General

General

Member-33's picture
This is an outline for a weekly family ritual using the ADF format. Total time needed for the ritual should be 10 to 25 minutes. The goal is to offer some small amount of worship to the Gods and non-Gods on a regular basis, and thus build up our accounts at Mount Olympus Savings & Loan. Also, by doing this type of ritual, people get comfortable with ADF's liturgical format. I've gone light on the chants out of personal preference. I like chants in large groups, but not in very small groups. I've pretty much stuck to a Celtic format because that's the primary material I've had to work with. Most parts can be done by a single individual (designated D1), or handed out among those present. Unless noted, all sets of lines are for a single person to speak. I did try to balance out the single person lines with lines to done by all present. I haven't put any Irish in because my Irish is non-existant.Preliminary Ritual Activity(A) Briefing - drop, this is a standard weekly routine. People should be familiar with it after doing it a couple of dozen times.(B) Individual Meditations & Prayers - drop, this is a standard weekly or daily family routine.(C) Lighting the Sacred Fire(s) - yes; A candle, or preferably some sort of small fire, can be lit now, or kept going all the time, based on personal & safety considerations. Since this fire or candle is considered to always be lit, even if you extinguish it every week for safety considerations, I see no reason to offer a specific prayer when lighting it. A prayer will be said in step 13.(D) Pouring the Sacred Waters - Yes, but again this is like the sacred fire, the well is never supposed to have gone dry. Just fill a bowl or similar for use later in the ritual. If you can, yo u can use a small amount of water from your Grove's Well to establish a link.(E) Consecrating the Sacred Pole - no, optional anyway; if the Bile' or pole is present, it is assumed to be consecrated already(F) Consecrating the Altar & Tools - no, optional anyway; if an altar or tools are present, they are assumed to be consecrated already1st Phase: Starting the Rite & Establishing the Group MindGather in kitchen or household Grove. Wear special clothing if desired.Clear-cut Beginning: Consecration of Time(1) Musical Signal - something very simple, like a single note on a horn or couple of beats of a drum(2) Opening Prayer/Statement -D1: Sound the horn, beat the drum, call the people again. Children of the Gods, gather round to follow the ancient ways.Consecration of Space & of Participants(3) The Processional / Sigil Marking - drop, small ceremony(4) Purification(s) of Participants - I'd like to drop this, but something might be needed by some people to define the gathering in sacred space.(5) Purification(s) of Site - drop, site is assumed to be OK for ritual use, optional anyway(6) Honoring the Earth-Mother -ALL: Say (or sing) prayer: O Earth-Mother! We praise Thee: that seed springeth, that flower openeth, that grass waveth. We praise Thee: for winds that whisper through the shining birch, through the lively pine, through the mighty oak. We praise Thee, for all things, O Earth-Mother, Who givest Life! After offering verbal praise to the Earth-Mother, it is time to offer physical praise to the Earth-Mother. This praise can be expressed by kissing the ground, offering oil or similar to Her via the fire, or offering food to Her outside.D1 or all: Danu, accept our offering! z (I chose Danu, since I see her as the Irish Earth/Creator Goddess.)Centering, Grounding, Merging(7) The Grove Meditation - drop, this is for a family or similar tight knit group.(8) Unity Chant / Song - drop, this is for a family or similar tight knit group.(9) Stating Ritual Purpose & Historical Precedent -ALL: We are here to honor the Old Gods and non Gods. As our ancestors honored them regularly, so do we. By our regular worship of the Old Gods and non-Gods, they grow stronger and more responsive to our needs. For to long have people not worshipped them, and they have slept. Let us awaken them with music and tales.(10) Naming Deity(ies) of the Occasion & Reasons for Choice - At the moment, I'm not going to do anything for the specific High Days. The choice of dieties is based on taking the God(s) or Goddess (es) for the preceding High Day and the upcoming High Day, and worshipping the pair(s) of them in between the two dates. There is a list of Celtic Gods & Goddesses written by Deborah Lipp in one of the back issues of News.D1: We honor in this time of year.2nd Phase: Recreating the Cosmos & Preliminary Power RaisingDescribing the Vertical Axis(11) Planting the Cosmic Tree / Honoring the Sacred Pole -D1: By bile' and by holy well, we are connected to the worlds above and below. Pour some water from the well onto the bile', and throw an offering of silver or whiskey into the well.D2: O sacred pillar that is the boundary of all Worlds, strengthen us.ALL: Sacred tree, grow within us!D1: O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath us, accept our offering! Boannan, goddess of the rivers, share your blessings with us!ALL: Sacred waters flow within us. (modified from Ian Corrigan's material)(I chose Boannan because she is one of the major Irish river Goddesses.)(12) Evoking the Gatekeeper / Defining the Ritual Center -D1: We ask Mannanon to open the Gates between our world and the three Realms of the Gods. ALL Chant (3 times): We invoke Mannanon, opener of every Gate. You shall reach us, you shall teach us, and reveal our Fate. (13) Evoking the Fire & Water Deities & Linking to Center - This candle is supposed to be the everburning hearth fire in your house. Since many of us can't safely keep a candle burning constantl y, this relighting it weekly will have to do.D1: Dagda, god of the fire, bless this hearthfire that burns in the center of our world. May it carry our praise with it, as it seen through all the Worlds.D2 or All: By worshipping at our family hearth, we are made one with the people worshipping at all hearths. (modified from Garren Na bPreachain) Pour oil of some sort on fire or into offering bow l. Again, I chose Dagda based on Himself's information that he is the Irish fire God.Gaining Assistance and Preventing Interference(14) Invoking the Bardic Deity(ies) or Spirit(s) -D1: Be our priestess, Brighid, drawing the Gods near, and convey our offerings of story and song to them. Lady of fire and song & story, unite us. (modified from Garren Na bPreachain) Pour oil of some sort on fire or into offering bowl.(15) Acknowledgment of Outsiders - libation and prayer/command to leave ritual alone. Some ritualists tend to view Outsiders as malicious. More likely, they would be defending or claiming the t erritory once recognized as their own. Outsiders would include those gods and non-gods of our ancestors whom we no longer recognize [and perhaps do not want to remember], and the deities and spirits of those who have used this land in the past. If possible, use same or similar method to one/s used in Grove ritualsD2: There are those Gods and non-Gods that we do not honor here tonight, and t hose that we have never honored. This gift is for them, that they might understand that we recognize their right to be, that they might know that our ritual tonight need not concern them. (by Ellen Gold) Provide an offering of ale, beer, milk or food to the Outsiders. Pour this offering either just outside the house, say out the backdoor, or at a natural boundary spot on your property, ie: c reek, large stone, boundary hedge or similar.(16) Filling Out the Cosmic Picture - Use 3 fires or candles (Heart/Mind/Body & 3 Worlds) to be lit by hearth fire/ candle.Ex: Triad Invocation of Nature Spirits, Ancestors, Deities in Three Worlds Ex: Invocation of Helpful Beings of each World/Realm Ex: Invocation of Helpful Beings by Province/FunctionD1: As we light these three fires from our central fire, we signify how our hearth fire, is found in all three Realms, Land, Sea and Sky. We offer maize to the Spirits of the Land, the Nature Spir its. We offer barley (or brandy) to our ancestors and honored dead who dwell beyond the Sea in the land of the Dead. We offer barley (or Whiskey) to the various Gods and Goddesses who dwell in the Land, Sea, and in the Sky. To all these beings, we offer hospitality. (modified from Garren Na bPreachain)Light each of three candles or cauldrons in turn, then pour one offering into each fire. Each fire represents on leg of the triad that is invoked. It would look better if somebody other than the D1 did the physical offerings.ALL (3 or 9 times): Hail all the Gods Hail all the Goddesses Hail all the holy ones We dwell together. Lords of the Sky, Ladies of the sacred Earth, Spirits and the ancestors We dwell together. Hail all the Gods Hail all the Goddesses Hail all the Gods and Goddesses Hail all the Gods Hail all the Goddesses Hail all the holy ones We dwell together. (17) The Settling & Focusing - skip this section, I don't see the need for a small group ritual such as this.3rd Phase: Major Sending of Power to Deity(ies) of the Occasion(18) Descriptive Invocation of Deity(ies) of Occasion - We call the dieties of occasion tonight. It is for them we offer praise and ask for their blessings.Primary Power Raising(19) Praise Offerings, Dance, Libations, etc. -A quick storytelling/mythology reading. During an entire year, it would be nice to cover one full mythology, especially if it could be done in synch with the seasons. This is a good place for child ren to start taking part, by reading shorter parts. It would also teach them their family's myth cycle. This could be another article for somebody.(20) The Sacrifice -Sacrifice to the Deities of Occasion of some sort of piece of tree, or maybe a libation of food and drink. This can be placed in a bowl & put out side.D1: Deities of the occasion, accept our praise, thanks and sacrifice!(21) Seeking the Omen of Return - Possible assumptions are that the sacrifice has been accepted, just a question of how well it was received, or this section could be skipped on idea that the qua lity is unimportant or that there will not be a return. This will have to be hashed out by the membership.. Use any method of divination you want.D1: The Gods have accepted our sacrifice.4th Phase: Receiving and Using the Returned PowerPreparation for the Return(22) Meditation upon Personal and Group Needs -D1: As we get ready to share the blessings of the Gods, think now upon what you'll need in the up coming week.(23) Induction of Receptivity - This is usually a meditation to get people in tune with the group as a whole so that they can better receive the returning energy from the Gods. For such a small ceremony, I don't see the need for a meditation.(24) Consecration Agreement -Return of Energy from the Gods: (Catechism of Waters)D1: Of what does the Earth-Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life? All others: The Waters of Life! D1: From whence do these waters flow? All others: From bosom of the Earth-Mother, the ever giving All-Mother. D1: Has she give forth of her bounty? Summer-all others: She has! Winter-all others: She has not, but we have stored up her blessings for these times of want. D1: Give me the Waters of Life!Reception of Power from Deity(ies) of the Occasion(25) Consecration and Sharing - Pass chalice to D1:D1: Deities of the occasion, hallow these waters. Provide us inspiration, blessings and good luck as we continue through the week ahead.(26) Acceptance of Individual Blessings - passing of the Waters . I see only a limited number people doing this ritual at a single time. I therefore don't see the need for a chant during, before or after passing the waters.AFTER everyone has partaken:(27) Reinforcement of Group Bonding -D1: We have partaken of the blessings of the Earth-Mother and the Gods & non-Gods. By sharing these Waters, we share with each other our faith and belief in the Old Gods and non-Gods.(28) Spell Casting/Rite of Passage - optional, most rites of passage should be done at Grove ritual, not family ritual5th Phase: Unwinding and Ending the CeremonyUnwinding the Energy Patterns Created(29) Thanking the Entities Invited in Reverse Order -D1: We thank the dieties of the occasion the Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and the other Gods and non-Gods for sharing hospitality with us. We thank Brighid, the Dagda, the Goddess Boannan and Danu for their assistance and for sharing hospitality with us.(30) Thanking the Gatekeeper & Closing the Gate -D1: We thank Mannanan, keeper of the Gates through which the Gods blessings have passed. Let the Gates between the Worlds be closed, and remain closed until we open them again!(31) Affirmation of Past/Future Continuity & Success -ALL: As our ancestors and we have worshipped them before, so shall we and our children continue to worship the Gods and share their hospitality and blessings with each other.(32) Unmerging, Regrounding & Recentering: Meditation - not needed, the Grove unity meditation was never done, because this was a small group ritual.(33) Draining off Excess Power: The Restoration -Thank Earth-Mother:ALL: To Thee we return this portion of Thy bounty, O our Mother, even as we must return unto Thee.Clear-cut Ending: Deconsecration of Time & Space(34) Final Benediction - ALL: By our regular worship of the Gods and non-Gods, they grow stronger and more responsive to us. Let us go forth knowing that they guide us and hear our praise of them.(35) Announcement of End -D1: This ritual is ended.(36) Dissolving the Sigil - no Sigil formed, so not applicable(37) Musical Signal - see the notes for the opening musical signal something very simple, like a single note on a horn or couple of beats of a drum
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aigeann1's picture
To be done before your personal shrine.You will need: Offerings Offering bowl One unlit candle Matches Pen or pencil Small piece of paper Fireproof containerNote: Offerings may include any grain that is locally grown or anything that has ripened or bloomed recently. Clean, fresh water or a stick of incense may also be used as your offering. You may wish to take your offering outside to be left at the base of a special tree or stone after your ritual is over. This may be performed at any time of day; however, dusk may be the best time because Fall is like the evening of the year.Feel free to leave out any sections that do not resonate with you. Group rituals are usually longer partly to help others attain the same level of trance (to establish a group mind) as well as to explain to others what is being done and why during the ritual. As a solitary, you are in control of all this.[Opening. Some people like to ring a bell or beat a drum as a clear cut beginning. All parts may be spoke aloud or silently as you see fit.]Shining Ones, I ask for your presence and guidance during my ceremony of the Fall Equinox.(Light your main candle now)As I connect with the Well of Wisdom, the Fire of Change and the World Tree, I honor my Patron/s, the memory of my ancestors and the nature spirits who surround me.With Mother Earth supporting me in all I do, I proclaim my Fall Equinox festival within this sacred space.Here at the edge of space and time and reality The power of my faith opens the door I am a being of energy Fire in the HeadThis day This night In complete balanceAll beings naturally seek a life in balance All of nature seeks a balanceTo be out of balance means one is without Without time Without love Without peace Without the Shining Ones Drained and lost Sometimes not understanding the emptiness feltLife out of balance is a life changed As water exposed to too much cold or heat becomes unrecognizableIn this rare moment a quick breath twice each year I revel in this balanceAs in the checkbook figures that balance As in the new life offsetting the passings As in the day after the night As in the cool of winter after the heat of summer As in the wisdom of age after the impulsiveness of youthEach life, each dream are like the seeds carried by the winds From dandelion puffballsSome land on asphalt Without water for balance They cannot sproutSome land in rivers Without soil for balance They cannot sproutSome land in the forest Without sun for balance They cannot sproutSome land in the meadow All is in balance They grow into maturity[Pause for a moment to meditate on what in your life is out of balance. When the answer/s comes, write it on your piece of paper. Then continue, either speaking the following parts or just visualizing the concepts.]Dandelion seeds are sometimes like my life So much I cannot control So much I cannot foresee I have faith In myself, in my ancestors and in the Shining Ones I open my heart to my life taken Like rain sweeping the seed off the asphaltLike the current washing the seed onto the shore Like the wind blowing the seed away from the forest To the place To that perfect meadow Where all is in balance So every hope, dream and desire Can sprout and grow into its potentialIf I can dream it If I can visualize it If I can work together with others If I have faith I will attain my goals[Make an offering into your offering bowl. Use the main candle flame to set your scrape of paper on fire and place it in a fireproof dish to burn out. Meditate how to create balance in your life as the flames consume your issue.][If you have any additional praises, divination or requests this is the time to do so. These can be any healing requests, offerings of poetry or individual prayers as well as statements of gratitude.](State or just concentrate on the following concepts)My prayers have been given but my path does not end here. From this sacred space, I will continue to seek balance in my life.Balance the individual with the community Balance the preserving with the replacing Balance the responsibility with play Balance the should-s with the want-s Balance the savings with the splurges Balance the tears with the smilesI will be open to the Shining Ones, my ancestors and the nature spirits whenever they come to show me the way. I am grateful for the gifts they have given me and will give in the future.I now declare this Festival of the Fall Equinox ended in peace and love.So Be It
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Member-65's picture
This rite is an example of how simply we can integrate our religion and life. World Tree Grove A.D.F. loves to eat together, so I wrote the following meal rite to be quick, easy, and able to be done in public restaurants. I numbered (D1, D2 ...) the parts, but any number of parts can be done by an individual.D1 lights a candle saying:The fire of life is lit. Let the flame of peace fill the hall.D2 raises a cup of water saying:The waters of life cleanse the hall. Let our cups overflow with joy.D3 shares a piece of fruit with everyone saying:This is to remind us of the World Tree that spans the realms connecting us all to the three kindreds: spirits, honored dead, and blessed Gods.D4 prepares a plate of offering for the kindreds and hands it to the host who puts it on the home altar.D5 prepares a plate for one of the children saying:The children must come first for they are the future which gives our past meaning.D6 (oldest child) says:As first among the children I thank you. We will work to be worthy to carry on the traditions.D7 says:Let the meal begin.All say:So be it.
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CeisiwrSerith's picture
All gather about a table. In the center of the table is an oil lamp or a long burning candle. There are also two bowls, a bottle of beer, and a pitcher of mead or apple juice. Someone says:We propitiate the Outsiders. May they not disturb our rites. May we form our Cosmos in the midst of Chaos.Someone pours the beer into one of the bowls and takes it outside. It is left there until the following day. If that is not possible, it is poured out on the ground. When the person comes back in and joins the others, someone says:Let us pray with a good fire.Someone lights the lamp or candle. Then someone pours about a third of the mead or apple juice in the remaining bowl and says:We make offering to the gods. May their power be with us this day.Someone pours another third of the mead or apple juice in the bowl and says:We make offering to the ancestors. May their wisdom be with us this day.Someone pours the rest of the mead or apple juice in the bowl and says:We make offering to the nature spirits. May their blessing be with us this day.Someone says:The waters support and surround us. The land extends about us. The sky stretches out above us. At the center burns a living flame. May all the kindred bless us. May our worship be true. May our actions be just. May our love be pure. Blessings and honor and worship to the Holy Ones.Then perform such work as you wish; offerings, a meeting, or whatever. After the work, return to the table and once more gather around it. Someone holds up the bowl and says:The kindred have blessed us with their presence. May we go on our way, filled with their blessings.Someone carries the bowl outside and leave it overnight or pour it out. When that person returns to the table, someone extinguishes the fire and says:Extinguished without but burning within. The living fire flames within us.This ritual may be used for a variety of purposes. It was originally written for opening and closing a grove meeting, but it can also be used as a solitary rite. If used that way, the "work" portion can be removed, a devotional rite to one's patron can be inserted, or magical work can be done. The ritual can even be used to open and close informational meetings, presentations, etc.I have left the division of labor in this ritual up to the participants. Everything may be done by one person, or each part by a diffferent person, or any variation in between. "Let us pray with a good fire" is from the Rig Veda 1.26.8, O'Flaherty's translation.There are two references to the three functions in this ritual. The first is the section "May our worship be pure, may our actions be just, may our love be pure." In this section, the functions are in the order 1, 2, 3. In the section "Blessings and honor and worship to the Holy Ones," they are in reverse order, 3, 2, 1.
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Pandora's picture
Silver Fox Grove did a founding rite at Yule 1997. We haven't adapted it yet for bringing in new members, but I thought I'd share it anyway. So, here's what we did, in a nutshell... Each of us brought a stone to be given to the grove as a symbol of ourselves. Anyone who chooses later to leave the grove will get this back. (Our first true grove relic is a ceramic circle of friends that has a bowl in the center of it. We plan to place these stones in it at every rite we do together as a symbol of our community, including those who may not be present).Each of us invited our own patron deity(ies) to witness our joining. This was really interesting. We asked our guests to honor the tradition that all who chose to accept our hospitality must leave their animosity (or at least their weapons :) at the door, so to speak. We managed with Thor and Loki, Brigid and the Morrigan, as well as additional members of about four pantheons, all present with no disasters. It was very crowded, though :DWe came prepared to tell who we are, what name we will be known by in the grove, and how we arrived at this point in our path. After asking a little divine help from Forseti, my own patron and SFG's god of community, I spoke these words:We stand as a community in the sight of our Kindred and interweave our lives as family, as friends, and as Folk. Hear our oaths! We shall call upon each other in times of need, for a family takes care of its own. We shall share our resources that all may flourish and grow. We shall work together to maintain a living, dynamic community. For as long as we call ourselves members of Silver Fox Grove, so be it!All of us repeated: So be it!We asked Forseti to bless the chalice of red wine and the bread one of our members made for the occassion, then we passed the chalice and toasted our patrons and matrons, some of us explaining a bit about how we formed those relationships and how we experience them.Each new member has to have a sponsor from the membership. This is an ongoing relationship of guidance and support that goes far beyond simply vouching for the individual to the community. Even the SD has a sponsor :). At this point, we exchaged small gifts between sponsor and ...um... well we don't have a good word yet for the person being sponsored. We jokingly started to call them "spawn", much to the dismay of some of our members :), and it sort of stuck. Any better ideas are mightily welcome!We made our membership tokens a bit later at an activity meeting, but in the future, membership tokens will be made by the sponsor and given to the new member at the welcoming rite.I like the idea that others here have used of the commitments made to the new member by the community. It wouldn't really have made sense in the founding rite, but it will be great for future welcomings.
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dafydd's picture
Water- it not only covers 70% of the Earth's surface, but makes up 90% of our bodies as well. We can live for over a week without food, but without water we would die very quickly. luckily for us, it constantly bubbles up out of the ground, washes up onto the shores, and falls down upon our very heads. How wonderful! And as if that isn't enough, it is also the main ingredient in whisky and beer.Since water is so very important in every other area of our lives, it makes sense that water would be crucial to our Mythology, Cosmology and Ritual as well. This article will explore some of the methods we've developed in Red Oak Grove to use Sacred Water. We will discuss what water means to us, where we got our Sacred Water, some of the special containers we use to hold our Water, what we do with it, and how we take care of it. This article should give you many ideas of ways you can use Sacred Water to enhance the meaning and power of your own Rites.(By the way, since we're from New Jersey we pronounce it: 'WOOD-ur', but you can say it any way you want.)Water itself is a magical thing: a combination of two very flammable gases. It's somehow a liquid at room temperature and hard as stone when frozen. In all three states, it's colorless, but when sunlight shines through it, it refracts a brilliant, multi-colored rainbow that can be seen for miles.The three states of water, solid, liquid and gas, can be seen as symbols of the three Realms Land, Sea and Sky. The Sea is commonly associated with the Ancestor Kindred and is seen both flowing beneath the Land and surrounding it.In Red Oak Grove we use water to purify both people and place and as a symbolic vessel for the Ancestors and Their Blessings. We use the symbol of the Well as one of the three Gates to the Otherworld and as a special home or symbol of our beloved Goddess Brigedd.When we first began working together as a Grove, we got some bottled distilled water to use in our Ritual. We consecrated it by the simple act of intentionally devoting its use to a religious ceremony. Since it was being set aside for the exclusive use of the Kindred, it was, therefore, sacred (cut off) from mundane use. During the Ritual, this water was blessed for the Kindred, so it became even more special and precious. You wouldn't pour something like that down the drain, would you? Of course not. We saved it and it became our Sacred Water.We used this same Water at the next Rite, and the one after that. As time went by, we occasionally got together with other Groves to do combined Rituals. We would always bring our Sacred Water, and if the other Grove brought theirs, we would pour them together in a little private ceremony before the public Rite. Our Waters would mingle and mix on the Altar and be used and blessed together in the Ritual. When the people dispersed, we would carefully divide the Hallowed Waters between the Groves and take them home.At Wellspring 1998, we did this with about 12 Groves who also brought water from home. In addition, the water was charged by the very powerful magical working and the combined will of everyone there.A small amount of our Water came from the Atlantic Ocean, gathered at different ceremonial times. For example, last Spring Equinox at dawn, we went to the beach, planted a staff in a dune, lit a candle, and scooped some sea water up in a shell. We did a short but powerful Ritual, thanking Brigedd for the return of the warmth to the land. We took some of this water home with us to add to our Sacred Water.During our Rituals, the majority of the Sacred Water is in a bowl in the bottom of our Well. Our Well looks like a real well, with a peaked roof and a turn-crank. It's really a lawn ornament, purchased at a garden supply store, and stands about 2 feet high. We have decorated the roof supports with plastic ivy. There is a silver ladle in the bowl of Water. We also have a large glass pitcher full of plain fresh water sitting next to the Well.Before the Ritual, we ladle some Sacred Water from the Shell into the Ancestor Bowl. This is one of three special Bowls used during the Kindred Invocations, described below.Once the Ritual begins, the people have been called together, and the Outsiders have been honored, we begin the purification. D2 picks up the pitcher of fresh water and Dl ladles three scoops of Sacred Water into it, visualizing the blessing and sanctifying of the Water. D2 then pours some of the water onto the hands of D1 and hands him a clean white hand towel. Dl takes the pitcher, pours water onto the hands of D2, and hands her the towel.The celebrants are asked to turn and face the outside of the circle and hold out their hands. They are told to turn back toward the circle once they have been purified. Dl walks around the circle, constantly trickling water onto the ground from the pitcher. The celebrants extend their hands forward into the stream of water as it goes by. D2 follows with the towel so they can dry their hands.This process not only purifies the people with Sacred Water, it makes the Ritual area Sacred by cutting it off from normal space with a symbolic barrier of water. In effect, the Sacred Ritual Space is now an 'Island' surrounded by Sacred Water.We also honor water when we Open the Gates. To help us, we call upon Manawydan ap Llyr, who is cognate with Manannan mac Lir, Lord of the Sea.When we invoke and honor the Three Kindred, we use three bowls, each one different. For the Nature Spirits, we use a rough clay bowl filled with local soil, and for the Gods, we use a brass bowl containing a glowing charcoal briquette upon which we sprinkle granulated incense. The Ancestor Bowl is a small white ceramic bowl, decorated with a sea shell pattern. My mother made it before she died (if she had made it after she died, we'd really have something special!) It rests on a small hand-woven blue mat which was given to my mother's sister on a trip to Wales. My aunt gave it to me just before she died when I told her I was a Druid. So you can see that this bowl has plenty of associations to the Ancestors.After the Nature Spirit invocation, the appointed celebrant goes to the Altar, holds the Ancestor Bowl up high and says:Mothers and Fathers, Old Ones, and Ancestors, I reach across the Veil with my words and call to You Mothers and Fathers of our Families, Parents of our Parent's Parents, I call you into this Sacred Water. Old Ones of this Land, Loving Tribes of Caretakers, I call you into this Sacred Water. Ancestors of our Culture, Ancient worshipers of our Gods, I call you into this Sacred Water. I call you with the water of the deep blue oceans, I call you with the water of the gentle rains, I call you with the water of the darkest wells. I bid you: Enter this Water now! That we may be Blessed, Guided and Inspired by our Communion with you. Gadael hi bod! (Welsh for "Let it be!)The Celebrant then walks around the circle and blesses each person with the Water by dipping their finger in it and making the Awen mark (three lines radiating down from a central point) on their forehead and saying:With this Water, Celebrate your Communion with the Ancestors.After the Kindred and the special Deities of the occasion are called, and after praises are offered to Them and an Omen is taken, we share the Waters of Life. There is a pair of large matching goblets on the Altar. Whisky (Gaelic for Water of Life!) is poured into one of them and water from the pitcher into the other. Remember, this water had three scoops of Sacred Water added to it just before the purification of the people. The goblets are held up, everyone concentrates upon them, and the Kindred are invited to send their blessings into them- into the Waters of Life. Dl makes the pronouncement:Behold! The Waters of Life!The goblets are passed around the circle, with each person drinking or pouring a few drops onto the ground, as they wish. When the first person chokes on the whisky, we always say, "don't worry, the 'Chaser of Life' is coming around right behind it!"While we always manage to finish the blessed whisky, we try to leave a few sips of the water to pour back into the Well. We might change that and put some of the water back into the Well before we pass it around.When the Ritual is over, and the people have dispersed, we pour the water from the Ancestor Bowl, and any remaining in the goblet, back into the bowl in the Well. This all goes into a special 16 oz. plastic jug we use to store the Sacred Water (or is divided with the other Grove(s) who brought their water), then we top off the jug with water from the pitcher.The next day I perform another short ritual in my kitchen: I strain the Sacred Water through a paper coffee filter to remove bits of dirt and leaves which always find their way in. I then boil the Water for five minutes to disinfect it and then filter it once again. The jug is also washed out with boiling water. Then the Sacred water is put back in the jug and once again topped off, this time with distilled water, and kept in my refrigerator until the next RitualThose are the procedures that we follow for every Ritual we do. There are also a few special uses for Sacred Water that we do from time to time.When a new Magical Tool is added to the Grove collection, or someone brings a personal Magical Tool that they want to purify, bless, and dedicate, we will use our Sacred Water It can both purify and bless, but it can't dedicate, only- we can do that.Once we went to a group campsite and felt an unwelcome and unwelcoming presence in a covered pavilion. We used our Sacred Water to purify the pavilion and banish any Spirits that didn't wish to celebrate with us. Afterward, it felt clean.Emerald Dragyn, Senior Druid of the Grove of the Midnight Sun, and I used our Sacred Waters to purify the Bride and Groom at a Handfasting we conducted last Samhain. I've been asked to do a Pagan baptism this Spring, and I will use the Water for that. I believe it would also be very effective to use in Healing Magic.As you can see, we have a pretty elaborate and complicated procedure for using our Sacred Water. It is obviously a lot of work and requires quite a bit of determined attention to detail, but we believe that one of the purposes of Ritual is to show the Kindred how much They mean to us. If we make it all easy and convenient, we aren't showing that we care very much. To some extent, I think the more time you take for Ritual preparations and performance, the better it works.We are very proud of our Sacred Water and treat it like the extremely precious substance it is. Feel free to adopt or adapt any of our ideas that you like or use your own inspiration to develop other ways of handling this special symbol and marvelous stuff. May the Sacred Waters flow in you!
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CeisiwrSerith's picture
I've written a ritual opener that I thought others might like to see. It can be done by a solitary or by a group. I will give it for a group; the required changes for a solitary are obvious.The waters support and surround us. The land extends about us. The sky stretches above us. At the center burns a living flame. (light a candle or oil lamp or fire) Let us pray with a good fire. May all the kindred bless us. May our worship be true. May our actions be just. May our love be pure. Blessings and honor and worship to the holy ones."Let us pray with a good fire" is RV 1.26.8. It's one of my favorite ritual lines of all time. This can be used as a centering meditation by removing the RV line and the lighting of the candle. It can then be done anywhere and any time.While I'm thinking of the RV, I would like to give one of my favorite hymns, 8.30, in O'Flaherty's translation:1.Not one of you, gods, is small, not one a little child; all of you are truly great. 2. Therefore you are worthy of praise and of sacrifice, you thirty-three gods of Manu, arrogant and powerful. 3. Protect us, help us and speak for us; do not lead us into the distance far away from the path of our father Manu. 4. You gods who are all here and who belong to all men, give far-reaching shelter to us and to our cows and horses.[Ed. note: RV = The Rg Veda]
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ShawnMiller's picture
The Intention of Our RiteAny Druidic ritual has as a primary intention the re-weaving of the links between humankind, the natural world, and the God/desses and Spirits who support both. For thousands of years, human culture lived in more or less intimate communion with the unseen worlds. Over the centuries of European culture these ties have been weakened, until our modern materialism is endangering the very air and water that sustains our life. We work to reconnect with the powers of Land, Sea and Sky, honoring the spirit that is in them as well as their physical realities.As with any religious path we also seek blessings for our families, communities and ourselves. We open our hearts to the flow of divine blessing that comes from our God/desses. We seek also to awaken that same divine spark in our own souls, so that we can bless the world in return.StoneCreed Grove, ADF is a small part of the neoPagan movement, one of the fastest-growing currents in modern religion. From our beginnings we have been committed to serving the whole Pagan community. Druidic worship is open and inclusive. We welcome Pagans of every tradition and path, as well as those who want to learn more about Druidry or pagan ways in general. We ask only that you respect our ways; you can expect the same from us.Principles of Druidic WorshipThe outer form of our worship, like all ceremony, is made up of spoken prayers, invocations and statements combined with traditional actions. While we have reclaimed some of these from pre-Christian Europe we do not grant them the status of revelation or scripture. All ritual speech is made by humans to help turn our minds more effectively toward the Divine. Druidry teaches that beautiful speech, poetry or music pleases and influences the Powers, and so we fill our rites with these things to the best of our ability.A central action of our rites is the giving of gifts to the Powers. This is commonly called sacrifice (Latin: to make sacred). We teach that the God/desses and Spirits are strengthened by our offerings, and show their gratitude by blessing the givers. In pagan ways humans are not mere dependents of even the greatest Deities. Rather they depend on our love and offerings as we depend on their blessing and aid.While it is true that the ancients offered animal and even occasional human lives to the Powers, our modern Paganism rejects any offering that takes life or causes injury. We offer our God/desses flowers, food, drink, incense and scented oil, precious metals and gems, poetry and song, but never blood.The soul-skills that bind Pagan worship together are the techniques of meditation and trance. By concentrating our minds on the symbols and words of the rite, by relaxing our bodies and letting go of our internal dialogue and by strongly visualizing the rite's energy flows and Deities we induce a state of mind that allows contact with Inner worlds.In every Druidic rite there will be a series of spoken instructions intended to help induce this trance. Following these suggestions with an open mind will deepen your experience. Remember that all such guidance is just that - you are in control of your state of mind at all times. Yet it is through consenting to trance that you can know our Magic best.These three principles - ritual, sacrifice and trance combine to produce the magic of Druidic worship.The Outline of Druidic RitesPart 1: Establishing the GroveIn ancient days Pagans gathered in places hallowed by tradition. Sometimes these were temple buildings. More often they were groves and glens in the deep forest, or high places. In our times we must usually recreate the holy atmosphere of the Sacred Groves by ritual and meditation.Opening Meditation: The priest/ess or a Grove member will lead a basic grounding and centering. This attunement helps us to connect our individual souls with the Two Powers. The Earth Current or Underworld Power carries the dark, mixed elements from which all forms arise. The Sky Current, or Starry Power is the ordering pattern that crystallizes forms out of the Underworld potential. Together these powers manifest the Middle World in which we live.The Procession: In some cases the presiding priest/ess will come out of the Grove and lead a procession of all the worshippers into the holy place. Usually this is accompanied by song. At other times the worshippers are sent to meditate alone then called to the Grove by horn, drum or song. When approaching the Grove one tradition is to circle the Center of the Grove three times in the sunwise direction.Preliminary Offerings:Honoring the Mother: The priest/ess usually gives a simple statement of beginning, followed by a prayer and offering to the Earth Mother who upholds our lives and rites. One common custom is to bend and kiss, or place a hand on, the earth to honor Her.Poetic Inspiration (the Awen): The Bard of the rite invokes the power of poetic inspiration to indwell both the priest/esses and worshippers. This may be either an offering to a specific Deity or a general attunement to sources of inspiration in the Self.Outdwellers: These are the Powers that can be inimical to mortals or oppose our own God/desses. We acknowledge their presence, asking them to leave our rites in peace. We also acknowledge the parts of ourselves that might, likewise, interfere with proper worship.Purification: Now that the preliminary offerings have been made, the Grove and all therein are sprinkled with water from the Well and Incense kindled from the Fire to purify the assembled, and ready the Grove for worshipVertical Axis/Affirming the World Order: Druidic ritual is anchored in the Sacred Center of the Grove. The Center is conceived as a meeting-place of the common world with the Otherworlds of the Spirits. We use one or more of the universal symbols of the Center - the Fire, the Well and the World-Tree. Fire connects us with the Sky; the Well with the Underworld and the Tree is the Boundary between All Worlds, rooted deep and crowned high.In this phase of the ritual the Order of the Worlds is acknowledged - first the vertical axis of Under- Mid- and Starry Worlds. The rite may then honor the three worlds of Land, Sea and Sky, or the Four Directions.By affirming these symbols in our rite we acknowledge them in ourselves, making our own souls a temple in which the God/desses may dwell.Opening the Gates: Meditation on the World Order is a valuable spiritual tool all by itself. The next part of the rite transforms the simple symbols of the Center into true magical gates. First the priest/ess invokes the Deity that has charge of the Ways Between, in the pantheon of the rite. We offer to the Gatekeeper and ask their help in the work.The symbols of the Sacred Center are then conjured to function as the Gates Between. Through these gates we send our love, worship and offerings to the powers and they, in turn, send blessing to us. As long as the Gates are open the God/desses and Spirits can hear our thoughts and impulses clearly.Part 2: Offering to the PowersThree Kindred Offerings: In each of our rites we invoke and offer to the Spirits in three categories. We call these the Kindreds to reflect their family relationship with one another and with us. The Nature Spirits are those who ensoul soil and stone, water and wind, bird and beast. The Dead are our ancestors, both those of actual blood and those of our heart and affection. The God/desses are the eldest Children of the Mother, the Brightest, Wisest and Strongest. For each of these we speak an invocation and make a proper offering.When these Triad Offerings are made the worshippers should meditate on and call to those Spirits that are closest to her. Her own Ancestors, her God/desses, her allies among the Nature Spirits are called to join us in honoring the Patron Powers of the rite.Key Offerings: Each of our rites is commonly dedicated to two or more of the God/desses. These are usually chosen either for their connection with the seasonal holiday being celebrated, for their ability in the area of the work being done or their special relationship with the mortal focus of the rite.The Patrons of the rite are first invoked with expressive prose or poetry, sometimes accompanied by a visualized image of the Deities. A proper offering is made as the priest/ess invokes.After the formal offerings there is usually a time when members of the company can make personal offerings. Usually these are 'Praise Offerings' - offerings of art - songs, poetry etc., though they may be thanks to the Powers for blessings received.Prayer of Sacrifice: After the Praise Offerings the priest/ess gives a final Prayer of Sacrifice and makes a large offering to the Fire. This is the moment when every worshipper sends her love and respect, her energy, through the Gates to the Patrons and Powers.Omen: After the Sacrifice the priest/ess seeks an omen, doing a simple divination to determine what sort of blessing the Powers offer in return for our gifts.Part 3: The BlessingOpening to Blessing: The priest/ess leads a meditation combining the presence of the powers with the content of the Omen. We also meditate on our own needs, those of our loved ones, and our community.At this time there is usually a litany in which the assembled company prays to be given the Blessing, in the form of the Waters of Life. In this moment your personal desires should be strongly imagined, held in the mind and heart, with harm to none and for the good of all.The Waters of Life: The Blessing of the Powers is commonly given as a cup or horn of drink. There is always clear water or fruit juice and sometimes ale, wine or even whiskey (Gaelic: uisge na beatha, water of life). The priest/ess invokes the Blessing as water drawn from the Well of Potentials and held in the light of the Fire of Transformation. We contemplate again our needs and the Omen as we drink the Blessing. We often sing an anthem or listen quietly during this most reverent moment.Works: If there is any social or magical task to be accomplished it is done at this time. Healings, announcements of weddings, child blessings, workings for community good may occasionally be part of the rites.Part 4: Thanks, and ClosingAfter all is done we give proper thanks to all the Powers. The priest/ess leads us in thanking the Patrons and the Kindreds. We thank the Gatekeeper and conjure the Gates to close. We renew our grounding, our connection with Earth and Sky, and center the energies of the rite in our souls. We allow any excess energy to flow away into the ground as we offer any remains of the rite to the Earth Mother.The rite concludes with a blessing and we often sing a closing chant as we leave the Grove.Some Conventions of Druidic RitualOur rites are open and inclusive. We do not close our circles, and you are free to come and go as you please during the rite. We ask only that you be respectfully quiet and attentive when within earshot of the ritual.If you have a Praise Offering that you wish to perform, please see our Grove Bard before the rite. We ask that you not applaud the Praise Offerings, rather give the energy of your appreciation to the Patrons.
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SkipEllison's picture
There are several ideas about naming and saining ceremonies for a newborn baby. In Pre-Christianized Ireland, there are records of passing a newborn through a fire three times while asking the blessing of the Gods on the baby or of carrying a baby three times around a fire to bless it.Several charms that were collected from Christianized Ireland were published in Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael. "Silvered water", which is water that has had silver in it, figures prominently in these charms. Most of these were to be done as soon as possible after birth.There are other legends about places where the newborn baby was passed through a hole in a stone for protection from Fairies. Most customs that have come down to us are for the protection of the baby from unseen forces.In the case of the Fairies, it was for protection from changelings. Other objects used for protection were iron, especially in the form of iron nails and fires. There are records from the sixteenth century in the Isles of Skye of women carrying torches around the house where a baby was being born up until the time it was baptized.For this ceremony, I've attempted to use parts of the older customs as well as a charm directly from the Carmina Gadelica.1) This should be done as soon after birth as possible, while still in the hospital if permitted. Hospitals usually have a problem with candles, so if candles can't be used, wait until the baby is home. Water that has been used in the Well during ritual is used for the blessing. This has the advantage of being sacred and of having had silver in it.2) The mother is given an iron nail bent in the form of a circle and told to keep it near the child as it sleeps. This should be done right after birth. As the parents hold up the baby, a small candle is passed under, over and around the baby while saying:"We ask the Spirits of Nature for protection. We ask the Ancestors for protection. We ask the Shinning Ones for protection."3) A drop of the water is placed on the baby's forehead as the following are said:"We call for the blessings of the Spirits of Nature on this wee one. We call for the blessings of the Ancestors on this wee one. We call for the blessings of the Shinning Ones on this wee one."4) The following are said to finish this section:"We ask for this to guard you from the Fae. We ask for this to grant to you the graces. We ask for this to give to you long life."5) A splash of water is then dropped on the baby while saying each line:"A wavelet for thy form, A wavelet, for thy voice, A wavelet for thy sweet speech; A wavelet for thy luck, A wavelet for thy good, A wavelet for thy health; A wavelet for thy throat, A wavelet for thy pluck, A wavelet for thy graciousness; Nine waves for thy graciousness."
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KirkThomas's picture
This rite can take place during the Workings phase of a full ritual or by itself.The guests are arranged in a circle around the Priest and the couple to be Handfasted. There is a small altar in the center, behind the Priest, to hold the following items:A Silken CordA Chalice of MeadA Small Loaf of BreadThe Priest rings a bell three times three.The Priest says:Pwyll, Lord of Annwfn, said, "If I could choose from all the women and maidens in the world, 'ts you I would choose."And Rhiannon responded, "If that is what you want, set a date with me before I am joined to another man."The Hall was then prepared for Pwyll and his host, and the host of the court as well. They ate and reveled, and it came time to go to sleep. Pwyll and Rhiannon went to the chamber and spent the night in pleasure and contentment.Children of the Earth, we are here in the sight of the Gods, the Nature Spirits and the Ancestors to see two lives brought together in love and happiness._________Name of Bride________, please state your intent to all present.The Bride turns and faces the People and says:Today is the appointed day. I declare to all present, Human and Divine, that I wish to join my hand to _____________Name of Groom_________.The Priest says:_______Name of Groom_________, please state your intent to all present.The Groom turns and faces the People and says:Today is the appointed day. I declare to all present, Human and Divine, that I wish to join my hand to ___________Name of Bride___________.The Priest holds up the chalice of mead and says:Share this cup as you will share your love and concern, holding faith in one another.The Couple share the cup, drinking of the mead. The Priest returns the cup to the altar.The Priest holds up the loaf of bread and says:Share this bread as you will share your worldly goods and debts, holding faith in one another.The Priest breaks the loaf and gives half each to the bride and groom. They eat of the bread and return the remaining bread to the altar.The Priest says:___Name of Bride____ and ___Name of Groom___ , you have shared of your love and of your goods.What oaths do you make to one another?The Bride says:Dearest Name, in the names of the Three Kindreds, I promise that I shall hold faith with you. I also promise....Here the Bride swears her oath, ending with:May the earth open beneath me, may the sea rise up against me and may the sky fall upon me should I forswear my oaths.The Groom says:Dearest Name, by the Might of the Water and the Light of the Fire, I promise that I shall hold faith with you. I also promise....Here the Groom swears his oath, ending with:May the earth open beneath me, may the sea rise up against me and may the sky fall upon me should I forswear my oaths.The Priest says:Please hold hands, right on right and left on left.The Couple cross their wrists and hold hands, right hand to right hand, left hand to left hand.The Priest takes the silken cord and loosely binds their wrists together and says:May love guide your hearts. May the Kindreds guide your souls, and may your joy be a light in the world, growing in the Eternal Present.(To the couple) Now show all attending, Human and Divine, the love you have for each other.The Couple kisses. The Priest unbinds the cord and says:Children of the Earth, these two have joined their hands and hearts as one. Let us give our blessings by voicing our joy and our praise!All hail Name and Name! Joy and Long Life!The People say:Joy and Long Life! Hurrah!The Priest rings the bell three times three.
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