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Archive for the ‘Liturgy Journal 1’ Category

Four months ago I started this journey to ‘reboot’ my spiritual practice. It had turned from something vibrant and wonderful into really nothingness, after a year of complete personal upheaval. So I started at the beginning, with nothing but a flame, and gradually rebuilt my practice into something that I think is both suitable for me at this stage in my life and adequate for my practice as a Senior Druid and priest-in-training.

My current practice includes:

  • Full COoR ritual once a week (usually Tuesday nights, sometimes Fridays too), which includes divination
  • Lunar retreat days as part of the Clergy Discipline
  • “Crowdsourced” Full Moon rituals with my grove
  • Weekly study meetings with my grove
  • (Mostly) daily practice even if it’s just 3 minutes at my altar to light some incense
  • Regular offerings to the Gatekeeper, Earthmother, Ing Frea, and to my house spirits
  • High day rituals with my grove (which I write and coordinate)

Which doesn’t feel like a lot of spiritual practice, but looking at it written out, I’ve come a long way in four months. I enjoyed that the purpose of this course was to develop and observe a “domestic hearth cult” practice, and I think in the last weeks I really have done that. My rituals aren’t complicated, but they work, and they keep me from losing the spiritual focus in my life, even if it’s just to say a quick prayer and light a little flame most days.

I haven’t talked here about the Flame of Hope project, as I didn’t feel when it began that I could commit to lighting a flame every day, and I still am not sure I’d be ready to make that kind of commitment, but I do think about it often, and my prayers often mirror those posted by others walking the path of Hope.

I am looking forward to how this practice will evolve over time – I’m sure like anything else it will wax and wane, but all of life cycles that way. I did my final “journaled” week of meditations last night and pulled runes (as has become my custom with this work). They were as follows:

  • Rad – the journey – something that takes time, and that always seems easier when you’re not on the road doing it
  • Gyfu – the gift, reciprocity
  • Os – a mouth – wise speech, cunning words, Woden’s gifts

I found the omen very fitting. Gyfu especially has been a rune that I see often in conjunction with my clergy training, and finding it here made me smile. A befitting end to my four months of journaling, and hopefully a good start onto a practice that will last me a long time.

And if it doesn’t, well, I can always go back to the flame and begin again.

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As I enter into this second-to-last week of journaling, I wanted to post another core order ritual that I’ve used recently. It’s much more formal than the one I’d posted about earlier this year, and I don’t think I like it as well. It’s one that I wrote with the help of several others, and has influences that a lot of old-school ADFers will recognize.

I’ll put it behind a read-more tag at the end of the post.

My daily practice has resumed without much fuss, post Harvey. Next week I will be on vacation, but I am officially done with my four months of journaling on Monday of next week, so I intend to finish this course and turn it in to be reviewed while I am off celebrating.

My practice over these last few months has not changed dramatically, but it has… congealed a bit, I guess? I feel more stable and grounded with it – I know I started from nothing, and parts of me still feel like what I’m doing “isn’t enough”, but I know that this work has to come from the practice that I do and the life that I have, and so much of my life DOES revolve around my spirituality right now that I can hardly say I’m not paying enough attention. I’ve found this practice to be helpful and useful, and I think I’ve learned something for having to have written about it every week. It’s been a very fast-paced four months, and I am constantly surprised by how much I already knew, and yet also by how much I have learned.

I can only hope my reviewers will get the same impression from the words I’ve written here.

This week’s rune draw was as follows:

  • Lagu – the sea – unsteadiness, unpredictable outcomes, things which are intimidating and beyond understanding
  • Eolh – the yew – reliability, something overlooked, “all that is gold does not glitter”
  • Ur – the aurochs – strength, stubbornness, a hard fought victory

Though things are unexpected and sometimes unpredictable, you have the reliable resources around you (though they can be easily overlooked). Your battle will not be easy, but you have the strength to fight it.

(more…)

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As I write this, I am home again.

All told, I was gone for 10 days – I left on Thursday, returned home on Saturday. Today is Sunday, and my apartment is mostly set to rights again. I had no damage to the building, though my entire garden on the balcony is pretty much destroyed. I’ve gone grocery shopping, mostly replenished the stuff that I had to throw away, and have done some laundry. I’m very happily wearing an outfit that didn’t come out of a suitcase.

This whole experience was exceptionally disruptive to my spiritual practice. (Duh?) I spent 10 days without a way to kindle a fire, no way to light incense, and in the home of family who are so devoutly Christian that the room I was staying in has been decorated in what I jokingly refer to as “ostentatious Hobby Lobby chic”. Crosses all over everything. Bible verses everywhere. Angels in all of the art. My parents are wonderful people, and they know that I’m no longer Christian, but it was very jarring to wake up and have an artfully arranged display of crosses be the first thing my eyes set on every morning.

It wasn’t an unpleasant week, all things considered, but it was a challenging one. Being at the mercy of nature (and the electric company). Being displaced from your home with no way to tell what was going on. I’m one of the lucky ones who had a home to go back to – many in coastal Texas this week are not so fortunate. I’m left thinking about what my private devotions *should* look like in such a situation, and all told I think I did pretty well. While my parents said their very-Christian grace over dinner each night, I said my own in my head, or said the Cosmos prayer if I couldn’t think of a meal blessing.

Actually, I said the cosmos prayer a lot.

I think, if I had to make a bug-out kit for future hurricanes, I’d include Ceisiwr Seriths A Book of Pagan Prayer in there, just for some variation. Writing prayers to help others is easy, but writing prayers for yourself when you’re in the middle of trouble is much harder.

I did write a prayer that I sent out to my grove though:

Mighty Kindred, we pray your help and blessings on all those in Houston and all of southeast Texas. May your spirits come to those in need, whether in the form of mental comfort or in the form of aid and rescuers, whatever they may need. Bless all those who are helping their neighbors, human and animal alike, that they may be safe, and that they may bring succor and safety to others.

Ancestors, blood of our blood and spirit of our spirit, we pray you give us strength – you were people who knew the challenge of building and rebuilding. As we enter the last phase of this storm, and move to facing what’s next, may we find your resilience and courage as we seek to re-order our lives.

Nature Sprits, you who are also displaced and affected by this storm, we pray you will be our allies, and that we can be yours. May we, as kindred of this middle realm, know that we are neighbors, and may we look out for each other as we rebuild, finding both our own place and yours after the storm

Deities, known and unknown, first children of the Mother, we pray you will give us guidance and comfort. Grant your wisdom to those who are helping, and your patience to those who have nothing to do but wait. As we move to rebuild, grant your strength to us all, that we may do the most good where it is most needed. Most especially, we pray that you who rule over releasing the waters will guide the last of these waters so that they will do the least amount of harm.

Kindreds all, we look to you now, and we ask that you bless each of us according to our needs – strength, patience, guidance, comfort. May we live our virtues in this time of trouble, and may we, as your kin, look to you now as we endure the last that this storm has to offer, and may we look to you always, as we rebuild and bring our lives back together.

Be it so!

And so we move forward. The storm is past, and now it is up to us to recover. To serve those who need help, and to piece together what we can of the old and create something new from it. (Easy for me to say, from my apartment which has power and internet working again already.)

My practice did not suffer for spending 10 days displaced, though it did adapt and change.

My runes for this week are:

  • Peordh – the dice cup, an uncertain outcome
  • Is – ice, stasis/beauty/danger
  • Ur – the aurochs, strength and stubbornness

The outcome of any storm is never certain – may you know when to be still and wait and when to fight with the stubbornness of the aurochs, that you may overcome the challenges ahead of you.

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Hurricane Harvey paid me a visit this week – I spent the first part of the week fretting about whether or not I would stay or leave. Then on Thursday afternoon, I saw the updated forecast to Category 4, saw the projected rainfall, and decided to just get the hell out.

I made that decision around 1:30 pm, talked to my boss, shut down my work for the day, and was on the road to Dallas with my cats by 3pm.

I had with me:

  • my runes and a deck of tarot cards (no reading cloth, no books)
  • my prayer beads
  • five days worth of clothes
  • a week’s worth of prescription medication plus a bit extra
  • two cats
  • a cat box
  • all the perishable food from my fridge that I thought was worth saving

And that’s it. This course is supposed to be about developing a home hearth based practice – as a Houstonian, hurricane evacuations are just going to be part of that practice, so there’s actually some merit in having it happen during my journal for this class. That said, it wasn’t fun, and I’m still displaced as of writing this (to be published later). My practice right now is prayer. Lots of prayer. My friends and loved ones are in the path of this storm – most of Nine Waves grove did not evacuate, for various reasons, and so I watch to make sure they are safe, and I pray.

Watching a storm like this come aground while you can do nothing about it puts me in mind to think on the power of nature, and to remember that I’m glad I don’t work in a cosmology that has a “problem of evil”. Sometimes bad things happen. It’s not personal.

I’ll try to unpack more of that next week. For now, I just hope and pray that next week when I write my journal entry, I have a home to go back to.

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I spent a lot of time this last week in contemplation, just of things in general. I got back my Liturgical Writing 1 submission, which is exciting, and I’ll be sharing it here, but otherwise it was a quiet week of offerings, prayers, and a lot of mantra meditation. I’ve been working on my Trance practice (not journaling it on the blog because it’s been a lot more of a learning process, and I didn’t feel like I wanted that out in the open), and working on what it means, or will mean, to be an ADF Priest, and to be a priest in general.

There’s a lot of quiet, personal work that is being asked of me right now – a lot of divination, a lot of meditation and prayer. I feel like I’m being “geared up” to do something bigger in time, but for now I’m getting used to a deeper relationship with Ing Frey, and what it means to serve a god of frith, a god of prosperity, a god of protection, a god of harvest. I wrote a prayer to him for my LW submission that I think I’d like to share, because it’s encompassed so many aspects of this deity that has become the central focus of my practice. (House spirits and ancestors always get offerings, but right now He is demanding a lot of attention.)

Hail Frey, Lord of the fields!
Beautiful lord of the Vanir
Golden of hair as the fields of wheat and corn,
Bringing riches of heart and hearth to the folk.

We hail you with the grain that springs forth
And falls again to nourish us.
We hail you, on your mighty boar in flight,
Lord of Frith that is bound to land,
You who can warm the cold heart,
Warrior without a weapon
Who give your prosperity to all of your kin,
You guide and sustain your descendants.

Lord Ing, Providing god,
God of the bees and the barley,
You who make the grain spring forth,
We sacrifice this, our first loaf,  to you
As the grains are sacrificed for us each year.

It is late summer here, and my plants are spent – in need of pruning, fertilizing, and resetting for the autumn growing season. In many ways, I am preparing for the inward turn that winter brings – but also the outward turn that is being asked of me in my work in leading Nine Waves grove.

My rune readings for last week were:

  • Wynn – Joy – contentment, having enough, being fulfilled
  • Lagu – The Sea – an uncertain time, one that may feel unsettled and uprooted
  • Sigel – The Sun – victory, good advice

Find joy in this time in your life, despite the upheaval that surrounds you in your path. Look for those who can guide you and give good advice, for theirs is the way to victory.

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My friend John Beckett is known for saying “It’s hard to meditate when your roof is leaking.”

My roof has been leaking this week. It’s been a nonstop slog of divorce bullshit and work bullshit, and I am just flat worn out. My spiritual practice this week has been “move the St. Expedite candle from the altar to the bathtub so it can continue to burn overnight” and my daily rounds of offerings to Ing Frey and my housewights. That’s all I’ve been able to manage, but it’s going to have to be enough.

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Sometimes, when you get asked to do something, you don’t always know the outcome, but you know that the answer is to say yes. So I did. We’ll see what shakes out from that decision.

On more seasonal subjects, my Lammas sacrifice was accepted – I drew the rune “Wynn” (Joy) when I made the offering. I hope that I can keep to it, but like any practice, I expect that it will be something that I struggle with and possibly will fail at sometimes. But I hope that it will be of benefit to me, and that my addition to the sacrifice will aid in the overall sacrifice of the year.

This year, the grove ritual was to Ing Frea, and I got to give the main offering, which was particularly nice. I celebrated at home as well, using a variation of the Core Order Ritual that I use in my monthly and weekly rituals. Obviously instead of the main offering being to the earth mother and gatekeeper, though, this ritual was for Ing Frea. I didn’t actually write down the invitation I used, choosing instead to speak improvisationally. It came out well, I think.

The omens for the ritual were as follows:

  • Have my offerings been accepted: Daeg – The Day – Light which shines upon everyone equally, with blessing and bounty.
  • What blessings do the ancestors offer me: Mann – Mankind – The ancestors offer community, which is the delight of community, and give us each other for strength. My voice was joined with all those who raised their voices to the Kindreds tonight, and our Wyrd was strengthened as a result.
  • What blessings do the nature spirits offer me: Ur – the aurochs – The nature spirits offer strength, the strength that charges, bull-headed towards an obstacle and forces its way through. It is stubborn strength and a hard fought victory.
  • What blessings do the deities offer me: Ior – the beaver – flexibility, adaptability. The beaver lives in the water, but forages on the land, and thus must I be willing to adapt to our situations to find the blessings and the victory to triumph.

I also, as was the custom for the Anglo-Saxons, baked cornbread, blessed it with the waters from the ritual, and placed it in the four corners of my home as a spell of protection for the next year. My “Loaf Fest” isn’t from the wheat harvest, because I don’t keep wheat flour in my home (celiac), but it still felt right to do. I’ve done a variation on this as part of my personal practice for several years now, and it always feels like “August” is really here when I do it.

My personal omen draw for the week is as follows:

  • Nyd – a need – I typically draw this rune in one of two ways – either there is a need that is unmet, and that I must seek to meet it, or a warning of impending hardship that can be avoided through careful work and planning.
  • Peordh – a dice cup/unknown – The rune poem reference in this one is of companions playing dice in a hall; a friendly game of chance. It is the rune of Luck, and of unknown outcomes, but often has positive connotations when I see it. If anything, it’s a surprise coming my way that I can’t really plan for.
  • Os – a mouth/a god – I typically read this rune as “wise speech”, as it is Woden’s rune, and cunning and cleverness are his hallmarks. It can also mean conversations, and inspiration.

I’ll be honest, this reading is a little troubling – I’m not usually one for cunning or wise speech – I’m a pretty straightforward person. And the runes of Need and Luck in the same reading… could mean things are about to go pear shaped. Or perhaps I’ll have a need and it will be met in an unexpected way.

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