Rituals and Practice

Rituals and Practice

The Unexpected Value of DevotionI had an unexpected insight while celebrating the Winter Solstice with one of my friends and fellow Druids. We talked about devotionals practices – one of the topics closest to my heart and closest to my practices - and I became aware of a couple of things that had happened over time.Let me start at the beginning.Need, typically personal need, is the beginning of prayer. We typically ask for those things that we can not easily acquire for ourselves. Some are found in the material world: money, a job, a new car. Others are more ephemeral: health, love, balance. Some of these things come to us externally, such as money, a job, and a new car. When we accumulate enough means to acquire a material object, it will be so. For things such as health or love, we can heal ourselves or be healed by others and we can pray to the Gods to help restore our health or the health of someone we love. For love, we can ask for love, but we can only give of our love, all the rest must also come from an external source. Balance, however, is a different thing.Balance arises out of imbalance and while imbalance may have taken some time to arise, the return of balance will also take effort. This effort will most likely be much quicker and longer lasting if one is to actively seek it as opposed to awaiting its arrival.Of course, the most practical way of making changes in our lives is to work on making them happen. Yet, it surely cannot hurt to engage the help of the kindreds in such an endeavor. Let us continue with the example of balance. Here is a small prayer that can be a part of one’s daily devotionals: “I ask for balance in my life. “Where none is found, “Help me to find it; “When things are askew, “Help me right the Way. “I ask for balance in my life.”If the need for balance in one’s life is the most important of one’s needs, I would say this small prayer daily and first thing. As I have mentioned previously in my discussions of daily devotionals, I believe that one must enter into the devotional practice read and cleansed. Therefore, wash your hands before any working. This has the practical value of willfully deciding to do the working by washing one’s hands first – perhaps a Pavlovian preparation – and that one is cleansed and ready to go.I believe that within a devotional practice it is also important to “do” something as well as “say” something.  We already know what we are going to say. Let us develop what we are going to do to exhibit and strengthen our working in this manner.I like the idea of incidental altars through one’s home and workplace. They can be stealth altars that are relatively unnoticeable as altars or they can be full-blown devotional area where the idea IS for things to be seen. In either scenario – or in points in-between – let us divine a working.If we are working for balance, let us put something in balance in our working. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It need not be expensive either. It is the work that is important and not necessarily the materials.For this exercise, I will offer two scenarios. Both will use household items and will attract relatively little attention. For the first, one will need three shot glasses and two chop sticks. For the second, one will need a citrus fruit and a toothpick.Exercise #1:        a)       Say the devotional prayer. You may address it to a particular Kindred or just offer it to the universe:                  I ask for balance in my life.                 Where none is found,                 Help me to find it;                 When things are askew,                 Help me right the Way.                  I ask for balance in my life.        b)      Place two of the shot glasses upside down on a flat surface. Let the distance    between them be less than the length of the chop sticks        c)       Place the two chops sticks on top of both glasses, so that they are parallel to each other which the ends sticking out from the rims of the shot glasses.        d)      Place the third shot glass atop the chop sticks, thus achieving balance        e)      For the adventurous or devout, place a small amount of water in the upright shot glass.        f)        Finish by saying “May I find the balance in my life.”        g)       If you have cats, they may want to contribute to you devotional work in a non-balanced way. Exercise #2:        a)     Say the devotional prayer. You may address it to a particular Kindred or just offer it to the universe:                I ask for balance in my life.               Where none is found,               Help me to find it;               When things are askew,               Help me right the Way.  I ask for balance in my life.”       b)      Place the citrus fruit on a flat surface.       c)       Place the toothpick on the top of the citrus fruit, thus achieving balance       d)      For the adventurous or devout, place another toothpick across the first one in the form of an equal-armed cross.       e)      Finish by saying “May I find the balance in my life.”       f)        If you have cats, they may want to contribute to you devotional work in a non-balanced way.I believe that by doing the work that the work will one day become you or become a part of you. By doing balancing work on a daily basis – intentionally and regularly – I feel that balance will slowly become a part of the way that you do things. It is very subtle. As a person focuses on the practice, the pursuit of that practice may very well incorporate itself into one’s life. i found this to be the case during my own Winter Solstice ritual workings and discussions with a good friend. It dawned on my that the desire I had been working towards had not only become a part of my practice, but a part of my life. It was the best Solstice gift of the season.The unexpected value of devotion is therefore two-fold. It allows us to exercise our virtues, especially those of perseverance and fertility. Perseverance arises by sticking to the practice, by do so because it is something you desire. Fertility arises because of the life we bring to the work that we do. By combining these two, we establish a practice and reap the unexpected rewards of the devotion we undertake.From "Journeys" by WitchesandPagans

Books: Gaulish Celtic Studies:

  • Ancient Fire: An Introduction to Gaulish Celtic Polytheism by Segomâros Widugeni: This is a go-to for anyone who is looking for a good introduction book to Gaulish polytheism.
  • The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites, and Sanctuaries by Jean-Louis Brunaux: This book is a short, but a condensed overview of the Gaulish Celts and their culture.

Collection of various prayers and devotionals towards Gaulish gods and goddesses.  Any prayers that come in multiple languages will indicate that they do.

Singular Gods/Goddesses

Cernunnos (Carnonos)

Invocation of Cernunnos (English) – by Ian Corrigan

Deity of the Week: Cernunnos (German and English) - Birgit Reinartz

By Trebomâros Auigani


The following information is a basic primer to get people started with Gaulish Polytheism within ADF.  As time goes on, we will modify and add to this information as our Hearths grow and develop.

Déví Nemetoni: The Gods of the Grove

The Earth Mother: Danu, the primal goddess, associated with Europe’s principle river, the Danube.  Local river goddesses; where no Celtic name is retrievable, she could simply be addressed as Dévá, Goddess.  In addition, there is the personification of Gaul herself, Litáví.

The Hearth Keepers of ADF are those individuals, families, and small groups that have aligned themselves and at least a portion of their practice with ADF. The Hearth Keeper’s Way is a method of worship for the folk of Our Druidry. To become a Hearth Keeper is to devote yourself to the basic work of druidry - to welcome the gods and spirits to your hearthfire, to keep the holy days simply, and to integrate paganism into your daily life. Being a Hearth Keeper is about keeping the flames of piety active for your Hearth.When we worship as Hearth Keepers, not only are we feeding the hearthfire of ADF, but we are also coming together with other Hearths. We know that though other Hearth Keepers are worshipping in different physical locations, they join us in the same practice. Each Hearth Keeper brings their own style to this worship, and by joining one another in shared practice we experience a new sense of belonging and fellowship.You can find The Hearth Keepers Way, the companion book to this work on this pageFree PDF of the Hearth Keepers Way(the below info is also on pg 19 of the HK book)After you’ve read the details about affiliating your Hearth with the Hearth of ADF and have chosen become a Hearth Keeper of Ár nDraíocht Féin simply fill out the form at https://forms.gle/Xdn7NJQKWTNBS7rn9 with the necessary details. Once we’ve received your information you will be emailed a print quality PDF certificate recognizing that your Hearth has joined with the Hearth of Ár nDraíocht Féin.If you need a paper copy of this form or your certificate, please mail us at at the address at the bottom of the website.If you have questions about the Hearth Keepers Way please contact the Hearth Keeper Coordinator at hearthkeeper@adf.org Sample RitualsA Simple First Snow Rite by Rev. Jan Avende

© 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
Originally published in Druid's Progress #1, 1984

Cosmology is the study of the structure of the universe, the cosmos, or a description of that structure. "Cosmos" is related to the word "cosmetic," which tells us one thing right off - the cosmos that is described is beautiful in its structure. It is orderly and opposed to chaos.

In order to understand the religion and magic of the Pagan Celts it is important to comprehend their basic symbols and cosmology. Every culture has a basic map of the universe, physical and spiritual, that allows its people to understand their place in the cosmos. These patterns underlie and tie together the myths and tales of the gods, the nature of the individual soul and the sacred reality of the land on which they dwell.

Originally published in Druid's Progress 11.

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