Ritual Log: Dies Natalis

natalis altarRite Celebrated: Dies Natalis (My Birthday ritual)

Location: In my home

Date Celebrated: August 25, 2017 at 11:00 PM

Who Led the Rite:  It was a solitary rite by myself.

Gatekeeper: Janus

Dieties of the Occasion: Vulcanus Pater, Minerva Mater, Hekate Phosphoros, Puma Concolor, Schorl, Juglans Nigra

Natalis OmenOmen Method: Stone Sortilege set

Omen: Orange Calcite (Friendship, Revitalization, Emotional healing) Stromatolite (Eternity, Past Lives, Removing Blockages), Dragonfire Agate (Truth, Perfection, Power), Quartz (Clarity, Amplification, Focus), Red Tiger Eye (Courage, Resolve, Self-Confidence).  Unlike my usual drawing three stones, I decided to grab a handful and cast them to read as they lay.  The Orange Calcite and Stromatolite landed together, and I interpret this as both a revitalization of my practice, and a return to my spirituality that I have been undertaking for this past couple of months, which will continue through this next year.  The Dragonfire Agate, Quartz, and Red Tourmaline clustered together in an arc, which I interpret as if I will maintain Focus and Resolve, my power will continue to grow, and will be used in the right way.

Any Magical workings done or Oaths Taken: No oaths were taken.  No magical workings were done, only offering of thanks to my various allies, and asking that their aid continue.  While it is an appropriate time for oaths, I didn’t have any that I felt the need to take at this time.

Impressions/Other Comments/Notes:  I have been wanting to do a Dies Natalis ritual for years, but have never managed to get it pulled together in time.  While even this one was a bit rushed for me, I am glad that I have finally done it.  The Dies Natalis of the Paterfamilias is a key part of Roman Domestic Cultus, and it’s something that I’ve definitely been missing.  I hope that next year I will have the foreplanning to also prepare libum, as they are a traditional offering along with the incense and wine for the Dies Natalis.  I also would like to do more research in the coming year into the form that the ritual took. I had access to one academic article talking about Roman birthday rituals, but it focused on the rituals that were performed by clients for their patrons, and by the people for the emperor in the later period.  It references poetry and other writings that talk about Roman Birthday rituals performed for the self, but I wasn’t able to find the actual pieces they were referencing yet.

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Io Vulcanalia!

Vulcanalia Altar

Salve Vulcanus Pater, Father Vulcan,

Salve Vulcanus Mulciber, Vulcan at work

Salve Vulcanus Quietus, Vulcan at rest

Lord of volcanoes,

You who understand submerged wrath,

Help us to keep ours in check.

Lord of work,

You who understand its balm to the soul,

Help us to learn the joys of focused labor.

Lord of craft,

You whose fire tempers iron into steel,

You who understand what it is to be crippled,

Beat our will strong and straight again

That the sign of your hammer

May be imprinted in everything we make.

Lord who is the strong iron of competence

And the driving blows of manifestation,

May your hands guide us into honorable work.

Hail Vulcan Mulciber, Charmer of Fire!

Hail Vulcan Quietus; may your gift of tame fire

Stay tame enough not to harm our houses!

May your flames warm us, inspire us

And never burn beyond their borders,

So long as we give you the proper respect.

Vulcanus Pater, Accept our Sacrifice!

(adapted from the Pagan Book of Hours)

Dedicant Journal – Week 6: Summer Cross-Quarter Recap

I am getting this post out a week late, but I am keeping Week 6 and Week 7 as two separate posts.

Readings

There are no assigned readings for this week. I have, however, been continuing to read Robert Turcan’s Gods of Ancient Rome.

Meditation Log

My daily 10-minute meditation has been continuing with no issues. This week was a second week of focusing on the sounds around me.  I have to say that this is my least-favorite technique that I have used so far.  For one, I had a lot of roving mind to deal with this week. but more importantly, I find the sounds to be a distraction, rather than a focus.  I find it next to impossible to hear a sound without trying to name it or identify it’s source.

My weekly 30-minute meditation at the Boston Tea Room was pretty standard.  I was pretty physically comfortable this time, I think I’ve found an arrangement of cushions that works for me.  We had a different person leading the silent meditation this time, so the energy of the experience was a little different, but overall I’ve settled in comfortably to the longer meditations on a regular basis.

Ritual Log

I am doing the daily Lararium rites entirely from memory at this point.  I still think that I may want to consider rewording some parts of it and maybe starting to translate it into Latin piece by piece, but that’s a project for another time.  This week’s daily rites also included the Kalends on Tuesday, and the Nones on Saturday.

Tuesday was also the day of the Summer Cross-Quarter, but because this week’s main work is the Cross-Quarter, I’m covering that in a different section.

Nature Awareness

 

This week’s trip to the woods happened between a general rainy morning, and a much stronger thunderstorm that came in as I was leaving.  The woods were very different after the rain.  It was still overcast, so the woods were darker overall, but also the Green was so much more vibrant.  When I sat down to meditate, it was much quieter.  There weren’t the insect noises that I’m used to during my other visits.  I kept hearing hickory nuts falling from the trees randomly while I sat there.  I also encountered the Fawns again.  They were laying down in an ivy-covered area, and stood up when I came near them on the trail. I took a quick photo with my cell phone and continued on my way.

Homework

Summer QuarterThis week’s Homework is the recap of the first High Day, which in my case is the Summer Cross-Quarter.  In order to keep to the Grain Harvest theme of the quarter while working within my Roman hearth culture, I fused together the celebration of Consualia, Vulcanalia, and Opiconsivia.

High Day Celebrated: Summer Cross Quarter (Consualia/Vulcanalia/Opiconsivia)

Location: In my home

Date Celebrated: August 1, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Who Led the Rite:  It was a solitary rite by myself.

Gatekeeper: Janus

Dieties of the Occasion: Consus, Vulcanus, Opis

Omen Method: Stone Sortilege set

Omen: Jet (Death, Loss, Transformation), Crazy Lace Agate (Balance, Emotional Healing, Release), Amethyst (Balance, Temperance, Peace). The Harvest represents the Death of the plants that will sustain us.  This is part of the natural cycle and while we mourn what has passed, we will heal from our losses in time, and eventually, come to a sense of peace and balance.

Any Magical workings done or Oaths Taken: No oaths were taken.  No magical workings were done, only offering thanks for the results of my efforts in my garden.

Impressions/Other Comments/Notes:  While I enjoy the larger group ritual for High Days, I really like being able to celebrate the High Days within my own hearth culture.  I always think of ADF Ritual format as being designed primarily under the congregational model, but I also find that it works really well for both solitary practice and home-family practice.  I do wish I had been able to do this rite with my partner, like we used to do before we moved to Michigan, but his work schedule (and my last minute finishing of writing the ritual) did not permit it.  I hope that he and I can start doing more family-type rituals in the future.

Dedicant Journal – Week 5: First Book Started: Hearth Culture

Readings

Completed the required reading of Our Own Druidry: Concerning the Reading of Books and writing a book review.  Continued to Read The Gods of Ancient Rome by Robert Turcan.  I am currently in the third portion of the book, dealing with the religions of the empire.  It’s a lot less interesting to me personally than the first section that dealt with the religions of the individual families, but I’m progressing through it.  Once I finish this read through I plan to go again, progressing more attentively, writing my book review as I go along.

Meditation Log

I have continued my daily 10-minute meditation, Though I did miss on a couple of days.  One because I apparently forgot to set my alarm and woke up late, missing my entire magical morning, and one was on Thursday, when I didn’t do the 10-minute meditation, but I did do a half-hour meditation while I was doing my nature work.  The 10-minute meditations this week were sound-focused, where I was trying to simply listen openly to the sounds around me without working to identify them, just to experience the sound around me.  (I should probably say by now that I’ have been following the different techniques in the book 8-Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change your Life by Victor Davich)

I also attended the 30-Minute silent meditation at the Boston Tea Room on Wednesday.  I was anxious about the Job Interview that I had on Thursday, and while the meditation wasn’t a particularly spiritual experience for me, it did help alleviate some of the anxiety that I was dealing with that day.

Ritual Log

My daily Lararium Rites have continued, and I have basically been doing the entire rite completely from memory at this point. I have been considering either starting to alter the words to make a more involved rite, or starting the work of translating the whole thing into Latin, and memorizing that piece by piece.

The Summer Cross-Quarter is coming up on Tuesday, and I’ve been working on getting that rite written.

Nature Awareness

fawns

Fawns encountered on the trail 7/27/17

I went back to the wooded park again this week, and spent about an hour and a half there. A decent part of it was spent walking the trails, but I also spent about half an hour sitting on a log and meditating.  I also encountered more animals this time.  I first ran into a trio of fawns on the trail, who were grazing on the woods.  I encountered a couple of garter snakes, and then later on I eventually came across the Doe that was with the three fawns.  Plant-wise, I think I may have found an Elderberry, but I haven’t used the photos yet to try and search.

Homework

The homework this week is basically to start reading the Hearth Culture book. I have already been reading my Hearthculture book, and I’m hoping to finish the first readthrough over the next week or two.  After that, my plan is to try and sit down and re-read a 10-page section at a time, and write a sentence or two about each section as I go.  that should easily meet the word requirement for the Book review.

 

 

Dedicant Journal – Week 4: Nature Awareness 1

Note: In the Wheel of the Year text, week 4 is the First High Day Recap, but because my next High Day doesn’t occur until August 1, I am moving to the next lesson.

Readings

Completed the required reading of Our Own Druidry: Attunement to Nature & The Kindred.  Also completed the following recommended readings Urban Druid by Mary Jones, Honoring the Environment Through Religion by Sylvan, Loving our Mother by Mary Price, and Learning from the Trees by Judith Anderson Morris.

I had recently listened to Kirk Thomas reading Learning from the Trees as part of the Part the Mists Podcast, in their “From the Archives” segment, so the reading was basically a refresher.

The Urban Druid article was one that I resonated with, because one of the things that I have had trouble dealing with since moving to Michigan is being able to connect with the land here.  While I was living in an urban area before, Akron still had far more green space than what we have here in Detroit.  I very much miss having quick and easy access to woods that I can be in. I used to be able to walk out my front door, walk 100 feet, and be entering a large park in a gorge filled with woods.  I don’t have that here.  What Detroit calls a park is generally a well-manicured lawn, some planted flower beds, and a few trees, surrounded by sidewalks and benches with a playground.

The Urban Druid article also brought up the difficulty I have with the DP requirement in that it is pretty vague and unclear.  The lesson in the WotY book is also vague in terms of what it is that the preceptor is looking for.  It is presented as some sort of land-spirit-attunement-meets-naturalist essay.  This is another reason why I need try and find the evaluation rubric for the DP documentation.  Hopefully that will give a clearer idea what they are looking for.

Meditation Log

I have continued my daily 10-minute meditation, but I did miss two days of my entire Magical Morning.  Sunday morning I was returning from my camping trip, and I started packing up camp early, without doing it.  Then when I got home, I put it off again, and completely forgot until it was time for bed.  Thursday was my day off from work, and partly because I did not spend the night at my own home, I ended up not doing my Magical Morning.  But I did do my nature work on Thursday, so while I did not do the 10-minute Meditation, I did spend an hour in the woods, and part of that was meditating.

I also attended the 30-Minute silent meditation at the Boston Tea Room on Wednesday.  I don’t remember very much about it, I didn’t really have any particularly interesting experiences, journey, or visions.  It was just a basic 30-minute silent meditation.

Ritual Log

My daily Lararium Rites have continued, with the exception of sunday and thursday, which I’ve already mentioned.  We are in the second half of the month now, so there are no special days with extra offerings during the daily rite.  I am now doing the entire rite almost completely from memory.  I’ve done it entirely from memory at least once this week, and several days I only glanced down once or twice because I had lost the opening of my phrasing for parts.

Homework

This week the homework is the start of the Nature Awareness work, which going forward will get it’s own section, since I will be doing it on an ongoing basis like with the meditations, readings, and daily hearth rituals.

There are a couple of parks that are suitable for the type of work that I want to do, but neither can be reached on foot.  Fortunately, both are pretty close drives from my gym, and I went to one of them on Thursday.

I began by making a prayer to the land and making an offering.  My prayer was a bit of a fusion between Cato the Elder’s instructions on how to make an offering at a sacred grove on your property, and a few phrases taken from episodes of Star Trek Voyager in which Chakotay is praying to his spirits.  On the one hand, it feels a bit silly to use a phrase from a Sci-Fi television show, but the phrasing of the two lines I used has resonated with me for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to incorporate them.

 A child of the earth calls upon the spirit of this land.  

Whether you be god or goddess to whom this land is dedicated,

it it is your right to receive due offering.

To this end, in pouring this offering to you

I pray to you good prayers and

I humbly beg that you will be benevolent toward me.

I am far from the bones of my ancestors,

Far from the lands that I have called home for so long,

From the lares with whom I have built a relationship of reciprocity.

But perhaps there is a spirit, a Lar, or an Indigimenta,

who would be willing to guide me in this place,

To welcome me as a humble guest,

And to build relationship with me.

If this be so, receive my offering and grant me your blessing.

Ita Est.

After making my offering, I spent time wandering the place.  Fairly shortly after I started, I came across a grocery bag, and I picked it up and started filling it with assorted trash that was on the ground in the area.  I ended up filling two of these grocery bags in the time that I was there, which I brought home with me and put in the trash.

I wandered the trails for a bit, being open to what was around me.  There were Maples and Oaks around, and lots of plants that I did not recognize.  I did see what appeared to be a barberry randomly in the woods, and there was an area that was covered with an ivy that is used in landscaping.  I suspect that these woods were once part of a neighborhood that had been torn down.  I also recognized a few May Apples, which at this point in the year were dying down.

The only animals that I noted in the area were both black and grey squirrels, and the mosquitos which wouldn’t leave me alone in one particular area.  I spent a little time off to the side of a more park-like area meditating, but didn’t make any connections with any particular spirits while I was there.  But it was nice to just be in some proper woods again, however small the area was.

Dedicant Journal – Week 3: Summer Cross-Quarter Explanation

Week 3

Readings

Completed all required readings, including the entire section 6 of Our Own Druidry, The Very Basics of Ritual, ADF Constitution Article 4, and The ADF Core Order of Ritual for High Days.

I also completed the recommended reading Step By Step Through a Druid Worship Ceremony, which I found absolutely fascinating. I came into ADF after the modern Core Order of Ritual was decided on, and seeing the way that Isaac designed ADF ritual initially was interesting.  There were so many wiccan-style elements that were part of early ADF ritual, from the drawing of a circle on the ground (though even back then it was a permeable barrier, rather than a solid one), to the invoking of a Goddess and God of occasion (I know that some groves still do this, but my original grove was so dominated by queer people that we never used the male/female polarity in our rituals) to the use of the “energy” paradigm of offerings.  It almost makes me wonder if I would have gotten involved in those early days, considering the style that they were working in still had a number of the elements that drove me away from Wicca in the first place.

 

Meditation Log

My daily 10-minute meditations have continued.  This week I decided to change these up.  Last Sunday, I did a two-powers meditation spoken aloud since I was alone in the house.  It was much easier to stay on track when I was speaking than it was the last time when I was trying to do it in my head.  Speaking the words as I’m going through the visualization keeps me focused.  For the rest of the week, I switched from the four-fold breath to a simple breath focus.  I did start by doing the four-fold breath three times, then I just let my breathing fall into its own pattern, and tried to focus my attention on my breath itself, without counting it, just allowing it to happen and trying to keep my focus on that awareness.  It is much more difficult to stay focused with this method.  I dealt a lot with a roving mind but kept bringing my attention back to my breath.  I did these meditations every day except for Thursday when I missed my entire Magical Morning routine.

Wednesday I again went to the Silent Meditation at the Boston Tea Room.  This meditation was pretty uneventful for me.  I spent some time on my mountain with Cougar, but I simply sat there with her, looking out over the valley below.  I did finally find a combination of cushions that was as comfortable for my back as the first time, but I am still having trouble with my ankles feeling really stiff and sore after the meditation.

Ritual Log

I have continued to do my daily hearth rite each morning (With the aforementioned missed Thursday).  I have been trying to deliberately do it more and more from memory, with my script still next to me should I need it.  It’s getting committed to memory, but parts occasionally get jumbled.  I know Core Order of Ritual by heart after 10 years, it’s just the specific things that I say in offering after each invocation that I occasionally jumble a bit.  I also don’t have the piacular offering quite down yet, nor the statement I make when calling for the omen.  It will come with more practice.

Saturday was the Ides, and I made an additional offering to Jupiter on that morning. I was camping this weekend, and I took supplies to perform my basic hearth rite at the campsite.

Homework

This week’s homework is all about the First High Day write-up.  I spent most of the week feeling intimidated at the prospect of having to write up this essay, and hitting all the important points within the word count, and building it up to be this big thing.

But as I was driving on my camping trip this weekend I was listening to the Part the Mist podcast, and I happened to include their recent episode on the dedicant Path, and they pointed out that in the wheel of the year work, I’m not necessarily writing the first draft of the essay that I will eventually submit, but rather answering the questions that will get my thoughts out on paper so that I have it for reference when I actually do write my essay.  So instead I will simply provide my answers to the questions that are asked in the WoTY book.

I came into Paganism via Wicca at first, like so many of us do.  The Summer Cross-Quarter was always talked about as the “first harvest” or “first fruits.”  As someone who has grown up around family who were gardeners and farmers, and as someone who is a gardener myself, this never made much sense to me.  I have been harvesting from the garden since about May.  The entire summer season is just a continuous story of garden maintenance and harvest.  So why do we consider the “First Harvest” to come in August?  I don’t remember where I found the answer, but It finally gelled for me that the Summer Cross quarter is really about the Grain harvest.  With the fall equinox being the grape harvest, and the Fall cross-Quarter being the meat harvest.

My hearth culture is Roman, and along with the Hellenes, we can have a difficult time fitting the traditional cultural holidays with the modern neo-pagan wheel of the year.  Our grain harvest comes later in the season, nearer to the end of august, and there isn’t really a single holiday that fully captures the celebration of the harvest.  But there is a series of festivals held at the end of August in intervals about two days apart, which together form a sort of week-long celebration of the harvest.

First is Consualia, which is held in honor of the god Consus, who is a god of the harvest, but more specifically of Stored Grain.  As part of the Consualia, the horses and asses were given the day off from labor, decked with flowers, and paraded through the streets.  There were also chariot races in the Circus Maximus.

Second is Vulcanalia, which is a sort of apotropaic festival which asks the god Vulcanus not to set the fields or storage bins ablaze with his dangerous fire.  This holiday was celebrated by large bonfires being built onto the banks of the river, onto which live fish were sacrificed.  After the great fire, a red bull-calf and a red boar were added to the sacrifices.

Finally is Opiconsivia, which is a celebration of Ops, a goddess of agriculture and agricultural wealth.  This festival also included adorning horses and mules with flowers, as well as chariot races in the Circus Maximus.

Because Vulcanus is one of my patron dieties, I have celebrated Vulcanalia for years.  But as a holiday, it just doesn’t say “harvest” to me the way that the other two do.  And I also really do not want to move my celebration of Vulcanalia to the start of the month.  It has always been important to me and to my relationship with Vulcanus that I celebrate the Vulcanalia as close to the proper day as possible.

I do not know of any particular harvest-oriented myths with any of these three myths, but the Consualia is significant in a version of the “creation-myth” of the city of Rome. It was during the Celebration of the Consualia that the “Rape of the Sabine Women” took place. in which the Romans used the celebration as an opportunity to kidnap women of the neighboring tribes and marry them in order to start families and begin growing the population of Rome.

I can’t say that I particularly look forward to this particular high day, other than that it means both Vulcanalia and my birthday are approaching.  This isn’t a holiday that has any real secular or broader cultural counterpart, so there aren’t really any special childhood memories, or cherished traditions that I have around this high day.  If it weren’t so uncomfortably hot outside during this time of year, I would be inclined to make it a holiday centered around my baking, but I generally keep the baking to the cold months.  Maybe one day if I have an outdoor wood-fired oven, that might change.

I have no plans to have children, so I also have nothing that I have any desire to pass on about it.

As far as what is spiritual for me about this high day, it is mostly a day of thanksgiving.  I don’t grow wheat, but I do tend to make offerings of whatever is in season in my garden.  Herbs are always available, and by this time I’m in a glut of zucchini and Squash.  Often I have a decent supply of Tomatoes and Cucumbers by this point as well.  This is certainly a time of heavy harvest for me, and I think that’s what I connect with most.  My time in my garden is something that I think of as holy, which is why I’ve been so happy this summer that I finally planted a garden again. I haven’t had a garden since I moved to Michigan nearly four years ago, just a few potted herbs, and I’ve really missed being surrounded by growing things that I tend.

I am not part of a grove, so I have no Grove traditions either.  I keep my hearth with my partner, and we focus on domestic cultus.  We do have a tradition of offering the first ripe item of each fruit or vegetable we grow, but that happens when the individual plant is ready, not according to a day on the calendar.

 

 

Dedicant Journal – Week 2: The First Oath

I actually took “The First Oath” years ago, back when I was still a member of Silver Falls Grove.  I haven’t seen a need to re-do this portion of the program when I restart, as I’ve not broken the oath that I took, nor has it changed.

Week 2

Readings

Both required readings were done this week. These included “The First Oath” section from Our Own Druidry, as well as Chanting the First Oath Everyday by Brandon.  I do not intend to pursue chanting the first oath on a daily basis. I also completed the Recommended reading from Ceisiwr Serith’s A Book of Pagan Prayer. I have continued reading Robert Turcan’s The Gods of Ancient Rome.

Meditation Log

I completed 10-minute meditations every morning this week, which were all simple four-fold breath meditations.  I also completed a 30-minute meditation on Wednesday evening at the Boston Tea Room. This time we went to the earlier guided meditation instead of the silent one. I find that I much prefer the silent meditation. The person leading the guided meditation was much too slow for me at certain points, and we didn’t really get much guidance beforehand as to what we should expect to do during the meditation, so the visualizations I was having had to keep getting changed to accommodate the next step in her guidance.  I found it frustrating, and in the future, I will try to stick with the silent meditations, so I can move at my own pace.

Ritual Log

My daily Lararium Rites were all completed this week.  Friday was the Nones of July, so an additional offering to Iuno Covella was made as part of my rite

Homework

As I said in the Intro to this post, I took my first oath several years ago.  But for the sake of completeness, I’m including the oath that I took here. It was performed during one of our High Day rites at Silver Falls Grove.  I do not remember which high day it was, but I believe it was either the late summer High Day or the Fall Equinox.  My offering was in all likelihood both loose incense and a glass of wine.  I also made an offering of my old Staff, which I had been directed to do by Minerva.

I Drake Collins, son of Valerie Roxbury and Robert Collins do declare that I am a neopagan, a follower of the old gods and the new ways. I seek to know my own spirit and the three realms. So in order to set out upon the path, on Lapis Juppiter and before Fidus I swear these things:

That I will strive to live a life in pursuit of virtue.  I will strive to live in Prudentia, Veritas, and Industria. That I will strive always to keep Pietas. I will observe proper rites and works and seek to perfect my personal practice.

That I will work to learn all I can about the Old Ways so that I may better understand the new. I will study the remnants and seek the opinions of learned people so that my work may be strengthened.

Before the kindreds and those assembled here,  these things I swear. Ita est!

 

Dedicant Journal – Week 1: Personal Religion and an Introduction

Tags

Since I am starting back up working on my Dedicant path with ADF, and since my spiritual practice is one of the five key areas that I want to focus this Blog on, I’ve decided to use it to post my Dedicant Journal as I work through the Wheel of the Year program. Hopefully posting it this way will help encourage me to keep up with my dedicant work and also allow others working through the dedicant path to network and reference in the future.

My goal for the Dedicant Journal posts is a weekly post that contains any Meditation logs, Ritual logs, and Homework assignments following the program.

Week 1

Readings

All required readings were done this week. These included the Introduction for Our Own Druidry, as well as the appendix listing the required documentation for the Dedicant Path. I also read the two suggested Readings, Journaling the Druid Path by Ladytoad, and Uncertainty and the Dedicant’s Journey by Art Shipkowski

Meditation Log

I completed a 10-minute meditation each day of this week. These were all done using the four-fold breath technique of breathing in through the nose for a four-count, holding for a four-count, breathing out through the mouth for a four-count, and holding for a four-count.  These were all done as part of my “Magical Morning” routine.

On Tuesday, I also attempted to silently include a two-powers meditation during the 10-minute session. I found it really difficult to do, I had trouble keeping focused on the two powers. It ended up taking most of the 10 minutes to do this. I think the next time I attempt it, I will speak the meditation out loud rather than attempt to do it silently.

On Wednesday, I also went to the Boston Tea Room to participate in their half-hour silent meditation program in the evening with one of my partners.  This is actually the second week that I participated in this, which would make last week the start date for my 6-month meditation practice as part of the Dedicant Path.  Last week the meditation went well.  I’m unaccustomed to doing my meditations for that length of time, but I actually had fewer difficulties with my mind wandering than I do with my shorter 10-minute meditations at home.  I mainly focused on four-fold breath, with a period in the middle of just not focusing on really anything, and letting my breath do what it wanted to do.

During this week’s half-hour meditation, I spent the induction period using the four-fold breath technique.  Then I did a short journey to my Mountaintop.  Cougar met me there, and she was in a playful mood.  There was no real deeper work or spiritual lesson that happened during this time, I simply spent the time with Cougar on the Mountain.

Ritual Log

I completed a simple hearth rite each day this week at my home shrine.  It is the same ritual that I have done periodically for years as my lararium rite.  This was done as part of my “Magical Morning” routine.  As today is the Kalends of July, an additional offering to Juno Regina was made during the rite.  I am actually a bit surprised that I’ve already started doing large sections of the the daily rite from memory instead of reading off of my script.

Homework

This week’s homework is a set of questions posed in the Wheel of the Year textbook.

  • Why have you chosen to take the first steps on the Dedicant Path?

The dedicant path is an important part of why I chose ADF druidry in the first place.  I was seeking a group that had an established educational system which would allow me to practice both within my Roman hearth culture and encourage the shamanistic/ecstatic side of my personal practice.  I have been a practicing neopagan for the last 23 years, but my learning was entirely self-directed and contains significant gaps.  The dedicant path is exactly the kind of formal educational path that I was looking for.

  • Is this a step on your path, or will this become the Path itself?

The dedicant path is definitely only a single step on my personal spiritual path.  I have every intention of continuing with other ADF study programs once this initial step is taken.  I am particularly interested in the Artisan’s Guild study program and the Liturgist’s Guild study programs.  While I think it is still far too early to make that decision, I may one day decide to complete the clergy program as well. 

  • What do you expect to Learn?

 I expect to learn a complete religious practice that covers all of the basic skills and knowledge to practice ADF druidry.  It is also my goal to through the Dedicant Path and additional studies to continue to build a personal Domestic Cultus of the Religio Romana.

  • What would you like to get out of this journey?

My hope is that I will be able to fill in the gaps in my current spiritual knowledge, as well as create a solid foundation for further study.

  • Do you know where this path will take you?

I don’t think anyone can know ahead of time where this journey will lead beyond to a greater relationship with spirit.  Beyond that, it is up to the individual undertaking the journey, and the twists and turns that happen along the path.

  • If you have just joined ADF, why have you chosen to work on this immediately?

As I have already said, this program is a primary reason why I chose to join ADF.  In my case, a more appropriate question is “why have you chosen to work on this now?” I have started up this program so many times at this point I’ve lost count.  I’ve been a member of ADF for something like 9 years now.  As far as why at this moment, I’m working on several personal development projects right now, and it seems like this is an appropriate time to start working on the Dedicant Path again.

  • Does it look hard or easy?

The study program itself does not look difficult.  Some parts will certainly be easier than others, but the program is easily accomplishable by anyone with the dedication to see it through.

  • Which requirements appear to be difficult to you now, and which appear to be easy?

Probably the most difficult requirement will be the 5 month journal for mental discipline.  I am notoriously lacking in self-discipline, and meditation is one of my least favorite parts of spiritual practice.  While I perform a good deal of trance work as part of my shamanistic practice, regular meditation is difficult for me.  The easiest will likely be the home shrine requirement because I have already been keeping an altar for several years.  I will only need to change some of the items on the altar to make it appropriate for ADF practice.  I also am already performing a devotional ritual on a (more or less) regular basis honoring the spiritual entities with which I work.

  • Do you have doubts, questions, or concerns that you need to ask about?

Not at this time, though I have no doubt they will arise as I go through the process.

#DPWOTY

 

30 Days of Pride Day 27

Tags

Yeah, I missed a whole chunk of these, I mostly just got caught up in other things and didn’t get enough posts planned ahead to make sure they kept going.  Rather than keep putting off posting because the task of catching up is daunting, I’m just going to go ahead and pick up for these last few days.

Day 27 – Your favorite LGBT blog/tumblr/site

I don’t really have a favorite LGBT Blog or Tumblr.  None of the Blogs that I follow are gay ones, they tend to focus on things like Roman Paganism, Minimalism, Tiny Houses, Gardening, and Homesteading.  And Tumblr is pretty much just for porn for me.

As far as LGBT sites, I could probably go with the hookup or social sites like manhunt, adam4adam, recon, or fetlife.  Other than that, I mean my Facebook newsfeed is pretty queer, does that count?

30 Days of Pride – Day 10

Day 10 – What does marriage mean to you?

My relationship with the concept of marriage is… complicated.  And paradoxical.

The first thing that you have to understand is that divorce is a tradition in my family that goes back generations.  My father is on his third wife.  My mother is now single after more than 25 years of marriage to her second husband. My grandparents on both sides were divorced.  My dad’s-mother’s parents were divorced. My dad’s-mother’s-father’s parents were divorced.  All of which means that I have very little faith that any marriage will last.

Then there’s the political issue of marriage.  When this list of questions was first written, gay marriage was not yet legal, that was a struggle still in process.  I have a certain political opposition to the fight for gay marriage because I see it as largely a battle for middle-to-upper class white gays to try and reclaim their lost privilege, while screwing over those of us who don’t fit their assimilationist lifestyle.  It discriminates against those of us who don’t believe in monogamy, or who want to live a largely single lifestyle.  I am personally one of the people who favors the “destruction” of marriage as we know it.

At least the secular one, anyway.  Marriage should be the domain of the churches, and let each individual religious group decide for themselves how they want to recognize relationships.  But the legal benefits of marriage should be stripped away, and people should be given those benefits regardless of the status of their relationships.  There is no logical reason why hospital visitation rights should be based on marriage.  A power of attorney should be binding in a way that other family members should not be able to force it to be overridden.  This is where we really had the opportunity to liberate ourselves from the way things have been, and we blew it entirely.

And yet…

I am also the bride that has been planning her wedding since she was a little girl. (and yes, make no mistake, I would be a total bridezilla).  I have pinterest boards planning menus and favors, and flowers, and seating arrangements, and ceremony scripts, etc. etc. etc.  I’ve planned for weddings in either spring or fall, chosen potential colors, debated time of day to hold the ceremony, found locations…

I do want that celebration.  To bring my friends and family together to celebrate my relationship(s).  But I also have very specific ideas about what I want, what is important to me.  And the way things are for me right now, I don’t think I can have those things.  Those things are important enough for me that I would rather not do it at all if I can’t have those things.  For one, I want a religious ceremony, in my religion, and I don’t want to have separate ceremonies for different groups of people.  As things are now, this is pretty much impossible, because I am the only one in my quad who is actually out about everything.

The quad brings up another problem.  I am in a relationship with three other people.  If I’m going to have a Wedding, I want a ceremony with all of those people.  I’m pretty sure I’m the only one of us that actually wants this.  Two of my partners are already married, I was at their ceremony and my other partner and I were stuck to the side, having to pretend that we were just friends of the other two.  I don’t want that for my ceremony.  But again, I’m the only one of us who is out about everything.

And of course, a wedding costs money.  Money that I don’t have. And especially since I’m the one who has very definite plans for what they want, I should be footing a significant portion of the bill.  And where things are now, that’s just not going to happen.