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Our Public Ritual Practice
Submitted by admin on Mon, 2011-08-29 16:23
As a Druid Fellowship we try very much to be inclusive and friendly so that all people may find our rituals fun and comfortable as well as a spiritual experience. In that light, we have created this page to give a brief overview of our ritual structure so that you know what to expect when you attend our next ritual.
Each High Day that our Grove celebrates is slightly different, each with its unique symbolism, customs, and traditions. The different traditions the grove employs may vary, although the four fire festivals are usually performed in the Celtic tradition. ADF uses the same basic ritual structure for all of our high days, so after attending two or three rituals the patterns should begin to look familiar, within each different and unique rite.
The first thing one may notice when attending our rituals is that we do not cast circles, as all space is seen as sacred. What we do instead is light a flame and give offering to any energies or entities that may want to disrupt our rite. We call these spirits the "Outdwellers." We do this to appease them so that we may work the rite in peace. Because there is no circle cast one can leave the ritual space at any time to make use of the facilities or for any other reason, as long as it is done quietly.
Once the space has been blessed and the Outdwellers are appeased we move on to offer to the Earth Mother and then call to the powers of inspiration. We invoke a deity associated with poetic inspiration so he or she may favor us and help us speak beautifully. The blessing of the Hallows - the fire, well, and tree - follows. These Hallows are gateways that we use to make a connection with the Kindreds. Once the hallows are ready we call on a Gatekeeper from the pantheon we are honoring to assist us as we collectively focus on opening the gates. The more energy the better, so don’t feel shy about joining in with your own will and intent as the gates are opened. Once the gates are opened, offerings and invocations are given to the Three Kindreds, which are the Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and the Deities. The animals and green kin of our world, both mystical and otherwise, as well as the fairy or Sidhe are first to be honored and invited to our rites. Then our blood ancestors and those Mighty Ones of our hearts and souls are honored and invited. Finally, the gods of the pantheon we are working with as well as the patron deities of all those attending are honored and are asked to join the rite.
Once all the Kindreds have been invited, the floor is left open for all those attending to give individual offerings to the Kindreds. You can take this time to give offering to any god or goddess that you wish, as well as any ancestors or nature spirits you would like to honor. If you have come without offerings, you can offer up a brief prayer, song, or give of your own energy. You can more or less do whatever you wish as long as what you’re doing doesn’t disrupt the flow of the rite and it is kept brief so that all may have time to approach the hallows. It should also be mentioned that at that particular part of the ritual, you are not asking for anything in return for your offerings. You are giving out of kindness, love, and out of the wish to give the Kindreds due honor. Later on in the rite is when we have the return flow. It is then that you may make your requests to the Kindreds.
After the personal offerings, we move onto the main invocation and main offering of the rite. How this is done may differ depending on what culture we are working with and what high day it is. We usually try to work in some lore into this part of the ritual so that we understand better why we are gathering that day and so that we may better understand the deities being invoked. After the main offering, an omen is taken, and then we prepare for the return flow.
The return flow is when the tide turns and the Kindreds give back to us. It is at this time that we invoke the waters of life, a chalice or drinking horn filled with an alcoholic beverage of some kind that we channel the blessings of the Kindreds into. If for some reason you are not comfortable drinking from the same cup, you are ill, or do not drink alcohol, raise the drinking vessel up to acknowledge the gods and the blessings that they are giving to you and pass the vessel along.
After the waters of life have gone around and everyone has had a chance to partake of their blessings, a further working may take place for the further blessing of those present. After which, the energy begins to descend and we begin to wrap up the ritual by giving thanks to all the spirits that joined us. The gates are then closed and we pronounce that the rite has ended and we rejoice, mainly because we move on to the feast then! It is always nice to have a large variety of food to enjoy after working through ritual, so if you feel like bringing something to share, please do!
So that completes our little crash course on Druid ritual. We hope that this has been helpful and that we will see you at our next ritual.
Written by Raven's Cry Grove, ADF. Used with permission.