Saturday, December 24, 2011

2012 Artisan Calendar

So right quick before I post the write up of Yule, I thought I'd plug the Artisans Guild calendar a bit first. It features art from several members of ADF's Artisan Guild, including myself and Jack. Proceeds from the calendar go to fund Guild activities such as the Unity Quilt and the Wellspring art competition. So if you are looking for a belated Solstice gift for that hard to please polytheist in your life, well who doesn't need a calendar? I'm just sayin ;)

And a link in case you can't see the preview

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Samhain 2011

As is our tradition, we held Samhain under the U.A.O.D Druid monument in Forest Home cemetery in Forest Park. The weather is always a bit of a gamble this time of year and there have been some very coooold Samhain celebrations but this year the weather was mild but very windy! The altar objects were arranged not as much for their aesthetics but as a way to anchor the altar cloth and lighter items! (and I brought far too many things for the altar anyway which I suppose was fortuitous as they made handy paperweights if nothing else!)

The Deity of the Occasion was Pwyll Pen Annwfn and the Blessed Ancestors. Since this was a sort of Welsh rite, we had Manawydan fab Llŷr as the Gatekeeper, and Taliesin for Bardic inspiration. Again we used the Triple Triads to invoke the Ancestors, Nature Spirits and Shining Ones. The main aspect of the rite was honoring the Ancestors and so Colleen honored her Grandfather with appropriate offerings, I offered some McVitties that Jack and Chris brought me, and others told stories or made offerings for their ancestors. Colleen sang The Reaper and the Flowers which is something of a Samhain tradition. We read our Ancestor Prayer and offered whiskey, ale, apples, hazelnuts, and of course our food donations.

Colleen  sacrificed some Whiskey and cookies to Pwyll and Janet and I took the Omen and the sacrifice was accepted. Chris then asked for blessings and we shared sesame cookies and ale. For the takeaway, Jack made some Ancestor Triptychs printed on vellum for people to record their own ancestor and place on their shrines. He chose vellum so people could place photographs and such behind the triptych so they would show through. (Anyone who missed the rite can print out their own copy if they like.) Towards the end the wind was really picking up (a branch fell off a tree right near us!) so we hastily made out farewells and packed up before we blew away. We reconvened at Khyber Pass in Oak Park to feast with delicious Indian Food and warm companionship with friends old and new. All in all the rite went well despite the wind, I'm still not convinced we shouldn't do Samhain indoors but so far I have been outvoted. Yule of course will be indoors at LFACs new location, which is much smaller than the old space but the parking is free on Sundays!  Yule is now going to be at a private residence so please RSVP for directions if you are planning on going! The rite will be dedicated to Odin and there will be a potluck afterwards so bring something yummy to share! Highlights will include a Chicago Wassail, Yulekake, and of course Runes!

The other important news is that we have a new phone number (312) 489-8610, which we figured we needed so people can get a hold of us if they get lost or just want to talk to an actual person about the Grove, events etc (or when Caroline messes up.)  Also due to the fact that December is usually a crazy time even for Pagans we will resume working with the Forest Preserve in January, there might also be some blanket making in our future as well....

Blessings on you and yours and Happy Thanksgiving!
Your humble Scribe, Wild Onion Grove ADF

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Litterbusters! Giving back to the Nature Spirits

We had been talking for a while about doing something for the Nature Spirits and the land around the city, but we hadn't really done anything about it. However at Autumn Equinox the Nature Spirits called us out on it during the Grove Omen so we finally got our butts in gear and volunteered with the Forest Preserve of Cook County. Our first task was litter removal and we chose Evans Field in Jerome Huppert Woods where we do a lot of our outdoor rituals (Beltaine in particular as well as Autumn Equinox this year.)

We arrived around 10am, coffee and breakfast sandwiches in hand, on a beautiful late Autumn day. We met up with Jennifer, finished breakfast and grabbed our plastic bags and gloves, made some offerings and headed towards the little side grove where we hold our rituals.  The Forest Preserve can and will provide gloves and bags if you need them but Jack and Chris had some heavy duty bags and gloves left over from the flood so we used those instead. The offering was a squirrel feeder of corn that we thought the deer might enjoy. Ironically we had to break it up to get the plastic piece out of the middle (it's designed to sit on a pole) so we wouldn't litter! Jennifer also brought some offerings but we saved those for the end.

We each took a bag and split up, and even though the woods didn't seem  too littered soon we were finding all sorts of things. Mostly beer and booze bottles and junk food wrappers, but we got some strange and frankly gross things like used maxi pads (!). I found a nice metal pole that I used to tease bits of trash out of hard to reach places that Jennifer took home to stake her plants in her garden (see we recycled too!) While foraging for trash I explored parts of the woods that we never had time to explore on High Days, and in the woods on the far side of the field, I found some swamp land and a small spring!

Even though it seems I spent most of my time taking pictures, I actually did pick up a large bag of trash, we all ended up with a good sized bag each. After we had pretty much scoured the place of trash we grabbed Jennifer's offerings and headed to my newly discovered spring. She offered, honey, an apple, a banana, corn, and oats. We are pretty sure the trees around us were filling up with hungry squirrels eager for our departure so they could feast! Afterwards we headed to Jack and Chris' house for yummy Guinness stew and to plan our Samhain ritual.

All in all it was a fun day, the weather was great and it feels good to help the land and the Nature Spirits. We plan on doing something monthly from now on. It will vary by season, but will include things like invasive species removal, more litter busting, and anything else they want to train us for. Anyone who wishes may join us, you can RSVP (which is really helpful since the Forest Preserve likes to know how many people to expect if they have to give us supplies or training.) Anyway have a blessed Samhain and Happy New Year! :)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Equinox 2011

Autumn Equinox Altar
The day of the Autumn Equinox rite dawned rather cold and rainy but the Grove was determined not to let the weather mess up yet another rite this year and we went ahead to Evans Field in Thatcher Woods Jerome Huppert Woods (someone changed the woods on me, no wonder people were getting lost!) as planned. We figured (correctly) that no one would be using the shelter, and we brought a spare gazebo tent in case it was. So even though the heavens opened up on us pretty much the whole time, we were dry and (almost) toasty! And even though we have been to this place many times, it seemed  more numinous and glowing in the rain (and later sun), it must be something about this time of year....

Jack invokes Heimdallr
As a new tradition at Wild Onion, Autumn Equinox is the time we honor the Gatekeeper Deities we invoke as part of the Core Order of Ritual throughout the year. We feel this is a very appropriate time of year to think about liminal spaces and times as well as a time to reflect on where we came from and where we are going. This year it was Heimdallr's turn as not only do we ask him to be Gatekeeper for our Norse rites, he is also Jack's Patron Deity. We asked Ægir to step in as Gatekeeper which he seemed happy to do (he also got lots of beer which I am sure helped.) We wanted the Invocation to be a journey across Bifröst and we hit on the idea to incorporate the colors of the rainbow, Runes and ADF's Nine Virtues for each step of the journey. Of course there are only seven colors in the rainbow and nine virtues so we added black and white to symbolize the darkness as we started the journey and the light at the end after acquiring the wisdom of each Rune.

Bifröst prayer bead take-aways
So Jack wrote the Invocation and as he performed the it, he lit the corresponding candle until we had a sparkling Bifröst across the Altar. Chris then offered the Sacrifice (a homemade white cake with apricot confit filling and cooked icing that Jack made) and of course beer! Lots of beer. I then took the Omens and they were good! So with the sacrifice accepted, Chris asked for return Blessings and we shared shortbread cookies (a gift from our guests!) and handed out the take-aways. I made sets of polymer clay prayer beads in the 9 colors and painted the corresponding Runes on each one and separated them with AB crystal beads and small gold seed beads, reminiscent of Heimdallr's gold teeth. I then sculpted small Gjallarhorn charms to finish them off.

Chris makes the Sacrifice
As you can see I made twenty of them. I am always paranoid we won't have enough for everyone, even though I always make way too many. We only had five people show up, well two including me Jack and Chris. Colleen was home with a sick cat (better now thankfully) and we had assumed the rain kept everyone else away. We did find out later that a couple were waiting for us in the wrong part of Thatcher Woods (and no wonder, since Evans Field is apparently in a different Woods altogether) and they were without phones! So two will go to them when we see them later in the month and Colleen got hers when I got home and we are sending some to Grovies that moved out of state and some to friends and after all that we only have a few left, so not a total disaster. In fact the rite went very well, the day was beautiful in it's own way, and as Chris says the measure of a good ritual is if the Kindreds show up when invited, the Sacrifice is accepted and the people have a good time. So I think we passed on all counts and we met new people to boot! So until next time, have a blessed Autumn time and see you at Samhain!

P.S. I just found this out about Evans Field: "Evans Field -- site of Indian Village and chipping station. There were several Indian burial places and temporary villages along their main trail following the Des Plaines River. Just east of Evans Field, there were five mounds built by prehistoric Indians." Neat!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lughnassadh 2011

Lughnassadh Altar
So Lughnassadh did not go quite as expected. Just about everything that could go wrong, did. For starters, our location, Illinois Beach State Park, got shut down due to storm damage. So we quickly changed to Osterman Beach here in Chicago in hopes that it would be relatively quiet (it was) and hopefully cooler than inland (it wasn't.) Then due to yet another storm, Jack and Chris' basement flooded and they needed to do clean up and were unable to attend. We thought about canceling altogether but since this whole year has been messed about because of the weather, we decided to carry on and Colleen and I decided to go ahead and run the ritual ourselves (gulp!)

Our new web logo thing I made
We did scale down a bit though as we would be carrying everything for the rite on public transportation, so we dropped the potluck. I made the amazing Irishgasm cupcakes and prizes for the bake-off and small gold medallions for the take away (which you can just about see on the Altar in the pic above, in the lower right hand corner. We didn't get many pictures as we were too busy making sure we remembered everything else.) We didn't have the Grove altar things so we brought some of our own stuff, and used the tree behind as our Tree. For the rite itself we used Jack's Triple Triads, and the Lugh Invocation we have used in the past. I did take out the marriage part out though as I wasn't sure it fit which what we were doing and I am a bit iffy on the concept in general. This was however overwhelmingly accepted as a good idea by those attending the rite, so a good call I guess.

The bake- off was a bit of a wash as only three people showed up besides Colleen and me. I don't know if it was the heat or the venue change but we only had two things for the bake-off so I just gave Jennifer the gold medal for her very excellent banana bread, and Colleen the silver (for helping me with the rite plus she made an oath to bake her offering and offer it at Autumn Equinox) and we offered both offerings to Lugh.

The Grove Omen
Despite our nervousness the rite went pretty well, I did the Opening prayer, the meditation, the Gatekeeper invocation (Mannanan Mac Lir of course) and the Well, Tree and Fire, the Omen and return Blessing,  Colleen led the songs, did the Earth Mother invocation, Outsiders, and the Sacrifice, Jennifer did the Bardic invocation (to Brighid) and we divvied up the Kindreds and Lugh's Invocations among everyone. All went well until the sacrifice,  but it was accepted the third time around when we offered sufficient cupcakes (6) and sufficient banana bread (2 or 3 pieces I think?) some raisin bread was also offered, and fruit and ale. Ah well we usually get there in the end! The Grove Omen was good (I remembered to give offerings to the Kindreds this time!) and I asked for blessings from Lugh for us and we asked for blessings for those not present and then we shared the remaining cupcakes and banana bread and some lemonade.

After the rite the idea was to hang around the beach and play games and eat but with the potluck off and it being horribly hot and muggy (even on the lake front which should tell you something about how yucky it was) we all chatted for a bit but left soon after the ritual was over to go find some AC and a place to nap! (okay those were my goals anyway.) But we did get a new person interested in coming to Autumn Equinox (yay!) and Colleen and I survived running our first rite with only a few days notice so I think despite everything going pear shaped, the Onions prevailed once again!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Please join us as we celebrate Lughnassadhin honor of Lugh. We are making a day of it! Along with the the ritual we are having a potluck picnic, and inspired by country fairs there will be a bake-off with Lugh choosing the winner which will become the offering, games, prizes, and good times! As always, we will also be gathering food donations for the Chicago Food Repository, so feel free to bring a contribution (no glass containers, please). Please contact us with any questions, need for directions, etc. Also, you can now RSVP directly on the website which is greatly appreciated!

Date: July 31st 2011
Time: 12-5pm
Where: Illinois Beach State Park
What to Bring: Non perishable food items in non glass containers for the Food Bank, and if you wish, Praise Offerings for the Deity of the Occasion and/or something for the bake-off!

View Illinois Beach State Park in a larger map

And not to make anyone nervous but for the bake-off I did find a recipe for Irish whiskey filled Irish stout cupcakes with Baileys frosting...just sayin ;)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Virtual Nemeton! We have one!

So I was playing around with my virtual nshrines earlier this week and it occurred to me that maybe Wild Onion could use a virtual space to make offerings, prayers etc, so I went ahead and made a Virtual Nemeton. I made several new shrines so now we have one for the Earth Mother, Bardic Inspiration, the Gatekeeper, Well, Tree, and Fire, the Nature Spirits, Blessed Ancestors, and the Mighty Ones. The plan is to add Shrines for the Groves' various Patrons and other Spirits and Deities we work with. I am hoping it's at least fun if not useful. I am not sure how well they work on smartphones and tablets but I was thinking it would be neat to have a place to make a quick prayer or offering with you at all times! I also wanted it to be a community space, where we can all go and share with the Kindreds in the same place, even if we can't be in the same place. I am sort of big on community spaces for us right now (have I mentioned we have a new message board?) in case you couldn't tell. :)

In other news it looks like we are doing Lughlapalooza (don't ask) again this year for Lughnassadh. This means a bake off with Lugh as the judge, the winning item becomes the Offering! There will be prizes as well. It will be like a county fair with games, and food, and the ritual of course! We don't know exactly where yet, but most likely near the Lake and away from the man eating mosquitoes and soul crushing humidity (that's my vote anyway!) You can keep up with all the latest developments on the message board (did I mention we had one....? ) and don't forget to RSVP!
Anyway I hope everyone is doing well and having a good summer and I hope to see bunches of you for Lughnassadh! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Solstice 2011

Summer Solstice altar
Summer Solstice day dawned cloudy and potentially wet, so we initiated our rain plan and moved the rite to Jack and Chris' house. Ironically it didn't rain the whole day but I have to admit a certain amount of pleasure at having the rite in air conditioning as the day was muggy and hot.
The first thing we did was prepare the herbs for the herb bags, we have made herb bags before for our rite to Belenos, but this time we could add some grown by Jack in his and Chris' new garden! As people started showing up, we prepared the altar and made sure everyone had a drink and some nibbles.

Herb bags waiting to be
blessed and filled
We began the rite processing from the kitchen to the diningroom/ritual room, singing We Call the Tribe, with Jack leading us because we still mess up the words (headdesk) I think we are improving though, it's not that we forget the words just in what order they go in! As always we invoked the Earth Mother, and Jack did a visualization for the meditation. We called Cernunnos as our Gatekeeper (using an invocation by Michael Dangler) and Brigantia for our Bardic inspiration, in keeping with the Gaulish theme.

Wild Onion Grove
We invoked the three Kindreds but did not give offerings I now realize, well they must be quite forgiving as nothing untoward happened (no woad drinking or anything!) I must start keeping better track of the offerings! We then of course invoked Belenos and made praise offerings, Jack read his Belenos story (which I will post a link to as soon as I get it!) and Jennifer read a lovely poem she wrote (again will try to link) For the Sacrifice we offered fresh herbs from Jack and Chris' garden and some Polish honey wine Chris and I found at the store. We thought that the honey wine would be a good choice as its amber color and sweet taste seems to embody this time of year and is very appropriate for a Sun God!

Jack tells a story of Belenos
I then drew the Omen and the sacrifice had been accepted, the Grove Omen was also very positive (despite forgetting the Kindred offerings!) So Chris prepared and asked for blessings on the return blessings of mead and of course the herb bags and we all had some mead (and pomegranate juice) and filled our little bags with the herb mix. (The herbs were echinacea, fenugreek, juniper berry, blackberry leaf, eucalyptus, meadowsweet, spearmint, rosemary, and hellebore) We then concluded as the sun came out of the clouds and so we all went outside to enjoy the beautiful garden and quickly improving weather and have more nibbles and honey wine!

Enjoying the garden and
each other's company
So next up is Lughnassadh. It looks like we will be going back to Lugh this year and we will be doing the whole country fair theme again with a bake-off (Lugh picks the winner and it becomes the sacrifice), games, prizes etc and it will probably be a whole day affair. We are currently discussing the details on our new message board, as well as some of our future plans, talks, field trips etc. Anyone is welcome to participate even if you aren't in the Chicagoland area, the more the merrier I say! Besides I am hoping we can have some cracking good discussions about a lot of things. We also have an RSVP page on the site now where you can RSVP to any of the remaining High Days of the year as well as any other events that will posted as they arise. Anyway hope everyone had a lovely Solstice and is enjoying the bounties of summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

We have a new message board!

Facebook got rid of message boards for groups so I made one for the Grove.  I am hoping it will foster creativity and communication for all of us and help us plan some of the activities we keep talking about and help us grow as a Grove :) It is open to anyone interested, Grove member or not, ADF member or not. Some of the boards are open to guest posting some require registration though (anyone can register) I've posted a few threads with questions about the Kindreds I have been wondering about for a while to get the ball rolling, as well as an into post about me (Jack and Chris have also posted) and a discussion about Lughnassadh. Anyway check it out if you are interested! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beltaine 2011

Planting petunias for the take way
We had a really lovely Beltaine this year. Spring hadn't sprung quite as much as in most years, but the weather was perfect, we had really good attendance and everything just clicked really well. The Deity of the occasion was Medb, as it has been for the past several years. Before the rite we decorated pots and planted petunias in them for our take away blessing. The altar was a little more sparse this year, and I realized we don't have Medb's crown anymore! We will have to make a new one for next year, but at least we had room for everything this time!

Beltaine Altar
The Gatekeeper was Mannanan Mac Lir as usual but the for Bardic Chris did something a little different, he did invoke Shakespeare but also Brighid and Puck; Bardic inspiration from the Gods, Ancestors and the Nature Spirits. We did a bit of the literary Beltaine again with my poetically enhanced version of the Cosmic Order. We used Jacks new Triads for the Kindred Offerings but did not use Shakespeare's Queen Mab speech as an invocation this year, but I did write one as promised. One of the things I focused on and one of the the things I like about Medb is She has aspects of each of the three Kindreds, She has been known as a Sovereignty Goddess, the mortal (if mythical) Queen of Connacht, and the later the Queen of the Faeries. Which made Chris' Bardic invovation a nice tie-in. :)

Flowers for the Sacrifice
For the Sacrifice Jack and Chris brought fresh flowers from their garden and of course we did not forget the booze and a bottle of Peche Lambic was sacrificed as well (We learned our lesson!) Janet Berres attended again and as she is Queen of Tarot, she pulled the Omen. The offering was accepted and Chris prepared the delicious orange cupcakes Jack baked and some of the Lambic and pomegranate juice for the return Blessing. We nom nomed the cupcakes and Lambic and since Chris brought a bunch of bottles of bubbles, we (okay me) became 5 years old again and blew lots of bubbles much to the amusement of our Otherwordly guests I am sure! We then ended the rite and unfortunately had to leave almost right away because I had to get to work. We missed going to see the frogs and toads at the vernal pools this year which kind of made me sad. I am hoping there may be some left when we go back to Thatcher Woods for Summer Solstice! (Which as I look at the clock is in about 9 hours from now!)

Speaking of High Days, I have added a link to the website for RSVPing to High Days and Wild Onion events. There is a drop down menu to specify what event you are planning to attend and a place to put some contact info in case we have to change venue due to weather etc. I am hoping this makes communication easier in case of last minute changes and will help towards not leaving people stranded. It also helps us know how much food/beverage and take-away blessings to bring! Thanks and hope everyone has a blessed Solstice :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beltaine planning and crafting

Méabh, Beltaine Altar 2010
This past weekend some of the Onions had a crafting day and Beltaine planning meeting. The planning was quick and easy, Méabh will be the Deity of the Occasion again this year (yay!) I will write the Invocation, and probably resurrect the Well, Fire and Tree from last year, Jack will write the Triads and make something for the Sacrifice, we are giving bouquets of herbs and flowers for the take away (and I have some ideas to add small prayers or something to them, I'll have to let that bubble away for a bit) and it will be in the Forest Preserve, the first High Day of the year to be outside (here's hoping the weather improves before then!) We didn't actually establish the Gatekeeper or the Bardic Deities but it will probably be Manannán Mac Lir and Brighid. This will be our third year invoking Méabh at Beltaine so it should go well as we have forged a good connection with Her.

The preliminary drawing
Crafting took up most of the day. The Artisans Guild of ADF started a quilt with blocks for all the Groves, Guilds, Kins, and SIGs in the org. We finally got around to starting the Wild Onion block and it will hopefully make it onto the quilt before Wellspring! The idea for our block was to have Chicago rising up out of a garden (the city's motto is "Urbs in Horto" or "City in a Garden") and have Lake Michigan present and have representations of the State flower (Violet), bird (Cardinal), and tree (White Oak), as well as Wild Onions of course! (For those of you who did not know, the name Chicago derives from the Miami-Illinois word for Wild Onions which grow along the river) The swoosh is either wind (for the Windy City) or the Chicago River we sort of left that open to interpretation. Now we aren't seamsters really so the idea was to print the image onto cotton fabric and then paint the scene upon it, then embellish it with a Cardinal button, and some embroidery and seed beads for the climbing vines.
A work in progress...
So we got most of the painting done, just a few details to be added, and some areas refined, but then the Cardinal will be sewed on (he is just resting there for the picture) and the vines need to be embroidered. It will then be cut out and surrounded by a light green ribbon and mounted on a hunter green background. You can't tell from the photo but the onions are pearlized and the lake has micro fine blue glitter in it and the swoosh has both. We were going to use tiny flower buttons for the violets but they didn't look right so we may just leave them painted or use some ribbon or something. I might repaint the title as it isn't very even and I am not happy with it.

Anyway I think it turned out pretty well and we are all pleased to finally get it started! Looking forward to writing some liturgy and celebrating in the great outdoors before the mosquitoes set in! Hope everyone has a great Beltaine! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Equinox 2011

Freyja tile by Thalia Took
So we tried something new this year and had two Deities of the Occasion, Freyja and Frigg. Both are associated with fertility and spring and even though some think they are the same Goddess we don't think so, so we honored both as distinct entities. I felt I really dropped the ball on this one, starting with high expectations of painting paintings and writing litugy  but failing to even procure my praise offering of amber from the Occult Bookstore and really feeling like I phoned it in. Jack on the other hand, wrote new Triads for the Kindreds, the Invocation to Freyja and Frigg, and researched and found the kit we used to make the seed paper for the takeaway! I did make a Geis (or Oath) that I will get Them their praise offering and (I added this later) will be writing the main invocation for Beltaine regardless of the Deity. If I fail to do these things I have to wear all pink for a week! (The Grove decided my penalty, bless them. /sarcasm) Chris also took an Oath that he would get a similar tile for Frigg from Thalia Took (apparently she takes requests) because we felt bad that we had no image for Her. (We improvised with a pic from the Internet but it's not the same)

Anyway we set up the altar, did the ritual run through for new people and began. We had Bragi as the Bardic Deity and of course Heimdall as the Gatekeeper. The Triads went down a treat and the Invocation went well and everything was going tickety boo until we got to the Sacrifice. Now, Colleen had found some lovely strawberries to offer but didn't realize that the Lambic Chris brought was also supposed to be part of the Sacrifice as well as the Return Flow. So when it came time for me to pull the Sacrifice Omen  we got Hagalaz. oops. So we did what almost always works when we get a less than ideal Omen and started pouring Peche and Framboise Lambic over the strawberries! I pulled the Omen again and got Fehu. Whew! Bullet dodged and important lesson learned (again): always share the nice beer with your guests! ;)

I pulled the Grove Omen and which was really positive from the Ancestors and Nature Spirits although the Gods seem to be expecting more from us (or some of us.) We then shared the blessing through the Return Flow and had some Lambic and a delicious strawberry and kiwi tart that Jack also made for us. We asked for blessing for those who were not in attendance and for Japan, Libya etc and Chris asked for blessings on the seed papers and we wrote our wishes on them. We then closed the ritual out thanking the Deities and Kindreds as we went and ended with hugs all around.

All in all it was a good ritual, the seed papers and new Triads are probably the parts that stand out for me. Freyja and Frigg seemed to be content with being invoked in the same rite and I for one would be happy to try multiple Deities again. Anyway, hope everyone had a safe and happy Spring Equinox and we'll see you at Beltaine! :)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Imbolc 2011

You don't really realize how ingrained the turning of the Pagan year is in your psyche until it is disrupted. I think it was really hard for us to get into Imbolc almost a month after the time it is usually celebrated. However, we rallied and manged to have a very nice rite anyway. We didn't do everything we had planned (no butter this year) and we improvised almost the whole thing and we still mess up the words to We Call the Tribe if we don't have it written down in front of us, (it's four lines people!) but I think it was still a meaningful experience for all of us.
In particular the time for Praise Offerings was probably the most important part of the ritual. We are quite casual about this part, we sit and talk about the Deity, read poems or sing songs, tell funny stories, that sort of thing, and this Imbolc was no different. Chris read some poetry and recited some from memory and Colleen read a poem she quickly found using her smartphone (who said Pagans can't embrace technology?) Jack discussed feeling the need to create and then finding the tools to actually create your ideas, and I talked about rediscovering skills you already had and either forgotten about or lost the confidence to use (especially in my case.) We also acknowledged the need to make mistake and fail sometimes in order to grow and improve one's craft.
A new member J, then read a poem she composed a few years ago dedicated to Brighid who is her Patron, and it was very good! Joan the proprietor of LFAC who often attends our rites when we are there (much to our delight) taught us an energy raising technique that involved us singing tones spontaneously and simultaneously to create energy and something that amazingly sounds very pleasing! It's something I'd like to try again in the future.

After the Praise Offerings we lit the candles arranged in the semi circle on the altar and I explained the symbolism behind the colors chosen. Orginally we were going to do something around the nine aspects of Brighid but with all the rescheduling it just didn't come together (honestly Brighid seemed more interested in kicking our collective creative behinds anyway and who I am to argue with Her?)

Colleen then did the Sacrifice (dried sunflower petals which was another improvisation but it seemed appropriate) and I took the Omen, and the Sacrifice was accepted.  Brighid also had some advice to give us regarding creativity with the second Grove Omen. Chris then asked for blessings and we them via a cup of white grape juice and wound the rite down. Everyone got a candle and holder to take home for their personal shrines and altars and I think everyone felt a bit more inspired to get creating and use the Awen we were blessed with at the rite! I am sure we won't make it a habit to have our High Day rituals a month late, but at least if we do have issues and problems in the future we know now that we can roll with the punches and still put on a great ritual! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back on Track!

So Imbolc got canceled due to weather, but we have rescheduled  for Feb 27th which is pretty late for Imbolc but it's when we could get our venue again. On the positive side, the weather will be much better and I can fix my circus tent candle holders! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pre-Imbolc musings

Imbolc by Holly Bird
There are Groves in ADF that call upon the nine aspects of Brighid for Imbolc and we rather liked that idea, but me being me I wanted to tweak what the nine aspects were, as I felt some were more about the saint and not the Goddess and didn't fully encompass as Her aspects as a pan-Celtic deity. So (perhaps mostly to humor me) the Grove deliberated a bit and looked at several sources and came up with the following:
Sacred Arts - Bard, Healer, Smith
Sacred Duties - Warrior, Sovereignty, Mentor
Sacred Places - Sacred Wells, Hearth Fires, Skies/High Places
I thought of the having three divisions but Jack is the one that came up which ones and we all are really pleased with it. For our ritual take away I made candle holders painted with the colors representing the nine aspects. They didn't quite turn out the way I imagined, they are very bright and colorful, a little like a circus tent. I tried to make them more subtle but that failed so I decided to make them even more tacky, so now they are also slightly pearlized and iridescent. Go big or go home I guess ;)

Something that we have been trying to do for a while now is scrapbook our High Days so we have a really nice chronicle of our rites. I have been getting supplies from work and Jack and I sort of shifted some paper around and looked nervously at the cutting tool and photos. We realized we don't really know what we are doing so we have gotten a consultant. My friend Jen is going to be helping us get started. I think I got enough stuff to do the Autumn and Winter High Days so I will keep everyone posted on our progress! :)

By the way the fabulous image of Brighid above was my Artist Trading Card from the marvelously talented Holly Bird as part of ADF's Artisan Guild's Imbolc ATC swap. The guild does a swap every High Day and you can see more of them on our Facebook page

Happy Imbolc Everyone!