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Eris is Coming for Tea:

or, What Happens When You Invite Our Lady of Discord to an ADF Rite

Ar ‘nDraiocht Fein (or ADF) is known among Neo-Pagans as one of the more organized groups within the modern Neo-Pagan movement. ADF has a standard liturgy that all the Groves follow, no matter what their cultural focus. The liturgy isn’t really set in stone, per se, but flexibility isn’t stressed.

This makes ADF Rites rather aneristic, to steal a Discordian term. “Aneristic” basically means that order is stressed over disorder, which would be “eristic”. There is nothing wrong, even according to Discordians, with anerism, as long as it’s constructive. ADF’s rituals tend to remain constructive, but they are still aneristic and ordered.

That being said, calling Eris into an aneristic format is something most sane people wouldn’t consider. Anyone who has worked with Our Lady knows that She has a tendency to make aneristic situations rather eristic. Things go wrong, people lose their minds, orgies occur out of the blue, and people wake up the next morning wearing a wig, lipstick, and having the phone number to some guy named “Butch” tattooed on their ass.

Knowing all this before last night, I set out to honour one of my patron Deities, Eris, with an ADF ritual. This was just a simple devotional rite, the kind I do every day, except that I hadn’t done any for a week. Because of this, I planned to offer to, well, everyone I usually offer to in the space of a week, including the Nature Spirits, my Ancestors, the Gods and Goddesses, and the Earth.

During work yesterday, I had this strange nagging that told me to do this ritual outside. Since it had been sunny all day and the temperature was nice, I figured it would be fun. When I got home, as I was packing my altar, after I had changed from boots to sandals and taken off my jacket in preparation, I heard thunder and the rain come down hard on my window.

Knowing (or thinking I was knowing) what I was getting into, I figured that this was just Our Lady providing discord for my enjoyment, I grabbed my altar and decided to go through with it like I had planned.

I walked a half a mile through the cold rain. The sky had gotten cloudy in about ten minutes and the temperature had dropped 10 degrees. I shivered my way to the park.

I wandered into the woods near the path as the rain let up, and began to set up my altar. The sky had turned into a drip rather than a fire hose, so I sat down to light my candles and fill the Sacred Well. I had everything out, opened the beer for the Outdwellers, and invoked Earth.

I finished invoking Earth, and I turned to my candles to open the Fire as a Gate between the Worlds. I raised my arm, pointed at the flames, and noticed that some tape I was using to keep the candles up had caught fire. I bent down to put it out, and stood back up. I began to invoke the Gatekeeper:

“Mannanan Mac Lir, Keeper of the Gates! I ask that you join your Magic with mine, and with our Magics joined. . . “

Two of the candles had gone out.

Grinning, I took a deep breath and looked to the last candle that was still lit.

“Mannanan. . .”

Thump! FIZZZZ!!!!

The third candle went out when a huge drop of water hit it.

Seeing what Eris really seemed to be trying to tell me, I shouted, “Okay, okay! I get it!”

I poured a libation of the beer to the Outdwellers and Eris. I broke open a pomegranate for Our Lady and the Gods. I packed up my altar, and wandered out of the woods.

As I stopped to drop the beer bottle in the trash, I realized I had forgotten to offer to the nature spirits. I grabbed my offerings of oats, and went back to where I doing the rite, and offered to them, leaving the oats on the ground.

I skipped all the way home. I’d been told something by Goddess. I think I know the lesson, but I’m confident that if I don’t, She’ll be happy to teach me again.

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