An ADF Druid's trials, tribulations, musings, and victories

First off, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Easter, even though it is a Christian holiday.  If you’re like me, you still have family who celebrates and familial obligations require you to celebrate alongside your family.  If you prefer not to celebrate Easter, then have a happy day!  Spring is upon us!

I had a special altar set up for today, since yesterday I bought some tulips at the grocery:

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Our tulips served as the Tree, a candle as the Fire, and a small cauldron filled with water as the Well.  My husband’s and my blessing cups are in front.  The omen is on the left side in front of the little bag, and the bowl contains our offerings that we made during the ritual.  The white sage bundle was used to smudge the altar and ourselves before the ritual started.

We used the brief ritual liturgy from the Solitary Druid Fellowship.  As soon as I sat down next to my husband to perform the ritual, I felt a shift in awareness take place.  I also noticed (for the first time) that as I read the words for grounding and centering I visualized what I was saying.  I’ve never had that happen to me in a ritual before, so that must mean I’m getting better at it.

We offered bread to the Earth Mother and Ancestors, garden sage for the Nature Spirits, mead for Heimdall (our Gatekeeper), Freyja, Sunna, and the Shining Ones in genera, and Yukon Jack whiskey for the final offering.

Our omen was as follows:

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The Ancestors gave us Wunjo, on the left, which is joy.  The Nature Spirits gave us Hagalaz, hail.  I see Hagalaz as a rune of something oppressive “melting” into something of benefit.  The Gods and Goddesses gave us Thurisaz, thorn, and a rune of Thor.  Overall, I see this as a positive omen, though Hagalaz portends caution.

I wasn’t feeling well last week, so I hadn’t done ritual.  As a result, my week wasn’t as good.  I found myself in a sad mood more than usual during the week.  I made sure to find time today to perform ritual even though my husband and I had to spend time with our families today for Easter.  I feel confident that my week will be better this time around.

Blessings, Rosemary

Yesterday, something momentous happened.  No one else probably recognized the significance of it, but I’ll write about it here.  I identified myself as a Unitarian Universalist for the first time.

On Facebook, a friend who struggles with alcoholism announced that his local CUUPs (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) group was encouraging people to avoid him, presumably because of his issues.  I responded that this was unacceptable, and that we UUs believe in the “inherent worth and dignity of every person.”  (I told my friend to let the parent congregation of this particular chapter know what was going on, as well.)

This may seem insignificant to my friend and others, but for me it was a big deal.  Even though I have been a member of the local UU church for a little over a year and a member of CUUPs for a month or two, I had not identified as UU.  I identified primarily as a Pagan who’s just a member of a UU church.

So what is Unitarian Universalism?

According to the website of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the organization that governs all UU congregations:

Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world’s religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition as described in our six Sources.  (Source:  http://www.uua.org/beliefs)

So, our tradition draws upon six Sources (more on this in a moment) for our seven Principles, which are:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person
  • Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  • Respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part (Source:  http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles)

It wasn’t hard for me to accept these Principles, as I already agreed with most of them.  These Principles come from six Sources that inform our worship.  The six Sources are:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature. (Source:  http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/sources-our-living-tradition)

The last source is important.  Pagan teachings are recognized as valid and of value, which was what drew me to the UU church in the first place.

You might be able to figure out that Unitarian Universalism isn’t so much about what you believe, it’s about what you do–how you manifest your beliefs here in this world.  ADF Druidry is similar; our members have varying beliefs about the Gods and Spirits, but we have a common form of ritual–which is what we do.

My Pagan heart feels like I should perform some sort of personal ritual to mark this change, as I did when I became Pagan, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like I’ve been a UU all along.

Blessings, Rosemary

Today I celebrated the Equinox with my husband.  The people we had invited to the ritual were unable to come, so we celebrated on our own.

Here is our altar and fire for the ritual:

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On the altar are seeds and seedlings to be blessed, as well as my Sun Goddess circlet, offerings of bread, thyme, and eggs, and my rune bag.

Once the ritual began, I called upon the Keepers of Time and Place to transport us to a time outside of time and a place outside of place.  I offered them some incense that I had blended especially for the ritual.  Next we called upon the Nature Spirits, the Earth Mother, and the Deities of Fertility to be present for the ritual.  Then we offered praise and physical offerings to each being.  We offered thyme to the Nature Spirits, bread to the Earth Mother, and hard boiled eggs for the Deities of Fertility.

Here’s the Omen pulled when we asked what blessings were offered:

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The first rune on the left is Ehwaz, which is the partnership rune.  In the middle is Laguz, water and life.  The rune on the right is Fehu, the wealth and growth rune.  Laguz and Fehu are especially appropriate for this rite.  Overall I consider the omen to be very positive and reinforcing.

Next was the seed and sprout blessing, which used these words:

Nature Spirits, Earth Mother, Deities of Fertility…we ask you to bless these seeds and sprouts with your abundance and life.  May they all grow strong and tall.  May they nourish our hearts and souls with their gifts

We then said farewell to all the beings we invited to be present, including the Keepers of Time and Place.  We closed the ritual by saying:  We have come together to celebrate the Earth Mother’s awakening.  As we return to our daily lives, may we carry respect for Her and all of Nature forever in our hearts.  Blessed be!

It was a simple ritual, but it was beautiful in its simplicity.

Blessings of Abundance and Fertility to each of you!

Rosemary

Sometimes it’s nice to be solitary.  The lack of other people in your practice means that you can practice however you want, whenever you want.  You can be as eclectic and ecstatic as you like; you can honor the beings you wish.  However, solitary Druidry is lonely.  There is no one to share rites, joys, and sorrows with.  There is no one to talk to about the vision or flash of insight you had one night.

Though I am a member of Ar nDraoicht Fein, I choose to practice as a solitary.  This is for various personal reasons.  Being a solitary member of a Druidic organization does have its perks.  There are other people to chat with and ask questions of.  There are clergy who can support you in tough times. There is one major disadvantage:  the cliquish nature of groves (local congregations).

Groves are where all the action happens.  They host rituals at festivals, workshops, study groups, and more.  The people in a grove are usually kind to us solitaries, as they understand some of us just prefer to work alone.  I call them cliquish because I was recently in an organization-wide chat where many of the participants were in the same grove.  They chatted amongst themselves without bothering to try to talk to the other people there.  Since the majority of ADF’s members are in groves (or protogroves, basically a small congregation just forming), solitaries tend to get forgotten a lot.  The Solitary Druid Fellowship was one attempt to remedy this situation, but, as far as I can tell, has made little difference.

It is difficult to be a solitary Druid.  I hope that perhaps I can make a difference for fellow solitaries.  One idea I have is to offer virtual study sessions (something some of the larger groves offer in person), either through text or video chat.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!

Blessings, Rosemary

Today I performed my first ritual that follows the ADF Core Order of Ritual in more than a year.  I used a basic liturgy available from the Solitary Druid Fellowship (SDF) website.  My husband and I performed the rite together.  We offered bread to the Earth Mother and Nature Spirits, coffee to the Ancestors, mead for Heimdall (our Gatekeeper), Freyja, Sunna, the Shining Ones in general, and homegrown dried thyme for Cerridwen (who has drawn my attention lately).  We also used mead for the Final Offering.  I must admit, it felt very familiar and comforting to perform the rite.  I am confident the Kindreds (Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Deities) appreciated it.  Here was our Omen:

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The rune on the left, Berkano, is the Omen from the Ancestors.  Berkano stands for feminine strength, grace, and wisdom.  The Nature Spirits gave us Wunjo, joy, in the middle.  Finally, the Shining Ones gave us Nauthiz on the right.  I am struggling to interpret this rune.  Nauthiz is a rune of necessity, so perhaps we will be forced to deal with something that needs dealing with or doing something that has to be done.

Blessings, Rosemary

I decided to write my devotional omen interpretation on this blog, since I am getting back into Druidic practice.  However, this devotional was still my usual one, where I said a prayer that you can find on my other blog and lit a stick of incense while wearing my Sun Goddess circlet.

Here’s the omen I drew when I asked, “What are my blessings for the week?”

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The first rune I drew was Wunjo, joy.  The weather forecast for the week shows the high temperature being much warmer than it has been, which is definitely cause for joy.  There may be other reasons I have drawn Wunjo, but I’ll see during the week.  The second rune is Jera, harvest, year, cycles.  This is a rune that normally doesn’t appear at this time of year.  However, it is significant to note that my Pagan dedication anniversary is coming up, so this is most likely a reflection of that.  The last rune is Mannaz, man, self.  Perhaps I need to focus on myself this week, or it should be read in conjunction with Jera to mean that Jera is referring to me.  All in all, I feel this is a positive omen for the week.

Blessings, Rosemary

I recently rejoined the Pagan Druid organization Ar nDraiocht Fein:  A Druid Fellowship.  At first I was apprehensive about returning because I had some unsavory social interactions with other members in the past.  I had also begun to struggle with ritual and other practices of the Druidic Path.  I decided to come back to ADF after more than a year because I had felt a pulling to read more about Druids of old and to study Indo-European mythology more in depth.  Now that I am back, I realized I missed the community, even though I felt it had treated me badly at times.  I missed the Druid Way and the beauty to be found in it.  I also wanted to complete some of the study programs available to ADF members.  For the most part, I am happy to be back.  I am still somewhat apprehensive about the social aspect of membership, but I am glad to have returned home.  We’ll see in the coming weeks if I am welcomed with open arms.

Blessings, Rosemary

Should I?

I am rejoining ADF and becoming a Druid again at the end of the week.  I am wondering if I should begin writing on this blog again.  What do you all think?

Blessings, Rosemary

New Blog

I added an update to the previous post, but I realize most people didn’t see it.

This blog will no longer be updated, but will remain online. My new blog, Adventures in Dru-Witchery, documents my new journey as both Witch and Druid. Check it out at http://adventuresindruwitchery.wordpress.com! Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been doing some reading and thinking lately, and I’ve realized that I’m not really of the Druidic sort.  I am a Witch–not Wiccan.  I am not really interested in Wiccan ways with the duotheistic God and Goddess, though I will experiment with a Wiccan ritual later today.  I’m more interested in the “kitchen witch” variety of traditional Witchcraft.

I’ve been looking for a Path of magic and mystery.  I also enjoy working with herbs and candle magic.  I feel that books on kitchen witchery would be a useful read.  A friend suggested Ann Moura’s Green Witchcraft series of books, which I will get soon.  I’m also thinking about getting Garden Witchery:  Magick from the Ground Up, Garden Witch’s Herbal:  Green Magick, Herbalism & Spirituality, and Cottage Witchery:  Natural Magick for Hearth and Home all by Ellen Dugan.  This is more the path that I’ve been looking for and which drew me to Paganism in the first place.

I never heard back from OBOD about my financial situation, but I realize it’s perhaps for a good reason.  I’m not really looking for Druidic study anymore.

I plan to start a new blog soon, but I haven’t yet decided on a name for it.  When I have created it, I will update this post with a link to it. (UPDATE 11/16/2013:  My new blog, Adventures in Dru-Witchery, is now online!)  I will leave this site online, in case others might find it useful.

Blessings, Victoria

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