Monday, February 2, 2015

First Circle Portfolio

Portfolio of First Circle Clergy Training Work
Amber Doty

Your Application for Ordination will be in the form of a portfolio that includes the following items:

  1. A personal statement of Vocation. This statement should include the following information:
    • When did you hear the call to the path of ADF Priesthood? What did it sound like?
    • What form do you expect your vocation to take?
    • Do you feel prepared to become an ADF Priest now? Do you see further work that you will need to do to prepare yourself for the work ahead?
  2. Your answer to the exit standard for Discipline 1
  3. Your code of ethics and description of that code (Ethics 1, question 10)
  4. One entry from your Liturgy Practicum 1 journal that you feel best represents your personal work.
  5. The Introspection piece from the Practicum work for Magic 1 for Priests (question 10)
  6. An example of one group ritual script for a High Day that is substantially original to you.
  7. An example of one solitary ritual script done at your altar for any occasion.
  8. One working from the Practicum work for Magic 1 for Priests (one answer from questions 7-9)


My Vocational Statement

When did you hear the call to the path of ADF Priesthood? What did it sound like?
Looking back at my path, it’s hard to establish specifically when I felt called to ADF Priesthood.  There were no blaring horns or choruses of voices echoing to tell me which way to go. Instead, I think it came to my life as a natural progression of my path within ADF.  Since I was a child I’ve had an interest in becoming a member of clergy, but when I first joined ADF that wasn’t the path that I expected to take.  Being a solitary member for the first several years of my membership, I tried to seek avenues of communication.  I started getting involved with the different ADF Subgroups and took on the role of Central Regional Druid.  This position has shown me just how much we need to have positive Pagan leadership that is active in the community.  

Nebraska currently has approximately five Pagan clergy that I can locate and 4 of those have been ordained through Universal Life Church.  Unfortunately this means that they frequently have little to no training, so their ability to be of service to the community as a whole is limited.  The Central Region also currently has no active ADF clergy.  My goal for the past several years has been to help build activity in the Central Region and ADF in general and I believe that becoming clergy would add to my ability to do that.    My call to the path of priesthood was born from that need.  For years I have looked for ways to help better ADF in our region, and by stepping forward and doing the work to complete the Clergy Program I feel like I’ve taken a step to help my community in the most important way I can.
As far as why I choose to do this through ADF, simply put, it has become my home.  I was always a bit of a wanderer spiritually.  I moved from one belief system to another, constantly changing and moving and never quite knowing where I belonged.  Once I joined ADF I knew that this was where I am supposed to be.  Through ADF I have learned so much about my spirituality and myself.  I have also established friendships with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met in my life.  Joining this organization changed my life in an incredibly positive way, and I have a strong desire to reciprocate by putting my effort into supporting ADF.   
What form do you expect your vocation to take?
I expect my vocation as Clergy to be that of a community builder.  My experiences with ADF so far have given me the opportunity to help build relationships and connections with people, and help the activity in the community to grow.  I would really like to be able to continue doing that work.  Even those who have a solitary practice join ADF because they want to be a part of the organization, and I want to help make that more accessible for people.  

Community building is a slow process that will take time and dedication, but I hope to be able to do this through my continued activities within the Subgroups and the region, while also becoming more active in other areas of ADF as I can.  I would also be interested in participating in the Travelling Clergy Program.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see the Travelling Clergy Program at work within our region, and would love to see that continue to happen.  I can’t think of a better way to help build the community than to actively take part in it.  
Do you feel prepared to become an ADF Priest now? Do you see further work that you will need to do to prepare yourself for the work ahead?
This question is one that I’ve spent more time than probably necessary exploring. The decision to become an ADF Priest is not one that I have taken lightly, and feeling like I am ready to take on that role is a bit intimidating.  Ultimately though, I have determined that the answer to “am I prepared?” to be yes.  The Clergy Council Code of Ethics puts an emphasis on building relationships through service, competency, and integrity and I feel that this code builds a strong foundation for my personal expectations.  It also helps me to understand the responsibilities and duties that will be expected of me and I am prepared to take on that role.  However, I do not think that this means that the work is done.  Becoming a member of clergy is not the end of the journey for me, but a very important crossroad along the very long path.   I believe that my spirituality will continue to grow and evolve over time, and it’s important to maintain practice and study to be able to grow and change with it.   

ADF Clergy Council. ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics. 9 October 2011. January 2015 <https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/org/clergy-council/adf-clergy-code-of-ethics.pdf>.


The Discipline of a Clergy Student

I originally joined ADF on February 20, 2008, almost 7 years ago as I write this.  I can definitely say that my life has changed completely since that day, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Through ADF I have explored my spirituality, made so many new friends, and found a practice for myself that makes me feel productive and successful.  

My practice typically involves a morning sun salutation to help me greet the day and honor the Kindreds.  I find that this practice, while challenging at times, reminds me that I am not alone on this journey.  I have also started doing monthly retreat days during the first week of every calendar month, which involve a full ritual and prayers throughout the day.  These rituals have become a way for me to help build my relationship with the Earth Mother and the Gatekeeper more solidly by allowing me to honor them and connect with them on a more personal level.  I have also done smaller weekly rituals for the past six months, which took many different forms including rituals to honor the deities of my hearth, ancestor worship, magical workings, and trance practices.  I used this time to explore different types of ritual workings to see what works best for me and to establish what I’m most comfortable with.  Overall, my practice is continually changing and evolving as I learn more about my spirituality and the world around me, but I feel that I am at least on the right path.  

My connection with the Earth Mother has been a large part of my spirituality since I first started to explore Paganism as a teenager.  I have always viewed nature as a sacred space and my practices have helped to reaffirm this as an important part of my spiritual practice.  Greek mythology describes the Earth Mother, Gaia, not only as the personification of the earth, but also as the “mother of all, eldest of all beings” and the sustainer of life (Homer). Since I was a child, I have seen her in the gardens of my grandmother and in the wild Nebraska plains.  I feel her energy as I play in the grass and explore the woods with my son.  Over the past six months my primary formal contact with the Earth Mother has been through my rituals, inviting her to attend my rites and doing rituals dedicated to her specifically.  However, I always try to honor her when I find myself surrounded by the beauty of nature, whether walking through the woods or playing in my back yard.  I definitely feel the importance of her presence in my life and know I want to continue to build my relationship with her.

Building a connection with the Gatekeeper has been a much more recent development in my spirituality.  It wasn’t a practice that was used in ancient religions specifically, but it is a very important aspect of ADF rituals.  The gatekeeper is used to aid us in our abilities to open and close the gates between the realms.  While this idea may be modern, many different cultures had beings and deities that could cross the boundaries between the worlds, such as Hecate and Hermes in Greek mythology (Newberg).  The more I have used a gatekeeper, the more I have started to appreciate this connection and the utility of them within rituals.  My work with personal rites, as well as leading our protogrove rituals, has helped me to establish this relationship more firmly.  In my personal work I tend to call upon Hermes to help guide me through the realms and to help share my words to the Kindreds.  Hermes was the Greek God of travel and persuasion.  He also acts as the messenger to Hades and Olympus, which gives him the ability to travel between all the realms (Theoi Project).  His abilities make him a very useful and competent gatekeeper for my practices.  However, my protogrove is very eclectic so I have had to become comfortable working with many different Gatekeepers from many different pantheons.  The courses of the Clergy Training Program have helped me to become more comfortable with the idea of using the Gatekeeper archetype in my spiritual practices, so I am able to experience and work with Gatekeepers from many different cultures.  

Journaling through this process has been very interesting to me.  It has allowed me to go back and remember the perceived failures, along with those things I felt I did well with the advantage of hindsight.  Looking at those experiences from my current perspective has definitely changed my feelings about some of them, and sometimes what seemed like a failure actually helped me move in a different direction, making it incredibly useful. I also appreciate being asked to record my prayers and rituals because being able to look back at those heartfelt words has helped me build better rituals and prayers.  It has also helped make my journal feel more complete and easier to understand. It shows me at weak moments, praying to the Kindreds for their aid, and at moments of joy, giving prayers of gratitude and excitement.  Recording the journey has been a blessing for me, even though it was quite challenging at times.   

Another part of my personal practice has been taking weekly omens.  This has been a big change for me.  In the past, I typically have only used divination as a medium for communication within my rituals.  Taking a weekly omen has given me the opportunity to focus on the message in that week to understand where my focus needs to be.  Most of my omens provided messages of success and hard work, showing that persistence, and sometimes patience, is needed.  There were a few times where I felt like I was headed in the wrong direction, and the omens seemed to reflect that, essentially telling me to take responsibility for my actions and continue working.  I don’t believe any of these messages to be “negative” but more a guidance to show that sometimes we head down the right road the first time, and sometimes we need to be redirected to find which way we’re supposed to go. For my divinations, I used the Greek Alphabet oracle, which helped me become more familiar with the symbols, and also helped deepen my connection with my hearth culture.

Each of these practices and relationships has helped to reaffirm my beliefs and to establish a stronger sense of my own spirituality.  I think having this understanding of my own faith will definitely help to prepare me for the work as a member of ADF clergy.

Homer. Hymn 30: To Earth The Mother Of All. 2011. January 2015 <http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns3.html#30>.

Newberg, Brandon. Core Order of Ritual Tutorial - Step 6: Opening the Gate(s). 2007. January 2015 <https://www.adf.org/members/training/dedicant-path/articles/coortutorial/step-six.html>.

Theoi Project. Hermes. 2011. January 2015 <http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html>.

Code of Ethics for Clergy Work

Preamble:  

This code of conduct is developed in an effort to give a clear and decisive guideline for actions and reactions to circumstances encountered while working as Clergy.

Principles:

  1. Equality – I will ensure the equal treatment of all people no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.  I will avoid actions that could be viewed as discrimination to the best of my abilities.  

  2. Responsibility – I resolve to try to keep my word, maintain my oaths, and accept responsibility for my own actions.  I will maintain my integrity and try to persevere in challenging situations.

  3. Confidentiality – I will maintain confidential communications for all private discussions between myself and those who seek my guidance

    1. Unless disclosure is required by law, such as information about child abuse.

    2. Unless sharing the communications can prevent harm from happening to others.   

  4. Continued Education – As clergy, I strive to continue obtaining information and educating myself through the study of history, spirituality, and other diverse topics to better myself and improve my knowledge of the world around me.  This also includes accepting criticism and using it as a tool to improve.

  5. Professional Boundaries – Professional boundaries will be implemented in necessary situations involving my work as clergy. I will also recognize my personal limits and be willing to admit those limitations when needed.

  6. Continued Practice – I am motivated to continue my personal and public practices within ADF by honoring the High Days with Core Order rituals and continuing to develop my personal practice.  

  7. Encouragement - I will encourage others to develop their own spirituality as much as I can and help them to foster growth within a religious, personal, and practical context.  

Description of the Code

This code of ethics has been developed through my own experiences, as well as a combination of the Nine Virtues of ADF, the ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics, and my interpretation of proper ethical behaviors within the context of clergy.  

  • Wisdom is shown through this code in two different contexts.  The idea of continued education shows that I put an emphasis on knowledge and want to continue obtaining wisdom through my journey as clergy.  Also, having a code of conduct gives clear guidelines for behavior, which is pre-emptively a wise decision in case I experience problematic situations in the future.

  • Piety is also evident in my code of conduct as I share that I will continue to build my own practice while also encouraging others in their own path.  

  • Vision is a concept that is a bit more challenging to see in this code of conduct, but for me vision is the ability to plan for the future and this code has helped me to do that.  It gives me a basic structure to base my actions on, and also helps to guide me in the future if I run into issues.

  • Courage isn’t something that I directly address in the Code of Conduct, but following through with the code is courageous in itself.  I address the issue of confidentiality, and the fact that some information may be shared if deemed necessary or demanded by law.  It will take courage to be able to follow through with that code and actually contact the appropriate people if I find myself in that situation.

  • Integrity is something that is very important to me, and I show that through my code in the form of responsibility.  I want people to understand that I am responsible for my own actions and that I am true to my word.  I don’t want people to believe that I am dishonest or devious, so including those ideas here reinforces my integrity.

  • Perseverance is also briefly addressed in my section on “Responsibility.”  Part of maintaining my integrity is continuing to work on things, even when it’s a challenge.  I want people to know that my integrity is in tact, even when the situation is hard to overcome.  

  • Hospitality in this context is very different for me than it is in my personal life.  In this code, my hospitality is shown through my equal treatment of all people, and through the professional boundaries that will be applied to all clergy situations and the expectation that other people will do the same.

  • Moderation for me in the perspective of clergy is being able to understand my own limits and being able to admit to and stand by those.  It is also knowing when you don’t have the knowledge someone is seeking, or when the help someone needs is beyond your abilities.  In addition, it’s also important to maintain moderation in my personal life in order to be a positive role model to the community.

  • Fertility is shown through the encouragement of development.  I hope to be able to grow and better myself over the years, and I definitely want others to be able to do the same thing on their own path.  By encouraging others to build their own spirituality and practice instead of blindly following the teachings of someone else, I am allowing them to be creative and helping to foster fertility within the community.  


ADF Clergy Council. ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics. 9 October 2011. January 2015 <https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/org/clergy-council/adf-clergy-code-of-ethics.pdf>.

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. A Virtuous Life: The Nine Virtues of ADF. 2006. January 2015 <https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/training/dp/publications/dp-req-1-nine-virtues.pdf>.


The Importance of Self-Understanding and Introspection

Self-knowledge and introspection have been vitally important during every step on my path toward becoming clergy, including my magical practices.  Exploring my spirituality has given me the opportunity to discover my own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on a deeper level, which allows me to have a better understanding of myself.  Magic further puts me in tune with the universe and allows me to connect to parts of myself that I may not otherwise have been aware of.  Self-knowledge allows me to understand what types of magic works for me, and to see the effects of doing magical workings on me, even when subtle.  It also allows me to be aware of my own limitations and to fully understand what my intentions for the work are.   

Self-knowledge is important because it allows me to have an understanding of my current mental and emotional state.  I have learned enough about myself to know that in certain frames of mind I will not be able to perform certain magical workings effectively.  This allows me to have more successful results from my magical practices, and also helps keep me from getting frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I had anticipated them to.

Introspection, to me, is slightly different than self-knowledge.  Self-knowledge is having the information on how your thoughts and emotions are processed, while introspection is the ability to look inside yourself honestly and understand what you find.  Introspection is very important because without the ability to look inside yourself you can’t truly determine what your desires or intentions for a ritual may be, and they may have unforeseen consequences.  

Self-understanding has been a life long journey for me.  I’ve always known that every person’s brain works slightly differently, and wanted to know both how mine worked and why it worked the way that it did.  I originally began my college career with a desire to become a psychologist, and even though my career path changed, my fascination with the study has not.  I have spent many hours reading and studying psychology to better understand why I am the way that I am.  I have also gone through therapy to learn more about myself.  

At this point, I put my effort more into journaling, which allows me to explore my thoughts and emotions without the fear of judgment.  I think journaling is a great way to garner self-awareness and to teach you to be introspective.   In addition to that, I plan to continue working through the Clergy courses, because they all require a certain level of introspection and lots of self-awareness. I have learned so much about myself during this process and am very interested to see where things go from here.


Representative Personal Practice Journal Entry

Week of 10/13/14 to 10/19/14

Several times this week, I found myself either unable to sleep, or woken in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.  Each time I was drawn to my altar, where I would stand in the darkness and light candles.  I would then sit in a comfortable position and meditate on my life, my path, and what I expected for the future.  After I felt comforted, I would say a prayer to the goddesses of my hearth, asking for their guidance.  I would then take my offerings outside and stand barefoot in the darkness, listening to the world around me, before making my offering.  The wind was cool, but the world was alive around me.  It was a very interesting experience.  

Goddesses of my hearth,
Goddesses of my heart,
I look to you for inspiration,
as both leaders and role models.
Demeter, you who love your child unconditionally,
and show me the gifts of motherhood
Athena, you who helped so many heroes,
and show me how to help those in need.
Hecate, goddess of the crossroads,
you help me to find the right path when I feel lost.
Aphrodite, you who love wholeheartedly
and show me how to love in turn.
Artemis, goddess of the hunt,
you show me strength and independence.  
I thank you all for your gifts and for your guidance.


Greek Alphabet Oracle --       Alpha -- Success
Gamma -- Successful harvest
Xi -- No good can come from an angry woman  


Group Ritual: Roman Rite of Februalia

Entrance is framed by a bowl of water and a candle/incense.  

Musical Signal

(Druid 1) stands by the altar, rings bell to signal beginning.

Purification

(Druid 2 & 3) Aspersing & censing people as they enter the space

“By the purifying waters of the well
And the cleansing fires of Vesta
May this space be purified and sacred.”

Honoring the Earth-Mother

(Druid 1) “Tellus Mater, primal goddess of the earth,
Great mother of all.
You who nourish and sustain us,
from you all life has formed.
With your name, we grow and change.
Come forth and dwell in this space.”

Sacrificer makes an offering of grain

(Druid 2) “Tellus Mater, gracious goddess of the earth
bright goddess of joy and prosperity,
You who are the source of continual creation,
from who all life flows.
With your name, we start our rite.
Come forth and dwell in this place.

Sacrificer makes an offering of grain

(Druid 3) “Tellus Mater, magnificent goddess,
We thank you for the abundance you give to us
And honor you now, before all others.
Come forth and encounter this rite.”

Sacrificer makes an offering of grain

(Druid 1) “Welcome, Tellus Mater.”

(All) “Welcome, Tellus Mater. “

Statement of Purpose

(Druid 2) “Tonight we gather together to celebrate Februalia, the Roman ritual of purification. As an official ADF protogrove, we follow ADF's Core Order of Ritual for High Day celebrations.  This ritual format works in triads invoking three Sacred symbols as our cosmology, and inviting three Kindreds into our rite to celebrate with us.  However, Roman rites did not typically involve a fire, well, and tree but instead have a focus, mundus, and portus.  The focus is a sacrificial fire, the portus is the portal between worlds, and the mundus was a pit used to make offerings to the underworld.  Join us as we make our offerings and celebrate Februalia”

(Re)Creating the Cosmos
Mundus(Well)

Sacrificer gives peat to the Mundus

(Druid 3) “Here is the mundus, pathway to the underworld and the spirits of the dead.  Your shape reflects the dome of the heavens, and opens so we may receive all the Kindred into our rite.  Mundus, great gateway to all that exists below, we ask that you open now. Sacred mundus, flow within us.

(All) “Sacred mundus, flow within us!”

Focus(Fire)

Sacrificer give offering of incense to the Focus.

(Druid 1) “Here is the focus, sacred flame of sacrifice. Your flames reach to the heavens, so we may receive all the Kindred into our rite. Focus, great flame that connects us to our homes, we ask that you open now. Sacred Focus, burn within us.”

(All) “Sacred Focus, burn within us.”

Portus(Tree)

Sacrificer gives offering of sage to the Portus.

(Druid 2) “Here is the portus, the pillar between the worlds.  You connect our realm to all other worlds, so we may receive all the Kindred into our rite. Portus, gateway to all the worlds, we ask that you open now. Sacred Portus, grow within us.”

(All) “Sacred Portus, grow within us.”

(Druid 3) “Mundus, portus and flaming focus
As you open up before us,
Grant us guidance beyond your gates
And allow us access to our Fates.
This sacred space is pure and open.”

Opening the Gates/Gatekeeper

(Druid 2) “Ianus Pater, opener of doors,
Guardian of every household,
You embody beginnings and endings
And guide us through the gates.
Through your door, let our words reach the Kindreds .
Come forth and dwell in this space.”

Sacrificer offers wine

(Druid 3) “Through you, may our hearts be open.
Through you, may our homes be safe.
Through you, may all who join be welcomed.
And through you may our words travel past the portals.
Ianus Pater, magnificent God
Come forth and encounter this rite.
May your magic carry our words to Kindreds in all the realms.
Janus Pater, join your magic with mine, and together,
Let the Gates be open!”

Inviting the Three Kindreds

(Druid 1) “Now we will welcome the Kindreds to join us in this rite: the Mighty Dead, the Spirits of this Land, and the Shining Gods and Goddesses.”

Ancestors

Sacrificer gives offering of bread to ancestors and lights ancestor candle.

(Druid 2) “We now call to the Mighty Dead, you who were here before us.  We welcome you, so we may honor the gifts you have given us, and the sacrifices you have made to make our lives possible.  Meet us at the boundary and guide us as we walk these paths. Welcome Ancestors!”

(All) Welcome Ancestors!

Nature Spirits

Sacrificer gives offering of grain to the Nature Spirits and lights nature spirit candle.

(Druid 3) “We now call to the Spirits of this Land, you who share this realm with us.  We welcome you, so we may honor the gifts you have given us.  Growing plants, creatures of the land, sea, and sky, meet us at the boundary and guide us as we walk this path. Welcome Nature Spirits!”

(All) “Welcome Nature Spirits!”

Deities

Sacrificer gives offering of alcohol to the Deities and lights Deity candle.

(Druid 1) “We now call to the great Gods and Goddesses, you who are worthy of worship.  We welcome you now, so we may honor the gifts you give us every day.  Shining Gods of  all the realms,  meet us at the boundary and guide us as we walk these paths. Welcome Shining Ones!”

(All) Welcome, Shining Ones!

Key Offerings

Sacrificer washes hands and covers head.

(Druid 2) “Februus Pater, great god of purification
You who help us celebrate the passing of the old
And teach us welcome new beginnings,
We ask you to join us in this rite
As we celebrate Februalia,
the festival of renewal and cleansing.”

Sacrificer gives offering of wine.

(Druid 3) “Through you, may our thoughts be cleansed,
through you, our hearts be renewed.
And through you, may our actions be pure.
Februus Pater, magnificent god,
Come forth and encounter this rite!
Welcome, Februus!”

(All) “Welcome, Februus!”

(Druid 1) “Vesta Mater, virgin goddess of the hearth,
You who embody the purifying flame,
And guide us with your warmth.
We ask you to join us in this rite
As we celebrate Februalia,
the festival of purification and new beginnings.”

Sacrificer gives offering of wine

(Druid 2) “Through you, may our hearts warmed.
Through you, may our homes be cleansed.
And through you, may all who join be purified.
Vesta Mater, magnificent goddess,
Come forth and encounter this rite.
Welcome, Vesta!”

(All) “Welcome, Vesta!”

Praise Offering

(Druid 3) “At this time, we would like to offer additional cleansing or purification to anyone who desires a new beginning. The ancient Romans believed in the purifying powers of both fire and water.  They would travel to temples to purify themselves and prepare for the upcoming spring. Let this water represent the healing, cleansing waters of the sea, and help to purify and prepare us for the upcoming spring.  Let the smoke of this incense represent the healing, burning power of Vesta’s flame, and help to cleanse and renew our bodies, minds, and spirits at the start of this New Year.”

(Druid 1) “You may also use this time to give offerings the Kindreds that you would like to honor.  There are offerings available for you to use.  You may choose to say some words in honor of those you are offering to, or you may speak your intentions in your heart.”
Prayer of Sacrifice

After all are done, Sacrificer give final offerings.

(Druid 2) “Through our praise, love, and offerings we honor the Kindreds, as they walk this path with us.  Februus Pater, Vesta Mater, Shining Ones, Ancestors, Spirits of this land: it is with love, actions, and words that we have offered hospitality to you all tonight. It is our hope that our words and sacrifice have conveyed our gratitude.  We call once more through the Gates.  Accept our offerings!”

(All)  “Accept our offerings!”

Omen

(Druid 3) “Now let our voices rise on the flames of the Focus, Let our voices resound in the depth of the Mundus, Let our words travel through the Portus.  We ask now, have the Kindreds accepted our offerings?”

Seer responds and additional offerings are made until a positive affirmation is given.

(Druid 1) “What blessings do the Kindreds gift to us?”

Seer responds.

(Druid 2) “What do the Kindred ask of us in return?”

Seer responds.

Calling for the Blessings

(Druid 3) “As in the ancient days, we have honored the Kindreds.  Ancient and Mighty Ones, we pray for you to honor us in turn. We will drink deep of the Cup of Inspiration and Purification.  Mighty Kindreds, give us the Waters!”

(All) “Mighty Kindreds, give us the Waters!”

Hallowing the Blessing

(Druid 1) “Behold, the Cup of Inspiration and Purification, from which we will receive our blessings.  Bless our lives with pure intentions, virtuous actions, and clear thoughts.  Behold the waters of life!”

Affirmation of the Blessing

Pour and pass cups, saying:

(Druid 2) “Will you accept the blessings of the Kindreds?”

After all have drunk:

(Druid 3) “By the blessing of all the Kindred, may we be purified and renewed.  From good to good and gain to gain, throughout the turning year!  Let us carry their blessings from this rite into our lives and our work.”

Thanking the Beings

(Druid 1) “As we prepare to depart, let us give thanks to those who have joined us today!”

(Druid 2) “Febbrus Pater, great god of purification, Vesta Mater, glorious goddess of the hearth, thank you for joining us in this rite, and for allowing us to cleanse and renew ourselves before you.  Febbrus and Vesta, we thank you!”

(All) “Febbrus and Vesta, We thank you!”

(Druid 1) “Shining Ones, Eldest and Brightest. May you continue to bless us as we walk this path. May there be peace between us until we meet once again at the gate.   Shining Ones, we thank you!”

(All) “Shining Ones, We thank you!”

(Druid 3) “Spirits of Land, Sea and Sky. May you continue aid us in our journey. May there be peace between us until we meet once again at the gate.  Nature spirits, we thank you!”

(All) “Nature Spirits, We thank you!”

(Druid 2) “Ancestors of Spirits, Land, and Blood.  May you continue to guide us as we walk this path.  May there be peace between us until we meet once again at the gate.  Ancestors, we thank you!”

(All) “Ancestors, we thank you!”

Closing the Gates

(Druid 1) “As this rite began, we asked Ianus to aid us in opening the gates to the otherworlds.  Now we will close the Gates and thank him for his aid.”

(Druid 2) “Ianus, closer of doors, we thank you for your protection and guidance as we have walked between the worlds.  May there be peace between us until we meet once again at the gates.  Ianus, we thank you!

(All) “Ianus, we thank you!”

(Druid 3) “We now, ask that you close the gates between the worlds once more. Let the focus burning towards the heavens once more become but flames. Let the mundus whose depths reach the Underworld once more become but water. Let the portus, pathway between all realms, become but wood. Let all be as it was before. Let the Gates be closed!”

Thanking the Earth Mother

Make a final offering of incense to the sacrificial fire.

(Druid 1) “Tellas Mater, Goddess of peace and plenty, for your support and sustenance. We thank you!”

(All) “Tellas Mater, we thank you!”

Closing the Rite

(Druid 2) “We have honored the Kindreds as our ancestors did, and as our offspring will, and we have received their blessings. Let us go out in the world, purified and renewed from this rite. This ritual is closed.”

Ring bell.


Solitary Ritual: Rite to Hestia

Initiate the Rite

Light the fire candle

Shining Ones, I ask for your blessings on this path as I work to build new relationships with the Hellenic deities and foster my spiritual growth on my journey toward ordination.

Purification

Cleanse hands, head, and heart.

Through this cleansing water, may my actions, intentions, and emotions be pure.

Honoring the Hearth and Earth Mother

Light Hestia Candle.  Make offering of incense.

Glorious Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home, as I work to honor my connection with the Gods I ask you to join me as I welcome them into my home.

Light Earth Mother Candle. Make offering of grain.

Earth Mother, you who support and sustain all life, I ask you to join me as I continue my journey and work to build my spirituality.

Statement of Purpose

I stand before my altar, purified and ready for ritual.  By performing this rite, I hope to expand my spiritual and ritual experience, while also building relationships with those deities that I have not previously connected with.  I hope to build positive relationships with them, while also growing to understand my own path more clearly.  Today, I am here to connect with Hestia, gracious goddess of the hearth and home.

(Re)Create the Cosmos

Offer whiskey to the fire.

Sacred Fire, flame of the hearth, gateway to the Shining Ones, this is the center of the cosmos.  I kindle this fire in warmth and love.  Sacred Fire, burn within me.

Offer silver to the well.

Sacred Well, waters of wisdom, gateway to the Ancestors, this is the center of the cosmos.  In the depth of the water flows wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.
Offer incense to the tree.

Sacred Tree, pathway between the earth and sky, gateway to the Nature Spirits, this is the center of the cosmos.  You are the path between all worlds.  Sacred tree, grow within me.

Open the Gates

Offer feathers to Hermes

I now call to Hermes, the messenger of the Deities and gatekeeper for this rite.  I ask that you guide me through the cosmos.  Let my words and actions be carried to the otherworlds.  Hermes, open the gates!

Inviting the Three Kindreds

Make offering of oil.

Shining Ones, those who have been worshipped for millennia, deities of my hearth and many others, you who have guided me through life, I ask that you join me in this rite.

Make offering of tobacco.

Ancient Ancestors, those who have passed on before me, ancestors of blood, land, and heart, you who have helped me to become who I am, I ask that you join me in this rite.

Make offering of bird seed.

Nature Spirits, those who share this realm with me, spirits of land, sea, and sky, you who have shared my land and home, I ask that you join me in this rite.

Deity of Occasion

The flame is lit, to build our hearth and to welcome Hestia to the 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 forth and encounter this rite.

Prayer of Sacrifice

Through my feelings, thoughts, and actions I honor the Kindreds.  They have given me guidance, inspiration, and motivation.  It is with love, honor, and respect that I have offered my hospitality. Mighty Kindreds, I honor you.  Accept my offering!

Make offering of mead.

Omen

I take an omen so I can receive a message from the Kindreds.  What words do you have for me?

Call for the Blessing

I have given my praise freely and now ask for your blessings in return.  Mighty Kindreds, may your blessings be given to me.

Hallow & Affirm the Blessings

Behold the Waters of Life!

Drink the waters.

Thanking the Beings

Hestia, thank you for attending this rite.  I am honored to know you and experience your presence.  Thank you Hestia for helping me to build my hearth fire, and for keeping my home safe, warm, and light.

Nature Spirits, thank you for attending this rite.  May your knowledge and protection continue to make my path clear.

Ancestors, Thank you for attending this rite.  May there be peace between us until we meet again.

Shining Ones, thank you for attending this rite.  May you continue to guide and bless me on this journey.

Closing the Gates

Hermes, thank you for your guidance and protection as I have walked between the worlds.  Now, I ask that you close the gates.  Let the tree be but wood, let the well be but water, and let the fire be but flames.  Let the gates be closed!

Thanking the Earth/Hearth

Gaia, divine mother, thank you for your support and sustenance on this journey.  May my work continue to honor you.

Hestia, mistress of the flame, again, I thank you for attending this rite.  May your warmth and hospitality be shown through me.

Closing the Rite

I have done as my ancestors did and as my children will do.  I will go into the world blessed by this newly found connection with Hestia secure in the knowledge that I am on the path I am intended to be on.  This rite is closed.



Example Working: Eleusian Mystery Water Purification

The Greater Eleusian Mysteries were a set of rites dedicated to Demeter and Persephone and their journey through the cycle of the year.  Each year the members of this cult would hold a nine-day festival.  On the second day of this festival was a huge purification rite.  All of the participants of the festival would walk to the sea near Athens in order to cleanse themselves in the waters.  They also took a pig along with them on this journey, and cleaned the pig in the waters of the sea in order to make it ready for sacrifice.  The participants would then make the journey back to Athens where they would use the pig as a sacrifice to the Gods as a start to their festival (Struck)

Purification Rite

Purification by water has always been my preferred method of preparing myself for a ritual.  Most of my work is done alone at home, so I have written this purification rite as a way to prepare myself for a solitary ritual at my personal altar. As I enter the sacred space, I light some sage and cense the area around my altar.  

“I call upon the ancestors bless this space, and grant me courage in my practices.
I call upon the nature spirits bless this space, and fill me with peaceful energy.
I call upon the deities to bless this space and show me wisdom on my path.”

At this time, I then approach my altar and place both of my hands deep into the water and speak the following words:

“The Eleusian Mysteries teach us of the purifying waters of the sea.  The people of Athens would travel to the waters to cleanse themselves in preparation for their rites. Let this water represent the healing, cleansing waters of the sea, and help me to purify and prepare myself for the work I am about to do.”

I rub my hands together, cleansing each and say:

“Through the cleansing powers of the water, may my actions be just.”

I then place my hands on my chest, over my heart, and say:

“Through the cleansing powers of this water, may my intentions be pure.”

Finally, I place my hands on my forehead and say:

“Through the cleansing powers of this water, may my thoughts be true.”

I then proceed with the rest of my ritual in whatever format it may take.  

Struck, Peter T. Eleusis. 2009. December 2014 <www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/hymns/index.php?page=eleusis>.

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