The Wheel of the Year keeps on turning, and autumn is here, with all of the signs of its coming. The air is turning cooler, the streets of Ann Arbor are packed with students wandering about with no regard for traffic, the Lions have lost their first game, and people are calling and e-mailing me about the Grove again. August is over, and people want to devote their time and energy to being Pagan again! Yay!
Another sign that summer is over is that festival season is over. Right now there’s an ADF festival taking part here in Michigan – well, it’s probably over by this time of the day, and people are headed home – but there was a festival this weekend, and once again, between my work schedule and lack of money, I couldn’t go. I have vague memories of back when I had a job as a computer programmer and could afford to go to Wellspring and other festivals, but it seems like a lifetime ago. And lately I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever be in a financial position to do the festival thing again. (Of course, this Grove used to have its own festival right here in this area, but it’s going to be even longer before we have the money to make that happen again.)
On a similar note, the wedding I officiated last week reminded me how little contact I’ve had with any local Pagans outside of my Grove lately. Well, we can argue whether the northern suburbs of Detroit counts as “local” to Ann Arbor, and I honestly don’t know of any other open Pagan groups that are close to Ann Arbor, and I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. >8) (Any other open Pagan groups in Ann Arbor should feel free to contact me and tell me of their existence, really.)
And with a job that requires me to work on Saturdays, a lot of the area events I could otherwise attend are closed to me. Pagan Pride Day in Detroit this years sounds like it will be good (the planned display of multiple altars sounds fascinating), but it’s on a Saturday, so no Rob. The Jackson area Unitarian church has invited me to an event where various religions will give workshops and such, but again, if it’s on Saturday no, Rob. Heck, I can’t even get every SLG High Day off from work, usually I have to go in and work in the morning, and believe me there are better ways to mentally prepare to lead a ritual than going to work.
Of course, being the Senior Druid of my Grove, I’ve always felt that my main responsibility is to the members of my Grove, and I don’t have enough time and energy to tend to my Grove’s needs and go gallivanting about around southeastern Michigan visiting everyone else. Heck, I’m how far behind on redesigning our Web page, or even adding the last few rituals? Not to mention those eleven remaining courses I need to write up in order to maintain my ADF Clergy status… But now this is sounding all dark and brooding, and that really wasn’t my intent. I’m just a little sad that I can’t do more for my Grove and my community, but until they start paying me a salary to be a Druid priest, I have to make do.
However – and here’s where the article gets a little happier >8) – once in a while, someone actually does schedule an event on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, and I can actually manage to be there. The good folks at FOCAS (the Federation Of Circles And Solitaries) invited us to lead their “Mabon” ritual next Sunday, and we’re taking them up on it. (Step One: Telling them all why we don’t call the ritual “Mabon”. >8) If you’re in the Wyandotte area next Sunday, please do stop by and join us for the ritual. I’m definitely looking forward to doing a ritual by the banks of the Detroit River, seeing some old folks I haven’t seen in a while, and meeting some folks I don’t know yet. I’m sure it will be worth the trip!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF