Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Liturgical Writing 1

1.  Describe how ADF's order of ritual expresses the following concepts: "Serving the people"; "Reaffirming shared beliefs"; "Reestablishing the cosmic order"; "Building enthusiasm". (Min. 500 words)
Serving the People
ADF’s ritual experience is intended to not only worship the Kindreds, but to also serve the people of the community.  ADF defines itself as “an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry” (Ar nDraiocht Fein), and this includes holding open, public rituals.  Holding rituals that are open to the public allows ADF to be an organization that is both inclusive and open, which is vastly different from many other modern Pagan traditions. Being a publicly accessible organization allows people to see positive, honest, and ethical activities, which is incredibly beneficial to the Pagan community in general. By holding open, public rituals ADF is also helping to build a community for people that may otherwise feel alone. It shows an active spirituality and helps to fill a void that many people miss when they leave behind a traditional church.
Within the actual ritual itself, we also try to serve the people in the community in several different steps.  The “Statement of Purpose” helps the participants to know what is going to be happening in the ritual, and helps them to feel more comfortable because they know what to expect.  The “Key Offerings” portion of our ritual “initiates a gift-for-gift exchange which precipitates the Blessings” (Newberg, Step Eight: Key Offerings). In this section of the ritual, we allow participants to come forward and make their own offerings, which allows them to feel more connected to the ritual, and to personalize the experience to those members of the community. 
The third section of the COoR that is done as a service to the community is the Calling, Hallowing, and Affirmation of the Blessings. This is the “return flow” section of the ritual, and allows for to the participants to receive the blessings in return for the offerings that have been made throughout the ritual.  These blessings are beneficial to all of the participants, and serve the community well.
Reaffirming Shared Beliefs
Reaffirming shared beliefs is expressed in several different ways through the Core Order of Ritual.  The shared experiences starts at the very beginning of the ritual.  The purification is meant to cleanse the participants of their personal issues and biases and helps to unify them in their intentions for the ritual.   This step alone helps to build a unified experience for the members and help to put them into a ritual mindset. 
The “Statement of Purpose” is another step that tries to reaffirm the shared beliefs of the people.   This step of the COoR is intended to “express the basic themes of the ritual, name the Gods and Spirits of the rite, and declare your intent” (Ár nDraíocht Féin 78) by explaining what the ritual will be devoted to, and exploring what the participants can expect from the ritual.  This step can help to build unified understanding of the ritual’s purpose and reaffirm those shared practices in that way as well.  Similar statements can be made about the hallowing and affirmations of the blessing.   Ultimately, the Core Order of Ritual itself is intended to help reaffirm shared beliefs for all members of ADF.  It is intended to be a practice that allows for people to travel from Grove to Grove all across the world and still be able to participate in the ritual because the format and experience is similar. 
However, I do believe that this should be reworded in some way because ADF is not an orthodox religion and doesn’t have a shared dogma.  Instead of stating that the Core Order of Ritual reaffirms shared beliefs, it would be more appropriate to say that the COoR is a reaffirmation is of shared practice.
Reestablishing Cosmic Order
Re-establishing cosmic order is a key portion of an ADF ritual.  Within the COoR, there is a step specifically dedicated to the ordering of the cosmos, called “(Re)Creating the Cosmos.”  In this section we see the establishment of the Sacred Center and the acknowledgement of the Three Realms (Newberg, Step 5: (Re)Creating the Cosmos).  This portion of the ritual is dedicated to balancing the cosmos and finding the Sacred Center to help establish the ritual place and mindset.  We can also see the re-establishment of cosmic order in the Two Powers meditation, balancing the upper and lower realms internally, and finding balance in that practice.  This stage of things is “meant to orient the ritual participants in relation to all other parts of their universe, and to all the other beings in it” (Bonewits). 
Building Enthusiasm
Building enthusiasm can be viewed from several different perspectives.  For some people, the enthusiasm can be the implementation of chants and drumming, to help energize the ritual.  This could be a fantastic way to build both enthusiasm and energy.  However, I think the Core Order of Ritual itself is built in a way that allows for the progression of energy and enthusiasm, to the peak of the ritual at the Key Offerings and Omen.  The ADF Rite Graphic Organizer (Emerald) divides the ritual into 5 parts, or tiers, which gradually builds to a climax before slowly returning to the mundane. 
2.  Create a prayer of praise, offering, or thanksgiving to a deity modeled on a mythic, folkloric, or other literary source of at least 75 words. Include a summary of what your sources were and how you utilized them (summary at least 150 words).
Demeter Harvest Prayer of Praise
Blessed Demeter,
Daughter of Cronus and Rhea,
Goddess of grain, fruits and bread,
Like a mother, you give us the gift of life.
You who made fruit to spring from the lands
So the rich land was filled with leaves and flowers.
You who fill the barns with foods through your joy.
Bounteous Demeter,
Thank you for the blessings you have given mankind,
For teaching the art of harvest, and that all must end.
 For providing us the many foods that sustain us.
Divine, delightful, and lovely Goddess
For all these things and more,
We thank you!

Source Utilization

            To write this poem, I utilized several different sources.  I began by looking back at the Hellenic Spring Equinox ritual my protogrove performed, which was dedicated to Persephone and Demeter.  This ritual was one that we did to welcome Persephone back from the underworld, and to celebrate with Demeter as her joy returns.  The prayer that I have written would have been used as a prayer after a successful harvest season, possibly before Persephone once again returns to the underworld and the world begins to grow cold once more.
            After I knew what I wanted to write about, I began looking at the mythology of Demeter to find phases and descriptions that were fitting.  I read the poems of Demeter written by Ceisiwr Serith and found his description of her at the spring, asking for her to “plant the seeds that will grow all summer until the harvest, when your full power will be known” (Serith 159) which guided me to want to honor the strength of the harvest, instead of focusing on the loss of her daughter to the underworld once again. The writings of Hesiod provided lines such as “Demeter richly crowned may love you and fill your barn with food” (Hesiod, Works And Days), while Plato described her as “Demeter is e didousa meter, who gives food like a mother” (Plato).  I also looked at the Homeric hymns and the way that Demeter is described in them.  After writing out the many different descriptions of the goddess, I wrote out a rough draft of my poem using that imagery.  After writing the first stanza, I realized that the poem was shaped as a half circle. I tried to make the second stanza similar in shape so the poem itself appears round, like the cycles of the year that Demeter often represents. 
3.  Discuss a poem of at least eight lines as to its use of poetic elements (as defined by Watkins): formulaic, metrics, and stylistics. Pay particular attention to use of meter and phonetic devices, such as rhyme and alliteration. (Minimum 100 words beyond the poem itself)

Let Me Live Out My Years by John G. Neihardt
(Untermeyer 115)

Let me live out my years in heat of blood!
Let me die drunken with the dreamer's wine!
Let me not see this soul-house built of mud
Go toppling to the dusk—a vacant shrine.

Let me go quickly, like a candle light
Snuffed out just at the heyday of its glow.
Give me high noon—and let it then be night!
Thus would I go.

And grant that when I face the grisly Thing,
My song may trumpet down the gray Perhaps.
Let me be as a tune-swept fiddlestring
That feels the Master Melody—and snaps!

John G. Neihardt writes the poem I have chosen to evaluate, called “Let Me Live Out My Years.”  He was the Nebraska state poet laureate for fifty-two years (John G. Neihardt Foundation), and frequently wrote about life in the Great Plains and the people who lived there.    This poem speaks of a person who hopes to avoid a long, drawn out death and instead to pass away quickly “Give me high noon—and let it then be night!” (Untermeyer). 
            Formulaic is described as an examination and comparison “lexically and semantically cognate or closely similar phrases in cognate languages” (Watkins 12). This study looks for phrases and formulas in poetry that occur in multiple languages and cultures. One phrase that fits in these formulas was “imperishable flame” which is not specifically stated in this poem, but is definitely brought to mind when reading “like a candle light snuffed out just at the heyday of its glow” (Untermeyer).
            Metrics is “examining and comparing similar versification systems” (Watkins 12).  Essentially, this is a very technical way to describe the rhythm of a poem. This poem uses an iambic pentameter as its rhythmic device, which includes five pairings of long and short stressed syllables.  It is written in three separate quatrains, which are groups of four lines. 
Stylistics “examine and compare all other linguistic devices figures, and other recurrent phonological morphological and syntactic variables which may be in play in verbal art” (Watkins 12).  These are phonetic devices, such as rhyme and alliteration, and make up the poet’s unique style.  This poem uses an ABAB rhyme scheme, with alternating rhymes in every other line.   There are also frequent uses of alliteration, such as “die drunken with the dreamer’s wine” to emphasize the meaning of certain lines.
4.  Create a prayer suitable for the main offering of a High Day rite which includes invocation of at least one deity suitable to the occasion, description of the offering and its suitability to the occasion, and the purpose of the offering, totaling at least 100 words. Any stage directions necessary for performance of the offering should be included.

(Light the hearth flame)

“The flame is lit, to build our hearth and to welcome Hestia to our rite. 

“Hestia, glorious goddess of the hearth,
You who we honor both first and last.
You embody both hearth and home
And guide us with your warmth.
With your name, we ignite the hearth fire.
Come forth and dwell in this space.

(Offer mead)

“We offer to you our mead, first bottle of the season, to honor you first, before all others.” 

“Hestia, gracious goddess of home
Goddess of the living flame
You who keep the hearth ablaze
And inspire us with your light.
With your name, we start our rite.
Come forth and dwell in this place.”

(Offer mead)

“Through you, may our hearts warmed.
Through you, may our homes be bright.
Through you, may all who join be welcomed.
And through you may our intentions be pure.
Hestia, magnificent goddess,
Come f            orth and encounter this rite.”


Ár nDraíocht Féin . Our Own Druidry. 2009. ADF Publishing. October 2014 <https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/training/dp/dedicant-manual.pdf>.

Ar nDraiocht Fein. ADF Home Page. October 2014 <https://www.adf.org/core/index.html>.

Bonewits, Isaac. Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publishing, 2007.

Emerald. Appendix E: A Ritual Graphic Organizer. October 2014 <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/appendix-e.html>.

Hesiod. Homeric Hymns. 1914. October 2014 <http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns1.html>.

—. Works And Days. 1914. October 2014 <http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/works.htm>.

John G. Neihardt Foundation. Neihardt, The Man. February 2011. October 2014 <http://www.neihardtcenter.org/The%20Man.html>.

Newberg, Brandon. Step 5: (Re)Creating the Cosmos. October 2014 <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/step-five.html>.

—. Step Eight: Key Offerings. October 2014 <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/step-eight.html>.

Plato. Cratylus . October 2014 <http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/cratylus.html>.

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2002.

Untermeyer, Louis, ed. Modern American Poetry: An Introduction. Harcourt, Brace, and Howe, 1919.

Watkins, Calvert. How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics. Oxford University Press, 1995.

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