Liturgy 1: Ritual Roles

Describe some of the roles individuals might take on within the context of ritual.

In Druid ritual, the number and types of roles which individuals might take on is only limited by the imagination of the liturgist and the number and abilities of the participants.

Within my own Grove, we identify 11 separate and distinct roles as part of our standard liturgy.  These are the lead Druid whose role is to lead the group unity meditation, provide the statement of purpose, keep the ritual on track, and call for the blessings; two roles for cleansing and purifying the space; one to offer the Earth Mother prayer; one to bless of the hallows; separate roles for the invocations to the Gatekeeper, the three Kindred, and the Outsiders; and finally a seer to take the omen.  In practice we usually have about six people sharing these roles amongst ourselves.  Sometimes, however, these roles can be expanded; at Samhain, for instance, our invocation to the Ancestors is much more elaborate and can require multiple people playing different parts. To supplement these standardized roles, we also have a Chief Bard whose role it is to lead and close out chants and other musical components of the ritual.

In addition to the standardized part of our liturgy, the key offerings section usually involves multiple roles.  These can include individuals who personify a God or Goddess being honoured, actors in a ritual drama, or a triad of people performing the sacrifice.

Finally, even those who do not have a specified part still play important roles in Druid ritual, whether by engaging in meditation, chant, or offerings, everyone has a role to play.

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