The period between the Summer Solstice and the beginning of September is always a slow time for our Grove. Our regular meetings in July and August always have a low attendance. Not that I blame folks for having lives outside the Grove, of course – I mean, I’m the Senior Druid, so this is my life, or a fair chunk of it at least. But this is the time of year when folks go out of town for long periods, either for a summer vacation or the various big Pagan festivals like Starwood. (Our religion considers both nature and our families sacred, so we can’t be surprised when people choose to spend time with them!) And even when folks are still in the area, this summer’s gas prices aren’t conducive to driving for non-essential trips. So Grove-wise, this is the time of year when I focus on things I can do at home, like my work on the ADF Clergy Training Program or writing articles, and wait for the cool breeze of fall to bring back both fresh faces and old hands to our meetings.
There is one notable exception to this summer slowdown, and that’s our Lughnasadh festival. It’s the one High Day we have during July and August, and our High Days always draw a big crowd. Many of you will remember the period from 1996 to 2002 when we held Lughnasadh at a conference center, and we charged admission and it ran for four days with lots and lots of rituals and workshops, and all that fun stuff that the big name festivals do. But that was back in the days of our Grove having 90 members, and our Senior Druid also being the Arch Druid so folks from out of town felt more of a desire to come visit us. When Fox retired from the SD position and our numbers dropped to under twenty, we didn’t have the money or the attendees to keep that running. For a few years we held a one-day Lughnasadh at lovely Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, and then we moved it to our regular High Day sire at Botsford Recreational Preserve, where we’ve been doing it as a two-day event. This year, due to popular demand, we’re expanding to three days, so hopefully folks who can only attend for one day will still be able to join us and take part.
So what goes on at a Lughnasadh? We still have several rituals and workshops throughout the weekend, along with food and conversation, and overnight camping for those so inclined. Our main rite on Sunday will be to honor Lugh, the Irish god who has identified himself to us as our tribal patron god, and as such holds a special place in our Grove. In addition to making our offerings during the main rite itself, we view the entire weekend as a form of praise offering. As Lugh is a god skilled at many crafts, so we hold craft workshops for everyone to display their own such skills. We also hold a small bardic competition, and we hold various workshops throughout the weekend to share our knowledge. And we’ll be doing other rituals during the weekend, including a Greek-themed one for those of us who aren’t exclusively Celtic in our practice.
If you’re in the area (or willing to drive a bit), please do join us for all or part of our weekend! Whatever your interests, we’ll have something you’ll like.
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
Lughnasadh 2008 Info: http://shininglakes.bravehost.com/lughad.html
(Some scheduled events will likely be moved around before Lughnasadh weekend arrives, and some may be added. Check back later for updates!)