Using Indo-European Liturgical Language

Using Indo-European Liturgical Language

1) Translate the following liturgical phrases into your Hearth Culture language:

Modern Greek – dictionary used noted in the Bibliography section

  1. We are here to honor the Gods.
    1. Είμαστε εδώ για να τιμήσει τους Θεούς – Eímaste edó gia na timísei tous Theoús
  2. So Be It. (or a similar finalizing statement)
    1. Let it be! – έστω – ésto
  3. Ancestors, accept our offering!
    1. Ancestors, accept this sacrifice! – πρόγονοί, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – prógonoi, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  4. Nature Spirits, accept our offering!
    1. Spirits of Nature, accept this sacrifice! – πνεύματα της φύσης, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – pnévmata tis fýsis, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  5. Gods (Deities), accept our offering!
    1. Gods, accept this sacrifice! – θεοι, αποδεχθεί αυτή θυσία – theoi, apodechtheí aftí thysía
  6. Sacred Well, flow within us!
    1. ιερή πηγάδι, ροή μέσα μας – ierí pigádi, roí mésa mas
  7. Sacred Tree, grow within us!
    1. Sacred tree, grow within us – ιερή δέντρονα, φτάσει σε ύψος μέσα μας – ierí déntro, na ftásei se ýpsos mésa mas
    2. Sacred mountain, rise within us – ιερή βουνό, υψώνομαι μέσα μας – ierí vounó, ypsónomai mésa mas
  8. Sacred Fire, burn within us!
    1. ιερή φωτιά, καίγεται μέσα μας – ierí fotiá, kaígetai mésa mas
  9. Let the Gates be open!
    1. Let the way between/path be open! – προκαλούν οι διαδρομές για να ανοίξετε – prokaloún oi diadromés gia na anoíxete
  10. Gods, give us the Waters!
    1. θεοι, μας δίνουν την αγιασμός – theoi, mas dínoun tin agiasmós
  11. Behold, the Waters of Life!
    1. ιδού το αγιασμός της ζωής – idoú to agiasmós tis zoís
  12. Ancestors, we thank you.
    1. Ancestors, we thank you – πρόγονοί, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – prógonoi, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  13. Nature Spirits, we thank you.
    1. Spirits of Nature, we thank you – πνεύματα της φύσης, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – pnévmata tis fýsis, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  14. Gods (Deities), we thank you.
    1. Gods, we thank you – θεοι, εμείς σας ευχαριστούμε – theoi, emeís sas efcharistoúme
  15. Let the Gates be closed!
    1. Let the way between/path be closed! – προκαλούν οι διαδρομές για να κλείσει –  prokaloún oi diadromés gia na kleísei

 

2)  What do you consider to be the importance of using phrases in a hearth culture language other than Modern English (or your own native language) in ADF ritual? (Minimum 200 words)

Because all ADF rituals follow the same order of ritual, they often look very similar.  This is important because it allows us a commonality of practice with ADF.  However, the importance of using hearth culture language within an ADF ritual stems from the ability to add that hearth culture flavor to the ritual.  This can allow the folk to connect more deeply to the spirits and hearth culture in general, however it can also cause confusion and disconnect from the ritual as a whole if the language becomes a barrier to understanding and engagement. The benefits of using your non-native language within a ritual I think largely depend on the size of the ritual and familiarity of the group.

In a large group ritual, I think hearth culture language should be kept to a minimum. It works best when it is short, and/or doesn’t carry important liturgical meaning. Simple phrases, like “so be it!” often work well.  They are short, to the point, and often easy to repeat.  However, longer phrases that are important to the liturgy, especially if the folk are expected to repeat them, can make it more difficult to connect.  This is particularly true of folks who do not follow the hearth culture in question.  If the folk don’t know what is being said, they will have a harder time focusing their intent and staying engaged with the ritual.  The phrases within this course are often the ones that we use as call and response phrases in our grove.  I wouldn’t want to use them in a large group ritual because those call and response phrases are an important part of our liturgical flow, and help bring the folk and their energy into the ritual.  I think it’s important that they know what the phrases they’re saying mean.  For instance, when connecting to the Fire, Well, and Tree, and we say “Sacred Tree, Grow within me!”, if the folk don’t know what that phrase means, they will not have the benefit of that guided and deepening connection. The trouble with using your non-native language in ritual can be seen historically as well with the Catholic Church, who had trouble with its congregants due in large part to a language barrier (Placher 186-7).

In a small group ritual, where all the participants are familiar with both the ritual structure, and the phrases being used, I think it can be a powerful tool. The use of hearth culture language can help the folk feel more deeply connected to a specific hearth culture.  There is some intense power and group-mind building that can happen when all in the ritual know what is going on.  I have felt this when I practiced with my Hellenic Demos, and the language came easily, we all knew what it meant, and it was tied to our own practice.  I have also felt the power in it a little bit when I’ve attended a ritual put on my Grove of the Midnight Sun, and they’ve made calls in Old Norse.  The difference there I think is that I didn’t have to repeat the phrases, and sometimes the phrases were translated into English for us following the Old Norse.  I could feel the energy shift, though still felt a slight sense of disconnect from the ritual itself due to not understanding what had been said.

Bibliography

“English to Greek.” Word Reference. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

“Google Translate.” Google Translate. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Negre, Xaiver. “Modern Greek Dictionary Online Translation.” Words and Wonders of the World. Lexilogos, 2002. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Placher, William C. Readings in the History of Christian Theology. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1988. Google Books. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Sophistes, Apollonius. “Hellenic Magic Ritual.” Hellenic Magical Ritual. Biblioteca Arcana, 2000. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Sophistes, Apollonius, and Thexalon. “Ritual Phrases in Greek.” Oi Asproi Koukouvayies: White Owls Kin. Ár NDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Personal Memorial for Grandma

A fire ignited here at the center; a light in the darkness.  Hestia, let this flame burn bright as I remember my Grandma, Elizabeth (Betty) Krueger.

When we are born, we are born of the Earth, and through life cycles, our bodies must eventually return to Her.  Throughout our lives the Earth Mother supports us and nourishes us, and when the time comes for our death, She receives us.  Our bones become once more part of the Earth.  Our breath becomes the very air floating through the Starry Sky.  Earth Mother, as one of your Children returns to you, I remember all you do for us, and I honor you.

Now, I stand in the place where the land, sea, and sky meet; in the place where the navel of the world floats in the midst of the deep sea, and the brilliant fire in the sky reflects off the waters.  I stand rooted where this flame burns bright at the center, marking this space and time as sacred, and connected to all other sacred places and times. The flame brightens the waters that flow through all the lands.

There are nine streams brightened that encircle and flow through the earth.  They lead everywhere and flow through all the worlds.  Even if our dead don’t dwell in the underworld we know, those waters of the earth connect all the realms. It is in times like these especially, when we find the ways inaccessible or unnavigable, that we call to the Keeper of Ways, to the Guide of Souls, and trust that he knows the route.

Keeper of the Ways, you who part the veil and guide souls on their journey, a Child of Earth and Starry Sky calls to you now.  You know the bright path.  You know all the rivers and streams that flow between the worlds.  I honor you for the tireless work that you do.  I honor you for the bright path you maintain.  I honor you for the tears you are paid for safe passage.  Servant of the Fates, hold safe the way for me, that I may honor and remember Grandma Betty.

I call out now to the Ancestors!  Passage has been paid for Betty, and she comes to join you now.  All sacred places are connected, and so while she journeys to the afterlife that brightens for her, I know that all afterlives are brightened as another soul is welcomed.  Light the fires for her, that her way is clear.  Prepare those golden halls for her and spread wide your arms to envelop her in your warmth as she begins this new adventure.  Show her the connecting rivers that she may journey to meet with all her loved ones.  Ancestors, you of my heart and my blood and my soul, I honor you as you greet Betty.

Grandma, even though the spark of life has gone out, it has ignited hundreds of thousands of fires.  All of the lives touched by that spark: ignited.  Everywhere that flame burns, there is a memory.  And with each memory, life is remembered and honored.  I will speak of you and remember you, so that you may live on in our hearts and memories.  Your flame will continue to burn long after the kindling spark is gone.  So, Grandma Betty, drink of the waters of memory, as we remember you, and pass on your stories:

Betty, my grandma, was someone who throughout most of my life growing up, I had only minimal contact with.  She lived in Florida, and later Mississippi, and we lived in Ohio.  I feel like I really got to know parts of her during my first year of college. I moved away from home, and didn’t have any friends who went to the same school as me (most of them were younger).  She started writing to me (real, live, snail-mail!), and enjoying that connection, I started writing back.  She’s one of the few people who I’ve had actual letter-writing mail correspondence with, and that’s a feeling that all the social media, texting, and emails can’t really replace.  We sent each other little things we found that we thought may interest or be useful to the other: newspaper articles, post-cards, pictures. She sent me super comfy and fluffy shoes right as the weather turned cold.  I feel like I got to know her. I found out she had a whole corner of her room full of pictures of me.  She saved letter I had written her.  My parents brought some of them back from the funeral.  She shared stores about her time in school and traveling when she was younger.  I learned some of her stories, and shared mine with her as they were happening.

The love that exists in you, Grandma, overflows these rivers that connect all the worlds.  The waters of the Earth flow through us all just as they flow through Her.  As your life once again mingles with Her, I know that I can be connected back to those waters, ignited by your spark and brightened your love.

Ancestors, as these stories are shared, I know that you will come to know Betty.  I know you will welcome her warmly amongst you and teach her the ways of connecting back to those who remember, as I always will.  And for that I thank you.

And now, Keeper of the Ways, you who have held safe the path for me, I ask that as I leave this space you help Betty settle into her afterlife.  Guide of Souls, for your unfailing skill as you navigate this path, and for your safe passage, I thank you.

Earth Mother, you who support us, nourish us, and welcome us back to you when the time has come, I thank you.  I honor you always because in this never-ending cycle you are who I love, and who I love is you.

So finally, Hestia, this flame is extinguished here on my hearth, though it always burns bright and strong in my heart.  I know when I rekindle it I am once again connected to all sacred place and time.

Thoughts on Virtues and Ethics

As I’ve been reflecting on some of my Clergy Training Program work, one of the things that I have found to be extremely valuable these past 8 months or so was the work I did to examine what the values and ethics are in our society, and develop a personal code of ethics to help me navigate the work I do as a Priest. Since writing it, this Code of Ethics has continued to be useful to me and to my practice.  This is also part of the clergy continuing education, and is something that is required to be re-examined and re-evaluated at least once every three years, though honestly I expect I’ll be doing it more often than that. Reflection is a key part of this practice, and that commitment to continuing reflecting and re-evaluting my ethics may in fact be one of the things I add to my personal code of ethics when I revise it. Here is my Personal Code of Ethics as it stands today:

Personal Clergy Code of Ethics

  • “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
  • “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills. I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
  • “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone. My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day. I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
  • “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning. Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
  • “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions. I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others. I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
  • “I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason. I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know. I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.

When we write our Personal Code of Ethics for use as Clergy, one of the things we’re asked to look at is the Nine Virtues within ADF, as well what kinds of virtues exist within our society and how those two might play off each other. It is meant to give a starting point in developing our own ethics. The Nine Virtues in ADF are Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Moderation, Hospitality, and Fertility. In addition to the Nine Virtues, other ethical codes that have influenced my own code of ethics in particular are The Delphic Maxims and The Hippocratic Oath. Throughout all these virtues and ethical codes are values that can be seen woven through the fabric of our society. So, where do the values in our society come from and how do they relate to these ADF Nine Virtues and other ethical codes?

Our society places value on wisdom, and as a culture we encourage people to seek out those who have gained wisdom through their life experiences. However, as a Millennial it is also encouraged to seek wisdom from less established sources, and instead seek wisdom through personal experience gained by risk-taking and creative problem solving. I seek to have wisdom by sharing the knowledge I have gained, and thus providing others with the opportunity to share in that wisdom.

Seeking wisdom through personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates to the virtue of vision. We value the ability to see the bigger picture, and plan out ways to make that dream a reality. I have goals, and in order to see those goals come to fruition I am acknowledging that there is always room for growth, and that there is always room for improvement.

This personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates in part to the virtue of fertility. We like to encourage freethinkers and those with creative minds. Fertility really sums up this focus I have on growth and my dedication to continue growing, both as a person and as a Priest, as well as my dedication to helping others grow and acknowledging that they are always growing and changing.

There is value placed on piety in our society, though in ADF we define piety based on the actions we take in our religion, rather than a certain set of ascribed beliefs. For me this is the act of prayer and maintaining my relationship with the Kindreds. It is also important for me to continue in my personal religious practices both for my own piety, but also so that I have integrity when I am discussing those practices with others, and not be disingenuous whether I’m writing liturgy, counseling others, or performing rituals

Integrity can be summed up in the famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” From the Delphic Maxims, one of the most well known is maxim #8: “Know Thyself.” If we are in tune with who we are and what we desire we have the ability to begin to sort out what our ethics are, and how to live with integrity in our own lives. I’ve had to examine myself in order to write this Code of Ethics in the first place, and when I consider how I will be an independent person, I need to first have a good idea of who that independent person is.

In America integrity seems to be particularly valued. That attempt to walk to the beat of your own drum and not to let others define who you are. This in and of itself is often something that takes courage. Henry David Thoreau said “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” We have a history of self-reliance and a certain flair for independence as well as take pride in our ability (and right) to be ourselves.

This integrity is something that often takes both wisdom and courage. It takes wisdom to know what path I should walk, and wisdom to examine my own values and how they apply to my path. It takes courage to be independent and walk my walk. It can also take courage to hold true to my word when I may be pressured to do otherwise.

Perseverance can be seen alongside integrity and courage. In determining who I am, I will need to persevere in order to maintain that sense of self despite any obstacles I may encounter. I will need to persevere in continuing my path of growth and in continuing to challenge myself.

There is a huge precedence for the value of perseverance in America. In is contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we are each entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.” There are stories, myths, and legends about people in America who came here with nothing and through their perseverance built a life for themselves and became rich an famous. The concept of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is widely known, and generally hugely valued.

Moderation is also something that is valued here, though it seems to be a value that has a variable degree of implementation. One can be moderate in things from drugs and drinking, to consumerism, to sex. We tend to see a lot a press given to enforce the idea of moderation as it relates to puritan ideals such as abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex. This contrasts sharply with the other part of the virtue of fertility. However, there is less social pressure put on those who engage in rampant consumerism, and in some cases, society even seems to encourage this lack of moderation. For me in my personal code of ethics, I will strive to moderate my behavior to reflect my ethics.

The last virtue, hospitality, is encouraged in our culture, but it seems a bit more one-sided that the value placed on in in the context of ADF and the *ghosti relationship. Hospitality is a guest-host relationship, and each party has duties to hold to. In American society the host often seems to have more duties and the guest less. Think of parties you’ve attended where many of the guests leave without picking up after themselves, or family gatherings where someone always seems to overstay their welcome. For me, a lot of the idea of hospitality, of *ghosti, of kharis boils down to kindness. Being kind to others in as many ways as possible is a way of building relationship, and building the trust necessary to have a good relationship.

Relationships. That can sum up my approach to my spirituality and religion fairly succinctly. It is all about relationships, whether that is between two or more people, two or more groups, a person and the Kindreds, or any other collection of people and spirits. We build these relationships based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. My personal code of ethics allows me to be sure I’m staying true to myself in my actions and interactions with others. And reflecting on and re-evaluating my code of ethics on a regular basis will help me both maintain knowledge of my ethical conduct and allow me to see if there are parts that need to be added or removed to better maintain myself and my relationships with others.

Invocation to Hestia

With my ordination ceremony coming up in less than a week, I’v been thinking a lot about prayer, and what I do in my daily devotionals.  Hestia is who I call to everyday.  She’s who I call to each morning, sometimes with my daughter and sometimes alone, and light her a stick a incense, so that she is receiving the first offerings of the day.  The smoke carries my prayers to the gods, and she carries my offerings to them as well.

Hestia

Have a prayer request of your own? Shoot me an email!

Raising Pagan Children

I’ve always intended on raising my children pagan, and over the past two years, as I’ve been putting that desire into practice, for the most part, it has not been a conscious effort. There are a few things that I try to teach my daughter, and a few things that I specifically explain to her, but mostly it is just involving her, and being surprised at how much she picks up. I walk my path unashamedly, and so she see all the little parts of my life where my faith and my practice are incorporated.  Toddlers are sponges.

She sees me pray each morning, and now fairly consistently asks “Mommy, pray?” So we pray together when she asks. I call out to Hestia and light her flame and some incense, and then we say “Yay, Hestia!” I’ve started adding in a super short prayer to the Three Kindreds and showing her how to make an offering of grain. For her, it’s still mostly about getting to take a handful of stuff and dump it out, but she’s learning: now she waits while I speak, grain in one hand, and both hands cupped up to the sky like me, and then puts it in the bowl when I’m done speaking and we say “Yay, Kindreds!” Recently I’ve been teaching her some common phrasing we use in our grove. She can say “Good Fire” when you ask her how we pray. When you ask her who guides us, she’ll say “Garanus.”

Garanus Crane

Garanus Crane

She watches me when I do full COoR rites, and mimics my motions. Not only does she put her arms down for the Ancestors, out for the Nature Spirits, and up for the Shining Ones, she also mimics my spiraling motions when I open and close the Gates. This was most obvious when I was holding her during our Samhain ritual last year, and she made the motions with me as I opened the Gates.

She has started breathing with me during meditation. I’ve been trying to incorporate it into our bedtime routine. We “sit quiet” and breathe. It’s kind of cute, since she knows we’re breathing, and so she breathes in really loud, and then blows out. She’s made it about as long as a minute, though more often it’s around 30 sec, so we’re working on it.

There are other aspects to my path and my practice. I play guitar and music is important to me on a spiritual level. She watches me play guitar, and I’ve been encouraging her to drum along with me. I plan on getting her a ukulele in the near future so that she can play with me on an instrument that will grow with her.

Being outside and reveling in nature is important to me as well, so when we go on walks, and she gifts me with leaves, and pinecones, and rocks, and bits of flowers and grass, I take interest in those, and sometimes we talk about how it’s important to thank nature for giving us those gifts. We watch the rain and look at ponds and jump in puddles. We watch the clouds and how the sun reflects off them, and sometimes she’s up with me to watch the sun come up and pray to Ushas. She pets trees and says “Nice tree.” Nature is good; nature is very good.

So, in raising a pagan kid, for me, it’s mostly about involving her in my practice wherever I can, and when she shows speicifc interest, deliberately welcoming her in. It makes her happy to be involved and valued in things that are important to our family, and teaches her this practice and way of life. And it makes me happy to have a child who is interested in what I value, and happy to take part in these aspects of our life.