by Frigga Asraaf and Ellynn

The Thor’s Hammer is probably the symbol used most commonly to call protection in a ritual, for example in the Hammer Rite. It’s a bold and manly weapon. But what if one wants to have a private chat with the ladies? Is it appropriate to begin a ritual with a Hammer Rite then? Until recently we did so. It was Gerd who whispered in our ears that we should give the sunwheel some thought. And so we did. It is a female symbol, since in our tradition the sun is female.

We wondered what a Sunwheel Rite would be like. After some virtual chitchat, Ellynn and I thought it would be interesting to give it a try. We agreed to perform a small ritual on a Friday night which would start with a Sunwheel Rite. Afterwards we would e-mail back and forth our reactions.

Lets first have a look at a traditional Dutch sunwheel. Old farms still have geveltekens (rooftop markings) amongst other things as protection against woe. Often they are a combination of various symbols as a sunwheel, a horsehead and a donderbezem (thunder broomstick). The last one is specifically for protection against lightning discharges and nasty wights. The sunwheel as we know it in the Low Lands is a circle with four or eight spokes.

a rooftop marking

The sunwheel we use for this rite is a four spoked one:

Sunwheel, sacred wheel north
hallow and hold this hall

Sunwheel, sacred wheel east
hallow and hold this hall

Sunwheel, sacred wheel south
hallow and hold this hall

Sunwheel, sacred wheel west
hallow and hold this hall

Sunwheel, sacred wheel
in me/us and around me/us
hallow and hold


Almost from the moment I bumped into Germanic Heathendom, I’ve been used to beginning my rituals with a Hammer Rite. When I was about to perform a Sunwheel Rite for the first time it was a bit uncomfortable. Out of habit, familiarity and also attachment I almost drew a hammer in the air instead of a sunwheel.
Standing in the middle of my living room, facing outward, and with a pendant of a sunwheel around my neck for support, I was ready to do the rite for the first time. As I was about to find out, the pendant was not necessary. The moment I recited the lines of the Sunwheel Rite, I saw one before me. It was as big as it could be and still fit in the room. It was ‘nine-dimensional’ and full of life and movement. The powerful energy rose with every step of the rite. It felt different from the Hammer Rite. But it’s definitely a good female counterpart, so to speak. Two words express the feeling: calm, powerful. My general reaction was that I was looking forward to doing it again.

The first time I started the rite, I drew the circle from the middle to the outside. I stood in the middle, facing one of the four directions, and turning to face the other directions. The second time I thought to do it the other way around: from the outside to the inside. Inside out is the way I work to make a sacred circle or put up protection.
The way I did the Sunwheel Rite the first time, compares with the Hammer Rite, honoring the four direction and above and below. The effect was notably different. The Sunwheel Rite is more dynamic, softer but not less powerful than the Hammer Rite, as if one raises another part of the available energy. The ladies were more clearly present and more accessible.
We had agreed to do the second Sunwheel Rite a week later, but I couldn’t wait that long. For this one I had chosen a quiet moment in a small private room at the office. What I did this time was to visualize the sunwheel and direct its energy to the four directions around me. Again I observed a notable difference. I had drawn the circle outside in, but I added the words ‘in and around me’ to the verse. For me it felt different from the previous time: the energy focused itself towards the middle. My conclusion is that this form could be very effective for meditation. The rite surely had an effect on the room, even hours later I could still feel it.

Experiments are wonderful. We love to try things. What would happen if we began a ritual with both rites? We gave it a try, but have nothing spectacular to tell about it, but it is definitely worth trying. We must admit that we are very curious about what other people can do with the sun wheel and if others have tried a Sunwheel Rite. We would love to hear about their experiences.
We would like to conclude with information on a modern use of the sun wheel. A while ago Draak showed us a picture and we thought it a good idea to show it to our readers and tell the story that goes along with it.

After I moved into my new home, I still missed something: a sun wheel. I decided to make one myself. I took a piece of cardboard and drew the symbol on it. I then cut it out and painted it silver. In my eyes the perfect place to hang it, was in the middle of a hanging ball of ivy in my living room.

Internet sources
Picture rooftop marking:

This article was first published, in Dutch, in ‘Balder’ (Joel 2006) a quaterly magazine of Het Rad.