On a personal note, I finally inquired about becoming a friend of the Grove. I am nervous about moving away from solitary practice, but I am grateful for what I have learned and for the ability to practice on my own. Here’s why:
Once I was home, I found the pine cone. It was on the counter with the dirty dishes, of all places. It did not belong to me, so I felt that I could not keep it. I held an additional full ritual the following day instead of just doing my daily devotional. I have added a Trigaranus representation to my shrine, and I am working with him as my gatekeeper. Opening the gates went very well. I seem to have found a gatekeeper that is willing to work with me. I welcomed the Kindred from my heart and not with a written work this time. I spent a little time just talking to them. For my offering, I lit the pinecone in the sand where I usually burn my cones, and it burned just like incense with no flame and a nice pine-scented smoke. It took a while to burn, and per my last conversation with Persephone, I waited patiently and even began to sing while it burned. The words they gave me in song are as follows:
Smoke and Fire and Well and Tree
I give my love to the Kindred, Three.
Ancestors, Nature Spirits, Mighty Sidhe,
Shining Ones—Accept my offering!
I have not gotten to the place where I lose track of time yet, but I think this was a step in the right direction.
I took omens, and this is what I have learned:
1. Was my offering accepted? Six of Swords (Science, Focus) and Four of Disks (Power). (These cards stuck together, so I have kept them both)—Yes.
2. Gifts the Kindred Offer in Return? Nine of Swords (Cruelty)-Needs Dignified-Adjustment (VIII-Justice) Anxiety is clouding the truth and stifling creativity, but balance, honesty and harmony are there. Use wisdom in decision making and be sure to weigh options carefully. In short, I interpret this as a sign that I need to boost my confidence. I must not be failing as badly as I think I am!
3. Further Needs the Kindred have of me? Knight of Disks—Two of Disks: Outward emulation. Move forward with effectiveness and grace with head held high. Do not be ashamed of what you do. Remember for whom you do it. But, be flexible. Pagan ritual is in no way meant to be inflexible and absent of spontaneity. Join in this spirit and have fun! (The King of Pentacles is a card that typically just represents me. I read here that this card means they need me to be me. I threw the second card because this card has been the “me” card so many times that I needed more information.)
I regret that I closed the gate before I dismissed the Kindred, which I am assuming is like slamming a door in their faces. I feel immensely guilty about that. I almost opened them back up to apologize, but I decided to make another attempt this week with an apologetic offering in addition to the main offering. I hope they are understanding of us new ones for things like this!