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.