My Liturgical Work
My Journey as a Liturgist
I came to liturgy by accident. When I joined ADF and the then Sonoran Sunrise Protogrove in Tucson, I was hot-to-trot about doing ritual - I mean, that's what religion is! So I waited around for a High Day, only to discover that the PG didn't have any plans for a separate rite - we all went to one of the Wiccan rites put on by the local pagan networking group.
But this wasn't good enough for me. After enough whining, my Senior Druid, Gannd (Rev. David Foster now), went on-line and downloaded a script from the Peachtree Grove, ADF in Atlanta (now defunct). So for the Summer Solstice, we gathered in a shelter at a local park, in the middle of a massive monsoon thunderstorm, and read our parts. Gannd, bless him, has many talents (organizational, pastoral, and is very dependable). His litugical experience at that time, however, was minimal. And nature abhors a vacuum.
So I took the script and re-wrote it, making it ours, so to speak. And that's how it started. After a few years of constant, and often major, tinkering, we finally settled down with what we are using now. I had lots of help from my fellow celebrants, and not all of it is mine, by any means, but ADF provided the skeleton (in the Order of Ritual) and I provided (much of) the flesh. The more I learn of cosmology and myth, the more I want to tinker.
I have become somewhat notorious in ADF for my method of opening the Gates to the Otherworlds. A Grove member had challenged me to come up with something new to replace our old method when she said, "It's BORING!" Well, the actor in me had to take action. So I came up with my spinning routine, and now that I've opened the Gates at a few festivals outside of Arizona, many ADF members have become familiar with it, and with its chant of "Open the Gates! Open the Gates! Open the Gates!" A few Groves have even started using it, or so I'm told. (Click here to see a set of videos of the Sonoran Sunrise Grove, led by myself, performing an ADF Blessing Rite.)
Liturgy is more than writing.....
Writing effective ritual is one thing, but if it isn't performed well, it might as well have never been written. The role of a liturgist includes not only writing, but also training of celebrants, direction of the rite, and performance as well.
My experience in the theatre taught me not only how to be a performer, but also a bit about theatrical direction. I've also had enough acting classes in my life that I think I can pass on some of this knowledge to others. And I did run a small (tiny) amateur theatre in the UK when I lived there in the 90's. True, we mostly did farces, but the principles are the same. I think I have a talent with amateurs.
I am working on creating classes on performance in colaboration with Meredith MacDonald of Awen's Breath Grove in Los Angeles. I plan to put them on DVD and on the web as a way of helping our Priesthood in their liturgical studies.
Below are some samples of my liturgies. All were written to fit into an ADF paradigm. Most of my efforts in the past few years have been on creating and polishing the standard liturgy in use by the Sonoran Sunrise Grove in Tucson, Arizona. Some ideas and liturgical phrases have come from others, and I have tried to give attributions whenever possible. The other liturgies below are mostly my own. For specific High Day rituals, go to the SSG website by clicking here.
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