Developing ritual

Getting a group off the ground is difficult.

One challenge has been to develop a ritual that is honest to what the group focus will be.  One thing I hope to avoid is an overtly Wiccanized form of ritual – that is a ritual with four corners (watchtowers) and other western occult forms.  Also limitations of organizational liturgy are to have little place in the group.  In other words the group is not being formed in order to adhere to already established forms of ritual.  Specifically here, I didn’t want my practice and experience with ADF to color my ritual format for the group.  Also the vision for the group is to allow members to worship and develop a ritual format of their own that comes from their own studies.  Eventually, the hope is not to have an established form of ritual but merely one that conforms to the point of the group, that point being to honor and worship in the Heathen way.

To be more specific: The group may not be limited to one ritual form.  The ritual form will grow as members work and study.  A ritual created by me will have a form different than one created by another member.  The goal is not liturgy but the development of a practical and personal way to enliven the self within the sphere of Heathenry.

The ritual form I’ve been playing with so far is:

Hallowing of the area (both within and without) Vertical axis – Niflheim, Midgard, Asgard primarily done via visualization of Yggdrasil with offerings to the Well(Niflheim), Tree (yggdrasil), and Fire (Asgard) (similar to ADF form).

Hallowing cont. – Rune-singing which is meant to establish the mythic realm upon Midgard and further develop the parting of worlds. Runes are sung in a clockwise manner.  This is not to setup a boundary but to set apart the area from the mundane surroundings.

Hallowing cont. – Hammer hallowing;  mighty Mjollnir is called upon to hallow the land.  The hammer may be swung in each direction, or its head simply placed upon the ritual center, then returned to the altar.

Offerings and gifts – Gods, ancestors, wights of the rite will be given offering and magic(k), siedr, galdr done.

Blessings returned – A portion of the libation given to the being or beings will be given to the people to share refreshment with the gods/beings called, and to receive blessing in return.

Rite closing – Beings thanked, Runes internalized, blessing given to Thor for Mjollnirs hallowing.

So that’s where I’m at with the ritual.

Other things to think about are:

Location for rituals

Monthly meetings

Discussion times that relate to the groups focus, lessons, and lore.

Membership

 

 Havamal 47.
Young and alone on a long road,
Once I lost my way:
Rich I felt when I found another;
Man rejoices in man

A kind of Magic: Followup

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

 
POHANSKÝ MĚSÍC by MIROSLAVA ZAPLETAL

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.

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Listening to: Medwyn Goodall – [Spring #01] Fresh Is The Morning [foobar2000 v1.0.2.1]
via FoxyTunes

A kind of Magic

This month I’ll be conducting a ritual with the local UU.  It’s an esbat, full moon ritual…many, if not all of the attendees will be Wiccan.  It’s not my first ritual in a leader role, but certainly my first with no Druids or specifically Heathen folks.

So I’m thinking of a way to perform the rite in the best manner, and for a few reasons I’m having some difficulty:

1. I’m not a Wiccan

2. I’m not a full moon ritual type guy – I’ve never associated my practice with the night, most of my practice is conducted during the day.

 

The rite will be performed under the ADF framework regardless of who attends and from a Heathen perspective:  that means more or less holding to the COoR, but I intend to slim it down a bit for the Esbat as I don’t think a whole run through is necessary for non-High Day rite.

I’m probably going to ask a few of the regulars if they’d like to take up some of the additional roles needed for an ADF style rite – The Warrior, Bard, Seer.  I perhaps will fill the role of both Senior Druid(Godhi) and Seer for the rite.

As I’m not a fan of scripted ritual, I’ll more than likely write up the ritual format, outlining what I want to present to assist those who will participate in understanding their roles, and be able to wing it with confidence at the actual presentation of the rite.

 

From Alvissmal-

Thor spake:
13. “Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all,
Dwarf, of the doom of men.:
What call they the moon, | that men behold,
In each and every world?”

Alvis spake:
14. “‘Moon’ with men, ‘Flame’ | the gods among,
‘The Wheel’ in the house of hell;
‘The Goer’ the giants, | ‘The Gleamer’ the dwarfs,
The elves ‘The Teller of Time.”

Thor spake:
15. “Answer me, Alvis! | thou knowest all,
Dwarf, of the doom of men:
What call they the sun, | that all men see,
In each and every world?”

Alvis spake:
16. “Men call it ‘Sun,’ | gods ‘Orb of the Sun,’
‘The Deceiver of Dvalin’ the dwarfs;
The giants ‘The Ever-Bright,’ | elves ‘Fair Wheel,’
‘All-Glowing’ the sons of the gods.”

 

Possible beings to be honored include Mani, Bil, and Hjúki

 

 

 

Modern Ancient

A treatise that I don’t think gets enough play in ADF is Brandon Newberg’s Ancient Symbols, Modern Rights.  You’ll probably need access to the ADF website to get the file…If you want to read it just send me an email and I’ll get it out to you.

Many people who experience an ADF style ritual for the first time, especially those not familiar with our form of Neopagan Druidry, are confused about why we do certain things.  Many Neopagans, whether they admit it or not, are greatly influenced by Wiccan ways of doing ritual.  This means that when given the opportunity to take part in ADF ritual they may be left out in the dark about certain activities or left wondering why a circle wasn’t cast, why there was no mention of the God or a Goddess, or who exactly are/were the Kindred.

Ancient Symbols, Modern Rights or ASMR is the book that will give you the answers.  If you’re new to ADF and just starting to tackle the Dedicant material you may want have a copy of it available.  It answers the questions that you’ll have about Outsiders, why the Well, Fire, and Tree are important, it will give you examples from myth and history as to why a certain step in the Core Order of Ritual or COoR is done.

I wish I would have had this book when I was a Dedicant and struggling with the new concepts I found in ADF, simply because the ASMR gives examples, and more importantly presents ways our Indo-Euro ancestors utilized or at least envisioned a particular aspect of the COoR.

While I wouldn’t ever say that any book should be mandatory reading, ASMR should be read by every ADF member.  It’s a small thing really, about 83 pages, well formatted and extremely easy to reference and research what you’re looking for.

 

ASMR lays out each step of the COoR as follows:

COoR step

Key Terms

Function

Placement

Technique

History

Ancient and Modern

Examples

Related Reasing

Self-Test

 

Brandon Newberg’s Blog is worth a read and can be found here: http://brandondedicant.livejournal.com/

 

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Listening to:  Sog Uten Tarer Shadow Symphony [foobar2000 v1.0.2.1]
via FoxyTunes

 

 

The Good Magician

 

I think Presence is the goal of anyone partaking in any kind of magical practice.

What good is ritual, meditation, or the honoring of beings without first being fully aware of your space, and knowing your place in the great mix of things.

I use a few different mantra’s while in meditation that help get me to the point of Presence.

I am Here

I am Now

I am Present

Within this Circle (Space, Grove, Ve)

Another that I use specifically for Magical purposes:

I am the Magician

I am Here

and I am Free

Of course the Fire – Well – Tree complex found within the ADF format of ritual is a great aid in recognizing one’s moment and Presence.  Essentially this equates to the Underworld – Earth – Heaven symbology most magic practitioners will be familiar with.  As Above So Below.

Fire, Well, Sacred Tree

Burning and Growing and Flowing in Me

I Stand between the Earth and Sky

Rooted Deep and Crowned High

Meditation upon these core images; Well flowing beneath and rising within, Tree reaching toward the bright flaming sky, Fire radiating from above.  The Tree, the Rune Eiwhaz, is the bridge between the worlds of underworld and heaven, of chaos and order, of dark and light.  Embodying all of these powers within meditation unites these worlds in active contemplation.  The magician has realized Presence.