Describe the concepts of 1) the Center and 2) the Gates in ADF’s Core Order of Ritual, including two cultural variations of each concept. (minimum 300 words)
The idea of the “Center” is the alignment of the cosmos through the vertical and horizontal axis. With heavy Celtic influence, when the Upperworld of the Gods, the Middleworld of the Nature Spirits, and the Underworld of the Ancestors are aligned together, this creates the vertical axis. The Celtic concepts of Land, Sea, and Sky help create the horizontal axis. When they are both created and aligned together, that center point is the sacred “Center” or space that we create through the representation of the Three Realms and the Three Worlds.
A common example of this vertical axis that is a significant part of the “Center” is the Germanic concept of Yggdrasill as the World Tree. The nine worlds are connected, the squirrel carries messages from one world to the other, the serpent that gnaws on the roots, but it is all bound together by the axis of this great World Tree.
When the Gates are opened up so that our offerings can be received and blessings from the Gods given, we are in a cosmic union of reciprocity. Each Gate acts as a method for delivering our messages and offerings to the Kindred, the Well to the Ancestors, the Tree to the Nature Spirits, the Fire to the Gods, and additionally the World Tree connecting the two Realms of the Upperworld and Underworld together in one great sacred cone. These Gates allow us to connect with the Realms, the Worlds, and the Kindred, and they allow the energy and intention to flow between the Worlds flawlessly in a beautiful exchange of energy and consciousness.
To help protect and balance the gates while open, we call upon a Gatekeeper to join their magic with ours to not only help open the gates, but to help protect the gates, and to help imbue the Waters of Life with blessings once our offerings have been received with favor.
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