2021 In Review – Clergy Council Priestwork Report

ADF’s Clergy Council developed a new form for us to fill out each year to report on our activities.  This report (well, the activities) is required for us to maintain our clergy credentials.  It is divided into sections based on the oath we take as clergy:

“I pledge to love the land, serve the folk, and honor the gods.  To this do I dedicate my hands, my heart, and my head.”

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Teaching Ritual Performance

Teaching Ritual Performance was designed to assist students to instruct others in ritual performance. In this course students are required to journal their work directing several rituals. Students do not necessarily need to write the rituals, nor do they need to write all the parts for the rituals. In fact, students may find it more challenging to allow others to write the ritual and then simply teach others how to work with the text they are given or come up with on their own.  The primary goal of this course is for students to enhance their skills for directing group ritual performance.

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Pagan Theology 1

Pagan Theology 1 is a survey of concepts and issues in theology, including both western philosophical concepts and key themes in existing world polytheisms. This course begins by teaching the student about the common terms used in the theological work of most religions, and moves on to ask students to think about how the concepts represented by those terms can be applied to Our Druidry.

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Leadership Development 2

Leadership Development 2

Leadership Development 2 is designed to build upon the knowledge attained in Leadership Development 1. This course will assist students in examining theoretical knowledge and provide opportunities for application of this knowledge. The primary goal for this course is for students to increase their knowledge and skills for effective group leadership and public relations.

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Special Occasion Rituals

Special Occasion Rituals

This course was designed to expand a student’s knowledge and experiences for liturgical development beyond high day liturgy and specifically targets the development of liturgy for use in everyday life for a variety of different purposes.

The primary goal of this course is for students to enhance their skills for developing special occasion liturgy to meet the needs of individuals and groups occurring within every day life.

Course Objectives

  1. Students will identify, define and analyze several types of special occasion ritual and compare special occasion ritual to high day ritual.
  2. Students will increase their knowledge of creating ritual for diverse audiences.
  3. Students will utilize their knowledge and skills for liturgical writing to create special occasion rituals for a variety of different purposes.

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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.

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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!