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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.”

 

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Preparation:

Offerings to gather:

Earth Mother: herbs

Outdwellers: beer (to be placed in a separate bowl)

Earth: salt

Sea: water

Sky: incense

Manannan (Gatekeeper): beer

Nature Spirits: bird seed

Ancestors: fruit (apples?)

Gods: Whiskey

Brighid: Token I made

An Dagda: Token I made

Return offerings: Oil

Additional Needs:

Ogham for the omen

Wine for the return flow

A ring for the oath

Before the Ritual: I will purify myself with water and incense.

  1. Processional

We Approach The Sacred Grove

(Words and music by Sean Miller)

We approach the Sacred Grove
With hearts and minds and flesh and bone
Join us now in ways of old
We have come home.

2.      Opening Prayer / Statement of Purpose

I am here today to honor the Kindreds and to make an oath to the ways of Druidism, Irish polytheism, the Old Ways, and the Old Gods.

  1. Purification

[Prayer and offering to be made in the south where an offering bowl will be placed]

Outdwellers!  Powers of chaos!  Although I recognize your purpose in the world, I desire peace for my ritual.  I respectfully ask that you leave me and my rite in peace.  Please accept this beer and let us be.

  1. Honoring the Earth Mother

[I will call to and honor the Earth Mother with a chant]

Earth Mother (Author Unknown)

Earth Mother, we honor your body
Earth Mother, we honor your bones
Earth Mother, we sing to your spirit
Earth Mother, we sing to your stones

[I will then give the Earth Mother a kiss.]

Earth Mother, you are the source of all life.  I am grateful for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me and I give you this offering of herbs in thanks.  Earth mother, I honor you!

 

  1. (Re)Creating the Cosmos
    • Establish the Sacred Center

[This will be done with the Two Powers meditation.  I will speak it aloud.]

    • Acknowledge the three realms

May the Earth not open up and swallow us! [Chanted while an offering of salt is given.]

May the Seas not rise up and drown us! [Chanted while an offering of water is given.]

May the Sky not fall down upon us! [Chanted while an offering of incense is given.]

 

    • Establishing the Vertical Axis:

[I will chant and make the offerings simultaneously.]

Portal Song (Words by Ian Corrigan) –

Come we now to the well
The eye and the mouth of earth
Come we now to the well
And silver we bring
Come we now to the well
The waters of rebirth
Come we now to the well
Together we sing

Chorus:
By fire and by water between the earth and sky
We stand like the world tree ,
Rooted deep, crowned high
By fire and by water between the earth and sky
We stand like the world tree ,
Rooted deep, crowned high

We will kindle a fire
Bless, all and with harm to none
We will kindle a fire
And offering pour
We will kindle a fire
A light ‘neath the moon and sun
We will kindle a fire
Our spirits will soar

Chorus

Gather we at the tree
The root and the crown of all
Gather we at the tree
Below and above
Gather we at the tree
Together we make our call
Gather we at the tree
In wisdom and love

Chorus

 

  1. Opening the Gates

[I will call to Manannan Mac Lir as Gatekeeper.]

I call to Manannan Mac Lir, he who walks between the worlds!  He who rides the waves like horses!  He whose cloak separates the realms!

Manannan, I humbly ask that you allow me to reach the Other World so that I may make offerings and give honor to the Kindreds.  Please protect me as I walk the path and aid me in my rite!  I give you this offering of beer to thank you for your help.

Manannan Mac Lir, I ask that you join your magic with mine, and when our magic is joined: let the fire open as a gate to the upper world; let the bowl open as a gate to the under world, and let the wand grow into the World Tree which connects the upper, middle, and lower worlds.

Let the Gates be open! [I will say this loudly while gesturing with my hands that the Gates have been opened.]

  1. Inviting the Three Kindreds

Nature Spirits

Nature spirits, you have always been with me.  From the beginnings of my life, you have inspired me to be creative and imitate you.  I have always wanted to be one with you, to shape shift into you.  I will forever try to channel your energy so that I can emulate you, my brothers and sisters.  I know that our relationship is imperfect, but every day I try harder to live in better harmony with you.

Please join me as I perform this oath rite.  Nature spirits, please accept this offering of bird seed.  Nature spirits, I honor you!

Triad Chant (Words by Phoenix)

Earth child, Wild one, born of the Earth
Call to us, and sing to us, creatures of the Earth
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh

Ancestors

Ancient Ancestors! The more I study your homelands, the more I honor and respect you, Ancestors, and oh how I long to set my feet upon your homelands so that I can be closer to you.    Every day, I feel your old ways and thought patterns entering into my own.  I am grateful for your lessons.  Recent Ancestors!  As my connection to our older kin grows, I learn to value you more and more, especially those of you who I knew in this realm.  I know that death is not an end and that we are ever entwined.  Rest assured that I will continue to honor you, and that you will always have a bite to eat at Samhain.

Please join me as I perform this oath rite.  Ancestors, please accept this offering of fruit.  Ancestors, I honor you!

Triad Chant (Words by Phoenix)

Ancestors, Spirit, Blood, one with the Earth
Call to us, and dream with us, teach us of our worth
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh

Gods

Shining Ones!  Since I was very young I have felt a connection to you.  Mighty Tuatha de Dannan, it took me awhile to find you, but your pull kept me searching.  I never gave up.  You inspired me to question the status quo, to learn, to create, and to grow as an individual.  You gave art a greater meaning, you gave love a greater meaning, and you gave life a greater meaning.  I will continue to ponder our connection all my days, but rest assured, I will never turn my back on you.  I have felt you too strongly.  Even Gods of other tribes, I have felt them too – felt their arms around me, felt their care for humanity, felt their desire for contact, and felt their existence.  Great Ones, I believe that you inspire me and bless me.  I believe that you protect me and guide me when you feel that I need it.  I believe that I am a part of your tribe in the mortal realm and that, as elders and powerful Druids, you deserve honor, respect, and love.

Please join me as I perform this oath rite.  Great ones, please accept this offering of whiskey.  Mighty Gods, I honor you!

Triad Chant (Words by Phoenix)

Shining one, wisdom filled, healers of the Earth
Call to us, and be with us, show us what we’re worth
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh
Ay ya, Ay ya Oh

  1. Offerings to my Patrons

Brighid

Brighid: Goddess of hearth, home, and healing well; Goddess of poetry, crafts, and divination – I call to you!  I invite you here to witness my oath rite.

Brighid, I feel you in the art that I create, in the food that I cook, and in poetry and song.  I feel you in fire and water.  You inspire me to create.  Every day, I strive to honor you and emulate your sacred ways. I hope that our relationship grows.  Brighid, I give you this offering in thanks for your many blessings.  Brighid, I honor you!

An Dagda

An Dagda: laughing God of magic; God of life and death; God of abundance; God of virility – I call to you!  I invite you here to witness my oath rite.

I have felt your presence much this past year.  You always seem to be watching over me, protecting a member of your mortal tribe.  I feel you when I receive gifts, in the cycles of life, and in the arms of my mate.  Every day, I strive for your attitude and humor.  Every day, I strive to honor and emulate your sacred ways.  May our connection grow.  An Dagda, I give you this offering in thanks for your many blessings.  An Dagda, I honor you!

 

  1. Omen

[I will chant while drawing ogham.  Once the ogham has been drawn, I will stop chanting and meditate on the meaning.]

Speak To Me (Words by Phoenix)

Speak to me,
Speak to me Goddesses.
Speak to me,
Speak to me all the Gods.

 

  1. Return Flow

Kindreds, I have given my gifts to you.  And as my tribe says, a gift calls for a gift.  As I have given to you, I know you will send greater blessings to me.  I am forever grateful for them.

[I will hold up a glass of wine and visualize the Kindreds who have gathered standing with me.  I will see their blessings flow into the glass.]

Behold – the waters of life!

[I will drink.]

  1. Oath

Nature Spirits, Ancestors, Gods, and Patrons: I have called you here so that you may hear this oath that I make to you.

Kindreds, I declare to you my devotion to the ways of Druidism and Irish Polytheism.  I declare myself a Pagan, a walker of the old paths, a seeker of the old knowledge.  I worship the Old Gods and honor my ancestors and the spirits of nature.  I believe in the sanctity of life and the value and spirit of Nature.  I swear to the Gods my tribe swears by  to keep the sacred ways and maintain the holy rites.

This ring symbolizes my spirituality.  In the center is the holy spiral, symbolic of the cycles of life.  From childhood through adulthood, I have always been attracted to the spiral.  I would doodle them in notebooks, spin them on the lawn, and trace them in foggy windows.  On either side of the spiral is a triquetra, a symbol of the three realms, the three Kindreds, and many other triads.

This ring is symbolic of my spirituality, and by placing it on my finger, I declare my devotion to my path. Let it be known that Grey Catsidhe is a follower of Druidism, a priestess to the Tuatha de Dannan, and a child of the Earth.

If I should ever fail you by bringing shame to my path or my tribe, may the Earth open up and swallow me, may the Sea rise up to drown me, and may the sky fall down upon me.

Kindreds, witness my devotion!

[I will place the ring on my right middle finger.  My right hand is my most used and thus I pay more attention to it.  The index finger wears a ring from my mother and my ring finger wears a birth stone from my parents.  My middle finger, as the longest finger of my most used hand, becomes a suitable seat for the symbol of my spirituality.  I will end by chanting.]

I Am Of the Earth – by Grey Catsidhe

I am of the Earth

I am of the Earth

I am of the Earth

Oh I am of the Earth…

  1. Thanking the Beings

An Dagda

An Dagda, I am grateful for your joining me.  I hope that you have enjoyed my gifts and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return.  An Dagda, I thank you!

Brighid

Blessed Brighid, I am grateful for your presence.  I hope that you have enjoyed my gifts and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return.  Brighid, I thank you!

Shining Ones

Great Gods, I thank you for your presence today.  I hope that you enjoyed my gifts and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return. Gods, I thank you!

Ancestors

Mighty Dead, I thank you for joining me.  I hope that you have enjoyed my gifts and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return.  Ancestors, I thank you!

Nature Spirits

Beings of land, sea, and sky, I thank you for joining me.  I hope that you have enjoyed my gifts and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return.  Nature spirits, I thank you!

  1. Closing the Gates

I call to you once more, Manannan Mac Lir, guardian of the veil!  I thank you for your protection and aid to me as I made my oath rite.  I hope that the offerings I made were to your liking and that you accept my oath.  Please accept this offering of oil in thanks.  I give it to you in love while asking nothing in return.  Manannan, I thank you!

[Offering is made.]

Manannan, son of Lir, I ask that your join your magic with mine.  When our magic is joined, let the gate to the upper world be but a candle.  Let the gate to the under world be but a bowl.  And let the tree that connects the upper, middle, and lower worlds be but a branch.  Let everything be as it once was.

Let the Gates be closed!

[The closing of the Gates will be accompanied by a hand gesture.]

  1. Thanking the Earth Mother

Earth Mother, source of life, I thank you for your blessings as you witnessed my rite.  I hope that my gifts and my oath have been acceptable.  To you, I give all remaining offerings as it is your due.  Earth Mother, I thank you!

  1. Closing the Rite

Walk With Wisdom (Words by Sable)

Walk with wisdom, from this hallowed place.
Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace.
May strength be your brother, and honor be your friend,
And luck be your lover, until we meet again.

 

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Creating a shrine was not a difficult requirement for me as I’ve been making altars for a few years.  The challenge, however, was making an altar in accordance with a hearth culture and within a Druidic framework.  Having started on a Pagan path through Wicca, I was used to having certain articles on my altar.  When I realized that Wicca was not the path for me, I abandoned some of the traditional tools, such as the athame, and turned my altar into a mishmash of significance.  It was only through the deep introspection and study of mythology encouraged by ADF that I was able to build a shrine that was truly important to me and symbolic of my faith.

When I first started to think about putting together an altar for ADF, I knew it would have to be different from my past altars.  It would require space for offering bowls, something I’d never dealt with before.  My altars used to be built on top of slender bookshelves.  After moving into a new apartment, I decided to use an old vanity that I was not using.

My altar is in the kitchen, the hearth of my home, near the stove.  In the very center of my altar is a representation of the Bile, the world tree.  It is a wand I made from an apple branch, wire, and silver bells, similar to the wand given to Cormac in Irish mythology.  To the right of the tree is a doll/statue I made to represent Brighid.  Below her is a dish with a candle so that I can keep her flame once every month. To the Bile’s left is a large stone representing An Dagda.  I found the stone during a hike I dedicated to him.  Atop the stone is a ring of black twine that is also significant from that hike.  Behind the stone is a lap harp I bought at an Irish Festival.  It always reminds me of An Dagda and his harp of seasons.  Perhaps I will learn to play it one day and I will be able to incorporate it into my rituals!

There is also a representation of the fire and the well on my altar in the form of a candle and a cauldron.  Towards the front of the altar are three small bowls containing tea lights that represent the three Kindreds.  The center candle represents the Gods while the right candle represents the ancestors and the left represents the nature spirits.  In addition to these there is a fourth bowl on the altar into which offerings are given.  There are also a few small incense holders. Everything sits atop a beautiful green altar cloth with black Celtic knots swirling over its surface.  On the wall above my altar are photos of some of my ancestors and a candle that I can light when I want to specifically pay homage to them.  I think the photos serve as poignant reminders of my ancestors and enable me to really connect with them spiritually and emotionally.

All of the items on my altar are significant because they represent something spiritually important whether it’s symbolic of a deity, spirit, or simply the connection I have to the other world or my hearth culture. Seeing these symbols reconnects me and mentally prepares me for the rituals and mediations held before the altar.

I don’t feel that my altar is complete.  There are many improvements that I would like to make to it.  To begin with, I would like to locate more photos of ancestors to put on my wall.  I would also like to find better storage compartments for underneath the altar.  Currently all of my candles are in a cardboard box and everything else is in baskets just sitting there, vulnerable to my two curious cats and all of the fur they shed.  I also look forward to the day when I have a larger home and will have room to expand my altar.  Perhaps I will move it from the kitchen area to the living room to make it more central and accessible to larger worship.  Ideally, it would have its own room one day, complete with prayer mats, a library of Pagan-related books, and soundproof walls for meditation.  One can dream, right?

I have enjoyed creating my Druidic altar.  It has become such a significant focal point in my spiritual life.  Never before did I interact with an altar on a daily basis.  Never before was an altar so important to me.  The altar is not only a shrine to the Kindreds, but a peaceful sanctuary for me.

 

 

My altar as of March 2010.

I moved my altar in the autumn of 2010. Here it is incomplete.

 

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Weretoad and I had a lovely Winter Solstice!  I was so excited and in a festive mood.  While he was away at work, I finished wrapping gifts, put on some Solstice music, and lit the tree.  It’s the only night we leave it on and it’s a great reminder of what we’re celebrating.

I also busied myself preparing the feast you see at left.  I made a vegetarian roast with baked scallions, carrots, and potatoes.  I also made fresh bread, steamed brussels sprouts, and bread pudding.  Mmmm…carbs… Magical, wonderful carbs!

In addition, I brought home cranberries and made popcorn to turn into garlands.  We did that after our ritual.  After discussing what we should do, Weretoad and I decided to honor the Nature Spirits who have to struggle through the bitter cold.  It is a hard time to be wild.  Many creatures die.  Food is scarce.  We forget that in our warm homes with our stocked larders.  Our main offering was the garland which we put on the little spruce we keep on our patio.  Next year I would like to do more for deities as well but I’m still uncertain as to who I should honor.  Should I visit the Norse deities of my Germanic ancestors and honor Odin as he rides through the sky?  Should I honor the Cailleach as the crone of winter?  Should I give praise to Angus as he is associated with New Grange and thus the Winter Solstice?  I lean more towards the latter two…  I guess we’ll see what next year brings.

We went a bit overboard on gifts this year.  In years past we kept a tradition – three large gifts and three stocking stuffers.  This year…  we kind of forgot and got lost in the joy of giving to each other.  We really need to restrain ourselves next year.  That said – I got some lovely gifts from my husband!  In addition to some shiny and practical items, he also contributed to my growing Pagan library. I got a recycled three ring cardboard binder – something I want to use to make my new Druidic grimoire.  I also received The Black Pullet (an old grimoire) and Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl Ph.D.  (For my birthday a week ago, he gave me Toads and Toadstools: The Natural History, Mythology and Cultural Oddities of this Strange Association by Adrian Morgan.)  Needless to say, I have a ton of new books to enjoy and learn from!  Squee!

Today I am busying myself with last minute gift sewing and wrapping.  Yes, I still “celebrate” Christmas with my vaguely Christian family.  I love the excuse to see them. They know I consider the gifts I give them to be Solstice gifts just as the ones they give me are for their own holiday of giving and love.  We somehow meet on common ground.  At the same time, I look forward to having my own large home and throwing wonderful Winter Solstice parties for the whole family…  Some day…  This year, I enjoyed my quiet Solstice with Weretoad. 🙂

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Today was a stressful day.  It was, as I told my husband, the Monday of Mondays.  Getting to work was not difficult, but once I was there it was one thing after another.  There was a lot of absenteeism today.  Many people are out with whooping cough which is kind of uncomfortable.  I took my lunch break to run some errands.  I sent my grad school application off which was good.  The rest is in the hands of the administrators and the Gods. I then took some time to make what I thought would be a quick business call.  It turned into a very long and stressful exchange, but supposedly everything was rectified.  A second time.  Gods willing, everything is fine and I will get my bloody certificate of authority so I can legally sell at the upcoming craft show!  Everyone was very kind, patient, and helpful so I can’t fault them too much…

I’ve come to accept that it’s going to take me awhile to finish my Initiate Study Program.  Hell, it took me at least a year to delve into my DP, and three years after that to finish.  I took my time.  Who can blame me?  I was working on my first degree while working part time and maintaining various hobbies.  Working full time while attending grad school?  I know I’m going to have my hands full.

I am finding myself less resentful and guilty for my limited Druidic studying.  I do what I can.  I do my short daily devotionals, I pray, I make offerings to Brighid when I sew, and I do my weekly ritual complete with ogham reading.  I practice bits of kitchen magic here and there.  I try to make time for meditations and walks in the woods.  I listen to Pagan music and podcasts.  I alternate fiction with Pagan studies when I read before bed.  I get in touch with my inner self and the spirits through my art.  That is how I am living and experiencing Paganism now.  Do I feel like I could do more?  Sure.  But I’m not beating myself up over it now.

( For My LJ and FB Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Letter to the Kindreds

Dear Kindreds,

I know I’ve been a bit distant recently.  My ritual last week was tired and rushed.  I forgot my usual peace offering for the Outdwellers.  I forgot to honor the bardic spirit until after I made an offering to the ancestors.  I forgot the ale but, luckily, had whiskey on hand.  It felt like one of my first rituals.  I was embarrassed and felt defeated.  My daily devotionals have been lackluster.  I’ve waited until the last moments to do them before I lazily drag myself to bed far too late.  I speak in hushed tones or in my head because my husband is often there getting ready for sleep.  The altar is in the bedroom and I feel exposed and/or distracted at times.  I know I should do my rituals and devotionals earlier when my husband is at work or busy in the living room, but I spend my time doing other things.  There are things that need to be done, like cleaning.  There are things that I feel called to do, like sew.  There are also huge wastes of time…  Most days, I just want to sit and relax after a long day of work.

I would blame leaving home and visiting family over the weekend for my disrupted routines, but it’s really my own lack of discipline.

I hope you know that you’re never far from my thoughts.  I see you in the trees, feel you on the breeze, hear you in my dreams, and experience you in my art.  I try to keep close, but sometimes I feel like a boat that, while tethered to the dock, has floated lazily away.  I don’t know how others do it.  How do they complete their study programs so quickly?  How do they meditate so regularly without falling asleep?  How do they write articles and books?  How do they do all that while having a job and social life?

Great Kindreds, I will work harder to spend more time with you.  I will work on taking better care of myself and getting to bed sooner.  I will try to waste less time online. I will try harder…

With love,
Grey Catsidhe

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I recently posted about moving my altar into the bedroom.  This made space in the art room for Weretoad’s new workbench.  We’re still moving things around, but the important aspects of my altar are set up in the bedroom nook.  It’s actually a perfect spot for my altar in terms of size.

The photo is a bit tilted, but you can see how lovely everything looks, if a bit cramped.  I like the symbolism of the three walls.  The wall on the left is dedicated to the nature spirits, while the wall on the right is for the ancestors (as featured in a previous post).  The middle wall is the focal point with the sacred tree taking center stage.  On either side of the tree are representations of my patron deities – Brighid and An Dagda.   Above the tapestry is the shining sun.  Below that I intend to put some other divine representations, including something having to do with Manannan.

The ancestor wall is coming along nicely.  I would like to add further photos and representations, but it will require more frames and shelves.  The nature spirit wall will undoubtedly grow with time as well.  Here’s a better shot of it.  So far I have a shelf that belongs to my main spirit guide, the lynx.  Above him is a representation of the catsidhe, and a bodhrán with a green buck on it.

The main altar is made of an old vanity.  I removed the mirror and have been using it as a sacred space for nearly my entire Pagan career*.  I believe that it is already infused with a lot of energy, but I wanted to consecrate the new ritual space.  For my most recent magical working, I took advantage of the close walls and put my hands against them while pushing my feet into the floor.  I chanted, calling the land, sea, sky, fire, well, and tree to be present in my altar.  I invited the Kindreds to my personal sacred space and charged the whole lot of it.  It was a rush, and the empowerment will only continue through use.

For me, this wasn’t as much about creating a safe place to practice magic as it was about creating a personal, welcoming place for the Kindreds I am closest to.  At the moment, I am not calling on any truly chaotic or infernal beings.  If there is a dangerous nature spirit, ancestor, or lower God lurking about, I would like to believe that the very powerful Dagda, Brighid, and Manannan will help to keep me safe.  At the moment, I am content making a peace offering to the chaotic spirits and asking for the elements not to destroy me.  Should I ever seek wisdom from Bres, the Cailleach, or Balor, then I would most certainly consider more protection.  For now, I will work to form closer ties with the beings who bless me.

* When I was experimenting with Wicca my altar was on a shelf behind my bed and then on a little book stand.  They tended to gather dust.  What an adorable neophyte I was!  
( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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