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:

Our ritual format serves the people in many ways.  The most obvious way is by allowing the folk to strengthen their connection with the Kindred in a ritual setting.  The core order of ritual lays out a step by step process that an individual can go through to connect to the Kindred and strengthen the bonds.  This is most commonly done through making the various sacrifices.  When I have done public rituals for people that are not familiar with our format, the one comment I get back most is how we allow, if not encourage, people to make sacrifices during the ritual.  I feel that by far our doing this strengthens the participant’s connection to the Kindred, and is the most powerful way that we serve the people through rituals.

We also serve the people through the omen, which is where we can receive advice from the Kindred.  We also bestow the blessings of the Kindred through the hallowing and drinking of the “waters”.  We also have room in our format to do magical workings that may be needed for individuals or the group as a whole (Corrigan).  Overall though, the entire core order of ritual is designed to serve the people in one way or another.

Reaffirming shared beliefs:

As we are not an orthodoxic religion, our rituals and individual beliefs are not consistent from person to person.  That being said though, there are some key concepts and practices that are universally shared. 

We all believe that the Earth Mother is a very important part of our practice, so we honor her first and thank her last.  We all believe in the Kindred.  Not only do we agree that they exist, but that they do exist as deities, ancestors, and land spirits.  We also agree that there are multiple deities, usually through saying something along the lines of “Gods and Goddesses, Accept our Sacrifice!”  Our shared belief that the Kindred want us to give to them, they can give to us, and they can communicate with us are reaffirmed through the sacrifices, blessed “waters”, and omen respectively.

The physical how of these examples will vary greatly from culture to culture, and person to person.  Our belief in the importance of the concepts of the Kindred, reciprocity, and the importance of sacrifice is shared throughout ADF.

Reestablishing the cosmic order:

This is explicitly spelled out in the core order of ritual as step 5:

  1. (Re)Creating the Cosmos
  • Sacred Center must be established in a triadic Cosmos
  • The Three Worlds or Realms must be acknowledged
  • The Fire must be included
  • Sacred Center is most commonly represented as Fire, Well and Tree (ADF)

It is here that we establish the cosmos in our rituals.  We establish the vertical axis of upper, mid, and underworlds.  We also often establish the realms in the mid world, usually land, sea, and sky.  Then at the center of it all, we put the fire, well, and axis mundi/tree, with some exceptions such as the Vedic culture which uses only fire.  Doing such, we have now taken the cosmos, and put order to it.

Another common, but not required, method to establish cosmic order is through meditations such as the Two Powers meditation.  This does it more on a personal rather than group level as it takes the individual and has them connect themselves to the powers of the earth and the powers of the heavens, thus making themselves an axis mundi of sorts.

We do all of this to place ourselves and our ritual at the center of the cosmos.  This is an important step to do because the center of the cosmos is where the deities have created everything, and we have access to everywhere (Bonewits 68).

Building enthusiasm:

Enthusiasm comes from the Greek word enthousiasmós which means being inspired by God or being possessed by God (Random House, Inc.).  While the majority of us do not do rituals in order to be possessed by a deity, we do seek to be inspired.

This feeling of inspiration or just even the presence of the deity is not something that we can easily go out and find.  Instead, what our core order of ritual does is create a format for us to be more open to be able to feel the inspiration.  We do this through the use of meditation to get us into a more open mindset.  All the prayers and songs that are done throughout the ritual should be done in such a way as to invite the various beings to come and be present, or in some cases to leave us be.  We establish the cosmic center in our ritual site, bringing us to a place that we are more able to be in touch with the beings.  Finally we have the return flow where we ingest the blessings and should get that feeling of enthusiasm.

What also aides in the feeling is the building of the “energy” or “mana” throughout the ritual.  The ritual order is designed in such a way that each part builds on the previous increasing the energy we can perceive until we reach the culmination with the return flow.  This growing and ebbing of the “mana” will not likely be a straight line if graphed, but instead would be a wiggly line as there are naturally small rises and falls throughout.  The over trend though would be a rise to the return flow, and then a fall until the end.

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).

Kvasir!  You were born out of spit of the Æsir and the Vanir at the end of their war.  You were the wisest of the Skald, and not one person could question your judgment.  The dwarves Fjalar and Galarr took you from this world, and mixed your blood with honey to make the Mead of Inspiration in the kettle named Ódrerir, and the vats called Són and Bodn.

Liquor of Ódrerir and of Bodn and of Són, you saved the lives of the dwarves as they were fit to be drown by the giant Suttungr, who then took you and gave you to his daughter Gunnlöd for safe keeping.  When Odin heard of Suttungr’s mead he searched out Baugi, Suttungr’s brother, using the name Bölverkr.  He tricked Baugi’s thralls to their death, and offered to replace them himself for the payment of a sip of Kvasir’s Blood.  And so he worked, and so the payment was sought. 

When Baugi was rebuffed by his brother in his request, he bore a hole into Gunnlöd’s home and Odin turned himself into a snake to enter.  Odin spent three nights at her side, and finally was able to get three sips of the dwarves' mead.  The first was the entirety of Ódrerir, the second was Bodn, and third was Són, thus all of your blood was taken by him.  He then turned himself into an eagle and flew back to Asgard where to this day, the booty and find and gift of Odin stays to give inspiration to those in need.

So Kvasir!  We call on you to inspire us as you are the mead of inspiration.  Give us silvered tongues!  May we speak the truth, and what needs to be said!  Kvasir!  Inspire US!

Kvasir!  Accept our Sacrifice!



When making the above prayer, I was inspired by the Skáldskaparmal section of the Prose Edda (Sturluson 61-64).  The above is a retelling of the story of how Kvasir was created, killed, and brought to Asgard in the form of the mead of inspiration.  I like to do a retelling first because it is often that there are people present in our rituals that are not familiar with the various deities, especially the lesser known ones like Kvasir.

What makes the call more traditional is the use of kennings throughout.  Kennings are the use of words or phrases in place of the name of the deity that is being talked about.  This is actually the main idea behind the Skáldskaparmal.  The story of Kvasir is actually used to introduce the poetic forms of the Norse and then list many of the common kennings used (Sturluson 70-72).

What I did was a slight twist on that though, and while I used many kennings throughout the prayer, I used them in conjunction with telling the meaning of them.  This was done purposely so that those present know what is being talked about as the majority of the local grove is not Norse in focus, much less understanding the Old Norse language.

3.Discuss a poem of at least eight lines as to its use of poetic elements (as defined by Watkins): formulaics, 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.)

For this I will be using the Völuspá, or The Wise Woman's Prophecy from the Poetic Edda.  As this was originally written in Old Norse, and has been translated, the first four stanzas of each follows:




Hljóðs bið ek allar
helgar kindir,
meiri ok minni
mögu Heimdallar;
viltu, at ek, Valföðr!
vel framtelja
forn spjöll fíra,
þau er fremst um man.

Ek man jötna
ár um borna,
þá er forðum
mik fœdda höfðu;
níu man ek heima,
níu íviði,
mjötvið mœran
fyr mold neðan.

Ár var alda
þar er Ýmir bygði,
vara sandr né sær
né svalar unnir,
jörð fannsk æva
né upphiminn,
gap var ginnunga,
en gras hvergi.

Áðr Burs synir
bjöðum um ypðu,
þeir er Miðgarð
mœran skópu;
sól skein sunnan
á salar steina,
þá var grund gróin
grœnum lauki.

(Völuspá-Old Norse)


Hearing I ask

from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons,

both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather,

that well I relate
Old tales I remember

of men long ago.


I remember yet

the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread

in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew,

the nine in the tree
With mighty roots

beneath the mold.


Of old was the age

when Ymir lived;
Sea nor cool waves

nor sand there were;
Earth had not been,

nor heaven above,
But a yawning gap,

and grass nowhere.


Then Bur's sons lifted

the level land,
Mithgarth the mighty

there they made;
The sun from the south

warmed the stones of earth,
And green was the ground

with growing leeks.




The meter of the poem is a form called fornyrdislag which is a common form in the Norse narrative poems.  The meter itself is two, four line stanzas where each line consists of two halves that contain two stressed syllables and one alliterating syllable (Larington xxvii).  As the above poem was written in Old Norse, it is best we look for this in the original language instead of English.  Taking a look at the first stanza, we can see the following, where “x” is the stressed syllable, and the underline is the alliteration.




x                    x        x         x

Hljóðs bið ek allar | helgar kindir,


x            x          x        x
meiri ok minni | mögu Heimdallar;

x                 x             x         x

viltu, at ek, Valföðr! | vel framtelja

x               x                   x               x

forn spjöll fíra, | þau er fremst um man.



Hearing I ask | from the holy races,


From Heimdall's sons, | both high and low;


Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate


Old tales I remember | of men long ago.




Stylistically, this is a narrative poem, and is similar to other poems in the Norse culture.  One characteristic of the Norse poetry is the use of kennings or phrases that represent a person or event.  In the above example, “Heimdall’s sons” is a kenning for mankind, as Heimdall fathered the three classes of mankind. 

The alliteration used in fornyrdislag style poetry binds the hemi-stitches of the poetry.  A hemi-stitch is referring to half of a line of poetry, and the division is denoted above by the “|”.  In general, the first stressed syllable of the second hemi-stitch of this form of poetry will alliterate with one or both of the stressed syllables of the first hemi-stitch (alliterative verse).  The use of this kind of alliteration ties the whole piece together, especially since this poetic style does not rely on rhyme to do that.

Formulaics is the use of words, phrases, themes, etc. that are identical or extremely similar throughout multiple cultures.  Essentially this is the re-use of the words, phrases, themes, etc. and not the re-creation of them from culture to culture (Watkins 12-19).

In this poem, there really is no use of repeated phrases or words that are common in the Norse lore.  There is the use of Kennings though, as mentioned above, which is a common technique throughout the lore.  More importantly though, the theme is a common theme throughout many of the Indo-European cultures.  This poem is telling about the creation of the world, a brief history of what happens.  This formulaic breaks down with the foretelling of the end of the world, or Ragnarok, as this kind of prophesy is not a common Indo-European theme and may be a result of contact with Christianity.

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.

The following is a prayer of sacrifice calling on Odin for the Winter Solstice.  The person performing the prayer should stand with arms outstretched raised above their head, and a horn of alcohol, preferably mead, but beer is acceptable too, in one hand that is spilled around the fire when they say “We give this {name beverage} to you.”


One Eyed!

You gave your eye to Mimir’s well so you could gain the knowledge he possessed.  You rode Ygg for nine days from the end of a rope, with a spear cut into your side as you searched for the knowledge of the runes.  You sit in Hlidskjalf, your high seat in which you can see all.

Tonight, you are the leader of the wild hunt.  You lead the specters of men past in the hunt of the wild boar.  You ride at the head on the back of Loki’s magnificent son and take with you all who stand in your way.  But, those that join you in the hunt are rewarded handsomely.

Let us not stand in your way.  Let us join you in your hunt!  Let us find that boar!

Odin, on this the shortest day of the year, let us join you, and join your hunt!

We give this {name beverage} to you!

Odin, Accept our Sacrifice!

Works Cited

ADF. ADF Core Order of Ritual. 22 Oct 2008 <http://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/core-order.html&gt;.

Alliterative verse. 7 June 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliterative_verse&gt;.

Bellows, tr. Henry A. Völuspá. 02 Jan 2009 <http://cybersamurai.net/Mythology/nordic_gods/LegendsSagas/Edda/PoeticE…;.

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

Corrigan, Ian. The Intentions of Drudic Ritual. <http://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/intentions.html&gt;.

Larington, Carolyne, trans. Poetic Edda. NY: Oxford Press, 1999.

Random House, Inc. enthusiasm. 02 Jan 2009 <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enthusiasm&gt;.

Sturluson, Snorri. Edda. Trans. Anthony Faulkes. Clarendon, VT: Everyman Press, 1995.

Völuspá. 02 Jan 2009 <http://cybersamurai.net/Mythology/nordic_gods/LegendsSagas/Edda/PoeticE…;.

Watkins, Calvert. How to Kill a Dragon. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995.