Ritual Mechanics, #7

Describe three different methods of Opening the Gates, as used by at least two different active ADF Priests. Explain the actions done, the reason for those actions, and any specific magical work the Priest does during the Gate Opening. Provide an original script with stage directions for the Gate Opening based on one of these methods.

Below is an example of a very involved process that Reverend Caryn MacLuan used for opening the gates during one of our Lughnasadh rites:

In the beginning there was the first sacrifice

Sacrifice to make all that was and is, holy

Holy is the land, sea and sky above

Above blows the wind on the sea

The Sea which moves the ocean waves

Waves cresting high cause the water’s flow

Flow now into this holy well

Well of the Ancestors, deep and sacred

Sacred waters flow and change within us


Within us burns the spark of inspiration

Inspiration from the minds of the Gods

Gods who dwell in the above world

World accessed through this holy fire

Fire that is the gateway for the sacred

Sacred fire burn and change within us


Within us stands the Tree of Life

Life with roots upheld by the ancestors

Ancestors who reached towards the heavens

The heavens whose light sustains our branches

Our branches which grow the fruit and flowers

Flowers which yield the hazelnuts of wisdom

Wisdom from above and below combining the sacred

Sacred Tree grow and change within us


Within us, without us, above us, below us we stand in the center

The center where all things end and begin again

Again we look beyond the gates to see her

See her walking from the clovered plains of Taillten

Taillten named for her, the plain she cleared

Cleared and later saw the nasadhs of Tailtue

Tailtue, foster-mother of Lugh, sovereign goddess

Goddess, inspiration for and patron of Cedarlight Grove

Grove of your sanctuary and your folk who welcome you

Welcome you, call to you, offer to you, and hail to you

Hail to you Tailtue and welcome home


Home where we return to our roots

Roots that run deep in all the worlds

Worlds accessible through the gates

Gates above and below, opened by Tailtue

Tailtue join your power with our magic

Magic shaped by the Old Ways

Ways between the worlds open now

Now Tailtue, let the gates be open!



Open are the gates and ways between

Between the worlds we have walked

Walked with the Kindred and Sacred Earth

Earth who has called us to do Her magic

Magic to restore Her holy balance and clarity

Clarity to see through the deceit and lies

Lies that create anger and fear

Fear that distorts the return to balance

Return to balance now, return to center

Center where we began with Tailtue

Tailtue join your power with our magic

Magic shaped by the old ways

Ways between the worlds close again

Again Tailtue, may the gates be closed


Closed as the well becomes a well, closed

Closed as the fire becomes a fire, closed

Closed as the tree becomes a tree, closed

Closed, as we return to our place in the beginning

In the beginning, there was the first sacrifice

Reverend Sean Harbaugh gave an interesting interpretation to opening of the gates from his Grove.  They no longer do a specific gate opening, as they do this process when calling the triple hallows and involve Brigid as the general ward in ritual.  But from a liturgical standpoint for opening the gates, he gave me this:

“We process into ritual with a flame and a pitcher of water from outside ritual space.  These items are placed next to the well and altar, respectively.  When at the opening of the gates portion of ritual, we take the fire to the sacrificial fire and call upon Brigid to tend the fire and explain to the group as the fire is lit, a portal opens to the heavens.  We do the same with the water, explain the envisioning of the portal opening to the Underworld as the water is being poured.  We call upon Brigid to act as a ward for this portal.  We do not use the Tree as a gate, as it is already in the Middleworld.”

I actually find this a very fascinating and logical interpretation for Opening of the Gates.  I still like the physical involvement of three gates, however, as it amuses my sense of proper proportional “3’s”. A lot of the symbology I use was covered in a previous essay where I envision blue beams of light directionally flowing out of each “gate” into a logical direction pertaining to that gate (fire upwards, well below, etc).

While inviting a Gatekeeper in a typical invocational fashion, generally with the “Gatekeeper Song”:
“Gatekeeper Open the Portals, Between the Gods and Mortals, Power freely flows, as our magic grows”

While standing at the Well, I would raise a hand over the well and push downward: “Let the Well Open as a Gateway to the Underworld”.

While standing at the Fire, I would raise my hand over the fire and raise it upwards towards the sky: “Let the Fire Open as a Gateway to the Aboveworld”

While standing at the Tree and touching its base: “Let the Tree Open as a Gateway between the worlds, connecting the below and above in this world.”

“Gatekeeper, Let the Gates between the worlds be open!”

When closing, I do these things in reverse:

While standing at the Tree, touching its base: “Let the Tree grow as a Tree”

While standing at the Fire, hands raised and slowly moving downward: “Let the Fire burn as a Fire”

While standing at the Well, hands lowered and slowly raising: “Let the Well flow as a Well”

“Let all return as it once was as land, sea, and sky.  Let the Gates between the worlds be closed!”

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