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Opening and Closing the Gates

-Michael J Dangler
Three Cranes Grove, ADF

This essay is a short introduction about how I open the Gates when I'm in solitary ritual or doing a daily devotion. It can also be used by Groves for a larger rite, but Three Cranes has since ceased using this particular set of movements most of the time, though they still show up sometimes.

As always, how you open the Gates is up to you. This is just one option. A few variations will be described at the end.

When I started attending ritual with The 6th Night Grove, ADF, I felt real power at the opening of the gates. I borrowed their Gate opening movements for my own rituals, and continued to use them when I founded Three Cranes Grove, ADF. Recently, Three Cranes has moved away from this particular gate opening, but we still use it when we're looking for something more low-key (or the person leading does not wish to get really, really dizzy and fall down).

The process I go though when I am ready to open the Gates is fairly simple, as is the closing of the gates. It's a simple four-line part in both cases:

Opening the Gates:

Let the Well open as a Gate. [video]
Let the Fire open as a Gate. [video]
Let the Tree stand at the Center of all the Worlds. [video]
Let the Gates be open!
If you watch the above videos, you'll see that I'm making motions with my hand, and that I have my hand in a certain position (or mudra, if you must).

I picked up this hand position sort of naturally, I think. I don't know if anyone showed me how to do it, or if I saw someone else do it, or if it just felt right. But here's the hand position I use for describing the knot I'll describe in a second:


I personally always use my right hand for this action.

The motions follow what's called a "trinity knot" or a "triquettra" nowadays, but it's really just simple knotwork to me.

Here's what it looks like:

And this is the direction it goes (start at the red dot and follow the arrows):

When I open the gates, as I'm saying, "Let the Gates be open!" I usually also hold my hands apart, something like this:

Closing the Gates:

Let the Well be only water. [video]
Let the Fire be only flame. [video]
Let the Tree be just a tree. [video]
Let all be as it was before. Let the Gates be closed!
And this is the direction it goes (start at the red dot and follow the arrows):

Again, this is only one way to open them. I've also seen spirals, triskells, and the turning of imaginary doorknobs to represent opening the gates. Each person will find their own way to do it.


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