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Even though I did the Liturgy Practicum 1 journal requirement back in 2014 (for the IP), I never turned it in, and I’ve decided to re-do the process over the next four months. As well, I will be combining it with my Trance 1 journal requirement (five months). Like I did for my Dedicant Path, this journaling will happen on Mondays, so that I can keep track of it.

Trance 1 – Question 9: Keep a journal for five months detailing the trance work that you have done. Write an essay based off those journals that examines your practice over the time you journaled. In this essay, explain how you can apply the trance work to divination, magic, and other workings you do in ritual and personally. Entries occurring less than weekly will not count toward completion of this requirement. Your journal must include work from the exercises found in the support material for this course. (min. 1000 words)

Liturgy Practicum 1 – Requirement #2: Documenting personal ritual practice: Keep and submit for review a journal documenting the development and observance of the personal/household worship customs described above covering a period of not less than four months, including one observance of a seasonal festival, such as one of the eight ADF High Days. Entries are to be not less than weekly. The text of individual prayers and longer devotional rituals should be provided as frequently as possible. Regular practices occurring less than weekly will be considered if they are documented as revivals or reconstructions of historically-attested observances occurring less than weekly.

Trance 1 Entry:

First week means none of my supplemental materials for this course have arrived yet – in fact, since I got almost all of them used, I won’t have most of them until the first week of June, since they’re shipping third class media mail. (Also, I really hope the one that came really well recommended was worth the expense – some out of print books are very inexpensive, and others… are not.) That said, looking over the list of acceptable trance practices, breathing is one of the options, and I don’t need any additional material to do that, so I went with that this week. I used the 9 step trance induction technique that Nick Egelhoff introduces in one of his videos in preparation for the Druid Moon Cast practice. It goes as follows:

Progressive Relaxation – the process of progressively relaxing each part of your body to facilitate a light trance state suitable for ritual. Good for a visionary/inhibitory trance state that is good for journeying. This practice involves counting up to nine, with a series of visualizations spent on each number as you progressively relax your body. As you move your thoughts/awareness down through your body, take time to think about and intentionally relax each area on each number. Then when you get to nine, hold your whole body in awareness.

  1. Relax your head (face muscles, skull, scalp) – while thinking “one” on each exhale
  2. Relax your neck, shoulders, and back – down your spine into the small of your back, while thinking “two” on each exhale
  3. Relax your arms (both arms) from fingertips to shoulders – while thinking “three” on each exhale
  4. Relax your chest (upper chest/torso) – while thinking “four” on each exhale
  5. Relax your stomach and abdomen – while thinking “five” on each exhale
  6. Relax your hips and buttocks – while thinking “six” on each exhale
  7. Relax your legs (thighs, knees, calves) – while thinking “seven” on each exhale
  8. Relax your feet – while thinking “eight” on each exhale
  9. Relax your whole body – while thinking “nine” on each exhale

To come OUT of this trance state, slowly count down from nine to one, breathing deeply, wiggling your fingers and toes. By the time you reach one, you should be fully aware and awake, with eyes open.

Most of the exercises in the Trance course seem to require at least 15 minutes of practice, but I’m still rebuilding my meditation muscles to be able to focus for that long. For this week’s exercise, which was a pure exercise in maintaining a trance state just to “see what happens”, I set a meditation timer for 15 minutes, lay on the floor (which is the most reliable way for me to get into a trance state), and settled myself into my mental grove, and just waited to see what happened. As usual for mental grove work for me (which is preparatory for journeying, but doesn’t actually involve a journey) various animals came in and out of my mental grove – this time it was mostly a rabbit, poking about under the giant arms of the oak tree in the grove.

The 15 minutes passed surprisingly quickly, but it wasn’t a particularly deep trance. I like this practice for starting to journey, and it’s one I’ve used in the past with good effect. I will be trying other exercises, of course, as part of this journaling experiment, but until I have the resources, this one seems to work well.

As with meditation, I get the best result from lying down, but I can manage if I need to be sitting up. Other things I’d like to try are drumming and other auditory trance cues, as I tend to respond well to sounds. I have an old iPhone that has the Drum Journey app on it that I can use, but I’ve also purchased a CD with a 60 minute drum track for this purpose (again, not here yet).

Liturgy Practicum 1 Entry:

This is a bit odd, as I’ve already essentially done this course, but doing it again won’t hurt anything. For my first week, I did my daily devotional practice (which happens on weekdays) every day. It goes as follows:

(Three breaths to center self)
(Light lamp)

Hail to you, Eorþan Modor – may I always be supported as I walk in your ways. (Touch earth)

The earth is below me, the heavens above me,
The flame lights the way! (Bless lamp)

The earth is below me, the heavens above me,
The well flows within! (Bless well)

The earth is below me, the heavens above me,
The tree spans the world! (Bless tree)

Let us pray with a good fire! (Light incense)

Hail to you, Eostre, Guardian of the Gates of Dawn. Hold fast these gates that I may speak into the worlds. (Open gates with hands)

I make offering to the gods.
May their power be with me this day. (Cense altar shelf)

I make offering to the ancestors.
May their wisdom be with me this day. (Cense altar shelf)

I make offering to the nature spirits.
May their blessing be with me this day. (Cense altar shelf)

The waters support and surround me
The land extends about me
The sky stretches out above me
At the center burns a living flame
May all the kindreds bless me.
May my worship be true
May my actions be just
May my love be pure
Blessings and honor and worship to the holy ones.

Mighty, Noble, and Shining Ones, thank you for your blessings and your presence.
Eostre, Guardian of the Gates of Dawn, thank you for keeping fast the ways. (Close gates with hands)
Eorþan Modor, mother of all – thank you for upholding me always. (Touch earth)

(Three breaths to center self)
(Extinguish lamp)

I’ve recently added the Earth Mother and Gatekeeper to this practice in preparation for the Clergy Student Discipline requirements, which (among other things) are about working with those two beings in preparation for ADF priesthood. As such, I thought it would be appropriate to honor them in my daily rituals.

I’m still working the kinks out of a weekend ritual to do each week, and I have a ritual script that I’ve used for awhile for monthly retreat weekends, but I’m not super happy with either just yet, so I’ll be working on those as this course progresses. I’d also like to add in an evening devotional that I can do as I get into bed at night.

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