I believe the mystery of the ants in the ritual room has been solved. What drew them to my den, you wonder? Why, an offering to the Outsiders!
First, for my readers who are unfamiliar with Druidism, in Ár nDraíocht Féin’s Druidic tradition, the Outsiders are the forces of chaos. Often, in myth, they were the beings who had confrontations with our deities. In Irish legend, they are the Fomorians. In Greek myth they are the Titans. They are also, I believe, any spirits, both corporeal and numinous, who are disruptive of our households or tribes*.
This brings me to the ants. While not an infestation, my invertebrate intruders were a tad nettlesome. As you know, they took it upon themselves to use me as a hiking trail during meditations. Although I welcomed it as a practice in focus, and recognize that combatting such intrusions while meditating in forest or field would be in vain, it was a challenge to deal with. Most irksome were the moments of contact just as the links between body and mind were at their fuzziest. One little ant and snap – back to “reality”. This says something about my experience, I’m sure.
I said that an offering to the Outsiders had attracted the ants to my home. What I am about to relate should stand as further proof of the ditziness of this Druid.
As stated, in ADF we believe in the Outsiders as forces of chaos. In ritual, we present them with an offering of sorts. Every Druid seems to have his or her own interpretation and methodology for this interaction. Some would say the purpose is to make momentary peace so that the rest of the ritual may be executed without disruption. Others would explain that the offering is to keep the Outsiders distracted. I use this part of the liturgy to acknowledge the powers of chaos in the world. I recognize their importance as part of the cosmic balance, but I request peace for my ritual.
Since moving to my new home, I have been using a green, glass votive holder for my offerings to these forces. There is no reason for the color or material – it’s simply what I had on hand. I pour a little ale or other alcohol into it, say a few words, and place it on a windowsill away from my altar. Well… I seem to have forgotten about it following my most recent rite. The Outsiders, in this case ants, took advantage of my long-standing hospitality and started to use my sacred space as a watering hole. I discovered this last night while cleaning.
The moral of the story? Given that I want the Outsiders outside of my house, I should really take the initiative to place the offering outside. As it can be disruptive of my mental state to exit my ritual area during a rite, I think it will be most conducive to open the window by the offering as a symbolic gesture. “You – yes you. Take this outside and let me be. Here’s the exit.” Having to shut the window will remind me of the offering which I will promptly move outside.
*My latest experience is another good example of how the dividing line between the Kindreds and other cosmic forces can often be fuzzy.
( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )