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:
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.
Today I got back into the habit of weekly devotionals. The liturgy I used was the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s February Cross-Quarter liturgy (available here; scroll down to get to it), since that’s what I pulled out of my ritual bag. I obviously modified it so that there wouldn’t be mention of any High Days and had a more “devotional” feel.
Here’s a list of offerings I gave to everyone:
Heimdall (Gatekeeper)–Oliver Winery’s sangria
Well–quarter dated 1989 (my husband’s birth year)
Tree–sprinkle with water from Well and smudge with frankincense smoke
Ancestors–some “berry blend” loose leaf tea I found in my bag
Shining Ones–special Shining Ones blend incense from a fellow ADF member
As I was setting up my shrine, I could feel myself entering an altered state. I also get a sense of excitement when I’m about to begin ritual. Throughout the rite, I felt very calm. My voice seemed to resound in the Three Worlds as I did the first half of the liturgy. I was confident and sure.
When making offerings to my Ladies, Freyja and Sunna, I apologized for not honoring them with weekly devotionals and asked they accepted my offering as both apology and praise. I talked a bit about how each of them helps me get through tough times.
For the Omen, I asked three simple questions, one at a time. After each question I pulled a card from the Vibrational Energy Oracle.
The questions I asked were:
Ancestors, what blessings do you have for me?
Nature Spirits, what blessings do you have for me?
Shining Ones, what blessings do you have for me?
The Ancestors gave me Dream Catchers. This card I couldn’t figure out within ritual, so I am taking the time now to see what the deck’s author says. “Without dreams, there is no future.” That’s from page 31 of the booklet. Perhaps the Ancestors are telling me to pay attention to my night dreams for I may receive clues about the future. This phrase also seems to refer to the fact that every future starts out as a dream in someone’s mind. I should go pursue those dreams.
The Nature Spirits gave me Driving Force. To me, this means that they will compel me to do something. Consulting the booklet tells me basically to be aware of my goals and to keep pushing towards them.
Finally, the Shining Ones give me Messenger. This vaguely reminds me of my Hellenic days, when I honored Hermes as Gatekeeper. Hermes is the Messenger of the Greeks. Maybe Hermes is coming back into my life. This card could also simply mean the Shining Ones are messengers of the Heavens and they will be sending me some important messages I need to watch for.
All in all, I feel like the Omen was pretty positive. After taking it, I wrapped up the ritual and took the offerings outside, since my shrine is too small to have a fire pot in which I can burn them.
I feel so much better about myself and my practice after completing this ritual. It is just what I needed.
An explanation of the basics of Magic: The Gathering can be found here, and the reflection about the entire rite can be found here.
We simply used the colors and the flavor text on the cards to determine what the omens were. We drew three white and three black.
The first pair of cards, both black, represented the omen from the Ancestors. The one I drew read: “Everyone knew the Kimir had done the damage. Everyone suspected Izzet had hired them.” (proper nouns refer to characters, factions, etc. in the MTG mythos) The card Craig (my fiance) drew read: It took ninety-nine monks to weave the spell that trapped Yukura. Upon the death of the ninety-nine, the spell was broken, and the demon returned to the mortal world seeking vengeance for its imprisonment.”
Craig pointed out that with the passing of one thing, another comes–but its not always something good. He also interprets this omen to be speaking of damage done and something (or someone) wanting to cause harm. It could be a warning. I personally interpreted this pair of cards, once drawn, as a negative omen and that someone didn’t like the ritual.
The second omen, from the Nature Spirits, consisted of two white cards. The one I drew read: “Ravnicans still tell tales about the Battle of Sumala where four Selesnya sentries held off an entire clan of Gruul warriors.” His read: “All over the Razor Fields, White Sun is celebrated. Even the followers of the Rebel Juryan, far from the Cave of Light, bow their heads in reverence.”
Craig thinks this omen refers to respecting and revering beings or a place. It also talks about something held sacred. It may be telling us that we need to respect something or show more respect to something.
The final omen, from the Shining Ones, consisted of a white card and a black card. I drew the white card, which said: “It did not escape the ambassador’s notice that the sound of war drums could also marshal the city to attention.” Craig drew the black card which read: “The touch of his madness can drive anyone into a killing frenzy.”
This omen by itself could refer to the first pair of cards. It also seems to be telling us to pay attention to the sounds of warning, for danger can come from anywhere.
The equal number of white and black cards drawn is of importance. It reflects the Equinox itself, that night and day are of equal length. Also, it could be referring to the lighthearted nature of the ritual. Perhaps this needs to be balanced with more seriousness.
Taken all together, the Omens reveal a pattern of danger, respect, and warning. I think the Kindreds weren’t pleased with our first attempt at a whimsical ritual. It probably didn’t help that I forgot to thank Idunna for her attendance. That could be perceived as a lack of respect, which could result in danger. The lesson we’ve learned is to balance whimsy and seriousness in future rituals. I’ve also learned the lesson to not forget to thank the Being I have invited for the High Day!