Daily Devotional, 2/12/18

Today’s devotional was very good, though simple.  I feel like I’m gaining a greater connection to the Kindreds again and to my oracle deck.  Plus I love the smell of the offerings.

Here’s how it went:

I honor my Ancestors. [make offering of rose petals to charcoal]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

I honor the Nature Spirits. [make offering of lavender buds to charcoal]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

I honor the Shining Ones. [make offering of myrrh resin to charcoal]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

For your blessings today and every day, Kindreds, I thank you.  May I honor you today and every day.  (or something like that; I can never remember exactly what I say)

Then I shuffled the Wychwood Oracle deck and drew a card:

door reversed
XVI – The Door, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

Ah, the Door reversed.  This card means closed doors, endings, and inaction.  An ending of sorts is coming up for my husband and I.  We no longer make enough to stay in our current house, so we must move back in with family.  I suspect that will come into play for most of the day today.  This card also suggests that I won’t do anything about it, though I do have plans to pack today.  There’s also the meaning of “closed doors.”  I believe this refers to lost opportunity, since phrases like “opening doors” and “When one door closes, another one opens” refer to new opportunity.  Lots of things to ponder today.


Daily Devotional, 2/11/18

Today I decided to use a charcoal disc in an incense burner instead of simply putting my offerings in a bowl.  I love the smell of the offerings, and I felt that it would please the Spirits more.

Here’s the practice itself:

I honor my Ancestors.  [put rose petals on charcoal disc]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

I honor the Nature Spirits. [put lavender buds on charcoal disc]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

I honor the Shining Ones.  [put myrrh resin on charcoal disc]

[pause to allow the scent to permeate the air]

(Something along the lines of:) I thank you for your many blessings today and everyday.  I honor you today and every day.

Then I drew a card from the Wychwood Oracle:

XXVIII – The Lord, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

Look, it’s the Lord reversed again!  This probably means I will have another inattentive day where I am all over the place.  It surely doesn’t refer to my lack of devotional practice, because I didn’t forget to do it this time!  Another possible meaning is independence.

The scent of the offerings still permeates the air in our little office where I keep my shrine and my computer.  It is very lovely and lends a sense of mystery and magic to the atmosphere.

Daily Devotional, 2/10/18

Today, I did my devotional later in the day because I forgot I had a meeting with my knitting group earlier in the day.

I mentioned yesterday that I would include a picture of my daily devotional shrine, so here it is:

devotional shrine
My daily devotional shrine.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The three candles are color-coded.  The purple one in back is my Ancestor Candle.  The green one is my Nature Spirit candle, and the red one is my Shining Ones candle.  The bowl in front of my candles holds offerings and is made of bone.  Behind the candles you’ll see a tealight candle, a wire and stone tree, and a small cauldron.  These are my Fire, Well, and Tree that I use for full ADF Core Order rituals.

My devotional went like this:

I honor the Ancestors.  [make offering of rose petals]

I honor the Nature Spirits.  [make offering of lavender]

I honor the Shining Ones.  [make offering of myrrh]

For your blessings today and every day, I thank you.

I then drew a card from the Wychwood Oracle deck:

XXVIII – The Lord, reversed, from the Wychwood Oracle.  Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The Lord reversed means lack of discipline, dominating, and/or independence, according to the meaning cards included with the deck.  I feel like mostly I need to be wary of lacking discipline.  This could be referring to forgetting to do my devotional earlier in the morning.  Or just now, when I got distracted and decided to check Facebook and email before finishing this post.  😀  So far it seems today will be an inattentive kind of day.  I don’t feel like the other meanings of dominating and independence make sense.

In any case, I hope you have a more focused day!

Daily Devotional, 2/9/18

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written here.  Life just got in the way like it does sometimes.  I celebrated Imbolc with my husband on Feb. 1 and held a group ritual for my Unitarian Universalist church on Feb. 4.

But that’s not why you’re here.  You’re here because your curious about an ADF member’s daily devotional practice.  I’ve done daily devotionals on and off, but this time I am going to try hard to stick to it.  I started yesterday this go-round, but didn’t think to blog it.

My actual practice is simple, since simple seems to work best for me.  I light my three votive candles that represent the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Shining Ones (a picture will come tomorrow).  I then say, “I honor my Ancestors,” and make an offering.  Next I say, “I honor the Nature Spirits,” and make an offering.  Then I say, “I honor the Shining Ones,” and make a final offering.  I finish with words like, “I thank you all for your blessings and ask you for your blessings this day.”  This part changes each day.  I then draw a card from my Wychwood Oracle deck; if you’d like to purchase one, you can find it here on Etsy.

My offerings today were rose petals for the Ancestors, lavender buds for the Nature Spirits, and myrrh for the Shining Ones.

Here is the card I drew today:

owl reversed
IX – The Owl, reversed. Photo by Victoria Laughlin-Casares, 2018.

The owl reversed signals pride, ignorance, and judgment, according to the guide cards that came with the deck.  The Kindreds warn of showing off too much and willful ignorance.  I need to learn all I can about a situation before making judgments (which may be likely today, given the card).  I also need to consider getting to know someone before judging them.

A UU Beltane

I was asked to host a Beltane ritual at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend shortly after the normal service this past Sunday.  Leading up to the ritual, I was so thrilled simply to have the opportunity to provide ritual to the congregation in a very public setting.  Mostly I was excited to share my faith with others and to show them what Paganism is about.

This ritual was very similar to the one performed on Sunday that I wrote about here, with some small tweaks.  I added a final offering after the participant offerings to provide a climax to the ritual.  We also had everyone kneel down and touch the Earth Mother as we called Her to ritual.  We also asked the children attending to wave their faery wands they had made earlier to help us call them.

In my opinion, the ritual went very well–much better than the one on Friday.  The larger number of participants (about 7) probably helped things.  I also feel that the final offering provided a much needed “high point” to the ritual.  Almost everyone after the ritual said they enjoyed it and thanked me for it.

The picture of the Omen won’t post correctly, so I will simply write about it here.

The first rune I drew was Kenaz, torch.  I see this rune as a rune of transformation and purification.  The second rune I drew was Berkano, birch.  Berkano is symbolic of the Earth Mother and new beginnings.  The last rune drawn was Sowilo, sun and strength.  All in all, this is a very positive Omen that points to the warmth of the Sun, reverence of the Earth Mother, and a new beginning due to some transformation.

I am so glad I was able to give my church family a glimpse of my world.  I hope I have blessed them as much as I feel they have blessed me.

Blessings, Rosemary

Beltane Blessings!

Today I hosted a Beltane ritual with my husband for a new friend and our roommate.  Beltane is a celebration of fertility, but we chose to celebrate the Faeries since kids were originally planned to be present.  (They couldn’t make it.)  Here is a picture of our altar after the ritual; I forgot to take a picture before:


I am in love with this fabric; it is simply perfect for Beltane.  It is also silky and floaty, which the picture doesn’t convey–perfect for honoring the Faeries.

To begin, I said words to open the ritual and create sacred space, offering some thyme mixed with lavender to the fire.  Our guest said the prayer for honoring the Earth Mother and made an offering of bread.  I then called the Ancestors and tossed some mugwort into the flames.  Our guest called the Nature Spirits (offering thyme and lavender) and Deities–my husband poured some wine into the fire for their offering.  I honored the fairies with fruit & nut trail mix.

After personal praise offerings, I took an Omen for the ritual asking what blessings were offered to us.


The rune on the left is Ingwaz, a rune of fertility–perfect for Beltane.  In the middle is Hagalaz, hail; I see it as transformative from harm to healing.  Finally we have Sowilo, sun and strength.  All in all, this is a very positive Omen for Beltane!

I called for a blessing into a bowl of water and sprinkled everyone with it, including myself.  We then thanked everyone we had called in reverse order, returned to ordinary space, and ended the ritual.

I will elaborate more on the ritual script on Sunday, after I perform it for the congregation at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend.  I prefer to keep the script private until then to have more of an impact on attendees.

The ritual was simple but beautiful.  I enjoyed it, and I look forward to performing it for my church.

Blessings, Rosemary

Devotional Omen 4/19/2015

Last week I was so busy I didn’t have a chance to do a devotional.  This week my husband and I performed a shorter, less formal devotional rite where we simply honored the Three Kindreds–Ancestors, Nature Spirits, Deities–and I honored Freyja and Sunna personally.  We did use the traditional ADF setup with three Hallows (Fire, Well, and Tree).  Here’s a picture:


Our Tree is a lavender plant we had just bought today to put in the garden.  We also asked for a blessing and drank the blessed water out of the two cups.  We had a small bowl for offerings.

The Ancestors got some mugwort, the Nature Spirits received thyme, and the Deities were given frankincense.  I offered two cinnamon sticks to Freyja and Sunna.  We asked what the blessings were for the week.  This is what we were given:


The first rune drawn on the far left was Uruz, manifestation.  Something we’ve been planning will come into fruition this week.  The middle rune is Othala, a rune of the Ancestors and inheritance.  This reinforces their presence during our small rite.  The last rune on the right is Thurisaz, a rune of Thor and protection.

We asked that we be filled with these blessings when we drank the water in our cups.  We then thanked each being we had invited in reverse order.

It was a simple ritual, but I feel it was effective.  I believe the Kindreds liked our offerings.  I felt my awareness shift as soon as I lit the candle.

May you be blessed, Rosemary

Devotional Omen for 4/5/2015

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:


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:


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

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

Spring Equinox Blessings!

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:


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:


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!