Probably one of the most unique aspects of ADF ritual is the Praise Offering. Because the general public is called forth at nearly all rituals to make offerings and sing praises to the Kindreds, we offer some advice for first-time visitors.
What is a Praise Offering?
ADF ritual provides a specific section of the rite for each person to come forth and offer praise to the Deity of the Occasion. These offerings are called “Praise Offerings”.
The individual offering of praise to the Deity of the Occasion is central to our rituals. We encourage you to make a praise offering, even if you are a first-time attendee. You are not required to make one, however.
Generally speaking, a praise offering is an offering of our individual or communal skill. These may involve the first fruits from our gardens, something woven or painted by our own hand, or a poem performed specifically for this occasion. At Samhain, we traditionally invite the folk to say something about one of their ancestors, for instance.
For praises or offerings to individual Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Deities who are not the Deities of the Occasion, we currently offer a short section in our rituals for these praise offerings. Often, this takes place just before the offerings to the Deity of the Occasion. The person leading the rite will call for these praises at the appropriate time so you don’t need to worry about missing them.
What else do I need to know about making a Praise Offering?
Please bear in mind that a praise offering is witnessed not only by the community, but also by the Deities and Spirits themselves. Sacrifices, in ADF ritual, are given to the Kindreds, and so should pass out of human use.
When thinking about what to give as a praise offering, keep the following in mind:
- If we have a large turnout, we may do all praise offerings at once. There may not be a time to do an individual offering. If this is the case, please make your offering with others. Feel free to step forward and make your offering with the Grove.
- Small gatherings often allow for individual praises. If your praise is not too private, please speak it aloud. This allows the community to join you in your praise.
- Please be aware of any physical offerings you may give. Offer items which sink (such as silver or stones or jewelry) to the Well; offer items which burn (such as butter, oil, distilled alcohol, or paper) to the Fire; and offer items which are completely biodegradable (such as birdseed, grain, or wines and beers) at the Tree or spread them upon the ground.
- Likewise, you may wish to choose your offerings based on their final destination. Items sacrificed by Fire tend toward the heavenly realms of Deities, items given to the Well tend toward the lower realms of Ancestors, and items at the Tree are generally for Nature Spirits on this plane.
- Please listen to instruction about the disposition of offerings. Sometimes, our rituals are held in places where the fire cannot be used for offerings because it is a gas fireplace. Usually, a bowl may be placed in front of it to receive the offerings. In cases like this, we will inform the Folk prior to the rite of any special arrangements.
- Design your praise offering to be about giving. Should you desire to ask for something in return, please check with the ritual leader about whether time can be made for a request during ritual. Most large High Day rituals do not have time for this sort of work.
- If you offer it to the Kindreds in ritual, you will not get it back. All offerings in ritual pass out of human use permanently.
What if I want to ask for something from the Kindreds, or make an Oath?
ADF rituals are primarily about giving offering and praise freely to the Kindreds. We bring praises and give freely of our love and wealth, asking that blessings and love return to us. ADF ritual seeks to establish reciprocity with the Powers, where guest and host together share love and blessings with each other.
Blessings typically take the form of the Waters of Life, but also as magical work. At large rituals, there may not be time for these sorts of workings unless they are planned well in advance. Ideas of things that would work well in this section are requests for:
- Save travel
- Luck job-hunting
This section also provides for the making of Oaths that you desire the Community or Grove to witness. Please see the person in charge of the ritual if you wish to do this.