Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lughnasadh Ritual

Here is another ritual that my old Grove did for Lughnasadh one year. This year was different than the year before where we honored Lugh.

Offering to the Outsiders: (Yellow) You who are not a part of our right, though your way are mighty they are not our ways,  we give you this offering and ask that you leave us in peace, Outdwellers, turn from our grove!

Precession Song: (Bardic)  We approach the Sacred Grove with hearts and minds, flesh and bones, Join us now in ways of old, we have come home. We have come home.
Purification of the people (Yellow)
Welcome (Yellow) 
Two Powers Meditation (Yellow)

Consecration of Place and Time

Offering to the Earth Mother: (Yellow) Great Mother, you who gives live to all to all things that dwell upon your land, sea, and sky, you who bears the green of the land and the fruit of the sea, Blessed Danu, be in our grove!

Offering to Poetic Inspiration: (            ) Spirit of Inspiration, be in our grove!

Recreation of the Cosmos and Establishing Scared Center (Yellow)

Invocation of Gatekeeper: O Manannan, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Wisdom, open the way for us. We walk in your holy ways, we walk the sacred road. Share your magic with us, ward us as we walk in safety. Manannan mac Lir, accept our sacrifice! (An offering of apples is given)

Invocation of Spirit of the Well: Spirit of the Well, who’s form is every changing, flow about, beneath, and through us, Let this well be no more a simple well but all wells and all waters of the seas, and the foundation of all the worlds! Spirit of the Well, be in our grove!

Invocation of Spirit of the Tree: Spirit of the Tree, who’s body give us the air we breath, grow beneath, above, and within                                     us, let this tree be no more a simple tree but all trees of all the lands and the axis of all the worlds! Spirit of the Tree, be in our grove!

Invocation of Spirit of Fire: Spirit of Fire, who’s essence sustains the souls of all shine above, about, and within us, let the fire be no more a simple fire but all the fires of all the heavens and the crown of all the worlds! Spirit of the Fire, be in our grove!

Opening of the Gate:      Well, Tree, Fire

By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high. (repeat once) 

(Yellow makes offering of silver to well-opens the gate)
Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing: 


(Yellow makes offering to the tree-opens the gate)
Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love. 


(Yellow makes offering to the fire-opens the gate)
We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar. 

CHORUS (with gusto)

All: Let the gates be OPEN!
                Let the gates be OPEN!
                Let the gates be OPEN!

(Yellow): The gates are OPEN!

Kindred Invocations

Offering to Ancestors:  (Blue) Might Dead ancestors to us, those that have come before so that the way was cleared, we come to honor you this day, come forth to our fire we pray! Beloved Ancestors, accept our offering!

Offering to Nature Spirits: (Green) Creatures of fur, feather, flesh and scale, cousins to us all mortal and spirit alike, you who give so much so that we may live, we come to honor you this day, come forth to our fire we pray! Spirits of Nature, accept our offering!

Offering to the Gods:  (Red) Great Shining Ones, gods and goddess of all times, you who bring order to the cycles of the cosmos we come to honor you this day, come forth to our fire we pray! Mighty gods, accept our offering!

Song: (Bardic)      Gods & Dead & Mighty Sidhe, Powers of earth & sky and sea. By fire & well, by sacred tree, Offerings we make to ye!

Main Rite

Kindred of the Occasion Invocation:

Offering of Ale
Lúgh the Victorious, we make our Grove under your shield,
Lúgh of the White Horse and the Brilliant Blades.
You of the Perfect Form, Child of Light and Shadow, Slayer of Balor, be in our midst.
Accept this ale in welcome, thou Champion, King of All (ale poured)

Offering of Bread
We make our offerings in the joy of Lúgh Lamhfada
The Clever One, the Sure Hand, the Bard and the Smith.
May we be at peace under the hand of the Chieftain of Danu,
We offer this bread, that the harvest may flourish by the plough wielding hand. (bread offered)

Offering of Fruit
By the Sacred Three of Glory hear now Your people's call
By the Spear and by the Raven come, we pray, among Your folk
O Lúgh the Victorious - our Light and our Guide
O Lúgh the Victorious - accept this offering of fruit and be present in Your strength. (fruit offered)

Praise Offerings (a round for each Kindred Invoked, then open to all):

Main Offering (Yellow):

As in times of Old we come before you Shining Ones at this time of Harvest. We honour both the Fur Bolg and the Bright Tuatha Dé Danann equally, for one is of the earth and one of the stars.

We pray to know the Ancient Earth deities so that we may prosper and gain respect for the land. We pray to know the Star deities that we may grow in our spirits and be more pious in our daily lives.

Great Ones, accept this offering we bring before you as a token of our love for you and our desire to grow closer to the divine. Accept this offering in friendship and kinship.

Might Ones, Accept this OFFERING!!! (Place bread with honey into the fire. Pour Whiskey in over it.)

Prayer of Sacrifice

Taking of the Omen:

Cup Litany:

(Blue)                     You among the Mighty Dead, ancestors to us all,
                                Offerings we have made, offerings you have received.
                                We ask that you bless these Waters so we may share in the wisdom of
Your great Knowledge!

(All)                        The gifts of the Ancestors for the people of the Ancestors!

(Green)                   You of land, sea, and sky; both mortal and spirit alike,
You who are the Nature Spirits,
Offerings we have made, offerings you have received.
We ask that you bless these Waters so we may share in the warmth of your Great Kinship!

(All)                        The gifts of the Nature Spirits for the kin of the Nature Spirits!

(Red)                      You among the divine and gods and goddesses of all time,
                                Offerings we have made, offerings you have received.
                                We ask that you bless these Waters so we may share in the great Light of
Your Truth!

(All)                        The gifts of the Gods for the children of the Gods!

(Yellow)                 In the name of Memory, the preserving shrine.(Well)
                                In the name of Earth, our common mother.(Tree)
                                In the name of Truth, the light which has no beginning and no end.(Fire)
                                May we never know thirst or need while in your service. Awen! (Make sign of ADF sigil over the Waters of Life)

Return the Waters of the Earth: We return the Water of Life so that the land will be better for us having been here. Hail great giving Earth! Keep safe always the sacrifice, keep it ever holy!

End of Rite

Thank deity of occasion:
Thank the Gods: (Red) Might Gods and Goddesses, we of the Ozark Mountain Grove thank you for being with us. Be with us always in our hearts!

Thank the Nature Spirits: (Green) Blessed Nature Spirits, cousins to us all, mortal and spirit alike, we of the Ozark Mountain Grove thank you for being with us. Be with us always in our hearts!

Thank the Ancestors: (Blue) Glorious Ancestors, kin to us all, we of the Ozark Mountain Grove thank you for being with. Be with us always in our hearts!

Thank the Spirits of Inspiration: (           )
Thank the Earth Mother: (Yellow) Blessed Ge, mother to us all, we of the Ozark Mountain Grove thank you for being with
us. Be with us always in our hearts!

Close the Gate: By the powers of the Kindred, by the powers of three realms, and by the power of Well, Tree and Fire;
(All) Let the gates be closed!
(All) Let the gates be closed!

The Gates are closed

Thank Hermes Chthonos: (Facilitator-Yellow) Might Manannan, Lord of the Gates, we thank you for being here at our rite, we ask now that you spend upon your way carrying our prayers and offerings to the Other Worlds and be with us when next we call!

 Fire: Let this Fire be no more the Crown of all the worlds but simply a fire! Spirit of the Fire we thank thee!
Tree: Let this Tree be no more the Axis of all the worlds but simply a tree! Spirit of the Tree we thank thee!
Well: Let this Well be no more the foundation of all the worlds but simply a well! Spirit of the Well we thank thee!

Closing Two Powers Meditation  (Yellow)

End of ritual

Song: (Bardic)   Walk with wisdom from this hallowed place. Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace. May

strength be your brother, and honour be your friend, And luck be your lover until we meet again.


             Lughnasadh is an old Gaelic High Day (or holiday) that has no set date but was celebrated on the full moon nearest the mid-point of Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox since the Gaelic calendar was based off lunar, solar, and vegetative cycles, though in modern times most celebrate the festival on or near August 1st.  Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvest festivals and is commonly considered a cross quarter or fire festival (being festivals between the four solar high days).

 Traditionally, the festival lasted for 30 days from about July 15th to August 15th, with three days dedicated to rituals for the Lugh for whom the festival is named. With the long, hard days of summer and the first harvest being brought in, the people took this time to honor the sun god who had given them abundant growth with games and shows of strength that were befitting the god sometimes called Lugh of the long arm. During this time the High King also oversaw legal disputes and political discussions. Also, this was a time when many young people came together for handfastings which allowed them to marry for a year and a day to see if they were a match for one another, fitting since the Gaelic word Lughnasadh translates to “Lugh’s wedding.”

Tradition also states that Lugh dedicated the festival to his foster mother Tailtiu. Tailtiu was an Irish earth goddess, as well as the last queen of the Fir Bolg. She raised Lugh from an infant until the time he was able to take up arms, being equivalent to manhood. Tailtiu is said to have worked herself to the point of death clearing a great forest in Ireland so that the people would have land to cultivate. Upon her death she decreed that there be funeral games in her name and as long as the games where held that the nation of Ireland would never “be without song.” The town in which the games were originally held was called Taltiu, named for Tailtiu.

In the Neo-pagan traditions the festival marks the death of the vegetation god. He sacrifices himself so that the people will have nutriment and gives the promise of rebirth to all. Neo-pagans are not the only ones that celebrate at the holiday. Switzerland has made the day a national holiday with which they celebrate with bonfires, fireworks, and floating candles that they light and release in rivers. They also start the day with a celebratory breakfast with friends and family to start the harvest festival. It is believed that the tradition came down to modern time from the Iron Age Celts, Helvetii. Even in Ireland the Christians have taken up the ritual of blessing the fields for the harvest, most likely a remnant of ancient Gaelic pagan culture.

In the Hellenic world it was very common to offer fruits, grains, milk, and wines from the first harvest to the gods. However from what I have read so far in my studies the first of all these offerings were always given to the temples of Eleusinian before any others. I find this interesting because in many cases Demeter is considered by scholars to be a minor goddess, yet this shows Her standing within the communities and Greek society. Persephone was also honoured in the Eleusinian Mysteries and temples so this also shows Her importance in the cycle of life. So though Lughnasadh was not an official festival for the Greeks it would be easy to adapt rituals to honor the Greek deities of agriculture and harvest.

Though time has changed many of the cultural traditions of our ancestors, many more of those traditions can still be seen within our modern cultures whether it’s the re-creation by neo-pagan beliefs or that of national/local festivals that can find their roots in a Gaelic past. Just as life cycles, so does time, bringing back the festivals and rituals of the past into today’s world.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Artificial Photosynthesis created!!!

          More and more science and technology is being based of biomimacry. We are beginning to realize we do not have to reinvent the wheel everything we need to solve a problem. Nature has solved many of the issues we as a species face. Generating power through photosynthesis is on of the BIG ones!

          Until now there has not been a real good artificial photosynthesis process... well looks like we might have it now! Take a moment to read this article. You will be just as excited as I am with this one! This is truly amazing! It's about time that we begin to have technology that can power itself simply off light. now get this to market!!! Get this in a spray form that can be put on windows, roofs, sidewalks, cars... let the power revolution begin!

Engineering photosynthesis with DNA to solve the energy crisis

Personal Perspective... it's just that Personal!

          I was reminded of a very important fact again yesterday, not that I had really forgotten it as it is how I live my live. Personal perspective is so very important to each individual. It is important to all those around them. Personal perspective is how each of us processes our interaction with we believe to be reality.

          Each of us has our own way of seeing, describing, and understanding events, ideas, and 'reality'. No two people are going to have the same set of logical or mental rules which they do this with. Some of the rules are shaped by our beliefs, some are shaped by our environment, some are even shaped by past events, but nearly all are learned.

          What we need to realize is that since this is our personal perspective that we have not right to try and force others into seeing things our way. It will never happen. We will always view things differently than one another. We may think along similar lines but that's it.... it's only similar lines. We also have to realize that we can not punish people for not seeing things our way. So many of our species past tragedies and most of the current ones are all because others are trying to force people into seeing the world as they do not realizing even they do not see the world the same as one another.

          So please, learn to accept that others have their own perspective. Please learn that you cannot in truth lay down blanket statements of 'fact' about how another person is or is not as this is simply your perspective.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beginning books on Druidism

          Today I received a message on Facebook about possible books for those just starting out on the Druid path or just wanting to research more. The person had been directed to 'The 21 Lessons of Merlin.' In my personal opinion, and take it for what it is worth, this book it rubbish. It comes across as Wicca in the guise of Druidism. While there is nothing wrong with the Wicca path, Druidism is a different spiritual path.

          So I decided to create this blog posting to list a few books I do recommend for starting out on the path to Druidism. I have read all three books which are extremely well written by very well known Pagan authors. It is my hope that this will give you a good solid starting point down this path from which you can branch and grow from.

The Solitary Druid: Walking the path of Wisdom and Spirit
by Rev. Skip Ellison

The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth
by John Michael Greer

Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism
by Issac Bonewits

Kindness to the Unkind

          I saw this on Facebook this morning. It really got me to thinking about our actions towards other people.

          We meet people in passing throughout our daily lives. Some are pleasant, some are neutral, some are rude and unkind. We ourselves can be any of these and more. But why should we take our moods out on others?

          Is it such a hard thing to extend kindness to those who are unkind themselves? To just smile while saying 'excuse me' in a pleasant tone? Why have we as a people and nation come to the point that not only do we refuse to be nice to others, we allow their actions towards us to alter our moods so deeply?

          Take a moment to smile at someone. Take a moment to hold the door open for someone behind you. Take a moment to just show the smallest amount of kindness because even if you don't see the results it does effect the unkind person which you show it too. Think of a time when you were in a horrible mood and all it took was one single person... with one kind act to change your mood.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Reciprocal Relationships

          One of the most fundamental principles in ADF Druidry is that of reciprocal relationships. It is through the establishment of these relationships that our Druidry affords us the benefits of our connections with the Kindred. First let us take a moment to define reciprocal relationship. Merriam-Webster defines reciprocal as: "2 : shared, felt, or shown by both sides  3 : serving to reciprocate : consisting of or functioning as a return in kind...  4 : mutually corresponding..." Basically each party working to create a give and take type relationship, even if not friendly it is respectful.But what makes reciprocal relationship work? Where else can reciprocal relationships develop?

          So with this base understanding of reciprocal relationships, let us take a deeper look at what makes a reciprocal relationship work. Is it giving gifts of equal value? Well that is a great question... but not one that is so easy to answer. Take for example the creation of a reciprocal relationship between the gods and humanity. In giving sacrifices we give to the Kindred what is of value to us, something that to a degree is a hardship. This could be butter we worked to create, or breads, or a brew... but it is something not easy to replace. That is the point of sacrifice. If what we give is no more important that a piece of paper you trash without a second thought it is not a very meaningful sacrifice. So, say you give a gift that is truly a sacrifice for you to give. Then the Kindred are obligated to give a gift of themselves that is just as much as sacrifice to them as our gift is to us. It is not about equal value of the exchange but the equality of that exchange. If you give your best then the return should be given to you; In the case of the Kindred that could be considerably more than what you are capable of giving. Now, with that said we give these gifts and sacrifices without demanding the reciprocation. That is part of being a good host, see how hospitality comes into play? And being a good guest, the Kindred give in return. We also create this reciprocal relationship through regular devotions and rituals, especially in those where we are not requesting specific aid but simply showing honor.
         Now here is a question for you... can you only create reciprocal relationships with the Kindred? Are they the only beings in which this kind of relationship is desired? Well that really depends on what Druid you ask. As for myself... well honestly I view things like this: I believe anyone can create a reciprocal relationship... one that benefits both parties involved and where each is giving something to the other in turn. I believe this includes those that we in ADF call Outdwellers or Outsiders. The reason for this line of thinking is this; the best possible way to prevent someone or something from being disruptive is to give them a gift and in return they gift you with peace, for a disruptive being this really is a huge sacrifice for them. An example of this in a more mundane way of thinking: I use to live in a great apartment complex that was filled with slightly older people who enjoyed their peace and quiet. Well I was going to throw a dinner party one weekend but was worried I would bother these neighbors... one in particular was always complaining even when I walked about in my apartment. So I came up with a great idea. I have her a gift card for the movie theater and gave her a nice bottle of wine ( had seen her carrying empty bottles of wine out regularly). So she went to the movies during my dinner party and when she got back from the movie, drank her wine. She was happy that I had given her the gift... I was happy I had gotten to have my dinner party... and we were able to both have what we wanted. When I give offering in ritual to the Outdwellers I always make sure it is just as much a sacrifice as those I plan on giving in ritual. I do not want to often those that I would prefer stay away from my workings. I believe by doing this I begin to create a reciprocal relationship: I get peace (major sacrifice from disruptive beings) and they get offerings they normally would got without. We both benefit from this.

          Reciprocal relationships do not always have be between those we wish to move closer too. They can be formed between groups that would normally be at odds with each other. Through reciprocal relationships we can create a common ground that can benefit all involved. If we observe our virtues of hospitality, vision and wisdom we will find there are always the opportunity to create mutually beneficial connections.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Open minded? Or just a door of ignorance to allow justifiable bigotry?

          Today my Regional Druid asked my thoughts on a article she wanted to post in the Central Region newsletter. It was about the possibility of being too open minded. When I read the article I was enraged at the shear moronic hate filled bigotry that the author was writing about. I totally agreed with this lady. If you are interested here is the article: The Power of Belief. The basic idea behind it is 'When does open mindedness become detrimental. But for me it is about something else. It is about being so 'open minded' that it becomes a door to ignorance to allow justifiable bigotry.

          For just a moment this is going to seem like 'pick on' Dianic Wiccans, but it is not. I promise you. This is just one of several examples I will use to get my point across. A friend of mind attends the local UU Church on a regular basis. One day she was telling me about how the local Dianic Wiccans were pretty much in charge of the Pagan side of this particular UU Church. When they lead Pagan rituals they allow male members of the Church to attend but they are NOT allow to participate at all in the rituals. They are telling due paying members of a Church that they can't partake in a rituals for the Church because they are men. While sisters let me tell you something, that is discrimination and bigotry! Just because the UU is open minded doesn't mean it is an open door for you to perform reverse discrimination. Can you imagine the out cry this group would have if the men of the Church did an all male ritual that the women could attend but not participate? Or how the Pagan community as a whole would protest if the UU Church were to have a Christian only service that the Pagans were allowed to participate in? But what? It is OK for them to do it because they are an all female tradition? No I do not think so! Nor should we as a Pagan community stand by while our own people discriminate against each other. This same Dianic group owns a community that is women only. These women have to buy into the community to live there. This is all fine and well, as I myself want to create a Druid community. However, if a female were to give birth to a male child she is to either give it up or must leave without any compensation. WOW!!! Where are the women's right protests? Where are the Pagan rights protests? No where, because we are under the false believe that because we are Pagan we much be open minded... so open minded that we are allowing bigotry to grow at our very center.

          Now we travel back in time to a point before I had found the Druid path. I was a Wiccan. I was a Gay Wiccan to boot. I belonged to a well known Wiccan Church in Georgia. I had studied hard working through the study program of the Coven so I could one day become an ordained Priest. I was coming on of the last parts of the Third Level of study. I was going to be ordained! I could not believe I was nearly there... then I had my 'interview' for taking the final test before ordination. I came before the High Priestess and Priest where I was quizzed on magical lore, knowledge and ethics. Then came the final part where I was told that the final test for our Coven was the performance of the Great Rite. I was thinking OK, so I have to write a ritual and perform it with one of the ordained Priestesses. Yeah no, not so much. It was explained to me that the right had to be a 'true' Great Rite in which I had to perform the marriage and consummation rites. And from the moment I was ordained on I had to leave my homosexual life style behind because a 'true' Priest is bisexual. The wheels came to a screeching halt. The only words out of my mouth before I walked out the door was 'I don't think so!' I was shocked that as a Pagan I was being told that I had to put up with someone else's ideas of holiness or I would never reach my goals. I had been told this once before. It was the last time I stepped foot in a Christian Church. Everyone I turned too told me I could not judge their beliefs because we were Pagan and must accept such things with an open mind. I call BULL SHIT!

          Just because we have found some religious freedom within the Pagan paths does not mean we are to accept bigotry. Many of us come from Christian backgrounds where we are all too use to being treated with such control, being told we much be open minded enough to accept what EVER denomination believes. Many of us left Christianity for this kind of mentality. Yet we are willing to put up with this bull shit within Paganism? Why? For the sake of stroking each others egos? For the sake that no one will call bull shit on us, stopping us from discriminating too? It is time to put our foot down people. It is because of this 'open mindedness to the point of ignorance' that causes people to mistrust Pagans. It is this mentality that causes us to mistrust each other. It is mentality that destroys the spirituality of others and causes oppress dogmatic religions.