A Ritual of Offering to Skadhi

This Vanic ritual is done in the ADF Core Order of Ritual, with Skadhi as the Deity of the Occasion. It seems long but won’t be nearly as long when performed. Feel free to use or adapt this ritual to suit your own needs.  A note:  the spice mix offered to Skadhi consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves–all spices popular during the winter months.

  1. Opening Prayer–(ring bell)Spirits of Land, Spirits of Sea, Spirits of Sky:  I call to you now to surround me and bless my rite with your presence.  May my work here please you.
  2. Treating with the Outdwellers–You whose purposes work against my own, take this offering and leave my rite be.  May I be unburdened of all that hinders me in this rite.  (offer black tea to cup)
  3. Purification (smudging)–May this smoke cleanse me in preparation for the work to be done.
  4. Honoring Nerthus–Veiled One, Mother of Sacrifice, Lady of Earth.  Nerthus, it is to you I give praise and to you I give this offering.  (make offering of flour)
  5. Calling for Inspiration–Kvasir, you who are both of the Aesir and Vanir, you whose blood is the Mead of Poetry, I ask you to bless my rite with inspiration.  Please accept this offering in thanks. (make offering of beer)
  6. Statement of Purpose–I have come here today to do the work of honoring the Kindreds and receive their blessing in return.  To this end, I specifically call upon the Vanir and Skadhi, Lady of Ice and Snow.
  7. Two Powers Attunement–I draw up Nerthus’ cool waters to nourish and sustain me.  I pull down Freyr’s hot light from the sky to energize and warm me.  I become the World Tree, the Axis of the Worlds.
  8. Recreating the Cosmos–Let this cauldron become the Well, the Sacred Well at the center of the Worlds, from which blessings can flow.  Let this flame become the Fire, the Sacred Fire at the center of the Worlds, from which blessings can shine.  Let this tree become the World Tree, the Sacred Tree at the center of the Worlds, from which blessings can grow.
  9. Calling for a Gatekeeper–Mardoll, Vanadis, Lady of Brisingamen!  Freyja, I ask you to join me in my rite to open the Gates between the Worlds!  I give to you this offering. (make offering of honey)
  10. Opening the Gates–Let the Well become a Gate!  Let the Fire become a Gate!  Let the World Tree become a Gate!  Freyja, join your magic with mine and let the gates be open!
  11. Honoring the Ancestors–Ancestors all, those of blood, those of heart, and those of spirit, I thank you for your presence in my life.  I call to you now to join me in honoring Skadhi, Lady of Ice and Snow! (make offering of rosemary)
  12. Honoring the Nature Spirits–Nature Spirits all, those of bud and leaf, feather and scale, fin and fur, I thank you for your presence in my life.  I call to you now to join me in honoring Skadhi, Lady of Ice and Snow! (make offering of lavender)
  13. Honoring the Vanir–Vanir all, Freyr and Freyja, Nerthus and Kvasir, Odr and Hnoss and Gersemi, Njord, Gerd, and Gullveig:  I thank you for your presence in my life.  I call to you now to join me in honoring Skadhi, Lady of Ice and Snow!  (make offering of oats)
  14. Honoring Skadhi–Skadhi, Mountain Queen, Fair Bride of the Gods,
    Ruler of Thrymheim, the Home of Clamor;
    Daughter of Thjazi, the dark-loving giant;
    Wife of bright Njördhr, the mighty Wane;
    Kinswoman to Gerdh, Companion to Ullr,
    And fast foe of Loki, the wrangling rascal.
    Queen of Darkness, Bride of Light.Winter Goddess, Lady of Snowshoes,
    Rich in gold in your father’s ancient freehold.
    Seeker of Justice in helm and byrnie;
    The bargains you make hold fast.
    Huntress of the ringing bow-string,
    Roaming the hills with ski and wolf,
    Harvesting the slaughtered game,
    Preserving life with death.Come in the night, at winter’s end;
    Bestow on us one last proud look;
    Let us remember your hard-won lessons –
    Well-earned pride, stern-sought justice,
    Dauntless freedom and hard courage.
    When we meet again on the snow-covered mountains,
    Let us be unafraid to meet your eye.

    Thjazisdottír! (Daughter of Thjazi!)
    Bogaásynja! (Bow-Goddess!)
    Ondurásynja! (Snowshoe-Goddess!)
    Veidhiasynja! (Hunting-Goddess!)
    Skadhi, come!

    (make offering of spice mix)
    Prayer found here.

  15. Prayer of Sacrifice–Now I give all my love and devotion to you, Skadhi, Vanir, and the Kindreds!  Accept my sacrifice! (make offering of beer)
  16. Taking an Omen–(using the Wychwood Oracle deck) Are the offerings accepted? (If not, offer more mead.) What blessings are offered?  What further guidance do the Kindreds offer?
  17. Calling for the Waters–(pour beer then raise cup) Kindreds, thank you for your blessings!  Now I ask that you pour these blessings into my cup! (pause)
  18. Hallowing the Waters–These waters contain the blessings of the Kindreds!  Behold the Waters of Life!
  19. Affirmation of Blessings–I accept the blessings of the Kindreds!  (drink)
  20. Thanking Skadhi–Lady of Ice and Snow, Thjazisdottir, Goddess of the Hunt!  Skadhi, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  21. Thanking the Vanir–Vanir all, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  22. Thanking the Nature Spirits–Nature Spirits all, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  23. Thanking the Ancestors–Ancestors all, I thank  you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  24. Closing the Gates–Let the Well become a simple cauldron, let the Fire become a simple flame, and let the World Tree become a simple tree.  Freyja, join your magic with mine and let the gates be closed!
  25. Thanking the Gatekeeper–Mardoll, Vanadis, Lady of Brisingamen!  Freyja, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  26. Thank Inspiration–Kvasir, you who are both Aesir and Vanir, you whose blood is the Mead of Poetry, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  27. Thank Nerthus–Veiled One, Mother of Sacrifice, Lady of Earth!  Nerthus, I thank you for your presence in my rite!  Stay if you will, go if you must.
  28. Grounding–Let Nerthus’ cool waters recede from my body.  Let Freyr’s hot light recede from my body.  Let all excess energy recede from me, keeping only what I need.
  29. Closing the Rite–I have done as my Ancestors have done and as my children may do in the future.  Spirits of Land, Spirits of Sea, Spirits of Sky:  I thank you for surrounding me and blessing my work with your presence.  This rite is ended! (ring bell)
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I am a Unitarian Universalist (and a Druid)

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

Devotional Omen 3/8/2015

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?”

20150308_144554

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

Revisiting Druidry

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

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 More »

No longer a Druid

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

A feeling of peace

There has been a lot of inner turmoil for me the past few days.  I was involved in some drama on one of the ADF email lists, which convinced me finally to leave the organization.  I have been struggling for the past several months with practice, meditation, and other things.  I could no longer put up with intolerance of my five mental diagnoses, so I announced to Facebook that though I am still officially a member (my membership expires next year), I plan to let my membership lapse.

At this time, I plan to join OBOD, the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, though I am currently trying to contact the office to see if I can get materials for free because of my financial situation.  I have also managed to convince my mother to go with me to the local Unitarian Universalist church and attend Sunday services there.  They have a Pagan group that I would like to look into joining.  Finally, I have found a local British Traditional Wicca coven called Terra and Luna, that I will contact for further information.  I’m not so sure I want to go back to Wicca at this time, but I will try anything, as I’m no longer sure of my views of Deity/ies.

My world has turned upside down, but for the better.

Many blessings on your individual Path, Victoria

The surprisingly badass birds of the Bible

Obvious Christian slant, but considering birds’ hidden or symbolic meanings is a form of augury, or divination by the appearance and movements of certain animals. Augury specifically with birds is called ornithomancy.

CNN Belief Blog

Opinion by Debbie Blue, special to CNN

(CNN) — As long as humans have been breathing, they’ve invested birds with meaning.

They fly all over the Bible — from beginning to end — and they have a prominent place in the founding narratives of almost every culture and religion. They are not just bones and feathers. They are strength or hope, omen and oracle.

In the Bible’s first book, Genesis, God hovers over the face of the water like a dove, the Jewish sages suggest in the Talmud. In its final book, birds gorge on the flesh of the defeated “beast” in Book of Revelation.

Birds are the currency of mercy, sacrificed to God in the hopes of winning blessings or forgiveness. They bring bread to the prophets. Abraham has to shoo them away from his offering, and a pigeon accompanies Jesus on his first visit to the temple.

Jesus…

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