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Preparation for Ordination

On the morning of August 21, 2010, I awoke at dawn and began my morning prayers. I first sang the clergy charm through three times (as opposed to my usual one time) and then spoke my morning prayer to Usas.

Following this, I said the normal morning prayer that Maggie and I say each morning, and then I showered thoroughly.

When I returned to my cabin, I meditated for a few minutes, and then pulled a set of runes. These runes were:

  • Ancestors – Isa, Ice. I read this as a rune of contemplation, of turning inward and understanding what is beneath.
  • Nature Spirits – Kenaz, torch. I read this as the rune of the brightly-lit hall, which keeps the darkness at bay and extends fellowship.
  • Deities – Laguz, waters. This I read as a rune of the subconscious, of the overflowing and dark sacred waters.

I considered these runes for a time, marveling at the way these three omens spoke with one voice: Isa, the contemplation of the morning; Kenaz, the fire of those companions on my path; and Laguz, the rune of depth and flow, which bookended the reading in marvelous ways with Isa, the first rune. These were good omens, brought together.

I next began to plan fully my sacrifices and my prayers: I wanted to bring the "Priest's Prayer" I had written some time ago in, and to draw that into my oath. I wanted to speak in deeply cosmological ways about the Earth Mother and the Gatekeeper, as well as the Ancient Wise. I wanted to draw in the work I had done as an Initiate and as a Priest, and to allow those things to flow together in this rite.

And so I wrote my prayers out, rearranging them and updating them, working to bring them together.

I spent all morning studying, as if I was going to be tested by the folk later that day. I had wanted an "ordination test," but we couldn't get that together in time to do it justice; as a result, I decided to treat the ordination as a test, to allow it to place stress on me and force me to prove my worth. I spent the morning reading passages and prayers from The Fire On Our Hearth, our Grove devotional book. I found the parts I wanted to ensure I had committed to memory, and I expanded and worked on them until about noon, mostly alone.

Of course, I didn't realize just how "test-like" the process would be.

One of the things that we have decided to encourage for ordinations is the notion of a pre-ordination ritual, wherein the candidate will be taken to someplace in seclusion and prepared for his or her ordination. I asked specifically that Seamus, Art, and Joe run this for me (I was unable to ask Kirk to participate, as he was running my ordination ritual).

I had requested Seamus because he is as much a brother on this path as anyone could ever claim to be: he is strong where I am not, and I am strong where he is not. As a team, we are amazing. I requested Art because over the years I've come to know him very well, and I have learned to deeply respect his patience and judgment over time. There are days I wish I could be more like him. I requested Joe because he and I founded Three Cranes Grove, ADF, so long ago, and it has come so far: having him there built on the history that I so cherished locally.

I also gave them a list of additional people I wanted them to consider, and laid out the list of people I had wanted to ask to attend but who were unable to be at the festival. In the end, they chose to also request Maggie, Nick, and Leesa, each of whom was an excellent choice for this ritual.

I was taken down to the spring that flows near Camp Clifton, down to the gorge. There, I removed my clothes and Seamus led me on a meditation. In addition, each person brought a gift and a short meditation about one of the primary spirit allies in my life, including Esus, Teutates, a certain fox, the cockroach, and the Crane.

It was strange to me, but my time with the fox affected me very deeply: as I sat with the fox on the meadow we always come to, he showed me the contents of the pouch he carries. There was a depth of feeling, and I found myself on the verge of tears.

During the meditation, two things happened: First, some rather annoying hikers stumbled upon us and started shouting at us during the meditation. Key things I recall were one of them shouting, "Better call the cops! There's some people doin' some homosexual things up there!" and randomly shouting out annoying phrases. Seamus re-framed this during the meditation into "the test of concentration," which made me smile, because it was the kind of test I was interested in from the beginning. The second thing I remember well was that, as I meditated and pushed past the annoyances, our Outdwellers portion was answered with a gentle, soothing rain that drove the annoying hikers away.

Throughout it all, I kept my mind on the task at hand. I saw vividly the images before me, and I overcame the tests thrown at me.

At the end of the rite, those who had come forth bathed me in the waters of the spring, washing away who I was and giving me new perspective on who I am. I found myself with gifts physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

And it was then that we transitioned into the ordination rite itself.

Essays and Articles on Ordination:


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