When Three Cranes Grove, ADF, started doing public ritual, we chose not to call on a deity for a gatekeeper, though there were many available. We wanted to build a relationship with a nature spirit, helping to spread our worship across the Kindred. We spent some time working with various nature spirits, and as I look back on it I'm a bit surprised how long it took us to see the perfect nature spirit: we needed to look no further than our name.
For two full years, we invoked the crane, named Garanus after the Gaulish word for "crane." This past September, we added a new piece to the invocation: a meditation that precedes the actual invocation.
The meditation is a trick I learned at Trillium in 2005, when Kirk Thomas gave a workshop on circles of concentration in ritual. The meditation helps the ritual participants to focus on the opening of the gates, and helps put them into a frame of mind where the energy raising of the gate opening is more accessible.
This meditation is done just before the invocation of the Gatekeeper, and gives a set of visual cues that help to keep everyone on the same page.
This particular meditation is designed simply to re-center the Grove on the gates of the ritual, re-establish the cosmos, and confirm each participant's frame of reference. It slows the rite down in preparation for opening the Gates.
The Garanus Meditation
In your mind's eye, see the mists that hover between the worlds as they roll in around this sacred space. In all directions, the mists close you off from the mundane world, leaving nothing but this Grove.
At the edge of the mists, there is a parting. The mists roll back to reveal the waters, deep and undisturbed. They stretch far into the distance, disappearing into the farthest mists.
In the shallows before you, where the land meets the waters, stands a tall, watchful crane. One foot stands upon the land, and the other is in the water. His eye is raised to the sky.
This is Garanus, the crane.
He has dominion over the three realms: he walks upon the land, feeds in the waters, and flies through the sky. Garanus, the crane, will guide us and protect us as we walk to meet the Kindred at the boundaries of this sacred Grove.