Litha 2014 [Dedicant Path Requirement]

The focus of my midsummer ritual was honoring the sun as life-giver, light-bringer, and hope-bearer. I think it’s important to focus on that and retain a piece of it through the darker months….and here, at the crescendo of the sun’s power and beauty, is time to revel in that bounty. I followed the COoR, as usual…Secret Garden’s the Gates of Dawn was my musical signal, initiating the rite, and I smudged for purification. I gave honor to the Earth Mother, stated my purpose – to honor the sun – and sanctified my hallows (fire, well, and tree). I called on Firefly as my gatekeeper with an offering of sugar, asking for her liminal power of light in darkness to open the gates. I honored the Kindreds and made my offerings and songs to the sun. When I drew the omen asking if my gifts and words had been satisfactory, I received the Knight of Cups, which I saw as positive. I also drew a card asking for guidance in this liminal period of my life, wanting to know what I should focused my energy on, and received the Hierophant. The blessing – in the form of a glass of water – was shared between me, the cats, the house, and the yard. Then I thanked the beings, closed the gates, and ended the rite.
This was my last DP high day! I feel so much more comfortable with the COoR – it’s more flexible than I ever imagined it being at the beginning of this. Comfortable. I am also continuing to be amazed at the aptness of divination. Drawing the Hierophant at a time when I’m beginning to turn my attention towards the CTP is a nice piece of confirmation. Sort of a smack in the face with a wet fish, but funny all the same. At the beginning of the rite I worried I wouldn’t get to the rite headspace, but I’m starting to have a ritual switch. You can feel yourself sliding in. Everything is coming full circle.

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Beltane 2014 [Dedicant Path Requirement]

I’ve been trying to work with the White River that flows through my city, so for Beltane, I chose to make the river the being of the occasion for my solitary ADF-style rite. I performed the ceremony on the riverbank at dusk.
I began with a centering chant, anointing myself with lavender oil for purification. After honoring the Earth Mother with a libation of cider, I announced my intention to celebrate the bloom of life and the fertility of the land. To represent the cosmos, I had a tea light for the fire, a shell for my well, and some rosemary wood for my tree. I honored Duck as my gatekeeper, because the river is home to many ducks, and ducks are between worlds -water and earth, solid and liminal. I made an offering of bread to Duck as my gatekeeper and declared the gates opened. Then, I invited the Kindreds and made offerings to them in the well.
When it was time to honor the being of the occasion, I spoke to the White River, calling it by old names. To it, I offered melissa leaves – purifying, healing, and sacred – and silvered water, with wishes for the river’s strength and clarity. Since the White River is heavily polluted, this seemed like the best gift at my disposal. I made the prayer of sacrifice and then drew the omen with my tarot deck; I asked three questions. The first was, “has my offering been noted?” because I’ve never really gotten a response from the river before; the card I drew was the nine of swords reversed, which I interpreted as faith in spite of difficulties. I asked, “does my offering meet with approval?” and drew the ten of pentacles, a card of abundance and prosperity, which I interpreted as contentment. For my third and final question, “what must I do to further a relationship with this river?” I drew the king of pentacles, which I interpreted as persistence, mundane effort (just sitting there!) and material offerings.
Then, I asked that the blessings flow into my cup – asking specifically that I might see blessings on my attempts to make friends with the river. Then I drank. I shared the blessings in the form of libations as I thanked the rivers and the Kindreds, offered some to Duck in closing the gates, and offered to the Earth Mother at the closing of the rite. Then I broke my tree, declared the well mere water, the fire mere flame, and the rite ended.
In designing this ritual I read through the COoR tutorial; it was extremely helpful to me and it was actually there that I got the idea of calling on Duck as the gatekeeper. At my first ADF rite I was pretty skeptical of the omen, but the more I use it the more I get out of it. I think this ritual went well, and I really felt like I connected with the spirit of the White River – something which had previously eluded me. I feel like I’m really getting a grasp on the COoR.