Below are two pictures taken during my Samhain ritual, held on November 1st, 2016 between 7:48pm and 8:30pm.
My ADF Dedicant Path program is finished!!! I made my Dedicant Oath on October 16, 2016 in a solitary ritual. I won’t post the text and the recap here, as they are too personal to share. However, I’m currently in the revision process and I’ll submit the final texts on Samhain 2016, as planned!
|Homework: Start by going back to your original set of questions from Week 1. There, we asked a lot of questions about what you expected. Look over the answers, and get a feel for what they implied back then and what they mean to you now. Now, we’re going to look at what you found, and what you expect now that you have finished your Dedicant studies.|
Looking at all the things you’ve done, what was the hardest requirement to you?
Was it one you expected? Do you feel that you fully understand the requirement, or is there room for improvement?
The meditation sessions were the hardest, and the essays about the Two Powers. I’m sure I understand the requirement, and I know this is important, but I had a hard time concentrating at first. I must admit than my meditation sessions are way better now with a year of practice behind me. There is room for improvement and my goal would be to meditate every day instead of once every 2-3 days.
What was the easiest requirement for you? Do you feel that you learned something from it? Describe the value of the requirement in a way that has meaning to you.
I’m tempted to say the High Days study and the ritual recaps. It was easy to write about these, however, it was rather hard to respect the word count! I had to edit the texts many times to be sure to not go over the limit, and this is the reason why all of them are between 373-375 words! If I learned something it would not really be on the text themselves, but how to summarize my ideas! I had to focus on Celtic and Norse cultures, because there is no enough room to speak about everything else! My preferred size would have been 200-600 words. The value of this requirement is to make sure that we know the differences in focus and themes for eight High Days. I probably learned some trivia here and there, but most of it were already common knowledge for me.
Which requirement surprised you the most?
The one about Nature Awareness (Week 21)! I had to make serious researches about my city’s policies on garbage, recycling and compost. I also learned more about the natural surroundings near my home.
What things did you learn that you would most like to continue with?
Meditation, for sure, as it makes me calmer and it grounds me. It was not specifically learned through the Dedicant path program, but I will certainly go deeper with divination and omen readings. ADF is strong on Ogham and Runes, but I connect a lot with the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseilles. The ancient Celts were known to do omen readings through Augury or Anthropomancy, and they used Ogham for writing, not really for divination. If Ogham is accepted in ADF, I truly hope that Tarot is also welcomed. Tarot cards come from later versions of the Etteilla deck, but the Tarot of Marseilles was commonly produced for fortune telling, which makes the Tarot a very powerful tool. I studied a lot about Tarot lately and I’m now able to do readings without any books since a month now! I also want to study older Tarot or playing cards traditions, like the Piquet, the Eteilla, the Lenormand, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, and even modern decks like the Thoth Tarot or the Golden Dawn Tarots.
Now that you have given your Dedicant Oath before your gods and your community, how do you see yourself living that Oath daily? What sort of things will you do to fulfill the Oath you took?
I’m Pagan since 2013 and I now naturally live my spirituality everyday in all facets of my life, whether I am home or at work. I fulfill my oath by honoring the High Days, the moon phases and I also do devotional rites daily.
Have you considered starting a Grove (or helping to lead your current one)? Is there a leadership position in a Guild or a SIG that you’re interested in? Would you like to run for an office in ADF?
No! I’m a member of an ADF Grove in Ottawa, Canada, and all is very well like this for now! Maybe, with more experience, and in some years, if older members want to pass the torch to newer members for any kind of leadership in rituals, maybe then I would be interested. For now, I want to concentrate on my study with the Seer Guild, starting as soon my Dedicant Path work is accepted and approved. I for sure, would like to do the omens in rituals once I’m comfortable enough with Ogham and Runes castings and interpretations.
Where do you see the skills you learned as a Dedicant being the most useful? Will they primarily be useful to you, your community, to ADF, or to other Dedicants?
The skills I learned will be more useful to me, and this is meditation practices. My personality somewhat remained the same through the year, but the dedicant program only strengthened my will to help in my community with the environment issues.
What are the next goals you wish to set for yourself, either personally, spiritually, or within ADF?
Personally: To learn the most I can before crossing over, and to collect books and metaphysical items.
Spiritually: To be able to meditate in a level where I can travel in the Akashic Records.
Within ADF: To become a knowledgeable seer.
I purchased these amazing statues a year ago, designed by the Pagan artist Mickie Mueller. The only thing that bothered me was the color. They are too dark and they often “get lost” on my altar. So, I’ve decided to “clean” them off with a paint removal product (Goof Off). I was to make them pure white, but I loved the vintage look I obtained after few minutes. For now, I’ve decided to keep that vintage look, but I might clean them completely in the future! I think the details are way better that way!
Before and After
Since the past two months, I study a lot about Tarot, and I’m mainly using the Rider-Waite Tarot deck tradition (1910). I still love the Tarot of Marseilles, but the minor arcana are pips cards that needs to be interpreted with numerology, so it’s easier for me to connect with the intuitive Rider-Waite. Maybe later I’ll study other traditions, like the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, the Sola-Busca Tarot, the Thoth Tarot and the Golden Dawn Tarots (3 versions). Anyway, I’m now at the point of being very comfortable with tarot. I do Tarot readings for others, without the help of any books or notes. I know all 78 meanings, not by memorization, but by understanding. I also includes reversed cards and relations with proximity cards. Yes, I can do all that after two months! The key is to devote yourself entirely to the study of Tarot, every day, and voilà! So, what is the next step? Well, today, I designed my own Tarot Spread! I’m calling it the Morsoth’s Druidcraft Spread and it is using only seven Cards.
I created it for deepening my spirituality by focusing on the three Celtic Realms (Druidry) and the five Directions/Elements (Witchcraft). This spread can be very simple, and majorly complex depending on how we look at it. You can simply sort seven cards based on the layouts, and read the meanings based on the location of the cards. You don’t even have to think about a question, the cards will explain your spiritual growth by themselves. However, you can get truly deep if you analyze the layout, connected with the Cardinal Directions, the Elemental Energies, the Celtic Realms, and our Timeline. This spread can certainly be used for Shadow Work. The cards shows us our current situation, they delves into our past to shows us what we should fix, and they suggests what we should improve in our lives.
When you position the cards on the table – following the order of the layout – think at it as a spiral turning Deosil around the cardinal directions (Center, South, West, North, East), linked with their elements (Spirit, Fire, Water, Earth, Air) while entering the Celtic Realms of Land, Sea and Sky. You can also picture the ongoing time of the present, the past and the future as you go either upward or downward. Here are the card positions and their meanings:
- Card 1: My current situation
- Card 2: My current Passion
- Card 3: My current wounds from the Past
- Card 4: My current responsibility
- Card 5: My current inspiration for the future
- Card 6: Wisdom Advice – What should I fix?
- Card 7: Spiritual Advice – What should I do?
On the picture, the three Celtic Realms are represented by shades of grey – light grey for the Land, dark grey for the Sea, and white for the Sky. The Celtic Land is divided in five regions or sections. The middle is a neutral zone, the center of our world. The card in that position (card 1) represents our current situation. It can be about anything going on in our life right now. The four other cards surrounding the first card are connected with the four cardinal directions and influenced by their elemental energies. Card 2 located at the South represents Fire and Mental Energy (what passionate us), card 3 located at the West represents Water and Emotional Energy (what wounded us), card 4 located at the North represents Earth and Physical Energy (what obligates us), card 5 located at the East represents Air and Spiritual Energy (what inspires us).
The Sea is inhabited by the Ancestors, the ones that once lived but are now things from the past. For this reason, any card (cards 3 and 6) touching this realm is also connected with the past. The card 3 is located between the present and the past, so it represent a current emotion affected by our past. The card 6 is a message from the Ancestors, a wisdom advice for something from our past that we should fix. The Sky is inhabited by the Deities, the ones that offers us omens for our possible future. For this reason, any card (cards 5 and 7) touching this realm is also connected with the future. The card 5 is located between the present and the future, so it represent a current emotion influenced by our future. The card 7 is a message from the Deities, a spiritual advice for something we that we should do for our future.
If you use it, please tell me your experience with it. Do you think something should be different?
For the Hearth Culture book, I have chosen to read A Brief History of the Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis. The first edition was published in 1994 (under the previous title The Druids) and my copy is the second Edition (2002). Peter Berresford Ellis is a historian, literary biographer, and novelist who published many books based on his Celtic Studies interests. In the first four chapters of A Brief History of the Celts, Ellis quickly describes the basic roles of the druids for the ancient Celts. He explains the difficulty to trace a truthful portrait of the druids as several references to Druids are far from absolutely knowledgeable. Most of the texts consist of the anti-Celtic propaganda of the Roman Empire, with extremely biased opinions and views, relegating the Druids as bizarre and barbaric priest indulging horrendous human sacrifices or looking for augury in the entrails of their victims. Another issue encountered by scholars like Ellis, is the fact that many stories sees the Druids as romantic figures like Merlin in the Arthurian Legends. To Christians, the Druids are often reduced the status of the Druids as wizards and soothsayers. Ellis quickly and describes that “Apart from a vague acknowledgement that the Druids were the intellectual class of the ancient Celts, they are usually perceived as variations of religious mystics and priests.” (p. 12). Ellis later decodes the etymology of the word ‘druid’. The book is a very carefully researched study of what Ellis has determined was a social class of Celtic society. Ellis defines the functions of the Druids, which is comprised of “philosophers, judges, teachers, historians, poets, musicians, physicians, astronomers, prophets, political advisers or counselors” (p. 14). Ellis goes further by explaining the origin of the Druids and by elaborately describing them through foreign eyes, and also through Celtic eyes.
One fascinating chapter is dedicated to female Druids and it strengthened my knowledge about the fact that Celtic women were distinct in the ancient world for the liberty and rights they enjoyed and the position they held in society. Compared to their counterparts in Greek, Roman, and other ancient societies, they were allowed much freedom of activity and protection under the law. By contrast, Roman law dictated that a woman was the property of her husband. Ellis also explain the religion of the Druids in a chapter, and refers to numerous Irish, Welsh and Scottish mythologies regarding early leaders and ancient deities, various law codes still in existence into the Christian era, and rounds off his own conclusions regarding the nature of the druids. An interesting note by Ellis is the similarities between Hindu and early Celtic cultures, and suggests that the common factors between the two may reach back to their common Indo-European heritage. It rejoins the ADF vision, which is based on ancient Indo-European traditions, which also includes Vedic culture. Ellis also mentions an enclave of Celts living in Turkey and the degree to which Celtic traditions remained constant between this group and those with which Caesar was familiar.
The book is interesting; yet, not everything in that book is remarkable. The biggest chapter is about the wisdom of the Druids, and is somewhat hard to follow or understand. Ellis offers many hypotheses about what was considered as wisdom for the Celts, but he seems to mix many topics at the same time, and seems to deviate from his basic ideas when he goes to explain something in too much details. Ellis does references to many other sources, but he doesn’t always have source citing. The index could have been better. There are many specific words in this book, and when I was referring to the index to see other parts of the book dealing with that particular subject, I sometimes found absolutely nothing about it. Ellis is also a very good historian, but he could have used the help from an editor to reorganize the whole book. Ellis goes back and forth with themes from chapters to chapters, and I would have liked to follow a more chronological approach, like A History of Pagan Europe, written by Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick.
Ellis also elaborates some rather vivid views on certain polemical subjects. As a dedicant to the Morrígan (spelled Mórrígán by the author), I must say that I was rather shocked and disturbed by Ellis’ simplistic definition of that her. He says that she is a triune goddess who “…embodies all that is perverse and horrible among the supernatural powers” (p. 128). Oh, come on Ellis! My vision of the Morrígan is probably at the exact opposite of what Ellis wrote there! In the chapter about the Druid revival, Ellis does not appear to be very fond of ‘Hippies’, ‘Alternative Religions’ or the ‘New Age’ Druids. He even mocks Celtic witchcraft which is describes as something “arrived out of all the mishmash and hocus-pocus of Druidism” (p. 277). It is okay to dispute the veracity of the scholarship from some authors, but to completely ignore something being real, is something completely bad! Ellis explains that these revivals exist because of our sad and sorry contemporary world with people wanting a quick fix on spirituality preferring simple answers.
In conclusion, I find this book to be very informative from an historical point of view. However, my opinion of the book is fairly diminished when I observe it from a religious or a spiritual perspective. This book being included in the ADF Reading list is understandable for the cultural information about ancient Celts, but I find it harsh to read the closed views of a stoic scholar about modern spirituality. The last chapter of the book made me think about an awful ending of a very good movie! Ellis, please continue to admirably write about the ancient Celts, but please, leave the topics about modern Druidry to more knowledgeable Neopagan authors!
Word Count: 975 words
- Ellis, Peter Berresford. A Brief History of the Druids [The Druids]. London: Constable & Robinson, 1994.
We were ten Red Maple Grove members to celebrate Mabon on September 19, between 2:30pm to 3:10pm. It was a nice sunny afternoon, and the warm climate (24o Celsius) was perfect for the ritual. The rite was done following the Norse tradition and we followed the ADF Core Order ritual. This time, each member had a copy of the ritual which was an amazing addition. Everyone could participate and follow the steps with the script and the rite flowed admirably. Like last time, I was the one inviting and thanking the Nature Spirits, the ones that I feel most connected to.
The ritual was in honor of Freya, the Norse Goddess of the Earth, fertility, love, and war. As offerings, the grove gave nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, bread and water to the Earth Mother, the Deities, the Nature Spirits and the Ancestors. As a personal offering, I gave Whiskey to the Morrígan, my matron goddess, which is also a Goddess of war. I offered Rum to the Ancestors and bird seeds to the Nature Spirits.
The omen was cast with Elder Futhark Runes:
- Past: Eihwaz (Yew) Transition. Matters of life and death, regeneration, foresight.
- Present: Tiwaz (Týr) Warrior. Opposition, dedication, oaths of allegiance.
- Future: Hagalaz (Hail) Disruption. Change, delay, cancellation of plans, interference.
The Grove interpreted the omen as this: Death and change have been in our recent past and change is right here with us, with our newest members keenly starting the Dedicants program. The present is a time to pay close attention to health matters, to ensure things are going well for each and all on the physical plane. The grove as a whole may be more energized and more activated. The traditional question was asked and we were satisfied and did not request more.
Word Count: 300 words