When I was originally planning to do my Dedicant Oath, I had talked with the SD of Sierra Madrone about the possibility of doing it at Samhain 2010. As the time until my vacation passed, I started to toy with the idea of doing my Oath at one of the neolithic sites we’d be visiting. There were both pros and cons for taking my Oath this way:
|Location important to my hearth culture||No other ADF members|
|A ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity||No option for a full COoR ritual|
|Not a lot of sacrifice/offering options|
Yes, there were more cons than pros. Consulting my Runes , I got an extremely positive answer: Othala. I took this almost as an admonition – that this was my blood-line, my inheritance and if I didn’t do it, I’d be very sorry I hadn’t. Very well, Orkney it is! I wasn’t sure what I’d be using as my offerings other than my homemade silver ‘coins’, but I was now sure that this was right for me.
[I need to add a bit of back-story here. I’m a California State employee which means that there is a chance every month that we will not be paid our full paychecks since there is no state budget yet. Back in July there were very strong rumors that we would only be paid minimum wage. Just before vacation, when the balance of my spending money was coming from the last couple checks, this terrified me. I spoke a vow to my Patrons: that if everything was fine until I left, I would give them a full bottle of Stag’s Breath whiskey. Everything was fine, and I knew I owed them a bottle. I knew that this was a difficult spirit to obtain; in the US it isn’t available – it needs to be shipped from the UK, and in the UK the last time I tried to get a bottle – it was hard to find.]
Our first full day in Scotland we visited the RRS Discovery in Dundee Scotland. My friends are touring the ship itself and I walked into the gift shop. They had some beautiful blown glass whiskey bottles and then I saw… Stag’s Breath!! I knew that this was what I would be offering at my Oath! I picked up one of the large bottles, apparently it now comes in 4 bottle sizes, and a slightly smaller one for our drinking pleasure. I took this as a further affirmation of my goal.
Originally, when I was contemplating where to do my Oath, I’d originally thought the Ring of Brodgar would be the location. The first full day in Orkney, we visited the Stones of Stenness, the Barnhouse Settlement, the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae. This gave me a chance to feel each location and make a final decision. I was surprised when I chose the remains of the dolman at the Stenness Stones. My Oath would end our last full day on Orkney.
The next day was very, VERY blustery. The winds were bitingly cold and at least Force 7 all day long. Several times while I was out walking in this, I found myself thinking along the lines of “I made no promises to do this here, I can take the Stag’s home and do it there”. Yes, I could have. But I didn’t. Thankfully my Oath was on my Palm Pilot versus a flimsy piece of paper that would have blown away. I’d memorized most of it, but just in case :-)
I fought the wind, bottle of whiskey in one pocket and aide du memoir in the other, and walked into the ring. Standing between the two uprights, I spoke my oath:
Arianrhod, Lady of the Silver Wheel, you were the first of the Shining Ones to take an interest in me, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, daughter of Dôn. (pour whiskey)
Mhorrighan, Great Queen, you came to me to teach me to see the courage and the strength of will hiding within me, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Lady of Ravens. (pour whiskey)
Bridget, Lady of Healing, you came to me when I first noticed my abilities to heal others and gave me the lessons I needed to strengthen my gifts and skills, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Lady of the Triple Fires. (pour whiskey)
Gefion, Lady of Gifts, you came to me unexpectedly, telling me that you had things to teach me that Odin himself did not know, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Lady of Sacrifice. (pour whiskey)
Freyja, Vanadis, you came to me offering to teach me skills of power and sight greater than anything I could have imagined, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Seiðkona. (pour whiskey)
Odin, Alfather, you came to me in my meditations, offering to guide me in the mysteries of the Runes, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Lord of the Aesir. (pour whiskey)
Thor, Thunderer, you first came to me in a dream, then in meditations, knowing that a shoulder to lean on was the thing I truly needed, come and join me here. I make this offering to you, Mjollnir’s wielder. (pour whiskey)
Oath Witnesses Invocations
Freyr, on your golden boar Gullinbursti upon whose bristles oaths are sworn, I make this offering to you and ask that you attend to hear my oath. (pour whiskey)
Heimdall, ever vigilant guardian of Bifröst, whose eyes and ears hear all, I make this offering to you and ask that you attend to hear my oath. (pour whiskey)
Arianrhod, Mhorrighan, Bridget, Gefion, Freyja, Odin, and Thor, beloved patrons, stand with me here as I make my oath. Freyr and Heimdall, stand with me here and record my oath into my orlog, as I do desire.
I oath to continue:
to seek the old ways and bring them into my modern life,
to develop my site and powers of divination to serve the Kindreds and the community,
to expand my knowledge of the Indo-European cultures that call to my heart,
to develop my skills in poetry, liturgy, and ritual.
Let my voice arise on the fire, let my voice resound in the well, let my words pass the boundary to the spirits, as I oath to honor the old ways. (empty the bottle)
I admit that I ran back to the car, freezing. Warming up in my room afterwards, I consulted my runes. I’m not sure why I pulled four runes, but I did. I pulled Perthro, Sowelo, Othala, and Ehwaz. I saw this as the fact that I took the chance and I was successful. I have acknowledged my heritage and my hearth and with the cooperation of my Patrons.
It has now been a few weeks since I spoke my Oath and I can honestly say that there definitely is a change in me. What changed? That I do not yet know. But there is this sense, that of a deep well within me. And within that well, something is growing.