I told my friend Braja that I would do a post on Druidic Rituals, specifically the one I use daily. First, a little background. I was raised Mormon, I despised having to attend church for 4 hours each Sunday. When I grew older, I realized that spirituality doesn't mean attending church. It's your personal relationship with a higher power. Whichever you feel most comfortable communing with. Nor does it mean that one should follow blindly a path dictated by another. I did some soul-searching; serious studying on different religions and spiritual beliefs. I read up on Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Deism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Objectivism, Taoism, Wicca/Witchcraft, and Druidism. I felt that a Celtic Druid path was the best fit for me; in reference to my ingrained conditioning would be a relatively easy trasition from classic church-going to a real spiritual path.
A quick definition of Religion: Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life."
A wee bit of info on the Ancient Celts: To the ancient Celt, the world was a magical, unpredictable place ruled by unseen forces and supernatural elements. Every rock, tree and river had a spirit and a force of will attached to it. Never knowing when he or she might be in the presence of a diety or nature spirit, the Celts were careful ... they approached the most mundane tasks and projects with a reverence and ritual born of the need to pacify local gods, and to avoid being captured by faeries.
So ... onto the daily ritual itself. I try to do this before I head out to work, however, if I don't I'll do it prior to bed.
I kneel in front of my altar, center and focus with some deep breathing exercises. While doing this I visualize rolling hills of green for serenity and calm. Following that I light a candle -- re-lighting the Sacred Fire -- then fill a small decorative bowl with water, placing my finger in it to connect to the Sacred Well. In addition to the candle and the water, I have a small but sturdy twig which I touch to represent the the Sacred Trees. With the connections made to the fire, well and tree I call upon the Gatekeeper Manannan mac Lir. The verbage changes but it's essence is: 'I call upon you now to let the Well open as a gate, let the Fire open as a gate and let the Tree form a conduit to all the planes, let the gates be open.'
After the opening, I place my offering of herbs on the alter and say something like: 'This offering is for you Spirits of Nature, Spirits of Place, spirits of the creatures, and you of the Fair Folk, today I honor you and my love for you.' Then I ask for blessings on me and mine for the day.
I place an offering of food and say: 'This offering is for you Ancestors of mine and Ancestors of Place, honor and love as above.' Then I ask for blessings.
An offering of wine -- Whiskey is reportedly a favorite of the Shining Ones but I don't usually have any on-hand -- and I say: 'This offering is for you Shining Ones, gods and Goddesses that we honor and call upon today, honor and love as above.' Then I ask for blessings.
I do some time meditating on family and friends (asking for specific blessings on them) and open myself up to receive any feelings or return messages.
The next to last step is the devotion and I say something to the effect: 'Thank you Gods and Goddesses for all your aid and blessings today' I also thank Morrigan, Ancestors of Place, Spirits of Place, spirits of the creatures and the Fair Folk.
Finally, to close up I utilize some verbage to close the gate. "Manannan mac Lir join with me, let the Fire become again a candle, let the Well become again a water filled vessel and let the Tree become again a twig. Let the gates be closed!'
With all that done, I bring myself back to the mundane and clear off my alter.
It's really all very refreshing. Braja, I do hope that this post satisfies your curiosity. Eventually I'll do the self-dedication ritual in which I declare my everlasting dedication to the Path of Druidry.
In addition, there are separate rituals for Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. All very lovely and usually intricate, however, I tend to simplify them.
And that's all folks ... funnies resume tomorrow as with the normal format, this is a HUGE post for me without adding to it.