Saturday, February 7, 2015

Working to Benefit the Folk Through the Core Order of Ritual

  1. As stewards of the Land and the Folk, it is desirous that our work provide real benefit to the community we serve. The needs of the Folk and the land are simple: health of body, wealth of materials, and wisdom/intelligence. The Core Order of Ritual provides an avenue for the Folk to commune with the Kindreds and obtain the blessings they hold for us.  (Corrigan Intentions)
Our Core Order serves the people through the building and maintaining of relationships with the Powers. It provides a means for offering our gifts to the Kindreds and a means for receiving the Blessings they have for us in return. As Celebrants of the Core Order, it is our duty to channel the gifts through the gates to the Kindreds, harness the blessings they give in return and transform them into a usable form for the Folk. This is achieved through the Return Flow portion of the rite in which we imbibe the waters we have set aside with the Blessings of the Kindreds. The Blessings are first communicated to us through the taking of an omen using whatever chosen form of divination the practitioner sees fit (based merely on preference and/or familiarity). The questions asked may range anywhere from asking for healing and asking for information and clarification, when indicated to a simple, open-ended, “what blessings do you offer to us in return?” This continued reciprocity, over time, serves to build and maintain relationships between the Kindreds and the Folk.

The reaffirming of shared beliefs may seem vague at first, as ADF is an orthopraxic faith, based on right action, as opposed to being orthodoxic, right belief. As ADF does not require the Folk to even believe the Kindreds are real, sentient beings, the reaffirming of shared belief is far-fetched. However, we have all agreed that the “right action” is to give to the Spirits, to observe the Eight Neopagan High Days following our ritual format, and to be open to receive from them in return. We agree that the universe may be built around a sacred center consisting of three divisions that tie us to the realms of the Land, Sea and Sky and whatever beings happen to be in them.

Our Core Order is centered on reestablishing the Cosmic Order. We have come to agree that the Center is established in a tripartite manner, with three distinct realms, accessed by three distinct gates, and giving us a direct connection to three categories of Beings. The Upper gate through the Fire connects us to the Gods, the Midrealm gate through the Tree connects us to the Noble kin, and the Lower gate through the Well connects us to the Ancestors, though there are variations of this section of ritual and Fire is the only required element. When we reestablish the cosmic order, we further tie ourselves into the creation myths of the Indo-European peoples whose myth cycles describe the ordering of the rampant chaos into a concise, cohesive whole in which life is able to thrive. Feeding this cosmic order provides stability and order to the lives of the participants.

In his article, “Elements of Ritual Composition,” Todd Covert equates enthusiasm to energy. We refer to the “energy of ritual” in many of our publications; it is the moveable form of our intentions and gifts that we give to the Kindreds and the gift they give to us in return. However, the term energy, Covert suggests, may be replaced with the “sturdy” word of Greek origin, enthusiasm. The original definition was not only the “positive feeling toward something” that we know it as today, but also embodied the “state of inspiration that has flowed into a person from the divine realm” (Covert Elements).  Thus, to be enthused was to be infused with the divine. Enthusiasm, then, is achieved by our Core Order during the Return Flow when the energy gifts given to us by the Kindreds are given to the Folk through the Waters, infusing the Folk with the powers of the divine.  In other words, our Core Order builds enthusiasm within the folk by providing a means for affecting change within the participants and penetrating beyond the intellectual plane of their psyches to the emotional and “uncanny” places (psychic, or magical) where the Folk will feel as though they have felt the presence of the Kindreds in a memorable and useful way. (Covert Elements)

Our Core Order has evolved over these few decades into a format that serves the folk not only through mechanical means, but also meets their needs of body, mind and spirit. It is through our practices that we have made and kept connections between the Folk and the Kindreds, ordered the cosmos to maintain balance, and brought the Elder Ways into our modern society. These gifts, perhaps less acknowledged than they should be, are an ongoing part of Our Druidry and the underlying foundation that will continue to carry ADF into the future.