Liturgy Practicum 3: Large Group Practice

Liturgy Practicum 3 is designed to focus on large group practices, both within and outside of ADF. In order to pass this course, you will be required to lead a ritual at a festival, and this ritual must be large enough to pose some of the usual problems that large rites create.

Because part of ADF’s vision is to provide publically accessible worship, even to those who are not part of ADF, this course will require that you perform a ritual for a generally non-ADF-centric function as well. You may contact the Archdruid or Clergy Council Preceptor to help you arrange to lead a festival ritual if you are a Consecrated Priest. If you have completed this course in the LGSP, you may submit the same answers, if it falls in the time frame specified below:

Rituals completing the exit standards of this course may not be performed more than three years before the submission date of this course for grading. The Clergy Council Preceptor will require some form of verification that the ritual took place and included the requisite number of attendees.

The primary goal of this course is for students to provide worship opportunities to the community and develop experience running large group rituals.

Course Objectives

  1. Students will increase their awareness of how ritual elements, such as creating group mind, developing effective prayers utilizing techniques such as motion, dance, music etc., and the use of physical offerings enhance small group ritual.
  2. 2. Students will lead rituals both within ADF and outside of it, and will examine their own processes for ritual creation.

Continue reading “Liturgy Practicum 3: Large Group Practice”

Winter Solstice Spiral Liturgy: Overview

Winter Solstice takes place in the season of many winter holidays. Most of these have some focus on lights in the dark, renewal, or the gifts of the season. After seeing some folks post in the ADF Parents Special Interest Group pictures of their Yule Advent Spirals, I decided I wanted something of my own, but I also wanted to create a liturgy to go along with. Thus, the Winter Solstice Spiral Liturgy was born.

I asked Rev. Michael J Dangler of the Magical Druid to design and make a spiral for me. We settled on a three armed spiral with space for seven candles in each arm and one large candle in the center. The liturgy is likewise divided up into three sets of seven, with a large candle set up for the final day, and our family celebration.

The basic outline for the liturgy is focusing on the ideas of Storm, Water, and Fire. This allows the liturgy to move from dark to light as we progress closer to the solstice. There will be more and more candles lit each day to combat the increasing darkness, up until the Sun is honored on the final day when the nights begin growing shorter again.

The liturgy itself follows a basic template with a very simplified version of the ADF Core Order of Ritual, with only the center portion, the “being of the occasion,” changing between the days. Then the last day has a ritual and tradition all it’s own. This draws from the tradition our family has developed and practiced in past years.

I’m including the outline of spirits honored each day below, and then each day I will post the full liturgy for that day. The liturgy begins on Dec 1st, and moves through December 21st, with an extra piece for the morning of the Solstice.  You can purchase a copy of the full liturgy in Kindle or Paperback on Amazon or get a copy of the pdf by supporting me on Patreon.

a picture of the book cover of a large, white pillar candle surrounded  by many small chime candles of different colors.  title of the book is "The Spiraling Sun: A Winter Solstice Liturgy" by Rev. Jan Avende

Day 1: The Destroyer

Day 2: Solitude

Day 3: The Winds of Change

Day 4: Nourishing Rains

Day 5: Clear Skies

Day 6: Justice

Day 7: The Winner of Waters

Day 8: The Waters of Blessing

Day 9: The Waters of Purification

Day 10: The Ferryman

Day 11: Memory & Forgetfulness

Day 12: The Mistweaver

Day 13: The God of the Sea

Day 14: The Mother of Waters

Day 15: The Son of the Waters

Day 16: The Center of Worlds

Day 17: Hearth & Home

Day 18: The Need Fire

Day 19: The Fire of Transformation

Day 20: Inspiration & Vision

Day 21: Sacrifice & Order

Morning following the Solstice: The Sun

 

If you like the work I’m doing, please consider supporting me on Patreon for access to even more.

Second Annual Prayer-A-Day

picture of a candle in a lantern against a dark background with words that say "Light the Way, Draw others to the Flame: Write a Prayer a Day in November. #prayeraday #adfdruidry"

It’s time for the Second Annual Prayer-A-Day Challenge!

November tends to be a month when people work on doing something each day of the month, whether it’s moments of gratitude or writing for National Novel Writing Month. Last year, I decided that I would try my own variation on this trend and began a #PrayerADay Challenge. The idea was to write one prayer each day, to whatever spirit or on whatever topic called to you at that particular moment. After deciding that I was was going to take this on for myself, I thought “wouldn’t it be awesome if we were able to have a whole collection prayers compiled from clergy and other ADF members?” So, I issued the challenge to other members of ADF clergy, and the whole experiment kind of exploded from there. Many people across ADF joined in to write one or more prayers, and it has been absolutely fantastic.

So, it’s time to do this again, and this year I challenge all of you. Yes. All of you! I don’t care if you’ve never written a prayer, or if you’ve written lots and lots. The idea here is to write a new prayer each day. It’s okay if you don’t like it, but write _something_ every day in November.

The hash tags we’ll be using for this across social media are #PrayerADay and #adfdruidry. When you post it to social media, make sure you use both of those tags so we can all find it!

A Little Oaks Samhain

Our Grove has recently started kicking it up into full gear with the children’s programming.  We probably have somewhere around 15 kids associated with our grove, not to mention any others who happen to show up to public high days.  Our Little Oaks programming is geared towards the kids who are direct members of the Grove, rather than the public stuff we do for the kids at High Days.

Those of us who are trading around leading the meetings right now are working on getting a good routine in place so the kids start to get comfortable.  I’ve got it set up in a basic outline that has an Opening, Story, Craft, Ritual, Closing.  It keeps things moving and allows each thing to build right into the next.

This was our first time trying out this routine, and I think it went really well.  It was structured enough to keep the kids engaged.  We were done with the whole meet up in 45-60 minutes.  Which is plenty long for preschool aged kids, and remarkable that they stayed relatively sane the whole time.

So, what did we do?

For the babies (under 1 year old) we set up some sensory play for them.  We had a whole bunch of different textured gourds for them to feel.  We had small drums for banging on.  We had a baby pool ball pit.

For the rest of the kids we followed the loose outline I mentioned earlier.  For our opening song we sang a version of “My Roots Go Down” that I had modified for our Little Oaks Druidry.  It was a great way for the more shy toddlers to warm up to what we were doing, to get everyone comfortable and moving, and to set a clear beginning for our meet up.

We then moved into the story.   I told it as an interactive, cooperative story.  They had parts where they joined in with certain words and hand motions.  The preschoolers and early elementary kids stayed pretty well engaged and into the story.  They enjoyed shouting “Trick or Treat” and pretending to lift a lantern up.  The toddlers were a little harder, but with some parental redirecting they stayed in the same general area and didn’t go running off.  I got a video of me telling the story that I’ll post when I get it off the camera.

Since the story was about Jack-o’-Lanterns it flowed very nicely into the craft portion.  All the kids were able to get into this part.  The first craft was to draw a Jack-o’-Lantern on a piece of orange paper.  Since the story was about using Jack-o’-Lanterns to keep the fairies away, the kids were invited to make a Jack-o’-Lantern they could hang up at their house for Trick-or-Treating to make sure that only humans came to their door, and no fairies.  They seemed to have a really great time with it.

The second craft we did was to write letters or draw pictures for our Ancestors.  We started with a quick discussion of what and who the Ancestors are, and had the kids give examples.  It ranged from the beloved cat, to a grandfather, to a parent.  The younger kids were welcome to either draw pictures or dictate what they wanted to say to an adult who would write for them.  The older kids were able to write and/or draw as they desired.  It was explained to them that we were making these as presents for the Ancestors, and we’d be giving them to them at the party we were having in just a little bit.

That allowed the craft to flow nicely into the ritual portion of the meet up.  We started with a quick discussion with our listening ears on about what kinds of things make up an altar, and how we don’t touch them or play with them.  In the future I’d also like to start having a small fire for these so we can begin teaching fire safety a little more directly.

After the brief pre-ritual discussion we moved right on in to the ritual.  It draws very heavily from Rev. Kathleen Pezza’s work with the Children’s Programming for Charter Oak Grove, ADF with some modification for our specific group and age range.  In the future we have plans for other deviations from her work, but the basic idea of how to present ritual to kids as a birthday party is fantastic.  We were able to keep the ritual moving right along by having the parents (armed with song sheets) continuing right along with the pieces, each of which had a song (with a children’s song melody) to go along with it.

During the Key Offerings each of the kids brought their present (the letter/picture they made) up to the offering bowl, said who it was for, and put it in.  For the Return Flow, after I drew an omen (Omicron, Mu, Khi) and explained it in kid-friendly language we put each of those gifts into our “goody bags”, represented by cookies and juice.  The kids were then able to take the blessings into themselves by eating them.  We then closed out the ritual by quickly saying thank you to everyone that we invited, and hanging up our Cosmic Telephone.

Finally, after the ritual was over, we congratulated all the kids on doing so well, and sang our goodbye song, which I had my daughter teach me from her preschool class.   All in all, it was a very good day and meet up for our Little Oaks.  There are still things we want to do, and revisit, and modify.  But this was a good day.

Kid’s Samhain Rite

This craft and ritual script borrows very heavily from Rev. Kathleen Pezza of Charter Oak Grove, ADF.

Craft: Cards for the Ancestors

Today we are going to have a party for the the Ancestors. The Ancestors are important to us because they taught our parents all kinds of things to help us grow big and strong. The Ancestors love us very much, and so we’re going to throw a party for them.

When we have a party what do people sometimes bring us? (Presents!!) Just like we get presents at our parties, we are going give the Ancestors presents and sing them songs at this one.

Each of you needs a present for an Ancestor that is special to you. I am going to give each of you a piece of paper and some markers so you can make them one. You can either draw a picture or write a short letter to give them about what you remember about them.

Ritual: 

Pre-ritual Briefing
Is everyone ready to have our party for the Ancestors?

If you know the words to the songs we are singing today, sing along with me. If you don’t know the words, can you all clap along with the song or play your instrument? (make sure parents have the song sheets)

We are going to walk over to where we are having the party and we are going to sing a song as we are walking and sitting down.

Procession:
“Marching to the Grove” (The Ants go Marching) – modified by Rev. Avende

Let’s go marching to the grove, hurrah, hurrah
Let’s go marching to the grove, hurrah, hurrah
Let’s go marching to the grove,
Let’s bring along our treasure trove
And we all go marching Down. To the Grove.
To have a party now!

Purification:

Before we start our party for the Ancestors, we want to make sure that we can pay attention. I want you to think off all the things that might keep you from paying attention.

(Give the child/children a minute or so to think)

Now we’re going to shake all those distractions off of us. Imagine them all falling off you and running away. Ready?

“Shake Your Sillies Out” – Raffi

Gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away

I gotta clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
And wiggle my waggles away

I gotta jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
And wiggle my waggles away

Gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away

Repeat as needed until everyone has gotten rid of all of their sillies.

Now that everyone’s sillies are all gone, we are all able to pay attention. Is everyone ready to pay attention and have a party for our Ancestors?

Honoring the Earth Mother:
Parties are very exciting for boys and girls but it is important to remember the parents who have worked so hard taking care of us. Before we start the party for our Ancestors, we are going to sing a song for their mommy, the Earth Mother, who is such a great mommy.

“She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands” – modified by Rev. Pezza

She’s got the whole world in her hands,
She’s got the rivers and the mountains in her hands,
She’s got the oceans and the seas in her hands,
She’s got the whole world in her hands.

She’s got everybody here in her hands,
She’s got everybody there in her hands,
She’s got you and she’s got me in her hands,
She’s got the whole world in her hands.

We are going to give the Ancestors mommy, who is also our mommy, the Earth Mother, a present. Who wants to come up and put the Earth Mother’s present into the Offering Bowl for us?

Statement of Purpose:
Today we are celebrating Samhain. It is starting to get colder and darker out. Lots of spirits are getting ready to pack up and move to new homes. Since it’s getting colder and and getting dark earlier, we like to tell more stories. It’s a good time to tell stories and remember our Ancestors.

So, we are going to throw our Ancestors a party and bring them presents to remind them that we love them a lot and to ask them to keep teaching us new things.

(Re)Creating the Cosmos:
The Ancestors live far, far away. We want them to be able to see their party and their presents and hear the songs we sing for them. How can we talk to someone if they live far, far away?

(Hopefully a child will come up with the answer “a telephone.” If they respond with computer based technology (e-mail, instant messaging, skype, etc.) you can either redirect them to the phone metaphor, or you can change the metaphor to a computer based one.)

We have a way of talking to gods and goddesses who live far, far away but we need water, fire and a special tree. If we sing to them and give them gifts, they act like a telephone and help us talk to not only to gods and goddesses who live far, far away, but also people we loved who have died and plants and animals too!

To create this special telephone, first we are going to sing to the Well and give it a gift.

“There’s Water in the Well” (The Farmer in the Dell) – modified by Rev. Pezza

There’s water in the Well
There’s water in the Well
Hi-ho, the derry-o
There’s water in the Well

The water’s cold and dark
The water’s cold and dark
Hi-ho, the derry-o
The water’s cold and dark

Who would like to put our gift for the Well in the Offering Bowl?

Next, we are going to sing to the fire and give it a gift so it will help us make our special telephone.

“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Fire” (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) – modified by Rev. Pezza

Twinkle, twinkle little Fire
As we sing you rise up higher
Little flame, warm and bright
A tiny piece of holy light
Twinkle, twinkle little Fire
As we sing you rise up higher

Who would like to put our gift for the Fire in the Offering Bowl?

Finally, we are going to sing to the tree and give it a gift so that we can make our special telephone.

“Big, Green Tree” (Three Blind Mice) – modified by Rev. Pezza

Big, green tree
Big, green tree
You are so tall
You are so tall
You reach the sky with your branches high
Your roots dig into the ground nearby
You are the link between earth and sky
Big, green tree

Who would like to come up and put our gift to the tree into the Offering Bowl?

Opening the Gates:
We want to make sure that we reach our Ancestors and all of the guests we are going to invite to our party using our special phone. To do that, we need the help of someone named Garanus. He’s a crane who is going to make sure that we don’t dial any wrong numbers. As we sing his song and give him his gifts, he’s going to connect our phone to all of the people we want to talk to.

“Pop! Goes the Gate” (Pop! Goes the Weasel) – modified by Rev. Pezza

O Crane between the worlds come play
We need your help, please guide us
Keep us safe along the way
Pop! goes the Well gate.

O Crane between the worlds come play
We need your help, please guide us
Keep us safe along the way
Pop! goes the Fire gate.

O Crane between the worlds come play
We need your help, please guide us
Keep us safe along the way
Pop! goes the Tree gate.

(At each Pop! give an offering to Garanus and open the appropriate gate.)

Inviting the Kindreds:
Now that we can talk to everyone far, far away, we are going invite more guests to our party.

Nature Spirits:
The first guests that we are going to invite to our party are all of the animals and plants and rocks and stones and everything that lives outside.

“Nature Spirits” (Do Your Ears Hang Low) – modified by Rev. Pezza

Do your ears hang low?
Do you look like a crow?
Do you live in the snow?
Do you need sun to grow?
Can you fly? Can you run?
Do you swim? Weigh a ton?
Do your ears hang low?

Yes our ears hang low.
Yes we look like a crow.
Yes we live in the snow.
Yes we need sun to grow.
We can fly. We can run.
We can swim, weigh a ton.
Yes our ears hang low.

Who would like to come up and put our gift to the Nature Spirits into the Offering Bowl?

Shining Ones:
The next group of guests we are going to invite to our party are all of the gods and goddesses.

“Gods and Goddesses” (Frére Jacques) – modified by Rev. Pezza

Gods and Goddesses
Gods and Goddesses
Please come play
Please come play
Welcome to our party
Welcome to our party
We love you
We love you

Who would like to come up and put our gift to the gods and goddesses into the Offering Bowl?

Key Offerings: Ancestors
Now that we have all of the guests here, we have to invite our Ancestors, so that we can give them the presents we brought for them. So let’s ask all the people we know and love who have died to come to their party.

“Grandmas, Grandpas Come and Play” (London Bridge) – modified by Rev. Pezza

Grandmas, Grandpas
Come and play
Come and play
Come and play

Bring your parents
Don’t delay
It’s a party.

Now each of you needs to come up one at a time and give the present you made for your Ancestors to her by putting it in the Offering Bowl.

Prayer of Sacrifice:
Nature Spirits, Gods and Goddess, we hope that you liked our gifts and our party. Ancestors, we hope that you liked all of the pictures we drew for you and sentences we wrote for you. We hope that you will accept our gifts and keep teaching us new things.

Omen:
We have thrown such a nice party for our Ancestors and all of our guests that they are going to give us gifts that we can take home with us. I am going to reach into this goody bag and see what presents their sending home with us.

(Pull the omen and talk to the children about what it means and how they could use the gift.)

Blessings:
(Bring out the cupcakes and juice/milk and hold them up to the Fire, Well and Tree)

Ancestors, gods and goddess, plants and animals, ___________(fill in the omen). We know that when we eat these cupcakes that we will be able to use the gifts you have just given us.

Thank you for _______________. (Have all the children take a bite of their cupcakes.)
Thank you for _______________. (Have all the children take a bite of their cupcakes.)
Thank you for _______________. (Have all the children take a bite of their cupcakes.)
(Allow the children time to finish their cupcakes and juice/milk.)

Closing the Gates:
Our party for our Ancestors is almost over and we have to thank all of our guests for coming. Can you all help me thank everyone?

First we are going to say thank you to our Ancestors for coming. Ready? On the count of three. . . one . . . two . . . THREE!
THANK YOU ANCESTORS

Next we are going to thank the Nature Spirits for coming. Ready? One . . . two . . . THREE!
THANK YOU NATURE SPIRITS

Finally we are going so thank the gods and goddesses for coming. Ready? One . . . two . . . THREE!
THANK YOU GODS AND GODDESSES

Now it’s time to hang up the special phone we made that allowed to talk to all of our guests. To do that, we are going to clap after I say the word “close.” Is everyone ready?
Fire gate CLOSE! (clap)
Well gate CLOSE! (clap)
Tree gate CLOSE! (clap)

We’ve just hung up our telephone and now we have to say thank you to Garanus, who helped us dial it. Ready? One . . . two . . . THREE!
THANK YOU GARANUS

Now we have just one more thank you’s. Can everyone say thank you to the Earth Mother? Ready? One . . . two . . . THREE!
THANK YOU EARTH MOTHER

Closing the Rite:
GREAT JOB! Our party for our Ancestors is over and everyone did a fantastic job.

How Jack-o’-Lanterns Keep the Tricksy Spirits Away

Interactive Kids Story Parts:

  • When the child comes to the door, you pretend to knock on a door
  • When Jack opens the door, you shout “Trick or Treat!”
  • When Jack raises his lantern, you pretend to raise a lantern and look in their eyes

Story Script

This is the story of Jack of the Lanterns. He lived a long time ago and was able to tell the difference between good little children and tricksy little fairies.

Continue reading “How Jack-o’-Lanterns Keep the Tricksy Spirits Away”

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”

Videos from Theater for Ritual 1

Hellenic Full Moon Rite Statement of Purpose: https://youtu.be/xXOxwc6NJko

O Makares, Blessed Ones,
I call out to you on this night of the full moon,
As it grows in power, ever luminescent.

We come to you each month
As the moon waxes and wanes
marking this time as sacred
and this place as sacred.

We come now to makes offerings
as our ancestors did before.
To reforge the sacred *ghosti bond.

Be welcome Theoi
and join us in our rite.

Ancestors: https://youtu.be/qgcf2vBUPoA

The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!
Those of our blood and our bone,
Those of our heart and your hearth,
Those of our friends and our folk.

We call out to those Mighty Dead and Ancient Wise
Poets and Priests
Those who have walked this path before us
and have use the way
Ancestors, Mighty Dead,
Accept our offering.

Nature Spirits: https://youtu.be/t_C_BeAqk0E

The Children of the Earth call out to the Nature Spirits,
Those Beings who swim and crawl and wriggle and fly.
All the beings of the this Earth wherever they may come from.
Those who dwell in light and those who dwell in shadow,
Seen and unseen.

Natures Spirits:
Animal friends, Mineral friends,
Plant kin and Earth kin.
You who walk with us in all that we do
showing us the ways that we might honor the gods.
Nature Spirits, we honor you.

Shining Ones: https://youtu.be/t91JWEnaCPc

The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones:
Bright and Mighty Theoi!
You who are the first children of the Mother,
Eldest and brightest.

You of craft-folk, you of grain,
you of hearth, you of sea, you of land.
Hunter, gatherers,
forge-tenders, grain guarders.

Gods and Goddesses all:
We call out to you as you share your wisdom and your love.
Shining Ones, accept our offering!

Magic in ADF Ritual

Your answer to Magic 2, exit standard 5:

The three instances of magic that are done in every ADF ritual that I’ll be discussing are the Recreating the Cosmos, Opening/Closing of the Gates, and the Return Flow.

Recreating the Cosmos
The Re-Creation of the Cosmos lines up the different realms, so that they are overlaid, or parallel. It is common to sanctify the space around the ritual and the ritual participants as part of the Re-Creation of the Cosmos. I think this works well, since we are creating the Sacred Center of ritual, and setting aside the mundane for a time in order to commune with the spirits.

When I Re-Create the Cosmos I first hallow the space around the ritual participants, to be sure that the miasma is washed clean and chaos is left behind. Then I initiate the connection to the worlds by declaring that the smoke from our sacred Fire will carry our prayers to the gods. I make offerings to the Fire and the Well, allowing the objects that represent them to become fit for the purpose of ritual. Then I take the omphalos and bring it to the center, declaring that it marks the Sacred Center of all the Realms. The Re-Creation of the Cosmos works because it establishes the Sacred Center and primed the space for the Opening of the Gates.

Because I am mimicking the first establishment of the Center, the magic being performed here is sympathetic. I am mimicking the directions of Zeus, as he searched for the Center of the World.

Below are the words I say most often when Re-Creating the Cosmos:

“Let this area around us be purified sacred space where we go to meet the gods, and the gods descend down to meet with us.
Let the smoke from our sacred fire carry our voices to the heavens to be heard by the gods.
I place this omphalos at the center of worlds, just as it marked the center of the ancient world. My hands, like two eagles, flying to meet in the middle and establish this as the sacred center of worlds.
Through this sacred center, let the World Tree grow, plunging deep within the earth to touch the Sacred Waters below and reaching through the sky to embrace the Sacred Fires above.
Opening the Gates

After the Cosmos has been Re-Created, the space is primed and the Gates are ready to be opened. When the Gates are opened the space between the realms is connected, so that we are better able to hear the Kindreds and they are better able to hear us. It is akin to ringing the doorbell of a spirit. While they are all around us, Opening the Gates allows us to get their attention.

When I Open the Gates, I call on a Gatekeeper for assistance. In my personal rites, this is usually Hekate. I say an invocation that praises Her and extols the reasons why I desire to work with Her in particular. Then I ask that She join Her magic with mine, and help me open the Gates. The physical motions that I make I believe are echoes of what many in ADF do. When Opening the Gate to the Underworld through the Well I make a spiral motion from my center, counter-clockwise down towards my feet. When Opening the Gate to the Upperworld through the Fire I make a spiral motion from my center, clockwise up towards the sun towards my feet. Then to connect the realms I first form a ball (Tai Chi “hold the ball”) at my navel with my right hand on top and left on bottom, then I press my right hand up towards the heavens, and my left hand down towards the earth. Finally, as I proclaim the Gates to be open I take my hands from a ‘prayer’ position and open them out to my sides.

In this manner, I think the motions help to focus the intent of the magic, but it is with the help of the Gatekeeper that the Gates can actually be opened. As with most of the other acts of magic I’ve discussed, it is the relationship with the spirit that makes the magic possible.
Below are the words I say most often when Opening/Closing the Gates:

“We call out now to Hekate to guide us in walking between the worlds!
Hekate, at moonlit crossroads, you befriend the helpless.
Keyholding Mistress of Earth, Sea, and Sky.
Dark Mother Hekate,
Ghosts and hounds follow you.
You are the black puppy and the black she-lamb.
Torchbearer, we praise you for the brightness of your power.
We offer you [eggs and wine].
Hekate of the Crossroads be our Guide!
Guide us as you guided Demeter in her journey.
Reveal to us the way to walk in safety.
Radiant Hekate of the Torches,
Guiding Light, Keeper of the Keys,
Join your hidden knowledge and power with ours
and help us to open the Gates between the worlds.

Let this water become the Well, and open as a Gate to the worlds below.
Our connections deepen to the Chthonic beings as the Gate is opened.
Let this flame become the Fire, and open as a Gate to the worlds above.
Our connections deepen to the Ouranic beings as the Gate is opened.

Let this Omphalos stand at the center, and mark our sacred center here and in all the world. Let the tree wrap its roots around the stone and sink into the Well, and let it’s branches stretch upwards and reach for the Fire.
We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.

Let the Gates be Open!”

Closing the Gates/Restoration of the Ordinary
“Let this Well be but water, ever sacred in its own right, but no longer a Gate opening to the many paths.
Let this Fire be but a flame, ever sacred in its own right, but no longer a Gate opening to the many ways.
Let the omphalos no longer be the Center of the Worlds holding us at the Crossroads.

Hekate, as we move away from the Crossroads and return to the center of our hearts and homes, stand ever vigilant as you always do, until we return again in need of your aid.”

The Return Flow
The Return Flow takes place after all the offerings have been made. It is the reciprocal part from the Gods, that as we have given gifts to them, now we ask for gifts in return. When we ask for blessings from the Kindreds, we take an Omen to see what form those blessings will take. Then the Blessings are infused in some way, often within the Waters, so that the folk can imbibe them and take them within themselves, and carry them into the work ahead and into their lives.

When I Call for the Blessings, I first reflect on the omens that the Seer has received and interpreted. It is important to understand the omen, because that is what you are going to be infusing the Waters with, and offering to the Folk. I find it useful in larger, especially diverse, rites to also call on the Folk themselves to consider the omens and their interpretation, and how it applies to them. I then ask for the Theoi to give us their blessings, as we have given of ourselves. I use the imagery of the moon to help the Folk visualize the Blessings filling the waters. I hold the vessel of water aloft as I ask for the Theoi to send down their blessings. As I am doing this I reach out in all directions with tendrils of awareness, and use them to act as a conduit and a funnel for the blessings, so that they make it into the vessel. As I feel the vessel getting heavier, more dense, and often slightly warmer, I declare that with the blessings of the gods we can grow ourselves, and symbolize this mixing of our energies by pouring the blessing infused waters into the wine (or juice). Some of the water is reserved for any workings that will be done, as well as for those who desire a non-alcoholic drink (when wine has been used). The Folk are then invited to imbibe and reflect on the blessings.

Below are words, or a variation on them, that I commonly say when conducting the Return Flow:

*have vessel filled with wine, and vessel filled with water. Water is infused with the blessings and poured into the wine. Some water is set aside for the working*

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.

*take vessel filled with water*

Let the brightness of the Shining Gods fill these waters with the omens we have received, [Omen, Omen, and Omen]. Let their blessings grow in strength like the light of the moon, shining with the brilliant power akin to the noon-day sun. Theoi! Rain your blessing down upon us, and fill our Sacred Cup.

*vessel is held aloft as water is infused with the blessings*

Their strength shall augment our strength *blessed waters are poured into wine. reserve some waters for the working* as we approach the workings ahead.

Drink deep, Children of Earth, and think on the gifts we’ve been given.

Esto!

Lit Prac 2 Evaluations

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

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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

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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.