Initiating the Rite –Procession/Meditation
Purification – anointing with water
Honoring the earth mother – kneel, touch forehead
Statement of Purpose – I have come to this place to make a vow.
(Re)Creating the Cosmos –
And as I come I sing the world:
the fire of creation
The well of memory
The tree of worlds
I sing the bones of existence.
I sing the order of the world!
Opening the Gates –
River of the once-white sands! I ask for your aid – May the gates be open!
Inviting the Kindreds –
Shining ones, I call out to you!
Ancestors, I call out to you!
Spirits of the world, I call out to you!
That all may come and witness
That all may know of my vow.
Main Occasion/Working –
I come, a child of this old dark earth:
Mother, I come on my knees.
To you, beginning and end, first and last, I pledge myself and my own two hands.
Old gods, I have seen you; your might and your knowledge bring me awe. To you I offer my respect.
Spirits, I have seen you wandering our world, in wind and rain and leaf and light, turning the wheels of the world. To you I pledge action.
Ancestors, lineage that has loved and watched from time that has passed to time that is to come, I have known you all my life. To you I pledge the good use of your strength.
And all of you, witness:
I pledge my feet to the green path.
I will keep the sacred fires.
I will renew the echoes in the living well.
I will put my hand to the world tree.
I will walk the way of years forgotten.
I will keep my ear to the shadows.
If I renege on this, may I be dealt with as befits my offense.
Omen – where does my work begin?
Thanking the Beings
Closing the Gate(s)
Closing the Rite
For my Dedicant Oath Rite I chose to do a slightly modified COoR ritual on a dam in the middle of the river I have been trying to work with for the past few months. I had intended to drive to a state park and make my vows in a sandstone ravine that I love, but as the day approached I found myself gravitating towards the river. I had dreams about standing on a rock in the middle of rushing water. Two days before I planned to make my oath, I was with a friend driving along the river when I saw the dam. The sound of rushing water rose in my ears and I knew I had found the right place. Early that Saturday, on a full moon, a friend and I hiked a few miles along the river to the dam. It’s not particularly tall – made of the weathered, water-rounded remnants of several old stone bridges piled up at a bend in the river. It’s a tenth of a mile across, maybe a little more. The rushing sound of the water between the rocks is awesome. You can only get on to the dam from one side – the rocks are sparser and far apart, so getting to the main of the dam is a bit precarious. Originally I wanted to go around and walk out from the more solid side of the dam, because I was a little bit afraid of climbing across giant mossy rocks in such high water. There was no way to access the more solid side of the dam. It felt a little bit like an ordeal, or a challenge – like I had thought it was going to be too easy and needed a reminder that the vow I was making would not always allow the easy path. It took me fifteen minutes to figure out how to get towards the bigger part of the dam. I ended up getting a staff and using it as an extra-long arm to keep my balance while working my way out to the middle of the river. A flying leap from the main of the dam I found a long, square, flat rock that was just the right place, so I sat down, took off my shoes, laid down my staff, and started to meditate. After anointing myself with river water for purification, I opened the rite by honoring the Mother and said why I had come. I sang the hallows, opened the swirling gate, and invited the Kindreds to witness. Then I made my vow and waited for an omen. I had asked the question, “where does my work begin?” Sitting, watching the river, I got the impression that I needed to focus on my work with it – specifically in relation to cleanup efforts. The way I received this impression was a mix of feelings and observations and really sort of difficult to articulate – there were patterns of bubbles, and dirty foam on my feet, and ripples in the water, and above all a feeling.
It’s weird to do rituals in the Core Order: I never think they’re going to work. But I kneel to greet the Mother and it’s like something gets into my bones. I can hear my voice echo. I felt like I was sort of stuck between the mundane and metaphysical worlds in this rite, that I couldn’t quite get all the way. Maybe that was the nature of this vow; that feeling has carried over into the everyday. The rite felt surprisingly earthy, instead of airy and otherworldly as I have come to expect. But the oath, I think – the oath was right. It felt heavy, like a good blanket, a sound binding. I feel like I did well. When I began this path a little more than a year ago I didn’t feel serious; over the past year I’ve become both more relaxed about where my path leads and more bold about following and explaining it. Editing my Dedicant documentation was the first time I ever held an entire year’s worth of work in my hands at one time and was truly, honestly proud of what I had accomplished and how I had grown. I feel more grounded since I made my oath; more sure. Like I have a basis from which to speak.
I’ve never felt like I belong to this Indiana land; I was born between NJ and Pennsylvania, and that’s the air that smells right – the land that rings under my feet. But I’ve lived here for nearly twenty years, and in the past six months have felt increasingly as if I’m sinking in to this ground. There’s a weight to it – a rootedness – that I was missing before. I feel a little less like a transplant. And when I slapped the altar rock – /This rite is ended!/ – I felt it resound. I feel the weight of the oath-ring I wear – /I belong to this ground./ It’s given me a whole new perspective. My partner and I are getting ready to move: where do we need to move, he asks me, and the answer that comes out, even before “near work” is /somewhere near the river; I have work to do./