Describe the purpose and function of the Gatekeeper in ADF ritual. Explain also who or what makes a good Gatekeeper, along with why they do, with at least two examples of mythological figures that could fill the role of a Gatekeeper and give an explanation of why they can. (300 words min.)
The purpose of the Gatekeeper is to watch over, assist in the opening of, or “keep” the gates that we open between the worlds. We work with them together as partners to open the three gateways and to close them once our work is done. Most deities that we in ADF associate as a Gatekeeper are those that serve multiple purposes or act as guardians. Manannan in the Celtic culture, for example, is a God of the mists between worlds. So he has that relationship between worlds that will help in the endeavor of gate opening between worlds. Heimdall is another deity I often associate as a Gatekeeper in my personal hearth culture, because of his aspect of guardianship of Asgard. It is my opinion that you want a deity that is known for their involvement between worlds or a strength in guardianship, or guardian of boundaries in general. Opening a gateway is not something you want to do without some sort of plan to keep those gateways protected from unsavories as well, and we simply can’t do that alone. So a gatekeeper serves a multi-function as a helper and a guardian, which is why we look for deities that would be most appropriate for those tasks.
Gatekeepers in general kinda act as a liaison between us and the Gods, and protector of the gates so that we don’t foolishly have an unencrypted (wi-fi nerd term insertion bonus points) open gateway with the unknown.
In our Grove, we have an altar at the main doorway that is dedicated to many gatekeepers that we leave offerings at, at each event, to help ward of any negative energy that guests may bring. This is another purpose that we have incorporated of our Gatekeepers, as we’re not just trying to prevent nasties from other worlds, but from this world as well.
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