Posts Tagged ‘Liturgy 1’

Bonewits, Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work. Minneapolis: Llewellyn Publications, 2007. Print.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Step by Step through A Druid Worship Ceremony.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/stepbystep.html&gt;.

Brooks, Arnold. “A Druidic Ritual Primer.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/ritual-primer.html&gt;.

Brooks, Arnold. “Goals of Group Ritual.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/group-ritual-goals.html&gt;.

Corrigan, Ian. “The Intentions of Drudic Ritual.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/intentions.html&gt;.

Corrigan, Ian. “Magical Skills in Druidic Ritual.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/magskills.html&gt;.

Corrigan, Ian. “The Worlds and the Kindreds.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/worlds-kindreds.html&gt;.

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. “Nine Central Tenets of Druidic Worship.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nine-tenets.html&gt;.

MacCulloch, J. A. The Religion of the Ancient Celts. Sacred Texts Online. Web. 16 September 2014. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac16.htm&gt;.

Newburg, Brandon. “Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites: A Core Order of Ritual Tutorial for Ár nDraíocht Féin.” ADF. Web. 21 August 2014. <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/index.html&gt;.

Paradox. “Sacred Space, an Exploration of the Triple Center.” ADF. Web.  2 June 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/sacred-space.html&gt;.

Thomas, Rev. Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice.” ADF. Web. 16 September 2014. <https://www.adf.org/articles/cosmology/nature-of-sacrifice.html>.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Boston, MA: Weiser, 2002. Print.

Wikipedia contributors. “Hecatomb.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Sep. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hecatomb&gt;.

Wikipedia contributors. “Óðrerir.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Sep. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93%C3%B0rerir&gt;.

Wikipedia contributors. “Roman temple.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Sep. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_temple&gt;.

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15.    Describe possible cultural variances for elements discussed in questions 3 through 14 above. (minimum 100 words)

ADF’s Core Order of Ritual is designed to remain coherent even while being adaptable to different hearth cultures. The following are cultural variations that might be found for the various elements of the Core Order:

  • Center and Gates – The sacred center can be represented by the World Tree (Yggdrasil/Eormensyl – Norse/Anglo-Saxon), or by the Sacred Mountain (Olympus – Hellenic). It can also be seen as the “center place” between Niflheim and Muspelheim – the Ginnungagap, the center of creation. The gates could be represented by something like the Bifrost Bridge in Norse mythology, making a direct connection to the world of the Gods.
  • Sacred Space/Outer Boundary – Roman rituals typically took place in temples, with defined boundaries and spaces, so a Roman rite might provide specific space as sacred (especially if they repeatedly use the same ritual space) rather than allowing for a completely open ritual (Wikipedia “Roman Temple”).
  • Earth Mother – A Hellenic ritual might substitute Hestia as the Hearth Goddess instead of an Earth Mother figure (though I believe substituting out the Earth Mother invalidates the Core Order, so substitutions here are a little problematic, but you might ADD an offering to Hestia as the one who gets the first sacrifice).
  • Fire and Water – As purification goes, some ritualists might add “earth” to Fire and Water, to make Land, Sky, and Sea as elements of purification (though I don’t know that this is specifically attested in any hearth culture, the Irish particularly liked references to Land, Sky, and Sea). As the two powers, chaos and order can be substituted for fire and water, or even Niflheim and Muspelheim (Fire and Ice).
  • Fire, Well, and Tree – Hellenic ritual might substitute a mountain (or rock) for the tree, and a pit for the well, as those are culturally significant in Hellenic mythology (Mount Olympus and the pit to access the underworld). Depending on the rite, a Vedic ritual might make reference to the pillars that hold up the world instead of a great tree.
  • Outdwellers – In the Irish hearth, these would likely be seen as the Fey/Faerie folk, and would generally be appeased, rather than warded against. In an Anglo-Saxon or Norse hearth, you’d be more likely to see warding against the Jotun, especially with invocations to Thor/Thunor, as that’s part of his function.
  • Three Kindreds – An Irish Celt might call to the beings of Land, Sea, and Sky instead of the three typical Kindreds (Corrigan “Worlds”).
  • Filling out the Cosmic Picture – An Irish Celt might make reference to the five provinces rather than the three worlds. A Norse ritual might acknowledge the nine realms (instead of three) and possibly make mention of each one.
  • Key Offerings – For a warrior ritual, one might make offerings to The Morrigan, or to Odin and Freyja, or to Mars, depending on one’s hearth culture. Similarly, depending on the type of divination being done, Odin (runes), Freyja (seidhr), or Apollo (oracle) would be appropriate.
  • Sacrifice – Perhaps the most dramatic (in size at least) culturally specific sacrifice is the hecatomb – a sacrifice of 100 cattle to Apollo, Athena, and Hera in the Hellenic culture (Wikipedia “Hecatomb”). (Someday I would like to see this replicated with a herd of children’s toy cows, or possibly of hamburgers.) Norse mythology also has the very dramatic (in function) sacrifice of the King in order to reverse a series of bad crops or famines. Less dramatically but perhaps more realistically, the Anglo-Saxons typically “sacrificed” the first loaf of bread to the fields at Lammas (hlaf-mas) to ensure good crops the next year.
  • Omen – Different forms of divination would be typical to different cultures. The Romans were particularly fond of watching the flight of birds, where Norse divination by casting lots/symbols is attested in Tacitus.
  • Blessing Cup/Return Flow/Waters of Life – The word “whiskey” (or “whisky”) is an Anglicization of the Gaelic word “water”, as part of the phrase “waters of life”, so you are very likely to see whiskey used in Irish rituals. (Whether this is because it’s significant or because people generally like whiskey I’ll leave up to the reviewer.) The Latin “aqua vitae” also is a reference to distilled spirits and means “waters of life”, so Roman ritualists may also use a distilled spirit. Norse rituals are more likely to use mead, as that drink was sacred in their culture, and the Norse have a direct “cup” symbol in Odhroerir (Wikipedia “Óðrerir”).

While leaving the original structure intact, there is a great deal of variation that is possible within the Core Order.

2.    Describe how ADF liturgy corresponds with your personal or group practice. (minimum 100 words)

I am currently involved with two groups that use the Core Order of Ritual fairly extensively. First, Protogrove of the Live Oaks does core order rituals every high day (as you would expect for a functioning protogrove). I have written several rituals for their use, and aside from not usually evoking the spirits of Inspiration, have found that they appreciate the structure of the core order and that it works well for our groups to have 3-4 people perform the ritual each high day, while the crowd of participants/laity sometimes approaches 15-20 people.

In the study group I lead, as we work through the Dedicant Path, we specifically have studied the core order, and use it for our own high day rituals every season as well. I help my students write these rituals, but primarily it is an exercise for them to get used to writing rituals so they will develop good liturgical skills. In the study group, everyone participates in some way in all the rituals, since there are only 5-8 of us, and we divide up the parts before the ritual so that everyone can be involved in gaining ritual skill. While this sometimes makes for less powerful rituals, it does a good job at helping us feel connected to one another, even if not everyone is destined to be a great liturgist and performer.

Privately, I occasionally do full core order rituals, especially if I am doing a particularly serious working, but in general I do condensed forms of this structure. I like the core order a lot, and I like high ritual, so I enjoy it, but for everyday use, it is much more likely for me to be able to continue a regular practice that only takes 3-5 minutes at a time. As I work on the Liturgy Practicum portion of the Initiate’s Path, I will be adding more core order elements to at least a weekly ritual, if only so that I can get better at improvising aspects of the ritual and can get away from using a ritual book.

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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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10.    Describe other possible models for the “Filling Out the Cosmic Picture” sections. (minimum 100 words)

Filling out the cosmic picture is the way in which we call the various beings into our ritual center to take place in our rite. Most typically, this is done in three invocations to the three kindreds. This could also be done as three invocations to the beings of Land, Sea, and Sky (particularly if the ritual was of a Celtic bent) (Corrigan “Worlds”), or by invocations to the beings of the Underworld, Middleworld, and Upperworld (Dangler), since depending on the cosmology, there are deities in all three places, and ancestors can go to various homes, such as going to Folkvangr/Valhalla instead of to Helheim (in the underworld). If the ritual is to be Germanic/Norse in hearth, there might be nine worlds that are opened/called upon, instead of the usual three, or an Irish ritual might call upon the five provinces. The ritual could also use pictures or representations of the three kindred instead of (or in addition to) doing called/vocal invocations, especially for a ritual that included large groups of people, as this would connect with different senses than just sound and imagination.

11.    Discuss how one would choose the focus (or focuses) for the Key Offerings. (minimum 100 words)

Generally speaking, the focus of the key offerings should match the beings of the occasion, the purpose of the ritual, or both (Newburg). For the 8 high days, there is commonly attributed lore for what kind of deities and offerings would be appropriate (calling upon fertility deities and offering seeds and flowers at Beltane, for example). For magical workings, there are myriad lists of magical correspondences that would fit into the general paradigm of the working itself, or the previously listed lore for what certain deities might like as offerings. There is also the opportunity to do meditative work on the various beings to think of ways that you might please the spirits who are the focus of the ritual. Though this would generally be classified as unverified personal gnosis, it may also fall under the “common sense” category, depending on what you come up with (healing herbs as an offering in a healing ritual, for example). In general, though, it’s best to match your key offerings either to the occasion or to the beings that are central to the ritual in a way that makes sense for the purpose of your ritual, and go from there.

12.    Discuss your understanding of Sacrifice, and its place in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words)

Sacrifice means “to do/make sacred” and is the process by which things are set apart for the spirits that we are making sacrifices to/for. I typically see this represented as Gebo/Gyfu – as the Havamal says, “a gift calls for a gift” – where we are entering into a relationship with these spirits that is categorized by gift-giving on both sides. We make sacrifices and offerings; they give us blessings in return. It is a relationship of reciprocity, though not in a “tit for tat” sort of way, but in the manner of a cultivated friendship. When you are close friends or family with someone, you don’t keep a tally of the things you do for each other, but you reciprocate good things with other good things, perhaps taking turns covering a dinner bill, or paying for a friend’s dinner so you can use their washing machine because yours is broken. It’s not a direct one for one relationship of equality, but a relationship where each gives according to their own measure. This relationship is central to ADF’s liturgy, and forms the backbone of our ritual structure. We create the sacred center, invite in the various spirits and powers, and then create a space for sacrifice, where we give of ourselves (whether physical items or gifts of time and energy (like dance, poetry or song)) and they, in return, offer blessings. These sacrifices should have meaning, either to us or to the spirits they are offered to, or both, though they may not come at great monetary cost (Newburg).

Sacrifice is also the act that creates the cosmos, as in the lore when “twin” is portioned out to create the world. The sacrifices we make in our rituals mirror this act of creation and help to reinforce the right order of the cosmos (Thomas). Each act of sacrifice is distributed among the cosmos, reinforcing and re-energizing it with order.

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9 – Describe the intention and function of the Three Kindreds invocations, and give a short description of each of the Kindreds. (minimum 100 words for each of the Three Kindreds)

The three kindreds invocations serve as ways to name and identify the kindreds by type, function, and role in the ritual and in the lives of the participants/the world. They primarily take the form of lists of attributes, titles, great works, or other specific identification markers (like names, realms of influence, type) as ways for us to remember them and for them to be identified and called specifically to our rituals. None of the Kindred are omniscient or omnipresent, or we would not need to invite them to our rituals specifically, nor ask them for specific blessings.

Ancestors: Often called the Mighty Ones or the Mighty Dead, these are the spirits of our past. They can be of several types: ancestors of blood – our direct progenitors and family members, ancestors of heart – those people who were not family but were close to us in life, ancestors of mind – people who taught and inspired us, and ancestors of spirit – people with whom we share a spiritual path, as well as the ancestors of the place in which we currently live or do ritual. We call upon all the different Ancestors in ritual (sometimes specifically, sometimes all together as one category) and ask their blessings and protection. The ancestors are typically beings who are concerned with the well-being of their descendants, and can be reliable allies in life (Corrigan “Worlds”). Offerings to them should be tailored to their specific likes in life (if they are being called by name) or, more often, general offerings of food and drink (to show that they are welcome at our table and to spiritually feed them from our own bounty). The Ancestors are invited to connect us to the past and to the ever present spirits of those who have gone before (Bonewits “Step”). They provide a link to all the previous priests and druids who have gone before, and ask their presence and blessing and guardianship over the ritual.

Nature Spirits: Often called the Noble Ones, these are the spirits of land and place that inhabit the middle realm with us (Corrigan “Worlds”). They can be of myriad types, from house spirits and land spirits to animals and plants, to elves and fae, depending on the ritual and the person(s) performing it (Bonewits “Step”). Sometimes mischievous, other times aloof, they do not depend on human interaction, but are instead honored as part of the world that we inhabit and call home. The non-animal Nature Spirits, in particular, have specific ways they like to be addressed and given offerings, and when those preferences are upheld, they are often friendly and helpful spirits to us. The Nature Spirits are invited to give us the comfort, knowledge, and blessings that we will need to accomplish our goals for the rest of the ceremony (Bonewits “Step”).

Deities: Often called the Shining Ones, First Children of the Mother, these are the beings most often honored as “spirits of the occasion” in ADF rituals (Corrigan “Worlds”). They are the gods and goddesses that we honor and worship, and from whom we expect the greatest blessings and protection. They are the great heroes of myth and legend, and we relate their stories as a way to honor and remember them. They are all separate (or mostly separate) and each has his or her own personality, likes and dislikes, and function within their respective pantheons. By these attributes, we relate to them and make offerings to them (Bonewits “Step”). The Dieties are invited to provide us with power and blessings, especially power and blessings particular to the rite to which they are invited (Bonewits “Step”). As well, they fulfill the goal of ritual that seeks to exalt the ritual attendees spiritually (Bonewits “Step” Corrigan “Intentions”).

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8.    Discuss the Outdwellers and their significance in ritual (or not, as the case may be). (minimum 100 words)

Outdwellers are representatives of the forces of chaos, and generally are seen as beings that would act contrary to the rite that is being performed (specifically to the order that ADF ritual seeks to create) (Newburg). While some view them as specifically malevolent or chaotic beings, others view them as simply “anyone we’re not actively making offerings to today” (Newburg). Some groups also include human feelings and impulses (like anger or jealousy) that would have a negative impact on the rite as part of the outdwellers (Newburg), though making offerings to those feelings seems odd to me. The outdwellers can be a significant (or not) portion of ADF worship depending on how they are viewed by any particular group that is performing the ritual. Some groups make offerings to the outdwellers directly, some groups make offerings to a protective god/ess or spirit to protect the sacred rite from the influence of the outdwellers, and some groups ignore them entirely, preferring not to name those forces and thus garner their attention. I usually do some of the first two – I make an offering to the outdwellers directly (usually beer or soda or cider), and then ask Thunor’s protection of my ritual space – which is something of a threat, considering how Thunor usually deals with things that disrupt the order of the universe.

Added 7/15: Our protogrove has chosen simply to ward our ritual space through an offering and song to Thunor, which is based on an Anglo Saxon hallowing charm, set to music. We tried several other methods of offerings, and nothing felt quite right, but we also didn’t feel right completely ignoring the idea of the outdwellers, and so we settled on using a guardian deity whose function is the protection of the middle world to specifically protect our ritual space. We make these offerings to Thunor both at the beginning of the ritual (asking for protection) and at the end (thanks for protection), as well as singing the charm and carrying fire around the space.

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7. Discuss the origins of the Fire, Well and Tree, and the significance of each in ADF liturgy. (minimum 100 words for each of the Fire, Well and Tree)

Fire: The Fire forms one of the gates in ADF’s sacred center. It is the connection to the upperworlds, and it is most often affiliated with the Deities. It is the hearth fire and the essence of change, the spark that creates life (Paradox). Fire burns away impurities and makes things sacred. The sacred fire is the recipient of many of our offerings, which burn into smoke that feeds the deities in the nature of the Vedic sacrifices to and through Agni. Fire was highly important in Indo-European cultures, and many sacred fires are found in the mythology, from Agni (who is fire itself) to the Roman hearth fires and Vestal fires (Dangler).

Well: The Well forms one of the gates in ADF’s sacred center. It is the connection to the underworlds, and it is most often affiliated with the Ancestors, who go “below” and from whom we get wisdom and memory. It is also affiliated with chthonic deities and their underworld realms. Water from the well washes away impurities and makes things sacred. The well is represented in the mythology by the three wells that feed the World Tree Yggdrasil, from which Odin gains wisdom and the Norns get the mud that repairs the world tree’s roots. It is also similar to the watery otherworld that the Irish see as the home of the Ancestors. (Paradox)

Tree: The Tree holds fast the ways between the worlds. It stands at the center and connects all the worlds, and it is most often affiliated with the Nature Spirits, who live in and among its branches. The tree spans the worlds, from the watery depths of the well to the fiery heights of the sky. It is particularly well represented by Yggdrasil, the great World Tree, whose inhabitants include the dragon (Nidhogg), the squirrel (Ratatosk), the unnamed eagle, and the four stags (Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór) (Paradox). The Irish also have an ancient sacred tree, the Bile, found growing over a holy well or fort (MacCulloch).

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