Perseverance is the flame that continues to burn inside yourself when the storm seems the worst. Sometimes it burns bright and strong with no trouble, though this is often only when the winds are calm, and the Theoi are easily heard on the breeze. When times become difficult, and the rain is pounding down, the flame flickers, just barely keeping alight. The sound of the rumbling thunder seems to drown out the Gods, and the lightning blinds you from seeing them in your life. It is then that the flame needs to be tended most, and cared for. And just as it seems as though it may extinguish itself in the whipping wind you remember: The Gods are always present in your life, and will hold you close and keep you tending that small flickering light. After all, even when the storm seems worst, it is still the mighty Zeus.
It is important to reflect on our Code of Ethics, and the virtues we try to embody, every so often. ADF’s continuing education used to require it at least once every three years, though that has since changed and it’s no longer required that we revisit it. It is still an extremely valuable practice, and allows to see how we are growing and changing as a person and priest, and helps us to realign and reaffirm the work we are doing. I’ve also seen my work shift and focus since being Consecrated, and having had time to settle into that new(ish) role, now seems like a good time to review where I stand, what I believe, and how those things are expressed in my words and actions. Continue reading “Ethics & Vocation: 2019 Reflection”
As we grow as pagans, there are many ways our practice and our liturgical language changes over time, and it is important to regularly evaluate and reflect on them. Not only does this allow us to make sure our work still aligns with our values, but it also make sure that it is accurate to our theology and praxis.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Prayers from Liturgical Writing 2
lighting a sacrificial fire:
I call out now to Hestia,
Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.
You burn ever bright within my heart,
and I ask now that you burn brightly upon my hearth.
A flame, kindled upon the earth, pillar of smoke reaching to the Heavens
that it may connect us to the realm above so our voices may be heard.
I make this first offering to you, Hestia,
as you prepare to accept the sacrifices made today
And see them carried to the mighty Theoi.
Hestia, be welcome here as you become the Good Fire around which I pray.
a meal blessing:
“A Children’s Mealtime Prayer”
Mother Earth gives us grain and bread
And all the food that keeps us fed.
Now the meal is about to start,
So we thank her from our heart.
remembering a recently-passed ancestor:
“For Dan’s Crossing” (Sept 10, 2014)
Beloved Dead, Ancient Wise, Ancestors:
One of our own begins his journey tonight.
He comes to join you, wrapped in Crane-feathered cloak.
Borne aloft to cross the veil by the sweet and gentle wings of Garanus,
And held safe and secure within those wings for the journey.
His passage has been paid by kith and kin
As we set his spirit free to join you.
Light the fires along the way,
To brighten his path as he travels.
Prepare the hall for a great feast,
To welcome him when he arrives.
Show him the way, and where to drink,
And guide him in this new role.
Watch over him as he makes this transition,
As he begins this adventure.
Dan, the Ancestors await, to greet you with joy in their hearts.
Fly now, and know you will be welcomed.
Fly now, and know we will celebrate your time with us.
Dan, farewell for now, and safe travels on your journey.
opening a Grove business meeting
As we gather tonight to continue the good work we do as a Grove,
Let us remember that all here are Children of the Earth.
As we speak, let our voices carry respect;
As we listen, let our ears hear honestly;
As we think, let our mind seek what is best for the community.
So be it!
for blessing a house
*flame is kindled just before crossing the threshold of the house*
I call out to Hestia as I kindle this fire here,
that she may light and warm this hearth
and bring blessings for all who dwell here.
Hestia, as I enter this place, I ask that you enter with me
Filling this home with your light, protection, and hospitality.
*flame is carried to each room in the house, ending in the kitchen.
charm below is spoken in each room*
May this flame brighten the lives of those who dwell here,
May its light fill this space: from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.
*upon entering the kitchen, light a new candle for the individual/family*
May this flame brighten the lives of all those who live or visit here,
May its light fill this home: each room from wall to wall, from ceiling to floor.
Hestia, flame kindled here on this hearth,
be welcome as the Good Fire as you light and warm this home.
The hearth kindled and brightened,
I call out now to Zeus Ktesios,
who protects the wealth and possessions of this home,
And to Oikoyro Ophi, who protects the individual/family in this home.
Strong Father of Justice, Faithful House Serpant,
enter this home where the Fire burns bright
and grant this hearth, home, and individual/family the blessings of bounty
as you lend your protection to all those who dwell here.
Let your power and protection be bound to this Oikos
for as long as they dwell here.