Serving the people:
The very idea behind Druid practice is to server both the people and the Kindred. As Rev. Ian Corrigan put it “We offer our people the full range of religious and social activities…” (Corrigan, What is ADF) The act of coming together for worship in and of itself serves the people in giving them a context in which to honor and worship. I believe that through the Core Order of Ritual, we as a people are given a structure to develop a group mind that allows us to worship as one. My view is further strengthened by Rev. Corrigan:
“The Order of Ritual contains several intrinsic benefits for all who join in wholeheartedly. First, as mentioned, is the establishment or strengthing of the Cosmic Patterns in the soul making us more firmly grounded and more effectively centered. Second is the deepening of our contact with the God/desses and Spirits. As Pagans we should be working to establish personal relationships with the Deities, members of the Faery Tribes and of course with our own Ancestors and the Elder Wise Ones. Whenever we participate in the offerings to the Three Kindreds we have the opportunity to call to our own allies among the Powers, thus strengthening our personal magic. The third source of blessing is, of course, the Blessing itself (the "return flow").” (Corrigan, The Intentions of Druidic Ritual)
This is very import since ADF focuses more on being an orthopraxic religion.
Within the structure of COoR, there are parts that can be seen as specifically serving the people directly. The first is that of the establishment of the group mind. Through the use of the Two Powers meditation each person is given the chance to align his or her mind and purpose with those celebrating together. The second is that of purification. This helps us as individuals and as a group cleanse ourselves of negative emotions or energies that we may be carrying with us into the sacred space we are about to create. The third can be seen in the Omen which is our effort to understand the will and guidance of the Kindred. This also lets the people know how their offerings were taken. The fourth can be seen in the Return Flow or the sharing of the Blessed Waters of Life. It is through this shared drink we receive the blessings of the Kindred.
Looking at the COoR as a whole we see that it serves the people in helping us forging a reciprocal relationship with the Kindred. It gives both sides the ability to give and receive in a common format no matter what ADF group individuals may attend.
Reaffirming shared beliefs:
As stated in the “Serving the People” portion of this essay, ADF ritual is designed by its very structure to be orthopraxic. This gives everyone a single format in which to worship the Kindred, perform blessings or rituals, and to honor the passing of the seasons. However the way COoR flows in and of itself is an affirming of ‘shared beliefs’ to a degree. We agree upon how the structure of the cosmos is aligned. We align ourselves together in the “Establishing the Grove”; through “The Procession,” “Opening Meditation,” and “Affirming the World Order” we create the group mind. (Corrigan, The ADF Ouline of Worship: A Briefing for Newcomers)And we accept that the Omen is a sign of the will of the Kindred and through the Waters of Life we all believe that we are receiving their blessings, power, and love.
Another very import aspect where ADF COoR reaffirms shared beliefs is in the idea that we are a part of the nature world and that the Kindred are real beings, not simply aspects of ourselves. Ian Corrigan talks about this aspect in his article The Intentions of Druidic Ritual when he says:
“We reject, in general, theories that view the Powers as projections of our own minds, or as thought-forms created by human worship or as archetypes in the collective unconscious. Instead we prefer the traditional uniting of the nature of the God/desses and Spirits and of humanity.” (Corrigan, The Intentions of Drudic Ritual)
Reestablishing the cosmic order:
According to Isaac Bonewits we reestablish the cosmic order by “… defining a ritual center and/or opening the “Gates Between the Worlds,” enumerating the various parts of existence and (usually) evoking or invoking entities from them, thus starting a back and forth flow of mana through the Gates…” (Bonewits 57-58)
In ADF ritual the first part of ritual we not only establish the “group mind”, we also reestablish the cosmic order by recreating of the cosmos, the establishment of the Hallows, and opening the Gates.
“Affirming the World Order: Druidic ritual is anchored in the Sacred Center of the Grove. The Center is conceived as a meeting-place of the common world with the Otherworlds of the Spirits. We use one or more of the universal symbols of the Center - the Fire, the Well and the World-Tree. Fire connects us with the Sky, the Well with the Underworld and the Tree is the Boundary Between All Worlds, rooted deep and crowned high.
In this phase of the ritual the Order of the Worlds is acknowledged - first the vertical axis of Under- Mid- and Starry Worlds. The rite may then honor the three worlds of Land, Sea and Sky, or the Four Directions.
By affirming these symbols in our rite we acknowledge them in ourselves, making our own souls a temple in which the God/desses may dwell.” (Corrigan, The ADF Ouline of Worship: A Briefing for Newcomers)
The act of calling the spirits of the fire, the well, and the tree into the Hallows connects them to the power of the cosmos as we see it in ADF. This is our way of creating the cosmic axis. It is through the cosmic axis that we humans access the Three Worlds and the Kindred. From there we then call upon the Kindred and the Three Worlds which finishes filling out the recreation of our cosmological structure. And as most IE cultures sacrifices are offered as they were in the beginning of creation. Through sacrifice we further align with the deeper establishment of the cosmos and order of all things.
Singing, Chanting, Praise offerings and sacrifices are all an important part of ADF ritual. They allow for individuals to participate in ritual which in turn builds energy and enthusiasm. Energy is built up in the Hallows through the process of the offerings and those of the main sacrifice. It also gives a time for none specified Kindred to be offered a sacrifice. The praise offerings serve as the building of energy which will be offered to the Kindred and to the Kindred of the occasion. The main sacrifice is also a pinnacle point of the building of power and enthusiasm within ritual. All this energy is built up until the moment of the main sacrifice then is released through the Hallows so that it will reach into the Three Worlds and to the Kindred. This raising of energy is much like the idea of the cone of power raised in magic workings during other forms of Pagan practice. However, for ADF rituals there is a return follow of the energy give which helps to create a ghosti relationship. “This word, *ghosti (gos-tee), is a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European word. The English words ‘guest’ and ‘host’ both come from *ghosti. It means “I give so that you may give.” (Ár nDraíocht Féin) All of this can be seen as the “Building enthusiasm” through ADF COoR.
Ár nDraíocht Féin. "An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path - DP HandbookEZ." 5 2009. ADF.org. PDF - https://www.adf.org/system/files/members/training/dp/dedicant-manual-ez-reading.pdf. 6 8 2014.
Bonewits, Isaac. Rites of Worship: A Neopagan Approach. Earth Religions Press, 2003.
Corrigan, Rev. Ian. "The ADF Ouline of Worship: A Briefing for Newcomers." n.d. ADF.org. HTML & PDF https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/pre-ritual-briefing-2.html. 6 8 2014.
—. The Intentions of Drudic Ritual. n.d. 28 7 2014. <https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/intentions.html>.
—. "The Intentions of Druidic Ritual." n.d. ADF.org. HTML - https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/intentions.html. 6 8 2014.
—. "What is ADF." n.d. ADF.org. HTML - https://www.adf.org/about/basics/what-is-adf.html. 6 8 2014.