No, I'm not talking about remembering to give my felines milk even though they all do thoroughly enjoy drinking it. I am talking about remembering the lessons we should have learned from Harvey Milk and the fight for LGBT rights in San Francisco that ultimately cost him his life.
Bardic inspiration is one of the more recent developments in ADF ritual. It is not a required part, but it has become rather common as I have seen it as part of rituals all across the country. What are we doing here besides calling on another being?
Every year, I do a personal, hearth/home Samhain remembering those I knew that I lost in the last year, and those that have been of major influence over the many years. These named ones that have been called the past several years are Ed Nissan (Slakker), Isaac Bonewitz, and George Lee (Raven Mann). This year was no different. Dinner was shared with all the dead through a dumb supper.
Honoring the Earth Mother is one of the parts of the ADF ritual format that makes it ADF as it being a discreet offset of ritual, and the treatment of her as a being, is not found in many places. The other thing that is interesting about this part is that there is little, if any, evidence of her in abstract being worshipped by Indo-European people. They would worship their local land and fertility beings, often female, but not an abstract idea of Earth Mother. We can say similar for her counterpart, the Sky Father.
Continuing on the road through the Core Order of Ritual, today we'll talk about purification.
Purification can take place at many points through the ritual, and can take various forms. The most common places are as part of the initiation of the ritual such as at the end of the procession, or after hallowing the hallows. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
How do we start our rituals?
According to the Core Order of ritual, we do the following:
- Initiating the Rite - May include:
- Musical Signal
- Opening Prayer
- Establishing the Group Mind
I have to say that having done ADF ritual for more years than I wish to admit, I have seen this both evolve within certain individuals and see that everyone does a different variation. Sometimes this also depends on your ritual site or the abilities of the participants.
As many of you know, I am a regular attendee of the Between the Worlds Mens Gathering (http://betweentheworlds.org). I have been going since 2004 AND have missed only 2 years due to being over seas or major house issues. This is usually my vacation for the year, but not this year.
When we have called in all the Kindred, it is time to call on the Being of the Occasion. Usually you will hear it called Deity of the Occasion (DotO), but we should be honoring more than just deities throughout the year. The perfect example of this comes at Samhain. In my personal practice, on Samhain night, I do a dumb supper and the beings I invite in are all my ancestors. Here the Ancestors are the Beings of the Occasion. There are also going to be times where you are going to want to do a ritual to various land spirits. This could be a house weight (fey, spirit, etc.) your local body of water, a tree, your cat (they do love worship ;) ). Because the place of honor is not always a deity, and shouldn't always be a deity, that is why I prefer to call that part of the ritual the Beings of the Occasion.
I mentioned a few days ago an idea about a book project where it would be a collection of stories from members of the neopagan community about things that they experienced. The common theme would be finishing the statement "If I had known...".
The goal of the project is to create something for the newer neopagans to learn from. Show them that we have made our mistakes, and this is how we recovered from them or learned from them. I also hope to collect stories of things that worked or empowered us to do more. So a mic of both positive and cautionary stores.
This week, to continue the theme of explanations of where my various invocations come from, we look at the third Kindred, the Shining Ones, or Deities.
You who look over each and every one of us, our matrons and patrons, we offer you welcome.
You who look over this place, the deities of this land, we offer you welcome.
You all who are known or unknown to us, we offer you welcome.
Come, Join us at our fire as we celebrate (ritual purpose) tonight.
Shining Ones, Accept our Sacrifice!