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The ADF Core Order of Ritual as Mexican Burrito

(and Other Things in Your Grocery Store)

The recent clarification of ADF's Core Order of Ritual by the Clergy Council made for some interesting waves on the ADF-Liturgists email list. The Clergy Council has been working to ensure that the revised COoR is fully understood by the membership since then.

Those who know me well know I love two things greatly: food and laughter. To that end, I've decided that I would like to help other ADF members understand the COoR through a little bit of each: How does ADF ritual resemble food?

ADF Ritual as Mexican Burrito

I'm not a big fan of Mexican food, personally. But this was the first thing that struck me, back even before we had agreed on the revised COoR.

A burrito is a simple thing, really: it is a tortilla wrapped around some kind of filling that is tasty to you. Burritos can be ordered in all manner of ways, so they are an ideal way to describe how solitary ADF ritual is designed.

When you work on a solitary ADF ritual, you have a lot of freedom. The COoR gives you a very general outline of steps to work in. Particularly, this outline will be your tortilla: it is soft, malleable, and can hold pretty much anything you put into it.

There are many types of burritos: beef, chicken, tofu, bean, etc. If you wanted to think of your "meat" as your hearth culture, you wouldn't be far from the truth.

The "meat" you put into it, though, helps determine your other culturally-correct ingredients. You might add a citrus zest to your chicken burrito, but you wouldn't do that with beef: likewise, you might toast and boast in a Norse rite, but it would taste kinda funny in a Greek rite.

Of course, like the burrito, you want to make sure that your ritual is well-designed for your particular needs, wants, and tastes, and it has to hold everything inside: too much "zest" can make it soggy and cause things to fall through, and too much "meat" will cause the tortilla to burst at the seams. It ceases to be a burrito once everything falls out.

Finally, I'd hate to see an ADF ritual sending you running to the bathroom twenty minutes after you finish it. Don't put in anything that doesn't agree with you!

ADF Ritual as Oreo Cookie

Cookies, of course, are designed to be shared. Or horded, if you're like me, but I hope you're not (your sharing of cookies means more for me). Because of that, I use Oreos to describe how a group ritual is set up. I posted this originally to ADF-Liturgists when this issue first came up:

ADF ritual is like an Oreo cookie. It's got a solidly defined beginning and a solidly defined ending. But the best part, the part everyone likes and that the makers of Oreos advertise, is not the solid chocolate cookies, but that weird, delicious, creamy center. ADF ritual is just like that.

With public ritual, it's important to get everyone, whether they're new at this or consider it old hat, onto the same page. That's why there's so much "setting up". In order to ensure that the rituals have their desired effect (and to make sure that everyone knows that they're eating an Oreo that will taste like an Oreo . . . I mean, attending an ADF rite with the correct cosmological world-view), we always start the ritual with the same steps. We create the cosmos in every ritual, defining it and showing people what it is (kinda like you show people an Oreo and they know what it is from the outer cookies, regardless of what colour the inner creme is) so that everyone starts on the same page.

Putting in the rich creamy center is, I'm afraid, your responsibility :) Whether you create a double-stuffed ritual, a classical ADF single-stuffing rite, a minty-green spring ritual, or a double-chocolate rite, well, that's up to you. But it's got to maintain it's Oreo-ness: it's got to keep its form. Otherwise you might have people thinking you're whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, or Grasshoppers, or even s'mores. That's fine and dandy, but everyone came for an Oreo. So give 'em the ADF rite they came for: put the proper cookies on the outside of the creme, and they'll go home happy.

ADF Ritual as Sandwich

Between the large group and the individual is the small-group ritual. I liken this to a sandwich because sandwiches are made for intimate get-togethers: romantic picnic lunches, family dinners on cold days, and friends in front of the game on TV.

The sandwich is something between two pieces of bread. It's been that way since the Earl of Sandwich created it, and it still is. Here, of course, the bread is your COoR, and what you put into it will be what makes it unique.

My fondest memory of sandwiches as a child, though, was of my mother making a sandwich for me, cutting half for me, and then sitting with me and eating the other half. I got to tell my mom what I wanted in the sandwich, and she would make it. Then we'd both eat it together.

ADF ritual can be like this, too: bread is a given (though you can always choose your kind of bread). But a small group can inform someone what they want in the sandwich (maybe even bring some of the ingredients on their own), and that individual can oversee putting it together with a lot of input from his or her friends. Once the sandwich is ready and made, everyone can share in the creation equally.

There are many other things you can liken ADF ritual to: I thought of using pies, casseroles, and even an ice cream sundae. But in the end, the important thing to remember is that the COoR is not about telling you how to do your ritual, but it's about giving you the most basic building-blocks to create something that really, deeply appeals to your tastes.


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