May 1st, 2016
Deity of the Occasion: Aren
Offerings: flask of oil
Omen: Thurisaz – Fehu – Mannaz
Return flow: juice, fire jumping
I’ll keep this minimal, as it’s still unpleasant for me to remember some of the details of this day.
The ritual itself actually went quite well, the Maypole dance was about as smooth as it ever was, and the young people from the local UU church seemed genuinely happy to be taking part in it. And the omen was good.
But we also found out that the owner of the land had sold her property to avoid foreclosure, and would be leaving in a few weeks. And the nasty neighbors we’ve had to deal with – the ones who stole our Epona statue and vandalized the nemeton over the winter – were emboldened enough to shout obscenities at us during the rite, and then come by after the rite to shout some more and also threaten to send their dogs on me. After years of being in the Ann Arbor area, a community that has been overwhelmingly supportive of us, this reaction to our Pagan ways was a cold dash of water, to say the least. I won’t say that I have full-blown PTSD or the like because of it, but the fact that these people committed crimes against us – actual criminal acts – and will get away with is still bothers me.
But I look to our Ancestors, who were nomads once upon a time, and were occasionally driven away from their homeland by external invaders, not entirely unlike what we’re doing through now. (Except that none of us have actually been killed.) They found a new place to like and to honor their gods, and now it’s our turn to be like them and do the same. My mother had offered us the temporary use of her farm for our rituals this year, and now we begin the search for a new site for our nemeton. Our Grove has been together for nearly twenty-three years now, and as long as we support each other and work together, we’ll be here for another twenty-three, even if it’s not in the exact same place.
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF