Alternative Views of Outsiders
In most Indo-European mythologies, there is a primordial battle between the older forces of darkness & chaos and the younger forces of order and light. For example, the Jotuns vs. the Aesir, the Fomorians vs. the Tuatha De Danann, the Titans vs. the Olympians. Neither is strictly good or evil, it is really a story being told of the universe being brought into order.
In ADF, there is a phase of the ritual structure in which these “Outsiders” or “Outdwellers” the spirits of chaos, are given offerings so as to discourage them from disrupting the ritual. We do this instead of casting a circle, as they do in Wicca.
In the (non-ADF) Druid grove I participate in, we do neither. Some of the members have mentioned that they think it is the idea that evil spirits need to be placated before ritual is just silly. I think they believe we have nothing to fear from them.
I have mixed feelings about this as well. For one, it seems rather superstitious to me. Also, some Druids have beings/gods they worship like Eris and Loki, which would be considered Outsiders. In each of these mythologies, the two races are interrelated- the Gods are usually the children of the chaotic beings. Also by addressing them, and giving them an offering, we may be drawing their attention when otherwise they might’ve just left us alone. I also question if the reason for including this step in the Core Order of Ritual (COoR) is based more on theology/philosophy or Isaac’s desire to include as many elements of IE cosmology as he could in the ritual format.
I’d consider identifying the Outsiders with emotions and other issues we want to set aside before the ritual- anxiety, anger, rivalry, worries about money etc. Another possibility occurred to me yesterday while weeding the garden. We could identify the Outsiders with invasive species. Not just any non-native species, but ones that are disrupting the ecosystem- around here these would include- milfoil, buckthorn, zebra mussels and Asian carp, and emerald ash-borer. In these mythologies, even after being defeated in the primal war, the Outsider races still continued to make efforts to destroy the world. Human beings are actually the ones working on this, and these species which we’ve brought in, whether intentionally or accidentally, are doing their part as well.