Thursday, September 13, 2012
ADF Liturgy part 8: Outdwellers and Their Significance in ADF Ritual
The idea of an Outdweller in the practice of my spiritual life was not totally new to me. Though the concept of dealing with them within ADF was different from what I knew. It took me a while to fully understand the ADF concept of what or who the Outdwellers are. There was just a part of it that confused me. So I asked the Dedicant Discussion List for some help in understanding the full idea of the Outdwellers when I was working on my DP. The responses varied from respectful to not so respectful views of who and what the Outdwellers are, which confused me a little about Their nature. But then I got an e-mail response from our Rev. Skip Ellison. He told me to think about the Outdwellers as kids playing in sand boxes. They are the kids in one of the sand box you aren't playing with at the moment.
From that description I realized that the Outdwellers were not just evil or dark beings out to get everyone. I do not think that very many things in creation are either purely good or purely evil. Most beings fall somewhere between the two extremes. All beings have their place in the makeup of the worlds so they should be treated with respect, no matter what their function. Life has a way of changing to make us take a second look at our points of view and who we call on for help. Just because a being is viewed as an Outdweller today does not mean that They will be tomorrow.
We make offerings to the Outdwellers to convince Them to leave us in peace during our ceremonies. It is better to give something to those that you do not want to be at your ritual, showing them that you are not inhospitable, than to block them out, making sure they understand completely that they are unwanted. We make offerings to the Outdwellers to show respect to Them because all beings deserve to be acknowledged no matter what their relationship to us. I see it as making a peace treaty between both parties. I also think it is very important when offering to the Outdwellers that it is done with as much respect as the offerings made to the Three Kindred. To do otherwise would defeat the purpose of giving the offering in the first place. Throwing the offering, knocking it off a table, or other offensive acts not only show the Outdwellers that they are not good enough for our attention, but it is a violation of at least three of our valued virtues, hospitality, piety and integrity. So in a way one of the unexpected functions of the Outdwellers is to test us in our faith and values.
Overall, the importance of the Outdwellers is multi-dimensional. They are an important part of the worlds around us so should be treated with respect. They are also another chance for each Druid to practice the Virtues that we hold dear in ADF. Though it is good to remember that some people do not see a need to call the Outdwellers, they may feel that to segregate beings in this manner closes them off from potential allies.