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Posts Tagged ‘fire and water’

Part of ADF’s core order of ritual is a moment we call Creating the Group Mind, which involves grounding and centering. Most groves work with what we call the Two Powers – fire and water – that represent the primal forces of creation. Water is down, dark, chaos, potential, swirling, magnetic. Fire is up, light, cosmos, order, creation, burning, electric. As they combine, we find the energy we use to do magic. Below is a quick and dirty two powers meditation that you’re free to use – it works well with both large groups and as a solitary practice. Enjoy!

Children of Earth, breathe deep and close your eyes. As we stand here, preparing to work the magic that is found in our ritual, let us pause and release all the tension we may be carrying. Relax your arms and shoulders, ease your jaw and your forehead, and breathe deep into your belly. Now, let us take nine breaths together, to find our center and order ourselves in this great work.

For the first breath, our roots reach deep into the earth.
For the second breath, we draw up the swirling, chaotic waters.
For the third breath, we are filled with the cool waters.

For the fourth breath, our branches reach high to the heavens.
For the fifth breath, we draw down the ordering, creative fires.
For the sixth breath, we are filled with the burning fires.

For the seventh breath, the waters and fires alight, turning into the druid’s mist.
For the eighth breath, they expand and pour fourth, filling our grove.
For the ninth breath, we open our eyes, one grove, to work our magic together.

(2018, Lauren Mart)

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13.    Discuss your understanding of the Omen. (minimum 100 words)

The omen is the point in the ritual after the offerings and sacrifices have been made when the Seer steps forward to ask of the Kindreds what their reaction to the offerings will be (Newburg). Some groups ask specifically if offerings have been received (and make more offerings if the answer is “no”), while others assume that all offerings will be received in the spirit in which they were given and will thus be returned with blessings (Dangler, Newburg). The omen is typically taken through the reading of runes, oracles, cards, or other divination methods (older Druid groups typically read bird flight or natural omens instead, which is sometimes still done in ADF). It is up to the Seer to determine the nature of the omen, whether it is positive or negative, and what it means for the grove as a whole. In general, this omen also applies to the individual participants, who should think on what it might mean for them in particular.

14.    Discuss your understanding of the Blessing Cup, or “Return Flow”. (minimum 100 words)

Once the omen has been read and interpreted, the Priest/ess/Druid will ask that these blessings be transferred into the cup of (usually) drink that has been sitting on the altar. This is the direct return flow for the energies of the sacrifices and offerings that have been made. While they traveled through the gates to the otherworlds, the return flow travels exactly in reverse, from the otherworlds through the gate, to be caught in the vessel and presented to the people. This energized water, a mingling of “fires” and “waters” represents the Waters of Life. It is then shared among the participants of the ritual as a way of internalizing the blessings into each person and feeling the transformative power of those blessings. Individuals are directed to visualize the blessing pouring into them in whatever form they might need, as it is at this time that each individual can receive a personal and direct blessing from the powers.

Typically the Return Flow is thought of in three parts: Calling (asking) for the blessings, Hallowing the Blessing, and Affirmation of the Blessing (Newburg). Calling for the blessings is the step that initiates the return flow, where the *ghosti relationship is reaffirmed and reminds the Kindreds of when and how to confer the blessings, and sometimes what blessings are called for specifically. Hallowing the blessing realizes the arrival of the blessings, which permeate the beverage in the blessing cup and confer holiness and sacral power to the drink. Affirming the blessing has two parts – confirmation and integration. Confirmation is the full acceptance of whatever blessings the Kindreds give. Integration is the process of consuming the blessings and making them a part of the imbiber physically, mentally, and spiritually. (Newburg)

In rituals for large groups of people, sometimes the waters are asperged over the group instead of forming long lines of individual people and waiting for each to drink, as a way to keep the ritual energy from stagnating.

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6. Discuss the ritual significance of Fire and Water in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words)

The first instance of Fire and Water in ADF Ritual is typically the purification step, where we purify first with water (usually by sprinkling), and then with fire (in the form of incense) (Newburg). Where water washes and cleanses, incense purifies and fills us with sacred fire, and we are renewed by this step of the ritual and made ready to participate in the offerings that come afterward.

Fire and water are also the two most common representations of ADF’s Two Powers – the powers we draw upon for our magical workings and energetic currents (Newburg). The fire is the sky power, the power of the upperworld, of order and craft, and of the expression of will. The water is the underworld power, the power of chaos and potential. When these two powers meet, as they do in each participant in an ADF liturgy, they provide the magical current from which we have the power to do the work of making sacrifices and opening the gates. They also provide a grounding and centering aspect to ADF ritual, which  prepares the ritual participants for working together and mentally calms and prepares them for the energetic work that we do in each ritual (Bonewits “Step”, Newburg). These mirror nicely the two worlds that existed before the creation of the world in the Norse myths – the realm of ice (water) and the realm of fire, from which all things were made.

Fire is also the primary means of sacrifice to the upperworld, as it transforms our offerings into a form that the spirits can use. As well, at the end of each ritual, we imbibe the waters of life – waters which have been transformed by blessings (which often come from the otherworlds, and can be represented by fire) and which send us out into the world renewed and re-energized. By fire we give our offerings to the spirits, and by water they return blessings to us.

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