Swing and a Miss

Tonight I attempted to do a full, vocalized ritual at home with the intent of blessing our home and warding off illness and harm. I worked from a script from the ADF website, a ritual utilizing the COOR and written by Ian Corrigan. It was sloppy and awkward and, though I made a more hearty offering with flour, tea, a biscuit, and syrup, the magic felt weak. The pale omens served only to confirm it. The improved offering was a small step in the right direction but my part in it was poor at best.

The omen:

Two, south and distant. Straight and solid.
A pair of threes, side by side, listing to the east, a mirror of each others facing.

I found the two, directly ahead, nearest the Fire, to tell me that my blessing, while granted, comes weak. Weakly as my confidence in the doing. I find the threes, side by side, nearest the offering bowl, indicating a warming, transitioning sentiment towards the increased giving, but it stands to fall one way or the other, leaning towards the negative/ “We see you’re trying, but you need to do better.”

If I’m to work this ritual I need to, I think, shape it slightly and commit it deeper to memory. I will do a little more work before I next attempt a full ritual like this one. In the meantime I have come across some lovely small devotional prayers I will begin to work into my daily worship.

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Found Prayers to Nantosuelta and Artio

I saw searching around for a picture I could add to the altar to more properly make a place for Her on my altar and ended up finding a lovely little morning devotional to Her. This comes from Workings of a Modern Day Pagan and Vervenna Marianna.

Hail to the Goddess Nantosuelta
Queen of Earth
Keeper of  Fire
Bringer of fertility, abundance and blessings
Goddess of the hearth
Oh Mighty Mother
I pray that you may guide me
And gift to me your blessings
Teach me your ways 
So I may teach and heal those around me
Show me the path through your forests green
And fires bright
So that I may follow in your footsteps
Through this day and onwards.”

I rather like it. I’ve yet to have any sort of morning ritual as of yet. This seems like a good place to start, though!

EDIT: Shortly after posting this I found two more wonderful prayers from the Tumblr blog Fieldstones that I just loved:

To Artio
Artio, goddess, bold of spirit, strong of heart,
fair one, gracious one, queen of the wilderness,
mistress of bears, I call to you this day.
Gentle goddess, you face without fear the greatest
of beasts, unarmed and ungirded you enter
the den; in hand you hold the fragrant blossom,
in arm you bear the finest fruit, ripe and ready,
honey-sweet as when it was plucked from the tree.
Artio, mountain-goddess, through tangled wood
and stony stream you run, fleet of foot and graceful
of carriage, firm of will and noble of bearing.
Artio, long-beloved goddess, I honor you.

 

To Nantosuelta

Gracious Nantosuelta, holder of the home,
abundance is your blessing, contentment is your gift.
Well-crowned goddess, draped in fine raiment, garlanded
in gold, in you we see the riches of the world.
We know you, goddess, as we know honey
on the tongue, as we know warm grass on bare feet;
you are as heady, goddess, as the sweet new wine.
The dove is yours, Nantosuelta, white as milk,
fragile and free; yours too, O goddess, is the raven,
yours too the way of that coal-black bird. Nantosuelta,
in arm you bear the plentiful horn, in hand you grasp
the chalice; for your gifts I honor you, O goddess.

All of these prayers are so beautiful, and speak in tones and ways that I, too, see my beloved Goddesses. My thanks go to you both for these sweet words that I may yet love Them better with each passing day.

Omens of the Week of March 26th

This week I began adding divination to my evening ritual. I read around and prayed on the matter and eventually came to a solution that, while it may be temporary or not, seems to work well and speak to me with… Relative clarity. I’m no scholar but I’ve felt enough honest power from the process to leave me confident in the practice.

Dice. Three dice sitting in a little curved ‘worry stone’. The stone I sit them in is relatively unused. I never really used it for it’s intended purpose in the past, rather I would squeeze it between my fingers when seeking inspiration. It’s one of many special, magic stones taken from our sacred visits to Arizona and it seemed a fitting home to hold these three tiny dice.

So in my ritual, after offerings are made, I ask for guidance. If asking to Grandmother I hold the dice in hand to the well before casting. If to Artio I offer them, in open palm, to the muzzle of the bear statue. As I do not yet have a symbol on my altar for Nantosuelta yet I simply hold them to the flame a moment before casting. I then turn the stone over so it sits convex to the air and drop the dice over it, letting them tumble away. I use the stone as a center and read the dice as they fall away from it (or don’t).

Anyway, enough rambling self-justification. It’s a practice I have enjoyed and have not felt turned away in the doing. I’m already thinking of ways to alter and refine the process perhaps as I document it. Perhaps not inverting the stone before casting?

That is my process for now. I have cast the dice several times this week and recorded each result.

Sunday, March 20th:

Six, solid and straight, near and south.
Two, listing eastward, near and chasing six.
One, listing westward, far away to the west side.

This was my first casting for omens. I simply asked those with me, those Powers near my word, to grant me guidance going forward. This message was clear, a confirmation of my progress. I’ve heard it time and time again, from my mentor’s divination for me, from the omens at our Spring Equinox rite. Confidence and strength, moving unerring towards great power (the ocean is directly south from our home). Very close to the present, close to my center, with hesitations and weakness, while still present and close, chasing that solid march… Yet faded and falling away. The one, so distant to the west, and turning even further away. Progress is being made and I am shedding weakness as Spring awakens.

Monday, March 21st:

One, two, three. Turning round the stone from right to left. All close, all chasing.

Another shockingly direct message. Keep on trucking. One foot before the other.You’re on your way, etc.

Tuesday, March 22nd:

Six, solid and straight, near and south.
One and Three, from right to left, listing east. They sit together in a pair, parallel with each other, a short distance away from the center on the east side. They also are very distinctly in the shadow of the Tree on the altar.

Six again, solid, close to the center, upright, pointing toward the ocean. If there’s one thing the bear provides in spirit it’s an abundance of strength I tell you what.

The one and three were interesting here. Perfectly aligned little buddies, parallel not only to each other but in the shadow of the tree cast by the altar Fire. I could not clearly see the message then and clearly I was very tired as the record on my notepad is quite hastily scratched… But I have very little nature in my life right now and I feel this is telling me so. The one is there, being cold and thin, but it’s also leaning in harmony with the three, on the hinge of change, growing and turning towards the better. Both lie perfectly in line with the Tree’s shadow.

Next step? Figuring out a green solution in our tiny home. We don’t get much sun at all in our living arrangement but we have a tiny space outside that does get some sun throughout the day. I’m hoping to set up a tiny little cart or shelf outside that we can put some potted plants out on. My mentor says it will help in my grounding and I think it’ll be, at the very least, educational as I’ve never tended plants before.

Wednesday, March 23rd:

My evening prayers were interrupted by a loud clinking. The turquoise placed in the Well for Grandmother had settled loudly and suddenly. I took this to be Grandmother’s wishing to speak and so I stopped everything to offer the dice to the well. Here is the casting that followed:

Two and Four straight, side by side, near and south.
Two far east, listing east.

I have lately been concerned about how I’ve been managing my time, particularly in regards to leisure interests. Grandmother’s message seemed fairly clear that night. I have two balances close to me. I’m maintaining duty and responsibilities in my real life and in my MMO life right now. It’s the latter that has been causing me concern lately… But I’ve been hesitant to step away as I do enjoy parts of the experience and I enjoy greatly supporting others in the game… But it’s one too many plates to spin for me. It always ends up that way no matter whether it’s this or WoW. I have two balances now but, in time, I will settle to the one.

I’ve always hesitated to call my enthusiasm for the MMO an addiction, but I very rarely can go into one halfway. I always get in over my head and it has to stop. The friendships and social connections I make are priceless (indeed I may never have found Druidry without World of Warcraft) but the amount of time I personally carve out of my life to immerse myself in them are just too much eventually… And I feel like that period gets shorter and shorter each time.

For now I will wean myself away and focus on playing ‘regular’ games during my leisure time. I will work on my backlog of console games and get to that pile of books I’ve been wanting to read for a year. A stack of plates in each hand is perhaps too much for me, honestly. MMOs are becoming a bit too much like a second job.

Friday, March 25th:

I did two castings this night. The first was to ask my honored patrons if my offerings have been to their liking. I got a scattering of Ones and a Two. Very clearly that was a “No. Try harder.” So I asked again “How may I better give to you?” and recieved the following:

Five, listing slightly west, medium distance from center to the southwest, nested near my ‘friend stones’.
One, close and north east, listing slightly west.
One, far south, listing slightly west.

I see here to not look too deeply to the immediate past, to not look too intently to the distant future, but instead to turn towards those close to me with open arms. The five, a burst of power, nestled neatly in between a little cluster of stones I’ve recieved as gifts from friends and family (as well as gifts I intend to give). Last night I thought that this told me, very directly, to consult my friend and mentor with advice for regular offerings. While I will still do that I feel, as mentioned in a previous post, I am also meant to look to an exchange of energy more regularly with my immediate family. To give my husband more care and affection than I have been and also recieve his energy. Perhaps I’ve been looking too intently and too narrowly, fretting over offerings of food and flame and water and completely neglecting the offering of real devotional energy from an intimate home.

Yeah. That’s something I certainly need to ‘grow up’ and work on. Prioritizing my home and family over other obsessions.

Dream Journals – 3/26/2016 “Mall Walking”

I’ve just awoken from a dream.

I was walking through a shopping mall with someone who was close to me, a friend, but I could not name them nor place their face. We walked together through this indoor mall, passing several stores along the way (One of them was a Sears) and we eventually stopped in a little shop with an open storefront that was selling sports hats. My partner stopped to look at some hats with the intent to buy while I grazed around, looking at merchandise casually.

Signs in the store were telling me that opening day was April 7th and I was then inspired to pick a hat for a team I liked. I then came across a little display of inexpensive mass-produced talisman necklaces. I remember them being noted as “Celtic”. Intrigued I began looking through them with the intent of finding a symbol to wear for my patrons.

Then I woke up!

Last night as I performed my evening ritual and had a sit down with my patrons I asked if my offerings had been to their liking. The answer I got was a pretty strong no. It was disheartening, no lie, but at least I got a swift and honest answer. I was then told to turn towards friends and family. I intuited this as asking my Druid mentors for advice but also, I feel, it was a word to pay some more attention to my immediate family. Too frequently I have been letting myself become absorbed in matters that take time away from my household. The mixed feelings that storm inside me when I dedicate hours daily to an MMO on my computer do well to communicate that something is wrong but yet the draw is there and I go back. That is time I enjoy but time is still limited and so I’m left with less. Less to clean the house, less to tell my family I love them, less to spend sitting quietly with my partner Goddesses.

In the coming days I will change my routine to better serve this house, to better honor Artio and Nantosuelta for their strength and healing that they have bestowed on me these many weeks. I was looking in that store for an icon, a symbol to wear to show my love. Perhaps that, too, will come, but I can temper my heart for Them here without a need to go shopping.

Dedicant Path Course Work: Through the Wheel of the Year – Week One

Even though I technically ‘cracked’ the books open almost a month ago, due to travelling and being incredibly sick I felt like my proper academic work with the Dedicant Path coursework itself had not really begun yet. With my health taking a turn for the better and a good chunk of time finding it’s way to me this week I figured it was as good a time as any to really sit down, do some reading, and start documenting my process.

As suggested by my friend and mentor I am using Rev. Michael J. Dangler’s workbook “The ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year” along side the Dedicant Manual “Our Own Druidry”. I’m fairly out of touch with academia and feel, very often, that I need a lot of structure to succeed with anything. I’m praying this is something I can free myself from in time, as I simply cannot picture myself truly growing in the future if I must rely on asking others all the time how to proceed. For now, though, I welcome Rev. Dangler’s work to help guide my focus as I go forward.

Concluding the first week of required reading a series of questions are posed to the Dedicant. They are meant to help expand my own thoughts on the process, the religion, and my future and serve as something to look back on as the course work proceeds over the weeks and months to come.

***

Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

For years since my grandmother’s death I’ve been looking for a way to honor her and follow in her footsteps. I searched on my own for a while, finding myself at spiritual dead ends and loose practices that never truly felt right. When I was introduced to Druidry and the people of the ADF I came to realize that this was the warmest, brightest path I’d come across yet. Despite my inexperience and hesitation I quickly found myself drawn quite strongly to the ways and words of those I spoke to and read from. The work I have already participated in and witnessed is real and potent and has brought so much wisdom and strength to myself and my home. I now wish to devote my time to learning the ways, following the Dedicant’s Path, and perhaps even satisfy my childhood dreams of priesthood.

Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?

I am hoping this will be the first of many steps in my journey. I would like very much to grow stronger to not only better myself but the whole world that surrounds me as I, too, strengthen my bonds with the Powers.

What do you expect to learn?

I expect to learn a great deal of things. I expect to learn what practices best suit myself and my home and what practices those around me utilize to, perhaps, expand on and refine my own. I expect to learn history, that of my own ancestry, the Gods and Goddesses I walk with, those that they walked with, and the many Powers in the many pantheons that are served all around the world. I also expect to learn new skills that I have been sorely lacking in my adult years like gardening, cooking, and basic methods of aid to protect my kin and the Earth.

What would you like to get out of this journey?

I would like to say I have a strong grasp on many of the skills mentioned above as well as a strong, unwavering bond with the Gods. I wish to be confident in my ability to support myself and others, to be a healer and a guardian of life and happiness, and pass the care and effort that has gone into nurturing my faith onto others looking to a guide as I have.

Do you know where this path will take you?

Not as such, no. Until recently I hardly had a steady path to walk along let alone see down. I have my intentions and my hopes but I cannot truly say I know where my steps will land until I get there.

If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work this immediately?

Part of the lure was having something academic to broaden my mind with. I haven’t been in school for well over a decade and the idea of having a framework for academia that also follows a spiritual growth that I’ve been seeking for some time was very appealing to me. I feel, at this time, walking the Dedicant Path is the strongest start for how I, personally, learn.

Does it look hard or easy?

I must be honest much of it is daunting to me. I feel like a foreigner thrust into an alien world, surrounded by an untold number of religious practitioners with much more confidence and power than I could ever imagine to have… But as the days go on and I read, speak with others, and do the work, I find my hesitation weakening and my strength (albeit slowly) building.

Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?

Off the top of my head the book reports seem fairly intimidating. It’s been ages since I wrote anything like that. In general I have a bit of a fear of the process as a whole, as I am constantly dealing with a sense of helplessness and incompetence. I worry that I am and/or will be doing it wrong and disrespecting all in the process. But as I have told myself, and been reminded regularly, one’s faith is only as strong as one allows it to be. That, I feel, is my greatest enemy. My own uncertainty.

The easy parts of the process, at this point, seem to largely be those centered around documenting my process. Recording meditations, rituals attended, omens recieved and the like. Writing regularly is, as of now, not a 100% effortless and common practice for me, but I do not forsee it being particularly challenging. Famous last words, I know.

Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

I do have doubts, as stated above… But they are my own to do battle with. Thankfully I have come to have two good friends and mentors who are excellent about providing me with answers to my many questions. I have faith that as time goes on and my concerns about ‘doing the wrong thing’ fade that my strength will only grow, my learning broadening.

***

In summary these questions serve mostly to reinforce what I already know regarding my hopes, strengths and weaknesses. My greatest enemy at this point in time is my own hesitation. I hesitate because I feel uneducated. I fear making a fool of myself before my peers and before the Great Powers I seek to walk with. I fear what I learn, what I do, what I hear will somehow invalidate my faith and leave me empty.

“You’re not doing it wrong.” One of the most resonant things I have learned in my teachings. I have been told that it matters more that you do. Our Druidry is specifically outlined as an Orthopraxic practice and I am assured that as long as I am persistent, honest, and do the work that I cannot be doing harm. Now I just need to tear that fear from me. Even if I have to excise it every single day.