Requirement #1: Key concepts

  1. Describe three differences between personal or domestic rituals and small-group rituals. (Minimum 150 words)

There are many differences between doing persona or familial rituals and small group rituals. First off, the techniques used for one group size may not work for a different group size (Bonewits 102). This could be that the simple gestures used solo or with family may not be seen or understood by a larger group, there is also a need for better annunciation of your words, projection of your words, etc.


A second difference is the matter of the group mind and group familiarity (Bonewits 104). When solo, or working within a family, it is not difficult to get everyone on the same page and working to the same purpose. Everyone knows everyone, and it should be easier to work together. When you get to non-familial groups, you now need to find more ways to bring people into the group mind to work together.


A third difference is the familiarity with the liturgy (Bonewits 106). When working solo, or as a family the liturgy quickly become very familiar to all those involved. The liturgy can also easily start to be customized to work with the family, and customs are quickly formed. With small groups, you are going to start get the casual participant. They may not know the ritual, or the group customs. It requires more work up front to explain what is happening, and should also have a debriefing afterwords to answer questions about what happened.


  1. Explain the importance of a shared worldview or cosmology within group ritual, and what can be done to help foster that shared cosmology. (Minimum 200 words)

Isaac summarized a passage from Trip Gabriel on a shared worldview as, “... if the people who are participating in your ritual don't share certain religious and philosophical values, however vaguely perceived or expressed, then a ceremony which seems powerful to some will seem meaningless (or even silly) to others” (Bonewits 108). This gets to the real point of having a shared worldview. When going into any ritual, everyone has to have the same basic assumptions, or at least an understanding of the assumptions. If someone goes in without the same basis of understanding, then it becomes more likely that they won't understand what is happening, why it is happening, and may even have a bad experience because of it.


There are many ways one can go about getting everyone on the same page. The easiest one to do is a pre-ritual briefing (Bonewits 108). With this briefing, you can define up front how exactly to approach this ritual. For example, what culture are we dealing with, what are the symbols being use (e.g. Fire/Well/Tree vs Fire/Well/Omphalas) and what they represent. It has other purposes such as explaining the liturgy and what songs (if any) are being done. It can also be used as a time for questions and answers about the ritual.


Another effective thing to make people feel included. Just that feeling of being part of a group will assist greatly with the outcome of the ritual. This is best done by being aware of your working in the liturgy and your gestures. Flipping the middle finger in the middle of the ritual, or declaring that those that don't believe in what is being done as the only true way are extreme examples of how you can alienate people at the ritual, and quickly break the shared worldview that has been built to that point. A more subtle examples would be emphasis on heterosexual messages in the presence of LGBT people. Ultimately, creating the shared worldview up front is not hard to do, but it is also not hard to break it by bad liturgy or unconscious gestures.


  1. Explain how you can incorporate words, motion, dance, posture, music, and gesture in a public, small group ritual. How is including each one in small group ritual different from how they are included in individual or domestic ritual? (Minimum 50 words per item, and minimum 150 additional words for comparison)


Words are a vocalization of your prayer. They can be soft and intimate, or they can be forceful and demanding. Words can also be silent prayers that are between you and the Kindred directly. Words are often used along with the many other ways of making prayer. Words in general are used by everyone, be it small group, or familial/individual rituals. The biggest difference based on the size of the group is the volume. For larger groups, you need larger volume. For individual rites, it is between you and the Kindred so there is no need to speak the works out loud.


Motion can also be varied. We could be talking about the procession of the group into the ritual space. We can also be talking about any kind of movement of the group while in ritual, or the items within the ritual such as the hallowed waters being passed. Movement of the celebrants is also something to be conscious of. When one person is doing something and demanding the attention of the group, others should not be doing movements that distract from that. Conversely to group rituals, when working with only a couple people or solo, there really is less emphasis on movement, to the point that you can do everything from one spot with essentially no movement if doing a solo ritual.


Dance is one form of prayer that really can bring the group together. Group dance is participatory and gets people involved. This is also a good way for people to raise and focus energy within the ritual. When the group is moving/dancing together, the energy will be raised without much conscious effort by anyone. Similar can be said for dancing by ones self for a purpose such as calling on a being. It serves the same purpose in all size groups.


Posture is a way of displaying what you are feeling to the world. It can also be used to display respect for what is being done. As an example, slouching will convey that one is not engaged, and can be seen as disrespectful. Standing at attention is at the other extreme and usually will be interpreted as respectful. In all size groups, how you stand and present yourself is important. Even when doing a solo ritual, you are standing before the Kindred, and you want to show them respect.


Music has a few purposes within rituals. One would be to raise energy and focus the ritual on whatever the intention of the energy raising is. Music can also be used as a form of prayer, or even as a form of an offering. Another great use of music is that it can be used as a distraction from other things that need to be done in the ritual that you don't want the group to focus on. Yet another use is to occupy time, for example when the blessed waters are passed around. This all applies for group rituals, but as you get to smaller and smaller groups, the less of a distraction and time occupation the music becomes, and the more of the energy raising and use as a form of prayer or offering it becomes.


Gestures are used mostly as a form of communication. As with posture, they can show respect or disrespect based on how they are done. They can also help emphasize what is being said or done. Gestures can also be used for magical purposes such as drawing sigils or being used to help the manipulation or visualization of the energy in the ritual. In groups, gestures could be more important because they will aid in the communication of what is going on, while in smaller groups, or solo rituals, they are less important.


Overall, all six of these forms of prayer have their place in personal/familial ritual and group rituals of any size. When you get down to it though, these are all theatrical things, and you have to look at who your audience is. The Kindred are always going to be an audience, no matter what size group you are working with. The difference between the familial and personal rites and group rituals of any size is that when you start doing the group rituals, the group members are also the audience, and they need to be captivated by what is happening.


One thing that has to be remembered with regards to group ritual, and much less so for the personal and familial rituals, is that you need to keep everyone comfortable with the ritual. This goes back to what the quote I had in question 2 was getting at, if you don't keep the group together, and do exclude people, even inadvertently, people are going to have a bad experience and will not get as much out of the ritual. It's easy on the familial and personal level to do only stuff you are comfortable with. When you get to groups, you need to know your group. If you have physically handicapped people, you may not want to do dances. Many people have issues with singing, or even speaking in public. This is usually mitigated by doing it as a group, but that is not always the case. When you get to group ritual, if you start doing things that make people feel excluded, you will start to lose those people.


  1. Explain why it is important to include physical offerings in ritual. (Minimum 150 words)

The idea of offerings in general is to create and maintain *ghosti- between us and the beings we are sacrificing to. It is possible to make a non-physical offering of something like a song, poem, dance, etc., but making a physical offering such as food or drink will be more easily understood by others in the rituals. A physical offering is also something that anyone can do while many would hesitate or not make non-physical offerings because of their own limitations.

One thing I have found is that by making the physical offerings, especially when providing offerings for others to make if they get moved to make, is that you give the ritual participants something physical to do in the ritual. Many ritual formats out there don't provide any space for people to directly participate in the ritual, but instead do their energy raising through song, dance, etc., as a group. This direct participation of making a physical offering really brings a feeling of being part of the group, and brings a very positive experience for most participants. I have seen in recent years the idea of allowing members of the group to make sacrifices during the ritual picked up by other groups that were not doing it a few years ago.

The other part of making a physical offering could very well be a matter of us imposing our human emotions on the Kindred. This is the Birthday Party analogy. If we make the assumption that the ritual is akin to throwing a birthday party for the deities of the occasion, then we can think of the offerings as the gifts for them. Lets be honest about our own lives, we would in general want something tangible instead of something fleeting. A physical offering would be the tangible gift. Again though, this may just be us imposing our beliefs on the Kindred instead of what they truly want. It could be they just want something, anything, and our omens tend to show that they are happy with most of what we give to them.

Requirement #2: Documenting domestic and small-group ritual practice:

  1. Keep and submit for review a journal covering a period of not less than six months and not more than a year that documents your active participation as a celebrant at six or more group rituals, including three observances of seasonal festivals. The text of individual prayers written by you should be provided as frequently as possible. Include an essay for each rite that involves the analysis and commentary on the ritual's structure, as well as a critical review of the performance of that rite.


In the last year, I have attended and run 9 Grove rituals. Summaries of each follow, with some of the prayers that were created/said by me. In general, the rituals we did were pre-scripted with a general idea of what to say. The Summer Solstice and Veterans Day rituals did not have scripts, and were generally a little weaker. The issue we are having is multi-folded. First, we don't have time in our lives to get together and practice, nor do some of us have the time or the ability to memorize ritual parts. This has lead us to using printed booklets of scripts. While this is not horrible as it gives newcomers something to follow, it also has taken away some of the spontaneity that can come from a memorized or unscripted ritual. I plan to continue to work on getting some of the grove members more confident in their skills, as all of us are able to do ritual well, and we all know the general ideas that we are working with. Being able to actually perform the ritual, and not just read it, is what I am hoping to get the grove to be able to do. The confidence is not there in some members though.


Apart from that, the rituals over the past year have for the most part been successful. There were some issues which we faced (see Lughnassadh), but as far as the spiritual practice goes, we have continually gotten good omens, and omens that turned out to be predictive of our near future as individuals and as a grove. I consider it a successful year.


June 22, 2013 – Summer Solstice

We gathered at 6 Mile Waterworks park in Albany to celebrate the Solstice. Our tradition is to have the Solstices be sumbels and Norse in cultural focus. We did an opening meditation that was followed by calls to the Earth Mother and Kvasir. The hallows were hallowed and Sleipnir was called on to help us as the gatekeeper and the outdwellers were asked to stay away. We then did 3 rounds of sumbel, one for each Kindred to invite them in. The deity of the occasion was Tyr, so we did a round of sumbel to him too. An open round for toasts and boasts was then done. We then did a shared meal and took the omen were taken and then we thanked everyone we called in and closed the ritual down.


Overall this ritual went well. This is one of the more difficult ritual formats for everyone as they need to think on their feet when it comes to the calling in of the Kindred and Being of the occasion. Everyone did well, and there were no major issues encountered. Everyone was pleased with the ritual, and nobody was drunk as we did have a horn of alcohol being passed around.


Call to Tyr:

Tyr! You remind us to do the right action. When the gods realized that Fenris was going to be too much to handle, and he needed to be fettered, you did what had to be done to fetter him. You promised Fenris that the magical tether was not a trick, and that he should be able to break free. You sacrificed your hand to him when he realized you lied. Tyr, we recognize your sacrifice. We honor you for doing what had to be done, and we honor you even more for fulfilling your promise to the wolf. Tyr! Come, join us in our celebration! Hail!


August 4, 2013 – Lughnassadh

We gathered at Six Mile Waterworks to celebrate Lughnassadh. We had an idea that there was going to be trouble before the ritual because when we arrived, a man told us that they had reserved the whole picnic area, but he would let us have the two tables we were using in the name of Jesus. Knowing the park rules, you can only reserve the gazebo, and that apparently was reserved for an evangelical Christian church.


Our ritual went on as usual. We started with a meditation, honored the Earth Mother, and called on Brighid for bardic inspiration. The hallows were hallowed and the gates were opened with the help of Manannan and the outdwellers were asked to stay away as usual. We honored the Kindred as usual, called on our Grove patron, Ratatosk, and called on Lugh as our deity of the occasion. Everyone was allowed time to make offerings to him, and a shared meal was given. By this point we had 2 girls from the church watching us. Omens were then drawn, and they indicated that there was going to be a bit of trouble ahead, but overall they were positive. We accepted the omens and hallowed the waters. At this point, we were disturbed by one of the girls. I had to step out of the ritual and try to deflect her away from the ritual while the others finished drinking the waters. It was a big distraction to say the least. We were then able to thank all that came and finished the ritual as usual, trying to ignore the chanting about Jesus by this one girl throughout the end of the rite. She eventually did stop when she saw that she was not getting any reaction from us.


Overall, the ritual itself went well, and with the help of Explore, I was able to mostly diffuse the girl that was causing problems. We now have more knowledge and experience on handling this type of disturbance, and hopefully won't ever have to do that again.


Call to Manannan before opening the gates:

Manannan, lord of the ways, walker of the roads. We call to you today to ask that you aide us as our gatekeeper. We ask that you join us and ward us as we walk these holy roads. We ask that you take our messages far and wide so that they may reach those who need to hear them. We ask that you bring back to us what we too need to hear. Wise one, come and help us as we celebrate the rites of Lugh. Manannan, accept our sacrifice!


September 22 2013 – Fall Equinox,

Our fall equinox was once again held at Six Mile Waterworks, and this time we didn't have the Christians to contend with. We gathered as normal and started with a meditation. The Earth Mother was honored, and we called on all 9 muses for inspiration. The hallows were hallowed, and then Hermes was called as our gatekeeper and the outdwellers were asked to stay away. The Kindred were called followed by Ratatosk and the deity of the occasion, Dionysus. Everyone was once again allowed to make their offerings to Dionysus and the Kindred, A shared meal was eaten, the omen was drawn, and the waters hallowed. We then closed down the ritual in the usual fashion.


Overall, this ritual went well. Nothing went wrong in the ritual, and everyone enjoyed it along with good omens that everyone accepted. The majority of the grove is Celtic or Norse in their personal focus, but one member has Greek interests, so we do at least one Greek ritual every year. This Rites of Dionysus has become a tradition for us to celebrate the harvest of the grapes, and the drinking of wine.


Call to Hermes:

Hermes! Messenger of the Gods and magician. We call on you today to aid us with the opening of the gates. We call on you to ward us as we walk these ancient paths. We ask that you bring our messages and prayers to where they need to go, be they the depths of Hades or the peaks of Olympus, and bring back what we need to hear. Hermes, we call on you and honor you with this sacrifice. Hermes, accept our sacrifice!


October 27, 2013 – Samhain

Our Samhain was held at Gretchen's house. We gathered around her table and started as usual with a meditation. The Earth Mother was honored, and Brighid was called on for inspiration. We hallowed the hallows and once again called on Manannan to be our gatekeeper. The Kindred were invited in followed by Ratatosk. Our deities of the occasion were Dagda and Morrigan. After they were called in, the bit on the second battle of Mag Tuired where they have sex over the ford was read. Everyone was allowed to make offerings to the Kindred, Dagda, and the Morrigan. We again did a shared meal and took our omens. The waters were hallowed and passed around. The ritual was then closed as we usually do.


Overall, the ritual has become one of my more favorite rituals, and I have enjoyed working with these deities. The ritual went well, and the omens were good. The one thing that I find I need to do is review, and maybe re-write, the story of the second battle of Mag Tuired. I stumbled over the Irish words in the version that is found on Sacred Texts. Other than that, there really were no other issues.


Call to Dagda:

Dagda! Good God! You, who walk with a club where one end gives life, the other takes it. As you walk, you leave a furrow in the ground behind you from your club. You who has the cauldron of plenty that overflows with food. We call on you today to join us in our celebration of Samhain, for it is you that lays with the Morrigan on this day. We call on you to come and join us as we honor you and our Ancestors for this rite of Samhain. Dagda, Come to our fire and be honored. Dagda, Accept our sacrifice!



November 11, 2013 – Veterans Day

Our Grove has had a tradition of celebrating American civil holidays using an American pantheon of sorts. For Veterans day, it was only myself and another Grove member and two guests. We had no prepared scripting, so everything was done impromptu. We started with a meditation followed by offerings to the Earth Mother. We then called on the American Bardic ancestors for inspiration, and hallowed our hallows of fire, well, and tree. Lady Liberty was called on as our gatekeeper and the outdwellers were asked to stay away. The Kindred were called on and the beings of the occasion, Veterans of any war, were called on to join us. As part of the offerings, the proclamation for this years Veterans Day was read, and Flanders Fields was also read. Those in attendance were given time to make sacrifices to the Veterans and many thanks were given. A meal was shared, and the omens were drawn. We hallowed the waters and then closed the ritual as usual.


Overall, this ritual was a mix of good and bad. The bad is that the other grove member is not a strong ritualist, and had to be helped to get over the fear she was doing something wrong. It's a process we continue to work with. The other part is that one of the attendees is a vet, but not pagan in the least, so he was somewhat lost as to what we were doing and why... even after we explained things up front. The good though was that the energy was there when we made the sacrifices to the Veterans. I personally was close to tears at some points. So, even with the bad, the ritual truly did work.


Call to Lady Liberty:

Lady Liberty, Statue of Liberty, you who guards New York harbor. You were the first thing seen by so many people coming to this great country. Your torch is a beacon to the rest of the world. You teach us to accept the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. You represent freedom throughout the world. Great guardian of America, we call on you to be our gatekeeper this night. Accept us as you accepted the immigrants years ago. Take our words and spread them where they need to go like the light from your torch, and bring us back what we need to hear. Lady Liberty, Accept our Sacrifice!


December 28, 2013 – Yule

The full ritual text is below. This ritual was a break from tradition. We normally have a sumbel for our Yule rites, and honor Odin. For this ritual, we wanted to try a seidhr, so we did not do the submel so that people were sober for the seidhr. We gathered as normal around my table and started with a meditation. This was followed by calling of Kvasir for bardic inspiration and hallowing the hallows. We then called on Sleipnir to be our gatekeeper and then asked the outdwellers to stay away. The Kindred were called upon followed by Ratatosk. Odin was called as the deity of the occasion. We then opened it up for everyone to make sacrifices, did a shared meal, and pulled the omen. The omen was good and we hallowed and drank the waters. At this point we adjourned to the other room with comfy chairs and did the seidhr work. I lead everyone on a trance journey to where we were going to do the work. MJ then talked me into deeper trance with the charm written by Missy. Questions were asked and answered, and when all was done, I came out of the trance and lead everyone back. We then re-gathered around the table and closed the ritual as usual.


Overall, this ritual went well. The people in attendance liked the ritual. I will agree with Gretchen that when the movement from one space to another space was added instead of us just gathering around one central space, it was a dead period of the rite, and better logistics need to be thought of for future rituals. The seidhr was successful though, and people did get answers to their questions that made sense. From the seers stand point, I had the fear that what I was seeing was not correct. After the ritual I asked the two people that asked questions of ancestors if what I described seeing was what they looked like. They confirmed I saw them, which came a relief to me. Apart from the logistics though, I believe that the way the ritual was written, it could flow well, and accomplish what we intended to do, which was celebrate the high day and also do some oracular work that was not based on drawing lots.


Call to Oðin:

Oðin! One Eyed! Wanderer! We call on you to honor you on this, the shortest day of the year. You are the leader of the Wild Hunt. You go out this time of year with your hounds. You hunt those who dare be outside on these nights. We ask that you spare us from the hunt, but instead come and join us at our fire. Let us honor you, All Father, for this is your time of year. Oðin, Accept our Sacrifice!


February 1, 2014 – Imbolc

For Imbolc, we have a dual purpose to our ritual. First is to honor Brighid. The second purpose is to appease the Groundhog and ask him to not give us another 6 weeks of winter, but instead an early spring.


We gathered at MJ's and started with a meditation. The Earth Mother was honored followed by calling on Brighid for bardic inspiration. The hallows were hallowed, Manannan was called as the gatekeeper, and the outdwellers were asked to stay away. We then called in the Kindred, Ratatosk, the groundhog, and Brighid. People were then allowed to make sacrifices to all that were called in, with the caveat that they should not be threatening or harming the groundhog, we wanted to get on his good side. A meal was shared, and the omens were good. We hallowed the waters, and drank of them. The ritual was then closed in the normal ways.


Overall, the ritual itself was successful. Brighid was truly honored, and we had good blessings to drink. Everyone in attendance were able to make their sacrifices to a statue of Brighid that Cary had set up on the alter in the room. It went well from that respect. We apparently didn't appease the groundhog though. The winter was bad, and ended late in the year. We are going to have to re-think how we want to deal with the nature spirits, represented by the groundhog, in getting a more mild end of the winter next year.


Call to the Groundhog:

Oh wonderful groundhog! You little furry creature that will be foretelling the remainder of this winter. You who are representing the Nature Spirits and have an in with the Earth Mother. We call on you to honor you today. We call on you to accept our offerings and to bring us an early spring, or if that is not in the cards, a not so bad remainder of winter. We ask you bend the ear of the Earth Mother with this request. We ask that you not see your shadow tomorrow and bring us an early spring. Groundhog, Accept our Sacrifice!


March 22, 2014 – Spring Equinox

Our spring equinox ritual is our chaos ritual. We started off around my table with a meditation. We then honored the Earth Mother, and called on Kvasir for bardic inspiration. The hallows were then hallowed, and Ratatosk was called as our gatekeeper. We then called on the Kindred as usual, and then invited the Outdwellers in as our beings of the occasion. Our expressed purpose when calling them in is to come in the spirit of *Ghosti-, and to lighten up our ritual. Sacrifices were then made by those attending to the Outdwellers. We also did a shared social time, egg painting, snacks, etc. with the outdwellers. The eggs were filled with the chaos of fertility of the working and everyone could bring their eggs home to bring fertility to their lands. Omens were taken, and as our past experience has shown us, the outdwellers were grateful for the ritual. The waters were blessed, and the ritual was closed as usual.


Overall, this ritual has been successful from year to year. The social time in the middle of the ritual along with the making of the sacrifices are what make this ritual. We all have fun, welcome the chaos of the rite into ourselves, and in the end ask that it treats us well for the following year. This is also traditionally held at my house so I have to deal with any chaos cleanup that has to happen. Thankfully, nothing stayed behind that I had to deal with. As with anything being done at my house, the space is a little cramped, so any kind of movement in ritual is not great, but the rite was a success overall.


Call to the Outdwellers:

All you of the outer dark. All who abide beyond the light of this works fire. You who we normally ask to stay away. Those who reside beyond the boarders of our society. We call to you. We recognize you and your role in our lives. We recognize the chaos that you bring, and the necessity of this chaos. Today, we call on you to join us in *ghosti-. Come to our fire, partake in our celebration. We welcome you today in recognition of who you are, and we ask that when you leave, that you please be gentle with us through the rest of the year. Outdwellers, join us and accept our sacrifice!


May 4, 2014 - Beltane


Beltane was held at Jeremiah's mother's house at the grove he has been building. We were under a burn ban, and it was chilly and windy, so the ritual was kind of hurried along because of this. We stared with a meditation followed by honoring the Earth Mother. We then called on Brighid for bardic inspiration and then hallowed the hallows. Manannan was once again called as our gatekeeper, and the outdwellers were asked to stay away. The Kindred were called in, Ratatosk was honored, and we invited in Danu and Belanos as the deities of the occasion. Offerings were made by those in attendance that wanted to do so, and we had our shared meal. The omen were positive, so the waters were hallowed, and drunk by all. We then did a magical working of charging some grains with fruitful and bountiful energy. The grains were passed around the circle, then given to Jeremiah to spread around the grove to bring that energy to this land. We then closed the ritual down as usual.


Overall this went well. The magical working was requested during the ritual, so it had to be made up on the spot, but it worked well, and the grove surely has had a good spring from what I have heard from Jeremiah. The only really bad part was that the weather was chilly. We were not expecting that, and we couldn't control that or the burn ban that would have at least given us a bit of warmth to huddle around. Otherwise, the ritual went well.


  1. Write and lead at least one group High Day ritual. Submit both your script for that ritual and an evaluation of the ritual in terms of structure (how the ritual flowed) and function (what was accomplished). Include evaluations of the ritual from two other attendees (Include contact information for the attendees providing the evaluations. Their evaluations must be at least 125 words in length and include a description of what they thought went well and what improvements could be made, as well as whether or not they believe the ritual accomplished its purpose.)

For my evaluation, see the previous question under December 28, 2013 – Yule.


The Ritual:

Start the ritual around the hallows. Pass the bowl of water around for everyone to aspurge themselves. Pass burning incense around for everyone to cense themselves. Pass the ego jar around and ask everyone to leave their ego in the jar and join us all as equals. When the ego jar is done being passed around, it goes outside the ritual area.

We then start off with a meditation for the season by Gretchen:

awareness inward. Feel yourself anchored to the earth and reaching to the sky. Know yourself to be among friends, safe in sacred space.


Imagine that you are holding before you a single candle, and that this small, flickering light is the only light left in all the world. It is your own precious flame—the light within you—your fire, your spark. Be one with your light. Feel its warmth as your own. Feel your entire body glow with the essence of that fire.


On this, the longest night of the year, feed your flame. Let it burn bright, fueled by your love, your compassion, and your faith. Hold it aloft, and let its radiance spread outward, spreading light throughout the darkness, warming the coldest places, sending love and goodwill throughout the world.


Now, look beyond the light of your own fire to see the sparks in the darkness that are the lights of others. See the many flames blooming in the night like flowers in a garden. Watch as their radiance spreads and multiplies.


This is magic—that the light of a single candle can spread and multiply until the darkness is banished. This is a night of magic. Tonight is the longest night—the midnight of the year, but tomorrow the sun will be reborn in the glory of the dawn. And each day shall grow longer than the one before, as the great wheel turns.


Hold in your heart the image of that brilliant, spreading light. Let it fill you with warmth, with power, and with joy.


Breathe deeply and slowly, and when you are ready, slowly, open your eyes and join us in the celebration of the feast of Yule.

Earth Mother
Earth Mother! You who surround and support us. As you go deeper into your slumber through the winter, we remember you. Be you brown and gray, or covered in snow, you are a part of our lives. With out you, we wouldn't be here, and we honor you for that. Accept these offerings as a token of our appreciation. Earth Mother, Accept our Sacrifice!

Bardic Inspiration
Kvasir! You are the mead of poetry. Born out of the battle between the Aesir and Vanir. Stolen by the dwarves, and once again by the giants. Oðin stole you back after spending 3 nights with a giantess and brought you back to Asgard. You inspire all of us. Come, join us. Give us silvered tongues to say what we need to say, and to speak only the truth. Kvasir, Accept our Sacrifice!

Statement of Purpose
We are here this day to celebrate Yule. Yule is the shortest day of the year, the longest night. The world around us appears dead or dying, the leaves are gone, there is snow falling. We are in a bleak time of year, but starting on Yule, the days start getting longer, the nights get shorter. In a week or two we'll really start to notice this, and it is a time to celebrate the return of the sun. As this is also the start of a new solar year, we are going to also do some oracular work to answer the questions we have.

Hallowing the Hallows
Portal Song:

By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.

Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing:


We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.


Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.

CHORUS (with gusto)

(Words and music by Ian Corrigan ©Stonecreed Grove, ADF)

Sleipnir! You beautiful steed of Oðin, son of Loki. We call on you to aide us in our works today. We ask that you open the ways for us, guide, and ward us. Take our words where they need to go, and bring back what we need to hear. Eight legged one, Sleipnir, Accept our Sacrifice!

Now, Sleipnir, join your magic with mine. Let the well open as a gate to the worlds below. Let the fire open as a gate to the worlds above. Let the tree become the crossroads between all the worlds, open to the spirits and our voices. Let the Gates Be Open!

All you of the outer dark. You who are beyond the light of this works fire. You who are not aligned with our purpose on this day. We make you this offering, and ask you leave us alone. If you do so, we will pour the offering to you when the rite is over.

Ancestors! You who have walked this land before us. You who are part of our lineage, we offer you welcome. You who are friends and allies, we offer you welcome. You who walked this very land, we offer you welcome. Come, Join us at our fire. Ancestors, Accept our Sacrifice!

Land Spritis
Land Sprits! You who live among us. Those of fur and feather, scale and skin, we offer you welcome. Stick and stem, leaf and flower, we offer you welcome. All those seen and unseen, the elves and dwarves, all of you spirits of the land, we offer you welcome. Come, Join us at our fire. Land Spirits, Accept our Sacrifice!

Shining Ones
Gods and Goddesses of Elder Days! You who each of us call our patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome. You who look over our lives and our grove, we offer you welcome. All of you, known or unknown to us, we offer you welcome. Come, Join us at our fire. Shining ones, Accept our Sacrifice!

Ratatosk (grove patron)
Ratatosk! You who runs up and down the world tree carrying the messages of the great eagle and wyrm. You who have adopted our grove as one of yours. We call to you and honor you as our grove's patron. Come, Join us at our fire. Oh Great Squirrley One, Ratatosk, Accept our Sacrifice!

Oðin! One Eyed! Wanderer! We call on you to honor you on this, the shortest day of the year. You are the leader of the Wild Hunt. You go out this time of year with your hounds. You hunt those who dare be outside on these nights. We ask that you spare us from the hunt, but instead come and join us at our fire. Let us honor you, All Father, for this is your time of year. Oðin, Accept our Sacrifice!

Praise offerings
Anyone that has offerings to the Kindred or Oðin, please, come forward and make them now.

Sacred Bull
We have here the sacred bull. As is our tradition, we sacrifice this bull and give half to the Kindred, and share the other amongst ourselves. Kindred, Accept this Sacrifice!

Runes are pulled asking what blessings we receive.

Blessing of the Waters
Ancient and Mighty ones. We have given to you and in the tradition of *Ghosti- a gift deserves a gift. Fill these waters with the omens we have just heard, and fill us with their powers as we drink the waters. Kindred, Give us the Waters! Behold, the Waters of Life!

Oracular Seiðr
Trance journey to the nemeton by Robb.
Once in the nemeton and all settled down, speak the following incantation. This will be lead by MJ after Robb takes the high seat.
Take the seat and travel down
Down into the Earthen Womb
Earthen womb with beating heart
Heart where lie the Ancient Tombs
Ancient Tombs with Ancient Bones
Bones of Mage, of Bard, of Priest
Priests of Old whose words relay
Relay Wisdom, E’er they speak
Speak to us through Seer’s voice
Seer’s voice, fulfill thy vow
Vow to touch the Ancient Wise
Ancient Wise, receive him(her) now!
(Words by Missy Burchfield)

Once seated and situated, Robb will describe what he sees. At this point, MJ is to call on people for questions. After each answer MJ should say:
Well has been asked,
well has been answered.
Is there another question?

Periodically MJ should ask Robb how he is doing, and be ready to stop the questions if needed.
For returning, MJ should state the following:
Seer, you have traveled far and wide.
It is now time for you to return.
Return to you body, return to this seat.
Return to us all and join us at the fire once more.

Once back to his body and ready, Robb will lead the trance journey from the nemeton back to the ritual space.

We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.

We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.

Shining Ones
We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.


Land Spirits
We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.


We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.


Sleipnir, we have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you. Now, once more join your magic with mine, and aide us in closing the gates. Let the well become water. Let the fire become flame. Let the tree become a tree once more. Let the Gates be Closed!


We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you.


Earth Mother
We have given to you, and you have returned the favor. For all that you do for us, we say, Thank you. We also return to you all that is left unused and will pour the offerings we have gathered around the tree outside.

You have left us worship in peace, and we will now uphold our end of the bargain and pour you your sacrifice.

Go now, Children of Earth in wisdom and peace.




During the planning stages for our 2013 Yule Ritual, Robb Lewis suggested that we try something new: to include some seidhr work within the rite. Everyone agreed, Robb wrote the text of the ritual and we proceeded. The following is my interpretation of the ritual and its results.


The main body of the ritual followed the ADF core order as our Grove has practiced it for many years, so it was comfortably familiar, and there was a high level of participation among the attendees. As usual for us, there was a pleasant blend of solemnity and humor, and the sense that the kindreds were indeed present among us and sharing in our celebratory mood.


When we reached the section with the seidhr work, there was a slight awkwardness as we made our way to the area where we seated ourselves. I believe that this had more to do with the constraints afforded by the layout of space in Robb’s home, where the ritual was held, than anything intrinsic to the crafting of the rite, but it is worth noting. Should we choose to repeat this ritual form in the future, I would suggest more planning with regards to physical choreography to make the transitional phase smoother.


Once we seated ourselves, we joined in a guided meditation and the seidhr portion of the rite began. This was new territory for most of us, and I have to confess that I was a little reluctant about it myself. As my grovemates can attest, I have always had some discomfort with divination and trance, and I include it only minimally in my personal practice. So I was genuinely surprised by just how positive I found the experience.


Based on the reactions of the other participants, several of whom are not ADF members, I would say that the ritual was very moving for everyone in attendance. In this regard, the ritual was certainly a success.


The primary purpose of the ritual, to celebrate the holiday and deeper our relationship with the kindred, was certainly achieved. As for the secondary purpose of this particular ritual, to introduce the grove to seidhr work and to give the participants the opportunity to ask questions of the kindreds, I would conclude that this too was achieved.


The overall form of the ritual as written was very effective. My only criticism would be to give more thought to the logistics and physical movement of participants within the available space. Knowing what we now do about the flow of this kind of rite, I am confident that the next time we attempt this form, we will be better prepared and will be able to overcome the physical constraints and will be able to maintain the flow of energy and focus from beginning to end.


Review from MJ Henion,



Our grove gathered to celebrate Yule, the shortest day of the year. Although a dark time, the promise of the light begins to grow once more with hope on the horizon. This ritual would feature a special Seidhr trance journey led by Robb Lewis. I looked forward to this part especially as a person who does trance work herself.

We began the rite with a meditation and offerings to the Earth Mother followed by our usual praise offerings to the kindred. The patron of the rite for this Yule was the All Father Odin, leader of the Wild Hunt. As we honored the kindred I felt peace and calm which I welcomed as the season of Yule is a busy time.


After the omen was taken, which was positive and the waters blessed, Robb invited us to relax as we settled in for the Seidhr aspect of the rite. He explained what would be taking place in detail and made everyone feel comfortable which was important as this would be the first time this sort of trance work was included in one of our public rites. As he began his part as the seer for the trance journey, I assisted Robb with whatever he needed, from fielding questions from other attendees to checking on his well-being during this time. I really enjoyed this part and felt it added much to the ritual. The attendees also seemed that they were pleased after we came out of it. We then celebrated thanksgiving, gave thanks to all we honored and ended the rite.


For the first time including Seidhr in one of our High Day celebrations, it went well as Robb gave of himself so that others could ask questions of their guides and Gods that night. That is what he always does; give of him for the whole and this Yule rite he lead was no exception. Overall I felt the ritual and trance work accomplished its purpose and would enjoy doing it again in the future.

Works Cited

Bonewits, Isaac. Rites of Worship: A Neopagan Approach. Miami, Fla: Earth Religions Press, 2003. Print.