Week 10 – DPWotY

Week ten is the post ritual wrap-up for the second High Day in the DP, having either performed a ritual, or as is the case here attended one and participated I am now to reflect on how the ritual went, what happened, what did I learn, what was the format, who were the patron dieties, how did it feel, how did the blessing go, etc.

So once again I set out in 41 degree celsius heat for a two hour drive to the nemeton of the closest grove to me, grooving to Damh the Bard, as only an overly enthusiastic pagan can. We took a cake, oat biscuits and banana bread with us to share at the post ritual picnic, all things we thought could survive the heat once we arrived.

We arrived with little time to spare, eight minutes before starting time, however due to problems with public transport some of the others were running late and had messaged ahead to let the Senior Druid know. We all waited patiently in the shade of the gum trees using the ritual handouts as fans for the stragglers and chatting about our lives.

As the last of the people our Senior Druid was certain was coming arrived we worked out roles for our very small gathering, my drink bottle unfortunately has leaked a little on my notes so the number of attendees I am having to put down by recollection as being only 6 people.

How did the ritual go in terms of structure?
The ritual followed the ADF core order since it was held by a ADF Grove.

What things went wrong?
Nothing went overly wrong with the ritual, there were a few fumbled lines (including one of mine) and one of the people doing offerings to the Kindred’s almost forgot to give one but nothing big, cetainly nothing the detracted from the ritual or ruined it in any way.

Who were the patrons of the ritual and who was the Gatekeeper?
The patron of the ritual was the Dagda and the Gatekeeper was Mannan mac Lir

Did you have trouble saying the words? Did everything come out smoothly?
No and no. I didn’t have trouble saying the words for the parts I spoke or sung in, I never have because I wouldn’t participate in something that I wasn’t comfortable with. Did everything come out smoothly, also no, I honestly don’t think the answer will ever be yes unless I have memorized my lines by rote, my mild dyslexia is always going to trip me up, the good thing about it though is the grove are understanding and I’m not the only one that has this issue.

If you were with a group what part did you play?
I was with a grove and I played the part of the Nature Spirits, as well as participating in the songs and parts where everyone speaks. I really like welcoming them in as part of the Kindreds, like I’m greeting friends.

What did you feel during the ritual?
So Rev Dangler does elaborate on this question more in the booklet but I like the smaller headings so I’m going to phrase the question simply and cover a few things.

As for feelings of confidence or anxiety, I would say I had mixed feelings, I had some anxiety at the pre-ritual briefing that carried into the ritual, right up to the point where I started my part of welcoming in the nature spirits, it was like I kicked over into teacher mode where there was no space for anxiety. I spoke clearly and projected my voice so all could hear me and after I started I was filled with a feeling of confidence, it was like I was among friends and there was no need to be worried, given I have crippling anxiety this was such a liberating feeling.

As I was welcoming in the nature spirits I got a wonderful warm feeling, like I was with friends, it filled me with so much joy and happiness and it felt like I was really connected to the space, I felt hyper aware of the birds in the trees and the gently movement of the trees around us, the feeling of the dirt beneath our feet and the space we were standing in. Suddenly the gentle trickle of the creek seemed so much clearer, like the gently chiming of crystals on a chandelier as they clinked softly against each other in a wafting breeze. I like to think that this was the presence of the nature spirits responding to our call to join us in ritual.

What omens were drawn?
The seer drew the Vine which she said was about celebrating the bounty of the season, of fellowship and of connectedness. It was agreed that this was a positive omen and that our offerings had been accepted.

One other thing of note was that I got to take the well offerings down to the creek near the nemeton to make the secondary offering to our local waterway, casting the water and silver into the gently trickling stream that was much lower than normal and clear as glass.

With that I have finished recap number two of the High Days.

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Interlude

So I’ve been very quiet on here lately, unintentionally for the most part, certainly quieter than I meant to be. I’ve almost finished reading A Pagan Journey Through Europe by Prudence Jones and will be starting to write up my book review for it soon. My next book arrived in the post today so thankfully there won’t be a gap where I am without a DP book. So my next book is a Hearth Culture book – The Saga of the Volsungs: The Legend of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer and the magic ring of power.

I’m in the process of finding a safer nature spot for the summer here because there are an unusually high number of snakes (This is Australia and they are quite venomous snakes – feel free to google Eastern Brown Snakes and Eastern Tiger Snakes to see why I’m not keen on tangling with them) about this summer in my normal spot. I’ve been making do by sitting under the giant willow in my garden for now.

I haven’t had a chance to do the weeks in the Through the Wheel of the Year for the solstice yet, but went to my local groves solstice and took part (I had the part of the Nature Spirits and got to make the secondary offering to the creek near our circle). So I’ll be writing properly about that soon.

I recently made an Earth Mother statue out of clay for my altar and she has since been decorated and added to the set-up. I’ve also put doors on the altar so that the cats can’t get in, however I’ve used a wire centre on them so that it remains visible and doesn’t feel cut off from the world.

Anyway normal updates following the Through the Wheel of the Year weeks will resume soon.

Week One – DPWotY

So here I am, a newly signed up member of the ADF, the excitement of joining still fresh writing my first entry on my journey down the Dedicant Path. After a good rummage around on the member’s section of the website, a read of Our Own Druidry and Through the Wheel of the Year I’ve started to understand exactly how big a task I have set for myself.

I recently spoke to several ADF members at a local pagan gathering that were in various points of completing the Dedicants Path along with senior ADF members who had never completed it. They were all thrilled that after six months of agonizing over the decision to join that I had come down on the side of joining and had almost finished saving up to do so. As strange as it might sound to some at that moment, with those people I realized I had come home. I couldn’t wait to start. So here I am, a newly joined member jumping in the deep end. Again.

I’ve decided to work through the workbook of Through the Wheel of the Year, despite the fact it is ‘more work’ because it offers up a comfortingly structured approach to the DP. Week One readings were sections of Our Own Druidry but were followed up by two suggested readings, one on journaling our experiences as Druids and the other on the uncertainty of facing the Dedicants Path.

Both were interesting, the second one because it spoke to some of my insecurities going in. Although I come to the ADF with thirteen years as an eclectic pagan under my belt and two years identifying as a Heathen, which meant I had my pantheon and a lot of my experimenting out of my system I am still walking into the unknown with no certainty that I am doing the right thing or doing this right. However, I look at the tagline ‘Why not excellence?’ and think I’ll give this my best and if I fail I’ll do it trying my darndest.

So now that I’ve shared some of my thoughts it is time for the Week 1 questions:

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

This answer can be broken down into three parts. The first part is that I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few ADF public rituals already so I knew I liked the way the ADF ran rituals and was keen to learn more. The second part has to do with my own personal journey, I had been feeling like my growth as a pagan had halted and that I was plateauing and was looking for a way to continue on, rather than stagnating like I had seen friends do. The third and final reason really is simple. I paid to be a member, I want to make sure I get something out of that sacrifice (I am on a low income so joining ADF was a financial sacrifice, one that I made willingly after careful consideration).

Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?

My crystal ball is in the shop for repairs so I’ll have to wing this one. It is a step on my path certainly, but I won’t know for know at least if this will become the path itself. I guess in some ways it could be both, only time and perseverance will tell.

What do you expect to learn?

I expect to learn better skills in running ritual, meditation and communicating with my gods and goddesses as well as the world around me. I *hope* that I will also learn more about myself as well.

What would I like to get out of this journey?

A healthier personal practice and an ability to understand my fellow ADF members own practices.

Do you know where this journey will take you?

Honestly? No idea, but that is ok, it is like an adventure. I may not actually be a hobbit and there probably isn’t a mountain out there with a dragon sitting on a hoard of gold but with luck it will change me for the better.

If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?

I think in all honesty I joined the ADF so I could undergo the Dedicants Path, I had read all the publicly available information on it before I joined. So now I’m a member I see no point in putting it off.

Does it look hard or easy?

A little of both I think, hopefully using Through the Wheel of the Year it will be easier because it gives me structure and a plan despite the extra work. However if it is hard, well not everything comes easy and that is ok.

Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy? 

The Oath Rite and the Meditation Journal both scare the heck out of me at the moment and seem hard at this point in time. I’ll probably eat my words later but the rest seems pretty straight forward and easy at this stage, a sentiment I’m sure I’ll re-evaluate later and laugh at my naivety.

Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

That I need to ask about no, that are probably completely unfounded and silly yes.