Reconstructing the Procession of Nerthus

A Contemporary Heathen Ritual Offering of Sacrifice


  • Barbara Jane Davy University of Waterloo



Heathenry, sacrifice, offerings, Asatru, relational ontology


Primary data gathering for this work included participant observation research at the procession of Nerthus at Well and Tree Gathering in May of 2018 and 2019 at Raven’s Knoll, a privately-owned campground and dedicated Pagan festival site in eastern Ontario. It draws upon a larger research project on inclusive Canadian Heathen ritual practices and environmental values. Well and Tree Gathering includes Pagans of various types, but is largely run by Heathens, and prominently features the Heathen deity Nerthus. Practitioners conduct a reconstructionist revival of the procession of Nerthus based on Tacitus’ description of such events in Germania, which included human sacrifice. Contemporary Heathens revere Nerthus as a primordial power, process her veiled figure through the campground, and give her offerings in a sacred body of water. Giving these offerings operationalizes the values of inclusion and sharing, and contributes to the formation of ecological conscience through relational ontology.

Author Biography

Barbara Jane Davy, University of Waterloo

Barbara Jane Davy recently completed a PhD in social and ecological sustainability at the University of Waterloo, Canada.


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How to Cite

Davy, B. J. (2023). Reconstructing the Procession of Nerthus: A Contemporary Heathen Ritual Offering of Sacrifice. Pomegranate, 24(1), 96–122.