Tag Archives: hellenic

Using Indo-European Liturgical Language

Using Indo-European Liturgical Language

1) Translate the following liturgical phrases into your Hearth Culture language:

Modern Greek – dictionary used noted in the Bibliography section

  1. We are here to honor the Gods.
    1. Είμαστε εδώ για να τιμήσει τους Θεούς – Eímaste edó gia na timísei tous Theoús
  2. So Be It. (or a similar finalizing statement)
    1. Let it be! – έστω – ésto
  3. Ancestors, accept our offering!
    1. Ancestors, accept this sacrifice! – πρόγονοί, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – prógonoi, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  4. Nature Spirits, accept our offering!
    1. Spirits of Nature, accept this sacrifice! – πνεύματα της φύσης, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – pnévmata tis fýsis, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  5. Gods (Deities), accept our offering!
    1. Gods, accept this sacrifice! – θεοι, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – theoi, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  6. Sacred Well, flow within us!
    1. ιερή πηγάδι, ροή μέσα μας – ierí pigádi, roí mésa mas
  7. Sacred Tree, grow within us!
    1. Sacred tree, grow within us – ιερή δέντρονα, φτάσει σε ύψος μέσα μας – ierí déntro, na ftásei se ýpsos mésa mas
    2. Sacred mountain, rise within us – ιερή βουνό, υψώνομαι μέσα μας – ierí vounó, ypsónomai mésa mas
  8. Sacred Fire, burn within us!
    1. ιερή φωτιά, καίγεται μέσα μας – ierí fotiá, kaígetai mésa mas
  9. Let the Gates be open!
    1. Let the way between/path be open! – προκαλούν οι διαδρομές για να ανοίξετε – prokaloún oi diadromés gia na anoíxete
  10. Gods, give us the Waters!
    1. θεοι, μας δίνουν την αγιασμός – theoi, mas dínoun tin agiasmós
  11. Behold, the Waters of Life!
    1. ιδού το αγιασμός της ζωής – idoú to agiasmós tis zoís
  12. Ancestors, we thank you.
    1. Ancestors, we thank you – πρόγονοί, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – prógonoi, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  13. Nature Spirits, we thank you.
    1. Spirits of Nature, we thank you – πνεύματα της φύσης, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – pnévmata tis fýsis, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  14. Gods (Deities), we thank you.
    1. Gods, we thank you – θεοι, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – theoi, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  15. Let the Gates be closed!
    1. Let the way between/path be closed! – προκαλούν οι διαδρομές για να κλείσει –  prokaloún oi diadromés gia na kleísei

 

2)  What do you consider to be the importance of using phrases in a hearth culture language other than Modern English (or your own native language) in ADF ritual? (Minimum 200 words)

Because all ADF rituals follow the same order of ritual, they often look very similar.  This is important because it allows us a commonality of practice with ADF.  However, the importance of using hearth culture language within an ADF ritual stems from the ability to add that hearth culture flavor to the ritual.  This can allow the folk to connect more deeply to the spirits and hearth culture in general, however it can also cause confusion and disconnect from the ritual as a whole if the language becomes a barrier to understanding and engagement. The benefits of using your non-native language within a ritual I think largely depend on the size of the ritual and familiarity of the group.

In a large group ritual, I think hearth culture language should be kept to a minimum. It works best when it is short, and/or doesn’t carry important liturgical meaning. Simple phrases, like “so be it!” often work well.  They are short, to the point, and often easy to repeat.  However, longer phrases that are important to the liturgy, especially if the folk are expected to repeat them, can make it more difficult to connect.  This is particularly true of folks who do not follow the hearth culture in question.  If the folk don’t know what is being said, they will have a harder time focusing their intent and staying engaged with the ritual.  The phrases within this course are often the ones that we use as call and response phrases in our grove.  I wouldn’t want to use them in a large group ritual because those call and response phrases are an important part of our liturgical flow, and help bring the folk and their energy into the ritual.  I think it’s important that they know what the phrases they’re saying mean.  For instance, when connecting to the Fire, Well, and Tree, and we say “Sacred Tree, Grow within me!”, if the folk don’t know what that phrase means, they will not have the benefit of that guided and deepening connection. The trouble with using your non-native language in ritual can be seen historically as well with the Catholic Church, who had trouble with its congregants due in large part to a language barrier (Placher 186-7).

In a small group ritual, where all the participants are familiar with both the ritual structure, and the phrases being used, I think it can be a powerful tool. The use of hearth culture language can help the folk feel more deeply connected to a specific hearth culture.  There is some intense power and group-mind building that can happen when all in the ritual know what is going on.  I have felt this when I practiced with my Hellenic Demos, and the language came easily, we all knew what it meant, and it was tied to our own practice.  I have also felt the power in it a little bit when I’ve attended a ritual put on my Grove of the Midnight Sun, and they’ve made calls in Old Norse.  The difference there I think is that I didn’t have to repeat the phrases, and sometimes the phrases were translated into English for us following the Old Norse.  I could feel the energy shift, though still felt a slight sense of disconnect from the ritual itself due to not understanding what had been said.

Bibliography

“English to Greek.” Word Reference. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

“Google Translate.” Google Translate. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Negre, Xaiver. “Modern Greek Dictionary Online Translation.” Words and Wonders of the World. Lexilogos, 2002. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Placher, William C. Readings in the History of Christian Theology. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1988. Google Books. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Sophistes, Apollonius. “Hellenic Magic Ritual.” Hellenic Magical Ritual. Biblioteca Arcana, 2000. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Sophistes, Apollonius, and Thexalon. “Ritual Phrases in Greek.” Oi Asproi Koukouvayies: White Owls Kin. Ár NDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Thoughts on Virtues and Ethics

As I’ve been reflecting on some of my Clergy Training Program work, one of the things that I have found to be extremely valuable these past 8 months or so was the work I did to examine what the values and ethics are in our society, and develop a personal code of ethics to help me navigate the work I do as a Priest. Since writing it, this Code of Ethics has continued to be useful to me and to my practice.  This is also part of the clergy continuing education, and is something that is required to be re-examined and re-evaluated at least once every three years, though honestly I expect I’ll be doing it more often than that. Reflection is a key part of this practice, and that commitment to continuing reflecting and re-evaluting my ethics may in fact be one of the things I add to my personal code of ethics when I revise it. Here is my Personal Code of Ethics as it stands today:

Personal Clergy Code of Ethics

  • “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
  • “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills. I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
  • “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone. My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day. I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
  • “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning. Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
  • “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions. I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others. I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
  • “I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason. I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know. I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.

When we write our Personal Code of Ethics for use as Clergy, one of the things we’re asked to look at is the Nine Virtues within ADF, as well what kinds of virtues exist within our society and how those two might play off each other. It is meant to give a starting point in developing our own ethics. The Nine Virtues in ADF are Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Moderation, Hospitality, and Fertility. In addition to the Nine Virtues, other ethical codes that have influenced my own code of ethics in particular are The Delphic Maxims and The Hippocratic Oath. Throughout all these virtues and ethical codes are values that can be seen woven through the fabric of our society. So, where do the values in our society come from and how do they relate to these ADF Nine Virtues and other ethical codes?

Our society places value on wisdom, and as a culture we encourage people to seek out those who have gained wisdom through their life experiences. However, as a Millennial it is also encouraged to seek wisdom from less established sources, and instead seek wisdom through personal experience gained by risk-taking and creative problem solving. I seek to have wisdom by sharing the knowledge I have gained, and thus providing others with the opportunity to share in that wisdom.

Seeking wisdom through personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates to the virtue of vision. We value the ability to see the bigger picture, and plan out ways to make that dream a reality. I have goals, and in order to see those goals come to fruition I am acknowledging that there is always room for growth, and that there is always room for improvement.

This personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates in part to the virtue of fertility. We like to encourage freethinkers and those with creative minds. Fertility really sums up this focus I have on growth and my dedication to continue growing, both as a person and as a Priest, as well as my dedication to helping others grow and acknowledging that they are always growing and changing.

There is value placed on piety in our society, though in ADF we define piety based on the actions we take in our religion, rather than a certain set of ascribed beliefs. For me this is the act of prayer and maintaining my relationship with the Kindreds. It is also important for me to continue in my personal religious practices both for my own piety, but also so that I have integrity when I am discussing those practices with others, and not be disingenuous whether I’m writing liturgy, counseling others, or performing rituals

Integrity can be summed up in the famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” From the Delphic Maxims, one of the most well known is maxim #8: “Know Thyself.” If we are in tune with who we are and what we desire we have the ability to begin to sort out what our ethics are, and how to live with integrity in our own lives. I’ve had to examine myself in order to write this Code of Ethics in the first place, and when I consider how I will be an independent person, I need to first have a good idea of who that independent person is.

In America integrity seems to be particularly valued. That attempt to walk to the beat of your own drum and not to let others define who you are. This in and of itself is often something that takes courage. Henry David Thoreau said “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” We have a history of self-reliance and a certain flair for independence as well as take pride in our ability (and right) to be ourselves.

This integrity is something that often takes both wisdom and courage. It takes wisdom to know what path I should walk, and wisdom to examine my own values and how they apply to my path. It takes courage to be independent and walk my walk. It can also take courage to hold true to my word when I may be pressured to do otherwise.

Perseverance can be seen alongside integrity and courage. In determining who I am, I will need to persevere in order to maintain that sense of self despite any obstacles I may encounter. I will need to persevere in continuing my path of growth and in continuing to challenge myself.

There is a huge precedence for the value of perseverance in America. In is contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we are each entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.” There are stories, myths, and legends about people in America who came here with nothing and through their perseverance built a life for themselves and became rich an famous. The concept of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is widely known, and generally hugely valued.

Moderation is also something that is valued here, though it seems to be a value that has a variable degree of implementation. One can be moderate in things from drugs and drinking, to consumerism, to sex. We tend to see a lot a press given to enforce the idea of moderation as it relates to puritan ideals such as abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex. This contrasts sharply with the other part of the virtue of fertility. However, there is less social pressure put on those who engage in rampant consumerism, and in some cases, society even seems to encourage this lack of moderation. For me in my personal code of ethics, I will strive to moderate my behavior to reflect my ethics.

The last virtue, hospitality, is encouraged in our culture, but it seems a bit more one-sided that the value placed on in in the context of ADF and the *ghosti relationship. Hospitality is a guest-host relationship, and each party has duties to hold to. In American society the host often seems to have more duties and the guest less. Think of parties you’ve attended where many of the guests leave without picking up after themselves, or family gatherings where someone always seems to overstay their welcome. For me, a lot of the idea of hospitality, of *ghosti, of kharis boils down to kindness. Being kind to others in as many ways as possible is a way of building relationship, and building the trust necessary to have a good relationship.

Relationships. That can sum up my approach to my spirituality and religion fairly succinctly. It is all about relationships, whether that is between two or more people, two or more groups, a person and the Kindreds, or any other collection of people and spirits. We build these relationships based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. My personal code of ethics allows me to be sure I’m staying true to myself in my actions and interactions with others. And reflecting on and re-evaluating my code of ethics on a regular basis will help me both maintain knowledge of my ethical conduct and allow me to see if there are parts that need to be added or removed to better maintain myself and my relationships with others.

Liturgical Writing 2

1) Define “votive offering” and write a prayer (including stage directions if applicable) for a votive offering. (100 words for definition; minimum 75 words for prayer)
A votive offering is made as bargain with the spirits, and is typically phrased as an “if-then” statement. This means that if the spirits do something for you, then you promise to give or do something in return, rather than giving something first and asking that they do. A votive offering relies less on having a *ghosti relationship with a spirit, and more on an economical transaction and promise to pay after the service is rendered. In some ways this reverses the concept of “I give so that you may give” and instead phrases it as “if you give then I can give.”

Mighty Theoi, Brilliant Shining Gods,
To this end do I petition you:
Help me to find a new home for me and my family.
I shall sing your praises should you aid me!

Hestia, Goddess of my Hearth, I call out to you!
As we are seeking a new home, one that we can call our own,
Continue to burn bright here, and light the fires at those others hearths
so that they may become welcoming to us.
When we find a new home, I will give you sweet oil and barley
and tend your flame each morning.

Zeus, Protector of my Home and my Family, I call out to you!
You’ve kept us safe in our dwelling, and aided us in finding gainful employment,
I ask now that you continue your support of me and my family,
and help us in our search to find a home of our own.
We when find a new home, I will give you libations of deep red wine,
and burn sweet incense so the smoke may fill you.

Hermes, Traveler and Trader, I call out to you!
Guide my feet as the search for a home continues,
and when it is found, honey my words, O silver-tongued one,
That our offer may be accepted and we may proceed with making the home our own.
When the home is found, and our offer accepted, I will give you ripe strawberries,
Dipped in barley and cream, that the sweetness may spread through you.

Mighty Theoi, Brilliant Shining Gods,
Lend your strength to this task at hand
and you shall partake of the gifts I bring!

2) Write three prayers, one each for three of the following occasions (no minimum word count):
lighting a sacrificial fire: “Calling Hestia”
I call out now to Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.
You burn ever bright within my heart, and I ask now that you burn brightly upon my hearth.
A flame, kindled upon the earth, pillar of smoke reaching to the Heavens
that it may connect us to the realm above so our voices may be heard.
I make this first offering to you, Hestia, as you prepare to accept the sacrifices made today
And see them carried to the mighty Theoi.
Hestia, be welcome here as you become the Good Fire around which I pray.

a meal blessing: “A Children’s Mealtime Prayer”
Mother Earth gives us grain and bread
And all the food that keeps us fed.
Now the meal is about to start,
So we thank her from our heart.

remembering a recently-passed ancestor: “For Dan’s Crossing” (Sept 10, 2014)
Beloved Dead, Ancient Wise, Ancestors:
One of our own begins his journey tonight.
He comes to join you, wrapped in Crane-feathered cloak.
Borne aloft to cross the veil by the sweet and gentle wings of Garanus,
And held safe and secure within those wings for the journey.
His passage has been paid by kith and kin
As we set his spirit free to join you.

Light the fires along the way,
To brighten his path as he travels.
Prepare the hall for a great feast,
To welcome him when he arrives.
Show him the way, and where to drink,
And guide him in this new role.
Watch over him as he makes this transition,
As he begins this adventure.

Dan, the Ancestors await, to greet you with joy in their hearts.
Fly now, and know you will be welcomed.
Fly now, and know we will celebrate your time with us.
Dan, farewell for now, and safe travels on your journey.

3) Write two prayers, one each for two of the following occasions (no minimum word count):
opening a Grove business meeting
As we gather tonight to continue the good work we do as a Grove,
Let us remember that all here are Children of the Earth.
As we speak, let our voices carry respect;
As we listen, let our ears hear honestly;
As we think, let our mind seek what is best for the community.
So be it!

for blessing a house (the middle part of this borrows heavily from MJD’s work in the Crane Breviary “Anagantios Moon”)
*flame is kindled just before crossing the threshold of the house*

I call out to Hestia as I kindle this fire here,
that she may light and warm this hearth
and bring blessings for all who dwell here.
Hestia, as I enter this place, I ask that you enter with me
Filling this home with your light, protection, and hospitality.

*flame is carried to each room in the house, ending in the kitchen. charm below is spoken in each room*

May this flame brighten the lives of those who dwell here,
May its light fill this space: from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.

*upon entering the kitchen, light a new candle for the individual/family*

May this flame brighten the lives of all those who live or visit here,
May its light fill this home: each room from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.
Hestia, flame kindled here on this hearth,
be welcome as the Good Fire as you light and warm this home.

The hearth kindled and brightened,
I call out now to Zeus Ktesios, who protects the wealth and possessions of this home,
And to Oikoyro Ophi, who protects the individual/family in this home.
Strong Father of Justice, Faithful House Serpant,
enter this home where the Fire burns bright
and grant this hearth, home, and individual/family the blessings of bounty
as you lend your protection to all those who dwell here.
Let your power and protection be bound to this Oikos
for as long as they dwell here.

4) Write a magical working for a full ADF rite suitable for use in a group setting, including stage directions as appropriate. (no minimum word count)
For the Full Moon honoring Hepheastos, the Smith God and Crafter, we will be making ink from the ashes left from our burnt offerings and the Waters gained the Return Flow. This ink can then be used focusing the intent for other magical work, from sigil work to staining divination tools to spelled tablets or prints.

Items Needed:
1 part ash from burnt offerings
1 part water from Return Flow
1 drop white vinegar (optional for ink stability)
bowl that can be stained (for mixing)
hard-bristled brush (for mixing)

To being mixing the ink put the ash in the bowl, add the water. Each person participating in the working will stir and mix the ink with the brush while saying the charm below (the charm can then also be said when reconstituting the mixture or making more). When it looks like ink, mix in a drop of vinegar, and you’re done.

CHARM:
Great and Mighty Hephaestos, Master of the Tempering Flame
Sooty God, who is famed in many crafts,
Renowned metal-smith and skillful worker,
Inventive and Resourceful One,
Your fame and glory resound with each strike of your hammer on anvil.

We have made offerings, consumed by the Fire.
Our gifts have risen on smokey pillar to the Heavens above.
All that remains here is charcoal and ash.
Take what is left, Skillful Creator,
Take the leavings, the forgotten, the dross
And guide our hands in finding use for this too.

Now mix your magic with our
as we seek to create tools from the discarded.
Ash from the Sacred Fire,
*put ash in the bowl*
Water from the Holy Well,
*put water in the bowl*
Bound now together as we chant these words:
*begin stirring and mixing as you chant. repeat as necessary until it is well mixed*

Aithaloeis Theos! Sooty Hephaestos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Polymetis! Resourceful Hepheastos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Klytoteknes! Famed in Crafting Hepheastos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Polyphron! Ingenius and Inventive Hephaestos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
*once ink is made, add drop of vinegar if desired to stabilize the mixture*

With this ink thus created
Let us not forget the power of sacrifices made.
Let us not forget the power of Hepheastos, the Crafter,
In his ability to create powerful tools
From even those things considered useless or waste.

With this ink, we may now focus our intent for future tasks.

5) Write one complete ritual for an ADF High Day. The ritual must be substantially original and suitable for use in a group setting. (no minimum word count)

Vedic Spring Equinox: Honoring Indra
(This ritual was performed at Three Cranes Grove in March 2015: all parts written here are by Jan Avende unless otherwise noted)

Opening Prayer (Three Cranes Liturgy)
The spirits of the sky are above us.
The spirits of the land are around us.
The spirits of the waters flow below us.
Surrounded by all the numinous beings of earth and sea and sky,
Our hearts tied together as one,
Let us pray with a good fire.

Statement of Purpose
Children of Earth, we come together today, when the world hangs in balance, and all is seeking to be renewed and rejuvenated. We come to honor Indra today, the Vedic God of the Storm. He who won the Waters for us and has made it possible for us to receive the blessings of the gods. In the springtime, the storms often rage, and rain pounds to the earth. From these storms we are given the life-sustaining Waters that renew the land, wash clean our beings, and rejuvenate our spirits. So, on this Spring Equinox at the Good Fire we have kindled, let us honor the Kindreds with reverence and love in our hearts.

Purification
*participants walk between two people, being censed and asperged. Cleansed by the waters, and filled with the smoke*

Earth Mother
The Children of the Earth call out to Prithivi!
Prithivi, we are your Children!
You span the heights, and give sustenance to all beings.
Rich Earth Mother, upheld through Sacrifice.
Born of the Waters, birthing the Waters, home to the Waters,
Pour out for us now delicious nectar and fill us with your splendor.
Agni who dwells deep within you:
The Fire at your heart and ours.
We sing praises of your woodlands and hills.
We sing praises of your mountains and streams.
All who worship and make sacrifice do so on your bosom,
You come from Order and maintain Order in your seasons and cycles,
Gold-breasted Prithivi, keeper and giver of treasures
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Prithivi, Accept our Sacrifice!

Inspiration: Soma Pavamana
Sweet, purifying Soma,
Roaring into everlasting, immortal life.
Bringer of gods. Bringer of light.
Light like the yellow tawniness of the fire.
Bright like the shining Sharyanavat.

Sweet, purifying Soma,
I drink you, intoxicating elixir.
Giver of life. Giver of strength.
Honey-sweet and thick, sliding down my throat
Filling me with Hero’s wealth.

Sweet, purifying Soma,
Flowing and freeing in your stream of juices.
Receiver of praise. Receiver of sacrifice.
Your joyous draught overflowing in creativity
Makes us better than we are.

Soma, fill us with your exilir!
Suffuse us with your body
As we seek to make sacrifice and honor the Gods.
Soma, accept our sacrifice!

Attunement 
Breathe deep, finding your center. Let your body relax. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your shoulders. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your face. Breathe deep, feeling the tensions drain from you arms and legs. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your hands and feet. Breathe deep, and just be for a moment.

*Pause*

Calm now, at peace and centered, see in your minds eye mists rolling in around you, the wisps licking across your skin and obscuring your vision. Allow yourself to exist for a moment in this liminal space, expanding and reaching out for clarity without seeing.

*Pause*

A brightness begins to solidify in the mists: As you focus on it, it grows and you see it is a flame, glowing and flickering with warmth and power. This is the fire of your hearth. The fire of your community. The fire of sacrifice. Let its glow wash over you.

*Pause*

The colors of the fire ripple and dance in and out. See the spirits of the Fire as they reveal themselves. These are the spirits of your home, who cleanses and blesses your space. The spirits of your community who strengthen the ties amongst the Folk. The spirits of sacrifice, who carry your offerings to the gods. As you watch the spirits of the flames, see the colors dance in your mind’s eye. See the white hot spark of inspiration. See the warm orange glow of the burning hearth fire. See the bright yellow spirit of dance and joy. See the deep red glow of community. See the brilliant blue flame that is focused in the night. See the rippling black across the embers. See the shining lights of colors that only you have seen. Listen to the crackle and pop of the fire as the spirits call out to you.

*Brief Pause*

Feel the power of the fire brighten within you as the warm envelopes to you and dances around your limbs. See around the roaring fire the faces of those who worship in this space with you. See as the glow touches each of them and you, brightening us, and filling us with warmth.

*Brief pause*

Now step away from the flames and head back towards the edge of the firelight, as the mists thicken again. Feel the wisps licking across your skin and obscuring your vision. Breathe deep and become again aware of your hands and feet. Breathe deep and become again aware of your arms and legs. Breathe deep and become again aware of yourself. See the mists roll back as you again exist in this place warmed by the Fire, and surrounded by all those who pray around it.

ReCreation of the Cosmos 
The world was made from the Great Being Purusha!
The Lord of Immortality, who through his sacrifice, gave birth to the world!
His Head became the Heavens, where the Ancestors dwell;
His Body became the Atmosphere, where the Shining Gods dwell;
His Feet became the Earth, where the Spirits of the Land dwell.
Springing forth from his mouth, Agni, the Priest of the Gods, leapt into the world
and a Fire was kindled upon the Earth.
A Fire for Hospitality.
A Fire for Protection.
A Fire for Sacrifice.
These three Fires burn at the Center.
Their light stretches out through all the realms,
and their smoke carries our words and sacrifices to all the realms.
These three Fires mark this place as our Sacred Center.

Gates 
Now, with the Fires burning and the Center we look to the sky as we call out for our Gatekeeper.
One who stands at the boundaries and walks the liminal places between the Realms.
Ushas! O Daughter of the Sky!
You who arise from your bath each morning dripping dew upon the land.
Rosy maid, your brilliant face breaks through the Clouds,
Parting them to shine your light upon the world.
Hopeful Dawn comes: ever rising, ever resplendent,
Still there, breathing life into the world with your radiance.
Burning away the gloom that seems it will never leave.
Imperceptibly you lightens the clouds from grey to pink,
Caressing them to life, until suddenly
The sky is alight and singing new songs of hope.
As you awaken the world to life, and rekindle the Fires upon the Land each morn,
So too do you awaken our pious spirits to sing the praises of the Gods.
Ushas, Accept our Sacrifice!

Ushas, Goddess of the Dawn,
Come to us now on this holy day when the world hangs in balance.
Break through the clouds and aid us in rekindling the Fires upon the Earth
As we seek to Open the Gates, Walk Between the Worlds, and make Sacrifice.
Call Agni, the Priest of the Gods, to us, so that we might pour forth our offerings.

Rekindle the Fire of Hospitality, and let it burn here and within us,
Connecting us to the Spirits of the Land, with whom we walk in balance.
Rekindle the Fire of Protection, and let it burn here and within us,
connecting us to our Heavenly Ancestors, who’s knowledge guides our steps.
Rekindle the Fire of Sacrifice, and let it burn here and within us,
Connecting us to the Shining Gods, who we make offerings to.

Three Fires kindled and burning strong,
Connecting us to the Earth, the Heaven, and the Atmosphere.
These flames burning here and in all the Realms.
Ushas, part the Clouds and Open the Ways,
so that our Sacrifices may be carried forth and our voices heard!
Let the Gates be Open!

Earth (Spirits of Forest)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of Forest!
You who dwell on the Earth and fill the lands about us.
Allies and guides, whether you be of flesh, stone, or plant.
May the Sun warm you, and the Waters fill you,
The Mountains protect you, and the Earth support you.
We come into this space that is yours,
To be as you are in our honoring of the Kindreds.
We see you, Spirits of Forest, All you Sylvan Things
Stepping through the seven regions of the Earth
out across the many-colored grasses
where the Waters flow down from the mountains and out to the sea.
We see you rising in the east to greatness
with a hundred, thousand branches as we lift our ladles and bring you gifts.
Come to our Fire, Spirits, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Spirits of Forest, Accept our Sacrifice!

Atmospheric (Deities)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones!
You who dwell in the Atmosphere and fill our every breath with divinity.
Brilliant, Mighty, and Awful, we sing your praises.
Bright and splendid, burning and flowing
We see your power and beseech you to come to us,
Gracious and kindly-hearted, and partake of our sacrifice.
We call and call thee, bliss-bestowers,
come to us at dawn and midday, at dusk and midnight.
Be with us as fires strengthen our prayer and our sacrifice:
Wise and Mighty, Loving and Kind, Ancient and Powerful.
You are streaming with abundance, pouring out treasures untold.
Come to our Fire, Shining Ones, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Shining Ones, Accept our Sacrifice!

Heavens (Ancestors)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!
You who dwell in the Heavens and inspire us to reach for the stars.
Sons of mighty Asura, supporting the heavens,
Bound by the life-giving Waters
You search out the path to glory and lead the way.
Come Fathers, and sit on the grass with us
Join us in the warmth of the sun and sweetness of the waters.
We see you as Yama’s hounds roam among us, brindled and dark-eyed,
as they seek those who would ever dwell in the sunlight.
Come to our Fire, Ancestors, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Ancestors, Accept our Sacrifice!

DotO: Indra 
The Children of the Earth call out to Indra, the Cloud Rider!
On eagles’ wings, borne across the land,
You rush up from the sea upon the very clouds
That bear the waters.
Mighty Indra, Bright as Suns,
Come to us and stand by us in our need.
You are drawn onward by the tawny coursers,
sparks that strike the sky, O Tempest God,
We call to you!
Come down to us from the skies, O Wanderer,
making light where there was none,
making form where there was none.
Golden and Thunder-armed Indra,
You who struck down the Dragon,
and won the Waters for us,
Come, come!
Burst forth from the Clouds and drive us on to glory
as a bull drives on the herds.
Bright Thunderer, full of Soma,
We hear the cows roaring, bellowing, at your victory as you approach.
Come to our Fire, Indra, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Indra, Accept our Sacrifice!

Prayer of Sacrifice: Agni 
Agni, Bright One, Priest of the Gods,
We have given of our love and our wealth to the Kindreds.
Now, as this sacrifice is poured out, take it, and carry our voices to all the realms:
Through the Forest, where the Spirits may partake of it,
Through the Atmosphere, where the Shining Ones may partake of it,
Through the Heavens, where the Ancestors may partake of it.
Kindreds all, Accept our Sacrifice!

Omen (Fire scrying)
*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Hospitality and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Protection and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Sacrifice and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

Return Flow 
**note: this portion of the rite was performed as a children’s ritual playlet during the rite in March 2015**

Cast:
OFFICIANT: The person who is doing the Return Flow portion of the Ritual
INDRA: The Vedic Storm God
VRTRA: The Dragon
CELEBRANTS: The folk at the ritual
STORM-BRINGERS: sounds of the storm (can be the same as the CELEBRANTS if needed)
Optional Cast:
DRAGONS: Vrtra’s family
SACRED COWS: to represent the Waters and Blessings

*following the Seer’s pronouncement of a positive Omen*

OFFICIANT: These are indeed good omens.

OFFICIANT: But you should know that until Indra won the Waters for us, we could not have received these blessings because Vrtra the Dragon hoarded them all for himself and his family.

OFFICIANT: Here is Vrtra now, and he is holding onto [omen], [omen], and [omen].

VRTRA: These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: But the people wanted the blessings too, and they knew only the mighty Indra could help them now. So they called out with one voice: “Indra, Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: Listen: Do you hear him coming? Here comes Indra the Storm-Bringer!

*STORM-BRINGERS shake noisemakers as Indra enters the stage*

OFFICIANT: In the thundering clouds with his lightning bolt in hand, Indra demands:

INDRA: Vrtra! You have to share the blessings!

OFFICIANT: Vrtra roars mightily and retorts:

VRTRA: No! These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: And the people knew Vrtra was going to hold onto those gifts of [omen], [omen], and [omen] with all of his might. So they again called out: “Indra! Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: And Indra heard their plea and prepared to do whatever was necessary to win the waters for the people. He again shouted to Vrtra:

INDRA: Vrtra! You have to share the blessings!

OFFICIANT: But Vrtra again roared his denial and shrieked:

VRTRA: No! These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: Indra grew angry that Vrtra wouldn’t share the blessings with everyone, and as his anger grew, so too did the sound of the storm.

*STORM-BRINGERS shake noisemakers*

OFFICIANT: The people knew now was the moment. Now was the time to give Indra all their support. And so they called out one final time: “Indra! Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: The storm rumbled as Indra went into battle with the mighty Vrtra, his lightning bolt held high. With a flash he struck down Vrtra with his lightning bolt. The Dragon bellowed as he fell.

OFFICIANT: The waters, the blessings, the gifts were now free. The mighty Indra won them away from Vrtra the Dragon and brought them to us.

*INDRA brings Waters to OFFICIANT*

OFFICIANT: These Waters are infused with the blessings of [omen], [omen], and [omen]. “Behold! The Waters of Life!”

OFFICIANT: As these Waters are poured out for each of us, remember how they were won for us, and how we sing the praises of the Storm God who won them.

OFFICIANT: See how the gifts of [omen], [omen], and [omen] can flow into our lives. See how they can flow into our grove. See how they can flow into our community. See how you and the world can be renewed and rejuvenated by these Waters so courageously won and freely given.

OFFICIANT: Drink deep, Children of Earth, and be blessed!

Thank DotO 
Mighty Indra, Thunderer, Drinker of the Soma Juice,
You who have won the Waters for us.
For joining us today, raining down your blessings upon us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Indra! We thank you!

Thank Ancestors 
Mighty Ancestors, you who have delighted
in the sunlight with us this day:
For joining us today, sharing your knowledge and joy with us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Ancestors! We thank you!

Thank Deities
Brilliant Shining Ones, bliss-bestowers,
so full of the riches you’ve freely poured out:
For joining us today, kindling a fire of piety with us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Shining Ones! We thank you!

Thank Spirits of the Forest
Spirits of Forest, moving softly through the realms of the land,
and rising in greatness like the great trees:
For joining us today, teaching s to walk in balance with the Earth,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Spirits of Forest! We thank you!

Close Gates 
Now, with the Fires still burning and the Center we look to the sky
As we call out once more for our Gatekeeper.
One who stands at the boundaries and walks the liminal places between the Realms.
Ratri! O Child of Heaven!
Your Sister, Bright Ushas aided us in our arrival, as is her due.
Now we ask that you aid us in our depature, O Ratri, as is your due.
Twinkling-eyed Goddess, adorned in all beauty
You bring Order to the World as you guide us from Dusk to Dawn.
So watch over us, Ratri, as we seek to close the Gates.
Shepherd us safely on until we come to this shared space of brightness and worship again.
Ratri, Accept our Sacrifice!

Now, Child of Heaven, Goddess of the Glittering Night,
Come to us and aid us as we Seek to bid farewell to Agni,
Walk Between the Worlds once more, and Close the Gates.
Agni has kindled three brilliant flames before us, bright and strong.
They have been well-fed of our sacrifices, and consumed with delight.
Now let these fires once more become but flame.

Let the Fire of Sacrifice no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out into the Atmosphere.
Let the Fire of Protection no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out amongst the Heavens.
Let the Fire of Hospitality no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out across the Land.

Ratri, as this, our Sacred Center, is no longer lit and shining brightly with Sacrifice,
As we travel between, no Fire at our Center,
Let the Gates be Closed!

Thank Inspiration
Sweet, purifying Soma, bright and potent and overflowing,
Honey-sweet intoxicating elixir:
For joining us today, filling us with the joyous draught of Hero’s wealth,
and lending your Magic to our work as we sang the praises of the Gods,
We say, Soma! We thank you!

Thank Earth Mother 
Rich and Bountiful Prithivi, we are your children, and you are our Mother,
We growth and flourish as you growth and flourish.
For joining us today as you do every day, and supporting us always in our work,
Earth Mother, we return to you all that is unused as we seek to continue to walk in balance.
Prithivi, Earth Mother! We thank you!

Closing the Rite (Three Crane Liturgy)
Go now in Peace and Love and Fellowship, Children of the Earth,
This rite is ended!

Works Cited:
Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. 2011. Web. 4 Apr 2015. <http://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nature-of-sacrifice.html&gt;.

Rekindling the Fire in our New Home

So, Thom and I closed on our house this week.  First time homeowners, yeah!  It’s a been a crazy ride, and we’re so happy and excited.  To prepare of the move, I’ve had to think about how I wanted to handle some of the religious and spiritual things.  I wanted to do something to mark the “claiming of the land” or similar.  Something to say “this is our new home” in the context of my path.  What I eventually decided on, after much deliberation and feeling at a loss for words, was to douse all of my flames the night before, and then light them again at the new house.  My hearth flame would be the first thing across the threshold.

I currently am the tender for the Hellenic Kin’s flame in ADF.  So, I didn’t want to douse that one formally since it belongs to the wider community, so I gave it into the care of MJD (complete with prayer to say), who is keeping it for a few days for me until we’re settled.  The rest of my flames I lit Monday evening.  Called to Hestia as I always do, and made offerings.  I said how I’d be extinguishing the Fires here, and how I looked forward to rekindling them in our new home.  Then I doused them all in the water I had purified earlier in the ritual.

It was really weird to have a night in that liminal space, without the fires of my hearth.  Even weirder was to wake up the next morning and not have a fire as I did my morning devotional.  After we signed all the paperwork and got the keys, Thom and I drove over to our new home.

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I called out to Hestia and kindled her flame on the front porch.

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Then I walked, lantern in hand, across the threshold, and brought the Fire into our home.  It was powerful.  I walked the flame through each room of the house, inviting Hestia to warm and brighten each space for all those who live or visit there.  I called out to the Agathos Daimons, the house spirits, and made offerings to them.  I let them know that we’d be living there with them, and to be welcome around my Fire, and that I’d make good offerings to them.

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I then walked the perimeter of the property with the lantern and with barley.  I called out to the spirits of the land and made offerings as I walked.  I invited them to stay and be welcomed by my Fire, but also let them know that if they chose to leave their would be no hard feelings, and they should feel free to disperse.

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Then I went into the kitchen, to the place I had already chosen would be the household altar, and set up my simple flame, well, and tree/omphalos.  I thanked Hestia for joining me in this new home and thanked the spirits of the house and the land for listening to my words.  I let them know more offerings and prayers would be forthcoming through then coming days and months, and that I looked forward to building a relationship with them.

It was a very powerful experience.  Moving from the light of my home, to the darkness of between, and then back into the light at our new home.  We’d done a couple walk throughs during the process of buying, and so we were familiar with the layout and everything.  But it was amazing, the way the addition of my hearth goddess and her flame, and introducing myself to the spirits there really made that big empty house feel like home.

Making Sacred Ink

For the Full Moon honoring Hepheastos, the Smith God and Crafter, we will be making ink from the ashes left from our burnt offerings and the Waters gained the Return Flow.  This ink can then be used focusing the intent for other magical work, from sigil work to staining divination tools to spelled tablets or prints.
Items Needed:
1 part ash from burnt offerings
1 part water from Return Flow
1 drop white vinegar (optional for ink stability)
bowl that can be stained (for mixing)
hard-bristled brush (for mixing)
To being mixing the ink put the ash in the bowl, add the water.  Each person participating in the working will stir and mix the ink with the brush while saying the charm below (the charm can then also be said when reconstituting the mixture or making more).  When it looks like ink, mix in a drop of vinegar, and you’re done.
CHARM:
Great and Mighty Hephaestos, Master of the Tempering Flame
Sooty God, who is famed in many crafts,
Renowned metal-smith and skillful worker,
Inventive and Resourceful One,
Your fame and glory resound with each strike of your hammer on anvil.
I have made offerings, consumed by the Fire.
My gifts have risen on smokey pillar to the Heavens above.
All that remains here is charcoal and ash.
Take what is left, Skillful Creator,
Take the leavings, the forgotten, the dross
And guide my hands in finding use for this too.
Now mix your magic with mine
as I seek to create tools from the discarded.
Ash from the Sacred Fire,
   *put ash in the bowl*
Water from the Holy Well,
   *put water in the bowl*
Bound now together as I chant these words:
   *begin stirring and mixing as you chant.  repeat as necessary until it is well mixed*
Aithaloeis Theos! Sooty Hephaestos!
Grant me your skill as I mix this ash!
Polymetis! Resourceful Hepheastos!
Grant me your skill as I mix this ash!
Klytoteknes! Famed in Crafting Hepheastos!
Grant me your skill as I mix this ash!
Polyphron! Ingenius and Inventive Hephaestos!
Grant me your skill as I mix this ash!
   *once ink is made, add drop of vinegar if desired to stabilize the mixture*
With this ink thus created
Let me not forget the power of sacrifices made.
Let me not forget the power of Hepheastos, the Crafter,
In his ability to create powerful tools
From even those things considered useless or waste.
With this ink, I may now focus my intent for future tasks.

Ethics 1

1) Find and provide an appropriate definition, discuss your understanding, and provide illustrative examples for each of the following seven terms: morals, values, personal bias, professional boundaries, confidentiality, right and wrong (100 words each minimum, not including definitions)

 

Morals: 

“those values that give voice to the needs and legitimate expectation of ourselves and others” (Weston 3)

moral (Merriam-Webster)

: concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior

: based on what you think is right and good

: considered right and good by most people : agreeing with a standard of right behavior

Morals are those things within ourselves that help guide us on an ethical path.  There is a reason the term “moral compass” is a fairly common phrase.  Morals can be a tricky issue because what is in line with an individual’s personal morals, may not be in line with the morals of society.  In those cases the line blurs between which route should be taken when making decisions (ie: a “moral dilemma”).  This is partially where the idea of the moral compass comes from: this idea that we have a set of internal values and morals that guide us when we feel there are injustices being done in the wider scheme of things.  Morals guide us in how to act when we consider what it is that we value.  Morals are often tied tightly to hot-button issues (like gay rights and abortion) since they can differ from person to person with each having strong arguments to why they are right, which in turn leads to discussions of moral dilemmas.

 

Values:

“those things we care about; those things that matter to us; those goals or ideals we aspire to and measure ourselves or others or our society by.” (Weston 3)

value (Merriam-Webster)

: relative worth, utility, or importance

Values are often big-picture ideas.  They are the things that we aspire to make better in ourselves and in the world, because they are things that we are passionate about and believe will help make the world a better place, or help us to make our microcosm a better place.  These can be things like equality, happiness, and education.  For example, I value education, and think that everyone should have the equal opportunity to learn with the least amount of obstacles in their path.  This means for me in pursuance of my values I will do what I can to make knowledge, learning, and training as accessible as possible for those around me who desire to better themselves in this way.

 

Personal Bias:

bias (Merriam-Webster)

: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly

Personal biases are beliefs that predispose us to think or feel a certain way.  What it means is that with a personal bias we go into a situation already holding some beliefs about it.  This clouds our ability to be objective and impairs us when we seek to approach all on equal footing.  It may impair our ability to treat others in a fair and just manner.  It is often drawn from a place of privilege, and thus becomes extremely important for us to be aware of our personal biases so that we can compensate for them in our interactions.  This can be seen especially in instances of working with individuals who in some way aren’t like us.  An example that is seen all too commonly in our society and in the media is that blacks in America are often viewed suspiciously, and that view is nearly always based on nothing more than the color of their skin and the personal bias that whites and white society has against them.

 

Professional Boundaries:

boundary (Merriam-Webster)

boundaries : unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior

Professional boundaries are lines that we should not cross when we are acting in a professional capacity.  This often refers to things that are acceptable when we are not in our professional role, but that are considered out of line when we are. This can be things like drinking in public, close friendships, and romantic/sexual relationships.  If professional boundaries are set early in a professional relationship they are less likely to be broken since all parties will know where they stand.  For example, with my students, professional boundaries are clearly established from the outset.  They understand the dynamic, and even when working with my high school students, where those boundaries can relax a bit, there is still a line in our conversations and interactions that cannot be crossed.

 

Confidentiality:

confidential (Merriam-Webster)

: showing that you are saying something that is secret or private

: trusted with secret or private information

: marked by intimacy or willingness to confide

: entrusted with confidences

Confidentiality is when information is told by one person to another and the second person agrees to keep that information private.  In some cases confidentiality is explicitly understood.  This is often because it is either marked that way (often seen in the case of government secure documents) or the person sharing the information initiates the conversation with a phrase something along the lines of “can I tell you something in private?”  Confidentiality can also be implicitly understood.  This happens often in one of two ways.  Either the two parties are involved in some sort of relationship (romantically, platonically, professionally, or otherwise) where there is an expectation that information shared in conversation won’t be shared, or the information that is shared is expected to be recognized as confidential information due to it’s nature (often emotional or related to others relationships). In some states confidentiality between clergy and their congregation is also protected by law.

 

Right:

right (Merriam-Webster)

: morally or socially correct or acceptable

: righteous, upright

: being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper

Right is more subjective than other moral indicators. When something is right, it is often judged by a single person and determined based on whether or not it is in line with their worldview.  Right is often a qualifier to other words, such as socially right, morally right, financially right, etc.  Things that are right worldview are influenced by our ethnicity, our religion, our socioeconomic class, our education, among others things.  The different mix of these variables will lead to each person have a variable sense of what is right.  An example something that is viewed as ‘right’ is the belief that we should be sure that every person can receive the care they need to be healthy.  People may differ on how we go about that, but in general many, if not most, can probably agree that it is right for everyone to not suffer due to lack of care.

Wrong:

wrong (Merriam-Webster)

: behavior that is not morally good or correct

: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act : action or conduct inflicting harm without due provocation or just cause

: something wrong, immoral, or unethical; especially : principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law

Like the indicator of right, wrong is also more subjective than other moral indicators. Something is wrong when it goes against an individual’s worldview.  This once again is often a qualifier for other words (social, moral, financial, etc.).  Things that are wrong in our worldview are again influenced by our background (ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, education, etc.).  The different mix of these variables will lead to each person have a variable sense of what is wrong.  An example of something that is viewed as wrong is murder.  Even if there are sometimes morally gray areas about whether or not someone should have been killed, murder is generally agreed upon as wrong, even if there is justification for it.


 

2) Self-awareness is key to the implementation of professional ethics. Discuss how your personal morals, values, bias and ability to maintain adequate boundaries, confidentiality and determine right from wrong might both positively and negatively impact your professional relationships. (200 words minimum)

 

My own personal morals and values have been helping me determine right from wrong for quite sometime now.  They are growing and shifting as I gain more life experience, and I hope that I will continue to be able to fine-tune them as I continue to grow.  I currently work in a field (education) where I have to work with a large variety of people, many of whom come from very different backgrounds than me.  I fell that this has made me more adaptable when it comes to understanding my personal bias on issues as well as negotiating the line of professional boundaries.  I’ve had to engage with my biases and work to understand how they are influencing me and how to overcome and account for them.  I’ve taken the time to unpack my invisible backpack and examine the privileges that I have in my life (McIntosh).  The fact that I’ve already done a lot of this work, and continue to do it in my profession everyday positively impacts my ability to carry over this knowledge into the professional relationships that I will develop as a priest.

The point that I think I will have the hardest time doing, and so will have to continue to be self-aware of, is working on maintaining professional boundaries.  In teaching, this hasn’t been a problem because from the very outset, the line is already there with my students and my coworkers.  This will be the same for people that I meet in the new role as priest.  I think the fuzzy line that I will have to carefully walk is with those people who I already have some sort of relationship with.  The folks that I am already friends with in my local community when they begin interacting with me in the way they would with a priest, I will have to walk that line.  I don’t foresee a problem regarding any romantic relationships forming within my local community, so while it is something to be aware of, it shouldn’t be a problem.  I will have to be careful that any favoritism I show, perceived or actual, is kept to a minimum because it will likely reflect on this new role.  This would negatively impact the professional relationships that I will develop as a priest.

 

 

3) Discuss how an individual learns to determine right from wrong and explain the factors that influence this determination? (100 words minimum)

 

As individuals we are conditioned from a young age.  We learn as children, both directly and through observing others, the way to act and how to speak.  Through positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment we learn what things lead to good results and what things lead to bad results.  As we continue to develop as adolescents and young adults we begin to learn more about determining right from wrong as we become more in tune with social pressure.  We learn that there are gray areas, and ways that we believe differently from those around us, or from the world as a whole.  This is evidenced by the multitude of posters that hang up around school buildings that say “What is right is not always popular.  What is popular is not always right.”  Throughout our lives we learn to determine right from wrong based on the values we place on others things in our lives.  For example, those who are religiously devout (or were raised in a religiously devout environment) often drawn on the knowledge gained in their religious studies to help inform their sense of right and wrong.

4) Describe several reasons why an individual would strive to “do the right thing”? (100 words minimum)

 

A huge driving factor in the motivation to do anything is “because it feels good.”  Part of our conditioning when learning to do the right thing builds on making us feel good when we do so.  It isn’t always a straight line, and there are several other factors that may go into striving to do the right thing because it feels good, but that is a huge part of it.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because it directly benefits them, and that makes them feel good.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because it will benefit their community, and doing good makes them feel good.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because they want to conform to the social pressure to do the right thing, and the level of stress that exists when we are fighting social norms and peer pressure isn’t there, so that feels good.  Sometimes people will strive to do the right thing because of a belief in karma, or “if I do good now, surely the universe will pay me back in kind later” and that reassures them, giving them hope, and thus making them feel good.

 

 

 

5) Discuss how an individual’s values relate to the decision-making process. (100 words minimum)

Because values are “those things we care about; those things that matter to us; those goals or ideals we aspire to and measure ourselves or others or our society by,” it is those values that allow us to classify each action as right or wrong, moral or immoral (Weston 3).  Our values guide our conscience, our moral compass.  When we are considering what action to take, or if we should take an action, we consult our moral compass, and what things we see as valuable.  If we value honesty, then we would be less likely to lie to someone because that would go against our view of what is moral.  By having a set of values that we can identify, we are able to consult those values when determining how our actions reflect or agree with them.

6) Discuss the importance of ethics to the clergy-lay relationship. Do you believe a clergy person has ethical responsibilities? If so, what are these responsibilities? (300 words minimum)

 

I think all people have ethical responsibilities, and this is especially true for people who have a professional relationship with others where there is a perceived or actual power imbalance.  Because priests within ADF are granted the mantle of priesthood by the Folk, it is essential that we interact with them in an ethical manner.  It is imperative that we approach the Folk with respect and fairness.  While being an ADF Priest does not necessarily make one a role model or a leader by virtue of holding that title, there are many who still place weight on the actions and words of those who wear the stole.  Whether or not it is asked for, having the title of Priest means that there is often an implicit trust that comes with it when dealing with the Folk.

The Folk trust us to speak with them in confidence when they come to us with a personal issue.  They trust us to not use that information against them, or to gossip about them.  The Folk trust us to act with fairness.  We must be careful not to show favoritism, and to be aware of what acts may be perceived as favoritism so that we can find other approaches. The Folk trust us not to use our title for personal gain, whether in the organization’s politics or in interpersonal relationships.  We should strive to get places based on our own merit, and not through use of our title.  This means that we shouldn’t attempt to “pull rank” for something that would benefit only us.  Additionally, we should be wary of building romantic relationships with the Folk because this can lead to distrust on many levels and between many people.

As a Priest, when working within the clergy-lay relationship, it is important to always hold that trust of the Folk in mind, and carefully consider our actions and words to ensure that we are doing as little as possible to harm that trust, and as much as possible to build it.  Being in a position of perceived power has many responsibilities, and requires that person to have a strong ethical sense in order to not abuse that power and harm those who have placed that trust and responsibility on you.

 

 

7) Discuss the meaning of confidential privilege, the laws in your state that provide for this privilege and the extent to which it applies to clergy-lay communications in your community. (200 words minimum)

 

Confidential privilege is the concept that when someone divulges information to another who is bound by confidential privilege that that information will not be shared except where required by law.  It is a crucial point of trust building between the clergy and their congregation.

In Ohio, clergy are not required to divulge communications held in spiritual confidence unless they suspect or know of abuse.  However, if those communications were in confidence, or if it is part of their ministerial duties, then they don’t even need to do that if it violates sacred trust. And in this case sacred trust means something that was said directly to the cleric and in the context where sacred trust in invoked.  I’ve included the sections of law that pertain to this below, with relevant passages highlighted.  However, because we don’t have a concept of “sacred trust” in our religion, the bounds of “sacred trust” and its related confidentiality don’t apply.  Additionally, because we don’t have any documents at the national level that allow for us to provide confidential pastoral counseling or related services as part of ministerial duties, those conversations are also not legally required to be held in confidence.  Because of this, ADF Priests likely don’t have any legal protections for confidential clergy-lay communications in Ohio. This is not to say that we should not abide by confidential privilege and respecting the trust that the Folk place in us when they speak to us in private. It just means that there is some uncertainty of whether or not that confidentiality would be protected in a court of law if it was demanded that we share.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.421(A)(4)(b)-(d)

A cleric is not required to make a report concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship if, in accordance with § 2317.02(C), the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report with respect to that communication if all of the following apply:

  • The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under age 18 or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21.
  • The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.
  • The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under age 18 or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21 without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with § 2151.85.

The above sections do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

2317.02: Privileged Communications:

2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

Chapter 47: Occupations – Professions

Counselors, Social Workers, Marriages, and Family Therapists (R.C. § 4757.41)

Chemical Dependency Professionals  (R.C. § 4758.03)

Exemptions.

This chapter shall not apply to the following:

Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

8) One of the main principles of ethics is to “do no harm”. Discuss the meaning of this principle as it applies to the clergy-lay relationship. (100 words minimum)

 

Regarding positive ethics Isaac Bonewits said

“We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy, love, self-esteem, mutual respect, the avoidance of actual harm to ourselves and others, and the increase of public benefit. We try to balance people’s needs for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the impact of each individual’s actions on the lives and welfare of others” (Newburg).

The Hippocratic Oath is often (mis-)quoted as containing the phrase “But first, do no harm.” All actions have consequences.  Sometimes those consequences are positive and sometimes they are negative.  More often those consequences are a mixed bag of positive and negative.  When taken in the context of the clergy-lay relationship I think we must consider that we are trying to make the choices that will cause the least harm, and benefit the most people.  In this, we can always use active listening as a first strategy.  Additionally, we must have a strong moral compass, and have developed an ethical code that we can abide by, in order to have something to fall back on to ensure that we are doing the best we can to first do no harm to ourselves, to those in our community, and to the clergy-lay relationship as a whole.

9) Compare and contrast the Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path and prominent values in the dominant culture of the country in which you live. (200 words minimum)

 

The Nine Virtues in ADF are Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Moderation, Hospitality, and Fertility.  Many of these are easily agreed upon virtues in the USA as well.

There is value placed on wisdom, and as a culture we encourage people to seek out those who have gained wisdom through their life experiences.  However, as a Millennial in the USA, it is also encouraged to seek wisdom from less established sources, and instead seek wisdom through personal experience gained by risk-taking and creative problem solving.  This relates to the virtue of vision.  We value the ability to see the bigger picture, and plan out ways to make that dream a reality.  It also relates in part to the virtue of fertility. We like to encourage freethinkers and those with creative minds.

There is value placed on piety, though in ADF we define piety based on the actions we take in our religion, rather than a certain set of ascribed beliefs.  There is also value placed on integrity.  This is holding true to the things that you value and to yourself.  In the USA it is especially valued to walk to the beat of your own drum and not to let others define who you are.  We have a certain flair for independence and take pride in our ability and right to be ourselves.

There is a huge precedence for the value of perseverance in the USA.  In is contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we are each entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.”  There are stories, myths, and legends about people in America who came here with nothing and through their perseverance built a life for themselves and became rich an famous.  Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is hugely valued in the USA.

Moderation is also something that is valued here, though it seems to be a value that has a variable degree of implementation.  One can be moderate in things from drugs and drinking, to consumerism, to sex.  We tend to see a lot a press given to enforce the idea of moderation as it relates to puritan ideals such as abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex.  This contrasts sharply with the other part of the virtue of fertility.  However, there is less social pressure put on those who engage in rampant consumerism, and in some cases, society even seems to encourage this lack of moderation.

The last virtue, hospitality, is encouraged in American society, but it seems a bit more one-sided that the value placed on in in the context of ADF and the *ghosti relationship. Hospitality is a guest-host relationship, and each party has duties to hold to.  In American society the host often seems to have more duties and the guest less.  Think of parties you’ve attended where many of the guests leave without picking up after themselves, or family gatherings where someone always seems to overstay their welcome.


 

10) The Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path are proposed as a starting point for individuals embracing a value system inspired by traditions of the past. Utilizing the ADF nine virtues, develop a Code of Ethics for your use as ADF Clergy. Describe how you derived this code from the Nine Virtues and how you would apply this Code. (No minimum word count for the Code; however the Code must contain a minimum of five principles; 300 words minimum for the description)

 

  • “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
  • “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills.  I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
  • “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone.  My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day.  I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
  • “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning.  Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
  • “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions.  I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others.  I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
  • I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason.  I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know.  I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.

 

In addition to the Nine Virtues, other ethical codes that have influenced my own code of ethics are The Delphic Maxims (Oikonomides), The Hippocratic Oath (“Various Physicians Oaths”), and the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.  I have broken down the Nine Virtues below to discuss how each relates to my Code of Ethics.

Wisdom:

Most of these points can relate back to wisdom.  I am sharing the knowledge I have gained, and thus providing others with wisdom.  I am acknowledging the places where I still have room to grow, and that allows me to continue to seek wisdom. Additionally, it takes wisdom to know what path I should walk, and wisdom to examine my own values and how they apply to my path.

Piety:

The act of prayer and maintaining my relationship with the Kindreds is summed up in the first point of my Code of Ethics: “I will pray with the Good Fire.”

Vision:

I have goals, and in order to see those goals come to fruition I am acknowledging that there is always room for growth, and that there is always room for improvement.

Courage:

It takes courage to be independent and walk my walk.  It can also take courage to hold true to my word when I may be pressured to do otherwise.

Integrity:

Integrity can be summed up in the famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.”  From the Delphic Maxims, one of the most well known is maxim #8: “Know Thyself.”  If we are in tune with who we are and what we desire we have the ability to begin to sort out what our ethics are, and how to live with integrity in our own lives.  I’ve had to examine myself in order to write this Code of Ethics in the first place, and when I consider how I will be an independent person, I need to first have a good idea of who that independent person is.

Perseverance:

Perseverance can be seen alongside integrity and courage.  In determining who I am, I will need to persevere in order to maintain that sense of self despite any obstacles I may encounter.  I will need to persevere in continuing my path of growth and in continuing to challenge myself.

Moderation:

Moderation is not as explicit in my Code of Ethics, but there is the implied expectation that I will moderate my behavior to reflect these points.

Hospitality:

“I will be kind to others” draws on hospitality.  Part of building a relationship of trust does as well.

Fertility:

This encompasses my dedication to continue growing, both as a person and as a Priest, as well as my dedication to helping others grow.  It is also present when I recognize that there is growth always happening.

 

 

 

Works Cited:

“Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.” Education.ohio.gov. Ohio Department of Education, 11 Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Conduct/Licensure-Code-of-Professional-Conduct-for-Ohio-Ed/Licensure-COPC-for-Ohio-Educators_color.pdf.aspx>.

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.” Institute for Social Research. University of Michigan, 1 Jan. 1989. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <https://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf>.

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com>.

Newburg, Brandon. “Integrity: Ethics and Pastoral Support.” The ADF Leadership Handbook, Chapter 10. Tucson, AZ: ADF Publishing, 2011. PDF file.

Ohio Rev. Code. Lawriter Ohio Laws and Rules, 2014. Web. 9 September 2014.

Oikonomides, Al. N.. “Records of “The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men” in the 3rd c. B.C..” Classical Bulletin: 67-76. Web. 1 July 2014. <http://www.flyallnight.com/khaire/DelphicMaxims/DelphicMaxims_CB63-1987.pdf]] >

“Various Physicians Oaths.” Physicians Oaths. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://www.aapsonline.org/ethics/oaths.htm>.

Weston, Anthony. A Practical Companion to Ethics. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.