The verb blóta meant "to worship with sacrifice",or "to strengthen".
The meat was boiled in large cooking pits with heated stones, either indoors or outdoors.
The blood was considered to contain special powers and it was sprinkled on the statues of the gods,
on the walls and on the participants themselves.
It was a sacred moment when the people gathered around the steaming cauldrons to have a meal together with the gods or the Elves.
The drink that was passed around was blessed and sacred as well and it was passed from participant to participant.
The old prayer was til árs ok friðar, "for a good year and frith (peace)"
They asked for fertility, good health,
a good life and peace and harmony between the people and the powers.
|Elden den "köllas" av nio slags ved,||The fire is lit by nine kinds of wood,|
|det är gammal sed.||that is the old custom.|
|Offer till andarna skänkes,||A sacrifice is offered [to the spirits],|
|med blodet sig alla bestänkes.||everyone is sprinkled with the blood.|
|Det bästa till andar föräras,||The best part is gifted to spirits,|
|det som blir över skall av männen förtäras.||what remains is to be consumed by the men.|
Kormáks saga accounts for how a sacrifice to elves was apparently
believed able to heal a severe battle wound:
- Þorvarð healed but slowly; and when he could get on his feet he went to see Þorðís,
- and asked her what was best to help his healing.
- "A hill there is," answered she,
- "not far away from here, where elves have their haunt.
- Now get you the bull that Kormák killed,
- and redden the outer side of the hill with its blood,
- and make a feast for the elves with its flesh. Then thou wilt be healed."
Skålgropar, a particular kind of petroglyph found in Scandinavia,
were known in older times as älvkvarnar (elven mills), pointing to their believed usage.
One could appease the elves by offering them a treat (preferably butter) placed into an elven mill
– perhaps a custom with roots in the Old Norse álfablót.
A more recent theory suggests that some skålgropar might have represented rudimentary astronomical maps.