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The Rite of Ordination

The Ordination of Rev. Michael J Dangler
On August 21, 2010, I was ordained as an ADF Senior Priest. The rite took place at 3 PM, and for the first portion of the rite (all the way through the majority of the Key Offerings, as I made the final offerings there), I was in meditation at the edge of the circle. Rev. Kirk Thomas, Archdruid of ADF, called me forth to make my offerings, and Rev. James "Seamus" Dillard brought me forth.

The rain began to fall just as I was called forth, and it quickly became a deafening downpour. I saw this in two ways: first, as the test of my skill that I had desperately wanted, and second, as a "going away present" from a certain goddess.

These are the words spoken during my offerings:

My offerings as a Priest (actual words from the service, which was recorded):
A child of Earth calls out: A child too of starry heaven.

First, to the Ancestors:
You who walked these ways,
You who gave the first sacrifice,
Who stood before us where we stand,
And received that first cup of blessing.
Hear my words!

To the Spirits of Nature:
You who have stood by us,
Who wrote the contracts we have with the land,
Who sing to us,
Who were that first sacrifice.
Hear my words!

To the Gods and Goddesses all:
You who received that sacrifice,
You to whom we call out,
You who listen to us and guide us.
Hear my words!

To the Earth Mother:
You who were giant's flesh until the sacrifice that portioned you out;
You, who with the sky, rain down blessings upon us;
I call out now. To you, I make offering.
Earth Mother, accept my sacrifice.
    [All repeat: Earth Mother, accept his sacrifice]

To the Ancient Wise:
You who walk with our clergy,
You who walk with each of us,
There are ties that bind us, that hold us fast.
I call out now, and I make this offering to you.
Ancient Wise, accept my sacrifice!
    [All repeat: Ancient Wise, accept his sacrifice]

At the center of worlds, there stands a crane.
One foot holding the land in place,
One foot plumbing the depths of the waters,
His eye raised in sharp gaze to the heavens.
This, Children, is Garanus, the Gatekeeper.

I call out now to Garanus:
You who have guided me, you who have walked with me
I come before you, offering in hand,
And I make sacrifice to you!
Garanus, accept my sacrifice!
    [All repeat: Garanus, accept his sacrifice!]

One more I call.
You, who stand at the base of the tree;
You, who stand with the bull and the crane;
You, who guide our hand;
You, who walk with us;
You, gentle gardener.
I call out now, for you have given to me the most
And you will continue to give.
So I call: Teutates! Esus! The god who stands with me!

Hear my words on the fire,
Hear my voice in the well,
As I speak my oath today.
Esus-Teutates, accept my sacrifice!
    [All repeat: Esus-Teutates, accept his sacrifice!]

My offerings were:

  1. Ancestors – a silver ring of my own, representing my self-reliance
  2. Nature Spirits – Mistletoe that is Grove-won, representing my connection to the Grove
  3. Deities – Oil from the community oil bowl, representing my commitment to the rite of sacrifice on behalf of the folk
  4. Earth Mother – Hazelnut oil, representing the wisdom of the cycles of nature
  5. Ancient Wise – String from a knife my grandfather gave me, representing the ties that bind us to those with much to give
  6. Garanus – A porcelain medallion with cranes upon it, representing the Crane in my heart.
  7. Esus-Teutates – An axe (handle to the fire, head to the well), in echo and reaffirmation of my Dedicant Oath and recognition of the lessons I have learned from him.

Additionally, I requested that Missy sing "Teutates," as it is only right that a song inspired by devotion to the work of the Grove and our oft-unnamed Patron be sung at the rite.

My answer to the question of who has lit my path (the lineage of ADF Senior Priests):

Children of Earth, my path has been lit by many.

First was Fox, who built upon the foundation, who brought us courage and patience. He was the first among us, in 1994.

Next came Isaac, the one whose vision started this all. He who has gone to join the Ancient Wise in the Mound.

After him came Skip. He has brought us secret languages, words that have been forgotten, but brought back into this realm.

Next came Ian, who brought wonder and wisdom, who brought us a connection with the Ancient Wise, one that may have been lost without him.

Next came Errach, who brought us the phases of the moon, and taught us the lore that surrounded them.

Next came Bryan, who brought art to our Art, and found new ways to express what we do, and brought us new ways to say what we say.

Next came Kirk. Kirk has brought us Presence. The ability to stand before others, to be the Church that Isaac wanted us to be, to understand that sometimes, a little bit of theatre goes a long way.

These are those who have illuminated my journey.

N.B. on above: Fox finished the old "Superdruid" program before it was suspended, then at a retreat in 2002, Isaac was ordained by Skip (in Skip's office as Archdruid), then Isaac ordained Skip, Ian, Errach, and Bryan. Kirk was ordained by Skip in 2010 at Wellspring. 8 years from our first to our second set of ordinations, then 8 years from our second to third set of ordinations.

I also made an oath as an ADF Senior Priest. Traditionally this oath only includes the last two lines of the below, but I felt that there was more to be said as I took it:

I have come to the place of sacrifice.
I have poured oil upon the Fire,
I have poured milk upon the stone,
I have silvered the well,
And I have honoured the Earth.
All these things I have done.
My hand steers the heaven-bound boat.
I am a Priest of the People, I am a Priest of the Gods.

I pledge to love the land, to serve the folk, and to honour the gods.
To this, I dedicate my head, my heart and my hands.

For the full transcript of the rite, as seen in the video: Transcript of my Ordination.

After my offerings were made, I was called on to make the final sacrifice, and to bless the folk with in the Unity Rite. This was done, and it was good.

After that, Kirk presented me with my stole, the symbol of my ordination as an ADF Senior Priest. The stole is white with ADF logos on the bottom of each side, with Ian's Cosmos Sigil on either side.

It was the placing of the stole over my head that truly deepened the work of the day. After blessing the waters and filling the folk with the power of the spirits, Kirk took the stole around and had the folk sing their blessings into it. As they sang, I meditated on the gift I was about to receive, on the omens and the blessings that flowed through me, and on all those who could not be there.

I bowed my head and allowed Kirk to place the stole upon my shoulders, and as it came to a rest, a feeling of electricity and power ran over my body: I felt the presence of the community and the omens flowing through me, building and empowering me to do the work I had just sworn to do. It was a deep working, and I felt renewed and rejuvenated by it.

Essays and Articles on Ordination:


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