Red Oak Grove Ritual

The Intention of Our Rite
Any Druidic ritual has as a primary intention the re-weaving of the links between human-kind, the natural world, and the Gods and Spirits who support both. For thousands of years human culture lived in more or less intimate communion with the unseen worlds. Over the centuries these ties have been weakened, until our modern materialism is endangering the very air and water that sustains our life. We work to reconnect with the powers of Land, Sea and Sky, honoring the spirit that is in them as well as their physical realities.

As with any religious path we also seek blessings for ourselves, our families and communities. We open our hearts to the flow of divine blessing that comes from our Gods. We seek also to awaken that same divine spark in our own souls, so we can bless the world in return.

�r nDra�ocht F�in is a dynamic part of the Neopagan movement, one of the fastest-growing religions in America. From our beginnings we've been committed to serving the whole Pagan community. Druidic worship is open and inclusive. We welcome Pagans of every tradition and path, as well as those who want to learn more about Druidry or pagan ways in general. We ask only that you respect our ways; you can expect the same from us.

Some Conventions of Druidic Ritual
Our rites are open and inclusive. We do not close our circles, and you are free to come and go as you please during the rite. We ask only that you be respectfully quiet and attentive when within earshot of the ritual.

You are welcome to perform a Praise Offering, dedicated to the Gods, the Ancestors or the Nature Spirits, or any of their members. This can be a song, a poem or a simple statement of thanks. It can be accompanied by a physical sacrifice, if you like, which could be a coin, a flower or something more valuable. We ask that you not applaud the Praise Offerings, rather give the energy of your appreciation to the Patrons.

Three Principles of Druidic Worship

The outer form of our worship, like all ceremony, is made up of spoken prayers, invocations and statements combined with traditional actions. All ritual speech is made by humans to help turn our minds more effectively toward the Divine. Druidry teaches that beautiful speech, poetry or music pleases and influences the Powers, and so we fill our rites with these things to the best of our ability.

A central action of our rites is the giving of gifts to the Powers. This is commonly called sacrifice (Latin: to make sacred). We teach that the Gods and Spirits are strengthened by our offerings, and show their gratitude by blessing the givers. We offer our Gods and Goddesses flowers, food, drink, incense and scented oil, precious metals and gems, poetry and song, but never blood.

The soul-skills that bind Pagan worship together are the techniques of meditation and trance. By concentrating our minds on the symbols and words of the rite, by relaxing our bodies and letting go of our internal dialogue and by strongly visualizing the rite's energy flows and Deities we induce a state of mind that allows contact with Inner worlds.

In every Druidic rite there will be a series of spoken instructions intended to help induce this trance. Following these suggestions with an open mind will deepen your experience. Remember that all such guidance is just that; you are in control of your state of mind at all times. Yet it is through consenting to trance that you can know our Magic best.

These three principles - ritual, sacrifice and trance combine to produce the magic of Druidic worship.

The Three Gates
Druid Magic is based on defining a Sacred Center and opening a Gate between the Worlds from there. There are three traditional symbols that comprise the Gate:
* The Well - a doorway to the Past and our Ancestors, also a favorite of Brid's.
* The Fire - a tunnel to the Future and the Gods.
* The Tree - The symbol of the Whole, connecting all Three Worlds and a favorite of the Nature Spirits.

A Brief Outline of Red Oak Ritual

The members of the Grove will prepare the Nyfed (Welsh for Nemeton, or Sacred Grove). Someone will brief the celebrants about what to expect during the Ritual. A brief period will be set aside for individual meditations and preparations.

The celebrants will proceed from the meeting place to the Nyfed, chanting a song to prepare them. After a Call to Worship we will sing a Unity Chant to develop a group bond. We will acknowledge the 'Outsiders' - those who do not follow our path. After asking for Bardic assistance from Brid, we'll explain the purpose of this Ritual and describe the Deities being honored today.

The Ritualists will cleanse each other and the rest of the Celebrants. Face the outside of the Circle and hold out your hands to receive the water.

We honor Don and An Dagda. We invoke Manawydan to help open the Gates between the Worlds. We honor the Three Kindreds then anoint each celebrant with them. We invoke four special Deities: Brid, Llew, Rhiannon and Cernunnos, who represent to us the four basic phases of life: Birth, Action, Achievement and Death. Other special Deities might be invoked at this time, also.

Here you can express your own praises and gratitude to the Powers. You may address any Deity or entity that you wish. We will perform a divination to see how we can expect to receive the return Blessings. Those Blessings will be called down into the Waters of Life - one will be Blessed Water, the other will be Whisky or Ale. If there is to be an magical working or celebration of a Rite of Passage, it will occur at this time.

We will thank the individual Gods we called for joining us and Blessing our Rite. We will thank the Three Kindreds. We will again honor Don and An Dagda. We will sing a closing chant together and end the Ritual.

Please stay afterwards and enjoy some refreshments and fellowship as we relax and bask in the Blessings we have just received.