Magic 1 for Priests

Survey:

 1) Discuss the importance and actions of the magico-religious function as it is seen within the context of general Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words)

Within the context of the general Indo-European studies and applying Dumezil’s Theory of Tripartition, a culture is divided into three social strata: the priestly strata, the warrior strata, and the herder-cultivator stratum.  The magico-religious function would fall into the first strata of people (Littleton 4-5).  These are the people who serve as magicians and priests within their culture, as well legal and justice role. When looking at the lore from an Indo-European culture, it should be noted that the gods associated with the first function were often paired in order to include both roles. One of example of this is Odin and Tyr in Norse mythology. Odin fulfilled the magician and priest role, while Tyr fulfilled the legal and justice role (Mallory 131-2).  It was the function of the magician to perform rites of passage as needed, but also to act as seers and spell casters for both individuals and institutions within their culture.   It was the duty of the priest to be sure that all proper forms of sacrifice were observed and that each necessary holiday was celebrated appropriately.  They would also perform rites of passage as needed, as well as preside over other seasonal and cultural celebrations.  In some cases the function of the priest and the magician would overlap, however their paths diverged more in some cultures than others.  The legal aspect of this first function was fulfilled by the community leaders, whether this was a king, members of the Assembly, members of the Senate, or a clan leader.

 

2) Identify the terms used within one Indo-European language to identify ‘magic’ and ‘magician’ examining what these terms indicate about the position of the magician in that society and the practice of his or her art. (minimum 100 words)

There are a variety of terms that are used to describe magic and magician, and the connotation of the word would change depending on which term is used to describe a magical person or magical act.  Mageia, the Greek word for magic, is what is practiced by the magos or magi, the magician or sorcerer.  The term magi comes from Persian, and when used in Greek, refers to a foreigner.  There is a kind of grudging respect because they are skilled in and responsible for “royal sacrifices, funeral rites, and for the divination and interpretation of dreams” (Graf 20), however due to the cultural and political tensions between Persia and Greece, they were not trusted.  The Heraclitus prophecies threaten these “wanderers of the night, … the magi, … with tortures after death” and with torturing by fire because “the mystery initiations [are] impious rites” (Graf 21).  There are other subsets of terms used to describe the various magicians.  The agurtes were beggar priests, to whom people could go for individual work, with the likelihood that the amount you paid them would effect what they told you.  The mantis was a diviner.  He was the freelance diviner, as opposed to the institutional diviners.  Both of these people were defined in the Derveni papyrus as “a professional of rites” (Graf 21).  They were lumped in with the night wanderers because they were privy to and specialized in the secret rites.

 

3) Discuss the existence and relative function of trance-journey magic within at least one Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words)

In many Indo-European cultures trance work is often linked to divination of some sort. Trance and trance-journeying appear to be a common method for conducting divinatory magic.  The most prominent example of trance-journey magic within ancient Greece remains the existence of the institutional oracles.  These women would enter a trance state in order to commune with the divine and receive answers from the spirits.

For example, the oracle of Delphi (the Pythia) was said to sit above a chasm in the rock, on a three-legged stool, and breathe in the vapors of the mountain. The ancients believed these vapors were the breath of Apollo, and by breathing it in, he (or his daimons) would possess her and speak through her (Johnston 44-7).  This is the idea that “when this prophetic potency mixes with the Pythia’s body, it opens up channels through which her soul can receive impressions of the future” (46-7).

 

4) Discuss the place of alphabetic symbolism as part of the symbolism of magical practice within one Indo-European culture. (minimum 150 words)

Within ancient Greece the use of the Greek Alphabet in divination was, while not the most famous method of divination, a useful tool for many people.  A common method for this style of divination was to place pottery shards that had been inscribed with the letters and shake them in a drum frame until one or more leapt out (Sophistes “Oracle”).  Divination was a deeply ingrained magical practice within ancient Greece.  It is interesting to note, however, that the institutional oracles were likely not using the alphabet system to divine, but were rather much more likely to be engaging in enthused prophecy (as discussed in question 3) (Johnston 44-7). The freelancer diviners were more likely to use the alphabetic or other tactile methods for divination. Part of the reason for their use of these methods was likely because they were operating on a smaller scale than the institutional oracles, and as such needed a wider variety of tools because they were “clarifying problems on the spot” (109). Additionally, because they were freelance entrepreneurs, they were “willing to expand their repertoire as their clientele demanded” (177).

The letters of the Greek alphabet are used in the creation of amulets.  This can be seen in the variety of examples within the Greek Magical Papyri.  For example, PGM VII. 206-7 describes the creation of an amulet to prevent coughs.  The magician takes hyena parchment and inscribes a series of ancient Greek letters upon the talisman (Betz 121).

When referring to sounds, it is interesting to note that sometimes within the Greek Magical Papyri, there are direct instructions on how a specific sound is to be made, and the feel of it in your mouth.  For example, in PGM V. 1-53 it directs the magician to pronounce AOIAO EOEY by saying “the ‘A’ with an open mouth, undulating like a wave; / the ‘O’ succinctly, as a breathed threat, / the ‘IAO’ to earth, to air, and to heaven; / the ‘E’ like a baboon; / the ‘O’ in the same way as above; / the ‘E’ with enjoyment, aspirating it, / the ‘Y’ like a shepherd, drawing out the pronunciation.”  This detailed description implies that the exact way in which the letters were said, and the exact sound they made, was imperative to the successful completion of the magical act, in this case, creating and working with an oracle (Betz 101-2).

 

5) Discuss three key magical techniques or symbols from one Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words each)

Rites of Binding (defixiones)

Binding spells are found in the curse tablets that are scattered across the ancient world, most notably in the Mediterranean area.  They are texts, primarily written on tablets of lead, that are intended to force another to the magician’s will, or make them unable to follow their own desires.  The texts themselves are divided into five different types of spells: judicial, erotic, agonistic, anti-theft, and economic.  In these cases, while the written texts have allowed us to study them, the part that is more important is the rite itself where the binding is carried out (Graf 119-123).  The text of who is bound and in what way conveys the intent of the spell, but there were also instructions for the magician for how and where to send the tablet down, whether by burying or sinking or nailing, etc.  The magician treated with chthonic beings to help him carry out the binding spell (134-5).

Divination

There are a whole host of techniques revolving around divination.  The famous methods of divination involve the use of direct visions either directly to the querant or through an intermediary (Graf 197).  This is what is seen at the Oracle of Delphi and the Oracle of Dodona.  This type of divination uses trance work to determine the message.  There are instructions to conduct such a direct vision in the Greek Magical Papyri specifically with Apollo in PGM VII. 727-39 (Betz 139).  There is also the use of augury to conduct divination, as well as knucklebones (or astragaloi) and basic lots for sortilege.  This is what we most often use in modern paganism.  Some other methods include divination through lamps, mirrors, or bowls of water.  These methods often have an elaborate set of directions to prepare the magician and the object for use.  For example, one set of instructions in PGM IV. 221-258 explains how to take a bronze vessel and fill it with a specific type of water depending on who you wish to contact, as well as the words to say over it in preparation (42).

All of these methods of divination are magic because they depend on having a relationship with spirits in order to achieve the results you desire.  Even if the result is no more than being able to interpret an omen, to be able to do that you must develop a relationship with a spirit to do so properly, and convince, cajole, bribe, etc. them to get their help in the matter.  Because spirit arte is working with spirits to achieve the goals of your work, divination within the Hellenic hearth culture is a form of spirit arte.  If you want something, including the answer to a divinatory question, then you have to find a spirit and win them over to your cause in order for that thing, or that answer, to happen.  This is seen time and again within the Greek Magical Papyri, as spirits are called for both simple and elaborate tasks (Betz).

 Amulets

There are a great many examples of amulets begin created and worn to achieve a certain end.  In paging through the Greek Magical Papyri, there are hundreds of examples.  One category of amulets has to do with healing.  The magician takes the material required and inscribes a series of letters or sigils.  The person the spell is for then wears the amulet.  PGM VII. 213-14 describes wearing an olive leaf about the neck as an amulet, with a shape that looks like a cone inscribed on the shiny side of the leaf, and a crescent moon inscribed on the dark side of the leaf (Betz 121).   Another description of an amulet is PDM xiv. 1003-14 which gives instructions on how to create an amulet to cure gout (244).

 

6) Discuss the relative place and methodologies of magic within your personal religious/spiritual practice. (minimum 100 words)

I have struggled with the concept of magical work, partly because for me it is so entwined with both trance and divinatory work.  Magic, trance, and divination all contain pieces of the others that make it difficult for me to pull out just one of them and discuss it independently of the others.  Magic is simply prayer with intent, and so it is a very broad term that can encompass many things.

When I do magical work, it most often takes one of five different forms: trance work, divinatory work, ritual magic, healing work, or bardic work.  And these forms can happen at the same time, and often do.  I often use trance in combination with all of the forms, as well as independently to better focus the intent of the work, or to gain a clearer or more intense understanding of the desired outcome.  When I do divinatory work, I always call on Apollo Mantikos to aid me, making this a form of spirit arte.  Ritual magic is the kind of things that happen within a ritual.  Within ADF these are things like opening the gates and calling for the blessings.  When I do healing work, it is most often done with the aid of a spirit.  I make offerings to the spirit and call on them to help me focus my intent and lend energy to the person in need of healing.  Bardic work is done through trance and calling on various spirits for inspiration.  An initial offering is made to a spirit, and the outcome is often the creation of a bardic piece that can then be used to further honor the spirit.

 

Practicum:

7) Healing Work – Provide and explain one example of healing magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style healing working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)

The Artharvaveda is a collection of spells, prayers, charms, and hymns designed for a variety of purposes.  Many of these relate to healing work that can be done.  The example quoted below is a charm for teething, specifically for the first two teeth that break through.  The text of the charm calls directly to the teeth themselves, as well as to Agni.  Many of the healing charms within the Artharvaveda call to Agni.  I think this is both because he is the priest of the Gods and the one who accepts sacrifices, but also because Fire itself is purifying when dealing with illness or pain.  The charm calls on Agni to sooth the teeth that are breaking through the gums.  Offered to the teeth themselves are rice, barley, beans, and sesame, with the intent that the child will eat these rather than harm his parents.  This is especially apt, as breastfeeding a teething infant can lead to biting, which is supremely uncomfortable.   The next part of the charm asks that the teeth come forth gently and that the fierceness, the pain, be passed away from the body.

“VI, 140. Expiation for the irregular appearance of the first pair of teeth

  1. Those two teeth, the tigers, that have broken forth, eager to devour father and mother, do thou, O Brahmanaspati Gâtavedas, render auspicious!
  2. Do ye eat rice, eat barley, and eat, too, beans, as well as sesamum! That, O teeth.. is the share deposited for your enrichment. Do not injure father and mother!
  3. Since ye have been invoked, O teeth, be ye in unison kind and propitious! Elsewhere, O teeth, shall pass away the fierce (qualities) of your body! Do not injure father and mother!” (Bloomfield VI, 140)

“HYMN CXL

A blessing on a child’s first two teeth

(1)Two tigers have grown up who long to eat the mother and the sire:

Soothe, Brāhmanaspati, and thou, O Jātavedas, both these teeth.

(2)Let rice and barley be your food, eat also beans and sesamum.

This is the share allotted you, to be your portion, ye two Teeth.

Harm not your mother and your sire.

(3)Both fellow teeth have been invoked, gentle and bringing happiness.

Else whither let the fierceness of your nature turn away, O

Teeth! Harm not your mother or your sire.” (Griffith CXL)

 

In creating this healing work for modern use, I have written a charm to be said while mixing the ingredients together for “Dr. Tally’s Soothing Tooth-Tiger Liniment.”  As a baby is able to start of solid foods around the same time that they will be getting teeth, I decided that a concoction that can actually be consumed and eaten by the child easily would be the way to go.  One of the ingredients called for in the ancient charm is beans.  Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are the main ingredient in hummus, which can be easily eaten by most infants who have started on solid foods (though it may cause gassiness).  Both rice cereal and barley cereal can be mixed into the pureed chickpeas, and then seasoned with just a little bit of sesame oil or tahini.  This will create a pureed food that even babies who are just starting solids could eat, as it could be thinned with as much water as necessary for them. There have been reported cases of sesame seed allergies, so as always, before introducing new foods to your baby, consult their doctor.

To make “Dr. Tally’s Soothing Tooth-Tiger Liniment” combine the following ingredients in a food processor while saying the charm that follows (alternatively, say this charm over the dish before you serve it if you aren’t the one who made it):

  • 1 can of drained chickpeas (or chickpeas that you’ve cooked yourself)
  • 2 Tbsp tahini (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp rice cereal
  • 1 Tbsp barley cereal
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • water to desired consistency

“Fierce and sharp tooth tigers, you who have broken through,

Be eased, bright tigers, in your work by this gift.

Come forth, and bring with you smiles of joy, rather than grimaces of pain.

Be soothed, sweet tigers, and be not over eager in your entrance.

Come forth, and partake of this share allotted to you.

Fierce and sharp tooth tigers, born of blessed Fire, be warmly welcomed here!”

 

8) Warding Work – Provide and explain one example of warding or protection magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style warding working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)

There are many examples of protective talismans within the Greek Magical Papyri.  PGM VII. 206-7 describes the creation of an amulet to prevent coughs.  The magician takes hyena parchment and inscribes a series of ancient Greek letters upon the talisman (Betz 121).

In other parts of the Greek Magical Papyri there are direct instructions on how a specific sound is to be made, and the feel of it in your mouth.  For example, in PGM V. 1-53 it directs the magician specifically in how they should pronounce AOIAO (101-2). The materials used, the letters and words inscribed, and the words spoken were all important parts in the creation of talismans.

Each Hellenic Full Moon ritual I lead has a magical working in it.  During the Artemis full moon, we created protective talismans for the children of the folk who normally attend (or for the children of those close to those who normally attend).  I wrote out the text for the working, and we did it in a call and response fashion.  I felt that it was important for each person to speak the words themselves, because they knew who the talisman was being created for, and could better focus the intent.  It was also important for each person to speak the words due to the power that the verbalization of those words carry.

I fashioned this protective working after some of the amulets in the Greek Magical Papyri, such as what things were done to the item in order to make it fit for the intended use.  For example, PGM VII 149-54 gives instructions for grinding and mixing ingredients (goat bile, water, rosemary, saltwater) to sprinkle about to prevent bugs/fleas from getting in the house (Betz 119). In the case of this working I wanted the talisman infused with the powers of the land, sea, and sky, as well as ensuring that the child would be looked after by all the Theoi and by Artemis specifically, so I considered what types of things could be done to put those aspects into the talisman.  I also considered what words to say to accompany the creation of the charm. PGM VII 370-73 gives instructions on what to wear as well as what to say to keep wild animals, aquatic creatures, and robbers away (127).

Creating a Protective Talisman:

  • Need a token of some sort that will be on or near child/young mother
  • Need blessed waters, cypress or walnut (both sacred to Artemis), and incense

We come together now in the presence of all the Theoi, but most especially Artemis, protector of children.

I take this token and ask that it be blessed.

Blessed in the light of the moon which has infused these Waters.

Blessed in the presence of the Maiden, who watches over all children.

Blessed by the breath of the Theoi, who watch over us all.

Let these waters wash clean (this child) as they infuse this token.

*blessed waters form the Return Flow are sprinkled on the token*

Let this plant, sacred to Artemis, fill (this child) with strength, and protect (her) from all harm, as it infuses this token.

*cypress/walnut is rubbed into the token*

Let this smoke breathe life and joy into (this child) as it infuses this token.

*incense is wafted around token*

Infused with the blessings and in the presence of the Kindreds, we call now for the powers of Land, Sea, and Sky to combine with ours and with the bright, fierce essence of Artemis, to seal this intent into this token.

*brief pause to focus and visualize intent*

Esto!

 

9) Purification Work – Provide and explain one example of purification magic from an Indo-European culture, and write an ADF-style purification working based on that example. (min. 150 words for example explanation)

The Greek Magical Papyri contains examples of amulets and talismans that aid in the work of the magician.  There are many spells that are designed for the consecration of tools.  One such is PGM IV. 1596-1715 (Betz 68-9).  This particular spell calls on Helios to consecrate a tool, which in the example in the Greek Magical Papyri is a stone, though it indicates that it can be any object.  A great portion of the words that are said are praising the work of the god.  This spell is designed to invoke Helios in each of the hours that he is seen in the sky, and for each hour provide a skill to the magician and his consecrated object.  Towards the end of the spell, the magician would speak: “Hear my voice in this present day and let all things done by this stone or for this phylactery, be brought to fulfillment, and especially NN matter for which I consecrate it” (Betz 69)

The magic that is being done here in the modern working is a visualization of a maelstrom stripping away those things that are pulling in our unwanted attention.  The swirling maelstrom then purifying us and allowing us to find our center.  We are consecrating a stone to help us stand firm at the center of the swirling storm, and help us to maintain our own center.  The working focuses not only on the purification of the individual, but also in maintaining that purified and grounded state.  It uses the imagery of the sea and the omphalos as the axis mundi to center the individual who is creating this tool.  For this working you will need a stone (or some other focus object), myrrh, and salt.

“Poseidon, Earth Shaker, Wave Bringer:

You whose trident stirs the mighty maelstrom,

whose waters wash us clean in the storm.

I bring you this gift of salt for your realm, and myrrh for your delight

As I ask your aid in this working tonight.

*salt and myrrh are offered*

You teach us of endurance and patience:

The calm in the raging storm.

You teach us of strength and perseverance:

The gates holding the Titans at bay.

You teach us of persistence and change:

The ebb and flow of the tides.

*each person takes stone and holds it at their center and speaks:*

“Poseidon, may this stone mark my center,

Holding me firm and strong here within myself.

Let the whipping winds cyclone about me

Stripping away the miasma I carry.

Strip away the obstacles I put up in front myself.

Strip away the extraneous emotions and thoughts diminishing my focus.

Let me stand firm at the center,

Even though the storm may rage about me.

Though the maelstrom spins, I stand strong.

Like this stone, I stand firm upon the Earth:

Unshaking and unafraid.

Like this stone, I stand firm amidst the storm:

the waves breaking around me, the riptide passing me by.

Like this stone, I stand firm and strong

Here at my Center.”

Poseidon, Lord of the Deep,

Connect us to the foundations of the Earth

And help us to find peace and joy

in the blossoming waves of the storm.”

 

10) Introspection – Having done the above work, provide detail of your understanding of why self-knowledge and introspection are critical for working with magic and how you intend to pursue your own course of self-understanding. (min. 350 words)

The work described in the practicum for this course, as well as the work done in Magic 2, have both helped to inform my understanding of why self-knowledge and introspection are critical for working magic. They have helped me consider how I approach magical work, what methods I use, how I determine what magical work to do, and how my work reflects on how I am perceived by others.

Self-understanding and introspection are essential for every person who practices magic, whether or not they consider themselves a magus or magician.  For me this becomes a discussion of ethics, and a discussion of ethics within my practice turns towards the Delphic Maxims (Oikonomides).  Personal introspection falls under maxim #8 “Know Thyself” or perhaps “Be Yourself,” depending on the translation. This requires a person to examine their personal values, and determine why they feel the way they do, and how to best act in accordance with those values they have come to own.  Many other values are accounted for within the maxims that help to guide who that “self” is that you should strive to know and be.

In the work described in the practicum, I looked at what type of magic would actually be useful to me and to those who were attending the rites where that magic was performed. Part of the introspection was setting aside ideas for workings that would be ‘cool’ or ‘flashy,’ but not necessarily be the best way to accomplish the goal of that work. This required me to deepen my understanding of myself. An understanding of yourself requires that you know who you are and continually exploring who you want to become.  It requires an understanding of how your actions and inactions affect yourself and others, and your view of yourself and how others perceive you.  This does not require you to cater to or be afraid of how others will view you, but at least have an understanding.  This understanding as you grow will help you to distinguish the role that magic is taking in your life. I believe there is always a danger that hubris can overtake a person, and in the case of magical work, this hubris can be more devastating as the magician breaks from reality.  One of the guiding maxims that I think helps to curb hubris is to “Be (religiously) silent.”  It is more important to do the work than talk about all the work you have, or could have done. One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve done the work for the initiate path as well as the beginning work for the clergy training program (including the practicum for this course), is that my view of myself will affect the way that others view me, and the best course of action for me is to let my work speak for itself and let others determine their view of me from my actions.

An understanding, and continual drive for better understanding, of how you view yourself and how others view you will help to keep hubris from taking root and destroying both the self and any relationships that may exist.  You should like who you are, and act in such a way that you continue to do so.  If you don’t like yourself, then you should be able to take steps to fix that.  You should also have an understanding of how those around you view you, and be able to accept that view.

Ways that I pursue a course of self-understanding are first by examining (and re-examining) my biases.  It is important for everyone to know their biases so that they can account for the ways that may pre-dispose them to a certain belief or outcome.  I do divinatory work to consult the divine on whether or not an action (magical or not) is called for.  I meditate on how my actions will affect myself and others. I work to determine what I view as right and wrong, and where my line is that I won’t cross.  I do my best to stay honest with myself and true to my gods, because in the end, I have to answer to my conscience and my gods.

 

Works Cited:

Betz, Hans Dieter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells. Chicago, Ill.: U of Chicago, 1986. Print.

Bloomfield, Maurice. “Hymns of the Atharva-Veda.” Sacred-Texts.com. Sacred Books of the East. vol 42. 1897. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Graf, Fritz. Magic in the Ancient World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997. Print.

Griffith, Ralph T.H. “The Hymns of the Atharvaveda.” Sacred-Texts.com. Sacred Texts. 1895-6. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Ancient Greek Divination. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Pub., 2008. Print.

Littleton, C. Scott. The New Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges Dumézil. Rev. ed. Berkeley: U of California, 1973. Print.

Mallory, J. P. In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth. New York, NY: Thames and Hudson, 1989. Print.

Oikonomides, Al. N.. “Records of “The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men” in the 3rd c. B.C..” Classical Bulletin: 67-76. Web. 1 July 2014. <http://www.flyallnight.com/khaire/DelphicMaxims/DelphicMaxims_CB63-1987.pdf>

Sophistes, Apollonius. “Hellenic Magic Ritual.” Hellenic Magical Ritual. Biblioteca Arcana, 2000. Web. 18 Apr. 2014. <http://omphalos.org/BA/HMT/>.

Sophistes, Apollonius. “A Greek Alphabet Oracle.” A Greek Alphabet Oracle. Biblioteca Arcana, 1995. Web. 18 Apr. 2014. <http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/GAO.html>.

The Importance of Self-Understanding and Introspection

The work described in the practicum for Magic 1 for Priests, as well as the work done in Magic 2, have both helped to inform my understanding of why self-knowledge and introspection are critical for working magic. They have helped me consider how I approach magical work, what methods I use, how I determine what magical work to do, and how my work reflects on how I am perceived by others.

 

Self-understanding and introspection are essential for every person who practices magic, whether or not they consider themselves a magus or magician.  For me this becomes a discussion of ethics, and a discussion of ethics within my practice turns towards the Delphic Maxims.  Personal introspection falls under maxim #8 “Know Thyself” or perhaps “Be Yourself,” depending on the translation. This requires a person to examine their personal values, and determine why they feel the way they do, and how to best act in accordance with those values they have come to own.  Many other values are accounted for within the maxims that help to guide who that “self” is that you should strive to know and be.

 

In the work described in the practicum, I looked at what type of magic would actually be useful to me and to those who were attending the rites where that magic was performed. Part of the introspection was setting aside ideas for workings that would be ‘cool’ or ‘flashy,’ but not necessarily be the best way to accomplish the goal of that work. This required me to deepen my understanding of myself. An understanding of yourself requires that you know who you are and continually exploring who you want to become.  It requires an understanding of how your actions and inactions affect yourself and others, and your view of yourself and how others perceive you.  This does not require you to cater to or be afraid of how others will view you, but at least have an understanding.  This understanding as you grow will help you to distinguish the role that magic is taking in your life. I believe there is always a danger that hubris can overtake a person, and in the case of magical work, this hubris can be more devastating as the magician breaks from reality.  One of the guiding maxims that I think helps to curb hubris is to “Be (religiously) silent.”  It is more important to do the work than talk about all the work you have, or could have done. One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve done the work for the initiate path as well as the beginning work for the clergy training program (including the practicum for this course), is that my view of myself will affect the way that others view me, and the best course of action for me is to let my work speak for itself and let others determine their view of me from my actions.

 

An understanding, and continual drive for better understanding, of how you view yourself and how others view you will help to keep hubris from taking root and destroying both the self and any relationships that may exist.  You should like who you are, and act in such a way that you continue to do so.  If you don’t like yourself, then you should be able to take steps to fix that.  You should also have an understanding of how those around you view you, and be able to accept that view.

 

Ways that I pursue a course of self-understanding are first by examining (and re-examining) my biases.  It is important for everyone to know their biases so that they can account for the ways that may pre-dispose them to a certain belief or outcome.  I do divinatory work to consult the divine on whether or not an action (magical or not) is called for.  I meditate on how my actions will affect myself and others. I work to determine what I view as right and wrong, and where my line is that I won’t cross.  I do my best to stay honest with myself and true to my gods, because in the end, I have to answer to my conscience and my gods.

Crisis Response

1) Provide both an objective (from a source e.g. dictionary, textbook) and subjective definition (in your own words) for the following terms: “crisis” and “precipitating event.” (minimum 50 words each, excluding the objective definitions)

 Crisis:

cri·sis noun \ˈkrī-səs\

  • : a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention
  • : the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever
  • : a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function
  • : an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life
  • : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially :  one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome
  • : a situation that has reached a critical phase

“Crisis situations…are ordinarily initiated by a blow from the outside or from internal pressures that can no longer be sustained.  These may result in one catastrophic event or in a series of mishaps whose effect is cumulative… The crisis situation is not essentially a sickness or a pathological experience.  It is a realistic struggle in the true circumstances of the lives of the affected persons” (Kennedy 389).

A crisis is a situation that an individual experiences that most often arises from a precipitating event.  This situation is one that causes the individual undue stress and can result in them acting and feeling particularly out of character.  It often comes out of some external stimuli that then culminates in a combination of internal and external manifestations of the crisis.

Precipitating Event:

pre·cip·i·tate verb \pri-ˈsi-pə-ˌtāt\

  • : to cause (something) to happen quickly or suddenly
  • : to bring about especially abruptly
  • : to fall or come suddenly into some condition

“If there is no resolution [to the crisis situation] and the tension builds to a peak, then a precipitating factor may touch off the crisis so that, in an instant…balance collapses and disorganization takes place.  This is the state of active crisis” (Kennedy 389).  “Understanding what is termed the “precipitation event” governs an intervention that is ordered… Identifying the precipitating stress follows the burned powder trail back from the explosion to that place where the match was struck and touched to it.  There we find the circumstances that unbalanced the person and gave rise to the symptoms now displayed” (388).

A precipitating event is the thing that happens to trigger a crisis situation.  This can be a “last straw” type of scenario, where the person finally breaks from a long line of stressors, or it can be a sudden event that tips the scales.  This precipitating event will most likely relate back to the individual on a mental, emotional, and/or physical level.  It can be anything from a loss to a threat to a challenge.

 

2) Describe at least three different categories of emergency situations and provide a clear example of each. Please ensure you include a source citation. (minimum 50 words each).

Three categories that emergencies can fall into are Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Intertemporal, among others.

Intrapersonal:  An interpersonal emergency is one that arises from an individual dealing and coping with their own internal processes, such as depression, anxiety, and/or confusion.  These emergencies may not have a clear precipitating event, or at the very least, a clear event that the individual can pinpoint as the root cause of their emotions.  For example, an individual could be experiencing anxiety or depression as they anticipate responses to their actions and their internal sense of balance is thrown off.  This internal processing and experience of emotions can be a precipitating event that leads to a crisis situation (Kennedy 387-93).

Interpersonal: An interpersonal emergency is one that arises between individuals.  This may be in a romantic relationship, a friendship relationship, a professional relationship, or a familial relationship.  In all of these there is a person other than the individual involved who’s actions and reactions can influence the development and/or resolution of a crisis situation.  For example, an individual could be experiencing a breakdown in communication between themselves and their significant other.  This breakdown in communication can be a precipitating event that leads to a crisis situation (Kennedy 387-93).

Intertemporal: An intertemporal emergency is one that happens during times of transition, and is not necessarily tied to a particular time frame or age grouping of people.  This transition often occurs between life stages or life events.  For example, as a teenager graduates from high school and anticipates moving out of their childhood home either to join the workforce or begin college they may experience difficulties navigating the new experiences and responsibilities that come with that new territory.  They will be managing their own time, will be expected to pay for their own expenses, and oftentimes will suddenly be seen as “more responsible,” causing anxiety about these new expectations.  This time of transition can be a precipitating event that leads to a crisis situation (Kennedy 387-88).

 

3) Describe at least five possible events or situations that may cause an individual to experience a crisis in his or her life. (minimum 100 words)

There are many reasons why a person may experience crisis in their life.  All of these reasons are a real struggle for the individual and should not be trivialized.  A person may experience a loss, whether through death, the ending of a relationship, or the loss of a job, position, or material good.  This can cause depression and mourning.  A person may be experiencing or anticipating a big life event, such as marriage, a new job, the birth of a child, or moving.  This can cause anxiety.  A person may be the victim of a traumatic event, such as theft, assault, or rape. This can cause guilt, fear, depression, and anxiety, among many other emotions.  A person may be suffering from, or caring for someone suffering from, an illness, whether one that suddenly came on or a prolonged illness.  This can cause guilt, depression, and exhaustion.  A person may experience triggers that remind them of previous traumatic events, which can bring back the same emotions experienced during the initial event.  For example, a victim or rape or assault may be introduced to someone who looks similar to his or her attacker, or may hear a sound that was happening at the time of the attack.  That facial structure, or that sound, became linked with the initial event and acts as a trigger back to the original space and time (Kennedy 391).

 

4) Discuss how an individual’s ability to appropriately cope and/or problem solve may be affected by crisis and explain the process you would use to assist this individual. (100 words).

When a person is in crisis they may become anxious, confused, or overwhelmed by the situation they find themselves in.  These feelings can interfere with a person’s ability to make even small decisions, which can lead to them losing the stable footing that they need to maintain their own psychological defenses.  We can help be a stabilizing force and “allow others to depend on us during the intense interval of crisis, letting them “lean” on us and telling them what to do” (Kennedy 390).  We act as a steady pretense and help the individual with some immediate day-to-day decisions and tasks that will allow them the time and space needed to replenish their own defense so that they can take over that role again.  We can help by identifying where the person is strong – “what we understand as their healthiest defenses – and encourage their use in their struggle to recapture their equilibrium” (390).

 

5) List and discuss at least five suicide warning signs. Explain how you would respond if you were assisting an individual exhibiting one or more of these signs. (minimum 50 words each warning sign and minimum 100 words for response). 

“Most experts believe that determination to commit suicide is the clearest signal that we can receive and that three facets may be identified in every suicide: specificity of the means, lethality of the means, and availability of the means.  When these conditions are realized we may conclude that the likelihood of suicide is very high” (Kennedy 352).

Warning Signs: (“Suicide Warning Signs”)

1 – Talking/Writing about suicide: 

This is probably the number one warning sign of suicide.  It can take the form of an individual meeting with people they haven’t seen in a while to say goodbye, getting their affairs in order, writing a will, or giving away treasured possessions.  When an individual is talking or writing about suicide they may reveal the specificity of the three facets mentioned above.  This warning sign should always be taken seriously and appropriate action taken.

2 – Feeling of hopelessness, helplessness, or being trapped by a situation: 

When a person feels like there is no way out of situation or there is nothing that can be done to ever make it any better, suicide can become a risk.  When a person makes statements such as “it won’t change anything, so why bother,” this should be recognized a contributing factor to the determination to commit suicide.

3 – Change in Personality/Behavior

This can include anger/rage, sadness, excessive guilt/shame, mood swings, out of the ordinary emotions for the individual, and/or a change in eat/sleeping habits.  The important thing to consider here is the shift from normal behavior to something out of the ordinary.  This means that this warning sign is harder to recognize unless you know the individual well or spend a decent amount of time around them in order to determine what is typical behavior.

4 – Reckless Behavior

This is best used as a warning sign when taken in conjunction with the other signs.  It is more likely to be a warning sign when it is a sudden change in behavior and/or out of the norm for the individual, or when it is couple with the individual setting their affairs in order.  It is still important to be aware of a person who always seems to volunteer for the most dangerous jobs, is consistently taking unnecessary risks, or seems to getting hurt all the time.

5 – Withdrawing from friends/family

This includes not showing interest in doing things with those people, as well as no longer taking part in most parts of life they used to enjoy.  When a person withdraws from their support network, especially if their behavior changes before doing so, it can be a fairly clear warning sign.  A similar risk factor is for individuals who appear to be loners or social outcasts and have a weak support network.

My Response:

My response would depend on how immediate or intense these warning signs presented themselves in an individual.  It is a careful balance to neither underreact nor overreact (Kennedy 355-6).  If an individual were talking about committing suicide, I would probably ask them if they had a plan for how and/or when they were going to.  This would determine the immediacy need of my response.  In either case I would probably give them a suicide hotline number and ask them to call in that moment.  Additionally, if I knew they were already receiving professional help, I would ask them to call and schedule an appointment with their therapist, begin sure that they told their therapist they were considering suicide, then, as the therapist would most likely suggest in that moment, I would do my best to make sure they went to an emergency room.  If the individual was adamantly opposed to this and I felt they were in immediate danger, I would call 911.  For individuals who were not currently receiving professional help I would refer them to a counselor.

For individuals who were not displaying immediate warning signs, I would still either ask that they contact their therapist if they had one, or refer them to one if they didn’t.  I would give them the suicide hotline number and ask them to program it into their phone so they’d have easy access to it if needed.  I would check in with them and continue to act as an active, empathetic listener, being sure to let them know that I would be a support person, available to listen and be there in the ways I am able, but that they should also use the other resources that are available (like the referral to a counselor and the suicide hotline number) and should contact those resources first if they continued to feel they way they are or if they felt like they were getting worse.

 

6) Choose four of the seven common misconceptions about suicide from the list below and discuss why each is a misconception. (minimum 50 words each)

People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.

Individuals who have committed suicide nearly always have talked about it first.  An individual who talks about suicide is oftentimes in pain and reaching out for help in one of the few ways they can think how.  They have lost hope and can think of few or no other options.  Talk about suicide should always be taken seriously.

If a person is determined to kill himself/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.

An individual who is determined to commit suicide has often made that choice because they are in pain and can see no other way out.  They are looking for a way to end the pain, not necessarily end their life.  Suicide is an escape plan to stop the pain.  Prevention can be addressed through therapy to help them find other ways to stop the pain they are trying to end.  Talking about suicide with these individuals and referring them for help needs to happen.

Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

This is untrue, and may be counter-productive to aiding someone who is considering suicide.  It is prudent to bring up the possibly of suicide with individuals who we think are suicide risk so we can assess how immediate their need for professional help may be.  Bringing up suicide to these individuals does not put a new idea in their head but rather may “diminish the symbolic power of actual suicide by showing that the thought can be accepted and understood by others” (Kennedy 357).

After a person has attempted suicide, it is unlikely he/she will try again.

The opposite of this is actually true.  One of the risk factors for suicide is whether or not a person has any previous attempts at suicide.  The potential for a person to complete suicide is quicker if they have a history of suicide attempts.  This is particularly noted in adolescents, because while many will never make another attempt, there are some who previously engaged in some for of self-destructive behavior or a mild attempt at suicide who may eventually commit suicide (Kennedy 353-4).

 

7) Discuss why an individual in crisis might seek an ADF clergy person for help and explain whether or not you feel this is an appropriate function for ADF clergy, why or why not? (minimum 200 words)

A person in crisis may come to an ADF clergy person because they are seeking support from someone they view as a helper and a leader, who theoretically appears calm and grounded in most situations, as well as someone who is an important figure in their religious practice.  People turn “to those nearby who seem capable of offering some understanding and good sense” (Kennedy viii-ix). I think this is both an expected response from people, as well as one that is appropriate for the clergy to be ready and able to handle.  Our culture, in the United States at least, is familiar with the idea of pastoral counseling.  For ADF clergy, this may look different, but it nevertheless remains one of their many appropriate functions.  The structure of our church is such that we build close-knit communities, and those communities have leaders.  An ADF clergy person is seen as a leader, making them one who will be turned to in times of crisis.  “Faith and Spirituality are now recognized as potent sources of personal integration and emotional well-being.  In crisis, we may wisely call on the religious faith of those involved to support them during the time of stress” (390-1).

I think it is an important distinction however, that when a person in crisis comes to an ADF clergy person, that we are there to provide emergency level support and resources should they need more advanced care.  As a support person, the skill set is focused on our natural human traits and empathy.  The tactics that can be used to be a successful support person include ventilation, exploration of problems, clarification, suggestion, reassurance, education, empathy, and support of defenses (Kennedy 7-10).  In these situations, it is also imperative to recognize our own limits, including when we need to step back for our own well-being as well as when an individual needs to be referred for professional help.  When considering the line between what is an appropriate function for clergy and what is not, it’s important to remember that we are who the folk have chosen to come to in this instance, and it would be a great disservice, and perhaps even unethical, to not honor the role that they have set us in and turn them away without providing the support and resources we are able.  “We are not out to convince people that they are in trouble but to respond to them when they really are” (398).

 

8) Discuss an example of a crisis situation to which you have responded (this may be a crisis you have personally experienced or an experience in which you tried to help someone else in crisis). Reflect upon your response to the crisis in your example, and explain what you found effective, as well as how you could have improved your response to this situation. (minimum 200 words)

I have a friend who recently came to me regarding her marriage.  She’s been married for about 3 years and suffers from anxiety and possibly depression (both untreated at the time of this conversation).  She felt like her marriage was falling apart and was debating moving out.  She contacted me initially via instant message, and after asking her directly if she felt physically safe, I scheduled a time to go over and talk with her a couple of days later.

Going to talk to her mostly involved me practicing a lot of active listening.  I let her talk about how she was feeling and describe to me what she felt was happening and her grievances in the relationship.  It sounded like she was trying to sort through her feelings and talking about them out loud to another person was helpful for her to process them and define them.  One of the things I think I did well was actively listening with a minimal amount of self-sharing on my part.  There was no need for me to discuss or reveal any similar situations: she already seemed comfortable enough to share with me, and didn’t appear to be seeking validation for her feelings in a way that me sharing would have helped.

One of the things she had told me was that she felt nervous thinking about her husband coming home from work, and how she was tired of feeling scared, and how she was tired of walking on eggshells around him all the time.  I had brought a couple of phone numbers with me for domestic violence services.  I gave them to her, and asked her to please call them if at any point she felt like she was in physical danger or needed to get out.  Thinking about it now, if I had to do this again, I would probably have had her program the numbers into her phone so she could get to them immediately.

I felt like, during the course of our conversation, that she was pressuring me to make a decision for her.  It’s one of the things I think I did well in: I kept reiterating that it was a personal decision on her part, and one that she, and only she, could make.  We did talk about if she would have a place to go if she decided to leave him, and I helped her brainstorm where those places could be, and how she would need to go about applying for jobs to be able to support herself if it came to that.

I also asked her if her and her husband would be willing to go to marriage counseling.  She said they had made an appointment, but that it was still several weeks out for their first appointment.  She also told me how she had started seeing a therapist for herself, who had brought up her possibly getting on antidepressants.  She was resistant and really scared to try that because she was afraid she would start them, and then lose her support network of her husband, and all her friends would turn out to actually be her husband’s friends and wouldn’t be supportive of her either.  I talked to her about trying to trust her therapist, and making sure to reach out to her support network.

One of the things I could have done to improve this interaction would have been to have a better sense of when to end the conversation.  I didn’t go in with a time frame, and I think it would have made it easier to leave without angst-ridden feelings of whether or not the conversation was at a good stopping point and whether or not it was okay to actually them.  I also could have done better by having a better firm time or time frame to check in again with her.

 

9) Discuss how the skills required of ADF clergy in ritual, especially those which involve mitigating chaos and generating order, might relate to those necessary for appropriately responding to an emergency situation (minimum 100 words).

One of the things that ADF clergy do is ritual is bring order out of chaos.  In ADF ritual we are taking actions to maintain the order in the chaos when we (Re)Create the Cosmos and Establish the Sacred Center.  When an individual is in crisis, they are experiencing chaos.  When a precipitating event occurs that touches off a crisis situation, it is touching off an effect that causes balance within the individual to collapse and disorganization of their world to occur (Kennedy 398).   “Bringing order reduces the anxiety that, as in all stressful encounters, can so easily paralyze or lessen the constructive potential of persons standing at the center or the edges of an emergency.  Persons who remain calm and maintain self-control in a disaster become its natural leaders and can save many lives… Our ability to master ourselves and to telegraph confidence to others in an emergency calms the tempest, grounding the electric anxiety that crackles in the air, thereby decreasing the intensity of the emergency itself” (386-7).  When we take our skills required in ritual, mitigating chaos and generating order, and apply them to respond to those in crisis, we are allowing ourselves to become, in that moment, the axis mundi that the individual needs in order to reorient themselves within their world, and the mountain that they need as a steadying, grounding force.

 

10) Compile and submit a list of mainstream resources providing crisis services available in your locality. Additionally, explore your locality for a hotline number to access emergency services and discuss the results of your search. (Please provide the following information for each resource listed a) name of resource b) contact information c) how to make a referral d) hours of operation e) specific service[s] provided by the resource). (no minimum word count)

“Hands on Central Ohio 2-1-1.” Hands on Central Ohio 2-1-1. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.211centralohio.org>.

suicidal thoughts

Type of Resource: Suicide Prevention

  • Name of Resource: North Central Mental Health Services
  • Contact Information:
  • 1301 North High Street
  • Main Building
  • Columbus, OH 43201
  • http://www.suicidepreventionservices.org
  • (614) 221-5445 24-hour hotline
  • How to Make a Referral: 24/7 by phone
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 by phone
  • Services Provided: Trained volunteers assist callers through empathetic listening, assessing suicide risk, identifying problems and connecting callers with appropriate resources and referrals. Also presents educational programs about the warning sides of suicide and what to do when those signs are observed.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services:
  • (614) 221-5445 24-hour hotline – Franklin County Suicide Hotline
  • (614) 294-3300 24-hour hotline – Franklin County Teen Suicide Hotline
  • (614) 294-3309 24-hour hotline – Franklin County Senior Suicide Hotline
  • (800) 273-8255 24-hour hotline – National Suicide Prevention Hotline

mental illness

Type of Resource: Depression Support Group

  • Name of Resource: North Central Mental Health Services
  • Contact Information:
  • 1301 North High Street
  • Main Building
  • Columbus, OH 43201
  • (614) 299-6600 Administrative
  • (614) 299-6600 ext. 2073 Program Number
  • inquiries@ncmhs.org
  • www.ncmhs.org
  • How to Make a Referral: by phone
  • Hours of Operation: Second and fourth Thursday of each month 7 pm-8:30 pm.
  • Services Provided: Peer support for those experiencing depressive disorders (no fees and no documents needed)
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: (614) 221-5445 24-hour hotline – Franklin County Suicide Hotline

Type of Resource: General Counseling

  • Name of Resource: North Central Counseling
  • Contact Information:
  • 338 Granville Street
  • Columbus, OH 43230
  • (614) 475-7090 Administrative
  • www.ncmhs.org
  • How to Make a Referral: by phone (Accepts Medicaid, most insurance providers, ADAMH funds and private pay.)
  • Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 8:30 am-8 pm. Friday 8:30 am-5 pm.
  • Services Provided: General Counseling Services, Substance Abuse Counseling. Offers mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, adolescents, families and adults. The Family Focus team offers individual, family, parent, couples and group counseling with an emphasis on a solution-focused approach.

substance abuse (addiction)

Type of Resource: Substance Abuse Counseling

  • Name of Resource: North Community Counseling Centers
  • Contact Information:
  • 1495 Morse Road Suite B3
  • Columbus, OH 43229
  • (614) 267-7003 Administrative
  • (614) 846-2588 ext. 2223 Program Number
  • How to Make a Referral:
  • Hours of Operation: by appt only. hours vary.
  • Services Provided: Offers substance abuse counseling on an individual or group basis. Offers an informational and educational group on substance abuse or addiction.

Type of Resource: Substance Abuse Counseling

  • Name of Resource: North Central Counseling
  • Contact Information:
  • 338 Granville Street
  • Columbus, OH 43230
  • (614) 475-7090 Administrative
  • www.ncmhs.org
  • How to Make a Referral: by phone (Accepts Medicaid, most insurance providers, ADAMH funds and private pay.)
  • Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 8:30 am-8 pm. Friday 8:30 am-5 pm.
  • Services Provided: General Counseling Services, Substance Abuse Counseling. Offers mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, adolescents, families and adults. The Family Focus team offers individual, family, parent, couples and group counseling with an emphasis on a solution-focused approach.

Type of Resource: Substance Abuse

financial issues

Type of Resource: Utility & Rent Assistance

  • Name of Resource: IMPACT Community Action (HEAP)
  • Contact Information:
  • 700 Bryden Road
  • Columbus, OH 43215
  • 614.252.2799
  • How to Make a Referral: Call 866.747.1038 to schedule an appointment for HEAP assistance or for Central Intake for other IMPACT programs and services. Call 866.747.1040 to schedule an appointment for rental assistance, material assistance through the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, or for water utility assistance (offered seasonally: April-June and September-November). Must bring to intake: valid Drivers License/Photo ID, Social Security Cards for all household members, proof of household income for the past 90 days for everyone 18yr and older, current gas/electric bills, copy of your lease if your service are off or being transferred
  • Hours of Operation: Mondays through Fridays  8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  call to schedule appt.
  • Services Provided: The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps households prevent energy service disruptions, restore disconnected services, and/or secure seasonal heating and cooling energy needs.  Emergency Assistance provides financial and material support on behalf of customers in crisis situations, including homelessness prevention, home furnishings, and other critical transportation needs.

homelessness (lack of shelter, food, clothing, other basic needs)

Type of Resource: Homeless Financial Assistance (Families with Children)

  • Name of Resource: Homeless Families Foundation
  • Contact Information:
  • 33 North Grubb Street
  • Columbus, OH 43215
  • http://www.homelessfamiliesfoundation.com
  • (614) 461-9247 Administrative
  • (614) 253-3910 Intake   YWCA Family Center
  • How to Make a Referral: by telephone (614-253-3910) to schedule intake. To qualify for services YWCA Family Shelter must complete referral.
  • Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 8:30 am-5 pm. Fri 8:30 am-3 pm.
  • Services Provided: Provides assistance in finding permanent housing and extensive holistic case management for homeless children and their families. Assistance for deposits, rent and sometimes utilities are subsidized for a short time to help stabilize the families in their new homes. When needed, Homeless Families Foundation also provides necessary furniture, dishes, pots and pans, towels and toiletries, cleaning supplies and a starter food basket.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services:
  • The “Front Door” to the family shelter system in Columbus is the YWCA’s “Family Center”
  • 900 Harvey Court
  • Columbus, OH  43219
  • Phone:  614.253.3910

Type of Resource: Individual Homeless Shelters (Men & Women)

  • Name of Resource: Friends of the Homeless (Southeast, Inc.)
  • Contact Information:
  • Administrative Address:
  • 924 East Main Street
  • Columbus, OH 43205-2338
  • 614.360.0251(v) 614.253.7341(f)
  • Men’s Shelter Address:
  • 924 East Main Street
  • Columbus, OH 43205
  • Women’s Shelter Address:
  • 595 Van Buren Drive
  • Columbus, OH 43223
  • How to Make a Referral: intake process by phone or in person
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 for shelter; Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri 8 am-5 pm. Tuesday 8 am-7 pm. for Admin offices
  • Services Provided: Provides emergency shelter for adult single men and adult single women. Additional services include meals and referrals to medical, legal, and supportive services.  18 years and older. Individuals must be sober, ambulatory and not dangerous.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: (888) 474-3587 24 shelter hour hotline

Type of Resource: Teen Emergency Shelter

  • Name of Resource: Huckleberry House
  • Contact Information:
  • 1421 Hamlet Street
  • Columbus, OH 43201
  • http://www.huckhouse.org
  • (614) 294-8097 Administrative
  • (614) 298-4135 (for family counseling)
  • How to Make a Referral: 24/7 phone (614) 294-8097) and walk-in
  • Teens unable to get to Huckleberry House on their can go to a White Castle Restaurant, a Columbus Fire Station or a 24-hour Kroger store.  They can walk into the site and tell an employee that they need Safe Place Help. The employee/store will contact Huckleberry House, and they will arrange transport. (If you are unsure where the closest Safe Place site is, you can text to 69866 and enter SAFE into your phone and your current location (street address, city, state) they will text you back within seconds the closest safe place location for you. You can also call The National Safe Place hotline at 1-888-290-7233)
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 phone and walk-in
  • Services Provided: Offers 24-hour crisis intervention services for teens (12-17yrs). Provides a 24-hour crisis shelter and crisis hotline. Offers counseling services for youth who have run away from home, or are thinking of running. Counselors work with teens and their families to provide crisis intervention and to develop communication and understanding. Average length of stay is 3-5 days with a plan of reconciliation in place.  Transitional housing is available for stays as long as 12-18 months.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: (614) 294-5553 24-hour hotline

suspected abuse of the individual’s child(ren)

Type of Resource: Child Abuse & Domestic Violence for Children with Families

  • Name of Resource: Franklin County Children’s Services
  • Contact Information:
  • 4071 East Main Street
  • Whitehall, OH 43213
  • http://www.franklincountyohio.gov/children_services
  • (614) 229-7100 24-hour Intake hotline
  • How to Make a Referral: Reports are made to the 24 Abuse Hotline (614-229-7000)
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 by phone. Intake process: phone and walk-in (no documents required, and no fees)
  • Services Provided: Investigation of alleged child abuse, neglect or exploitation within families or childcare facilities, schools, group homes, etc. Alternative intake can also do assessments for cases of domestic violence if children are in the home and affected. Note a case must be opened in order to receive additional services.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: (614) 229-7000 24-hour Child Abuse hotline

criminal victimization (victims of theft, sexual assault, domestic violence)

Type of Resource: LGBTQ Domestic & Hate Violence

  • Name of Resource: Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization
  • Contact Information:
  • 870 North Pearl Street
  • Columbus, OH 43215
  • http://www.bravo-ohio.org
  • (614) 294-7867 (Administrative/Program Number 9am-5pm)
  • How to Make a Referral:
  • Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 10 am-4 pm. Sun-Thu 6 pm-10 pm.  Intake process: Telephone. E-mail. Walk-in. (no documents required, and no fees)
  • Services Provided: Provides confidential crisis intervention services and legal advocacy/attorney referrals to victims of anti-gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, same sex domestic violence and anti-LGBT Hate violence.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services:  (866) 862-7286

Type of Resource: General Domestic Violence

  • Name of Resource: CHOICES – for victims of domestic violence
  • Contact Information:
  • 500 W. Wilson Bridge Rd. Suite 245
  • Worthington, OH 43085
  • http://choicescolumbus.org/
  • (614) 224-7200
  • How to Make a Referral: call 24hr hotline
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 by phone
  • Services Provided: 24-hour Crisis & Information Line; Temporary Shelter; Counseling & Support Groups; Legal & Community Advocacy; Education & Training Programs
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: 614-224-HOME (4663)

Type of Resource: Child Abuse & Domestic Violence for Children with Families

  • Name of Resource: Franklin County Children’s Services
  • Contact Information:
  • 4071 East Main Street
  • Whitehall, OH 43213
  • http://www.franklincountyohio.gov/children_services
  • (614) 229-7100 24-hour Intake hotline
  • How to Make a Referral: Reports are made to the 24 Abuse Hotline (614-229-7000)
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 by phone. Intake process: phone and walk-in (no documents required, and no fees)
  • Services Provided: Investigation of alleged child abuse, neglect or exploitation within families or childcare facilities, schools, group homes, etc. Alternative intake can also do assessments for cases of domestic violence if children are in the home and affected. Note a case must be opened in order to receive additional services.
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services:
  • (614) 229-7000 24-hour Child Abuse hotline

Type of Resource: Sexual Assault

  • Name of Resource: Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO)
  • Contact Information:
  • 1299 Olentangy River Road
  • Columbus, OH 43212
  • https://www.ohiohealth.com/sexualassaultresponsenetwork/
  • (614) 566-4770 General Information
  • How to Make a Referral: by phone only
  • Hours of Operation: 24/7 by phone
  • Services Provided: Trained volunteers provide emotional support, crisis intervention and referral information over the telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to survivors of sexual violence, co-survivors and the community. Also offer long-term advocacy and support to survivors and co-survivors who need assistance working with law enforcement and navigating the criminal justice system.  Individual Advocacy for Adult Sexual Assault Survivors, Individual Advocacy for Families/Friends of Sexual Assault/Abuse Survivors, Sexual Assault Hotlines
  • Hotline Number for Emergency Services: (614) 267-7020 24 hour Rape hotline;  Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):  1-(800) 656-HOPE

grief (resulting from death, terminal illness, divorce or other loss)

Type of Resource: Grief/Loss

  • Name of Resource: Directions Counseling Group
  • Contact Information:
  • 6797 N. High St.
  • Worthington, Ohio 43085
  • 614-888-9200
  • http://www.directionscounseling.com/adult/grief-loss
  • How to Make a Referral: by appt. Call 614-888-9200
  • Hours of Operation: by appt. Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Services Provided: Therapy for grief or loss from: Loss of a loved one, End of a relationship, Retirement, Major life transition, Empty nest, Death of a pet, Past trauma, Loss of job, Health issues

Type of Resource: Grief Support Groups

  • Name of Resource: Mount Carmel Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Contact Information:
  • 1144 Dublin Road
  • Columbus, OH 43215
  • http://www.mountcarmelhealth.com/grief–loss
  • 614-234-0200
  • How to Make a Referral: Call 614-234-0200 to schedule an Intake for each particular program
  • Hours of Operation: varies by program.  Most are evenings.
  • Services Provided: Free Grief and Loss support groups.  Schedule varies.  PDF of current groups located on website.

 

Works Cited:

“Hands on Central Ohio 2-1-1.” Hands on Central Ohio 2-1-1. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.211centralohio.org>.

Kennedy, Eugene and Charles, Sara. On Becoming a Counselor: A Basic Guide for Nonprofessional Counselors and Other Helpers. New York: Crossroad Publishing. 2001. Print.

“Suicide Myths.” Suicide.org. Web. 3 Oct. 2014. <http://www.suicide.org/suicide-myths.html>.

“Suicide Warning Signs.” Suicide.org. Web. 26 Sept. 2014. <http://www.suicide.org/suicide-warning-signs.html>.

 

References for Resources:

http://www.211centralohio.org

http://www.franklincountyohio.gov/children_services/education/community-resources.cfm

 

Clergy Intention Letter

Why do you want to be a Priest, and what is your plan for making that goal happen?
When I was first considering what direction to go following the approval of my Dedicant Path documentation I waffled for a long while between the Initiate Path and the Clergy Path.  I talked to initiates and priests.  I asked questions.  I journaled and wrote a lot.  When I asked the counsel of my gods, it was obvious to me: I needed to do the Initiate work.  I didn’t feel ready, and didn’t know that I would ever feel ready, to embark on the path of clergy.  I still felt like I had a call for it then, but it was quiet and I questioned whether it was actually there.  I wanted to do the Initiate work first.  I needed to solidify my own practice before I could truly listen to see if the call was true.  
 
The closer I got to completing the course requirements for the Initiate Path, the more I noticed that as I was growing in my own work, the louder the call was getting.  As my own practice grew, I began seeing places where I could offer my knowledge and skills to those around me.  I feel that, next to walking your walk and owning your path, it is imperative to help others walk their path as well.  I found myself seeing voids in the community, and they were voids that I could fill.  I began leading Full Moon rituals every month, with the focus for those rituals being the magical work that we didn’t really get to do or engage in elsewhere.  It was also a place where I fostered a “no fail” zone.  I wanted to help others find their voice, the way I felt like I was finding mine.  
 
As I reached the final months of journaling for the Initiate Path, my call to the work of the priest solidified.  It felt just as obvious to me as my initial decision to embark on the Initiate Path first.  I knew without a doubt that I needed to first complete that work, and that I could then allow my focus to shift and set my foot upon the path of clergy work.  The paths all merge.  The work of the Dedicant is the first stream.  As it flows along, other rivers join it, bringing with their new waters new inspiration, new knowledge, and wider banks.  The Dedicant stream continues to flow strong in the river of my own Druidry, and will always flow in my river as its headwaters.  It has been joined by the Initiate Current, which brings a deeper understanding and a deeper level of work.  These two rivers flow, their waters mingling, and yet each flowing just as strong, now a single river.  As I encounter new waters, like the work of the Clergy, the river will continue to flow, and grow stronger as all the waters mingle.  My work as a Dedicant is a constant, ever continuing path, as is my work as an Initiate now, feeding the river.  I see the work of a priest the same way: once joined they are ever flowing, becoming just as much an integral part of the river as the other waters.  
 
I want to be a priest because I want to help others on their path, whatever that path may look like to them.  I want to provide liturgy to folks who are having trouble coming up with something fitting on their own.  I want to provide my knowledge and skills to those who need them.  I want to help grow our children in our tradition. 
I have built my strong foundation, and the pull has intensified.  I understand why so many people refer to it as a “Call.”
 
I plan to, above all, continue my own hearth work and maintain my own piety, because that is the solid foundation upon which all my other work is done.  I don’t think you can lead the Folk as a priest unless you have a solid practice of your own and feel comfortable leading yourself.  In addition to the continuing hearth work, I plan to continue filling the needs I see in my community, wherever they arise.  As far as the Clergy Training Program within ADF goes, I plan to complete about one course a month.  
 
Why do you want to be an ADF Priest in particular?
ADF is my community.  ADF is my tribe.  These are my Folk, and make up a large chunk of those who I want to serve.  This is the pathway to make that happen.  I am drawn to the vision of ADF: particularly the mandate to provide regular, public rituals.  I want to help grow ADF into a church that my children can be a part of and feel connected to from a young age.  I want to help develop programming that engages our new members, particularly those who are being raised in our traditions.  One of the biggest draws to ADF for me is its inclusiveness and family-friendly nature, and I want to help grow that.  I feel that one of the ways I can be sure that I’m providing the best knowledge is by becoming clergy within the organization.  
 
I’m also drawn to the high level of scholarship and the quality of the training provided to ADF Priests.  I love the balance that exists within ADF between faith and scholarship, between practice and study.  I want to help others see that same joy.  I want to help others in ADF blossom in their practice, and should they decide to embark on the course of higher study within ADF, I want to make sure that the coursework is accessible to them in a way that they can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. I want to help others feel capable and confident in adapting their hearth culture and practice into the greater whole that is ADF practice.
 
I have no desire to be a “pay your fee and be a Priest” type of leader.  I’m in it to serve, and I see the ADF Clergy Path as the best way to both learn appropriate skills to serve in a religious capacity, as well as work with the Folk of my community and my faith.  

What does being a Priest mean to you in the cultural context of your Hearth Culture?
There were two types of priests within the Hellenic hearth.  There was the priest of the community and the beggar-priest, the mantis.  The mantis brought his skills and his knowledge to the folk.  This type of priest to me aligns with the work of the Initiate.  They work more in a one-on-one context, and support the work of the community priest.  The priest of the community aligns to the work of the ADF Priest.  The community priest was the one who led the public rites.  He ensured that proper sacrifices were made at the proper time.  He ensured that the community honored the Gods as needed to maintain the relationship with them.  
 

Cosmology 1

1.Describe the generation of the cosmos, and what is done in ADF ritual to ensure that the cosmos remains in order. (300 words min.)

The idea behind cosmology is the generation of order out of chaos.  In ADF ritual we are taking actions to maintain the order in the chaos.  The word for this in the Vedic culture is rta.  In our rituals, we are seeking to do things properly by the rta. When we choose to do things by the rta, we are choosing to take the right actions in the cosmos. We are looking for some way to conform to the order of the cosmos, and one of the ways we do this is by offering sacrifice. Sacrifice is a vital part of our cosmology, and participation in the process of offering sacrifice is clearly something that aligns us with the Kindreds (Dangler “Nine Central Tenets”).

In IE mythology, the cosmos came to be out of chaos. From the chaos of potential came the Land, Sea, and Sky, forming the basis of the world.  The generation of the cosmos in most IE cultures comes out of sacrifice.  In both the Norse and the Vedic mythology we see the destruction of a being bringing about the world as we know it.  The sea, the sky, and the land were created out of the death, the sacrifice, of a great being (Serith Deep Ancestors 22-24).  These pieces of the cosmos are all tied together by the Sacred Center, which is established through the sacrifice of those beings.  If we think of it in such a way that the Chaos feeds and nourishes the Sacred Center, which in turn holds the Cosmos together and keeps it fresh, vibrant, and strong (Serith Deep Ancestors 30).

The Norse myths describe the creation of the world as it came into being guided by three brothers: Odin, Vili, and Ve.  In the North was icy Nilfhiem, and in the south was fiery Muspell.  In the middle was Ginnungagap, a mild place where Ymir, a frost giant, lived and sweated out the race of frost giants.  This myth goes on to explain how Ymir was killed by the three brothers, Odin, Vili, and Ve as they grew tired of his and the other frost giants evilness. The Norse world was made out of Ymir’s body. His flesh became the earth, his bones the mountains, his blood the lakes and seas, and his skull the sky, held up by four dwarves.  The brothers took the embers from fiery Muspell and threw them up into the sky making the sun, and moon, and stars (Crossley-Holland 3-7).

If we look at the idea of death being a type of chaos, and life being a type of order, then out of chaos came order.  Out of death came life.  It is through the act of sacrifice that the seeds of the cosmos were able to spring forth out of chaos and the waters of potential.  “And just as the first sacrifice was the means by which the world was ordered, so our own sacrifices ensure the continuation of the world… our sacrifice is a repetition of the cosmogony, and so by it, we ensure the continued newness of creation” (Serith Deep Ancestors 24)  In ADF ritual, we continually make sacrifices in order to maintain the order of the world.  When we create the Sacred Center, we are making the tools we use to do so sacred through the act of sacrifice.

 

2.Describe the physical items that exemplify the sacred center in ADF ritual, and how each constituent part reflects the vision of an ordered cosmos. (300 words min.)

The Center of the World is what is created in order to bring the focus of the Kindreds to us, and to allow our focus to extend beyond the mundane world. T he idea is that as we create the Sacred Center, we are aligning the Center of our world to the Center of all worlds.     It is this alignment that allows us to communicate with the spirits in all the Realms.

The sacred center in ADF ritual is most often represented by the fire, well, and tree, reflecting the triadic Cosmos common in IE cultures. While Fire must be present, the Well and the Tree are sometimes represented in different ways.  For example, the Sacred Center in the Vedic hearth culture can be represented with three Fires.  The Tree in the Greek hearth culture is often replaced with either an omphalos or a mountain.

The Fire is a great power.  It brings light in the darkness.  It brings warmth in the cold.  It transforms our offerings into smoke that rises to the Heavens, carrying it to the Gods.  The Fire is what brings the shining light of the Ouranic powers down on to us, to bathe us in wisdom, light and warmth.  The Fire is prominent in many creation myths, as being something that the Gods had and the humans needed to make them “man.”  In Greek myth Prometheus convinced Zeus to not destroy the race of man in addition to giving them fire.  This fire was needed not only to help mankind survive, but also allowed them to burn offerings to the Gods.  In ADF we use it as a piece of our sacred center because of its prominence in ancient worship and because it is a transformer and through it was can send our offerings to the Kindreds and allow them suffuse us in their blessings.  Additionally, the Fire exists upon the Land, and as such belongs to all the Folk and all the Gods (Serith Deep Ancestors 28).

The Well contains the sacred waters and connects us to the dark cosmic and chthonic powers below.  The Well connects to the underworld and allows the wisdom of our Ancestors to flow up through the blood of the Earth to fill us, sustain us, and nourish us.  The idea concept of the Well being the connection to the Ancestors comes from the idea that in many myths the dead needs to cross water in order to move on.  For example, in Greek myth the river Akherosian must be crossed with the help of Charon in order to reach the Underworld where the Ancestors dwell.  The concept of the Well and the origin of it comes from the idea that in Norse mythology Yggdrasil was rooted deep within the Well and from the Well came the Ancestors, our own fate, and great power.  This is described in the Poetic Edda in the Grimnismol. In ADF we use it as a piece of our sacred center because it connects us to the Kindreds, and through archeological findings we know that metal was often offered to rivers and wells in ancient times. The Waters also represent the Chaos of Potential the rest below the axis mundi. These are the Waters out of which spring the Cosmos.

The Tree is the crossroads.  Its roots stretch deep into the Well and travel out through the world.  Its branches reach up into the Heavens, where the primal fire dwells, and cascade around us here in the Mid Realm.  The trunk is the center of the universe, connecting the fire and the water.  The tree is like a great line of communication that connects us to the Ancestors below, the Nature Spirits here, and the Shining Ones above.  It transverses the worlds and connects us to all beings.  In ADF we use the tree as a piece of our sacred center because it is what holds the other pieces together.  We use it as a crossroads to open the lines of communication and hold them open so that we may commune with the spirits (Demissy).

 

3.Explain the divisions of the cosmos in ADF ritual, and why the cosmos is divided in this way. (300 words min.)

In ADF ritual the cosmos can be divided into the land, the sea, and the sky; or the terrestrial, atmospheric, and celestial; or the underworld, middle world, and upper world.  The Land/Sea/Sky division fits extremely well within ADF cosmology specifically with Ceisiwr Serith’s prayer: “The waters support and surround us / The land extends about us / The sky stretches out above us” (Serith).  In Hellenic cultured it can be seen as the land, deified in Gaea, is defined best as a disk that is surrounded by the encompassing waters of Okeanos. Okeanos would be the sea, the deep-running river that holds the land together. The sky, deified by Ouranos, is the dome that covers the sea and the land.

However, it is the last division, of Under/Middle/Upper-World that is most commonly seen in ADF ritual.  This fits with most Indo-European mythology across the cultures, and so resonates well in ADF ritual.  This resonates well in our rituals because we commonly represent the Sacred Center by using the Fire, Well, and Tree.  The Fire acts as a gate to the Upperworld, carried our voices and offerings to the Heavens.  The Well acts as a gate to the Underworld, carrying our voices and offerings to the Beings below.  The Tree, the axis mundi, serves as a connecting gate between all the realms, acting as the path connecting the centers of the all the worlds together (Dangler “Nine Tenets”).

Another way this resonates well in ADF rituals is in how we call the Kindreds.  One method of calling the spirits is to call the Ancestors, then the Nature Spirits, and then the Shining Ones.  However, as methods that I find resonates better within the concept of an ordered cosmos, and the method we us in our Druid Moon rituals in Three Cranes Grove, is to first call the Chthonic Beings: all those Ancestors, Natures Spirits, and Shining Ones who dwell in the Underworld;  then call to the Beings of this Realm: all those Ancestors, Natures Spirits, and Shining Ones who dwell with us here on Earth; then call the Ouranic Beings:  all those Ancestors, Natures Spirits, and Shining Ones who dwell in the Upperworld, in the Heavens above.

 

4.Explain why the fire is an essential element of ADF ritual, and what relation it has to the sacrifice. (150 words min.)

Fire is imperative in ADF ritual because it is what transforms our offerings into sacrifices; it allows us to bring gifts to the Kindreds and both form and maintain the *ghosti relationship.  Sacrifice is literally “to make sacred,” from the Latin roots sacer (sacred) and facere (to make), so in ritual, when making a sacrifice, you are taking the thing that is being offered and making it sacred so it can be a gift to the Kindreds.  Another important point about sacrifice is that when making something, the object is then removed from human usage.  it is carried away from the mundane and into the sacred.  Through the Fire are our sacrifices carried to the Gods.  The Fire is what brings the shining light of the Ouranic powers down on to us, to bathe us in wisdom, light and warmth.

The fire is intimately connected to the sacrifice. In the Vedic culture, Agni  not only devours the sacrifice, but he calls the rest of the gods forth to accept the sacrifice and transfers it to them.  “Sacrifice puts us into proper relationship with the sacred and maintains us there,” thus allowing us to maintain the order of the Cosmos out of Chaos (Serith “Sacrifice”).  Additionally, in ancient IE cultures, fire was needed not only to help mankind survive, but also allowed them to burn offerings to the Gods.  Fire is an In ADF we use it as a piece of our sacred center because of its prominence in ancient worship and because it is a transformer and through it was can send our offerings to the Kindreds. “In many ways, the fire is the counterpart of the priest, a sort of example that our own priests must follow. By bringing the deities to the place of sacrifice, by transmitting the offering, and by knowing the ways of the sacrifice, the fire is the perfect priest” (Dangler “Nine Central Tenets”).

 

5.Describe the purpose and function of the Gatekeeper in ADF ritual. Explain also who or what makes a good Gatekeeper, along with why they do, with at least two examples of mythological figures that could fill the role of a Gatekeeper and give an explanation of why they can. (300 words min.)

The Gatekeeper in ADF ritual is in charge of either aiding the celebrants in opening the gates between the worlds, and/or in safely holding the gates open after they’ve been opened. They help the celebrant who is in charge of opening the gates by mixing their magic and power with the celebrant’s in order to align the worlds and realms.  It’s important to note that we have the power to communicate with the Kindreds and without the Gates being open; however, the lines of communication are clearer and more enhanced with the aid of a Gatekeeper.  The Gatekeeper on ADF ritual acts as guide, and also as liaison between the Folk and the Spirits. The Gatekeeper is a being who often takes the role of psychopomp, which is a being that can walk between the worlds, or exist in all the worlds; one who is liminal. They are also a being who is willing to work with us, or has shown an interest is working with us, even with the Gates closed, most often because they desire to build and maintain a relationship with us (Newburg).

One Gatekeeper who is invited to aid in the work is Hermes in Hellenic rituals.  Through studying the lore we know that Hermes was able to transverse the worlds as Zeus’s messenger between the Upper-, Middle-, and Underworlds.  Another Gatekeeper within the Hellenic hearth culture is Hekate. She kept the role she had as a Titan after the divine war, and is still “the key-holding mistress of Land, Sea, and Sky,” and “the Goddess of the Crossroads.” She stands at the boundaries and guides travelers on their way. Within the lore, she aided Demeter in searching all the realms for her daughter, and was able to safely enter in and leave al the realms, as well as guide others along with her.

Gatekeepers in other hearths include Heimdal, the God who controls and watches over the Rainbow Bridge, which connects all the realms, and Mannanan mac Lir, who is often called in Celtic ADF rituals to help us in the role of Gatekeeper for his ability to go beyond the ninth wave and for his skill in magic. In our grove we invite Garanos Crane to aid us in Opening the Gates.  He is an example of a being that exists in all the Worlds. He has one foot in the water, one foot on the land, and an eye cast to the Sky, where he soars beyond the ninth wave.

 

6.Describe the relationship between earth and sky in ADF ritual. (125 words min.)

“I am a child of Earth and starry Sky, but my race is heavenly.” (— From the Bacchic Gold Tablets)

ADF is a neo-pagan religion, and so we are focused on the earth.  This is one reason that the Earth Mother is honored early in our rites, so that we can recognize that relationship with the earth.  The Sky Father can also be honored at this point in the ritual.  This not only balances genders, but also honors a common IE archetype (Newburg).  While the Earth Mother is the land, the earth, and the local sovereignty, the Sky Father is the clear sky and the ancient head of the pantheon.  As the ancient Indo-Europeans moved from the east to the west and when they settled into a new territory, “the Sky Father wed the Goddess of that land or the Earth Mother deity and in the minds of the early Indo-Europeans the relationship between the Sky Father and localized Earth Mother was as simple as, the Sky Father fertilized the Earth Mother, which in turn gave birth to all living things” (Mann).  As we ground and center ourselves in the earth, we “look to the sacred and inseparable union between the Earth and Sky for our example, for one can not exist without the other” (Mann).  This is often reflected in ADF ritual when we do the Two Powers meditation, involving acting as a Tree and sending our roots down into the Earth, and our branches up into the Sky.

 

7.Summarize each of the five contexts of sacrifice in Rev. Thomas’ “The Nature of Sacrifice” paper in your own words. Explain the effect of sacrifice on the cosmos and on the participants. (100 words min. for each context, 150 words min. for effect.)

The five contexts of sacrifice are Maintaining the Cosmic Order, Delivering Services Through Gifts, Providing Protection, Commensality (Community), and Mitigating Order with Chaos.

1) Maintaining the Cosmic Order

In IE mythology, the cosmos came to be out of chaos. From the chaos of potential came the Land, Sea, and Sky, forming the basis of the world.  The generation of the cosmos in most IE cultures comes out of sacrifice, where a primordial being is killed and dismembered with his body parts forming the basis of the cosmos. The sea, the sky, and the land were created out of the death, the sacrifice, of this great being (Serith Deep Ancestors 22-24).  These pieces of the cosmos are all tied together by the Sacred Center, which is established through the sacrifice of those beings.  If we think of it in such a way that the Chaos feeds and nourishes the Sacred Center, which in turn holds the Cosmos together and keeps it fresh, vibrant, and strong (Serith Deep Ancestors 30). Sacrifice feeds the cosmos, and the cosmos feeds the need for sacrifice, and the cycle of life and death goes on.  When we sacrifice we are not only helping to sustain the cosmos, but we are also using that sacrifice to take the power of the universe into ourselves (Thomas).

2) Delivering Services Through Gifts

This is the idea of the *ghosti relationship, which is to say the guest-host relationship.  The host has an obligation to provide for their guests, and the guest has an obligation to be courteous and respectful to their host: literally “someone with whom one has reciprocal duties of hospitality” (Thomas).  In relation to our rituals there is also the idea that the nature of our relationship with the Kindreds is such that we can never give enough thanks for what they give us.  This means that we give what we can, when we can, and from our hearts.  Each gift we give, each sacrifice we make, is a part of ourselves.  It is the kind of close relationship where you don’t worry about who gave first, or keeping track to make sure you’re even.  A relationship of love in this way doesn’t require that things be even, only that each give as he can in a truly meaningful way.  There is also the concept of substitution, which is very useful in our rituals, which prohibit blood sacrifice.  This means that we can do things like substitute bread for flesh, or offer up other precious objects in place of a life (Thomas).

3) Providing Protection

One way of sacrificing something for protection is like making a treaty or a peace offering. This is what we often see in ADF ritual when speaking to the Outdwellers.  “Here, take this in good-faith, and leave us alone.”  These are offerings to prevent bad things from happening.  Another form of protection gained through offering is the piacular offering.  This was designed to cover the “if we messed anything up, or offend you, or forgot someone: here, take this, we’re sorry.”  There is also the concept of making offerings or sacrifices to remove pollution so that one was purified to enter a ritual space.  The idea of a scapegoat can also be used for purification.  It offers up someone or something who has been intimately tied to the community in question in order to absorb their pollution, and then removes them from the community in some way, the idea being that they take all that pollution with them.  The Hellenic Oath Sacrifice is a sacrifice that is made in order to bind an oath-maker to their promise (Thomas).

4) Commensality (Community)

The commensality part of the sacrificial process refers to the shared meal that happened in ancient culture following a sacrificial rite.  In these rites the skin, fat, and bones we offered up to the Gods, and the Folk were given the meat.  This was generally the only time that people in the community had meat available for food.  This shared meal also reflects the *ghosti relationship.  The humans sacrificed to the Gods, and both parries received a portion of the spoils, thus setting the stage for us to make requests and demands of the gods because we had welcomed them at our table to share our food (Thomas).

5) Mitigating Order with Chaos (the modern idea)

The Cosmos is created out of Chaos through the act of sacrifice.  While too much chaos will make order fall apart, so too will too much order break itself if it is not enlivened by chaos.  Chaos feeds and nourishes the Sacred Center, which in turn holds the Cosmos together and keeps it fresh, vibrant, and strong (Serith Deep Ancestors 30). We welcome this chaos in modern rituals most often during the Praise Offering section of a ritual.  This is the portion where the Folk come to bring their own offerings, and there is a spontaneity and vibrancy that sometimes reeks of chaos, but which brings life and joy to the order of the ritual (Thomas).

Sacrifice is what helps to bring the Cosmos into being.  Sacrifice is intrinsically tied to the generation of the cosmos, and imperative for it to remain in order.  It is through the act of sacrifice that the seeds of the cosmos were able to spring forth out of chaos and the waters of potential.  In this sense, the first type of sacrifice that Thomas discusses is the main way that sacrifice has an effect on the cosmos.  Looking at the effect that sacrifice has on the participants in a ritual, it draws from all the types of sacrifice that Thomas discusses.  In maintaining the cosmos order, we are looking for some way to do this, and one of the ways we do this is by offering sacrifice. Sacrifice is a vital part of our cosmology, and participation in the process of offering sacrifice is clearly something that aligns us with the Kindreds (Dangler “Nine Central Tenets”).  “And just as the first sacrifice was the means by which the world was ordered, so our own sacrifices ensure the continuation of the world… our sacrifice is a repetition of the cosmogony, and so by it, we ensure the continued newness of creation” (Serith Deep Ancestors 24)  In ADF ritual, we continually make sacrifices in order to maintain the order of the world.  We also make sacrifices in order to establish a relationship with the Kindreds.  It is through our acts of sacrifice that we are drawn closer to them, and they to us.  This is done both through the exchange of gifts and through the shared meal.  It is particularly visible during rites where a plate of food is made up for the Spirits.  We also make sacrifice in magical workings, particularly those which are designed to protect or purify us.  In short, sacrifice is the basis of our relationships with the Spirits and the Cosmos as a whole (Thomas).

 

8.What does it mean to be “purified” in ADF ritual? Why is purification important? What must be purified, and who may do the purification? (150 words min.)

Purification in ADF ritual takes place early in the rite, and must happen before the Gates have been opened.  Anyone who has purified themselves can purify others as they enter ritual space.  There are no strict rules in ADF about who or what must be purified.  Purification is designed to prepare all participants and celebrants in the ritual for the work of the ritual, honoring the Kindreds, and making sacrifice.  It is customary in ADF rituals to purify the Folk before they enter the ritual space.  This is often done with water and fire/smoke.  The folk are asked to wash their hands, or are aspersed with waters and/or incense is lit and the smoke is encouraged to mingle about the body.  This covers the three parts of purification that Newburg discusses: the folk are washed clean, thus removing ‘undesirables;’ they are then fumigated, thus adding ‘desirable’ to themselves before ritual; and the space is purified to mark it as sacred for the work ahead.  Purification with water and fire/smoke also acts as a sort of neuro-linguistic programming trigger, helping to signify to the Folk that they are about to enter a Sacred Space and the should prepare themselves for the work.  Purification is important because as we approach our work it is important to leave behind those things that don’t serve us in honoring the Kindreds in the best way we are able.  This can be physical acts of purification, but more commonly is preparing the mind, so that “we can approach ritual pure and focused” (Newburg).

 

  1. In many rituals we call for the blessings of the Kindreds. Where do these blessings come from, how are they provided to the folk, and why are we entitled to them? (200 words min.)

The Blessings come from the Three Kindreds, sometimes viewed as a whole set of blessings, sometimes individually, and sometimes from solely the Being of the Occasion.  All of these methods can be seen in rituals, and it is important to use the one that flows best with the particular liturgy you’re working with.  They take the form of the Waters of Life, which can take the form of any beverage, or can take the form of any method that the participants can view as something they can take into themselves (a token, the heat of a fire, sprinkled waters, a shared meal, etc).  “Waters of Life” has simply been the name that is most often used in ritual to refer to this Return Flow (Newburg).

The Return Flow is a very important part of the *ghosti relationship that we share with the Kindreds.  By sacrificing we have given of ourselves and that means that something must now be given in return.  We are entitled to the Blessings because of the relationship we’ve developed with the Kindreds.  As far as what is given in the Return Flow, what we are drinking from the Blessing Cup, is determined by the Omens.  One of the common ways of taking omens is by specifically asking what each Kindred blesses the folk with.  By asking these questions it is then determined what we are receiving in return from the Kindreds. For example, sometimes the Kindreds offer us wisdom, gifts, or advise us of new beginnings, and sometimes they caution us against difficulties to come.  These omens, of course, depend on the divination system used and the Seer in question.  In any case however, when the Folk drink of the Blessing Cup, they take the blessings and the energies of the Kindreds into themselves.  The Blessings from the Kindreds (as determined by the Omens) are put into the Blessing Cup during the Hallowing of the Waters.  This can be done in any number of methods of energy work, but “the Hallowing should effect a ritual change in the beverage. It should express a change from mundane to sacred” (Newburg).

 

Works Cited:

Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Norse Myths. New York: Pantheon, 1980. Print.

Dangler, Michael J. “Nine Central Tenets of Druidic Ritual.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nine-tenets.html>.

Demissy, Linda. “Sacred Space, an Exploration of the Triple Center.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. <http://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/sacred-space.html>.

Mann, Raven & Carrion. “Reclaiming the Indo-European Sky Father.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/gods-and-spirits/general/skyfather.html>.

Newburg, Brandon.  “Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites: A Core Order of Ritual Tutorial for Ár nDraíocht Féin.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. 2007. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/index.html>.

Serith, Ceisiwr.  Deep Ancestors. Tuscon, AZ: ADF Publishing, 2007.  Print.

Serith, Ceisiwr. “Sacrifice, the Indo-Europeans, and ADF.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 18 Sept. 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/sacrifice-ie-adf.html>.

Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nature-of-sacrifice.html>.

Law and the Church

1.List nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy that you have found by searching your nearest municipality laws. By municipality, we mean on the village or town level. If there are none, then tell us how you found that out.

 

Columbus Municipal Code 2321.22: 

Reporting felony; medical personnel to report injuries. 

Specifically (F): Division (A) (No person, knowing that a felony has been or is being committed, shall knowingly fail to report such information to law enforcement authorities.) or (D) (No person shall fail to provide upon request of the person to whom he has made a report required by division (C) of this section, or to any law enforcement officer who has reasonable cause to assert the authority to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, any facts within his knowledge that may have a bearing on the investigation of the death.) of this section does not require disclosure of information, when any of the following applies:

(1) The information is privileged by reason of the relationship between attorney and client, doctor and patient, licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist and client, clergyman or rabbi or minister or priest and any person communicating information confidentially to him for a religious counseling purpose in his professional character, or husband and wife, or a communications assistant and those who are a party to a telecommunications relay service call.

(4) Disclosure of the information would amount to disclosure by an ordained clergyman of an organized religious body of a confidential communication made to him in his capacity as such by a person seeking his aid or counsel.

 

Columbus Municipal Code 3347.12 

Home occupation.

The purpose of this section is to permit a home occupation as an accessory use if it is compatible with the residential character of the neighborhood in which it is located, and is conducted so as not to have an adverse affect upon the average neighbor under normal circumstances; to set standards by which to judge the operation of such use; and to prohibit uses which are incompatible with permissible uses in apartment districts. A home occupation may be an accessory use in any apartment district subject to the following conditions:

(E) No person other than a permanent resident of the dwelling unit shall be engaged in or employed at any home occupation within such dwelling unit except that in connection with the practice of a profession which can be practiced only with the assistance of supportive personnel, one person not residing in such dwelling unit may be so employed. Profession is limited herein to architect, attorney, clergyman, dentist, engineer, physician or surgeon.

 

 

 

 

 

2.If there is a body of laws between the municipality laws and the state/provincial laws where you live, list nine (9) laws, or as many as possible if less than nine, concerning clergy, that you have found by searching this area.

Franklin County:

LOC.R. 75.14 MARRIAGE LICENSE APPLICANTS

Pursuant to Ohio R.C. 3101.05 any applicant for a marriage license who is a minor must provide proof of having had marriage counseling prior to applying for the license. The counseling can be provided by clergy or a person licensed by the State of Ohio to provide counseling. Proof of counseling may be in the form of a letter to this Court from the person who provided the counseling on his or her letterhead.

(“Local Rules of Court”)

 

 

 

3.List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your state/provincial laws.

Chapter 21: Probate Court – Juvenile

Juvenile Court

Reporting child abuse or neglect. (see question 6 for full discussion)

(a) No person described in division (A)(1)(b) of this section who is acting in an official or professional capacity and knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.

(b) [Effective 9/17/2014]Division (A)(1)(a) of this section applies to any person who is an attorney; physician, including a hospital intern or resident; dentist; podiatrist; practitioner of a limited branch of medicine as specified in section 4731.15 of the Revised Code; registered nurse; licensed practical nurse; visiting nurse; other health care professional; licensed psychologist; licensed school psychologist; independent marriage and family therapist or marriage and family therapist; speech pathologist or audiologist; coroner; administrator or employee of a child day-care center; administrator or employee of a residential camp or child day c administrator or employee of a certified child care agency or other public or private children services agency; school teacher; school employee; school authority; person engaged in social work or the practice of professional counseling; agent of a county humane society; person, other than a cleric, rendering spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religion; employee of a county department of job and family services who is a professional and who works with children and families; superintendent or regional administrator employed by the department of youth services; superintendent, board member, or employee of a county board of developmental disabilities; investigative agent contracted with by a county board of developmental disabilities; employee of the department of developmental disabilities; employee of a facility or home that provides respite care in accordance with section 5123.171 of the Revised Code; employee of a home health agency; employee of an entity that provides homemaker services; a person performing the duties of an assessor pursuant to Chapter 3107. or 5103. of the Revised Code; third party employed by a public children services agency to assist in providing child or family related services; court appointed special advocate; or guardian ad litem.

(4)

(a) No cleric and no person, other than a volunteer, designated by any church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith who is acting in an official or professional capacity, who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child, and who knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, that another cleric or another person, other than a volunteer, designated by a church, religious society, or faith acting as a leader, official, or delegate on behalf of the church, religious society, or faith caused, or poses the threat of causing, the wound, injury, disability, or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to believe to the entity or persons specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred. In the circumstances described in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code, the person making the report shall make it to the entity specified in that section.

(b) Except as provided in division (A)(4)(c) of this section, a cleric is not required to make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship, if, in accordance with division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code, the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

(c) The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship described in division (A)(4)(b) of this section is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege under division (C) of section 2317.02 of the Revised Code with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report pursuant to division (A)(4)(a) of this section with respect to that communication, if all of the following apply:

(i) The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age.

(ii) The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.

(iii) The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under eighteen years of age or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under twenty-one years of age without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with section 2151.85 of the Revised Code.

(d) Divisions (A)(4)(a) and (c) of this section do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

(R.C. § 2151.421)

Chapter 23: Court of Common Pleas

Evidence: Privileged Communications

The following persons shall not testify in certain respects: (see question 6 for discussion)

(1) A cleric, when the cleric remains accountable to the authority of that cleric’s church, denomination, or sect, concerning a confession made, or any information confidentially communicated, to the cleric for a religious counseling purpose in the cleric’s professional character. The cleric may testify by express consent of the person making the communication, except when the disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust and except that, if the person voluntarily testifies or is deemed by division (A)(4)(c) of section 2151.421 of the Revised Code to have waived any testimonial privilege under this division, the cleric may be compelled to testify on the same subject except when disclosure of the information is in violation of a sacred trust.

(2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

(R.C. § 2317.02)

 

Jurisdiction – Limitation of Actions

Assault or battery actions – childhood sexual abuse.

(1) “Childhood sexual abuse” means any conduct that constitutes any of the violations identified in division (A)(1)(a) or (b) of this section and would constitute a criminal offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code, if the victim of the violation is at the time of the violation a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under twenty-one years of age. The court need not find that any person has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to the offense under the specified section or division of the Revised Code in order for the conduct that is the violation constituting the offense to be childhood sexual abuse for purposes of this division. This division applies to any of the following violations committed in the following specified circumstances:

(viii) The actor is a cleric, and the victim is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.

(R.C. § 2305.111)

Chapter 29: Crimes – Procedures

Sex Offenses

Sexual battery.

(A) No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply:

(12) The other person is a minor, the offender is a cleric, and the other person is a member of, or attends, the church or congregation served by the cleric.

(R.C. § 2907.03)

Illegal use of minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

(A) No person shall do any of the following:

(1) Photograph any minor who is not the person’s child or ward in a state of nudity, or create, direct, produce, or transfer any material or performance that shows the minor in a state of nudity, unless both of the following apply:

(a) The material or performance is, or is to be, sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance;

(b) The minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian consents in writing to the photographing of the minor, to the use of the minor in the material or performance, or to the transfer of the material and to the specific manner in which the material or performance is to be used.

(2) Consent to the photographing of the person’s minor child or ward, or photograph the person’s minor child or ward, in a state of nudity or consent to the use of the person’s minor child or ward in a state of nudity in any material or performance, or use or transfer a material or performance of that nature, unless the material or performance is sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance;

(3) Possess or view any material or performance that shows a minor who is not the person’s child or ward in a state of nudity, unless one of the following applies:

(a) The material or performance is sold, disseminated, displayed, possessed, controlled, brought or caused to be brought into this state, or presented for a bona fide artistic, medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance.

(b) The person knows that the parents, guardian, or custodian has consented in writing to the photographing or use of the minor in a state of nudity and to the manner in which the material or performance is used or transferred.

(R.C. § 2907.323)

Permitting unlawful operation of viewing booths depicting sexual conduct.

(C) It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that either of the following applies to the involved visual materials or performances:

(1) The visual materials or performances depicting sexual conduct are disseminated or presented for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose and by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the visual materials or performances.

(R.C. § 2907.38)

Offenses Against the Family

Endangering children.

(A) No person, who is the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under twenty-one years of age, shall create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. It is not a violation of a duty of care, protection, or support under this division when the parent, guardian, custodian, or person having custody or control of a child treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.

(B) No person shall do any of the following to a child under eighteen years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under twenty-one years of age:

(5) Entice, coerce, permit, encourage, compel, hire, employ, use, or allow the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually oriented matter, or is nudity-oriented matter;

(D)

(1) Division (B)(5) of this section does not apply to any material or performance that is produced, presented, or disseminated for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, member of the clergy, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance.

(R.C. § 2919.22)

 

Offenses Against Justice & Public Administration

Failure to report a crime or knowledge of a death or burn injury.

(G) Divisions (A) and (D) of this section do not require disclosure of information, when any of the following applies:

(1) The information is privileged by reason of the relationship between attorney and client; doctor and patient; licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist and client; licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed professional counselor, independent social worker, social worker, independent marriage and family therapist, or marriage and family therapist and client; member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest and any person communicating information confidentially to the member of the clergy, rabbi, minister, or priest for a religious counseling purpose of a professional character; husband and wife; or a communications assistant and those who are a party to a telecommunications relay service call.

(4) Disclosure of the information would amount to disclosure by a member of the ordained clergy of an organized religious body of a confidential communication made to that member of the clergy in that member’s capacity as a member of the clergy by a person seeking the aid or counsel of that member of the clergy.

(R.C. § 2921.22)

 

Chapter 37: Health – Safety – Morals

Hospice care definitions.

(D) “Interdisciplinary team” means a working unit composed of professional and lay persons that includes at least a physician, a registered nurse, a social worker, a member of the clergy or a counselor, and a volunteer.

(R.C. § 3712.01) 

Nursing Homes & Residential Care Facilities

Implementation of residents’ rights.

To assist in the implementation of the rights granted in division (A) of section 3721.13 of the Revised Code, each home shall provide:

(E) Access to the following persons to enter the home during reasonable hours, except where such access would interfere with resident care or the privacy of residents:

(6) A minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ministering to a resident’s religious needs.

(R.C. § 3721.14)

Chapter 43: Liquor

Liquor Control Law

Sales of sacramental wine for religious rites.

All sales of sacramental wine for religious rites shall be made only upon the written, signed, dated, and sworn application of the member of the clergy or official purchasing the same. Such application must have endorsed thereon the approval of the general administrative officer, if there is such an officer, of the religious group to which the purchasing member of the clergy or official belongs. The name, address, and official position of such administrative officer shall be certified to the division of liquor control in such manner as the liquor control commission by rule prescribes.

(R.C. § 4301.23)

Chapter 47: Occupations – Professions

Counselors, Social Workers, Marriages, and Family Therapists

Exemptions.

(A) This chapter shall not apply to the following:

(4) Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

(R.C. § 4757.41)

Chemical Dependency Professionals

Exemptions.

Division (A) of section 4758.02 of the Revised Code does not apply to any of the following:

(B) An individual who is a rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, clergy, or member of a religious order and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the chemical dependency counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in paragraph (h) of 26 Code of Federal Regulations 1.6033 -2 (2000) as amended, and the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

(R.C. § 4758.03)

Chapter 51: Public Welfare

Dept. of Job and Family Services

Reporting abuse, neglect or exploitation of adult.

Any attorney, physician, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, dentist, psychologist, any employee of a hospital as defined in section 3701.01 of the Revised Code, any nurse licensed under Chapter 4723. of the Revised Code, any employee of an ambulatory health facility, any employee of a home health agency, any employee of a residential facility licensed under section 5119.34 of the Revised Code that provides accommodations, supervision, and personal care services for three to sixteen unrelated adults, any employee of a nursing home, residential care facility, or home for the aging, as defined in section 3721.01 of the Revised Code, any senior service provider, any peace officer, coroner, member of the clergy, any employee of a community mental health facility, and any person engaged in professional counseling, social work , or marriage and family therapy having reasonable cause to believe that an adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, or is in a condition which is the result of abuse, neglect, or exploitation shall immediately report such belief to the county department of job and family services. This section does not apply to employees of any hospital or public hospital as defined in section 5122.01 of the Revised Code.

(R.C. § 5101.61)

 

Dept. of Developmental Disabilities

Reporting abuse, neglect, and other major unusual incidents.

(C)(1) Any person listed in division (C)(2) of this section, having reason to believe that a person with mental retardation or a developmental disability has suffered or faces a substantial risk of suffering any wound, injury, disability, or condition of such a nature as to reasonably indicate abuse or neglect of that person, shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of such information to the entity specified in this division. Except as provided in section 5120.173 of the Revised Code or as otherwise provided in this division, the person making the report shall make it to a law enforcement agency or to the county board of developmental disabilities. If the report concerns a resident of a facility operated by the department of developmental disabilities the report shall be made either to a law enforcement agency or to the department. If the report concerns any act or omission of an employee of a county board of developmental disabilities, the report immediately shall be made to the department and to the county board.

(2) All of the following persons are required to make a report under division (C)(1) of this section:

(e) A member of the clergy who is employed in a position that includes providing specialized services to an individual with mental retardation or another developmental disability, while acting in an official or professional capacity in that position, or a person who is employed in a position that includes providing specialized services to an individual with mental retardation or another developmental disability and who, while acting in an official or professional capacity, renders spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets of an organized religion.

(R.C. § 5123.61)

Chapter 31: Domestic Relations – Children

Marriage

An ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation within this state who is licensed to solemnize marriages, a judge of a county court in accordance with section 1907.18 of the Revised Code, a judge of a municipal court in accordance with section 1901.14 of the Revised Code, a probate judge in accordance with section 2101.27 of the Revised Code, the mayor of a municipal corporation in any county in which such municipal corporation wholly or partly lies, the superintendent of the state school for the deaf, or any religious society in conformity with the rules of its church, may join together as husband and wife any persons who are not prohibited by law from being joined in marriage.

No person, except those legally authorized, shall attempt to solemnize a marriage, and no marriage shall be solemnized without the issuance of a license.

A minister upon producing to the secretary of state, credentials of the minister’s being a regularly ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation, shall be entitled to receive from the secretary of state a license authorizing the minister to solemnize marriages in this state so long as the minister continues as a regular minister in that society or congregation. A minister shall produce for inspection the minister’s license to solemnize marriages upon demand of any party to a marriage at which the minister officiates or proposes to officiate or upon demand of any probate judge.

The secretary of state shall enter the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages upon a record kept in the office of the secretary of state.

When the name of a minister licensed to solemnize marriages is entered upon the record by the secretary of state, such record and the license issued under section 3101.10 of the Revised Code shall be evidence that such minister is authorized to solemnize marriages in this state.

(R.C. § 3101)

 

 

 

4.List nine (9) laws concerning clergy that you have found by searching your national laws.

 Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status

Political Campaign Activity: Individual Activity by Religious Leaders

The political campaign activity prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of churches or religious organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax exempt under IRC section 501(c)(3), religious leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official church functions. To avoid potential attribution of their comments outside of church functions and publications, religious leaders who speak or write in their individual capacity are encouraged to clearly indicate that their comments are personal and not intended to represent the views of the organization (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 7).

 

Employment Tax

Social Security and Medicare Taxes — Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)

FICA taxes consist of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Wages paid to employees of churches or religious organizations are subject to FICA taxes unless the following exception applies:

– wages are paid for services performed by a duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed minister of a church in the exercise of his or her ministry, or by a member of a religious order in the exercise of duties required by such order (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 18).

 

Special Rules for Compensation of Ministers

Withholding Income Tax for Ministers

Unlike other exempt organizations or businesses, a church is not required to withhold income tax from the compensation that it pays to its duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers for performing services in the exercise of their minis- try. An employee minister may, however, enter into a voluntary withholding agreement with the church by completing IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. A church should report compensation paid to a minister on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if the minister is an employee, or on IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, if the minister is an independent contractor (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 19).

 

Recordkeeping Requirements

Books of Accounting and Other Types of Records

All tax-exempt organizations, including churches and religious organizations (regardless of whether tax-exempt status has been officially recognized by the IRS), are required to maintain books of accounting and other records necessary to justify their claim for exemption in the event of an audit (IRS “Tax Guide for Churches & Religious Organizations” 21).

 

Ministerial Services

Ministerial services, in general, are the services you perform in the exercise of your ministry, in the exercise of your duties as required by your religious order, or in the exercise of your profession as a Christian Science practitioner or reader. Income you receive for performing ministerial services is subject to SE tax unless you have an exemption as explained later. Even if you have an exemption, only the income you receive for performing ministerial services is exempt. The exemption does not apply to any other income (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Ministers

Most services you perform as a minister, priest, rabbi, etc., are ministerial services. These services include:

– Performing sacerdotal functions,

– Conducting religious worship, and

– Controlling, conducting, and maintaining religious organizations (including the religious boards, societies, and other integral agencies of such organizations) that are under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination. (You are considered to control, conduct, and maintain a religious organization if you direct, manage, or promote the organization’s activities.) (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Religious Organization Qualification

A religious organization is under the authority of a religious body that is a church or denomination if it is organized for and dedicated to carrying out the principles of a faith according to the requirements governing the creation of institutions of the faith (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Services for nonreligious organizations.  

Your services for a nonreligious organization are ministerial services if the services are assigned or designated by your church. Assigned or designated services qualify even if they do not involve performing sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship. If your services are not assigned or designated by your church, they are ministerial services only if they involve performing sacerdotal functions or conducting religious worship (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

Books or articles.   

Writing religious books or articles is considered to be in the exercise of your ministry and is considered a ministerial service (IRS “Publication 517”).

 

 

 

 

5.How do laws of your nation, state, or local area respond to Paganism and Neo-Pagan clergy? Are there laws that prohibit certain functions our clergy usually serve (such as divination, counseling, or conducting marriages or funerals)? Does your country implicitly or explicitly state that Neo-Pagans cannot have clergy, or that they cannot perform certain functions or receive similar rights as those from other religions?

There are no laws that would inhibit me performing the duties associated with being clergy.  There is nothing that explicitly or implicitly states that there cannot be neo-pagan clergy (or clergy of any denomination).  The only requirement appears to be that the clergy person has been vouched for by their religious organization, such as being ordained of licensed.

 

 

 

6.Looking at those laws listed in questions 1 – 4 and how they affect you, are there any specific laws that seem out of place, unfair, or unjust? What is the avenue for change to these laws, and do you see change to these particular laws as necessary?

For the most part, there don’t appear to be any laws that are out of place, unfair, or unjust.  The law is pretty light-handed on governances regarding religious organizations and clergy, and this is a good thing.  Generally, I see no need to make additions or changes to these laws.  If changes were or are needed at any point, those changes would need to go through local, state, or national legislators.

 

My only concern with one of the above laws, involves mandated reporting.  The law is complex to read through, and jumps back and forth in a somewhat redundant manner.  Clergy are not required to divulge communications held in spiritual confidence unless they suspect or know of abuse.  However, if those communications were in confidence, then they don’t even need to do that if it violates sacred trust. And in this case sacred trust means something that was said directly to the cleric and in the context where sacred trust in invoked.  I’ve included the sections of law that pertain to this below, with relevant passages highlighted.

 

I feel confident saying that as a clergy person in ADF, I would be bound by the mandated reporting laws because we don’t have a concept of “sacred trust” in our religion, therefore the bounds of “sacred trust” and its related confidentiality don’t apply.  However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that not all clergy across all denominations are necessarily mandated reporters.  On the other hand, since I don’t understand the mind frame from which they are coming, I don’t think I have the right to impose my views on their views.  It is a complex issue.

 

 

Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.421(A)(4)(b)-(d)

A cleric is not required to make a report concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship if, in accordance with § 2317.02(C), the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report with respect to that communication if all of the following apply:

  • The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under age 18 or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21.
  • The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.
  • The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under age 18 or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21 without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with § 2151.85.

The above sections do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

 

2317.02: Privileged Communications:

2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

 

 

 

 

7.How do you see these laws affecting how you serve your Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole?

I don’t see any of these laws adversely (or otherwise) affecting my ability to serve my Grove, ADF, or the community as a whole.  As a whole they are rather protective, by allowing us the freedom to do what we do, and not prohibiting the religious acts we engage in. The only laws that may apply are zoning laws regarding church property, and that would not really affect my ability to serve.

 

 

 

8.What is the difference between pastoral counseling and other kinds of counseling, and does the law differentiate between these types? What sort of license do you require in your state in order to perform counseling of any type? Does divination fall into this sort of counseling?

According to Chapters 4757 and 4758, professional counselors are those who are licensed by the state, and pastoral counselors are those who provide similar services as part of their ministry, but are members of the clergy of a church (defined by tax regulations) and are held accountable to that church while providing those services.  For pastoral counselors, the only license needed is one’s clergy credentials.  Divination, and any other forms of fortune-telling, aren’t mentioned anywhere in the law.

 

I’ve noted the laws regarding clergy and counseling below:

 

Chapter 4757

(A) This chapter shall not apply to the following:

(4) Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

Chapter 4758

Division (A) of section 4758.02 of the Revised Code does not apply to any of the following:

(B) An individual who is a rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, clergy, or member of a religious order and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the chemical dependency counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in paragraph (h) of 26 Code of Federal Regulations 1.6033 -2 (2000) as amended, and the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

 

 

 

9.Describe the mandatory reporting laws in your area and how they affect you as a clergyperson. Explain the process you would go through to file a report if it were necessary.

Mandated reporters (including clergy) are those who are required by law to report to the appropriate agencies if they suspect or know that abuse or neglect is occurring.  In Ohio, you simply call 1-855-O-H-CHILD (855-642-4453) with as much of the following information as you can gather:

  • The name and address of the child you suspect is being abused or neglected
  • The age of the child
  • The name and address of the parents or caretakers
  • The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the child and the address if available
  • The reason you suspect the child is being abuse and neglected
  • Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation
  • You have the option of giving your name or reporting anonymously. Giving your name can help the investigator clarify information. The agency will not give your name to the person suspected of abusing the child.

In Ohio, after a report is made,

  • A child protective services investigator will interview the child, family members & others as deemed appropriate.
  • The investigator determines if the child is being abused or is at risk for abuse.
  • The case may be referred to local social service agencies, or to juvenile, family or criminal court.

(“How to Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Ohio”)

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

 

Columbus Municipal Code. Municode. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

“How to Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Ohio.” Office of Families and Children. Ohio Dept of Job & Family Services. Web. 11 Sept. 2014. <https://jfs.ohio.gov/ocf/reportchildabuseandneglect.stm>.

“”Local Rules of Court”” Franklin County Probate Court. 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

Ohio Rev. Code. Lawriter Ohio Laws and Rules, 2014. Web. 9 September 2014.

Internal Revenue Service. “Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations: Benefits and Responsibilities Under the Federal Tax Law.” Washington: GPO, 2014.  Web. 11 September 2014. <http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf>

Internal Revenue Service. “Publication 517 (2013), Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers.” Washington: GPO, 2013.  Web. 11 September 2014. <http://www.irs.gov/publications/p517/>

ADF Structure, Customs, and Policy

1.Explain why public, inclusive ritual is important to ADF. (200 words min)

Public, inclusive ritual is one of the things that sets ADF apart from many other neopagan traditions. There are multiple reasons it continues to be a defining feature of our religion, from both an ancient and a modern perspective.  The need for ADF to provide inclusive public rituals is noted specifically in the Article 1, Section 2 of the ADF Constitution:

“Since one of the primary duties of the ancient Druids was to lead their tribes in magical and religious activities, ADF advocates and practices, as an integral part of our faith, open, inclusionary, and public ceremonies to worship the Earth Mother and the Old Gods and Goddesses, rites of passage to mark the cycles of our lives, and magical rituals to accomplish our other goals in an honest and ethical manner (“ADF Constitution”).

This indicates the historical factors that have gone into the decision to make ADF a public neopagan religion.  It was the duty of the ancient Druids to organize and perform these religious tasks, such as making sacrifices, organizing ceremonies, treating with the spirits, and divining for and counseling the folk.  These things were done in the past for the folk honoring those traditions, and so as we draw from those same traditions, it is important to be sure we are also offering those things (Corrigan “Magical Skills”).

However, these historical factors are not all that goes into the need to provide inclusive, public ritual.  We are not ancient Druids.  We are a neopagan religion, and need to present ourselves as and active, thriving part of a rich, spiritual community.  If we want to be welcomed amongst the mainstream religions, then it is important to allow ourselves to be a part of that same river.  Additionally, as ADF Groves seek to provide public rituals, it is important to note that these may be the only pagan rituals that are offered in a wide geographical radius, that are open to anyone who wishes to attend.  An ADF Grove will provide, consistently, an open ritual about once every 6.5 weeks, and that is extremely important to the Folk we are serving.  (Dangler GOH 7).

 

2.Describe the duties and function of clergy in ADF. (100 words min.)

If we look once again at the role of the ancient Druids, they “seem to have been responsible for all public rituals.”  This included a variety of roles from music to recitation of prayers to making sacrifices to divination.  A Druid was required for a public ritual to take place (Bonewits “IE Paleopaganism”).  Competent clergy is imperative to having a healthy, growing religion.  So if we hope to continue to see our religion grow, there must be well-trained priests who are capable of performing the roles and duties of their job (Bonewits “ The Vision of ADF”). It should be noted that “our theology does not require a priest to stand between the householder and the gods, but our priests are trained in such a way that they can stand between the householder and the gods for those who need it” (Dangler Chat).

An ADF Priest has basically three jobs as determined by the Clergy Council:  First, they “have an obligation to ensure that sacrifices are made at the proper times and in the proper way.”  Second, they “have engaged in training, and provide training and service to others.”  Third, they “can, through their training and dedication, aid members in developing and maintaining those relationships” with the Kindreds that they have established (“The Role of the Priest in ADF”). This relationship that folks are developing and the training that our priests helps to provide is wide in the scope of who the clergy are serving. Kirk Thomas notes in the Quarterly Reports (CC 2010 Q4) that he has been serving some folks at Coyote Ridge Correctional Facility. One member in particular has been working through the study programs, including the DP and IP. The Traveling Clergy Program is also in place to allow Priests to visit folks who are geographically removed from a Priest and require the services of one. This is why a Priest of ADF swears to “honor the gods, serve the folk, and love the land” as well as dedicate themselves “to the ongoing program of study in ADF.” There is absolutely no implied or explicit exclusion as to who they serve.

 

3.Explain why ADF has an Indo-European focus, and why we use the term “Druid” in our name. (200 words min.)

ADF is “the legal structure for a Neopagan Druidic religion based on the beliefs and practices of the ancient Indo-Europeans, adapted to the needs and sensibilities of modern people… Neopagan Druidism is a polytheistic, non-dualist, non-sexist, non-racist, scientific, holistic, and ecologically oriented faith” (“ADF Constitution”).  So, as far add why we have ‘Druid’ in our name: that is simply the name chosen for our religious organization.  It does not limit the organization to only practitioners of Celtic religions, though we may draw on the role of the ancient Druid to inform our studies and organization.

Having an Indo-European focus is the umbrella that we have placed ourselves under.  It is both this narrow and this broad for a few reasons.  We include all Indo-European cultures because there were many similarities between the cultures, including root language, community values, and myth cycles.  It allows for a common discourse and a common ground between members who worship following the practices of many different hearths.  This allows a point of connection between practitioners or various Indo-European hearths, and by allowing all Indo-European cultures to be represented it allows for a broader community base in a religion that has a minority following it, meaning that it allows ADF to draw membership from smaller specific groups, such as Heathens and Hellenes.  It also allows for the common language that all ADF members can relate to, such as discussion of the Three Kindreds, the Earth Mother, and the Gatekeeper.  In addition, by focusing solely on Indo-European cultures we can draw deeply from a few sources, rather than shallowly from many.  This allows for less inconsistencies or discrepancies within a ritual when blending multiple cultures.  All these reasons for focusing on the historical traditions of ancient Indo-European cultures, and the ways they are now reconstructed and reimagined make the resulting religion that ADF is fostering a more coherent and valuable whole.

However, by limiting ourselves to an Indo-European focus we are able to keep a more solid identity of who we are.  Rather than having an impossibly huge focus, were able to pare it down to a more manageable focus.  This becomes even more important because we offer public rituals (Dangler GOH 7).  I think it is also important to note that this should not be interpreted to limit anything beyond official ADF rites.  Anyone may practice what they will and worship who they will, it just may not be ADF, and that is fine.

 

4.Describe the Guilds, SIGS, and Kins of ADF in general, their function within the organization, and the goal of the Guild, SIG, and Kin systems. (150 words min. for each type of subgroup)

The purpose of Guilds, SIGs, and Kins within ADF is to provide a place for more specific discussion and training to take place for members. Because Indo-European focus is so broad and the spiritual interests of our members are wide and varied, these sub-groups provide that space to explore more deeply other aspects of our spirituality.

Guilds are meant to provide “study, learning, and training in a particular focus area” (“Subgroup Charter Manual).  One of the main tasks of the Guilds is to develop and maintain study programs that aid in training members in their focus areas.  These study programs are approved by the Council of Lore, and are most often structured in “circles” of tasks, with each successive circle delving deeper into the subject matter and how it applies to our spirituality.  Each Guild has an email list and page on the ADF website to help them support their members and to help those members connect to each and share experiences.  For example. the Bardic Guild members create creative pieces as one of the components of their Study Program, and these are then posted to the webpage.  Bards are also encouraged to share new works, whether related to the Study Program or not, on the email list. The Guilds will also sometimes offer other services to the wider ADF membership, such as the Seers providing divinations on request, the Healers doing healing work and offering prayers upon request, and the Liturgists writing and reviewing liturgy.  Other Guilds include the Artisans, Bards, Brewers, Dancers, Magicians, Naturalists, Scholars, and Warriors.

The Kins are meant to “support ADF members worshipping in a particular Indo-European hearth culture context” (Subgroup Charter Manual).  The Kins are part social structure to allow ADF members following a specific hearth the ability to connect via email lists and there website, and part instructional as they help members navigate the waters of how their specific hearth culture fits into ADF as a whole.  The Kins develop culturally specific spiritual traditions within ADF, providing a smaller and more intimate worship context.  Some things that are done to help this are the sharing of liturgy and household customs that allow members to practice the same way.  Many of the Kins have worked to develop culturally specific rites for each of the eight high days (for both solitary and group worship), and have shared these on the website.  The Kins will also help support the Guild Study Programs by providing input on how their hearth engaged with the domain of the Guild. The Kin leaders are part of the Council of Lore in part to help with this as it relates to the Guilds’ Study Programs.  Beyond suggesting sources and reading material, some examples of this may include how divination was performed within a hearth culture to support the Seers, or how magic was performed within a hearth culture to support there Magicians.  The Kins include Aus Dhwer: Eastern Gate Kin (including, but not limited to, the Vedics, the Indo-Iranians, the Tocharians, the Armenians, and the Anatolians), Eldr ok Iss: Kin of Fire and Ice (Northern/Germanic traditions), Tylwyth Y Draig Goch: Red Dragon Clan (Welsh), Oi Asproi Koukouvayies: White Owls Kin (Hellenic), The Slavic Kin, The Roman Kin, Clann nan Gael: the Gaelic Kin (including Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man), and Pontos Proto IE Kin (Proto-Indo European).

The Special Interest Groups (SIGS) are meant to “support ADF members regarding an interest not otherwise in the scope of an existing subgroup” (Subgroup Charter Manual).  This may seem rather vague, but it allows the SIGs to form up around basically whatever other practices or interests that inform the spirituality of their members.  This ranges from broad commonalities that ADF members may share (Solitaries SIG, American SIG, LGBT SIG, Military SIG), to specific interests that at some point may wish to pursue becoming a Guild (Ecstatic Trance SIG, Sacred Feast SIG, Children’s Education & Parenting SIG), to groups that represent a subset within a hearth (Brigid SIG, Morrigan SIG), to any combination of these or some other special interest.  SIGs are often viewed or used as a stepping stone to becoming a Guild or Kin in order to gauge interest, but this is certainly not the purpose, and not all SIGs will want to change their status as a SIG.  They are a vibrant and important part of the ADF Subgroup ecosystem.  Other SIGs include the Ancient Iberia SIG, Non-English Speakers SIG, Polyamory SIG, Safe Haven SIG, Spirit of the Hunt SIG, and Technopagan SIG.

 

5.Describe ADF’s official ceremonial calendar, and discuss why it was designed in this way. (200 words min.)

ADF’s official ceremonial calendar follows the eight neo-pagan high days, with the year typically beginning at the November Cross Quarter.  These high days are the Solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarters between them.  The calendar is detailed in the ADF Constitution and is as follows:

  • Cross-Quarter = November 1st
  • Solstice = December 21st
  • Cross-Quarter = February 1st
  • Equinox = March 21st
  • Cross-Quarter = May 1st
  • Solstice = June 21st
  • Cross-Quarter = August 1st
  • Equinox = September 21st

Local congregations celebrate these holidays within a two week window, from a week before to a week after the specified date (“ADF Constitution”). This means that a local congregation will have at least one opportunity for public worship about every 6.5 weeks or so.  These dates correspond with the generally accepted Neo-Pagan High Day calendar, and because we seek to be part of the Neo-Pagan community, this is an important designation.  It is also worth noting that the dates in the ADF Constitution do not attribute names to the High Days, allowing different hearth cultures to celebrate as they feel appropriate, as well as allow for variations in the seasons based on which hemisphere the celebrants are located in.

Another reason it is important to have a recognized calendar is to support our designation in the United States as a 501c3 Church, and partly because of ADF’s mission to provide regular public worship opportunities.  One of the characteristics in the United States that help to define a church for tax purposes is that they have “regular congregations” and “regular religious services” (“‘Churches’ Defined”)

 

6.Compare Isaac’s original “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Customs in ADF” article with how you see ADF today. Describe what is still true and what is no longer accurate in that document. (300 words min.)

My initial reaction to this essay is that very little appears to have changed, which I consider to be a good thing.  It means that the core, guiding principles that founded the organization are still shaping the vision of the organization for the future.  The continuum of Laws to Customs makes sense, and is still at least generally in practice.

ADF does at times still struggle with finding a middle ground between strict reconstruction and neo-pagan concepts founded in good scholarship.  Part of this appears to be because of the dichotomy between the way the ancient pagans did things, and what is still valid and acceptable in our modern world.  While I think that it is true that we still suffer from prejudice in regards to what is acceptable in the mainstream, I also think that the vehemence that is portrayed in this article is overstated, and no longer as severe as it once might have been.  I am willing to admit, however, that my view on this is likely colored by the fact that I am a Millennial, and as such, my generation, and the people I spend the most time around, are pretty accepting in a live and let live kind of way.  I recognize this is not true in all parts of the world, and that various communities will react in various ways to public pagan events.  Thus, the point about being aware of how we are perceived based both on what the ancients did, and on how it affects our modern practice, is still valid.

In looking at the examples of the Laws, I’ve found that most these hold true.  We still don’t condone human or animal sacrifice in any form, we still don’t condone the use of illegal drugs in ritual space, and discrimination and discriminatory/hateful symbols are still not allowed.  I am unsure on prisoner relations, and how becoming an ADF member while a prisoner or former prisoner requires some sort of renunciation of their ways, or what the “probation” mentioned would look like.

In looking at the examples of the Policies, many of these still hold true as well.  Notably, that “an ‘official ADF ceremony is one that is either public or semi-public.”  This is what holds true for Groves and Proto-Groves, however, Solitaries are still engaging in ADF liturgy when they follow the Core oRder of Ritual, even though their rites aren’t public.  Clergy Ordinations (and many Initiations) have been fairly consistently taking place at public festivals, and have public components amongst the Folk.  There is still no bloodshed in ADF ritual.

In looking at the examples of the Main Traditions, these are essentially the same.  We still have a standard liturgy (the Core Order of Ritual) that, while it has evolved, makes it easy to move from grove to grove and still mesh into the ritual structure.  We are still a polytheistic organization, we still have a commitment to good scholarship, we still maintain the same ritual calendar, and we still firmly oppose fraud in the New Age and Pagan communities.  The only thing that really stuck out to me as something that does not occur is  requiring clergy to be addiction free.  This isn’t defined anywhere else, nor are there any stipulations as to how it would be tested.

In looking at the Minor Traditions, I begin to see some distinct changes.  We rarely use whiskey as the Waters of Life, or if it is used, water is always offered as an alternative.  The ADF Study Program has grown and branched out into multiple programs.  There are a few groves that work with local Spirits within the context of ADF liturgy (ex: Shining Lakes Grove working with Ana as their Earth Mother).  Things that still hold true are Groves deciding their own hearth focus, some groves collecting dues and renewing memberships, and some groves putting out local publications.

Interestingly, the Customs of ADF also appear to have changed relatively little.  Many members wear “Druid Whites” during ritual, and some still keep the custom of holding an all night vigil prior to high day rituals or for specific ritual purposes.  The Druid Sigil and ADF logo are still emblazoned on much of our “bling.”  There are gatherings and festivals that are open to druid-friendly attendees, and local groves still help out new proto-groves in their area to help them grow.

All in all, while some things have changed over time, a great many of the Laws, Policies, Traditions, and Customs have remained the same.  We’re still growing, but also still maintaining a cohesive whole and haven’t strayed too far from the vision of ADF to begin with.  (Bonewits “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Custom within ADF”)

 

7.Describe ADF’s utilization of Dumezil’s “tripartition” and its affect on ADF’s structure, study programs, and the religion of ADF members in general. (200 words min.)

Dumezil divides the people and jobs of ancient Indo-European cultures into three different functions: the magic/religious function, the martial function, and the producer function (Bonewits “Indo-European Paleopaganism and Its Clergy”).  When looking at how this division of functions applies to ADF, the most obvious place to see it is within the Guilds and SIGs and their Study Programs (if they have them).  For example, the Bardic and Seers Guilds would fill duties of the first function, the Warriors Guild and Spirit of the Hunt SIG would fill duties of the second function, and the Artisans Guild and Sacred Feast SIG would fill duties of the third function.  Additionally, the Clergy Training Program and the Initiate Path both operate mainly within the first function.  A Priest who is active in the various guild study programs will also be able to specialize into one of the three functions as well (“Vision of the Study Program”).  Additional parts of the Study Programs that draw on the concept of the three functions are within the Dedicant Program where the Dedicant is asked to look at the 9 Virtues, where there are three virtues for each of the three functions.

As far as the structure of ADF is concerned, the three functions are not as defined.  We seem to acknowledge that they exist within our scholarship, and welcome the place in society that this concept gives our clergy, but don’t focus so much on the details and specifics of each function within the structure of the organization.  I think the same holds true for the religion of our membership at large.  Dumezil’s theory of tripartition is a fascinating lens through which to view the cultures, myths, and religions of the ancient Indo-Europeans, but does not appear to play a large role in the day to day practice of our religion.

 

8.Explain the difference between “orthopraxy” religions and “orthodoxy”. Where do you feel ADF falls? (200 words min.)

Orthodoxy is defined as “a belief or a way of thinking that is accepted as true or correct” (“Orthodoxy”).  In the context of a religion, it is believing what you are supposed to in order to be a part of that religion.  So, while orthodoxy is “right belief,” orthopraxy is “right action.”  In the context of religion, orthopraxy is doing the correct actions in order to be a part of that religion.

What this basically means is a correctness in what you believe, versus a correctness in what you do.  ADF, and most pagan religions, falls solidly in the orthopraxy category.  This reflects the historical context of our religion, where it was the job of the priest to make sure that sacrifices were made at the right times and in the right way (Corrigan “Discussing Pagan Theology).  It also reflects the modern context of our religion.  Celebrants are not asked to subscribe to a particular belief system, and public rituals are only described based on the actions that are taken in the ritual, not what the beliefs of the practitioners are.  Within ADF, we also encourage healthy debate on a variety of topics, but no where is it required to state beliefs on something in order to be a part of ADF.

 

9.Describe why we make Praise Offerings, how they are made, when they are made, and who they are made to. Be sure to describe this in both solitary practice and in two or more Groves’ practices. (300 words min.)

Praise offerings are made to the Kindreds in order to develop our relationships with them.  They build and strengthen the *ghosti bond between the folk and the spirits.  They are also made in order to “ wise as much psychic/magical/spiritual power as possible” (Bonewits “Step by Step”).  They can be either material offerings or non-material offerings that are made, in some way that takes them out of human use and makes them sacred.  During ritual they are often made as the spirits are called.

In Three Cranes Grove we generally have two rounds of praise offerings.  The first round is after the Gates are open and the Three Kindreds are called.  The folk are then asked if they have brought praise, and are welcomed to bring it forth.  Any spirit may be offered to at this point.  The second round of praise offerings is specifically to the Deity of the Occasion, and the folk are again asked if they have brought praise immediately following the invocation of that deity.  All offerings are typically made by burning something in the Fire, sinking it in the Well, or scattering it about the Tree.  Less often offerings are made with only a verbal form of praise.

I also asked Rev. Melissa Hill how Praise Offerings are made in Cedarsong Grove:

How does your Grove make Praise Offerings?  When are they made?  Who are they made to?

The Praise Offerings in our grove are done in two different ways.  Historically in ADF ritual the praise offerings were songs or offerings done by individuals specifically for the DotO.  We have split this into two parts.  First, after all the kindred and the DotO are invited to our rite and initial offerings have been made, we have a period where individuals can make offerings and speak.  However this is not limited to the DotO, but is inclusive of any and all deities or spirits that they would like to make offering to.  This inclusiveness allows us to create a moment when all participants can connect to the deities that they feel strongly about, give thanks for personal events in their lives, ask for healing for themselves or loved ones, honor their recent dead, or do any number of ritual actions that they might need a sacred fire to do.  After that is done, we do one final offering to the DotO(s) This offering is the second part of the Praise Offering, given specifically to the DotO.  It often includes song, dance, or movement as part of it, often we will save the largest or best offering for this end moment.

How do you make Praise offerings in your home practice?  When are they made?  Who are they made to?

You could argue that every time I make an offering at my home shrine it is a praise offering.  Praise is defined as: “the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.”  Any time I make an offering at my shrine that is simply because I enjoy the act of sharing with my deities I would say it is praise.  Whenever I am not asking for something, but simply sharing what I have it is praise.  However, within the context of ADF terminology, the praise offering is more specifically the offering done at the end of the offering section of the rite just before the omen is taken. It is meant to be the last large bang of mana sent toward the DotO.  When I do formal ritual at my home shrine I do perform a praise offering as part of that.  Usually it is much simpler than in a public rite, and consists of an invocation and offering or possibly a song or even toning.  I focus on opening myself to the transcendent quality of the gods and spirits at this point both to share with them and to ready myself to take the omen.

I also asked Rev. William Ashton how Praise Offerings are made in Mountain Ancestors Protogrove:

How does your Grove make Praise Offerings?

We invite the folk up to the Fire and Well, and they may utilize the open Gates to call out to their gods, dead, and nature-kin, and pour personal offerings. Additionally, if the folk as individuals or families wishes to make direct offering to the Deities of the Occasion, this is the time for that to occur.

When are they made?

After the Deity of the Occasion is offered to.

Who are they made to?

The folk can make offerings to their own personal Kindreds (or to the Deities of the Occasion) during this time of praise and petition; however, in the pre-ritual briefing, we are specific that if one’s patron is a chthonic, trickster, or chaotic deity/being, that their offerings be kept at home at their personal shrines.

I also asked Kristin (a solitary) how she makes Praise Offerings:

Why do you make Praise Offerings?

“Hey you, Being! You are good and awesome!” Normally in ritual to do a nice thing for the Deities, or really any of the Three Kindreds.

How do you make Praise Offerings?

I offer a self-written prayer or poetry.  I read or recite it, and then often also make some sort of material offering to go alongside it.

When are they made?

I make offerings “any damn time or place I feel like.”

Who are they made to?

I make them to any deity, or any one of the three Kindreds.

I also asked Amber (a solitary) how she makes Praise Offerings:

Why do you make Praise Offerings?

I make offerings for reasons of hospitality.  “When we give to them, hopefully they will give back to us in return.”

How do you make Praise Offerings?

My offerings are typically illuminated self-written poems.  I also make offerings in the form of reciting stories, dance, or by putting my own energy into a seasonally appropriate offerings (like grain in the Fall, or flowers in the Spring).

When are they made?

Offerings are made after the gates are open, but before the omen.  We shower them with gifts and praise before asking for anything in return.

Who are they made to?

They’re made to the Three Kindreds and whatever separate deity of the occasion there is.

 

10.Describe ADF’s administrative structure. (150 words min.)

At the top of the ADF hierarchy is the Mother Grove (also known as the Board of Directors), which is made up of the ArchDruid, Vice ArchDruid, Secretary, Member’s Advocate, Chief of the Council of Regional Druids, Chief of the Council of Senior Druids, and four non-officer directors.  The Mother Grove appoints other positions within ADF that keep the organization running.  These are the Administrator, the Preceptor, and the Treasurer (“ADF Bylaws”).

The ADF Administrator is in charge of making sure that the business of the organization keeps up and running, and as such appoints positions to make that happen, such as the Listmaster, Webmaster, Office Manager, Chronicler, and Store Manager (“ADF Organizational Structure”).

The ADF Preceptor is in charge of overseeing all Study Programs within ADF, and may appoint other individuals to help with that job.  This person heads up the Council of Lore (CoL), which votes to approve all ADF Study Programs, and governs all Guilds, Kins, and SIGs.  The voting members are all Guild Chiefs, and Guild Preceptors of Guilds whose study programs have been approved by the CoL (“Committees and Councils”).

Other Councils include the Council of Regional Druids (CoRD), the Council of Senior Druids (CoSD), the Clergy Council (CC), the Grove Organizing Committee (GOC), and the Grove Coordinating Committee (GCC). The CoRD is made up of all elected Regional Druids, and is intended to foster the growth of ADF membership within the Regions and deal with Regional issues.  The CoSD is made up of all past and present Senior Druids, and is intended to foster the growth of groves, and provide a space for grove leaders to bring up issues relating to the growth and organization of their grove.  The CoSD also oversees the GOC and the GCC, which approve new protogroves and groves, and oversee the quarterly reports respectively.  The CC is made up of the ArchDruid, the Vice Archdruid, and former ADF ArchDruids, and all current ADF Priests (“Committees and Councils”).

It should be noted that the bulk of the membership are the Folk who are Solitaries, or members of Groves or Protogroves.  Anyone may raise a concern through the Member’s Advocate and have that concern reach the applicable person on the Mother Grove if necessary (“ADF Bylaws”).

 

Works Cited:

“ADF Bylaws.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 4 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/members/org/docs/bylaws.html>.

“ADF Constitution.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 22 July 2014.<https://www.adf.org/about/org/constitution.html>.

“ADF Organizational Structure.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 4 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/about/org/structure.html>.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Indo-European Paleopaganism and Its Clergy.” Druid’s Progress #1. 1984. Web. <https://www.adf.org/articles/identity/ieclergy.html>

Bonewits, Isaac. “Law, Policy, Tradition, and Custom within ADF.” Druid’s Progress #14. Web. 22 July 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/organization/isaaclaw.html>

Bonewits, Isaac. “Step by Step through a Druid Worship Ceremony.” Druid’s Progress #4. Web. 29 August 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/organization/isaaclaw.html>

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Vision of ADF.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 22 July 2014. <https://www.adf.org/about/basics/vision.html>.

“’Churches’ Defined”. Internal Revenue Service, 4 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.<http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Churches-&-Religious-Organizations/Churches–Defined>.

“Committees and Councils.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 4 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/members/org/commcouncil.html>.

Corrigan, Ian. “Discussing Pagan Theology.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. 2004. Web. 22 July 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/discussing-pagan-theology.html>.

Corrigan, Ian. “Magical Skills in Druidic Ritual.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. 2004. Web. 23 July 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/magskills.html>.

Dangler, Michael J. FB Chat Interview. 12 September 2014.

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

“Orthodoxy.” Merriam-Webster. Web. 29 Aug. 2014.

“Subgroup Charter Manual.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. 2009. Web. 22 July 2014. <https://www.adf.org/members/org/docs/subgroup-charters.html>.

“The Role of the Priest in ADF.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Web. 22 July 2014.<https://www.adf.org/members/org/clergy-council/role.html>.

“Vision of the Study Program.” Oak Leaves #2.  Jan. 1997. Web. 22 July 2014.<https://www.adf.org/members/training/sp/vision.html>

 

 

Trance 2

  1. Describe your regular method of entering basic trance. (min. 300 words)

There are two main methods that I use, and it depends almost entirely if I am entering trance in a ritual setting or not.  Both methods include an aspect of controlled breathing as well as an auditory cue if possible.

My preferred method is to use some form of sonic driving to enter a trance state, and to maintain it throughout the duration of trance.  When doing this, I choose one of the auditory tracks I’ve used for this purpose in order to maintain continuity of the auditory cues my brain is used to.  The three types of tracks I use most often are either one of Harner’s 30 minutes drumming tracks at 240 beats per minute, or a complex drum track that is of a similar tempo (Fierce Tibetan Gods, of part of an African Percussion compilation), or an atmospheric type recording by Sigur Ros.  I’ve found that the straight up drumming tracks are the ones I’m the most successful with, especially if I’m in an area with a lot of distractions.  This is partly because I will have the sound continually playing to help maintain the trance (unlike the other recordings which may end after 5-7 minutes), as well as the fact that they include a callback beat to signal when the trance should end (Harner).  As the recording begins I begin focusing on my breathing and slowing it down to a comfortable and regular tempo.  As I progress deeper into the trance my awareness of my breathing fades and by brain locks into the sounds of the drumming, which will then seem to echo and morph, and eventually fade if a deep trance state is attained.  The drumming will remain in my subconscious if I’ve entered a lighter trance state.

While sonic driving is my preferred method of entering trance, it is not often the method that is used during a ritual setting.  During ritual, I again control my breathing and slow it down to a comfortable and regular tempo. Most often in ritual this is enough to put me in a light trance, which is all that is needed to complete the magical workings of a ritual.  There is the slightly woozy and disconnected from the world, yet connected to everything feeling that helps signify to me that I’ve entered a light trance.  Normally within ritual the only time I enter a deeper trance is when I’ve doing the work of the Seer.  In this case I’ve built in an auditory and olfactory cue to help me enter the state that makes interpreting the omens easier.  I take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering of bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens: 

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sounds and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter that trance state where that was possible.  The Pythia is the name given to the Oracle who dwells at Delphi and speaks for Apollo (Johnston 33-50).  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.

 

  1. Explain the use of trance in group ritual, including trance techniques including the Neurolinguistic Programming techniques of “anchoring” and “leading” in trance induction. Give an example of how you would script this use in ritual. (min. 500 words for the essay, 200 words fro the script)

Trance in group ritual can be a very powerful tool to engage the folk on the same page, and help to bring them all together in the same mindset, and thus allowing any energy that has been building to align.  This alignment of energies and purposes will help make the ritual flow more smoothly and make any magical acts that will occur more powerful.  Trance work in ADF ritual is most commonly seen during the Two Powers meditation, where the folk are connected to the powers of the realms, as well as to each other.  In this instance, trance is used to establish the group mind.

One of the ways group mind can be established through trance involves including aspects of Neurolinguistic Programming, such as anchoring and leading.  Anchors are some sort of stimulus that invokes a certain mindset.  The anchor will first need to be created and reinforced in order for it to be successful.  A successful anchor is something that is a unique stimulus and can be linked to a specific state and repeated (Ellerton). In the script below, the initial anchor is the body posture, specifically the part of the body posture that includes the cradling of the belly around the baby with the hands in the specific position described.  Other more subtle anchors are added in the initial step to continue to reaffirm the connection to the desired state.  For example, the instructions to “feel your palms on your belly” as a kinesthetic stimuli, and the feel and sound of breathing as well as the phrasing “take a deep breath, hold it for a moment, then exhale” continues to act as an auditory stimuli for this state.  As a visual stimulus, the script below includes phrasing such as “feel your roots extend into the earth, growing into your Mother.”  I think it’s important to include all three types of stimuli (kinesthetic, visual, and auditory) if possible, especially when you’re leading group trance experience.  You don’t necessarily know who is going to respond to what kind of stimuli, and so it because very important to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible.

So other instances of anchoring lines that I have experienced included phrases such as “And now, Children of Earth, see in your mind’s eye…” which for me is a very strong auditory anchor that ritual work is about to begin, and that I will be entering some sort of magical or religious state of mind.  There is also the common visualization of during the Two Powers of send your roots down into the Earth, and your branches up into the Sky.

Once you have established an anchor, the next part of a successful trance induction is establishing rapport throughout the trance so that the folk will be more likely to let their barriers down and follow the progression of instances that you are leading them towards.  This is most often done by allowing your voice to mimic the way they should be feelings as you establish their anchor.  Most of our trance work in ADF public ritual involves making sure that the folk feel comfortable, relaxed, and secure as they engage their minds to interact with the liminal state.  So, to lead them into this, you would modulate your own voice to mimic this relaxed and calm feeling.  Other methods include “mirroring techniques to match the person in terms of tone, word choice, volume, breathing tempo, and body language to form a rapid bond” (Knight).  This is most often done by speaking in calm, smooth tones, with frequent pauses to allow their mind to slow down as your words slow down, and by allowing the slow breathing patterns that you are requesting of them to also be the slow breathing patterns that you yourself are using.  In the script below this is reflected both where there are commas (which I placed to indicate a short pause for breath), and where the word “pause” is included (to indicate a longer pauses, about 3 seconds or so).

*** Script ***

(note: this script is intended to be used by pregnant women engaging in the Birthing Posture (Goodman), and is designed to allow them to begin to connect with their baby in the womb)

Sit or stand with your feet parallel and firmly planted in the Earth, about six inches apart.  Keep your knees slightly bent. Looking straight ahead, close your eyes, and relax. Rest your hands on your belly with the fingers and thumbs held close together.  Your index fingers are about two inches apart, pointing towards your navel, gently cradling your baby.  Hold your arms away from your body, elbows sticking out, with your shoulders back. Your posture is good.  You’re comfortable, smiling inside, and cradling your baby.  Let a feeling of calm wash over you.

*pause*

Focus on your breath.  Take a deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and then exhale.  Again, breathe in deeply, pause for a moment, and then exhale.  Once more, breathe in deeply, pause for a moment, and then exhale.

Feel your body begin to relax.  Begin with your cradle.  Take a breath and feel your palms on your belly.  Exhale as you let the tension release from your hands and wrists. Take a breath and feel your arms extending out from your body.  Exhale and release the tension in your shoulders.

Now feel your spine extend from the base of your skull all the way down to your tailbone.  Take a breath and feel roots extend into the earth, growing into your Mother.  Now exhale and release the tension in your back.  Let it flow down into the Earth.  Focus once again on your breathing and feel with each inhale your connection to the Earth grow.  Feel with each exhale your tension flowing away.

*pause*

As your tension flows away feel this release also in your womb.  Feel your baby as she is given more freedom to move, as less pressure is placed on her.   Feel her tension lessen as well.

*pause*

Focus now on your heartbeat.  Feel as your pulse beats within your fingertips.  Feel as your pulse beats  within your belly.  Feel as your pulse beats within your chest.  Feel as your pulse beats with the Earth Mother.

Let your breathing relax as you focus on your heartbeat.  Listen to the faint beating within your ears.  Listen as this beating becomes louder.  This is how your baby hears your heart.  This is her connection to you.  She is soothed within your womb as you are soothed by the Earth around you.  Listen to the steady thump-thump, and feel that connection between the Earth, and you, and your baby.

*pause*

You tensions now eased, and a connection established, think now on the joy of your baby.  Think on the joy in her creation.  Think on the joy of her inside you now.  Think on the joy that she will bring into the world with her.  Think on the joy of raising her from infant to child to teen to adult.  Think on the joy that she will bring to all the lives she touches.

*pause*

With these joys in mind, feel them as a warmth growing between your hands.  Let this warmth pulse with your heartbeat, and with each breath grow stronger.  Let the warmth fill the space between your hands, spreading across your belly.

Now, let that warmth begin to seep down into your womb.  Let your joys fall across your baby so that she too can feel the ecstasy that she encompasses.  Let the warmth of outrun joys pulse through her as easily as your heartbeat does.

Feel the love, and joy, and warmth as it fills you and your baby together.  Spend some time focusing on these thoughts.  How do they make you feel?  How do they make your baby feel?

*210 bpm drumming for 15-30 min*

Begin to once again concentrate on your body.  Listen for your heartbeat, pulsing through you and your baby with love and joy.

*pause*

Feel your fingertips, warm now with that joy pulsing through them, as they gently rest on your belly.  Feel your arms as they extend out from your body.  Let your posture relax as you wiggle your fingers and toes.  Perhaps you roll your shoulders or neck, bringing yourself back to your body.

Take a deep breath and let this breath of the Mother rejuvenate you.  Exhale, and let the energy you’ve pooled within yourself seep back into the Earth.  Again, breathe in deeply, pause for a moment, and then exhale, coming back into yourself.  Once more, breathe in deeply, pause for a moment, and then exhale.  Let the last of the excess energy flow back into the Earth.

*pause*

Open your eyes and let your arms fall to your sides as you come firmly back to your body.

 

  1. Describe three experiences of trance. These trances must come from three different methods chosen from the list below: (min. 600 words for each experience)

b) Sonic Driving

Sonic driving is probably one of the most reliable ways I’ve been able to attain trance.  It is especially useful for me because not only does it align everything in my brain, but it also blocks out distracting noises that can pull me out of trance.  That being said, it is also one of the methods that I feel much more comfortable with when whatever it is I’m listening to has a callback beat, because it does hold me in trance so well.

For this trance experience I used Harner’s 30 minute double-drumming track.  I was slightly depressed going into the trance work, my husband was having a very moody day, and the baby had been cranky all day.  Needless to say, there were a lot of distractions vying for my attention.  It took me longer than normal to drop into trance. I stayed aware of what was around me longer.  As I listened longer, I began to hear bits of music or songs overlaid on top of the drums, with colors accompanying the sounds. This is not terribly unusual, but normally when it happens it feels more coherent.  This was more like if I were sitting in a closet with 4 separate concerts going on in the rooms around me.  I felt like there were words for some of the strains I was hearing, but I couldn’t pick them out. Other strains of music clearly didn’t have words and were just snatches of lyrical lines, here and there.  While all of this generally falls in the category of “trance work” for me, as I often begin to see colors alongside musical lines, it also generally falls in the pre-trance work state that I get.  That place where the world gets fuzzy as your brain hyper focuses on one thing, and then, like a black hole, folds in on itself and the “real” trance work begins.  This pre- stage lasted longer this time than normal.

When I did hit what I recognize as trance journey work for me, I was on the beach, which is not terribly unusual. I put my hands in the water as the waves rushed in and my hands tingled. When I pulled them out the skin was gone and they were dripping blood. It didn’t hurt or anything, I just didn’t have skin on my hands up to the wrists anymore.   It was like I was wearing gloves made of blood. There was a fire on the beach. I stuck my hands in the sand to coat them in grit and that hurt a lot.  I suppose much like you would expect if you shoved an open wound into gritty, dirty sand. Then I stuck them in the heart of the fire and inexplicably, that didn’t hurt at all.  It tingled again and when I pulled them out I had skin again but it was metallic, hard, and impenetrable. It was flexible like skin but obviously metallic and obviously impenetrable. It looked kind of like Peter Pettigrew’s silver hand in Harry Potter, except not silver.  It was a bronze color, like deeply tanned skin, and had a slight metallic sheen.  They still felt like my hands and still felt like I could use them in exactly the same way for everything. And the new skin still felt like skin, except soft skin. Baby skin. New skin.

Then I started to drift away and there was no more journey work. I was just sitting in the nothingness with the drums pounding in my head until the call back came. And the callback was more jarring than usual. Normally I need the whole callback string of beats. This time as soon as the drumming stopped I was jerked out of trance.

I did some follow-up on this one, looking into what different symbols might mean.  Open cupped hands represent innocence and the bare essence of your being.  So, part of my interpretation of this experience is that I have been blessed with the bare essence of myself and have received the blessings of the waters.  There is also some aspect of a cleansing and purification by fire in order to be made new.  Much like the visual concentration trance discussed below, I think this indicates some type of rite of passage or initiation.

d) Chant/Mantra

One of the tasks for a Bard in ritual space is to maintain the flow of energy.  When it is begin built up, it is important not to let any escape, and when a slow point in the ritual hits, the Bard can help to keep the energy from trickling away.  One of the best ways to do this is by including music, songs, or chants that will engage the folk and keep them participating in the ritual.  There is a certain trance state that happens when a Bard needs to be able to sense the energy patterns in a ritual and help to maintain and control the flow of energy.  It’s like throwing a lasso around the folk, where the Bard focuses on holding the energy that is built during songs and invocations within the bounds of the rite so that it can be used later in the rite.

At our Grove’s Imbolc ritual, there is a portion of the rite where energy is likely to flag.  First the waters are passed and quaffed, and then the Healing blanket is passed around to be recharged.  This is a lot of down time where the individual people at the rite are not necessarily actively engaged in the action.  As the Bard for the ritual in 2012, a large part of keeping the folk engaged fell to me.  In addition to being the Bard for the ritual, I also had the role  of calling down the waters and infusing the blessings into the waters. So, I was already in the mindset of holding all the energy in, and was already in a light trance state from that.

Following the Blessings was the working where we recharged the grove healing blanket and did healing work for a grove member and her mom, who had just had a horrible accident.  The working was especially powerful for me this time because I wrote the song we were using to build energy.  It’s actually the first song I wrote with guitar accompaniment, and yet still seems like one of the most powerful.  Perhaps because I wrote it while I was in that state and with that need.  It’s simple, easy to pick up, and can be layered with echo lines, counter melodies, and harmonies.  We just used the one section, rather than the whole song, in the rite, and I let the folk riff off the basic version as they felt moved to:

Let the rain wash away all your worries.

Let the rain wash away all your fears.

Let the rain wash away all your troubles.

And let the storm come rolling in.

 

Let the waves wash away all your heartache.

Let the waves wash away all your pain.

Let the waves wash away all your anguish.

And let the tide come rolling in.

 

Let this song wash away all your sorrow.

Let this song wash away all your tears.

Let this song wash away all your despair.

And let the harmonies of friends join in.

 

As I led the song, the healing blanket was being passed around, and I could see the flows of energy coming off people and bouncing against my lasso, so they would reflect back into the blanket.  As the song continued I began to hear bits of music and harmonies that weren’t there.  This is one of my usual indications that the magic is working, when I hear the whole choir and all its parts.  The strains of melody and harmony being woven together took on shapes and colors, and wove themselves into the blanket.  It all looked a lot like the introduction to Fantasia, where the narrator is explaining the different instrumental sounds and using visual stimuli to help.  I’ve experienced synesthesia-like trances before, but this was the first time it had happened with such intent and in a public ritual space.

f) Visual Concentration

This experience was a trance stemming from staring at a flame, which led to some divinatory revelations as well. It was kind of intense.  I traveled to the deep with Poseidon like I haven’t done for quite some time.  It started at Chenille, and most folks had already gone to bed.  There had been a fire in the fire pit, but it was burnt down to the coals.  I began to restart the fire from the coals, and as it was completely dark, the liminal space was amplified. I worked on starting the flames up again by breathing on the embers and carefully adding bits of kindling and wood.  Breathing on the fire is like taking breaths when swimming. Blow out, slowly and carefully, and then turning your head to the side to take another breath.  In water it’s so you don’t breathe in the liquid, and when coaxing a fire back to life it’s so you don’t breathe in the smoke.

Poseidon is so very powerful.  He has raw power and depth, and is very big, intense, and alien feeling.  You can’t control the ocean, and you can’t understand the ocean.  I work extensively with him, specifically for trance work, so going into a trance with him, and journeying to the depths of the ocean is not in and of itself unusual.  There is a release of control when I trance journey with him that intensely.  He is big enough to wash you away without even meaning to.  And when I experience trance with hi, it is not entirely intentional, it is still somewhat scary, no matter how much I have worked with him in that capacity.  It is nearly always magical from me when the deep trance with him happens.

After the flames were coaxed back to life I sat back on my heels and staring into the flickering light.  The trance began as I felt like I was standing waist deep on the shore with the waves crashing against me. And then the spray hit my face and I was suddenly at the bottom of the ocean in the deep dark of his realm.  That is normally my signifier for entering trance.  The spray of the ocean hits my face, and I drop into wherever I need to be.  As I hit the deep ocean, streaks of living fire cycloned around me.  There was the overwhelming presence of Poseidon almost vibrating around me, pulsing, sonar-like.  The tongues of flame solidified into a lantern shape and there was a distinct and sharp difference between the heat coming off the flame and the bone deep chill of the water.  Then as the lantern shape solidified further it was very obviously Phi overlaid on Zeta. (Phi is “having done something carelessly you will hereafter blame the gods” it’s taking responsibility for your actions. And Zeta is Zeus’s symbol. “Flee the storm lest Zeus destroy you.”) And that’s kind of terrifying.  I don’t normally see symbols when I trance, and perhaps that’s because I’m only just now getting them so deeply ingrained that they can comfortably appear.  There was a distinct sense of Poseidon needing me to see these overlaid symbols and understand them. But the danger and intensity that exuded from the lantern symbol was not his and not from him, but rather was a warning passed along, like something that he was sharing behind the back of another.

The general gist of the message seems to be that forewarned is forearmed.  It is extremely confusing though.  Does it mean that you must take responsibility for your actions, but then run from the consequences?  I feel almost completely blind with this vision.  Am I going to mess things up that bad?  Perhaps there is also an indicator that the message is from Zeus, as Zeta is his symbol.  It’s possible that this is the case, however that is certainly not the primary meaning of that symbol in this sense.  It may not be an immediate threat, but it is there.  I considered that the symbols could be an either/or situation, such as “take responsibility for your actions or you’ll anger the powers that be and have to run.” That could be the most likely interpretation, except that the symbols were overlaid, so I feel that they go together.  It is unusual for me to see overlaid symbols.

It’s also possible that the symbols modify each other. The overlay blends them into something different than the individual components.  Additionally, I feel like the lantern shape was also important, and the fact that it was made of fire, living fire.  Maybe it is a portal and the overlay symbol is the key.  Part of the message could be that I must travel through the heart of the fire.  My entrance to that trance world is through the lantern; access granted with the key.  The key could be Phi since that is what be traveled through.  And taking responsibly for your actions can also mean having a personal acceptance of it.  That this is the choice you had to make, and owning up to the fact that that was the chic you had to make.  Part of the acceptance could be that my actions must involve flight, and the flight may be through the heart of the fire.  And taking responsibility means sometimes you get burned. And you can’t endure the fire. You have to flee through it.  And fleeing isn’t always “bad,” sometimes it is just necessary.

An initiation of some sort, or a rite of passage, could make sense. Lanterns light the way. And a place of transition requires you to accept your past and leave it behind.  That’s feeling more right.  There’s still the intensity and vague sense of danger though. And the feeling that who is the message actually from is not Poseidon.  He is just the messenger in this sense and the original giver of the vision didn’t necessarily want me to see it, or at least not with this timing.

 

  1. Submit an original trance induction script based in ADF symbolism (e.g. Two Powers, Fire/Well/Tree, Three Realms, etc.). (no minimum word count)

Children of Earth, take a moment to calm your mind and body. Breathe deep and close your eyes. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. Hear your heartbeat thrumming inside you. Pause for a second and just listen.

***Pause***

See in your mind‘s eye where you stand now and picture yourself walking away from where you are.

You‘re walking towards a deep and old forest. Feel the cool, damp earth on your feet. As you enter the forest feel the cool autumn breeze brush your cheek.

Notice the sounds around you. A gentle rustling of leaves, perhaps from the wind, perhaps made by a squirrel bounding by. Notice the sunlight dappling across your face. A last breath of summer caressing your face, heartening you for the colder days ahead.

As you are walking deeper and deeper into the forest you suddenly come upon a clearing. There is a small pond in the middle of the glade surrounded by trees around the water‘s edge. One of these trees calls to you and you glide over to it. Place your hands on the trunk and feel the rough bark against your palm. Feel the ancient wisdom emanating from it.

Turn and place your back against the tree. Feel yourself sinking into it, becoming part of the tree. Feel your toes mix with the roots twinning down into the earth. Allow you mind to follow those roots and tendrils as they creep ever deeper, until suddenly they plunge into the cool deep waters far below the surface of the earth. Use the knowledge of the tree to pull those waters up through your roots. Feel them approaching you, up and up, until they reach your toes.

Feel the waters pulsing up through your toes and heels, moving up your legs and pooling in your groin. Feel them surging up into your chest and down your arms. Feel your branches swelling and cool waters seeping into your fingers, your leaves. Feel the waters rush up and fountain out the crown of your head, your uppermost branches and leaves, and come cascading back down into the earth to soak back down cooling your roots again. Having taken your fill, feeling replenished, allow those cool, dark waters to bleed back down into the earth.

Again feel the wind brush through your hair, your leaves. Feel as the sunlight shines down on you, brightening and invigorating you. Allow your leaves to take in that bright, golden light. Let it convert to pure energy and infuse your head and chest with light and energy. Let it saturate your branches and flow into your finger leaves. Feel as it washes down through your groin and flows down your legs and energizes you down to your roots. Having absorbed as much light as your body will hold, let the remainder reflect back off you, back into the sky.

Feel how the combination of the cool waters and the bright light mixes within your body. Feel how it mingles and brings a new awareness to every essence of yourself. Let your attention drift over yourself from your roots, to your trunk, and on up to your leaves.

Let a breath of wind catch one of your leaves and watch as it drifts downward to land fall lightly into the pond. Watch as the water ripples outward from this light touch. Allow your awareness to follow this ripple outward and see as it collides with other, similar ripples. As you follow those to their source you see that they also come from fallen leaves.

Now seeing all these leaves in the water creating ripples that touch and rebound off your own, you notice all the other trees surrounding the pond. Reach out your awareness and sense that these trees are all part of this grove. Reach out and feel that you are not alone in this glade, but rather you are surrounded by the warmth of your kin. You are all here together.

Take a moment and allow this feeling of togetherness and oneness to soak into your mind, your heart, your bones and your soul. Listen to the breathing of those around you. Your hearts beat as one now.

***Pause***

With this new realization that you are here among family, you begin to disconnect your self from the tree, just as all those around you do. Wiggle your toes and separate them from the roots. Wiggle your fingers and feel the leaves fall away. Roll your shoulders, allowing you to step out of the tree and once again become your own self.

As you now look around you see that while before you came to this glade alone, you now are leaving among friends. It is time now to turn away from the glade and walk back out of the forest. Listen, as before to the sounds around you. You can now hear the laughter of friends, and you feel now not just the warmth of the sun, but also the warmth of companionship. As you break out of the forest and head back towards your body here keep that feeling that you are now one with the people around you.

Now, step back into your body and take deep breath to settle yourself back in. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Now begin moving your arms and legs just a little as you feel yourself come back to this place. Here, among kinfolk, we may now move on with the work we have for today.

 

  1. Submit an original trance induction script based in Indo-European Mythology. (no minimum word count)

Begin by finding a comfortable place, either sitting or standing.  Take a deep breath, and let the cares of your day to day life fade.  Take a deep breath, and let the worries of the world fade.  Take a deep breath, and feel the connection to the earth around you.  Take a deep breath, and feel the connection to the spirits around you.

See in your mind’s eye a mountain rising up beside you.  The red-gold dirt dry and powdery at your feet.  You footsteps lead you up the mountain, and as you climb the dust swirls around your feet.  The red-gold dust rises with you, and the sunlight catches it, forming shining motes in the air.

As you climb higher, you pass marble pillars.  Now there are small plants growing along the mountainside.  Laurel trees begin to take shape around you as you reach the pinnacle.  You see there is the entrance to a cave, and leading away from it, a narrow path that goes further up.

You step onto the path leading further up, and all at once you are surrounded by lush, green, growing things.  Soft grasses caress your feet, and the laurel trees shade your every step, taking in the heat of the day.  You crest the top of a hip, and find that you have come to a T-junction.  The path to you right leads down into a small valley with a pond at the center, and the path to your right leads up into a crevice in the rock face.  You head right, and make your way down in to the valley.

When you reach the pond you splash water on your face and take a few deep breathes, preparing for your work with the Pythia.  From the base of the laurel tree you take a dried leaf.  You crush the leaf, letting the scent of bay waft by you, and drop the leaf pieces into the pond.

*at this point, each person crushes a bay leaf*

You stand, and with the scent of bay growing ever heavier around you, filling you, you walk up the path again, this time heading for the crevice in the rock face.

You step up to the dark, taking a deep breath.  The Pythia awaits you, you need but enter.

 

  1. Describe the process of creating your inner locale, the challenges and aids you experienced in the creation of this locale, and (optional) its appearance. (min. 1000 words)

I already had a basic image of my inner locale when I began working on trance work. It is the calming place I created when I was going through dialectical behavior therapy, and was a place that I could visualize easily. The purpose initially was to be able to see myself somewhere calming where I could think and not be stressed out by the fast paced world, and my triggers there.

As I began trance work, I found that I was starting there, and so I began cultivating it to better meet my spiritual needs. I begin by envisioning myself pressing my back up against my tree, a cypress at the edge of the pond, complete with roots bulging up through the soil, and let myself sink into the trees awareness.  As I connect to the powers above and below my vision of the mundane area around the tree fades and a gray mist or fog fills the peripherals of my vision, eventually pulling back to reveal my inner grove.  I have set up my inner grove to be essentially a starting point, or a jumping off point for any other trance work I may do.

I stand with my tree at my back, and it acts as a portal back to my body, only needing me to sit back down there to go home.  All around me are dry, meadow grasses, becoming greener around the edges of the pond, which is surrounded by a few other cypress trees and some reeds.  Also at the edge of the pond is my tree, and also now the tree planted there from the seed Nemetona gave me (see the write-up on this from Trance 1).  Additionally, there is a small fire, that while seeming too small to maintain itself, is clearly burning hot and strong.  Occasionally there is a girl, Hestia,  sitting in the flames, or maybe made of the flames.  Behind me a forest rises up, mostly of pine and similar trees.  It appears quite spares at first, but thickens the deeper one walks into it, and rising in the distance is a mountain.   If I traveled up that way, winding my way through the deer trails, I was likely to meet with Artemis. When Artemis is my guide, we start at the edge of the forest and as we walk into it, we approach the area we need to be, and she will again guide me back to the edge of the forest at the end of our journey.  My trance journey experiences that headed this direction tended to be transformative, and have roots within the real world experience I was struggling with. I would say that the take away from these journeys was most often a strengthening of myself, and a stronger resolve to know myself, and be true to myself.

Later, as I began working with Poseidon, another addition was made to my locale. As I walk out there is a plateau covered in the dry, meadow grasses and becoming sandy and rocky near the edge, where there is a drop off a cliff face, with a barely visible path down to the shore.  There is a small, rocky beach in the cove that is formed there, with rocks out just a bit, acting a breaker for the waves.  As the waves crash against them, a spray floats across the beach.  I walk down the cliff face to the beach, and sometimes as the spray hits my face I feel swept away, and others times I walk into the waves and am pulled out by the riptide.  When I’m working with Poseidon, his pull is stronger.  He is much more vast, alien, and huge than Artemis, and it has been much more difficult reaching an understanding of how our journeys are to work.  His awesome power led me to put a bell at the edge of the beach that dangles into the water.  When it is time for me to return to my body, the bell will ring and guide me back to land.  I added this bell because I found that I was having a hard time with a call back from trance, so by including a callback mechanism within my inner locale, I am better able to respond to the callback that happens externally.

Another issue that I found was happening during guided trance journeys that other people were leading was that because of the way my inner local is set up, it was too big for me to traverse the whole length of it and “make it home again” by the time they were trying to end the trance.  This left me feeling panicked and rushed all through the journey.  So, the way that I mitigated this was to put a series of gateways and ‘fairy rings’ through my inner locale.  Each of these gateways and fairy rings connects to all the others, and they allow me to quickly jump between locations that I’ve added to my inner grove.  This has helped immensely in making my trance journeys more relaxing, more rewarding, and more successful in general.

I also work with Garanos Crane to guide me on other journeys. When I leave with him we start from the pond, and he dives into it, and it becomes a kind of portal to other worlds.  This is most often the path that I take if I’m engaging in trance work for the purpose of journeying to an unfamiliar place, and/or with an unfamiliar guide (speaker).

One of the more recent additions to my inner grove is a wall of earth with a cave inset within its face.  There is a flickering light coming from within.  This part of my inner grove has grown stronger and more present the more work I’ve done with Hekate as a Gatekeeper and Guide.  I can now call on her, and see her, torches held high, ready to use the cave as a starting point for journeys with her. This aspect of journey work tends to lead me to both the Underworld, as well as to the liminal spaces where the gods are easier to hear.  This included work done with the Pythia and various other bits of oracular work.

 

  1. Journal for five months, continuing the trance work journal you began in Trance 1. Provide an essay based on this journal detailing how your experiences have affected your practice. (min. 1000 words for the essay)

Since I was completing the journal for both Trance 2 and Magic 2 at the same time, one of the things I found is that I began using trance intentionally in my magical and divinatory work, and it has played an integral role. I’ve found that in order to be in the best mindset to achieve the results I want with my magical work, I need to enter a least a light trance. This trance may differ depending on my location, if there are other people present, if the magical working is taking place in or out of a ritual context, and how complex the magical working is.  The deepest trance states I use in conjunction with magical work are done when I am in my own home, by myself, in ritual space, with a complex working.  If I’m going to go deep into trance I need to feel safe and comfortable.  This could probably be done around a few people who I trust as well, though that opportunity has not presented itself.  I am also more likely to enter a deep trance state for more complex workings because this will minimize distraction and help me to better focus my intent.  Additionally, I’m more likely to do a complex magical working within ritual space because if it is that important or that complex, I will probably be asking the spirits for assistance.

I also use trance when I am doing divinatory work. Having practiced more with the NLP triggers one of the things I’ve changed since completing Trance 1 is adding in the crushing of the bay leaf. Initially I was just saying the prayer and making an offering of the bay leaf. But I found that by crushing it as I offered it, it not only added another auditory and olfactory cue for me, it was also a cue that was unlikely to be replicated outside of that specific instance, and will thus keep the trigger strong (Ellerton).

When I do divination the first thing I do is take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

“Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.”

 I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sound and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter the trance state where that was possible.  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.  This intentional use of trance has helped to augment my divinatory practice.

I also use trance for magic when I’m writing bardic pieces.  Part of the Order of Bardic Alchemy work requires you to write a bardic piece in ritual space, with the intent to use it during ritual.  The Muses are my bardic patrons, and whom I work with most frequently when I’m doing bardic work.  I call to them for inspiration before I write, and often before I play, sing, or perform.  I decided the piece I would write would honor them, and give me an alternative method to call to them, rather than with a simple invocation.

After completing the devotional and making offerings to the Muses, I sat with my bard book open, staring at a candle flame. The words seemed to come excessively quickly.  I often describe the process of this ‘gift song’ as trying to catch the Awen with your pen, and funnel it down into something coherent on the page.  This was not my first experience with a ‘gift song,’ and like the others, the whole piece was written in probably under an hour: words, chords, melody, and all.  It required very little revision following the initial writing.  “Muses, Sing Through Me” is still the main way that I call to the muses before beginning bardic work.

I also use trance when I’m doing healing work, in order to focus the intent of the energy being directed, as well as allowing me to better visual the target when I’m working from a distance.  Most recently we performed a healing at a Druid Moon for one of our Grove members.  Paul, Missy, and I led the working, which involved everyone toning and focusing the healing energy through to the grove member.  We began by breathing together and then started the toning.  The regulated breaths that are required by toning, combined with the circular motions Missy was making with incense helped to drop me into a deeper trance.  Things seemed to slow and the sounds took on a synesthetic quality, seeming to thicken and color.  I focused on wrapping the grove member in the tones.  As we continued to work, I began to hear the overtones and harmonics coming out of the toning.  That is one of the cues that I recognize as an indicator that the intent is properly focused and the magical work is taking effect.  We continued for just a bit longer past the overtones, letting them fully sink in, before completing the work.  I was surprised to note that the Folk followed me in ceasing the toning, and then Missy tied up the loose ends with pretty words.

Another powerful instance of trance that was surprising to me was one that among other people, that I didn’t lead, and that had no journey script to accompany it. At my grove’s Gaimonios druid moon we had lit the three fires of Belenos, and for the working, took turns standing within them (at the center of all three) and being blessed by the fire of inspiration, the fire of fellowship, and the fire of sacrifice/blessing. Please note that MJD says “the juju works anywhere within the circle.” What he meant was, you don’t need to stand super close to the fires and possibly get burned.  I led the toning while we each took a moment within, stating our needs, and standing there. MJD warned that some people might be trancey, what with the fire and the toning and all. I wasn’t sure that I would be, but once I stepped within the ring of stones, it hit me. I slitted my eyes partially because it felt right, and partially to help with the smoke. With the sounds buffeting against me, I got that slightly woozy feeling that trance brings on. The fires around me seemed to take up my whole vision, and began sparking and flashing. I drew my hands up, pulling the fires warmth and energy, and pressed it into myself.  I had asked for focus and perseverance.  Another note regarding this trance experience was that I don’t remember the fires feeling warm once I stepped within the ring of stones.

One of the things I’ve noticed has improved significantly since my work in Trance 1, is that I’ve begun to really learn and catalog what my “tells” for me to be able to tell that I’ve entered trance. I know that my breathing steadies, and my center of balance seems to shift. Most often I feel like gravity has moved and I’m leaning heavily to the left or right. If I am doing trance work accompanied by sound of some sort, when I’ve entered trance the sounds seem to circle around me, meaning that the location of the noise seems to be moving around me. Sometimes there will also be other layers of sounds that get added in, whether overtones, or drumbeats, or harmonies, that flesh out whatever it is that I’m listening to. Oftentimes I will get a tingly feeling that runs from the base of my neck down my spine and arms. Less often, I will get a feeling similar to the beginnings of an asthma attack, where my chest seems to be constricting and the air seems thicker.   Visually, the world will first go black and then colors will shift and sway across my vision until they clarify into an image or series of images.

I have also grown better at drawing my line in order to have more controlled trances rather than often having the experience of being horsed. Part of this I think has come with the magical work I’ve done, and learning to use my Big Voice, and part of it I think has come because now that I have a dependent, I have more reason to have that line drawn, and more conviction when I say “not right now.” One of the things I’ve done to encourage this progression fit right in line with the Trance 2 work. I set aside time, at least weekly, to open myself to the spirits and engage in trance. I found that by practicing more on my schedule allowed me to feel more confident and get more out of the trance work. Not only do I have a better memory for the trance work now, but I’m also getting better at making interpretations of what I see.

The final thing that I feel is significant from this period of time is that I’ve experimented with different methods of entering trance, and have found that certain ways of getting there are more beneficial than others depending on the circumstances and reason for going into trance. After Trance 1, there were some methods that I wanted to experiment more with once I wasn’t pregnant. I did some more work with Body Postures and found them to be extremely useful with internal work where the intention was to give me insight about myself and the way my brain operates. I especially enjoyed how using Body Postures in trance could help me to regain my center and allow me to approach things with a fresh perspective. I experimented with auditory confusion, and was surprised to find that I enjoyed it, where others I’d spoken to about it absolutely hated it. I found it soothing and mid numbing. I experienced some of the physiological effects of trance. Most notably a dizziness and a strong tingling in my spine. Like when someone just barely brushes the hairs on the back of your neck. Other than that I’m slightly sleepy. I used Sigor Ros and Fierce Tibetan Gods as my music for the auditory confusion that was most successful.

All in all, trance work has definitely enriched my practice from many different angles. I have grown more adept at everything from magical workings, to divination, to liturgical work and leading or participating in rituals.

 

  1. Describe an experience of leading a trance induction in group ritual. (min. 300 words)

 At Wellspring, the advanced study students wanted to do trance together.  We had initially hoped that we’d all be able to do this together, however, the Norse-kin broke off and decided to do their own thing with the World Tree, so I then volunteered to lead a trance for the Hellenes who wanted it.  We got the kin flame, and calling Hestia, we lit it.  We were on the stage at the main pavilion, in the darkness except for the flickering candle light.  I had some extra candles, and so lit one for each person, and gave each person a bay leaf.  I instructed them to hold on the bay until the point in the spoken guidance where they would crush it, and to focus on the flame.  We would be ascending the mountain of Delphi in order to commune with the Pythia. I also set aside a flame and leaf for myself.  Once everyone was ready, I instructed them to get comfortable, listen, and focus on their flame, saying:

“Begin by finding a comfortable place, either sitting or standing.  Take a deep breath, and let the cares of your day to day life fade.  Take a deep breath, and let the worries of the world fade.  Take a deep breath, and feel the connection to the earth around you.  Take a deep breath, and feel the connection to the spirits around you.

See in your mind’s eye a mountain rising up beside you.  The red-gold dirt dry and powdery at your feet.  You footsteps lead you up the mountain, and as you climb the dust swirls around your feet.  The red-gold dust rises with you, and the sunlight catches it, forming shining motes in the air.

As you climb higher, you pass marble pillars.  Now there are small plants growing along the mountainside.  Laurel trees begin to take shape around you as you reach the pinnacle.  You see there is the entrance to a cave, and leading away from it, a narrow path that goes further up.

You step onto the path leading further up, and all at once you are surrounded by lush, green, growing things.  Soft grasses caress your feet, and the laurel trees shade your every step, taking in the heat of the day.  You crest the top of a hip, and find that you have come to a T-junction.  The path to you right leads down into a small valley with a pond at the center, and the path to your right leads up into a crevice in the rock face.  You head right, and make your way down in to the valley.

When you reach the pond you splash water on your face and take a few deep breathes, preparing for your work with the Pythia.  From the base of the laurel tree you take a dried leaf.  You crush the leaf, letting the scent of bay waft by you, and drop the leaf pieces into the pond.

*at this point, each person crushes a bay leaf*

You stand, and with the scent of bay growing ever heavier around you, filling you, you walk up the path again, this time heading for the crevice in the rock face.

You step up to the dark, taking a deep breath.  The Pythia awaits you, you need but enter.”

At this point I said no more, and allowed myself to also enter trance.  I had had to hold myself a bit apart during the spoken guidance, and especially during the crushing of the leaves, particularly since that is one of my own NLP triggers for trance.  I’ve found that the hardest part of leading trance is holding yourself apart from the triggers and the trance work so that you can do your best to make sure that others are safely entering and exiting trance.  It’s also important I think to be able to stay conscious of the time that you’re letting people journey.

With this trance, I was fairly confident that I could allow more time for folks to journey, since they were all practiced to some degree or another at trance work.  That is also why I allowed myself to enter trance, since normally I don’t if I’m leading because I don’t know how the folks will react.

During the silent portion, there were a  decent number of distractions, including the sound of people walking across the gravel, talking from folks socializing at different fires, the cold, and the bugs.  If there had been a drum available, I probably would have been drumming, since that works nicely to cover those distracting noises and gives the brain something to dismiss all noises as.

But as things stood, each person worked using the visual concentration of the flame to guide them.  I had success personally as the flame divided out and merged again, shifting and turning into shapes made of flame and shadow.  It was like watching a play staged in a shadowbox theater.

 

Work’s Cited

Ellerton, Roger. “Basic NLP Anchoring Concepts.” Basic NLP Anchoring Concepts. Renewal Technologies Inc, 1 Jan. 2005. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://www.renewal.ca/nlp31.htm>.

Goodman, Felicitas D., and Nana Nauwald. Ecstatic Trance: A Workbook : New Ritual Body Postures. Havelte, Holland: Binkey Kok Publications, 2003. Print.

Harner, Michael J. The Way of the Shaman. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990. Print.

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Ancient Greek Divination. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Pub., 2008. Print.

Knight, Lee. “Establishing Rapport: Pacing and Leading (NLP 3/5).” : Establishing Rapport: Pacing and Leading (NLP 3/5). Overachievers, 28 Feb. 2008. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://overachievercoach.blogspot.com/2008/02/establishing-rapport-pacing-and-leading.html>.

 

Divination 2

  1. Describe the geographical and temporal distribution of your chosen symbol set. If the symbol set was used cross-culturally, describe how each culture used your chosen symbol set. (min. 300 words)

The primary source for the Greek Alphabet Oracle comes from an inscription found in Olympos (an ancient city in Lycia), which is in the geopolitical region of Anatolia.  This Olympos was named for the mountain peak Tahtali Dağ, which the Greeks who moved into the region called Mount Olympus after their own Mount Olympus in Greece.  This was part of the Hittite Empire in the Late Bronze Age, and was completely Hellenized by the influx of Greeks following the Persian Wars when it fell under the Macedonian Empire. The people in the region initially spoke languages in the Luwian family, before the amount of Greek speakers effectively converted the linguistic makeup of the region (“Lycia”).

While there is little evidence to suggest that this specific Greek Alphabet Oracle was used cross-culturally, there is evidence that shows a variety of alphabet and dice oracles in general were used across Greece and Asia Minor, though there is not nearly as much evidence to see how the alphabet oracles worked.

In Bura, there was evidence of a dice oracle where the Seer would cast the dice onto a table, or perhaps into a dish of holy water, and from that numbers shown on the dice, find a corresponding letter.  It seems as though this particular version of the oracle was used before taking part in other ceremonies, religious or otherwise (Heinevetter 33).

In the ancient Pisidian city of Adada was a similar inscription to the one found at Olympos.  This one was also found on a mountaintop, and in addition to the collection of letters and phrases, contained an invocation to Apollo and Hermes.  It is likely that the Seer would call on Apollo to guide his divination and on Hermes as the messenger of Zeus. It interesting to note from the German translation that the Oracle, that is the person through whom the gods speak, is called literally the “Orakelsprüche” – the speaker of oracles.  I find this to be particularly interesting when you combine it with the belief that at the time, all magical acts were spoken (Heinevetter 33-35).

Heinevetter also references the work of Kaibel, who theorized that when the letters were inscribed on stones and placed in a temple, the priest at that temple would put these stones into an urn, and “his hand would be guided by the deity” and upon drawing out a specific letter, he would immediately know what it meant (Heinevetter 35).  

 

  1. Describe the division of sacred and profane use for this symbol set in cultural context (i.e. how was the symbol set used in every day life, and how was it used in religious contexts?). If you find no such division, explain why you think that the set was either entirely sacred or entirely profane in the culture. (min. 300 words)

Ancient Greek was used from about the 9th century to the 6th century BCE, and is the language used by the classical poets, playwrights, historians, and philosophers.  The Greek alphabet, specifically the Ionian Greek alphabet and its dialect, has uses both in the sacred and the profane, though most writing appears to be for profane purposes.  For example, the literature of the ancients Greeks was written mainly in Old Ionic Greek.  This includes the works of Homer and Hesiod, from whom we get a large portion of our knowledge about the deities today (“Ionic Greek”).  While some of these texts, such as the “Homeric Hymns,” were arguably used for sacred purposes, such as invoking deities within a ritual context, I think it’s important to remember that many of the texts were written with the purpose to entertain and perhaps teach ethical and moral lessons.  This can be seen in The Odyssey, where the trials and tribulations of Odysseus are related.  It is, on its most basic level, an adventure story.  It also teaches the lesson that one should be careful which gods one offends.

Hesiod’s works, particularly Works & Days, fall fairly solidly into the category of profane uses of the language.  The vast majority of Works & Days contains information on the proper way to behave and complete certain mundane tasks.  For example, he instructs on how to determiner he proper time for plowing your field and planting your crops: “Mark, when you hear the voice of the crane who cries year by year from the clouds above, for she give the signal for ploughing and shows the season of rainy winter” (Hesiod ll. 448-457). He also includes a variety of moral lessons that the narrator tells to Perses.

It is interesting to note that the Greek Alphabet Oracle has an overwhelming number of symbols that relate to having to work hard for any successes you might have, and that this is the general feel of Works & Days, wherein Hesiod tells the reader and Perses, in great detail, the jobs that must be done to be successful in life, and the morals issues one must tackle to be judged properly.  I would postulate that this particular work either draws from the alphabet oracle, or informed the alphabet oracle, because the resonance is between the two is very strong.

 

  1. Describe the life of a seer in an Indo-European hearth culture, their techniques of divination, and the respect they received. (min. 600 words)

I think that in the past, just as it is in modern times, the Seer acts as an intermediary between the Folk and the Gods.  Also important to note is that the seers of ancient Greece were written about by people who had real life seers before them.  And those ancient seers then tried to behave as the seers in myth were portrayed to them.  “So art imitated life, and life art,” so it isn’t easy to pick out a cut and dry source for how the Seers in ancient times actually worked and behaved (Flower 21).

The role of the Seer in Ancient Greece took multiple forms.  They can be basically divided into the Institutional Oracles.  These are the ones that most people have heard of and know about, and they are the ones who commanded the most respect in their time.  The other type of Seer in Ancient Greece was the mantis.  They are the independent diviners, and were paid through their services.

The Institutional Oracles were an important part of the economic ecosystem of the cities they existed around.  Generally speaking, they did not provide for themselves in the way of sustenance, but rather relied on the folk they served to bring that to them.  In the Homeric Hymn to the Pythian Apollo there is story asking how the people chosen by Apollo to care for his temple shall be provided for.  They were reminded that “the glorious tribes of men will bring gifts to you as Iepaeon (`Hail-Healer’), and you will receive with delight rich sacrifices from the people dwelling round about” (Evelyn-White).  This meant that when the people brought forth sacrifices to the altar of Apollo at his temple, the priests there would be well fed as long as the fame of the oracle lasted. In this same sense, it was also beneficial for the surrounding towns to enhance their Oracle’s reputation.  The more people traveled through, and stayed for extended period of time, the better business was for that town.  This was especially true of the Oracle of Delphi, which later became the site for the Pythian Games (Johnston 34-46). This being said, the Institutional Oracles, while perhaps the most famous, were certainly not the most widely used method for gaining knowledge.  The oracles would only take questions once a month, and the right to ask a question was very expensive (Flower 2).

The Institutional Oracles were often described as receiving their omens through ecstatic trance.  The Oracles would enter trance and as the questions were asked, they would posit answers to these questions, most of which were then translated into verse by the priests and priestesses who tended the Oracle and the temple of the god the Oracle spoke for (Flower 6-7).

For the independent diviners (manteis), they made their living much the same way other merchants did: by selling their wares and services to the public.  They were well-respected as part of the aristocratic class of men (and sometimes women) who would seek to further themselves and their reputation not only through their divination, but also through feats of strength and courage (Johnston 116).  The mantis is “one who speaks from an altered state” or “one who is in a special state of inspiration.”  They are literally “workers for the community” and they have a special gift and skill that cannot just be learned, but rather has to be granted by the divine (Flower 23).

The manteis had a very important role in the military history of Greece.  In myth, every army had its own mantis, because of how important it was to consult the will of the gods when approaching something that their good or ill will may determine the outcome of the battle.  The mantis would bring out sacrificial animals before a battle.  He would kill these animals and read their entrails, determining how the battle would go and what would need to be done in order to win the battle.  Generals were known to put great weight in these divinations, and would even delay battle until the omens were fortuitous.  The independent diviner had more freedom than the institutional oracles to peruse the life they wanted.  They were less tied to the people in the sense of dependency, but also had to prove themselves much more than the institutional oracles to maintain their reputation and thus be able to sell their services (Johnston 116-118).

The mantis was also a crisis manager; he was an integral part of the Hellenic society.  When something went wrong, the mantis would not only look to the future, but would also look to the past.  It was his job to determine how the folk might have offended the gods at some point in the past so that the correct amends could be made to set the course of history back on a good path.  He coasted the line between priest and diviner, and existed in that liminal place where he was able to travel and be available for those that needed him for a variety of services (Johnston 116-118).

The manteis commanded a certain type of respect, as they straddled the line between priest and magician.  The term mantis carried far more respect than the term magos.  “Anyone could insult a mantis by calling him a magos, and any magos could lay claim to higher status by calling himself mantis.”  And just as the authority and reliability of the seer lays outside of the self now, so it was then: “You could call yourself whatever you wanted; the proof of expertise lay in what other people were willing to call you” (Flower 66).

As mentioned above, the manteis used a variety of methods for divination, one of which was the reading of entrails (both extispicy and empyromancy).  Other methods included augury (the behavior, movement, and calls of birds), the interpretation of dreams and portents (like storms, earthquakes, and eclipses).  They also occasionally, though not often compared to the institutional oracles, engaged in spirit possession (Flower 24).

It is interesting to note that the role of the mantis extended beyond only divination and was also said to include healing and purification (Flower 27).  This meshes well with what I’ve experienced as a seer, because after a reading has been given to someone, they often have a lot to think about, and sometimes a lot to deal with.  I have had many readings that end with the querent in tears, and me left in the position where my best course of action is to offer some form of comfort and healing.

 

  1. Describe what you have done to connect with this symbol set on a spiritual level, where your ideas came from, and how it has affected your method of learning this set. Some examples might include (but are not limited to) carving or sacrificing for your runes, gathering each kind of tree for a set of ogham, or doing volunteer service at your local zoo to get more closely acquainted with the behaviors of animals. (min. 600 words)

Connecting with the Greek Alphabet Oracle on a spiritual level has proven easier than my attempts at connecting to either the runes or the ogham.  I suspect this is partly because I resonate better with a divination system that matches my hearth culture.  One of the first things I did that has helped me connect to my oracle is make one to use.  Part of this was necessity.  There was nowhere to purchase one, and so my options were if I wanted to use this system, then I would have to make my own.  So I did.  I researched the way that the ancients made their version of the oracles, and finding that I had a hard time with the dice due to the math, decided I would prefer the traditional sortilege.  The ancient system had its symbols painted or inscribed on pottery fragments, so that was my first step.  It didn’t go well…

I started out by making a terra cotta dish of my own, and let it dry-fire in the sun.  So it hardened nicely, and, while not particularly pretty and not particularly water tight, it was a bowl.  Then I smashed it, and picked up the fragments, using those as my first set of pieces to carve symbols into.  Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, this did not go as well as I’d hoped.  First of all, it’s hard to carve into hardened clay without breaking pieces.  The second obstacle came from when I began doing divinations with this set, the pieces were all different sizes and some were sharp on the edges.  Not conducive to good, active seership, and I’m really not into bleeding for a reading.  The third and final obstacle, and the one that led me to make a new set, was that, wonder of wonders, pottery is fragile, and some of the pieces broke into dust after too much carrying them around.

This incident, while regrettable in its unfortunate outcome involving cuts on my hands and the symbols wearing away to dust, did at least help me to get my magical juju flowing into connecting with and understanding this symbol set.  I successfully learned what each symbol looked like, and put a bit of my own energy into the creation of the set.  Then, when I did make my new set (this time out of wooden disks, paints, and gold leaf paint) I was better equipped to charge and put my new found knowledge and understand into each symbol.  On this new set I put the symbol and its name on the front of each disk, and then on the back put the phrase that corresponds with it.  This proved extremely beneficial to me in the beginning as I learned to match the symbols to their names and to their phrases.  It has still been useful even now, because while I no longer need the crutch of the names and phrases, it’s been beneficial for those people that I have done readings for to be able to see that corresponding phrase.

While the above text describes how I connected with the set on a magico-religious level, and while that certainly helped with learning the technical symbols themselves, I definitely resorted to more esoteric methods to actually learn the set, its symbols, and meanings.  To memorize them I started by pulling a single symbol each day and making sure I knew the word, key word, and phrase that went with it, as well as the meaning I’d begun to tease out of it from my work connecting with the set.  However, I found that I was missing some of the symbols this way, because I don’t often pull some of them, which mean they weren’t coming up in my daily drawing of them.  So I turned to the tried and true method of flashcards, and was able to fairly quickly memorize the symbol set this way.

 

  1. Describe the overall symbology of a chosen divination method as well as each individual symbol in that set. Review and compare to your answers to this question from Divination 1, explaining how and why those views have changed over time. If you have changed your primary symbol set, why did you change? (min. 600 words for the descriptive essay, and 100 words per symbol)

When I began working with the Greek Alphabet Oracle in Divination 1, I was working on learning the symbols and their meanings.  Each letter in the alphabet oracle correlates to a phrase containing a key word that starts with that letter (Sophistes).  In the initial learning phase I examined the letter itself (I use the Ionian Greek alphabet for the purposes of divinatory work), the key word, the phrase that goes with it, as well as the phrases that I wrote to correspond to the letter’s sound in English (since the key word for each phrase is in Greek, and thus the first letter does not match to the Latin alphabet that we use when it is translated to English).

Some key points that I’ve analyzed since beginning the work with this symbol set are my choice of which alphabet to use, and a deepening of my understanding on each symbol.  I chose to use the Ionian Greek alphabet for a few reasons.  In part, it was simply because to my eye, it looked cooler, and once I started learning the symbols, it would have been difficult to switch.  Another reason I chose this particular alphabet was because I didn’t want to run into preconceptions regarding the letters based on their modern usage.  The biggest culprits for me here are the Greek letters that are used in mathematical equations, such as Delta, Sigma, Lambda, Gamma, and Rho.  I still have trouble separating out Delta from its meaning within the oracle (strength is weak) and its mathematical meaning (change).  The final reason I chose this particular alphabet is because it is likely a closer approximation to the alphabet that would have been used at the time the oracle was used than the modern Greek is.  The Ionian alphabet was the alphabet that was used in the writing of the Illiad and the Odyssey.  And as far as why I didn’t use a different ancient alphabet, most of that relates to not all of the oracle’s letters being found in other incarnations of the ancient Greek alphabet, as can be seen when you compare the various scripts side by side (“Ancient Scripts: Greek.”)

One of the things I have done as my understanding of these symbols deepens is develop a narrative to accompany each symbol.  This has helped immensely in my personal understanding of the symbols, as well as made it easier for me to explain that meaning to others, but in individual explanations and in combined meanings of multiple symbols.  By developing these narratives, it has allowed for facets of each symbol to come out and become more apparent.  These facets allow the symbols to have a different emphasis depending on the situation and its proximity to other symbols, or placement within a divinatory spread.  Many of the narratives come from accepted myths within the hearth culture, some come from accepted cultural norms at the time in history, and some come from trance work I’ve done as I’ve worked to deepen my understanding of the symbols.

The symbols themselves seem to fall into three generalized categories: how the gods influence the lives of men, how men influence the lives of men, and how nature influences the lives of men.  This appeals to my English major self in that it encompasses the types of conflicts that can are experienced in a narrative: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature (or Divine, as the case may be).  That is to say that some struggles are between mortals.  For example, Pi advises perseverance through adversity.  Tau advises that there will be a separation from the people around you.  Some struggles are internal. For example, Delta advises that outright strength and full on assault is not always the best options.  Rho advises waiting, despite a possible desire to blunder forward.  Iota reminds that work is the way to succeed.  And some struggles are with forces that cannot be controlled. For example, Kappa advises endure the waves.  Zeta advises fleeing the storm.  Theta reminds that the Gods are helping.

Alpha: “The God [Apollo] says you will do everything {Hapanta} successfully.” 

Alpha reminds us that we have the support of our gods, and to trust in the reading that we have been given.  It is a note that we will be successful at any goals we have set for ourselves.  This can also mean that the querent needs to stop second-guessing themselves when they are considering their actions and to just go with it. In some cases this symbol can also signify that the problem needs to be looked at from all sides in order to have the most favorable outcome.

Beta: “With the help of Tychê [Fortune], you will have an assistant {Boêthos}, the Pythian [Apollo].” 

I have always taken a large part of Beta to mean that in order to receive the help you desire and need, you will need to ask for that help.  It is good fortune that will aid you, but you can’t have that good fortune unless you’ve sought it out.  It is important to ask for the help, because otherwise the being you are seeking help from either won’t know that you need it, or will place such a high value on the act of asking that unless that happens, they will refuse to give it.

Gamma: “Gaia [the Earth] {Gê} will give you the ripe fruit of your labors.” 

Gamma is the symbol of the Earth Mother.  It represents the culmination of our work and our projects, as well as the new life that can begin thanks to her bounty.  In a reading that involves actions, this symbol indicates that a successful outcome is at hand due to the work that has been put in, and the seeds that have been carefully tended.  It can also represent the cycle of life, from nothingness, to seed, to something to be tended, to the culmination of that project, which then cycles back around and allows us to begin planting seeds anew.

Delta: “In customs inopportune strength {Dunamis} is weak.” 

Delta is the symbol that reminds us that whatever methods we normally use to approach a situation will not work in this case.  The analogy that use to explain this symbol most often is that for many people, it is it takes a certain amount of strength to confront those who are at odds with us or our ideas, however, it often takes even more strength to sit back an listen to those conflicting views and either choose to accept them, or choose to disagree.  In either case, the approach that you initially want to try, or normally would try, is not the course of action that should be taken here.

Epsilon: “You desire {Eraô} to see the offspring of righteous marriages.” 

Epsilon is the symbol of fertility.  It represents the creative magic that comes from working towards a goal.  It is the imbas and the inspiration that gets a project off the ground and moving along.  It is also the culmination of work that has been welcomed and approved by the Gods and/or community.  It is also literal fertility, as has been demonstrated by multiply instances of magical work done where this symbol was pulled, and babies happened soon after.  It is a symbol of support that the culmination of your desires and projects is strong, and depending on what symbols are pulled along side it can advise how the desire will (or will not) come to fruition.

Zeta: “Flee the very great storm {Zalê}, lest you be disabled in some way.” 

Zeta is the symbol that represents Zeus, the storm god.  At first interpretation, this symbol can mean that there is a situation that has occurred that the querent must remove themself from.  It can also mean that the querent must set aside those things which are no longer serving their goals, or which are acting as obstacles to their goals.  This setting aside mainly relates to things and situations, differing from Tau, which deals more with a separation from people.  A deeper look into this symbol carries an additional meaning that this ‘fleeing’ is okay, and advises the querent to accept that sometimes it is necessary and in their best interest to remove themselves from something, and that that is okay.

Eta: “Bright Helios [Sun] {Hêlios}, who watches everything, watches you.” 

Eta is the symbol that represents Helios, the sun.  This is the oath symbol, and can serve as a reminder for the querent to keep any oaths or promises that they may have made.  It can also be an indicator that one must consider their oaths when they are decided what actions to take.  Depending on the surrounding symbols, it can represent that an oath needs to be taken, or that the consequences of breaking an oath must be considered.  This symbol, unlike the sun symbols from other systems, does not represent victory.

Theta: “You have the helping Gods {Theoi} of this path.” 

Theta is the symbol that represents the Theoi, the Olympians, the Shining Gods.  This is a very good symbol to get when the querent is considering actions because it means that Gods are in agreement with their actions and will help bring those actions to fruition.  There is a similarity to Beta, in that both symbols signify that help can occur, however the different here is that the help that is being received does not necessarily have to be asked for, and the help that is being received is coming from the Gods, not from other mortal sources.

Iota: “There is sweat {Hidrôs}; it excels more than everything.” 

Iota is one of the many symbols that indicates a need for work.  The Olympian Oracle, and the Greek mythos in general, is very clear in maintaing the fact that mortals are responsible for their own actions and are responsible for making their own fortunes in the world.  Iota is the epitome of that worldview, reminding the querent that in order to achieve their goals, they will need to work at it.  Additionally, the work referenced in this symbol is most often external work.  It also indicates that the work will be hard, and that the best way to achieve the optimum result is by doing that work.

Kappa: “To fight with the waves {Kuma} is difficult; endure, friend.”

Kappa is the symbol that represents the ocean.  It is both a warning and an encouragement.  It is a warning because it can signify that a situation is about to arise that will require the querent to keep a level head, and endure the turmoil that will try to throw them off course.  It is also an encouragement because if there is already a situation that the querent is working through that contains a lot of turmoil, it helps remind them and sympathizes that “yes, we know that it’s hard, but we need you to keep plugging away at it.  We still care for you and are not turning our back on you.”  It is a reminder that the going is tough right now, and it will take strength to endure, but you’ve got to try.

Lambda: “The one passing on the left {Laios} bodes well for everything.” 

Lambda is a signifying symbol.  It acts as a notice that there is going to be a sign or a portent from somewhere that will act as the turning point for a situation.  It relates to the querent that this sign will come from somewhere that is either very unusual for them, or from an unexpected place.  The turning point also indicates that things are about to turn around, and the world can expect to look up again.  Or, if things were already going good, there may be a bump in the road which, when paired with Lambda, will indicate to not read too much into that because things will still turn out okay.

Mu: “It is necessary to labor {Mokhtheô}, but the change will be admirable.” 

Mu is another one of the many symbols that indicate work.  While Iota reminds the querent that only by working hard can they excel at their goals, Mu helps to give the querent faith.  While the work may be arduous, and you may want to stop doing it, it will be worth it in the end.  Mu is also an indicator of work that will happen internally, while Iota often signifies external work.  Mu is an especially apt symbol to pull when the querent is facing a choice to do something they may not want to do.  It reminds them that the easy path is not always the right one.

Nu: “The strife-bearing {Neikêphoros} gift fulfills the oracle.” 

Nu is the strife-bearing gift, and is the hard-won lesson or hard-won strength that you receive following a series of trials. Nu is the silver lining of a bad situation.  The myth that explains this symbol perfectly is the story of Heracles.  Heracles was a mortal, who was cursed by Hera.  This curse meant that he had an extremely rough time of it, and was forced to atone for actions that never would have happened had it not been for Hera.  However, it is also because of those actions, those labors he had to do, that made him worthy of being called a hero, and later a god.  And so, it is the strife-bearing gift that came out of it.  He had to deal with the curse and the labors following it, and that was no fun, but out of all that hardship, pain, and hard work came the gift of godhood.

Xi: “There is no fruit to take from a withered {Xêros} shoot.” 

Xi is one of the agricultural symbols within this set.  Agricultural was very important in the ancient times, and so it made for a good analogy to help people understand the deeper meanings behind the phrases.  Xi is the reminder to the querent that they need to tend the seeds they have planted if they expect to have any sort of good result from it.  It is dangerous to begin many, many projects but to not follow through on any of them to the point of completion.  This symbol warns against just setting up your master plan, but then not caring for it, nurturing it, and tending it to ensure that all the pieces fall into place and everything works out in the end.

Omicron: “There are no {Ou} crops to be reaped that were not sown.” 

While Xi talks about tending the seed one has planted in order to achieve the ends you want, Omicron takes that back one more step.  The warning inherent in Omicron is that if you didn’t lay the groundwork for your project to succeed, if you didn’t plant the initial seeds in the first place, then you will not see the culmination of any projects.  Omicron encourages forethought and foresight when approaching a goal or an outcome.  Omicron, Xi, and Gamma are the three symbols that follow the agricultural progression: from seed to plant, and from plant to fruit.

Pi: “Completing many {Polus} contests, you will seize the crown.” 

Pi is the symbol of perseverance.  This symbol indicates that there are trials in your future.  There are obstacles that you will need to overcome in order to reach your desired outcome.  This is both a symbol of hope, because it explains that if you are persistent, and keep plugging away and doing things the way you have been, that you will eventually gain whatever it is that you have placed value on.  It can also carry a note of caution, reminding the querent that there are going to be a lot of steps on their path, and that there are going to be a lot of obstacles that must be tackled to achieve their goals.

Rho: “You will go on more easily {Rhaion} if you wait a short time.” 

Rho symbolizes patience.  This is the magic 8-ball answer of “try again later.”  Everything is so much in flux right now, and because of that there is no clear answer or clear direction indicating a course of action.  It will work out better if you wait for all the pieces to fall and let everything settle, and then reevaluate.  This can also mean reevaluate your work and your assumptions to make sure they are accurate, and that you’re not giving in to your biases.  In most cases this applies toward the querent assessing their biases, but I’ve also found that if a reading is being done for someone the seer knows well, this can also be a caution to the seer to not assume too much about the reading, and instead focus more on what the symbols are saying and less on what they know about the querent personally.

Sigma: “Phoibos [Apollo] speaks plainly {Saphôs}, ‘Stay, friend.’” 

Sigma is the trust symbol.  It means you need to trust your instincts, and trust your gut.  You need to trust that the gods have a plan going on, and you’re part of it.  It also means you need to stay the course and keep doing what you’re doing.  Hold your ground.  Sigma stands opposite Tau.  Where Tau represents a separation, or a cutting away, Sigma represents a holding together and staying strong.  It can also hold a connotation of together we are stronger than we are apart.  This can also caution the querent to stop second guessing themselves, and that this is as plain as the gods can make the message right now.

Tau: “You will have a parting from the {Tôn} companions now around you.” 

Tau signifies a separation that will occur. It can mean that the querent must distance things which are no longer serving their goals, or which are acting as obstacles to their goals.  This setting aside mainly relates to people and situations, differing from Zeta, which deals more with a separation from things. This symbol also carries less in the way of an acceptance that a separation will occur, and is more of a warning that this separation will occur and has the intent to allow the querent to prepare for the aftereffects of that separation.

Upsilon: “The affair holds a noble undertaking {Huposkhesis}.” 

Upsilon pairs nicely with both Pi and Mu.  It informs the querent that the task at hand is a worthwhile thing to be doing.  The keyword in this symbol is Undertaking.  This can be both a noble quest, or it can be an ordeal.  It can also be both something that needs to be done as well as something that is going to be a lot of work and hard to complete.  There is also an undertone that the querent needs to seek understanding to determine whether they are supposed to seek out something noble to do, or whether they are already doing something worthwhile and are going to face obstacles on the path.

Phi: “Having done something carelessly {Phaulos}, you will thereafter blame the Gods.”

Phi indicates that the querent needs to take responsibility for their own actions.  If you have made a mistake, then you need to own up to it and accept the consequences.  Do not try to foist the blame off on someone else for what you have done.  Do not try to lay blame at the feet of the Gods when only you can determine your own actions.  On the slip side of this, you must also refrain from taking credit for work that is not yours.  This essentially boils down to honestly and examining yourself and your ethics.

Khi: “Succeeding, friend, you will fulfill a golden {Khruseos} oracle.” 

Khi represents wealth, worth, and value.  This can be physical value, or it can be something that you have placed value on that is an intangible thing.  This symbol can be an indicator that if you have placed value on something then you are more likely to put the time into it and put the work into it, and thus succeed at any oaks you have set for yourself.  Khi is strong indicator that you will be successful at whoever it is that you put your mind to.  On the other hand, depending on where it falls in a reading, it can also be an indictor to reexamine your values, and reexamine where you’re spending your time and what you’re putting work into.

Psi: “You have this righteous judgment {Psêphos} from the Gods.” 

Psi is the symbols that indicates you have a directive from the Gods.  They have given you a task, and given you a set of actions to take and goals to have.  You are expected to follow through on them.  This can also mean that you have been given what ever it is your deserve.  This could be a good or a bad thing depending on the querent’s situation and/or the symbols that are pulled along side it.  This symbols comes up fairly often for those people who have either asked a specific question regarding their spiritual work, or for those who have a call to serve the gods, folk, and land.

Omega: “You will have a difficult {Ômos} harvest season, not a useful one.” 

Omega is another one of the symbols that deals with work.  However, where as many of the others symbols discuss the work that needs to be done, and how it will benefit either the self or the situation, Omega indicates that there will just be a lot of work to put in, and you won’t feel as though it’s worthwhile.  This can be a warning that you’re pouring all your energy into something that is not something you should be doing.  Additionally, depending on where it falls in a reading, it can also indicate that even though the work sucks, and you don’t feel like anything is coming from it, you’re not getting anything out of it, it is still work that you have to do.  You still have to clear the field to plant new seed, even if your harvest has been completely decimated.

 

  1. Describe the primary sources available regarding your chosen symbol set, explain the place of inspiration in your interpretations, and describe how the synthesis between historical source work and inspiration plays in your personal practice. (min. 1000 words)

The primary source for the Greek Alphabet Oracle comes from an inscription found in Olympos, which is an ancient city in Lycia.  There are actually a couple of different inscriptions, though this one appears to be the one that most sources for the Greek Alphabet Oracle pull from.  The inscription begins with an invocation to both Apollo and Hermes (Apollo being the prophet, and Hermes being the messenger of the gods, specifically Zeus), and is then followed by the 24 phrases, one for each letter.  In Ancient Greek the phrase would begin with a word that started with that letter.  This made the key word for each phrase the one that started with the letter, and the remainder of the phrase helped for further clarification.  The inscription was divided up into 5 verses, the first being the invocation, and the 24 phrases making up the remaining 4 verses (Heinevetter).

These 4 verses divide up the symbols as follows.  The first verse contains Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta.  The second verse contains Eta, Theta, Iota, and Kappa, Lambda, and Mu.  The third verse contains Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, and Sigma.  And the fourth verse contains Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Khi, Psi, and Omega (Heinevetter).  I’m not sure that these divisions contribute at all to the meaning, though my sense is that they most certainly could.  However, there are no sources that have broached this subject, and the division of verses is only mentioned in the German source books.  I haven’t explored the possibility of adding subtle nuances to the meanings of the symbols by including which verse they belong in.

As the only primary source that exists for this symbol set contains simply the phrase, which begins with the word that starts with the indicated letter (Sophistes), I have made use of inspiration and myth to begin expanding on my knowledge of the symbol set and it’s subtler meanings.  The first thing I did, in part to help my remember which phrase and meanings was associated with each letter, was write a poem of my own, which allowed me to add some of my own insight while maintaining the structure of the initial inscription. I had the phrases that I wrote begin with the same letter, or at least sound, so that as I was learning them it would be easier for me to remember.

Alpha: “The God [Apollo] says you will do everything {Hapanta} successfully.” 

All you do is successful.

Beta: “With the help of Tychê [Fortune], you will have an assistant {Boêthos}, the Pythian [Apollo].” 

Because you asked for help

Gamma: “Gaia [the Earth] {Gê} will give you the ripe fruit of your labors.” 

Gaia gave what you need.  Harvest it.

Delta: “In customs inopportune strength {Dunamis} is weak.” 

Deciding how to act and when strength is necessary

Epsilon: “You desire {Eraô} to see the offspring of righteous marriages.” 

Eager to see the results of union

Zeta: “Flee the very great storm {Zalê}, lest you be disabled in some way.” 

Zeus causes the storm: flee before his anger

Eta: “Bright Helios [Sun] {Hêlios}, who watches everything, watches you.” 

Every word you speak, Helios knows the truth

Theta: “You have the helping Gods {Theoi} of this path.” 

Throughout your journey, you will have the gods help.

Iota: “There is sweat {Hidrôs}; it excels more than everything.” 

If you lose all else, your hard work remains

Kappa: “To fight with the waves {Kuma} is difficult; endure, friend.”

Keep on enduring the inevitable with courage.

Lambda: “The one passing on the left {Laios} bodes well for everything.” 

Learn that blessings come from the most unsuspecting places

Mu: “It is necessary to labor {Mokhtheô}, but the change will be admirable.” 

Much good will come through labor and toil.

Nu: “The strife-bearing {Neikêphoros} gift fulfills the oracle.” 

Notice when strife has come, for it is a sign.

Xi: “There is no fruit to take from a withered {Xêros} shoot.” 

Expectations should be rational

Omicron: “There are no {Ou} crops to be reaped that were not sown.” 

Only what you plant will yield a harvest

Pi: “Completing many {Polus} contests, you will seize the crown.” 

Perseverance through adversity will win many battles.

Rho: “You will go on more easily {Rhaion} if you wait a short time.” 

Remain a short while and you will proceed more easily.

Sigma: “Phoibos [Apollo] speaks plainly {Saphôs}, ‘Stay, friend.’” 

Stay and hold your ground

Tau: “You will have a parting from the {Tôn} companions now around you.” 

Travelers must eventually part ways.

Upsilon: “The affair holds a noble undertaking {Huposkhesis}.” 

Understand whether you should seek a noble quest, or whether your quest is being hindered.

Phi: “Having done something carelessly {Phaulos}, you will thereafter blame the Gods.”

Fate is yours alone – take responsibility for it and do not blame the Gods.

Khi: “Succeeding, friend, you will fulfill a golden {Khruseos} oracle.” 

Completion of your goals is excellent

Psi: “You have this righteous judgment {Psêphos} from the Gods.” 

Suitable judgment has been passed down by the Gods.

Omega: “You will have a difficult {Ômos} harvest season, not a useful one.” 

Onerous times await you.

As I continued to learn this symbol set, and was beginning to use it for readings for other people, I needed a better way to explain what each symbol meant.  I need the flowery language of poets and bards to help me explain the meaning in such a way that could be understand by the vast majority of people.  So I turned to the myths.  There are good myths that be used to explain nearly every symbol, and I have taken to using them extensively when I’m explaining an omen I’ve taken, and am trying to make sure that the querent understands the subtler meanings behind it.

My favorite example is that of the letter Nu.  Nu is the strife-bearing gift, and is the hard-won lesson or hard-won strength that you receive following a series of trials.  The myth that explains this symbol perfectly is the story of Heracles.  Heracles was a mortal, who was cursed by Hera.  This curse meant that he had an extremely rough time of it, and was forced to atone for actions that never would have happened had it not been for Hera.  However, it is also because of those actions, the labors he had to do, that made him worthy of being called a hero, and later a god.  And so, it is the strife-bearing gift that came out of it.  He had to deal with the curse and the labors following it, and that was no fun, but out of all that hardship, pain, and hard work came the gift of godhood.

 

  1. Maintain a journal of regular divinatory practice (entries at least weekly; daily is ideal) for 5 months. At the end of that five-month period, write an essay reflecting on the importance of daily practice; the results seen (including whether your ability to work with this symbol set has increased and why you think it has); and your feelings about the symbol set’s strengths and weaknesses after this period of work (min. 1000 words)

During the course of keeping this journal, I rarely engaged in daily practice.   Most of my entries are spaced out with one every few days, sometimes more frequently if there was a ritual I was taking the omen for as well.  There is a chunk of time in the second month of the journal where I diligently took an omen each morning before going in to work.  What I found was that the meaning seemed to get diluted.  The days ran together, and the omens ran together, and the meanings ran together.  I found the daily divination strategy to be counterproductive when I was taking daily omens.   Part of this certainly could have been the time of day that I took the omens, and the rush of the morning.  However, as I do daily morning devotionals, the timing seemed to make sense, not to mention the fact that if I wanted the omen to guide me throughout the day that I should take it before I truly started my day.  I found more value in the ‘spaced out by a couple of days’ divinatory work.  The view was longer, and that seemed to help the omens make more sense.

I will say that this chunk of time doing daily divination was most beneficial in that the last vestiges of uncertainly I had with the symbol set vanished with this work.  Because I was working with them every day, the few symbols that I was unsure of were solidified in my brain.  I also began to truly get a sense of the often subtle differences between the various symbols, for example, the difference between Iota and Mu.  Both of the symbols reference that work will be necessary, however Iota is work that occurs externally, and Mu is work that occurs internally.  Both types of work will effect change, and both types are necessary to achieve your goals, but the approach is vastly different.  Iota might require you to actually go confront that person you’ve been clashing with and take many, many steps to begin to repair the relationship.  Mu would require you to examine within yourself how you have been acting in relationships, and what changes you need to make internally to deal with the situation.  Of the two, Mu is often much harder, because while Iota requires physical labor, Mu demands that you work to change something within yourself and how you view the world.

Overall, regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this symbol set, I would say that it boils down to the fact that this is a rough set for beginning diviners.  It is a hard set to learn divination with.  Many of the weaknesses of the set become strengths the more you work with it, and the more you engage with it.

Strengths:

  • often give specific instructions on how achieve the goal you were striving towards (ex: zeta = flee, kappa = endure)
  • lack of primary sources means you really have to engage with the set to get meanings

Weaknesses:

  • for beginners to the set, so many of the symbols appear to have the same meaning
  • agricultural based: if those metaphors don’t make sense to you, it can be hard to grok the meanings
  • the symbol set’s reputation as “the doom and gloom oracle”
  • lack of primary sources leads to having to do a lot of work on your own to get meanings
  • requires knowledge of the myths to truly begin to understand and explain the subtle meanings
  • oftentimes the keywords offer little guidance as to the meanings of the symbol

 

  1. Describe your method of taking an omen or doing divination in your private practice, from start to finish. Include any prayers said, deities invoked, or sacrifices made. (no minimum word count)

In my private practice, when I take an omen, I start almost identically to how I start every other time I do divination.  The first thing I do is take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sounds and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter that trance state where that was possible.  The Pythia is the name given to the Oracle who dwells at Delphi and speaks for Apollo (Johnston 33-50).  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.

Then I begin pulling symbols out of the bag, letting my hand stir them around and linger over them until one ‘feels right’ and I pull it out and lay it out as part of the spread.  I do not put the symbols back after I pull them, because I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.

 

  1. Describe the results of nine divinations you have done for others (without assistance from a book). (min. 300 words per reading, and 600 words for a summary)

As usual, the first thing I do is call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

“Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand. 

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.” 

The spread I use most often for divinatory readings for others is one that I developed myself, called the Delta Plus Spread.  The symbols are pulled all in a row, with the interpretation coming after all symbols have been pulled.  The layout is indicated below.  The “D” symbols are pulled first, and form a Delta.  The “P” symbols are pulled second, and form a plus sign.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

 

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. These two symbols are interpreted together in part to represent what will happen following the action plan, and in part to represent what will be allowed by their culmination.  Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 result.  So, as P1 and P2 have come together for an interpretation, they then can allow P3 to happen.  Then to move from P3 to P4, the vertical meaning must be interpreted with the knowledge that this path must pass back through the horizontal interpretation, influencing the symbols again.

I always ask after I’ve completed a reading if the person has any further need for clarification.  If they would like further clarification, I continue to pull symbols form my set without putting those already drawn back.

C3

C2

C1

 

These don’t necessary feed up the path into each other, but that can sometimes help in determining the order of importance of the necessary steps to reach a point of clarification.

One thing I have found interesting as a pattern in my readings is that those people who either are currently priests, or plan to embark on the path to priesthood, is that they nearly always receive Eta or Psi in there readings unless they have asked a very specific question that doesn’t revolve around their position.  For priests, I think these two symbols have similar meanings.  Eta is meant as a reminder that we must hold our oaths, and Psi is the directive from the gods.  So, assuming that a priest has been called to serve, they will have both been directed to take that path, and will have oathed to continue on that path.

Another thing that is interesting, is that when I have done readings for people that I know well enough to know who their patrons are, I often pull the symbols that represents their patron.  For example, when reading for a friend who has one of the storm gods as a patron, I pulled Zeta, and there was a definite shift in the feeling of the meaning.  This has also happened with another who works closely with the Earth Mother.  I have had that similar shift in the feeling of the meaning occur when I’m doing readings for folks that I don’t know, and it makes me curious if perhaps their patron(s) were represented within the reading.

I occasionally do other spreads for readings, though not as often.  I do a basic Past, Present, Future reading when someone has a question that specifically pertains to that, or when they just want a short reading.  These are both not as detailed, but also more straightforward.

I’ve also considered putting the symbols back after I’ve drawn them, so that all options are valid for every single pull, but I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.  I could see putting all the symbols back if a person has a completely different follow-up question, rather than a simple act of clarification following the initial reading.

 

Querent 1:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: Whatever I need to know…

D1: Nu- the strife bearing gifts. Out of the ashes and out of difficulties you’ve faced there is a hard-won gift you’ve been given to use.

D2: Tau- a separation from those now around you. A division of the way things currently stand.

D3: Xi- there is no fruit to bear from withered shoot. If you don’t tend the seeds you’ve cultivated, then you should not expect them to grow.

P1: Pi- Perseverance. Completing many contests, you will receive the crown. The trials that occur before your goals are realized.

P2: Eta- Helios, the sun, the oath watcher. Hold fast to your oaths and virtues.

P3: Omega- there will be a difficult harvest, not a useful one. There is a lot of work to be, but it may seem like it’s not going anywhere and it may not be rewarding.

P4: Rho- patience. You will have an easier time if you wait a bit.

Delta: there have been difficulties and out of these difficulties you’ve been given gifts and lessons. You are also currently cultivating seeds, and in order to properly tend them and allow them to bear fruit you must apply your gifts. You must also be willing and able to set aside something that is an obstacle. There must be a separation in order for your seeds to come to fruition.

Plus: Perseverance regarding your oaths. Continue to hold fast to your virtues, your word, your promises, and your oaths. There will also be a significant amount of difficult work that you may feel is not going anywhere and you must simply be patient and continue to do the work. This continuance of the work is what will allow you the ability to continue to hold true to your oaths.

 

Querent 2:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: General Reading

D1: Lambda – Look for an unusual or unexpected sign

D2: Kappa – endure the waves and the turmoil that surrounds

D3: Beta – You must ask specifically for help, rather than just expect it.  And because you ask, so shall you receive.

P1: Nu – the strife-bearing gift and the light at the end of the tunnel.  The lesson received after turmoil

P2: Xi – There is no fruit to take from a withered shoot.  Tend the seeds you have planted

P3: Khi – Succeeding, you will fulfill the golden oracle.  Wealth and value, more often immaterial wealth and abstract value

P4: Gamma – The Earth Mother grants you the ripe fruits of your labors.

Delta: Endure the choppy seas and be willing to ask for help when you need to.  Look for an unusual or unexpected sign that signifies the end of the choppy seas is near, and you’re moving on to the next step.

Plus: The difficult times have taught you a hard lesson and given you a hard-won gift.  Use that gift to now tend your seeds, your projects.  In tending those seeds and accepting the fruits of those labors you are then able to take the wealth and value and worth received, and gift it in turn to the Earth Mother.  The Earth Mother will then complete the cycle and in turn return the love and gifts back to you.

 

Querent 3:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: no question, general reading only

D1: Delta – Inopportune strength is weak.  While it takes strength to stand up for your beliefs, it sometimes takes more to sit back and say nothing, just listening.  A different approach is needed

D2: Pi – Perseverance.  Completing many contests, you will win the crown.  After many trials, you will make it through

D3: Theta – The Theoi stand by you, helping you as the bright and shining gods.

P1: Nu – the strife-bearing gift.  Out of the ashes you receive a hard-won gift or lesson.  The light at the end of the tunnel.

P2: Epsilon – you desire to see your projects come to fruition and have things fall into place

P3: Omicron – there are no crops to harvest for seed that were not sown.  If you expect results, you must first do the work.

P4: Psi – a directive from the gods.  They expect you to do something for them, and it is their righteous judgment.

Delta: Persevere on your path, and know that the waiting is often harder and requires a different strategy.  it requires a different kind of strength than active strength.  You also have the helping gods, which will help to make the path clearer, and easier to maintain.

Plus:  The strife-bearing gift.  You’ve been given gifts that are things that have emerged from the ashes.  Now you must plant those gifts, those seeds, if you would hope to realize the result of the gifts you received and the lessons you learned.  You must do this, because you have been given this directive from the gods.

 

Querent 4:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading

D1: Alpha – the support of the gods that you will be successful, and the assurance that you are on the right path.

D2: Mu – the work is going to be hard, but it will be worth it.  The change will be admirable

D3: Khi – worth, wealth, and value.  Determine what you value, and what you desire success at

P1: Iota – there is a lot of work, and doing the work is what will allow success

P2: Kappa – endure the turmoil, endure the waves.  There is difficultly ahead, but stay your course.

P3: Eta – oaths.  Helios watches over the oaths you have taken, and holds you to them

P4:Nu – the strife-bearing gift.  Out of the ashes, a gift arises.  This is your hard-won lesson, and your light at the end of the tunnel.

Delta: Determine what it is that you place value or worth on, and put in the work towards that thing.  By putting the work in, you will be successful at it, and you will value it even further.  Note as well, that you have the support of the gods that you’re making the right choices.

Plus: As a barrage of stormy seas crashes against you, whether situational or emotional or whatever, you are going to have to work hard to not let it drown you and sweep you away.  By working at it and maintaining yourself and your values, you will then be able to keep your promises and oaths, and acquire a gift from the lessons learned within the stormy seas.

After talking with the querent regarding his view of the reading:

He is struggling with being Senior Druid, and the way the bureaucracy of the position is preventing him from doing what the community needs, and serving the folks the way they need to be served.  He was considering not running for re-election but the ‘oath’ piece brings a new perspective on that.  There has been a lot of push back and he’s struggling with whether or not to push a change in the by laws.  The previous senior druid, and founder of the grove, is not being very accepting of any changes to the current by laws and way that things are run.

Delta: He values the change, and the work will be hard to get the by laws chained, but it would be worth it to make those changes. Also, the gods remind him that he has their support in the matter.

Plus: If the bylaw changes are made, there will be a shit storm that he will have to work like hell to not drown in it, and let it consume him.  This would allow him to keep his oaths, but he’d have to pass through the storm to receive the gift at the end, and the light at the end of the tunnel.

I recommended he do some divination of his own, and determine to what extent his oaths hold in the eyes of the gods, and to do some serious thinking on whether or not he’ll broach the subject.

 

Querent 5:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: What to focus on in the short term to have peace of mind.

Delta: The changes you must make:

D1: Kappa – perseverance – you must persist at the things that are of value to you and keep working at and thru them despite any difficulties.

D2: Zeta – flee – you must discard those things that no longer serve you.

D3: Beta – ask for help – to both persevere and to discard the things that aren’t working for you, you will need to ask the gods, spirits, and people to help you with this.  They will not help, or will not know you need help, if you don’t ask for it.

Plus: If you make these changes, the outcome is:

P1: Xi – put in the work – with the effort you’ve made, things will be fine

P2: Khi – success – you will be able to have peace of mind, calm your thoughts, and calm your emotions

P3: Eta – keep your word – you need to keep any promises you’ve made, or perhaps by making the changes, you will be able to keep your promises and your honor.

P4:Alpha – everything – because you asked for help the gods will ensure that you be successful in this endeavor.

 

Querent 6:

Past, Present, Future Spread

The Querent asked me if I had ever done a reading with there being a question, but without me knowing what it is.  I said that I didn’t think I had, and so she suggested that we try it.

So, initially, without knowing the question:

Past: Gamma – the earth mother gave you the ripe fruits of your labors.

Present: Xi – There is no fruit to take from a withered shoot.  Tend the seeds that you have sown if you expect to have a good harvest.

Future: Omicron – there are no crops to reap that were not sown.  If you have not planted the seeds, then you won’t even have the option of having a harvest at all.

The first thing I asked her after seeing the symbols I’d pulled was whether or not she was a farmer.  She smirked at me, and said yes.

With that in mind, I gave her the following interpretation:

You received gifts, and now you must care for them.  And in order to repeat the cycle of a good harvest and reaping those rewards, you must plant the seeds anew, and continue to tend and care for them.

After this, the Querent revealed to me her question:

She is writing a book on gardening for pagans, whether it is full-scale farm, backyard garden, or pots of plants on a patio.  She was stuck in the process, and had stagnated.  She wanted to know what to do to be able to continue writing it.

 

Querent 7:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading only

D1: Mu – there is a lot of work ahead of you, but the change that comes out of it will be worth it.

D2: Omega – You will have a difficult harvest, but not a useful one.  As you are working, you will feel that you’re not getting anywhere with it.

D3: Beta – because you asked for help, you will receive aid.  Without asking, you will not gain that which you desire.

P1: Alpha – everything you do will be successful.  You have the support of the gods.

P2: Zeta – flee the storm.  This is the signifier for the storm god.

P3: Nu – The strife-bearing gift.  Out of your struggles and out of the ashes you have been given a gift or a lesson.

P4:Khi – Wealth and value.  Succeeding, you will fulfill the golden oracle.

Delta: You need to do the work, and it will affect a change.  However, you will get no benefit from that change unless you ask for help front he gods or others around you.  You will find the work difficult and unrewarding.

Plus: If you have asked for help, you will successfully complete all you have set out fro, as long as you listen to the words of your patron (a storm god) and set aside that which no longer serves you.  You must take all the gifts you’ve been given out of the hard lessons you’ve had to learn, and apply them if you hope to find value, worth and success from your work. Your experiences have made you who you are.  Use that knowledge.

 

Querent 8:

Delta Plus spread.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 meaning.

Question: General Reading

D1: Psi – the righteous judgment and directive from the gods

D2: Upsilon – this is a noble undertaking. it will be work, but it is the right path

D3: Lambda – the unexpected or unusual sign

P1: Xi – tend the seed you have planted if you expect to achieve results

P2: Tau – a separation or pulling apart of the ways things currently stand.  A barrier.

P3: Sigma – A very clear indicator to stay the course, stay on your path

P4: Zeta – Flee the storm / set aside those things that are not serving.  There must be a sloughing off of the old for new beginnings to occur.

Delta: Watch for the unexpected sign that will guide you in the knowing what the task is that you have been given and when to begin. The task is needed and necessary, a lot of work, and a directive from the Gods.

Plus: You must release a piece of something that is stopping you and creating a barrier and preventing you from tending to you seeds.  You should also stay among friends and know that sometimes it is necessary and okay to flee from what you have built.

Clarification was requested:

C3

C2

C1

C1: Theta – the Theoi, the shining gods of your path

C2: Rho – You must wait a short time

C3: Beta – Asking for help.

You must ask for help in order to have the gods’ guidance.  And you must be patience in waiting for their response.

 

Querent 9:

Delta Plus spread:

Question: general reading

D1: Epsilon – the offspring of righteous marriages.  A coming together of creative energies.

D2: Psi – the righteous judgment of the gods.  A directive from the gods.

D3: Zeta – flee the storm and set aside the things that are creating obstacles.

P1: Theta – the Theoi, the helping gods of your path

P2: Iota – There is much work, and by doing the work you will excel

P3: Lambda – The unexpected or unusual sign

P4: Alpha – everything you do will be successful

Delta: In order to allow your projects, desires, and imbas/creative juju mingle and successfully create, and thus allow you to complete the tasks that the gods have required of you, you need to set aside that which no longer serves you.

Plus: Once you have set these things aside you will be able to do the work to develop your relationship with the gods.  Then you will be equipped to recognize the sign that will allow you to achieve everything the gods have directed you to do.

 

  1. Describe the method you would use for drawing an omen in public ritual, how it is different from any private practice you do, and how it is different from taking an omen for another individual. (min. 600 words for the essay)

The method that I use for public omens is essentially identical to how I do reading for myself, or private reading for other people.  I still do the set up the same way.

The first thing I do is take a deep breath to center myself and then call out to Apollo Mantikos, crushing an offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

I crush the bay leaves in order to offer them because it is both a sounds and a smell that happens every time.  This resonates with the idea that the Pythia had a whole series of steps that she would do the same every time in order to prepare her to speak with Apollo and enter that trance state where that was possible.  As I use them in a similar way to put myself into a light trance in order to make that call to Apollo Mantikos and be able to hear and interpret his words, I feel it is an apt way of doing things.

Then I begin pulling symbols out of the bag, letting my hand stir them around and linger over them until one ‘feels right’ and I pull it out and lay it out as part of the spread.  I do not put the symbols back after I pull them, because I feel that in most cases this is not conducive for me to be able to relate the symbols to each other.  It makes sense to me to have the smaller pool of symbols, and I feel like if this is how I always do my divinations, then the messages I receive from the divine will answer my questions in such a manner that this makes sense.

The difference in taking the various types of omens comes in when I consider what spread to use.  In a public omen, it depends of their are set questions or not that are typically asked.  For example, when I take the omen for my Grove’s Druid Moon rituals we always ask:

  • What is our path?
  • On what should the Grove focus for the next month?
  • On what should each individual focus on for each month?

I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

When I take an omen in one of the Full Moon rituals that I lead the questions I ask are always:

  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings do the Kindreds offer?
  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings do Selene and the Patrons of Magic offer?
  • Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom or blessings does [DotO] offer?

Then, as with the Druid Moon rituals, I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

In our Grove’s public High Day rituals we most often, but not always ask:

  • Have our offerings been accepted?
  • What wisdom do the Kindreds offer us in return? 
  • What further needs do the Kindreds have of us? 

Then, as with the Druid Moon rituals, I pull a symbol to answer each question, and then also give an overall interpretation of the omen as a whole.

Occasionally during our High Day rituals we will instead ask for a blessing from each of the Three Kindreds.  These are then interpreted both individually, and then taken together to determine the blessing of the Kindreds as a whole.

Only rarely do I do in-depth divinatory work for myself.  Most often if I am doing a divination fro myself I’m either pulling a single symbol or three symbols to be interpreted together for a full meaning.  I find that I am often too close to the situation to be able to get a clear reading.  The exception to this, is that I will do an extended reading if I am preparing for extensive magical work, in order to be sure that I’m taking the right actions and that I have take all I need to into consideration.

When I’m taking an omen for another individual I most often use the Delta Plus Spread that I developed.  The symbols are pulled all in a row, with the interpretation coming after all symbols have been pulled.  The layout is indicated below.  The “D” symbols are pulled first, and form a Delta.  The “P” symbols are pulled second, and form a plus sign.

D2                            P4

P1             P2

D1            D3                      P3

 

The Delta portion is the action plan, the change. The meanings of the symbols circle around, each symbol feeding into and relating to the other two.

The Delta symbols can then act as a catalyst for the Plus portion to occur. The Plus portion first runs from left to right. These two symbols are interpreted together in part to represent what will happen following the action plan, and in part to represent what will be allowed by their culmination.  Then that horizontal meaning circles to the bottom and the vertical meaning runs rom bottom to top. The vertical meaning is both influenced by the horizontal meaning and then must also pass through the horizontal meaning to reach the P4 result.  So, as P1 and P2 have come together for an interpretation, they then can allow P3 to happen.  Then to move from P3 to P4, the vertical meaning must be interpreted with the knowledge that this path must pass back through the horizontal interpretation, influencing the symbols again.

I always ask after I’ve completed a reading if the person has any further need for clarification.  If they would like further clarification, I continue to pull symbols form my set without putting those already drawn back.

C3

C2

C1

These don’t necessary feed up the path into each other, but that can sometimes help in determining the order of importance of the necessary steps to reach a point of clarification.

 

  1. Give and explain the results of three omens taken by you in public ritual. (min. 300 words per omen)

May Hellenic Full Moon to Apollo – 14 May 2014

The working for this moon was a blessing of our divination tools.  I decided that I would like to have every person pull a symbol from their sortilege set (which I was very thankful that everyone who came was using sortilege) and interpret it.  Then I would interpret the symbols for their combined meaning.  Below is the text of divinatory part of the working, including the symbols that were pulled and interpreted.

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:

Nu – the strife-bearing gift

Sowilo – the sun and victory

Gebo – gifts

Birch – new beginnings

Khi – golden oracle fulfilled, worth, and value

Gamma – Gaea, the earth mother gives the ripe fruit of labors

30, The Clanging – illumination and enlightenment

Magician – power and willpower, as well as creativity

Eta – the Sun, and oaths

8 of Stones – apprenticeship and practice of skill

Ivy – journey, guidance, travel

7 of Arrows – insecurity and facing your doubts

Honeysuckle – lay down your burdens and have fun

Iota – sweat and work excel

Rebirth – new beginnings

 

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 and speaks prayer as needed*

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

 

These blessings and wisdom that we have received, when taken together, mean:

 

With the bright light 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.

Reflect a moment on these gifts and how they pertain to your Sight.

  

3CG Summer Solstice @ Comfest: June 24, 2012 

As the Seer for the rite, I called out to Apollo Mantikos, offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

Apollo Mantikos, first I ask have our offerings been accepted?

Omega – No.  You will have a difficult harvest, not a useful one.

At this point as I nodded to MJD, and he asked if anyone had forgotten to give an offering, or would like to make more, I noticed that some of the offerings we had set out on the altar were still sitting there.  In the shuffle of the ritual, there was a huge chunk of offerings that were promised to the Kindreds that had not, in fact, been offered.  Jessie came up to offer those out, while I and a few others made additional offerings.

Apollo Mantikos, have our offerings and their additions been accepted

Epsilon – Yes, the fertility of our gifts and out desire to continue giving rings out.

Apollo Mantikos, what blessing do the Kindreds offer the community?

Khi – They give us knowledge and wisdom to follow the right path.  As they guide our steps to build a stronger community, we will succeed on our path.

Apollo Mantikos, what further needs do the Kindreds have of us?

Rho – We must have patience to know that we may not always get what we need or want immediately.  Sometimes we must wait for the right moment and wait for the proper time and proper materials to best serve the Kindred, our own community, and ourselves.

Taken together: The Kindreds want us to come together and flourish as a community and walk the path of the Old Ways with the knowledge that what we need may not come to us immediately, but if we wait we will best serve them and succeed in coming together as a community.

 

Elembivios Druid Moon: August 22, 2012

As the Seer for the rite, I called out to Apollo Mantikos, offering bay leaves, using the same prayer I use every time I pull omens:

Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice.

Apollo Mantikos, first I ask have our offerings been accepted?

A wren called out in sweet, chirping song.  We took this to be a good omen, that our offerings were accepted.

Apollo Mantikos, what is our path?

Nu: The Strife-Bearing Gift

We have been through a lot of rough times, struggling and fighting to make sense of things.  We’ve experienced a great deal of strife.  Now it is time for us to look for the silver lining.  What lessons have we learned from this?  How can we use what we have learned to help others.  Now is the time for us to look at our struggles as a gift that has not only made us stronger and taught us valuable lessons, but to also look into spreading that wisdom so that others need not experience the same strife as we have.

Apollo Mantikos, on what should the Grove focus for the next month?

Sigma: Stay, friend.

We are only as strong as the sum of all of us.  The message is clear: we need to strengthen our bounds with each other.  As families often do, they have a tendency to grow apart at times.  We need to focus on building our ties between each other, support each other, and not give up on each other.

Apollo Mantikos, on what should each individual focus for the next month?

Epsilon: Desire Offspring of Righteous Union

There are things that we want to see.  Now is the time to take our goals and dreams and begin making the steps towards making them a reality.  This is the letter of fertility.  Allow the forces of creation to bubble up in you, and flare in you, and allow you to make the changes you need to succeed at your goal.

Taken together, these omens suggest that we focus on combining our respective powers and gifts and lessons learned to maintain and strengthen our bonds as a folk so that we can unite to achieve our goals.  “With our powers combined…”

 

Cranefest Hellenic Main Rite: September 2, 2012

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice do the Kindreds offer?

Omicron: “There are no crops to be reaped that were not sown.”

You must plant seeds first if you expect them to grow.  And in planting them, you must also be willing to tend them and care for them.

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice does Zeus offer?

Phi: “Having done something carelessly, you will thereafter blame the gods.”

Take responsibility for your own actions.  You can only control you and how you act and respond.  Do not take responsibility for others actions, and do not blame others for your own actions.  Zeus is the bringer and enforcer of justice.  Do not try to take his domain into your own hands.  Control yourself, your actions, and your reactions without assigning blame to others for your situation.

Apollo Mantikos, what wisdom and advice does Hera offer?

Iota: “There is sweat; it excels more than everything.”

To reach a place where relationships reach a balance, and a place of harmony, there is work that has to be done.  It is hard work to grow and maintain a relationship, but if it something you love and care about, it should feel less like work because it is worth it.  Hera helps create and defend healthy relationships, and reminds us that we can’t simply rest and expect those types of relationship to fall into our laps.  There is work that goes into creating them, and it is a labor of love.

Taken together the message is in building and sustaining relationships of all kinds remember to tend the seeds that you plant so that they might grow.  There will be a lot of work to do, and all you can control are your own actions and reactions.

The path to peoples’ hearts is a rocky slope that is hard to plant seeds of love on.  But once planted, if tended with love and care (because doing what we love should not be work) they will grow to be beautiful flowers.

 

References:

“Ancient Scripts: Greek.” Ancient Scripts: Greek. Lawrence Lo., 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 May 2014. <http://www.ancientscripts.com/greek.html>.

 

Evelyn-White, H. G. “The Homeric Hymns 1-3.” Classical E-Text. Theoi.com, 2011. Web. 06 Aug. 2012. <http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns1.html>.

 

Flower, Michael A.. The Seer in Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Print.

 

“Ionic Greek.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionic_Greek>.

 

Hesiod, and Hugh G. Evelyn-White. “Works And Days.” Hesiod: Works and Days. Sacred Texts, 1 Jan. 1914. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/works.htm>.

 

Heinvetter, Franz. Trans. Jan Avende. Würfel- und buchstabenorakel in Griechenland und Kleinasien. Breslau: Grass, Barth & comp., 1912. Print.

 

Johnston, Sarah Iles. Ancient Greek Divination. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Pub., 2008. Print.

 

“Lycia.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 14 May 2014. Web. 16 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycia>.

 

Sophistes, Apollonius. “A Greek Alphabet Oracle.” A Greek Alphabet Oracle. Biblioteca Arcana, 1 Jan. 1995. Web. 17 May 2014. <https://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/GAO.html>.

Trance 1

  1. Define the following terms in your own words: “Trance,” “meditation,” and “hypnosis.” (min. 25 words per definition, dictionary definition does not count toward final word count.)

Trance, meditation, and hypnosis are differing methods of getting the brain to an altered state.  Arguably, trance could be considered that altered state, and meditation and hypnosis would be two possible ways to get there.

Trance is an altered state of consciousness that allows the brain to see, experience, and react to more possibilities.  When the body enters a trance state there are mental and physiological changes that happen, and can be perceived by the person experiencing trance, and often by outside observations as well.  Within a religious context, trance can be used to gain spiritual knowledge through visions, to deeply experience the gods, and to focus magical intent.

Meditation is a method of reaching an altered state, whether it’s trance, relaxation, or focused contemplation.  It is often an experience that focuses on going within oneself in order to make sense of that which is outside oneself.  Within a religious context, meditation can be used to reach a quiet mind to allow for communion with the gods and spirits, to gain knowledge of spiritual tools through thought and contemplation, to reflect on religious experiences, and to examine one’s personal values and ethics as they relate to one’s spirituality.

Hypnosis is also a method of reaching an altered state, often thought to border on an empty and susceptible mind.  Hypnosis is most often induced by someone other than that person experiencing the altered state. It is often used to condition the mind to certain behaviors through the power of suggestion.  Within a religious context, hypnosis can be used to augment meditation and trance work in ritual by providing the brain with shortcuts.  For example, a musical signal to begin ritual, once conditioned, could be used to quickly cause the brain to switch from the worries of the mundane world to being open to experiences the energy swirl within a ritual.

 

  1. Give a brief history of hypnosis. (min. 300 words)

Hypnos is the Greek god of sleep, who was often pictured with “a horn of sleep-inducing opium” among other things.  It is from him that we get the word hypnosis (Atsma).  The practice of hypnosis appears to have begun in Egypt, and later spreading to Greece.  Special “sleep temples” were built where people could come to seek healing.  They would enter the temple, undergo various rituals, and then sleep to dream for a cure (Hypnosis in History).

It is through the work of Dr. Franza Anton Mesmer that we are familiar with hypnosis today.  Mesmer coined the term “animal magnetism” to refer to a fluid flowing through each person’s body that effected their health, and that this fluid could be manipulated through mesmerism to cure or debilitate them.  Mesmer seemed to have extraordinary control over other individuals, mainly through the power of suggestion, since the theory regarding the “fluid” was proven wrong (Hypnosis in History).

Many of the continuing studies following Mesmer related back to the idea of sleep.  These studies related Mesmer’s techniques back to their ancient origins, such as sleepwalking and lucid sleep.  In the 1840s, Dr. James Braid coined the term “hypnosis” and “hypnotism.” Because he was a credited doctor, he lent credibility to hypnosis, and conducted studies involved the traditional swinging pendulum to produce states of hypnosis (Hypnosis in History).

As research progressed, more traditions and methods were studied, including shamanistic ways of trance induction and its uses.  Hypnosis for healing continued to evolve, and in the mid-1900s hypnotherapy regained popularity thanks to Milton H. Erikson and his use of hypnosis to treat chronic pain.  Hypnotherapy today is used for everything from pain management to anxiety to addiction to replacing anesthesia during surgery (“Hypnotherapy”).

 

  1. Describe Neuro-Linguistic programming. (min. 100 words)

Neuro-linguistic programming is the general idea that the way you present yourself externally will help you to manifest your goals. This includes the multitude of ways that we communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. What this means is, it is not only the words that you use and the emphasis you put on them, but also the gestures and other nonverbal cues that you give, that lend to your overall effectiveness in communication. It is like poetry of the body, in a sense. Each choice you make in how you communicate something will have an effect on the outcome of the interaction. This idea of communication doesn’t have to apply only to interpersonal communication.  It also allows for a degree of self-analysis in the way we think about a situation in order to gain more control over it (Bandler).

Bandler has suggested that neuro-linguistic programming and its techniques are especially useful for therapists helping their clients overcome a multitude of issues, such as elimination of phobias, breaking destructive habits, and aiding in learning disabilities (Bandler ii).  Part of this has to do with building rapport with a client, and using the same kind of words that they are in order to communicate on their level, in a way that they understand. Most people will describe experiences mainly in a visual, physical, or aural sense. When the therapist matches the type of word that they use to the type of word the client is using, a rapport is built (15-6).

This can apply to guiding others through a guided meditation or trance induction. For a small group of people, if they all think in the same mode, visual for example,  you can focus your descriptions using mainly visual describing words (look, see, etc). Likewise, if you’re leading a meditation for a larger group you would want to be sure to differentiate your descriptions so that each person can relate to what you are trying to have them sense.  For example, you could say, “Look at the trees around you and see how lush and green their leaves are. Feel the rough bark running up the trunk and the wet, cushiony soil beneath your toes. Listen as the wind rustles through the leaves and the birds sing back to it.”  In this brief description, I’ve included visual cues (the trees are lush and green), physical cues (the bark is rough and the soil is wet), and aural cures (the wind is making the leaves move and the birds are singing). In this way, using the techniques  presented in neuro-linguistic programming can help increase the buy-in to the trance experience when doing a guided meditation or spirit journey.

 

  1. Identify and describe three instances where trance is found in ancient Indo-European cultures. (min. 150 words each instance)

In many Indo-European cultures it appears that trance, and trance work are often linked to divination of some sort. Trance often appears to be a common method that is used to gain knowledge, inspiration, or skills by allowing a person to tap into a higher state of consciousness, access a more knowledgeable or skilled authority, or achieve a more deeply connected mindset.

The first example of this comes from Ancient Greece, where the oracle of Delphi (the Pythia), an enthusiastic medium,  was said to sit above a chasm in the rock, on a three legged stool, and breathe in the vapors of the mountain. The ancients believed these vapors were the breath of Apollo, and by breathing it in, he (or his daimons) would possess her and speak through her (Johnston 44-7).  This is the idea that “when this prophetic potency mixes with the Pythia’s body, it opens up channels through which her soul can receive impressions of the future” (46-7).  This matches my definition of trance as an altered state of consciousness that allows the brain to see, experience, and react to more possibilities.

Iamblichus, a philosopher in the 3rd century CE, proposes a slightly more modern concept that rather than the vapor being the cause of the prophecy, it is instead what triggers the Pythia to enter a prophetic state (Johnston 47).  This idea was deemed plausible in the late 20th century by researchers who determined that two fault lines converged under the aduton (the room where the Pythia delivered prophecies) that released a mixture of ethylene, ethane, and methane.  “Small doses of ethylene produce an altered state of consciousness during which people feel euphoria and have out of body experiences, but remain lucid enough to answer questions” (Johnston 48-9).  This supports the idea that initially the Pythia may have inhaled the hallucinogenic gases, but that as time passed the smell of the vapor would have triggered the altered state.  It is hypothesized that it was only a trigger because it was only the Pythia who entered the trance state and prophesied, and not the priests and consultants who were in the outer chambers (49).

The trigger of smell, as well as the constant conditioning of going through the same ritualistic actions before delivering a prophecy (ex: bathing in the spring, fumigating with laurel leaves, dressing in white robes and wearing a laurel crown, going down to her chamber and sitting on the three-legged stool to breathe in the sweet smelling vapors) is indicative of the Pythia entering a trance state in order to do her job.  These triggers were sensitizes by the repetition of the actions, month after month (Johnston 50).  The Oracle of Delphi, the Pythia,  is an example of a person who has attained a trance state in order to gain knowledge from a more knowledgeable authority, in this case, Apollo.

Another example from Greece that demonstrates individuals entering a trance state are the records of the Eleusinian Mysteries.  The worshipers would drink cold barley water during some of their rituals.  This cold barley water was likely infected with ergot, a fungus that grows on cereals and contains similar compounds to those found in LSD, lysergic acid (Wasson 8-10).  In addition to the likelihood of the Ancient Greeks having access to some form of hallucinogen, there is also record of ecstatic dancing where “when at last [the pilgrims] arrived at Eleusis, they danced far into the night” (12).  The celebrants were said to have visions within the sanctuary where the ritual was performed, and to experience physical symptoms, such as “fear and trembling in the limbs, vertigo, nausea, and a cold sweat” (13).  The wine, the gift of Dionysos,  was the medium by which the celebrants of both the Lesser and Greater Mysteries would have partaken of the hallucinogen.  “At sacral events, the wine would be more potent [than wine drunk in social situations] and the express purpose of the drinking was to induce that deeper drunkenness in which the presence of the deity could be felt” (15).  The worshipers of Demeter, Kore, and Dionysos are examples of people who attained a trance state in order to find a  more deeply connected mindset to divinity.

Similar experiences to the Eleusinian Mysteries were said to be induced by drinking soma in the Vedic culture.  As referenced in the Rig Veda, Soma causes an altered state, where the drinker of the soma-juice is granted great knowledge, skills, power, and inspiration.

Soma is called “a sacred Bard, a Sage; the meath is offspring of thy sap” (RV 9.18).  This hymn refers to Soma himself as the Bard and Sage, who grants divine inspiration and knowledge.  He is the ultimate giver of knowledge, skills and wisdom.  Meath translates to “mead” or “honey wine.”  This is similar to how within ADF we refer to the “the mead of inspiration.”  Soma gives us the inspiration, and all who partake of that juice gain the knowledge of the bard and the sage.  For example, when Indra drinks of the soma-juice, he gains skills that allow him to be inspired and compose as a bard who has trained for years would.  He claims, after partaking of Soma, “as a wright bends a chariot-seat so round my heart I bend the hymn” (RV 10.119).  Another hymn has a refrain line that calls to Soma to “make us better than we are,” which is to say, grant us skills and wisdom we didn’t have before (RV 9.4).

In addition to granting inspiration and knowledge, the soma juice seems to have the ability to effect in the drinker an ecstatic state, that can either be a deeply connected mindset, or result in what most today would call a bad trip. The speaker of this hymn calls to Soma: “Gracious, displaying tender love, unconquered, gentle in thy thoughts, Be sweet, O Soma, to our heart. /  O Soma, terrify us not; strike us not with alarm” (RV 8.68).  This references the physiological and psychological changes that happen in a trance state.

Wasson, who wrote about the likelihood of hallucinogenic drugs in connection with Eleusis, also suggested a similar plant compound that was found in both India and Iran that could be linked to Soma.  While still controversial, he suggested that the plant used to make Soma was the mushroom Amanita muscaria.  In another interesting connection across cultures, the raven, which is associated with Odin, was noted in antiquity to relish this particular mushroom.  “In ancient Egypt the Amanita muscaria mushroom was called ‘Raven’s bread'”(Bedrosian).  When this is taken into consideration alongside the text in the Rig Veda referring to the offspring of Soma as “meath” or “mead,” one is led to consider the story of Odin’s theft of the Mead of Poetry.

One of the roles that Odin takes on is the giver of divine inspiration, and when he was bringing the Mead of Poetry back to Asgard, a few drops fell to Midgard.  Snorri writes that the mead itself would allow “he who drinks become a skald or scholar” (Sturlson).  When Loddfafnir recounts this story in the “Hávamál”, he claims to have received the verses from Odin and recited them from his chanter’s stool (“Hávamál” 111).  This bears a distinct resemblance to the Pythia in Greece, who sat upon her stool over the chasm at Delphi in order to receive the wisdom of Apollo.  In this case, it appears that Loddfafnir, in a similar manner to the Pythia, used trance to in order to gain inspiration from a more knowledgeable authority, in this case, Odin.

 

  1. Describe three ways trance can be used in personal spiritual practice. (min. 100 words each)

Three ways that trance can be used in personal spiritual practice are during divination, to enhance the “spiritual experience,” and during parts that require visualization.  The common benefit of trance that runs through all of these ways is by decreasing distractions and increasing a connection to the powers around us.  There are also a few specific instances where trance is beneficial that are particular to group ritual.

During divination the Seer is called on to commune with the Kindreds to gain knowledge and insight from them.  They often do this with divinatory tools to aid them, but the process is still one that appears to be vague at best from the outside.  For example, on two different occasions, with the same omens from a divinatory set received, the message from the Kindreds may still be different.  When acting as a Seer, it can be extremely beneficial to go into a trance state to deepen your connection both with the spirits your communicating with and with the divinatory set, as well as to allow your mind to see more possibilities and connections than it would otherwise be able to.

Enhancing the spiritual experience is something that I believe all rituals attempt to do, some to a better extent than others.  Often, the times that one feels the most spiritual connection is when there has been an intentional disconnect from the mundane world in order to connect to the whole cosmos, and then effort made to bring that connection back to the world we know.  By entering a trance state, one can feel a deeper connection to the cosmos at large as well as there place within it more clearly.  This trance state is also what allows for a deeper connection with individual beings.  When seeking connection with a particular deity, spirit, or ancestor, it can be beneficial to sink into trance so that the connection feels more direct and their words become clearer, and feels less like playing a game of telephone with kindergarteners.

During parts of a ritual that require visualization a light trance can be extremely useful.  I’ve found that it has become  second nature to me, as well as almost necessary, if I’m trying to make a connection or visualize something in a location or a t a times when I’m distracted.  One of the experiences I had with most successful attempts at trance, is that when I reach a certain point the world around me because muted and fuzzy, and my attention can hyper focus on whatever I’m doing.  This is especially useful during visualization when you need to be actively doing something, meaning you can’t close your eyes, and also need to see something happening.  Particularly, during both personal and group rituals, I notice this when I’m recreating the cosmos and establishing scared space, opening the gates, and calling for the blessings.  I need to be able to see enough of the mundane world that I don’t knock something over, but I also need to see, to visualize, the magical act that is taking place.

This same idea of trance being useful for visualization can extend into group ritual where not only are there often more distractions, but also when it’s very important to establish a group mind.  This is often done by leading group meditation of some sort.  As a bard, I’ve also found it beneficial in group worship to enter a trance state to help myself visual the lassoing of the energy that is being built up in the first half of a ritual so that it doesn’t escape and can be used during the latter part of the ritual.

 

  1. Identify and explain three methods of attaining a trance state. (min. 150 words per method)

The method I am the most familiar with is a combination of trance induction or guided meditation with focused breathing. This is the method we use most often in our grove, and that I use most often in my personal practice.  Mostly because, since it is visualization and breathing, it requires no external tools (though sometimes a recorded or second person spoken guided meditation is nice if it is a journey that is new).  The idea behind guided meditation is that the speaker, or leader, of the meditation will use techniques found throughout hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming.  They will use a process of taking what you know to be true, and gradually suggesting new additions to your method of thinking, seeing, or approaching something.  The power of suggestion mixing with what you know to be true moves you from a mundane state to an altered state where trance happens.

Another method that is commonly used is sonic driving.  Sonic driving is when noise of some sort is used to occupy the brain and induce a trance state.    This is often done with drums or rattles beating at a rate of 205 to 220 beats per minute (Harner 39).  This method is hypothesized to work due to the aural stimulation causing a change in brainwaves.  “Multiple EEg studies have confirmed that gamma waves can become entrained to auditory stimuli that are presented at rates in the gamma band (30-70Hz) (Turow 54).

Andrew Neher conducted a laboratory study of auditory driving in 1962.  He accepted that part of trance journeying was culturally conditioned, but “that there are certain physical brainwaves states that must be present” in order for the stereotypical trance state to happen (Turow 41).  Once the brain waves reach these states, with alpha and theta waves being the most common, they act like a blank slate where a range of states of consciousness with that brainwave can happen.  This is particularly true of theta waves, where a person is highly suggestible, and could be led through a trance journey or simply succumb to the cultural conditioning of the ritual they were in (Turow 41).  Additionally, cycles of 3-6 beats per second have been used across many shamanic cultures, and are thought to produce theta waves in the shamans reaching a trance state (Turow 85).

Harner has found sonic driving to be extremely effective when it is done with a recording played through headphones (not a speaker system) and a microphone for the person experiencing the trance so that they can record a simultaneous narration of their trance journey.  This not only makes the experience more vivid, but also allows for immediate review and analysis of the journey itself (185-6).

A third method of attaining a trance state is through the use of body postures, often in conjunction with sonic driving.  These postures were introduced by Dr. Felicitas D Goodman following her study of altered states of consciousness and pictures and illustrations of ancient art.  She began looking at the positioning of the statues in the ancient artwork because she was dissatisfied with the results of other trance work being done, namely that there were few common experiences.  Through observation and analysis of these common experiences Goodman has divided the 70+ postures into  categories based on the type of spirit journey they produce (Goodman 2-3). To use ecstatic body postures as a method for attaining a trance state one must mimic the position of the body exactly as pictured in the ancient artwork in order to achieve the common trance experience.   In is also important to maintain tension in one part of your body, often the arms or back.  This tension allows the body to function as the control system for changing perception, and by increasing the tension and your awareness of it, you can deepen the trance state (Goodman 109).

 

  1. Using one of the three methods described in requirement 7, describe in depth a single experience you had while in the trance state from an experiential point of view (i.e. what did you feel, see, sense, etc.). (min. 300 words)

January 20, 2013: Grove trance night – going to meet Nemetona

I begin the trance in my Inner Grove.  It is on a kind of plateau that looks out over the sea, with the forest behind it.  There is cliff face with a winding, treacherous path that leads down to the rocky beach and the sea.  The forest is sparse, but wild.  The clearing on the plateau has dry meadow grasses that become more green as they reach the pond in the center.  There are a few cypress trees growing around the pond, and reeds at the edges.

During grove trance work, Garanos the Crane is my guide.  He was waiting for me, tall and elegant, at the edge of the pond.  One foot on land, one foot in the water, and gazing up at the sky.  I greeted him and climbed upon his back.  He dove face first into the pond, and flew down a black hole type swirling vortex.  We appeared to have flown straight out of the cliff face.  I memorized the sites along the way, noting the signposts that would guide me home, and then back here again should I need to come.  We flew over the waves.  The water was choppy, but not stormy.  We flew on, past a wind swept island with a palm or maybe fir tree, just one, in the middle.  We flew over more waves then Garanos dropped me in the surf off the coast of another larger island.  I wasn’t concerned by this, the water doesn’t bother me.

I swam up to the island and came up the beach and found a thin river, maybe more of wide creek, leading out to the sea.  There were trees arched over the river and I walked up the river, feet splashing quietly in the running water, and through a veil of light.  The river was gone, and just the arch of trees was behind me with the light shining in it.  The archway had been a portal transporting me to a clearing, a grove, in a forest.  Standing in the grove there, next to a giant, roaring fire was Nemetona.  She was covered in a dress made of flowers.  Not just covered in flowers, but clothed in them, like they were a part of her and she made them into the form she found most pleasing.  Wild flowers, not completely cultivated, and more beautiful for it.

I danced around her, jumping and twirling, and told her what’s been going on in my life recently.  She then gave me a seed.  It looked like a seed, like the ones from Fern Gully.  It clearly had light within it, which was just barely coming through the cracks.  Blinding.  I put it in my Crane bag.  She said it was to tend my grove and make it stronger.  She wants me to plant it in my inner grove.  Garanos and I flew back, and past the same things we did on the way there.  Then came back up through the black hole type tube.

During the trance I felt like gravity shifted to the right completely.  I assume that I stayed upright during the trance, but I felt like I was leaning precariously to the right the whole time.  I seem to have intense balance issues when I go into a deep trance.  I also felt my eyes twitching and chills sweeping through my body, especially as the two powers filled me and left me.

The follow-up trance on January 25, 2013, to plant the seed that I was given.

I received a seed from Nemetona during the Grove trance night.  Tonight I used calm breathing to put myself in a trance state.  I went to my inner grove and took the seed out of my Crane Bag.  I planted in in the soil next to the pond and it began to grow.  I’ve never done acid, but I’ve read Dr. Seuss.  That’s the only way I can think to describe how the tree looked coming out of the ground.  It was brightly and multi colored and was a full-grown tree within minutes.  It grew up maybe three times my height and had a bluish purple trunk, and bright orange, red, pink, and yellow leaves.  Then the leaves began to turn green and bunch of flowers burst into bloom all over the tree in every color imaginable.  The blossoms looked like the dress of flowers that Nemetona was wearing.

Most of the tree now looks like a normal tree, similar to a maple or oak: kind of a grayish brown trunk (though you can still catch hints of blue and purple in it) and leaves that range from yellowy-green to deep green.  The flowers all over the tree though.  Those are beautiful and surprising, and every shape and color under the sun.  I think the purpose of the seed, and of the tree now, was to bring Nemetona into my inner grove where I can commune with her more easily.  The same way I can go straight down the cliffside to meet with Poseidon at the ocean, or back into the forest to meet with Artemis.  Now I have a Nemetona tree in my inner Grove to meet with her.

 

  1. Describe what happens to the body during a trance state from a physical standpoint. (min. 300 words)

Dr. Felicitas D Goodman describes the body as a “control system for changing your perception” (Goodman 109).  Simply put, the brain fluctuates both in tension and in electric charge based on the stimuli that it is provided.  The electrical charge, called the “DC potential” is a variable that can be measured in the brain, and relates to the level of excitability and alertness within the cerebral cortex.  Goodman postulates with her study of hypnosis, meditation, and ecstatic trance, that hypnosis and meditation do not alter the state of consciousness enough to be considered true trance work.  This was done by observing the DC potential of subjects engaging in each type of trance (Goodman 16-7).

Alternatively, during a true trance state, as achieved through sonic driving or body posturing, the DC potential increases dramatically causing an overactive state that is quite the opposite of sleep, while the brainwaves slow down to producing theta waves, which are normally only observed during deep sleep.  Subjects who were observed and interviewed following the experiments showed that when the muscles were tensed, the DC potential went up and when the subjects consciously made use of relaxation techniques to relax their muscles the DC potential decreased.  Dr. Guttmann coined the term “paradoxical arousal” for this phenomenon that is seen only in this higher state of consciousness, but not in the state of consciousness achieved by hypnosis or meditation (Goodman 18-9).

Dr. Goodman studied other physiological changes that occurred during a trance state and found changes relating to brain waves, blood pressure, adrenaline, and endorphins.  During ritual trance the brain switches from producing beta waves, and begins producing theta waves. This moves the brain from a state normally observed during alert, waking hours to a state normally observed during deep sleep.  During the trance state the blood pressure also drops, while the pulse races.  Additionally, the level of stress hormones in the blood drop while the level of beta-endorphins increases.  This leads to the euphoria experienced during trance (Goodman 8).

There are some difference that she observed between ritual body postures and channeling.  Using ritual body postures the blood pressure drops in the middle of a session, while the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline drop between the first two phases of the trance.  Near the end of a session there is a moderate euphoria.  During a channeling trance state the blood pressure remains constant throughout a session, while adrenaline and noradrenaline dramatically increase near the end of a session, along with the endorphins, creating an experience of ecstasy (Goodman 20).

 

  1. (Crossover Requirement) Keep a journal for five months detailing the trance work that you have done. Write an essay based off those journals that examines your practice over the time you journaled. In this essay, explain how you can apply the trance work to divination, magic, and other workings you do in ritual and personally. Entries occurring less than weekly will not count toward completion of this requirement. Your journal must include work from the exercises found in the support material for this course. [This requirement matches up with Req. 3 in Magic 2] (min. 1000 words)

My journal for the first part of the Trance sequence was kept from December 2012 through May 2013.  During this time period I worked through several different methods of entering trance.  Some worked better than others, and some I would definitely like to try again when I’m not pregnant. Additionally there are some methods I still have left that I would like to try.

Two methods that I’ve experimented with and used mostly for visualizations, spirit journeys, and the simplicity of euphoric feelings are sonic driving and (sometimes in conjunction with) ecstatic body postures.  I found sonic driving to be probably the most rewarding experience as far as simplicity and results go.  I was able to sit and close my eyes with my headphones in, and allow the sounds to wash over me.  There was often a distinct sense of the world tipping as my mind relaxed and stretched.  While one of the recommended methods for sonic driving was to use the 210 bpm drumming, I found I really only liked that for use with the body postures.  When engaging in sonic driving on its own, I preferred to use various percussive recordings.  I have a CD of African drumbeats that I found works extremely well for me.  It is complex enough that it engages the wandering part of my mind, and yet not so distracting that I hyper focus on it.  My brain can follow it to some degree, and allow the majority of me to release and enter trance.  I’ve also experience success with many Sigur Ros recordings.  These are at the opposite end of the spectrum, being often extremely slow, with a more atmospheric feel to them.  I think they work more to relax my body and allow my mind to disengage, rather than fully engage.  I’ve found Sigur Ros to be more successful when I’m seeking a more self-directed journey, especially with a patron god/dess, while I’ve found the drumming to be more successful when I’m seeking to enter trance and let a new experience wash over me.

I did a little bit of experimentation with ecstatic body postures combined with 210 bpm drumming, and found the bit I did to be successful to some degree.  However, I would like to experiment with this method more when I’m not pregnant.  I found many of the postures difficult to get into and maintain my balance with my shifting center of gravity.  I did experiment with writing a trance induction script using the birthing posture.  It begins with a guided meditation that puts the body in the correct position, focusing on making a connection the child in the womb, and then is followed by 15 minutes of 210 bpm drumming, and coming back out again, allowing the body to reconnect to the self.  I enjoyed writing and performing this trance several times, and found a deep sense of peace and calm joy.  I found it has helped with my nerves through out pregnancy.

One thing I found interesting when working through Goodman’s ecstatic trance workbook was the discussion of how tensing your body into the body posture will intensify the trance state.  This seems at odds with how we tend to open most meditations and trance experiences in ADF, which often begin with “Find a comfortable seat,” or “Take a deep breath and allow you body to relax.”  It is a concept I’d like to play with more and see how working the tension into a public ritual could affect the outcome and success of the folks’ experience.

Another method that I’ve found useful a few times during this time period is the recitation of a litany.  I have a set of the Olympian Prayer beads that Emerald gifted me.  She sent the prayer that accompanies them, honoring each with a short verse.  Since then however, I’ve used the structure of the beads to assist in writing my own litanies and mantras.  I’ve fallen back on it many times when I need something and am at a loss for words, seeking comfort.  The most often used one is the Litany to Ease Depression that I wrote:

“Hestia, warm my heart.

Zeus, give me strength.

Hera, give me serenity.

Poseidon, let the pain wash away.

Demeter, give me peace.

Aphrodite, rekindle the flames.

Ares, give me courage.

Artemis, give me companionship.

Apollo, give me words.

Athena, make me coherent.

Hephaestos, let me not feel ashamed.

Hermes, help me move on.

Dionysos, be kind with your mirror.”

It is repeated for as often as needed to regain enough calm to function, the prayer beads themselves acting as a fidget to keep the hands occupied.  I don’t normally use the beads to count the prayers, though having experienced success with writing litanies to accompany these beads, I’ve wanted to experiment with writing short prayers that can accompany something like a rosary, so the prayers could be said for a certain number of iterations.

The two other methods I’ve used most often are a combination of cleansing breathes and guided meditation.  These often go hand in had, though in some cases I will just sit and breathe.  When I was doing yoga near the beginning, I found the cleansing breaths to be quite helpful.  There was no visualization to go along with it, just a sense of ever increasing peace and calm.  There have been a variety of guided mediations I’ve done during this period of time.  We do at least one guided meditation during each high day ritual with the grove, and I’ve included them in most of my daily and weekly work.  Most common for me is the dryad meditation used to enter my inner grove.  From there I can stray from the meditation and allow other trance journeys and states to occur, but it is the guided meditation that kicks off me getting there.

Some of the ways I’ve used the various trance states during this period are for big ideas such as a vehicle for personal growth and for spiritual clarification along my path, but also for more categorical and identifiable things like divination, focused magical work, spirit song, establishing a group mind, and maintaining energy during a public rite.  In general, I’ve found trance work to be especially beneficial when I’m questioning my path, and where I feel like I should be heading.  I am able to seek guidance from my patron gods by entering trance and communing with them (often accompanied by some method of divination).  It has been both enlightening and reassuring to get the sense of approval that this is the path I nee dot walk, and that I’m completing it to their and my satisfaction.  My most notable memory of this actually comes from when I was initially trying to decide whether to take the clergy route or the initiate route.  I eventually experienced spirit journey with Poseidon where it was he smacked me with the proverbial clue by four that the initiate path is what I need to walk, at least at first.  That experience has helped me remember that sometimes, when I’m confused about things spiritually, that I should just go ask my gods.

Of the more direct applications of trance work divination definitely comes out at the top of my list.  Before every single omen I take I offer bay leaves and a prayer to Apollo Mantikos:

“Apollo Mantikos, guide my hand.

See with my eyes. Hear with my ears.  Speak with my voice. “

This repetition has helped me to create a trigger that allows me to enter this divinatory trance state quickly for the purposes of seeking messages from the gods.  A similar feeling to this trance state is used when I complete my Noumenia blessing each month.  I will have entered this trance state to take the omen for the coming month, and to receive the blessings.  Then, while still in a light trance the power of the omens and blessings is infused into the kathiskos.  It took some practice to be able to maintain the trance state while still focusing enough to complete the mundane tasks alongside the magical ones, like managing to not spill the water, and to draw the symbols on the jar.  Over time, I’ve found that that skill of maintaining myself in both headspaces has improved, and with it, so has the feeling from the ritual itself.

This light trance that I maintain for magical work within my personal rites has also helped me when filling the role as bard at a public ritual.  I believe that one of the tasks of a bard, beyond leading the songs to help guide the folk in building energy for the rite is to also help maintain that energy throughout the rite, so that it stays contained enough to be used during the working portion of the rite.  The light trance allows me to continue to feel the energy swirling around me while leading the folk in song.  It allows me to visualize what I refer to as the “bardic lasso.”  It’s this picture of throwing a massive barrier around the folk gathered to hold in the energy that is created during the rite.

Another aspect of public ritual that I’ve touched on is establishing the group mind.  This is done most often with the attunement section of the rite, which I’ve led several times in the past few months.  I find it useful to have a general script to work off of, but to also be able to quickly analyze people and our surroundings in order to incorporate that into the attainment.  I’ve found that it helps to better establish the group mind during the guided meditation, and leads to more “buy in” from the participants.

The last bit that I’d like to touch on as one of the practices I’ve incorporated into my personal work, is the idea of spirit song.  I was first introduced to the term at a workshop at Earth Warriors Festival in 2011 by Kellianna.  The idea is that you allow your mind to relax so you can draw on the pure expression of spirit within yourself and release it to experience it as sound, as your own personal song.  The workshop itself was very powerful as we held space for each other and shared our spirit songs of the moment.  Some were intimately lyrical and beautiful, some haunting, and one was heart wrenching as only a soul-born scream and cry can be.  I’ve worked this into my personal practice with bardic work, most often using my guitar as an extension of myself, but not always.  I breathe my way into a trance state, and speak prayers to the Muses.  And then I play.  I most often fall into a chord progression and continue that until my fingers no longer seem my own and they are moving of their own accord.  Then I begin vocalizing and singing with my guitar.  Sometimes there are words, but most often not.  Most often it is the pure expression of sound and music.  I don’t keep track of time when I do this, I just play and sing until it feels right to stop.  It is a magical feeling, because it’s not just me singing.  It’s me and my guitar, and the earth around me, and it’s like I can literally hear the harmonizing of the spirits around me as they join in.  It is one of the most powerful, repeatable experiences that I’ve had.  I’ve very occasionally recorded myself while doing this, and only in one instance has that taken form and begun to develop into a structured song.  I think part of the power in it is within the experience, not the outcome.  Though, I do see the benefit of using this technique for writing.

I found my experiences during this journaling period to be worthwhile, but as I said before, there are still some methods I would like to try, in addition to working through these experiences when I’m not pregnant to see how they differ.  I want to try auditory confusion.  I tend to get a lot out of aural experiences, and so I think auditory confusion could be very interesting to experiment with.  I also would like to try dance.  I would have liked to try it during this time frame, but didn’t feel comfortable attempting it in the way it’s described due to the raising heart rate and duration, which were discouraged for me while pregnant.  So I decided to wait on this one until later.  I also have plans to write a lot more guided meditations and trance inductions.  Specifically, the next writing project I’ve set myself is a series of meditations based on the Greek Alphabet Oracle, meant to help a new practitioner connect to each of the symbols.  Along the lines of divination, Johnston talks of many methods used to achieve a trance state during divination that I’d like to try.  Many of these fall ingot he category of visual concentrate, such as watching a flame in a dark room, or smoke rising, or a mirror in a mostly dark room.

 

  1. Create a self-hypnosis tape to put yourself in trance and go on a spirit journey and bring yourself back out. Submit a script as well as a summary of your results. (min. 200 words for the summary)

The following is a Two Powers meditation I wrote initially for use at one of our Samhain 2010 ritual, and have used it as the attunement in many rituals since then.  This past year at Fall Equinox, MJD actually caught it on video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvqCGdFQ9Yc).  This is a tree meditation, using the imagery of the World Tree connecting to the Fire above and Waters below, written for multiple people, with bits of season specific imagery that can be tweaked to fit the current season. The path of the meditation takes you into a forest alone. You find a tree, you become that tree, and use the tree‘s own knowledge to draw the waters up and process the light from above. The meditation ends with you noticing the rest of the trees around you. Each person then steps out of their tree and returns to their bodies together, a united grove.  The way I perform it at home when I am not in a community setting is by envisioning myself stepping out of the tree into the presence and community of the Kindreds.

However, beyond using it as a grove attunement, it is the text that I have used to build my inner grove, the place where I start nearly every trance journey from, the place I know how to get back to my body from.  It started initially as a way that I connected to the Two Powers while working on my Dedicant documentation, and the more times I did the meditation, the more the visualization built upon itself.  I have always been more successful in meditation when I have a concrete guide to follow that is both visually striking and descriptive, but also vague enough that my mind can implant it‘s own imagery without conflict.  At first, I saw only what I describe in the text: the tree, the pond, and the grove.  After each time though, a new piece was added it, kind of like a full painting that you first sketch out the details in pencil, and then begin filling in with colors, and then finally layer in small flourishes of detail so that the whole picture comes to life.

When I follow this meditation now, it takes me to my inner grove.  I begin by envisioning myself pressing my back up against my tree, a cypress at the edge of the pond, complete with roots bulging up through the soil, and let myself sink into the trees awareness.  As I connect to the powers above and below my vision of the mundane area around the tree fades and a gray mist or fog fills the peripherals of my vision, eventually pulling back to reveal my inner grove.

I stand with my tree at my back, and it acts as a portal back to my body, only needing me to sit back down there to go home.  All around me are dry, meadow grasses, becoming greener around the edges of the pond, which is surrounded by a few other cypress tress and some reeds.  Also at the edge of the pond is my tree, and  also now the tree planted there from the seed Nemetona gave me.  Additionally, there is a small fire, that while seeming too small to maintain itself, is clearly burning hot and strong.  Occasionally there is a girl, Hestia,  sitting in the flames, or maybe made of the flames.  Behind me a forest rises up, mostly of pine and similar trees.  It appears quite spares at first, but thickens the deeper one walks into it, and rising in the distance is a mountain.  In front of me as I walk out is a plateau covered in the dry, meadow grasses and becoming sandy and rocky near the edge, where there is a drop off a cliff face, with a barely visible path down to the shore.  There is a small, rocky beach in the cove that is formed there, with rocks out just a bit, acting a breaker for the waves.  As the waves crash against them, a spray floats across the beach.

The two places I go most often from here are into the forest, to commune and journey with Artemis, and down to the shore to commune and journey with Poseidon.  When Artemis is my guide, we start at the edge of the forest and as we walk into it, we approach the area we need to be, and she will again guide me back to the edge of the forest at the end of our journey.  When I’m working with Poseidon, his pull is stronger.  I walk down the cliff face to the beach, and sometimes as the spray hits my face I feel swept away, and others times I walk into the waves and am pulled out by the riptide.  He is much more vast, alien, and huge than Artemis, and it has been much more difficult reaching an understanding of how our journeys are to work.  His awesome power led me to put a bell at the edge of the beach that dangles into the water.  When it is time for my to return to my body, the bell will ring and guide me back to land.  I also work with Garanos Crane to guide me on other journeys. When I leave with him we start from the pond, and he dives into it, and it becomes a kind of portal to other worlds.  One of the new images beginning to fill in at the edges is a wall of earth with a cave inset within its face.  There is a flickering light coming from within.  I believe at I do more work with Hekate as a Gatekeeper and Guide this image will solidify more, and I will see her, with her torches held high, ready to use the cave as a starting point for journeys with her.

“Dryad Meditation”

Children of Earth, take a moment to calm your mind and body. Breathe deep and close your eyes. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. Hear your heartbeat thrumming inside you. Pause for a second and just listen.

***Pause***

See in your mind‘s eye where you stand now and picture yourself walking away from where you are.

You‘re walking towards a deep and old forest. Feel the cool, damp earth on your feet. As you enter the forest feel the cool autumn breeze brush your cheek.

Notice the sounds around you. A gentle rustling of leaves, perhaps from the wind, perhaps made by a squirrel bounding by. Notice the sunlight dappling across your face. A last breath of summer caressing your face, heartening you for the colder days ahead.

As you are walking deeper and deeper into the forest you suddenly come upon a clearing. There is a small pond in the middle of the glade surrounded by trees around the water‘s edge. One of these trees calls to you and you glide over to it. Place you hands on the trunk and feel the rough bark against your palm. Feel the ancient wisdom emanating from it.

Turn and place your back against the tree. Feel yourself sinking into it, becoming part of the tree. Feel your toes mix with the roots twinning down into the earth. Allow you mind to follow those roots and tendrils as they creep ever deeper, until suddenly they plunge into the cool deep waters far below the surface of the earth. Use the knowledge of the tree to pull those waters up through your roots. Feel them approaching you, up and up, until they reach your toes.

Feel the waters pulsing up through your toes and heels, moving up your legs and pooling in your groin. Feel them surging up into your chest and down your arms. Feel your branches swelling and cool waters seeping into your fingers, your leaves. Feel the waters rush up and fountain out the crown of your head, your uppermost branches and leaves, and come cascading back down into the earth to soak back down cooling your roots again. Having taken your fill, feeling replenished, allow those cool, dark waters to bleed back down into the earth.

Again feel the wind brush through your hair, your leaves. Feel as the sunlight shines down on you, brightening and invigorating you. Allow your leaves to take in that bright, golden light. Let it convert to pure energy and infuse your head and chest with light and energy. Let it saturate your branches and flow into your finger leaves. Feel as it washes down through your groin and flows down you legs and energizes you down to your roots. Having absorbed as much light as your body will hold, let the remainder reflect back off you, back into the sky.

Feel how the combination of the cool waters and the bright light mixes within your body. Feel how it mingles and brings a new awareness to every essence of yourself. Let your attention drift over yourself from your roots, to your trunk, and on up to your leaves.

Let a breath of wind catch one of your leaves and watch as it drifts downward to land fall lightly into the pond. Watch as the water ripples outward from this light touch. Allow your awareness to follow this ripple outward and see as it collides with other, similar ripples. As you follow those to their source you see that they also come from fallen leaves.

Now seeing all these leaves in the water creating ripples that touch and rebound off your own, you notice all the other trees surrounding the pond. Reach out your awareness and sense that these trees are all part of this grove. Reach out and feel that you are not alone in this glade, but rather you are surrounded by the warmth of your kin. You are all here together.

Take a moment and allow this feeling of togetherness and oneness to soak into your mind, your heart, your bones and your soul. Listen to the breathing of those around you. Your hearts beat as one now.

***Pause***

With this new realization that you are here among family, you begin to disconnect your self from the tree, just as all those around you do. Wiggle your toes and separate them from the roots. Wiggle your fingers and feel the leaves fall away. Roll you shoulders, allowing you to step out of the tree and once again become your own self.

As you now look around you see that while before you came to this glade alone, you now are leaving among friends. It is time now to turn away from the glade and walk back out of the forest. Listen, as before to the sounds around you. You can now hear the laughter of friends, and you feel now not just the warmth of the sun, but the warmth of companionship. As you break out of the forest and head back towards you body here keep that feeling that you are now one with the people around you.

Now, step back into your body and take deep breath to settle yourself back in. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Now begin moving your arms and legs just a little as you feel yourself come back to this place. Here, among kinfolk, we may now move on with the work we have for today.

 

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