Ar nDraíocht Fein
Modern Druids – an ADF Video
Here is an excellent 20 minute video about ADF. Modern Druids
The ADF Vision and Values Statement
Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) is a Pagan church based on ancient Indo-European traditions expressed through public worship, study, and fellowship. Our vision is that the Gods and Spirits are served in the modern world through:
- Public temple worship with a skilled priesthood
- Accessible religious training for all
- A spiritual relationship with the Earth
- Sustainable Pagan institutions
- A flourishing family and community Pagan culture
- Commonality of ritual practice
- Honoring the Earth Mother
- Scholarship and research
- Reciprocity with the Gods and Spirits
- Respect for others through living our virtues
- Service to the community, land, and the Gods and Spirits
The ADF Core Order Of Ritual For High Days
The following is the Core Order of Ritual (COoR) for ADF High Day rituals as approved in late 2006 by the ADF Clergy Council.
This is not a complete re-write of our current Order of Ritual, but rather a clarification of what we’re already doing, meant to answer the questions, “Just what ritual steps are the minimum necessary for a High Day rite to be considered an ADF ritual?” and “In what order should these steps take place?”
Certain actions/concepts below are “suggested”, often listed as “may include” or “is most commonly represented or included”. In these cases, the main heading is required for a rite to be called “ADF”, just not all the choices listed—and there may be other acceptable choices as well that aren’t listed.
However, where the word “must” appears, this is a required action. Remember that there is usually a strong cosmological or theological reason for each part of the rite to appear where it does. Some modifications to the COoR are expected, including additions to the main headings and particularly steps from past Orders of Ritual not specifically listed here, but any such modifications should have a particularly strong justification.
The Outline of ADF Druidic Ritual
- Preparation: All participants make certain they know their intention, and have a clear understanding of the order of the coming rite. A preliminary entrancement prepares the mind.
- Procession: The participants go from ordinary space into ritual space. Opening Prayers: The rite begins with a clear statement of beginning. The most traditional ADF opening prayers include a greeting and general request of the Gods and Spirits to bless the rite, then a special offering is made to the Earth Mother. Other preliminary offerings are often added.
- Statement of Purpose: The intention of the rite is clearly stated, along with the Gods of the Occasion, and other material intended to focus and direct the minds of the participants
- The Sacred Center: The earliest forms of the rite used only the Fire as symbol of the center – other symbols have been added by various waves of our liturgists. Our most common current pattern uses Fire, Well & Tree, each of these being honored, or hallowed in this section of the rite.
- Completing the Cosmology: Other aspects of the cultural cosmology of the rite are established or invoked, depending on the ethnicity and tastes of the participants. Land, Sea & Sky; Underworld, Midrealm, Heavens; Wise Ones, Warriors, Farmers; etc.
- Opening the Gate: In the fully established center, an offering is made to the God who keeps Gates, in whatever ethnic system is being used, and the image of a Gate opening is used to bring our Sacred Center nearer to the world of the Gods and Spirits.
- General Offerings To and Invocations of The Spirits: These invocations bring together the sacred beings of whatever ethnic system is being worked. It is common in our work to describe these as the Gods, the Dead & the Spirits, but this simple set of categories can always be made more specific for specific cultures.
- Honoring the Deities of The Rite: The specific deities under whom the rite is being worked are invoked and offered to. This may include any specific customs or traditions associated with the deities, or with the seasonal or magical intention of the rite. In some cases, the rite may be worked to all the Kindreds in general, in which case this step may be omitted.
- Personal Offerings: The old tradition in ADF is for participants to bring a personal offering of song, poetry or art, to be done in the Grove in honor of the Gods.
- The Prayer of Sacrifice: While offerings may have been being made throughout the rite, at this stage all the energy, worship and aspiration of the participants is gathered up and offered in through the gate to the honored beings of the rite, along with a physical sacrifice. This is the hinge of the rite, after which the energy, which has been being directed into the gate, now turns and begins to flow back in turn.
- The Omen: A simple omen is taken, to determine what sort of blessing the Gods offer in the rite.
- Calling for the Blessing: Participants express their openness to the Gods’ blessing, and ask for it to be given.
- Hallowing the Waters: The blessing of the Gods and Spirits is invoked into a cup of ale, water, cider, whiskey, etc. Most commonly this is then drunk by the participants, though in some larger rites it may be sprinkled over all.
- Affirmation of The Blessing: Participants affirm their reception of the blessing, stating again the intention for which they have worked.
- Works: If there are any other specific works for which the blessing has been called, this is the time that they are done.
- Final Affirmation: All again afirm the blessing, and prepare to end the rite.
- Thanking the Beings: All the beings that have been called on in the rite are thanked, in reverse order, from the Deities of the occasion, to the Kindreds, etc.
- Closing the Gates: The Gatekeeper Deity is thanked, and the Gates are declared closed.
- Thanking the Earth Mother: The Earth Mother is thanked, and all leftover offerings or blessing are offered to her.
- Statement of Ending: The rite ends with a clear statement of ending. Sometimes the participants then process out from the Sacred Space.
The Core Order of ADF Ritual for High Days
- Initiating the Rite: May include:
- Musical Signal
- Opening Prayer
- Establishing the Group Mind
- Purification: This must take place prior to Opening the Gates
- Honoring the Earth Mother
- Statement of Purpose
- (Re)Creating the Cosmos
- Establishing the Sacred Center
- Acknowledging the Three Worlds/Realms
- Acknowledging/Creating the Sacred Fire
- Sacred Center is most commonly represented as Fire, Well & Tree
- Opening the Gate(s): Must include a Gatekeeper
- Inviting the Three Kindreds
- Key Offerings: This will commonly include:
- Invitation of Beings of the Occasion
- Seasonal customs as appropriate
- Praise Offerings
- Prayer of Sacrifice
- Seeking the Omen
- Calling (asking) for the Blessings
- Hallowing the Blessing
- Affirmation of the Blessing
- Workings (if any)
- Thanking the Beings
- Closing the Gate(s)
- Thanking the Earth Mother
- Closing the Rite
Items that ADF Rituals Do Not Include
- Elemental Cross Symbolism (the 4 Elements)
- Casting Circles in public ritual
- Calling Watchtowers or Elemental Guardians
- Calling the duotheistic “Lord” and “Lady”
- Acknowledgement of one divine being with power over all
- Blood Sacrifices
- Non Indo-European mythic and deity motifs
Solo High Day Ritual
The Druidic ritual structure is carefully built to allow a worshipper to make contact with the Gods and Spirits and gain a variety of good blessings. As you become comfortable with our systems and symbols you should make an effort to add full ritual to your home High Day celebrations. Full ritual can move your experience from a mere commemoration to a more empowered spiritual event.
All the advice given in our basic guide to ritual applies to solo High Day rites. You will need to choose, make or obtain a Fire, Well and Tree, and arrange a space for them. If you have made a Home Shrine you may choose to do seasonal rites at it. Many find it easiest to arrange the Hallows on an ‘altar’ or table, while other lay out a cloth and arrange them directly on the floor or ground. Of course if you are working outdoors you may be able to lay you fire directly on the ground or in an iron cauldron, stick your Bile in the soil and place the well at its base. In such cases it can be useful to have a small table to one side to hold the various offerings and props of the rite.
The simplest way to adapt the Order of Ritual to solo High days is to work a simple seasonal charm at the Key Offerings portion of the rite. Most of the Simple Rite of Offering can be worked unchanged, just adding invocations to the proper Deities and Spirits, and any other customs you would like. Our resources offer a number of fully adapted solitary rites, or you can make your own adaptations.
Our simple ritual script is easy to adapt at several places.
- The Statement of Purpose should express the basic themes of the high day, name the Gods and Spirits of the rite and declare your intent. If you can write your own statement it will provide an opportunity to clarify your understanding of the High Day.
- The Three Kindreds offerings can be customized in many ways. You can simply call each Kin to “Join me in the rite of (name of High Day)”. Some High Days have customs proper to the Dead or the Spirits that might be expressed at this point in the rite.
- The Key Offerings begin with descriptive invocations of the God or Gods of the occasion, and proper offerings for each. In some cases there are additional customs important enough to be set at this point, such as the offering to the Dead at Samhain.
- The Blessing can always be done in the simplest form—hallowing and drinking the Blessing Cup. There are many seasonal customs that are appropriate for the Blessing section of the rite, as well. Customs such as passing between fires at Mayday or the Girdle of Brigid at Imbolc are meant to convey luck and well-being in the coming season.