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, a bit of explanation is probably in order for our first-time visitors.
What are Praise Offerings?
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, and it is always encouraged, even for the first-time attendee, though no one is required to make one.
Generally speaking, Praise Offerings are an offering of our individual or communal skill: they 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 offer a short story or to say something about one of their ancestors, or their ancestors as a whole, 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 either after each of the specific invocations to these groups, or 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 Praise Offerings?
Please bear in mind that Praise Offerings are 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:
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; however, when we have brought praises and given freely of our love and wealth, we may approach the Powers and ask that the blessings and love they return to us might take a specifically directed form, for ADF ritual seeks to establish reciprocity with the Powers, where guest and host together share love and blessings with each other.
If you would like to ask for your blessing from the Kindreds to take a particular form, please ask if there is time in the "works" section of the ritual. This is after the praise offerings and omen, and follows just after the Waters of Life. Because of large ritual turnout, there is not always time for these sorts of workings unless they are planned well in advance. Ideas of things that would work well in this section are:
Please see the person in charge of the ritual if you wish to do this. Please also be aware that, should you make an Oath in a Three Cranes Grove ritual, the Grove and the community at large is welcome to challenge it, and your oath will be recorded in the Book of Three Cranes.