Devotion Gone South

I’m sure it happens to Pagans of all varieties from time to time, but to have a morning ritual just go utterly south feels so disappointing.

I’ve read of similar instances from my dear friend – and the primary reason I started into ADF – the Druid in the Swamp, that it /does/ happen.

As she states in her Trance and Liturgy Journal:


“Murphy’s Law of Wells


  • You are already close to running late
  • Your well didn’t get water in it yesterday because you forgot to fill the cup
  • You do your devotional at 5:30 am before caffeine
  • You are trying to establish a regular practice but still get to work on time
  • Your well is a beautiful wooden bowl made of pieced woods in different colors that was a gift you can never replace


  • Your wooden well will have cracked along a seam in the bottom from having water left in it the last time you did ritual
  • You will not notice this until half the well has emptied out the crack in the bottom, soaking the entire top of your altar
  • You will be out of paper towels in your altar room, and will have to make a mad dash to the kitchen to get some
  • Your old ceramic well will be full of wine corks, which have no other place to go, so you will have to leave them in a pile on the counter
  • When you empty your old well, it will be full of cork dust, so you will need to wash it

And then:

  • By the time you finally get back to your devotional, you will have forgotten what steps you did and have to start over
  • Making you at least 10 minutes late getting out the door”


Granted, it’s the weekend, so time wasn’t really my issue, so much as the disruption of my offering bowl sliding off one side of the stand and pouring my gift to the Ancestors on the porch. My first was flickering so I emptied some of the excess wax away from the wick and got paraffin all over my fingers and the votive holding the candle. Then I poured out the Outdweller’s beer near where I’d returned the other offerings to the earth, vs on the other side of the porch like I’d been doing.

And I basically just spent the entire ritual and the few minutes after it, apologizing over and over, and was really glad that I hadn’t intended to ask for anything from the start. I just wanted to give and it felt like I’d fumbled the wrapping on the gifts, forgotten to remove the price stickers, and then tripped and dropped everything on my way to give them.

I’m sure it’s all part of the learning process, especially since I’ve never been the ritual type, so almost all of this is completely new to me. But until today the devotionals had been, well, very calming, even though I wasn’t getting the words right and was probably doing a lot of stuff out of order. Today it feels a bit more like I went into it nicely dressed and came out with my hair in a muss and dirt and wax everywhere.

Fortunately I have two solid weeks to work the kinks out of things before celebrating Ancestor’s Night, so that’ll be a good thing.