Final Oath Essay

25 03 2014

I performed my dedicant oath during my Ostara ritual in March 2014 at the moment of the Vernal Equinox. It was the final high day of my Dedicant Path year. I did the rite in private at home as I do not live near to a grove. As with all my rituals, I followed the ADF format of ritual using the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s text with a few changes.

I really liked the wording of the Oath text in the ADF manual and so I primarily used that with a few adaptations. My oath was to follow the path of Druidry for as long as I feel it to be the right path for me. This phrasing was deliberate because, while I am confident that this is the path I want to follow, I didn’t want to make an oath which stopped me changing it in future if I no longer felt it to be the right way. I also included wording in the oath that stated my intention to seek to live in harmony with the Earth, to keep the eight holy days of Druidry, to continue to research more about my ancestors beliefs and cultures and to try and live by the ADF virtues. As I made the oath, I held a hammer in honour of Thunor, the Anglo Saxon god of oaths. I finished it with the traditional ending of invoking the three worlds against me if I break it.

The whole ritual went well and the oath part went well too. I didn’t have any issues as I had prepared it all before and had everything written out, however I would have liked to have bought a special ring for it which I didn’t manage to do. I didn’t really feel much in the rite except that it felt like the right thing to do. I did have a sense that this was a very important decision I was making which made it more solemn.

After finishing my oath, I gave a sacrifice of honey to all the Kindreds as I felt this needed an extra special offering to mark the occassion. I also took an omen specific to the oath asking the Kindreds what blessings they offered in return for the Oath and sacrifice. The omen was Iodhadh (Yew) from the gods which is illusion in the ADF dedicant path book, Luis (Rowan) from the ancestors which is protection and Uillean (Honeysuckle) from the nature spirits which is attraction. I am not sure how to interpret the omen, especially from the gods, but overall it seems positive. Looking at the Wheel of the Year Manual, the Iodhadh could be interpreted as memory/ ancestors and Uillean as sweetness and drawing together which again would be positive.

Looking forward I want to develop in ADF Druidry by pursuing the Generalist Study Program and joining a few of the guilds such as the Naturalist guild. I also want to further develop my devotional practices and look for more ways to live in harmony with nature. Overall, I am feel this year has really helped me to discover Druidry as the spiritual path I want to pursue in my life and has prepared me to be able to take the oath to do so.

High Day Recap – Ostara

25 03 2014

I did my Ostara ritual at the moment of the vernal equinox on 20th March. It went well and I had a surprisingly good Two Powers visualisation (perhaps because I was standing up this time and so it felt more real.) As usual I used the Solitary Druid Fellowships basic ritual format with my own additions and changes. I honoured Eostre and Njord as the patrons of this ritual as Eostre is the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, while this is also the beginning of much of our fishing season so Njord seemed appropriate. I honoured Heimdall as my gatekeeper and Hertha as the Earth Mother. I gave oats to the Earth Mother as an offering, silver to the well, oil to the fire and shining ones, an apple to Heimdall, seeds to the nature spirits, cider to the ancestors, oil to Njord and Eostre and bread as a final offering. I also did my Oath at this rite, giving Honey as an offering to all the kindreds.

I took two omens during the ritual. My normal Ostara one using my homemade Ogham set was Luis – protection from the gods, Hawthorn – consequences from the Ancestors and Hazel – creativity from the Nature spirits. I’m not sure what to make of the omen as it’s got both positive and negative elements. I wonder whether the Ancestors want more from me. I will have to meditate on this and seek guidance.

The rest of my celebrations included making a curried scrambled tofu dish as a vegan alternative to scrambled eggs and an attempt at naturally dyeing eggs which only really worked with tumeric. I also decorated my altar with daffodils.

Eighth High Day Essay – Ostara Explanation

17 03 2014

Also known as the Vernal Equinox, Eostre or Alban Eiler (Light of the Earth), this day marks a time of balance, when day and night are of equal length. Until now the nights have been longer than the days, but from here on the days are longer and warmer as we head towards summer. The vernal equinox is a day to celebrate the revival of life after a long cold winter. It is a time when birds are returning from their migrations, animals are giving birth to their young and all around us the world is turning green once again. It is a time when nature has officially woken up – the buds on trees are bursting, seeds are beginning to sprout up out of the ground, spring flowers such as daffodils are blossoming and there is a palpable sense of renewed life all around us. It is the feast of awakening.

Historian Ronald Hutton says that there isn’t “any reliable evidence for a pre-Christian festival in the British Isles during the time which became March and April.” However, it is important to note that Bede said that the name Easter came from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre and the month was named after her. Eastre signifies both the festival and the season of spring. Hutton says that one could argue that “Eostre was a Germanic dawn-deity who was venerated, appropriately at this season of opening and new beginnings. It is equally valid, however, to suggest that the Anglo-Saxon ‘Estor-Monath’ simply meant ‘the month of opening’ or ‘the month of beginnings.'” He goes on to say that the practice of decorating eggs at this time does go back to at least the 1200’s but the chocolate version of the egg is a twentieth century invention. Eggs are a very apt symbol for this season as they represent new life. For agricultural societies, this is also the time when the extra light led to a big increase in egg production and was a welcome source of food.

ADF calls this the spring feast, the time to bless the seeds and prepare the land for new growth. In Norse and Anglo-Saxon hearth cultures, Eostre or Idunna are honoured. Neopagans celebrate this day as a time of beginnings and action, doing magical spells for the future and tending their ritual gardens.

It is traditional to celebrate this festival by giving chocolate eggs and sweets, painting eggs, planting new seeds and going for picnics and walks in nature. We can also decorate our altars with signs of spring – seeds, daffodils, eggs and symbols of baby animals like chicks, calves and rabbits. This year I will be doing an Ostara Ritual including my final Oath, having a party with friends and going for a walk in nature to search for signs of spring. I will also be planting my seeds for the year and maybe going out to hunt for wild food. w. I live near the sea and this time marks the beginning of the main sea fishing trips season here so I will be honouring Njord in my ritual. The 14th of March is also the beginning of river fish breeding season when no one is allowed to fish in rivers in the UK for two months so it also fits in quite well with that. As a vegan, I don’t eat eggs so I will instead be eating a meal of scrambled tofu (an alternative to scrambled eggs), pita bread and spring greens such as spinach, spring onions and parsley. I will also be making a rhubarb crumble because it is also coming into season now.

Hutton, Ronald. Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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.

Cunnigham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Minnestota: Llewellyn Publications, 2003.