Oath Rite

11. The text of the Dedicant’s Oath Rite and a self-evaluation of the Dedicant’s performance of the rite. (500 word min.)

My Dedicant Oath ritual was completed with Nine Waves Grove on March 29th, 2019, exactly 358 days after attending my first Grove meeting and immediately joining ADF national, so strong was my internal yes to the group. The rite was conducted extemporaneously by my Grove Priest, Reverend Lauren Mart, who also happens to be our Senior Druid, and witnessed by several of my Grove-mates as well as my husband and best friend, who are supportive of me but not religious individuals.  The ritual was full core order focused on working with the energies rather than specific deities; the Grove is pan-IE and I practice in a Celtic hearth so the rite ended up being non-specific, calling on the “Earth Mother” and “Gatekeepers,” the “Mighty Dead,” “Noble Ones,” and “Shining Ones.” The ritual was conducted outside on the grounds of the UU church where the Grove meets under a lovely tree next to a burbling fountain for our well. We have a new agnihotra kit for indoor or simple ritual use when we cannot use our large firepit outside due to weather or other constraints. Mine is the first ritual at which we used it and it was lovely, although the tablets burn for such a short time that we had to go through several. In fact, we had so much difficulty lighting them because of the breeze that we ended the rite with no active flame, although our “hearth” was still set up.

After inviting the Kindreds, the key offerings section was used for me to make my offerings to those beings most important to me. I made offerings to the Bayou Woman, a local nature spirit whose wisdom has run deep into my life, and to Brighid, Who first grabbed my attention on this path and with Whom I have developed a devotional relationship that has led me to further explore healing, transformative works, poetry, and seership. Rev. Lauren took the omen using runes. The Ancestors offered me Mann—community. The Nature Spirits offered me Ior—flexibility and adapting to changing circumstances. The Shining Ones offered me Cen—the torchlight welcoming me into the communal hall. This was a personally very meaningful omen. Much of what I have been working through in my life this last year has been building community and developing flexibility as I work to release rigidly perfectionistic worldviews and ways of being in the world and judging my own worth (or lack thereof). I have sought as well to draw closer to the Kindreds. I have been completing Dedicant Days as described in the CTP Prelim work once a month since January of this year and have a personal practice that includes daily morning and evening prayer, twice weekly meditation sessions, and offerings made at least weekly. Drawing into that warm light and doing the work needed in my community is a large part of what this is all about to me.

After the Waters of Life were shared with all my community who came to bear witness to my Oath, I made the oath itself. It was as follows: “As I approach this fire, well, and tree, my fire within burns brightly, my waters flow, and I stand at the center of all. Here, I call upon the Kindreds to bear witness to my oath. May the Mighty Dead hear me, you who guide and guard, who tread these many paths before me; be welcome. May the Noble Ones hear me, nature kin and spirits, you whose wisdom and ways teach and inspire us; be welcome. May the Shining Ones hear me, first Children of the Mother, You Whose virtue orders the Worlds; be welcome. May my Lady Brighid, here me, You Who flames and flows in me, You Who blesses me and shapes me; be welcome. I call upon my community, my Grove, this chosen family of spirit and heart, to hear me; be welcome.

I ask that you bear witness to this Oath, my dedication. I swear that I shall walk the path of my heart and soul, the path of spiritual embodiment and virtue in the Worlds for as long as it is well for me to do so. I swear that I shall seek wisdom and skill in the elder ways, celebrating those days that are sacred, exploring the wilderness within and without, and building community and hospitality with all who come with honor. I swear that I shall continue to walk the Druid path as long as it is the way most right and proper for the fulfilling of this oath. Regardless of its name, my path shall be one of honoring the Earth, living virtuously, studying diligently, experiencing deeply, and serving my kith, kin, and community in whatever way is most fitting. These things I swear by the well that flows in me, by the fire that burns in me, and the tree that roots and crowns my soul.  Mighty Ones, Nobles One, Shining Ones, my Grove and kin, accept my oath!”

As the Oath was made, the wind whipped through the trees, and my Grove community witnessed and accepted my promises. We noted during the time I made my offerings a small bird perched on the roof of the church watching us intently. The words flowed clearly and I did not really need to reference the notecard in my hand. My offerings earlier had not been scripted at all, and the words flowed from me smoothly with the upwelling of emotion I felt at giving honor to these spirits who have so blessed my path and nurtured my growth. Although the ritual was brief, only about 25 minutes in total length, there was intense energy in the circle as the offerings were made and through the conclusion of the Rite. In particular, Brighid’s energy could be felt and several of my Grove mates commented on the Strength of Her presence. We gave thanks to the Kindreds for joining us at our fire and witnessing this Rite then closed the Gates and thanked the Earth Mother for always upholding us as we seek to walk lightly on Her ways. Everyone gave me hugs and congratulated me on finishing the work of the Dedicant Oath. Finally, we went to eat dinner as a Grove to celebrate. I look forward to the next steps on my Path, discovering the many places my journeys will take me, and the communities, skills, and relationships I will be privileged to help build for myself and others.

DEDICANT OATH TEXT

As I approach this fire, well, and tree, my fire within burns brightly, my waters flow, and I stand at the center of all. Here, I call upon the Kindreds to bear witness to my oath. May the Mighty Dead hear me, you who guide and guard, who tread these many paths before me; be welcome. May the Noble Ones hear me, nature kin and spirits, you whose wisdom and ways teach and inspire us; be welcome. May the Shining Ones hear me, first Children of the Mother, You Whose virtue orders the Worlds; be welcome. May my Lady Brighid, here me, You Who flames and flows in me, You Who blesses me and shapes me; be welcome. I call upon my community, my Grove, this chosen family of spirit and heart, to hear me; be welcome.

I ask that you bear witness to this Oath, my dedication. I swear that I shall walk the path of my heart and soul, the path of spiritual embodiment and virtue in the Worlds for as long as it is well for me to do so. I swear that I shall seek wisdom and skill in the elder ways, celebrating those days that are sacred, exploring the wilderness within and without, and building community and hospitality with all who come with honor. I swear that I shall continue to walk the Druid path as long as it is the way most right and proper for the fulfilling of this oath. Regardless of its name, my path shall be one of honoring the Earth, living virtuously, studying diligently, experiencing deeply, and serving my kith, kin, and community in whatever way is most fitting. These things I swear by the well that flows in me, by the fire that burns in me, and the tree that roots and crowns my soul.  Mighty Ones, Nobles One, Shining Ones, my Grove and kin, accept my oath!

**My Dedicant Path work was approved as submitted on May 20th, 2019

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