Sunday, June 8, 2014

Father's Day

In many traditions of Wicca and Paganism, there is a great deal of focus on the Goddess.  Sometimes, there's so much attention to the feminine that the masculine aspects get overlooked.  By welcoming the God of your tradition, you can honor the men who have impacted your life - whether they raised you, loved you or are being brought up by you.  This simple rite also offers your boys a chance to get out there and dance and to celebrate the masculine within themselves.
Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.  Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, though it is also celebrated widely on other days.  Typically, families gather to celebrate the father figures in their lives.  In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and traditionally masculine gifts such as electronics and tools.  Schools and other children's programs commonly have activities to make Father's Day gifts. 

Most Nordic men were all-round handymen, but some had special skills.  There were boat-builders, for example and potters, leather-workers and smiths.  Most Viking men knew how to handle a boat.  And most could fight if they had to, to protect the family or to support their chieftain.

From an anthropological standpoint, there are several major male archetypes that seem to appear in a variety of cultures: the warrior/hero, the hunter/father, the priest/sage, the lover and the king.

The warrior appears in many forms and shapes.  He is brave and honorable, and fights for that which he believes is right and just.  While the warrior may not always make decisions which are popular, he typically tries to make the ones that are fair.  The warrior can be seen in deities such as the Roman Mars, the Greek Ares and the Norse God Thor.  The hero is the youthful, more impulsive incarnation of the warrior.  The warrior is someone who defends those he loves and doesn’t raise his sword out of anger.

The hunter also appears, in modern society, as the provider.  While men may no longer have to go out and spear a mastodon to feed their family, many men remain the primary breadwinners in the home, and find themselves under increasing pressure to continue to provide well.  Some men find the very nature of this archetype confining.
The priest, or magician, is the creative inventor or problem solver.  He takes on intellectual challenges, asks lots of questions, and becomes analytical in his dealings with others.  The magician or priest can also be a bit manipulative, because he’s smart - he’ll sometimes deliberately ask a question knowing the answer, as a sort of test.

Another well known aspect of the sacred masculine is the archetype of the fertile lover.  He is sensual and passionate, embracing pleasure both for himself and his partner.  In the spring, this aspect of the masculine is often embodied in Cernunnos, the forest God.  The lover is in touch with his own intuition, and is compassionate and empathetic.  If the warrior takes on life’s physical challenges, the lover takes on our emotional challenges.

Finally, the kingly archetype is that of the leader.  A king is always in charge, because he is able to bring the qualities of all the other archetypes together into one handy package.  He has the strength of the warrior, the wisdom of the priest, the compassion of the lover, and the nurturing aspects of the provider, father and hunter.

Odin is the chief divinity of the Germanic pantheon.  He was called the Alfadir (All-father), for he is the creator of the Germanic Peoples and the father of many important, powerful Gods and human heroes.  Odin is also a God of magic, war and death.  He is the founder and an expert in rune magic and the giver of spiritual ecstasy and magical arts to the mystics and Shamans.



Prior to the ritual, make a headdress for each male that will be present.  This can include horns, antlers, branches, feathers and other symbols of fertility and masculinity.  Headdresses are fairly simple to make - use a strip of heavy fabric or cardboard cut to size, and just glue items on it.  If your boys are younger, this is a fun craft project.

Decorate your altar with the colors of Midsummer - golds and reds and yellows.  Assign one male to act out the part of the God in the ritual.  Give the other members of the group some sort of noisemaker - drums, rattles, bells, etc.  If you don't have drums, rattles or bells, clap your hands or clack two sticks together!
This is a ritual best performed in a group, either as a family or coven.  If you normally cast a circle, hammer rite or call the quarters in a ceremony, do so at this time.  Light a red or gold candle in the center of your altar to represent the Sun.

The High Priest (HP) or whoever is leading the ritual should face the sun and say:

We are here as a family (or coven or group)
On this longest of days.
The power of the Sun is above us,
and its heat and strength reminds us
of the power of the God.

At this point, the group members should shake their rattles, bang their drums, ring their bells.  Do so slowly, almost at the tempo of a heartbeat.

The HP continues:

The God is strong and powerful,
he is virile and fertile.
He is the Lord of the Hunt,
the King of the Forest,
and with the Goddess, together they create Life.

At this point, speed up the beat of the drums and rattles just a bit.

We honor the God today, and celebrate
the masculine within him.

I call upon the Horned God!
Thor, Odin, Apollo, Freyr!
We ask you to honor us with your presence!

Now the drumming should speed up even more.  The man or boy chosen to be the God leads the male members of the group around the altar clockwise in a dance, keeping up with the rhythm of the drums and rattles.  As the males circle the altar, they should move faster each time.

Allow the men and boys to dance around the altar as many times as they like.  As the dance gets faster, the music will get faster too, until there is a palpable hum of energy.  This sensation is often indicative of the presence of the Divine.  Let the music run its course - it will end when it's ready to end, and at that time, the dance should stop too.

Once the dancing and drumming has ceased, the HP should call out:

Horned one, God of the Hunt,
Lord of the Forest!
We honor you tonight, on this longest day.
We celebrate the men in our lives,
those who raised us,
those who love us,
those that we are raising.
We honor them in Your names.

Each member of the group, both male and female, may make an offering at this time.  If you have a fire burning, through your offerings into the flames.  If you don't have a fire, place your offerings on the altar instead.

Take a few moments to reflect upon the balance of male and female in your life, and in the world.  Think about the men you have known and those you will know in the future.  Recognize the qualities that make them honorable and worthy of your love.

When you are ready, dismiss the quarters or close the circle.  Hail! 



Thank You to all the Fathers!




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