On Servers, Shrines, Cathedrals, and Bards

After my first ADF Clergy Retreat last weekend, just about any week would seem light on Druid activities by comparison! But there were several things going on this week, even if none of them was quite that intense.

I migrated the SLG Web site to a new server provided by Matt and Leeron at Strategic Computer Solutions, so not only do we have half a gig of disk space to work with (literally a hundred times the space our previous server was letting us have), but now we have php and MySQL available, plus we can host our own mailing lists! Now that the site is up on the new server, the next step is to remove the site from the old server so people don’t keep accessing it for the next several months and wonder why there haven’t been any updates! Then we’ll implement the format redesign that Paul has developed for us.

The first new additions to the Web site since August were… the photos from July’s Manannan Shrine visit back in July. Yes, Rodney finally got them to me! You can see them here.

And we got them just in time for our new visit to the Shrine on Tuesday night. It was raining all day, and I know a few people stayed home because of it, but when the four of us (me, Gen, Matt, and Anne) travelled out to the site, it stopped raining right as we got there, and it was noticeably warmer than it had been during the day. Kestrel drove out by herself but we never did see her or her car, so she told us later that she just left. Somehow we managed to spot the “no trespassing sign” and the tree stump in the dark, and while we did overshoot the shrine area on the path, once we got to the lake shore we walked back toward the road and found it easily enough. Frog chirps surrounded us as we made our offerings, tied bells to one of the trees (along with a silver necklace offering from Matt), and collected water from the swamp for use at Samhain. We did take some photos, which will almost certainly not look as good as the ones from July, but we’ll post them as soon as we can.

Saturday night brought us Game Night, but only four of us were there. Granted, Matt had his mother’s wedding to attend, but the drop in attendance around the six month point seems typical for a lot of events we’ve tried to do throughout the years. Hopefully the winter months and their “do stuff inside” spirit will bring us a few more folks. Those of us who did attend played the “Pillars of the Earth” board game that I bought last year on Black Friday. (I didn’t know the store was doing a “40% off everything” sale that day, sometimes dumb luck does pay!) The learning curve was pretty steep, but once we understood the basic turn sequence, things moved very quickly, and in the end it was fun! There’s a certain geeky perversion to playing a board game based on a novel from Oprah’s Book Club (and the only novel from that list that I’ve actually read, other than a few passages from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s works in my college Spanish classes), and the perseverance of the characters in the book to build something that most of them would never live long enough to see is still an inspiration to me. I don’t know exactly what SLG or ADF will become in future decades, but I hope that future generations will benefit from the work we do now. And hopefully the current generations will get something out of it too. >8)

For those in the area interested in bardic things, Paul and Val will be holding their “let’s see if there’s any interest in reviving our local Bardic Guild” meeting on Saturday night. I won’t be able to attend myself (Gen’s niece’s and nephew’s birthday party is the same night), but I hope that there’s enough interest to get things rolling again. We’ve had quite a bard shortage in the Grove for the last ten years, and some new songs and other liturgical material would be a very good thing. Hek, getting any Guild meetings happening again would be a good thing. A spread-out membership plus high gas prices plus a bad economy have definitely not been kind to our non-ritual attendance in general. Will the bards inspire a change in that? My fingers are crossed! You can contact Val at vhartzer@yahoo.com or (248) 586-9222 for more info.

And speaking of ritual attendance, the schedule for our Samhain weekend is now online! Remember, you’re more than welcome to attend just some of the events. I really don’t think I should have to say that, but so many people tell me after our weekend-long events, “Well, I wanted to come, but I couldn’t stay for the whole thing, so I didn’t think I would be allowed.” You’re allowed. Really truly. I hope to see you all there for any part of it!

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

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