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Naturalist Druid Ritual

1. Suggested Naturalist ritual opening and closing
2. Alternative version for solitary ritual or initiation
3. An alternative version of the Gorsedd Prayer
4. The Constitution and Prayer of the Druid Caretaker



1. Suggested Naturalist ritual opening and closing

by cursuswalker

The following ritual is an attempt to take the usual format for opening and closing Ritual, revising it for a Naturalist Druid ritual. The basis of this ritual is that used in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, only because that is the format most familiar to the author (Cursuswalker). Hopefully further examples will be added as time goes on:

OPENING

(Participants gather in a circle)

Words of welcome to the gathering

(Facing in each of the directions while speaking)

May there be peace in the North
May there be peace in the South
May there be peace in the West
May there be peace in the East

ALL: May there be peace throughout the whole world

A circle will now be marked to indicate that this is ritual space and that all that takes place within this circle is sacred.

(One participant either marks a circle out visibly or walks the outside of the ritual space to indicate the space.)

Let us offer this circle Earth to symbolise reality, Air to symbolise Intellect, Fire to indicate Life and Water to symbolise Creativity and Emotion.

(Four participants walk the circle. One offers a stone for each participant to hold briefly. One offers a feather. One offers burning incense. One offers a bowl of water)

Let us recognise the four directions and that which we associate with them.

(All face the direction as it is recognised)

East: We face the East, and recognise the element of Air, the vastness of Space, the rising Sun, Springtime and the Intellect of those gathered here.

All: Hail and welcome!

South: We face the South, and recognise the element of Fire, the Energy of all things, the Noon Sun, Summer, the Descendants and the Passion of those gathered here.

All: Hail and welcome!

West: We face the West, and recognise the element of Water, the passing of Time, the setting Sun, Autumn and the Emotions of those gathered here.

All: Hail and welcome!

North: We face the North, and recognise the element of Earth, all that is Matter, the night, winter, the Ancestors and the Groundedness of those gathered here.

All: Hail and welcome!

Let us speak the words of the Druid Declaration

All: Protection
And in Protection Strength
And in Strength, Understanding
And in Understanding, Knowledge
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice
And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it
And in the Love of it, the Love of All Existences
And in the Love of All Existences,
The Love of (God of Goddess/Deity/the Ancestors) and of All Goodness.

(Three Awens are intoned)



THE MAIN BODY OF THE RITUAL TAKES PLACE WITHIN THE CIRCLE.


CLOSING

Let us speak the words of the Druid Oath three times

All: We swear
By peace and love to stand
Heart to Heart and Hand in Hand
May all who can, hear us now,
confirming this, our Sacred Vow.

Let us recognise, once again, the four directions and that which we associate with them.

(All face the direction as it is recognised)

East: We face the East, and recognise the element of Air, the vastness of Space, the rising Sun, Springtime and the Intellect of those gathered here.

All: Hail and farewell!

South: We face the South, and recognise the element of Fire, the Energy of all things, the Noon Sun, Summer, the Descendants and the Passion of those gathered here.

All: Hail and farewell!

West: We face the West, and recognise the element of Water, the passing of Time, the setting Sun, Autumn and the Emotions of those gathered here.

All: Hail and farewell!

North: We face the North, and recognise the element of Earth, all that is Matter, the night, winter, the Ancestors and the Groundedness of those gathered here.

All: Hail and farewell!

(The circle is walked once again in the opposite direction to that in which it was first marked.)

Words of closing to the gathering

END OF RITUAL

2. Alternative version for solitary ritual or initiation

by Melhael

"In the "circle" part I have tried to go "from the outside to the inside", by mentioning something of the general world, then something of mine. Then the "Uncreated" bit is about the thought that in this universe nothing is ever created or destroyed: all that energy does is change / be given new "shape". The energy that is today the atoms making my body, my consciousness, where once a whole lot of other things, they were always around and they will "forever" (or as long as there is a universe, presumably)."


"Casting" of the circle
The circle is marked with stones, candles or just by walking, saying the following words:
I mark this space as sacred
I set it apart with... / by... -ing

Then "offerings" are presented to the Quarters, entering from the West and starting to the North:
To the North I offer Earth to symbolize matter & reality.
To the East I offer Air to symbolize knowledge & intellect.
To the South I offer Fire to symbolize life & will.
To the West I offer Water to symbolize emotions & creativity.

... or skip and do the "offering" bit saying the following:

Starting to the East, the "casting" of the circle is finalized:

I face the East and acknowledge the element of Air,
the vastness of space and my own intellect.
Hail & Welcome!

I face the South and acknowledge the element of Fire,
the power of life, and my own passion and will.
Hail & Welcome!

I face the West and acknowledge the element of Water,
the passing of time, inspiration and my own emotions.
Hail & Welcome!

I face the North and acknowledge the element of Earth,
all that is matter, my own body and the touch of my feet on the ground.
Hail & Welcome!

Facing the centre:
The circle is cast! / This circle is marked as a sacred space!

Before the ceremony

A candle is placed in the centre of the circle and the following words are said:
I light this candle as a symbol of the Uncreated:
the Energy that is all, ever and everywhere,
that is both the Source and the water in the Well
And of which a part is [light the candle] Me!

Then the Druid Declaration is recited:
May Nature receive and grant me Protection
And in Protection, Strength
And in Strength, Understanding
And in Understanding, Knowledge
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice
And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of It
And in the Love of It, the Love of All Existences
And in the Love of All Existences
The love of Truth and All Goodness

Closing
The Druid Oath is recited three times:
I swear to all
By peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart, and hand in hand.
May all who can, hear me now,
Confirming this, my sacred vow!

"Uncasting" of the circle
From North to East, the following is said:
I face the North and acknowledge the element of Earth,
all that is matter, my own body and the touch of my feet on the ground.
Hail & Farewell!

I face the West and acknowledge the element of Water,
the passing of time, inspiration and my own emotions.
Hail & Farewell!

I face the South and acknowledge the element of Fire,
the power of life, and my own passion and will.
Hail & Farewell!

I face the East and acknowledge the element of Air,
the vastness of space and my own intellect.
Hail & Farewell!

Facing the centre:
The circle is uncast! / This sacred space is no more... or any other words that feel right.

As the central candle is extinguished, these closing words are said:
This ritual / ceremony of... is closed in the World
May its inspiration continue within my being.


3. An alternative version of the Gorsedd Prayer

suggested by White Horse

Grant through Truth our Protection
And in Protection, Strength
And In Strength, Understanding
And in Understanding, Knowledge
And In Knowledge, the Knowledge of Justice
And in the Knowledge of Justice, the Love of it
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences
And in the Love of all existences,
The Love of Truth, of Peace and All Goodness

WH's comment: Truth is important for Druids and particularly for Naturalist Druids who tend to have a firm notion of objective truth and the value of science and critical thinking for discovering Truth. Druid Naturalists as Truth seekers are also a little notorious for questioning established notions and for not going along with the polite idea that every viewpoint must be accorded equal respect. I think that earnestly seeking Truth, including the Truth of self-awareness, provides Protection from the harmful effects of its opposite: delusion, deception and prejudice.

4. The Constitution and Prayer of the Druid Caretaker

Reproduced here with kind permission, from the Constitution and Prayer of the Caretaker by phill.stonehenge, the following words are suggested as a possible blessing/closing words:

"We seek a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, a compassion for all and a constant eye to the service of the People & Planet. May we live in the light of these ideals, may we be true brothers and sisters, may the Blessings of the People & Planet be upon us, all."



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