Processional Route
This wide lane was the processional route for the pilgrimage to the ritual site from the car park.

Brief Information:
High Day Celebrated: Bealltainn (Beltane)
Location: Chalk Ridge Falls Park, Belton, TX
Date Celebrated: 2 May, 2011
Time Celebrated: 2PM, CST
Who led the Rite: EnchantedWolf
Grove Name: This was a Solitary ritual
Gatekeeper: Mannannán Mac Lir
Patrons: None specific called

Omen Method:
I asked for a Sign, and I waited for response; I did not call omen within ritual, I used omens to determine an alternative ritual site, as the trail I needed to take to the chosen site was closed from the storm and a footbridge collapse.
Omens:

Unwelcome
This site did NOT want anything to do with me or my ritual.

#1 – Asked for permission to perform rite at alternative site #1; Received bad feeling, rustling and feeling of being watched in a hostile manner; my boots got stuck in the mud and it was hard to extract them, even just walking out to the stone and trees.

#2 – Asked for permission to perform rite at alternative site #2; Feeling of peace and lightness, found single, fresh, bright green oak leaf on ground.
Workings: First Oath

Summary:
For my first Rite, I chose Bealltainn (Beltane), and as part of that working, I took First Oath. This was a solitary working.

In review, I think the Rite structure worked well. It felt very natural. Since I held it at a park outside, and to get to the ritual area, one has to hike a quarter mile from the parking area to the site, doing a processional and setting sacred intention for the pilgrimage just fell right into place. In my previous work with OBOD Druidry, I’ve learnt Gaelic chant, so I was able to chant the whole way. (When I wasn’t out of breath ;). )

Things that I think went well were the choice of the site itself; the offerings I brought; the intention; and the gentle energy and peace that seemed to surround the rite. Another big thing that really worked is the significance of this park itself to me. I have taken some major Oaths in this park, life-changing vows that I have kept. To take First Oath and have my very first ADF-style ritual here was significant to me.

Now, since this actually was my first ADF-style ritual ever, I didn’t have any patrons, yet. However, I offered generically to the 3 kindreds, and to the Earth Mother. My gatekeeper was Mannannán; I am already beginning to work with him, so I didn’t see any point in NOT appointing Him gatekeeper 😉 . For this first ritual, I partially read from a script. I knew my fuinn (the Gaelic chants) by heart, but not the English portions – they were new to me, so I didn’t really stumble over words too much. Memorization is part of what I’m working on.

Actual Ritual Site
Actual ritual site with Oak Leaf omen at base of the tree.

What I did have a problem with, was TIMING, and FLOW. It’s hard to describe, but I had pauses in between the sequence of events that probably should not have been there. Also, I found the logistics uncomfortable. Even though I’d packed my offerings in the correct order I needed them, I still fumbled with the physical aspects of the rite. That included choosing the actual site. The park is large, and the trail I needed to get to the ritual site had been closed, due to a footbridge collapse, so I had to do something alternatively.The first alternative site, when I asked the trees and the site if they were willing, I got a lot of negative energy and I could hear restlessness in the branches and on the ridge above me, as if I was being watched in a hostile manner. I also sank in the mud and had trouble extracting my boots. The longer I was there, the worse I felt.  I thanked the trees and the site for their time, and left. You know, even when I came back through and took the photo from the ridge of this site, I got the feeling it didn’t even like that. The second site was an entirely different feel. There was a blanket of peace, and when I asked permission, I asked for a sign. Looking around, there was a brand-new, bright green oak leaf on the ground, so I chose to use that place for the rite. It was right next to the Falls, and the water was running heavily; it was very beautiful. The tree that permitted its use as the Tree Hallow was a beautiful, but rather young, tree.

Oak Tree Hallow
The Tree Hallow Portrait for Bealltainn, 02 May 2011

Since this my first ADF rite ever, I did not add in some of the steps that should have; I did not do taking of omens within the rite itself, although in order to find a new ritual site, I did ask for an omen or sign, and I did receive them. I also did not do anything specific to Bealltainn, really, except make offerings to the 3 kindred in keeping with the season.

I think I felt pretty confident about it. I ad-libbed a few things at the very end, for I took the rest of the offering material I had and dispersed them to the wilderness, after I had formally closed the rite in the ADF way.

The feeling I took away from the rite was a good one, and in thanks, I packed out some tin cans others had left before me.