Liturgy 1.9 – Describe the intention and function of the Three Kindreds invocations, and give a short description of each of the Kindreds.

23 07 2017

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)

ADF acknowledges three groups of spiritual beings – the three Kindreds. They are the gods and goddesses, the ancestors and the spirits of nature. It is important to note that these are not hard and fast boundaries and certain beings may fit into more than one of these categories. As Isaac Bonewits wrote, “if a spirit gets powerful enough, and is perceived as predominantly beneficial, it may become something that people will call a deity.”

The gods and goddesses are the eldest, mightiest and wisest ones. They may have had a hand in creation. They often rule over particular spheres of life such as love, war, craftsmanship or poetry, but they are not one-sided and often have multiple interests. In ADF they are called the Shining Ones and are communicated with through the gate of fire. The Earth Mother is often the first of these gods to be acknowledged and honoured in ritual – she is the goddess of sovereignty who upholds the ritual. Following her, we honour the god of inspiration, the gatekeeper god, and the deities of occasion. The gods and goddesses are often seen as ancestors of humans as all beings are “children of the mother.” As a Polytheistic religion, ADF acknowledges the reality of many real, literal gods who have their own agency and desires, however what one believes about them is up to the individual. The gods are often seen as being personified and immanent within nature, or living in the world of the gods, called “Osgeard” in the Anglo-Saxon hearth culture.

The Ancestors are called the Mighty Ones, the Dead. They can be ancestors of blood, who are the ancestors of our family line – our grandmothers and grandfathers back through history. They can be ancestors of place, who are the people who once lived or worshipped in the place we are currently doing the ritual. And they can be ancestors of spirit, who are ancestors who have inspired us in some way, whether people we knew in life, or those who have had a big influence on our culture. In this third category, I would also place Heroic ancestors. In ancient cultures, many great leaders were deified and turned into something more than a simple ancestor by a community. The ancestors live “under the mound”, they dwell in the Underworld, which is often thought of as a place of feasting, rest and merriment. From this place (called Hel in Anglo-Saxon and Norse hearth cultures), they watch over their descendants and lend us power to aid us. They can also communicate with us through dreams. We communicate with them in ritual through the Well. In my opinion, honouring our ancestors regularly is the most important of the three groups because they are the ones most likely to take an interest in us and help us out when we need it.

The Spirits of Nature are called the Noble Ones. They are the local spirits of place, the ones who “enliven the land”. As an animist religion which acknowledges the spirit inherent in all things, ADF honours the spirits in the land around us. They are the spirits within the stones and mountains, the sun and wind, the trees and flowers, the birds and animals and the waters. These spirits are seen in different ways depending on the hearth culture. In the Celtic hearth culture, they are the Sidhe who live under the mounds, or the Faeries. In Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth culture’s they are the Alfar or Aelfe, the dwarves and the land-wights. They are often named after the places they inhabit e.g. water elves, wood elves, field elves and so on. These spirits are not necessarily friendly to humans. They have their own desires and should be approached cautiously, however a relationship can be built with them over time and they can become important allies, granting us luck and prosperity. If we anger them, they are capable of sending “elf darts” which can cause illness according to the Anglo Saxons. Another important class of spirits is the house spirit, a spiritual being who inhabits a house or farmstead, aids people in chores and prosperity, but is very sensitive to being sent away if they are made to feel unwelcome, the house is not kept clean, or they are offered clothes as payment for their services. We communicate with the spirits of nature in ritual through the sacred Tree.

In ritual, we invoke the three Kindreds to invite them to pay attention to us and to open ourselves up to receive their blessings. Bonewits says that invocation is “establishing communication with entities from either within or outside of oneself.” By seeking to get their attention, honouring them through “beautiful speech, poetry or music” which “pleases and influences the powers”, we can then receive their blessings in our daily lives.

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

ADF. “Standard Liturgical Outline.” ADF. Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Step by Step through A Druid Worship Ceremony.” ADF. Web.

Brooks, Arnold. “A Druidic Ritual Primer.” ADF. Web

Brooks, Arnold. “Goals of Group Ritual.” ADF. Web.

Corrigan, Ian. “The ADF Outline of Worship: A Briefing for Newcomers.” ADF. Web. 

Corrigan, Ian. “The Intentions of Drudic Ritual.” ADF. Web.

Corrigan, Ian. “The Worlds and the Kindreds.” ADF. Web.

Paradox. “Sacred Space, an Exploration of the Triple Center.” ADF. Web.

Thomas, Kirk. “The Nature of Sacrifice.” ADF. Web.



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