An Old Rite And A New Site

So, a few things to report this week:

At last week’s An Bruane, our first actual attempt at monthly ritual went well, with four of us making the trip to my home in South Lyon (okay, me making the trip probably isn’t much of a hardship) for a Roman-style Lupercalia. And we know it was Roman-style, because we had to restart it twice because of errors! But it was good to honor the gods and get blessed by being hit by a thong (not that hard, I’m not into that), and the smells of the incense were amazing. Sadly, though, that underscored m biggest concern about monthly ritual: finding a site where we can actually do it properly. Our only likely candidate right now is the ICC Ed Center, the place where we do our Yule ritual, and they have a strict policy about no candles or incense or alcohol. And I really feel like we’ll be missing a lot if we can’t use any of those for monthly rites. Would our Lupercalia have worked as well with no flame for Vesta, and no wine or incense for any of the gods? We get by with electric candles for Yule, and in fairness we usually don’t get a Hek of a lot of people showing up for Yule, so maybe we shouldn’t even be doing Yule there, free of rental fees though it may be. But I still have my reservations about having them in anyone’s home, and my home in particular is not the easiest to get to. And so the quest for a better location continues.

And speaking of other locations, we had our first Coffee Hour at the “other” Borders on Friday. My own personal nightmare scenario once again came to pass: A new person showed up early, and nobody else showed up until 7:30. Folks, you know I look like a creepy old man who’s trying to trick people into something weird, do not put me in the position where I have to convince the new person that I didn’t make up the whole “Grove” thing to make them come to Borders and sit with me! But eventually other people actually did show up, and our final attendance was nine, about what we usually get for a Coffee Hour in March. The only down side was that I spent most of the session answering questions from the new person, and didn’t really get to socialize. Worse, when others decided to go out to eat after Borders closed, I couldn’t join them because I had volunteered to work on Saturday. Yep, the first Sasturday in months that I wasn’t required to go in, and I opted to because I could use the money. I actually act like a responsible adult for once, and I miss out on something I wanted to do. >8( So anyway, a good first turnout for the Borders that none of us really like. I still need to visit the Sweetwaters on Plymouth and see if it would be better suited to our needs.

Other than that, the biggest Pagan news for me personally is that I’ve nearly finished with the First Moon of Ian Corrigan’s Nine Moons magical training system. It’s been interesting so far, nothing super-advanced from my perspective after doing ADF Druidry and meditation and such for fifteen years, but then this is just the first month, and the next eight will build in intensity, so we shall see how it goes!

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


The Springy Thingy

As I always try to do before leading a High Day ritual for Ana, I stopped by the Huron River on Friday evening, before the Fire Lighting. This was the first time I’d done so since my employer moved to its new location right next to the river, so I walked around the building and found a brand new (to me) location for communing with Ana. There’s a footbridge built on a pile of stones in the water, with the rushing river on one side and a still pool on the other. The still side was very tranquil, but also a bit stagnant. A sign of the importance of having a quiet meditative side of life, but also of keeping a path open between the active and contemplative parts of life? From there, I went to the Fire Lighting, we dyed eggs and made seed packets for the ritual.

Sadly, I decided to be nice to my boss (and my paycheck) by working a half day on Saturday, before the rite. I actually did manage not to stay up late watching basketball on Friday night, but still, getting up at 6:30 is getting up at 6:30, and I still haven’t adjusted to last weekend’s time change, so it was more like 5:30. I did manage to get to the Friends Meeting at 12:30 and get everything set up, but discovered that I’d forgotten to pack the raffle tickets. I called Sean and asked him to buy some on his way into town. I shuddered at the thought of getting a big turnout and no good way to get donations, after last month’s super-low turnout and super-low money collection for a $90 site.

I waited outside in what felt to me like blazing heat, but couldn’t have been more than 55 degrees, working outside all winter has definitely affected me! Rodney arrived later than my nerves would have liked, but we did manage to get things set up quickly enough. A few people started showing up, and then the Kellers arrived just as I was about to start the rite. Sadly this gave us only 15 attendees, but the equinoxes are usually our least attended rites, even back when we had 95 Grove members we seldom got over 25 for the spring rites. (Amy from Cedarsong Grove attended an equinox rite at Stonehenge today – yes, *the* Stonehenge – and there were only 200 people there, compared to the thousands they get at summer solstice, so maybe it’s not just us!) The cynic in me wonders if we would have gotten more people if the weather had been a little bit worse, or if we had a site where we could do the ritual outdoors if the weather was good.  More likely, though, it’s the rise in gas prices that kept our further-flung members from coming, and given that I had to scratch my plans to attend a ritual in Lansing on Sunday for the same reason, I can’t say I’d blame them.

But I’m not one to let low attendance and lack of sleep keep me from trying my best at a ritual. The openings went well, and the egg hunt in the backyard area was enjoyed by all.  We passed the basket of eggs for the praise offerings, and then I told the story of Ana (and somehow only made one mistake – and covered it well enough that I’m not sure anyone else noticed) for the group praise. The omen was good (Mannaz – Raido – Wunjo) and so we blessed the seed packets, our tools, and our newly-acquired emmer wheat seeds, which we’ll be planting next month. I also asked for blessings on the people of Japan, after everything they’ve been going through.

And the post-ritual socializing also went well, and Sean brought seeds and soil and pots for the kids (and everyone else) to plant. Alas, we only got $31 from the raffle, leaving us in desperate need of cash to pay for our next rite at Botsford. Time for us to sell more car-blessing pouches at Beltaine?

(Oh, and the next day, Rod and Liz went to Columbus to attend Three Cranes’ ritual. I look forward to hearing how that went!)

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