As part of my catch-up with my Dedicant Path work, I repeated my First Oath. This is an optional ritual to be completed at or near the beginning of your DP work which serves as a clear starting point for those who need it. Rather than oathing “I will finish the DP in a year” or even at all, and rather than oathing to ADF/the Archdruid, the oath is between yourself and the Kindreds. The idea is to say, “I’m here, I’m on this path, and I’m going to do my best to encourage spiritual growth and discipline while I walk it.” Since the First Oath appears in Week Two of Rev. Dangler’s The ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year, each time I’ve (re-)started the DP (at least three times at this point), I’ve oathed or reoathed myself. This time is no different – especially since I’m determined this is the last time I’ll have to restart my progress. 🙂
I’ll let my ritual outline and annotations speak for themselves. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Initiating the Rite
- Drumming/“Come We Now As A People”
- Anoint self with oil
- Visualize breathing out smoke and breathing in gold
This is one of my basic (and favorite) meditations. As I was meditating, my difficulties focusing were symbolized by my brain literally tying itself in knots.
Honoring the Earth Mother
- “Mother Danu, I come before you today in humility and reverence. Thank you for holding up my body, my home, and my entire world. From you my body was formed and to you it shall return at twilight’s end.”
- Kiss hand, then touch to ground
- “I Will Walk With The Earth Mother”
I wrote this chant myself two Yules ago. The segment I used is part of a longer chant, but invokes Helios and Luna and thus wouldn’t mesh with an Irish-centered rite. The first part goes: “I will walk with the Earth Mother all of my days/Dancing and singing and giving her praise.”
- Offer dried rosebuds and rose petals
Statement of Purpose
- “I come again to pledge myself to the work of the Dedicant Path, to follow it as thoroughly as is possible and needful to be, and to strive to learn from its teachings with heart, mind, and soul.”
Recreating the Cosmos
- “Land, Sea, And Sky”
This is another chant of mine I created in the early days of my ADF membership. “Land, Sea, and Sky, you’re all around me/Land, Sea, and Sky, you’re always inside/Land, Sea, and Sky, my eternal succor/Land Sea and Sky, with you I reside.”
- Trace a triple triquetra above the Hallows
- Two Powers meditation
Establishing Sacred Center
- “As I light this fire, pour this well, and tend this tree, may the Triple Hallows be nurtured in my spirit.”
- “Fire, well, and sacred tree, flow and flame and grow in me.” x3
At the moment I can’t find where I got this bit from, but I know it’s a common chant or invocation in ADF.
Opening the Gates
- “Manannan mac Lir, Son of the Sea, Lorekeeper, Dream-giver, I ask you to lend your powers to mine. Together, let our magic unlock the Gates Between and allow inspiration, guidance, and blessings to freely flow among all peoples in this rite.”
- Offer sandalwood incense
- Visualize/act out opening the Gates
Personally it helps if I imagine unlocking a door that draws back in four directions – up, down, left, right – and then step over the threshold.
Inviting Three Kindreds
- “Noble Ones, Kin of the Land, I honor and revere your presence here today. Beings of fur, feather, and fin, bark, leaf, and stone, I respect the delicate balance in which your people and mine dance. I offer this gift, so you may know I come with love in my heart.”
- Offer peanuts
- “Mighty Ones, Kin of the Sea, I honor and revere your presence here today. Ancestors of my species, ghosts of my blood, I thank you for the sacrifices made that shaped my life today. I offer this gift, so you may know I come with love in my heart.”
- Offer apple juice
- “Shining Ones, Kin of the Sky, I honor and revere your presence here today. Gods of all pantheons, spirits named and unnamed, I dance with joy and delight to know you, hold your hands, see your faces. I offer this gift, so you may know I come with love in my heart.”
- Offer coffee Baileys
Inviting Other Deities
- “Manannan, god of storm and sea, I again invoke your name and ask the honor of your presence. May I further awaken to your subconscious realms and walk deeper beside you into your Mysteries.”
- Offer red wine
- “Brighid, goddess of sun and starlight, I invoke your name and ask the honor of your presence. May I be healed at your well, transformed at your forge, inspired by your words, and forever find peace at your hearth.”
- Light candle under oil burner
Prayer of Sacrifice
- “Earth Mother Danu, Gatekeeper Manannan, Landspirits, Ancestors, Deities, and my Lady Brighid, I have given freely to you from a place of love in my heart. May my offerings be accepted and found pleasing in your sight.”
Call for Blessing
- “A gift calls for a gift, and I ask for a return of balance between us. Over the course of my Dedicant studies, I seek to know you and other spirits well; I seek to draw closer to the rhythms of nature within and around me; I seek to walk a Druid’s path, however it may unfold before me. I ask for your aid, blessings, and wisdom to accomplish all I would do that honors the divine and natural laws of my world.”
One of the things I’m still getting used to about ADF Druidry is that we both freely give to and freely accept gifts from the Kindreds. A return flow of energy embodied in the phrase “a gift for a gift” isn’t just hoped for, it’s expected. Here is some more information about the nature of sacrifice in ADF.
- Draw three cards from The Druid Animal Oracle and meditate on their meanings
- Fire Dragon (Draig-teine) – a card representing “vitality, enthusiasm, and courage, and an increased ability to overcome obstacles and to find the energy needed to cope with life’s problems.” Since I struggle with keeping up motivation and overcoming inertia, I’m happy about having the Fire Dragon as the first card in my reading.
- Wren (Drui-en) – a card which represents “the beauty of God or Goddess in all things” as well as achieving “self-realization… in humility, gentleness, and subtlety.” I’m getting some serious Te of Piglet vibes here, which is good. Perhaps a reminder that some qualities I dislike in myself (being quiet, shy, not very confrontational or assertive) can, in some situations, actually be quite helpful?
- Raven (Bran) – a card about “initiation, protection, and the gift of prophecy… the death of one thing, which gives way to the birth of another” and “the very deepest form of healing” by “resolving conflicts… buried in your subconscious.” Hey, sounds like a “You’re going to have an interesting day in therapy tomorrow!” card.
My original plan was to re-read my First Oath verbatim, but I decided not to and spoke from the heart. I admitted that oathing things in general doesn’t usually work out for me and I know I have a lot of work to do to prove I’m ready to take on these responsibilities and disciplines. Essentially my oath tonight stated, “I’ll show up and do the work. Just have my back – please?” Except more poetic. 😉
Start of “Seakeeping” Shift
To strengthen my relationship with Manannan, I’m going to experiment with “Seakeeping” shifts that are similar in spirit to my Flamekeeping shifts I do for Brighid. I’ll write more about that either tomorrow (later today, actually) or Thursday.
Thanking the Beings
- “Lady Brighid, there is so much love in my heart for you. I bid you farewell from this rite, though I know you will never leave my side. May I soon warm myself once more by the fire of your hearth.”
- “Shining Ones, I thank you for the inspiration and wisdom your presence has given me this rite. Depart in peace, knowing there is always space at my table for you.”
- “Mighty Ones, I thank you for the strength and courage your presence has given me this rite. Depart in peace, knowing there is always space at my table for you.”
- “Noble Ones, I thank you for the kindness and hospitality your presence has given me this rite. Depart in peace, knowing there is always space at my table for you.”
Closing the Gates
- Visualize/act out closing the Gates
- “Manannan mac Lir, once again I join your magic with mine to close the Gates Between. May they stand firm between the worlds, protecting all good and noble peoples therein. Thank you for your aid this rite, and may we meet again always as friends.”
Thanking the Earth Mother
- “Mother Danu, I thank you for your abiding presence in my life. I am a traveler passing through your realm, and I thank you for your boundless hospitality. Be at peace and in joy, always.”
- Kiss hand, then touch to ground.
Closing the Rite
- “Thus is the end of this rite and the beginning of all the others.”