Tag Archives: ritual script

Harvest Nights 2016 Unity Rite

*all parts written by Rev. Jan Avende unless otherwise noted*
Video of the Ritual can be viewed here.

Processional:
“Come We Now As A People”

Before we begin our rite, let us treat with the Outdwellers:

Outdwellers
I raise my voice now, and address all those beings that stand at cross-purpose with our rite today.
We have come together with a focus on Unity.
All those who cannot be in this space with others,
Leave us be!
All those who cannot stand in fellowship around our Good Fire,
Leave us be!
All those who cannot join us in the spirit of *ghosti,
Leave us be!
Outdwellers, let there be peace between us, as we do our Work of Unity today.

Purification
Let Fire and Water purify this space, that it may be made ready for our work.
Let this space around us be set aside as sacred for this time and place.
Now…
Look within yourself, and set aside those things that will not serve you in this rite.
Look within yourself, and strip away the miasma that clouds your visions.
Look within yourself, find the center of you, and come be welcome amongst peers in this sacred space.

Opening Prayer
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 sky and water,
Our hearts tied together as one,
Let us pray with a good fire.
(3CG Standard Liturgy)

And now, as we do in all our rites, let us call first to the Earth Mother:

Earth Mother
The Children of the Earth call out to the Earth Mother!
All Mother, Our Mother,
You who give life and breath to the gods, spirits, and all of us.
Your voice caresses us on the wind.
Your heartbeat thrums within our hearts.
Supporting us and surrounding us, we call out to you!
As we all come from you, so too do we return to you.
In our work of Unity, you hold us to together, as we are all your Children.
Earth Mother, support us in this rite, as you do in our daily lives.
Unite us and hold us close as we honor the Spirits.
Earth Mother, accept our offering!

Earth Mother, accept our offering!

Feel your connection to the Earth grow and deepen. And now, let us call for Inspiration in our Work today:

Inspiration
The Children of the Earth call out to the Powers of inspiration!
To the fire that ignites in our head,
To the waters of potential that rush into our spirit.
Be welcome in our minds and in our hearts.
May our words be true and our intentions clear.
May our prayers flow like honey from our lips.
Inspiration, be with us as we honor all those spirits who sing in harmony.
Powers of Inspiration, accept our offering!

Powers of Inspiration, accept our offering!

Feel as inspiration begins to flow through you. Feel the clarity of focus sharpen as we flow further into the rite.

Purpose and Precedent
We have come together today in celebration of community, and of the ties that unite us as one people of Ar nDraíocht Fein. Now let us join together and honor the spirits: as our Ancestors did before us, so we do now; and so may our children do in the future….

Attunement
Now, standing together, preparing to do the work ahead, let us take a moment to find our center, and attune ourselves to this space, and to each other. Take a moment to watch your breath, as it flows in and out, deep and regular… As we come to honor the Spirits and prepare for the work of Unity ahead, turn your attention skyward, past any clouds, out into the darkness where the stars spark brightly overhead, dimmed only slightly by the glow of the Moon. Feel the crisp autumn air against your skin. Close your eyes now, and allow your attention to be consumed for a moment with the Moon and the stars and the chill.

Then notice, streaming down from the heavens, life-giving Waters. Watch with your Vision Eye as droplets fill the air, plunging down through the chill to splash into the Earth. The Earth, cooling in the darkness, takes in the Waters and their nourishment, and as the ground in quenched, arising from the soil, comes a mist. Watch with your Vision Eye as these mists arise. These are the Mists of Magic.

As the Mists rise into the air around you, like an autumn fog rising with the moon, feel their cooling vapors caress your skin. As they continue to rise, notice how the light of the moon and stars filters through them. And as they crest above your eye level, notice how, all at once, the moonlight streaming down is refracted, and a multitude of colors pour out to bathe this space in its rainbow light.

Focus your attention now on those colors, born out of the Mists from mingling of the Life-Giving Waters, the Deep Coolness of the Earth, and the Bright Sparks in the Sky. Let the colors wash over you, and take their power and magic into yourself. The reds and pinks that are our life-blood and sexuality. The oranges and yellows that bring healing and light to our world. The greens and teals that exemplify nature and magic and art. The blues and purples that fill us with serenity and harmony, and connect our spirit to the world at large. Let this riot of colors, this brilliant diverse rainbow, wash over you as the Mists caress your skin, as you breathe in this magic.

And now, as the Mists sink back to the earth, to pool, swirling on the ground below as we prepare for the work ahead, see those colors merge again back into one. They become a brilliant white light, all colors merging into one unified glow. Expand your awareness now, and remember the people standing around you. Know that they too have been bathed in the colored mists, and are filled now with that white glow. Open your eyes, and see standing about you, your Community. We are all filled with the Life-Giving Waters, the Cooling Power of the Mists rising from the Earth, and the Bright Light of the Heavens. We stand, united in diversity, as one Sacred Grove.

“The waters support and surround us.
The land extends about us.
The sky stretches out above us.
At our center burns a living flame.
May all the Kindred bless us.
May our worship be true.
May our actions be just.
May our love be pure.
Blessings, honor, and worship to the holy ones.”
(prayer: Ceisiwr Serith)
Having centered ourselves, let us now sing out together to center and recreate the cosmos:

Recreate the Cosmos
“The Portal Song”

Calling for a Gatekeeper
Now, Children of Earth, by Fire and by Water are the Mists of Magic born. In your mind’s eye, let those mists, ethereal and formless, flow out from you and envelop the landscape. Take a moment to breath in those mists, and anchor yourself within this Ordered and Centered Cosmos.

And now, let those mists begin to roll back, to dissipate, revealing a figure standing where Land, Sea, and Sky meet. The figure’s long, grey hair is wild and windblown, framing a fierce, weathered and sun-darkened face. They are clothed in what appear to be robes made of blue-ish grey mist, almost identical to the color of their eyes, which shine with wisdom and kindness. As your gaze drifts downward, you see that the figure’s robes drift and pool, swirling as though made of mist around where their feet would be. The figure nods their head in welcome. You see them raise their palms upward, and notice that mists, tamed by this Spirit, flows freely about their hands. This is the Mistweaver: Gatekeeper, Guardian, and Guide.

The Children of the Earth call out to the Gatekeeper!
Mistweaver, walking the liminal places between the realms.
You who guide seekers on their path,
Parting the mists and lighting the way.
Great One of the Boundaries,
Spirits of all kinds are drawn in by your skill,
As you ferry our voices, carry our prayers.
Shining One of Liminality and Passage,
show us the way to walk in safety,
as we deepen our bonds of unity with the spirits and each other.
Meet us at the boundary, Mistweaver!
Join us at our Sacred Hearth, and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Gatekeeper, accept our offering!

Opening the Gates
And now, Gatekeeper, mix your magic with mine, and aid me in Opening the Gates!

Let this well, filled with the waters flowing across the wide earth,
Join with the Waters below and open as a Gate.
Our connections with the Ancestors deepen as the Gate is opened.

Let this fire, kindled upon the Land, smoke spiraling up to the Heavens
Join with the Fire there, and open as a Gate.
Our connections with the Shining Ones deepen as the Gate is opened.

Let this tree send its roots deep into the cosmic Waters Below,
and let its branches stretch ever upwards and reach for the Fire Above.
This Tree stands at the Sacred Center as a Crossroads between all Worlds,
Allowing our voices and our offerings to travel to all the Spirits

We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center
to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.
Let the Gates be Open!

Let the Gates be Open!

Children of Earth, the Gates are open. Let naught but truth be spoken here.

We now turn our attention to the Kindreds and call first to the Spirits of Fire and Water.

Beings of the Occassion – Spirits of Fire & Water

Sprits of Fire
The Children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of Fire!
Those of hearth and home, who warm our families and tend our souls.
Those of inspiration and vision, who ignite in our heads and brighten the world.
Those of sacrifice and order, who carry our voices and offerings, and maintain the cosmos.
Those Fires of Unity, who burn bright within our hearths, hearts, and communities,
From flickering flame to roaring bonfire.
It is to you we call out, and to you we sing praises.
As we all come together at the Fire at the Center to honor the Spirits in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Spirits of Fire!
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 Fire, accept our offering!

Spirits of Fire, accept our offering!

Sprits of Water
The Children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of Water!
Those of purification, who renew our souls and refresh our hearts.
Those of blessing, who nourish and fill us with the gifts of the Spirits.
Those of invigoration, who plumb the depths in eddies and swirls.
Those Waters of Unity, set aside and made sacred, who flow out across all the world
From rushing stream to raging sea.
It is to you we call out, and to you we sing praises.
As we all mix and mingle our energy together in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Spirits of Water!
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 Water, accept our offering!

Spirits of Water, accept our offering!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Spirits of Fire & Water stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, we turn now to call forth the Ancestors!

Ancestors
The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!
Those of our blood and our bone, who have given us life.
Those of our heart and our hearth, who have guided our steps.
Those of our friends and our folk, who strengthen and deepen our relationships.
Those Mighty Dead: poets, priests, and bards.
Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.
It is to you we call out, and to you we sing praises.
As we all weave our many and diverse roots together in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Ancestors!
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 offering!

Ancestors, accept our offering!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Ancestors stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, we turn now to call forth the Spirits of Nature!

Nature Spirits
The Children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of Nature!
Those of fur and feather, who run and fly across the land.
Those of root and stem, who grow deep into the earth and reach for the sky.
Those of stone and mineral, who enrich the soil and enrich our lives.
Those Totems, Guides, and Allies, you who teach us your ways to love and honor the Earth.
It is to you we call out, and to you we sing praises.
As we all meld our voices together and uphold one another in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Spirits of Nature!
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 Nature, accept our offering!

Spirits of Nature, accept our offering!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Spirits of nature stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, we turn now to call forth the Shining Ones!

Shining Ones
The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Gods and Goddesses!
Those of the Heavens, who shine brightly upon us and give us nourishing rains.
Those of the Land, who provide for us and walk beside us on our path.
Those of the Underworld, who care for our dead and know the riches of the earth.
Those Patrons, you who take special interest in us and we worship with our heart, mind, and soul,
Devotees honoring you, as you care for us.
It is to you we call out, and to you we sing praises.
As we all make offerings together and stretch our branches to the sky in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Shining Gods and Goddesses!
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 Gods and Goddesses, accept our offering!

Shining Gods and Goddesses, accept our offering!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Shining Ones stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, let us take a moment and welcome in our hearts and minds all the Spirits who join us here today.

Have the folk brought praise for the Spirits?

We have!

Then bring it forth!

Praise Offerings Song

Prayer of Sacrifice
Children of Earth, we have given of ourselves
in words of praise and in sweet offerings,
to all those spirits here gathered,
that they may receive our love.

See our offerings as they burn, smoke rising to the heavens.
See our offerings as they sink, into the depths of the well.
See our offerings as they traverse all the realms and pass the boundary into the Otherworld.
We now make one last offering, one final sacrifice,
to honor the Sprits and ensure our gifts are received.

Spirits All, Accept our Sacrifice!

Spirits All, Accept our Sacrifice!

Omen
(Priest speaks) We have made offerings to those spirits called to our Good Fire. It is time now that we seek an omen to see if our offerings were accepted and what we may receive in return.

Seer, gaze now, and let the Vision fill your Sight. Seer, gaze now and speak to us of the worthiness of our offerings, and what we may receive in return for them.

(Seer speaks) …

Return Flow

Calling for the Waters
Having given of ourselves, and received wisdom and blessings in return, we now seek to take of those blessings to enrich ourselves for the work that is to come.
We seek to fill ourselves with these blessings so that we may be thusly imbued with the sacred powers and apply ourselves to the work ahead.

All waters are by their very nature sacred,
We set aside these Waters, for they have been won for us.
We ask that you allow us to partake of them and of these blessings,
To take these sacred waters into our hearts and our minds.
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

We ask for The Waters of Community.
We call forth The Waters of Fellowship.
We draw these Waters out, to sparkle in the air about us,
That we may feel their cool mist surround us,
And quench our thirst with their blessings!
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

We open our hearts and our minds to the blessings we have been given.
As we stand amongst the Kindreds,
Amongst our Folk, and amongst our community
We call forth these Waters as our due.
We stand, united with all the Powers of the Worlds, ready to receive the blessing!
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

Hallowing the Waters
Let the brightness of the Shining Gods fill these waters with the omens we have received,
[Omen, Omen, and Omen].

Let these blessings grow in strength like the light of the moon,
Let these blessings shine with the brilliant power akin to the noon-day sun,
Shining Ones! Shine your blessing down upon us, and fill this Vessel.

Children of earth, when we share these Waters
We share our own wisdom and love.
We prepare to do the good work of the Kindreds.
We prepare to grow and nurture our community and the world.

We, your children, rejoice in your gifts
Bless our spirits and our lives with your magic and bounty.
As we celebrate the strength of our community here today.

Behold, the Waters of Life!

Behold, the Waters of Life!

Receiving the Blessing
Children of Earth, before us is the Cup of Blessing.
Do you wish to share in these blessings?

We do!

Then, as these Waters are shared,
know that they contain the blessings of the Kindreds.
As we sing, reflect on how these blessings will fill you
and shine out in your life and our community.

*waters are asperged*

Waters Song
“Blessings in the Waters”

Working – Unity Rite
***The working altar cloth is a world map (on a separate table). on each region is a candle. unity rite will be done by region, beginning with the NE region, and then moving out in ever-larger rings.***

We’ve taken the blessings into ourselves, and now, as we gather together in unity, it is appropriate that we share these blessings out across the lands and waters to ADF members everywhere. In addition to sharing out these blessings, we will light a flame of Unity in each region, that we may all be tied to this common hearth.

Into this vessel the Waters have been drawn forth. *gesture to Return Flow vessel*
Let these Sacred and Blessed Waters that we have been gifted with, now mix and mingle with the Waters of Ar nDraíocht Fein, that they may fill us, nourish us, and sustain us.
*pour water from the Return Flow vessel into the Unity Cauldron*
Let this Sacred and Blessed Fire, the Unity Flame of Ar nDraíocht Fein, burn bright here on our altar, that it may brighten us, warm us, and unite us.

In these Waters, see reflected the Bright Fire around which we gather.
As these Blessings are ours, may they sustain our Wisdom, Vision, and Piety.
As these Blessings are ours, may they sustain our Courage, Integrity, and Perseverance.
As these Blessings are ours, may they sustain our Moderation, Fertility, and Hospitality.
In these waters, see reflected the Fire, born of the Waters, to which we Sacrifice.

Rooted together, branches entwined,
Our voices are raised to the many trees that grow,
the many waters that flow, and the many spirits that travel.
Let these waters of unity nourish and bless us,
and this flame of unity brighten and warm us.

*as a note for performing this ritual, be sure to check for the current listing of groves for this portion*

For the Solitaries of the Northeast region
And for the Groves…
• Muin Mound Grove
• Grove of the Other Gods
• Red Oak Grove
• Tear of the Cloud Grove
• Nemos Ognios Grove
• Paumanmok Island Protogrove
• Our Whole Protogrove
• Charter Oak Grove
• Inis Ull: Apple Isle Grove
• Northern Rivers Grove
• Hallowed Grove Protogrove
• Protogrove of the White Pines
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Canada East region
And for the Groves…
• Red Maple Grove
• Dancing Lights Grove
• Thornehaven Grove
• Grove of the Nova Scotia Druids
• Lake of Oaks Grove
• Golden Birch Protogrove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Heartland region
And for the Groves…
• Stone Creed Grove
• Sassafras Grove
• The 6th Night Grove
• Three Cranes Grove
• Black Bear Grove
• Beautiful Rivers Grove
• White River Protogrove
• Northern Mysteries Protogrove
• Hallowed River Protogrove
• Willow at the Crossroads Protogrove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Southeast region
And for the Groves…
• Cedarlight Grove
• Grove of the Seven Hills
• Grove of the Red Earth
• Manatee Oak Protogrove
• Five Rivers Protogrove
• Three Branch River Grove
• Raven’s Hollow Protogrove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Upper Midwest region
And for the Groves…
• Shining Lakes Grove
• Wild Onion Grove
• Grove of the Midnight Sun
• Raven Wood Grove
• Cedarsong Grove
• Sinnissippi Tuath Grove
• Protogrove of the Whispering Spirits
• Star of the North Protogrove
• Dancing Waters Protogrove
• Protogrove of the Gathering Waters
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Central region
And for the Groves…
• Blackland Prairie Protogrove
• Ad Astra Grove
• Hearthstone Protogrove
• Thistle Protogrove
• Prairie Shadow Grove
• Nine Waves Protogrove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Canada West region
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Northwest region
And for the Groves…
• Sierra Madrone Grove
• Larrea Tridentata Grove
• Bright Falcon Grove
• Cascadia Grove
• Protogrove of the Eternal Flame
• Protogrove of the Valley Oak
• Columbia Grove
• River Rose Grove
• Twisted Root Protogrove
• Frog Stone Circle Prison Worship Group
• Cosmic Oaks Prison Worship Group
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Southwest region
And for the Groves…
• Raven’s Cry Grove
• Sonoran Sunrise Grove
• Coast Oak Grove
• Silver Branch Golden Horn Grove
• Sandia Mountain Grove
• Mountain Ancestors Grove
• Chokecherry Grove
• Emerald Desert Protogrove
• *pour*
• *light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the European region
And for the Groves…
• Hollow Hills Grove
• Clan of the Green Mother Protogrove
• Adrana Protohain
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of the Asia-Pacific region
And for the Groves…
• Silver Birch Grove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

For the Solitaries of S. America, Africa and Central Asia,
And for the Groves…
• Fine Na Dairbre Protogrove
*pour*
*light unity candle*

(sung)
Kindled from the great flame, kept by prudent skill,
join with us our common hearth, that these flames be one
Drawn up from the holy Well, Sacred for the Folk,
Flow into our common hearth, make our Waters blessed.

As the Waters flow forth to all of the Folk of Ar nDraíocht Fein, and as this flame brightens our many hearths and regions, we pour a final libation of these Sacred and Blessed Waters that Our Druidry itself may be nourished, brightened, and continue to grow.
*pour*

Let the Waters fill us, and the Fire brighten us, and as we stand as one Folk, one People, one Grove, and let our voices sound together as we continue Our Druidry.

So be it!

So be it!

And now, having done our work of Unity today, let us now, as one people, thank those we have called:

Thank Shining Ones
Shining Ones,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your wisdom flows into us,
Your love warms us,
Your magic empowers us,
You live in our hearts and our minds in all that we do.
Shining Ones, Thank you and farewell!

Shining Ones, Thank you and farewell!

Thank Nature Spirits
Nature Spirits,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your Spirit invigorates our worship,
Your knowledge informs our praise,
Your companionship warms our hearts,
You live among us, in peace and harmony.
Nature Spirits, Thank you and farewell!

Nature Spirits, Thank you and farewell!

Thanks Ancestors
Ancestors,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your blood runs in our veins,
Your Spirit is in our hearts,
Your memories are in our souls,
You live within us and within all those yet to come.
Ancestors, Thank you and farewell!
(~Niniann)
Ancestors, Thank you and farewell!

Thank Beings of the Occassion

Spirits of Water
Spirits of Water,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your calmness encircles our spirits,
Your depths speak to our souls,
Your energy rages in our hearts,
You flow within us and within our communities.
Spirits of Water, Thank you and farewell!

Spirits of Water, Thank you and farewell!

Spirits of Fire
Spirits of Fire,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your embers warm our families,
Your spark ignites in our heads,
Your flame burns our offerings,
You live within us and within all those yet to come.
Spirits of Fire, Thank you and farewell!

Spirits of Fire, Thank you and farewell!

Thank Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper,
We thank you for watching over us, protecting and guiding us
Your magic mixes with ours,
Your wisdom flows into us,
Your vision brightens in our eyes,
You weave mists about us, and reveal the ways.
Gatekeeper, we thank you!

Gatekeeper, we thank you!

Closing the Gates & Restoration of the Ordinary
And now, Gatekeeper, we ask for your help in one final task today:
To aid us in Closing the Gates.

Let these Waters, which have flowed across the wide earth,
Draw back up into this vessel here,
No longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

Let this Fire, which was kindled upon the Land, smoke spiraling up to the Heavens
Draw back down to this flame here,
No longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

Let this Tree draw its roots back from the cosmic Waters Below,
and draw its branches back from the Fire Above,
No longer standing as the Axis Mundi connecting the Worlds.

Let the Gates be Closed!

Let the Gates be Closed!

Children of Earth, the Gates are closed. Let all be as it was before, save for the magic we have done and the blessings we’ve received.

Thank Inspiration
Powers of Inspiration,
For igniting the fires of inspiration in our heads,
for allowing us to speak with eloquence in our rite today.
You have helped us meld our voice together as one in praise,
and so we say,
Powers of Inspiration, we thank you!

Powers of Inspiration, we thank you!

Thank Earth Mother
Earth Mother, All Mother,
You who support us in all that we do
We thank you for being with us and uniting us in our rite today.
And as all return to you in the end,
so do we return to you all our offerings left unused.
Earth Mother, as we ever strive to walk in balance with you,
We say, Earth Mother, we thank you!

Earth Mother, we thank you!

Recessional
“Walk With Wisdom”

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Journal Entry from Div, Trance, & Magic 2

Representative Journal Entry from Divination 2, Magic 2, or Trance 2

14 May 2014
Apollo Full Moon.
This was the Apollo full moon, so I wanted to bless our divination tools. Everyone was using sortilege so I had everyone pull one symbol from whatever system they use and give a brief interpretation. And it was awesome. We had something like 4 variations on sun and light, some in rebirth and new beginnings, some on gifts given or earned and some on the work of the journey. And then after everyone shared the meanings I wound them all together and it all fit so perfect.

Then we let the light radiate over and through our tools and into us. *shivers* the juju. It was awesome. There was that buzz inside yourself that happens when you really know the magic is working.

And, I totally forgot to turn on my recorder. I thought about it. Because I knew this would be a divination that wasn’t for me per say. And when it’s not for me its like a conduit and I don’t remember what I said. But it was awesome. And afterward each person was telling me how it all rang true so much for them. There’s bits and pieces, but it was not meant to be recorded apparently.

I wrote down all the symbols, so I can get close. (Nu, the strife-bearing gift; Sowilo, the sun/victory; Gebo, gift; Birch, new beginnings; Khi, fulfills the golden oracle; Gamma, Gaea the earth, ripe fruits of our labors; The Clinging, illumination and enlightenment; The magician, power/willpower and creativity; Eta, Helios who watches all watches you, the sun; 8 of Stones, apprenticeship and practice of skill; Ivy, the journey, guidance, and travel; 7 of Arrows, insecurity, and facing your doubts; Honeysuckle, lay down your burdens/have fun; Iota, there is sweat, work hard; Rebirth, new beginnings) But not the exact words that I said.

It was something like “with the bright like of the sun illuminating our path, we have been blessed with many gifts. It is now time to take these gifts and focus our willpower and creativity to work on and practice our skills as we set down our burdens so that we might pick up burdens anew as we, face our fears and set out on our new, enlightened path”

Everything just seemed to fit together so perfectly. The script for the working is below, and the whole thing was couched within the basic Hellenic COoR I use.

Set-up:
– all participants have divination tools
– three burning candles with enough space in the center for all tools to be placed OR if outside, space for everyone to stand around the Fire in a circle
– offerings of bay or oil

We come together now in the presence of all the Theoi, but most especially Apollo Mantikos, Apollo Aphetor. Prophetic One, Giver of Oracles.
Klûthi mou, Apollon! (Hear me, Apollo!)
Elthé moi, Apollon! (Come to me, Apollo!)
Deûro Mákar! (Hither, Blessed One!)

We come with our tools, and we come with open heart and empty mind. We ask that you give us the gift of the Mantis, and the gift of your blessing, that our Sight might be improved.

*All Speak Together or Call & Response*
Phoebos, Radiant One,
Shine your light down on me.
Mantikos, Prophetic One,
Send your truth down to me.
Aphetor, Oracle Giver
Send your wisdom down to me.
Proopsios, Farseeing One
Send you visions down to me
Leskhenorios, Converser
Send your voice down to me
Loxias, Speaker
Send your words down to me.
Pythian Apollo, of Delphi,
Let your Oracle speak through me.

*if all are using a sortilege, each person draws a single lot and interprets (otherwise each person seeks an omen in whatever manner they generally use); whoever took the rite’s omen should make sure they are drawing lots from the full set for the working*

We have received the blessings of [all omens].

Apollo Mantikos, Prophetic One,
I seek to know of these omens.
Let your truth be told through me.

Apollo Aphetor, Oracle Giver,
I seek to know of these gifts.
Let your wisdom flow through me.

Apollo Leskhenorios, Converser,
I seek to know of these messages.
Let your voice speak through me.

*Seer makes offering of Oil and/or bay*

These blessings and wisdom that we have received, when taken together, grant us [interpretation of all omens together]. Reflect a moment on these gifts and how they pertain to your Sight.

*pause*

We now take our tools of divination and ask that they be infused with the gifts we have received.

*tools are placed in the light of the fire*

*All Speak Together or Call & Response*
We stand at the center,
In the light of the moon, in its fullness,
And by the light of the Fire, and the truth it reveals.
We stand infused with the blessings,
In the presence of the Kindreds,
With open heart, and empty mind.
We call now for the powers of the Mantis (Seer)
to fill us, and radiate over our tools,
Blessing us with the gift of Sight.

*envision the fire’s light filling the tools to blinding capacity*

Fire, Bright Fire!
Light, Shining Light!
Truth, Radiant Truth!
(repeat 3x)

Our tools thus blessed, and our Sight thus confirmed.
We each now stand, mantis in our own right.

Esto!

Summer Solstice: Honoring Anahita, the Mother of Waters

Summer Solstice: Honoring Anahita, the Mother of Waters

Ritual performed by Three Cranes Grove, ADF for a Grove-only Summer Solstice in 2016. All parts written by Rev. Jan Avende unless otherwise noted.

Lighting the Fire

Born in the Water and Kindled on the Land
Atar, Son of Ahura Mazda!
To the Fire, the Great Fire –
To you I call!

Worthy of Sacrifice you are! Worthy of Prayer!
Worthy of Sacrifice you’ll always be!
To the Fire, the Great Fire –
To you I call!

I come with fuel in hand,
with ghee in hand,
That you may be burning, ever burning, ever blazing.
To the Fire, the Great Fire –
To you I call!

Come to me, O Fire, Great Fire.
Through Asha, through right action,
Brighten this work and come to me here!
May you be provided with proper fuel! *fatwood*
May you be provided with proper incense! *incense*
May you be provided with proper nourishment! *ghee*

Atar, Great Fire,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Atar, accept this sacrifice. *offer fatwood, incense, & ghee*

Atar, accept this sacrifice.

Purification

Before we begin his rite, let us wash the mundane from our hands,
and become pure as clean, flowing water.

*Celebrants will wash hands in a bowl of water, and dry on a towel*

Now…
Look within yourself, and set aside those things that will not serve you in this rite.
Look within yourself, and strip away the disorder that clouds your vision.
Look within yourself, find the center of you, and come be welcome in this sacred space.

Outdwellers

Now, Children of Earth, we stand with Ahura Mazda,
against the Daevas who sought to destroy the order of our world.
All those who bring druj instead of asha,
chaos instead of order,
stand aside and leave us to our rite in peace!
Accept this as a token of peace between us,
and disturb us not in our rite.
Outdwellers, be at peace! *offer cream*

Outdwellers, be at peace!

Opening Prayer

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 sky and water,
Our hearts tied together as one,
Let us pray with a good fire. (~Three Cranes Grove, ADF Liturgy)

Purpose & Precedent

We have come together today for the Summer Solstice, when the sun stands at its highest in the sky, to honor the Kindreds on this holy day. As our Ancestors did before us, so we do now; and so may our children do in the future.

We come to honor Ardvi Sura Anahita, the Mother of Waters, Crowned by the Starry Heavens, who rides strong and bright today, pulled by four white horses in her chariot of gold. She who brings the life-giving waters in summer – for her brightness and her glory, we will offer her a sacrifice. So let us come together now, as one folk, and make our offerings in joy and reverence.

Honoring the Earth

The Children of the Earth call out to Zam,
to the Wide-Earth itself.
Within your mountainous reaches,
washed by the waters of the sea
You support all the living beings in your domain.
Integral to the cosmos,
You are the wheel to the chariot of the Heavens.
Home to the Son of the Waters,
in his bright and shining glory,
and home to us as well.
In your domain we are able to offer up sacrifices,
and so we make this first offering of leaf and grain to you.
Zam, bountiful Earth,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Zam, accept this sacrifice! *offer leaves and grain*

Zam, accept this sacrifice!

Calling for Inspiration

The Children of the Earth call out to Haoma!
Sweet scented and swiftly spreading,
you grow as we pray to your stems and branches!
We speak your praises that we may then
speak the praises of all the Bountiful Immortals!
Where your praise is sung in truth, you come
And so I praise you with my voice:
I praise the clouds that water you,
the rains that nourish you,
and the mountains where you grow.

O yellow one, granter of many blessings,
I make a claim on thee for inspiration!
Your healing liquors flow, inspiring of the pious.
We open ourselves now for the taste of you,
That our mouths be filled with your sweet nectar
inspiring us to strength and glory.
Let our words of praise flow out
like the freshly pressed juice of your being!

O Haoma, golden-hued, you who drive death afar,
we beseech thee, give us your vitality!
You are well-endowed, inherently good,
and beautiful in nature, with your bending sprouts.
We have sat long hours, searching many books
that you may give us knowledge and wisdom.
Haoma, sparkling, milk-white liquor,
for your brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice.
Haoma, accept this sacrifice! *offer incense*

Haoma, accept this sacrifice!

Attunement

Now, standing in our Nemeton, preparing to do the work ahead, let us take a moment to find our center, and attune ourselves to this space, and to each other. Take a moment to watch your breath, as it flows in and out, deep and regular… As we celebrate the Summer Solstice today, turn your attention to the sky where the bright sunlight is streaming down through the trees and you’re enveloped by the heat of the day. Close your eyes now, and allow your attention to be consumed for a moment with the feel of the light and the heat.

Then, notice, streaming down from the heavens, life-giving Waters. Watch with your Vision Eye as droplets fill the air, plunging down through the heat to splash into the Earth. The Earth, having been warmed by the Sun, takes in the Waters and their nourishment, and as the ground in quenched, arising from the soil, comes a mist. Watch with your Vision Eye as these mists arise. These are the Mists of Magic.

As the Mists rise into the air around you, into the heat, feel their cooling vapors caress your skin. As they continue to rise, notice how the sunlight filters through them. And as they crest above your eye level, notice how, all at once, the brilliant Summer Sun is refracted, and a multitude of colors pour out to bathe this space in its rainbow light.

Focus your attention now on those colors, born out of the Mists from mixing the Life-Giving Waters, the Deep Coolness of the Earth, and the Bright Fire in the Sky. Let the colors wash over you, and take their power and magic into yourself. The reds and pinks that are our life-blood and sexuality. The oranges and yellows that bring healing and light to our world. The greens and teals that exemplify nature and magic and art. The blues and purples that fill us with serenity and harmony, and connect our spirit to the world at large. Let this riot of colors, this brilliant diverse rainbow, wash over you as the Mists caress your skin, as you breathe in this magic.

And now, as the Mists sink back to the earth, to pool, swirling on the ground below as we prepare for the work ahead, see those colors merge again back into one. They become a brilliant white light, all colors merging into one unified glow. Expand your awareness now, and remember the people standing around you. Know that they too have been bathed in the colored mists, and are filled now with that white glow. Open your eyes, and see standing about you, your Grove. We are all filled with the Life-Giving Waters, the Cooling Power of the Mists rising from the Earth, and the Bright Sunlight. We stand, united in diversity, as one Sacred Grove.

“The waters support and surround us.
The land extends about us.
The sky stretches out above us.
At our center burns a living flame.
May all the Kindred bless us.
May our worship be true.
May our actions be just.
May our love be pure.
Blessings, honor, and worship to the holy ones.” (prayer: Ceisiwr Serith)

Recreate the Cosmos

Children of Earth, we now stand at the Center of World, with the Waters flowing about us, the Sky stretched above us, and the Land all about us. The Cosmos was not always in ordered in such a way though…

First the Sky came into being, a great dome arcing above. Then the Waters came, a deep pool below the Sky. Then the Earth was formed, stretching from edge to edge of the great sphere, dividing the Sky from the Waters. With the Land, Sea, and Sky in place, life began to form. First one plant: Gao-kerena, the Tree of Life; then one animal: Gav-aevodata: a Great Bull; and then one Man: Gaya Mareyan. Finally, at the last, came the Fire, burning hot and strong, permeating all the realms, igniting in all places, both seen and unseen.

Then the gods assembled, and through sacrifice created life and brought order to the world. They crushed the Tree, and hundreds upon hundreds of new plants sprang to life. They slaughtered the Bull, and animals of all forms sprang to life. They dismembered the Man, and humanity, in all its races and glory, sprang to life. Thus the vegetable, animal, and human realms were populated and Asha – order – was born.

Now in acknowledgement of those primordial sacrifices and to recreate and maintain that cosmic order of the world, so do we bring our own offerings to the Fire and the Water.

Sweet Milk and Leaves we bring for the Waters. *offer Milk and Leaves around the Well*
Let all the Waters flow through this Well,
And through us.
Sacred Waters, Flow within us!

Sacred Waters, Flow within us!

Sweet Incense and Fat we bring for the Fire. *offer Incense and Fat to the Fire*
Let this Fire be kindled in all Realms,
And in us.
Sacred Fire, Burn within us!

Sacred Fire, Burn within us!

Holding all the realms together,
Great Tree of Life, we acknowledge your Sacrifice.
You who stand on the Peaks-Above-the-Eagles,
You who are the Tree of All Seeds
Stand now connecting all Worlds, all Realms, all Life
Sacred Tree, Grow within us!

Sacred Tree, Grow within us!

Calling the Gatekeeper

Now, Children of Earth, with the Waters flowing through us, and the Fire burning within us, see those powers mix and mingle. It is out of that Fire and those Waters that the Mists of Magic are born. In your mind’s eye, let those mists, ethereal and formless, flow out from you and envelop the landscape. Take a moment to breath in those mists, and anchor yourself within this Ordered and Centered Cosmos.

And now, let those mists begin to roll back, to dissipate, revealing a waterway. The sound of the gentle lapping current greets your ears, and the scent of wet, flooded soil and fresh cut trees fills your nostrils. As you gaze out across the waterway, you see a natural dam stretching across the current. Twigs and logs carefully and firmly held together by layers of river mud.

The water beside the dam is calm and tranquil. Then, you notice ripples forming, traveling across the surface of the water, until you catch a glimpse of ears, then nostrils, then a small head cresting the surface, fur glistening with rivulets of waters running down its face.

The creature gracefully swims ashore, coming out of the water, broad flat tail swishing across the mud and it pads softly towards the underbrush. Then, just before reaching cover, it turns, and makes eye contact with you, rising up on it’s hind feet, carefully balanced with the aid of it’s tail.

This is Beaver. She is graceful, fierce, an ecosystem engineer and a builder of communities.

And now, the Children of the Earth call out to Beaver!
Your warm and glossy fur shining before our eyes.
You take the dry, dying lands of our world
and create a space for all creatures to live and thrive.
Builder of Communities, and Champion of Diversity,
We call to you!
You engineer a world, across all the realms,
Where spirits of all kinds are drawn in by your skill.
Hard-working and clever,
the communal space you nurture is our greatest boon.
Protecting your family and your space:
A welcoming lodge for us all.
Working on the Land, Swimming in the Water,
And floating between the realms,
You draw all creatures in from the edges,
bring all spirits to the Center.
Beaver, Community Builder,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Beaver, accept this sacrifice! *cattails & clover*

Beaver, accept this sacrifice!

Opening the Gates

And now, Beaver, mix your magic with mine
and aid me in Opening the Gates!

Let this well, filled with the waters flowing across the wide earth,
Join with the the Waters below and open as a Gate.
Our connections with the Ancestors deepen as the Gate is opened.

Let this fire, kindled upon the Land, smoke spiraling up to the Heavens
Join with the Fire there, and open as a Gate.
Our connections with the Shining Ones deepen as the Gate is opened.

Let this tree send it’s roots deep into the cosmic Waters Below,
and let it’s branches stretch ever upwards and reach for the Fire Above.
This Tree stands at the Sacred Center as a Crossroads between all Worlds,
Allowing our voices and our offerings to travel to all the Spirits

We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center
to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.
Let the Gates be Open!

Let the Gates be Open!

Children of Earth, the Gates are open. Let naught but truth be spoken here.

We now turn our attention to the Kindreds and call first to the Ancestors.

Inviting the Ancestors

The Children of the Earth call out to the Fravashis,
Ancestors and guardian spirits!
You who traveled this world before us
and know its twists and turns.
So do you guide us as we walk this path.
Bountiful Fravashis, who are asha-sanctified.
Heroes and saints, descending to earth to stand by us,
you guard the souls of the living and the dead.
You souls who hold the ancient lore,
sharing its knowledge with those worthy next of kin;
You radiant and overwhelming beneficent spirits;
Grant us succor!
We bring you libations of sweet milk,
in homage and in praise.
Meet us at the boundaries
Be warmed by our Good Fire.
Fravashis, Ancestors, Guardian Spirits,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Fravashis, accept this sacrifice! *offer cream*

Fravashis, accept this sacrifice!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Fravashis, the Ancestors, stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, we turn now to call forth the Spirits of Nature!

Inviting the Nature Spirits

The Children of the Earth call out to the the Yazata,
You Helping Spirits of the Natural World.
To the waters as they rush across the earth,
Springing up and flowing.
To the growing plants of plain and forest,
green and blooming in abundance.
To the heavens above, and all those that dwell there:
Stars and sun and moon.
Wind and rain.
All those lights without beginning or end.
To the creatures that live amongst us,
those that walk the earth, swim in the seas,
wing above, and roam the plains.
To those who dwell in the highest reaches of the mountains,
where snowy peaks are ever whitened,
To those who dwell in gorges and abysses,
where the brightness of the day may never reach.
All you helpings spirits of the Natural world,
Meet us at the boundaries
Be warmed by our Good Fire.
Yazata, Nature Spirits, Helpers & Guides,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Yazata, accept this sacrifice! *offer incense & leafy herbs*

Yazata, accept this sacrifice!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Yazata, the Nature Spirits, stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, we turn now to call forth the Deities!

Inviting the Shining Ones

The Children of the Earth Call out to the Amesha Spentas!
Shining Ones! Life-giving and Bountiful Immortals!
We call out as praisers and priests,
invoking you as we speak of your glory
and sacrifice to your brightness.
To the Shining Gods and Goddesses
who preside over cattle and wealth,
over order and fire and devotion,
over the bountiful earth and the flowing waters.
You who are tall, fair of form, and self-sufficient.
Conquering the Daevas, you are ever-victorious,
Furthering the world and it’s order.
Blissfully filled with asha-endowed splendor,
you overflow with brilliant light.
Meet us at the boundaries
Be warmed by our Good Fire.
Amesha Spentas, Shining Ones, Bountiful Immortals,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Amesha Spentas, accept this sacrifice! *offer ghee & honey*

Amesha Spentas, accept this sacrifice!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye the Amesha Spentas, the Shining Ones, stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire. As their presence fills our awareness, let us take a moment and welcome in our hearts and minds the Three Kindreds who join us here today in our celebration of the Summer Solstice.
Have the folk brought praise for the Three Kindreds?

We have!

Then, for their brightness and their glory, bring it forth now: speak your praises and make your offerings!

Three Kindred Praise Offerings

*folk make offerings. remember to teach them the phrase: “__________, for your brightness and your glory, I offer you a sacrifice”*

Inviting the DotO: Ardvi Sura Anahita

Surrounded now by all the Kindreds, we call out especially on this day to the Mother of the Waters.

The Children of the Earth call out to Ardvi Sura Anahita!
Strong, bright, and beautiful,
Your graceful and flowing form sends down,
both day and night,
Waters that run powerfully all along the earth.
You hold as much Glory as the whole of the Waters.

Sweet Maiden, Mother of Waters,
Pure and glowing with radiance,
You stand in statuesque stillness,
Holding the baresma in hand,
Crowned in the gold of a hundred stars
that shine brilliantly down in eight pure rays.
Clothed in garments of the finest beavers,
worked till their skins shine to the eye
With a full sheen of silver and gold.
All the Waters of the Earth belong to you,
A thousand lakes, and rivers and streams.
Mantled in gold, the wide-expanding Waters,
Worthy of Sacrifice. Worthy of Prayer.
For whom Ahura Mazda made four horses,
Wind, and Rain, and Cloud, and Sleet.
Increasing all things, righteous and victorious.
Crushing down the hates of all haters,
Defeating the Daevas and their ilk.
Your strength and your glory are far-reaching,
Purifying the essence of us all.

O Ardvi Sura Anahita!
come down from those stars,
towards the earth made by Ahura,
towards the sacrificing priest,
Meet us at the boundaries
Be warmed by our Good Fire.
Anahita, Mother of Waters,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Anahita, accept this sacrifice! *offer ghee & honey & herbs*

Anahita, accept this sacrifice!

Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye Ardvi Sura Anahita, the Mother of Waters, flowing out from the mists, radiant and stately, come down from the stars above to join us here at our sacred fire, in our celebration of the Summer Solstice.

Have the Folk brought praise for Anahita?

We have!

Then, for her brightness and her glory, bring it forth now: speak your praises and make your offerings!

DotO Praise Offerings

*folk make offerings. remember to teach them the phrase: “__________, for your brightness and your glory, I offer you a sacrifice”*

Prayer of Sacrifice

Children of Earth, we have given of ourselves
in words of praise and in sweet offerings,
and we now seek to speak once more
to all those spirits here gathered,
that they may receive our love,
for they are worthy of sacrifice and worthy of prayer.

Let our voices arise on the Fire,
Let our voices resound in the Well,
Let our voices travel across all the realms,
and pass the boundary into the Otherworld.
Anahita, Kindreds All,
for you brightness and your glory,
we offer you a sacrifice!
Anahita, Kindreds All, accept this sacrifice!

Anahita, Kindreds All, accept this sacrifice!

Omen (water scry)

*the divination cup (Cup of Yima) is a abalone shell filled with Waters, which can then be added to the pitcher for the Return Flow*

(Priest speaks) We have made offerings for the brightness and the glory of those spirits called to our Fire. It is time now that we seek an omen to see if our offerings were accepted and what we may receive in return. Seer, gaze now, deep into this vessel and see where the whole world is reflected in its depths. See the mists of magic flow in from the edge of our fire, and see them pool within the vessel. Let the Vision fill your Sight. Seer, gaze now and speak to us of the worthiness of our offerings, and what we may receive in return for them.

*seer scrys and speaks*

Return Flow

Calling for the Waters

Having given of ourselves, and received wisdom and blessings in return,
we now seek to take of those blessings
to enrich ourselves for the work that is to come.
We seek to fill ourselves with these blessings
so that we may be thusly imbued with the sacred powers
and bring that magic and wisdom into our community and into the world.

Ardvi Sura Anahita is the Mother of Waters,
She grants the ever-flowing, life-giving Waters to all beings,
sending them down, both day and night,
to increase and purify and bless
All the beings of the Earth.

All Waters are by their very nature sacred,
We take these Waters now, in which our blessing was seen,
And set them aside for our use,
Mix them and mingle them into our Cup of Blessing,
*pour the Cup of Yima into the pitcher*
That we may take these sacred waters into our hearts and our minds.
Anahita, give us the Waters!

Anahita, Give us the Waters!

We call to these Waters as they run powerfully along the Earth,
drawing them forth, to sparkle in the air about us,
That we may feel their cool mist surround us,
And quench our thirst in the Summer’s heat with their blessings!
Anahita, give us the Waters!

Anahita, Give us the Waters!

We open our hearts and our minds to the blessings we have been given.
As we stand amongst the Kindreds and our Folk,
United with all the Powers of the Worlds.
Anahita, give us the Waters!

Anahita, Give us the Waters!

Hallowing the Waters

Let the brightness of the Shining, Bountiful Immortals
reflect in these waters the omens we have received.

Let the light pass through these Waters,
and refract into the multitude of blessings we receive.
Let the blessings in these Waters grow in strength,
and shine with the brilliant power akin to this Summer Solstice Sun.

When we share these Waters
We share our own wisdom and love.
We prepare to do the good work of the Kindreds in the world.

Shining and Bountiful Immortals, we rejoice in your gifts.
Bless our spirits and our lives with your magic and bounty.
Behold, the Waters of Life!

Behold, the Waters of Life!

Receiving the Blessing

Children of Earth, before us is the Cup of Blessing.
Do you wish to share in these blessings?

We do!

Then, as these Waters are poured out,
know that they contain the blessings of the Kindreds.
As we sing, reflect on how these blessings will fill you
and shine out in your life and our community.

*waters are passed and quaffed*

“Power of the Spirits” (~Ian Corrigan)
Power of the Spirits
           Flowing through me
Power of the Spirits
           Shining in me
Power of the Spirits
           Growing with me

Now, having taken the Waters of Life into ourselves,
feel them within you, and know that you are blessed.
So be it!

So be it!

And now, having made offerings, and received gifts in return, it is appropriate that we thank those who we have called.

Thanking the DotO (Anahita)

Ardvi Sura Anahita, Mother of Waters,
Crowned in a hundred stars and glowing with radiance,
You have shared your the flowing sweetness of yourself with us today.
You are worthy of Sacrifice; worthy of prayer.
Righteous and victorious, crushing down the hates of all haters,
You came down from the stars, sharing your abundance,
Purifying the essence of us all.
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Anahita, Mother of Waters, we thank you!

Anahita, Mother of Waters, we thank you!

Thanking the Shining Ones

Amesha Spentas! Shining Ones! Life-giving and Bountiful Immortals!
Victorious ones who preside over cattle and wealth,
over order and fire and devotion,
over the bountiful earth and the flowing waters.
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Amesha Spentas, Shining Ones, we thank you!

Amesha Spentas, Shining Ones, we thank you!

Thanking the Nature Spirits

Yazata, Helping Spirits of the Natural World.
Flowing waters and growing plants.
Stars and sun and moon. Wind and rain.
All the creatures that live amongst us,
from highest peak to deepest abyss.
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Yazata, Nature Spirits, we thank you!

Yazata, Nature Spirits, we thank you!

Thanking the Ancestors

Fravashis, Ancestors and guardian spirits!
You who traveled this world before us,
who guard the souls of the living and the dead.
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Fravashis, Ancestors, we thank you!

Fravashis, Ancestors, we thank you!

Thanking the Gatekeeper

Beaver, Community Builder, Champion of Diversity,
You have aided us in the work of connecting the realms today,
drawing all creatures out from the edges and us to the Center.
You who work on the Land, swim in the Water,
And float between the realms:
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Beaver, we thank you!

Beaver, we thank you!

Closing the Gates

And now, Beaver, we ask for your help in one final task today:
To aid us in Closing the Gates.

Let these Waters, which have flowed across the wide earth,
Draw back up into this vessel here,
No longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

Let this Fire, which was kindled upon the Land, smoke spiraling up to the Heavens
Draw back down to this flame here,
No longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

Let this Tree draw it’s roots back from the cosmic Waters Below,
and draw it’s branches back from the Fire Above,
No longer standing as the Axis Mundi connecting the Worlds.

Let the Gates be Closed!

Let the Gates be Closed!

Children of Earth, the Gates are closed. Let all be as it was before, save for the magic we have done and the blessings we’ve received.

Thanking Inspiration

Haoma, sparkling, milk-white liquor,
You have granted us many blessings today,
Filled our mouths with your sweetness,
inspiring us to strength and glory.
Our words of praise have flowed
like the freshly pressed juice of your being!
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Haoma, Inspiration, we thank you!

Haoma, Inspiration, we thank you!

Thanking the Earth

Zam, Bounitful and Wide-Earth.
In your domain we are able to offer up sacrifices,
You are Integral to the cosmos,
The wheel to the chariot of the Heavens.
Home to the Son of the Waters, and Home to us as well.
You have supported us, and all beings throughout this rite,
As you always do.
Your brightness and your glory have brought joy and blessings to us today.
For all you have done, and all you may do in the future,
Zam, Bountiful Earth, we thank you!

Zam, Bountiful Earth, we thank you!

Closing Statements

Children of Earth, this is good work we have done today, honoring Anahita, the Mother of Waters, and celebrating the Summer Solstice. Remember the blessings you have received today, and carry them forth into your lives and into the world. Go now in peace – this rite is ended!

Liturgy Practicum 2: Small Group Practice

Liturgy Practicum 2: Small Group Practice

Requirement #1: Key concepts

  1.  Describe three differences between personal or domestic rituals and small-group rituals. (Minimum 150 words)

One difference between a personal ritual and small group ritual is the amount of magical ‘juice’ that you can manifest and have access to during that ritual.  “Having more people present makes more mana available” (Bonewits 58).  This means that you could theoretically do more powerful magical workings, or maybe have a deeper or more meaningful experience.  However, a challenge to work through with this idea is that you also need to keep more than just you focused on the task at hand so the mana doesn’t dissipate. The ritual leader(s) will have to keep the whole group focused.

This leads to a second difference between personal and small group rituals: the need to develop a group mind.  The effects of intra-group familiarity were discussed in Liturgy Practicum 1, and play strongly into a group’s ability to develop the well-established group mind that is necessary to focus the energy generated by increasing amounts of people.  In creating a group mind, the chief liturgist or clergy leading the rite will ideally need to know the skill level of the participating congregation in terms of visualization, trance, and energy work (Bonewits 57).  This will allow them to design a ritual that will keep everyone engaged as much of the time as possible, and modify the ritual on the fly if needed to accommodate unexpected reactions or circumstances.

This touches on a third difference between personal and small group ritual: the presence of clergy or other leadership.  Bonewits’ touches briefly on the varying views of having clergy, but in general seems to agree with the idea that clergy are the specialists that have studied the arts of magic, liturgy, and other topics pertaining to religion.  A group ritual of any size is likely to be aided by having a leader who is trusted by the group, and by a group that values a mix of leadership by hierarchy and consensus (Bonewits 50-3).

  1.  Explain the importance of a shared worldview or cosmology within group ritual, and what can be done to help foster that shared cosmology. (Minimum 200 words)

Having a shared worldview or cosmology in a group ritual is important because it helps to establish group mind by giving all ritual participants a starting point. One way we can work to ensure that our rituals have a common starting point is by providing a thorough pre-ritual briefing before beginning ritual work.  This can address the common ritual structure that is central to ADF rites, and answer questions that a newcomer may have (Bonewits 59-60).  Because ADF is orthopraxic, our shared ritual structure is a large piece of what ties us together, rather than a shared set of beliefs about how the cosmos or world works, though we do work from similar assumptions in our practice.

Having a shared cosmology also helps to ensure that a ritual carries meaning for all participants (Bonewits 59).  When individuals share a common set of understandings or assumptions (not necessarily beliefs) about how the cosmos works, they are more likely to find the same sorts of experiences meaningful.  Within ADF one way we work to have a shared cosmology by limiting our public practice to Indo-European cultures.  We include all Indo-European cultures because there are many similarities between the cultures, including root language, community values, and myth cycles.  This limiting of our cultural focus helps to foster a shared cosmology by allowing a common discourse between members who may worship following the practices of many different hearths.  By limiting our focus within ADF we foster a point of connection between practitioners of various Indo-European hearths. It also fosters a common language that all ADF members can relate to, such as discussion of the Three Kindreds, the Earth Mother, and the Gatekeeper, and allows us to focus our study solely on Indo-European cultures so that we can draw deeply from a few sources, rather than shallowly from many.  This limiting means we are able to keep a more solid identity of who we are, and that solid group identity is important to forming group mind, which is even more important because we offer public rituals (Dangler 7).

  1.  Explain how you can incorporate words, motion, dance, posture, music, and gesture in a public, small group ritual. How is including each one in small group ritual different from how they are included in individual or domestic ritual? (Minimum 50 words per item, and minimum 150 additional words for comparison)

Words:

Praying through words is often one of the most intuitive ways to pray in both private practice and in small group worship.  When praying with a group one way that words are incorporated is commonly through the invitations that are spoken to each of the spirits in the core order of ritual.  These spoken prayers are sometimes pre-written and performed either from a script or from memorization, or sometimes performed extemporaneously.  Words can also be used in a group ritual specifically within set prayers that are common to the group.  In Three Cranes Grove, we use Ceisiwr Serith’s prayer “To the Holy Ones” as a spoken group prayer following the attunement.  We also pray through words when we engage in the call and response style liturgy that is common, particularly at the end of an evocation and during the Return Flow portion of a ritual (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 17-9).

Motion:

Praying through motion in ADF group ritual is most often done through the processional into the space, and the recessional out, as well as occasionally through the methods of treating with the Outdwellers and purifying the space.  When the whole group enters or leaves a space, this is a method of prayer through motion, as they are declaring that space to be separate from the mundane.  When the person treating with the Outdwellers walks a good distance away from the declared sacred space to make their offering, this is a method of prayer through motion.  When one or several people circumambulate the declared sacred space asperging or wafting incense to purify the space, this is a method of prayer through motion (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 22-4).

Dance:

Praying through dance is a continuation of prayer through motion.  Dance most often displays emotion, though it can also be used to attain an ecstatic state to open yourself more fully to the Spirits, or to raise energy for a specific magical working. In a group ritual, if the whole group is expected to dance, it becomes important for the dance to be accessible for all participants (or for another comparable role to be available) and for the dance to be choreographed enough that all can participate together without causing injury.  This can be as complex as a structured unison or group folk dance, or as simple as ensuring that all have enough awareness to be moving in the same direction, or within a space that they won’t run into each other (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 24-5).   

Posture:

Praying through posture often accompanies praying through words, since when speaking, you have to hold you body in someway.  I think it becomes prayer through posture when you make the way you hold you body intentional.  In small group ritual, developing a common posture to accompany certain prayers or ritual actions can be part of establishing and maintaining group mind and the energy level within a rite.  For example, when honoring the Earth Mother, Three Cranes Grove has two common positions: kneel and touch the ground, or stand in ‘half orans’ with one hand palm down and parallel to the ground, and one hand up perpendicular to the ground, elbow bent and close to the body, palm facing away from the body.  We also have adopted certain postures for calling to each of the Kindreds: when calling to the Ancestors we look and reach towards the ground, palms parallel to and facing the ground.  When calling to the Nature Spirits we reach out to our sides, looking levelly across the earth, arms bent at the elbows and palms facing in towards the center flame.  When we call to the Shining Ones we reach up and look towards the sky, arms extended and palms facing up.  Additionally, when calling to the Gatekeeper or Being of the Occasion, we typically stand in a modified orans posture, with arms bent at the elbows, forearms perpendicular to the ground, and palms facing away from the body (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 19-22).

Music:

Praying through music can be done in small group ritual through the use of chants or songs that the group sings together.  Music can also be used when played or sung by one or a few people to generate a mood for the group as a whole.  I find music to be particularly useful in the context of barding for ritual in order to maintain the energy of the ritual.  Music helps to maintain the focus and the group mind so that the energy generated doesn’t dissipate before it is used (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 25-7).

Gesture:

Praying through gesture falls somewhere between posture and motion.  In ritual, we most often use gesture when we are making offerings or when we are changing our body posture from one thing to another.  In group ritual gesture large, or over-exaggerated, gesture is useful in giving that motion meaning and ensuring that the Folk present see the ritual action as significant.  In Three Cranes Grove, some common gestures that we use, in addition to switching between the postures described above, include raising an offering to about eye level before pouring it out, and the variety of gestures that are used when opening and closing the Gates (often spirals or traced Druid sigils) (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 27-8).

 

The difference between using each of these methods of prayer between private and group worship depends on which one it is.  Words are often common between the two types of ritual, though in a private ritual one may be more inclined to not pray out loud, or to use more extemporaneous prayers.  In a group ritual it is important that if prayers are going to be said as a group, that they are set.  The use of bookends at the beginning and end of spoken prayers also becomes more useful. Motion, posture, and gesture can be used similarly in both types of rituals, however in a private ritual one wouldn’t be using those methods of prayer to establish or maintain group mind, but rather to focus their own mind to the task at head, and put themselves into a sacred headspace.  Similarly, music, when used in a group ritual helps keep the energy and focus of the congregation engaged, but when used in a private ritual is more focused on the feelings that it evokes within the solitary practitioner.  Similarly, when dance is used in a private ritual, it is based entirely on what the solitary practitioner needs, whether it is designed to be an offering or designed to create a certain mental state.  Music and dance are also similar to words in that if they’re going to be used in a group ritual with multiple people participating in them, they need to be set, rather than extemporaneous.

  1.  Explain the strengths and weaknesses of marked and unmarked speech in prayer. Explain how each type of speech manifests in your personal practice, and provide a description of your performance of a prayer for each type of speech in public ritual, including the text of the prayers. (Minimum 200 words)

Marked and unmarked styles of speech lead to different styles of prayers, and different levels of formality when using those types of prayers.  Unmarked speech is conversational, and more prose in nature.  In prayers, this speech is best used for spirits with whom you have a preexisting relationship with, who you’re on good terms with, or who are close to people in general.  Serith suggests that High Gods, such as Zeus, may not appreciate prayers in this style, deeming it too disrespectful to speak in this manner (Serith Pagan Ritual Prayer Book 2-5).  I don’t necessarily agree with this, and think that it depends far more on the relationship you have with a particular spirit, rather than on their job description or where they reside. Perhaps my view also comes from a generational position, as I’ve been told time and again that Millennials are less formal than previous generations, particularly in interactions that used to demand more formality. On the other hand, my prayers typically use marked speech almost exclusively, even when extemporaneous.

Marked speech is more formal, ranging from elevated prose to poetic in nature.  This is the type of prayer that was used most often in ancient times, or at least was written down most often, may use more archaic language, and is designed to be spoken rather than read.  Prayers like this may not be best for off-the-cuff, extemporaneous prayers, because they typically require more drafting and knowledge of poetic form and other literary devices.  They are excellent for more formal scenarios and high liturgy magical acts though, as they clearly sound different than regular patterned speech, which marks them as sacred (Serith Pagan Ritual Prayer Book 2-5).

I am far more likely to use marked speech in my personal practice.  I think in large part this is because not only have I read a lot of translated primary source material, but I also have a degree in English and I teach writing.  This means that understanding poetic form is more intuitive for me, and I have an internal vocabulary and set of phrases that live in my brain that I use when speaking and writing prayers.  When I have watched rituals, I have noted that even the prayers that I have spoken off the cuff sound more like marked speech. I have a strong internal set of scripts and phrases that combine with my knowledge of literary devices that allows me to do this.

Another reason I think I use marked speech even in scenarios that may otherwise have been more informal is because much of my prayer is done first in writing.  When I pray, or write prayers for others, I write so that I can send it to them for their use.  This allows me more time to think about it before I speak it or share it.  Here is a typical example of what a prayer written in a marked style of speech looks like for me.  It is a prayer written for an ADF member as they were going into labor, performed at a Druid Moon rite, as well as sent to them so that they could use it themelves:

I call out to gentle Eileithyia!
Make your way swiftly to this mother and child
that labor may be eased and pains dampened.
Sweet Opener of Ways:
As new life springs forth, hold your torch high
that the path may be illuminated
so this shining child may join us here
in full health and full joy,
Bright-eyed as he shouts his arrival to the world!
Eileithyia, for your gentle and practiced protection and delivery,
I make this offering to you!

There have been a few times that I use unmarked speech, but they are rather rare comparatively speaking.  I think most often I use unmarked speech in prayers that I haven’t formalized or finished drafting yet.  A prayer that has unmarked speech in my practice is often an unfinished prayer, one that I haven’t used frequently or polished up yet.  But, again, my brain tends to live in a more formalized style of writing and speaking when I am praying, so I don’t use much unmarked speech.  It is one of the ways I differentiate my mundane speech from my sacred speech.  I notice this especially about myself in watching the videos of our rituals, and noting that even when I am speaking off the cuff, my speech is patterned in a more formal style, using various literary devices and parallel structure. It is just where my brain tends to live. A rare exception is a call to Cerberus that I use sometimes around Samhain, and even it was written with the intention of being informal.  It goes something like this:

Cerberus! Here boy! *whistles*
*wheedling voice* I’ve got a treat for you if you let me pass.
*offers dog treats*
Who’s a good boy?
You are! Here you go, Cerberus!
Let me go see your master.

  1.  Explain why it is important to include physical offerings in ritual. (Minimum 150 words) 

Serith states in A Book of Pagan Prayer that “when we come before the gods, it is wise not to come empty handed” (7).  This is absolutely true in my opinion.  At the very least, we can come before the gods in prayer, and speak our devotion.  Even better is to come with physical offerings.  One reason that Serith gives explaining why physical offerings are important is because we are a religion that focused on right action, and that by giving material things, the gods remind us that the material, the here and now, is sacred too.

Another point that Serith makes is that by bringing physical offerings, and not just words or “energy”, sincerity is encouraged.  We are more likely to be sincere in our praise when we are giving something of value.  When we are taking something we value out of human use, it gives it more meaning (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 6-12).

Finally, I think the most important reason to give physical offerings to the spirits is because physical offerings encourage a reciprocal relationship.  We talk a lot in ADF about *ghosti, and giving physical offerings is a way to maintain that reciprocal relationship.  It encourages the idea of movable wealth and sharing the blessings between us and the Spirits.  We give the best of what we have, what we are able to give, so that they might give to us the best of what they have in return.  “Do ut des.” (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 6-12).

Requirement 1: Works Cited

Bonewits, Philip Emmons Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.

Dangler, Michael J. “Commonly Asked Questions.” Grove Organizing Handbook. : Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship., 2005. Print.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2002. Print.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 2011. Print.

 

Requirement #2: Documenting domestic and small-group ritual practice

  1. Keep and submit for review a journal covering a period of not less than six months and not more than a year that documents your active participation as a celebrant at six or more group rituals, including three observances of seasonal festivals. The text of individual prayers written by you should be provided as frequently as possible (at least one for each ritual). Include an essay for each rite that involves the analysis and commentary on the ritual’s structure, as well as a critical review of the performance of that rite.

3CG DIF Lughnassadh – Irish – Lugh (8/2/16)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IJIB0mBC7E

Attendance:  ~350

Analysis/Commentary/Performance:

This was our 5th year doing the Lughnassadh rite at the Dublin Irish Festival alongside all the other Sunday morning church services. There are a lot of things we have polished up over those five years that have needed rethinking from our usual style since it’s in a different setup (we’re on stage), has a time constraint (1hr), and is for a huge congregation (typically between 300 and 400 people). This year’s ritual started off a bit rockier than normal, since some of our celebrants we’re running late. I ended up adding an additional song to the pre-ritual set to allow for that buffer time.

Some of the changes we’ve had to make to this particular ritual that are different from the normal for us are: not having a praise offering section due to the stage arrangement and the time constraint, having to restrict the number of people taking parts because only so many of us will fit on stage, having everyone wear white robes, and having everyone memorize their parts. Running ritual is pretty old hat at this point, and we have a very solid ritual team, especially for this rite. The ritual flowed just fine, and followed the Core Order of Ritual without any problems.

Things that I’d like to modify for next year include changing our altar set up so that it is easier to see some of the action that takes place closer to the ground, such as silvering the Well. I would also like to work on blocking more, so that we have a better idea of how parts flow from one person to the next with the use of the two different speaking mics. To a lesser extent, I think we could use some more work on big gestures that scale well to this large of an audience.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote:  Call for Inspiration

The Children of the Earth call out to Oghma!
Sunny-faced one, your brilliant rays shine down upon us this morning.
We ask now that you alight upon us.
Lend your honeyed words to us.
As your silvered-chain travels from your tongue to our ears
Might we speak with the eloquence that you give us.
Oghma, Meet us at the boundaries,
Join us at our sacred fire, and be warmed at our hearth.
Guide us and aid us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Oghma, accept our offering!

Hermes Full Moon (8/28/15)

Attendance: 6

Analysis/Commentary/Performance:

I lead full moon rituals for my grove and others (I would generally classify these rites as semi-public). During them we honor the Three Kindreds in a Greek context, Selene, each individual’s Patron of Magic, and one of the Olympians based on which month it is. I choose who we’re honoring that month based on the Hellenion schedule of libations, and the focus of the moons is doing a more intense magical working or trance journey based on which of the Theoi we are honoring that month. These are rites that I have written the entire litugy for, and have slowly been giving more folks parts, and encouraging them to try them. I’ve fostered these moon rites to specifically be a learning, no-fail environment, where I’m able to encourage folks to try out parts they’ve not done before in a public rite, or want to practice before doing in a public rite.

In August we honor Hermes. For this rite, I told the story of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle and how he came out on top of that bargain thanks to his excellent communication skills.  We did a working where I took the omens we had received into the waters and we each anointed our lips with the blessing of Hermes to give us added power in bargaining and communication. I am always surprised at the power of touch in ritual, and have been reading more about it, and how to consciously incorporate it within the bounds of a consent culture.

The flow of the ritual went well, even with having my 2 year old daughter ‘helping’ me with the whole rite. I did manage to forget my omen set for this ritual, but the other grove member who reads Greek Alphabet Oracle was there, so it was good practice for her to take the omen anyways.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: I wrote the entire ritual for this. I’ve excerpted a couple of my favorite parts below:

Opening Statement/Prayer –

  O, Makares, (Blessed Ones)
As the moon in its cycle is timeless,
Growing in power each month until it bursts with luminescence,
So we return each month at the time of the Full Moon
In the timeless act of worship
Echoing with our prayers and our offerings,
The moon’s glowing promise of power and magic.
This night, beneath the bright and shining moon,
We gather to do as our Ancestors did before us,
To reforge the sacred *ghosti bond in our worship,
And to mix our powers together to achieve great works.
Elthete (Come) Theoi (gods),
Bless us with your presence,
And partake of what we offer,
In reverence of you here in our Ekklisíasma (Congregation). 

Gods of Dikhomenia –

*each person speaks of their Patron of Magic as they feel called*

To those Patrons of Magic,
whom we each work with to further our studies in these arts,
with whom we’ve developed special relationships,
You who walk alongside us and keep us safe as we walk the Elder Ways.
I pour out these libations to you as I sing your praises.
Patrons all, accept our offerings!

Selene, brilliant shining Titaness, your face,
full in power and brightness,
shines down with grace and an influx of magic and power.
You who have bathed in the sacred waters of mighty Okeanos,
you who shine, luminescent,
driving your long-maned horses at full speed across the sky.
Selene, splendid Queen of the Night,
your glowing amber orb makes this night like the noon of your all-seeing brother,
I pour out these libations to you as I sing your praises.
Selene, accept our offering!

3CG Anagantios Druid Moon –  (2/13/16)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX71jDbo2KI

Attendance: 32

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This is a really unique ritual, and was my first year being able to take part in it. During the Anagantios Druid Moon, which is the Stay at Home Druid Moon, the priests of the Grove, rather than convening a ritual somewhere, in what is normally our worst month snow-weather wise, instead travel to the homes of each Grove member.

We begin the morning by collecting the Kildare flame from the Grove member who tends it, and then going to each house to do a house blessing and give the flame to the member and their family there. This year MJD and I were able to travel together for the whole day, rather than having to split up, since the moon fell on a Saturday, and many of our Grove members were off work and had more flexible schedules. We visited and blessed 17 homes, spent 11 hours driving, and traveled 200 miles.

Normally Michael has just done the house blessing and gift of the Kildare Flame, but since there were two of us, we wanted something for each of us to do. I figured since we were blessing with fire, we could also do something with water. So I wrote a Threshold blessing to pair with the Home blessing, where the thresholds of the home were anointed with waters from several holy wells. Another cool thing we did this year was have the members we visited take the omen for us throughout the day, with three different people throughout the day each pulling one symbol.

I did notice that I became more comfortable with the liturgy and process as we moved on throughout the day. The houses we blessed in the morning, I was still nervous on. But the houses later in the afternoon, I was pretty comfortable with.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: Threshold Blessing

Waters drawn from the holy wells,
Flowing across the land to collect here,
And spread your blessing to the threshold of this home.
May your blessing keep this household safe.
May all who cross this threshold in welcome,
Be filled with the blessings of the Waters
As they enter in hospitality.

3CG Spring Equinox – Hellenic – Artemis & Hephaestos (3/20/16)

Attendance: 56

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This ritual went exceptionally well, and the feedback has continued to be outstanding from attendees.  This was an experiment in pairing two deities who wouldn’t normally be thought of as going together. I think it also helped that Artemis is a patron of mine, and Hephaestos is a patron of Traci’s. We don’t have this happen too often, where the DotO is a patron of someone leading the rite, and I hadn’t ever really thought much of it. I often feel awkward leading a ritual to one of patron’s in a public rite because it feels like sharing something exceedingly intimate with others. I’ve described it as “introducing your girlfriend to folks, when they didn’t even know you were bi.” All this aside though, I think one of the reasons this ritual went so well, felt like it had so much energy, and was so well received even by the non-Hellenes is because folks could feel and were able to benefit from the pre-existing relationship that Traci and I have and maintain. I think this is something worth considering when we do future rites.

The energy that Mike, Jeff, and I had during the DotO offering as we played (voice, drum, and guitar) was palpable and wonderful (31:50).   Traci was the Druid in Charge (traffic cop) for this ritual, and I was the Priest in Charge. She did skip the Prayer of Sacrifice, but we rolled with it and I came back around to pick it up after the omen as a final gift of thanks.  The working was fantastic, with Traci pounding hammer on anvil (brake drum) to raise energy for the blessing of tools and hands.   The use of the anvil imagery and sound I think is a huge part of what contributed to the success of the Working. We’ve been asked if we can do this particular ritual again, so I think we can definitely say it went well.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote:  Call to Artemis; Return Flow; Processional and Praise offering songs; Working (I’ve excerpted a couple of these below)

DotO – Artemis

Artemis, Chaste Maiden of the Hunt.
Delighting in arrows
You come down from the mountains,
Wind and rain flowing with you.
Following the tracks of the deer, as they run their path.
Protecting all new life that comes to us in this season.
Sweet Artemis, dancing and delighting with Cranes,
We call to you and offer you sweet amaranth.
Artemis, accept our offering!

Return Flow

Now, children of earth
Gifts have been given unto us as we have given unto the Kindreds.
We’ve been given a gift from Kindreds all,
A reminder to stay patient,
To wait for good things that will come to us.
See in your minds eye that bright light warm and ignite within you
Just as it ignites within these flames and within these waters.

And so, patience, we ignite in ourselves and in this flame
Brightening and warming these waters with this gift.

And then from Artemis we receive the blessing of her presence.
That she has come to give us her aid and her guidance
In this time of new growth and new life.
See that blessing ignite in yourself, ignite in this flame
And brighten and warm these waters.

And from Hephaestos, who gives us all,
Everything we desire and ask for,
He can forge, he can make, he can create.
Hephaestos, many skilled, can give us all these things and more.
So see that gift brighten in yourself, brighten in this flame
and brighten and warm in these waters

Children of earth, theses waters have been brightened in blessing,
have been warmed at the forge of Hephaestos,
have flown down from the mountains where Artemis dwells,
have come from across all the lands where all the Kindreds send us their aid
as we patiently wait for it, for it will come

So children of earth, here see in these waters those blessings grow
and speak with me: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Flowing up from the deep, from the wells below
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Flowing across the land, down from the skies
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Brightened and warmed and blessed…
Behold, the Waters of Life!

All: Behold, the Waters of Life!

Children of earth is it your will to partake of these waters
and bring these blessings into yourselves.

All: It is!

*water is passed and quaffed*

3CG Beltaine – “Celtic” – Trooping Fairies (5/1/16)

Attendance: 59

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This is a ritual style that MJD had wanted to experiment with: the premise is that because the fairies move from place to place at Beltane (and Samhain) and we wanted to try having a ritual with lots of movement. We set up a main altar in a central location, and three separate altars for each of the Kindreds circled around that main space. Then, as we invited each of the Kindreds to join us, all of the Folk who are able processed, making lots of joyful noise, to each of the specific altars. It made our ritual take a bit longer, but it worked really well. It kept everyone engaged, and kept the energy level high. Because we had taken into account accessibility issues, those in the congregation who are less mobile were still able to experience the rite without having to leave the main altar space. The working for this rite was also movement based. I wrote a Crane Dance that we used to generate energy to aid the fairies in moving to their new home, to encourage those beneficial ones to come into our lives, and to encourage those more troublesome one to leave us be.

The overall energy of this ritual was quite joyful. We had spent several weeks ahead of time advertising it as a kid-friendly ritual, and that meant we had probably somewhere around 20 children. Children give a special kind of chaotic and joyful energy to a ritual, and I was pleased that we were able to host them. I led a kids activity before the ritual making bell-branches that we would then use in the rite, and another Grove member made 20-30 sets of fairy wings that the kids and other folks could wear and then take home with them. Many families thanked us for providing a kid-friendly ritual, particularly at Beltane. Joe, our Senior Druid, really led the charge in making this ritual one of reverence and mirth with his attunement. He inspired laughter and fellowship with his words, and connected it beautifully to the fae.

One thing I wanted to try, that I had experienced with Rev. Sara Blackwelder at Trillium this past year, was opening the gates with sound. Specifically building a chord, and letting the final resolution of the top note of the chord as it was hit mark the opening of the gates. It worked okay, though there are definitely some things that could have gone better. The first was a location issue: the roof of the shelter we were in ate the sound and bounced it all over the place. This meant that during the whole ritual, I could barely hear myself, and that, combined with projecting so I could be heard, made it difficult to hit the 3rd, 5th, and octave of the building chord. The other difficulty could have possibly been taken care of by a better pre-ritual briefing on my part. I had picked out 3 people to hold each note in the chord for me, however, our regular congregation is too well-trained, and so when I hit a note and held it, they joined in and toned with me. This meant that the key note got lost, because when we tone, we don’t worry about what note each person is holding. I still thought it worked, however, if I decided to try it again, I’ll have to be more explicit about what I’m doing.

The Crane Dance is both fun and a challenge. This is the second time we’ve done it, and I learned a bit from last time. This biggest thing was I realized after the first attempt at this that I couldn’t lead the dance and work the magic at the same time. So, I had Mike B. teach and lead the dance, which was good leadership in ritual practice for him, and I led the working. It clocked in, all things told, at about 5 minutes in length, which was half the time it took the first time we did this in 2012. I think part of the reason it was shorter was because I didn’t have to get the dancing solid before beginning the magical work, I could just start right in on directing the energy being built, since Mike was taking care of the specifics of the dance.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: Gatekeeper invocation & gate opening opening; new praise offering song; Crane Dance

Gatekeeper & Gates

Children of earth, we stand at the center of worlds:
Where the fire and the well and the tree
Mark this as our sacred space.

And now, once again, in your minds eye,
remember the feel of those fairy hills and mounds,
the sound of the tinkling bells that seem to exude
whenever they move and wherever they go.

Now see the mists rolling across those hills,
and stepping out from that mist is Garanus, the Crane.
He stands at the edge of a pool
one foot on the land, one foot in the waters,
eye cast to the heavens.

Garanus Crane is our gatekeeper and our guide.
He leads us along the path of magic.
He guards us where we go.
He aids us in our work.
So, Garanus Crane, Gatekeeper,
You who walk with us and fly with us,
Garanus, accept this offering!

All: Garanus, accept this offering!

And so we prepare to open the gates between the worlds.
Waters flowing across the land, welling up from the deep,
raining down from above.
(sung) Let the well open as a gate.

Fire burning bright in the earth and bright in the heavens,
Burning here at the center.
(sung) Let the fire open as a gate.

Tree rooted deep in the earth,
Crowned high in the heavens,
Marking the connected bridge between the worlds.
(sung) Let the tree open as a gate.

(sung) Let the gates be open.

Children of the Earth, the gates stand open.
We are here at the center of the realms
Let naught but truth be spoken here, and blessings given.

Gods, Dead, and Sidhe (3K praise offering song)

(chorus by Ian Corrigan, verses by Rev. Jan Avende)

Chorus:
Gods and Dead and Mighty Sidhe
Powers of Earth and Sky and Sea
By Fire, by Well, by Sacred Tree
Sacrifice we make to thee.

We gather in the Fire’s Light
To watch our Sacrifice burn bright
Praise we give you for your might
Gifts of magic, strength, and sight.

Chorus

Rooted deep into the ground
Stands the Tree upon the mound
The host of spirits dancing ’round
From here the Realms can all be found.

Chorus

Hear us spirits as we pray
All the Gods and Dead and Fey
Praise we make, we sing, we say
On this blessed first of May.

Crane Dance (a magical act, danced in the round)

8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
8 count flapping LinJin
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count switch places with partner
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count spin down to up counter clockwise
4 count spin up to down clockwise
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count switch places with partner
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
16 count clapping LinJin
lather, rinse, repeat!

Gamonios Druid Moon (5/11/16)

Attendance: 9

Analysis/Commentary/Performance:

Druid Moons in our Grove follow a standard calendar year, rotating through 13 different rituals. There is one each month on the 6th night after the new moon, with the 13th being the intercalendary moon that happens about once every five years when there is a second 6th night moon in a single month. The celebration for this month was for Gamonios, the “End of the Winter Month.” It is when we celebrate the coming of the warm days when the year is no longer in darkness, when the cold is finally bested by the light of the sun. At this Druid Moon we honored the shining Gaulish god, Belenos.

While we have a standard liturgy for each of these rites, they are not set entirely in stone, which allows me to add my own flavor and style to the rituals that MJD initially wrote. One of the things I did this year to make the ritual unique was light three fires instead of one. We had the Fire of Inspiration, the Fire of Fellowship, and the Fire of Sacrifice. All offerings throughout the rite were made into the Fire of Sacrifice.

When we got to the working, I divided up the 9 people in attendance into groups of three and gave each group a candle and a small cup of Everclear. As I called out to each fire in turn to fill us, I had one person hold the candle, one person light it, and the third make the offering to their fire. I thought this worked well, and the folk seemed to enjoy it. It gave them each something to do and be involved with (and let some of them get the experience of offering Everclear, which they hadn’t done before, and can be quite powerful). Our Druid Moons are much more intimate, and so each little thing that I can do to reinforce that feeling of intimacy, like making sure each person has something (maybe even more than one thing) to do in the rite, is important.

I took the omen for this ritual by fire scrying in the Fire of Sacrifice. It is a skill I’ve been slowly working on over the past year or so, and is a different method of taking an omen than our Grove normally sees. I find it full of good magical energy, and it makes me connect even moreso into that divinatory Seer state than normal.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: I performed the ritual for this, with the standard working (though I modified the setup and words to fit my style, rather than MJDs). The omen was me.

Omen (fire scrying)

What is our Path: Fire dancing up and out from the Center. We are one and share our light with the those at the edges.

On what should the Grove focus until the next Moon: coal with a sheen, or coating, of smoke. When we smoor or bank the fire, we are able to tend it and carry it to others, to those in need.

On what should each individual focus until the next moon: breath of blue flame, not at the center, but at the edge of the fire. Search for the unexpected blessing and bring it to the Center, bring it to the Heart of the Fire.

Taken together, these might suggest: The Brightness of our well-tended Grove Fire of Sacrifice dances far and can reach into the darkness. We need to bring our own blessings to the Center, to the Grove. This will strengthen and unify us. As we then stand together we are able to bring our light to others who stand at the edge.

  1. Write and lead at least one group High Day ritual. Submit both your script for that ritual and an evaluation of the ritual in terms of structure (how the ritual flowed) and function (what was accomplished). Include evaluations of the ritual from two other attendees (Include contact information for the attendees providing the evaluations. Their evaluations must be at least 125 words in length and include a description of what they thought went well and what improvements could be made, as well as whether or not they believe the ritual accomplished its purpose.)

I wrote and led an Avestan Summer Solstice Rite honoring Adrvi Sura Anahita, the Mother of Waters. In part because I felt bad writing every part of this ritual, rather than our typical format of letting folks write their own parts if they want to, and in part because I wanted to try to keep it under the suggested 20 people for this course (since none of our public High Days are under 40 people typically), I restricted attendance to grove members only, rather than making this a public rite. It worked out well, allowed me to experiment in a different culture than any of us have familiarity with, and allowed my Folk to feel more at ease in general. I ended up with 16 people in attendance (including latecomers), 11 of whom had parts.

Throughout the course of writing this, I did realize that I rarely write rituals in their entirety, and it is something I enjoy doing. I would like to compile more of our Grove rituals this way, so we have a better back-log of liturgy that we can share with others. I also found the writing the Attunement and the Return Flow are my least favorite parts (though they are some of my favorites to do in ritual), though in the case of this ritual, those two pieces, along with the ReCreation & Gatekeeper/Gate Opening, are the parts I’m the most proud of.

The Attunement I had been putting off writing, because I didn’t have any really good ideas for it, and I didn’t particularly want to fall back on one of my standard Two Powers exercises. But then I was reminded of the idea of Fire in Waters, and then the Orlando shootings happened, and then it occurred to me that this ritual was falling on the day of Pride. I thought about how the Fire in the Sky is often the Sun, and when you bring the Sun into the Waters, you get a rainbow, and that ties directly into Pride. So, I looked up the meanings of the colors on the original Pride flag, and worked from that for this Attunement.

The part about the Return Flow that I liked was how it flowed from the Omens smoothly. Because I had decided that the Omen would be taken via water scrying, that meant that the Blessings were literally going to be seen within the Waters. And so, in that transition between the two liturgical pieces I poured the Waters used for scrying into the Blessing Pitcher; I literally mixed the blessings that had been seen into the Waters we would be drinking.

I wrote all the parts for this rite except for two pieces of standard Grove Liturgy (noted in the script), and sent them out to people about a week ahead of time.  I checked in with folks a few days later to see if anyone needed help with pronunciation or anything.  A few of them double-checked with me before the rite started, but no one needed any significant help there.  I prepared all the offerings for the rite, set up the altar, and took care of other pre-ritual necessities.  During the pre-ritual briefing I went over how the ritual would flow, who we were honoring, and who the Avestan’s were.  I also mentioned that verbal praise was very important to them, and taught everyone the phrase “for your brightness and your glory, I offer you a sacrifice” that they could use when making personal offerings.  This worked fantastically.  I love when everyone speaks before the fire when they offer, and it’s something that, as Cranes leading huge rites, we normally don’t get to do. So, having made this a Grove-only ritual (in order to keep attendance under 20 people (it clocked in at 16 people)), everyone got a chance to make personal, verbal, heartfelt offerings.  I also made a point of giving as many people as I could a part of the ritual that they had never done before.  Since I’d written all the parts, that took away some of the nervousness for them on that piece, and it gave them the chance to stretch their wings a bit (and me the chance to push them gently into trying out something new, that I knew they could handle, that they might not have been sure on yet).

The ritual flow went really well.  I was nervous getting started because I’m not used to working with a script.  But, I had practiced, and so barely needed to use it for me.  Scripts are awkward though, doing strange things to your self-confidence, and it some ways it acted like a crutch on parts that I don’t typically need it for. We had videoed the rite, so watching it after and doing my own critique, I noticed myself looking down to check the script more often than I had actually needed to.

Leading a ritual, especially one that is just our small group, is pretty relaxed at this point.  Most folks know what’s going on, and I had given them all parts to read, so they weren’t concerned with speaking off the cuff.  I think that probably helped the ritual flow a lot.  I purposefully didn’t give anyone the whole script before the rite, because I didn’t want them to be trying to read along to the whole thing.  I wanted them to experience the ritual, and only have to worry about their own part.

The ritual itself was a simple rite of offering and praise celebrating the Summer Solstice and honoring Anahita, the Avestan Mother of Waters.  We honored each of the Kindreds and then Anahita, and folks were given the chance to make praise offerings to both the Kindreds in general (or a specific spirit they have a relationship with), as well as to Anahita.  This ritual served to strengthen our relationships with the Kindreds, as well as introduce nearly everyone to the Avestan hearth culture, and Anahita specifically.  I got a lot of good feedback following the rite.  Folks seemed to get fulfillment out of it, and the omens were good.  So all in all, it went well.

Script for Avestan Summer Solstice Ritual, honoring Anahita, the Mother of Waters

Evaluations per Course Requirements for Liturgy Practicum 2, Requirement 2.2:

Include evaluations of the ritual from two other attendees (Include contact information for the attendees providing the evaluations. Their evaluations must be at least 125 words in length and include a description of what they thought went well and what improvements could be made, as well as whether or not they believe the ritual accomplished its purpose.)

Evaluation 1

(contact info removed for privacy)

Briefly describe the Ritual:

The ritual was the celebration of Summer Solstice. Anahita, the Mother of Water, was the Deity of occasion. Rev. Jan wrote the ritual and assigned parts to volunteers, using the ADF Core Order. She attempted to have many perform parts that they normally would not have or that have not had the opportunity to perform yet. There was no working outside of worship and praise. Everyone had the opportunity to give offerings to both the Anahita and their own personal deity. Indo-Iranian names were used during the rite.

I personally had the opportunity to make peace with the Outdwellers, not a part I normally call; however, fitting given my military service.

What did you think went well?:

Jan was very precise on instructions. There was active group participation within the rite and most people spoke loud and clear. Everyone gave offerings and people actually spoke their praise to the deities out loud; something that not everyone does. People stepped outside of their comfort zone and performed well.

What improvements could be made?:

As an evaluator, I would like to have had a copy of the written ritual prior to rite. This would have given me more time to formulate any questions concerning the rite.

Do you think the ritual accomplished it’s purpose? Explain:

Yes. The purpose was for Jan to write an entire ritual and assign those to parts to individuals who volunteered to be a part of her rite to meet the criteria for the Liturgy Practicum 2, Requirement 2.2. Part of her purpose was to get individuals involved in ritual and to speak out loud when giving offerings. Everyone who came did as she had encouraged in her instructions prior to the start of the ritual.

Evaluation 2

(contact info removed for privacy)

Briefly describe the Ritual:

The ritual was held in Three Cranes Grove’s usual nemeton, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation East in Reynoldsburg, OH. Many of the attendees had assigned ritual parts, which Rev. Avende had previously sent out to their responsible parties. She had also prepared all the required offerings, which were noted in the ritual script.

I don’t believe any of the attendees were previously familiar with Avestan-style ritual; certainly there was no broad knowledge. Rev. Avende began with a briefly not only of the ritual as a whole, but also of the particularities of Avestan ritual. Specifically, she noted the customary tag to invocations and offering praises: “for you brightness and your glory, we offer you a sacrifice!” Rev. Avende’s script also delved into the particular cultural practices of the Avestans, naming particular mythological figures in the Recreation of the Cosmos, calling on the Kindred by their Avestan titles, etc.

What did you think went well?:

The culturally specific namings and invocation tags were particulary effective; much as a translator often leaves a bit of the ‘flavor’ of a source text while doing the bulk of the heavy-lifting for the understanding of the reader, Rev. Avende took historically attested forms and adapted them to the COoR while maintaining their cultural focus.

I was also impressed by the ritual’s response to the broader secular world. The summer solstice, in Columbus at least, aligned with our community’s celebration of Pride; in fact, I and others traveled directly from the Pride festival to the rite. I haven’t talked to her directly about this matter, but I suspect Rev. Avende specifically wrote subtle allusions to the secular cultural context into her script. The attunement played on Anahita’s life-giving waters that flow from the sun, and led us through contemplating the different prismatic colors of the rainbow formed in the mists of magic, which was a fairly clear connection to Gay Pride. In addition, there were repeated references throughout the script to diversity in all its forms. None of this felt in any way forced; it all would have been completely appropriate language at any time of year. But especially in the wake of the shootings in Orlando, it provided a welcome and meaningful space to honor the blessings of the Mother of Waters as she sustains us all, in our diverse array of selves.

What improvements could be made?:

I was very pleased to have the Avestan ‘flavor’ included in the rite, and usually Rev. Avende’s script did a fine job of smoothly interpreting the unfamiliar terminiology. There were a few points, however, when an unfamiliar term would go unremarked. I seem to remember, for example, (though I don’t have the full script in from of me), that the first occurrence of the Avestan term for ‘chaos’ didn’t have an immediate gloss. Similarly, my part (Recreating the Cosmos) included a number of mythological terms for the first plant, first animal, first man, which all seem to have etymologically-related names, but it wasn’t clear in the glossing whether the gloss was translation or explanation. Especially for linguistically minded people like me, that poses a danger of pulling me into my own headspace.

If it sounds like I’m nitpicking, it’s because I am: Rev. Avende’s ritual script was beautiful, and flowed smoothly; it made an unfamiliar hearth culture feel present and welcome. My quibbles above are to take it from excellent to superlative!

Do you think the ritual accomplished it’s purpose? Explain:

Indubitably. First, it assuredly marked the summer solstice: the DotO was absolutely aligned with the High Day, and Rev. Avende’s script tied her attributes back to the summer’s heat and life that we could feel and see all around us. Second, it also achieved the subtextual goals of building community and offering a space for attendees to celebrate the Kindreds and each other in all our great diversity — by welcoming difference, it bound us and the spirits more tightly in a web of care and community. It was one of the more powerful rites I’ve attended this year, and I’m quite glad to have been a part of it.

Evaluation 3

(contact info removed for privacy)

Purpose…

Our stated purpose for the rite was to celebrate the Summer Solstice, to honor the Kindreds, and to honor and give sacrifice to Ardvi Sura Anahita. The Folk did indeed bring honor and praise for the three Kindreds, as well as the Summer Solstice appropriate Deity of the Occasion Anahita, and received Blessings in return during this Avestan Rite. As a bonus, we learned about worship within a hearth culture that was new to nearly everyone who participated in this fully scripted celebration.

I very much enjoyed the ritual that began with offering to Atar, the Great Fire, with purification by washing our hands, and with an Outdwellers treaty. It was noted the Avenstans called to the Earth itself, not an Earth Mother, followed by calling to a deity of inspiration (Haoma) and the attunement. Recreating the cosmos and calling Beaver as the gate keeper continued the fire-in-the-waters theme, and then the gates were opened with well, fire, and tree imagery. General praise offerings by the Folk followed the Kindreds invitations, and offerings to Anahita were brought forth after evoking her. After the Prayer of Sacrifice (my part) came the unusual method of water scrying for taking an Omen. The Blessings were passed on to the Folk through drinking Hallowed Waters. The Spirits called upon were thanked, the gates were closed, Beaver, Haoma, and the Earth were thanked. The rite was ended.

Propitious…

There was excellent preparation for the rite, as evidenced by pre-arrangement of roles and tasks, discussion of the purpose and structure of the rite, and the availability of a full written version of the script (if we had not printed our part or had no electronic access). Jan provided effective coaching for the process and flow of the rite, as well as any parts assigned, before and during the rite. Jan adapted well to any difficulties that arose, handling changes that had to be made smoothly and gracefully.

There was also valuable assistance rendered as instruction on performance blocking, with personalized attention given to participants regarding specific questions. Jan exhibited a good understanding of individual Grove member’s aptitudes for liturgy, their current level of confidence with performance, and their willingness to stretch beyond that comfort level – and, encourage us to stretch she did! Everyone present participated in some way beyond just making personal offerings, even if it was only to use the suggested bookend phrase, “___ , for your brightness and your glory, I offer you a sacrifice,” which sounded very good and right as it was included in nearly every part spoken and in the praise offerings of so many of the Folk. It’s one of those things that quite beautifully knits a ritual together.

Along with fulfilling its ritual purpose, each part provided some information/education about the Avestan entity addressed and/or the way the Avestans might have approached their worship. I think this is one of the duties of those who lead our ritual celebrations – to teach us something of the peoples who have gone before and the deities they worshiped. Sometimes we do that in the pre-ritual briefing, sometimes through ritual storytelling strategically placed in a rite, or, as in this case, quite handily through the carefully worded liturgy itself. Even if I cannot connect with a ritual on any other level, if I come away with a new or different way to consider worship, I have “gained something in the work.”

Possibilities…

I love it when we try new things or take a new approach to things – like the water scrying for the Omen – though, it is inherently more difficult to connect with a method or approach used rarely or never before. The water scrying was completely appropriate to this rite, and this DotO, and I think it was a good call, even if it was uncomfortable as a participant to experience so much newness in one rite.

Offering to the Great Fire, Atar, and the washing of hands for each individual seemed to set the pace of this rite as somewhat slower and more word heavy than we might usually perform… though, again, both items (and all sections of the ritual) were completely appropriate to hearth culture/DotO, and were also a good call. There may or may not have been a goodly bit of wanting to get to the After-Feast in not wanting a ritual to drag on. To be fair, the lengthy liturgy was worth the information imparted.

Personal Favs…

Attunement – it seemed highly appropriate to a Summer Solstice Rite as it involved the Sun and the Waters showing how they combine to form a multitude of colors, and yet also coalesce into one unified white light… I was proud to do this Attunement at the Three Cranes Grove Summer Solstice Rite the next weekend on Sunday morning at the annual Community Festival (ComFest) in Columbus OH.

Bookends – it does indeed enhance the aesthetics of a ritual for many people to use similar formats during their parts, right down to repeating specific wording as in the case of this bookend phrase.

 

Personal Memorial for Grandma

A fire ignited here at the center; a light in the darkness.  Hestia, let this flame burn bright as I remember my Grandma, Elizabeth (Betty) Krueger.

When we are born, we are born of the Earth, and through life cycles, our bodies must eventually return to Her.  Throughout our lives the Earth Mother supports us and nourishes us, and when the time comes for our death, She receives us.  Our bones become once more part of the Earth.  Our breath becomes the very air floating through the Starry Sky.  Earth Mother, as one of your Children returns to you, I remember all you do for us, and I honor you.

Now, I stand in the place where the land, sea, and sky meet; in the place where the navel of the world floats in the midst of the deep sea, and the brilliant fire in the sky reflects off the waters.  I stand rooted where this flame burns bright at the center, marking this space and time as sacred, and connected to all other sacred places and times. The flame brightens the waters that flow through all the lands.

There are nine streams brightened that encircle and flow through the earth.  They lead everywhere and flow through all the worlds.  Even if our dead don’t dwell in the underworld we know, those waters of the earth connect all the realms. It is in times like these especially, when we find the ways inaccessible or unnavigable, that we call to the Keeper of Ways, to the Guide of Souls, and trust that he knows the route.

Keeper of the Ways, you who part the veil and guide souls on their journey, a Child of Earth and Starry Sky calls to you now.  You know the bright path.  You know all the rivers and streams that flow between the worlds.  I honor you for the tireless work that you do.  I honor you for the bright path you maintain.  I honor you for the tears you are paid for safe passage.  Servant of the Fates, hold safe the way for me, that I may honor and remember Grandma Betty.

I call out now to the Ancestors!  Passage has been paid for Betty, and she comes to join you now.  All sacred places are connected, and so while she journeys to the afterlife that brightens for her, I know that all afterlives are brightened as another soul is welcomed.  Light the fires for her, that her way is clear.  Prepare those golden halls for her and spread wide your arms to envelop her in your warmth as she begins this new adventure.  Show her the connecting rivers that she may journey to meet with all her loved ones.  Ancestors, you of my heart and my blood and my soul, I honor you as you greet Betty.

Grandma, even though the spark of life has gone out, it has ignited hundreds of thousands of fires.  All of the lives touched by that spark: ignited.  Everywhere that flame burns, there is a memory.  And with each memory, life is remembered and honored.  I will speak of you and remember you, so that you may live on in our hearts and memories.  Your flame will continue to burn long after the kindling spark is gone.  So, Grandma Betty, drink of the waters of memory, as we remember you, and pass on your stories:

Betty, my grandma, was someone who throughout most of my life growing up, I had only minimal contact with.  She lived in Florida, and later Mississippi, and we lived in Ohio.  I feel like I really got to know parts of her during my first year of college. I moved away from home, and didn’t have any friends who went to the same school as me (most of them were younger).  She started writing to me (real, live, snail-mail!), and enjoying that connection, I started writing back.  She’s one of the few people who I’ve had actual letter-writing mail correspondence with, and that’s a feeling that all the social media, texting, and emails can’t really replace.  We sent each other little things we found that we thought may interest or be useful to the other: newspaper articles, post-cards, pictures. She sent me super comfy and fluffy shoes right as the weather turned cold.  I feel like I got to know her. I found out she had a whole corner of her room full of pictures of me.  She saved letter I had written her.  My parents brought some of them back from the funeral.  She shared stores about her time in school and traveling when she was younger.  I learned some of her stories, and shared mine with her as they were happening.

The love that exists in you, Grandma, overflows these rivers that connect all the worlds.  The waters of the Earth flow through us all just as they flow through Her.  As your life once again mingles with Her, I know that I can be connected back to those waters, ignited by your spark and brightened your love.

Ancestors, as these stories are shared, I know that you will come to know Betty.  I know you will welcome her warmly amongst you and teach her the ways of connecting back to those who remember, as I always will.  And for that I thank you.

And now, Keeper of the Ways, you who have held safe the path for me, I ask that as I leave this space you help Betty settle into her afterlife.  Guide of Souls, for your unfailing skill as you navigate this path, and for your safe passage, I thank you.

Earth Mother, you who support us, nourish us, and welcome us back to you when the time has come, I thank you.  I honor you always because in this never-ending cycle you are who I love, and who I love is you.

So finally, Hestia, this flame is extinguished here on my hearth, though it always burns bright and strong in my heart.  I know when I rekindle it I am once again connected to all sacred place and time.

Wisteria Summer Solstice 2015 – Closing Rite

This year at Wisteria Summer Solstice, Three Cranes Grove, ADF was again asked to lead several rituals throughout the festival. We did the opening rite, the main summer solstice rite, and the closing rite. We were asked to tie all three rituals together. The theme of the festival this year was “Weaving Deeper Roots.” The Opening and Closing both take more of a devotional format, and the Main Summer Solstice Rite follows the ADF Core Order of Ritual. I had the pleasure of writing the liturgy and leading these rituals with my grove mates. Here is the script for the Closing Rite:

Statement of Purpose
Well, we’ve made it through a wonderful festival weekend, and in spite of the torrential rains, we’ve grown closer as a community. Perhaps even in part due to the weather. It’s important to remember that even as the rain pounds down, it nourishes the Earth, it nourishes the Land, and it nourishes us. Even as we are soaked to the bone, it drives us closer together. We seek shelter together and our roots grow stronger.

Now, as the sun has returned in full Solstice force today, the Waters we’ve gained are warmed within us and across the Land. Breath deep, and take a moment to feel the Waters within as the warmth of this Summer Solstice sun brightens in them and in you.

Restoration of the Ordinary
This Heart Fire was lit on Thursday from three Sacred Fires: The Fire of Fellowship, the Fire of Inspiration, and the Fire of Blessing. It has been tended by all of us: one Tribe, one Community, One Folk. From this Fire the other fires throughout the festival were lit and joined: PawPaw, Pirate’s Cove, the Stone Circle, and many others. All connected as one, helping us build fellowship, inspiring us, and filling us with the blessings of the spirits and our community. Those fires have been brought back to this Fire, the Heart Fire, that they may be joined together as one once more. Here at this Center they all burn. Here at this Center our roots meet and we are one.

It is now time to remember the connections we’ve made, and the ties we have deepened with our tribe, and to say goodbye for another year. Our roots have grown strong and we have danced around the fire with the Spirits. Now we thank them for joining us around this Good Fire and in our revelry this weekend.

Thanking the Spirits
Ancestors, the Children of the Earth call out to you!
Those of our blood and my bone, who have given us life.
Those of our heart and our hearth, who have guided our steps.
Those of our friends and our folk, who strengthen and deepen our relationships.
Those Mighty Dead: poets, priests, and bards.
Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.
We joined in Fellowship this weekend, and remembered our roots.
We came together as one Tribe, one Community, one Folk,
and continued our observance of the Elder Ways.
For joining us, Ancestors, we make this offering to you in thanks.
May we continue to be guided by your wisdom and blessed by your presence in our lives.
Ancestors, we thank you!

Spirits of Nature, the Children of the Earth call out to you!
Those of fur and feather, who run and fly across the land.
Those of root and stem, who grow deep into the earth and reach for the sky.
Those of stone and mineral, who enrich the soil and enrich our lives.
Those Totems, Guides, and Allies, you who teach us your ways to love and honor the Earth.
We were inspired by you this weekend.
We supported each other as the rains fell, and raised our voices to the heavens in prayer and praise.
We came together as one Tribe, one Community, one Folk,
and continued our observance of the Elder Ways.
For joining us, Sprits of Nature, we make this offering to you in thanks.
May we continue to be guided by your wisdom and blessed by your presence in our lives.
Sprits of Nature, we thank you!

Shining Gods and Goddesses, the Children of the Earth call out to you!
Those of the Heavens, who shine brightly upon us and give us nourishing rains.
Those of the Land, who provide for us and walk beside us in our path.
Those of the Underworld, who care for our dead and know the riches of the earth.
Those Patrons, who take special interest in us and we worship with our heart, mind, and soul,
Devotees honoring you as you care for us.
We raised our arms, our branches, to the sky in unison and made offerings to you this weekend
and we received your Blessings in return.
We came together as one Tribe, one Community, one Folk,
and continued our observance of the Elder Ways.
For joining us, Shining Gods and Goddesses, we make this offering to you in thanks.
May we continue to be guided by your wisdom and blessed by your presence in our lives.
Shining Gods and Goddesses, we thank you!

Sending out the Heart Fire
The Three Kindreds, these many and varied and vibrant Spirits, we’ve now thanked for joining us this weekend in our revelry. Their roots have been woven into ours, and so now we’d like to make it so that we can all take a piece of this Fire home with us.

This is the heart fire of this festival. It has burned bright and strong here, and now, transferring it to these candles we send the Spirit of the Fire to live in these smaller flames.
In this Heart Fire lives the Heart of our Tribe, our Community, our Folk.
When we are missing our Tribe,
we can light this fire and reignite our Fellowship and reconnect our roots.
When we hear that one of our Tribe is hurting or in need of support,
we can light this fire and reignite our Fellowship and reconnect our roots.
When we need the inspiration of our Tribe,
we can light this fire and reignite our Fellowship and reconnect our roots.

So as this flame ignites your candle, let it also ignite in your heart. Feel the heat of the sun warm you as you hold this flame. Feel that warmth spread through you and the energy connect to the flame in your hand, the flame in your heart, and the flame in the Heart Fire here. Know that they are connected.

Dousing the Heart Fire
Now that we have this Heart Fire that we have tended burning in our own hearts, and have the ability to rekindle it for ourselves and each other, even in the darkest of times, the time has come to say goodbye for now, and douse these flames here.

So, even though the Fire may go out here, in this time and in this place, may it always burn ever strong within our hearts.

Go now in peace, carrying this Fire of Fellowship, Inspiration, and Blessing with you. Remember that we have woven our roots together as one Tribe, one Community, on Folk, and that we are all brightened by this same bright Fire.

Safe travels one and all as we journey on until we meet again!

Wisteria Summer Solstice 2015 – Opening Rite

This year at Wisteria Summer Solstice, Three Cranes Grove, ADF was again asked to lead several rituals throughout the festival. We did the opening rite, the main summer solstice rite, and the closing rite. We were asked to tie all three rituals together. The theme of the festival this year was “Weaving Deeper Roots.” The Opening and Closing both take more of a devotional format, and the Main Summer Solstice Rite follows the ADF Core Order of Ritual. I had the pleasure of writing the liturgy and leading these rituals with my grove mates. Here is the script for the Opening Rite:

Statement of Purpose
Welcome! We’re here to light the heart fire that will burn throughout the festival. This is a community flame. It is the hearth of our tribe, and it burns within us all. We gather together each year at this time when the sun rides high in the sky and shines brightly upon us all, filling us with the brightness and warmth of the summer sun.

Establishing Sacred Space
We are all Children of the Earth and here we weave out roots together. We may travel from all over, journeying through land, sea, and sky. Bringing those Spirits with us to share in our joy, revelry, and love. From all the realms we journey here to the Center, to meet around the fire at this sacred time and place.

Welcoming the Spirits
Three fires burn now to help us call to the Spirits and kindle the Sacred Fire at the Center of Worlds, where all space and all time blends together.
Here stands the Fire of Fellowship. As we forge the bonds of community and weave our roots together, let us call to the Ancestors…
Ancestors!
Those of our blood and my bone, who have given us life.
Those of our heart and our hearth, who have guided our steps.
Those of our friends and our folk, who strengthen and deepen our relationships.
Those Mighty Dead: poets, priests, and bards.
Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.
It is to you we call out to and to you we sing praises.
By the Fire of Fellowship, as we all weave our many and diverse roots together in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Ancestors!
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 offering!

Here stands the Fire of Inspiration. As we meld our voices as one, and uphold each other’s trunks, let us call to the Spirits of Nature…
Spriits of Nature!
Those of fur and feather, who run and fly across the land.
Those of root and stem, who grow deep into the earth and reach for the sky.
Those of stone and mineral, who enrich the soil and enrich our lives.
Those Totems, Guides, and Allies, you who teach us your ways to love and honor the Earth.
It is to you we call out to and to you we sing praises.
By the Fire of Inspiration, as we all meld our voices together and uphold one another in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Spirits of Nature!
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 Nature, accept our offering!

Here stands the Fire of Blessing. As we make offerings together and all stretch our branches to the sky, let us call to the Shining Gods and Goddesses…
Shining Gods and Goddesses!
Those of the Heavens, who shine brightly upon us and give us nourishing rains.
Those of the Land, who provide for us and walk beside us in our path.
Those of the Underworld, who care for our dead and know the riches of the earth.
Those Patrons, you who take special interest in us and we worship with our heart, mind, and soul,
Devotees honoring you as you care for us.
It is to you we call out to and to you we sing praises!
By the Fire of Blessing, as we all make offerings together and stretch our branches to the sky in this time and place,
We ask you to meet us at the boundary, Shining Gods and Goddesses!
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 Gods and Goddesses, accept our offering!

Hallowing and Lighting the Fire
Now with the Three Kindreds called, we hallow these Three Fires.
Fire of Fellowship, burn bright and strong!
Fire of Inspiration, burn bright and strong!
Fire of Blessing, burn bright and strong!
Join together, light the heart fire, and burn bright and strong throughout the festival as the Children of the Earth weave our roots together and into the Land.
Children of Earth, Kindreds, Spirits all! Behold the Heart Fire!
Let it burn bright, sacred, and strong, building fellowship between us, inspiring us, and blessing us all!
This fire is for our community, for our tribe. We will all tend it throughout the weekend, as it burns bright within us all.
Go now in peace as the heart fire burns, and revel in our community as we have come home!