I completed the book work back in October and knew I had to wait till festival season to have my initiation. I rounded up my three initiators. That was an ordeal in itself, deciding who I wanted for those roles in this step of my journey. Figuring out who would be intimidating enough but not set off my anxiety. I finally decided on three people who I could laugh and socialize with during fests and rituals and realize that they aren’t always serious. They were Ian Corrigan, Drum, and Michael Dangler. Each of these people has been there for a different step of my journey whether it was answering questions, being my reviewer or helping me out when I was doing the dedicant path with many a question and some insight on my work.
On the first day of Wellspring came my ordeals, the first being the questioning. They lead into it with a talk about the initiates program for approximately 45 min or so and then we all took a break and my questioning began. The questioning allows your initiators to learn that you know the material. To learn how you completed the work and how you continue to do your work. My memory is absolute crap at times and this part I was greatly concerned about. When it came to questioning my actual work Drum would cite things and give me background for me to lead off of which helped immensely. There were times we got to laugh, there were times I cried. All in all it was scary because of it being completely public but rewarding at the same time because I proved to myself I could do it and therefore could do anything I wanted or needed.
Later that evening around 8 came the second ordeal, the ritual performance. This was not public as I had been allowed to choose a smaller group to witness this. Although I am confident in my ritual skills I also don’t think I am capable of leading a festival sized ritual by myself, yet. There were some people who I wish had been able to be there that couldn’t or weren’t but it still worked well. I had grovemates and friends around me as well as my initiators and my “secret guest” initiate who I was going to invite anyways. I had my song sheets, I had practiced. I left out a couple things that I had meant to do but if I left them out there had to be a reason I did so I am not sad that they were forgotten. Around the time of the omen I got taken away for my third ordeal which would lead into me acquiring the secret upon passing.
It was announced at my questioning what the third ordeal entailed, which until that time had only been known as the third ordeal. It was a trance journey with elements of acquiring the Imbas forosnai as you are wrapped in a bull hide and guarded. Inside the building I was guarded by two of my initiators, outside by another initiate and a grove member who helped him try to keep people quiet (even though it didn’t really work so well) as the trance was induced I dropped like a stone into it and stayed in until I was brought out by my initiators. I had passed. I am not going to be releasing my full trance as of this time as I am still digesting everything that happened and learning different things that they wanted me to learn as it seeps in but maybe in the future. When I came out of the trance I was given the secret and wore my cords back to finish the ritual.
I was a little out of it finishing the ritual. I totally forgot my own song and had to ask for a line. Once I got that first line I was totally fine however and was able to finish the ritual without a hitch.
So for the record: I am the 7th initiate that has gone through the ordeals of ADF’s initiatory current. The 1st Canadian, and the 3rd female.