Tag Archives: Anglo-Saxon

an ADF dedicant oath

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It’s been over a year since I completed the dedicant program of ADF, and I recently realized that I haven’t published all of my work on it to this blog. It took me a long time to finish the dedicant program; mostly because I kept starting and stopping. I first joined ADF in 2001, but let my membership expire the following year, mostly because there were no groves nor even other members near me. I also wanted to explore Celtic Reconstructionism at the time and wanted to start with much simpler rituals.

I joined again in I think it was 2009 because there was a local grove and I was fed up the eclectic Pagan group I had been involved in. I soon left ADF again mainly because I hadn’t come to terms with the organization being pan Indo European instead of just Celtic.

Time went by and in 2011, I came to Heathenry. After much thought, I decided not to become an official member of my local Ásatrú group because I foresaw trouble with certain issues down the road. So in 2012, I started an ADF group and I’ve stayed an ADF member since. I had some materials left over from starting the dedicant program those other two times, but most of it was unusable because the requirements had changed and my hearth culture had also changed from Celtic to Anglo-Saxon. From the time I restarted (for the third time), it took me about two years to complete the dedicant program.

So here is the script of my dedicant oath. I hope it can be an inspiration to those looking for something simple.

I Beginning
Outsiders, those who would oppose my rite, take this and turn away. (Offering given.)

Water, make me pure, that I may reach the infinite. (Forehead anointed with water.)

I’m here to honor the Kindreds. Earth, Holy Mother, accept my offering and bless this rite. (Offering given.)

II Cosmos
(Silent Two Powers/Three Realms centering.)

I am at the Center of the Worlds.
At the Center is a Fire. (Candles anointed with oil and lit.)
At the Center is a Tree. (Minerals given to the Tree.)
At the Center is a Well. (Silver given to the Well.)

Hama, Gatekeeper, accept my offering and open the Hallows to the realms of the Kindreds. (Offering given.)

III Worship & Oath
Beloved Kindreds, hear my call-
Ancestors who came before, those who love me and watch over me,
accept my offerings and good will. (Offering given.)
Nature Spirits here now, those who animate the wild world,
accept my offerings and good will. (Offering given.)
Gods and Goddesses of where I’m going, the Powers that uphold all the Worlds,
accept my offerings and good will. (Offering given.)
Woden, beloved Allfather, Frige, Great Mother,
accept my offerings and good will. (Offering given.)
Beloved Patrons, I worship you with love and ask for your guidance and blessing.

With all the Kindreds here, I make my oath–
I oath myself to the service of the Three Kindreds.
May they bless and guide me on this day and forever.
May my mind hold the Fire of their wisdom. May my heart be a Well for their love.
May my body be a vessel for their life. I declare myself a follower of Druidry
and the old ways.

IV Blessing
Omen: What is the Kindreds’ reply? I got Kenaz from the Ancestors; a relationship, exchange. I got Sowilo from the Nature Spirits; energy success. I got Mannaz from the Deities; divine union, manifestation. Good omens indeed!

Blessing Cup: May the Kindreds fill my cup with blessing.
I receive them with a grateful heart.

V Conclusion
Now with offering given, and blessing received, I give my thanks before I go.
Mother Frige, Father Woden, I thank you.
Gods, Nature Spirits, and Ancestors, I thank you.
Hama, Gatekeeper, I thank you,
and may the Gates be closed.
Earth Mother, I give you my final thanks.
The ritual is at a close.
an ADF dedicant oath

preparing divination tools for use

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When starting work with a new divination tool, it’s a good idea to take the time to prepare it for use. Even if you’re not a polytheist, you’ll want to cleanse and protect your divination tool from negative influences or energies –and if you are a polytheist, it simply means you believe those negative influences are malevolent or disruptive spirits (“Outsiders” we call them in Druidism). These steps can be used to prepare magical or spiritual tools as well…

cleanse
The first step in this process is to physically cleanse the tool. For an item that’s water-proof (like a pendulum or a set of divination stones or sticks), you can simply hold the item under running water. For other things (like tarot cards, or anything paper-based), you can bury the item in salt, or pass through juniper smoke or sage smoke. If you use crystals, you can place your tool under a quartz or citrine crystal for a period of time that feels right. Another option is to bathe the item in sunlight. Whatever process you decide on, you may want to repeat it every now and then; when you feel that your readings have been off, of if you’ve moved to a new residence, or if the item was lost or handled a lot by someone else, or not used in a long time.

hallowing
The next step would be to hallow the item, that is, to imbue it with a special blessing that protects it. The way I do this, is to pass it over a fire and ask Thunor to hallow it, in much the same way as I would use the Anglo-Saxon Hallowing Charm to ward my home. For example, I would pass a pendulum tool over a candle flame three times while chanting: “Thunor hallow, Thunor hallow, Thunor hallow this pendulum.”

blessing
To bless a divination tool, have a short ceremony to pay respects to the entity, or entities, in your belief system who are in charge of divination. I would offer and libate to Woden and ask him to grant me wisdom and clear sight and to bless my divination tool with truth.

storing
Many believe that wrapping a tarot deck in a white cloth while not being used gives it a barrier of protection from negative energies/spirits. You can use this method for other divination tools as well. Plain cotton “flour sack” white towels are great for this and can be found in the kitchen-wares section of dollar stores and department stores. Cut them down to a workable size and hem up the cut edges. You could leave the cloth big too, to double as a cloth on which to lay out your readings. Or you could just make the drawstring pouch you carry the tool in be made of white cloth.

making it your own
You’ll want to get really familiar with your divination tool and imbue it with your energy. If it’s not too bulky, wear it for a while, like in a drawstring pouch around your neck or waist. Sleep with it under your pillow. If its cards, shuffle them a lot. Handle and look at each card or item in the set everyday until you know it like the back of your hand.

divination

Cultural Practice (ADF Dedicant)

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This is the latest installment of my work on the ADF Dedicant Program. The cultural practice essay is “a brief account of the efforts of the Dedicant to develop and explore a personal (or Grove-centered) spiritual practice, drawn from a specific culture or combination of cultures.”

Cultural Practice Essay

My background in cultural practice is varied. I started on a Wiccan path as a teenager, then later went on to explore Celtic Reconstructionism, Hinduism, New Thought, Gnostism, and Ásatrú. I’ve had an on again, off again love affair with ADF, having first joined in 2001. I am continuously drawn back- for the beautiful liturgy, the deeply meaningful cosmology, and for the excellence in scholarship. Over the years, the tradition has grown to be a part of me. So now I’ve dug my heels in to stay.

For my hearth culture this time around, I’ve decided to mainly follow an Anglo-Saxon tradition. These are mostly the Norse gods I’ve been honoring as an Ásatrúar, but now I am exploring what they have to teach me from an Anglo-Saxon perspective. (Many call Anglo-Saxon Paganism by the name Fyrnsidu, which means “Old Customs”.) I have chosen seven Anglo-Saxon deities to focus on, and one Celtic goddess. I have made salt dough wall plaques depicting all of them and have hung each Anglo-Saxon wéoh (deity image) on the wall above my wéofod (Saxon altar). The Celtic goddess I honor has a separate altar. In my daily devotions, I use these images to help me connect to the deities, and I touch the edge of each plaque, in turn hailing, praying to, and/or meditating upon them.

Hertha (the Norse goddess Nerthus) is the Earth Mother. As per ADF custom, in ritual I honor her first. One of the first things that compelled me spiritually about ADF-style ritual is how the Earth Mother is honored and worshipped by everyone kneeling down to kiss the ground. This is something I continue in my personal practice when doing ritual outdoors.

Hama (the Norse god Heimdallr ) is my Gatekeeper.  It is he who guards Osgeard (Asgard) and sounds his horn in warning of intrusion. He is a white and shining god whose name may mean “the one who illuminates the world”.  He is a patient and ever watchful god, keen of sight and hearing, and the son of nine waves.

Thunor (the Norse god Thor), is a powerful protector, hallower, and lightning/rain bringer. I especially call on him when I feel in need of protection. In Anglo-Saxon tradition he is associated with fire. I recite an Anglo-Saxon hallowing charm while carrying fire to clear my home of ill wights (negative spirits). It is a powerful galdr and I have had much success with it.

Fréo (the Norse goddess Freya), Lady of the Wan (Vanir), is the fertile goddess ruling over matters of love, beauty, sexuality, magic, and death. I honor her most often in the Spring and Summer months when the land comes alive with her gifts.

Ing Fréa (the Norse god Frey) is Lord of Elves, god of fertility, prosperity, and fair weather. I often think of Fréo’s twin as a Green Man or Cernunnos figure. Like his sister, I especially honor him in the warm months of the year, over which he rules.
Woden (the Norse god Odin) is the All-father, lord of wisdom, magic, the breath of life. It was the painting by Georg von Rosen titled “Odin, the Wanderer” that first compelled me to explore a Heathen path. At once I felt that the soulful old man looking out from the picture at me was real; my kin and my god.

Fríge (the Norse goddess Frigg) is Queen of Osgeard, patron of mothers and children. She is soft-spoken and kind, knowing all, yet keeping her secrets. As a homemaker and mother, she is my patron and I often look to her for guidance and spontaneously pray to her when one of my children is sick. Her love always comes through.

I have one Celtic deity that I honor and that is Bríde (I use the modern Irish pronunciation “breej-uh”), goddess of healing, poetry, and smithcraft. She is a goddess of water and fire. When I wash or bathe, I first say; “Bríde, goddess of the waters of life, purify me that I may go clean into this day. Bíodh sé amhlaidh” I honor her before cooking; I take a pinch of salt or a spice I’ll be using in the meal and press it around the edges of an image of Bríde I have hanging above the stove. I say; “Gentle red-cheeked Bríde, of flame and honeycomb; bless this cooking, bless this home. Bíodh sé amhlaidh”. And of course, I honor her on Imbolc/Ewemeolc . I make a Bríde’s Cross (Cros Bríde) to hang over doorways and windows, I make a Bríde doll (Brídeag), and I step through Bríde’s Girdle (Crios Bríde) in a ceremony of renewal.

Other ways in which I incorporate culture-specific spirituality into my life is the occasional use of songs as prayers. Lisa Thiel’s CD “Invocation of the Graces” is my source of Celtic inspired song prayers. (I changed the lyrics to make them Druid instead of Wiccan.) And my source of Heathen song prayers is the treasure trove of songs called Heathen Songbook Online. Also, I say “Sigdrifa’s Prayer” upon rising in the morning.

I do things in threes and nines, sacred numbers to the Celts, and to Germanic cultures. For example, I make crafts, and I will work in a pattern of threes or nines in what I’m making, and if I’m sewing, I knot the thread three times. Often when praying or incanting I repeat a word or phrase three times. As a homemaker, I have other subtle ways of expressing spirituality through culture; in the folk crafts with which I decorate my home, in the fairy tales I tell my kids, and in the foods I cook.  I have special meals I prepare for each High Day, that are either Celtic, English, or Germanic in origin, and I set aside a special little loaf, roll, or biscuit for the land wights when baking. The hearth cultures I chose are part of my ancestry, so when I do these things it is also a way of honoring my ancestors.

In these ways, my personal cultural spirituality is ingrained into my life and into my heart.

Travels Through Middle Earth (ADF Dedicant Book Review)

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This is another installment of my ADF Dedicant Program studies.

Preferred Ethnic Studies (Anglo-Saxon) Book Review:
“Travels Through Middle Earth: the Path of a Saxon Pagan”
by Alaric Albertsson
ISBN 978-0-7387-1536-0

“Travels through Middle Earth” is a simple, practical guide book to practicing Anglo-Saxon Paganism/Heathenism, also known as Fyrn Sidu. There are less than a handful of books available on Fyrn Sidu at this time, and this is the first book I’ve read on the subject. Albertsson refers to himself as a Saxon Pagan, explaining that historically, no group of people ever called themselves the Anglo-Saxons. All the various German tribes that settled in England seemed to begin calling themselves Angles upon arrival. This would tell me that the name should be Angle Pagan, but I suppose this just doesn’t sound right. Albertsson has an easy style of writing that makes his works easily accessible to the lay person. When reading this book, I felt like I could be talking to a brother- I guess it helps that we are both from the Ozarks!
This book does not have a ton of information on the deities themselves (which mostly seem to be the same as many of the Norse deities, but with slightly different names). So one would have to look elsewhere for that kind of in-depth information. For those already familiar with the deities of the Norse, this isn’t much of a problem, for the two cultures share mostly the same gods. The deities Albertsson describes in Travels Through Middle Earth are Sunne, Mona, Tíw, Woden, Thunor, Fríge, Hama, Fréo, Ing Fréa, Eostre, and Hertha.
Especially significant to me, were the ways Albertsson explained how much the Saxon mindset is already built into our culture through language. Toward the end of page four he states; “If English is your primary language, you think in Anglo-Saxon.” As a person who seeks out those deeper connections in culture and ancestry, I tend to want to “bloom where I am planted” rather than seek out the exotic. There is comfort in what one already knows, and a truth one can know more deeply that is ingrained into one’s own culture. It may sound like a cliché, but in many ways, reading this has been like coming home.
Some examples he gives of how Saxon Paganism is built into our culture are; the days of the week contain the names of Saxon deities, the word “mood” is related to the word mód (the part of one’s soul that contains one’s personal identity), and the fact of our culture’s fairy tales contain codes of conduct for dealing with elves and other wights.
I really like that in the Holy Tides chapter, he called those Tides by some of their most simple names. For years I’ve been calling the fall equinox by the name “Harvest Home” and I was delighted by the serendipity of finding it called that here. There is no pretending in this book about “ancient origins” of things like the Yule tree or ribbons on the maypole. From Alaric, we get the straight answer that these things are not ancient, but yes, we can derive Pagan meanings from customs that are not-so-ancient. I can’t help but to conclude, however, that some of those old-but-new traditions were a result of a Saxon Pagan mindset still at work in our culture.
Other subjects explained in this book were the concepts of wyrd, of orlay, and of Saxon virtues. The author does a great job of explaining not only what these are, but why they are important. Especially compelling to me was his explanation of the importance of piety. This slim volume was easy to understand, and I’m sure I’ll be referring to it, especially the glossary, again and again.

Home Shrine

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As part of the ADF Dedicant Program (ye olde “DP”), I’ve taken a picture of my home shrine, described it, and mentioned plans for further improvements…

Alglo-Saxon ADF Shrine

This is my home shrine, or wéofod. It is at the center of my home, at the top of a built-in bookshelf on a wall facing the north.

Sacred Center: Tree, Well, and Fire
At the center is a metal tree representing World Tree or Irminsul/Yggdrasil. The tree doubles as a candelabra and it holds three candles. This represents Sacred Fire. (The three candles also represent the Three Kindreds.) To the left of the tree is a cauldron of water representing the Sacred Well, completing the Sacred Center of Well, Tree, and Fire.

Nature Spirits
On the right side of the altar are representations of Nature Spirits; a figure holding acorns and stones, and an owl figurine that represents my son‘s spirit animal. I plan to add collections of natural objects, representing the Noble Ones, to this representation as time goes on.

Ancestors
On the left side of the altar is an object I made many years ago that collectively represents my ancestors. It is a dolmen with skulls and a spiral inside. To the left of this is a Matronae statue I made out of salt dough to represent my family’s Ancestral Mothers, the Idesa who watch over us, and to the left of this is a rabbit figurine which represents my mother’s spirit animal. Pictures and possessions of other specific ancestors find their way to the ancestor area of the shrine at Hallows and at other times of special commemoration. I also have a separate ancestor shrine of photos in a different part of the house.

Shining Ones
The wéohs (deity images) hanging on the wall are made of salt dough and air dried. Starting at the left; Thunor, Fréo, Ing Fréa, Hertha, Woden, Fríge, and Hama. (I have a separate shrine in my home devoted to my Celtic deity; Bríde.)
I am a very visually-oriented person, and it has helped me a great deal to have physical images of the Shining Ones, and all the Kindreds, on my home shrine. It was a spiritual experience making them, and I feel an immediate connection when I look at and touch the images.

Other Items
To the right of the Tree is a wooden bowl I use for offerings. Behind the offering bowl is my “drinking horn” I use for the Waters of Life. In the left front corner (not shown) is a little nook kind of hidden by the front piece of the bookshelf. In that nook is a little basket that holds matches, incense (recels), and a small jar of silver beads. In the far right side of the altar is a recelsfeat (incense burner), a bell, and juniper smudge stick in an abalone shell. A fold-up basic ADF-style Anglo-Saxon ritual script and a bag of runes are tucked behind the right-side hidden corner nook. On one of the lower shelves, I keep pictures of my closest Ancestors, and a drawstring bag of various dry offerings; cornmeal, oats, seeds, and also a mini-bottle of olive oil.

Plans for Future Improvements
The nature of salt dough is that it doesn’t last forever. Someday I will need to make more plaques to replace these images of the Shining Ones and other Kindreds. I plan to take classes to improve my sculpting skills. Perhaps the next ones will be made of fired clay!

*Updated 7/7/14