Grove Welcoming - Ocean's Tide PG

This was a welcoming done for two new members who joined our protogrove at the same time; adapt as needed :)

D1: Now with the blessings of the gods flowing in us, let us turn to the Work at hand. Are there two present who seek to join our grove, to be honored as kin and welcome among the Folk?

NM1 & NM2 step into the center and say: There are.

D1: Are there any Folk who have good cause to object to this oath of joining? (pause)

D1: Are you both members of Ár nDraíocht Féin?

NM1 & NM2: We are.

D1: Are you aware of our ways and willing to swear an oath to the Folk?

NM1 & NM2: We are.

D1: Do you swear to honor and support the members of the Grove as your true friends and family?

NM1 & NM2: We do.

D1: Do you swear to uphold the laws and customs of the Grove as your own?

NM1 & NM2: We do.

D1: Do you swear to protect and aid the members of the Grove in their times of need?

NM1 & NM2: We do.

D1: Then join your waters with ours and repeat after me: (NM1 & NM2 pour waters into Well)

We swear these things (repeat)
to the Folk and the Kindreds, (repeat)
by all we hold sacred. (repeat)
And if we break these oaths (repeat)
may the sky fall down and crush us, (repeat)
may the earth open up and swallow us, (repeat)
and may the sea rise up and drown us. (repeat)

D1: Now by Fire, by Well, by Tree,
By Land, By Sky, By Sea
By Gods, By Dead, By Sidhe,

In the presence of the Gods and Spirits,
On behalf of our Folk, our Tribe, and our Family,
I welcome you to Ocean's Tide Protogrove, ADF!

All: John and Jane, we welcome you among the Folk!


Notes

D1 means "Druid 1", usually the ritual leader. NM1 and NM2 are "New Member 1" and 2, respectively.

"Now with the blessings of the gods flowing in us, let us turn to the Work at hand" is a reference to the fact that this is a "magical working" and in the ADF liturgy comes after the "receiving the blessings" part of the ritual. Thus, this is not a ritual in itself but the magical working portion of a much larger rite.

"Are there any Folk who have good cause to object to this oath of joining?" - in the ritual review at the grove meeting(s) prior to the rite, I make it clear that if there are any objections to a new member joining, the ritual is not the time to bring it up :)

Unlike many Wiccan covens, most ADF groves do not require "unanimous approval" of all members to admit a new member. However, if there are any potential problems which may arise when a new member joins, it's to everyone's advantage (particularly the grove leader's!) to be aware of them ahead of time. Forewarned is forearmed, etc :)

So, the proper response to this question by everyone present is total silence ;)

"Are you members of Ár nDraíocht Féin?" is a reference to the fact that in Ocean's Tide, grove membership also requires membership in ADF.

This is definitely not a requirement of most ADF groves, but whether or not to include it is a choice individual groves are free to make, and we decided to require it. On the other hand, a portion of our monthly grove dues are used to pay for each grove member's ADF membership so that usually helps :)

(One reason we decided to include this requirement was that we decided we would rather grow slowly, with people who are ready to seriously commit to ADF and our protogrove, rather than grow quickly and risk growing out of control. As one of ADF's mottos says, "As fast as a speeding oak!" :)

"Do you swear to uphold the laws and customs of the Grove as your own?" is a reference to the fact that potential grove members must familiarize themselves with, and accept, the grove bylaws and customs.

Many beginning groves ("protogroves") do not have bylaws, but when previously-unknown folks start to join it's a good time to seriously consider creating them—that's why we did! All groups have decision making processes, whether written or unwritten, and expansion is a good reason to write them down so that everyone is literally "on the same page".

"Do you swear to protect and aid the members of the Grove in their times of need?" is a reference to a tradition I've carried through several groves, that grove members in serious need may make a "call" to the grove and formally request help, with an expectation that unless there is a serious reason preventing another grove member from assisting, s/he will do so.

While we in Ocean's Tide ultimately decided not to put the Call into our bylaws, so it is not a formal requirement that grove members help, the idea is still present as a general expectation that grove members will help each other in times of need, and this section refers to that expectation/obligation.

"Join your waters with ours" is a reference to an Ocean's Tide tradition of keeping "grove waters". At our grove founding all the members brought water from the ocean and combined them, mixing them with local water to put into the Well.

At subsequent rituals, the grove waters are first poured into the Well before the ritual starts, and then mixed with local water, and at the end of the ritual these combined and newly-blessed waters are poured back into the grove water container.

New members are asked to bring their own waters from the Ocean and mix them into the Well during the welcoming ritual, thereby "joining their magic with ours". As these waters have been blessed so many times, they are truly "holy waters" and may be used during time of need or for other important rituals such as saining (naming a newborn child) and rites of passage.

Other ADF groves have similar traditions using other items, such as a stone which is blessed at each rite and which may be touched during time of need.

Lastly, this welcoming was purposefully designed to make it easy for new members to participate. This is why D1 has many lines to speak (and thus, memorize) and NM1 and NM2 get off comparatively easy! :)

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