CTP-1 Litergical Writing

  1. Describe how ADF’s order of ritual expresses the following concepts: “Serving the people”; “Reaffirming shared beliefs”; “Reestablishing the cosmic order”; “Building enthusiasm”. (Min. 500 words)

                The Core Order of Ritual (COoR) is a central part of ADF tradition. Through it we communicate with our Kindreds as well as our patrons and, hopefully, receive their blessings in return.  Beyond this, the Order of Ritual also does the following:

Reaffirms shared beliefs

Reestablishes the cosmic order

Builds enthusiasm

Serves the people

Reaffirming Shared Beliefs

When looking at the COoR, one of the steps is “Purpose and Precedent” (ADF Core Order). This step allows participants to reflect on why the ritual is taking place (Bonewits 29) and how others have previously celebrated the same occasion or rite of passage.  This links the participants to everyone, past, and present, that has celebrated that occasion using this format.  Honoring the same three Kindred and hallowing the same elements of the center (Our Own Druidry 20) reaffirms shared beliefs by remaining the participants that even though the patrons or pantheons may change from rite to rite, the foundations of the tradition remain the same.

Re-establishing the Cosmic Order

In this life we strive to figure out who we are and where we fit in the grand scheme of things as well as how to make sense out of the chaos that is life. The COoR helps us plant a “We Are Here” flag though the formation of the Sacred Center (Bonewits 31).  When the center is established we are saying “This is where we are in relation to everything else in the cosmos”.  Once we know where we are, we can more confidently interact with everything around us.

A second way the COoR establishes order is through the Order of Ritual itself.  It gives participants an exact set of instructions for building a ritual within the ADF cosmology.  It is our roadmap and instruction manual.  It tells us what should be done in what order so that the ritual is as effective as possible (ADF Core Order).

We can reestablish the cosmos through sacrifice.  There are many myths where a deity is sacrificed in order to create the universe or the world.  By doing this we in effect reenact the creation of the cosmos (Newburg 25).


Builds Enthusiasm

The COoR builds enthusiasm through the use of dramatic timing.  In drama there is a cycle of emotion building.  It starts slowly and gradually the tension or excitement builds until it reaches its peak and is then released (“Understanding Theater”).  The COoR builds energy through the timing of each step and the offerings and sacrifices.  The energy keeps flowing and building from the beginning and should ramp up all the way until the main offering when it is all focused and directed for a certain purpose (Bonewits 33-35).

A different kind of enthusiasm is built from being in a community that shares your passions and allows you to be yourself.  The excitement and enthusiasm that a person has for their religion or tradition can grow through the act of participating in a well done ritual.

Serving the People

I put this one last because one of the ways the COoR serves the people is by doing the three things discussed above.  When beliefs are reaffirmed, a person may feel more comfortable with their own practices knowing that there are others out there doing the same or similar things.  When the cosmic order is reestablished, it gives the people an anchor in time and space.  They know where they are and where they fit.  This provides a sense of security.  Building enthusiasm allows participants to openly worship without fear of reprisal.  They can dance, chant, sing, or do other energy building things in ritual that they may not be able to do in the “mundane” world. It also allows then to take that sense of energetic affirmation home with them and help them re-infuse their personal devotions and rituals with new found zeal.

The people are also served through the COoR by the Return Flow (Bonewits 35-39).  This is the portion of the ritual where, in return for the many offering given to the Kindred and Deities of Occasion, we ask that they give us a blessing in return.  This blessing is bestowed upon all of the participants and it, along with the gains mentioned above, can positively affect them.  Just having that extra “Oomph” can be enough to help someone get through a rough situation, or give them the courage to do something that needs to be done, but may have been avoiding.

  1. Create a prayer of praise, offering, or thanksgiving to a deity modeled on a mythic, folkloric, Or other literary source of at least 75 words. Include a summary of what your sources were And how you utilized them (summary at least 150 words).


I looked to the Carmina Gadelica for inspiration for my prayer.  I read quite a few of the poems out loud to see how speaking and hearing the words affected me.   I found that I was especially drawn to the poems with a lot of repetition of words or phrases at the beginning of lines.  This may be because some of the prayers, poems, and other readings I encountered in the Christian Church had the same format.  When speaking these poems I felt that the repetition lent an air of formality and majesty to them.  It was also pleasing to the ear.  I knew what to expect and that helped me shift into a more worshipful state of mind. This state wasn’t as deep as trance, but the regular rhythm and repeated sounds soothed the mind and changed, seemingly without effort, the focus of my thoughts from the mundane to the spiritual.  I got lost in the repetition and rhythm as the poem built to a conclusion.  It is that feeling and energy that I wanted to capture in my prayer.

One legend regarding Herne states that he was one of King Richard’s huntsman and that he gave his life to save the king from a stags attack.  The stag’s antlers be cut off and put on Herne’s head.  Hearne was healed and became a favorite of the king.  This angered the other huntsman who framed him which led to his dismissal.  Ashamed and angered, he hung himself from an oak tree.  He appears to the King one evening to relate how to punish the jealous huntsmen as well as repopulate the forest (Beware).  For his selfless act to save the King’s life he can be seen as a defender of those he considers “his”.  His willingness to give his life for another speaks to his knowledge that sometimes sacrifice is necessary.  He had to be a smart and cunning hunter in order to be a huntsman for the King even before he saved his life.




Prayer to Herne

He who hunts the dark woods

            He who defends his tribe

            He who knows that sacrifice is necessary

            We thank you for watching over and caring for us.

                        From the weather, You have protected us!

                        From strife, You have protected us!

                        From hunger, You have protected us!

                        From fear, You have protected us!

You have granted your strength, cunning, and prowess so that we might survive this harsh time.

                        Your strength defended

                        Your cunning befuddled

                        Your prowess defeated

            And so your Children have won the day.




  1. Discuss a poem of at least eight lines as to its use of poetic elements (as defined by Watkins): Formulaics, metrics, and stylistics. Pay particular attention to use  of  meter  and  phonetic devices, such as rhyme and alliteration. (Minimum 100 words beyond the poem itself.)


I taste a liquor never brewed (214)

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

I taste a liquor never brewed –

From Tankards scooped in Pearl –

Not all the Frankfort Berries

Yield such an Alcohol!


Inebriate of air – am I –

And Debauchee of Dew –

Reeling – thro’ endless summer days –

From inns of molten Blue –


When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove’s door –

When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” –

I shall but drink the more!


Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –

And Saints – to windows run –

To see the little Tippler

Leaning against the – Sun!


I chose “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” by Emily Dickinson for this analysis.  It is one of my favorites of Dickinson’s works.  Unlike many of her poems, this one is upbeat and almost silly.  It makes analyzing the work more fun as well.

In How to Kill a Dragon, Watkins focused on three items when analyzing poems. They are formulaic, meter, and stylistics (Watkins 16).  Formulaics are the building blocks of the poem.  It is theorized that the bards of old used certain phrases or words that could be put together to form poems (Watkins 16).  Or that certain forms could be used to fill out with details specific to an audience (17). They are kind of like a document template that can used to create a resume.

“I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed” follows the form of a Lyrical poem.  Lyrical poems are most well-known for expressing the emotions and personal feeling for the narrator. (Dictionary.com).   In this case Dickinson is writing about being drunk on nature. She gets drunk on the air and the dew.  She watches pollen laden bees and hungry butterflies flit from flower to flower and state that even when they have had enough she will continue to imbibe.  She is not apologetic for her mood but rather revels in it.  To convey thus sense of inebriation she uses words and phrases that the reader would commonly associate with over indulgence or drunkenness such as tankard, reeling, drunken and debauchee.

Metrics are another one of Watkins’ criteria (21) and it is also a defining characteristic of a Dickinson poem.  When I was in college and we were studying Dickinson, I pointed out that the vast majority of her poems could, in fact be sung to the tune of “Amazing Grace” or the “Yellow Rose of Texas”.  My fellow classmates and I had a great time “singing along.  My professor, however, did not enjoy it nearly as much as we did.  This phenomenon is caused by the meter in which Dickinson writes.  It is considered ballad meter (Merriam-Webster).  It alternates lines of iambic quadrameter, 4 strong accents, and iambic trimester, 3 strong beats.  This gives the poem a sing-song feeling when spoken and it is easy to see how it could be quickly converted into a song.

Stylistics are everything else related to the poem, this includes rhyme scheme, how the stanzas are treated, use of poetic devices, and so on (21-27).  This poem is organized into groups of four lines, or quatrains.  Line two and line 4 of each quatrain rhyme giving it the rhyme scheme of ABCB. The 2nd and 4th line of each quatrain exactly match except for in the first quatrain where we encounter a slant rhyme.  A slant rhyme is where to words are similar sounding, but the rhyme is imperfect (Dictionary.com).


  1. Create a prayer suitable for the main offering of a High Day rite which includes invocation Of at least one deity suitable to the occasion, description of the offering and its suitability to the occasion,  and  the  purpose  of  the  offering,  totaling  at  least  100  words.  Any stage Directions necessary for performance of the offering should be included.


For Belenus at the Winter Solstice

Ritual Leader passes an unlit yellow or gold candle to the ritual participants with instructions to focus on adding their energies to it to aid the returning of the sun after the longest night. Once the candle has returned to the starting point, the Ritual Leader holds the candle in both hands and raises it into the air.

The participants should still be focusing with the intent of aiding the return of the sun while the following is spoken by the Ritual Leader:

Belenus, Ancient God of Fire and the Sun, we call to you: Return!    

We offer this flame and the warmth and energy it contains so that you may use it to aid you in your journey back from the shadows.                                          

As this flame grows so may your power increase.                          

As this flame shines in the darkness of this place, so may your light drive back the darkness of the night.                     

As this flame radiates heat into the surrounding air, so may your warmth permeate the cold and frozen places.                     

May you once again shine brightly upon the earth and all her children.

Reverently and still focusing, place the candle on a heat proof surface and say, while lighting the candle:  Belenus accept our offering.

Participants repeat:  Belenus accept our offering. 

The Winter Solstice is a time after which when the days get longer and the sun waxes.  We offer candle flame as offering with this prayer because we are asking that Belanus bring back light and warmth to the world just as the candle brings light and warmth to our small ritual area.  We offer flame to him to increase his power and as an example of what we would like Belenus to provide for us.     

Works Cited

“ADF Core Order of Ritual for High Days” . Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc. 2015. Web. 12/16/2015  https://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/core-order.html

“Ballad Meter”. Merrium-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam, Webster, Inc. 2015. Web. 10/11/15. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ballad%20meter

“Beware the Ghostly Hunt”. Royal Berkshire History.  Nash Ford Publishing 2016. 10/10/2015. http://www.bershirehistory.com/legends/herne01.html

Bonewits, Isaac. Neo-Pagan Rites.Llewellyn Publications.  Woodbury, MN. 2007. Print

Carmena Gaedica – http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cg1/index.htm

“I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed.” Academy of American Poets. 10/11/2015.  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-taste-liquor-never-brewed-214.

“Lyric Poetry”. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com LLC. 2015 10/11/2015.  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lyric-poetry?s=t

Newberg, Brandon. “Ancient Symbols, Modern Rites: A Core Order of Ritual

Tutorial for Ar nDraiocht Fein”. PDF 8/13/2014

Our Own Druidry.  ADF Publishing.  Tucson, AZ. 2009. Print.

“Slant Rhyme”. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com LLC. 2015 10/11/2015. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slant-rhyme?s=t

Smith, Cesweir. Book of Pagan Prayer. Red Wheel/Weiser,LLC.San Francisco, CA. 2002

“Understanding Theatre”. Utah State University. 2008.Web. 12/16/2015.   http://www.ocw.usu.edu/Theatre_Arts/Understanding_Theatre/Huh__Theatre__The_Basics_                __Part_2__3.html

Watkins, Calvert. How to Kill a Dragon. Oxford University Press. New York, NY.. 1995. Print.


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