In the old Icelandic Calendar, winter begins on the Saturday between the 11th and the 17th. Winter nights celebrates the bounty of the harvest.
Tonight we honor Freya and the fertility spirits that She leads, known as the Disir
The Disir seem to have been a cult of sorts. There are many instances of disablots being held, and there are many place-names referring to the Disir. In north-west Iceland rocks are called Landdisateirnar (stones of the land-disir). And, until about Thirty or so years ago, it was forbidden to mow around these rocks, or to allow children to play near them. It is as though, in this case, the Disir had blended with the Land Spirits or the Landvaettir to protect the area.
The Disir are associated with woman. According to the Heidreks Saga, it was a woman that had a leading role in the worship. The Disir bring to your home fertility, prosperity, success, and in my belief and experience - protection. They watch over their family, and have blessed my home for several years. When it is your time to die, they will also come to take you ‘home'.
The Disir are not the sole property of woman. Men have family Disir also. Although on several occasions a mans' Disir will send a message as a dream to his wife. This may be because woman are more psychic, or ‘in tune' with things then men are.
The Disir are your female ancestors. Dis is the singular form. A Disablot is a cermony held to honor your Disir. This is held at the end of Autumn, beginning of winter. During the disablot, gifts are given to your Disir. This can be animals - an ox has been noted on several occasions to have been slaughtered and given. There are even a couple of tales of an altar being redden with the blood of an animal.
You may also want to take into consideration that this part of the year to many cultures is a sacrificial time. This was the time to ‘thin the herd'. You only had so much grain to last the season, and you did not want to waste it on old or sickly animals.
I do not see the need for a bloody sacrifice in this case. There is a lot of ‘untamed' power that comes out of a blood sacrifice, and in most instances, there is not the need.
For my Disablot, I will prepare a feast. I will spend the whole day cooking and baking. I give all the best cuts and portions of a meal. You have to remember that this is a Holiday, and a day of honor and as such, all the finest and best should be laid out. It is always an honor when you are served first, so make sure that the Disir are served before you sit down and eat.
Freya is called the Vandis and therefore is the Dis Goddess, or the Supreme Dis. And as such, make sure that you also leave offerings out for Her too!
I have an altar that I have set up and if the nights are too cold (It's been known to get down to -60 around here) I will put an offering on this altar.
If the weather is nice, then it goes to my garden. I have a special place set aside in the northern part where I will leave offerings to not only my Disir,but to the Landvaettir as well. By the way, they can be picky. When I first learned that my Disir wanted Pumpkin Pie with lots of whipped cream, I also went to leave some for the Landvaettir. They weren't too fond of "vegetable pie".
Later, in the evening, I will go to my altar/sacred area and light a white candle and burn incense. I will then sit in there in the quietness, and listen to what they have to tell me.
I should add that I do not limit the gifts that I give my Disir to this one day. You can always tell when the Disir have blessed your home, and as such should always be thanked.