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

Sunday, June 3, 2012


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...



"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…

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

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