Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

Sometimes the universe just hits you with a clue-by-four. I’ll save that for another day, but suffice to say that I’m about to get a lot busier with my spiritual practice.

As a check in, my current practice includes:

  • Full COoR ritual once a week (usually Tuesday nights, sometimes Fridays too), which includes divination
  • “Crowdsourced” Full Moon rituals with my grove
  • Weekly study meetings with my grove
  • Daily practice even if it’s just 3 minutes at my altar to light some incense
  • Regular offerings to the Gatekeeper, Earthmother, my three primary deities (Ingwe Frea, Frige, Hela), and to my house spirits
  • High day rituals with my grove (which I write and coordinate)

Which is honestly a pretty full slate of ritual practices, now that I look at it. I’ve come a long way in the last almost three months, and it’s kind of startling to think that I’ve been rebuilding this fast (and at the same time it feels almost painfully slow).

If I can keep up this level of enthusiasm and motivation, I will be thrilled, but I do know that some of what is coming will be a slog. But that’s okay.

On the celebratory front, this weekend is Lammas! This is my favorite high day, I think, which is funny as there’s been a number of posts around the pagan blogosphere about how Lammas is one of the “forgotten” high days. I guess because I’ve never associated it with Lugh at all, and instead celebrate the first harvest, and the sacrifice of that harvest, it’s always been a different thing for me.

My very first Lammas celebration included my having to “make a sacrifice” – both monetary (the destruction of something of monetary value – in that case, a silver mercury dime) and metaphysical – as part of the coven I was working with, and I have kept to that practice every year, using the harvest season as a time of “giving up” something. I know what I need to give up this year, but it will be challenging. But if that’s not what spiritual disciplines are for, I don’t know what would be. I will be keeping this “sacrifice” from Lammas through Samhain.

There is a lot of UPG floating around about how Freyr (Ingwe Frea) is the lord of the first harvest, the golden grain god who is cut down as a sacrifice. While I don’t know what I think about that as UPG, the general idea of him being at his height – and then cut down – at this time of year appeals to me. The story of John Barleycorn is old – possibly all the way back to Anglo-Saxon paganism and the myth surrounding Beowa (Barley, with some association with Frey). And so it is with both joy and sorrow that I see the first harvest, the sacrifice of the grain, which then blesses and feeds us throughout the year.

My personal celebration of this high day is similar to the one the Anglo-Saxons would have done. I bake a loaf (in my celiac-disease-having state, a loaf of cornbread), bless it, and sacrifice it to the earth at the four corners of my home as protection throughout the coming winter. Since I live in an apartment now, that means depositing cornbread outside, but my neighbors already think I’m odd.

So as we move into August, let’s remember the sacrifice of the grain, of John Barleycorn, and perhaps consider making a sacrifice of our own, to ensure a good harvest and the continuation of our communities.


This week’s divination is as follows:

  • Ior – the eel (or beaver) – flexibility/adaptability
  • Rad – the journey – a journey or path, something that might seem easy from the outside but is a challenge to do
  • Gyfu – the gift – reciprocity, hospitality (and the rune I have consistently drawn regarding my path to the priesthood)

I know that, on some level, rune drawing is random – I’m pulling random symbols out of a bag. But sometimes they speak so strongly.

Be flexible, adapt to your situation and to those around you; you’re on a long journey to priesthood, but this is the journey you need to take. 


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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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