Liturgy Practicum 3: Large Group Practice

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

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

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

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

Course Objectives

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

Continue reading “Liturgy Practicum 3: Large Group Practice”

Liturgy Practicum 2: Small Group Practice

Liturgy Practicum 2: Small Group Practice

Requirement #1: Key concepts

  1.  Describe three differences between personal or domestic rituals and small-group rituals. (Minimum 150 words)

One difference between a personal ritual and small group ritual is the amount of magical ‘juice’ that you can manifest and have access to during that ritual.  “Having more people present makes more mana available” (Bonewits 58).  This means that you could theoretically do more powerful magical workings, or maybe have a deeper or more meaningful experience.  However, a challenge to work through with this idea is that you also need to keep more than just you focused on the task at hand so the mana doesn’t dissipate. The ritual leader(s) will have to keep the whole group focused.

This leads to a second difference between personal and small group rituals: the need to develop a group mind.  The effects of intra-group familiarity were discussed in Liturgy Practicum 1, and play strongly into a group’s ability to develop the well-established group mind that is necessary to focus the energy generated by increasing amounts of people.  In creating a group mind, the chief liturgist or clergy leading the rite will ideally need to know the skill level of the participating congregation in terms of visualization, trance, and energy work (Bonewits 57).  This will allow them to design a ritual that will keep everyone engaged as much of the time as possible, and modify the ritual on the fly if needed to accommodate unexpected reactions or circumstances.

This touches on a third difference between personal and small group ritual: the presence of clergy or other leadership.  Bonewits’ touches briefly on the varying views of having clergy, but in general seems to agree with the idea that clergy are the specialists that have studied the arts of magic, liturgy, and other topics pertaining to religion.  A group ritual of any size is likely to be aided by having a leader who is trusted by the group, and by a group that values a mix of leadership by hierarchy and consensus (Bonewits 50-3).

  1.  Explain the importance of a shared worldview or cosmology within group ritual, and what can be done to help foster that shared cosmology. (Minimum 200 words)

Having a shared worldview or cosmology in a group ritual is important because it helps to establish group mind by giving all ritual participants a starting point. One way we can work to ensure that our rituals have a common starting point is by providing a thorough pre-ritual briefing before beginning ritual work.  This can address the common ritual structure that is central to ADF rites, and answer questions that a newcomer may have (Bonewits 59-60).  Because ADF is orthopraxic, our shared ritual structure is a large piece of what ties us together, rather than a shared set of beliefs about how the cosmos or world works, though we do work from similar assumptions in our practice.

Having a shared cosmology also helps to ensure that a ritual carries meaning for all participants (Bonewits 59).  When individuals share a common set of understandings or assumptions (not necessarily beliefs) about how the cosmos works, they are more likely to find the same sorts of experiences meaningful.  Within ADF one way we work to have a shared cosmology by limiting our public practice to Indo-European cultures.  We include all Indo-European cultures because there are many similarities between the cultures, including root language, community values, and myth cycles.  This limiting of our cultural focus helps to foster a shared cosmology by allowing a common discourse between members who may worship following the practices of many different hearths.  By limiting our focus within ADF we foster a point of connection between practitioners of various Indo-European hearths. It also fosters a common language that all ADF members can relate to, such as discussion of the Three Kindreds, the Earth Mother, and the Gatekeeper, and allows us to focus our study solely on Indo-European cultures so that we can draw deeply from a few sources, rather than shallowly from many.  This limiting means we are able to keep a more solid identity of who we are, and that solid group identity is important to forming group mind, which is even more important because we offer public rituals (Dangler 7).

  1.  Explain how you can incorporate words, motion, dance, posture, music, and gesture in a public, small group ritual. How is including each one in small group ritual different from how they are included in individual or domestic ritual? (Minimum 50 words per item, and minimum 150 additional words for comparison)


Praying through words is often one of the most intuitive ways to pray in both private practice and in small group worship.  When praying with a group one way that words are incorporated is commonly through the invitations that are spoken to each of the spirits in the core order of ritual.  These spoken prayers are sometimes pre-written and performed either from a script or from memorization, or sometimes performed extemporaneously.  Words can also be used in a group ritual specifically within set prayers that are common to the group.  In Three Cranes Grove, we use Ceisiwr Serith’s prayer “To the Holy Ones” as a spoken group prayer following the attunement.  We also pray through words when we engage in the call and response style liturgy that is common, particularly at the end of an evocation and during the Return Flow portion of a ritual (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 17-9).


Praying through motion in ADF group ritual is most often done through the processional into the space, and the recessional out, as well as occasionally through the methods of treating with the Outdwellers and purifying the space.  When the whole group enters or leaves a space, this is a method of prayer through motion, as they are declaring that space to be separate from the mundane.  When the person treating with the Outdwellers walks a good distance away from the declared sacred space to make their offering, this is a method of prayer through motion.  When one or several people circumambulate the declared sacred space asperging or wafting incense to purify the space, this is a method of prayer through motion (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 22-4).


Praying through dance is a continuation of prayer through motion.  Dance most often displays emotion, though it can also be used to attain an ecstatic state to open yourself more fully to the Spirits, or to raise energy for a specific magical working. In a group ritual, if the whole group is expected to dance, it becomes important for the dance to be accessible for all participants (or for another comparable role to be available) and for the dance to be choreographed enough that all can participate together without causing injury.  This can be as complex as a structured unison or group folk dance, or as simple as ensuring that all have enough awareness to be moving in the same direction, or within a space that they won’t run into each other (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 24-5).   


Praying through posture often accompanies praying through words, since when speaking, you have to hold you body in someway.  I think it becomes prayer through posture when you make the way you hold you body intentional.  In small group ritual, developing a common posture to accompany certain prayers or ritual actions can be part of establishing and maintaining group mind and the energy level within a rite.  For example, when honoring the Earth Mother, Three Cranes Grove has two common positions: kneel and touch the ground, or stand in ‘half orans’ with one hand palm down and parallel to the ground, and one hand up perpendicular to the ground, elbow bent and close to the body, palm facing away from the body.  We also have adopted certain postures for calling to each of the Kindreds: when calling to the Ancestors we look and reach towards the ground, palms parallel to and facing the ground.  When calling to the Nature Spirits we reach out to our sides, looking levelly across the earth, arms bent at the elbows and palms facing in towards the center flame.  When we call to the Shining Ones we reach up and look towards the sky, arms extended and palms facing up.  Additionally, when calling to the Gatekeeper or Being of the Occasion, we typically stand in a modified orans posture, with arms bent at the elbows, forearms perpendicular to the ground, and palms facing away from the body (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 19-22).


Praying through music can be done in small group ritual through the use of chants or songs that the group sings together.  Music can also be used when played or sung by one or a few people to generate a mood for the group as a whole.  I find music to be particularly useful in the context of barding for ritual in order to maintain the energy of the ritual.  Music helps to maintain the focus and the group mind so that the energy generated doesn’t dissipate before it is used (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 25-7).


Praying through gesture falls somewhere between posture and motion.  In ritual, we most often use gesture when we are making offerings or when we are changing our body posture from one thing to another.  In group ritual gesture large, or over-exaggerated, gesture is useful in giving that motion meaning and ensuring that the Folk present see the ritual action as significant.  In Three Cranes Grove, some common gestures that we use, in addition to switching between the postures described above, include raising an offering to about eye level before pouring it out, and the variety of gestures that are used when opening and closing the Gates (often spirals or traced Druid sigils) (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 27-8).


The difference between using each of these methods of prayer between private and group worship depends on which one it is.  Words are often common between the two types of ritual, though in a private ritual one may be more inclined to not pray out loud, or to use more extemporaneous prayers.  In a group ritual it is important that if prayers are going to be said as a group, that they are set.  The use of bookends at the beginning and end of spoken prayers also becomes more useful. Motion, posture, and gesture can be used similarly in both types of rituals, however in a private ritual one wouldn’t be using those methods of prayer to establish or maintain group mind, but rather to focus their own mind to the task at head, and put themselves into a sacred headspace.  Similarly, music, when used in a group ritual helps keep the energy and focus of the congregation engaged, but when used in a private ritual is more focused on the feelings that it evokes within the solitary practitioner.  Similarly, when dance is used in a private ritual, it is based entirely on what the solitary practitioner needs, whether it is designed to be an offering or designed to create a certain mental state.  Music and dance are also similar to words in that if they’re going to be used in a group ritual with multiple people participating in them, they need to be set, rather than extemporaneous.

  1.  Explain the strengths and weaknesses of marked and unmarked speech in prayer. Explain how each type of speech manifests in your personal practice, and provide a description of your performance of a prayer for each type of speech in public ritual, including the text of the prayers. (Minimum 200 words)

Marked and unmarked styles of speech lead to different styles of prayers, and different levels of formality when using those types of prayers.  Unmarked speech is conversational, and more prose in nature.  In prayers, this speech is best used for spirits with whom you have a preexisting relationship with, who you’re on good terms with, or who are close to people in general.  Serith suggests that High Gods, such as Zeus, may not appreciate prayers in this style, deeming it too disrespectful to speak in this manner (Serith Pagan Ritual Prayer Book 2-5).  I don’t necessarily agree with this, and think that it depends far more on the relationship you have with a particular spirit, rather than on their job description or where they reside. Perhaps my view also comes from a generational position, as I’ve been told time and again that Millennials are less formal than previous generations, particularly in interactions that used to demand more formality. On the other hand, my prayers typically use marked speech almost exclusively, even when extemporaneous.

Marked speech is more formal, ranging from elevated prose to poetic in nature.  This is the type of prayer that was used most often in ancient times, or at least was written down most often, may use more archaic language, and is designed to be spoken rather than read.  Prayers like this may not be best for off-the-cuff, extemporaneous prayers, because they typically require more drafting and knowledge of poetic form and other literary devices.  They are excellent for more formal scenarios and high liturgy magical acts though, as they clearly sound different than regular patterned speech, which marks them as sacred (Serith Pagan Ritual Prayer Book 2-5).

I am far more likely to use marked speech in my personal practice.  I think in large part this is because not only have I read a lot of translated primary source material, but I also have a degree in English and I teach writing.  This means that understanding poetic form is more intuitive for me, and I have an internal vocabulary and set of phrases that live in my brain that I use when speaking and writing prayers.  When I have watched rituals, I have noted that even the prayers that I have spoken off the cuff sound more like marked speech. I have a strong internal set of scripts and phrases that combine with my knowledge of literary devices that allows me to do this.

Another reason I think I use marked speech even in scenarios that may otherwise have been more informal is because much of my prayer is done first in writing.  When I pray, or write prayers for others, I write so that I can send it to them for their use.  This allows me more time to think about it before I speak it or share it.  Here is a typical example of what a prayer written in a marked style of speech looks like for me.  It is a prayer written for an ADF member as they were going into labor, performed at a Druid Moon rite, as well as sent to them so that they could use it themelves:

I call out to gentle Eileithyia!
Make your way swiftly to this mother and child
that labor may be eased and pains dampened.
Sweet Opener of Ways:
As new life springs forth, hold your torch high
that the path may be illuminated
so this shining child may join us here
in full health and full joy,
Bright-eyed as he shouts his arrival to the world!
Eileithyia, for your gentle and practiced protection and delivery,
I make this offering to you!

There have been a few times that I use unmarked speech, but they are rather rare comparatively speaking.  I think most often I use unmarked speech in prayers that I haven’t formalized or finished drafting yet.  A prayer that has unmarked speech in my practice is often an unfinished prayer, one that I haven’t used frequently or polished up yet.  But, again, my brain tends to live in a more formalized style of writing and speaking when I am praying, so I don’t use much unmarked speech.  It is one of the ways I differentiate my mundane speech from my sacred speech.  I notice this especially about myself in watching the videos of our rituals, and noting that even when I am speaking off the cuff, my speech is patterned in a more formal style, using various literary devices and parallel structure. It is just where my brain tends to live. A rare exception is a call to Cerberus that I use sometimes around Samhain, and even it was written with the intention of being informal.  It goes something like this:

Cerberus! Here boy! *whistles*
*wheedling voice* I’ve got a treat for you if you let me pass.
*offers dog treats*
Who’s a good boy?
You are! Here you go, Cerberus!
Let me go see your master.

  1.  Explain why it is important to include physical offerings in ritual. (Minimum 150 words) 

Serith states in A Book of Pagan Prayer that “when we come before the gods, it is wise not to come empty handed” (7).  This is absolutely true in my opinion.  At the very least, we can come before the gods in prayer, and speak our devotion.  Even better is to come with physical offerings.  One reason that Serith gives explaining why physical offerings are important is because we are a religion that focused on right action, and that by giving material things, the gods remind us that the material, the here and now, is sacred too.

Another point that Serith makes is that by bringing physical offerings, and not just words or “energy”, sincerity is encouraged.  We are more likely to be sincere in our praise when we are giving something of value.  When we are taking something we value out of human use, it gives it more meaning (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 6-12).

Finally, I think the most important reason to give physical offerings to the spirits is because physical offerings encourage a reciprocal relationship.  We talk a lot in ADF about *ghosti, and giving physical offerings is a way to maintain that reciprocal relationship.  It encourages the idea of movable wealth and sharing the blessings between us and the Spirits.  We give the best of what we have, what we are able to give, so that they might give to us the best of what they have in return.  “Do ut des.” (Serith A Book of Pagan Prayer 6-12).

Requirement 1: Works Cited

Bonewits, Philip Emmons Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.

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

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2002. Print.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 2011. Print.


Requirement #2: Documenting domestic and small-group ritual practice

  1. Keep and submit for review a journal covering a period of not less than six months and not more than a year that documents your active participation as a celebrant at six or more group rituals, including three observances of seasonal festivals. The text of individual prayers written by you should be provided as frequently as possible (at least one for each ritual). Include an essay for each rite that involves the analysis and commentary on the ritual’s structure, as well as a critical review of the performance of that rite.

3CG DIF Lughnassadh – Irish – Lugh (8/2/16)

Attendance:  ~350


This was our 5th year doing the Lughnassadh rite at the Dublin Irish Festival alongside all the other Sunday morning church services. There are a lot of things we have polished up over those five years that have needed rethinking from our usual style since it’s in a different setup (we’re on stage), has a time constraint (1hr), and is for a huge congregation (typically between 300 and 400 people). This year’s ritual started off a bit rockier than normal, since some of our celebrants we’re running late. I ended up adding an additional song to the pre-ritual set to allow for that buffer time.

Some of the changes we’ve had to make to this particular ritual that are different from the normal for us are: not having a praise offering section due to the stage arrangement and the time constraint, having to restrict the number of people taking parts because only so many of us will fit on stage, having everyone wear white robes, and having everyone memorize their parts. Running ritual is pretty old hat at this point, and we have a very solid ritual team, especially for this rite. The ritual flowed just fine, and followed the Core Order of Ritual without any problems.

Things that I’d like to modify for next year include changing our altar set up so that it is easier to see some of the action that takes place closer to the ground, such as silvering the Well. I would also like to work on blocking more, so that we have a better idea of how parts flow from one person to the next with the use of the two different speaking mics. To a lesser extent, I think we could use some more work on big gestures that scale well to this large of an audience.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote:  Call for Inspiration

The Children of the Earth call out to Oghma!
Sunny-faced one, your brilliant rays shine down upon us this morning.
We ask now that you alight upon us.
Lend your honeyed words to us.
As your silvered-chain travels from your tongue to our ears
Might we speak with the eloquence that you give us.
Oghma, Meet us at the boundaries,
Join us at our sacred fire, and be warmed at our hearth.
Guide us and aid us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Oghma, accept our offering!

Hermes Full Moon (8/28/15)

Attendance: 6


I lead full moon rituals for my grove and others (I would generally classify these rites as semi-public). During them we honor the Three Kindreds in a Greek context, Selene, each individual’s Patron of Magic, and one of the Olympians based on which month it is. I choose who we’re honoring that month based on the Hellenion schedule of libations, and the focus of the moons is doing a more intense magical working or trance journey based on which of the Theoi we are honoring that month. These are rites that I have written the entire litugy for, and have slowly been giving more folks parts, and encouraging them to try them. I’ve fostered these moon rites to specifically be a learning, no-fail environment, where I’m able to encourage folks to try out parts they’ve not done before in a public rite, or want to practice before doing in a public rite.

In August we honor Hermes. For this rite, I told the story of Hermes stealing Apollo’s cattle and how he came out on top of that bargain thanks to his excellent communication skills.  We did a working where I took the omens we had received into the waters and we each anointed our lips with the blessing of Hermes to give us added power in bargaining and communication. I am always surprised at the power of touch in ritual, and have been reading more about it, and how to consciously incorporate it within the bounds of a consent culture.

The flow of the ritual went well, even with having my 2 year old daughter ‘helping’ me with the whole rite. I did manage to forget my omen set for this ritual, but the other grove member who reads Greek Alphabet Oracle was there, so it was good practice for her to take the omen anyways.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: I wrote the entire ritual for this. I’ve excerpted a couple of my favorite parts below:

Opening Statement/Prayer –

  O, Makares, (Blessed Ones)
As the moon in its cycle is timeless,
Growing in power each month until it bursts with luminescence,
So we return each month at the time of the Full Moon
In the timeless act of worship
Echoing with our prayers and our offerings,
The moon’s glowing promise of power and magic.
This night, beneath the bright and shining moon,
We gather to do as our Ancestors did before us,
To reforge the sacred *ghosti bond in our worship,
And to mix our powers together to achieve great works.
Elthete (Come) Theoi (gods),
Bless us with your presence,
And partake of what we offer,
In reverence of you here in our Ekklisíasma (Congregation). 

Gods of Dikhomenia –

*each person speaks of their Patron of Magic as they feel called*

To those Patrons of Magic,
whom we each work with to further our studies in these arts,
with whom we’ve developed special relationships,
You who walk alongside us and keep us safe as we walk the Elder Ways.
I pour out these libations to you as I sing your praises.
Patrons all, accept our offerings!

Selene, brilliant shining Titaness, your face,
full in power and brightness,
shines down with grace and an influx of magic and power.
You who have bathed in the sacred waters of mighty Okeanos,
you who shine, luminescent,
driving your long-maned horses at full speed across the sky.
Selene, splendid Queen of the Night,
your glowing amber orb makes this night like the noon of your all-seeing brother,
I pour out these libations to you as I sing your praises.
Selene, accept our offering!

3CG Anagantios Druid Moon –  (2/13/16)

Attendance: 32

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This is a really unique ritual, and was my first year being able to take part in it. During the Anagantios Druid Moon, which is the Stay at Home Druid Moon, the priests of the Grove, rather than convening a ritual somewhere, in what is normally our worst month snow-weather wise, instead travel to the homes of each Grove member.

We begin the morning by collecting the Kildare flame from the Grove member who tends it, and then going to each house to do a house blessing and give the flame to the member and their family there. This year MJD and I were able to travel together for the whole day, rather than having to split up, since the moon fell on a Saturday, and many of our Grove members were off work and had more flexible schedules. We visited and blessed 17 homes, spent 11 hours driving, and traveled 200 miles.

Normally Michael has just done the house blessing and gift of the Kildare Flame, but since there were two of us, we wanted something for each of us to do. I figured since we were blessing with fire, we could also do something with water. So I wrote a Threshold blessing to pair with the Home blessing, where the thresholds of the home were anointed with waters from several holy wells. Another cool thing we did this year was have the members we visited take the omen for us throughout the day, with three different people throughout the day each pulling one symbol.

I did notice that I became more comfortable with the liturgy and process as we moved on throughout the day. The houses we blessed in the morning, I was still nervous on. But the houses later in the afternoon, I was pretty comfortable with.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: Threshold Blessing

Waters drawn from the holy wells,
Flowing across the land to collect here,
And spread your blessing to the threshold of this home.
May your blessing keep this household safe.
May all who cross this threshold in welcome,
Be filled with the blessings of the Waters
As they enter in hospitality.

3CG Spring Equinox – Hellenic – Artemis & Hephaestos (3/20/16)

Attendance: 56

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This ritual went exceptionally well, and the feedback has continued to be outstanding from attendees.  This was an experiment in pairing two deities who wouldn’t normally be thought of as going together. I think it also helped that Artemis is a patron of mine, and Hephaestos is a patron of Traci’s. We don’t have this happen too often, where the DotO is a patron of someone leading the rite, and I hadn’t ever really thought much of it. I often feel awkward leading a ritual to one of patron’s in a public rite because it feels like sharing something exceedingly intimate with others. I’ve described it as “introducing your girlfriend to folks, when they didn’t even know you were bi.” All this aside though, I think one of the reasons this ritual went so well, felt like it had so much energy, and was so well received even by the non-Hellenes is because folks could feel and were able to benefit from the pre-existing relationship that Traci and I have and maintain. I think this is something worth considering when we do future rites.

The energy that Mike, Jeff, and I had during the DotO offering as we played (voice, drum, and guitar) was palpable and wonderful (31:50).   Traci was the Druid in Charge (traffic cop) for this ritual, and I was the Priest in Charge. She did skip the Prayer of Sacrifice, but we rolled with it and I came back around to pick it up after the omen as a final gift of thanks.  The working was fantastic, with Traci pounding hammer on anvil (brake drum) to raise energy for the blessing of tools and hands.   The use of the anvil imagery and sound I think is a huge part of what contributed to the success of the Working. We’ve been asked if we can do this particular ritual again, so I think we can definitely say it went well.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote:  Call to Artemis; Return Flow; Processional and Praise offering songs; Working (I’ve excerpted a couple of these below)

DotO – Artemis

Artemis, Chaste Maiden of the Hunt.
Delighting in arrows
You come down from the mountains,
Wind and rain flowing with you.
Following the tracks of the deer, as they run their path.
Protecting all new life that comes to us in this season.
Sweet Artemis, dancing and delighting with Cranes,
We call to you and offer you sweet amaranth.
Artemis, accept our offering!

Return Flow

Now, children of earth
Gifts have been given unto us as we have given unto the Kindreds.
We’ve been given a gift from Kindreds all,
A reminder to stay patient,
To wait for good things that will come to us.
See in your minds eye that bright light warm and ignite within you
Just as it ignites within these flames and within these waters.

And so, patience, we ignite in ourselves and in this flame
Brightening and warming these waters with this gift.

And then from Artemis we receive the blessing of her presence.
That she has come to give us her aid and her guidance
In this time of new growth and new life.
See that blessing ignite in yourself, ignite in this flame
And brighten and warm these waters.

And from Hephaestos, who gives us all,
Everything we desire and ask for,
He can forge, he can make, he can create.
Hephaestos, many skilled, can give us all these things and more.
So see that gift brighten in yourself, brighten in this flame
and brighten and warm in these waters

Children of earth, theses waters have been brightened in blessing,
have been warmed at the forge of Hephaestos,
have flown down from the mountains where Artemis dwells,
have come from across all the lands where all the Kindreds send us their aid
as we patiently wait for it, for it will come

So children of earth, here see in these waters those blessings grow
and speak with me: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Flowing up from the deep, from the wells below
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Flowing across the land, down from the skies
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Brightened and warmed and blessed…
Behold, the Waters of Life!

All: Behold, the Waters of Life!

Children of earth is it your will to partake of these waters
and bring these blessings into yourselves.

All: It is!

*water is passed and quaffed*

3CG Beltaine – “Celtic” – Trooping Fairies (5/1/16)

Attendance: 59

Analysis/Commentary/Review of Performance: 

This is a ritual style that MJD had wanted to experiment with: the premise is that because the fairies move from place to place at Beltane (and Samhain) and we wanted to try having a ritual with lots of movement. We set up a main altar in a central location, and three separate altars for each of the Kindreds circled around that main space. Then, as we invited each of the Kindreds to join us, all of the Folk who are able processed, making lots of joyful noise, to each of the specific altars. It made our ritual take a bit longer, but it worked really well. It kept everyone engaged, and kept the energy level high. Because we had taken into account accessibility issues, those in the congregation who are less mobile were still able to experience the rite without having to leave the main altar space. The working for this rite was also movement based. I wrote a Crane Dance that we used to generate energy to aid the fairies in moving to their new home, to encourage those beneficial ones to come into our lives, and to encourage those more troublesome one to leave us be.

The overall energy of this ritual was quite joyful. We had spent several weeks ahead of time advertising it as a kid-friendly ritual, and that meant we had probably somewhere around 20 children. Children give a special kind of chaotic and joyful energy to a ritual, and I was pleased that we were able to host them. I led a kids activity before the ritual making bell-branches that we would then use in the rite, and another Grove member made 20-30 sets of fairy wings that the kids and other folks could wear and then take home with them. Many families thanked us for providing a kid-friendly ritual, particularly at Beltane. Joe, our Senior Druid, really led the charge in making this ritual one of reverence and mirth with his attunement. He inspired laughter and fellowship with his words, and connected it beautifully to the fae.

One thing I wanted to try, that I had experienced with Rev. Sara Blackwelder at Trillium this past year, was opening the gates with sound. Specifically building a chord, and letting the final resolution of the top note of the chord as it was hit mark the opening of the gates. It worked okay, though there are definitely some things that could have gone better. The first was a location issue: the roof of the shelter we were in ate the sound and bounced it all over the place. This meant that during the whole ritual, I could barely hear myself, and that, combined with projecting so I could be heard, made it difficult to hit the 3rd, 5th, and octave of the building chord. The other difficulty could have possibly been taken care of by a better pre-ritual briefing on my part. I had picked out 3 people to hold each note in the chord for me, however, our regular congregation is too well-trained, and so when I hit a note and held it, they joined in and toned with me. This meant that the key note got lost, because when we tone, we don’t worry about what note each person is holding. I still thought it worked, however, if I decided to try it again, I’ll have to be more explicit about what I’m doing.

The Crane Dance is both fun and a challenge. This is the second time we’ve done it, and I learned a bit from last time. This biggest thing was I realized after the first attempt at this that I couldn’t lead the dance and work the magic at the same time. So, I had Mike B. teach and lead the dance, which was good leadership in ritual practice for him, and I led the working. It clocked in, all things told, at about 5 minutes in length, which was half the time it took the first time we did this in 2012. I think part of the reason it was shorter was because I didn’t have to get the dancing solid before beginning the magical work, I could just start right in on directing the energy being built, since Mike was taking care of the specifics of the dance.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: Gatekeeper invocation & gate opening opening; new praise offering song; Crane Dance

Gatekeeper & Gates

Children of earth, we stand at the center of worlds:
Where the fire and the well and the tree
Mark this as our sacred space.

And now, once again, in your minds eye,
remember the feel of those fairy hills and mounds,
the sound of the tinkling bells that seem to exude
whenever they move and wherever they go.

Now see the mists rolling across those hills,
and stepping out from that mist is Garanus, the Crane.
He stands at the edge of a pool
one foot on the land, one foot in the waters,
eye cast to the heavens.

Garanus Crane is our gatekeeper and our guide.
He leads us along the path of magic.
He guards us where we go.
He aids us in our work.
So, Garanus Crane, Gatekeeper,
You who walk with us and fly with us,
Garanus, accept this offering!

All: Garanus, accept this offering!

And so we prepare to open the gates between the worlds.
Waters flowing across the land, welling up from the deep,
raining down from above.
(sung) Let the well open as a gate.

Fire burning bright in the earth and bright in the heavens,
Burning here at the center.
(sung) Let the fire open as a gate.

Tree rooted deep in the earth,
Crowned high in the heavens,
Marking the connected bridge between the worlds.
(sung) Let the tree open as a gate.

(sung) Let the gates be open.

Children of the Earth, the gates stand open.
We are here at the center of the realms
Let naught but truth be spoken here, and blessings given.

Gods, Dead, and Sidhe (3K praise offering song)

(chorus by Ian Corrigan, verses by Rev. Jan Avende)

Gods and Dead and Mighty Sidhe
Powers of Earth and Sky and Sea
By Fire, by Well, by Sacred Tree
Sacrifice we make to thee.

We gather in the Fire’s Light
To watch our Sacrifice burn bright
Praise we give you for your might
Gifts of magic, strength, and sight.


Rooted deep into the ground
Stands the Tree upon the mound
The host of spirits dancing ’round
From here the Realms can all be found.


Hear us spirits as we pray
All the Gods and Dead and Fey
Praise we make, we sing, we say
On this blessed first of May.

Crane Dance (a magical act, danced in the round)

8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
8 count flapping LinJin
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count switch places with partner
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count spin down to up counter clockwise
4 count spin up to down clockwise
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
4 count switch places with partner
8 count skip right, 8 count skip left
16 count clapping LinJin
lather, rinse, repeat!

Gamonios Druid Moon (5/11/16)

Attendance: 9


Druid Moons in our Grove follow a standard calendar year, rotating through 13 different rituals. There is one each month on the 6th night after the new moon, with the 13th being the intercalendary moon that happens about once every five years when there is a second 6th night moon in a single month. The celebration for this month was for Gamonios, the “End of the Winter Month.” It is when we celebrate the coming of the warm days when the year is no longer in darkness, when the cold is finally bested by the light of the sun. At this Druid Moon we honored the shining Gaulish god, Belenos.

While we have a standard liturgy for each of these rites, they are not set entirely in stone, which allows me to add my own flavor and style to the rituals that MJD initially wrote. One of the things I did this year to make the ritual unique was light three fires instead of one. We had the Fire of Inspiration, the Fire of Fellowship, and the Fire of Sacrifice. All offerings throughout the rite were made into the Fire of Sacrifice.

When we got to the working, I divided up the 9 people in attendance into groups of three and gave each group a candle and a small cup of Everclear. As I called out to each fire in turn to fill us, I had one person hold the candle, one person light it, and the third make the offering to their fire. I thought this worked well, and the folk seemed to enjoy it. It gave them each something to do and be involved with (and let some of them get the experience of offering Everclear, which they hadn’t done before, and can be quite powerful). Our Druid Moons are much more intimate, and so each little thing that I can do to reinforce that feeling of intimacy, like making sure each person has something (maybe even more than one thing) to do in the rite, is important.

I took the omen for this ritual by fire scrying in the Fire of Sacrifice. It is a skill I’ve been slowly working on over the past year or so, and is a different method of taking an omen than our Grove normally sees. I find it full of good magical energy, and it makes me connect even moreso into that divinatory Seer state than normal.

Significant Portions of the Liturgy I wrote: I performed the ritual for this, with the standard working (though I modified the setup and words to fit my style, rather than MJDs). The omen was me.

Omen (fire scrying)

What is our Path: Fire dancing up and out from the Center. We are one and share our light with the those at the edges.

On what should the Grove focus until the next Moon: coal with a sheen, or coating, of smoke. When we smoor or bank the fire, we are able to tend it and carry it to others, to those in need.

On what should each individual focus until the next moon: breath of blue flame, not at the center, but at the edge of the fire. Search for the unexpected blessing and bring it to the Center, bring it to the Heart of the Fire.

Taken together, these might suggest: The Brightness of our well-tended Grove Fire of Sacrifice dances far and can reach into the darkness. We need to bring our own blessings to the Center, to the Grove. This will strengthen and unify us. As we then stand together we are able to bring our light to others who stand at the edge.

  1. Write and lead at least one group High Day ritual. Submit both your script for that ritual and an evaluation of the ritual in terms of structure (how the ritual flowed) and function (what was accomplished). Include evaluations of the ritual from two other attendees (Include contact information for the attendees providing the evaluations. Their evaluations must be at least 125 words in length and include a description of what they thought went well and what improvements could be made, as well as whether or not they believe the ritual accomplished its purpose.)

I wrote and led an Avestan Summer Solstice Rite honoring Adrvi Sura Anahita, the Mother of Waters. In part because I felt bad writing every part of this ritual, rather than our typical format of letting folks write their own parts if they want to, and in part because I wanted to try to keep it under the suggested 20 people for this course (since none of our public High Days are under 40 people typically), I restricted attendance to grove members only, rather than making this a public rite. It worked out well, allowed me to experiment in a different culture than any of us have familiarity with, and allowed my Folk to feel more at ease in general. I ended up with 16 people in attendance (including latecomers), 11 of whom had parts.

Throughout the course of writing this, I did realize that I rarely write rituals in their entirety, and it is something I enjoy doing. I would like to compile more of our Grove rituals this way, so we have a better back-log of liturgy that we can share with others. I also found the writing the Attunement and the Return Flow are my least favorite parts (though they are some of my favorites to do in ritual), though in the case of this ritual, those two pieces, along with the ReCreation & Gatekeeper/Gate Opening, are the parts I’m the most proud of.

The Attunement I had been putting off writing, because I didn’t have any really good ideas for it, and I didn’t particularly want to fall back on one of my standard Two Powers exercises. But then I was reminded of the idea of Fire in Waters, and then the Orlando shootings happened, and then it occurred to me that this ritual was falling on the day of Pride. I thought about how the Fire in the Sky is often the Sun, and when you bring the Sun into the Waters, you get a rainbow, and that ties directly into Pride. So, I looked up the meanings of the colors on the original Pride flag, and worked from that for this Attunement.

The part about the Return Flow that I liked was how it flowed from the Omens smoothly. Because I had decided that the Omen would be taken via water scrying, that meant that the Blessings were literally going to be seen within the Waters. And so, in that transition between the two liturgical pieces I poured the Waters used for scrying into the Blessing Pitcher; I literally mixed the blessings that had been seen into the Waters we would be drinking.

I wrote all the parts for this rite except for two pieces of standard Grove Liturgy (noted in the script), and sent them out to people about a week ahead of time.  I checked in with folks a few days later to see if anyone needed help with pronunciation or anything.  A few of them double-checked with me before the rite started, but no one needed any significant help there.  I prepared all the offerings for the rite, set up the altar, and took care of other pre-ritual necessities.  During the pre-ritual briefing I went over how the ritual would flow, who we were honoring, and who the Avestan’s were.  I also mentioned that verbal praise was very important to them, and taught everyone the phrase “for your brightness and your glory, I offer you a sacrifice” that they could use when making personal offerings.  This worked fantastically.  I love when everyone speaks before the fire when they offer, and it’s something that, as Cranes leading huge rites, we normally don’t get to do. So, having made this a Grove-only ritual (in order to keep attendance under 20 people (it clocked in at 16 people)), everyone got a chance to make personal, verbal, heartfelt offerings.  I also made a point of giving as many people as I could a part of the ritual that they had never done before.  Since I’d written all the parts, that took away some of the nervousness for them on that piece, and it gave them the chance to stretch their wings a bit (and me the chance to push them gently into trying out something new, that I knew they could handle, that they might not have been sure on yet).

The ritual flow went really well.  I was nervous getting started because I’m not used to working with a script.  But, I had practiced, and so barely needed to use it for me.  Scripts are awkward though, doing strange things to your self-confidence, and it some ways it acted like a crutch on parts that I don’t typically need it for. We had videoed the rite, so watching it after and doing my own critique, I noticed myself looking down to check the script more often than I had actually needed to.

Leading a ritual, especially one that is just our small group, is pretty relaxed at this point.  Most folks know what’s going on, and I had given them all parts to read, so they weren’t concerned with speaking off the cuff.  I think that probably helped the ritual flow a lot.  I purposefully didn’t give anyone the whole script before the rite, because I didn’t want them to be trying to read along to the whole thing.  I wanted them to experience the ritual, and only have to worry about their own part.

The ritual itself was a simple rite of offering and praise celebrating the Summer Solstice and honoring Anahita, the Avestan Mother of Waters.  We honored each of the Kindreds and then Anahita, and folks were given the chance to make praise offerings to both the Kindreds in general (or a specific spirit they have a relationship with), as well as to Anahita.  This ritual served to strengthen our relationships with the Kindreds, as well as introduce nearly everyone to the Avestan hearth culture, and Anahita specifically.  I got a lot of good feedback following the rite.  Folks seemed to get fulfillment out of it, and the omens were good.  So all in all, it went well.

Script for Avestan Summer Solstice Ritual, honoring Anahita, the Mother of Waters

Evaluations per Course Requirements for Liturgy Practicum 2, Requirement 2.2:

Include evaluations of the ritual from two other attendees (Include contact information for the attendees providing the evaluations. Their evaluations must be at least 125 words in length and include a description of what they thought went well and what improvements could be made, as well as whether or not they believe the ritual accomplished its purpose.)

Evaluation 1

(contact info removed for privacy)

Briefly describe the Ritual:

The ritual was the celebration of Summer Solstice. Anahita, the Mother of Water, was the Deity of occasion. Rev. Jan wrote the ritual and assigned parts to volunteers, using the ADF Core Order. She attempted to have many perform parts that they normally would not have or that have not had the opportunity to perform yet. There was no working outside of worship and praise. Everyone had the opportunity to give offerings to both the Anahita and their own personal deity. Indo-Iranian names were used during the rite.

I personally had the opportunity to make peace with the Outdwellers, not a part I normally call; however, fitting given my military service.

What did you think went well?:

Jan was very precise on instructions. There was active group participation within the rite and most people spoke loud and clear. Everyone gave offerings and people actually spoke their praise to the deities out loud; something that not everyone does. People stepped outside of their comfort zone and performed well.

What improvements could be made?:

As an evaluator, I would like to have had a copy of the written ritual prior to rite. This would have given me more time to formulate any questions concerning the rite.

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

Yes. The purpose was for Jan to write an entire ritual and assign those to parts to individuals who volunteered to be a part of her rite to meet the criteria for the Liturgy Practicum 2, Requirement 2.2. Part of her purpose was to get individuals involved in ritual and to speak out loud when giving offerings. Everyone who came did as she had encouraged in her instructions prior to the start of the ritual.

Evaluation 2

(contact info removed for privacy)

Briefly describe the Ritual:

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

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

What did you think went well?:

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

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

What improvements could be made?:

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

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

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

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

Evaluation 3

(contact info removed for privacy)


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Personal Favs…

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

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


Liturgical Writing 2

1) Define “votive offering” and write a prayer (including stage directions if applicable) for a votive offering. (100 words for definition; minimum 75 words for prayer)
A votive offering is made as bargain with the spirits, and is typically phrased as an “if-then” statement. This means that if the spirits do something for you, then you promise to give or do something in return, rather than giving something first and asking that they do. A votive offering relies less on having a *ghosti relationship with a spirit, and more on an economical transaction and promise to pay after the service is rendered. In some ways this reverses the concept of “I give so that you may give” and instead phrases it as “if you give then I can give.”

Mighty Theoi, Brilliant Shining Gods,
To this end do I petition you:
Help me to find a new home for me and my family.
I shall sing your praises should you aid me!

Hestia, Goddess of my Hearth, I call out to you!
As we are seeking a new home, one that we can call our own,
Continue to burn bright here, and light the fires at those others hearths
so that they may become welcoming to us.
When we find a new home, I will give you sweet oil and barley
and tend your flame each morning.

Zeus, Protector of my Home and my Family, I call out to you!
You’ve kept us safe in our dwelling, and aided us in finding gainful employment,
I ask now that you continue your support of me and my family,
and help us in our search to find a home of our own.
We when find a new home, I will give you libations of deep red wine,
and burn sweet incense so the smoke may fill you.

Hermes, Traveler and Trader, I call out to you!
Guide my feet as the search for a home continues,
and when it is found, honey my words, O silver-tongued one,
That our offer may be accepted and we may proceed with making the home our own.
When the home is found, and our offer accepted, I will give you ripe strawberries,
Dipped in barley and cream, that the sweetness may spread through you.

Mighty Theoi, Brilliant Shining Gods,
Lend your strength to this task at hand
and you shall partake of the gifts I bring!

2) Write three prayers, one each for three of the following occasions (no minimum word count):
lighting a sacrificial fire: “Calling Hestia”
I call out now to Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth and Keeper of the Sacred Flame.
You burn ever bright within my heart, and I ask now that you burn brightly upon my hearth.
A flame, kindled upon the earth, pillar of smoke reaching to the Heavens
that it may connect us to the realm above so our voices may be heard.
I make this first offering to you, Hestia, as you prepare to accept the sacrifices made today
And see them carried to the mighty Theoi.
Hestia, be welcome here as you become the Good Fire around which I pray.

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

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

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

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

3) Write two prayers, one each for two of the following occasions (no minimum word count):
opening a Grove business meeting
As we gather tonight to continue the good work we do as a Grove,
Let us remember that all here are Children of the Earth.
As we speak, let our voices carry respect;
As we listen, let our ears hear honestly;
As we think, let our mind seek what is best for the community.
So be it!

for blessing a house (the middle part of this borrows heavily from MJD’s work in the Crane Breviary “Anagantios Moon”)
*flame is kindled just before crossing the threshold of the house*

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) Write a magical working for a full ADF rite suitable for use in a group setting, including stage directions as appropriate. (no minimum word count)
For the Full Moon honoring Hepheastos, the Smith God and Crafter, we will be making ink from the ashes left from our burnt offerings and the Waters gained the Return Flow. This ink can then be used focusing the intent for other magical work, from sigil work to staining divination tools to spelled tablets or prints.

Items Needed:
1 part ash from burnt offerings
1 part water from Return Flow
1 drop white vinegar (optional for ink stability)
bowl that can be stained (for mixing)
hard-bristled brush (for mixing)

To being mixing the ink put the ash in the bowl, add the water. Each person participating in the working will stir and mix the ink with the brush while saying the charm below (the charm can then also be said when reconstituting the mixture or making more). When it looks like ink, mix in a drop of vinegar, and you’re done.

Great and Mighty Hephaestos, Master of the Tempering Flame
Sooty God, who is famed in many crafts,
Renowned metal-smith and skillful worker,
Inventive and Resourceful One,
Your fame and glory resound with each strike of your hammer on anvil.

We have made offerings, consumed by the Fire.
Our gifts have risen on smokey pillar to the Heavens above.
All that remains here is charcoal and ash.
Take what is left, Skillful Creator,
Take the leavings, the forgotten, the dross
And guide our hands in finding use for this too.

Now mix your magic with our
as we seek to create tools from the discarded.
Ash from the Sacred Fire,
*put ash in the bowl*
Water from the Holy Well,
*put water in the bowl*
Bound now together as we chant these words:
*begin stirring and mixing as you chant. repeat as necessary until it is well mixed*

Aithaloeis Theos! Sooty Hephaestos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Polymetis! Resourceful Hepheastos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Klytoteknes! Famed in Crafting Hepheastos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
Polyphron! Ingenius and Inventive Hephaestos!
Grant us your skill as we mix this ash!
*once ink is made, add drop of vinegar if desired to stabilize the mixture*

With this ink thus created
Let us not forget the power of sacrifices made.
Let us not forget the power of Hepheastos, the Crafter,
In his ability to create powerful tools
From even those things considered useless or waste.

With this ink, we may now focus our intent for future tasks.

5) Write one complete ritual for an ADF High Day. The ritual must be substantially original and suitable for use in a group setting. (no minimum word count)

Vedic Spring Equinox: Honoring Indra
(This ritual was performed at Three Cranes Grove in March 2015: all parts written here are by Jan Avende unless otherwise noted)

Opening Prayer (Three Cranes Liturgy)
The spirits of the sky are above us.
The spirits of the land are around us.
The spirits of the waters flow below us.
Surrounded by all the numinous beings of earth and sea and sky,
Our hearts tied together as one,
Let us pray with a good fire.

Statement of Purpose
Children of Earth, we come together today, when the world hangs in balance, and all is seeking to be renewed and rejuvenated. We come to honor Indra today, the Vedic God of the Storm. He who won the Waters for us and has made it possible for us to receive the blessings of the gods. In the springtime, the storms often rage, and rain pounds to the earth. From these storms we are given the life-sustaining Waters that renew the land, wash clean our beings, and rejuvenate our spirits. So, on this Spring Equinox at the Good Fire we have kindled, let us honor the Kindreds with reverence and love in our hearts.

*participants walk between two people, being censed and asperged. Cleansed by the waters, and filled with the smoke*

Earth Mother
The Children of the Earth call out to Prithivi!
Prithivi, we are your Children!
You span the heights, and give sustenance to all beings.
Rich Earth Mother, upheld through Sacrifice.
Born of the Waters, birthing the Waters, home to the Waters,
Pour out for us now delicious nectar and fill us with your splendor.
Agni who dwells deep within you:
The Fire at your heart and ours.
We sing praises of your woodlands and hills.
We sing praises of your mountains and streams.
All who worship and make sacrifice do so on your bosom,
You come from Order and maintain Order in your seasons and cycles,
Gold-breasted Prithivi, keeper and giver of treasures
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Prithivi, Accept our Sacrifice!

Inspiration: Soma Pavamana
Sweet, purifying Soma,
Roaring into everlasting, immortal life.
Bringer of gods. Bringer of light.
Light like the yellow tawniness of the fire.
Bright like the shining Sharyanavat.

Sweet, purifying Soma,
I drink you, intoxicating elixir.
Giver of life. Giver of strength.
Honey-sweet and thick, sliding down my throat
Filling me with Hero’s wealth.

Sweet, purifying Soma,
Flowing and freeing in your stream of juices.
Receiver of praise. Receiver of sacrifice.
Your joyous draught overflowing in creativity
Makes us better than we are.

Soma, fill us with your exilir!
Suffuse us with your body
As we seek to make sacrifice and honor the Gods.
Soma, accept our sacrifice!

Breathe deep, finding your center. Let your body relax. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your shoulders. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your face. Breathe deep, feeling the tensions drain from you arms and legs. Breathe deep, feeling the tension drain from your hands and feet. Breathe deep, and just be for a moment.


Calm now, at peace and centered, see in your minds eye mists rolling in around you, the wisps licking across your skin and obscuring your vision. Allow yourself to exist for a moment in this liminal space, expanding and reaching out for clarity without seeing.


A brightness begins to solidify in the mists: As you focus on it, it grows and you see it is a flame, glowing and flickering with warmth and power. This is the fire of your hearth. The fire of your community. The fire of sacrifice. Let its glow wash over you.


The colors of the fire ripple and dance in and out. See the spirits of the Fire as they reveal themselves. These are the spirits of your home, who cleanses and blesses your space. The spirits of your community who strengthen the ties amongst the Folk. The spirits of sacrifice, who carry your offerings to the gods. As you watch the spirits of the flames, see the colors dance in your mind’s eye. See the white hot spark of inspiration. See the warm orange glow of the burning hearth fire. See the bright yellow spirit of dance and joy. See the deep red glow of community. See the brilliant blue flame that is focused in the night. See the rippling black across the embers. See the shining lights of colors that only you have seen. Listen to the crackle and pop of the fire as the spirits call out to you.

*Brief Pause*

Feel the power of the fire brighten within you as the warm envelopes to you and dances around your limbs. See around the roaring fire the faces of those who worship in this space with you. See as the glow touches each of them and you, brightening us, and filling us with warmth.

*Brief pause*

Now step away from the flames and head back towards the edge of the firelight, as the mists thicken again. Feel the wisps licking across your skin and obscuring your vision. Breathe deep and become again aware of your hands and feet. Breathe deep and become again aware of your arms and legs. Breathe deep and become again aware of yourself. See the mists roll back as you again exist in this place warmed by the Fire, and surrounded by all those who pray around it.

ReCreation of the Cosmos 
The world was made from the Great Being Purusha!
The Lord of Immortality, who through his sacrifice, gave birth to the world!
His Head became the Heavens, where the Ancestors dwell;
His Body became the Atmosphere, where the Shining Gods dwell;
His Feet became the Earth, where the Spirits of the Land dwell.
Springing forth from his mouth, Agni, the Priest of the Gods, leapt into the world
and a Fire was kindled upon the Earth.
A Fire for Hospitality.
A Fire for Protection.
A Fire for Sacrifice.
These three Fires burn at the Center.
Their light stretches out through all the realms,
and their smoke carries our words and sacrifices to all the realms.
These three Fires mark this place as our Sacred Center.

Now, with the Fires burning and the Center we look to the sky as we call out for our Gatekeeper.
One who stands at the boundaries and walks the liminal places between the Realms.
Ushas! O Daughter of the Sky!
You who arise from your bath each morning dripping dew upon the land.
Rosy maid, your brilliant face breaks through the Clouds,
Parting them to shine your light upon the world.
Hopeful Dawn comes: ever rising, ever resplendent,
Still there, breathing life into the world with your radiance.
Burning away the gloom that seems it will never leave.
Imperceptibly you lightens the clouds from grey to pink,
Caressing them to life, until suddenly
The sky is alight and singing new songs of hope.
As you awaken the world to life, and rekindle the Fires upon the Land each morn,
So too do you awaken our pious spirits to sing the praises of the Gods.
Ushas, Accept our Sacrifice!

Ushas, Goddess of the Dawn,
Come to us now on this holy day when the world hangs in balance.
Break through the clouds and aid us in rekindling the Fires upon the Earth
As we seek to Open the Gates, Walk Between the Worlds, and make Sacrifice.
Call Agni, the Priest of the Gods, to us, so that we might pour forth our offerings.

Rekindle the Fire of Hospitality, and let it burn here and within us,
Connecting us to the Spirits of the Land, with whom we walk in balance.
Rekindle the Fire of Protection, and let it burn here and within us,
connecting us to our Heavenly Ancestors, who’s knowledge guides our steps.
Rekindle the Fire of Sacrifice, and let it burn here and within us,
Connecting us to the Shining Gods, who we make offerings to.

Three Fires kindled and burning strong,
Connecting us to the Earth, the Heaven, and the Atmosphere.
These flames burning here and in all the Realms.
Ushas, part the Clouds and Open the Ways,
so that our Sacrifices may be carried forth and our voices heard!
Let the Gates be Open!

Earth (Spirits of Forest)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Spirits of Forest!
You who dwell on the Earth and fill the lands about us.
Allies and guides, whether you be of flesh, stone, or plant.
May the Sun warm you, and the Waters fill you,
The Mountains protect you, and the Earth support you.
We come into this space that is yours,
To be as you are in our honoring of the Kindreds.
We see you, Spirits of Forest, All you Sylvan Things
Stepping through the seven regions of the Earth
out across the many-colored grasses
where the Waters flow down from the mountains and out to the sea.
We see you rising in the east to greatness
with a hundred, thousand branches as we lift our ladles and bring you gifts.
Come to our Fire, Spirits, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Spirits of Forest, Accept our Sacrifice!

Atmospheric (Deities)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones!
You who dwell in the Atmosphere and fill our every breath with divinity.
Brilliant, Mighty, and Awful, we sing your praises.
Bright and splendid, burning and flowing
We see your power and beseech you to come to us,
Gracious and kindly-hearted, and partake of our sacrifice.
We call and call thee, bliss-bestowers,
come to us at dawn and midday, at dusk and midnight.
Be with us as fires strengthen our prayer and our sacrifice:
Wise and Mighty, Loving and Kind, Ancient and Powerful.
You are streaming with abundance, pouring out treasures untold.
Come to our Fire, Shining Ones, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Shining Ones, Accept our Sacrifice!

Heavens (Ancestors)
The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!
You who dwell in the Heavens and inspire us to reach for the stars.
Sons of mighty Asura, supporting the heavens,
Bound by the life-giving Waters
You search out the path to glory and lead the way.
Come Fathers, and sit on the grass with us
Join us in the warmth of the sun and sweetness of the waters.
We see you as Yama’s hounds roam among us, brindled and dark-eyed,
as they seek those who would ever dwell in the sunlight.
Come to our Fire, Ancestors, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Ancestors, Accept our Sacrifice!

DotO: Indra 
The Children of the Earth call out to Indra, the Cloud Rider!
On eagles’ wings, borne across the land,
You rush up from the sea upon the very clouds
That bear the waters.
Mighty Indra, Bright as Suns,
Come to us and stand by us in our need.
You are drawn onward by the tawny coursers,
sparks that strike the sky, O Tempest God,
We call to you!
Come down to us from the skies, O Wanderer,
making light where there was none,
making form where there was none.
Golden and Thunder-armed Indra,
You who struck down the Dragon,
and won the Waters for us,
Come, come!
Burst forth from the Clouds and drive us on to glory
as a bull drives on the herds.
Bright Thunderer, full of Soma,
We hear the cows roaring, bellowing, at your victory as you approach.
Come to our Fire, Indra, and meet us at the boundary
Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our Good Fire.
Aid us and Guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.
Indra, Accept our Sacrifice!

Prayer of Sacrifice: Agni 
Agni, Bright One, Priest of the Gods,
We have given of our love and our wealth to the Kindreds.
Now, as this sacrifice is poured out, take it, and carry our voices to all the realms:
Through the Forest, where the Spirits may partake of it,
Through the Atmosphere, where the Shining Ones may partake of it,
Through the Heavens, where the Ancestors may partake of it.
Kindreds all, Accept our Sacrifice!

Omen (Fire scrying)
*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Hospitality and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Protection and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

*seer makes an offering to the Fire of Sacrifice and seeks the wisdom and blessings there*

Return Flow 
**note: this portion of the rite was performed as a children’s ritual playlet during the rite in March 2015**

OFFICIANT: The person who is doing the Return Flow portion of the Ritual
INDRA: The Vedic Storm God
VRTRA: The Dragon
CELEBRANTS: The folk at the ritual
STORM-BRINGERS: sounds of the storm (can be the same as the CELEBRANTS if needed)
Optional Cast:
DRAGONS: Vrtra’s family
SACRED COWS: to represent the Waters and Blessings

*following the Seer’s pronouncement of a positive Omen*

OFFICIANT: These are indeed good omens.

OFFICIANT: But you should know that until Indra won the Waters for us, we could not have received these blessings because Vrtra the Dragon hoarded them all for himself and his family.

OFFICIANT: Here is Vrtra now, and he is holding onto [omen], [omen], and [omen].

VRTRA: These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: But the people wanted the blessings too, and they knew only the mighty Indra could help them now. So they called out with one voice: “Indra, Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: Listen: Do you hear him coming? Here comes Indra the Storm-Bringer!

*STORM-BRINGERS shake noisemakers as Indra enters the stage*

OFFICIANT: In the thundering clouds with his lightning bolt in hand, Indra demands:

INDRA: Vrtra! You have to share the blessings!

OFFICIANT: Vrtra roars mightily and retorts:

VRTRA: No! These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: And the people knew Vrtra was going to hold onto those gifts of [omen], [omen], and [omen] with all of his might. So they again called out: “Indra! Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: And Indra heard their plea and prepared to do whatever was necessary to win the waters for the people. He again shouted to Vrtra:

INDRA: Vrtra! You have to share the blessings!

OFFICIANT: But Vrtra again roared his denial and shrieked:

VRTRA: No! These gifts are mine! All mine!

OFFICIANT: Indra grew angry that Vrtra wouldn’t share the blessings with everyone, and as his anger grew, so too did the sound of the storm.

*STORM-BRINGERS shake noisemakers*

OFFICIANT: The people knew now was the moment. Now was the time to give Indra all their support. And so they called out one final time: “Indra! Give us the Waters!”

CELEBRANTS: Indra! Give us the Waters!

OFFICIANT: The storm rumbled as Indra went into battle with the mighty Vrtra, his lightning bolt held high. With a flash he struck down Vrtra with his lightning bolt. The Dragon bellowed as he fell.

OFFICIANT: The waters, the blessings, the gifts were now free. The mighty Indra won them away from Vrtra the Dragon and brought them to us.

*INDRA brings Waters to OFFICIANT*

OFFICIANT: These Waters are infused with the blessings of [omen], [omen], and [omen]. “Behold! The Waters of Life!”

OFFICIANT: As these Waters are poured out for each of us, remember how they were won for us, and how we sing the praises of the Storm God who won them.

OFFICIANT: See how the gifts of [omen], [omen], and [omen] can flow into our lives. See how they can flow into our grove. See how they can flow into our community. See how you and the world can be renewed and rejuvenated by these Waters so courageously won and freely given.

OFFICIANT: Drink deep, Children of Earth, and be blessed!

Thank DotO 
Mighty Indra, Thunderer, Drinker of the Soma Juice,
You who have won the Waters for us.
For joining us today, raining down your blessings upon us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Indra! We thank you!

Thank Ancestors 
Mighty Ancestors, you who have delighted
in the sunlight with us this day:
For joining us today, sharing your knowledge and joy with us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Ancestors! We thank you!

Thank Deities
Brilliant Shining Ones, bliss-bestowers,
so full of the riches you’ve freely poured out:
For joining us today, kindling a fire of piety with us,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Shining Ones! We thank you!

Thank Spirits of the Forest
Spirits of Forest, moving softly through the realms of the land,
and rising in greatness like the great trees:
For joining us today, teaching s to walk in balance with the Earth,
and lending your Magic to our work as we step forth into our lives,
We say, Spirits of Forest! We thank you!

Close Gates 
Now, with the Fires still burning and the Center we look to the sky
As we call out once more for our Gatekeeper.
One who stands at the boundaries and walks the liminal places between the Realms.
Ratri! O Child of Heaven!
Your Sister, Bright Ushas aided us in our arrival, as is her due.
Now we ask that you aid us in our depature, O Ratri, as is your due.
Twinkling-eyed Goddess, adorned in all beauty
You bring Order to the World as you guide us from Dusk to Dawn.
So watch over us, Ratri, as we seek to close the Gates.
Shepherd us safely on until we come to this shared space of brightness and worship again.
Ratri, Accept our Sacrifice!

Now, Child of Heaven, Goddess of the Glittering Night,
Come to us and aid us as we Seek to bid farewell to Agni,
Walk Between the Worlds once more, and Close the Gates.
Agni has kindled three brilliant flames before us, bright and strong.
They have been well-fed of our sacrifices, and consumed with delight.
Now let these fires once more become but flame.

Let the Fire of Sacrifice no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out into the Atmosphere.
Let the Fire of Protection no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out amongst the Heavens.
Let the Fire of Hospitality no longer burn here and within us,
but dissipate out across the Land.

Ratri, as this, our Sacred Center, is no longer lit and shining brightly with Sacrifice,
As we travel between, no Fire at our Center,
Let the Gates be Closed!

Thank Inspiration
Sweet, purifying Soma, bright and potent and overflowing,
Honey-sweet intoxicating elixir:
For joining us today, filling us with the joyous draught of Hero’s wealth,
and lending your Magic to our work as we sang the praises of the Gods,
We say, Soma! We thank you!

Thank Earth Mother 
Rich and Bountiful Prithivi, we are your children, and you are our Mother,
We growth and flourish as you growth and flourish.
For joining us today as you do every day, and supporting us always in our work,
Earth Mother, we return to you all that is unused as we seek to continue to walk in balance.
Prithivi, Earth Mother! We thank you!

Closing the Rite (Three Crane Liturgy)
Go now in Peace and Love and Fellowship, Children of the Earth,
This rite is ended!

Works Cited:
Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice”. Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. 2011. Web. 4 Apr 2015. <;.

Liturgical Writing 1

1) Describe how ADF’s order of ritual expresses the following concepts: “Serving the people”; “Reaffirming shared beliefs”; “Reestablishing the cosmic order”; “Building enthusiasm”. (Min. 500 words)

ADF’s order of ritual expresses “serving the people”:

When discussing how the folk are served in ADF ritual, it is important to acknowledge that not all celebrants are looking for the same thing when they enter a ritual space, nor are the purposes of all rituals the same. Bonewits discusses how various age groupings of people may come to and enjoy a ritual for varying reasons.  A teen and a senior are likely not expecting to get the same thing out of ritual, and so serving each of them exclusively would look different (Bonewits 66-70).  Corrigan highlights some of the many purposes of ritual, which range from season celebrant to rites of passage (Corrigan “Intentions”).

In general however, the folk are served in ritual as their connection with the Kindreds is deepened.  This is done throughout the ritual as we engage in acts of sacrifice and *ghosti.  Offerings are made to each of the Kindreds in turn as they are invited (“ADF COoR” Step 7), and then, during the Return Flow (“ADF COoR” Step 11-13), gifts are given back to the folk.  In our local rituals, the folk are always given an opportunity to bring forth their own offerings of praise to the Kindreds, which I think helps to further deepen the connection that each individual can feel with the spirits.  This personal offering can also make the blessing received during the Return Flow more personal as well.  Each individual is more likely and more able to take the Omen and the Blessing within themselves as they connect to the spirits.

ADF’s order of ritual expresses “reaffirming shared beliefs”:

As an orthopraxic, rather than orthodoxic, religion, our shared beliefs are perhaps more understated and less necessary than the shared practices of our ritual.  Beliefs that we are likely to share are reaffirmed through our expression and practice of them.  For example, we revere the Earth, and this belief is reaffirmed through our practice of honoring her first and last in the core order of ritual (“ADF COoR” Step 3).  We believe in the concept of reciprocity, and this belief is reaffirmed through the act of making sacrifices and partaking of the Return Flow (“ADF COoR” Step 11-13).  Reaffirming shared beliefs can also occur during the pre-ritual briefing, though this is not an official step of the core order of ritual.  This allows the people leading the ritual a time to briefly explain things such as the worldview and mythological setting that the ritual will be occurring in, and to field any questions that folks may have to that everyone is on the same page going in to the ritual (Bonewits 59-60).

ADF’s order of ritual expresses “reestablishing the cosmic order”:

The purpose of reestablishing the cosmic order is to provide an orientation for our ritual and to help “orient the ritual participants in relation to all the other parts of their universe and to all the other beings in it” (Bonewits 31).  This is done rather explicitly in the core order of ritual where the cosmos is (re)created with the Sacred Center situated in a triadic cosmos where the Three Realms are acknowledged and the Fire is included (“ADF COoR” Step 5).  In this way an axis mundi is established connecting the vertical realms (the Lower Realm, the Mid Realm, and the Upper Realm) as well as a horizontal division of the realms, often the land, sea, and sky.

I find it most effective to first find the Center within ourselves.  This is often done by acknowledging the Outdwellers and purifying and preparing ourselves for ritual (“ADF COoR” Step 2).  Then find the Center within the group.  This is where the Two Powers meditation comes into play, allowing the participants to establish a group mind (“ADF COoR” Step 1) where they connect to the Waters deep in the earth and the Fire high in the sky, becoming their own axis mundi.  Then finally establishing the Sacred Center of the Worlds where the ritual will take place and making sacrifice as we (Re)Create the Cosmos and order the world (“ADF COoR” Step 5).

ADF’s order of ritual expresses “Building enthusiasm”:

We build enthusiasm in our ritual when we raise energy through the ritual performance.  This often begins by calling to a power of inspiration to fill us, such as the Awen, the Muses, or Soma, and it is often the person filling the role of Bard who has a large part in maintain the flow of energy and enthusiasm (“ADF COoR” Step 1).  Enthusiasm can translate to mana, or energy, or power.  The Bard keeps the energy level high, keeps the folk focused, and the power steady and building throughout the ritual until it comes to the point to use it for something, whether that is taking the Blessings into ourselves or performing a working.

The enthusiasm continues to build as the Gates are opened (“ADF COoR” Step 6) and the connection to the powers deepens.  As each of the Kindreds are called, and sacrifices are made, more enthusiasm is generated (“ADF COoR” Step 7).  “Mana stimulates mana — the more you generate, the more you attract, and vice versa” (Bonewits 139).  While there are many ways of generating mana, one of the most common we see in ADF rituals is sacrifice, as we make offerings through the ritual.  The power and enthusiasm continues to build in waves as more songs are sung, chants are chanted, and sacrifices are made up through the Final Sacrifice (“ADF COoR” Step 9), when it can be sent as part of this offering.  Following this the energy we are gifted in return is taken into ourselves for the work that is to come.


2) Create a prayer of praise, offering, or thanksgiving to a deity modeled on a mythic, folkloric, or other literary source of at least 75 words. Include a summary of what your sources were and how you utilized them (summary at least 150 words).

Ushas, Shining Dawn”

O, Daughter of the Sky, dancing in the light arising from darkness

I stand entranced by your beauty,

Your radiant form laying across my mind just as it drapes across the sky.

Rosy gold droplets stream down your freshly bathed limbs, bright and beautiful maid,

As you waken the pious spirits to sing your hymns.

Rekindling my heart just as you rekindle Agni each new day.

Burning hot and strong in me, just as you do on earth.

I court you, O brilliant maiden, as you shower me with your riches,

Singing praises with my voice just as the sky itself sings colors for you.

Breath and life of all, awaken all to motion as you dance across the rim of the world.

Goddess of the ever-rising sun, glowing in radiant splendor,

Never far from my thoughts, never far from me.

Ushas, Bright greetings of the morning!

I have had a growing interest in the Vedic deities, and have always loved the dawn.  This led me to begin reading from the Rig Veda the many hymns to Ushas, the Vedic Goddess of the Dawn.  One of the things I’ve found most interesting about the Vedic deities in general is that they do not represent the things of their domain, but rather they simply are the things of their domain, similar to the Titans and earlier deities in Greek mythology.  For example: Agni is the Fire, Soma is the juice of Inspiration, and Ushas is the Dawn.

I read the hymns that mentioned Ushas in the Rig Veda, both silently and aloud.  I must throw in an aside here: always, always read hymns aloud.  This is how they were meant to be conveyed, and there is a certain power held within the words that is released when they are spoken.  Some of the things I noticed in particular in the structure of the Vedic hymns is the use of repetition and parallel structure.  Ushas is often addressed as “Ushas”, “Daughter of the Sky,” “Lady of the Light,” with “O” often beginning these phrases.  This makes the whole hymn seem more regal, and while perhaps simply a product of the translation, it is common across most of the Vedic hymns.  The structure of the many of the hymns to Ushas set up to describe her, and then tell what she does, and then describe her some more, and then tell more of what she does.  The hymns then often end with a petition, asking her to give something to those who are signing her praises.  These aspects of the original hymns are what I kept in mind as I wrote mine: the regal use of her name and her titles, the descriptions of what she looks like, telling what she does, and in this instance a greeting to her rather than a direct petition for something from her.   I’ve included a list below of some of the specific imagery that that I’ve pulled from the Rig Veda in writing my own hymn to her.

I addition to reading about her, mostly straight out of the Rig Veda, I spoke with others who have worked with her, and I wrote a lot.  I filled pages and pages of my bardic notebook describing her, praising her, exploring her facets, and courting her.  I spent pages detailing how she looked on a clear morning, and even more pages on how she looked as she forced the clouds to parts to make way for the sun.  I wrote excessively on all the colors she displayed as she arose, and lamented the mornings where the fog was too thick to see her clearly, writing about those as well.  I spent a lot of time both in exploring how my view of her reflects and matches the view of her in the Rig Veda, but also how to phrase the hymn so that it carried aspects of the style of the hymns in the Rig Veda.

Here are the hymns I referenced when writing this prayer (Griffith), as well as what imagery or phrasing I used from it:

RV I.48 (O Daughter of the Sky, breath and life of all, answer our songs of praise with your brilliant light)

RV I.113 (Agni being rekindled, breath and life of all)

RV I.123 (resplendent, always appearing at the appointed time and place: rta)

RV IV.51 (awaken the pious)

RV V.79 (use of repetition, O Daughter of the Sky,

RV V.80 (freshly bathed limbs, rta)

RV VI.64 (arising from the waters dripping, rta)

RV VI.65 (waken pious spirits, rta)

RV VII.77 (stirring all life to motion)

RV VII.78 (rekindling Agni and the fire-priests, Daughter of the Sky, inspired with thoughts of you)

RV VII.79 (painting the Sky with her colors)

RV VII.80 (awaken pious spirits and the fire-priests to sing her praises, turns our thoughts to fire and sun and worship)

RV VII.81 (O Daughter of the Sky, giver of wealth)


3) Discuss a poem of at least eight lines as to its use of poetic elements (as defined by Watkins): formulaics, metrics, and stylistics. Pay particular attention to use of meter and phonetic devices, such as rhyme and alliteration. (Minimum 100 words beyond the poem itself.)

“Do not go gentle into that good night”

by Dylan Thomas


Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,


Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Formulaics is the use of repetitive words and phrases across languages.  These are common phrases that have the same meaning, as well as the same root, morphology, and syntax.  They are especially common in Vedic and Greek poetry, and the closer a language is to the common proto-language, the more instances of common phrases across the languages occur (Watkins 12-16).  The use of formulas was extremely useful for ancient poets, because it gave them phrases to gather and use when orally reciting and embellishing their text, and allowed the work itself to focus on a particular theme or themes.  This meant that the oral tradition was in part so successful in this time piece due to the phrases that were well-recognized and used through many of the works of the time (Watkins 16-19).

“Do not go gentle into that good night” is a villanelle, which means that it follows a strict formula in the repetition of its lines as well as its rhyme scheme.  A villanelle is a 19 line poem that uses the first and third lines of the first stanza alternating as the last line of each remaining stanza, until the final stanza where they form a rhyming couplet.  The repeating lines in this poem are “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (Thomas 3, 7).  Thomas also juxtaposes throughout the poem with these lines the idea of light and dark, death and life.  As these lines repeat they emphasize the theme of the poem, which is to fight against the end of life and continue living with passion until your last breath.

Metrics is how stressed and unstressed syllables combine to form words, lines, and phrases.  Ancient poetry was often isosyllabic and if lines were longer would often contain a caesura in the middle of the line near the 5th syllable.  Poems analyzed with metrics are often viewed by looking at the chunks of syllables based on where the breaks in the line are, meaning both the caesura and the end of the line.  The formulas that are used often conform to these syllabic boundaries (Watkins 19-21).

“Do not go gentle into this good night” is written in iambic pentameter, which is notated as [10 -] (except for line 14, which is 11 syllables, and notated as [11 -]) and divided into five tercets followed by a quatrain (Watkins 123-4).  Each stanza explains a thought: the first introduces the idea of living until your last breath and fighting against dying; the second through fifth stanzas each give an example of the type of men that fight against death; and the sixth stanza (the quatrain) implores the speakers father to be as those men described and fight against his death (Thomas).  Additionally, the strong meter creates a rhythmic quality to the poem, making it feel more like a call to arms, and really augmenting the “rage, rage” imperative of the poem.

Stylistics are all the other poetic elements that are examined when analyzing texts.  This includes things like alliteration, parallel structure, assonance and consonance, rhyme, repetition, simile, metaphor, among others.  Alliteration was one of the most common poetic elements that ancient poets across many Indo-European cultures employed, and was often used as an embellishment to the text (Watkins 21-25).

The rhyme scheme of a villanelle is a strict ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABAA.  Thomas makes extensive use of repetitive sounds using alliteration, assonance, and consonance.  Each of these devices emphasizes words in the text to highlight their meaning as it relates to the overall theme of the piece.  Some examples of alliteration in the poem are “Go Gentle..Good” (1), “Learn…Late” (7), and “ Sang…Sun” (10)  Some examples of assonance are “Age…rAve…dAy…rAge…agAInst” (2, 3) and “dEEds…grEEn” (8).  An example of consonance is “bLinding…bLind…bLaze” (13, 14).


4) Create a prayer suitable for the main offering of a High Day rite which includes invocation of at least one deity suitable to the occasion, description of the offering and its suitability to the occasion, and the purpose of the offering, totaling at least 100 words. Any stage directions necessary for performance of the offering should be included.

This invocation was made at Three Cranes Grove’s Summer Solstice ritual in 2014, celebrating Prometheia and honoring Prometheus as the deity of the occasion.

Prometheus, flame-haired Foresight and friend of mankind

The Children of the Earth call out to you!

Sculpting our flesh from the banks of the sacred River Styx

You made us: Children of the Earth and starry Sky.

You see the future, and know what may come.

You stole the Divine Fire, the Sun itself,

Giving us this gift of Fire, knowing the cost to you.

Through you we know the ways of the land,

We gather together as community, bound together by your gift,

Though this gift yet binds you to the Earth.

The Fire, burning light of the Stars, burning light of the Sun,

Meant only for the Gods.

You won it for us, your Children.

Your fiery spirit burns hot and strong,

sharing its heat with us here on Earth.

Flame-haired trickster, and Mighty Titan.

Your wisdom shines brightly down upon us

As the Sun rides high in the Sky today.

Prometheus, you who sacrificed for us

So that we may sacrifice for you and all the Gods.

We call out to know and honor you this day!

Come, be warmed at our Fire, that we have kept burning for you,

Join us at our Sacred Hearth, that we would not have if not for you,

Meet us here at this time when the Fire is strongest,

And continue to aid and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

We bring you sweet oil *hold aloft*, for your Fire to drink in.

Prometheus, Fiery Titan,

Accept our Sacrifice!

*pour oil on the fire*


Works Cited

“The ADF Core Order of Ritual for High Days.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 6 Jan. 2015. <>.

Bonewits, Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.

Corrigan, Ian. “The Intentions of Drudic Ritual.” Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web. 6 Jan. 2015. <>.

Griffith, Ralph T.H. Rig Veda. Sacred Texts, 1896. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. <>.

Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” Academy of American Poets, 1937. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. <>.




Indo-European Myth 2

Standard Set 1: Basic Myths 

1) Describe and compare how the cosmos is created through sacrifice in two different IE cultures. (150 words min. each culture) 

The generation of the cosmos in most IE cultures comes out of sacrifice.  In both the Norse and the Greek 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.

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.  The Norse brothers Odin, Vili, and Ve then divided the world so there would be a place for the giants, Jotunheim, and a safer place made of Ymir’s eyebrows, Midgard. The dwarves were made from the maggots that had crawled over Ymir’s body (Crossley-Holland 3-7).

In Greek mythology an example of the cosmos being created or ordered through sacrifice can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  In book four, when telling the myths of Perseus, Atlas, defeated by the hero, is turned into a mountain.  Perseus is seeking the golden apples of the Hespirides, which are guarded by a great dragon.  Because Perseus is unable to best Atlas with strength he uses his cunning.  When Perseus reveals the head of Medusa, Atlas looks upon it and becomes a mountain.  His hair and beard become the trees, his shoulders and hands become mountain ridges, his head becomes the highest peak and his bones become rocks.  Through this transformation he becomes huge and vast and the stars, the sky, rest upon his shoulders (Ovid).  Thus Atlas becomes the literal axis mundi.  “this forms a link between the sacrificial cosmology and its origin, the cosmogony” (Serith Deep Ancestors 23).


2) Describe the image of the Otherworld and/or afterlife in three different IE cultures. How may these images impact your understanding of your own afterlife beliefs and those of Neo-Pagans in general? (400 words min.)

The Otherworld in Norse mythology contains many different lands described in the Grimnismol. Some of these include Valhalla, Folkvang, and Hel. Valhalla is ruled over by Odin, and it is there that he offers hospitality each night to the slain who have fallen in battle and brought to Valhalla by the Valkyries, whose title literally means “chooser of the slain” (Ellis Davidson 61-6). The warriors there fight all day, and each evening are restored to feast on pork and mead (28). The Hall of Valhalla is described in the Grimnismolas existing in Glathsheim, and “its rafters are spears, | with shields is it roofed,
/ On its benches are breastplates strewn. […] There hangs a wolf | by the western door,
/ And o’er it an eagle hovers” (Sturlson Grimnismol 90). Folkvang is the realm that Freya rules over. It’s not described in great detail, but it is “where Freyja decrees / Who shall have seats in the hall; / 
The half of the dead | each day does she choose,
 / And half does Othin have” (Sturlson Grimnismol 91-2).

While Valhalla is ruled over by Odin, and Folkvang by Freya, Helhaim is ruled by the goddess Hel. It is described in detail in Gylfaginning in the Ride of Hermóðr when he searches for Balder.  Hermóðr is said to have taken Sleipnir, and has to ride a long distance over dark valleys until he reaches the river Gjöll and rides over the covered bridge made of gold.  He meets with Módgudr, the maiden who challenges him about the noise he had made in crossing the bridge, and tells him he then must continue to travel down and north until he comes to the gates of Hel, which Sleipnir must jump over in order to enter (Ellis 171) (Sturlson Gylfaginning 73-4).

In Vedic India the Otherworld is described as a pastureland that Yama found for men after they have died and are following in the steps of their fathers. The place is described as full of sacred grass where one may sit and rest while singing joyful hymns and eating sacred food.  Here the departed have a place to rest with Yama in blessed light and waters.  The living are encouraged to gift Yama with Soma, gifts enriched with butter, and sacrifices through Agni so that “he may grant that we may live long days of life among the Gods” (Griffith RV 10.14).  This implies that while reincarnation is unclear, the Vedics believed in the possibility of life after death.

In Greek mythology, there are several places that have been described, including the Isles of the Blessed, places for the heroes and the righteous dead, and fields warmed by breezes and not encased in fog (the Elysian Fields) (Puhvel 139).  Another explanation of the Underworld is described as being to the north at the edge of the river Akherosian, which must be crossed with the help of Charon (Atsma “Charon”).  Odysseus travels there in Book 11 of the Odyssey.  Homer describes the place they visit as “enshrouded in mist and darkness which the rays of the sun never pierce neither at his rising nor as he goes down again out of the heavens, but the poor wretches [the dead] live in one long melancholy night” (Homer & Butler).  Landmarks that are seen in the Greek underworld include the House of Hades, a white, and possibly shining, cypress tree, a spring, as well as the lake of Memory.  These are all within the “darkness of murky Hades”  (Graf 5).  There are clearly different places where the dead can go, and for those who know the mysteries, they will travel on a road to the “holy meadows and groves of Persephone” (9).

There is some belief in reincarnation evident in Ancient Greece, as discussed in Plato’s Meno in the conversation between Socrates and Meno: “They say that the soul of man is immortal, and at one time has an end, which is termed dying, and at another time is born again, but is never destroyed. […] “For in the ninth year Persephone sends the souls of those from whom she has received the penalty of ancient crime back again from beneath into the light of the sun above, and these are they who become noble kings and mighty men and great in wisdom and are called saintly heroes in after ages.” The soul, then, as being immortal, and having been born again many times, and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or in the world below, has knowledge of them all” (Plato). This is to say that the soul can be reborn if the person lived with virtue in their lifetime and if Persephone decides to send them back to the world of the living.  The ancient crime is probably referring to the loss of her child, Dionysos, which eventually led to the birth of humanity (Graf 68-9).

I, like many other neo-pagans, have a belief in both reincarnation and the ability to form connections and communicate with the Dead after they have passed.  My personal beliefs follow closely to what Plato describes, with the idea that our souls are ever-learning.  After a time spent in the afterlife we may be chosen to be reborn and continue the learning of our soul.  A spark is left glowing if we drink from the Lake of Memory, and that spark can be used to ignite a new life.  I also feel drawn to the idea it is more important to live a virtuous life than to live for the afterlife.  It is in this life that we learn, that we influence the path of the world, and that we form the connections with those around us and with the spirits.  So it is this life that we should be focused on.


3) Describe the raiding of cattle by warriors (or divine reflexes of this action) in two cultures. How does this theme reflect the culture of the ancient Indo-European peoples, and is this theme relevant to modern Pagans? (300 words min.)

The Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúailnge) from Irish lore tells how Queen Medb of Connaught decides she must have the Brown Bull, and will do anything to obtain it from Daire of Ulster.  The hero Cuchulain ends up having to defend all of Ulster against Medb and her forces.  The White Bull of Connaught and the Brown Bull of Ulster end up fighting, with the Brown triumphing.  In the end, neither side ended up with the Brown Bull, and many people died over the course of the fighting (Dunn Táin Bó Cúailnge).

In Greek mythology, when Hermes was a baby he found Apollo’s herd of cattle and decided to steal them.  He lured them out of the meadow and made them walk backwards, so they did not appear to be leaving.  In addition to stealing the cattle, he also slaughtered two of them and cooked their meat (though did not eat it).  From the intestines of the cattle he slew he made strings for the first lyre by stretching them across a tortoise shell.  Later, when Apollo accused him of the theft of the cattle, he not only denied taking the herd of cows, but also traded the lyre he had made to Apollo for the herd.  Thus he avoided blame and yet got to keep the cows honorably anyways (Homer & Athanassakis 31-47).

In these ancient cultures cattle were directly correlated to wealth, and both Hermes and Queen Medb succumbed to greed when they attempted to gain another’s wealth. In both cases, they came up against obstacles in obtaining or keeping the cattle. This reflects the culture of the ancient Indo-European peoples because the idea of protecting and defending one’s assets, and keeping wealth moveable and tradable was very important. These stories relate how greed and the covetous nature of the deities involved can wreck havoc on those around them, especially within the ancient Indo-European culture. Queen Medb recognized the value of the Brown Bull, but her greed caused hundreds to die as she tried to obtain it. Hermes also recognized the value of the cattle, and traded a novel and valuable item (the lyre) to Apollo in order to keep them after Apollo called him out on stealing his whole herd.

While theft and greed was frowned upon in ancient cultures just as it now, there are lessons to be learned from these stories. As modern pagans, these stories are a reminder that we need to walk our virtues and live an honest life. We should be wary of becoming greedy, jealous, envious, or dishonest. We can also look deeper into the stories for other lessons that may apply in a different way to our modern culture. They can both speak to the value of diplomacy in modern paganism.  As a modern pagan, when we are involved in a situation and trying to have our needs met, it is important to remember the value in diplomacy and recognizing that we have things to offer.  As the bulls in the Cattle Raid of Cooley did not allow either side to have their needs met, the two tribes may have been better served by working through accepted channels of trade and diplomacy, rather than through trickery and war, in order to have their needs and desires met.  We can also recognize the value of exchanging gifts to build a stronger community.  Apollo and Hermes are considered to be very close now, after having exchanged the herd of cattle and the lyre, their friendship cemented by working together through their conflict, rather than jumping to conclusions and continuing to accuse (falsely or not) the deeds of each other.


4) Describe instances of “freeing” or “winning” the waters in two different IE cultures. How can this theme be used to reinforce our current practices and cosmology? (300 words min.)

“All waters are, by their very nature, sacred. We take these waters and set them aside, as they have been won for us.  We set them aside for our use, because these are the gifts we have been given by the Kindreds.”

 — from the liturgy of Three Cranes Grove, ADF

The winning of the waters is the giving of blessings and knowledge to the folk.  It is the transference of energy that happens during the Return Flow.   We do this in every ADF ritual.  The deities, in their awesome power, have won these gifts, these blessings, these waters and are giving them to us.  It is part of how they maintain the *ghosti relationship that we have built.

Vedic mythology provides a very clear and literal example of the winning of the waters.  In the Rig Veda Indra battled with Vrtra to free the waters and win them back for all the people.  Vrtra, the dragon on the mountain, was hoarding the waters all for himself and his kin.  Then Indra, the Thunderer, having drank of mighty Soma, struck the mountain with his thunderbolt and slew Vrtra and his kin.  When he slew Vrtra the waters flowed forth, finally free, down to the ocean (Griffith RV 1.32).  This example is straightforward.  Indra won the waters, and set them free to flow to the people of Earth and provide them with the blessings that the water contains.

There is a myth in Avestan mythology told in Yasht 19 that relates the story of Atar, the Son of the Waters (Ahura Mazda), who is protecting the gift of Glory (which belongs to the bright ones, the Amesha-Spenta) from Azhi Dahaka, the three-mouthed evil one, who is the most powerful demon that Angra Mainyu created. Azhi Dahaka tries to take Glory forcibly and Atar threatens him and frightens him so much that Azhi Dahaka pulls back and lets go of it. Then, “Glory swells up and goes to the sea Vouru-Kasha. [Atar] seizes it at once” and forces it “down to the bottom of the sea Vouru-Kasha, in the bottom of the deep rivers.” Now when we make sacrifice to the Son of the Waters, he gifts them to us, as the gift of Glory bubbles up and flows forth into the rivers of the world. As the water flows forth from Mount Ushidhau it brings wealth, strength, beauty, power, and health (Darmsteter Zamyâd Yast”) (Puhvel 278-9).

This theme of winning the waters is relevant to our current practices and cosmology because when we call for the blessings it is important for us to know we are calling to in order to receive them.  As we engage in our practice of establishing and maintaining our *ghosti relationship with the Kindreds, it is important to know what gifts we are receiving, how those gifts were initially received, and why those gifts are so special and sacred.

This theme of winning the waters is used to reinforce out current practice most often when we call for the blessings.  For example, because in Vedic mythology Indra won the waters and let them flow forth to provide wealth, strength, and inspiration to all the Folk below. The Hymn declares of Indra that “Thou hast won back the kine, hast won the Soma; thou hast let loose to flow the Seven Rivers” (Griffith RV I.32.12).  This would be an excellent image to include in a Vedic ritual where the Waters, the Blessings, are shared amongst all the Folk.  The same theme can be seen in Avestan mythology as the Son of the Waters seizes the waters, the Glory, for us, for those who make sacrifice to him.


5) Show two examples in one IE culture of a deity engaging in actions that are unethical or unvirtuous, and speculate on why the deities sometimes engage in this type of behavior. (min. 100 words per example)

There are many examples in Greek mythology of deities engaging in actions that are unethical and unvirtuous. Zeus and Hera are related in many of these.  Zeus engages in acts of lust, pursuing consorts against his wife’s wishes, and Hera in turn engages in acts of jealously, punishing these consorts in turn.  One such example involves Kallisto, one of Artemis’ hunting companions.  There are many versions of the story.  One version explains how Zeus fell in love with Kallisto and forced himself on her.  He knew Hera wouldn’t approve, so he turned Kallisto into a bear.  When Hera found out she convinced Artemis to shoot the girl-bear to death (Atsma, Aaron J. “Kallisto”).

Another example of deities engaging in unvirtuous behavior is the story of the Golden Apple in Greek mythology.  This story shows how vanity can have dire consequences.  In this story Eris throws a Golden Apple in the middle of Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena addressed “to the “Fairest of All.”  Eris was angry that she wasn’t allowed to attend the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis.  The three goddesses were sent to Paris of Troy for him to make the decision.  Each goddess in their vanity offered him something in an attempt to curry his favor and win the designation of the Fairest of All.  Hera promised wealth, Athena promised knowledge of every skill, and Aphrodite, so desirous to be named the fairest, promised Paris that he could have Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world.  So Paris, being vain and shallow himself, chose Aphrodite, and as Helen was abducted in order for Aphrodite to keep her word, the war between Greece and Troy began (Atsma, Aaron J. “Judgment of Paris”).

There are many reasons why there are a multitude of stories of this sort throughout mythology.  One reason could be as simple as the fact that we, as human, love hearing engaging stories that contain drama.  When we hear these stories it allows us to experience things from a safe distance, to experience these situations in such a way that we can come out of them.  Another reason is because our deities are limited in nature. Because they are not omnipotent, they cannot see the bigger picture, and thus cannot always make decisions that would benefit all aspects of a situation.  Having flaws not only makes them more believable and relatable because they can make mistakes, but it also gives them a methods of teaching us way to behave virtuously ourselves.  The unvirtuous behavior that we see allows us to find reflections of ourselves in the deities and connect more deeply with them.


6) Explain the monomyth (aka “hero cycle”) and show how it applies to a single hero from the IE culture of your choice. (150 words min.)

 The monomyth, a theory developed by Joseph Campbell and detailed in The Hero with A Thousand Faces, is the premise that all heroes represent archetypes in mythology and that all mythologies follow a common myth cycle.  This is very useful in Indo-European studies because it allows us make educated guess for filling gaps in mythology that may have been lost or never written down in the first place.  The monomyth follows the basic cycle of Departure- Initiation – Return.  These three pieces of the Hero’s Journey are broken down into steps, and while not all hero myths contain every step, enough of the similarities exist to make it a well-researched and arguable theory.  The hero begins with Departure.  The steps here are The Call to Adventure (Campbell 49), The Refusal of the Call (59), Supernatural Aid (69), Crossing the First Threshold (77), and The Belly of the Whale (90).  During the Initiation phase the steps are The Road of Trials (97), Meeting with the Goddess (109), Woman as Temptress (120), Atonement with the Father (126), Apotheosis (149), and the Ultimate Boon (172).  The final phase, the Return, contains the Refusal of the Return (193), Magic Flight (196), Rescue from Without (207), Crossing the Return Threshold (217), The Master of Two Worlds (229), and the Freedom to Live (238).

The Hero’s Journey, the monomyth, can be seen in the journey of Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey.  Some of the steps in Odysseus’s journey are shifted around within his tale, but most can be seen fairly easily within the epic.


  • The Call to Adventure – The Greeks are at war with Troy, and Odysseus must go to help them (prior to Book 1)
  • The Refusal of the Call – Odysseus does not want to leave his family and go to war (prior to Book 1)
  • Supernatural Aid – Athena comes to the aid of Odysseus (Book 5&6)
  • Crossing the First Threshold – Odysseus leaves Troy after the war, and gets blown off course because he neglected to offer to Poseidon before setting sail (Poseidon is also further angered when Odysseus blinds Polyphemus) (alluded to in Book 4)
  • The Belly of the Whale – His crew becomes trapped in the cave of Polyphemus, and they must trick him to escape.  Odysseus must become “no man” in order to escape (Book 9)


  • The Road of Trials – Odysseus is lost for a decade, facing many trials as he journeys, lost, across the sea (these include the land of the lotus-eaters, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, the Clashing Rocks, the Laestrygonians, the Sun God’s Cattle) (Books 9-12)
  • Meeting with the Goddess – Odysseus meets Circe, and while he is trapped there for awhile, and many of his men are turned into pigs, once Odysseus defeats her, she releases the spell on his men and provides supplies and aid for them when they set out again (Book 10)
  • Woman as Temptress – Odysseus meets with Calypso and spends 7 years on her island.  He is unable to act as a hero during this time and is finally released when Zeus demands it.  Even then, Calypso tries to tempt Odysseus into staying by offering him immortality. (Book 5)
  • Atonement with the Father – Odysseus journey’s to the edge of the underworld and meets with Tiresias who gives him knowledge of how to return home unharmed and later atone with Poseidon. (Book 11)
  • Apotheosis – staying with Phaeacians after he has washed ashore with his crew.  He stays awhile and relates his stories (Books 7&8)
  • The Ultimate Boon – Odysseus receives the bag of winds from Aeolus (and while he gets within sight of home, his crew is too curious and releases all the devastating winds, and they are again blown off course) (Book 10)


  • Refusal of the Return – Odysseus doesn’t recognize Ithaca when he returns, and Athena disguises him so no one will recognize him. (Book 13)
  • Magic Flight – The Phaeacians guide Odysseus home, giving him safe passage back to Ithaca (Book 13)
  • Rescue from Without – Odysseus upon his return to the island meets with Eumaeus (the swineherd), who greets him with hospitality and demonstrates devotion to Odysseus (though he doesn’t recognize that the beggar is Odysseus) (Book 14)
  • Crossing the Return Threshold – Odysseus defeats the suitors when he is able to string the great bow (Book 21&22)
  • The Master of Two Worlds – Odysseus defeats the suitors and reclaims his name, his title, his kingdom, and his family.  He is able to live both as the man who experienced the trials, and as the returning hero. (Book 23)
  • The Freedom to Live – Athena stops the suitors from taking revenge and Odysseus tells Penelope of the trip he must make to atone with Poseidon and be able to live in peace. (Book 23, 24 and after the epic)


Standard Set 2: Applications

1) Using your answer to question 1 above (cosmos creation), create a piece for use in ritual that describes the process of cosmos creation through sacrifice. (no min. word count)

Recreate the Cosmos & Place the Omphalos-

Let this area around us be purified sacred space where we go to meet the gods,

and the gods descend down to meet with us.

Let the smoke from our sacred fire carry our voices to the heavens to be heard by the gods.

I place this omphalos at the center of worlds, just as it marked the center of the ancient world.  My hands, like two eagles, flying to meet in the middle and establish this as the sacred center of worlds.

Through this sacred center, let the World Tree grow, plunging deep within the earth to touch the Sacred Waters below and reaching through the sky to embrace the Sacred Fires above.

Standing here at the Center, it is now time to Open the Gates to the Many Realms.

Let this water become the Well, and open as a Gate to the worlds below.

Our connections deepen to the Chthonic beings as the Gate is opened.

Let this flame become the Fire, and open as a Gate to the worlds above.

Our connections deepen to the Ouranic beings as the Gate is opened.

Let this Omphalos stand at the center, and mark our sacred center here and in all the worlds.

Let the tree wrap its roots around the stone and sink into the Well,

and let its branches stretch upwards and reach for the Fire.

We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center

to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.

Let the Gates be Open!

We now seek assistance in maintaining our connection to the Other Realms, and so we call on a Gatekeeper:

The children of the Earth call out to Atlas,

Great guardian who holds the earth and sky asunder.

You stand as the axis mundi, amongst the pillars connecting the many realms.

Driving the stars before you as the very heavens revolve around you.

Your feet know the depths of the sea and you hands the clouds of the sky.

Mighty Mountain, with your starry crown,

I make this offering to you and bid you welcome.

Meet us at the boundaries

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Atlas, accept this offering!

And now, Atlas, I call to you and ask that you act as our Great Guardian here.

Be our Star Crowned and Earth Shod Pillar.

Be the Mountain that holds the earth and heavens asunder.

Hold our axis mundi firm and maintain our connection to all the realms.

Atlas, Guard the Gates!


2) Using your answer to question 4 above (winning the waters), create a piece for use in ritual that describes the winning of the waters. (no min. word count)

Vedic Spring Equinox: “Indra Megahavahana” A poem intended to be performed for the Return Flow:

Calling for the Blessing

Sing to Indra the Cloud Rider!

On eagles’ wings, borne across the land,

He chases Vrtra, drawn valiantly onward,

Rushing up from the sea upon the very clouds

That bear the waters.

Like a thunderbolt striking a mighty tree,

Split asunder by the tawny-armed Thunderer.

Indra, give us the Waters!


Hallowing the Blessing

Waters of the sea

Set free from the dark and boiling clouds.

Waters of the mountain

Set free as he cleaved the earth in two.

Flowing streams released by his bolt

As he watches from the clouds.

The cows roaring, bellowing, at the victory

As the fort-shatterer gives us the Waters

That we may drink them as

Mighty Indra consumes Soma.



Affirming the Blessing

As Indra is infused with the strength of Soma,

So might we be emboldened as we drink of these Waters.

Indra Megahavahana, we glory at your victory

And partake of the gifts you have won for us.




Works Cited:


Atsma, Aaron J. “Charon.” Theoi Greek Mythology. 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <>.


Atsma, Aaron J. “Judgment of Paris.” The Theoi Project. 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. <>.


Atsma, Aaron J. “Kallisto.” The Theoi Project. 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2014. <>.


Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 2d ed. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1972. Print.


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


Darmesteter, James. “Zamyâd Yast.” The Zend Avesta, Part II. The Internet Classics Archive. 1882. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <>.


Dunn, Joseph, and David Nutt. “The Cattle-Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cúalnge).” Internet Sacred Text Archive. 1914. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <>.


Ellis Davidson, H.R. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin, 1964. Print.


Ellis, Hilda Roderick. The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature. New York: Greenwood, 1968. Print.


Graf, Fritz, and Sarah Iles Johnston. Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.


Griffith, Ralph T. H. “Rig Veda.” Internet Sacred Text Archive. 1896. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <>.


Homer, and Apostolos N. Athanassakis. “Hymn to Hermes.” The Homeric Hymns. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1976. Print.


Homer, and Samuel Butler. “The Odyssey.” The Odyssey of Homer. Internet Sacred Text Archive. 1900. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <>.


Ovid. Trans. Brookes More. “Metamorphoses, Book 4.” Classical E-Text: Ovid, Metamorphoses Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <>.


Ovid. Trans. Sir Samuel Garth, and John Dryden. “Metamorphoses.” Metamorphoses by Ovid. The Internet Classics Archive. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <>.


Plato, and Benjamin Jowett. “Meno.” Meno by Plato. The Internet Classics Archive. 380 BCE. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.


Puhvel, Jaan. Comparative Mythology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1987. Print.


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


Sturlson, Snorri, and Henry Adams Bellows. “Grimnismol.” The Poetic Edda. Internet Sacred Text Archive. 1936. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <>.


Sturlson, Snorri, and Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. “Gylfaginning.” The Prose Edda. Internet Sacred Text Archive. 1916. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <>.


ADF Style New Moon Rite

Outdwellers –

Outdwellers, you who stand at cross-purpose to my rite,

Accept this offering as a symbol of peace between us.

Allow this time, place and purpose to be in peace.

I also release anything within myself that is at cross-purposes with this rite.

Outdwellers!  Accept this offering.


Processional  –

*wash face and hands in fresh, clean water outside of ritual space. Incense may also be included in the purification.*


Opening Statement/Prayer –

O,Blessed Ones

As the moon in its cycle is timeless,

Waxing and waning, it ever returns.

So I return each month at the time of the New Moon

In this timeless act of worship

Echoing with my prayers and my offerings,

The moon’s ageless promise of renewal and return.

Tonight, beneath the new crescent moon,

I come to do as my Ancestors did before me,

To reforge the sacred *ghosti bond in my worship.

And to mix my power together with the spirits to achieve great works.

Come, Spirits!

Bless me with your presence,

And partake of what I offer,

In reverence of you here.


Earth Mother-

Earth Mother, ground me in your soil.

Hold me in your arms, let my roots sink down

And be nourished by you.

You who have given life to all,

and remind me to walk in balance as I honor you.

Earth Mother, Accept this Offering!



Inspire me with your grace and song

To honor all the Kindreds.

Take my head, my hand, my heart.

Let the Awen sing through me!

Spirit of the Awen, Accept this offering!



I feel all the world spiraling about me, and as I stand here at the Center I send my roots down, to mix and mingle with the Cosmic Waters below; as I stand here at the Center I send my branches up to gleam and glow with the Sacred Fire above; as I stand here at the Center I feel all the world about me come together as I am connected to all the realms, at the meeting point of the Land, Sea, and Sky.  With the worlds aligned about me I stand ready to begin the work.


Creating the Sacred Center & Creation of Sacred Space

*sprinkle water around sacred space*

Let this area around me be purified sacred space where I go to meet the gods, and the gods descend down to meet with me.


*waft incense smoke around sacred space, and/or pour oil on fire*

Let the smoke from my sacred fire carry my voices to the heavens to be heard by the gods.


*cense and asperge the tree*

Let this pillar stand at the center of worlds, just as it marked the center of the ancient world.  Through this sacred center, let the World Tree grow, plunging deep within the earth to touch the Sacred Waters below and reaching through the sky to embrace the Sacred Fires above.


Opening the Gates

I call out now to Hekate to guide me in walking between the worlds!


Hekate, at moonlit crossroads, you befriend the helpless.

Keyholding Mistress of Earth, Sea, and Sky.

Dark Mother Hekate,

Ghosts and hounds follow you.

You are the black puppy and the black she-lamb.

Torchbearer, I praise you for the brightness of your power.

I offer you eggs and wine.

Hekate of the Crossroads be my Guide!

Guide me as you guided Demeter in her journey.

Reveal to me the way to walk in safety.


Radiant Hekate of the Torches,

Guiding Light, Keeper of the Keys,

Join your hidden knowledge and power with mine

and help me to open the Gates between the worlds.


Let this water become the Well, and open as a Gate to the worlds below.

My connections deepen with the Chthonic beings as the Gate is opened.


Let this flame become the Fire, and open as a Gate to the worlds above.

My connections deepen with the Ouranic beings as the Gate is opened.


Let this Tree stand at the center, and mark the sacred center here and in all the worlds.

Let it’s roots sink deep into the Well, and let it’s branches stretch upwards and reach for the Fire.


I stand here, connected at the Sacred Center to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.

Let the Gates be Open!



I call out to the Ancestors, and to the Mighty Dead.

Hear me, you who have walked this path before me:

Those of my blood and my bone, who give life.

Those of my heart and my hearth, who guide my steps.

Those of my friends and my folk, who strengthen and deepen all relationships.

Those Mighty Dead, poets, priests, and bards.

Those Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.

It is to you I call out to and to you who I make these offerings.

Come, Ancestors, and join me at the fire.

Mix your magic with mine, and Meet me at the Boundary.

Guide me and Aid me as I walk the Elder Ways.

Ancestors, Accept this Offering!


Nature Spirits

I call out to the Nature Spirits!

Hear me, Allies and Guides!


To those spirits who crawl or stride:

Patient Turtle, Bounding Doe.

To those spirits who burrow or slide:

Cautious Mole, Cunning Serpent.

Come, and Be Welcome!


To those spirits who flit or fly:

Buzzing Bee, Sharp-Eyed Hawk.

To those spirits who swim or dive:

Glittering Gills, Darting Fins.

Come, and Be Welcome!


To those spirits who climb and grow:

Blooming Flower, Creeping Vine.

To those spirits who ripple and flow:

Shining Lake, Rushing Stream.

Come, and Be Welcome!


Come, Nature Spirits, and join me at the fire.

Mix your magic with mine, and Meet me at the Boundary.

Guide me and Aid me as I walk the Elder Ways.

Nature Spirits, Accept this Offering!


Shining Ones

I call out to the Shining Ones,

First Children of the Mother!

Hear me, Bright Gods and Goddesses, as I sing your praises.

You wise seers and honey-tongued bards,

Shining Awen’s light of knowledge and inspiration down on us.

You courageous warriors and skilled crafters,

giving us virtues to strive for and tools for our work.

You hearth tenders and grain guarders,

providing for us each and every day.

Brilliant deities of land, sea, and sky,

your brightness illuminates our lives.

Shining Ones, meet us at the boundaries.

Come, Shining Ones, and join me at the fire.

Mix your magic with mine, and Meet me at the Boundary.

Guide me and Aid me as I walk the Elder Ways!

Shining Ones, accept this offering!


Deity of the Occasion –

Selene, brilliant shining Titaness,

your crescent-crowned face lights the way along my path as you grow in power each night.

You who have bathed in the sacred waters of mighty Okeanos,

you who shine, luminescent, driving your long-maned horses at full speed across the sky.

Selene, splendid Queen of the Night,

I am again ecstatic to see you turn your face to the Earth.

Selene, Accept this Offering!


Final Sacrifice –

I pour these libations now for Selene,

and for all the Kindreds here gathered.

Those Shining Deities who share their power,

Those Noble Guides who share their passion,

Those Ancient Wise who share their knowledge,

I pour out these libations to you as I sing your praises.


Omen –

Having given offerings to the Kindreds,

I now seek to know what blessings and advice they give me in return.


*make an offering as you prepare to take an omen*


I ask: what wisdom or blessings do the Ancestors offer?

I ask: what wisdom or blessings do the Nature Spirits offer?

I ask: what wisdom or blessings do the Shining Ones offer?

I ask: what wisdom or blessings does Selene offer?


Waters –

Haven given offerings and received wisdom and blessings in return, I now seek to take of those blessings to enrich myself for the coming month.  I seek to fill myself with these blessings so that I may be thusly imbued with the sacred powers and apply myself to the work ahead.


The Waters of Life have been won for me, and are a gift from the Kindreds that I may take and use to fill myself with the blessings they provide.


*take vessel filled with water.  Water is infused with the blessings.

Some water is set aside if their is a working that requires it*


Let the darkness of the new moon fill these waters with the omens I have received.

[Omen, Omen, Omen, and Omen]


Shining Ones, Give me the Waters!


Let their blessings grow in strength like the light of the moon.

[Omen, Omen, Omen, and Omen]


Shining Ones, Give me the Waters!


Their strength shall augment my strength as I face the new month ahead.

[Omen, Omen, Omen, and Omen]


Shining Ones, Give me the Waters!


Behold! The Waters of Life!


*drink waters*



Now filled with the strength, blessings, and wisdom of the Kindreds, I seek to use this influx of power to …


*insert any workings*


Thank Kindreds-

Selene, thank you joining me tonight.

Stay if you will and go if you must.


For all the Spirits I pour these final libations.

Those Shining Deities who share their power,

Those Noble Guides who share their passion,

Those Ancient Wise who share their knowledge,


Mighty Kindreds, I offer you many thanks for joining me today.

May the door always remain open,

The fire always burn,

And our voices always sing in harmony.

Kindreds all, I thank you!


Close –

Hekate, I call to you once more,

to join your magic with mine and aid me in traversing the realms.

Show me the way home again safely as I close the Gates between the worlds.

Let this Well be but water, ever sacred in its own right, but no longer a Gate opening to the many paths.

Let this Fire be but flame, ever sacred in its own right, but no longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

Let the Tree no longer be the Center of the Worlds holding me at the Crossroads.

Hekate, as I move away from the Crossroads and return to the center of my heart and home,

stand ever vigilant, as you always do, until I return again in need of your aid.

Let the Gates be closed!


Thank Earth Mother-

Earth Mother,

You who nourish my roots, and help me grow strong.

You whose heartbeat thrums within all Life.

You who hold me and support me in your warm embrace,

Earth Mother, ground me in your soil and let my roots sink down

and be nourished by you.

May I always remeber that I honor you best

when I walk softly and in balance.

To you I return all that is unused.

Earth Mother, I thank you!


Thank Inspiration –

The Spirit of the Awen,

you have sung with my voice, danced with my feet,

enflamed my passion, and sweetened my words.

For the fire you have filled me with

And for letting it pour forth in harmony and wisdom

Spirit of the Awen, I thank you!


Recessional –

I carry forth into the coming month

the blessing I have received tonight.

May I bring it into my life and into the world.

This rite is ended!



Song: “Journey to the Temenos” by Jan Avende

Children of the Earth

Journey to the Temenos.

In reverence and mirth

We join our hearts as one.


We’ll make offerings

As our voices sing

To the Kindreds here

That our hearts hold dear.


Purification- (written by Jan Avende)

*Celebrants will cleanse hands in a bowl of salt water, and dry on a clean white cloth.*


Look within yourself, and set aside those things that will not serve you in this rite.

Look within yourself, and strip away the miasma that clouds your visions.

Look within yourself, find the center of you, and come be welcome in this sacred space.


Opening Statements- (written by Jan Avende)

Children of Earth, we come together today, the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, to celebrate Prometheia, honoring the Mighty Titan Prometheus.  It is fitting that we honor him today, as the Sun rides high in the Sky, burning bright for all to see.  Prometheus is friend to all mankind, having stolen the Divine Fire for us, so that we may live in comfort and joy, and be joined together through the community that the Fire offers us.  With our focus on Community this weekend, joined together here at ComFest, let us honor the Kindreds with reverence and love in our hearts.


Opening Prayer: (Three Cranes Liturgy)

The spirits of the sky are above us.

The spirits of the land are around us.

The spirits of the waters flow below us.

Surrounded by all the numinous beings of earth and sky and water,

Our hearts tied together as one,

Let us pray with a good fire.


Hestia- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Hestia!

First born and last born,

you are the Lady of our Hearth and Heart.

Your fire burns strong in us,

And we ask that it burn brightly here on our hearth now.

Hestia, sweet fire maiden,

Join us here.  Be our good fire and sanctify our hearth.

Warm us and light our way.

Hestia, accept our sacrifice!


All: Hestia, accept our sacrifice!


Earth Mother- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Gaea, the Earth Mother!

Great Gaea, you who gave life at the beginning of all things,

You who ground us in your soil and sustain our being.

Through you, all the children of the earth are blessed in their harvests,

Through you, are all creatures given life.

You are Ge, the Earth, and Gaea, the mother,

O Holy Goddess and Bountiful Spirit,

We delight in your rich earth

and sing to your bones.

Gaea, Earth Mother,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Gaea, accept our sacrifice!


All: Gaea, accept our sacrifice!


Surrounding Sea- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Okeanos, the Surrounding Sea!

You who encircle the Earth with your nine shining streams.

Bull-horned god, you drench us in calm and understanding,

In magic and mystery.

From your waves you share with us love and beauty.

You guide the rising and setting of the stars.

Father of river, wells, and springs,

Your serpentine form wraps the powers of the waters around us all.

Okeanos, Surrounding Sea,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Okeanos, accept our sacrifice!


All: Okeanos, accept our sacrifice!


Sky Father- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Ouranos, Brilliant Sky Father,

You who shine down your wisdom,

Who drape us in your star-studded cloak,

Your primal forces breathe life into us.

Air and Sky, whirling and swirling, calling us

to the beginning and end of all.

Starry Heaven, covering all the Earth in your power.

Your azure form that knowns no bounds,

Whom none can tame as you whisper the world to life.

Ouranos, Sky Father,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Ouranos, accept our sacrifice!


All: Ouranos, accept our sacrifice!


Inspiration- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Muses Nine!

You of verse, history and emotion: Kalliope, Klieo, Erato.

You who dance and act: Terpsikhore, Melpomene, Thalia.

You of science and prophecy: Euterpe, Ourania.

You who sing through me the hymns of my heart: Polyhymnia.

Sweet-voiced Muses: Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Kindle the Fires of Inspiration in us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Muses, accept our sacrifice!


All: Muses, accept our sacrifice!


Two Powers- (written by Jan Avende)

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.




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 a cool breeze brush your cheek, refreshing in this summer heat.


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. The joys of summer caressing your face, filling your soul.


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.




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 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.



“The waters support and surround us.

The land extends about us.

The sky stretches out above us.

At our center burns a living flame. 

May all the Kindred bless us. 

May our worship be true. 

May our actions be just. 

May our love be pure. 

Blessings, honor, and worship to the holy ones.”  

(- Ceisiwr Serith)


Recreate the Cosmos & Place the Omphalos- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this area around us be purified sacred space where we go to meet the gods, and the gods descend down to meet with us.


Let the smoke from our sacred fire carry our voices to the heavens to be heard by the gods.


I place this omphalos at the center of worlds, just as it marked the center of the ancient world.  My hands, like two eagles, flying to meet in the middle and establish this as the sacred center of worlds.


Through this sacred center, let the World Tree grow, plunging deep within the earth to touch the Sacred Waters below and reaching through the sky to embrace the Sacred Fires above.


Standing here at the Center, it is now time to Open the Gates to the Many Realms.



Opening the Gates- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this water become the Well, and open as a Gate to the worlds below.

Our connections deepen to the Chthonic beings as the Gate is opened.


Let this flame become the Fire, and open as a Gate to the worlds above.

Our connections deepen to the Ouranic beings as the Gate is opened.


Let this Omphalos stand at the center, and mark our sacred center here and in all the world.  Let the tree wrap its roots around the stone and sink into the Well, and let it’s branches stretch upwards and reach for the Fire.


We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.

Let the Gates be Open!


Gatekeeper- (written by Jan Avende)

We now seek assistance in maintaining our connection to the Other Realms, and so we call on a Gatekeeper:


The children of the Earth call out to Atlas,

Great guardian who holds the earth and sky asunder.

You stand as the axis mundi, amongst the pillars connecting the many realms.

Driving the stars before you as the very heavens revolve around you.

Your feet know the depths of the sea and you hands the clouds of the sky.

Mighty Mountain, with your starry crown,

I make this offering to you and bid you welcome.

Meet us at the boundaries

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Atlas, accept this sacrifice!


All: Atlas, accept this sacrifice!


And now, Atlas, I call to you and ask that you act as our Great Guardian here.

Be our Star Crowned and Earth Shod Pillar.

Be the Mountain that holds the earth and heavens asunder.

Hold our axis mundi firm and maintain our connection to all the realms.

Atlas, Guard the Gates!


All: Atlas, Guard the Gates!


Children of Earth, The Gates now stand open and protected.  Let only truth be spoken here.


We have come together today for the Summer Solstice, where the sun stands at its brightest in the sky, and it is right and proper that we do as our Ancestors did before us, and honor the Kindreds on this holy day.


Who calls to the Ancestors?


Ancestors- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!

Those of our blood and our bone, who have given us life.

Those of our heart and our hearth, who have guided our steps.

Those of our friends and our folk, who strengthen and deepen our relationships.

Those Mighty Dead, Seers, Priests, and Bards.

Apotheothenai, Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.

It is to you we call out to and to you whom we make sacrfice.

You have taught us the ways of old and given us the path to walk,

You have toiled and worked so that we might grow in our gifts,

And bring strength and love to our community.

Ancestors, Mighty Dead,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!


All: Ancestors all, accept our sacrifice!


Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Ancestors stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.


Who calls to the Nature Spirits?


Nature Spirits- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out the Spirits of Nature!

To the spirits of soil and stream,

To the spirits of stone and tree,

To the spirits of fur, flesh, fin, and feather,

To all those spirits who dwell amongst us

as Protectors, Guides, and Helpers, we call to you!

Dryades and Naiades, dwelling in forest and stream,

Oeriades and Nephalai, dwelling in mountains and clouds,

Lampades and Haliai, dwelling in cave and sea,

Nymphai, Mysterious Spirits who care for all our realms,

we walk amongst your blessings and listen to your sweet songs.

You who, through your living, teach us the ways to honor the Earth.

Spirits of nature, Nymphs of all the realms,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Spirits of nature, accept our sacrifice!


All: Spirits of nature, accept our sacrifice!


Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Nature Spirits stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.


Who calls to the Shining Ones?


Shining Ones- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones,

Bright and shining Theoi,

Mighty Gods and Goddesses on high.

You wise seers and honey-tongued bards,

Shining your light of knowledge and inspiration down on us.

You courageous warriors and skilled crafters,

giving us virtues to strive for and tools for our work.

You hearth tenders and grain guarders,

providing for us each and every day.

Mighty Titans, lighting the Fire of our Fathers,

we are forever indebted to you.

Brilliant deities of land, sea, and sky,

your brightness illuminates our lives.

We hear your voices echoes across our souls,

As you walk with us, guiding us, each day.

Theoi, Shining Ones,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Theoi, accept our sacrifice!


All: Theoi, accept our sacrifice!


Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Shining Ones appearing from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.


DotO Prometheus- (written by Jan Avende)

Surrounded now by all the Kindreds, we call out especially on this day to Prometheus.


Prometheus, flame-haired Foresight and friend of mankind

The Children of the Earth call out to you!

Sculpting our flesh from the banks of the sacred River Styx

You made us: Children of the Earth and starry Sky.

You see the future, and know what may come.

You stole the Divine Fire, the Sun itself,

Giving us this gift of Fire, knowing the cost to you.

Through you we know the ways of the land,

We gather together as community, bound together by your gift,

Though this gift yet binds you to the Earth.

The Fire, burning light of the Stars, burning light of the Sun,

Meant only for the Gods.

You won it for us, your Children.

Your fiery spirit burns hot and strong,

sharing its heat with us here on Earth.

Flame-haired trickster, and Mighty Titan.

Your wisdom shines brightly down upon us

As the Sun rides high in the Sky today.

Prometheus, you who sacrificed for us

So that we may sacrifice for you and all the Gods.

We call out to know and honor you this day!

Come, be warmed at our Fire, that we have kept burning for you,

Join us at our Sacred Hearth, that we would not have if not for you,

Meet us here at this time when the Fire is strongest,

And continue to aid and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Prometheus, Fiery Titan,

Accept our Sacrifice!


All: Prometheus, accept our sacrifice!


Have the Folk brought praise?


All: We have!


Then come forth now and make your offerings!


(Praise Offerings)- 

Song: “Come Pray With Me”

(Music: Traditional                  Lyrics: Jan Avende)


A Fire lit with piety in the center of the rite

The Druids pray around it, around the fire’s light.

They call to the Gods and Goddesses so bright.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!


Sacred Waters far below, flow into our Well

With our voices raised together, our song will surely swell.

Remember all our Heroes, their stories we’ll tell.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!



So it’s into the Grove, and beside the Tree

Come you pious pagans, and make your offering

Let’s honor the Kindreds of Earth, Sky, and Sea

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!


Standing tall and strong is the all-connecting Tree

Beneath its arching branches we stand in harmony

Honoring the spirits so wild and free.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!




We pagans all together still long for the day

When we’ll honor the Earth upon which we lay.

She holds us forever, in her arms we’ll stay.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!




Final Sacrifice- (written by Jan Avende)

We have made many offerings this day.

See now as they burn, smoke rising to the heavens.

See now as they sink, into the depths of the well.

See now as they traverse all the realms and are delivered to the Spirits we have called.

We now make one last offering, one final sacrifice,

to honor the Sprits and ensure our gifts are received.

Prometheus, Kindreds All, Accept this Sacrifice!


All: Prometheus, Kindreds All, accept this sacrifice!


Omen- (written by Jan Avende)

Having given offerings to the Kindreds, we now seek to know what blessings and advice they give us in return.


*Seer crushes and makes an offering bay*


Apollo Mantikos guide my hand.

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

What blessings or wisdom do we receive…


From the Ancestors…

From the Natures Spirits…

From the Shining Ones…


Waters- (written by Jan Avende)

Calling for the Waters

Having given of ourselves, and received wisdom and blessings in return, we now seek to take of those blessings to enrich ourselves for the work that is to come.

We seek to fill ourselves with these blessings so that we may be thusly imbued with the sacred powers and apply ourselves to the work ahead.


All waters are by their very nature sacred,

We set aside these Waters, for they have been won for us.

We ask that you allow us to partake of them and of these blessings,

To take these sacred waters into our hearts and our minds.

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!


All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!


We ask for The Waters of Community.

We call forth these Waters from the Well of Fellowship.

We draw these Waters forth, to sparkle in the air about us,

That we may feel their cool mist surround us,

And quench our thirst in the Summer’s heat with their blessings!

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!


All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!


We open our hearts and our minds to the blessings we have been given.

As we stand amongst the Kindreds,

Amongst our Folk, and amongst our community

We call forth these Waters as our due.

We stand, united with all the Powers of the Worlds, ready to receive the blessing!

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!


All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!


Hallowing the Waters

Let the brightness of the Shining Gods fill these waters with the omens we have received: [Omen, Omen, and Omen].


Let their blessings grow in strength, just as the sun has cycled to its greatest power today,

Let the blessings shine with the brilliant power akin to this Summer Solstice Sun.

Theoi! Shine your blessing down upon us, and fill our Sacred Cup.


When we share these Waters

We share our own wisdom and love.

We prepare to do the good work of the Kindreds in the world.

We prepare to grow and nurture the community in which we live.


Shining Ones: Hallow these Waters!


All: Shining Ones: Hallow these Waters!


We, your children, rejoice in your gifts

Bless our spirits and our lives with your magic and bounty.

As we celebrate the strength of our community here today.


Behold, the Waters of Life!


All: Behold, the Waters of Life!


Receiving the Blessing

*waters are passed and quaffed*


“Blessings in the Waters” (by Traci Auerbach)

May the power of the Kindreds be shown to me.

May the omens and the blessings be shown through me.

May the blessings in the waters fill my soul.

May the wisdom of the Kindreds make me whole.


Working- Receiving the gift of fire and community from Prometheus

Story: The Finding of Fire (retelling of Hesiod, written by Thexalon)


In the earliest days of the world, there Gods, and there were Beasts, and there were Men. The Men feared the Gods, because the Gods were much older and much wiser than Men. And the Men feared the Beasts, because the Beasts were faster and stronger than Men could hope to be. Sometimes the Beasts would attack the Men’s village, and the Gods would send hail or drought, and the Men suffered. So the Men came together in council, and decided to leave tribute for the Gods and Beasts in the hopes that they would be left in peace.


The built a high altar and left trinkets for the Gods, and left food for the Beasts in the nearby forest. The Gods seemed to listen to the Men, and sent no more hail or drought, but the Beasts did not understand Men’s gifts and continued to attack the Men. And so the Men suffered still.


One of the Gods was named “Foresight”, and it was his job to observe and predict what would happen. He had an idea, and went to the king of the Gods to explain it:

“Ah, sir, you see how those Men down there keep offering us gifts? Perhaps we could make them our allies by helping them against the Beasts.”

“Why do we need allies? We’re Gods, and the Men have nothing we care about.”

“Not even the occasional dalliance?”

“You leave my private life out of this! And don’t tell my wife! Now listen, remember why I’m in charge here? I overthrew my father and his crew. He overthrew his father and his crew. These Men are our children – what do you think would happen to us if they got too strong? We cannot help them, and that’s all there is to it.”

“But wouldn’t it be nice to have Men down there happily doing what we want? We could enjoy more of their gifts, watch their triumphs in our name, …”

“Enough! You are forbidden to do anything to help them, do you understand?”

But Foresight had known what the king might say, and he had a plan. He went to the highest parts of the heavens, and took a small piece of the Fire he found there, and headed down to the Earth to give it to the Men.


But the king of the Gods noticed what Foresight was doing, and knew he had to stop Foresight from delivering his gift. He sent a storm, and flung a lightning bolt *KABOOM!* at Foresight. The king then rushed to where Foresight was, grabbed him and dragged him to the far ends of the Earth, and chained Foresight to a rock, and sent a bird to peck at him every day.


Some Men heard the commotion, and came to investigate what had happened. There they discovered Fire, still burning, forgotten on the battlefield. They were scared of it at first, but decided this might be useful, took it back to their village, and tended it, and cared for it. The Fire kept them warm, it allowed them to see at night, and the next time the Beasts attacked the Men brought out pieces of Fire and scared the Beasts away, and the Men could prosper.


Generations went by, with Men becoming stronger and wiser with the help of the Fire. And one day, a great hero of Men was wandering the Earth when he discovered Foresight, still chained to the rock.

“I was wondering when you would get here!”

“How did you know I was coming?”

“Listen, I am Foresight, and I knew that if I helped Men one day Men would find me, and help me in return.”

“But why are you chained here?”

“That’s not important right now. If you release me, I will be an aid to Men henceforth.”

“But how do I get you out? If these chains are too strong for you, a God, surely they are too strong for me.”

“Remember the tool that saved you from the Beasts? Try that.”

The hero took the Fire bundle from his pack, and rekindled it near the chain. As the chain heated, it became weaker, and Foresight and the hero pulled and bent and tugged until Foresight was free.


Foresight was good to his word. And so now, if you have a difficult decision to make, sit quietly by the Fire and listen carefully – the voice of Foresight will whisper from the flame and tell you the path of wisdom.


Working: Receiving the gift of fire and community from Prometheus (written by Jan Avende)


*a tea light is given to each celebrant.  A taper is lit from the Fire,

and used to light each candle in turn*


Children of Earth, think now on the gifts that we have received.

Prometheus knowingly made a sacrifice,

so that we might have such a bright and shining gift.

Think on the community that can be built around a Fire.

Think on the prayers that can be spoken around a Fire.

Think on the offerings that can be made around a Fire.


In it’s simplicity, this flame burns hot and strong.

When you lack for community, let this flame remind you of your folk.

When you lack focus, let this flame be your guiding light.

When all the world seems dark and unforgiving, let this flame brighten your heart.


Children of Earth, the gift of Fire is ours,

and through it we may continue to find joy and light,

warmth and community in our lives.

Take this flame, extinguishing it for the moment,

Back to your hearth, where you may again rekindle it.

With it’s life and light, be warmed and reminded of the joy today.

Rejoice, for we have the gift of Fire!


And now, Children of Earth, having honored the Kindreds, received their blessings, and done good work, it is time we thank those we have called so that we may take the blessings we have received out into our community and out into the world.


Thank Prometheus- (written by Jan Avende)

Prometheus, Flame-haired trickster,

For you presence here today,

And for all the gifts you have given us,

We say: Prometheus, we thank you!


All: Prometheus, We thank you!


Thank the Shining Ones- (written by Jan Avende)

Bright and shining Theoi,

Mighty Gods and Goddesses on High.

You who shine down your wisdom upon us

And walk with us, guiding us, each day.

We say: Theoi, we thank you!


All: Theoi, We thank you!


Thank the Nature Spirits- (written by Jan Avende)

Nature Spirits and Noble Guides,

You who, through your living, teach us the ways to honor the Earth.

Nymphs of all the realms, as we walk amongst your blessings

And listen to your sweet songs,

We say, we thank you!


All: Nature Spirits, We thank you!


Thank the Ancestors- (written by Jan Avende)

Ancestors, Mighty Dead, Heroes,

Those of our blood and bone,

Those of our friends and folk,

Those of our hearth and home,

You have taught us the ways of old and given us the path to walk,

You have toiled and worked so that we might grow in our gifts.

We say: Ancestors, we thank you!


All: Ancestors, We thank you!


Thank Atlas- (written by Jan Avende)

Great Titan and Mighty Mountain, Atlas.

You who have stood as our Star-Crowned and Earth-Shod pillar,

Holding the earth and sky asunder, aligning them as our axis mundi.

You have stood firm as we celebrate here today.

You have Guarded the Ways for us as we rejoice here today.

Accept this gift now *make offering* and know we honor you for the work you do.

For the connections you’ve helped us to maintain,

And for aligning the cosmos itself,

We say: Atlas, we thank you!


All: Atlas, We thank you!


Close the Gates- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this Well be but water, ever sacred in its own right,

but no longer a Gate opening to the many paths.


Let this Fire be but a flame, ever sacred in its own right,

but no longer a Gate opening to the many ways.


Let the omphalos no longer be the Center of the Worlds holding us at the Crossroads.


Let the Gates be Closed!


All: Let the Gates be Closed


Thank Ouranos- (written by Jan Avende)

Ouranos, Brilliant Sky Father,

You who shine down your wisdom,

Who drape us in your star-studded cloak,

Your primal forces breathing life into us.

We say: Ouranos, We thank you!


All: Ouranos, We thank you!


Thank Okeanos- (written by Jan Avende)

Okeanos, great Surrounding Sea,

You who encircle the Earth with your nine shining streams,

Guiding the stars and the tides.

Your form laps against our shores as your Waters wrap us in their blessings.

We say: Okeanos, we thank you!


All: Okeanos, We thank you!


Thank Gaea- (written by Jan Avende)

Gaea, Earth Mother, All Mother,

You who gave life at the beginning of all things,

You who ground us in your soil and sustain our being.

We walk lightly upon your bosom as we honor you.

For you support this day and all days,

We say: Gaea, we thank you!


All: Gaea, We thank you!


Thank the Muses- (written by Jan Avende)

Sweet voiced Muses Nine,

You have sung with my voice, danced with my feet,

enflamed my passion, and sweetened my words.

For the fire you have filled us all with

And for letting it pour forth in harmony and wisdom

We say: Muses, we thank you!


All: Muses, We thank you!


Thank Hestia- (written by Jan Avende)

For Hestia, I pour these last libations.

First-Born, and Last-Born,

Lady of the Hearth

And Keeper of the Sacred Flame.

Though your flame may go out on our hearth,

May it continue to burn ever strong within our hearts.

Hestia, we thank you!


All: Hestia, We thank you!



Song: “Walk With Wisdom”

(- Sable)

Walk with wisdom from this hallowed place.

Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace.

May strength be your brother, and honor be your friend,

And luck be your lover until we meet again.

Liturgy Practicum 1: Requirement 1

Requirement #1: Key concepts from required reading:

1.  What three factors (“subcategories”) does Bonewits identify as determining the impact of “familiarity” on the success of a ritual? Briefly discuss the ways in which personal or family-only ritual is aided or hindered by these factors when compared to public group ritual. (Minimum 100 words)

The three factors that Bonewits identifies as determining the impact of “familiarity” on the success of a ritual are knowledge, affection, and group identity.  These three aspects of intra-group familiarity are what help to create and maintain the group mind necessary in ritual space.  The group mind is needed in order to raise and use mana, or energy.  Knowledge creates intellectual and social bonds, affection creates emotional bonds, and group identity creates psychological bonds.  The better these aspects can be developed and nurtured, the greater the psychic bonds will be that fuel the group mind.  In general, “having more people present makes more mana available, yet also makes it harder to keep that mana focused” (Bonewits 58).

Knowledge can be defined as what skill sets you have present at a ritual.  Are some people good at singing and chanting, others good at drumming, and still others who are excellent at visualizing?  In order to accommodate varying levels of knowledge the folks leading ritual may need to put strong vocalists next to weaker one, or have a strong mother beat in a drum set, or keep visualizations shorter or better guided to help folk maintain focus.  This is all a matter of differentiating the ritual to best serve the needs of the folk so that the needs of the Earth and the purpose of the ritual can be served.  A personal or family-only ritual means that you have less specialized skills to draw on, but that less accommodations may need to be made.

Affection can be defined as the genuine bonds of friendship and love that exist between people.  Lovers and family members will have the strongest bonds, followed by friends, and then by acquaintances.  These bonds can be nurtured to help have a stronger connection and stronger group mind.  In a personal or family-only ritual the affection level is likely very high unless there is a lot of strife in the family.  This means that the bonds that exist will be much stronger and the energy more accessible because the group mind is easier to maintain.

Group identity can be defined as the specific identity for the group.  The more narrow it is, the stronger the identity is among the groups’ members.  For example, I consider myself not just a Pagan, not just an ADF Druid, but also a Crane.  At Three Cranes Grove rituals, this common identity allows us to have more focused group mind.  We can reinforce it by the common things we do at every ritual that bind us together, such as reciting Serith’s “The waters support and surround us…” prayer.  A personal or family-only ritual will end up having a very narrow group identity, so the bond between participants in this aspect would be very strong.

The benefits of personal or family-only ritual is that an intimate group of people is far more likely to have more things in common than a larger group of people who have less contact with each other.  This means that there is less fumbling with scripts, a more open sense of community and less fear of judgment, and a likelihood, though not necessity, that similar deities will be worshiped.  In a public group ritual, if not everyone is familiar with each other, there may be hesitancy in sharing, or making offerings.  There may also be disruptions in the flow of ritual as the congregants are not sure what part to expect coming up.  In addition, there are likely to be many different pantheons represented in the congregants’ beliefs, which can lead to a chaotic feeling in ritual, or hurt feelings on the part of those participating.  However, despite these possible problems, there is also a benefit to group rituals.  More energy can be raised and directed, more diverse styles of liturgy are represented, and more can be attempted and accomplished because of the broader range of skills available to the congregation.


2.  What six methods of prayer does Ceisiwr Serith describe? Briefly suggest an example of how you might employ each in your personal worship practices. You may include worship with a group if applicable. (Minimum 200 words)

Praying Through Words

Praying with words is perhaps the most obvious way of praying.  I couple most of my prayers with words, though a few remain silent or only observable through other means.  Most notably when I call to the Kindreds and my Patrons I speak with words for them to hear me.  I find the words to be a good focus, and a way of reminding myself that I’m talking to someone, not just talking.  I also take great joy in writing, and have applied that to writing various thing including spoken prayers.

Praying Through Posture

Depending on what I am doing, my posture will alter.  When calling to the Earth Mother I will either crouch down on the balls of my feet and put my fingertips on the ground, or I will kneel in seiza, and then lean over to place my forearms on the ground, with my hands forming a diamond and my forehead placed between them.  When I call to Hestia I have a lighter or match in my right hand and her candle flame in my left. I hold the candle chest level while I speak the prayer to her, and then light the candle and set it down.  My Grove has adopted certain postures for calling to each of the Kindreds that I use fairly often, though not all the time.  When calling to the Ancestors we look and reach towards the ground, palms parallel to and facing the ground.  When calling to the nature spirits we reach out to our sides, looking levelly across the earth, arms bent at the elbows and palms facing in towards the center flame.  When we call to the Shining Ones we reach up and look towards the sky, arms extended and palms facing up.

Praying Through Motion

In Hellenic ritual it is important to separate the mundane space from the sacred space.  I keep this by washing at least my hands before a ritual for purification and then processing into the space I will be conducting the ritual.  I then recess out after the ritual.  I’ve found this is very helpful in getting into a ritual mindset where I can focus on the work at hand and not be so worried about the mundane things going on outside the rite.  In addition, as I mentioned above, there are times when I deliberately shift from one posture to another depending on what I am doing and who I am calling. One of the things that Serith specifically mentions is walking in circles, especially clockwise circles, around the sacred space.  My home shrine backs up against a wall and my fireplace, so I don’t walk circles at home.  I do however use circle motions when opening and closing the gates (clockwise for opening, and counterclockwise for closing), and when I do outdoor rituals I circle the space spreading barley, incense smoke, and/or water for purification.  At my home shrine I cense the altar top in a circle motion, moving clockwise, though it is not truly moving in a complete circle around the space.

Praying Through Dance

I have not tried dancing in my own personal rites, at least not in the traditional sense of the word ‘dance.’  I have found kata, or martial arts forms, to be extremely beneficial to me as a method of meditation and prayer.  It helps to clear my mind and allow more thoughts to enter unimpeded.  In a group ritual I led a Crane Dance that I wrote for a magical working.  The intent was to raise energy to break away the chains of our lives that were holding us back.  It is described in more detail in my journal.  Dance can also be used for ecstatic trance, though I have not tried this either.

Praying Through Music

Praying through music is one of the ways I like praying best.  Whether it is instrumental or with voice, I find it very rewarding.  Certain chords can strike certain moods or certain thoughts in a person, and I can strum through a progression on my guitar and achieve a mental state similar to others ways of praying.  When combined with words, music gains even more for me.  I sing my prayers to some of the Kindreds, specifically the Muses.  I chant other parts of ritual, or other invocations.

Praying Through Gestures

Praying with gestures often coincides with magical work for me, in one form or another.  When I make offerings, I pour oil or wine, or sprinkle oats, corn meal, or barley.  It is not just the physical offering that I give, but it is the act of pouring or sprinkling that is also part of the offering and sends the gift to the Kindreds.  When opening and closing the gates, I move my hands in a spiral either opening or closing my fist.


3. What arguments does Ceisiwr Serith make in support of set prayers (as opposed to spontaneous prayers)? Discuss how these arguments apply (or do not apply) to solitary Pagan prayer. (Minimum 200 words)

Serith argues that set prayers offer many benefits as opposed to spontaneous prayers.  I believe that both types have their place in ritual and worship.  The first point Serith makes regarding set prayers is that from a historical point of view we are following the way of the ancient when we speak a set prayer.  In Vedic religion one of the ancient source is the Rig Veda, which is literally a collection of set prayers.  In pagan Rome the exact words war so important that the priest had an assistant with a prayer book whispering the words to him through the rite (Serith 66).

Another point that Serith makes is that there is nothing wrong with using the prayers of others.  We all have skills, and some people are simply better at writing prayers than others (Serith 66).  Even if you write your own prayers, there is absolutely nothing wrong with repeating them time and time again.  It is rather a good thing to do, because if you wrote the prayer while inspired you will continue to find more within that prayer.  If you were sincere then, there is no reason it makes you less sincere now. However, as Bonewits states “sincerity is not a substitute for competence” (Bonewits 64).

This feeling of continuing to be inspired with a prayer relates to what Serith describes as “deepening.”  This is a phenomenon where the more you memorize and use a prayer, the more it gets ingrained in your unconscious mind.  It begins to “pray you” rather than you “praying it.”  It works its way into you soul and you see more and more with it each time you use it (Serith 67-8).  I’ve found this to especially true in my own practice as I went through the Order of Bardic Alchemy work and wrote, polished, and used my Muses song nearly every ritual.

Another important aspect of set prayers that Serith examines is the because “there are times when we want to pray, but words fail us” (Serith 66).  This is especially applicable in solitary practice.  When you feel the intense need to pray, you often are alone, or feel alone.  In times of mourning this is especially common.  A set prayer is very useful when you are seeking comfort, but don’t know the words to say.  I have found that litanies combined with prayers beads are especially useful for me in this way.

The final argument Serith makes in regard to set prayers is the only that does not apply to solitary prayer: that you can’t pray spontaneously as a group (Serith 67).  On the surface this seems true.  In order for people to speak the same prayer together, they need to know what to say.  However, an area of gray in this that qualifies as more of a sub-point is the call and response prayer.  The person leading the prayer, the call, could be praying spontaneously.  The response given by the congregants would then be repeating this spontaneous prayer.  So whether or not this still counts as a spontaneous prayer I’m not sure, but it is an interesting argument to consider.


Works Cited

Bonewits, Philip Emmons Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2002. Print.

Anniversary of Marriage Ritual

Thom and I are doing a ritual for our anniversary.  Kind of vow renewal/ reaffirmation type thing.  I wrote it so it can be done year after year.  It draws heavily from our original wedding liturgy that I wrote with some help from MJD.  We still have our familial flames and our unity candle (they live on my Ancestors altar) as well as our hand fasting ribbons.  After doing this brief reaffirmation, Thom and I both felt just as drawn together as we did the day of our wedding.  Following is the text:


I call out now to Hera, Queen of the Gods,

and to Aphrodite, Goddess of Passion and Love!



Heavenly Queen, stately, poised, and graceful.

Queen to and Men, Partner to the Thundering Zeus.

Bestower of cool breezes, gentle rains, and clear skies.

You whose presence honors any wedding day,

Whose favor blesses any union,

I sing your praises, and bid you join us here.

Hera, you help to form the bonds of kith and kin.

Joiner of hearts, protector of marriage,

Benefactress of weddings and marital harmony.

Flexible as the Willow, Fierce as the Lion,

Love as bright as the peacock’s feather.

I sing your praises and bid you join us here.



Foam born, sweet and gentle,

Shaper of passions as you guide us to the bridal bed,

Spinning hearts together like the finest silk.

You who watch with honest love, O Great Goddess,

As we pledge ourselves to one another.

I sing your praises and bid you join us here.

Aphrodite, you turn the hearts of men and women towards love,

Kindle in us the deepest desire.

Laughter-loving goddess, enflaming our union,

With you our breath quickens, our hearts pound.

Brightest gold shines with your kiss on our lips.

Bountiful and Beautiful,

I sing your praises and bid you join us here.


We come back together now, just as we did in 2011, to rededicate ourselves to each other.  Where before we chose our own path based on our own feelings and desires, we made a conscious choice to decide now as one where our life and our path shall lead, and today, as we made that decision ___ years ago, we again choose to continue together down the same path.


Jan and Thom each light their familial fire.  They each speak together:

I vow to you, my love and partner, to be honest and understanding, compassionate and loving, supportive and helpful, even as I ask these things of you.  May this fire burn brightly in you as it does in me.


Jan and Thom light their unity flame, speaking together:

As the flames of our family merge, so are our heart once again bound as one.  We come together again after another year.  We are Jan and Thom Avende.  The roots of our love are deep and strong, the branches of our love are lush and ever blossoming, and our trunk stands steady to support us through the good and bad.


Now we seek to remember the gifts bestowed on us on our wedding day to help nourish our relationship, and deepen our love:


Jan and Thom alternate speaking:

  • I speak of the rain on the earth and the sun in the heavens; the fertility of the world brings us both new growth.
  • I speak of the guest arriving at the door, and the host who invites him in; the bread broken in hospitality sustains us both.
  • I speak of the calm in the storm and the silence of the night; in moderation will we find each other’s heart.
  • I speak of the strength of one that is now the other’s, and the drive to rise above; together, our perseverance draws us to new heights.
  • I speak of the fear we overcome in each other’s arms, and of the joy that rings in our embrace; let the song that arises in our heart sing of our courage.
  • I speak of the vows we have spoken in presence of family and friends; maintain the integrity of our word and find the world strengthened in our love.
  • I speak of the order we find in one another, and the actions that maintain it; with wisdom, we will know and do what is right by the other.
  • I speak of the far sight, shared now between the two of us forever; may we each see the same bright vision reflected in the other’s eyes.


Jan and Thom speak together:

We speak of the fire that never hungers, the well that ever shimmers, and the *ghosti that binds all relationships; feed each other’s spirit, honor the Gods, and live long in piety.


By the waters that support and surround us, by the sky that stretches out above us, and by the land that extends out about us does this union continue. May the fire that burns at the center of all things burn as one within our hearts for all our days.

Liturgy 1

  1. Describe the purpose and function of ritual. (minimum 300 words)

In general, the purpose of ritual is to form a relationship and connect with the divine, so that we then get something back from the divine. In the case of ADF, this means forming a *ghosti relationship with the Three Kindreds. We are praising them and offering to them so that we might receive their blessings. We are seeking to not only to receive blessing for ourselves and our kin, but also to “awaken that same divine spark in our own souls so that we can bless the world in return” (Corrigan “ADF Outline”).

There are also specific purposes for holding rituals. For example, when observing the eight High Days, we are holding ritual essentially in honor of the seasons. There are various deities who can be associated with each High Day, but the when and the why for the ritual is due to the occurrence of the world changing around us. The structure and predictability allows us to build community with those around us and also build a relationship with the Kindreds (Corrigan “Intentions”).

Another reason to hold ritual is for Rites of Passage. These are an important part of any religious tradition, being able to properly honor and mark those big moments in life: birth, death, coming of age, marriage, divorce, etc. These rituals invite the Kindreds to share in those important moments in our lives and also invite the community to take part (Corrigan “Intentions”).

The third reason to hold ritual, because we Druids work in threes, is for personal work. This can be in the form of simple devotional work, praise offerings, or offerings of thanks. It can be to seek out the help of patrons or other magical allies. It can be to do trance work or energy work. These are all valid reasons for ritual, and each have a purpose (Corrigan “Intentions).

So, in holding ritual, the participants are looking for help with a task, for a relationship with the divine, and/or building a community around shared beliefs or practices. I think in pagan traditions, as in many others, there is a desire to blend our religious practices and beliefs into our lives as much as possible. It therefore becomes difficult to separate out the magical from the mundane, and it is through setting out specific liturgy and rituals that we are able to do that.

  1. Describe some of the roles individuals might take on within the context of ritual. (minimum 100 words)

In ritual, as each step in the Core Order is worked through, there is a person performing the magical acts surrounding the steps.  That being said, one role that an individual could take in ritual is either reciting the words for a step, or performing the magical act, or preferably both, since words hold power.  This could be either Bard or Clergy. It is certainly not necessary for the same person to take on every magical act in a ritual.  For instance, it may be preferable to have one set of folks purifying and sanctifying the space and the folk, another set calling to the Kindreds, another set taking the Omen, and so on.  Another role that an individual could take would be the role of Sacrificer.  I’ve found in larger rituals it’s helpful to keeps things moving without losing energy to have one person designated to give the offerings, whether it’s libating wine, pouring oil of the fire, or lighting incense.

  1. Describe the concepts of the Center and the Gates in ADF’s Standard Liturgical Outline. (minimum 300 words)

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. In many Indo-European cultures this is symbolized by the Fire, Well, and Tree, however only the fire is consistent through all Indo-European cultures. For, example, the Vedic culture there is only a fire, and in the Hellenic culture, rather than a tree there is an omphalos. However, the Center is still represented in these varying symbols. In any case, the idea is that as we create the Center of the World, 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 on all levels.

The Gates are opened into what can be called Sacred Space both in our own minds and in the world(s). When the Gates are open the magic can flow more easily and the Kindreds have an easier time reaching us so that they can hear us and bless us (Brooks). When the Gates are opened, normally a Gatekeeper is requested to aid in the opening The gatekeeper is a being who often takes the role of psychopomp, which is a being that can walk between the world, or exist in all the worlds. 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. 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.

  1. Discuss why ADF rituals need not have a defined outer boundary, or “circle” and the sacralization of space in ritual. (minimum 100 words)

All of the earth is sacred, and so we do not need to “create” that sacred space. What we do do in ADF ritual is recreate the cosmos to bring the attention of the Kindreds to us. They are already there, and the space is already sacred, we are more creating a space, like a room, that makes it easier for them to hear us and for us to hear them. It’s like filtering out the distractions of the mundane world. Most often in our rituals a boundary is still loosely defined, because we stand in a circle-ish shape, and this helps with visualization of the Center of the World, but it is not a locked out boundary, rather is more permeable than that. In ADF ritual people can come and go as they please. This helps because if someone has to depart for some reason (bathroom, children, etc.) they can leave with minimal disruption to the folk around them.

  1. Discuss the Earth Mother and her significance in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words)

The Earth Mother is a common thread through Indo-European mythology. In ADF ritual she is honored both first and last, and is given any and all unused offerings. This is fitting because while we arguably cannot be surrounded by the other aspects of our religion at all times, the Earth Mother is ever present, and existed before we arrived here, and will exist beyond our parting. So it is right that we should honor Her and respect Her, because she is our great provider and gives a home. The Earth Mother is sometimes addressed simply as such, or as the All-Mother, but in specific Indo-European cultures she is given a name, such as the Hellenic Gaea (who is rightly a Titan, and came before the Olympians, who are most commonly worshiped). Some people and Groves also prefer to think of the Earth Mother as a more localized spirit, specific to their place of worship. All of these ways of interpreting the honor that should be given to the Earth Mother are valid.  Another reason that the Earth Mother holds such significance in ADF liturgy is because not only is she generally the root and mother of us all, she is also very important in RDNA, one of the prominent organizations that ADF grew out of.

  1. Discuss the ritual significance of Fire and Water in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words)

Fire and Water are the two main ways of giving and receiving praise and blessings in ADF ritual. As the Fire and the Well connect us to the Kindreds, so do they connect the Kindred back to us. So when we make offerings, it is generally done in one of two ways. When an offering is made to the fire, the essence of that offering is transformed and sent up as smoke to the Heavens. When and offering is made to the Well, it is sunk in the waters. In ancient times this would more likely have been a natural well or river, and the offerings would have literally sunk down into the depths and darkness, to the place where the Ancestors dwell.

When seeking a return flow of blessings, this too is done through fire and water. In purifying the sacred space, incense is often lit, and wafted about each ritual participant, to grant the purity and blessings of the Kindreds to the participant. In the same way, after the Omen is taken and the folk call for the return flow, this is done through water. The folk call for the Waters, which are by their very nature sacred, and ask the Kindreds to fill them with their blessings, which are then drunk to bring those blessings into our body.

  1. Discuss the origins of the Fire, Well and Tree, and the significance of each in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words for each of the Fire, Well and Tree)

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 (“Prometheus”). 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.

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 (“Charon). 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 (Hare). 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 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 (Paradox).

  1. Discuss the Outdwellers and their significance in ritual (or not, as the case may be). (minimum 100 words)

The Outdwellers are a rather unique feature to ADF ritual as opposed to other Neo-pagan rituals. Since we don’t form boundary to separate ourselves out from the world completely, there is the chance that being who would disrupt our ritual may interfere. So, the treaty with the Outdwellers is the part of ritual where we make a peace offering to beings whose purposes are cross with ours so that they will leave us be for us to perform ritual. I prefer to also think of the Outdwellers not only as beings who would distract from the work, but also as the feelings and emotions that have no place in the ritual work. When I make offerings to the Outdwellers I try to remove all things that would distract me from my purpose in ritual space. That means stepping aside from thoughts that resonate in the mundane world so that I can focus on the work at hand.

  1. Describe the intention and function of the Three Kindreds invocations, and give a short description of each of the Kindreds. (minimum 100 words for each of the Three Kindreds)

The Three Kindreds are the Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, and the Shining Ones. The idea behind the invocations is that we are welcoming them and asking them to listen to us in our ritual. We’re going to give them gifts, and would like to receive blessings in return (the *ghosti) relationship. We invoke them to get their attention specifically so we can give them praise.

The Ancestors are the Mighty Dead; the Ancient Wise who have gone before, and as such they have knowledge beyond my comprehension that can help me on my path, my journey. There are three ways that I connect to the Ancestors. There are ancestors of my blood, ancestors of my country/culture, and ancestors of my hearth. The Ancestors of my blood are those who I’m directing related to: grandparents, great-grand parents, and so on. The cultural Ancestors are all the people who have helped to shape our world and culture, and made it what it is today, whether through scientific discoveries, or work in the humanities, or through exploration. By honoring the cultural ancestors I connect both to the culture of humanity as a whole, as well as to sub-cultures of people and professions that have shaped out society. The Ancestors of my hearth are those who are reflected in the lore, often as heroes. They are the people who’ve experienced the world, strove to make it a better place, and because of that have had their stories told to millions.

I see the Nature Spirits in two broad categories. Those beings of nature that we can see, and those we can’t. The first type of Nature Spirit is the more obvious. They are the creatures that inhabit our world: the birds, fish, insects, reptiles and mammals, but they are also the trees, rivers, rocks, plants, dirt, and oceans. They are all part of the ecosystem that makes our world work together and function, and that is a large part of why they deserve honor. The second type of Nature Spirit, the kind you can’t see, are the mythical beasts. This incorporates creatures that live hidden in our world, are described in myths, or take on roles beyond that of their mundane counterparts. These nature spirits are those who are our spirit guides, our totems, or those to deliver omens. I see this second group of Nature Spirits as the tenders of the first.

The Shining Ones, the bright and numinous beings, are the Deities. They are the Gods talked about in myth and legend. They each have a domain that allows them to connect to each other and/or the mundane world. There are those who work in the Upper Realm, Gods of the sky, air, sun, wind, etc. or those who are specifically said to dwell in the Upper Realm. There are those who work in the mid-realm, like Gods of the forest, hearth, commerce, war, etc. And then there are those who work in the Underworld, generally considered to be the Gods of death. In this sense, calling them the Shining Ones, is generally a misnomer, since not all those Gods would “shine,” but the idea that they all radiate power fits.

  1. Describe other possible models for the “Filling Out the Cosmic Picture” sections. (minimum 100 words)

The common way that we fill out the cosmic picture in ADF is by invoking the Shining Ones, Nature Spirits, and Ancestors to join us in ritual space (Corrigan “Standard”). In this way all Shining Ones are called forth at once. A different way this could be done is by calling the beings based on the realms that they dwell in, such as the Underworld, Mid Realm, and Heavens. Thus, one could first call for all the beings of the Underworld to join in ritual. One would address each of the Three Kindreds residing in the Underworld, rather than assigning a Kindred to a place. In a similar fashion, one could call based on the Land, Sea, and Sky. I think the way that you invite the Three Kindreds to join in ritual and fill out the cosmic picture depends on the hearth culture that you’re working in. Some ways of calling out make more sense than others. For example, in Norse mythology, there are nine realms that spirits dwell in. It may make sense in this case to fill out the cosmic picture by calling out the beings of each realm rather than in other groupings.

  1. Discuss how one would choose the focus (or focuses) for the Key Offerings. (minimum 100 words)

The Key Offerings should be chosen after the purpose of the ritual is chosen. If the ritual is a High Day, and specific deities are associated with the culture that the High Day is being celebrated in, then the offerings made should reflect the purpose and values of that High Day and that Deity of the Occasion. If the ritual being held is more of a general blessings ritual with no specific deity being called, then what kinds of general offerings were made to all the spirits being offered to? For instance, knowing that Apollo in Greek myth valued bay or laurel, that is what you could offer to him specifically, but if the ritual was for a general blessing in the Hellenic hearth culture, then oil, wine, or barley would be acceptable because those were common offerings made in Greek ritual. If the rite being held is for a specific purpose, such as healing, then what kinds of offerings do the healing Deities being called on ask for? Or, more generally speaking, what kinds of materials or tool would be beneficial in a healing and could be offered? So, overall, it is more important to identify the purpose of the ritual, and the Key Offerings will follow.

  1. Discuss your understanding of Sacrifice, and its place in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words)

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. It applies well with the general idea that a sacrifice is a gift to the Gods of something that is being removed from human usage.  So, a sacrifice should then be something that has meaning to both the person making the sacrifice, and the being that they are sacrificing to; it should be a gift. When this gift is given part of the *ghosti relationship is formed. We, the folk, have given of something to the Kindreds, and they will in return give us something back. Some examples of this are the Return Flow or the shared meal. A sacrifice is made and we are then given something in return to bless us and sustain us (Thomas).  The shared meal can take a few different forms.  In a Dumb Supper (normally this occurs at Samhain, or another celebration of the Ancestors) a food plate is prepared specifically for the Ancestors and the Folk, or the family, eat in silence at the table with the Ancestors.  The idea behind the silence is that we speak all throughout the year, and so at the Dumb Supper we are to listen to the Ancestors, and we we speak it is only about them.  The potluck feast after a ritual is another example of the shared meal.  During this time, after we have tended the relationship we have with the Kindreds, we are coming together as a community to share a meal with our fellows and the Kindreds.  Part of the meal is offered to them, and the reset is shared amongst the Folk in fellowship.

  1. Discuss your understanding of the Omen. (minimum 100 words)

The Omen is the part of the ritual where the Seer asks questions of the Kindred to some end. In our personal Grove rites we ask three questions: 1) What is our path? 2) On what should the Grove focus until the next Druid Moon? and 3) On what should each individual focus until the next Druid Moon. I think these demonstrate one way of taking the omen. The Seer is asking for guidance as a whole: where have we been, where are we now, and where are we going? He is then asking for a focus to get us where we are going on two levels: the level of the folk and the personal level. I think it’s important that when the Omen is taken that it resonate with each person present. By deliberately asking for an individual focus, this call for that. Some other common ways of taking the Omen are by asking for what each Kindred offers as a blessing (or a warning, in the case of a bad omen). Some ask whether or not the offerings have been accepted as the first question and some assume that since the offerings were made in good faith, that they have been accepted.

  1. Discuss your understanding of the Blessing Cup, or “Return Flow”. (minimum 100 words)

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. 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 energies of the Kindreds into themselves. Following the Return Flow is either a working if required by the rite, or the beginning of restoration of the ordinary. The Return Flow is the first step in “powering down” from all the energy that has been circling around in a ritual. The folk take of the blessings and that thereby takes them out of the space. If there is a working to be done then the folk have been filled with the power of the Kindreds when they drank from the Blessing Cup and so have enough energy to be able to complete the working. If there is not, then the folk take what they need of the Return Flow and, as with all else left unused, give the rest back to the Earth Mother.

  1. Describe possible cultural variances for elements discussed in questions 3 through 14 above. (minimum 100 words)

The cultural variances to the above questions are what give a ritual its flavor. One of the places where there is often cultural variance is in the creation of the Sacred Center with the Fire, Well, and Tree. In Vedic culture Agni is a deity of fire, and it is his fire that accepts the Sacrifices. A Vedic ritual will have three fires associated with Agni, the domestic fire, the ritual fire, and the solar fire, rather than the Fire, Well and Tree (Elout). This means that in Vedic ritual there may only be the Fire, and in that culture, the Fire connects all things and so is all that is necessary. In Hellenic culture Zeus found Delphi to be the Center of the world, and it is designated by the omphalos (navel). Thus, in Hellenic rites the Tree can beis replaced with the omphalos. In Roman rites, the Tree is often replaced with the Doorway of Janus. Janus is the god of the threshold, and thus stands at the Crossroads and the Center of the Worlds. Another variance that takes place regarding Hellenic ritual is the placement of the Earth Mother. Traditionally in a Hellenic ritual, Hestia is always honored first and last, thus when working through the opening prayers, Hestia may be honored prior to the Earth Mother in order to keep consistent with that hearth practice.

  1. Describe how ADF liturgy corresponds with your personal or group practice. (minimum 100 words)

I have found the standard Core Order to be a bit cumbersome for personal work that takes the form of devotionals at my home shrine; however, I enjoy the feeling that I get from following the ritual format in other work. For instance, at least once a week I like to do a full Core Order ritual (minor adjustments made for my Hellenic hearth). I find it to be very powerful for creating and maintaining a sacred and creative space. While I do devotionals more to offer praise to the Kindreds, I prefer the structure of the Core Order when I’m doing workings at my hearth, such as writing for religious purposes. I also perform rituals that are more of a reconstructionist bent when I’m celebrating a specific Hellenic Feast Day that has no easy equivalent to general Indo-European Feast Days.

Being a member of Three Cranes Grove, in our High Day rituals we follow a full Core Order, though our Druid Moons use a modified Core Order that have the Gates being opened first, and then having the folk enter. I like the variation of ritual formats that I experience because while I find the Core Order to be powerful and meaningful, I think I would get caught up too easily in “going through the motions” if that’s all I did. So, for me, I think the variation is better. It leads each individual type to be stronger for the experience of the many.

Additional Question: Is it possible that we give offerings to the Kindreds for what they have already given us? Is it presumptuous to think that if we give gifts to the Kindreds that they must be returned?

I think it’s a totally fair assumption that we are giving offerings to the Kindreds for things that they’ve given us. The nature of the relationship is 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. 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 doesn’t require that things be even, only that each give as he can in a truly meaningful way. It’s like getting a birthday card from a child. They drew it and spent time on it, and it means so much more than any store bought card they could have gotten.

This also means that in giving gifts, because we’re not keeping score, we don’t need to expect every gift be returned. All will come around in the end, and if it doesn’t, then just as a one-sided friendship eventually fades, so too will that relationship with that particular Deity. In this sense, it is also important to remember that not all gifts are tangible. A child can give little to a parent beyond joy, hope, love, and wonder. And for most parents that is more than enough to maintain that relationship. So too is our relationship with the Kindreds.

Brooks, Arnold. “A Druidic Ritual Primer.” Ár NDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. ADF. Web.

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