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!