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By Trebomâros AuiganiThis ritual can either be done indoors or outside.  If this ritual is more of a family event or group event with children, children related activities can be added to the Key Offerings section, like the person performing the omen could dress like a hobby horse and present gifts to any children who are there as a symbol of the abundance of the land before or after the omen is taken.  This ritual can be performed either on December 18th (traditional date for Eponalia) or for Medigiamos (Winter Solstice).Ritual:Purification:Before starting the ritual, as people gather around the altar, light up incense and from person to person, in a counter-clockwise motion, circle it in front of each person saying:May all that holds you be released,May all the binds you be released,May all that enslaves you be released,Then, with blessed water, have each person dip their fingers in the water to rum on their hands and face.  As they do, say:So that you may be pure and true.Once everyone has been purified, have them gather around the altar in a semi-circle formation (horseshoe). Opening Statement:As the nights become long and the cold wind howls, we come here this night to honor Epona, horse maiden, sovereign queen.  She who rides the fields and the land, bestowing her blessings to the people and guiding the spirits of the Otherworld back to their holdings.  As we gather together, may she find joy in our celebrations and gift us with prosperity in the coming year as well as the protections of her warrior host on these long nights. Opening Prayers:A: Earth Mother: Chief speaks as the Sacrificer makes an offering of grain, bread or flour:Before we begin tonight’s festivities though,May we give honor to the first mother, Danu.Danu, beloved mother of allFrom whose starry waters the green earth springsYou who are the bearer of all lifeWe pray you bless and uphold this rite.All: Danu, accept our offering!B: The Bard invokes the Hearth, saying:Brigantiâ, Lady of the Sacred HearthVoice of the fire of wisdom,Voice of the well of inspirationCome into our hearts and sound in our voices. Brigantiâ!Let us ken of every good or ill,Guide our rite in the way of truth.We call you to place the clear heart in us,in this holy place, at this holy time.All: Brigantiâ, accept our offering! Grove Attunement:The Druids lead a meditation intended to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit. This might conclude with an intoning or a proper chant or hymn. Blessing the Hallows:The Druid stands before the alter addressing the group:At the dawn of creation, there were two fundamental forces, symbolized by water and fire.  The tension between these forces created life and thus, the world and the world tree was born.  Through these forces, life continues and within this space, we honor these forces for they not only give birth, but they also connect us to all of creation.An Offering of silver is made to the well, saying:O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath all being accept our offering! Let us know the elder depths within ourselves the source of all, the well of elder wisdomAll respond: Sacred well, flow within us!An offering of oil is made to the Fire, saying:O sacred fire that consumes and transformsTrue and holy light of the Shining Ones, accept our offering!O sacrificed and sacrificer, let your holy flame warm our spirits and our lives.All: Sacred fire, burn within us!The Bile is censed and sprinkled, saying:O sacred pillar, boundary of all the worlds,Stand at the center of the sky,Stand at the center of the sea,Stand at the center of the land on which we dwell.Let us be deepened in your depthsRaised to your heightsStrengthened in your strengthAll: Sacred tree, grow within us! Opening the Gates:The sacrificer makes an offering to Cernunnos, saying:Cernunnos, Lord of the Deep Wood.Open the ways for us.We walk in your holy ways, we walk the Sacred Road.Share your magic with us and ward us as we walk in safety.Cernunnos, accept our sacrifice!An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Druid then raises his hands and says:Now, Master of Ways, join your magic with ours and let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, let the tree be the crossroads of all worlds. Open as a road to our voices and to the spirits. Let the gates be open!All: Let the gates be open! Kindred Offerings:The druids make proper offerings to each of the kindreds, standing at the fire.Ancestors:The children of the earth call out to the mighty dead. Hear us, our ancestors, our kindred.To all those whose bones lie in this land, whose hearts are tied to it, whose memory holds it; ancient tribes of this place, we offer you welcome.To all of our grandmothers and grandfathers, our own beloved dead, blood-kin and heart-kin; ancient tribes of our blood, we offer you welcome.To all those elder wise ones who guide their people, poets and seers, judges, and magicians; wise women and men of ancient days, we offer you welcome.So, o mighty ones, we call to you as our kin, in the love of the all-mother, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!An offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft. Nature Spirits:The children of earth call out to the spirits of this land. Hear us, companions and teachers.To all our allies, kindreds of stone and stream, crystal and fertile soil, pools, and every water; kins of the earth, we offer you welcome.To all our allies, kindreds of the growing green, herb and flower, shrub and mighty trees, root and stem and fruit. Green kins, we offer you welcome.To all our allies, kindreds of fur and feather and scale, all who walk or fly or swim or crawl, we offer you welcome.So, o noble ones, we call to you as our allies, in the joy of life upon earth, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.Land-spirits, accept our sacrifice!An offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is placed in an offering bowl on the edge of the ritual space, or if the rite is performed outside, scattered around the nemeton’s edge or hung on the tree. Deities:The children of earth call out to the shining ones. Hear us, eldest and brightest.To all the shining ones, first children of the mother, wisest and mightiest, loving and comforting; gods and goddesses, we offer you welcome.To the gods and goddesses of this place, ancient and powerful, known to us or unknown; Gods of this place, we offer you welcome.To all the deities of those here gathered, you whom we worship, you who bless our lives; o patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome.So, o shining ones, we call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, shining ones; meet us at the boundary. guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.Deities, accept our sacrifice!An offering of scented oil is poured on the fire.After all the offerings have been made, the druids recenter the company and lead an attunement to all the spirits that have been called, and a proper chant or hymn is sung to the three kindreds. Key Offerings:Druid speaks, saying:The ways have been opened and the host has been called.  Tonight, we gather to honor she who rides the land clearing the fields and bestowing her blessings to the people.Epona, Lady of Horses, we call you!All: Hail!Epona, Queen of Sovereignty, we call you!All: Hail!Epona of the Fields and Stables, we call you!All: Hail!Epona of the Warrior Host, we call you!All: Hail!Epona of the Healing Wells, we call you!All: Hail!Epona, protector of travelers, we call you!All: Hail!Epona, Queen of the Otherworld and the Sacred Ways, we call you!All: Hail!Epona, Great Mother, we call you!All: Hail!Epona Regina, friend, guardian, guide, and teacher, we call you!All: Hail! May our words and praise be heard throughout the Realms and across the land.A horseshoe wreath of roses is laid out on the altar around the statue of Epona:These gifts we give to you oh Might Mare.  May these rose be a symbol of the love we share with you.A set of keys is laid out in front of the statue:May these Keys be a symbol of your sovereignty of not only the abundance of the land but the riches and secrets of the Otherworld.Pour Mead into a cup:And may this mead be a symbol of your Sovereignty as you share your gifts with the people as we gather in celebration of your Holy Day!Epona Regina, we honor you.All: Epona, we honor you!At this time, additional offerings in celebrations are performed (singing, dancing, possibly a ritual meal, etc.) Sacrifice and Omen:Once all the offerings have been given, or the meal is coming to an end, the druid chimes a bell three times.As we have come to honor the mighty Epona Regina, let our voices arise on the fire, let our voices sound in the well let our words pass the boundary to the Otherworld.Epona Regina, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you...All: Accept our sacrifice!All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles. Then druid speaks:Having prayed to the powers, let us open to them, asking what blessings or wisdom they offer.Omen is taken as usual. The seer then interprets the omen, leading the company to contemplate the things they would ask of the powers, especially as suggested by the omen. The company then recenters in preparation for the blessing. The Blessing :Druid speaks:Ancient and mighty ones, you have honored us with your blessings.  We thirst for the waters of wisdom, the bounty of rebirth from the well of wisdom, from the spring of renewal, from the bosom of the earth mother. Hear us...All: Shining ones, bless us with the waters!We open our hearts to the blessing of the great one. We stand in pride, honor and friendship with all the powers of the worlds. Hear and answer us now...All: Shining ones, bless us with the waters!Ale is poured into the cup and elevated. Druid speaks:We draw blessings from the cauldron of blessing. We pour the ale of inspiration. Behold the holy cup of magic, the outpouring of blessing from the mighty ones. When we share the draught of the gods we drink in wisdom, love and strength to do as we will in the worlds, in service to the shining ones.Hear us Epona Regina and all the Shining Ones that are here tonight; hallow these waters! We, your children, rejoice in your gift. Bless our spirits and our lives with love, magic and bounty as we drink these sacred waters.All: Bless us with the waters of life!The cups are passed clockwise and all drank as a proper hymn is sung. Closing:When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:The mighty ones have blessed us. With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work.Each time we offer to the powers they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship.So now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us.Epona Regina, Might Mare and Queen,All: We thank you!O gods and goddesses of elder days,All: We thank you!O spirits of this land,All: We thank you!O ancestors, our kindred,All: We thank you!To all those powers that came and celebrated with us, we say again...All: We thank you!Druids renew the company's centering once more, signaling the return to common awareness and ease of access to the centered state. Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water, etc. is given to the earth, saying:Blessed Danu, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.All: We thank you!The druids go to the center and say:Cernunnos, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, your guiding and guarding we say...All: We thank you!Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying:Now by the keeper of gates and by our magic, we end what we began.Now let the fire be flameLet the well be water;Let all be as it was before.Let the gates be closed!All: Let the gates be closed!Go now, children of the earth, in peace and blessings. this rite has ended!The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the ritual space/Grove.  -Ritual outline originally from the ADF website: https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/liturgy.html
Ritual Category: 
Gaulish focused rituals from various ADF membersSeasonal Rituals and High Day RitesA Solitary Yule - Rev. Michael J Dangler, Three Cranes Grove ADFÎwos Eponâ: Festival of Epona Ritual - Trebomâros Auigani (Trevor Hanson), SolitaryA Children's Yule Rite (Gaulish) - Katherine PezzaMidsummer (Gaulish) - Kirk Thomas, Sonoran Sunrise Grove ADFMediosaminos, a Summer Solstice Rite in Brazil - EndoveliconMittsommer 2018 Ritual (English) - Birgit ReinartzMittsommer 2018 Ritual - Gallische (German) - Birgit ReinartzMittsommer 2018 Ritual - Gallische Herdkultur (German) - Birgit ReinartzLughnassa Ritual 2016 (German) - Birgit ReinartzGrove of the Red Earth Samhain (Acultural-Cernunnos) - Allen GrimSpecialty Rites, Ritual Fragments and Ritual TemplatesWaters Module (Gaulish Celtic) - Rev. Michael J Dangler, Three Cranes Grove ADFHouse Blessing: Anagantios Rite (Celtic Gaulish/Irish) - Rev. Michael J Dangler, Three Cranes Grove ADFGaulish Gatekeeper Chant - Ceisiwr Serith, Nemos Ognios Grove, ADFMeditational and Devotional RitualsCernunnos Devotional Ritual (Solitary) - Trebomâros Auigani (Trevor Hanson), SolitaryGaranus Meditation - Rev. Michael J Dangler, Three Cranes Grove ADFThe Marriage of Lugus and Rosmertâ - Rev. Michael J Dangler, Three Cranes Grove ADF
Ritual Category: 
This is a music video featuring a song by Missy Burchfield (Wellspring Bardic Chair). The images are from various aspects of the Wellspring experience.     This is a music video featuring a song by Missy Burchfield (Wellspring Bardic Chair). The images are from various aspects of the Wellspring experience.     This video was created by Buccaneer Pictures (Facebook link).
Ritual Category: 
Here is a very short rite for daily devotions, designed especially for traveling, staying at friend's places, riding on a bus or plane, and so forth. It makes every effort to accommodate varying settings, social situations, time constraints, and availability of materials for offerings. It should be doable in the space of a smoke break. Yet it also follows the full Core Order of Ritual (COoR version from the ADF-Liturgists mailing list, November '06).Items needed:water (as it is the most readily available item I can think of, it is used for purification, offerings, and blessings; other items may be substituted where available and appropriate)omen method (use a method appropriate to the situation; travel-ready possibilities include drawing an item from your pocket, casting different-colored pens, looking in your surroundings for omens (signs, clouds, birds, colored lights, etc.), flipping three coins, or drawing runes/ogham from a set on a keychain).1. Initiating the Rite(take a deep breath and focus on the work to be done)2. Purification(dip a finger in the water and touch it to your body)(optional: Appeal for Inspiration-- additionally touch your finger to your lips as a request for eloquence and inspiration, possibly naming a specific being as its source)(optional: Outsiders Offering—dip your finger again and cast this bit of water over your shoulder.)3. Honoring the Earth Mother and 4. Statement of PurposeHail, Earth Mother, whole and holy, honor unto thee! I offer now as the ancients did to the Kindreds Three!(optional: Two Powers Attunement-- gesture to the sky above and the earth below while aligning with these energies)5. (Re)Creating the Cosmos and 6. Opening the Gate(s)(conjure a mental image of the Fire, and optionally also the Well and Tree)By Land, Sky, and Sea, And Fire, Well, and Tree: O (gatekeeper's name), Let the Gate(s) be opened!(imagine the Gate(s) opening)7. Inviting the Three Kindreds and 8. Key Offerings(for each, dip a finger in the water and raise it in offering)To the Ancestors: water, may it strengthen thee! To the Nature Spirits: water, may it strengthen thee! To the Gods and Goddesses: water, may it strengthen thee!(optionally, do the same for any patrons of the occasion you wish to include)9. Prayer of SacrificeO Kindreds, accept my sacrifice!10. Omen(take the omen—if favorable, continue; if unfavorable, skip to 15 and try again later with other offerings or a revised perspective)11. Calling (asking) for the BlessingsI give my gifts to the Kindreds Three, Now let your blessings strengthen me! Hear my prayer and give to me: (desired blessings)12. Hallowing the BlessingLet your blessings come into these waters, that I may drink them down.(drink some or all of the remaining water, as appropriate)13. Affirmation of the BlessingHail the Kindreds, strong in me! Thanks be to the Kindreds Three! Peace to all beings, so may it be!14. Workings (if any)(optional)15. Thanking the Beings(included in #13 above, but if desired, a further thanks may be simply: "Thanks be to the Kindreds")16. Closing the Gate(s)O (gatekeeper's name) Let the Gate(s) be closed.(imagine the Gate(s) closing)(optional: Two Powers Re-attunement-- gesture once again to the sky above and earth below while re-aligning with these energies)17. Thanking the Earth MotherHail, Earth Mother, whole and holy, honor unto thee. I've offered now as the ancients did to the Kindreds Three.18. Closing the RiteThe rite is ended. Go in peace.
Ritual Category: 
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."
Ritual Category: 
(NM = New Member, D1 is leader of the rite - first Druid) D1: Is there a aspirant for Grove membership here today?NM: There is!D1: Step forward so that the folk can see you.NM steps forward.D1: Are you a member of Ar nDraiocht Fein?NM: I am.D1: Will you take oath before the Gods and the Folk?NM: I will.D1: Is there any of the folk here who can say why this person should not be welcomed to the Grove?D1 pauses.D1: Step forward to the World Tree and state the name we shall know you by.NM stands next to the Bile.NM: My name is ________.D1: Lay your hand on the World Tree and repeat after me.I _______, swear before the Gods and the folk, to work for and with this grove, for as long as I am a member, in return for being counted among the folk. Thus do I swear by all I hold sacred!The NM is dressed in her/his tabard, and censed and asperged.D1: Welcome to World Tree Grove A.D.F., you are now numbered among our folk.Each member of the Grove will now step forward in turn, put their hands on the NM shoulders, look into their eyes and say: You are of my folk, Welcome!D1: Let there be music and drumming so that all know that World Tree Grove is one stronger!
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
This impromptu Fontanalia blessing rite using the Roman pantheon was performed at the Three Realms Festival in 2006 near Malibu, California.VideosPart 1Part 2
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
Musical SignalHonoring the Earth-MotherO, Glorious womb of harvest. You fiery heart of creation. Gracious green mother. Earth Mother, accept this offering and uphold us in our rite.(An offering of grain is made.)All: Earth Mother, accept our offering.Acknowledgement of the OutsidersTo You who stood against the gods. To You who stood against our forbearers. To You who stand against us. We thank you for the lessons you teach and the strength you build. Take this offering and trouble not our rite!(A suitable offering is made outside the ritual area)Specification of Ritual Purpose & Historical Precedent / Naming Deity of the OccasionWe gather together, joining with countless others across this continent, in order to remember those who have died as a result of Hurricane Katrina and to lend our prayers, our strength, and our energy to the continued effort to send relief and comfort to all those affected by this tragedy.Centering, Grounding, & Merging[Two Powers Meditation]Offerings to the Sacred Center: Acknowledgement of the MundusSacred mundus, mouth of the Earth. Open for this brief time that we may receive all Numinae into our rite. Mundus patet!Acknowledgement of the FocusVesta Mater, Shining Lady, unite us all, Queen of the hearth, Vesta Mater, Your household is here. Let us pray with a good fire.Acknowledgement/Offering to the FocusThe folk stand as a doorway, A pillar between the worlds. Together, we gather at this sacred portal In wisdom, love and hope.Calling upon the Gate KeeperSalve Ianus Pater!! Ianus Inceptio, God of beginnings; Ianus Brifons, Two-faced Ianus; Ianus Patulcius, Opener of doors; Ianus Domesticus, Protector of homes; Ianus Quirinus; God of the folk Lend wings to our prayers and conjure a portal between us and the world of the Gods. Through your door, let the prayers of your supplicants pass to the Kindreds.Opening the GatesJanus, join your magic with mine And let the focus open as a gate, Let the mundus open as a gate, Let the portus be the crossroads of all Worlds.Ianus of Openings, admit us into the presence of the shining Ones IANUS PATULCIUS ADMITTE NOS IN PRAESENTIUM NUMINUM LUCENTIUM PORTAE APERIANTUR – Let the gates be open!All: Let the Gates be open!Offering to the AncestorsThe children of the Earth call out to the Mighty Dead. Salvete, Majores et Di Manes! Greetings, ancestors and divine dead. You who have gone before, Who fled in terror when Vesuvius erupted; Who perished in floods, fires, wars and Disasters both natural and man-made. Come to our hearth, Ancestors Meet us at the boundary Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Majories et Di Manes, mactete hoc sacrificio!All: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!Offering to the Nature SpiritsThe children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of this Land. Salvete, Numinae et Indigites! Kindred of coastlands, wetlands and river valleys; You whose homes and keepers have been lost or destroyed; Who now wander, swim or crawl in confusion In this world transformed from the familiar and safe. Come to our fire, Spirits; Meet us at the boundary. Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Numinae et Indigites, mactete hoc sacrificio!All: Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!DeitiesThe children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones. Salvete, Dei! To all Gods and Goddesses: You, who have held back the flood, Who protect those who honor you when you can And grieve by our sides when you cannot. Come to our hearth, Shining Ones; Meet us at the boundary. Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Dei, mactete hoc sacrificio!All: Deities, accept our sacrifice!The Main SacrificeJanus Pater, God of Beginnings, to those who have lost their homes and their communities: May You provide new beginnings, new homes, new jobs, and new friends to fill the empty places of those that were lost. Hear our plea, Janus Pater.All: Hear our plea, Janus Pater.Tellus Mater, Mother Earth, to those whose loved ones have died and who are burdened by unimaginable losses, finding themselves refugees in their own country: May You provide comfort in the embrace of your loving arms. Hear our plea, Tellus Mater.All: Hear our plea, Tellus Mater.Neptunus Pater, Provider of Fresh Water, to those areas inundated and polluted by flood water, debris and sewage: May You allow levees to be repaired, debris to be removed; help draw back the unclean waters and refresh those flooded areas with clean, pure water. Hear our plea, Neptunus Pater.All: Hear our plea, Neptunus Pater.Fortuna Redux, Fortune, the Home-bringer, to those who fled their homes and inundated cities, who wonder if they will ever be able to return home or if they even have a home to return to: May You protect and steer them home when it is safe to return. Hear our plea, Fortuna Redux.All: Hear our plea, Fortuna Redux.Aesculapius, God of Healing, to those who are injured, those separated and searching for family; to those who have been traumatized: May You be a healing presence in their lives for as long as it takes them to return to wholeness. Hear our plea, Aesculapius.All: Hear our plea, Aesculapius.Spes, Goddess of Hope, to those who return to homes battered by wind and engulfed by flood and to those who have no homes to return to: May You provide hope that they may rebuild, reorganize, regroup and renew their homes and communities. Hear our plea, Spes.All: Hear our plea, Spes.Mercurius, Protector of Travelers, to those who suffer on the streets or crowded into shelters, hot, weary, and fearful; to those who feel homesick and far away from loved ones and their homes at this time: May You provide the comfort of safe homes, rest and hospitality for as long as it is needed, comforting families and friends across the distance. Hear our plea, Mercurius.All: Hear our plea, Mercurius.Ceres Mater, Provider of the Fruits of Earth, to those who have lost all material possessions; to the poor and those whose livelihoods have been lost or impaired by this disaster; to those whose workplaces have become unsafe and who face an uncertain future: May You provide sustenance and restore prosperity as quickly as possible. Hear our plea, Ceres Mater.All: Hear our plea, Ceres Mater.Mars Olloudius, Protector of the People, to those who are involved in rescuing people and those caring for the injured in hospitals and clinics: May You sustain and uphold them through this time of tremendous loss and stress. Hear our plea, Mars Olloudius.All: Hear our plea, Mars Olloudius.Quirinus, God of the Community, to those communities that have been devastated: May You help them live and learn and support one another and have joy in their lives once again; may this disaster bring people together to rebuild their cities, and to fill their lives with justice, their plates with food and their streets with music. Hear our plea, Quirinus.All: Hear our plea, Quirinus.Jupiter Stator, to the police, firefighters, FEMA employees, National Guard, Red Cross workers, disaster response coordinators, whose work is just beginning and will not end for many months: May You strengthen and sustain them for service. Hear our plea, Jupiter Stator.All: Hear our plea, Jupiter Stator.Vesta Mater, Embodiment of the Hearth Flame, to all those with home and without: May You warm their hearts, minds and bodies, bring them back to Your center. Hear our plea, Vesta Mater.All: Hear our plea, Vesta Mater.Ancestors, Spirits and Gods, to each of us as we pray: May it be Your will to be propitious to us; may distance not deter us from generous giving and enduring companionship. Hear our plea, Great Kindred.All: Hear our plea, Great Kindred.Piacular OfferingGods and Goddesses, Holy Ancestors, Spirits of this place: If anything that we have done here has offended you, If anything we have done here has been incomplete, If anything we have done here has not been in the proper manner, Accept this final offering in recompense.Induction of ReceptivityAncient and Mighty Ones, we have honored you and pray that you heed our prayers. For all those for whom we have petitioned, We ask that you hear your children: NUMINA LUCENTIA, AQUAE VIVAE DATIS!All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!NUMINA LUCENTIA, AQUAE VIVAE DATIS!All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!NUMINA LUCENTIA, AQUAE VIVAE DATIS!All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!Consecration AgreementBehold the holy Cup of Magic The outpouring of Blessing from the Great Ones When we share the draught of the Gods We drink in wisdom, love and strength To do as we will in the worlds In service to the Shining Ones. Hear us Mighty Kindred: Hallow these waters with your blessings! ECCE AQUAE VIVAE!All: Behold the Waters of Life!(The cup is shared.)Thanking of Entities Invited in Reverse OrderThe Great Ones have blessed us. Let us carry the magic from our sacred Grove Into our lives and our work. Each time we offer to the Powers They become stronger And more aware of our needs and our worship. So now as we prepare to depart Let us give thanks To all those who have aided us. Janus Pater, Tellus Mater, Neptunus Pater, Fortuna Redux, Aesculapius, Spes, Mercurius, Ceres Mater, Mars Olloudius, Quirinus, Jupiter Stator, and Vesta Mater, we thank you.All: We thank you!Gods and Goddesses of elder days, we thank you.All: We thank you!O Spirits of this land , we thank you.All: We thank you!O Ancestors, our Kindred, we thank you.All: We thank you!To all those Powers that have aided us, we thank you.All: We thank you!Mother of all To you we return all we leave unused Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Earth Mother, we thank you.All: We thank you!Ianus Clusivius, closer of doors, For your presence and power Your guiding and guarding we thank you.All: We thank you!Affirmation of Past/Future Continuity and SuccessNow by the Keeper of Gates and by our magic We end what we began. Now let the Focus be but a flame; Let the Mundus be but a pot; Let the Portus be only a doorway. Let all be as it was before... PORTAE CLAUDANTUR!!All: Let the Gates be closed!Go now, Quirites In peace and blessings The rite is ended!
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This may also be prayed to Castor and Pollux, the Dioskouri:They did not go to sea, Divine Twins, but the sea came to them. Diwós Sunú, saviors at sea, preserve the lives and health of the people of New Orleans, and return them to happiness and prosperity.
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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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It has been a challenge to adapt ADF's standard liturgical formulae for a Roman hearth culture, and being the legalistic, formulaic Roman that I am, I need to accompany this article with certain disclaimers. First of all, this is most certainly a work in progress; I'm working out the kinks as I go along, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Secondly, I have drawn from sources as widely varying as Cato's De Agri Cultura to Ceiswr Serith's Pagan Book of Prayer. I am certainly open to suggestion, though I am not likely to begin studying haruspicy with real livers, nor am I likely to do an entire Roman rite extemporaneously. The middle ground between reconstruction and inspiration is where I stand :) And so as the proper Roman, I must offer thanks in advance all who have assisted in making this template possible, including, but not limited (and in no particular order), to Nova Roma, Ceiswr Serith, Jason, Cato, Varro, Ian Corrigan, Isaac Bonewits and countless others who have made ADF liturgy what it is today. As with most ADF rituals, we begin with a... Musical Signal I use a bell. Your mileage may vary. I would assume the most authentic Roman reconstructionists might preface their rituals with blasts from a trumpet to get everyone's attention, then the remaining ritual action would be accompanied by a flutist, in order to drown out any ill omens (or hecklers). I prefer to begin with a bell, then set it aside for the remainder of the rite. [Note: I am skipping the procession in this template, since most Roman rituals would have been in a clearly established sacred space – usually a temple or sacred grove used for no other purpose – and there would have been no need for the celebrants to pass from the profane to the sacred. Again, your mileage may vary. Feel free to add a processional.] Honoring the Earth-Mother My favorite Earth Mother blessing is based on prayer by Ceiswr Serith, though I have adapted it to the Roman goddess Ops, goddess of the stores (in a rather literal sense). In the urban community, it was Ops who provided sustenance to all the folk, and so it seemed appropriate to first ask her blessing and invite her to join us as we worship the Kindreds. (Offerings to Ops would be made into the mundus.) Ops Mater. Goddess of the bounty of the earth, We send out words in praise of you, from whom all worlds flow. Mystery of mysteries, this continual creation, like a fountain forever bubbling up from the Earth's darkness She is a cup that is never empty. Generous One, eternally giving gifts, We pray to you; we praise you. All: Ops Mater, we praise you. (bend and kiss the ground) Evoking the Bardic Deity Apollo is one of the few Greek deities who was assimilated wholly into the Roman pantheon without being equated with a pre-existing deity from Latium. It seems appropriate to pray to Apollo as both a deity of poetry and music, but also a deity of divination. This particular evocation was pretty much divinely inspired – I cannot take full credit for it – and may be used in whole or in part for this module of ritual. Phoebus Apollo, bringer of light, son of Zeus, the almighty and Leto, the rich-haired, who Bore him at Delos, where all manner of men now Come bearing gifts, fine and fragrant for thee. O Lord Apollo, who bears the gold sword, who Shoots from afar with his bright silver bow; Mighty slayer of dragons and lover of beauty; Whose arrow strikes truer than Marsyas or Cupid. Thou, who humbled the streaming, scheming Telphusa; Whose lilting lyre delights all Olympus; Whose oracle utters Zeus's unerring will; Whose art, aim, and intellect reigns supreme over all. Sweet-tongued Apollo, who sings for the Gods, may'st thou Guide thence our praises to bathe them in honor; For we are but mortals, and thou art a God; Only this boon we beg thee, grant to us now: That our voices be pleasing to Gods, Spirits, and Manes; That the aim of our rite strike its target precisely; That our blessings and theirs pass freely between The realms of the Kindreds and the lips of our Seer. All: Macte virtute esto! (This translates loosely as "Well done!" A simple "Macte" would also be appropriate.) Acknowledgement of the Outsiders The celebrant carries out an offering for Mars Silvanus, as protector and warder against the adverse influences of the wild. Traditionally, Silvanus received offerings of pork, fat and grain. I suspect he has an appreciation for greasy fast-food, so I think offering him "sliders" – White Castle burgers – seem to keep him fairly happy, though I have also offered more wholesome turkey bacon, whole wheat flour and olive oil, too. As always, your mileage may vary. (Because I think the Roman deities appreciate it when we try it in Latin, though this is a bit less formulaic and more vernacular...) Mars Silvanus Pater, te precor uti sis bonae volentatis et propitious mihi domui familiaque nostrae, ad quod offero hoc sacrificium, uti nos defendas, et tu prohibeas et avertas, et averrunces omnia adversa, tam visibilia quam invisibilia, quae nos opponere volunt. (And for those following along in English...) Father Mars Silvanus, I pray you be of good will and favorable to me and to our house and household, for which purpose I make this offering that you may prohibit, defend and avert things seen and unseen that may oppose us. All: FIAT! ("So be it!") Specification of Ritual Purpose & Historical Precedent/Naming Deity of the Occasion This part of the ritual entails as much research and inspiration as the celebrants can muster. Some festivals (like Saturnalia, for example) are far better documented than others (such as Furrinalia). Good luck with festivals like Lupercalia and Furrinalia. Centering, Grounding, & Merging When in Rome – or your grove ritual – use the groupmind exercise most likely to work with the group of celebrants. I use a sort of condensation and expansion of ADF's "Two Powers" meditation. (This could be an article in itself, so I won't go into any more detail in this context). I finish out the meditation with one of my favorite prayers from Ceiswr Serith that establishes a universal visualization of the cosmos better than any other I know. Take a moment to find the center of your mind, body and soul. Breathe deeply from your belly the air in this sacred grove, charged with anticipation and potential. Exhale fully through your mouth; then, through your nose, fill your lungs with the clean, cool aroma of this moment. Allow that sacred air to circulate and surge throughout your body. Now continuing to breathe from your belly, stand firm and feel the Earth's pulse through the soles of your feet. Curl your toes into the ground, rooting yourself into the bosom of the warm, nurturing Earth. Draw another deep breath while imagining tendrils of roots and vines connecting your self with the soil beneath you. Now stretch forth your hands to those closest to you, and grasp hands or simply touch them, if you can. At one with the cosmos and at one as a grove – we are, as a community, greater than the sum of our parts. We stand as a grove in a forest of trees, one folk. 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. Blessings, and honor, and worship to the Holy Ones. All: Macte virtute esto! ("Well done.") ... or... SO BE IT! (if you prefer) Offerings to the Sacred Center I admit, this is the newest and most radical variation from the standard Fire/Well/Tree of standard ADF liturgy, and that I am still working out precisely how best to open the gates in Roman ADF rites. Though I still have much work to do in this respect, this is the way I open the gates. In Roman rites, we do not have a fire, well and tree. We have a focus, a mundus and a portus. That is, a fire (sacrificial fire, as opposed to hearth fire), an offering shaft (or pot of earth if you do not have a permanent ritual space) and a doorway. The latter is literally the portus, the portal between the worlds, of which Ianus (also known in the financial industry as Janus -- though the proper Roman pronunciation is "YAH-noos") is the gatekeeper. The portus is the trickiest to create ritually. When doing an indoor ritual, I have a particular doorway in my home that is my portus. When doing an outdoor ritual, I have a particular gazebo in the public space in my community that I use as my portus. (I am still contemplating how I might construct a portable, transportable portus that would break down and fit in my Honda Civic. A garden trellis, for example, is just too big.) Acknowledgement/Offering to the Mundus (Rarely was the mundus actually opened in Roman times – twice a year, at best. In modern times, we do tend to be more welcoming to that which is below, and so we [warily] open the gateway to the underworld.) Here is the mundus, the eye and mouth of the Earth. Open for this brief time that we may receive all Numinae into our rite. Beneath us, below us and sprouting through us are the waters of rebirth, The mundus, gate to all of that which is below, we acknowledge and uphold. [OPTIONAL –To the mundus, we make this offering: (If offerings to the gates are made, one of earth or peat might be appropriate.)] All: Mundus patet! ("May the mundus be opened!") Acknowledgement/Offering to the Focus If at all possible, bring a bit of fire from the celebrant's hearth fire to kindle the ritual fire. This prayer is really to Vesta, who in early times was not precisely a goddess of fire, but more of an embodiment of the hearth itself. This particular prayer is adapted from one written by Ceiswr Serith. Vesta Mater, Shining Lady, unite us all, For by worshipping at a common hearth We are made one family, one people. Queen of the hearth, Vesta Mater, your household is here. Let us pray with a good fire. [OPTIONAL – To Vesta, we make this offering: (If offerings to the gates are made, one of incense might be appropriate for Vesta.) All: Let us pray with a good fire! Acknowledgement/Offering to the Focus Stand we here as a doorway, The folk a pillar between the worlds. Together, we gather at this sacred portal In wisdom, love and hope. [OPTIONAL – To the portus, we make this offering: (If offerings to the gate are made, censing with incense or sage and aspersing with water might be appropriate for the Mundus.] Evoking the Gate Keeper Salve Ianus Pater!! Ianus Inceptio, God of beginnings; Ianus Brifons, Two-faced Ianus; Ianus Patulcius, Opener of doors; Ianus Domesticus, Protector of homes; Ianus Quirinus; God of the folk Lend wings to our prayers and conjure a portal between us and the world of the Gods. Through your door, let the prayers of your supplicants pass to the Kindreds. [OPTIONAL – Ianus Pater, accept our offering! (An appropriate offering might be olive oil, wine, incense, doorknobs, WD-40... or whatever else you want to try with a god of doorways and beginnings.)] Opening the Gates In traditional ADF fashion, I still conjure the Gates, making an opening gesture (usually simply a circle) on the triple center, saying:] Now, Janus Join your magic with mine And let the focus open as a gate, Let the mundus open as a gate, Let the portus be the crossroads of all Worlds. Ianus of Openings, admit us into the presence of the shining Ones IANUS PATULCIUS ADMITTE NOS IN PRAESENTIUM NUMINUM LUCENTIUM PORTAE APERIANTUR – Let the gates be open! All: Let the Gates be open! Offering to the Ancestors The children of the Earth call out to the Mighty Dead. Salvete, Majores et Di Manes! Greetings, ancestors and divine dead. You who were here before, we offer you welcome. Ancestors of our blood, we offer you welcome. You who guide us, we offer you welcome. Come to our hearth, Ancestors Meet us at the boundary Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Majories et Di Manes, mactete hoc sacrificio! All: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! Offering to the Nature Spirits The children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of this Land. Salvete, Numinae et Indigites! Kindred of earth, we offer you welcome Kindred of the growing green, we offer you welcome. Kindred who fly or walk or swim or crawl, we offer you welcome. Come to our fire, Spirits; Meet us at the boundary. Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Numinae et Indigites, mactete hoc sacrificio! All: Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice! Deities The children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones. Salvete, Dei! To all Gods and Goddesses, we offer you welcome. To all Gods of this place, we offer you welcome. To all the deities of this household, we offer you welcome. Come to our hearth, Shining Ones; Meet us at the boundary. Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Dei, mactete hoc sacrificio! All: Deities, accept our sacrifice! The Main Sacrifice Wash your hands first and cover your head. (Roman sacrifices were performed capite velato – heads covered; Greek sacrifices were performed with the head uncovered – Graecus ritus.) A pretty good formula to use (this formula more or less straight from Cato, because it is always a good idea to first address them in the language to which they are most accustomed...) [insert name of deity] Pater/Mater (since you are establishing a patron/client relationship), te hoc vinum [porcum, bovvum, etc.] ommovendo bonas preces, precor uti sies volens propitious illis Quiritibus te laudatis, quoius re ergo hoc sacrificium offero. Father/Mother [deity's name] With good prayers I offer to you this wine [pork, beef, etc.]. May it be your will to look with favor upon these folk who have honored you, For which purpose I make this offering. All: Macte virtute esto! ("Well done!") Praise Offerings, Dance, Libations, etc. [any additional praise offerings from the congregation] Piacular Offering Being the let's-make-sure-we-cover-all-our-bases Roman that I am, I would never do a ritual without a piacular offering – just in case. So far, I think it has saved me from being struck by lightning, swallowed up by a suddenly opening chasm in the earth and being washed out to sea by a great wave. So, what the heck? This final offering – for me – has traditionally been of gold, wine and incense. So far, that has covered all the bases (though I might also consider a golden apple). The text of the prayer is based on one by (liturgist extraordinaire) Ceiswr Serith: [Deity(ies) name] Pater/Mater, Gods and Goddesses, Holy Ancestors, Spirits of this place: If anything that we have done here has offended you, If anything we have done here has been incomplete, If anything we have done here has not been in the proper manner, Accept this final offering in recompense. Seeking the Omen of Return I still struggle for the perfect compromise between traditional Roman liturgy and Neopagan expectations. If I were a complete reconstructionist, I would simply ask if the offerings and rite were acceptable and wait to see if I were struck by lighting (or some other such obvious sign of displeasure). In the absence of any real "sign," I would assume all the Kindred were cool with my rite. My preference is simply to stand still, listen, and pay attention to anything out of the ordinary. (At my Neptunalia/Furrinalia rite in July, when I asked if the rite was acceptable, the sun came out from behind the clouds and the wind shifted – inexplicably – from the west to east. Works for me.) However, folks attending modern, Neopagan rituals tend to want some sort of direction from the Kindred – some sort of "answer" to a question. Short of asking the resident diviner to perform a Tarot reading or draw runes [shudder], I have pulled three cards from a selection of cards from the Mythical Tarot. (I use only the major arcana cards with Greek mythology that can be easily associated with Roman deities.) The ritual text is derived from (I believe) 6th Night Grove, ADF's standard liturgy, Latinized, of course: So we have given of our love and our wealth To the Kindred, that they may know our devotion. Now let our voices arise on the Focus Let our voices sound in the Mundus Let our words pass through the Portus. May we open to the Kindreds, Asking what blessings they offer us in return And the needs they have of us. At this point, usually, I simply ask, "Have the sacrifices been accepted?" If I am celebrating with folks more accustomed to ADF rites and omens, I will use the (abbreviated) Mythical Tarot and the three questions (Have the sacrifices been accepted? What do the Kindred offer to us? What do the Kindred ask of us in return?) If the omen is such that this question is answered in the negative, we go back and do another piacular offering, then start this part over. Until we get it right. (So far – knock wood – I have never had to make additional piacular offerings.) Induction of Receptivity (Adapted from standard ADF and 6th Night Grove, ADF liturgy...) Ancient and Mighty Ones, we have honored you We pray you honor us in turn For a gift calls for a gift. Hear your children: NUMINA LUCENTIA, AQUAE VIVAE DATIS! All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters! Consecration Agreement Behold the holy Cup of Magic The outpouring of Blessing from the Great Ones When we share the draught of the Gods We drink in wisdom, love and strength To do as we will in the worlds In service to the Shining Ones. Hear us [Father/Mother deity(ies) of the occasion]: Hallow these waters! ECCE AQUAE VIVAE! All: Behold the Waters of Life! (The cup is shared.) Thanking of Entities Invited in Reverse Order (Also adapted from standard ADF and 6th Night Grove, ADF liturgy...) The Great Ones have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, Let us carry the magic from our sacred Grove Into our lives and our work. Each time we offer to the Powers They become stronger And more aware of our needs and our worship. So now as we prepare to depart Let us give thanks To all those who have aided us. Father/Mater [deity(s) of the occasion], PATER NEPTUNUS, GRATIAS TIBI AGIMUS! All: We thank you! O Gods and Goddesses of elder days, DEI. GRATIAS VOBIS AGIMUS! All: We thank you! O Spirits of this land NUMINAE ET INDIGITES, GRATIAS VOBIS AGIMUS! All: We thank you! O Ancestors, our Kindred MAJORES ET DI MANES, GRATIAS VOBIS AGIMUS! All: We thank you! To all those Powers that have aided us, we say again... GRATIAS VOBIS AGIMUS! All: We thank you! Mother of all To you we return all we leave unused Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Mater Ops, GRATIAS TIBI AGIMUS! All: We thank you! Ianus Clusivius, closer of doors, For your presence and power Your guiding and guarding we say... GRATIAS TIBI AGIMUS! All: We thank you! Final offering to Vesta Make a final offering of incense to the sacrificial fire, which is left to burn out on its own. (This, too, is adapted from a prayer by Ceiswr Serith.) Vesta Mater, Queen of the hearth, Who by rights receives the last, Bless and guard all those who worship you Whether in their home or without Whether alone or with others Whether thinking of you or engaged in business. Lady of Fire, receive this offering. Affirmation of Past/Future Continuity and Success Now by the Keeper of Gates and by our magic We end what we began. Now let the Focus be but a flame; Let the Mundus be an urn [or whatever you're using]; Let the Portal be only a doorway [gazebo, trellis, or whatever]. Let all be as it was before... PORTAE CLAUDANTUR! All: Let the Gates be closed! Go now, Quirites In peace and blessings The rite is ended! ALL: IO SATURNALIA!! (or Neptunalia, or Lupercalia, or whatever occasion you happen to be celebrating... or simply – my traditional ritual ending: WOO HOO!!!!)
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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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So, O Mighty Ones, we call to you as our kin, in love of the All-Mother, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Spirits; meet us at the boundary of the otherworld. Guide and ward our way as we come into your realm.All: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!Offering is made to the shaft. Druid takes up an offering of herbs and stones, and invokes: The children of the earth call out to the spirits of this land. Hear us, companions and teachers.To all our allies, kindreds of stone and stream, fertile earth and crystal, pools and every water; kins of the earth, we offer you welcome!To all our allies, kindreds of the growing green, herb and flower, shrub and mighty tree, root and stem and fruit; green kins, we offer you welcome!To our allies, kindreds of fur and feather and scale, eagle and bear, salmon and serpent; all who move on the land; red kins, we offer you welcome!So, O Noble Ones, we call to you as our allies, in the joy of life upon earth, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Spirits; meet us at the boundary of the otherworld. Guide and ward our way as we come into your realm.All: Nature-Spirits, accept our sacrifice!Offering is scattered to the four directions. Druid takes up offering of oil, invokes: The children of the Earth call out to the Gods and Goddesses. Hear us, eldest and brightest, first children of the mother to all the shining goddesses, mothers and queens, warwomen and witches, muses and lovers; goddesses, we offer you welcome!To all the shining gods, fathers and rulers, protectors and magicians, guides, champions and lovers; gods, we offer you welcome!To all the deities of those here gathered, you whom ye worship, you bless our lives with wisdom, health and bounty; patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome!So, O Shining Ones, we call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Spirits, meet us at the boundary of the otherworld. Guide and ward our way as we come into your realm.All: Accept our sacrifice!Offering is made to the fire.Druid says: Gods and Dead and Mighty Sidhe, Powers of Earth and Sky and Sea, by Fire and Well, by Sacred Tree offering we make to ye!Patron OfferingsDruids take up offerings of apples and bread, saying: Now we make offering to the patron powers of our rite.RENEW MIST VISION... see a couple, standing in an orchard filled with apples of gold, silver and crystal... the woman is a strong, beautiful queen, all in white... her hair is red, her face is mature, calm and wise... she wears a cloak of cow's hide and bears a distaff like a spear... the main is a vigorous elder in robes of grey and sea-blue.. .his hair and mustaches are white but his face is youthful, and he wears a torc of silver... in his hand he bears an apple-want of silver, with fruits that chime like bells... they are Mannanan the Wise, Keeper of the Gates, Teacher of Magicians, and Aine the Ancient, Queen of the sacred Land, Lady of the Sidhe...To you, rulers of the Isle of Apples, we make offering.Manannan mac Lir, we give you apples, fruit of healing and blessing.Aine, we give you bread, made by our skill from your bounty. Join your magic with ours in this work of Druidry.Now let our voices arise on the Fire let our voices resound in the Well. Let our call be carried to the powers.O Manannan, O Aine, all our allies among the Gods, the Dead and the Sidhe, hear us now, we pray you, as we offer up this sacrifice. Accept our worship and grant us your aid and guidance in return.All: Powers, accept our sacrifice!Omen and Return BlessingDruids lead trance moment, thus:Feel your desire... your love for the Spirits and the land... flowing inward through the Gates... the Fire lifts it... the Well receives it... the spirits assembled are honored and strengthened...Druid takes up the Runes, or whatever, saying:Now that we have gifted the powers, we prepare for their gift to us in turn. Let us ask the powers what blessing they offer us.The omen is taken and interpreted. The Druid draws from the Cauldron into a bowl and elevates it, saying:We draw water from the magic cauldron; We fill the blessing bowl, O Mighty, Noble and Shining Ones we have honored you. Now we ask for your blessing, as a gift calls for a gift. We go now into the mist, to thank and commune with the powers of this land. By our magic we will send our vision through the gates, faring forth to spirits' home. Now, we pray you, hallow these waters! Let all who receive them be given soul-strength for the journey. Open our inner eyes and sharpen our wits. Open us to vision, to wonder and to power.Behold the Waters of Life!All are sprinkled as a power charm or song is sung, the Song of Amairgin is very proper as are some shamanic style power songs.The JourneyA heart-beat drum begins softly as the Druids lead the name:Now, with power gathered in, we deepen our trance and make our journey... make yourself comfortable... if you wish, now is the time to lie down... or to sit up, spine straight... and breathe deep... renew your center... connected with Earth and Sky... surrounded by the Wizard's Mist... let your body relax further... your limbs, your belly, your face... with every breath becoming calm and still... open and prepared... to make the inward journey.Feel now the presence of the Mist, shining silver all around... it swirls and flows around your form... around your feet, rising... around your loins, rising... around your heart, rising... around your head, rising to enwrap you, enfold you in the Mist of Between... surrounded by featureless mist... before your eyes, above and around you... mist even below you... you are adrift in the mist... drifting... in the mist.Feel yourself drifting... in calm and wonder... you can see before you the spirit-shape of the Gates... the Bright flowing upward, the Dark flowing down... equal and beautiful... pulling and calling you... bring to mind your ally... see its form... open yourself to its spirit being... it may come to lead you... in your vision's eye, you stand... and move toward the Gates... you are pulled into the current, light or dark.You move into the flow... carried faster... allies and spirits around you... moving between... you travel long... you travel in an instant... you emerge again into mist and drift slowly to a halt... you come gently to rest, on solid ground... you have arrived in a place that is much closer to the Otherworld... where you may meet and speak with the Powers in the Land. The mist begins to thin... a landscape becoming clear before you... for a time, now, explore and learn from the vision of the Hidden Land... as a breeze blows the Wizard's Mist away...Heart beat drum continues for a time, then nine knells are rung. Trance continues:You have approached the Sidhe... perhaps spoken with the spirits... as you have done, so may you do... truer and better in times to come.. look again, all around you, and remember...Remember... the sense and feel of the Hidden Land... the time you spent... gifts or wisdom gained... now remember our Grove... the Gates... turn around and move toward your Gate... your ally can lead you... the Mist appears around you, engulfing you... turn your mind toward your body... seated or lying in our Grove... you flow back, aided by allies... seated in our valley, wrapped in mist... move firmly back inot your flesh... breathe deep... feel your center... your connection with Earth and Sky... and remember... breathe deep, stretch and be fully back in your body as you open your eyes.After the trance the horn is passed once around for each to speak thanks to the spirits who aided them.ClosingDruids say: The powers have blessed us!With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from the sacred grove into our lives and work.Each time we offer to them they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship.So now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us.O Aine and Manannan All: We thank you!O Gods and Goddesses of elder days All: We thank you!O Spirits of this land All: We thank you!O Ancestors, our Kindred All: We thank you!Any remaining offerings etc., are spilled on the ground, saying:Mother of all, To you we return all that is unused in our work And all the power that is unneeded in our hearts. Earth MotherAll: We thank you!The closing triskel is made, saying: By the Keeper of the Gates and by our magic we end what we began. Now let the Fire be flame, let the Well be water, Let all be as it was before, and the ways between be shut.All: Let the gates be closed!Go now in the peace of the way of wisdom, our rite is ended.A final nine knells is sounded.
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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 SeaBy 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!NotesD1 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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The Shrine bears a simple fire — a candle or three, or nine, and a censer to receive offerings of herbs or incense — a small cauldron full of water and a representation of the World Tree Pillar. A small bowl of salt or ochre sits at the base of the Tree. All sit before or around the Shrine.1. Three knells on a bell.2. Silent Breathing, and basic meditation. A timer may be used, or one member may watch a clock. Three knells sounded to end the silence.3. All Say:We are here to honor the Gods We are here to remember the Elder Spirits We are here to keep the Ways of Druidry4. Two Powers Attunement: Led or read by one or two of the members.5. Attunement concludes with all saying:The Fire, the Well, the Sacred Tree Flow and flame and grow in me. I span between the Earth and Sky Rooted deep and crowned high.6. The Three Worlds symbols are passed deisil around the ring, and each anoints themselves. Each or all say:The primal Sea around me The shining Sky above me The holy Land beneath me The Order of the Worlds stands firm Around me and within my soul.7. Offerings of incense are made or a simple cup poured into bowl or onto ground, or other offerings placed at the Tree. All say:We offer our offerings In the eye of the Mothers who bore us In the eye of the Fathers who quickened us In the light of the fire and the sight of the Powers Accept us, we pray, as your kin and allies Mighty and beloved Dead Wild Ones, Nobles of the Land Eldest, Wisest, Shining Ones Accept from us offering That your power inspire and instruct us That your power heal and sustain us That your power preserve and defend us Each shade and light Each day and night Each hour in blessing This we ask, and give you this due honor!8. All meditate in silence on the whole construct of the rite9. All recite the Great Blessing:We offer our thanks to the Mother of All. We offer our thanks to the Gods, Dead and Spirits. May the Three Sacred Kins Bring joy to all beings, and renew the ancient wisdom. To the Fire, Well and Tree we offer our thanks. May Wisdom, Love and Power Kindle in all beings, and renew the ancient wisdom. To the Earth, Sea, and Sky we offer our thanks. May the ancient wisdom be renewed, And may all beings know peace, joy and happiness In all the worlds.So be it!
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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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For the benefit of those who are not familiar with what we do in ADF, let me quickly explain our cosmology and what we expect to achieve in our ritual.We are a sacrificial religion, which means that we strive to create and maintain relationships with the spiritual powers around us. This includes the Gods, the Spirits of the land and the earth, and our Ancestors, those kin of blood and kin of heart dear to us, as well as the peoples who lived in this place before us.When we use the word, 'sacrifice', we mean something very specific, which may not be what you think. The word 'sacrifice' comes from the Latin words 'sacer' and 'facere', which only mean 'to make sacred'. The word 'sacer' means 'to set apart', so when we make sacrifice we are only setting things apart from our normal world that they might exist in sacred space and time. It doesn't mean that we're killing animals or people or anything like that.There are three kinds of sacrifice in ADF ritual - reciprocity, the shared meal, and the mitigation of order with chaos. We can perform all three in our rituals, at various times.The most common form we use is reciprocity - we give that we might receive. Now, this isn't a quid pro quo so much as a relationship. You give love and support and, occasionally, gifts to your friends, and you expect the same love and support and occasional gifts in return. This is the normal way relationships work. And this is what we do with the Powers. We make offerings to Them, and later, we will ask for Their blessings in return.We deflect any Outdwellers, which is what we call problem spirits who are not aligned with our ways, by giving them a drink or food. And since a gift calls for a gift in return, in the spirit of reciprocity, we trust that they will stay away. Some Groves make sacrifices to a guardian God or Spirit to protect the rite in addition to, or instead of, offering to the Outdwellers.The second form of sacrifice, the 'shared meal', is when we offer something, like a loaf of bread, giving part of it as an offering to the Powers while the rest of the bread is shared among us all. The 'mitigation of order with chaos' is when we make our Praise Offerings. These slightly chaotic moments that we bring to our rituals help to keep us from becoming too rigid or formal.But how do we get the attention of the Kindreds - the Gods, Nature Spirits and Ancestors?In most religious ritual, whether we are aware of it or not, we re-create the origins of the universe, bringing ourselves into sacred space and time, that communication may be made easier.First we re-establish the Three Worlds of the Heavens (the place of the Shining Ones), the Mid-World (where we live) and the Underworld (where our Ancestors dwell) by doing the Two Powers meditation, which brings the Underworld powers, the powers of chaos, and the Heaven or Sky Powers, the powers of order, into ourselves, that we might be like the World Tree and connect the Worlds. We call this re-creating the vertical axis.Sometimes we also fill out this cosmic picture by re-establishing the Three Realms of Land, Sea and Sky (the three parts of the Mid-World), or by calling the 5 directions, or whatever. We call this the horizontal axis.The place where the vertical axis of Heavens, Mid-World and Underworld intersects with the horizontal axis of Land, Sea and Sky is the place that we call "The Sacred Center" or the "Center of the Worlds". And this place is where the veils between our world and the Otherworlds are thinnest. This sacred 'place' is where the universe was created, and it is all places and no place at the same time. But we re-create it here. We are also in sacred 'time', which is all time and no time, when the universe was created originally.To help us connect with the Sacred Center, we consecrate and re-connect the Three Hallows in our rite. These physical objects are what we will use to pierce that veil between the Worlds, and we call them the three Gates. They are the Well (which connects to the Underworld and the powers of chaos), the Fire (which connects to the Heavens and the powers of order) and the Tree (which grows in our Midworld but connects us to the other Worlds).When we open the Gates, we are sending out an open invitation to the Powers, an announcement, as it were, that we are here as a group and wish to commune with Them. We then make sacrifices to Them, which are offerings of food, drink, inspiration or precious objects, inviting Them into our rite with us. And when all sacrifices have been made, we ask for Their blessings to be given us in return.So we are here to re-create the Sacred Center, make our sacrifices to the Kindreds, and ask them for their blessings and wisdom, forging and maintaining our relationships with Them all.
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 The video is hosted on YouTube.
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The musical signal will be given to call the folk for the ritual.D1: Wir sind hier um die Goetter zu Ehren. Folk: We are here to honor the Gods.Led by the clergy, the folk processes to the ritual site & form the ADF sigil singing the Processional Chant three times:We approach the sacred grove, With hearts and minds and flesh and bone, Join us now in ways of old, We have come home.Fire, Well, and TreeThe Fire Maiden (FM) will light the fire and make an offering. FM: I kindle the sacred fire of nine woods in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us. Folk: Sacred fire burn within us. FM will then sense the site and the folk.The Keeper of the Well (KW) will pour the waters and make an offering. KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us. Folk: Sacred waters flow within us. KW will then asperge the site and the folk.The Tender of the Tree (TT) will dress the Tree. TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us. Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us. TT will then asperge and cense the Tree.D1: The fire, the well, the sacred tree Folk: Flame and flow and grow in me! D1: In land, sea and sky Folk: Below and on high! D1: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed. Folk: So be it! D1: By the cleansing of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine. So sind Sie!The folk will be led through the Grove Meditation and then will chant the Unity Chant three times:Earth, sky, and sea, Blessed are these three, Day bright and darkest night, Two sides of the light.Now one in mind, we will find Our praises here resound Yes one in mind we will find, From our lips to the sacred ground.Ritual Purpose and Historical PrecedentD1: We gather here to ask the protection of the Kindreds, for ourselves and for this place especially. As we call them now, so do we offer them a place here as long as we remain within. As we honor them now, so do we pledge to honor them as long as we remain within. And as we create the sacred grove to share with them now, so may they hallow this household and share it with us as long as we share it when them. So sind sie.Inviting the GatekeeperD1: See Yggdrasill, the cosmic tree, the axis of the universe that connects the nine realms. Now we call upon Heimdall, the gatekeeper, so we can connect to the realms and the shining ones. Watch the fire and Yggdrasill and see Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, manifest to us.D1: Heimdall, shining one, guardian of beautiful Bifrost, son of nine waves and sounder of the ill fated horn, you who can hear the grass grow and even hear the wool growing on the sheep, we ask you father of all men to open the gates. You who teach us the runes and our Wyrd let us walk in your light so we may journey and learn in safety. Leuchten uns hervor, Heimdall.The Folk sing the Gatekeeper Chant three times:We invoke you Heimdall, Opener of every gate. We invoke you Heimdall, Opener of every gate. You will reach us, you will teach us, And reveal our fate. You will reach us, you will teach us, And reveal our fate.Invoking the Deity of Bardic InspirationD1: Listen to the music of the universe, the music of Saga and draw inspiration into your hearts. Bard:Saga, All hear the ancient one come. Saga, Help us see the harvest, Saga. Guide us to the table, Saga. Sing us tales of wonder, Remind us that we are able To drain the cup yet drink again. Golden seer of eternal light, Guide us with your beloved presence. Your song is our own, Saga.The OutdwellersA cup is poured for the outdwellers and they are acknowledged. Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and GodsNature Spirits - D1: Draw the strength of nature as we call the nature spirits. D2 will come to the center and pick up the offering of seed and says: Landspirits, join us in this celebration. Accept these offerings.D2 pours a little pile of seed on the Tree and then spreads some around the outside of the circle, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da! Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Fur and Feather three times:Fur and feather and scale and skin, Different without but the same within, Many of body but one of soul, Through all creatures are the gods made whole.Ancestors -D1: Remember the wisdom of our past kin as we call them.D3 will come to the center and pick up the offering of flowers and says: People of eld, honored dead, our kindred, join us in this celebration of joy as you taught us in days of eld.D3 puts a few flowers on the Tree and then dresses the well, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da! Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Mothers and Fathers of Old three times:From far beyond this mortal plane, Mothers and Fathers of old, We pray that you return again, Mothers and Fathers of old, To share with us the mysteries and secrets long untold, From the ancient ways we seek to reclaim, Mothers and Fathers of old.Gods -D1: Feel the protections of the gods as we call them.D4 will come to the center and pick up the offering of oil and says: Gods and Goddesses of old times and new we ask you to join with us in this celebration of nurturing joy.D4 pours a little oil on the Tree and then on the fire, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da! Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Hail all the Gods three 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.Re-Centering & Merging MeditationThe folk are led in a meditation of recentering and merging of the new energies.Invitation to Thor & Praise OfferingsThor, warder of Midgard, friend of man, we ask you to join with us this day of warding and to aid us in defense against threats to our home. Have the folk brought praise?Bard: They have.D1: So sind sie. (Praise offerings follow)A Sacrifice of LifeD1 (holding up oak branch): Our praise goes up to you on the wings of eagles, our voices on the wind. Hear us Thor, we pray to thee as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it and open our hearts and give to us of your protection, peace, and life. So sind sie!Magickal WorkingThunar, Odin's Son, Earth's Son, Thunderer Friend of Man, Midgard-Warder, Mjollnir-Wielder, Troll-Killer River-Stemmer, Stone-Thrower, Serpent-Crusher, Thurses-Bane Strike the Serpents near our Stead, Smite the Serpents, Sudden Death Make this Warding, with your Might, with Mjollnir-Hammer Shining Bright!(pours bottle of Guinness into a mug, holds in one hand, and picks up hammer aloft in other)Thor, we offer this to you in faith and ask that you ward this household, which always will have a place for you, and those who dwell within, from all harm and threat. Thor, accept our sacrifice!All: Thor, accept our sacrifice!OmenAn omen is taken with the runes and shared with the Folk.Waters of LifeD3: Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life? Folk: The Waters of Life.D3: And from whence do these Waters flow? Folk: From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.D3: And how do we honor this gift that causes life? Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.D3: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty? Folk: She has!D1 raises the cup and says: Thor, we have praised you, hallow these waters and give to us of your power and protection and vitality. Seih den Lebenswassern da! Folk: Behold, the Waters of Life!Cups are passed and the Waters are shared, while Share the Waters is chanted:Share the Waters, raise the cup, Drink your share of wisdom deep, Strength and joy now fill us up, As the elder ways we keep.Thanking the HostD1: The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk. But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here.D1: Thor, Wir danken Sie. Folk: Wir danken Sie. D1: Vorfahr, Ahne, Wir danken Sie. Folk: Wir danken Sie. D1: Naturgeisten, Wir danken Sie. Folk: Wir danken Sie. D1: Saga, Wir danken Sie. Folk: Wir danken Sie. D1: Heimdall, Wir danken Sie. Folk: Wir danken Sie.Closing the GatesD1: By the keeper of the gates and by our magic we end what we began. Let the fire be flame, and the well be water, and the ways between be shut. Lassen die Toren zumachen! Folk: Let the gates be closed!D1: We have done as our ancestors did, and as our children will do, and the Gods have answered! Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close. Folk: So sind Sie.As the folk process out of the ritual area, Walk with Wisdom is chanted:Walk with wisdom, from the hallowed place, Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace, Let strength be your brother, and honor be your friend, And luck be your lover, until we meet again.
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This ritual outline is an historical outline from Our Drudiry prior to 2006. Our current outline can be found in our Order of Ritual. Note: we also have a brief version, more suited to printing and using as a ritual cue sheet. Procession Opening Prayers Grove Attunement Fire, Well, and Tree Purpose and Precedent Purification Opening the Gates Kindred Offerings Key Offerings Sacrifice and Omen The Blessings Work Closing 0: The Sacred Grove is arranged as described. The celebrants hallow the Grove; the Fire is lit, the Well is filled, the Tree is blessed. Procession ​With singing, arrive and circle the hallows deosil. The Druids complete the sigil, then give the opening prayers. Opening Prayers ​A: Earth Mother: All kneel and kiss the earth. The Chief speaks as the Sacrificer makes an offering of grain, bread or flour: O beloved mother of all From whose starry womb the green earth springs You who are the bearer of all life We pray you bless and uphold this rite. All: Mother of all accept our offering! B: Awen: The Bard invokes, saying: Power of inspiration that attends us Voice of the fire of wisdom, voice of the well of inspiration Come into our hearts' shrine O! Into our hearts' shrine Let us ken of every good or ill, Guide our rite in the way of truth I call you to place the clear heart in us O power of inspiration in this holy place O power of inspiration at this holy time So be it! Grove Attunment ​The Druids lead a meditation intended to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit. This might conclude with an intoning or a proper chant or hymn. Fire, Well And Tree Druids or members of the grove make offerings to the Sacred Center. Silver is offered to the well, saying: O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath all being accept our offering! Let us know the elder depths within ourselves the source of all, the well of elder wisdom Tobar naomh, ruith a steach mise! All respond: Sacred well, flow within us! An offering of oil is made to the Fire, saying: O sacred fire that consumes and transforms True and holy light of the shining ones Accept our offering! O sacrificed and sacrificer Let holy flame warm our spirits and our lives. Teinne naomh, ls a steach mise! All: Sacred fire, burn within us! The Bile is censed and sprinkled, saying: O sacred pillar, boundary of all worlds, Stand at the center of the sky, Stand at the center of the sea, Stand at the center of the land on which we dwell. Let us be deepened in your depths Raised to your heights Strengthened in your strength Crann naomh, fas a steach mise! All: Sacred tree, grow within us! Purpose And Precedent ​As proper to the work. Purification A: Outdwellers: An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying: Ancient dark ones, we make this offering to you. You who dwell in the outer dark You who stood against the gods You twisted and misshapen You cold of heart and dim of mind Take this offering and trouble not our working. Likewise we acknowledge in ourselves Weakness and perversity Hatred and spite Cowardice and ignorance We contemplate these ills and enemies And for this sacred time We set them aside! B: Fire and Water: Druids draw water from the Well and light a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperge the company, while the company intones or chants. Opening The Gates ​The sacrificer makes an offering to Manannan, saying: A Manannan, a thiarna na geatai duinn, ta muid ag siul ar do bealach. O Manannan, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Wisdom, open the ways for us. We walk in your holy ways, we walk the Sacred Road. Share your magic with us, ward us as we walk in safety. Manannan mac Lir, accept our sacrifice! An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Druid then conjures the Gates, making an opening triskel on the Fire and Well, saying: Now, lord of ways, join your magic with mine and let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, let the tree be the crossroads of all worlds. Open as a road to our voices and to the spirits. Let the gates be open! All: Let the gates be open! Kindred Offerings ​The druids make proper offerings to each of the kindreds, standing at the fire. Ancestors The children of the earth call out to the mighty dead. Hear us, our ancestors, our kindred. Eistigi anois, a shinseara, a mhuintir To all those whose bones lie in this land, whose hearts are tied to it, whose memory holds it; ancient tribes of this place, we offer you welcome. To all of our grandmothers and grandfathers, our own beloved dead, blood-kin and heart-kin; ancient tribes of our blood, we offer you welcome. To all those elder wise ones who guide their people, poets and seers, judges and magicians; wise women and men of ancient days, we offer you welcome. So, o mighty ones, we call to you as our kin, in the love of the all-mother, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! A shinseara, glac an h-iobairt seo muid! (an offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft) Nature Spirits The children of earth call out to the spirits of this land. Hear us, companions and teachers. Eistigi anois, a sprideanna na haite seo. To all our allies, kindreds of stone and stream, crystal and fertile soil, pools and every water; kins of the earth, we offer you welcome To all our allies, kindreds of the growing green, herb and flower, shrub and mighty trees, root and stem and fruit. Green kins, we offer you welcome. To all our allies, kindreds of fur and feather and scale, all who walk or fly or swim or crawl, we offer you welcome. So, o noble ones, we call to you as our allies, in the joy of life upon earth, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. land-spirits, accept our sacrifice! A sprideanna na talamh, glac an h-iobairt seo muid. (an offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is scattered around the nemeton's edge or hung on the tree) Deities The children of earth call out to the shining ones. Hear us, eldest and brightest. eistgigi anois, a dheithe na seanamsiri. To all the shining ones, first children of the mother, wisest and mightiest, loving and comforting; gods and goddesses, we offer you welcome. To the gods and goddesses of this place, ancient and powerful, known to us or unknown; gods of this place, we offer you welcome. To all the deities of those here gathered, you whom we worship, you who bless our lives; o patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome. So, o shining ones, we call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, shining ones; meet us at the boundary. guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. deities, accept our sacrifice! A dheithe, glac an h-iobairt seo muid. (an offering of scented oil is poured on the fire) After all the offerings have been made, the druids recenter the company and lead an attunement to all the spirits that have been called, and a proper chant or hymn is sung to the three kindreds. Key Offerings ​Druid speaks, saying: Failte! A dheithe, a seanara, a sprideanna! Welcome to the god/desses, the dead and the sidhe! To all of you who have gathered at our fire, we pray you join us in worshipping the patrons of this holy rite here in our sacred grove. The druids now give the descriptive invocations of the patron powers of the rite. This is followed by any proper customs for the occasion, and by praise offerings. offerings are made, and a portion of each is held back for the final sacrifice. Sacrifice and Omen The druids prepare the final offerings and say: So we have given of our love and our wealth to the lord and lady. Now let our voices arise on the fire, let our voices sound in the well let our words pass the boundary to the otherworlds. o lord, o lady, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you... Bhantiarna agus tiarna, glac an h-iobairt seo muid! All: Lady and Lord, accept our sacrifice! All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles. Then druid speaks: Having prayed to the powers, let us open to them, asking what blessings they offer us in return. Omen is taken as usual. The seer then interprets the omen, leading the company to contemplate the things they would ask of the powers, especially as suggested by the omen. Company recenters in preparation for the blessing. The Blessing A: The litany of the waters: Druid speaks: Ancient and mighty ones we have honored you. We pray you honor us in turn, for a gift calls for a gift. Hear your children... All: Shining ones, give us the waters! We thirst for the waters of wisdom, of bounty, of rebirth from the well of wisdom, from the spring of renewal, from the bosom of the earth mother. Hear us... All: Shining ones, give us the waters! We open our hearts to the great ones blessing. We stand in pride, honor and friendship with all the powers of the worlds. Hear and answer us now... All: Shining ones, give us the waters! B: Hallowing the waters: Ale is poured into the horns and elevated. Druid speaks: We draw blessing from the cauldron of blessing. We pour the ale of inspiration. Behold the holy cup of magic, the outpouring of blessing from the mighty ones. When we share the draught of the gods we drink in wisdom, love and strength to do as we will in the worlds, in service to the shining ones. Eisdigh anois a tiarna, a bhantiarna; beannaich na h-uisci seo duinn! Hear us o lord, o lady; hallow these waters! We, your children, rejoice in your gift. Bless our spirits and our lives with love, magic and bounty as we drink these sacred waters. Seo iad uisci na beatha! All: Behold the waters of life! The horns are passed and all drink as a proper hymn is sung. Work As needed. Closing When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying: The mighty ones have blessed us. With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers they be come stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship. So now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us. O (patron powers), go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! O gods and goddesses of elder days, go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! O spirits of this land, go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! O ancestors, our kindred, go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! To all those powers that have aided us, we say again... Go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! Druids renew the company's centering once more, signaling the return to common awareness and ease of access to the centered state. Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying: Mother of all, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! The druids go to the center, bearing the wand. They speak: O gatekeeper, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, your guiding and guarding we say... Go raibh maith agaibh! All: We thank you! Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying: Now by the keeper of gates and by our magic we end what we began. Now let the fire be flame Let the well be water; Let all be as it was before. Let the gates be closed! All: Let the gates be closed! Go now, children of the earth, in peace and blessings. the rite is ended! The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove.
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Props Needed:Lighter and matches.Offerings - fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.Cup for the waters of life.WaterWood for the fire.Teas and instant coffee.Teapot.Food for after (donuts, fruit, etc.)Candles - long tapers.Extra flashlight.Small single burner stove.Cauldron for the Spiral firepit.After everyone has gathered at the designated site, they will proceed to the Vigil Area. People will chant: We Approach the Sacred Grove.NOTE: Two leaders will set up the Vigil Area beforehand. They will also smudge the people as they enter the area.The people will form a circle as they enter and the leaders who smudged them will complete the Sigil.The welcoming of people will follow this.We have gathered tonight to begin the first step, within the Folk of the Grove. We ask for aid and guidance from the Gatekeepers, and all who aid us in this quest we undertake tonight.The people will all be given a long taper. The people will then ALL light the center fire while singing: We Will Kindle A Fire.One of the leaders will explain what will be happening to them as the night progresses.The first part tonight will be a lighting of the Ritual Fire you have helped to build. After this, there will be a centering and grounding of all participants. We will then explain a little about sacred objects, sacred space, allies from the Kindreds, the creation of a spiritual community, and the direction and goals of the Folk of Muin Mound Grove. Then we will chant for awhile around the fire and have everyone tell a little about himself or herself.This will be followed by a discussion of pathworking. Then a pathworking to The Forest of Herne and Nemetona's Sacred Grove. This will be followed by a brief discussion of your experiences within the pathworking. After this will be more chanting around the fire and warming drinks, if needed.The night progresses with storytelling, more chanting, and more meditation and centering. Around 4:00am, we will begin the preparations for the Morning Welcoming Ritual. The Ritual will welcome in the sun and the finish of the All Night Vigil.Participants will be asked to rise and form a circle. One of the leaders will lead the Grove Meditation.Participants will be asked to make themselves comfortable again, while one of the leaders explains about: sacred objects, sacred space, allies from the Kindreds, the creation of a spiritual community, and the direction and goals of Muin Mound Grove.People gather around the fire as they tell everyone a little about themselves. Then we will move on to chanting.After everyone is awake again, one of the leaders will talk about pathworking. This will be followed by a general potty break. When everyone has returned the pathworkings to The Forest Of Herne and Nemetona's Sacred Grove will begin.After the pathworking, people will have a chance to discuss their experiences within the pathworking. Everyone will then get up for more chanting and warming drinks, if necessary (Ginseng and Red Zinger tea, for example).All Night Vigil - Pre-dawn Part of the RitualThe first part of this phase of the Ritual will begin about 4:00am. Leaders will ground and center everyone together.People are told that they are embarking on a journey through the worlds. The leaders tell everyone as they move away from the area of the fire:As we depart from this sacred fire, we go to the place of beginning, Chaos. From Chaos, we will journey through the worlds of land, sea, and sky to the outer realms.Everyone is led in a triple spiral out to an area outside the sacred space. The leaders will then announce that this area is the outer realm.Here dwell ALL ancestral Gods and Goddesses. From here are pathways to our everyday world. And here we make offerings to the land, its animals, trees, and spirit guides. Will everyone please make an offering now. Please stay within the light of the fire.After the offerings are given and the people are back in a group, they will then take out their candles. They will be re-led in a triple spiral back into the sacred space and the candles will be lit upon re-entering the sacred space.This light you bring back into the sacred space is the light of greater knowledge. With the knowledge gained from your journey, together with the rest you have learned tonight, you have the power within yourself to find the direction you take in your work with this Grove.The spiral will continue back to the center (firepit), forming a circle around the fire. Each will then place their candle in the fire one at a time, giving a personal dedication as they do so.Do the chant: Hail All The Gods, Hail All The Goddesses. All link arms to form a group hug.Think now on the mysteries of the Waters of Life. As this water has been gathered from 3 sacred sources, so to does our world revolve through 3 sacred realms. Realms that you now have traveled. Behold the Waters Of Life!The leaders will again re-center and re-ground everyone.Now attention is again given to the Bilé.You have been taken through the realms, and once again we center on the Bilé, sacred tree of the ancients. To you now, are opened the pathways to all realms. We give to you the knowledge of the sacred Nemeton. Use this knowledge wisely.Acknowledge the Gods/Goddess and other entities that have helped through the night.Blessings be upon this night. Thanks be to all the Gods and Goddesses, Ancestors and Nature Spirits that have helped us through this night. Behold, as we were once surrounded by darkness, we shall now be surrounded by the new day's light! Within this light is contained all the energies of land, sea, and sky. We give thanks to all those spirits that have aided us.Everyone will get down and touch the ground.As we come to the close of this night, let us all give back to the Earth all the energy that we no longer need. And in doing so, our Ritual comes to an end. Allowing us to take on the mundane world once again.Everyone will get back up and walk over to a table set up with food (donuts, fruit, etc.). Leaders will talk to everyone individually to find out how they are doing and to make sure they grounded well.
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The following is the Core Order of Ritual (COoR) for ADF High Day rituals as approved in late 2006 by the ADF Clergy Council.This is not a complete re-write of our current Order of Ritual, but rather a clarification of what we're already doing, meant to answer the questions, "Just what ritual steps are the minimum necessary for a High Day rite to be considered an ADF ritual?" and "In what order should these steps take place?"Certain actions/concepts below are "suggested", often listed as "may include" or "is most commonly represented or included". In these cases, the main heading is required for a rite to be called "ADF", just not all the choices listed—and there may be other acceptable choices as well that aren't listed.However, where the word "must" appears, this is a required action. Remember that there is usually a strong cosmological or theological reason for each part of the rite to appear where it does. Some modifications to the COoR are expected, including additions to the main headings and particularly steps from past Orders of Ritual not specifically listed here, but any such modifications should have a particularly strong justification.Note also that following the Core Order is a listing of things an ADF ritual does not include.Core Order of ADF Ritual for High DaysInitiating the Rite - May include:Musical SignalOpening PrayerProcessionalEstablishing the Group MindPurification - This must take place prior to Opening the GatesHonoring the Earth MotherStatement of Purpose(Re)Creating the CosmosSacred Center must be established in a triadic CosmosThe Three Worlds or Realms must be acknowledgedThe Fire must be includedSacred Center is most commonly represented as Fire, Well and TreeOpening the Gate(s) - Must include a GatekeeperInviting the Three KindredsKey Offerings - This will commonly include:Invitation of Beings of the OccasionSeasonal customs as appropriatePraise OfferingsPrayer of SacrificeOmenCalling (asking) for the BlessingsHallowing the BlessingAffirmation of the BlessingWorkings (if any)Thanking the BeingsClosing the Gate(s)Thanking the Earth MotherClosing the RiteItems that ADF Rituals Do Not IncludeElemental Cross Symbolism (the 4 Elements)Casting Circles in public ritualCalling Watchtowers or Elemental GuardiansCalling the dualtheistic "Lord" and "Lady"Acknowledgement of one divine being with power over allBlood SacrificesNon-Indo-European mythic and deity motifs(ADF members may wish to view a Core Order of Ritual Tutorial)
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(Originally published in Druid's Progress 10)This article deals with sacred space in two ways. The first is the concept of the Center. The other, equally important aspect of space, is the Edges. The concept of the Center is important to ADF ritual. By being at the Center of the Three Worlds, we can travel to any of the Three Worlds, Land, Sea or Sky, or to any other Center. ADF has left the outer boundaries very open, and undefined. By loosely defining the Edges of our sacred space, we are allowing late comers to join into the ritual by just walking in.The CenterIn the July 1990 (V3N2) issue of News from the Mother Grove, Ian Corrigan had an interesting article on physically representing the Gods. He suggested using carvings, which could be placed on poles . The carvings could then be lifted over the alter or sacred fire. Ian mentioned how this was common to all European religions.Ian's images of the Deities is very useful for defining the Center of the sacred space. A similar custom of using carvings existed in the Balkan states with regards to the Center.In the Balkans, the markers that designate the Center, are called zapis (South Slavic). The marker is usually "a holy communal or ancestral tree, usually a linden", into which was carved a cross. The zapis was not the geographical center, but the sacral center. As implied in Eliade and Stoianovich, the zapis connected to the Otherworlds. Sacrifices were offered at the tree. This partially ties in with the Norse concept of Yggdrasill, or World Tree. For ADF, the Sigil or, as Ian mentioned, the carving of a deity, instead of a cross, would be the appropriate decoration. Multiple posts would also be appropriate, one for each deity desired to be represented. In areas where the Grove owns the land, the poles could be left up to permanently define the Center.The EdgeAnother concept important to defining sacred space, is that of the Edges. The early European terms for towns and cities generally have as part of their connotation, that of circle or stakes around the town. To mark the outer boundaries, the Balkan people used wreaths attached or carved to posts. The posts could be found near the side of the roads leading into the village. The markers designating the outer boundaries are known as potka (South Slav), omphalos (Greek), or mundus (Roman). These outer markers, effectively said to pre-literate people:I am the ancestral demon of this community or family. If you are not of my community or family, do not go and do not allow your animals to go beyond the point where I stand because I have the magical power to inflict evil and harm upon those who do not heed the sacred taboo. The community in turn will impose a penalty or fine upon anyone who offends me or disregards my inviolate instructions.(from A Study in Balkan Civilization by Traian Stoianovich,)Non-villagers could pass, but if they meant harm, they would be punished. The potka acted also to "procure abundance and fertility and to ward off alien and evil spirits". Children were shown the markers as part of a religious ceremony every year, on "Summer's Day".ADF could use the potka symbol in a number of ways. A number of people have insisted that they will not worship in a Grove without erecting "wards", or other protective entities such as "Lords of the Watchtowers", totem animals or similar exclusive boundary markers in the four directions. The potka, or similar items can be carried into the Grove area, and then placed at each of the NATURAL entrances. They would not be placed in the four directions, as they are not directional markers, and have no theological relationship to the "Lords of the Watchtowers" or similar directional spirits. If you have one entrance to the Grove, you would have one marker, twenty entrances (for very large spaces) you would have twenty markers. In a permanent working area, the markers would be permanent also.ReferencesAll quotes are from A Study in Balkan Civilization by Traian Stoianovich, published by Alfred Knopf, New York, 1967; especially pages 38 to 45 in the chapter on Earth Culture.Also read The Sacred and Profane by Mircea Eliade, published by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1957-Pete Gold
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I once conducted a funeral rite for a friend's pet bird. It was done in simplified ADF style. I had a bird shaped candle holder which I brought as the central light of the ceremony. I told my friend that we would burn part of the candle during the rite and that as long as the candle was lit, the spirit of the bird would be with us. When it came time to bid the bird goodbye, she would say her farewell and blow out the candle. By this, she would release the spirit to go on its own way, unencumbered by the owner's desires. However, every time she lit that candle, the animal's spirit would return for a while. She could enjoy its presence and speak to it while it stayed, until the candle was extinguished. Once the candle was totally burned, then the bird and owner would be completely free of all bonds but love.Consecration of Time9 bell rings, in sets of three.Consecration of Space & ParticipantsCensing of the place, smudging the people and asperging both.Consecration of IntentWe are friends of [owner's name] and here to help, The spirit of [pet's name] reach Summerland. Release the grief and sooothe the soul, In memoy of a worthy life. Outdweller OfferingThree pennies thrown outside to appease restless spirits.Outsiders, you who will not help us Take these (throw) and leave us in peace! Opening the GatesSinging to Heimdall & Mothgud to open the gates, then explaining to them that we wish for the pet's spirit to return, for as long as the central candle burns. Owner lights the candle.We invite you Heimdall, opener of fiery gate We invite you Mothgud, opener of icy gate You will reach us, you will teach us and reveal our fate You will reach us you will teach us and reveal our fate (Note: in Norse beliefs, Heimdall is the guardian of the rainbow bridge to the realm of the gods & goddesses, while Mothgud is a female giant who guards the ice bridge to the underworld realm of the dead)Sumbel (Minnehorn): Horn of MemoryUsing organic apple juice as a ritual drink, we passed the drinking horn around the circle, each one talking, taking a gulp and passing the horn. Each would talk about a a memory they had of the pet ("I remember hearing her laughing cries from the other end of the phone and thinking 'what a cheerful bird'"), make a toast to a quality of the pet or its species ("I drink to the freedom that birds and flying have meant to humans"), make a blessing ("Fly free little one. May your wings carry you to a wonderful place"), or anything else that seems appropriate.Farewell to the SpiritThe owner is asked to speak directly to the pet's spirit, saying everything s/he feels must be said before a final separation. These goodbyes are very intense. When all has been said, the owner must extinguish the candle so that the spirit is released. And the decision must come from the owner, it cannot be rushed. This can take a while, but it allows emotions to be sorted and released.Closing the GatesThank the gatekeepers and ask them to close the gates, sending the pet's spirit on its way to the proper destination.Final Blessing & Clearcut EndingMay the ways you walk Bring you again to those you love And may the cherished past Never blind you to new loves.There is a funeral chant that I shared during that sumbel. It came to me years before when I said goodbye to my cat. She was my companion from age 2 to age 19, a siameese named Moustache. I knew she was dying, and I am grateful I had a chance to sing my love to her while she still lived. I cried as I sang and caressed her. If you want me to teach it to you, email me and we'll arrange for a time whan you can call me. Be warned, it brings out all the sadness. My condoleances on the passage of your friend.
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This ritual is for an 'associate member'-type category, that we have chosen to call: 'Friend' (or Cyfaill (kuh-VIE-eelH)). See the End Note for a funny story. Other Welsh terms: Tylwyth o Ddar Rhudd - "Family of the Red Oak" (Full members) Llyfr o Cyfraith - "Book of Law" (our Bylaws) Gadael he Bod! - "Let it be!" ('You said it!') Cyfaill Rite of Joining Priest: The members of this Grove are like a close family. We have promised to support each other to an extraordinary degree. And the members of any family also have a circle of friends - people who care for them and wish them well. We like to formalize this bond of friendship with a ceremony and a special name: ‘Cyfaill’. Is there any here who wish to become Cyfaill o Ddar Rhudd? <The candidate/s step forward, bringing a bottle of their favorite beverage.> <C: I do.> And have you fulfilled the requirements of our Llyfr o Cyfraith? <C: Yes.> Are you ready to exchange our Oaths of friendship? <C: I am.> Candidate recites, or repeats after Priest: I, ________, extend a hand in friendship to the Clan of the Red Oak. Extends hand, palm up I swear to respect the laws and customs of the Red Oak Grove. I swear to hold the honor and confidences of the Red Oak Grove in high regard. I swear to _____________________________(promise/s of candidate’s choice) I so swear by/on/in the eyes of _______________________(candidate's choice) <each additional Cyfaill takes the oath in turn, each placing their hand, palm up, on top of the pile of open hands> Priest: I, Bardd Dafydd, on behalf of Tylwyth o Ddar Rhudd, extend a hand in friendship to you, ____________. (name each candidate) <Priest places his right hand on top of the pile of hands and left hand on bottom of pile, making a sandwich> We swear to honor you as a friend for as long as you abide by your Oath. We swear to respect your beliefs and your ways. We swear to value any contribution you choose to make to the Red Oak Grove. In the eyes of these witnesses, we so swear. Tylwyth only: We so swear. By the Fire and the Well and the Tree, we so swear. Tylwyth only: We so swear. In the name of Don and An Dagda, Brigantia, Llew, Rhiannon and Cernunnos, we so swear. Tylwyth only: We so swear. Do you have a contribution for the Cup of Friendship? <Take bottle from each and pour some into Cup> The Priest holds it up and says: As we share this cup, so may our lives be shared - In peace and in friendship. Priest drinks then says: Gadael he Bod! Priest offers the Cup to each candidate, in turn. The candidate holds it up and says: As we share this cup, so may our lives be shared - In peace and in friendship. Candidate drinks then says: Gadael he Bod! The group of Candidates offer the Cup to each person in the Circle, saying in unison: In peace and in friendship. Each person drinks and then says: Gadael he Bod! Priest: Behold - Cyfaill o Ddar Rhudd! Welcome! Tylwyth and Cyfaill: Welcome! End Note We performed this to welcome our first three 'Friends', and it was totally awesome! We worried that the combination of three randomly selected beverages might turn out to be undrinkable. As a joke we tried to anticipate the worst combinations we could imagine. Myrddin won with the following: Beer Soda Tomato Juice We thought about coordinating the beverages, but decided it might be more fun to see what happened. When the candidates arrived, they had brought: Beer Irish Mist Amaretto Irish Cream!!! Yuck! We all fell out laughing (this was pre-Ritual). This was far worse than our worst fears! Then I noticed that there were four bottles and only three friends. "Who brought two choices?" I asked. It doesn't matter, two of them said (they were friends and had come together) take whichever two you want. I left the Irish Creme on the table and hoped for the best. So we mixed: Beer (a strong Viking Ale) Irish Mist Amaretto You should have seen the faces of the participants as I did this. Then I drank first. My face lit up. "This is delicious!", I cried. No one believed me. As the Chalice went around, first to the new Friends, then presented by them to each Member and Guest, it was fun to see each person's face turn from suspicious to delighted. "Hey! It *is* good!" many of them said. We decided the setting had a lot to do with the experience. Anyway, it was great. I recommend it - both the Joining Rite and the recipe!
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(As soon as possible after waking up, I go to my altar, pour some holy water into a small glass, and light a stick of incense. Then, I take a few deep breaths and begin my rite.)Grounding and Centering Chant:Solid as the Tree, roots deep within the Mother Ancient as the Land, strong as the Sea Reaching for the Sky, the moon the stars, the heavens Powers that flow through me. (3x)I stand at the Center With all of my resources surrounding me.Before me, the light of life Behind me, the shadow of strife; To my left, the shield of love; To my right, the runes of power; Above me, the star of wisdom; Below me, the path of knowledge; And within me, the everlasting magick, By which all things are possible.Lady Brigid, I greet you this morning and ask for your aid. Lend me your eloquence that I may speak these words and work this rite in beauty.I arise from sleep and come before my altar to renew my commitment to the path I have chosen with every single step I take upon it. I am here to honor my Gods and my Kindred and to give thanks for the many blessings they bestow upon me.(I face behind me to address the Outdwellers.) All you who do not choose to aid me along my path, I recognize your function and respect your purpose. I ask only that you honor mine as well and leave me in peace this day.(I anoint my face and my pendant with holy water.) With this water, I cleanse myself of all that is useless to me, that which holds no joy or beauty, and anything that would do me harm.(I draw a triskele over my center with incense.) In place of these, I charge myself with the wonder of life, the compassion of love, and the protection of truth.The Well, the Fire, the Sacred Tree Flow and flame and grow in me. (I offer some water to my Tree and my plants.)(I hold my holey stone and reconnect with the Earth.) I honor the Earth, mother of all life. Your child stands before you with love and respect.Earth Mother Chant:Dwelling in the earth, swelling in the trees, Here is the spirit of the woman we call mother. Mere de la terre, qui tourne, qui tourne, Le labyrinthe de la vie!My Sight beholds the beauty of the Gods, My blood is alive with the wisdom of the Ancestors, And the voices of the Nature Spirits resound in my soul.Forseti, I call to you in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul. Trusted Counselor, I offer myself to you as a vessel. These eyes, these lips, these hands are yours: guide them to do your work. Be with me this day as I move among my Folk. Help me to nurture understanding and connection in my community and among all life.Brigid, Bright Lady, guide to my voice and source of my art, I invite you into the shrine of my soul. Kindle the fires of inspiration in my heart and move through me to bring beauty and healing to all those whose lives are touched by my own.(I say any additional prayers I may have at this point.)To all of you who are my allies, I give my love, my honor, and my devotion. Accept my offerings and be near me this day. Grant me your guidance that I may walk the path before me with wisdom. Speak to me, and I will listen.(I draw a rune and record it in my journal along with any insights I may have about the appropriateness of the previous day's rune.)I thank you for the multitude of gifts you have given me, as well as for the simple joy of knowing your presences in my life. May there be peace and love between us today and always.Closing Chant:I am walking to the Grove, I am on the path I chose, I shall never lose my way 'Cause I dream all night And travel by day.
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PROCESSION TO NEMETONThirty minutes prior to start of Ritual the folk will begin to gather at each of three points in the camp. Look for the Standard Bearer at each of these points — the Fire Circle, the Troll Booth, and the Maple Tree. Fifteen minutes prior to start of the Ritual a gong will sound nine times to signal start of procession to Ritual site.The Standard Bearer, Drummer, Horn Blower, and Chant Leader will start processing toward the Nemeton in the Dining Hall Field, gathering folk as they go.As each of the three processions reach the tree line before the main ritual site, the Horn Blowers will cease. A Chant Leader in the center of the Nemeton will begin the Processional Chant. The Chant Leader in each of the three processions will start to sing along to the Processional chant. The Drummers will change beat to keep time.PROCESSIONAL CHANT:We approach the Sacred Grove with hearts and minds and flesh and bone. Join us now in ways of old, we have come home1Each of the three processions will enter through a separate World Gate in the Nemeton and be guided into concentric rings of folk by the Standard Bearers: Bilé/Nature Spirits section (marked in green), Well/Ancestors section (marked in blue), or Fire/Deities section (marked in blue and white).At the Ritual start, the Horns will signal to cease the chanting of the Processional.DRUID ANNOUNCES START OF RITUALHONORING THE EARTH MOTHERAll folk sing chant:Earth Mother, we sing to your body. Earth Mother, we sing to your stones. Earth Mother, we honor your body. Earth Mother, we honor your bones.2INVITING BARDIC ASSISTANCEThe Dagdha, the Good God, Father of the Druids, and Keeper of the Harp:Blessings and Welcome!CREATION OF GROUP MINDAll the folk assembled allow the tones to build:OM!DRUID PRESENTS RITUALSTATEMENT OF PURPOSEOUTSIDER OFFERINGESTABLISHING THE SACRED CENTERFire:Oh, Sacred Fire, we burn with you!Well:Oh, Sacred Well, we flow with you!Bilé:Oh, Sacred Tree, we stand with you!All folk chant:We come from the fire,living in the fireGo back to the fire,turn the world around. We come from the water,living in the waterGo back to the water,turn the world around. We come from the forest,living in the forestGo back to the World Tree,turn the world around. Water make the riverriver feed the forestForest fuel the fire,turn the world around.3INVITATION TO ACT AS GATEKEEPERThe Morrigan, the Great Queen:Blessings and Welcome!(3 female druids raise hands and sing Morrigan chant by Gwynne Green)DRUID OPENS THE GATE BETWEEN THE WORLDSINVITATION TO THE THREE KINDREDSNature Spirits:Blessings and Welcome!Ancestors:Blessings and Welcome!Tuatha De Dannan:Blessings and Welcome!HONORING THE PATRONS AND DEITIES OF THE FOLK GATHEREDThe folk gathered may go out to their patrons and deities with words, sounds, howls, etc.:Blessings and Welcome!INVITATION TO THE PATRON POWERS OF THE RITEDanu, Mother Goddess of Celts:Blessings and Welcome!Greenman, God of the Greenwood:Blessings and Welcome!Cernunnos, God of the Wildwood:Blessings and Welcome!All folk sing chant:Hail all the Gods, Hail all the Goddesses, Hail all the Holy Ones, We dwell together. Powers of the Sky, Powers of the Sacred Earth, Powers of the underworld, We dwell together. HAIL all the Gods! HAIL all the Goddesses! Hail all the Gods & Goddesses.4DRUID ANNOUNCES PRAISE OFFERINGSAs final Group Praise Offering all folk gathered in the Well/Ancestors section (marked in blue) will chant:We all come from the Goddess And to her we shall return Like a drop of rain Flowing to the oceanThose folk in the Bilé/Nature Spirits section (marked in green) will chant:Corn and grain, Corn and grain, All that falls shall rise again.Those folk in the Fire/Deities section (marked in blue and white) will chantHoof and horn, Hoof and horn, All that dies shall be reborn5REGROUND AND CENTERFINAL PRAYER OF SACRIFICEDruid seeks an interpretive Omen.DRUID CALLS RETURN OF BLESSINGS INTO WATERS OF LIFEAs the participants feel the Waters of Life aspersing them, they should begin to chant:We are a circle within a circle, With no beginning and never endingDrums signal end.THANK THE PATRON POWERSCernunnos:Blessings and Farewell!Greenman:Blessings and Farewell!Danu:Blessings and Farewell!THANK PATRONS/DEITIES OF FOLK GATHEREDFolk thank their deities and Patrons as appropriate:Blessings and Farewell!THANK KINDREDSTuatha De Dannan:Blessings and Farewell!Ancestors:Blessings and Farewell!Nature Spirits:Blessings and Farewell!DRUID CLOSES THE GATE BETWEENTHE WORLDSTHANK GATEKEEPERThe Morrigan:Blessings and Farewell!THANK BARDThe Dagdha:Blessings and Farewell!DRUID DECLARES END OF RITEChant Chorus at center starts chant as gong sounds in time. Druids lead folk out of grove while chanting. All folk sing Recessional chant:Walk with wisdom from this hallowed place. Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace. May strength be your brother, and honor be your friend, And luck be your lover until we meet again.6NOTESWords and music by Sean MillerAuthor UnknownBased on ancient African Chant, last verse by Caryn Laney-MacLuanWords: First verse, Trad.; Second verse, Richard MacKelley; Bridge section, Gwynne Green. Music Paul Maurice, Sean Miller, Gail WilliamsWords and music by Ian CorriganWords and music by Sable
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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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Use the standard opening ritual, up to the Calling of the Kindred. Only call the Ancestors. Then continue, but after the praise offerings (which should all be offered to ancestors), the following is said:It is said that the dead have a journey to make. It is said the that dead cross a river on their journey. It is said the the river becomes filled with their memories. It is said that the river is filled with their wisdom. It is said that the river comes to the surface as sacred springs. It is said that those who drink from those springs receive the wisdom and the memories of the dead.A bowl of spring water is held up. Someone says:From the ground it comes, bubbling up with ancient knowledge. When we drink it, may we be filled with this knowledge. When we drink it may we commune with the ancestors. When we drink it May we meet with our beloved dead.The bowl is passed around for all to drink. When all have drunk, light a candle from the fire, and say:We light the way for our ancestors' return. May they come and feast with us.Process to where your feast will be, the carrier of the ancestor candle going first. At the feasting site, put a plate in front of the candle, and provide it with food. Later dispose of the food either in a cemetery or in water.Note that I have left who says what open. The section with the "It is said"s can be done by a number of people, with each person saying a different line. (This will make memorization easy.) The part with "When we drink it" can be said as a litany, with a priest saying "When we drink it" and the others responding.When the water is passed, it may be drunk from the common bowl, drunk from a dipped in hand, or drunk from a separate cup carried by each person, depending on grove practice.
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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.
Hearth Cultures: 
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Opening prayerThe musical signal will be given to call the folk for the ritual.D1: Paresmen timesonta tas theas kai tous theous.Folk: We are here to honor the Gods.Led by the clergy, the folk process to the ritual site and form the ADF sigil chanting a Processional Chant:FM will sense the site and the folk.KW will asperge the site and the folk.D1: By the cleaning of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine. Thus is the Sacred Grove claimed and Hallowed. Houtos hexoi!D2: The mother of us all, the oldest of all, hard, splendid as rock. Whatever there is of the land it is she who nourishes it, it is the Earth that I sing.D1: Gaian pammeteiran aeisomai, euthemelthon, presbisten, he pherbei epi cthoni panth hopos estin. Honor Gaea!The folk kneel and kiss the Earth.All stand and the Earth Mother Hymn is sung.The folk will be led through the Grove Meditation and then will chant the World Tree Grove Unity Chant.D1 will state the ritual purpose and historical precedent.As our Athenian ancestors did, today we celebrate the Synoikia, the commemoration of the unification of Attica under the guidance of Athena. We honor her for the gifts she bestowed upon our ancestors and for the power of unification she offers us. Also today we celebrate the Prometheia in honor of Prometheus who gave us divine fire. We celebrate it on the solstice, the beginning of the year, when the old fires are extinguished and the new can be once again divinely kindled, purifying our hearth.First we must open the gate to the gods. Feel the rays of the sun from above and see the path to the gods ascend to the divine fire. We call upon Hermes, you who walk the ways between, messenger of the gods, carrier of dreams, hear us and open the gates to let the gods hear our voices. Hermen angelon athanaton kluthi mou!The folk will chant the Gatekeeper Chant.D1: It is now time to call on Prometheus who stole divine fire from the gods to give to us. He could not bear to see us suffer, so he went to Olympos, took a glowing ember from the sacred hearth, and hid it in a hollow stalk of fennel, and then carried it down to us. Divine fire allows us to do purification, and for this Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock and having an eagle swoop down every day and eat his liver. He loses his own purifying organ for the purifying force he gave to us. So now it is time to light anew the sacred fire from the sun, rays brought to us by the eagle who eats his liver, and Prometheus kindles our fire once again. Prometheus, didon pur kluthi mou!The FM will kindle a fire from the sun while the folk chant:Burn bright flame within meKindled of eternal fire.Of the people I do be,And the people part of me.All one in many parts,A single fire of flaming hearts.D1: We now thank Poseidon for his gift of the sacred well.The Keeper of the Well(KW) will pour the waters and make an offering: From the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us.Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.D1: Now we thank Athena for the olive tree which she gave to us, the tree which unites us all.The Tender of the Tree(TT) will dress the Bile: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us.Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.TT will then asperge and sense the Bile.D1: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,Folk: Flame, and flow, and grow in me!D1: In land, sea and skyFolk: Below and on high!D1: Thus is the sacred grove blessed by the gods.Folk: So be it!D1: Listen to the music of the universe, the music of Apollo and draw inspiration into your hearts.The Bard will invoke Apollo.The glorious son of Letoplaying his hollow lyre,wearing divine and perfumed clothes,goes to Olympos.And suddenly the godsare only concerned withthe lyre and song,and all together the Muses singthe divine gifts of the gods,each one answering the otherwith a beautiful voice. A cup is poured for the outdwellers and they are acknowledged.D1: Draw the vitality of nature as we call the nature spirits.A cup is lifted as D4 says:Landspirits, nymphs of trees and wells, satyrs, help us find our vitality and joy, hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings. Theesthe ta hudata biou!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Fur and Feather.D1: Remember the wisdom of our past kin as we call them.The cup is again raised as D5 says:Heroes of old, honored dead, our kindred, remind us of who we are as you have done before, hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings. Theesthe ta hudata biou!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Mothers and Fathers of Old.D1: Feel the protections of the gods as we call them.The cup is once again raised as D6 says:Gods and Goddesses of old times and new protect us as you have before. Delight in our offerings. Share with us lore and blessings. Theesthe ta hudata biou!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Hail all the Gods.The folk are now led in a meditation of recentering and merging of the new energies.D2: We now call upon Athena who unites us all. Both Athena and Poseidon loved Athens, the polis of our inspiration. They each claimed it, and after a long quarrel they decided that the one who could give it the finest gift should have it. Leading a procession of citizens, the two gods mounted the Acropolis, the flat-topped rock that crowned the city. Poseidon struck the cliff with his trident, and a spring welled up. The people marveled, but the water was salty as the sea that Poseidon ruled, and not very useful. Then Athena gave the city her gift. She planted an olive tree in a crevice on the rock. It was the first olive tree the people had ever seen. Athena's gift was judged the better of the two, for it gave food, oil, and wood, and the city was hers. From her beautiful temple on top of the Acropolis, Athena watched over Athens, her city, with the wise owl, her bird, on her shoulder, and under her leadership the Athenians grew famous for their arts and crafts.D1 invokes Athena in Greek.D1: Have the folk brought praise?Bard: They have.D1: Houtos hexoi.The Bard now conducts the praise offerings.D1 holds up the offering of incense:Our praise goes up to you on the wings of owls; our voices on the wind. Hear us Athena, we pray to thee as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it and open our hearts and give to us of your peace and life. Lambane kai hedou anathemata hemon.Folk: So be it!The folk sit silently, listening to the voices without and within. When they perceive a sign they share it with the rest. Together the participants determine the omen. The folk are led in a meditation on grove and personal needs.D1 raises the cup:Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life?Folk: The Waters of Life.D1: And from whence do these waters flow?Folk: From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.D1: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.D1: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty?Folk: She has!D1 takes the cups and does the consecration:Athena, we have praised you, hallow these waters and give to us of your power and inspiration and vitality. theesthe ta hudata biou!Folk:Behold the Waters of Life!D1: As was traditional, the first cup goes as an offering to Hestia, who tends our sacred hearth, now renewed. Hestia first and last!The cups are passed while the folk chant Share the Waters.The folk share drink, Feta, olives and bread and discuss the omen and together receive the blessings of the gods.At the end the cup is drained in an offering to Hestia.D1: Hestia first and last!The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk . But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here. Athena, charin echomen soi. Folk: We thank you.D1: All the gods and goddesses, charin echomen humin.Folk: We thank you.D1: Ancestors, heroes of old, charin echomen humin.Folk: We thank you.D1: Nature spirits, nymphs and satyrs, charin echomen humin.Folk: We thank you.D1: Apollo, charin echomen soi.Folk: We thank you.D1: Prometheus, charin echomen soi.Folk: We thank you.D1: Hermes, charin echomen soi.Folk: We thank you.D1: Let the gates be closed! Houtos hexoi.Folk: So be it.D1: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and the Gods have answered!The folk are led in a meditation of regrounding, recentering, unmerging and draining of excess power.D1: Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close. Houtos hexoi.Folk: So be it.The drums begin beating, the sigil breaks up chanting Walk with Wisdom.
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The person I wrote this ritual for was experiencing problems with his body not acting as it should (sort of like a cancerous growth). The ritual would work well in any case where someone's body has been invaded by impurity, though, and the main thrust of it is a call to an ancestor to ask for that ancestor's help in purifying the seeker's body, along with a call to Lugh to aid in the process. This ritual is written in an abbreviated format because it was originally meant to be done by only two people, and I was trying to emphasize the Working and de-emphasize other things, and generally speed things along. In the text, I've replaced the original person the ritual was done for with [Seeker], and his ancestor with [Ancestor]. If you ever do a form of this ritual, I think it would be best to use the full names (first, middle, and last) of each where possible. That's what I did, and it came out very powerfully. * Gathering & setting materials up (fire, well, tree; symbolic spear of Lugh). (Making sure that all are familiar with the chants included.) * Moment of Silence & Contemplation. * Musical Signal: Three chimes. Procession optional. * Opening Prayer: We are here to honor the gods, and to ask their blessings in return. * Fire, Well, and Tree: Fire: A small fire is lit in the cauldron, a candle if necessary. I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us. Well: Silver is offered to the well and its waters are poured. In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred water, flow within us. Tree: An Incense stick (lit from sacred fire) censes the tree, asperging too. From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within us. The Fire, the Well, the Sacred Tree, flame and flow and grow in me. In land, sea and sky, All: Below and on high. Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed. All: Biodh Se! By the cleansing of water, and fire, let all ill turn away from me and mine. All: Biodh Se! * Outdwellers: A cup of ale is poured outside the ritual space, saying You who come from the outer dark, You who stood against the gods and man, You who are cold of heart and cruel of mind, Take this offering and trouble not our working. * Bardic Inspiration: Lady Brighid ("breezh") is called and asked for inspiration: O Brighid the skillful, O Brighid of the triple spirit, O Brighid who comes in light and shadow, Thrice blessed be your flaming path. Lady Brighid, share with us the flame of your spirit, And let our words inspire Lady Brighid, join us! * Tree meditation: Grounding and centering with the energies of Earth and Sky. * Opening the Gates: Manannan mac Lir is called: O Manannan, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Wisdom, open the ways for us. We walk in your holy ways, we walk the Sacred Road. Share your magic with us, ward us as we walk in safety. Manannan, walk with us! "Shoo-lin O Manannan, Walk with us Manannan" (repeated 3 times) * The Three Kindreds: The Gods, the Dead, and the Sidhe ("shee") are called: Gods - Hear us, Shining Ones of eld, you who uphold the worlds. In you we grow in wisdom, strength, and purity. Honor us as we honor you: Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! [Oil is offered to the fire] Honored Dead (done by Seeker) - Hear us, Old Ones, our ancestors and kin, You whose blood flows in our veins. From you we spring and with you we will grow in health. Remember us as we remember you: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! [Corn meal is sprinkled around the bilé] Sidhe - Hear us, Spirits of the Land, You within stone and stream, beast and herb and tree. From you we learn to live in harmony with our world, and ourselves. Aid us as we aid you: Land Spirits, Accept our sacrifice! [Seed is sprinkled around the bilé] * Recentering Meditation: Integrating the newly-present Powers. * Statement of Purpose: The meaning and intent of the Working is stated: We gather here this night to ask the father of the mother of [Seeker], [Ancestor], to aid him in purging himself of that which is unnatural, of that which is unasked for, and of that which is preternaturally harming him at this time. * Invocation of the Ancestor of the Occasion: [Ancestor], [term for ancestor's relationship in Ancestor's language], [relationship to Seeker] of [Seeker], is called: [Seeker makes her/his own call to Ancestor, asking for the exorcism of the unnatural, the removal of the malady, and the healing of the problem. Honor is given, Offering is made, and Help and Healing are asked for.] * Invocation of the Deity of the Occasion: Lugh Lamfhada is called (words by Ian Corrigan): Lugh, the Victorious, We make our Grove under your shield, O Lugh of the White Horse And the Brilliant Blades. You of the Perfect Form, Child of Light and Shadow, Slayer of Balor, purger of the unnatural, be in our midst. Accept this ale in welcome Lugh, Champion, King of All (ale poured) We make our working in the joy of the Samildanach ("sow-eel-dahna") The Clever One, the Sure Hand The Bard and the Smith. May we be at peace Under the hand of the Chieftain of Danu, Taking joy in the protection Of the master of all crafts at once We offer this bread, That the harvest may flourish by the hand of the ploughman. (bread offered) By the Sacred Three of Glory, and By the Spear and by the Raven Hear now your people's call Come, we pray, among your folk O Lugh the Victorious Our Light and our Guide O Lugh the Victorious Our Champion and Protector O Lugh the Victorious Our Savior and Healer Accept this offering of fruit And be present in your strength. (fruit offered) * The Magickal Working: The Invocation and Working is spoken: Lugh, we ask that you aid the father of the mother of [Seeker], [Ancestor], in purifying him. We ask your aid in purging the poisons within him, in assimilating the lessons needing to be learned, and in healing the wounds within and without. Son of Cian of the People of Danu, and son of Eithne of the Fomhoire; Master of Light and Dark, aid us in this Working. Aid [Ancestor], aid [Seeker], and aid [Seeker]'s true Folk in this Working. Lugh Lamfhadha, Lugh of the Long Arm, Lugh the Champion of the Tuatha de Danaan, lend your Power to this Working! Let the purity of the blood of [Ancestor] be ever greater in [Seeker]'s veins, let the purity of the strength of [Ancestor] be ever fuller in [Seeker]'s body, and let the purity of the spirit of [Ancestor] be ever stronger in [Seeker]'s spirit. Let all impurity be banished, let all healing be invited, and let this begin NOW. * The Omen: An omen is taken with cards or runes. * Thanking the Powers: Thanks are given to the Powers in reverse order: Each time we invoke the Powers they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the Folk. But the time has come to end our Working, and it is proper to give them thanks: Lugh Lamfhada, go raibh maith agait ("gora ma-agit", we thank you) [Ancestor], go raibh maith agait Land Spirits, go raibh maith agaibh ("gora ma-agiv", we thank you plural) Honored Dead, go raibh maith agaibh Shining Ones, go raibh maith agaibh Manannan mac Lir, go raibh maith agait Lady Brighid, go raibh maith agait. * Final closing: Deconstructing the Cosmos, closing: By the Walker of the Ways, and by our magic, we end what we began. Let the Fire be flame, and the Well be water, and the ways between be shut. We have done as our ancestors have done, and as our children will do, and the Powers have answered. Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased them and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close. All: Bee-shay!
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Lugh, you who protect from storms, repair the damage of this one. Lugh, you who maintain the order of society, repair the chaos of this one. Lugh, you who are the true ruler, show the mercy of the righteous king towards those impoverished by this disaster.
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The back yard of the family welcoming in the new child. Ritual space is set up with a water-filled cauldron, a main altar, and a small hibatchi with fire in the center of the yard. A large oak in the yard serves as the "World Tree." Parents and child sit in a swing to the side of the ritual area. The main deities are chosen for their significance to the newborn and his/her family. Three flanking altars form an outer circle for . . . Nature Spirits (low table with a green bowl of earth, green candle, and a smaller green cup with whiskey) Ancestors (low table with a navy bowl of local water, navy candle, and a smaller navy cup with whiskey) Deities (low table with a light blue bowl of feathers, blue candle, and a smaller blue cup with whiskey) PRELIMINARY WORK Set up space: Nathair - Druid in Charge (DIC) Pre-ritual briefing: DIC "It was traditionally the mother who named a new child, after its time of danger was passed. This family has already named their baby by filing a legal birth certificate with the state. Now though, they wish to name him before their community after his time of danger has passed. We come to welcome this new person, extend the hand of friendship and community, thank the Deities for his safe arrival, and ask their continued blessings." [Mundane details of the rite are addressed and explained] Individual meditation: [all meditate until the musical signal calls them back together] BEGIN THE RITUAL Musical signal to gather: DIC [Chimes rung. The group gathers and processes to form a circle around the ritual space.] Opening prayer to Earth Mother: "Earth Mother, you are our home, the ground beneath our feet. We honor you, and seek to live in balance with you. We ask your presence in our ritual today. Earth Mother, blessings and welcome!" [A small bowl of cornmeal is taken from the main altar and sprinkled on the ground before the World Tree.] All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" Invite Bard (Brigit): "Brigit, you are known for your healing, as well as your craftwork, but today we call you in your aspect as Bard. Help our words to be inspired, our movements graceful, and our wits sharp to please you and all gathered as we perform this ritual. Brigit, Blessings and Welcome!" All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" OPENING THE GROVE Grove meditation: DIC [A guided meditation is led asking all to imagine themselves as trees with roots deep in the earth, and branches entwined with each other in the sky.] Unity chant: "We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never-ending" (three times) Statement of purpose: [The child's father steps into the circle holding him . . .] "It has long been the custom of a community or group to welcome its new members with a ceremony. Communities are as important today as they have always been, though they are now often groups of choice and not of location. You represent this child's community, you who will be his role models, his friends, and his confidants. We come together now to welcome him into our midst, and bless (name) as he begins his walk through life with us." Outsiders offering: [Takes a small cup of beer from main altar and pours it out away from the group.] "Outsiders, we leave this offering to you who are not concerned with what we are doing today. May you enjoy this drink and leave us in peace." ESTABLISH SACRED CENTER [The three elements of the sacred center are honored as usual, but after that, a blessing is also asked for the child. The father steps to the center of the circle holding the baby.] "We know little of how our ancestors worshipped in times passed. What we do know is that they had three things at their sacred sites: a hearth, a pit, and a deep shaft. The hearth was for the sacred fire, the pit for a sacred well, and the shaft for a pole, or bile - the World Tree." Fire "Sacred Fire, like you we come to dance for a short while, and like you we are hungry and must be fed. You cook our food, light our way, and keep us warm in winter time. O, sacred fire, we burn with you." [An offering of whiskey is poured into the fire.] All respond: "O, Sacred Fire, we burn with you!" "O, Sacred Fire, lend your passion and will to this child. May he keep the fires of life kindled in his heart!" [The child is presented to the fire — close but not over!] Well "Sacred Well, you are the womb from whence we spring. You are the waters of the mother, the collective unconscious that gives birth to creativity and life. You hold the water that nourishes us through out our lives. O, Sacred Well, we flow with you!" [An offering of silver is dropped into the well.] All respond: "O, Sacred Well, we flow with you!" "O, Sacred Well, lend your creativity, your ongoing capacity for change and renewal to this child. May he know a lightness of being!" [The child is presented to the well.] Tree "Sacred World Tree, you are the axis of the universe. You hold the upper world high in your branches, and the lower world below in your roots. In you, meet both fire and water, light and dark. O Sacred Tree, we stand with you!" [An offering of honey is poured before the tree.] All respond: "O, Sacred Tree, we stand with you!" "O, Sacred Tree, lend your strength and endurance to this child, May he keep his roots firmly planted in Mother Earth, and his sights soaring with the stars!" [The child is presented to the tree.] Call in Gatekeeper (Danu): "Danu, you are the gateway, the mother that brings us into life. We call on you to watch over us and guard the gate between the worlds as we walk the elder ways. Danu, Blessings and Welcome!" All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" OPENING GATES [The three Druids calling the Kindreds come to the center with their staffs as the gatekeeper is called in. They form an upright triangle with the tops of their staffs touching over the well. As the gates are called open, they slide the sticks down until they form an open horizontal triangle. Walking backwards (carefully!) they retreat to their world's altar and leave the staff behind it on the ground.] "Let the gates be opened!" MAIN OFFERINGS Call in Nature Spirits: "We call to the spirits of this place: those of fur and feather and scale. We call to the spirits of green growing things, and the spirits of soil and stone, rock and pool. We honor you and thank you for letting us share this space with you. Blessings and Welcome!" [An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Nature Spirits' altar is taken and poured on the fire.] All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" Call in Ancestors: "Now we invite our honored Ancestors. Ancestors of body, mind and spirit, those who gave us form, taught us, and helped shape our beliefs, welcome. To the honored family of this child who dwell beyond the ninth wave, we most especially bid welcome . . (name the child's departed great grandparents, etc.). Blessings and Welcome!" [An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Ancestors' altar is taken and poured on the fire.] All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" Call in Deities: "The children of the earth call out to the Tuatha de Danaan, the children of Danu. High Ones, we ask that you be with us in this rite. We also welcome the patrons of all those gathered today. Blessings and Welcome!" [An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Deities' altar is taken and poured on the fire.] All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" Invite in patron power (Dylan): "Dylan, Lord of the Sea, God of the waves, son of Ariahnrod, we call to you asking that you might join us in our rite today. Dylan, Blessings and Welcome!" All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!" Praise offerings - Master of Ceremonies (MC): "Now is the time in the ritual where we offer gifts to the Gods. Those who have gifts for the child may also bring them forward. Who has something to offer?" [Participants take turns coming forward, either giving things they have made to the child or the high ones, or singing a song, or reading a poem.] FINAL SACRIFICE [When all who have gifts to give are finished, the MC takes a cup of whiskey from the altar and pours it into the fire as a final sacrifice.] "Are there more gifts? No? Then let the Gods accept our sacrifices, and for those who could not be with us today in body, but are with us in spirit, we offer this final sacrifice." [The whiskey is poured into the fire, or in front of the World Tree.] Seek an omen: DIC [Ogham sticks are pulled from a small bag giving a reading from the Three Kindreds on how the energy will be returned.] Meditation on omen: [DIC leads a short meditation on the divination given.] BLESSING and WORKING Waters of Life: [Takes the two chalices from the main altar- one of wine and one of water - and holds them up towards the sky.] "High Ones, we ask that you bless these waters, sending us your energy that we might take it and use it to do our working here today. Behold the Waters of Life!" [Some wine and water is each poured into a silver cup belonging to the child, the rest is passed around the circle for each to drink from, or pour a small offering on the ground.] MAIN WORKING Naming: DIC "Who will speak for this child giving him the name he will be known by?" Mother: "I will." [She steps to the center of the circle holding the child and tells the story of why they chose the newborn's names — what each of them mean, if they came from relatives, etc. After she is finished she presents the child by his full name] All respond: "(Name) Blessings and Welcome!" Spell of blessing: DIC "Now we will pass a token of goodwill, a necklace to hold our wishes and blessings for (name.)" [All gathered pass a triskele pendant on a cord around the circle, sending a blessing or good wish for the child into the amulet.] Affirmation of success: DIC [The DIC takes the amulet and holds it aloft.] "May the wishes of those gathered here today stay with this child and help him in his life. May the Gods make it so. By their will, it is done." [The DIC places the necklace around the child's neck.] UNWINDING AND ENDING [As the Kindreds and Deities are thanked, the Druid doing that role takes a small amount of the Waters of Life set aside in the child's cup and asks for the High Ones' blessings with it.] Thank Patron and ask his blessing on child: [Anoint the pendant around the child's neck with wine.] "Dylan, Lord of the Sea, King of the Waves, help us bless this child. May he know strength, and beauty, wisdom and compassion, the love of his friends, family, and high ones. Dylan, we thank you for your presence today. Join us at revels if you can, but go if you must. Blessings and Farewell!" All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!" Thank Deities and ask their blessing: [Anoint the top of the child's head with wine] "High Ones, Gods and Goddesses, we thank you for being with us today. We thank you for the safe deliverance of this child and ask that you continue to bless him through out his life. May it be a good one. Deities, Blessings and Farewell!" All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!" Thank Ancestors and ask their blessing: [Anoint the child's hands with wine.] "We thank the Ancestors for being with us today. May the path they have laid before us continue to inspire and guide us on our journeys. May the Ancestors watch over this child (name) and help him as he learns and grows. Ancestors, bless this child. Honored Dead, we thank you for your presence and ask that you join our revels if you are not needed elsewhere, and if not, we bid you goodbye. Ancestors, Blessings and Farewell" All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!" Thank Nature Spirits and ask their blessing: [anoint the child's feet with wine.] "Nature spirits, join us now in blessing this child (name). May he be blessed as he walks in harmony with you and Mother Earth on the journey of his life. Bless this child. Nature spirits, thank you for letting us share this space with you. May we not forget you and the lessons you bring as we all walk our daily lives. Blessings and Farewell!" All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!" Close gates and thank Danu: [The three people who invited the Kindreds come forward to cross their three staffs in a triangle over the well.] "Danu, we thank you for lending your presence here today as we blessed this child. Stay if you can, but go if you must. Blessings and Farewell!" All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!" "Let the gates be closed!" [The three Druids let their staffs slide upward until the points meet at the top. They return to the circle.] Reground and center: [A reverse tree meditation has all gathered return from tree shape back to human shape.] Thank Bard: "Lady Brigit, we thank you for being with us today, guiding our words that they might be sweet for the wee one. Join us at revels if you are able, but if you are not, go with our gratitude and love. Blessings and farewell!" All respond: "Blessings and farewell!" Declare end: DIC "This rite is ended, may all join us inside for revels!"
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Here's an offering of a female coming of age rite of passage based on the Spartan wedding ceremony. I was going to abstract from it and offer an outline as well, but I kept delaying posting because I just wasn't doing the outline. So if folks are interested, we can work on an alternative outline together.Girl wakes up and dresses in favorite dress. She chooses a favorite item from her childhood and waits in her room.Musical signal.Girl proceeds into main area, where adults are gathered. Presiding priest/ess announces that this is the day that ____ is to become a woman. Priest/ess asks girl if she is ready. If so, the Priest/ess asks the girl to offer thanks to the patron deity of girls for her protection over the years. Girl makes offering (incense?) and speaks her thanks. Then the priest/ess asks whether she has brought an item symbolizing her childhood which she is prepared to sacrifice. Girl affirms, and offers her item to a younger sibling, charity, or whatever.Priest/ess says that it is now time for her ritual cleansing. Girl goes into bathroom and draws and takes bath, which has bath salts and herbs which the girl has previously prepared and dedicated for this purpose. She will be told to come out when she is fully dressed.While she is in the bath, her clothing is stolen and replaced by boys'/men's clothing, so that when she emerges she finds stuff like boxer shorts, tube socks, etc. Also there will be a blindfold there.When she emerges, she will be led to as liminal a spot as possible. (A basement feels like it is neither inside nor outside, for example.) Her hair will be cut and she will be laid on a surface that is neither a bed nor not-a-bed. (The Spartans used a bed of sticks--a table would probably work.) She will be told that she is neither a girl nor a woman, that she is at the point between, the magic moment wherein the future will be determined. She is now to walk the ways between, and find her new patron, her new direction. She will need to ask her patron what new responsibility she must assume, and what new privilege that may entail.The girl will then be left alone in silence for a long time. (No, I have no idea how long that should be.)After awhile, the attendant returns and asks her if she is ready. If she says yes, the attendant will help her up, and tell her to choose the direction of her steps. (This assumes either that more than one exit is possible, or that different meanings can be assigned to different directions.) This is the omen-taking.After her direction is determined, she is led either to a bathroom or dressing room, where she shall find a new adult-looking dress, stockings, etc. The attendant or other women will attend to her, perhaps shaving her legs, putting on make-up, styling her hair... When she is done, she shall return to the main area.The priest/ess asks what she has learned. At this point she shares her direction, the responsibility she must take on, and the privilege she now expects as a new adult.The attendant then reports the omen, (based on the direction she chose while blindfolded).Blessings are called down on the waters of life, and they are shared. (Champagne, perhaps?) All drink to the health, wealth and happiness of the new adult, and to the community thus strengthened by her addition.This may be followed by some adult activity, like going out to dinner with adults-only. But the rite isn't fully over until she returns to her bedroom that night, to find that while she was undergoing her rite, the adults have somehow transformed her room, so it is no longer the room of the girl who left it that morning, but is now the room of a young adult. (Rearrangement? New bedspread? Stuffed animals no longer on display? Different things on the walls?) [Ed. Note: Bardd Dafydd later suggested the possibility of taking a different name, which Deborah heartily agreed was a good idea.]
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
This is an example of a ritual created according to the original ADF liturgical outline. The English prayers were written by Sally Eaton, myself, and others. This particular ritual, with appropiate modifications, has been performed on several High Days by the members of the Mother Grove.During good weather, the ritual is set up outdoors, in as natural an enviroment as is possible. If the weather is foul, try to use a cave, cabin, yurt or other premedieval enclosure. The altar is set up in or near the center of the grove. Whenever safe, there should be some sort of main fire availiable (in the actual center). Two chalices are on the altar, along with a sickle and a small (ceremonially cut) branch (12" - 18") of a seasonal appropiate tree.Each person present should have brought a work of art to offer in praise. The presiding clergy should be dressed in long white robes, all others in white tunics or dresses, all with colorful embroidery and trimming. Regardless of culture represented, the general effect should be premedieval.As currently written, the ceremony assumes that there are two Druids leading, one of whom is more fluent in Irish than the other, who are referred to as "D1" and "D2". All of these lines and actions may be taken by a single Druid, or may be parceled out differently according to local circumstances.The people are called to order and formed into two parallel lines some short distance away from the grove. D1 and D2 stand at the head of the lines and speak:D1: Tá muid anseo leis na Déithe a adhradh.D2: We are here to honor the Gods.D1: A Dhéithe, a dtugann bhur gcumhacht beatha do gach aon rud atá beo, bígí anseo linn.D2: O Gods, whose power gives life to everything which is alive, give to us your presence.All begin to process towards the grove, singing an appropiate song. Those musicians who have instruments that can be played while walking, should do so. Banners and (if safe) torches may be carried as well.When they arrive at the grove, the lines split and go around the opposite halves of a circle, meeting at the far side. Assuming that there's room to do so, D1 and D2 continue to process around the ring of people in opposite directions, completing a circuit and then going straigt towards the altar. They pass on either side of it, then continue until they are slightly beyond the edges of the ring on the opposite side from their entrance. They then turn inwards and return to the altar (thus making a Druid Sigil: {symbol in originial}). They wind up behind the altar, D1 on D2's right.In a large congregation, the ring of people will close up behind them. The torches may then be carefully put into the fire, or otherwise disposed of. After all have settled, the following song may be sung by ALL, accompanied by Harp, drum or pipes.All: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,throught the mighty oak.We praise Thee,for all things,O Earth-Mother,Who givest Life.D1 leads the Tree Meditation. Musicians present may accompany this.D2 discusses the deities of the occasion and the meaning of this particular festival.D1 and D2 invoke the Gate Keeper:D1: A Oghma, a thiarna na nGeataí, a thiarna an fheasa, oscail na geataí dúinn. Tá muid ag siúl i do lorg, tá muid ag siúl ar do bhealach. Scaoil dúinn do theagasc taispeain dúinn cén chaol a siúl faidh muid slán. Molann muid thu mar gheall ar do chumhacht. Siúil linn a Oghma!D2: O Ogma, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Knowledge, open the ways for us. We walk in your footsteps, we walk your roads. Reveal to us your teaching, reveal to us the way to walk in safety. We praise you for the brightness of your power. Walk with us, Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!D1: Siúil linn a Oghma...D2: ...walk with us Ogma!All join in on the following song:D1: We invoke thee Ogma,Opener of every GateAll: We invoke thee Ogma,Opener of every Gate.D2: You shall reach us,You shall teach usAnd reveal our fate.All: You shall reach us,You shall teach usAnd reveal our fate.ALL repeat until D1 signals. Usually this will be when the four lines have been sung a total of three times each.The main chalice should now be filled with the Waters of Life (Irish whiskey, preferably), and a secondary cup filled with ordinary water or some other nonalcoholic liquid. Both cups are now consecrated to the Ancestors.While each is speaking, the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove downwards and out in a radiating cone, and back again.D1 takes the main chalice in his / her right hand, and the secondary one in his / her left (vice versa if he / she is left-handed), raises both chalices, and speaks:D1: A sheana, a shinseara, a mhuintir, beannaígí na h-uiscí seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn ceangal na beatha ar talamh. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse.D1 sips from either or both cups, then passes them to D2. When D2 has them firmly in her / his hands, D1 blesses her / him with the Druid Sigil marked in the air, saying:D1: Seo iad uiscí na beatha!D2 acknowledges this, then holds the chalices up and repeats the invocation, while D1 controls the energy flow:D2: People of the old times, our ancestors, our kindred, hallow these waters. Share with us the bond of life upon earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all.D2 sips from either or both, then passes both in a sunwise fashion (to the person on her / his left), blessing them with the Druid Sigil and saying:D2: Behold the waters of life!The chalices go around the grove, each person receiving the blessing from one person and passing it along with the cups to the next. Eventually the return to D1 and are placed back on the altar.The Chalices are refilled, then consecrated twice to the Spirits, all as before, with sipping, passing and blessing. While each is speaking the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove outwards (and back again) on the horizontal plane, not just to the Four Quarters, but in all directions.D1: A sprideanna na seanaimsire, agus na háite seo, a chomhghuaillithe, a mhúinteorí, beannaígí na h-uisci seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn athbheochan na Talún. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse...Seo iad uiscí na beatha!D2: Spirits of the old times and of this place, our companions, our teachers, hallow these waters. Share with us the renewal of earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all...Behold the waters of life. The chalices are refilled once more, then consecrated twice to the Gods and Goddesses, all as before, with sipping, passing and blessing. While each is speaking the other is directing the energy flow, from the center of the grove upwards and out in a radiating cone, and back again.D1: A Dhéithe na seanaimsire, a mháithreacha, a aithreacha, beannaígí na h-uisci seo dúinn. Roinnigí orainn bhur gcumhacht le go nginfeadh muid an domhan. Roinnigí orainn suaimhneas, eolas, agus beannacht. Labhraígí linn inár gcroí, le go mbeadh muid in aon bhall libhse... Seo iad uiscí na beatha! D2: Gods of the old times, our mothers, our fathers, hallow these waters. Share with us your power to regenerate the Earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge, and blessing. Speak to our hearts, that we may become one with you all ... Behold the waters of life! At this point there should be a double helix of energy spiraling both upwards and down, with a slow vortex of energy coming in from the sides as well. After a pause for all to absorb the invoked spirits, D1 speaks:D1: Has anyone brought praise for the Lady and Lord of this feast, or for the other High Ones?All present offer Praise, beginning with D2, and moving sunwise around the grove, ending with D1. Each sings a song, recites a poem, performs a dance or plays a tune in turn. During this offering of Praise, the energies flowing through the grove should slowly become stronger and stronger. The D1 ends his / her Praise.D1 takes the branch and sickle from the altar and goes to the center of the grove. There she / he holds the branch up in her / his right hand (unless lefthanded), touches the sickle, and offers it as a symbol of the energies already sacrificed.Instead of a Bhantiarna (o Lady) and a Thiarna (o Lord), the proper names of the deities of the occasion may be substituted. The energies moving through the grove are focused into the branch "and out the other side" to the deities of the occasion.D1: Téann ár moladh suas chugat ar sciatháin iolar; beitear ár nglórtha suas chugat ar ghuailne na gaoithe. Eistigí anois, a Bhantiarna, a Thiarna, más é bhur dtoil é, agus sinn ag ofráil na h-íobairte seo ar son na beatha. Glacaigí léi, más é bhur dtoil é, agus glanaigí ár gcroíthe, ag roinnt arainn do chuid síochana 'is do bheatha. D2 joins D1 in holding the branch, and repeats the sacrifice in English:D2: Our praise goes up to thee on the wings of eagles; our voices are carried up to thee on the shoulders of the wind. Hear now, O Lady, O Lord, we pray thee, as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it we pray thee, and cleanse our hearts, giving to us of your peace and life. The branch is placed back upon the altar, or (if one is present) into the fire. The energies in the grove should be very still at this point.D1 asks all present to meditate upon their deepest needs. Those who wish to speak their's out loud may do so. The D1 waits to be sure that all who wish to speak have done so, the turns to D2 and speaks:D1: Of what does the Earth-Mother give, that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life? D2: The waters of life. D1: From whence do these waters flow? D2: From the bosom of the Earth-Mother, the ever changing All-Mother.D1: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?D2: By partaking of the waters of life.D1: Has the Earth Mother given forth of Her bounty?D2: She has.D1: Then give me the waters!D2 refills the two chalices and hands them to D1, who consecrates them for the fourth and final time in Irish. The consecrations should be modified to refer to the deities of the occasion. During the consecrations, the energies returning to the grove from the Lord and Lady are focused on the chalices.D1: A Thiarna, a Bhantiarna, Eistigi agus freagairt orainn! Bean-naigi na h-uisci seo duinn. Muide do chlann, a mhol thu, agus anois iarrann muid ort leigheas, beannachtai, cumhacht agus tinfeadh... Seo iad uisci na beatha!D2 repeats the consecration for the fourth and final time in English:D2: O Lord, O Lady, hear us and answer us! Hallow these waters! We your children have praised you, and now we ask from you healing, blessing, power and inspiration .... Behold the waters of life!The chalices are passed around the grove as before (with sipping, passing and the blessing), filling each person who drinks with the power of the deities of the occasion.When all have drunk from the chalices, a song or chant should be sung, coordinating the divine energy flow through breath and movement, thusly: on each exhalation while singing, half the energy is sent in both directions around the grove and the rest is sent towards the ritual center of the grove (and thus to the deities of the occasion).On each inhalation, energy is absorbed from both the other people and the deities. This should produce a rythmic and ever increasing flow, back and forth between the people and between them and the deities. This will fade away natureally as the song ends, leaving all present stronger, healthier and more unified.If there is an urgent need for healing or other serious magical working to be done, it would take place at this point, when all present have been filled with the powers of the Lady and Lord of the occasion. Alternately, if any members of the Grove are ready for a rite of passage, such as Paganiing, handfasting, funeral, or elevation (such as installation of a new Bard for the grove), this would occur now.In any case, the presiding clergy should have been notified before the ceremony began, and the necessay tools gathered. Except for an emergency or a rite of passage, the only Druidic spells to be cast in a High Day ceremony should be those of general blessing upon the Grove and the surrounding land (including any ecological magic that may be needed). Magic done at this point of the ceremony is primarily a matter of channeling the divine energy into the person or thing being affected, rather than the additional generation of human energy.After a pause for silent contemplation, the D1 speaks:D1: Tá beannacht na Bantiarna agus an Tiarna orainn!D2: The Lady and the Lord have Blessed us!D1: With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals, to do the will of the Gods and our own.D2: Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of their people.D1: But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we invited here today.D1: A Bhantiarna, a Thiarna, O Lady, O Lord --D2: Go raibh maith agaibh! We thank you!All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A dhéithe na seanaimsiri, O Gods and Goddessess of the old times --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A sprideanna na seanaimsire, agus na háite seo, O spirits of the old times, and of this place --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A sheana, a shinseara, a mhuintir, People of the old times, our ancestors, kindred --All: Go raibh maith agaibh!D1: A Oghma, a Thairna na ngeataí, a Thairna an Fheasa, an Fheasa, bíodh na ngeataí idir na saolta a druidte!D2: O Ogma, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Knowledge, let the Gates Between the Worlds be closed!D2 leads a brief reversal of the Tree mediatation to provide recentering, grounding of excess energy, and unlinking.D1 gives the final benediction:D1: Teigheadh muid amach faoin domhan, agus muid lan-chinnte, gur thug ár n-íobairtí taitneamh do na déithe, gur fhreagair siad ár n-urnaí, agus go bhfuil muid ag dul amach faoin domhan faoina gcoímirce.D2: Let us go out into the world, secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the Gods and Goddesses, and that we go forth upon the Earth under Their protection.D1: Tá an searmanas críochnaíthe againnn!D2: We have finished this ceremony!D1: Bíodh sé -- So be it!All: So be it!All may now disperse, perhaps singing a Recessional song.
Ritual Category: 
Priestess pours sweet wine in goblet and sets aside.Priestess stands before the altar.On this day, having one in our gathering who wishes to join in true kinship with us honors the Grove of the Midnight Sun. Will that person please step forward?Person steps toward the altar.By what name shall we call you in this ceremony?Person answers with either given name or magickal name.Hail ye Gods & Goddesses, Kinsmen and guests. Here stands before you __________________ soon to be one with the Midnight Sun.____________________ we give you this talisman to signify our bonding (Places talisman around the person’s neck) and furthermore, we ask you to join us in this pledge that binds you to us for a year and a day. After which, a more permanent bond may or may not be made. Please repeat after me:Before the Gods & Goddesses, I pledge thee true kinship. Before the attendance of this gathering, I pledge thee true friendship. From this day forth we are bonded to protect and aid each other. This I declare before the Well, the Tree, and the Fire.Priestess picks up goblet of sweet wine.Let us share this drink in your honor. Welcome to the Grove of the Midnight Sun.Hands drink to new member. New member drinks and hands back to Priestess who drinks.Priestess hands drink to next person. That person says: Welcome to the Midnight Sun and drinks. Hands to next person who says and does the same.
Ritual Category: 
(Originally published in Druid's Progress 7)This article is an outgrowth of what I've seen in the Grove I've been working with. The major ritual writers in the Grove insist on using Guardians of the Quarters and casting a circle. From conversations with Himself, this is not unusual. It is hard to break people of old habits.One of the major differences between Wicca and ADF is the use of circles. Wicca uses a closed circle with Guardians to both keep energy in and nasty things out. ADF is open, both psychically and physically. This is possible because demons or other nasties wouldn't interfere with a sacred space.Wicca uses the circle casting and invocations of the Quarters to establish sacred space and to orient the participants to the four directions. This creates a sort of containment vessel, like for a nuclear reactor. You can build up lots of power before triggering it. Also, if you screw up, the damage is limited to the circle. The casting of a circle is apparently an outgrowth of the Goetic (Medieval Christianity) magical system. In Goetic practice, the circle is a fortress. From within the fortress, you would summon a creature to appear in another warded area near you. The concept of the four elements plus spirit were created by Creek philosophers. This school of thinking is called Milesian. They taught that all substance is made up of one of the four elements. Various teachers thought different elements were the true one. The origin of the Wiccan elements is therefore originally alchemical. By mixing the four elements, you could create any substance, including the "philosophers' stone." The four Quarters are mapped to the elements (earth - north, fire - south, water - west, and air - east; often with a fifth added, spirit at the center). In a Wiccan circle the energy flow is circular. Except for specific occasions, you don't go widdershins.ADF uses a 3+1+1 system. It consists of the Three Worlds (Land, Sea and Sky), Fire and an Underworld. This is based upon the patterns that are found in Indo-European social and mythological systems. This pattern is: farmers and other producers (Land), clergy (Sky), warriors (Sea), a ruler (Fire) (The symbolism of Leader = Fire might come from the same idea or description as the Gods being "bright") and the outcasts (Underworld). The Three Worlds are organic, in that real living creatures can be found there. The mapping of the elements to the directions is a major difference from ADF "In Druidism, the World of the Waters is not in the west, it is everywhere." Deborah Lipp. Instead of being "between the worlds," an ADF Grove is at the center of all the worlds.[editors note: not all in ADF would necessarily agree with the Fire and Underworld elements in the preceding paragraph, though it is interesting to note how some ADF members work with the standard ADF realms of Land, Sea, and Sky and the rest of the cosmology]The ancients did pay attention to the four directions when laying out their sacred sites and temples. They oriented them along the cardinal points. This occurs in many traditions. As an example, Freemasonry uses the four directions in laying out the Lodges. The four directions are mentioned when opening the Lodge, but only in reference to where people sit. There is no evidence either way that the ancient Druids used Guardians of the Wiccan variety.ADF ceremonies are open to any people who won't disrupt the ritual. Sacred space is open for entry and egress at all times. We are an inclusive, not an exclusive organization. Part of ADF's using open rituals is based upon having sacred space. That is what this ritual is meant to create.To use physical world security analogies, a circle is a fence. A Wiccan circle is the equivalent of an eight foot barbed wire fence with four security guards. At each ritual meeting, the fence is erected, guards posted and the ritual done. At the end, the whole thing is torn down and put away. An ADF ritual doesn't want such an exclusionary barrier. An ADF Grove would instead have the equivalent of a permanent two foot picket fence around it. You can't enter the area without noticing it, but it doesn't keep you out by itself. Any nasty thing would know not to trespass. This ritual is designed to create such a permanent fence, without draining the person(s) doing the casting.Site location: There are two factors in choosing a site for a Grove. The first is psychic. The second is physical. The area chosen needs to have the right vibes. It must be friendly and receptive to becoming a permanent Grove. (See Larry Comet's article in DP #2)The physical layout: My personal preference is to work in a circular shape for Pagan rituals. It is preferable to choose a site on property you own, so that you can change it as you want it. Try to make sure it will remain dry all year long, and if you want privacy, that you'll have it, especially during the winter. Next, mark the perimeter with some sort of permanent, visible sign. A good example would be fieldstones, bricks or cinderblocks. You'll probably want a firepit of some sort. It would probably be a good idea to check with the local fire department about the town ordinances affecting such things. Lay down some sort of base in the circle that will be usable year round. These preparations should be done before the ceremony. Some, like laying in a gravel drainage system, will take money (a dirty word) and hard labor. You might also want to build some sort of seating, be it only planks atop cinderblocks. There should also be some sort of safe path laid out to the Grove that is free of roots and potholes. Provide some means of light for after dark workings. Also plan for some sort of handicap access.There are some special considerations for this ritual. First, you'll need three good-sized containers, one each for water, earth/clay/or similar, and an incense burner or smudge. The earth or similar should be in a slurry, that is liquid enough to spread, sort of like pancake batter. Second, some sort of permanent marker for each of the four directions. This could be a stone marker, wood carving or similar. This will stay outside for a long time, hopefully decades at least. Preferably it should be visible so people can orient themselves; but if you live in an area with inconsiderate Fundies, it may have to be buried. For this ritual, use more whiskey or hard alcohol for the final consecration than usual.Shadowpath Grove came up with the idea of having three Gates along the path to the Grove, one for each of the Worlds plus a firekeeper. As you pass through each of the Gates, you ask the keeper for something or answer a question. You are then marked by the Gatekeeper with smoke (Sky), water(Sea), or mud (Land). If ADF decides to map each World to an I-E social caste, it might be nice to have the question or request match the Gate that way. That is instead of asking the Gate of Sky for something cerebral (Wiccan air = thought), ask something relating to the clergy sphere of influence or something doing with, say, air travel.The RitualPeople pass through gates to the Grove. Once in the Grove, they could start a chant or stand quietly. I recommend that when people pass into the Grove, that they alternate going left and right around the circle from the entrance. Once all are there, do a settling song.Tree Meditation.Specification of ritual:D1 or D2: Today we are here to establish an ADF Grove. May it grow, and in growing provide a center for us to work within. May we nurture it, as it will nurture us and our descendents. We ask Manannon, the Keeper of the Keys, Bridget, the Matron of Bards, the spirits of the old times and of this place, people of the old times, and the Gods of the old times, to hallow this Grove. May they watch over it, and keep it from harm. May they keep it sacred.Invocation of Manannon the Gate Keeper in English (D2) and Irish (D1), and chant. Invoke Matron of Bards (Bridget). Triad invocations and consecrating of the waters. Nature, Ancestors and the Gods as a whole, being the order.Praise Offerings:Starting with D2, offerings are made to the Gods of the occasion. This is the primary energy building. For this occasion, I've chosen Manannon as he is the Keeper of the Keys, and Bridget who is the Matron of Bards and the Hearth Goddess.The Sacrifice:D2: Our praise goes up with thee on the wings of eagles; our voices are carried up to thee on the shoulders of the winds. Hear now, O Manannon, O Bridget, we pray thee, as we offer up this sacrifice. Accept it we pray thee, and cleanse our hearts, giving to us of your peace and life. (D1 repeats in Irish.)The Omen:Possible repetition of Praise offerings and Omen seeking, if needed.D1: Rejoice! Manannon and Bridget have accepted our sacrifices!Meditation on personal needs.Repetition of group needs:D1 or D2: Today we are here to establish an ADF Grove. May it grow, and in growing provide a center for us to work within. May we nurture it, as it will nurture us and our descendents. We ask Manannon, the Keeper of the Keys, Bridget, the Matron of Bards, the spirits of the old times and of this place, people of the old times, and the Gods of the old times, to hallow this Grove. May they watch over it, and keep it from harm. May they keep it sacred.Induction of Receptivity (The Catechism of the Waters).Final consecration and sharing with passing song/chant.Meditation on reception of blessings and reinforcement of group bonds.Consecration of boundary:D1: Today we mark the planting of a new Grove. Groves are at the Center of all the Worlds, and have as their edges, the Three Worlds. We mix the Waters of Life with the World of the Land! (Pour some of the waters into the bucket of dirt or clay slurry and mix.)D2: Today we mark the planting of a new Grove. Groves are at the Center of all the Worlds, and have as their edges, the Three Worlds. We mix the Waters of Life with the World of the Sky! (Pour some of the waters onto the censor of incense; this is when the Waters of Life must be whiskey or similar hard liquor so it will burn.)D1: Today we mark the planting of a new Grove. Groves are at the Center of all the Worlds, and have as their edges, the Three Worlds. We mix the Waters of Life with the World of the Sea! (Pour some of the waters into the cauldron of water and mix.)With the mixing of the Waters with the materials of the Three Worlds, D1 and D2 motion three people forward. The three Gate Keepers would be good ones for this. These three people each take one container and walk around the perimeter painting the edges as marked earlier by construction. Hopefully everyone will now see a faint circle of energy around the Grove. If the path to the Grove is easily defined, you might want to paint it also. While the boundary is being defined do a chant, such as the ADF version of the classic, "We All Come From the Goddess":We all come from the GoddessAnd to Her we have returned;As our Ancestors worshipped Her,Air, land, and sea.D2: As groves are at the Center of all the Worlds, so are they also on the Earth. Being on the Earth, they have orientation. Thus we mark the directions. North! South! East! and West! (After saying each direction, pour some of the Waters of Life upon the markers.)D1: By marking the directions we know where our Center is in this World. This Grove becomes a crossroads. From such crossroads, we can go anywhere, By knowing the directions may we also safely return to this place.D2 motions forward four people to move the directional markers from the center to their permanent locations. Try and avoid having the three Gate Keepers and the Fire Warden doing this. Another possibility is to have all of the members of the Grove lend a hand moving and setting up the markers. This is especially good if the markers are larger and/or heavy. If setting the markers will take more than a minute or so, do a chant to keep people focussed.After the markers are set:D1: To the creatures of the Three Worlds, Land, Sea and Sky; and to the four directions, North, South, East and West; I do declare this space to be sacred! Let none trespass upon it with evil intent. May it grow, and in growing provide a center for us to work within. May we nurture it, as it will nurture us and our descendents. We ask Manannon, the Keeper of the Keys, Bridget, the Matron of Bards, the spirits of the old times and of this place, people of the old times, and the Gods of the old times, to hallow this Grove. May they watch over it, and keep it from harm. May they keep it sacred. So be it!All: So be it!Affirmation of Success.The usual winding down process happens: Thanking of the Entities involved, Closing of the Gates, Reversing the Tree Meditation, Libation to the Earth, and the final Benediction.Recessional song/chant: "Walk with Wisdom," by Sable:Walk with wisdomfrom this hallowed place.Walk not in sorrow,our roots shall ere embrace.May Strength be your brother,and Honor be your friendand Luck be your loveruntil we meet again.End notes: Some of you might want to add a few lines about consecrating the hearth or firepit. Obviously, the chants I've selected are suggestions, as are the actual words. It is the intent of the words that is important. You also might want to declare the name of the Grove at some point.References:Druids Progress 2 & 4'World Civilizations': Burns & Ralph,5th edition, Vol. 1, pages 193+A Note from the Archdruid [included in original publication]This ritual is an excellent idea and I hope that every grove will eventually do something similar. I highly recommend that the firepit be consecrated, with much ceremony, perhaps at the point in the (new) standard liturgical design where the Sacred Fire is invoked (after the Gate Keeper, before the Matron/Patron of Bards). Remember that any Indo-European liturgical language can be used, not just Irish. [Note: ADF rituals are no longer required to be bilingual as they were when this article was published.]-Pete Gold
Ritual Category: 
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Ritual Category: 
Now let us begin to open our minds to Magic, to the presence of the Gods. Begin with your body. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, balanced and upright... shake out your arms and shoulders... let gravity pull you evenly toward the earth, as you release the everyday tensions in your flesh... now begin to breath deeply and regularly.... With each breath fill your lungs slowly... and completely... with each out-breath empty them entirely... for a moment just watch your breath... in... and out...Now as you continue to breathe deeply and regularly, imagine... feel... that from the bottoms of your feet, roots are springing... reaching down into the world below you...A strong tap-root slides down through soil and stone... going deeper and growing stronger... down to touch the Waters that are under the Earth... the dark, cool, magnetic Power of the Land... Breath deep... and with each breath draw the earth Power up through your roots... feel it flowing into your feet... tingling and energizing... rising from the earth... into your legs... rising through your legs to meet and pool in your loins... Breath deep, and draw the Earth Power up your spine... rising through your belly... cool and powerful... to fill and pool in your heart...The Power rises from the earth flowing up into your legs, through your loins... through your heart... rising up your spine to pool in your head...Filling and energizing you... rising still to fountain out from the crown of your head and flow back in to the earth... flowing out through head and hands, into the Earth.So you are filled with the Power of the Earth...Now imagine... feel... that from overhead... from the (sun/moon/stars) in the turning Sky... a single ray of light shines out... out and down to bathe your body and spirit in the warm, electric Sky Power...Shining down over your head... over your heart... over your loins... touching and warming the Earth Power... everywhere the light touches becomes bright... shining like sun on water...Now raise your hands to the Sky and let the earth Power flow into your hands... feel... see... them brighten and energize with the joined Powers of Earth and Sky...Now reach out to those beside you... join your shining hands together... let the Waters and the Light merge in and through us all... the Power flowing upward from below... Shining downward from above... through each and all of us... making us one light... one depth...So we are attuned and ready... as we open our hearts to the Powers of our rite.
Hearth Cultures: 
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This service can be done either in the workings section of a full ADF ritual or may be done as a stand-alone liturgy. In case there are no Hallows present, all offerings may be reserved for disposal at a later date.The Funeral Goods given the deceased should either be buried with the casket or urn, or may be poured on the ground or into a shaft. Again, these offerings may be reserved for disposal at a later date.While this service was adapted for a particular person, it may also be freely adapted for others.THE WELCOMEThe Priest rings a bell, three times three.Priest says: Children of the Earth, we are here to celebrate the life of Judge William T. Hunt. While this is a time of grief, it is also a celebration of Life!UNITING THE THREE WORLDSPriest says: Children of the Earth, let us call the powers of Earth and Sky that they may join within us here.PRAYER:O waters of the earth, deep and dark, Arise, primeval powers, fill us now With all your wondrous possibilities, That through the Earth our Mother We may ground and join as one.O fires of the sky, O blinding light! Descend and crystallize within us all That spark of order on which life depends, That through the Sky our Father We may shine and share as one.You powers dark and light, you liquid fire, Conjoin and blend this mixture volatile That powers great will join within our selves, Connecting all the Worlds so That the circle is complete.DISSOLVING THE BARRIERSAll present say: O Muddy, who claimed him; Mercury who conveyed him; Charon who ferried him; And Dis Pater who welcomed him; O Powers of paths where the newly dead go, We pray to You now – hear our call!Your magics are great, Your powers intense, We ask that you join Yours with ours. Let the barriers standing ‘tween this world and Yours Dissolve in our hearts – hear our call!With love and with joy, we humbly pray For our dear friend to join us here now. As our newest Ancestor to cross the divide We welcome you home – hear our call!REMEMBERANCE AND OFFERINGSPriest says: Newest Ancestor, Judge William Hunt, we welcome you here! And though we will miss you here in the Midworld, We take comfort in knowing that you are quite near, Just beyond the veil of the Worlds.When the Veils are thin and the Gates open wide, We will welcome you here once again! One day we will pass to the Land of the Dead We hope that you'll welcome us, too.Priest says: Children of the Earth, this is also the time of the living!We now call on her who has cared for Judge Hunt and who misses him, To come forward and speak, sharing a memory of happy times.And in days of old, offerings were made to the newly dead To accompany them on their way.We invite her to bring up her Grave Goods and Offerings, That she may honor our new Ancestor.Jenni Hunt comes up, makes sacrifice and tells stories about her father.We invite all others to bring up Grave Goods for sacrifice, that we May make offering to our new Ancestor.The People come up one at a time, and leave an offering (such as silver or beer or other food) on the altar for later burial or disposal, or put it in the shaft or the Well or pour it on the ground.After an offering is made, the person may speak for a time about the deceased. When each person is finished speaking, the Priest will say:Fiat! So be it!INTERCESSIONWhen everyone who wishes to speak has spoken of the Dead, the Priest says:Doting Muddy, Grandmother of William, Matriarch, We make offering to You!The Priest offers Ballentine whiskey to the ground.We thank you for meeting William at his bedside, Remaining with him until he was ready, Offering him comfort, allaying his fears, Preparing his soul for its journey.Doting Muddy, accept our sacrifice!All say: Doting Muddy, accept our sacrifice!The Priest says: Fleet-footed Mercury! Soul Carrier, We make offering to You!The Priest offers whiskey to the Fire.We thank You for conducting William and Muddy Through the Worlds to the shores of the River Styx! Offerings are made at the riverbank! For William has reached the Land of the Dead.Fleet-footed Mercury, accept our sacrifice!All say: Fleet-footed Mercury, accept our sacrifice!Faceless Charon, Dark Ferryman, We make offering to You!The Priest offers the Nova Roma coins to the Well.We thank you for conveying William and Muddy Across the dark river to the Underworld, Offerings are made to the Mouth of the Earth To pay for Your sacred duty.Faceless Charon, accept our sacrifice!All say: Faceless Charon, accept our sacrifice!Somber Dis Pater, Lord of the Dead, We make offering to You!The Priest offers wine to the ground and hematite to the Well.We thank you for accepting William among the Mighty Dead, That he might join his Ancestors And receive the sacrifices of the Living, And for opening the Doors of Dis that we may commune with him.Somber Dis Pater, accept our sacrifice!All say: Somber Dis Pater, accept our sacrifice!THE CLOSINGPriest says: Children of Earth, though grieving continues, now is the time to let go.O Doting Muddy, Fleet-footed Mercury, Faceless Charon and Somber Dis Pater, We thank you for your aid. Departed Friend, our love and thanks go with you on your way.Now look we deep within our hearts And closing Gates discern. We know that death is but a door And loved-ones will return!The Priest rings a bell three times three.Priest says: Walk with wisdom, Children of the Earth, this rite has ended.
Hearth Cultures: 
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I've written a 12-part offering module for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It can be used as either: 1) a small, individual ritual of offering, or 2) as the central part of a full group ritual (probably best used with the Roman ritual template).The most appropriate offering would be wine, although offerings of spelt or incense would be appropriate, too. For those who prefer to Latinize their litanies, an appropriate response would be (for each deity) "Macte esto," meaning (literally) "be increased"... or "be blessed" if you're less literal. The idea is that we offer prayers and wine/grain/incense/whatever to increase the capacity of the deities to bless us and/or respond to our pleas for intercession in return.Janus Pater, God of Beginnings, to those who have lost their homes and their communities:May You provide new beginnings, new homes, new jobs, and new friends to fill the empty places of those that were lost. Hear our plea, Janus Pater.Tellus Mater, Mother Earth, to those whose loved ones have died and who are burdened by unimaginable losses, finding themselves like refugees in their own country:May You provide comfort in the embrace of your loving arms. Hear our plea, Tellus Mater.Neptunus Pater, Provider of Fresh Water, to those areas inundated and polluted by flood water, debris and sewage:May You allow levees to be repaired, debris to be removed and help draw back the unclean waters and refresh those flooded areas with clean, pure water. Hear our plea, Neptunus Pater.Fortuna Redux, Fortune, the Home-bringer, to those who fled their homes and inundated cities, who wonder if they will ever be able to return home or if they even have a home to return to:May You keep them safe and steer them safely home when it is safe to return. Hear our plea, Fortuna Redux.Aesculapius, God of Healing, to those who are injured, those separated and searching for family, for those who have been traumatized:May You be a healing presence in their lives for as long as it takes them to return to wholeness. Hear our plea, Aesculapius.Spes, Goddess of Hope, to those who return to homes battered by wind and engulfed by flood and to those who have no homes to return to:May You provide hope that they may rebuild, reorganize, regroup and renew their homes and communities. Hear our plea, Spes.Mercurius, Protector of Travelers, to those who suffer on the streets or crowded into shelters, hot, weary, and fearful; to those who feel homesick and far away from loved ones and their homes at this time:May You provide the comfort of safe homes, rest and hospitality for as long as it is needed, comforting families and friends across the distance. Hear our plea, Mercurius.Ceres Mater, Provider of the Fruits of Earth, to those who have lost all material possessions; to the poor and those whose livelihoods have been lost or impaired by this disaster; to those whose workplaces have become unsafe and who face an uncertain future:May You provide sustenance and restore prosperity as quickly as possible. Hear our plea, Ceres Mater.Mars Olloudius, Protector of the People, to those who are involved in rescuing people and those caring for the injured in hospitals and clinics:May You sustain and protect them through this time of tremendous loss and stress. Hear our plea, Mars Olloudius.Quirinus, God of the Community, to those communities that have been devastated:May You help them live and learn and support one another and have joy in their lives once again; may this disaster bring people together to rebuild their cities, and to fill their lives with justice, their plates with food and their streets with music. Hear our plea, Quirinus.Jupiter Stator, to the police, firefighters, FEMA employees, National Guard, Red Cross workers, disaster response coordinators, whose work is just beginning and will not end for many months:May You strengthen and sustain them for service. Hear our plea, Jupiter Stator.Vesta Mater, Embodiment of the Hearth Flame, to all those with home and without:May You warm their hearts, minds and bodies, bring them back to Your center. Hear our plea, Vesta Mater.Kindreds: Ancestors, Spirits and Gods, to each of us as we pray:May it be Your will to be propitious to us; may distance not deter us from generous giving and enduring companionship. Hear our plea, Great Kindred.
Ritual Category: 
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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(Originally published in Oak Leaves 27) Toward the end of a trip to Austria (to start the reconstruction of the home we would be moving into) I found myself with quite the familiar feeling of sickness. In the first few moments I aligned it with some train sickness, but when it did not abate I knew it to be exactly what it was. In our poor German we found a small shop selling assorted beauty supplies and we stopped in for a pregnancy test. Within the next hour we found that we were indeed expecting a sibling for our two year old son. This news met us with a great deal of excitement. The previous year we had suffered a natural miscarriage at home when I was four months along. April 25th: it is a date forever impressed on my mind and one that lingers with each blessed moment I spend with my son. There were no reasons given for the loss, and truth be told the medical professionals are as clueless as can be in regard to such things; although still quite kind in their absence of knowledge. Yet, even after being told repeatedly that they did not know why such a thing happened but nothing appeared to be wrong, I was greatly hesitant at trying for another child. I simply could not fathom how I would survive such a loss again. This new child was a great joy for us. And yet, I was nervous. Then the bleeding started. There were a great many doctors appointments and there were declarations of pregnant and miscarrying tossed around carelessly. We found that one day we were having a child, the next we were not and the day after we were. Every night was met with tears and the realization that this was not meant to be. I do not think one can describe the pain and fear that came from watching the tiny heat beat on the ultrasound screen as a pool of blood seeped up around the small child that we had yet to name. I was at a loss to help, there was nothing I could do. We waited it out until I miscarried at home on December 19th, 2004 upon returning from my Grandfather-in-Law's funeral. At the end of it all I performed a ritual for this child of mine. I created an image of them in sculpture, I gave a name to them and I placed the image upon a shrine; just as I had done for the child before. And when I complete the 88 temple pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku in Japan I will be making a stop to pray at every shrine of O-Jizo-san1 that we pass. Our Ritual for the Baby As I began I made sure my shrine has a spot open to accept the sculpture I have made. I gathered my Vedic Householder's Fire; ghee (clarified butter); a ladle to pour ghee from, offerings of pure gold; kumkum2; a rake for the coals; a Brahmin's thread made by my own hand; a rake for the coals; a goat hand carved from wood3; a bowl of fresh water from the Danube river4 river that has been mixed with fresh chopped mint leaves5; the photograph of the ultrasound picture in a frame to place beside the fire6; kusa grass 6; and a small white cloth7. Due to the personal and emotional nature of this ritual I opted to use music created by another to tie everything together. My selected pieces were taken from the Gladiator movie soundtrack due to the wonderful composition of Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt and the hauntingly beautiful voice of Lisa Gerrard. The songs were: "Progeny", "The Wheat", "Sorrow", "Elysium", and "Now We Are Free". Before the shrine on the ground, the fire was placed in the south with the remaining items laid out upon a vedi8 to the upper east of the fire. A small bed of kusa grass is placed to the right of the fire. Our small family was gathered with no processional and we began. Brahmin:9: (Adhvaryu9 makes offering of ghee to the fire) "We give honour to Yama, Vivasvan's son, with our oblations. Yama who travelled on to seek out a home for us beyond this life." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu makes an offering of ghee to the fire) "We call forth Yama, Agni and Vivasvan to sit beside us on this bed of sacred grass. Graciously look upon us with love and kindness." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu makes an offering of ghee to the fire) "May those who have attained the life of the spirits aid us and join us. Sit beside us, countless ancient Fathers, on this bed of sacred grass." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu places the Brahmin's thread around the sculpture and washes the sculpture with the cloth and water and then places a small dab of kumkum upon the forehead of the sculpture) "We ask that Agni, who devourers all things, heal the wound with which this child was inflicted." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu coats the sculpture in the fat) "We encompass you with fat to shield you from the hunger of Agni." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu pushes away the coals of the fire with the rake to make a spot for the sculpture to lay within the fire but not touched by it and then places the sculpture within it) "Agni let not your flames consume: do not burn the child up, do not let his body or skin be scattered. Brahmin: (Adhvaryu places the wood goat within the flames) "Your offering is the goat, Agni. Allow your glowing splendor to take your offering with your fierce flames." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu pour an offering of ghee on the sculpture) "Surya receives your eye, the wind receives your spirit. Go forth into the waters, await us in the celestial sea. Make your home in the one which awaits us. Seek care in the Fathers while they care for you until we are reunited." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu makes an offering of gold to the fire) "When the child is ready, Yama, take them to the Heavens. Guide this child gentle past Sarama's10 offspring upon the path into the next life. Let Agni announce the oblations paid to the spirit followers of Rta and to the Devas. Let Vivasvan speak highly of them with their place in Heaven." Brahmin: (Adhvaryu slowly pours water over the flames) "Cool, Agni, and let the spot where you have scorched and burnt be refreshed." After cooling down the sculpture is placed upon the shrine. 11 The resources I used to create this ritual were the Rgveda Samhita translation by Griffith, the Rigveda Brahmanas translation by Keith, the Black Yajurveda translation by Keith, the Vedic Index of Names and Subjects by Macdonell and Keith. Notes O-Jizo-san is a Buddhist deity who looks after children who has passed on. Kumkum is the red powder that makes up the circle worn on the forehead known as the is the red powder that makes up the circle worn on the forehead known as the bindi. There are two takes on the inclusion of a goat within the funeral process. One is that the goat acts as a sacrifice so that Agni does not see the body as an offering. The second is that the goat is to led the deceased to the land of the ancestors. I have carved a goat from wood because we do not have a real goat to sacrifice. We are moving to Austria in a location that is quite near the Danube. We have collected water from the Danube and found it personally fitting to use it in the bathing portion. I have added the mint leaves for no religious reason. To be ever mindful (keeping in mind I am not likely to forget such a loss) I have chosen to attach a different scent to each child. Thus whenever I smell mint I would be given a pleasant memory of the love I have for this child. We do not have the actual miscarriage tissue as it was sent for testing. Thus the ultrasound picture gives us something to focus upon. Kusa grass is a sacred grass in the grass is a sacred grass in the Vedas and is relatively easy to obtain. I do not know if it is what was used in funerals of old, but I chose to use it here. The vedi is the place where all the is the place where all the ritual tools, and sometimes the offerings, are kept. In our small family my husband takes on the role of the Brahmin and I the Adhvaryu. I complete all ritual action. My husband acts as the Brahmin to keep an eye on the ritual and he also takes the part of the Hotr by reciting (as we have no one to act within this capacity). This refers to the parent of the dogs of Yama which guard the path to Heaven. I have not decided yet what to do with the statues beyond this. Burial was not uncommon to the ancient Vedics but until I have secured our own funeral arrangements I shall continue to ponder. h
Ritual Category: 
Items needed: a sink with water, a towel for drying, a candle (preferably unscented but this is a personal choice), matches, and an image of your Sacred Tree. Arrange these on your bathroom counter as you feel works best due to your counter space.To start take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes lightly and breathe in through your nose to fill your lungs. Hold that breath for a moment, then breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this a few time until you feel that your mind is clear and you are relaxed.Once you feel relaxed, pick up the matches and light the candle on the bathroom counter. Slightly close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the flames within you and around you as you say: "Sacred Flames of the Sky, Burn strong within me, Cleanse my body, mind and spirit anew." After you feel the flame burning within you, let the waters flow into your hands. Close your eye slightly, take a deep breath, and imagine the waters flowing through you, then wash your face after you say: "Sacred Waters of the Deep, Wash away my impurities, Cleanse my body, mind and spirit anew." Once you are finished, and have dried your face, close your eyes lightly and breathe in through your nose to fill your lungs again. Hold that breath for a moment, then breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this a few times until you feel that your mind is clear and you are relaxed again. Now, imagine your Sacred Tree growing deep into the ground and sprouting high above after you say: "Sacred Tree of all the Worlds, Grow within me as I learn. Plunge my roots deep Below as I ascend high Above." Once you are done, extinguish the flame of the candle. Unless this is the permanent place for these items, clean up the space and continue with your daily life.
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
ProcessionThe folk circle around the statue of Athena, who is beside a torch fed by olive oil. At her feet is a pitcher of water, a bowl and a cloth.Priestess of Athena: It is the Plynteria, the day of cleansing. Today we take the goddess Athena from her sanctuary to running water so we may cleanse her, and present her with her new dress. Then we shall return her to her sanctuary, where her olive oil lamp can be relit for the coming year. It is a day when the veils betwixt the worlds is thin. It is not a time for honoring our dead, but appeasing the malevolent spirits who may be about now that Athena is not vigilantly presiding over her city, but outside being cleansed. It is only together, affirming our bonds as xenoi that we can protect Athena against the goblins and other malevolent spirits about. So we begin by becoming to each other guest-friends.FM: I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us.Folk: Sacred fire burn within us.FM will then cense the site and the folk.KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us.Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.The Keeper of the Well washes the hands of the person next to him by pouring water over the hands and into the bowl. That person in turn washes the hands of the person next to him/her, and so on until the circle is complete.TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us.Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.TT will then asperge and cense the gateway post.PA: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,Folk: Flame, and flow, and grow in me!PA: In land, sea and skyFolk: Below and on high!PA: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.Folk: So be it!PA: By the cleaning of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine.The Priestess of Athena will lead the grove in meditation, then all will sing the Unity Chant.Priestess of Athena: It is now time to do our work. Today we take Athena to running water, that we may cleanse her. But first we must appease the malevolent spirits that may be about.The men will light two torches from the olive oil torch and step outside the sanctuary.Head of the Warriors: Titans, you who reigned before the gods, and then stood against them, we respect your brute force and make you offerings. Eris, spirit of discord we respect your power to destroy what does not stand firm, and make you offerings. And to all others for whom law is might, or who respect cunning over justice, we respect your powers, and make you offerings, that you trouble us not. Accept this offering. Men:Within our bounds you shall not cross.The women will unclothe the goddess, and place her into a basket and cover her. They will then blow out the torch and step outside the sanctuary. The men will tie a rope before the opening of the sanctuary, and then each walk before or behind the women, carrying their torches, as they process to the water.D1: Nature spirits: Nymphs, dryads, satyrs, maenads, naiads, okeanides, and other daimons of nature we seek your protection and care as we bathe Athena. Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesth anathemeta hemon.She strews figs about.All sing Fur and Feather:D2: Mothers and fathers we ask that you protect now what you preserved in your lives.Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.She pours water to them.All sing Mothers and Fathers of Old.D3:Gods and goddesses of old times and new, watch over us as we perform our sacred rite for Athena. Let no ill come to us or ours.Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.The Fire Maiden lights incense.They all sing Hail all the Gods.Priestess of Athena: It is time now to perform our sacred rite. Let none look upon the goddess except those who cleanse her, lest we incur her wrath.The men will then stand guard, with their backs to the water, while the women lift the goddess from the basket and wash her.All sing Aphrodite Chant.When the women are done bathing the goddess, they will bring her out and dress her in her new dress.Priestess of Athena:It is done. Before we return to her sanctuary, we must make sacrifices to the appropriate deities. First we sacrifice to the Fates, in thanks that they have brought us to this day, and in hopes that they spin a promising future for us. To the Fates! lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.The Fire Maiden makes an offering of incense.Priestess of Athena:Now we make sacrifice to Zeus, leader of the Fates, in thanks for his blessings and in hopes of his future favor. To Zeus! lambane kai hedou anathemeta hemon.The Fire Maiden makes an offering of incense.Priestess of Athena: Now we offer to Gaea, the well-founded earth. We honor you, mother of all, oldest of all, who nourishes upon the earth all that is. lambane kai hedou anathemeta hemon.The Priestess of Athena sings Earth Mother Hymn, and an offering of honey mixed with flour is made.Priestess of Athena:It is time now to place Athena in her sanctuary once again, and relight her hearth fire.All process back in the same order as before. When they arrive, the men will remove the ropes from the gateway. The women will enter, but not place Athena down until the men have relit the torch from their torches.Priestess of Athena:We have bathed the goddess and returned her to her home. Now do we have further offerings to make to her or to any of the other gods? Praise OfferingsPriestess of Athena: Our praise goes up to you on the wings of owls, our voices on the wind. Here us now Athena, and all the rest, as we offer you this sacrifice. Accept it and open our hearts to your blessings. outos exoi!DivinationThe Priestess of Athena will chant: "Alétheia, Diké, Sophia, Areté." As the Diviner reads the Omen, everyone else will sit in meditation, waiting for any signs to come to them as well. After the diviner reveals the omen, anything else that has come to others can be shared as well. The Diviner then leads the folk in a meditation on grove and personal needs. After that the Keeper of the Well will mix the water from the pitcher and the wine in the cup.PA:Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life?Folk:The Waters of Life.PA:And from whence do these waters flow?Folk:From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.PA: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.PA: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty?Folk: She has!Priestess of Athena calls for Athena and all the others to bless the waters of life. The cup is passed while all sing Share the Waters.SD:Is there an aspirant for Grove membership here today?NM:There is!SD:Step forward so that the folk can see you.NM steps forward.SD: Are you a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin?NM:I am.SD:Will you take oath before the Gods and the Folk?NM:I will.SD:Is there any of the folk here who can say why this person should not be welcomed to the Grove?SD pauses. Step forward to the World Tree and state the name we shall know you by.NM stands next to the Bilé.NM: My name is ________.SD: Lay your hand on the World Tree and repeat after me. I _______, swear before the Gods and the folk, to work for and with this grove, for as long as I am a member, in return for being counted among the folk. Thus do I swear by all I hold sacred!The NM is dressed in their tabard, and censed and asperged.SD:Welcome to _________ Grove, A.D.F., you are now numbered among our folk.Each member of the Grove will now step forward in turn, put their hands on the NM shoulders, look into their eyes and say:You are of my folk, Welcome!SD:Let there be music and drumming so that all know that World Tree Grove is one stronger!Priestess of Athena:The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk. But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here."Athena, charin echomen soi.All:We thank you.Priestess of Athena:Panes theon charin echomen humin.All:All the gods and goddesses, we thank you.Priestess of Athena: Meteres kai pateres, charin echomen humin.All:Mothers and fathers, we thank you.Priestess of Athena: Nymphai, Satyroi, charin echomen humin.All:Nymphs and satyrs, we thank you.Priestess of Athena: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and the Gods have answered!The folk are led in a meditation of regrounding, recentering, unmerging and draining of excess power.Priestess of Athena: Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close.
Ritual Category: 
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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OpeningAttendees are asperged as they line for processional. Sing We Are A Circle as attendees are censed/smudged as they enter the Nemeton.Senior Druid: We come here to honor the Moon in its fullness, during its height of power. Called by what name you will...Grove Bard (chanted after Senior Druid recites opening): Manni, Luna, Artemis, Inanna, Selene, Soma, ArianhrodSenior Druid: (recited as the Bard chants)You who silver the waves You who brings forth shadow You who are the keeper of magick Cauldron of the Night, we honor youAll: Cauldron of the Night, we honor youSenior Druid: Let the song of silver open our inner selves to magick and mystery as we close our eyes, and center.9 bell chimes.OutdwellersGrove Warrior:To the ancient dark ones of strife and discord As we acknowledge the darkness within ourselves Accept this tithe and leave our work in peace.Well, Fire, and TreeWellGrove Bard:Come we into the Well The waters of creation, the well of wisdom Let us pour our prayers That the sacred waters may cleanse us Of that we desire to relinquishWater is poured into vessel that is passed among Grove members. The Bard leads the Well Song:We pray at the Well of Wisdom To cleanse us body and soul We come to the Sacred Waters That Your blessings be knownFireGrove Warrior:Come we into the Fire The flame of creation, the light of inspiration Let us send our prayers Of that which we wish to accomplish On the sacred smoke of our NemetonPrayer strips are placed into vessel that is passed among Grove members. The Bard leads the Fire Chant:Sacred fire and sacred smoke Raise our magick to Those above Hear our voices, we call to Thee Bring us Vision that we may seeTreeSenior Druid:Come we into the Sacred Bile The Tree of Life which upholds us through all worlds Let us bind our prayers to its branches Of that which is in our hearts Let our magick travel through the boundariesAttendees bind a ribbon onto the prayer stick that is passed among the Grove members while singing the Full Moon Chant:We are gathered in the light of the Moon We do worship by the blessings of the Moon Full in Your journey, across the starry sky Through Well, Fire, Tree, to You our prayers riseDrawing Down the MoonModerately paced drumming.Senior Druid: (with projection)Great Orb of Night, we call upon thee In our lives, bring us your mysteryAll: Bring us your mysteryIn our nemeton, be here with usAll: Be here with usIn our working, lend us your magickAll: Lend us your magickKeeper of Night, we invoke theeAll: Keeper of Night, we invoke theeMoon of Mystery, we invoke theeAll: Moon of Mystery, we invoke theeMuse of Magick, we invoke theeAll: Muse of Magick, we invoke theeLively drumming and dancing as Senior Druid focuses and directs energy raising. Stick with ribbons tied on it is driven into the Earth at the base of the Bile at culmination of energy raising.Blessing CupCalming drumming.Senior Druid: We have come together on this e'en of the Full Moon, the night of increase, of magick and potential.Let us charge and share this Cup of Blessing. As we stand here, united in circle, round as the Moon above us, may our magick be stronger by our bonds of unity, may our magick be radiant in the Silvery Light, may our magick be united as we take into ourselves the Mead of Mystery. Send forth your prayers and charge our cup with magick as it passes your lips.Cup is passed as attendees discuss their magickal needs while visualizing and putting her/his goal into the mead, then drinking from it.Personal WorkingAttendees are instructed to do whatever personal work they will.Re-CenteringSenior Druid calms, re-focuses and re-centers the attendees.ThankingSenior Druid leads round of thanks to the Moon for aiding the work and the attendees for gathering that evening.ClosingSenior Druid: With our work being done, by the power of the Moon in its fullness may our magick journey onwards. This rite is ended. Let us come together and join hands as we sing Let Us Journey On:Let us journey on Children of the Earth Carry the Nemeton's blessings Into our lives and work As we journey on Children of the Earth Let the Nemeton's blessings Bring peace to home and hearth
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
 The video is hosted on YouTube. View Part 2
Hearth Cultures: 
Ritual Category: 
The agnihotr was a very important ritual performed in Vedic times. Due to thousands of years of corruption, we can only hope to scratch the surface of this historically confusing ritual. We do know that it was very important because of its personal nature: it could be performed by anyone and was not tied to being performed by a Brahmin. The following information was taken from various sources (see the bibliography) and hopes to spread some light on the deceptively simplistic agnihotr ritual. Story of the Agnihotr There was a time when there was no earth. There was no sky above it and no heaven beyond that. There was no light or separation of light from the darkness. There was no day. There was no night. Man did not exist in this void. Neither did the Devas (Gods). There was only chaos, darkness and (Gods). There was only chaos, darkness and Prajapati. Prajapati became filled with desire. He sought to create, to fill the void with forms. He took to performing austerely, filling the void with himself. After some time he produced the Devourer, Agni, from his mouth. After this all of the other Gods, too, were created and they fled to the corners of the world. Only Agni remained. "The Devourer shall wish to eat," thought Prajapati. "As nothing else is here, will he eat me?" The Devourer looked to Prajapati with his mouth wide. Prajapati stood in fear. His greatness left him. His speech left him. "Offer an oblation," said his inner voice. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and saying "Svaha" he offered it to the Devourer. He offered his own eye, truth, and said "In Agni is the light, the light is in Agni." This offering to Agni was the first oblation to the fire. Its name is agnihotr. Religious Texts of the Agnihotr The agnihotr appears in the Kathakasamhita (Black Yajurveda), Maitrayaisamhita (Black Yajurveda), Taittiryabrahmana (Black Yajurveda), Aitareyabrahmana (Rgveda), Sankhaayanabrahmana (Rgveda), Satapathabrahmana (White Yajurveda), Jaiminiyabrahmana (Samaveda), Sadvimsabrahmana (Samaveda), Gopathavrahmana (Atharvaveda), Vadhulasutraand traces of it can be and traces of it can be found within the Grhya Sutras. The agnihotr can also be found in sources which mention the pranagnihotra, an agnihotr substitute. As we touched upon the history of the various Vedic texts in a previous issue of Oak Leaves (see the article "Why Vedism" in Oak Leaves issue 25) I shall briefly run through the source material. The holy texts are split into two categories: sruti-tradition and smrti-tradition. The sruti sources are ones that have been "heard." These texts were revealed by the Gods to specific Rsis (priests). The smrti sources are those that have been "memorized," and as such have been created by man without divine assistance. The Vedic texts fall mostly within the category of sruti and are known as Vedas and portions of the Upanisads. Veda translates literally into "knowledge." The word veda is derived from the verb vid- which means "to know, to be aware of." Upanisad is broken up with "sad" meaning "sit" and most likely refers to the extreme secrecy that was to be enforced with the sharing of the Upanisads by having the student sitting beside the teacher. The thinking is the word upanisad refers to "secret text." There are a total of four Vedas. Three of the Vedas, the Rgveda, the Yajurveda, and the Samaveda, can be dated to between 1500-1200BCE. A fourth Veda—the Atharvaveda was established slightly later, between 1200-1000BCE. Each Veda consists of its the main text, or Samhita, as well as dedicated commentary and instruction on that text, which is known as the Brahmana. The Samhitas are the actual text, or hymns, of each of the Vedas while the Brahmanas are the commentary upon the Vedas. The manas are the commentary upon the Vedas. The Brahmanas set out to explain, in detail, the going-ons of the Vedas. The Upanisads generally date from about 800-600BCE and while they show more information on the Vedas, they also show a breaking away from traditional Vedic thought into the basic tenets of what would grow to become Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). The Upanisads are predominantly thought processes and commentary. They can be seen as a mix of smrti and sruti for the most part. Past these texts you find yourself within the man made texts of the smrti-tradition. While this in no way demeans their value, it simply must be stated that to a Vedic these texts are man made texts that have been quite removed from their original Vedic thought process. These texts often incorrectly portray the Vedic texts for their own agendas. Two smrti-tradition texts which are still of great use: the smrti Grhya Sutras and the Crauta Sutras. The Sutras were roughly set down between 400 and 200BCE, although this is just scholastic guess work. The Grhya Sutras deal specifically with household ritual to be performed by the householder. The Crauta Sutras depict elaborate rituals which included one or more clergy. Mythology of the Agnihotr The agnihotr starts with the creation myths of Prajapati, a God who was being formed at the end of the Rgvedic period and is much spoken of in the Atharvaveda and Vajasaneyisamhita. Nowhere in the Rgveda is Prajapati given his creation myth. Rather within the Rgveda his name occurs twice as an alias for Savitar and Soma, respectively, and in addition his name occurs four more times as a God unto himself. Within the additional Samhitas and Brahmanas there are several versions and additions to the Prajapati creation myth. These myths can be broken down to Prajapati creating Agni and then making an offering to him. Versions occur where there is a difference over whether Prajapati gave an offering freely or because he feared Agni; whether Agni erupted from Pajapati's mouth or from his forehead; and whether Prajapati's offering to Agni was his own blood, his own eye, the sun, or his own sweat (ghee). The overwhelming consensus of these particular texts is that Prajapati created the Gods, with Agni being the first creation. From there he made the first offering to the fire (Agni) and thus began the first agnihotr. These particular agnihotr myths are thought to deal with the evening agnihotr as they as they focus in around Agni and Prajapati. Additional myths surround Agni, Surya and Vayu to explain the morning agnihotr but do not cover how the agnihotr came into being. Due to Prajapti being formed in conjunction with the agnihotr at the end of the Rgvedic period it may be safe to assume that the agnihotr held a different meaning before that time. I can find no explanation for a change at this point in time in my research, but by reading through the various texts and watching as the agnihotr becomes more difficult and more restrictive I can say clergy corruption most likely played a part. Agnihotr Explained "He (Prajapati) offered truth, he offered yonder sun. For that is the symbolic meaning of the agnihotroblation. He by whom the agnihotrs thus offered becomes more illustrious day by day. Before that time night and day did not exist. They were both created together with that oblation. In that he (the priest or householder) offers in the evening, he thereby makes the sun shine away from here for his adversary. In that he offers at daybreak, he makes it shine to the west for his own benefit. The agnihotr is offered for the sake of preserving Agni. By offering in the evening he keeps Agni for the night, by offering at daybreak he keeps Agni for the day." Kathakasamhita 6,1† There are many explanations for the agnihotr, however many however many agnihotr are later additions. The ancient Vedics became attached to the agnihotr due to the agnihotr being performed over time rather than being instituted from the beginning. We shall focus in on the very basic idea of the agnihotr being the transferring of the Sun into Agni. This is the core idea behind the agnihotr, as supported by the original telling of the first agnihotr. The agnihotr is done twice daily with the evening is done twice daily with the evening agnihotr being the more important of the two. It is thought that by the end of the day the Sun (Surya) has grown tired and is slipping into the dangerous night. The evening agnihotr requires the Sun (Surya) to be heated and poured into Agni. "Surya (the Sun) and Agni were in the same yoni ‡. Thereupon Surya rose upwards. He lost his seed. Agni received it with an iron receptacle. He made it stick to the iron pan. While it was burning he transferred it to the cow. It became milk. Therefore fresh milk which is still warm, sticks to the untinned iron vessel. When one performs the agnihotr with milk, then one offers yonder sun. For this is the agnihotr." Kathakasamhita 6,3:51.9-14 † The morning devotional adds to the Sun's strength by offering more milk. As you move through the texts you find mentions of symbolic agnihotrs. However these do conflict with the strong message that the agnihotr is to be performed twice daily. One such example can be found within the Sankhaayanabrahmana (2,8): "This fire offers itself in the rising sun. Yonder sun when it sets, offers itself in the fire at night. The night offers itself in the day, the day in the night. The exhalation offers itself in the inhalation, the inhalation in the exhalation." † The above passage continues with an explanation that the very act of breathing within the symbolism can be used as a substitute of the agnihotr. This does not appear to be agnihotr a common practice and seems to be more of a thought process. In the earliest mentions it is stated that the agnihotr is performed in the early morning just before sunrise and in the evening. If one does not complete the agnihotr in the evening, his morning agnihotr does not matter. It is not until later that a deep discussion on exactly when the agnihotrs are to be performed occurs. As with most things surrounding the agnihotr there is no clear cut answer, thus we put the agnihotr at just before sunrise and just after sunset. As we have now covered the texts of the agnihotr, its myths, the timing and why we perform it we are left with two questions: what do you use to complete an agnihotr and how do you do it? The agnihotr, in its most basic form, is a pouring of milk into the fire. This involves just one fire, or three depending on your class, along with a sthali, a havani and an agnihotri (the cow). A sthali is an earthen pot containing milk which is an earthen pot containing milk which has been made by an Aryan (Vedic), but not a Sudra (non Vedic), and that has not been made with a potter's wheel. By not being made on a wheel it is said the sthali becomes sacred to only the Gods. The havani is a spoon (or ladle) made of vikankata wood and has a handle which is one arm's length. There is also the kindling-stick, or samidh. This stick is made of palasa wood and is said to be equal to Soma. Only one stick is used and it represents Prajapati in certain myths within the Brahamanas. The other wood used to create the fire is for the fire only. The kindling stick is used as the means to transport the offering to heaven. Performing the Agnihotr The agnihotr is performed in the following order: Milk the cow Tend the fire Warm the milk Pour (or do not pour) the water Remove the milk from the fire Offering milk to the Householder Fire Offering of milk to the Offertorial Fire An important issue to discuss is the fasting that is often done with Vedic rituals. There is no fast performed for the agnihotr, unlike in other Vedic rituals. Instead it is said that because the agnihotr is a never ending ritual there is no fast; however, there is mention that to remain pure when one has sex they should be like the animals: quiet with no talking. It is thought when you have sex in silence you become more pure. The first step of the agnihotr is to milk the cow. As with all the steps in the agnihotr you will find many variations and you will find many variations and extreme detail as to how every action must be completed. The cow, known as the agnihotri, is milked by a helper of is milked by a helper of agnihotri the priest. This helper is to let the calf go towards the cow from the southern side so he may win the favour of the Fathers. He makes the cow turn eastward to win the favour of the Gods. Then he turns the cow to the north to begin milking. He milks the two front teats if the man he is milking for is the eldest son or prosperous, the back two teats are milked if the man he is milking for is the youngest son or wishes to be prosperous. Another source claims you should milk all four teats as they represent four sacrifices. The milk is to be milked into the sthali. Extreme care is to be taken so that no milk is spilled in this process. The next step surrounds the kindling of the fires. A moment must be spent to explain the Vedic fire system before we continue. The generic ancient Vedic ritual layout consists of the Householder's Fire (gaarhapatya), a seat for the Yajamana's wife (the Yajamana being the person for who the ritual was being the person for who the ritual was being done), the Southern Fire (daksi-naagni), a seat for the Hotr Yajamana, the position of the Brahmin, the vedi, the Offertorial Fire ( the Offertorial Fire (vedi aahavaniiya), and the position of the Udgatr. The Householder's Fire is to the west. It is a reflection of the fire that is kept burning in the home at all times. It is often lit with the flames from the Domestic Fire of the Yajamana. Failing that it would be lit from the Brahmin's own Domestic Fire, the Assembly Fire or from scratch as practicality dictates. The Southern Fire is to the south and it is the fire of Yama, King of the Dead, and the Fathers. The Offertorial Fire is to the east and is the fire of the Gods. It is to this fire that offerings are made to go directly to the Gods. This specific fire is layer upon layer of bricks with specific meanings and is formed into the shape of a bird or on a structure in the shape of a bird. The vedi is between the Offertorial Fire and the Householder's Fire. This is shaped as the body of a woman and is the area where all of the ritual tools and offerings are placed. The fires of importance in an agnihotr are the gaarhapatya, the Householder's Fire, and the aahavaniiya, the Offertorial Fire. Fire is taken from the Householder's Fire and placed to the Offertorial Fire. This is to be done at the end of the day. Thus he takes out the negativity of the day and secures the good actions of the day. The individual is to approach the Offertorial Fire from the east and then he goes around it by passing between the space of it and the Householder's Fire. Then he sits to the south of the Offertorial Fire. There is also one mention of water being poured in the evening. Water is poured around all three fires, three times. While doing so the sacrificer says "I pour truth round thee, order." † In the morning he does the same but says: "I pour order round thee, truth." † The milk is then put on the Householder's Fire to be cooked. The milk which is to be offered is to be cooked perfectly; not over boiling or being lukewarm. It is cooked over coals taken from the garhapatya fire. The actual milking of the cow is a maze in and of itself. The cow should be milked by a Brahmin or a Sudra or a man who milks cows. They are to approach the cow from the southern side to win favor of the Fathers. Then the cow is forced eastward to gain the favour of the Gods. The cow is then turned north. The teats should never touch during the milking. The front teats should be milked for the man who is an eldest son or prosperous. The back teats should be milked if the man is the youngest son or wishes to become prosperous. If there is no milk available there were optional offerings which could be used. These included ghee (clarified butter) (clarified butter) or rice-gruel (rice is said to be the seed of the bull and the bull is the Sun, thus the rice is the Sun in the manner milk is the Sun). If the fire cannot be made on time the ear of a female goat is offered (the goat is sacred to Agni); if a goat cannot be found the offering is made to the right hand of a Brahmin; if a Brahmin cannot be found the oblation should be made on kusa grass; if kusa grass cannot be found it should be offered into water. The pot with the milk is not to be put in the middle of the Householder's Fire as this would condemn the sacrificer's wife to death. He is to push coals to the north of the fire and put the pot on them to protect his wife (the fire is seen as Rudra and the pot the wife). One source, the Jaiminiyabrahmana (Samaveda), states that when the coals are pushed out the sacrificer is to say: "Ye are the prosperity bringers. Danger coming from abroad has been pushed away." † The milk is put on the coals and it is said: "Thou art put on Vaisvanara's fire. May Agni not burn thy lustre. For truth, thee." † Ghee is to be sprinkled on the milk. This is followed by is to be sprinkled on the milk. This is followed by kusa grass being burned, held over the milk and used to warm the milk. The same source above states that while the milk is being passed over by the kusa the following is to be said: "Light the following is to be said: "Light together with light." † Then the grass, on fire, is to be carried around the pot three times as this rids the offering of the Rakshsa. This is done while saying: "Excluded is the race of the demons, excluded are the powers of adversity." † The next step involves the pouring of water onto the milk. Once again we find ourselves with conflicting sources. On one hand water is never to be poured into the milk, else the glow of the milk is extinguished. To remove this obstacle, when the milking was performed some milk is to be left in the pail and water mixed with it. Then this mixture is poured onto the heated milk. However, as the milking pail is the pot this opens a puzzle of whether there two of the sthali (agnihotr pot)? The other option is to pour water or no water at all. One pours water if they desire cattle. One does not pour on water if they desire splendour. The next step is to remove the pot from the fire and ladle out the milk while standing. The milk pot should be removed from the fire very carefully. If it is taken off eastward the husband dies first, if to the west the wife dies first. Thus the pot should be removed to the north, ensuring old age together. Another version is that if the pot is removed to the east the sacrificer will be met with grief. If the pot is taken off at the south the offering goes to the Fathers which is not favourable to the Gods. If it goes to the west grief befalls the sacrificer's wife. Thus the pot should be removed to the north. The milk pot is to be set down near the fire as a means of worshipping the fire. The pot should not be laid to the south or behind the fire. It should be put at the west or north of the Householder's Fire while saying "Give me cattle." † The pot should not be placed by a fire which it is not intended to be offered to. The way the milk is poured out into the Householder Fire is also complicated. One pours with a full ladle until each offering becomes smaller and smaller so his sons, according to their age, become prosperous. There is also the choice of offering a small amount first and then having the offering increase in size until a full ladle is the last offering. This leads to more food and the youngest son being the most prosperous. There is the possibility of ladling out equal offerings so all the sons are treated equally. There is also a passage from the Maitrayaisamhita (Black Yajurveda) which states a man who goes from ladling a larger offering to a smaller offering becomes inferior. Thus the man is to do smaller offerings that grow in size until the last offering is a full ladle. Another version states that two ladles are used. These are purified by being heated and one ladle contains the milk and the other ghee. The ghee is poured out under the milk is poured out under the milk oblation. This is ladled out four times to obtain cattle (cattle having four legs). There is also mention of an agnihtrasthali which holds four ladles that is separate from the milk pot. There is a version which states the first ladle represents the Full and New Moon sacrifices. The second ladle represents the four monthly sacrifices. The third ladle represents istis and pasubandhas. The fourth represents the tryambaka, the vajapeya and the asvamedha sacrifices. An additional version says one should remove the milk pot to the north and place it down three times. The coals are then poked on the south side while saying: "Homage to the Gods." † The coals are carefully pushed back and then he ladles out four times and then/or an optional five times. Yet another version, from the Jaiminiyabrahmana (Samaveda 1,39) says: "Then he takes off the milk and puts it down while saying: 'Established heaven, establish the world between heaven and earth, establish the earth, establish offspring and cattle for me, the sacrificer.' He pushes back the coals and says: 'You bring welfare, danger coming from foreign people has pushed you back.' Then he takes the dipping spoon and the offering spoon and purifies them by heating them over the fire while saying: 'Burnt is the race of the Rakshasa, burnt are the powers of adversity.' Then he rubs the offering spoon in the evening while saying: 'Together with the Gods coming in the evening' and in the morning he says: 'Together with the Gods in the morning.' 'Thee, the golden one, made of gold, 'I rub', 'Thou art the channel which conveys the oblations.' It becomes the channel for conveying oblations. Then he says: 'I shall ladle out.' He should speak: 'Yes, I shall send myself to heaven.'" † It is stated that the ladle being warm upsets Agni. As such the sacrificer should place the spoon in his hand or on his arm to cool it and make Agni happy. The milk pot is then moved to be on the east of the Offertorial Fire. This is accompanied by saying either "Give me life; give me glory; give me offspring," † or "Give me life," † or "Give me glory." † The kindling-stick is also laid down here and accompanied by: "The kindling-stick is indeed a man. He is kindled by food. Make me go to heaven by the energy of the food/oblation. Make my agnihotr go there where is the favourite domain of the Gods and the seers." † The Satapathabrahmana (White Yajurveda) points out that the milk and kindling-stick should not be placed down until after the first offering. Now we come to the offering within the Offertorial Fire, which ends the ritual. The fire to which the offering is to be made must be of a particular design, meaning its appearance is to be exact. The fire is broken into several stages in the Taittiryabrahmana (Black Yajurveda). The first stage represents Vasus and is the very beginning, when the flames first smoke the fire is Rudra; when the flame seizes fuel for the first time it is the Adityas; when the fire flames on all sides it is all of the Gods, and when the flame is low and red it is Indra. A gold coloured flame is sacred to Brhaspati, red is sacred to Varuna, neither gold or red is sacred to Mitra, and when the flame is engulfed in smoke it is sacred to all of the Gods. It is when the fire flickers that it is the mouth of Agni and the offering is to be made. The morning offering should be made with the right foot in front. The evening offering is made with the right foot behind. The offering must be made on the kindling-stick. To do otherwise is to offer directly to Death. The offering itself is tricky because the second offering should not be poured directly onto the first. To do so triggers a flaw in the ritual and thus Death. To avoid this it is said that the first oblation is poured onto one section of the kindling-stick and that the second is poured by "jumping over" the first offering. There is also mention of both offerings being in a single line, although the practicality of this would require more than one officiant or a special offering ladle. "Earth, air, heaven" † should be said before offering. The actions of the agnihotr differ depending on the source and the time of day. First let us look at the morning agnihotr and then the evening. In the morning the offering is made while saying: "Surya is the light, the light is Surya." † In the evening the offering is made while saying: "In Agni be light, light in Agni." † Or one can say: "Agni is the light, the light is Agni." † There are further variations for the morning and evening, but these are the most repeated. At the completion of these offerings, additional actions may be performed that honour additional Gods. These offerings are made to Surya, Rudra, Indra, the Angirases, and even the Rakshasa to name a few. As we are dealing with just the agnihotr and not any acceptable additions we shall spend no further time here. Questions in Regard to the Agnihotr The Vedas also deal with questions that arose from the performing of the agnihotr. Once again there are not definite answers and some answers contain more detail than others. If there is no lit fire from which to take fire from, the fire can be created from scratch as the need dictates. It is stated that every man is to perform the agnihotr. Yet Yet agnihotr Brahmins can be found having other can be found having other Brahmins perform it for them. This is a difficulty because the agnihotr has only has only one officiant, as the one symbolizes Prajapati in the originalagnihotr. A wonderful passage which points to others performing the agnihotr for you can be found in the Sadvimsabrahmana (4,1,13-14): "One oblation performed by a pupil is better than a hundred oblations performed by others. One oblation performed by a son is better than a hundred oblations performed by pupils. One oblation performed by oneself is better than a hundred oblations performed by a son. For he should offer himself, he should milk himself, he should attend on the agnihotr himself." † In addition we have the problem that a man is to perform the Householder rituals when he is wed and a householder. So if he is not wed should he also not complete the agnihotr? The Vedas state that a man should perform the agnihotr regardless, otherwise he is a barbarian (a barbarian being a man who does not offer to men, the Fathers or the Gods). The agnihotr is never to be performed for the is never to be performed for the Ksatriya (king & warrior class). It is thought that the practices of the Ksatriya make them impure. Instead to perform the agnihotr the Ksatriya family is to invite in a Brahmin and feed him, thus symbolically performing the agnihotr. Another version states the Ksatriya may perform an may perform an agnihotr on New and Full moons and that the missing agnihotrs may be replaced by the Ksatriya reciting mantras every day or his family feeding a Brahmin. The Brahmin eats the food and thus a symbolic agnihotr is performed. This is because the Brahmin is the only person who can eat left over oblations and he is acting as the fire when he is fed. A contradiction in actions, the Kathakasamhita (Black Yajurveda) and Maitrayaisamhita (Black Yajurveda) both state that the agnihotr is to be performed in silence while the milk is ladled out. While earlier certain phrases are found to be said during the ladling out of the milk. Modern Agnihotr Having covered the ancient agnihotr as much as we dare for these materials, we now step into the modern agnihotr. In order to create a modern agnihotr we have to dissect the ancient agnihotr and compare it with our modern world. I would like to take a moment to talk briefly about the Hindu agnihotr, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Vedic agnihotr other than sharing the same name and involving a fire. The Hindu agnihotr fits within the Hindu cosmology and belief system. The Vedic agnihotr fits within the fits within the Vedic cosmology and belief system. If you are completing a Hindu agnihotr you are not doing the original ritual and, contrary to propaganda, you are not doing a ritual that is the oldest ritual (the Hindu version, since Hinduism started about 200 BCE, is about 2200 years old). The Vedic agnihotr is about honouring the gods and asking for blessings. The Hindu agnihotr, depending on your sources, is about purifying/healing the air and the earth or healing the self (and contrary to some sources, the agnihotr is not a yajna ritual). The tools used and the words said are entirely ritual). The tools used and the words said are entirely different and reflect the two belief systems respectively. The Vedic agnihotr is about the Gods. The Hindu is about the Gods. The Hindu agnihotr is about is about the inner self. The differences are not a matter of doing things correctly or incorrectly (although completing rituals in an exact manner was very important to the Vedics). It is about honouring the Gods in a manner which pleases them. And as the Hindu religion has spent a millennia attempting to wipe out the Vedic Gods and the Hindu version is a tad too egocentric for my tastes, I prefer to complete the Vedic agnihotr. The ancient agnihotr had two fires which it dealt with: the Offertorial Fire and the Householder's Fire. It can be safely assumed that outside of a temple a modern person is not going to have a constantly burning Offertorial Fire. A constant Householder's Fire can be arranged, but would take extreme caution. With today's family, pets and work load it is often not safe to have a constant fire burning. So what is one to do in regards to the fire? To be honest, this would vary from family to family. In our own family we have a candle that was lit during our Vedic wedding ceremony (in ancient times the Householder's Fire was one lit during the wedding ceremony and then kept lit at the home). We are also blessed with a gas stove. In our situation we light our Householder Fire (the candle) and transfer the fire to the gas stove, thus making it a functioning Householder's Fire. In addition there is a small bowl with coals for the fire to be moved to for the offerings. The Offertorial Fire is a second small bowl which contains coals that is lit as needed. The ancient agnihotr had several tools which were peculiar had several tools which were peculiar to it. You had the cow, the ladle (or spoon) and the pot. Obviously not many people will have access to a cow so bottled milk will have to do. In addition not everyone has access to a ladle which has a handle an arm's length, nor do they have the skills or access to a clay pot made by hand (not on a potter's wheel) that can be used on a fire. The ladle can be improvised and be a wooden spoon. However, the pottery simply cannot be made on a potters wheel. To do so makes it no longer sacred for the Gods. We used a clay pot made by my own hands that was fired in a kiln. You also have the kindling-stick, possible ghee, water and rice gruel. For kindling-sticks we use sandalwood, ghee we we get at the local Indian market or make ourselves, for water we purchase bottled Ganges water although we do not use it in the agnihotr and we never bother with the rice. One of the most important items to have is a compass, so you know which direction is which! We also use a small refrigerator which holds all ritual related food products to avoid any contamination. The next steps are to complete offerings into the Householder's Fire, move the offerings to the Offertorial Fire and then make the oblations to the Offertorial Fire. These things can easily be used as is for modern practitioners. The key is to choose which actions and phrases speak to you and aid in your connection with the Gods. Agnihotr Ritual The agnihotr is a ritual which I complete each day. If I am unable to perform it as I do not have access to certain items (due to travel) I do a modified version. This particular ritual was created for use by one individual and one that was required to be done indoors. This ritual assumes that you are standing and have the available tools and fires raised. It can easily be adapted for a seated ritual. This ritual is done using a configuration of two small round tables with all items needed upon them. On one table the Offertorial Fire goes in the north and the Householder's Fire goes to the east. On the second table the milk, sthali, sthali ghee, water, water ladle, milk ladle and kusa grass are laid out. You will also need oven mitts, a manner to light the Householder Fire, a small rake to push the coals, means for fires to exist and the containers to safely hold them (I line small bowls with dirt and place just a few coals in them). Most importantly, you will need a fire extinguisher. Do not ever do a ritual which uses fire without one. You will notice that I have stripped away the asking for blessings from the Gods. The removal of asking for blessings was a personal choice because this ritual is done every day and I use it to honour the Gods and not ask for things. You will also notice that Vedic rituals contain more actions than words. This ritual style may take some adjusting to if you are used to chanting mantras, or having a great deal of speech in your rituals. One walks toward the fire containers from the south and stops just shy of them and states: "Agni is the light, the light is Agni" if it is in the evening or "Surya is the light, the light is Surya." if it is in the morning. The Householder Fire is then lit and from this fire the Offertorial Fire is lit. With a steady hand, the milk is transferred into the sthali. The sthali is then raised and held just slightly above the head is then raised and held just slightly above the head while facing the north. A short bowing of the head is made to recognize the Fathers. Turning to the east the process of raising the sthali and bowing the head is repeated, but this and bowing the head is repeated, but this time it is done to recognize the Gods. The sthali is then carefully held in one hand as you ladle is then carefully held in one hand as you ladle water out and pour it around the Householder's Fire three times while reciting "I pour truth around you, Rta" if it is in the evening or "I pour Rta around you, truth." if it is in the morning. You then pour water around ther Offertorial Fire three times while reciting "I pour truth around you, Rta" if it is in the evening or "I pour Rta around you, truth" if it is in the morning. You then place the ladle down. Then you push the coals of the Householder's Fire to the north of the fire while saying: "You are the bringers of prosperity. Danger coming from abroad has now been pushed away." The sthali is then put onto the Householder's Fire so that is then put onto the Householder's Fire so that the milk may be cooked while saying: "You are now put on Vaisvanara's fire. May Agni not burn your luster." (You must keep a constant eye on the milk for it is to be cooked perfectly; it should not be luke warm and it should not boil). Ghee is then sprinkled on the milk. This is followed by gathering some kusa grass and letting it be burned just enough so that a soft red glow is still upon it. Then you pass the kusa grass over the milk while saying: "Light together with grass over the milk while saying: "Light together with light." The grass is then passed around the outside of the sthali three times while saying: "Excluded are the race of adversaries. Excluded are the powers of adversity." The sthali is then removed from the fire (please be careful to is then removed from the fire (please be careful to not be burned) and it must be removed to the north. The sthali is then placed to the west of the Householder's Fire. is then placed to the west of the Householder's Fire. A second ladle (different from that which you poured water from) is now used to pour four full ladlefuls of milk into the Householder's Fire. Offerings are then ladled into the Offertorial Fire while saying: "Earth, Air, Heaven" before each offering. Additional offerings may be made to other Gods if one desires. Offerings are made until the sthali is empty. When there are no more offerings one says: "Agni is the light, the light is Agni" if it is in the evening or "Surya is the light, the light is Surya." if it is in the morning. The fires are then put out with great care and then the rituals tools are cleaned and put away. †Translations from Daily Evening and Morning Offering agnihotr According to the Brahmanas by H. W. Bodewitz. Publisher: Brill Academic Pub. Published Date: 08/01/1997. ISBN: 9004045325 ‡Yoni did not mean womb. It meant "lair" or "abode". Resources Used Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads by A.B. Keith Religion of the Veda by Hermann Oldenberg Upanisads translated by Patrick Olivelle Vedic Ritual The Non-Solemn Rites by J. Gonda The Religion of the Rigveda by H.D. Griswold A Dictionary of the Vedic Rituals Based on the Srauta and Grhya Sutras by Chitrabhanu Sen Rig Veda translated by Ralph T. Griffith The Veda of the Black Yajus School Entitled Taittiriya Sanhita. 2 Volumes. Translated by A.B. Keith Rigveda Brahmanas Translated by A.B. Keith Yajurveda Samhita Translated by Ralph T. Griffith Samaveda Translated by Ralph T. Griffith Atharvaveda Translated by Ralph T. Griffith Rice and Barley Offerings in the Veda by J. Gonda Atharvavedatranslated by W. D. Whitney Aum Hindutvam Daily Religious Rites of the Hindus by Swami Vedananda Cooking the World by Charles Malamoud Taittiriya Upanisad Translated by S. M. Prasad Heat and Sacrifice in the Vedas by Uma Vesci Daily Evening and Morning Offering agnihotr According to the Brahmanas by H. W. Bodewitz Vedic Sacrifices by Swami Harshananda The Jaiminigrhyasutra Belonging To The Samaveda Translated by W. Caland The Grihya-sutras - Rules of Vedic Domestic Ceremonies Translated by Hermann Oldenberg and Max Muller.
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This is an example of a rite to be performed by the celebrants of public rites while the company is being prepared for the procession. 1. The Seer leads a detailed grounding and centering. 2. The Chief gives nine knocks or knells, saying:Let us begin this holy work together. As we are linked with earth and sky, So let us call these powers into this place, That it might be hallowed to holy magic.3: The Sacrificer blesses the waters, saying:You are the gate of the earth The deep way, the holy mouth Anu's cunny.Chorus: By the ladies of waters By the lords of waters By the powers under the earth We thank you for the sacred waters.You are the eye of the earth Mirror of seeing, gate of visions Spring of wisdom (repeat chorus) You are the mouth of the earth Sustainer of life, receiver of gifts Giver of blessings (repeat chorus)The sprinkling bowl is filled from the Well. 4. The Chief lights the Fire, saying:We kindle the sacred fire In the presence of the shining ones In the presence of the gods of fire In the presence of the goddesses of fire Without malice, without envy, Without jealousy, without fear, Without terror of anything under the sun And the holy son of the mother to shield us. O sacrificed and sacrificer Kindle you in our hearts A flame of wit and heart and strength To bear our offerings and our words To the gods, the dead and the sidhe O you who aid us all Friend and foe, high and low We call you to be with us And bring to us your blessing.The Censer is kindled from the Fire 5. All the Nemeton is sprinkled and censed, saying:By the might of the waters And the light of the fire, This grove is made whole and holy.6. The Chief stands at the Bile and turns once around deasil, saying:Let every light and every Shadow proclaim it; Let the kindreds of earth, Sea and sky acknowledge it, Let it be known among the mighty dead Among the noble ones Among the gods themselves: By magic's might we claim this ground As holy ground By fire in the three worlds In honor to the shining ones The sacred grove is established Let the spirits of the (east) wind Hear and aid us (repeat with south, west and north winds) Let all good be welcomed Let all ill be turned away Thus is the nemeton claimed and hallowed. So be it!


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