Tuesday, September 11, 2012
ADF Liturgy part 6: Ritual significance of Fire and Water in ADF Liturgy
ADF is a religion filled with powerful symbolism. Fire and Water are among the most prominent ones. The ideologies of these two symbols hearken back to ancient Indo-European cultures, and speak to the very fabric of whom we are as a species. To understand the significance of Fire and Water in ADF, we must first understand the baser meanings of Fire and Water within the Neo-Pagan community.
Throughout the world’s cultures there are many beliefs that Fire was originally the power of the gods alone; through different explanations, Fire came to be in the hands of man. Ancient humans used fire to survive the harshness of their climate. Fire also became a way for the leaders of religion to gain access to the gods since Fire was once Their power alone. Offerings from worshipers were sent to the gods through the flames. Fire is also seen as the force that drives all life. It is the force that transformed life from primordial waters. It is also the purifier which burns away all impurities. (Corrigan, Sacred Space, an Exlporation of the Triple
Water is no less prevalent within the world’s symbolism. Water has always been seen as a force for change. It has the ability break down walls and to reshape the land. Water was also seen as a purifier to the land as well as the soul. It is also seen as the life blood of the Earth. The waters fill well which the foundation of the Tree. But Water was also seen as a gateway, just as Fire was, into the other realms of existence. Many times Water was seen as the gateway into the Underworld, into the realm of the dead. Through the link of Water with the Underworld it also gains the property of being a symbol of rebirth, or reincarnation, which in turn becomes a symbol of the Well. (Corrigan, Sacred Space, an Exlporation of the Triple Center)
Within ADF these two common symbols can be seen as a part of the Three Hallows. Fire is the gateway and symbol of the gods and the Upperworld. It is the receptacle for offerings to many of the great Shining Ones. Water is in the form of the Well in ADF rituals. The Well is connected with the Underworld and the Ancestors. Just as in ancient times, the Fire and Well are significant in our ADF rituals as gateways to reach the Kindred.
But even with this important part there is another important significance to Fire and Water. They are the two powers that the Two Powers Meditation is based upon. The Fire is the symbol of divine potential that comes from the heavens reaching down into the Water that is the symbol of all life that is, was, and ever shall be. When these forces combine they bring life into the world. They bring power to those who learn their secrets.