Weekly Family Ritual

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 already

1st Phase: Starting the Rite
& Establishing the Group Mind

Gather 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 Raising

Describing 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 rituals

D2: 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/Function

D1: 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 Power

Preparation 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 ritual

5th Phase: Unwinding
and Ending the Ceremony

Unwinding 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

Author Information

Peter Gold

Articles by Peter Gold

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

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