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. (600 words min.) (WC 979)
Looking back at my First Oath, I feel it is a solid, correct oath to take, but as far as keeping up a personal practice, I’ve been exploring not just the ADF side of things, but attending heathen blóts with regularity. I do need to learn more about the three gods I chose to become a devotee to that I’ve chosen or I realized they had been in my life: Cernunnos, Cerridwen, and Freyja, and learn what is needed to work with them. With Cerridwen, I got the message I need to better understand the various purposes of cauldrons–not just hers, but also the Dagda’s and other purposes of it. For Cernunnos, I got the message I need to be more out in nature (the weather’s too cold for me to go out now like I did in the fall). As for Freyja, I’ve been working with a bit; when I asked her for assistance in my mental retreat into a one-room cabin before helping with a blót someone put together for Thor, I had her come and put her hand on my shoulder as she assured me the blót would be powerful before she “spilled” or “poured” a number of runes into my head.
As for hearth cultures, I’ve become the person people turn to for Welsh things for my local grove, especially now that I’m the assistant senior druid after doing a Lughnasadh ritual for the Welsh pantheon in 2017 as my first ever ritual. I wrote it up in my recap of rituals attended. A grove member came to me and asked me to write up and lead a ritual for Rhiannon. Since the woman felt deeply connected to faeries, I ended up making our spring equinox ritual be all about Rhiannon and the Fair Folk and the other denizens of Annwn. And for connecting more deeply with Cerridwen (as I mentioned briefly above), I took her advice I received in a guided meditation to learn more about cauldrons; this ended up leading me to take a series of workshops at Mystic South about the Cauldron of Poesy which has had a profound impact on me. I plan next to learn more about the Dagda’s cauldron of plenty.
For me, Cerridwen is about understanding internal magic and transformation as well as wisdom. In my reading Being a Pagan a great quote stood out for me and my work in understanding cauldrons from Francesca Dubie: “So there is a heavy emphasis on personal transformation in the classes. It’s also not just a class in how to run the energy, how to be a cauldron for the magic” (Dubie 72) I feel that all the research and work in understanding how cauldrons can be used for Cerridwen is how to internalize magic. Before writing and performing the Welsh pantheon ritual, I read through and also listened to a recording of the Mabinogion to better understand the myths.
As for the Norse pantheon, I’ve been attending the local heathen blóts (as mentioned above) and learning more about heathenism due to being pulled into helping run a heathen community’s blóts. I also performed a combination between an ADF ritual with a heathen blót for autumn equinox for the Norse pantheon. For it, I brought our local ADF grove together with the heathen group. The blót section fit in perfectly for the offerings to the gods in the ADF core order of ritual. The heathens had a great experience with making offerings the way we do to the gods. Thanks to a couple of us “heathen druids,” we’ve gotten some heathens into joining our grove.
For me, working with Freyja will be a path in trying to learn seiðr type work for which she brought to the Norse gods, primarily through herself and teaching Odin, and to humanity through womankind. I don’t know much about magic and such will working, but I am looking forward to learning more about trance work and other similar Norse seiðr techniques. Through my Norse work, I’ve also learned the runes for divination purposes. Reading the Prose Edda helped me better understand the Norse pantheon.
For Beltane 2019, I will finish the third of my big pantheon rituals—this time to the Irish pantheon. I’m currently learning the Ogam through an ADF member’s online course and will be diving deep into understanding Irish mythology before my big ritual. I also have a Udemy course on Irish myths and two books by ADF member Sharon Paice MacLeod—Celtic Myth and Religion and Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld.
When I got my Awen tattoo, I pledged myself to working with and for the three main pantheons I feel connected to: Irish, Welsh, and Norse. After getting the tattoo and dedicating myself to honoring the three pantheons I’ve chosen and their followers as part of my official dedicant oath bound into the tattoo, life threw an interesting curve ball my way.
Due to circumstances, the heathen group whose blóts I had been attending ended up having some serious issues and I rose to the occasion to help create a safe, nurturing heathen community for most of the people who left the previous group—I serve both on the board and on the clergy since very few people had experience performing rituals or blóts. It’s a great feeling to see so many people looking forward and excited for what a group you’re putting of effort into for people to worship and learn about a pantheon that you’ve pledged to help (both the gods/goddesses and the followers).
I think without weaving my dedicant oath and dedicating myself to the three pantheons as well as Cerridwen, Freyja, and Cernunnos (who is Celtic Gaelic, not directly Irish), I would have had a more humdrum experience working with the three patrons I have chosen and the three pantheons. I’m glad I did for it has caused me to have to take crash courses in my studies into each pantheon’s myths.
Hopman, Ellen Evert and Lawrence Bond. Being a Pagan: Destiny Books, 2002.