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  • Writer's pictureAmber Doty

Core Order of Ritual Breakdown: Opening the Gates

The Core Order of Ritual is something that I utilize regularly in my practice, so I feel like it's important to dive into that ritual structure a little bit and share my understanding of each part, as well as giving an example of what that part of the ritual might look like. Today we continue our discussion by talking about Opening the Gates.


There are two primary parts of Opening the Gates within an ADF ritual: the Gates and the Gatekeeper. The Gates and the Gatekeeper have been part of ADF rituals since the organization was founded. However, it does take significant inspiration came from Voudoun and West African religions, so let’s take a look at what this step looks like.


The Gates stand in the Sacred Center that we have created and allow us to open a direct line of communication between the realms and to the Kindreds. While we are absolutely able to communicate with the Three Kindreds without opening the gates, opening them allows for a clear, strong connection to the Kindreds.


The Gatekeeper is a liminal being that has the ability to move or communicate between the realms different realms. Most often these are beings who have guardian or messenger type attributes, such as Heimdall, the Norse watchman and guardian of Bifrost, or Hermes, the Greek messenger of the gods and protector of travelers. These are just a two options of course and there are many other beings who can be worked with for this action, even within the Norse and Greek pantheons.


After we have created our Sacred Center, we will call upon the Gatekeeper, often giving them an offering, and ask for their aid in opening the gates. This is often combined with specific gestures, movement, or visualization and a command of “let the gates be open”.



I call to the gatekeeper,

walker between the realms,

messenger and guardian.

You guide our steps

and open the ways.

Let the smoke rising up

from our fire

connect us to the Shining Ones.

Let the waters flowing deep

in our well

connect to us the Ancestors.

Let the tree growing deep

and stretching high

connect all the realms.

Gatekeeper, let the gates be open.


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