Beltaine Ritual Summary

Beltaine Ritual
May 7th, 2017
Deity of the Occasion: Aren
Offerings: oil / Maypole dancing / fire jumping
Omen: Hagalaz / Raidho / Dagaz
Return flow: Waters of Life / jumping the fire
Attendees: 35

Notes:

(Photos taken by David Rozian are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrozian/sets/72157680579409934/)

It was a lovely day for our first ritual at our new nemeton!  The wind kept the temperature brisk enough that I didn’t need to remove my jacket, even though the circle was out in the sun and unprotected by any shade.  This may be a problem come August, but for May it’s fine.  We also ended up having to place some of our ritual gear out on open ground as well, just because there wasn’t anything to prop it up; Fox’s suggestion of building small portable shrine enclosures is a good one.  As with our previous nemetons, it will always be a work in progress and we will always be finding ways to make the site both more functional and more beautiful.

Fox, being the crazy person he is, managed to climb a ladder and attach the Maypole topper to the top of the 17 foot bile’.  Getting the ribbons under control and tied around the bile’s took a bit longer.

The ritual itself went smoothly.  Offerings of oil were made, along with the Dance of Transcending the Boundary (which I managed to do standing up this year) and the Maypole dance.  I’m glad I had some idea how many people were coming, since Gen had originally only put 16 ribbons on the topper before bumping it up to 28, and all 28 ended up being used!

After a favorable omen, our randomly selected May Queen chose a much taller friend to jump over the hearth fire (much lower than the raised fire pit we’re using as the central offering fire), along with aspurging with the Waters of Life.

After the ritual, folks stayed around for quite some time, conversing and exploring the wooded paths of the new site.  My renewed thanks to Fox and Marisol for making it available to us!

Spring Equinox Ritual Summary

Spring Equinox Ritual
March 19th, 2017
Deity of the Occasion: Ana
Offerings: eggs
Omen: Jera / Nauthiz / Raidho
Return flow: Waters of Life / blessing of the seeds and tools
Attendees: 14

Notes:

Our usual ritual of finding the life within the land (colored eggs) and telling the story of Ana.

I will sort of miss doing our rituals indoors until next December.  Being outside is amazing, of course, but at the Friends Meeting I can actually move my wheelchair around and help set up.  The outdoor site means either I’m using my walker or someone else is pushing my wheelchair.

It was great to see so many new folks there!  I hope our new outdoor site in Pinckney isn’t too far for folks to travel.

Imbolc Ritual Summary

Imbolc Ritual
January 29th, 2017
Deity of the Occasion: Bríd
Offerings: yarn / storytelling
Omen: Dagaz / Eiwaz / Gebo
Return flow: bread
Attendees: 10

Notes:

Another lovely Imbolc rite in the basement of the Friends Meeting, our usual site for winter rituals.  Folks were still cleaning up after their post-service meal, but it was clear enough for Rodney and the other early arrivals to have everything set up by 2:15.

We repeated last year’s offering of taking turns telling a story while tying pieces of yarn together, combining both a bardic and a weaving activity.  The omen was good, and we shared Gen’s pull-apart bread as the return.

One departure from the usual is that a few of our members couldn’t attend because they were taking part in protest rallies.  Something tells me that will be a common occurrence for the near future.

Ritual Summaries: Fall Equinox, Samhain, and Yule

Fall Equinox Ritual
September 25th, 2016
Deity of the Occasion: Ana
Offerings: decorated apples
Omen: Fehu / Jera / Hagalaz
Return flow: cider
Attendees: 5

Samhain Afternoon Ritual
November 5th, 2016
Deities of the Occasion: Lugh and Ana
Offerings: decorated skull cookies
Omen: Raidho / Dagaz / Mannaz
Return flow: rune candy
Attendees: 7

Samhain Afternoon Ritual
November 5th, 2016
Deity/Kindred of the Occasion: Manannan and the Ancestors
Offerings: oil
Omen: Ehwaz / Wunjo / Thurisaz
Return flow: bread
Attendees: 18

Yule Ritual
December 18th, 2016
Deities of the Occasion: Bel and Danu
Offerings: decorated tree
Omen: Dagaz / Othala / Jera
Return flow: ornaments
Attendees: 10

Sorry I didn’t get a chance to do proper write-ups for these, but other projects devoured my time.  My thanks to Jan for letting us hold our outdoor rituals at her farm after we were forced to leave Cavallo, and my continuing thanks to the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting for letting us use their space for our indoor winter rites.

Lughnasadh Ritual Summary

Lughnasadh Ritual
July 31st, 2016
Deities of the Occasion: Lugh and Ana
Offerings: libations; the remains of Balor
Omen: Thurisaz / Gebo / Ansuz
Return flow: bread, juice
Attendees: 7

Notes:

Another lightly attended ritual during the summer doldrums.  Much like the previous ritual, the shaded location at our temporary site kept it from getting horribly hot, and going inside for the potluck was a good plan.

Our Regional Druid, Amy Castner, visited us again, and had the honor of wielding the spear (an actual metal-tipped one this time) to strike Balor.  Her battle cry of “eep” resounded across the land as his head exploded in a blossom of red petals!

My thanks to everyone who was there, and I hope I’ll see lots of people at our table at Ann Arbor Pagan Pride Day on September 17th: http://annarborpaganpride.org/

Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF

Summer Solstice Ritual Summary

Summer Solstice Ritual
June 19th, 2016
Deities of the Occasion: Bel and Danu
Offerings: oil, sun wheel
Omen: Sowilo / Peorth / Fehu
Return flow: water
Attendees: 6

Notes:

Our first ritual at our temporary location in South Lyon.  The site worked out very well, there’s a shady spot near the barn than was pleasant for doing ritual, plus we had access to a house with bathrooms and air conditioning.

I’m sorry that only six people were there to enjoy it!  Since we switch to Sunday rituals, I’ve been advocating that we hold the ritual on Father’s Day rather than hold it the weekend of Michigan Pagan Fest, but given how few people from MPF ever come to our rites anyway, I’m reconsidering that now.  (Then again, we got 15 people at last year’s rite, so maybe Father’s Day isn’t a guaranteed issue.)

In any case, those of us who were there honored Bel and Danu with our usual Sun Litany and passing the sun wheel (no hills to roll it down after setting it on fire) (not that anyone will ever let me do that) to honor the sun at its high point while remembering the cold time of year that is coming.  And the potluck included homemade marshmallows, with strawberry and lemon flavoring, which were way better than I’d have expected!

Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF

Beltaine Ritual Summary

Beltaine Ritual
May 1st, 2016
Deity of the Occasion: Aren
Offerings:  flask of oil
Omen: Thurisaz – Fehu – Mannaz
Return flow: juice, fire jumping
Attendees: 25

Notes:

I’ll keep this minimal, as it’s still unpleasant for me to remember some of the details of this day.

The ritual itself actually went quite well, the Maypole dance was about as smooth as it ever was, and the young people from the local UU church seemed genuinely happy to be taking part in it.  And the omen was good.

But we also found out that the owner of the land had sold her property to avoid foreclosure, and would be leaving in a few weeks.  And the nasty neighbors we’ve had to deal with – the ones who stole our Epona statue and vandalized the nemeton over the winter – were emboldened enough to shout obscenities at us during the rite, and then come by after the rite to shout some more and also threaten to send their dogs on me.  After years of being in the Ann Arbor area, a community that has been overwhelmingly supportive of us, this reaction to our Pagan ways was a cold dash of water, to say the least.  I won’t say that I have full-blown PTSD or the like because of it, but the fact that these people committed crimes against us – actual criminal acts – and will get away with is still bothers me.

But I look to our Ancestors, who were nomads once upon a time, and were occasionally driven away from their homeland by external invaders, not entirely unlike what we’re doing through now.  (Except that none of us have actually been killed.)  They found a new place to like and to honor their gods, and now it’s our turn to be like them and do the same.  My mother had offered us the temporary use of her farm for our rituals this year, and now we begin the search for a new site for our nemeton.  Our Grove has been together for nearly twenty-three years now, and as long as we support each other and work together, we’ll be here for another twenty-three, even if it’s not in the exact same place.

Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF