Welcome to my final Dedicant Path essay!
I struggled for a long time with trying to decide whether to do my Dedicant Oath as a solitary ritual or with my Grove, Daoine dhen Tamais. I felt that a solitary ritual would probably be more powerful on a personal spiritual level. At the same time I felt that making it part of a Grove ritual would be a more powerful group experience and would help form stronger bonds within the group. In the end I decided to go with the Grove ritual…. after all, if I really feel it necessary I can always repeat it alone later on.
So it was that I arranged to make the oath at our Summer Solstice ritual. Alas, the fates conspired to make things a bit difficult for me. I had arranged to have the day off, as in fact I try to take all of the High Days off work as vacation days, to meditate and otherwise prepare myself for the ritual. Unfortunately, it turned out that I had to be in a training workshop which made taking the day off impossible. I’ll return to that later.
The ritual itself was quite interesting for a number of reasons which I won’t get in to here, although I would like to mention that for the first time I took the opportunity during the open offering part to make an offering to one of the gods of my Finnish ancestors for whom the Solstice was, in Pagan times, a celebration of the “Old Man”, Ukko. Thus I made a sacrifice to him, even learning the Finnish:
Oi Ukko, ylijumala, ilman kaiken kannattaja!
Anyway, after the blessing phase of the ritual, we entered the Oath, which part I fill in below. The oath was largely based on my First Oath.
Druid 4 addresses the group:
“We have given honour to the Sidhe and received their blessings.
Before we conclude this ritual, is there one here who would
make an oath on this solstice?”
Druid 1 (myself) steps forward, saying:
“Very well, as the tribe is your witness,
make your oath.
But know, too, that the gates remain open
and your words shall be heard by your ancestors,
and by the spirits of this land, and by
the Gods themselves. Speak well.”
D1 gives his Dedicant Oath:
As the new moon begins to wax
on this eve of the longest day of the year
a child of the earth enters the sacred grove
to make this oath before the gods
and amongst my tribe.
I, Kevin, swear that I shall follow the Old Ways
that I shall walk this world as a Pagan.
I swear that I shall keep the High Days sacred,
that I shall honour my Ancestors,
and I shall honour the Spirits of the Land,
and I shall honour the Old Gods.
I swear that I shall pursue wisdom, knowledge, creativity, and virtue in my life, and to do right by my kin, my friends, and my tribe.
I swear also that I shall honour our mother the Earth,
and shall seek peace and enlightenment in her wild places.
These things I name the path of a Druid,
and this path I swear here before you to follow.
Now, along this path I have a guide, the ancient White Hart, and to him I say:
“White Hart! Harbinger of Quests,
May you continue to lead me
into the tangled, wild, heart of the forest
where dwell the Mysteries of the Great Goddess.
White Hart, accept my sacrifice!”
(an offering of Glenfiddich is made)
Bíodh sé amhlaidh. So mote it be. My oath is made.
I would now take omens.
Tell me, guidance do my ancestors give me?
Tell me, what would the Spirits of the Land have me know?
Tell me, what do the Gods require of me?
(an omen is taken and recorded for each question)
“It is done. The oath has been made, and
you are bound by it, as we here are the witnesses.
May the symbol around your neck remind you
always of the words you have spoken.”
At least, that was the words as written.. I read the oath from memory and had to improvise a bit along the way and although I had to pause from time to time to collect my thoughts overall my words conveyed the intended meaning.
So, the Dedicant Path program asks for a ‘self-evaluation’ of the dedicant’s performance of the rite. To be honest, I’m really not sure what that means. Quite frankly, speaking the words seemed very much to me like repeating the obvious; everything I said were are all things that I have long known in my heart to be true, and mostly things that I already swore to in my First Oath. I may as well have taken an oath to continue breathing.
That said, it was still a powerful moment In particular, making my affirmation sacrifice to the White Hart was the most stirring part for me. Again, I wish that I had the day off to fully prepare and open myself to the voice and presence of the Kindred, but that was not to be. However, the workshop that I was in that day was the Franklin Covey “Great Leaders” workshop which I hope will actually help out with the whole Grove Organizer business, so am I not too put out by the way things worked out.
The divination aspect of the rite was new for me. I simply recorded the results of the omens (I used my Dali tarot deck) rather than trying to interpret their meaning, which I believe may take some time.. I have not yet spent much time working on divination skills!
In all, I do feel that I made the right choice in making this Oath a public event with the Grove. The act of sharing this moment with my tribe did indeed help bring us closer together; I could feel the a stronger bond being welded within the witnesses.
Now, onwards and upwards!
Full text of the ritual here