Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Merry Wild Onion Yule!

Yule is our first indoor rite of the year and as we do for all our indoor rites we headed to Life Force Arts Center and arrived as it just started to get dark. It has been a particularly chilly December and this evening was no exception. Chris and Colleen went in to start setting up and Jack and I hurried in the cold to Starbucks to get a box of coffee for the post rite socializing. When we returned we helped finish setting up, greeted the people that had shown up while we were gone, and then Chris gave his (not so) brief ritual explanation and we began.

The deity of the occasion was Odin, same as last Yule and so we focused on the Runes and integrated them into the rite. Each part of the core order of ritual got it's own Rune that corresponded to what was taking place (Gebo for the sacrifice and Eihwaz for the Ancestors for example.) As each part was spoken the participant would place the correct rune on the World Tree Yggdrasil. Heimdall was the Gatekeeper and Bragi was the Bardic Deity. I did the Norse Well, Tree and Fire again this year, Colleen baked Julekake for the offering and the return flow, Chris read a poem for Odin that was written by a member of ADF and Jack wrote a carol called the Snows of Valhalla which made me think we need to write more Yule carols, or he does anyway. If he keeps this up we will have an entire song book by next Samhain! We had some guests as well and even though this was their first ADF rite they helped us with the invocations which is always nice, you want people to feel included. (They also brought vegetarian lasagna for the potluck which made it even nicer!) :)

The Julekake and Stella were then offered to Odin (apparently we have it on good authority that Odin favors Stella Artois, who knew?) and the Omen was taken. we got Elhaz (Protection) as the answer to "was the sacrifice accepted" (our sacrifice Omen) and Ingwaz (fertility , creativity, new beginnings) as our Grove Omen. A very positive Omen all around although we had a moment of concern when neither Jack nor I could figure out what Ingwaz was! It was Joan (our host with the most at LFAC who joined us for the rite) who realized that I used the Anglo Saxon version instead of the Elder Futhark when I made my Runes! Whoops! But I rather like the Anglo Saxon version so I figure as long as I know what it means, then it's okay.

We then shared the return blessing and passed around the horn with beer in it and the Julekake with butter and Gjetost which is a caramelized goat cheese and is traditionally served with the Julekake. As always we then asked for blessings for all who couldn't be there, and for our families and friends. The Ansuz Runes that Jack had wood-burned for everyone were also passed out, a tangible reminder of Odin's blessings. Then we wound the rite down and went and feasted on homemade gingerbread, the above mentioned lasagna, Bûche de Noël, coffee, juice, wine, and some other things and socialized and told stories and explained a little about ADF and enjoyed the warmth and companionship that this time of year invokes so perfectly.:)

Hope everyone had a blessed and joyous Yule/Solstice as well! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Samhain with pictures :)

As Jack said, This Samhain was bright and sunny but bone chillingly cold, we sort of ended up speeding through some things so we wouldn't freeze, which is a shame but we did make sure Janus was properly honored as well as the Ancestors, and we had a brief eulogy for Isaac. We invoked Mercury  as the Gatekeeper and Vulcan as the Bardic Deity, and gave tootsie rolls to the Outsiders. Jack read a prayer he wrote and Chris read from Ovid's Fasti.

For the Sacrifice Coleen offered a loaf of Jack's soda bread. The omen was very favorable, we had Janet Berres as a guest and as she is the Tarot queen we asked her to pull the Omen and she pulled the Ace of Swords.  A good start for new beginnings and the ability to cut through the BS, yup that's the Onions through and through! :) Janus seems very pleased to be honored as the Deity of the Occasion and not just the bouncer! I did the Grove Omen and we got the Three of Pentacles, the Page of Swords, and the Two of Rods, I then blanked completely on the Three of Pentacles but did remember the other two! So our Grove Omen was equally good, mastery of skills, direct communication (again very Onion!) and success, power, attainment of goals and collaboration and  I think this does reflect how far we have come as a Grove.

We then made a special sacrifice of incense, rosemary, and apples to the Ancestors and said a prayer and eulogized Isaac and other beloved Dead. We then shared the blessings with mulled wine (very good especially in the cold!) and oatmeal cranberry cookies and quickly handed out the Janus heads.We even more quickly transferred the Senior Druid title from Jack to Chris and then wound the ceremony down to the end. Almost everyone left quickly at this point, people were shivering and hands going numb, but some of us decided to stay as we wanted to find the Haymarket Martyrs monument and Emma Goldman's grave. Which we did and we left a cookie for both.

All in all the rite went well, not quite as elaborate as I had hoped due to the weather, and the fact that we were late, partially due to traffic and partially due to my getting the time wrong. We Onions aren't known for being on "Pagan Standard Time" (i.e. late for everything) but we have found ourselves running behind the last two rites. Hopefully with the resumption of indoor rites at Life Force Arts Center, our on time-ness will resume :)  The only other thing we forgot was as it was a Roman rite, to honor Vesta first and last! That might explain why our fire went out halfway through the rite (facepalm!)....we (or at least I) will probably do a special piacular-type rite for her before Yule.

Hope Everyone had a joyous and blessed Samhain!
Caroline, Webmaster, Wild Onion Grove

The rest of the photo album

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Honoring Janus

On a chilly but sunny Chicago afternoon, Wild Onion Grove and friends gathered together in Waldheim/Forest Home cemetery to honor Janus with a Roman-styled rite. I'd like to thank everyone who attended, especially our first-timers (thanks, Regina, for taking a role!), and Janet Berres for offering to read the omens for us.

My apologies for the brisker-than-normal weather. Our Yule rite will be held indoors, we promise!

Special thanks to Artisans Guild Chief and Wild Onion Grove member Caroline Farrow for her fantastic Janus trinkets! And congratulations to Chris Sherbak, our new Senior Druid, Colleen Evans (Treasurer) and James Gordon (Secretary)!

Happy Samhain and Pagan New Year to all,
Senior Druid Emeritus - Wild Onion Grove Chicago

Friday, October 29, 2010

Samhain with a Wild Onion Twist

The amazing thing about this time of year in the Upper Midwest is how varied, and often beautiful, the weather is. We've seen a ton of sunny, cool days this Autumn, some cloudy gray days foreboding a bit of what's to come, a three-day wind-fest (dubbed a Chiclone) and even a heat wave or two.

So, too, is Wild Onion's Samhain celebration - varied throughout the years. Sometimes it's a solemn occasion, sometimes a true celebration of the lives of the Ancestors who've passed on, and even a little experimental. One year we used a single deity (Hecate) for all the rite's invocations...Gatekeeper, DotO, Bardic Deity...everything. I think we took Her by surprise. Our omens weren't bad, per se, but it was as if we gave Her a fruitcake for Valentine's Day. A kind of, "Why are you giving this to me now?" kind of answer. It all worked out, thankfully, and we plan to work with her again soon.

This year we decided to ask Janus to be our DotO. We've asked a number of deities to add their magic to ours to open the Gates Between, and Janus has been our Go-To Deity for Roman rites in the past. We wanted to take a look at our traditional Gatekeepers, though, and honor Them as DotOs rather than functionaries. Wild Onion's last rite was to Mannanan mac Lir, and this Samhain it is Janus' turn to be honored.

We're also honoring our Ancestors as is traditional for this feast, and installing new officers -- busy, busy rite. Caroline, Chief of ADF's Artisan's Guild, is making Janus heads for the rite so that everyone can take a remembrance home of Him with them afterward. He looks back to the past from certainty for inspiration and lessons, and forward to the unknown for hope and progress. The Veil between Worlds may be thin, but so too is the Veil between Times. May Samhain grant us all quiet time to reflect on what was, and plan for what will be.

Senior Druid - Wild Onion Grove

We have a new blog!

At long last the Onions have a blog! Here you will find website updates, upcoming events, cool things we made, food, information about Paganism, ADF, polytheism etc, and general philosophizing from members of our Grove.

To start with, we have Samhain coming up. Every year we go to the Druid Monument at Forest Home cemetery in Forest Park to have out rite. You can find out more information about Wild Onion's 2010 Samhain celebration here.

Secondly, the website has had a complete redesign. Hopefully it is more functional, and we have added new songs, poetry, and crafts with more being added all the time. There is now a Book of Omens chronicling our relationship with our various deities as well.

Next up will be a review of our Samhain rite, and some musing on plans for the future...