Liturgy 1.16 – Describe how ADF liturgy corresponds with your personal or group practice.

23 07 2017

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

I follow the ADF Core Order of Ritual structure for my rituals at each of the eight high days of the year, as well as for my New Moon celebrations. My altar is focused around the Fire, Well and Tree. I follow an Anglo-Saxon hearth culture primarily so my ritual symbolism and wording is focused on Norse/ Anglo-Saxon imagery. I honour the Anglo-Saxon gods, equate the Well with the Well of Wyrd and the World Tree with Eormensyl. I call the Spirits of Nature “aelfe.” I honour Nerthus as the Earth Mother and choose Anglo Saxon deities as the focus of the key offerings at each High Day. I don’t create a boundary, but I do carry fire around the ritual area and ask Thunor to hallow the area and keep away any unfriendly wights. I take the Omen by using the Anglo-Saxon runes and I brew and use Mead as the Waters of Life. Mead is also my primary form of sacrifice to the gods and spirits. My daily practice is usually focused on a brief prayer, and maybe an offering of incense, to the Ancestors so I don’t use the ADF ritual at those times.

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.





Liturgy 1.15 – Describe possible cultural variances for elements discussed in questions 3 through 14 above.

23 07 2017

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

Centre/ Gates – The centre, gates and gatekeeper will vary depending on the hearth culture. For example, in a Hellenic hearth culture, the tree may be replaced with a Mountain/ Stone representing Mt Olympus. In a Norse hearth culture, the tree will be seen as Yggdrasil and the Well as the Well of Wyrd, while the gatekeeper may be the god Heimdall and there may be gates to the nine worlds. In a Celtic hearth culture, the tree will be the Bile, the Well will be the Well of Segais and the gatekeeper will often be Manannan Mac Lyr.

Sacred spaces – Sacred spaces may depend on the hearth culture, with Celtic and Germanic hearth cultures focusing more on liminal spaces and sacred groves, while Hellenic and Roman hearth culture view temples as the sacred spaces.

Earth Mother – The name of the Earth Mother will change with each hearth culture. She will be called Gaia in a Hellenic hearth culture, Jord in a Norse hearth culture, Nerthus in an Anglo-Saxon hearth culture and Terra Mater in a Roman hearth culture. She may be considered more as the goddess of the earth in Norse, Anglo-Saxon or Hellenic hearth cultures, while a local goddess of sovereignty and the waters in a Celtic hearth culture.

Fire/Water – In a Norse hearth culture, the basic elements of the universe will be seen as the Fire of Muspelheim and the Ice of Niflheim. In a Celtic culture, these elements will be Fire and Water. There are also different goddesses of fire depending on the culture. For example, in the Irish Celtic hearth culture, the fire may represent the goddess Brighid, while in the Hellenic hearth culture the fire represents Hestia, and in the Roman hearth culture, it represents Vesta.

Fire/ Well and Tree – The Well is often seen differently depending on the hearth culture. In Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth cultures, the well is equated with the three Wells of Wyrd, Mimir and Hvergelmir, while in the Celtic hearth culture it is the Well of Segais. Similarly, the name of the tree is different, with the Norse calling it Yggdrasil, the Anglo-Saxons calling it Eormensyl and the Celts calling it Bile.

Outdwellers – In Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth cultures, the outdwellers will be seen as the Giants, the Jotnar and perhaps deities such as Loki, Hel or the world serpent. They are the forces of chaos held at bay by Thor. In the Hellenic hearth culture, they will be seen as the Titans, the primordial powers of creation. In the Celtic hearth culture, they will be identified with the Formorians who were defeated by the Tuathe De Danaan.

Three Kindreds – The three Kindreds may be seen slightly differently depending on the hearth culture. Each hearth culture will have their own pantheons with their own gods and there will often not be a standard deity for the same thing across all cultures. For instance, there is no deity for fire in Norse and Anglo-Saxon cultures, and there is no definitive deity of the Sun in Celtic cultures. The particular ancestors honoured in each hearth culture may differ, such as the Roman Lares Familiaris and the Norse Disir. Finally, the names of the spirits are different in each hearth culture, from the Anglo-Saxon elves and dwarves, to the Hellenic dryads to the Celtic Sidhe and Fae.

Filling Out Cosmic Picture – In a Celtic hearth culture, the cosmos may be viewed as three realms – land, sea and sky. In a Norse or Anglo-Saxon culture, the cosmos may be viewed as seven or nine worlds. In a Hellenic hearth culture, the cosmos may be viewed as made up of the Underworld of Hades, the middle world and the Upper World of Mt Olympus.

Key offerings – The focuses for key offerings will change depending on the hearth culture. For example, in at Samhain, one might honour Odin and Hel in a Norse hearth culture, while one honours the Dagda, Morrigan or Donn in a Celtic hearth culture, and Hades in a Hellenic hearth culture

Sacrifice – Sacrifices may also be different in each hearth culture. In Celtic and Norse hearth cultures, there may be more focus on offering metallic objects such as broken weapons or mead as a libation, while in Hellenic and Roman hearth cultures, the offerings may focus on olive oil or wine.

Omen – In Celtic hearth cultures, the Omen is usually taken using Oghams, while in Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth cultures runes are used. In Hellenic and Roman Hearth cultures auguries using the flight of birds may be used.

Blessing Cup – Mead is considered a sacred drink in many hearth cultures, but especially in Celtic and Germanic hearth cultures. Similarly, wine may be used in more Mediterranean hearth cultures such as the Hellenic and Roman ones. These sacred drinks are often used as the “Waters of Life” in the Blessing Cup.

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.





Liturgy 1.14 – Discuss your understanding of the Blessing Cup, or “Return Flow”.

23 07 2017

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

After we have offered our praise and sacrifices to the deities and spirits, the focus and direction of energy within the ritual shifts to become a “return flow”. The blessings of the gods and spirits are invoked through each gate and focused into a horn or cup. The liquid contained in this vessel is what ADF calls the “Waters of Life.” The drink is blessed and “charged with the energies of the one(s) being worshipped.” Then, as the participants drink the liquid, they receive into themselves the return power, energies and divine gifts offered by the deities and spirits. It is very important to be receptive in order to receive the blessings. This is achieved in ADF ritual through three stages – calling for the blessings, hallowing and receiving the blessings, and then affirming the blessings.

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.





Liturgy 1.13 – Discuss your understanding of the Omen.

23 07 2017

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

The Omen is taken for three reasons. The first is to determine whether the deities and spirits are happy with our offerings. Usually they are happy, however if they express their displeasure through the omen then we must give more sacrifices and see if these offerings are accepted. On extreme occasions that may not be suitable either and the ritual is then abandoned. The second reason is to help the ritual participants become open and receptive to the blessings of the deities so that they can be easily received. The final reason is to ascertain what blessings the spirits and deities will bestow on the participants in return. The participants may be asked to focus on what they need and expect the deities and spirits to provide that, or they may accept the particular blessing suggested by the rune, ogham e.t.c that was chosen. The Omen is usually taken by asking the spirits questions such as “Have our offerings been accepted?” and “What blessings do the Kindreds offer us in return?” and then pulling out one or several runes/ ogham’s to get an answer. It is also possible to use more natural omens such as the flight of birds or the movement of the wind through the trees.

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.





Liturgy 1.12 – Discuss your understanding of Sacrifice, and its place in ADF liturgy.

23 07 2017

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

The word sacrifice means “to make sacred.” As Kirk Thomas writes, sacrifice is “to make something set apart from ordinary reality.” When we sacrifice, we are making something holy and giving it to the spirits. Many Indo-European hearth cultures have a creation myth that begins with sacrifice – often a sacrifice by “man” of this “twin” who is then used to create the worlds. In a similar way, when we sacrifice we are remembering and re-enacting this first act of creation, and perhaps even engaging in an act of creation ourselves – sacrificing to enable to universe to continue. Mircea Eliade writes that “every sacrifice repeats the primordial act of creation and guarantees the continuity of the world for the following year.”

The key concept in sacrifice is the idea of Ghosti. It is “I give that you might give” or “a gift for a gift.” It is about hospitality, forming relationships and reciprocity. It is giving something of oneself to others. The sacrifice is the central action of an ADF ritual, and gifts can range from flower, food and drink, to oil, incense and precious metals, to poetry, dance and song. While the ancients engaged in animal and even human sacrifice, these things are rightly forbidden in ADF rituals. In ancient times, we also find many examples of metals items such as weapons given as offerings by being broken and thrown into lakes, bogs and rivers.

There are different types of sacrifices given for a wide range of reasons. First are propitiatory and piacular sacrifices where one is sacrificing out of fear of the wrath of the gods, and apotropaic ones in which people seek to placate unfriendly spirits or avert evil influence and bad luck. There are sacrifices of thanksgiving in which we give offerings to show gratitude to the gods and spirits, and supportive sacrifices to show our love for the deities and spirits, which helps to strengthen them. Isaac Bonewits writes that sacrifice is literally “a feeding of the deities” in which we “feed the gods with as much psychic energy as possible, in order to trigger a return response of divine power.” In other words, when we sacrifice we are sharing a sacred meal with the gods. Sources show that in many older Pagan cultures, the sacrifice was a literal meal in which an animal was burned and some parts were saved for the gods, while others were given to the people to eat. Other examples of sacrifices include sacrifices of the first fruits of the harvest, libation sacrifices in which liquids are poured onto the ground as offerings to chthonic gods, the dead and the spirits at crossroads, or votive sacrifices which are offerings made to fulfil a vow. Ultimately the aim of sacrifice is gain something in return, whether that is receiving divine favour and protection, building and strengthen our relationships with the spirits or each other, or maintaining cosmic order.

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.

 





Liturgy 1.11 – Discuss how one would choose the focus (or focuses) for the Key Offerings.

23 07 2017

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

There are two steps to choosing the focus or focuses for the Key Offerings. The first step is to choose a hearth culture for the ritual. Often this choice will depend on the preferences and religious inclinations of the grove members or ritual organisers. Some groves will focus only on one hearth culture all the time, while others will have members with a range of hearth cultures and therefore will use a variety throughout the year. ADF advises that each ritual focuses on only one hearth culture for that particular ritual in order to ensure we are not calling on spirits that may be antagonistic toward each other, as well as to ensure the symbolism and worldview used in the rites is inwardly coherent and focused.

Once a hearth culture has been chosen, the second step is to choose the particular main deities to honour. Usually this is one or two deities. Choosing the deity is often based on the seasonal occasion or the magical intent of the rite. For example, at Midsummer a grove will often honour a sun deity, while at Mabon they will often honour a harvest deity and at Samhain, they will honour a deity of death. If the purpose of a rite is healing, they may honour a healing deity, while if it is a wedding, they may honour a deity of marriage or family.

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.





Liturgy 1.10 – Describe other possible models for the “Filling Out the Cosmic Picture” sections.

23 07 2017

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

The standard way within ADF to fill out the cosmic picture is to recreate the cosmos by honouring and giving an offering to the three hallows – the fire, well and tree, and acknowledging the three realms of land, sea and sky. But there are alternative ways depending on the hearth culture. For example, in a Hellenic hearth culture one might use a Mountain (representing Mt Olympus) rather than the Tree as one of the three hallows and fire may be considered a representation of Hestia. A Celtic hearth culture might consider there to be three realms – land, sea and sky or the five provinces of Ireland, but also view there as being only one Otherworld – Annwn or Tir Na N’Og. While a Norse or Anglo-Saxon hearth culture might view there as being seven or nine worlds. For those more focused on a shamanic worldview, they might use a Pole rather than a tree, and see the three worlds made up of the underworld, the middle world (earth) and the upper world of the gods.

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.





The Three Kindreds

4 03 2014

The three Kindreds are the main objects of worship and honour in ADF. They are the Ancestors, the Nature Spirits and the Gods. The Gaelic reconstructionists refer to them as the “de ocus ande” – the gods and un-gods. We can enter into relationship with any of them through the principle of Ghosti, of sacrifice and a gift for a gift. Through prayer, the giving of offerings and the way we live our lives, we can honour them and show them respect.

Until a few years ago I wasn’t very interested in my ancestors. But since the death of a friend and my journey into paganism, they have become a very important part of my life and spiritual practice. With only one grandparent and my parents left, I have many direct ancestors to honour. In ADF the ancestors are associated with the Well because that is the gate to the underworld in which they dwell. They are also associated with the Sea. In Celtic mythology one of the dwelling places of the dead were islands over the western sea, while in Norse mythology, those who die at sea are thought to dwell under it in the halls of Aegir and Ran. The ancestors are also related to the concept of water because of the well of wisdom (Mimir). The ancestors represent the accumulation of many generations of wisdom and memory which one accesses through the sacred well. In terms of the Two Powers conception of the universe, the ancestors would be related to the Earth current – the dark, cool, embryonic power of the earth which is full of knowledge and potential.

The ancestors, also called the Mighty Dead in ADF, can be viewed in three distinct groups. The first are the ancestors of blood. These are our ancestors who are directly related to us through our blood e.g. family members who have passed away. The second are ancestors of spirit. These are people who have influenced our lives, whether people we knew or those who have had an important affect on our culture and helped to create the world we live in today. These can also include the ancient ancestors of our chosen hearth culture. Finally there are ancestors of place. These are the people who lived in and shaped the land on which we currently live – their bones and atoms are now in the very ground we walk on. I also think it is important to remember that science teaches us through evolution that our ancestry can be traced right back to a common ancestor and that we are therefore kin with all living beings in the world. In ADF the ancestors are considered to be able to hear the voice of the living, to value our offerings and to be able to guide and protect us.

There are many ways to honour our ancestors. For me, this takes three main forms. Firstly I have done research into my family tree to discover as much as I can about my ancestors. I have discovered that I have some Japanese ancestry and that one of my great great grandfathers was killed in the first world war. Secondly I maintain an area of my altar devoted to my ancestors and place several objects and pictures on it that remind me of them. Finally, I also call on them in ritual (especially on Samhain) and give them offerings of cider in order to show that I honour them. In Celtic, Anglo Saxon and Norse cultures, the ancestors could often be contacted by visiting their graves or sitting on their grave mounds so this year I would like to try and visit some of my ancestors graves which are quite far away from me and pay my respects. I would also like to do even more more research into my family tree and find out as many of their birthdays and death days so I can honour them on those days (which is something I already do for one of my friends who died). It is very important to remember our ancestors and teach others to do the same because one day, we too will be an ancestor. Also, they are often seen as the Kindred which is most interested in us and easiest to relate to because they have experience human life and are interested in their family lines.

In ADF the Nature Spirits are associated with the Tree, the middle-world and the land. They are called the Noble spirits who are seen as dwelling in and nurturing nature. They maintain the order of the worlds. They are our seen and unseen neighbours. In the Anglo Saxon and Norse cultures they are the land-wights, the elves and dwarves. In the Gaelic culture, they are the Sidhe, the fairies, the creatures who live in the mounds (perhaps descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan). They are viewed as otherworldly beings, disembodied spirits who can sometimes appear to people but usually only the very gifted can see them. Despite this, they interact with our world, Midgard, on a regular basis. They are usually associated with a particular eco-system or special place in nature e.g. Woodland-elves or spirit of a tree or rock. Like humans, they are viewed as having personalities and their own interests and goals. They are not there to do our bidding, but can be propitiated and asked for help if we have developed a relationship with them. They are wild and separate from us. Sometimes they can help us while at other times they can hinder or hurt us, especially if we have annoyed them. Anglo-Saxons talked of the Elf-shot which they believed was the cause of certain illnesses. Yet they also left offerings for the elves and drank toasts to them, showing the relationship between humans and nature spirits was not black and white. Brian Bates says they were viewed as “bright, beautiful and wise creatures” and they could be befriended. The realm of Alfheim was ruled by the god Frey or Ing. Davidson points out that people often paid more attention to them than the gods because they were seen as affecting many aspects of people’s daily lives, and this was especially true of the household elf.

For me, the nature spirits include all the living beings around us, and even the rocks and “inanimate” aspects of nature. As an animist, I believe that all things are “minded”, all things can experience in their own way. For me the trees, the flowers, the insects, the birds and the micro-organisms are all nature spirits and should be honoured. There are many ways to honour nature spirits but the best way is to get out in nature and learn about them. They are best contacted in wild and natural places. I have done this primarily by spending an hour in nature each week to observe and learn about it. Every time I do a ritual I give offerings to them, usually of seeds, in order to honour them and thank them for ways they support the world around me. Of course, the most important thing we can do is to find ways to look after the land immediately near us. One thing I would like to develop in future is my relationship with the household elf as well as finding offerings that would be suitable to take to natural places to provide for the land-spirits.

In ADF the Gods are referred to as the Shining Ones. They are associated with the fire, the Upper-world and the realm of the sky. They represent the order of the sky power. ADF, and paganism as a whole, is a polytheist religion which believes in and honours many different gods rather than the one god of the Abrahamic monotheistic faiths. They are the most powerful spirits, the eldest and wisest beings in the universe, who are remembered for their love, help and power. They can be both male or female and in Celtic culture, they are often found in triple form. In Norse/ Anglo-Saxon mythology they are seen as the ancestors of humanity as Odin and his brothers created the first humans. Meanwhile in the Gaelic Celtic culture the gods are called the Tuatha De Danaan, the tribe of Dana. They are the first children of the Earth Mother. Most of the myths of these cultures tell the stories of gods and heroes. They are not seen as the god of one particular aspect, but have many interests and areas of expertise just as humans do. They are seen as distinct personalities. They have their own desires and goals, and while they can sometimes help humans, they are not seen as “spiritual cash machines.” They are not perfect but are capable of both vice and virtue. They are not immortal but are often renewed through magical feasts such as eating the apples of Idun.

I tend towards an atheistic or pantheistic view of the universe, and it is the universe or Mother Nature that is ultimately worthy of my respect and worship. However I do incorporate soft polytheism into my practice in that I believe that if there are gods, they would be manifestations of the one source – the cosmos. It is certainly easier to relate to nature by breaking it down into parts – the gods. It was this emphasis on honouring the earth that drew me to paganism in the first place, and I see the earth as sacred, which is why I love the fact that ADF honours the Earth Mother at the beginning and end of every ritual. Some of the best places to honour the gods with offerings are on hilltops, at rivers or in other unique natural features that command our respect. In ancient Celtic cultures, the main river of an area was associated with the land or sovereignty goddess and so it makes sense to honour and seek to connect with the Earth Mother at nearby water sources. In my personal practice, I seek to honour the gods by making offerings each time I do a ritual and by seeking to live my life according to the virtues.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. A Brief History of the Druids. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2002.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Albertsson, Alaric. Travels through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan. USA: Llewellyn Publications, 2009.

Bates, Brian. The Real Middle Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages. London: Pan Macmillan Ltd, 2003

Davidson, H. R Ellis, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books, 1964.





Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Fertility

22 12 2013

ADF defines Fertility as “bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art etc, an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing.”

The dictionary defines it as

1) the quality of being fertile; productiveness.

2) the ability to conceive children or young.

In my view, the ADF definition gets it right. Fertility is not just about having children but also about creativity, productiveness and more. A person is fertile if they are actively creating something, contributing to the world. It means having ideas and working on bringing them to fruition. In my opinion, it also means teaching others. Just as DNA creates and is fertile through replicating itself, teaching others like the great Druids of old did, nurturing qualities within them, replicating our skills in others is a very big way we are creative. Fertility is the virtue that encompasses a wide range of virtues into one – it is about showing initiative, being industrious, working hard and trying to improve the world.

In the ancient world, fertility was very important and people’s lives depended on it. They needed fertile land and lots of children to help run a successful and prosperous farm. A barren mother was thought to be cursed. In the Norse culture, the gods Frey and Njord and the goddesses Freya and Frigg were all deities of fertility, whether of land, sea or home, and as they appear to be some of the most important deities – this suggests fertility held a very high importance to the ancients. Similarly within Celtic cultures major deities were associated with fertility. If we also consider ADF’s cosmology, we see that the major source of fertility comes from under the earth – the earth power of potential and the wisdom from the ancestors of the underworld. Chaos is a source of fertility.

Of course, fertility also extends to the ability to have children. As a gay person, it is unlikely I will ever have children of my own. But perhaps by adopting or fostering, I can be fertile by helping bring up children in a loving home and enabling them to be positive people in society. Making fertility into a virtue is also a positive for another reason – it makes Sex into a sacred act. Sex becomes an expression of virtue rather than a sin. It means having an “appreciation of the physical and sensual” rather than being prudish about sex and beauty. It is very much about honouring the body rather than feeling shameful of it. Whether we are able to conceive children or not, whether we are feel we are creative people or not, I believe everyone can exemplify fertility in their lives.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press.





High Day Recap – Yule

22 12 2013

I did my ritual at 5pm on the day of Yule because I wanted to time it to coincide with the actual moment of the Solstice. I stumbled a bit at the beginning….I think it was because I was nervous at the fact that my partner was there (though not taking part) so I was self conscious doing it alone but “in public.” As usual, I used the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s ritual format with some editing of my own. I am trying out switching my hearth culture from Celtic to Norse so I decided to honour Sunna as its the time of the sun’s rebirth, and Odin, the leader of the Wild Hunt as my deities of the occasion. I also changed gatekeepers to Heimdall. The offerings I used were oil for the shining ones, fire and each patron, seeds for the nature spirits, home made cider for the ancestors, silver coin for the well, incense for the tree, oats for the earth mother, an apple for Heimdall as gatekeeper and bread as a final offering. As part of the final affirmation, I lit yule candle to honour the Sun. I didn’t feel anything special happen but I do seem to feel more contented/ fulfilled/ at peace afterwards so I think a switch of Pantheon is the right way forward.

I used the Ogham set for the Omen and asked the Kindred “Grant me true seeing this season that I may know what blessings you have for me.” I pulled three Ogham – Saill/ Willow – Intuition, Nion/ Ash – Wisdom and Ur/ Heather – Dreams or Feelings. I am interpreting this as a positive omen and that the Kindreds are offering me blessings in these areas or saying I need to pay attention to inside feelings/ intuition and dreams to gain wisdom?

The rest of my celebrations included a party with friends, some porridge left out for the house wight and eating a Yule feast.