Wednesday, December 26, 2012

High Day Rituals


ADF High Day Rituals
A brief account of each High Day ritual attended or performed by the Dedicant in a twelve month period. High Days attended/performed might be celebrated with a local grove, privately, or with another Neopagan group. At least 4 of the rituals attended/performed during the training period must be ADF-style. (100 words min. each)

Samhain:
           
Omens: Shining Ones – 6 of Cups – Nostalgia, keep moving forward.
              Ancestors – 9 of Wands – Anxiety & worry, take a breath and relax
              Nature Spirits – Judgement – Reflection and self evaluation

            Samhain has always been one of my favorite high days.  The energy of the world during that time is very intense.  It’s a time of magic and remembering.  I did my Samhain rite as a COoR ritual that was adapted from the Sassafras Grove’s Rite from 2006.  I had to modify it slightly since it was written with a grove in mind and included songs that I was unfamiliar with.  It was pretty overwhelming to undertake such a long ritual on my own and I felt like I stumbled through a lot of it.  However, I did really enjoy the experiencing the presence of Persephone and Hades.  The energy was amazing and I had never really worked with either of those two deities so it was a very different experience than what I was used to doing.  (137 words)

Yule:

Omens: Shining Ones – 10 of Pentacles – Very positive, things are going well.
              Ancestors –  Judgment  -- Reflection and self-evaluation
              Nature Spirits – The Moon – Intuition & dreams – follow instincts

            The ritual that I did for Yule was focused around my son and myself this year.  The weather was unusually warm, so we were actually able to celebrate outside.  It was nice to be able to connect more directly with nature, but it was also hard to get into the mood without the weather.  Either way, it was amazing to be able to share it with my son.  I told him about the cycle of the world and how the sun would be coming back to warm the world.  I didn’t do it in the COoR style because working with a 3 year old I wanted something a lot more simple and shorter than a typical ritual.  It was great to be able to have him there to share in my experience.  He was so well behaved and ended up actually dozing off in my lap toward the end of the ritual, which was a nice release of energy.  (159 words)

Imbolc:

Omens: Shining Ones – 8 of Cups – starting on a journey, new path
              Ancestors – Queen of Wands – Positive female energy, accomplishment
              Nature Spirits – 4 of Wands – celebration, harmony

            For the Imbolc ritual I decided to go out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I did a solitary CoOR ritual that was dedicated to the Celtic hearth and Brighid in particular.  It was a very different experience for me and was honestly quite challenging at times.  I tried to read through the ritual and practice, but it was still difficult.  The language was uncomfortable and connecting with the energies and deities was a lot more forced than I’ve experienced in the past.  I tried to keep an open mind, but the entire energy was definitely different than what I was expecting and what I was used to. I had a very positive Omen that showed that I am heading in the right direction along this path so I was very happy with those results.  I think I was afraid that I was going to offend someone by stepping into a pantheon that I wasn’t familiar with, so hearing that I was doing ok was definitely reassuring to me.   (171 words).

Spring Equinox

Omens: Shining Ones – 4 of Pentacles – Time to let go and be free
              Ancestors – Queen of Cups – Compassion & love, emotional security
              Nature Spirits – The Lovers – Love, union, values

            My spring equinox celebration was once again spent with my son. My son is fascinated by anything in the sky, so I focused my ritual around him in a way that would explain to him that the night and days would be the same length and the sun was becoming stronger.  I know it’s a message he’ll have to learn again throughout the years since he’s little, but it’s a good foundation. Watching him enjoy the sunshine and seeing the world come to life was so much fun.  We held the ritual outdoors and he loved looking at the birds and squirrels in the trees.  We gave our praise to the kindreds, had a small meal, and took the time to explore the natural world, sharing part of our meal with the Kindreds. (133 words)

Beltane

Omens: Shining Ones – The Magician – power to change, spiritual energy
              Ancestors – The Lovers – Love, union, values
              Nature Spirits – 9 of Cups – Happiness & good things to come

            Beltane I decided to return to the COoR ritual style in order to try to connect to it further.  I used the ritual from Sassafras Grove and modified it to be a solitary rite.  I’m still not comfortable with formal ritual in religion, but I’m trying to make that connection happen.  The Beltane ritual focuses on how full of life and fertile nature has become.  It honored Aphrodite as the deity of occasion and working with her was not a totally new experience, but one that was very warm and uplifting nonetheless.  She has such a great energy that it was a very fun ritual.  It went a lot smoother than others have gone in the past so over I’d say that the ritual was a success.  (128 words)

Midsummer

Omens: Shining Ones – 6 of Pentacles – Generosity, turn for the better
              Ancestors – 10 of Wands – Carrying a burden, scale back
              Nature Spirits – 9 of Cups – Happiness & Good things to come

            Midsummer is a celebration of the sun.  It’s the time when the sun is at its highest power and we celebrate its warmth and light.  I choose to take the Hellenic Rite from the Grove of the Rising Phoenix and modify it for this high day.  I once again felt like the ritual was a lot more complicated and intricate than I needed for just me, so I simplified it where I could.   It was a very different ritual than the ones I was used to and really enjoyed the incorporation of the mythology of Hercules and Helios in the rite. The omens that I pulled were also very inspiring and uplifting, so there was a definite feeling of finding the right path. (123 words)

Lammas

Omens: Shining Ones – Knight of Swords – full of energy that needs balance
              Ancestors – Hanged Man – Crossroads, careful deliberation
              Nature Spirits – 9 of Swords – Guard against anxiety & fear

            Lammas was an incredibly busy time of year for me.  It’s a time that work picks up for me and life in general gets a bit more chaotic.  My celebration of this high day took place in the form of a weekend-long camping trip to try to fight off some of that craziness.  My friends and family all spent time at the lake away from civilization and other people, sharing in the world natural world and appreciating the Kindreds. There was no large, formal ritual but we took time to break bread together and give thanks for the blessings we had.  We gave our sacrifices to the Kindreds and spent time absorbing the world around us.  It was a very relaxing weekend and definitely my favorite way to celebrate. (129 words)


Autumn Equinox

Omens: Shining Ones – The Magician – Power to change, spiritual energy
              Ancestors – The Moon – Intuition & Dreams, follow instincts
              Nature Spirits – Page of Wands – Easy distraction, stay focused

            I did the Fall Equinox once again as a COoR ritual by following the ritual for Demeter & Apollo written by David Crawford.  I once again modified the ritual a bit to fit my needs, including not creating the doll David had and using a sacrifice that was more comfortable to me and merging the elements of his ritual with the one I’ve worked with in the past.  I love the relation to the mythos that is included in this ritual and working with different members of my pantheon than I would normally work with was a beautiful experience.  I am still not incredibly comfortable with formal ritual, but I’m working on trying to get more comfortable with it.  (119 words). 

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