Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Religious Mysteries within ADF Druidry

         Sometime a while back the topic of religious Mysteries (Yes mysteries with a capital M. Not a lower case m.) was explored on the ADF Facebook Discussion page. It was a rather thought provoking discussion as most religions have various Mysteries to their path. It made me wonder 'does ADF Druidry have Mysteries? Does is need them?' So I started trying to understand what a religious Mystery really was? I mean how can I understand if it does or does not have Mysteries if I do not even know what one really is. Well Merriam-Webster dictionary on-line it is:

          "1. a: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.
               c (1): a secret religious rite believed (as in the Eleusinian and Mithric cults) to impart enduring
                  bliss to the initiate (2): a cult devoted to such rites" (Merriam-Webster, mystery)

But the text book understanding just did not do it for me. There was just to much left unanswered. Then I realized something, it is only something that you, and you along can experience. the founding principles of a Mystery can be revealed by someone who have learned the Mystery themselves but each persons encounter with the Mystery will be different. The spiritual or intellectual enlightenment will vary from person to person. Sure they may be very similar but in the end how it effects each of us will always be our own.

          So with that understanding the question then becomes does ADF Druidry have any Mysteries? I think so, though maybe not in an official sense like some religious paths do. So what are some of the Mysteries I see in ADF? Well if you take a look you might see them too.

          Over is the idea of reciprocal relationship to me is part of the Mysteries of ADF. People can talk about the idea of this reciprocal or ghosti relationship until they are blue in the face and you are sick of hearing them. But until you experience it, truly experience it for yourself it is near meaningless. There is something sacred and life changing when you finally feel and 'know' for the first time that your offerings where accepted and a bond of friendship has been created.

design by David Crawford
          Then there is the calling of the Hallows and Opening of the Gates. Let us take a look at each one. The call of the Hallows have so much Mystery and meaning behind them, perhaps more than most people realize. I know when I first began working rituals on my own it was just me walking through the mechanics of rituals. I wanted to make sure that I have the form as perfect as I could. Then suddenly one day when I was calling the Hallows it finally struck me. I was not just calling on spirits of the Fire, Tree, and Well. I was calling to the Fire of all the universe, to the axis and World Tree of all the universe, and to all the waters and Wells of the universe... that included each one that resided within myself. I found my whole being respond to the call! That is something no one can teach you to feel. It is something that must come as its own revelation deep within you. That day I learned not only was I the Hallows but what it meant to open them with this knowledge. When I opened the Gates I felt a spiritual ecstasy I had never in my life experienced.
The Titan's Gobleby Thomas Cole

          One of the most powerful Mysteries to me is that of the Waters of Life. Again this is one of those things that you hear about in ADF rituals but until you truly experience it for yourself you will never know. The Mystery is the changing of the liquid from just plain liquid into the pure blessings of the Kindred. It is the powering of all that gratitude in the vessel and the liquid it contains so that they are passed on to you.

          As for their importance? I believe it is through the Mysteries of a faith that true spiritual comes. It is through the individual experience that we expand as beings. When we come together as a group these experiences help create and environment rich with magic for others to have the Mysteries revealed to them.

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