Ah, the joys of jumping through hoops trying to impress prospective employers by writing computer code in languages I don’t even know. It’s hard to believe that eight of the twelve weeks of the class/program are over with, and that I may be starting my internship as soon as Thursday. But as usual, everything can be changed at the last minute, so I can’t even be sure of that! But if folks were wondering why it’d taken me a week to do the write-up for the Spring Equinox rite, that’s why. That, and my computer spent six days in the shop getting a new operating system installed.
Anyway, the ritual! The day before the rite, I visited Island Park in Ann Arbor, and walked out onto the island to commune with Ana, as I like to do before leading any ritual to her. The river was running high and fast, surprising given how little rain we’d had, and obviously not the result of the snow melt I would normally expect in March. It definitely had a “Raido” feel to it, I thought.
That night, Gen was again the only one to attend the Fire Lighting at my house, as our other regulars had other things come up. (This may be a recurring theme for this article.) I dyed the eggs and Gen made the seed packets, so at least we managed to get the “work” part of the rite accomplished. We also got the new issue of Shining Lakes News put together. Against all odds, Gen actually ran my article mostly intact. I’m glad we do most of our newsletter distribution online these days, or I know I’d be hearing about the cost of a six-pager from our Treasurer!
Sunday morning saw our unseasonably warm weather continue, and actually left me glad that we’d be doing the rite indoors in the shade. 80 degrees for a spring rite would just be too weird. I got to the Ed Center in plenty of time, and once Rodney arrived with the Regalia, we had everything ready to go by quarter ‘til. Folks started arriving, including a few new folks who actually did manage to find the place. (I always fret over how many people we lose when we do ritual at the Ed Center because it’s so hard to find, even when I put the sign out.) There ended up being thirteen of us there for the rite, fewer than we usually get for the equinox, but with the Kellers and the Brockmans unable to attend, it was about what I expected. (How often do we actually get the attendance I expected?)
We processed upstairs to the ritual area while Paul hid the eggs in the garden area behind the building. (Yes, I did get permission to use it for the egg hunt, but not for the ritual.) The opening went smoothly enough, and then we went outside for the egg hunt. 27 eggs for 13 people, maybe we shouldn’t have put them all out? It did take a while, but I blame that on Paul’s egg-hiding skills.
Once back inside, we passed the basket of eggs around for the individual praise, and then Rob Steiner told the story of Ana this time. We used to rotate who told the story back in the olden times of the 90’s, but I’d somehow ended up doing it for four straight years, and I really felt that someone else needed to do it. If this is the story of the goddess who defines our Grove, then her story needs to be told by the people of our Grove, not just me. Rob did a fine job of it, and I hope we’ll see him in more central ritual roles in the future.
After offering the basket of eggs at the Ana stone (for later distribution outside), the omen was good (Ingwaz – Raido – Eiwaz, and after my river visit, I was so not surprised to see Raido come up), and we blessed our tools and the seed packets. We also welcomed Molly with our first new member necklace blessing in, wow, over a year now I think.
The raffle was a bit of a disappointment because we had so few items there (I now further appreciate what the Kellers and Brockmans do for our High Day weekends!) but the potluck selections were excellent. We also got to enjoy watching the residents of the frat house next door jumping in – and on top of – a bouncy castle. (Did that one guy ever actually jump from the roof of the house onto the bouncy castle? If he did, I missed it.) If only the Wolverines had actually won their first game in the tournament, those guys would have been inside the house watching them play at that point. Anyway, thanks to lots of folks helping, we had the place cleaned up quickly and were long gone before the folks showed up for the ICC board meeting.
So a good ritual, a good telling of Ana’s story, and a good omen, even if we didn’t get as many folks to take part as I’d have liked. Still, given the hectic April that we have ahead of us, a relaxed equinox ritual might not be a bad thing.
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF