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. Continue reading “Kid’s Samhain Rite”

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”

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

(contact info removed for privacy)

Briefly describe the Ritual:

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

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

What did you think went well?:

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

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

What improvements could be made?:

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

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

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

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

Evaluation 3

(contact info removed for privacy)

Purpose…

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

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

Propitious…

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

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

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

Possibilities…

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

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

Personal Favs…

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

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

Liturgical Writing Prayers

Prayers from Liturgical Writing 2

lighting a sacrificial fire:

“Calling Hestia”
I call out now to Hestia,
Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.
You burn ever bright within my heart,
and I ask now that you burn brightly upon my hearth.
A flame, kindled upon the earth, pillar of smoke reaching to the Heavens
that it may connect us to the realm above so our voices may be heard.
I make this first offering to you, Hestia,
as you prepare to accept the sacrifices made today
And see them carried to the mighty Theoi.
Hestia, be welcome here as you become the Good Fire around which I pray.

a meal blessing:

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

remembering a recently-passed ancestor:

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

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

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

opening a Grove business meeting

As we gather tonight to continue the good work we do as a Grove,
Let us remember that all here are Children of the Earth.
As we speak, let our voices carry respect;
As we listen, let our ears hear honestly;
As we think, let our mind seek what is best for the community.
So be it!

for blessing a house

(the middle part of this borrows heavily from MJD’s work in the Crane Breviary “Anagantios Moon”)

*flame is kindled just before crossing the threshold of the house*

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal Entry from Div, Trance, & Magic 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have received the blessings of [all omens].

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

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

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

*Seer makes offering of Oil and/or bay*

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

*pause*

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

*tools are placed in the light of the fire*

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

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

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

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

Esto!

Ethical Situations

Your answer to Ethics 2, exit standard 3, situation 5

As there are only 4 situations listed for Ethics 2, Question 3, I’m not sure which one is actually requested here, I’m including Situation 4, and you may find all my responses to the situations from that course here.

Ethics 2: Question 3: Situation 4
A young woman from your local Neo-Pagan community contacts you and expresses a desire to attend your Grove’s upcoming high day; however, she explains that she is in a wheel chair and has an uncontrolled seizure disorder. Another local Neo-Pagan group had explained to this individual that they were unable to accommodate her needs at this time. The young woman plans to bring her personal care attendant with her, but the attendant is opposed to Neo-Pagan beliefs and does not want to actually participate in the service and plans to wait outside the ritual area. Your regular outside ritual space is not readily handicap accessible and the ritual is planned for this outdoor space. What do you do?

a) Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify for this situation is that the ritual space does not meet the woman’s needs. This is an issue of accessibility. Possible solutions may include telling the woman that we can’t accommodate her needs, moving or rearranging the current ritual space, or telling the woman that on this short notice we don’t have the ability to accommodate her needs, but will need time to make the space accessible to her wheelchair and invite her to the next public ritual. While the second option is the best option, if the space is already not handicap accessible, the likelihood of our Grove being able to make it so without switching locations on short notice (near impossible to do in our parks system) is very unlikely. Therefore, the most likely solution for this situation is to discuss with the woman what specific accessibility needs she has (ramps, distance from parking lot, etc.) and arrange for those accommodations to be made at the next ritual. Even if this particular woman does not show up again, it is an important modification to make regardless.

b) Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

My own personal Code of Ethics relates to my resolution regarding this situation in a couple of ways. First, “I will lead others to the flame” means in part that I will do what I am able to do in order to ensure that all can experience the relationship they desire with the Kindreds. Second, “I will be kind to someone.” This situation goes beyond mere kindness in my opinion and is more akin to civil rights. Being kind means that I will grant all basic human rights to individuals, and this means as a Priest I should provide access to a person’s desire to experience this spirituality as much as I am able (Avende). My decision relates to the Clergy Council Code of Ethics in multiple aspects. Under Service, “The Priest has a responsibility to provide service to the Folk.” This does not specify which Folk are worthy of expending the effort to provide service. Additionally, the Clergy Council Code of Ethics specifically focuses on non-discrimination, stating “The Priest has a responsibility to promote inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination; additionally, our clergy should promote the respect, self-worth, and dignity of individuals” (ADF Clergy Council). This means that we have a duty to make an attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for all members and potential members of our community.

c) Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

This is not an ethical dilemma because it doesn’t conflict with either my personal Code of Ethics or with the Clergy Council Code of Ethics. This may be a difficult situation, depending on what kind of accommodations are needed, and it may be an awkward conversation with both the woman, and perhaps with her non-Pagan caretaker, but it is not an ethical dilemma. Every person has a right to pursue the spiritual path that they feel called for, and they have a right to expect reasonable accommodation to be made for that if they have a disability. It may take some work and some time to figure out how to meet those needs, but it is not an ethical dilemma.

My Vocational Statement as a Consecrated Priest

What calls you to become an ADF Consecrated Priest? How does this step fit with your calling as an ADF Priest?

Much of my work as an Ordained ADF Priest has been focused on a more local level, with only a bit of branching out beyond that. However, I keep feeling more and more of a drive to expand my work in such a way that I can serve more people, that I can do more for a broader audience, that I can help more folks feel the connection they crave and build the practice they want.

My Vocation Statement for Ordination included the following statement: “For any who seek the flame, I will act as a guide on their path, aiding where I can, challenging when I need to, and supporting always.” My call to become an ADF Consecrated Priest is a furthering of this call. I can continue to expand what I’m doing, and continue to develop skills, both internally and externally, that will allow me to continue to serve a broader community. It feels like a natural next step for me, my practice, and my service.

How have the specializations you chose within the CTP prepared you for the deeper work of an ADF Consecrated Priest?

The two specializations I chose, Leadership and Ritualist, reflect some of my interests that I’d like to develop further, though I’d also like to take on Professional Helping Skills at some point. I think leadership skills are important for all our priests, as we’re all viewed as leaders to at least some degree. Considering that I want to continue to grow in my leadership roles both locally and beyond, the self-reflection parts of this course were particularly beneficial. They helped me to recognize my leadership style and its strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to better compensate in situations where my leadership style is not as well heard or recognized. I am a gentle leader, and so in contexts with lots of loud and outspoken individuals, I have to very consciously focus on holding my own so that I am heard.

The Ritualist specialization I actually chose more because I’m interested in the 3rd Circle course than specific interest in this one. Comparative ritual theory fascinates me, and I use basics of it often in planning rituals. I’m looking forward to that course to learn more. With this course, while foreign language interests me, in most rituals I find it’s impact is minimal, or possibly detrimental if not well planned and scripted, to the overall effect of the ritual. I do like to include hearth flavor in rituals with the hearth’s language, but the translation needs to also be included, or the ritual has a tendency to lose its focus, especially in large groups.

Both of these specializations will help me continue my growth as I deepen the work I’m doing as a Consecrated Priest. The Leadership skills will help with the more in depth outer work I foresee doing with the broader community. The benefits from the Ritualist skills will likely be seen in my broader work with the community, but they will also significantly help me continue to deepen my own practice, and give me a broader knowledge base from which I can plan rituals, draw inspiration, and interpret omens and spiritwork.

What does your inner work look like? How has your inner work prepared you for greater outer work with the community of ADF?

My personal work involves a fairly large amount of self-reflection on how I’m working both to maintain my practice and working with my community. I consider how that aligns with my values, ethics, and motivations. This has been, and will continue to be, something that benefits both me and others who find themselves in similar situations. I have found myself having more conversations with folks considering the upper level study programs, and by sharing my own experiences and struggles that I have processed through, I am more able to be a sounding board and mentor to those still working through them.

Other inner work that do is continued trance work and continuing to build relationships with various spirit allies. Part of this inner work takes place during the regular clergy Mound work, and part of it takes place during other trance experiences. Having a strong set of spirit allies to back me up and provide inspiration is useful in serving the greater community because it not only gives me ideas for new things to try and how to implement them, but also allows me to tap into more energy when leading rituals and workings.

I find I am called on regularly for both minor and major magical workings, and because my inner work involves a fair amount of personal magic, I am better able to work off-the-cuff for immediate requests as well as better plan major workings for specific purposes. I lean on my spirit allies when I need ideas for how to get something done. I’ve also been continuing to experiment with different methods that work well for me, such as sigil work and more types of thaumaturgic magic that in the past I haven’t dabbled too much in. This will continue to allow me to serve the folk by choosing methods that speak to the requesting individual or group, and that I have personally worked with before.

The last bit of inner work that I do is maintaining my personal devotional practice. It has ebbed and flowed with changing life situations, but continued to be a part of my practice. In general, it takes the form of a very brief devotional at my home shrine, where I light my Hestia flame, burn some incense, and honor the Earth and Three Kindreds. Often times my daughter joins me. When she doesn’t, I am able to spend a bit more time at my altar and add in an omen-taking, praise for my patrons and spirit allies, and/or a more in-depth working. Maintaining this level of inner work keeps me centered, balanced, and in-tune with the spirits so that I can approach the clergy work I do from a more active and centered place. In addition, the struggles and adjustments I’ve had to make with my personal practice have given me a better background for helping others work through similar struggles and adjustments.

What further skills would you like to develop as an ADF Consecrated Priest, and how will these skills help grow Our Druidry?

One of the things I noted in my journals during the past two years is the general lack of good religious materials written specifically for a pagan audience, to say nothing of materials written with a focus on our particular flavor of paganism. I want to work more on producing materials for those who aren’t local to me, though I recognize that the local crew will also benefit. This includes articles, books, study guides, and video materials to name a few. I want to focus on making materials that are accessible to all and that fill the various niches and holes that I’ve noticed in published works. This will help grow Our Druidry because it will put our name out there in conjunction with quality and valuable work.

I would also like to continue to deepen my personal practice where magic, trancework, and divination overlap. I would like to continue my experimentation with new magical techniques, and work on learning and polishing skills in that area that I’ve only just started to read about and touch on. By learning these new methods and techniques I’ll be able to use those skills for others, as well as begin explaining and teaching others to use them.

I’d also like to deepen my trancework further, and work on carrying this over into sharing methods of building relationships with spirit allies. Additionally, the information I gain through both trancework and divination will allow me to share the useful bits with our community as a whole.