The Gates of the Three Kindreds

On August 2nd, in the warm evening air with the sun beginning its descent, Apple Branch Protogrove (a small local group of ADF) celebrated Lughnasadh, the god Lugh’s wedding – his sacred union to the Land. I was very glad to facilitate our observance, my first time leading an ADF style ritual for a group (yay!). During the ritual, in standard ADF fashion, we asked the gatekeeper – for this festival it was the god Manannan Mac Lir – to open the gates to the Three Kindreds. For those who are unfamiliar with ADF, three groups of beings, aka kindreds, are honored: the gods, the nature spirits, and the ancestors. Each kindred has its own gateway within the sacred grove that serves as a conduit for communication. The Fire is the gateway of the gods; the Tree serves as the gateway for the nature spirits; lastly, the Well is the gateway for the ancestors. The Gatekeeper joins his will with that of the grove members and grants his grace to the members of the sacred grove so that the worlds may draw nearer to one another via the open gates. The Gatekeeper also serves as guard and warder during the working.

Being dedicated to – and soon to be oathed to – a Gatekeeper deity (Hekate), I am generally sensitive to transition points in the months and years. Lughnassadh-time is filled with transitional energy, with many gates opening and closing throughout the worlds. And so, while I was writing the ritual, I was very attentive to the three gates i.e., the portals for the Three Kindreds and also to this ritual’s Gatekeeper.

For this particular ritual, early on when we recognized and blessed the three gates and established our sacred center/sacred grove, I offered the following words of saining:

With silver we hallow the Well
Sacred center of our grove,
Black gate of the Mighty Dead.

With ash [powdered leaf of Fraxinus excelsior] we hallow the Tree
Sacred center of our grove
Green gate of the Noble [Nature] Spirits.

With bergamot [blended oil], we hallow the Fire,
Sacred center of our grove,
Gold gate of the Shining Gods.

And the Gatekeeper, Manannan Mac Lir, we asked to ward and open the way for us that our requests might be heard, our offerings received, and our blessings swift to come.

Overall, the ritual went well and a good time was had by all. Since Lughnasadh, I have been more attuned to gates and gateways of all sorts. I look forward to see where this second wave of transitional, gateway energy takes me on my journey.


2 thoughts on “The Gates of the Three Kindreds

    • “Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) is an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry.” Folks who are interested can learn more at I have been involved with Apple Branch Protogrove, a local ADF group, to varying degrees for about three years. What I like about ADF is its emphasis on what I call good “citizenship”, basically cultivating working relationships with the Kindreds for the good of intergroup relations across the worlds. Each year on the Holy/High Days the Folk of ADF attune, make offerings, receive blessings, and communicate (via divination, usually the Ogham or Runes in our group) with the spirits of nature, the mighty dead, and the gods. I’ve enjoyed having the organization as one means by which I can meet and Work with folks who share similar perspectives on how the Worlds/Kindreds/Spirits relate to and interact with humans. And, to add a succulent cherry to an already divine cake, ADF/Apple Branch Protogrove is how I met three of the other four Catskin Sisters.

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