Hearth Culture

This has probably been the most interesting and spiritually significant part of my whole Dedicant Path.  When I joined ADF, it seemed to make sense to continue my personal hearth as Celtic.  I’d been celebrating High Days for years as Celtic-focused, so of course that was the way I would continue.  I’d gotten some exposure to Asatru High Days at campouts with friends, I never really took part in the celebrations – I tended to stay in camp and get our meals ready or work on projects I’d brought along.  I just wasn’t feeling as connected to the Norse hearth and culture as I was the Celtic culture.  I was even in a Scottish Re-enactment Guild for Renaissance Fairs in California; although this wasn’t very religious, it did teach me quite a bit about what daily life and culture may have been like.  Little did I know that the Shining Ones had other ideas for me.

As I was planning on a Celtic path, I picked up a nice set of Ogham to learn with.  Using any tool like this was new for me, I had been doing divinations based on Auras and Trance-work for many years before joining ADF.  So for nearly 6 months I tried to use them, read them, ask simple questions and understand the responses I got.  It was almost a complete disaster.  I got answers, that wasn’t the problem.  The problem was that I could never get them to ‘feel’ comfortable or to get even a single word remembered for even one of the Ogham.  I was able to remember a few of the names, but what they mean – no.  And my definitions were always pulled from a book, not interpreted from experience or insight.

At the same time I picked up a set of Ogham sticks, I also got a set of Runes.  It took me less than a month to not only remember all of the names, but also the basic meanings so that I could begin to really read and interpret them.  This should have warned me, but I am a redhead – stubborn is my middle name. J

One of my first High Days within ADF ended up being Midsummer.  I searched and researched and really didn’t find anything Celtic that I felt like doing.  I knew that Midsummer was a good Norse High Day with the saga of Sunna and the wolf that chases her.  So, I decided that it would be a Norse hearth ritual.

After I had honored Sunna with a poem and some amber resin in the fire (well, on the charcoal – I was indoors after all), I relaxed and meditated, opening my mind to the Aesir and Vanir to see if they had any interest in contact with me.  I did not seek out any specific God or Goddess, just putting the thought out there of “If you’d like to talk to me, I’m here”.  Oh dear.  One of these days I’ll learn my lesson – no open-ended offers.

While I wasn’t ‘overwhelmed’ by responses, I did get the impression of ‘Where have you been – we’ve been waiting for you” and quite a few foot-stamps of annoyance.  I was so not expecting this reaction from them.  Nor my reaction to their reaction.  It reminded me so strongly of the feeling I would get when the ‘you are 20 minutes away’ tree line passed by my car window on the trip to my grandparents.  It was that intense feeling of home.

Because of this overwhelming experience, I decided that I would split the High Days between the two hearths: the fire festivals I would celebrate with a Celtic theme, and the cross-quarter festivals would be Norse.  I worked this way for a couple of High Days until I began going to a relatively local Grove for their celebrations.  Sierra Madrone follows a Celtic hearth, so the public rituals I’ve been to have all be Celtic.  Since a change in the Senior Druid, the seer they had is now the SD and I’ve been tagged to do a majority of the omens at the past year’s celebrations.  The SD was even able to convince me into joining the Grove despite my reservations - I live over 1 ½ hours away from the town they are in and there is almost no chance of my being able to make meetings unless they were held on a weekend.

So I still celebrate and honor my Celtic hearth and heritage, but my home, my soul celebrates and honors my Norse hearth and heritage.  Maybe one High Day I can get the grove to do a full Norse ritual.  It’s a goal.