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- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism





Monday, December 3, 2012

YULETIDE, fundamentally?



What do I consider are fundamental thematic factors one should review and consider for inclusion when constructing a Yule rite for groups of Neopagans of mixed hearth-cultures ?

1.) The Mothers' Night
The great pagan vigil attributed by the Venerable Bede as having been held "all night" on the eve of the December Solstice by the pagan British peoples.

2.) The Sun Itself - at December Solstice
This year the Solstice will have occurred at 6:12 AM Eastern on Friday December 21st (2012) with the Sun reaching its very lowest course and, consequentially, passing through the sacred annual mystery of the “Great Moment of Turning"… 
( Dec. Solstice 2013 ? = Sat. Dec 21st, 12:11 PM, EST)

3.) The Feast of the Year’s Turning         
From the Anglo Saxon Giuli  = "wheel", or what a wheel does 
( “turning”; per Bede, the day of “turning back” ).

4.) The Twelve Nights of the Year's Turning:
When we count we find there are 12 nights from 
Mothers Night to New Years Eve… 

The Fractal Mystery of our twelvefold procession through 

this sacred corridor, this Year Between the Years...

5.) The Feast of the Returning Light;
     Dies Natis Solis Invicti ("The Birthday of the Invincible Sun"):

6.) The Feast of the Spirit of the Yule ;
     The Three Faces of the Old Man at the End of the Year...
(a.) The Challenger / Guardian of the Mysteries
      Svarte Piet; Krampus; Schmutzli; Black Peter
(b.)  The Great Underworldly Gift-Giver
      Cernunnos; Dis Pater; Julfather; Santa
(c.) Old Man of the Year
     Pater Satvrnvs (hence “The Saturnalia”); Father Time

----------------------
Most of the above are already deeply structured into the Yuletide / Year-End Holidays celebration most of us have been celebrating all of our lives, independent of terms like Christian, Pagan, or Hearth-Culture.

So, when you have ALL OF THAT to work with, some of you paganfolk still think that calling on some single hearth-culture deity and spilling some dollops of oil on the fire for them, or getting yourselves plastered making rounds of sumbel-toasts is an adequate ritual expression of this awesome array of religious mysteries for your community?



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LINKS to relevant content on this blog:

Concerning  mixed hearth-cultures ...
The Mothers Night per Bede  as an “all night” pagan vigil...
The solstice this year, and solstices in general...
The Fractal Mystery of the Twelve Nights  
Meeting Father Time on New Years Eve
Why do Neopagans continually underserve The Sun?

 

Looking for DRUID-ISH 
YULETIDE TUNES ?
Check out "The Mistletoe Bough" and
"The Unconquered Sun" by Steeleye Span 
on their holiday album "Winter"
 
 

 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

ANCESTORS: Best Song, Best Image

First, the image...
The Best Ancestor Image, Ever:
Ford Maddox Brown 1855, The Last of England


Note the Cliffs of Dover receding in the distance...
Also note the the joined hands including the hand of the unseen infant.

Consider first just clicking on the image itself to have a
good look, free of the visual clutter of my blog page....


AND  ( get out yer hankies,)  NOW... 
The Best Ancestor Song, Ever: 

KILKENNY  
by  Peter Jones / popularized by Mick Maloney 
lyrics here )  
based on an actual series of letters from the period: 
(If as I do, you find the images distracting, just scroll it off the screen., or better yet, buy a copy at iTunes)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Neopagan DAY OF THE DEAD ?



We almost universally identify Samhain as a time of year for Pagans to be honoring the dead. Certainly we can establish an option for the members of our community to come together in a meaningful and time-honored method to celebrate the memory of their departed loved ones. Borrowing some basic principles from the Mexican Day of the Dead, Chinese folkways and Japan’s Shinto, without appropriating their motifs, we can move from the realm of good intentions to that of establishing legitimate, albeit new, religious traditions.

Reasoning:

In my estimation, current trends in the popular expressions of Hallowtide range from embarrassing to deeply disturbing, and as a result serve our souls less and less with each passing generation. The Mexican Day of the Dead though stands as one of the few exceptions, with its rich imagery, actual devotional content, and perhaps most important of all, its remarkably healthy underlying approach to human mortality (a quantity sorely lacking in the broader WASP-based American culture). Yet virtually everywhere else, we find Western Culture exhibiting a profoundly mal-adapted relationship with the basic facts of its own mortality, forever caught in a cycle made of one part dread and two parts denial. This very conundrum may lie at the foundation of our country’s unrealistic and dangerously casual attitude toward death which manifests itself in everything from the perversity of our video games and horror movies to the cavalier handling of our international policy leading to “Peace-Making” efforts which achieve their goals with carnage on a genocidal scale.
 
Although the Mexican expression is a rich and instructive model for us to follow, for non-Latin Pittsburgh Neopagans to co-opt their ostensibly Catholic traditions into a region of the US with such a peculiarly thin Latin population would be inappropriate and disrespectful at the least. Yet, as thoughtful creators of a new world religion, based on the best aspects of many faiths both ancient and modern, we deserve something in our sacred year as wonderful as having our own “Day of the Dead”. 

NO. Let's not co-opt their unique style and folkways...  
That would be wrong in so many ways...   Let's come up with our own.


HOW?   Objective/Methodology:

ONE MODEL would be to first create a networking effort to map the cemetaries in the greater Pittsburgh area which hold the remains of relatives of the members of our Pagan community. Then, for them to be able to fix a date and time close to November 1st for the members of the community to meet-up on site with others from the community who have relatives in the same cemetaries. As is common in the established non-pagan cultures, these folk can arrange a collective gravesite visitation with groups travelling from site to site within the graveyard until all the persons with relatives buried there have briefly placed flowers or offerings, led a prayer or given a thumbnail bio of the deceased to the group at the grave site.

It might take several years to even see if we could get a community-wide Samhain event like this rolling. If we could get two or three small cemetary visitations started we might just have planted a seed which could become a sustainable local tradition. Unfortunately many of the folks who might otherwise like to participate just don’t have any relatives in -local- cemetaries so we’ll have to do a pretty good sales job within the local Pagan community to find out who our workable candidates are.

ANOTHER MODEL, one more immediately realizable, would be starting here and now, to begin heavily promoting the custom of personal Samhaintide cemetary visitations as the good, solid pagan custom it is (or could be). 

SO, for a start, please,

CONSIDER DOING IT ON YOUR OWN...

...As part of your own sacred Pagan year-cycle, make it a personal or family custom to visit the family gravesites at least once a year and make Samhaintide (perhaps the Sunday closest to Hallowe'en?) your target on the calendar for the doing so.


We don’t have to do it just as a “crowd” – why the Mexicans don’t have to organize group excursions, certainly not outside of their immediate families, no, their cemetaries are teeming with hundreds of people at this time of year, happily picnicing and decorating the graves and eagerly sharing their family lore with all of the other families they encounter.

Someday we too could share a similar blessing to theirs.


This is not morbidity, it is a celebration of Life!

Whenever I get started talking about this stuff I get overcome with a sense of the awesome potential it has for doing our part in healing the seriously damaged relationship our society has to death. We just need to start – and once it starts happening a little here and a little there I’m sure the process will carry us along under its own natural set of motivators.

- Earrach, 2005, 2012


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On PIETY


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 


Keywords: Vision, Heart, Dedication, Service, Surrender

W
e do not set out to take upon ourselves the “responsibility” to worship. 
The eye of reverence, the authentic impulse to worship, is simply that: an irresistible impulse; a compulsion coming from within, not from without.

From this perspective the responsibility to worship in each of us is not really a responsibility to the objects of that worship, i.e. to the Great Mother, the Glorious Sun or the Gods, Ancestors and Spirits... no, not to them but rather, the responsibility is to ourselves. It is not that we “should” worship, it is that we feel the call from-within as a reflex, we must worship. At least it is such in my own experience.

Piety can be seen as a “state” more than as an objective or virtue. If we culture and begin to manifest that state, the outward, virtuous expressions of piety cannot help but follow on their own. Piety then is the state of fullness of heart, clarity of vision and love for the world that renders us unable to resist the impulse to break with the ordinary and externalize our spiritual upwelling through exploration, ritual, creative expression and sharing with others.

Afraid of our own capacity for bliss
We all experience the state that prepares us to apprehend the world in a religious fashion. For many of us it is difficult to respond because our natural capacity for loving the world and all the beings and influences in it is confounded by fear. This fear is often a fear of being (or being seen as being) foolish or weak, as if the religious, aesthetic and emphatic impulses within us are somehow illogical, trivial or impractical. In fact, true piety can be experienced through a process of actively de-valuing this system of false security, seeing it for what it really is, as being itself as foolish and weak as we are afraid of appearing in the first place. This inappropriate fear calls for bravery and the faith which bravery demands. Once employed, like summoning the courage to jump into the water all at once, we find there really was no reason to be afraid in the first place. With practice we unlearn our fears and open the way to the natural motivations initially precluded by our fears. 

Finding our place in the Great Way of Things
Priests in other traditions speak of “hearing the call” and this is simply the sense of urgency of that compulsion to piety we began describing earlier breaking through into one’s mundane life. They also speak of being bound to this calling, much in the same way that a lover binds themselves to a mate. This spiritual “work” once recognized and encouraged in one’s life can easily rise to this proportion. The outward expressions become a way of managing and “living up to” the blessings pouring into us. They become a testimony, an external reference system through which we reconcile and thereby sanctify our relationship with the world.

Wed to the Work:  
NeoDruidic forms of expression of the call to Piety... a personal list.
- Regular & seasonal return to the woods (religious / spiritual / aesthetic)
- Observance of the Cycles:  Ritualization / sacralization of the cycles of the Sun, Moon and Seasons
- Geosophical Devotions: Land Shrine / Henge Building; Well Dressing; Genius Locii / Deva-working
- Shrine Maintenance
- Keeping the Rites of the Wheel: Public liturgies for the 8 High Days; keeping monthly Druid Moons
- Finding of and Devotion to a Patron (God/Goddess/Spirit)
- Vision Questing

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TAKING UP THE SCYTHE before the THRONE of SOVEREIGNTY


Like the golden down on the curve of Her hip,
the Lay of the Land now bristles densely and ripe 
with endless fields of grain.
Soon we will be deep in August...

The tide of summer is turning and the harvest is under way. 

By now, as in tens of thousands of summers past, the scythe is swung and the stem is severed; some that we may be fed, and some to be put in store that the harvests will continue in summer fields yet unsown.



That work, our work, and your work is part of a continual ritual of the centuries from which we cannot escape, nor should we. Our partner in that process, the Land, has been recognized in many ways through the centuries and there are a number of great sacred symbols of that ancient but continuous relationship to be recognized and carried forward to future generations. That is where we come in, as stewards of that process, the sacred Chain of Tradition must be continued...


So ends the prologue; my
standard essay is  HERE...


photo by Lassair


For a PDF of the Book of Sassafras'
LUGHNASA / LAMMAS Point-Sheet,
click
HERE...




Monday, July 9, 2012

A Modern Druid in Search of the Soul



- Rembrandt, (modified by EoP)
I.   AFFIRMATION...  

                 I possess virtually unlimited freedom-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess virtually unlimited joy-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess virtually limitless inner strength-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess virtually complete satisfaction-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess a virtually boundless capacity to love-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess the absolute capacity for forgiveness-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I possess virtually absolute self control-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I am loved by many-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  I have valuable friends-
                  but I do not realize it.

                  The future is full of wonders-
                  but I do not realize it.
                 
                  I can find the way-
                  but I do not realize it.


Explanation: 
Over the years I have sensed an agency of my being which I can only try to describe with terms such as "higher-self" or "over-soul", etc. It seems to be the part of me which gets better every time that I gain life-experience or further expand my perspective. Somehow though, it is separate and "above" the complexities, the ups and downs of my situationally-bound day to day life. Nonetheless, it is when I am most subject to that mundane, situational life (i.e. subject to my own subjectivity,) in the times of greatest need that I can sense its immanence. . . and it speaks to me. This poem I believe captures that inner dialogue: each first line is like an instruction from the higher, timeless self and each answering second line ("but I do not...") a sort of mea culpa* from the profane self trapped in the subjective realm.
- Earrach, April 1990
* "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa." :
    Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.  
- from the Confetior in the Roman Catholic mass.  
--------------------------------------------

I have presented this old Affirmation "poem" of mine first... 
since I feel it best sums up my own experience of what many folks call (among other things) the Higher Self. The relationship between It and that which we call a "soul" interests me and in this piece I'd like to invite you along in a mutual process of discovery, both discoveries of mine and those of your own...

Now certainly, as we all do these days, you can jump right to the Wikipedia webpage for "Soul" and do so again for help with each of the Annoyingly Ambiguous Terms we will encounter ahead. In one sense I feel that yes you should but on the other hand I would ask you to wait and set that aside for later since I feel that assessing your current notions, uncolored by encyclopedic distillations first may present a much more valuable path for us initially.

Remember, so far, I have spoken only of my own experience, and for me, those encounters were of an unsolicited nature. I did not seek them out; they simply "happened" and left a subtle but lasting impression on me. Only years or decades later did I start finding labels to hang on it, conventional or exotic. Likewise, you now may be searching your own spiritual history, since what I have described seems somewhat familiar to you. Perhaps you can recall something exactly like what I described; or, even although you don't immediately recall such experiences, something about it is strangely compelling. Perhaps it is as if you may have "been there" at times - - but would have described it in different terms than I have.


II.    Hunting "it" down... "OPEN SEASON" on the Soul ?


Casually seeking direct guidance from your Higher Self may not prove itself an easy task since we find "It" typically speaks to you only when you most desperately need its help - and often that may come only on the far side of some very difficult territory. Thereby one may only "qualify" for its help by struggling through some great hardship first. Although it may have been giving you regular guidance unconsciously all along - when we pursue it actively, rarely do we sense it as an autonomous being conveying to us any sense of separation from our ordinary consciousness. But then. then there are those times that it does...

I personally do not believe it when someone says they have a comfy and immediate form of access to this agency. We must recall the advice of the ceremonial magicians who warn us that the world is full of spirits who will come and represent themselves as "the one upon whom you called" - and simply are not who you called. "Discernment" is one of the hardest won yet most valuable tools in non-passive spiritual work. In seeking to acquire this skill we begin by listening for, and learning to recognize, authenticity... 
Many of these impostors are benign, and some may be less than such  - - so be careful. This work is one of the primary goals of post Golden Dawn ceremonial magicians. The Thelemites consider it one of the most serious undertakings in their craft and refer to it as attaining "Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel" - - and we hain't talkin'bout two little Hummel kids on a rickety bridge over a waterfall !



III.   SO... HOW DO -YOU- PERSONALLY DEFINE THE FOLLOWING ? :

"Me" / " I " / Self       Personality      Persona      Higher Self      SOUL

ID / EGO / SUPEREGO      Anima / Animus      Shadow      Oversoul



And, if so, to what degree do you feel these definitions "overlap"? 

(Making a Venn-diagram of this can be fun...)

Well, as I suggested earlier, seen as a group these really are "annoyingly ambiguous terms"... Having spent most of my adult life deeply immersed in the informal study of world religion, mythology and spiritual aspects of psychology, in my humble opinion, a sizable proportion of religion, and particularly Western Abrahamic Religion, is utter rubbish. So there; I've said it. It seems like evvvverybody has to come up with a different set of terminology for basically the same aspects of human experience and then on top of that they throw in endless truckloads of, well... crap. Crap comprised mainly of the shards and tailings from eighteen centuries of pounding so many square pegs into so many round holes. Not to mention the framework of outright lies holding it all together.

("Yes, tell us what you think Earrach, don't hold back"... )

Ok, ok, too much opinion, grouchiness and generalization; let's get back to specifics... Honestly, this all leaves me tempted to take that whole list and stuff it all into the same single sack; a sack tagged with one label (you guessed it...) "soul".

IV. The Soul as a SENSORY ORGAN...

Some time ago, I set myself to the task of making a guide for explaining our kind of religion to children. Faced with the necessary amount of "compression" of the language necessary for it to be understandable to persons with limited vocabularies, I realized that thinking this way can often improve one's ability as a writer and communicator of abstract ideas. Any person with some familiarity with a subject and a large vocabulary can ramble on and manage to "explain" a concept to someone who possesses a similar set of tools and an adult's attention span. Unfortunately, as we "ramble-on" (as I suppose I am doing right now,) the opportunity to make a direct and memorable impression becomes diffused. Brief, clever (yet accurate), metaphors and other concise descriptive mechanisms often are the ones that make the most lasting impressions. And, working with a child, we must assume that the time-"window" open for targeting their fleeting attention-spans is a tiny and moving target. So there I was, trying to pare-down into a single paragraph an accurate but brief explanation in answer to the heading "What are gods or spirits?", and, it had to be suitable for use with children. The big surprise here was that I ended up actually being able to do what I'd assumed was virtually impossible, and in the process I discovered a number of very useful perspectives for explaining it to anyone, even "me". Here's a sampling; see what you think:

"SPIRITS" ? - "GODS" ?  

Spirits or gods are beings who exist mainly like living ideas; 

we can encounter them with our minds and feelings and through 
the magical stories called "myths" that the people from ancient 
times told about them.

"HOLY STATUES / IDOLS" ?  


Some objects, like special statues or pictures, can represent a 

spirit to us and in that way help us remember or share our feelings 
with that spirit.  We know that the picture or statue is not really 
"the" spirit itself, no more than the telephone "is" the person we 
are speaking with through it; it is simply a way of coming in better 
contact with them. "
- Earrach, 2006

In my line to kids about "spirits and gods" I describe them as "beings", yet I suggest that we can only relate to them through our minds and feelings. In the next item I bring in the analogy of a special piece of technology (statues/images) that can be used to communicate with them, much like we communicate over a telephone with other people, yet no one thinks the telephone "is" that person. In hindsight, those two turned out to be stepping stones to another hardware analogy which all but solved the very challenge of our whole discussion for me.

V.    Think of it as being like a "radio"...
Radio waves are all around us all the time yet without adequate education we would be like tribal people deep in the Amazon Basin, cut off from the modern world, having absolutely no reason to suspect their existence. Nor would we suspect that these frequencies were being modulated to carry information such as voice, music, telephone, or computer data. All you need to pick up, i.e. "tune-into" those radio signals would be an AM/FM radio, a shortwave, or a cell phone.
Now although I'm suggesting the analogy of a radio-tuner here, I'm not one who would suggest there is some electromagnetic or "bio-electric" field or special "energy" to be tuned-into. Personally, I strongly object to the use of the word "energy" in spiritual or magical matters, its use as the conventional metaphor becomes too easily taken as a definition and thereby brings in all the limitations implied by the actual nature of "energy" found in the natural world. Nonetheless we can get further with our analogies and modeling by sticking to words like magical or spiritual "influence". Yes, the world is full of subtle impressions available for perception by human consciousness, impressions which initially depend on our ordinary senses of vision and hearing. Ultimately it's through these sensory organs that we pick up the "cues" necessary for the perception of ordinary yet very important aspects of our daily lives which physicists and biologists would be hard pressed to quantify or underwrite the "existence" of empirically. The perception of beauty, love, the immanence of another person's anger, our own fear or anticipation - - perceiving these things are not just side effects or luxuries, they have become programmed into us by evolution as means to our own survival. Simply because we cannot fully apply the scientific method to these phenomena does not mean that they are nonsense and to be ignored for the verifiability of phenomena which does allow itself to be factored into an equation or measured by a mass spectrometer.

So, if love, hate, fear, and beauty seem to qualify as "phenomena", do spirits and gods qualify as phenomena too? What if all it took was the right kind of "radio-set" to enable one to allow us to apprehend them? As I often say nowadays, imagine that the soul is an effect of our own self awareness that can be operated like a special radio-tuner by which we can "tune-into" the spirits and gods, constructs that are potentially all around us, just structured into our world in a way that only our souls can perceive or make real...



VI.   Was the Soul the product of an evolutionary process?


What if the same evolutionary process that gave us awareness, and then made way for self-awareness, had in-turn enabled in us at that point the capacity for...

"self - self-awareness" ?

As clumsy as the term "self-self-awareness" sounds, it pretty well concisely describes one of the main functions of a soul or higher self. If it takes an eye to see, and a mind to behold, perhaps then it takes a soul to appreciate the scenery?

It seems to me there's a surprisingly simple hierarchy of cognitive states one can stack up to illustrate this notion:

  • The environment speaks to the...
  • Sensory organs, which speak to the 
  • Nervous system,  which speaks to the 
  • Lower Brain functions, which speak to the
  • Higher Brain  functions ( = " MIND " ), which speak to the
  • Higher Mind  functions ( = " SELF " ), which speak to the
  • Higher Self  functions  ( = " SOUL " )...



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A HYMN to the SUN




GREAT GLORIOUS GOLDEN SUN,
SHINING YOUR LIGHT & WARMTH 
UPON THE WORLD!

FIERY FURIOUS FURNACE SUN,
BLAZING SINGULAR CENTER
OF THE CIRCUIT OF OUR YEARS !

HEAR ME NOW AS AGAIN I PLEDGE, 
NEVER TO FORGET
MY PERPETUAL RELIANCE
ON YOUR RADIANT GLORY.

HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE O SUN !

HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE !

-Earrach of Pittsburgh

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Wishing you and yours a  BLESSED SUMMER SOLSTICE...


SUMMER SOLSTICE, THIS YEAR occurs at 7:09 PM, Wed. June 20th, 2012


"If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to worship the Sun, then I say once again, ‘Completely!’ For it is a revelation of the most high, and in fact the mightiest which has ever been granted us mortals to perceive. I worship it in the light and creative power of God, whereby alone we live and move and have our being, and all plants and animals together with us.”

 - - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gespraeche, Vol. IV: 441-42).


SEASONAL READING:
"Why Not the Sun?" 
- my standard essay on the Sun and Neodruidic practice. 

=====================================================
"The (Neopagan) Solar Apostasy"

====================================================== 
"What's a SOLSTICE ? (vs. Equinox, etc.)"

SOLSTICE (SOLC): Either of the two extremes of the Earth’s constant 23.4° axial-tilt, relative to the sunlight falling on its surface. Only at the June Solstice is the Earth’s north pole tilted the full 23.4° towards the Sun... and only at the December Solstice is it tilted the full 23.4° away from the Sun.
EQUINOX (EQX): The Spring or Autumn quarter begins as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary-line between night and day, momentarily crosses the North and South Poles. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised simultaneously over both poles, only on dates near these times of year are the number of hours of night and day equal all over the globe.

========================================================= 



Sunday, June 3, 2012

A PREAMBLE at the OFFERATORY


I've been involved in the writing and execution of public ADF high-day rites since I founded Sassafras Grove ADF in 1992. Throughout that time I've strived to maintain a number of principles in my work that I've always assumed were central to Isaac's vision. One of those was that these rites were to be open and inclusive of all pagan-friendly folk, not just ADF members. "Inclusive" meant that not only were these folks (local Wiccans, Goddess Worshippers, Northern Trad Folk, New Agers, etc.) welcome to attend, they were also welcome to participate, actively, in the workings of the rites at a number of levels.

Similar to worship rites from around the world(1.), the Standard ADF Liturgy, and even the set of high-day minimae we call the COoR, are set out into a sequence of FIVE phases or, as we speak of them around here, "tiers". Two steps up to a third or "Top-Tier", and then two steps down to conclude. This has always been central to our teaching of the ADF Liturgy in Sassafras Grove and I feel it's not to be considered accidental. What is to be discovered in seeing it this way reinforces the importance of symmetry in the rite, as well as the increase of sanctity which goes hand in hand with it.


The rite's Top Tier (T3) is the pinnacle of the rite, opening with an invocation to the primary Spirits/Deity(s) of the Occasion. Once these special guests have been properly called-in and are clearly with us in our working space, we traditionally then "open the floor" to the members of the congregation, encouraging the folk to come forward one by one and present their offerings of praise. Well, that's the way it was in the "classic" ADF rites - and most of ours were of the classic sort.

There have been many discussions lit by campfire or monitors' glow about the challenges inherent in the old "Talent Show for the Gods" format. Yes, it can cut deeply into the time allotment for your rite. Yes it's hard to make sure all the non-ADF folk understand that this is not an ok time to call-out to their patron deities (unless said deities happen to be the deities of the occasion). And yes, it's also hard to make sure they, or even your ADF-folk, not try to appropriate this interval to appeal for blessings or healings, etc.(that of course would be ok later, in T4).

I still think it's worth doing it -- yes, in most of your rites, most of the time. 

Over the years I have found that this is one of the factors which are critical to the mix that brings folks back to your rites and makes some of them so very fond of the ADF format. It seems to me to be one of the babies you toss out with the bathwater at your own peril as a grove organizer. It helps provide and maintain that critical, semipermeable, boundary between you and your community which keeps folks coming-"in" to your events and to your grove to replace the natural attrition-rate of the folks who are moving-on.

ADF rites should not be a spectator-sport, nor should having a sense of "belonging" in an ADF grove rest on one's progress along a series of obligatory hurdles and merit-badge programs. The ADF Dedicant Program and Study Programs are wonderful options for our members to explore but there's no excuse for alienating good, eager and talented people by removing important factors which ensure their sense of welcome. ADF is many things to many people but one thing which we cannot afford to do is to neglect our relationship and integration with our local Neopagan communities.

============================================ 
BELOW is a script I composed to be provide a dynamic segue into the Praise Offering interval at the Top Tier of the rite. It is intended to recoup the path we have trod up to this point in our work, then to explain that now it is the time for making personal offerings and that they may be outwardly rendered or inwardly in silence - yet, to facilitate the process, all will receive and pass the wand to the next person... And I conclude with a suggested but optional coda at the end advising the congregation (and the Spirits) that this is not the time to give honor to someone else.


 -For a PDF of the below, CLICK HERE...

===============================================

A  PREAMBLE  at  the  OFFERATORY


"And now, the Order of the Worlds has been re-established, 
the doors of our hall have been opened to the Honored Kindred as well...

-They sit and walk among us...

Our most honored guest(s) _______________ ( ______________ )
of the folk of  ________________ has/have been welcomed-in 
and abide with us now, 
this ________________________(day/night -occasion)...

-They hear our words…   
they watch our ways...

Now let us give praise and offerings to our honored guest(s),
that, in being pleased with our offerings and remembrances,
they may come to know us better,
and we would better know them  in turn.

-Good folk!   
Come forward, take up the wand, 
and deliver your praise and offerings to our honored guest(s),
- be it outwardly,  to be witnessed by all…
- or inwardly,  spoken from your soul in silence...

------------------------------------------------
CAVEAT ( used when/if felt appropriate ):

And…  IF  knowingly,
you take this moment to give honor to someone else…
Let any offence thereby taken by our guest(s)
be upon your head,  alone…

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
The wand is passed to the first of the assembly to present 
their offering of praise…

===================================================
NOTES:
1.) See "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass." 
from Psyche and Symbol:A Selection from the Writings of C.G. Jung by C.G. Jung, 
Edited by Violet S. de Laszlo Translated by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton, 1991



- Earrach ©2006

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MOG ROITH’s LAMENT *



.
I am sorry my friends...
I love you all

but…

When it comes to

"What" 
it's all about?

At length 

I have discovered
that it is not 
so much about  
honoring the gods

Nor is it 
so much about  
sacrifice, ghosti
and reciprocity.

Now, 
if you really believe 
that it is, I’m not saying 
that you’re “wrong”,
so much as 
that you are...
missing The Point...

You see,

What it really IS about 
is...
Community,
Celebration,
Cyclicity,

the holy passage of the
Seasons,

and the grim succession of the
Years

in service of 

             Memory,
and its role in the evolution and
maintenance of the Soul...

That,  
my chums,  
is 
what it's about.

- earrach, 2012
--------------------------------------------------------------------
* MOG ROITH (Mug Ruith) 
The celebrated Druid from the Irish hero-tales.
It has always brought a smile to my face when I remember that his
name translates as  “Slave of the Wheel”.      

( "Yep, you'n me bud..." )