October 5th, 2009
|01:30 pm - Initial digestation of an Initiation|
It took me twenty-four hours for my body to get back to where it was before my initiation: until about 8 PM last night, I was so exhausted, emotionally and physically, that it was hard to smile or converse. The drive back down to Columbus seemed to take all day (though the company of kargach and romandruid was exceedingly welcome and helped immensely), and I found myself stretching my back, wiggling my fingers, and cracking my joints as often as possible just to relieve some of the pressure that seemed to be everywhere on my tired, worn out body. I don't think I have ever been quite so exhausted.
I really feel like I should have taken Monday off of work, giving myself two full days to recover from the experience. I also need to take a good look at my robe, as I fear that this initiation may have been its last ritual: I was not kind to it throughout the rite, and it may be stained and torn beyond simple washing and repair.
I am, of course, still processing everything. As a result, expect to see three journal entries shortly as I describe what three particular lessons I've learned, and the work that will go along with them. I've already mentioned them before, but feel a need to go more in depth on what they (broadly) mean to me: focus, center, and joy.
I'm not sure what else I'll post publicly about. It is not up to me to reveal the three tests I underwent, though the Clergy Council witnessed two of them and I suspect that word will get around as we initiate others when uninitiated witnesses speak of the tests they've seen (the third was witnessed only by my initiators and, partially, by my fellow initiate): in hindsight it was pleasant to be surprised by the form these tests took, and what they were in particular (I had been ignoring all posts related to the Initiation purposely). I wouldn't want to "spoil" it for anyone, but suffice to say that anyone who has done the work and been dilligent about completeness and depth will pass the first two. The third is harder to prepare for, though Trance 1 and 2 will likely bring the candidate the required skills.
I do suspect that I will post about the omens I received. I am still digesting them, and taking them to heart: two were generally positive, two were generally worrisome, but all were promising to an optimistic reader. . . and those who took the omens were optomistic, so I don't have to read that optimism into the spreads on my own.
I'm looking forward to hearing my oath (it was mostly extemporaneous, but recorded) so that I can go back and write it down and keep the wording with me. Fortunately, the journey upon which it was based leaves a solid impression, and I need not worry about the general notions behind it being forgotten any time soon.
Two things were taken with me into the initiation that I wish to mention, though. First, when I was consecrated as a Dedicant Priest within ADF, I was given a bottle of mead by tlachtga. I did not drink it then, but held onto it, with an intent to break it open to celebrate my ordination as an ADF Priest in a few years, when I took that next step. As I thought of the sacrifices I must make, though, I knew that this bottle was not for me to keep, but for me to offer: something that I had attached such a special significance to, something that I had held onto for so long, and it became the ideal sacrifice to the Ancient Wise. . . for I offered to them a gift I meant to share with my closest friends, from one of the most special occasions, from someone I respected deeply. This drew them nearer to me, and brought them into that *ghos-ti relationship in a way I have always wanted to do. It was a matter of breaking out the best of the best, the "special" drink you have been saving for just the right moment. . . and that moment was perfectly right.
Second: About a year ago, sleepingwolf sent me a bull pin. I had never worn it before Saturday, but something told me to grab it before I left. As I underwent the most frightening portion of my Ordeal, I felt weight of this pin, and the pin of three silver cranes my Grove presented to me at my consecration, upon my breast. That weight reminded me that no matter how scared I was, no matter how much I wanted to call out, I was supported by friends, family, and the Kindreds in ways I had never known before. These two pins were the only ritual items I took with me, and their presence was a deep assurance as I faced that fear.
To all those who were with me at this rite, in prayer, in silence, or in spirit, thank you. Without my community, I know that I would not have passed even the first test this past weekend.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: full
Current Music: "Last Mango in Paris", -JB
I'm always interested to read about your spiritual experiences with ADF. I'm especially intrigued that you mentioned joy as one of your lessons. In all the posts I've read about ADF, and all the literature I've seen, I've never seen the word "joy" posted to describe a lesson or experience.
Since it was the last one received, it'll be the last one posted about, but it was very clearly precisely what was meant. I'm not sure how well I can describe it. . . "focus" and "center" will be far easier, I suspect, than the general ineffable quality of "joy". I am wondering how to describe it, exactly, even now. It interests me that the lessons went from "very concrete" to "almost indescribable".
I have always, though, thought of the individual, solitary work of ADF to be innately joyful: piety is something that, because it completes the cosmos in an artful way, is described quite accurately as "joyful". . . I suspect that they actually mean the same thing to me, much like viewing artwork that speaks to you on a deep level is "joyful". This, though, applies to something "bigger" than what I would usually think of as the joyful practice of ADF Druidry.
It is interesting, indeed :)
What can I say, it just seemed like the right time to put it on. I'm very glad I did.
Um, you ruined your robe during Initiation? Sweet!!
Seriously, this sounds like an intensely satisfying and life-changing experience. I admit that at first, I was sad that I was going to miss it and settled myself to pray for you and Kirk that evening, but after reading your posts and reflections, I don't think I want to be present for anyone's Initiation until I receive my own. And talk about fueling someone else's fire. I just started another course with fervor: half of Bardic 1 is complete!
So, can we talk more about this cave? Also, have you considered doing some workshops with the Cranes to teach trance techniques that can be used in a solitary setting? The Cranes, in general, are a relatively unfocused bunch. Have you been to one of our business meetings? Good Gods!
I disagree that we are unfocused. What other grove has published works? What other grove sets the standard in community service? What other grove is as public and well received in thier community? How many other groves have a yearly budget? Have by-laws and membership rules to protect the grove? Like jazz to an untrained ear we can at times sound "unfocused" but I think we are very focused. Mike and I have always had short and long term goals for this grove and I know that trend will continue...
Maybe unfocused isn't quite fair. We do get stuff done eventually. I guess the phenomenon I am describing would be more akin to distract-able. I don't know. Define herding cats, and then picture everyone in our Grove as a cat. See? I guess there is a lot of focus, just not everyone is focusing on the same thing. Kinda makes group work a bit of a pain sometimes, but we do get shit done....eventually.
Of note, I think we also have a set few people who do most of this work, or in the very least organize the work of others to bring our projects to completion. The rest of us can be, yes, unfocused.
Well, congregations often have congregants. It's the nature of religious work: some people just want to show up, and that's totally cool. If they want to socialize instead of do business, that's cool too, so long as the business gets done :)
And it mostly does, so I tend to think "no harm, no fowl. Except for Garanus."
I *may* have ruined my robe during initiation. Need to get around to checking on that. :)
There will be some trance technique workshops, likely starting with body posture work, this winter, I suspect.
I'm pleased that you're working forward :)
I can so sympathize with you! My Dedication (and it was just a rite I´ve been drilling for 2 years) was a blast for me.