I sat down with the intent to write out the script for my Dedicant Oath Rite a few months ago, after I finished a final book review, but the timing didn’t feel right. I wasn’t motivated to do it. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure it had something to do with college. I also think that I simply wasn’t ready for it. I needed to go through a period of introspection to make sure that I really wanted to pursue this path and I’m glad that I gave myself that time. It made the ritual all the more meaningful because I decided that, yes, Druidism is the path for me.
The real push for me to finally perform the ritual was the discovery of a ring. I had read about a few other Dedicants using rings as symbols of their oath and I really liked the idea. I never remove my rings and it would therefore be the perfect way for me to display my devotion to the Old Ways and have a continual reminder of my oath. It took me awhile to find exactly what I was looking for, but when I found it I knew that the time to finish my Dedicant Program had come. The ring suited my path perfectly. In the center is a spiral. Spirals have always felt significant to me – they’re symbols of the cycle of life, the turning of the seasons, and the movements of celestial bodies. On either side of the spiral is a triquetra, another important symbol to me as it represents the sacred three that show up again and again in my hearth culture’s lore. I’m naturally drawn to these symbols and their existence together in one ring was perfect for my spiritual expression.
After acquiring the ring and finishing the script, I set about making offerings. As an artistic person, it was important for me to make the offerings given to my patrons. For the Winter Solstice I had made my mother a pendant out of clay. I decided to make similar charms for my patrons Brighid and An Dagda. One side of Brighid’s pendant is decorated with a triple spiral to symbolize her triple nature. The other side has a flame as I have been participating in a flame keeping group for the past year and her association with fire has become important to me. An Dagda’s charm is decorated with his club of death and rebirth on one side, and his cauldron of abundance on the other.
I decided to perform the Dedicant Oath Rite on Tuesday January 6th 2009. It was the perfect evening for the occasion as my fiancé was at work, leaving me alone. I wouldn’t have to worry about disturbing him or being disturbed. After I came home from work and did some cleaning, I printed out a copy of my script and set about preparing for the ritual. First I gathered all of my offerings and made sure everything was on or near my altar. I then took a cleansing shower all the while focusing on purification. After the shower I put on a ritual robe. I’ve never worn a ritual robe for my home rituals and it made the occasion all the more significant. Before officially starting my rite I lit several candles throughout the room, further purified myself with incense, and shut the lights off.
My ritual began nicely. I processed into the room with my altar, circled the ritual space, and stated my purpose. As I began, a horn sounded and some red lights flashed outside. I stopped and starred, unsure of what was going on and whether or not I should continue. The lights weren’t going anywhere – they continued to flash an obnoxious red that rivaled the comfortable glow of the candles I had lit. Confident of the fact that I could enter and exit my ritual space with comfort, I peeked out of a window and noticed that a policeman had pulled someone over. Annoyed at having been disturbed, I returned to my altar and took a few breaths before resuming. I was just at the point where I had to acknowledge the Outsiders. To my amusement and surprise, I had placed the offering bowl in the same direction as the scene outside. I felt that the Outsiders were really making themselves known before the ritual. I gave them an offering of beer, asked for peace, and everything else went really well! If the Outsiders wanted to make me nervous and edgy before my ritual, they certainly accomplished it!
Although I had written everything ahead of time, speaking the words aloud to the Kindreds was a powerful experience – one that I’m not used to. I usually perform my rituals from memory and let my words come naturally. Sometimes I get caught up in the structure of the ritual and so I fumble for words. That didn’t happen this time. The script allowed me to focus on the words I had written specifically for this day without getting nervous or frustrated. I did, however, perform the Two Powers meditation from memory without a script. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a longer or more fulfilling Two Powers meditation. After the disturbance from the police lights, the meditation allowed me to really relax and let go of my anxiety. I felt myself grow calm in the flow of Earth and Sky energy. I must have sat there for several minutes just basking in it.
After I made the offerings I took an omen using ogham. The Nature Spirits and Ancestors emphasized the natural world and rebirth through Yew and Gooseberry. It made sense considering the purpose of the ritual. This rite marked a transition, a rebirth into my spirituality, and as a follower of Druidism I am to be more concerned with the natural world than the average person. From the Gods I received the Oak ogham, symbolic of strength and wisdom. This seemed like a positive omen considering that Druids strive for both attributes.
Following the omen I made my oath. Declaring my promise to stay true to the Kindreds and the Old Ways, I placed the ring on the longest finger of my dominant hand. While I won’t say that I felt a grand transformation, I honestly did feel that I was entering a new phase of my spirituality. When the ritual had finished, I felt as if I could call myself a Druid for the first time. Prior to the Dedicant Rite, I always felt that I didn’t have enough experience. Now that I’ve finished my Dedicant Program, and considering that I’ll be graduating from college in the Spring, I feel that I’ve gained enough wisdom and experience to place myself within the ranks of Druids. I know that I’m only a young Druid with much to learn, but I finally feel prepared to be a part of that learning experience. I left my altar feeling proud of myself, at peace, and absolutely at home within my spirituality. The words I sang as I processed to my altar echoed in my head with renewed significance: “We have come home.”