What, is the holiday weekend over already? For someone who hasn’t had four days off in a row since Wellspring, all this not-working time has felt weird. Besides getting my desktop PC officially back in one piece and re-softwared (except for the HTML/Web design stuff), I’ve gotten started on “the calendar file”, which sets our tentative schedule for all of 2011. At the business meetings, we finalize the events for the coming quarter right before the rituals where the newsletter comes out, but this gives us a rough idea of what we have coming up. Working on the calendar (not to mention those four days off) has gotten me thinking about doing some new (or at least not done for a few years) events next year. We’ll be discussing some of these at An Bruane on Tuesday night of this week, but since I didn’t have any more pressing topic to write about for the blog, why not share my thoughts here first?
We often head out to the Manannan Shrine during the summer and fall, but never in the winter. The snow on the ground would make it a tiny bit harder to walk there, and probably a lot harder to find the path, but it could be a unique experience. Down sides to this are that we don’t strongly associate the winter with Manannan, and of course the strong possibility that nobody would show up because of the cold. All you people who tell me you’d much rather do all of our rites outdoors, here’s your chance to prove it!
Similarly, I think a winter trip to Big Lake would be incredible. I stopped by there once upon a February many years ago on my way home from Auburn Hills and a Detroit Vipers game, back when I had enough of a disposable income to actually go to Auburn Hills for a minor league hockey game just because I felt like it. Being able to walk out onto the ice and stand above the source of the Huron River is an amazing experience for any Ana fan. Down sides here are the same as the Shrine visit, plus the fraidy cats who won’t feel safe walking on the ice, even though the ice fishers will be there too, and they know way more about where the ice is strong than we do.
While I’m staying in my mother’s home for the coming year (yes, the plan is to move out), she actually wants to have us host some events here. There’s actually a good amount of space down here in the basement, Running monthly worship services would be tempting, if I thought anyone would actually make the trip to South Lyon for them. (It might actually be worse if we just got interested non-members but none of our regulars besides me – if I showed up to a “big group’s” worship service and only one guy was there to run it, and he was running it in the basement of the house where he lives, even I’d be a little creeped out.) A social event, like bringing back Game Night or Movie Night like we used to have back in the early years of the Grove, would probably be a bigger draw. (Yes, I know that some of you out there are thinking that a church would have more people show up to regular religious services than to social events, and I wish I could agree, but I remember the paltry attendance of our old Druidic Worship Circles all too well. And that was back when we had 95 members.)
One place where we could definitely run a ritual with lots of people in attendance is ConVocation. The Hellenic ritual I submitted wasn’t accepted for the official convention schedule, but given how many rituals with Hellenic gods were accepted, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. But we do have a suite again this year (assuming we get the money donated to cover the cost, of course), and we could in theory run an ADF-style ritual there, plus workshops. Down side to that is that running a ritual in a space with lots of people flowing in an out would be challenging at best. The alternative would be closing the suite off during the rite, which would rather defeat the purpose of a hospitality suite. And if too many people show up, the space could get very cramped very quickly. (Maybe have Rodney assemble a Viking raid on one of the official rituals so we can seize their conference room?)
And of course, as we plan our winter activities, the Brídeog question comes up again. After two years of getting lots of people asking to have their homes visited and nobody asking to do the travelling, I don’t even know if it’s worth the trouble to list it on the calendar any more. But people have been asking about it again, much earlier than usual – but of course, asking for the visit and not the travel. It’s definitely one of the suckier aspects of being the liturgical/spiritual leader of the Grove, torn between wanting to honor one of our Grove deities in the manner we used for many years, a way that can be both fun and meaningful, but not being able to convince any of my Grovemates that it’s worth an evening of riding around in a car. Part of me thinks it’s my fault because of my usual social incompetence and lack of persuasive skills, and part of my thinks that if Bríd is as good a goddess of hearth and community as we think she is, she should be able to do the “inspiring” bit herself. For now, my inclination is to leave it off the calendar but leave the Saturday before Imbolc open in case someone actually does volunteer. Much as I want to list it again, I don’t want to have to cancel the blasted thing for a third year in a row. That’s not doing me, us, or Bríd any favors.
So for those of you who’ve never been to An Bruane, this is the sort of thing we discuss. That, and computer games!
Next week, hopefully some news on those long-overdue Web site updates.
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF