the wand, they will never have to perform the Arsgang again because whoever possesses the wand is able to divine anything anytime they wish. Stealing the runkavle from the wise man will result in one also becoming "a wise" and gaining knowledge of all hidden things.
If in the cemetery you see spirits coming out of graves, it means plague and disease is coming.
If you see elves carrying wheat or mice pulling a cart of hay it means a good harvest is coming.
If you see people chopping things in the woods or armed men in the streets it means war is coming.
- Den här artikeln är helt eller delvis baserad på material från Nordisk familjebok http://runeberg.org/nfcm/0601.html, Årsgång, 1922.
- Kuusela, T., 2014. Swedish year walk: from folk tradition to computer game. In: Island Dynamics Conference on Folk Belief & Traditions of the Supernatural: Experience, Place, Ritual, & Narrative. Shetland Isles, UK, 24–30 March 2014. [Online]. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6624109/Swedish_Year_Walk._From_Folk_Tradition_to_Computer_Game
- Huld Manuscript. Iceland: n.p., n.d. Web. <http://handrit.is/en/manuscript/imaging/is/IB04-0383#0000r-FB>.