This dictionary is not meant to be a reference for anyone. It’s more to be considered ‘shared research.’
As I start down my Dedicant Path, I’m stumbling up against all kinds of new vocabulary (some of which I originally found while trying to make sense of the liturgy of the Solitary Druid Fellowship as a layperson). As I find these words, here is where I’m going to collect them. For myself and, if you’re not me, for you as well.
Altar: The spiritual center of a home. I’m still not clear on what an altar should do, and haven’t yet made my own.
Ancestors: Somewhere I read something (have to find that link) that spoke of different kinds of Ancestors. There were Ancestors of the Blood (family), Ancestors of the Land (those who lived where you live) and, I think, Ancestors of Spirit (those whose ideas influence you). I like this idea, though I haven’t come across it in ADF yet.
Awen: The ‘Druidic symbol’ /|\ with the three drops and the three rays of light. I’ve also seen reference to the word as a sort of ‘mantra’ for meditation. It can also mean ‘inspiration’ as in the phrase “the Awen was flowing” or “I sing as the Awen moves me.”
Beings of Occasion: Those beings who are to be honored in a specific ritual/rite. This can be either because we always honor them in this rite (Saturnalia is for Saturn, after all!) or we can make it about them.
Blessing: (Also, obviously, ‘blessed’) This is a hard one for me, coming from a Christian background. After all, Christians were blessed by God, we never blessed anything. In the SDF liturgies, the druid blesses the objects, but asks the Kindred for their blessing.
Cosmos: Here, it’s not meant as an astronomical term, but instead a reference to the entirety of spiritual existance, including all the realms of druid cosmology.
Cross-quarter day: The cross-quarter days are the holidays spaced evenly between the high days.
Earth Mother: I like the idea of giving physical things a ‘spiritual name.’ It frees me to speak with friends of the ‘Earth’ as an object of scientific enquiry, without feeling disrespectful. We can learn more and more about the Earth, without ever really comprehending the Earth Mother. I’ve adopted the thinking that the Earth Mother is the source of life, and Sol (the sun) or Sky Father, is a source of energy.
Fire: (Also, ‘Sacred fire’) This is a fire (candle, zippo?) and it is made a gate to the heavens by the gatekeeper. The SDF lirturgies speak of this being a gate for the Shining Ones.
Gatekeeper: This is still a difficult term for me. At the moment, I understand it as a ‘liminal being’ which is on the border of the different realms of the druid cosmology and can open gates by which the spirits in the other realms can better hear us, and we can better hear them.
Gods: see ‘Shining Ones’
Grounding: Also ‘centering and grounding.’
Grove: A group of trees. Or, a group of druids. This seems to less be a general term (like ‘group’) but more a specific term indicating a relationship (like ‘congregation’). I mean, if I travel to New York and meet some druids, I don’t think I’m part of a grove, despite being in a group of druids.
Hallows: Refers to the Well, Fire and Tree together in Druidic ceremony, as sort of the center or ‘altar’ of the ritual.
Heavens: The realm of the shining ones in druidic cosmology.
Hearth: Often, this is interchangeable with the word ‘altar.’ But it’s also much more. I rambled quite a bit about it in a long blog post and didn’t reach a definitive definition.
Hearth culture: A way to describe your own practice. Often, this is some sort of cultural label (I have a “Roman hearth culture”) but there’s nothing wrong with an eclectic hearth culture. So you might hear this in phrases such as “we keep an Anglo-Saxon hearth” or “I grew more interested in slavic hearth culture.” — I dive a lot deeper in my ramblings here.
High days: High days seem to be the four solar holidays (for lack of a better term). These are the solstices and the equinoxes.
Kindred: (Also, ‘Kindred Three’) Collectively, these are the ancestors, the nature spirits, and the shining ones. (I suppose that, if the fey aren’t included as nature spirits, they’re also included here.)
Liminal being: These are beings (I need a list, I suppose, as I don’t know which) which exist in the borders of the different realms of the druidic cosmology. Only liminal beings can exist as gatekeepers.
Magna Mater: (See also Earth mother) Latin for ‘the great mother’ and what I’ve started using when thinking/speaking of the Earth Mother.
Middleworld / Midearth: Our realm of existence in druidic cosmology.
Purification: Reference to purification in the SDF liturgies seems to refer to self-purification. It seems as though this means more focus, the shedding of ‘impurities’ which might distract the druid at hand from the rite or meditation at hand. I’ve also seen reference to ‘purification’ with smoke, which seems less to be about actually ‘removing’ the worldly and more about ‘consecrating.’ I don’t know.
Shining Ones: The gods. All gods. I currently focus on the Roman pantheon. (But this does not deny the existence of other gods, nor negate my obligation–as a mortal–to deal with them respectfully).
Spirits of the Land: (In my mind, closely related to nature spirits) The spirits of the place, or the spirits who reside in a place. It may be approriate to ask them permission / give them an offering before ‘taking over’ or otherwise using a space.
Sol: Latin for the ‘sun.’ As I’ve started dabbling in Latin, I’ve used it as a spiritual name for the sun, as opposed to the physical “mass of incandescent gas…”
Underworld: The realm of the ancestors in druidic cosmology.
Well: Water which represents the underworld on an altar or as part of a Hallows. In a ritual, it can be made into a gate by the gatekeeper.