A Hot Time In The Hollygrove Tonight

Why in Hekate’s name would I get up at 7:30 on my one day off to drive an hour to the Michigan Renaissance Festival? Is it because this was an official Grove outing, and I always try to show up to those early? Maybe a little. But more so because I love ritual, of course, and that includes the opening ceremony and processional of the Queen and her court. And since I haven’t been to the festival since 2003 or so, I wanted to get the full experience today. Kestrel and I drove up at the same time, and looked around at the stores and took in a few shows (including Bocca Musica, whom I’d never seen before and was very impressed by!) before the Kellers and their friends arrived at around 1.

After wandering around the Celtic section of the Festival (hey, we’d chosen this weekend because it was Highland Fling Weekend), we all took in the Washing Well Wenches show from the booth of Nethercraft, owned by my old friend Tomak. After that, I went to see Ded Bob, my favoritest show there, with the intent to meet up with everyone after, since they’re not into Bob as much as I am. After the show, I called Sean and found out that everyone had gone home because of the heat. Well, yeah, it was pretty bad by that time of the day. This was the first time I’d ever been to the Festival in August, and I don’t see myself repeating that. Still, my new job seems to have inured me to the afternoon heat, so I stuck around for more shopping and two more Bocca shows. I was shocked to see Richard, who’s been a Grove member since before I was, in the audience as well! After the show he introduced me to some friends of his before I left Hollygrove at 6:30, over eight hours after I’d gotten there. Well I can’t say I didn’t get my money’s worth out of the ticket!

Obviously I’d have liked to see more Grovemates there, but I know how badly the local economy is affecting us all these days, not to mention the usual reduced attendance of pretty much anything we do in July or August. Next year, we schedule the Grove outing for October. I’d rather deal with the cold than the heat. But I’m certainly glad that I did go today, Id forgotten how much I missed so much of the experience. (And how little I missed other aspects of it – two dollars for bottled water, and all of the booths ran out in the mid-afternoon!) And I’m even gladder that at least a few of my Grovemates were there, we spend too little time together these days outside of ritual. Let’s hope we can find more ways to keep this new trend going!

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

PS – Speaking of festivals, it looks like I will indeed be doing a Hellenic ritual and workshop at Midnight Flame in a few weeks. If anyone from southeastern Michigan is needing a ride there, let me know!

Bits and Bobs

Many small things to note this week:

The (hopefully only for a few months) move to my mother’s home in South Lyon is done. Sadly I won’t be able to host any Grove events here, but the high-speed Internet connection should make things easier for me to do things online – once I get my desktop to work, which it seems reluctant to do right now. I’m stuck on the laptop until it’s working again, which means updating the Grove’s Web site will be difficult, and expect many typoes from me as long as I’m using this doll-sized keyboard. (And yes, I spell it typoes, “typos” looks too much like a Greek noun for me to be comfortable using it.)

Sadly, the move meant I couldn’t even consider traveling to Columbus for the Summerland Festival, but I did light a candle and do a few prayers for Isaac at 9 PM on Sunday when they were beginning his memorial service there. I even sang the song about him that I won’t sing in public, or private now that IU think of it. I hope he enjoyed it!

While I was moving until late Friday night, I still would have been able to do my workshop at Detroit’s Pagan Pride Day on Saturday – if it hadn’t been postponed to September because the park was overbooked or some such. Given how bad the weather was on Saturday, maybe it’s better that it wasn’t this weekend, but now that it’s been moved to the same day as our Fall Equinox rite, that ends any chance of my being involved with them this year. Feh.

Speaking of Paganish events in Oakland County, I think ConVocation’s class deadline is next week. Any suggestions on what I should submit for myself or the Grove?

And next Sunday is our group outing to the Renaissance Festival! Now that I’m living much further north than Ann Arbor, I’ll likely be driving myself there, so either meet me at the entrance during the opening ceremony, or call me on the cell (734-277-1897) so we can meet there.

The air is actually getting noticeable cooler as I do my routes during the week, dare I hope that fall is nearly here, and people will start coming to Grove events again, and I can actually spend more than thirty minutes outside in the afternoon without feeling like I’m about to burn to death? Let’s hope!

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

Isaac Bonewits 1949-2010

Between the move (still underway) and some computer problems, I don’t have much time to write this evening.

For those who haven’t yet heard, Isaac passed away last Thursday. I only ever met him twice, so I don’t know that I have anything insightful to say about him, so I’ll post links to ADF’s bio on him, and Michael’s LJ entry about him.

The  first time I can remember hearing of him was in Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon, which I read way back in 1990 when I was trying to figure out whether I was a a Pagan. Isaac’s vision of an outward-looking form of Paganism sounded good to me, though it would be another five years before I got involved with ADF. Now that I’m older, and spent time in both ADF and in groups that don’t have that focus on public service and outreach, the vision that Isaac had for ADF resonates even more strongly with me. I just hope that I can honor his vision as well as it deserves to be honored.

There’ll be a memorial service for Isaac at the Summerland Festival this Thursday at 9 PM Eastern, which thanks to the dumb luck of my moving schedule I won’t be able to attend, but I will certainly be lighting a candle for him and thinking about him and everything he’s done for ADF, and in so doing, for me personally. I ask everyone else out there to do the same.

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

Frustrated (You Know They’ll Turn It Off Just As You’re Starting Up The Rite)

At last year’s Lughnasadh, after a decently large turnout on Friday night, we had horrible downpours on Saturday morning, and even though the rain died off in the afternoon. Only twelve people were at the main rite, which we ended up holding at the Fire Circle because we didn’t even want to walk down the muddy paths to the nemeton, never mind setting up there. This year’s forecast was for clear skies and relatively cool temperatures for the whole festival. Combine that with the greater-than-usual number of phone calls (I think the Observer actually listed the right phone number this time!) and e-mails, and I was expecting a much greater turnout this time around.

Friday night was pleasant, though since we didn’t have any volunteers to run a ritual that night, I felt sorry for the newcomers who couldn’t be there on Saturday. (And before you ask, I try to avoid doing the Friday ritual myself because I’ve generally spent all day running errands to prepare for the festival weekend and am not in a good headspace to lead ritual.) Still, there are worse things than sitting around a fire and chatting. Some people stopped by but said they’d return the next day when things were actually happening.

So Saturday came, I got to the site at 11:30 (after having to deal with a flat tire on the way there, and being *very* glad I’d gotten all of the prep work done the day before), to find the Kellers still there. Nobody arrived for my Greek Oracle disk making workshop, so I helped Rodney, Sean and Dylan get the nemeton set up. We did have a few children there for the finger-painting workshop, at least.

And then, ritual time rolled around, and we had… all of eleven people there, and none of them new. Wait, what? Where did everyone go? What happened to all those folks who called and stopped by on Friday? Feh. I know August is a bad time to get anyone to show up to Grove events, but this felt like a new nadir, like I’d spent weeks organizing the victory party for the candidate who was leading in the polls and then got three percent of the vote.

Well, part of being committed to open public ritual is running the ritual whether the public shows up or not, so we went ahead with it. The one change I made was having people write out their obstacles and wishes on the stickers down at the nemeton, since there were so few of us I didn’t think it would disrupt the flow of the rite too badly. We went with the same group praise and main sacrifice as last year, since so few people had seen it last year. (By which logic, we may as well do it again next year!)

The Balor balloon-head that Gen made looked very nice, though I had to hold it from the shoulders because it was just too heavy to stay up any other way. We put the obstacle stickers on the balloon and the wish stickers on my ritual dagger, and Rodney stabbed the balloon with it, sending a cascade of rose petals to the ground. (Damon then spent much of the ritual playing in the rose petals, which I’m not sure how to interpret liturgically.) After offering the remains of Balor to the fire, Rodney took the omen, which was good (Fehu – Gebo – Kenaz), and we toasted Lugh and Ana as the return flow, using the mead we got from our hosts at Wellspring. (And water, for those of us who don’t drink.)

After the ritual, we did our usual potluck and raffle, where I won the blanket that Jude had made as our “big ticket” item. Kestrel arrived during the rite, giving us an attendance of twelve again, and Gen got there after she was done with her wedding. The “knitting ritual” sort of happened with Liz and Gen doing some craft work, but with no new people there, Jude didn’t do the meditation workshop she’d offered to lead, and Gen and I decided to postpone the Demeter ritual to Samhain in the hopes that people might actually show up. (I did offer some seeds and olive oil to the fire for her, though, I won’t say I’m going to honor a god in a group rite and then give her nothing!)

So, there we have it. A great plan and having everything ready and great weather can’t guarantee attendance (something about horses and water), and frustrating as it is, that’s something we have to cope with from time to time as an ADF Grove. At least we had a good rite.

Oh, and the punch line to all of this? Even with the tiny attendance, we got $54 in raffle proceeds, not enough to cover the site rental cost, but way more than we’d gotten at the previous two High Days. Go figure.

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

Short Summer Song

Not much to report this week, Grove-wise, beyond the preparations for Lughnasadh next weekend. The schedule still isn’t filled, so I guess people will have to put up with me yammering about our Grove deities or some such. And I still need to come up with a topic for my Greek talk on Friday night, and a theme for the ritual on Saturday night. Well, I *did* do that paper on prostitution in ancient Athens, which might make for a doable workshop, but probably not much of a ritual. (At least, not one that any women would want to attend!)

The main ritual is set, at least. We tried doing an online session for Liturgists’ Roundtable this past week, but nobody logged on, except for Liz who was upstairs and apparently weirded out by seeing what Rod typed and hearing me talk at the same time. >8) Since so few people attended last year’s, we’re going to try doing the same thing again and hopefully the super big surprise part in the middle will still be a surprise for many of us.

Getting ready for this year’s festival will be an extra challenge for me this year, since I’m now in the process of moving. Much as I want to avoid the stigma of living in my Mom’s basement, my current housemate is just getting harder to live with, and living with Mom will let me save up so I can get a proper apartment later. For now, I just have to make darn sure I know exactly what I need for the weekend, and not lose track of where it is.

Sadly, the move also means I have to drop any plans of driving to Columbus on Sunday to attend Three Cranes Grove‘s ritual at the Dublin Irish Festival. Exciting as the prospect of an ADF rite with hundreds (or even thousands?) or people attending is, I can’t take that much time off from moving. Probably just as well, since I wouldn’t have been able to head that way until after our own Lughnasadh was done, leaving me perhaps as much as five hours of sleep before a four hour drive. Maybe next year, if they’re sensible enough to schedule it on a different weekend from our High Day.  >8)

So hopefully I’ll see you all at some point on Friday or Saturday, and if not, have a happy Lughnasadh!

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