In John Michael Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn, a simple ritual is presented utilizing the Awen as a replacement for the Cabbalistic Cross section of the LBRP. The version presented in the book (page 31) is an inspired bit of Celtified occult wisdom that replaces the Golden Dawn/Hermetic ritual with Celtic names and phrases. Even though I enjoyed Greer’s Celtic Golden Dawn creation I found it far too heavily inspired by the Hebrew Cabbala for my taste and stopped after working my way through the Ovate Grade.
However, being the Druish sort of fellow I am I still use the Awen attunement/empowerment ritual with a slight twist. By substituting the Celtic words and phrases for more Odian ones I can marry my Runic religious work with my Druish eco-occult philosophy.
My Awen empowerment rite
Keep in mind that Greer’s Awen or ‘Rite of the Rays’ version of the Cabbalastic Cross is identical in spirit to the Golden Dawn version; the occultist is trying to empower herself and attune to the powers within and without. This practice can be done as a daily empowering yogic performance or as a beginning and/or end to ritual or meditation.
Stand facing North (or East). Achieve a state of calm and begin to imagine yourself as large and towering into the sky. Raise hands above your head and reach for the glowing essence of the sky.
- Bring hands down to the crown of your head bringing between them the cosmic power of the sun and sky, moon and stars. Vocalize “Muninn” as the light falls into the crown of your head.
- Bring hands down before your forehead, the light follows your movement filling your head, thumbs barely touch the skin. Vocalize “Lyke” as the light cascades down to your feet and into the ground.
- Extend your right arm down and slightly diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Odhr” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
- Extend your left arm down and diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Ond” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
- Bring your arms up to cross your chest. Vocalize “Huginn” as you marry the cosmic power within your arms and body igniting the internal self in radiance.
- Sweep the hands back down diagonally and end by Vocalizing “Odin” once, twice, or three times.
- Take some time to digest what you’ve done and experienced. Three breaths usually is enough to end this practice with respect for yourself and the energies.
What does it mean? This practice brings you in touch with several Odian views and energies.
Muninn means Memory and is one of Odin’s ravens. To the Runester Muninn is a matrix of lore and mystery, ancient wisdom that bubbles with Rune knowledge. Even though in this practice the wisdom is coming from above it should be perceived as coming from the multiverse and therefore all around us from all points of perception.
Lyke (Leek) is the body, the sacred vessel of existence, sometimes associated with a Ve or a sacred area. This is one of the gifts given to man by Odin in his tripartite form as Vili-Ve-Odin or Lodhur- Hoenir – Odin. Ve (Lodhur) gifted the physical body to man to understand and interact with the worlds.
Odhr is thought to be the force of inspiration, the fury of being. This was given by Vili (Hoenir) to man and is the root of the name Odin. Odin is the god of furious wisdom and inspiration – we too were given that power.
Ond is the divine spark of life the breath of existence. This was given by Odin to man.
Huginn means mind (will) and is Odin’s other raven. Very simply Huginn is the will of the occultist. Muninn comes from above moving downward, Huginn comes from below and within moving upward.
This act is a powerful realization that the Runester embodies the nature of Odin and is not a subservient recipient of these life gifts but is instead a powerful ally and partner in the unfolding of the multiverse. The Runester is not a worshiper of Odin per-say but through acts such as this is seeking to walk the same roads as Odin and establish her own Will by winning Rune wisdom.
If one wishes to take this Awen/Odian empowerment further the occultist can imbue the practice mentally with Runes as well. The Lyke stage can be likened to the Aett of Fehu (Fehu-Wunjo); the Odhr stage to the Hagal Aett (Hagal-Sowilo); the Ond stage to the Tyr Aett (Tyr-Odal). I see the Runes extending within my body into the respective area of attention > The body, the right arm, the left arm from top to bottom.
This form of body attunement can offer much in the way of meditation and ongoing speculation. Try it for a few days and see how you like it.
I’ve been doing tons of soul searching these days about this Druish (Druid) thing – Is it important to have in my life? And why? And what does that mean?
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is important in my life and not in the way that it has been previously. What does that mean? Well, it means that for me Druidry is not a Religion in and of itself, at least not to someone like myself who practices a very Heathen/Norse Religion. For me Druid/Druish goes beyond any kind of specific tenet or dogma or even mythology. It carries with it a history of Nature, Truth, and Mysticism that has a definition hundreds of years long through many varied changes, organizations, and minds. It’s difficult to say for me that any particular era in that long history is any more relevant than another…
I’ve been trying on the operations and rituals of a few different Druid groups. Most have very Wiccan-esque, Golden Dawn inspired aspects that just don’t sit well with me. I mainly stick with a Fire, Well, Tree composition as the basis for much of my religious work, which stems from studies of Indo-european mytho constructs. I’m just not well suited to a Hermetically inspired religious framework I’m finding, so most of the revival era Druidisms are not cutting it. More than anything I’m personally finding that Druidry is not a central focus of my practice but an addition. My practice is not going to change drastically and if you’ve read my Morning Devotional posts you’re more or less familiar with it. I am very happy with my Religious practice as it is and I’m not going to pepper it with components that don’t jive with it such as directional honorings or elemental correspondences or cabalistic craziness. I’m still working on a personal definition of Druid – but Nature, Truth, Mysticism (a definition that sat well with me some 10-15years ago) pretty much sums it up, though one of Peace, Knowledge, and Power sounds good too. Those definitions don’t contain a ‘this is how Druids do ritual’ or this is what they believe slogan, it merely holds a philosophical outlook.
So where does that leave me. I think it leaves me with RDNA, or it’s like; A non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic, and a very non-specific form of Druishishness that is not Revival based, but is Reformed and open. The one thing I didn’t like about ADF is that it calls itself a Religion ” ADF will be a Neopagan religion..,” in the words of it’s founder, Isaac Bonewits. I can respect that vision, but it’s not what Druid means to me.
I’m left wondering still if I need to belong to or support a Druid organization or if my current practice is enough. Druidry does not modify my practice but energizes it, it is not a practice in and of itself but a mindset…in the end perhaps it really doesn’t matter one way or another.
My ADF membership is up next month. I’m going on eight years of membership with the organization known as Ár nDraíocht Féin, but I’m not a joiner by nature and when confronted with the request to update my membership I pause and reflect.
Have I grown as a religious person because of membership?
The short answer is yes. I have been challenged by the organization and I think I may have challenged it along the way. My practice is more focused and deeper because of my stay with the ‘Druid’ organization. I am more pious, more devoted, and more fruitful in my practice.
Is ADF an organization that does good?
If I’m a member of something I damn well feel that the org should be good. And I mean that in every aspect…It must be good for the membership as a whole and it must be good for the person. More importantly it must be good for the religious community and not just the ‘Pagan’ one.
I have found ADF to be overall good. There are always those who rock the boat, who place self above the whole, and who may seek ambition in spite of the general good…but overall my experience with ADF has been positive, and I do believe that its members seek the highest good and progress for others.
Have I learned?
Yes. I completed the Dedicant Program a few years into my membership. In my mind the DP is one of the best learning programs in the ‘Pagan’ sphere of education. ADF does not seek to bolster it’s own hypothesis of what ‘Paganism” should be, instead it presents courses that require academic and scholarly brashness. Certainly there is a bit of ADF attitude involved in the programs – it’s liturgy is somewhat specialized, but it is also an example of the academic evolution one sees in the organization. The honesty of the training and the work involved in accomplishing ADF’s offered courses is stellar and comparable in my mind to college level research and course work.
My plan was and still is to continue my studies with ADF – moving toward clergy or initiate status when time permits.
ADF holds the ideal of openness in ritual and grove conduct. This allows for gatherings of friends and strangers alike. Like our ‘Pagan’ ancestors ritual is open and calls the people of a community to worship and renew bonds between people, the land, their gods, and ancestors. In this case ADF excels in bringing people together and also therefore in respecting the fellowship and differences that can be highlighted by such ventures.
The rites I first led were ADF inspired within a small grove, in fact some of the largest rites I’ve attended were ADF rites under a blue sky in the light of mid-day. I was proud to be a ‘Pagan’ in those rites, and I still am because of ADF’s need to serve the community in the open, not arrogantly displaying their faith but honorably devoted to ancient truths and wisdom once again explored and acknowledged.
Yes or No?
In the end I will rejoin. Though I don’t call myself a Druid, ADF is more about honestly looking toward the Indo-European mindset and practice. It is not beholden to it however, and the organization does allow for the wisdom that modernity has given to humanity. I think it does good, and I think there is more to learn within the organization that perhaps I would not learn outside of it.
Read Ian Corrigan’s post here: Introduction to Magic
As a practicing ADFer, or Druid as they (not necessarily I) label it, this article by Corrigan really hit the nail on the head. It explains alot of things that go on in an ADF/Druidic style rite that many probably don’t necessarily understand.
ADF rites do not seek magic(k) as the reason for ritual gatherings. Our actions, within our liturgical design, do not have as their sole purpose the working of Thaumaturgy or magic(k) for magic(k)’s sake. The role of Druids within ADF and those who celebrate with us is to exist with the gods, ancestors, and wights for a time. This is made possible by the offering of gifts to such beings and in return accepting their gifts in return.
This way of conducting ritual does not necessarily preclude magic(k)al operations most “Pagans” would recognize it merely negates the redundancy of it’s use. As Druids we are communing with the gods/ancestors/wights, or simply the Kindred, in order to establish links between the folk and their gods and to also reinvigorate the fabric of the cosmos.
Magic(k) then becomes a personal tool used outside the scope of established ADF ritual gatherings. This is not a bad thing in my opinion. Magic(k) while a powerful tool for transformation and arguably very powerful in group situations, is also an Art worked well in the solitary sphere.
In fact I would say that the role of the Druid/Gothi/Priest of the ancestors was to work his/her Will through private Thaumaturgy, building a report with the Kindred while learning to navigate the subtle worlds of the mental/spiritual/physical mysteries in order to better serve the village/community when gathered together as a whole to worship and enliven the cosmos about them.
After reading John’s fantastic post “Why we need a statement of Pagan “first principles” over at the Allergic Pagan, a great blog by the way, I felt the need to spew about the nature of Paganism as a defining word.
What frightens and annoys me the most about modern Pagans and Neo-Pagans:
The need to be labeled
The need to be justified
The need to be heard
There are other things but these three things are at the top of the list.
The need to be labeled is something that we’ve picked up from other religious systems and communities. We have to be different and we have to be uniquely apart from the rest. “Our faith is different and we have to prove it!” the Pagans say with fists clenched – But who are the Pagans? What would they be wearing, what symbol sets them apart, what tenets do these monolithic Pagans hold dear?
Why do we need to label ourselves? And what if the labels we pick fail to describe anything at all?
The trend I’m seeing is that people who would have considered themselves Pagan ten to fifteen years ago, and even five years ago, are now choosing to leave that term behind. I see this happening not because the terms Pagan and Neo-pagan fail in their description but because Pagan is now a label growing on it’s own and moving at incredible pace outside of the control of those who had once chosen to incorporate it. This effect is a kind of cultural engine not only changing the community under it’s banner but the Religious world in which its bubble of uniqueness exists alongside other bubbles. So, then you may ask, shouldn’t we mold Pagan into a term that is ours to define so that others don’t use it incorrectly?
John Hagee recently used the word Paganism in connotation with the evils of environmentalism (his words)..along with a host of even more blatant falsehoods about Buddhism and Islam. Here’s the problem with labeling an entire conclave of religions under the banner of Paganism. It’s generic and the term becomes misused – Pagan is not only a noun but an adjective that describes a type of belief and not a specific one. The difference Pagans have with their self described label as compared to other faiths is that an individuals Paganism may be a complete 180 from her neighbors.
My conclusion is that the only thing the label Pagan does is obfuscate the sincerity of Joe the generic Pagan’s path. We want labels because we live in a world that demands concise material to hold onto and understand. A Christian believes in Christs redemptive properties, a Buddhist believes that Siddartha Gautama reached enlightenment and thus so can she, a Muslim holds that Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah. Unlike Christians, or Buddhists, or Muslims there is not one thing that we all can agree on, because Pagan is not a term like Christian or Muslim, it does not say to those outside of my community that I’m an Odinist or that I’m a follower of Artemis or that I don’t care about divinity at all, nor does it specify my practice limiting it to one set of beliefs or delusions. But, don’t all Pagans consider the Earth sacred? No they don’t, again Pagan has no central dogmatic principle…even though our “leaders” have tried extremely hard to provide one.
More opinions to come…
Wednesday night I held an ADF/Druidry style rite. It was for the local group of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, who are mostly Wiccan. Due to some rain and wind that rolled in just as we were about to setup, the rite was moved indoors. About twenty people gathered in a sitting circle around the cauldron of fire and the bowl of water that served as the Well.
It went well. My rite included many of the ADF norms and followed the COoR pretty well. The only things I left out were the Gatekeeper and full honorings to the Kindred. My inspiration for the ritual format came from two ADF scripts concerning Full Moon rituals: #1 and #2
The reason for leaving these out was a personal choice. I felt that since this was meant to be an Esbat ritual, honoring the Full (harvest) Moon, it wasn’t necessary to call upon the Gatekeeper to relay our actions and part the veil between worlds. As the Moon (Mani) is seen in Midgard as well as all the other worlds I felt our deeds and words would be readily seen and heard. My decision to leave the Gatekeeper out naturally led to my decision to leave out offerings to the Ancestors and the gods…not because these aren’t important, but because the focus of the rite was specifically geared toward the Full Moon and Mani’s immediate and very timely effects.
We did honor the Landwights (nature spirits) simply because no rite in my opinion has any standing unless the local spirits are accepting of what is taking place. We also honored Mani, as the Moon, being that the rite was Heathen in its cultural focus.
Three people volunteered to take up the roles of Warrior,Bard, and Seer. They did a wonderful job.
Here’s a bit from the ritual script:
We gather as a people, as the folk of this land and place To honor the passing of time, the culmination of deeds and actions.
To begin anew.
We gather this night, on the night of the full moon to honor Manni, he who travels the dark sky, who travels the day and reckons time, to stand within the light of mystery and the light of magic.
From the Alvissmal Manni is named;
‘Moon’ with men, ‘Flame’ with gods,
‘The Wheel’ in the house of helheim;
‘The Goer’ to the Jotuns, ‘The Gleamer’ to the dwarfs,
and whome The elves name ‘The Teller of Time’.”
I developed a short meditation, not unlike the Two Powers meditation, meant to meld within the participants the power/blessing of the land and Landwights with the magic and mystery of the Full Moon. This was followed by a time of personal offerings and magic. Many chose to participate in this, and the words of those offering sacrifice into the flame were incredibly moving. Followed by the Omen and then the return flow of the ‘Waters of Life’.
It was a good night.
Listening to: Medwyn Goodall – [Spring #01] Fresh Is The Morning [foobar2000 v22.214.171.124]