Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kindergarten and College.

Well, I did it. I took my daughter to her first day of kindergarten today. She is so sweet and cute and little; can she really be ready for school? The answer to this question is a resounding, "yes."

My son, Patrick, who is now 9 and in the fourth grade, cried piteously when I took him to school, AND I had to literally drag him to school for the next two weeks before he broke and realized he was just going to have to go. Not Jessie. She walked in there like she owned the place. It makes my heart feel full to see her so confident and self-assured. I know she will do well. She is bright and determined (nice way of saying stubborn, haha). I am so proud of her. I am also proud of myself as I did not cry one bit (a feat for me)!

I finally got my youngest son, Timmy's school assignment, and his new teacher is coming over to do an in-home evaluation on Tuesday. I am nervous to send my baby off to yet another school for therapy/pre-school, but I know it is important. I am hoping for some good progress this year. Autism is not a disease that needs cured, but it is a disability for which he must learn to compensate. He has come farther than I hoped over the long summer days with speech and communication in general. Here's hoping for a good year!

I, too, officially registered for classes. I am finishing my bachelor's degree in medical laboratory technology through an online program at the University of Cincinnati. I am a little nervous; I have not attended any classes in SEVERAL years, but I have high expectations of myself. (Don't we all? Why not Excellence?)

I hope that as we come down from our summer highs and wind down into the darker and quieter time of the year that we can all remain productive and full of joy. This summer has been one that will forever be special to me--it is the year of my homecoming, and the first year of the rest of my life, cliched as that is. I look forward to getting to know all of you better and see where this path will lead us!

Now, off to finish my article...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summerland recap!


This was my first pagan festival, ever, and I can't believe I have never done this before! My emotions after this is over are still stirred up by all the wonderful new friends I have made and the incredible strengthening of the bonds I am making with my new grove (Yeah, I'm a Crane).

For those of you who weren't there, I will recap as briefly as I can (I could type here for hours about this). I was unable to go until Friday afternoon, and I got to camp around 3:00. SB helped me set up camp near some of the other Cranes. I spent some quiet time getting to know those camping around me until we had dinner. I met another Hellene, who camped directly across from me. She is a pleasure to be around, and I look forward to spending more time talking with her in the future.

The Bardic Circle was Friday night. I loved hearing all the things that everyone is working on. I had a bit too much liquid courage before I played my guitar, but it still turned out ok. For some reason, I find the Druids to be intimidating when it comes to revealing personal talents of my own. I know this is silly and comes from a long line of judgmental individuals with whom I have had the "pleasure" of critiquing my work. Anyway, everyone was really nice and accepting. After that, I had a very healing conversation with one of my new friends. She was kind and generous and said many wise things that I am still processing and hoping to integrate into my life.

Drum circle was awesome!! I met several people here, drunk as I was, and had lots of fun. I even danced for a minute (which is a lot for me). I tried my hand at drumming, but I was in desperate need of rest and detoxification (haha).Saturday was one of the best days of my life. I spent some excellent time in the dining hall having conversations with fellow Cranes and some very smart and witty Druids from other groves. We talked politics and sacred space and whatever else came up. I have been around many pagans, but none of them were able to hold their own in conversations pertaining to such daunting and obviously intellectual subjects.

After lunch, I went to the well with Shawn, who was in need to some healing and rejuvenation. We prayed, left offerings, collected water and communed with the Kindred. It was an excellent reprieve, and proved to be strengthening for us both. Unfortunately, I think I became dehydrated , causing me to have a cardiac episode. I have not had one in a while, and I found this to be disturbing. We went into the Dining Hall, had some water, and sat under the fans. It passed after about fifteen minutes. It was a long one, but I recovered with no other incident. It did leave me rather tired, but I ignored it, and it went away.

The Unity rite was beautiful. Two people were consecrated. It brought tears to me eyes. I was very pleased with the call to the Earth Mother and the use of the Sky Father for inspiration. They are dear to me, and their presence was felt after the beautiful words given to them. druidkirk is an excellent orator. He has much theatrical skill, which when accompanied by his devotion to the gods can probably move mountains. I enjoyed having him as our DIC for the Rite.

Our omens were incredible, and definitely were carried out that evening. We received Wealth, Joy and Fertility. Woot!

Dinner was great. I made some good friends over dinner. One of whom is a Wiccan Priestess and a beautiful person. She has a store about thirty miles from where I live. I will have to visit so we can talk! The auction was a hot mess. Our Druid auctioneers were lively and boisterous. Chronarchy was pleased to see his creations go for higher amounts than he anticipated (which was deserved; I saw the items and was impressed).

All in all, I think it was very successful.

Dulahan was excellent. They are high energy and fun, and they put on a heck of a show. I made some great connections during their performance. I talked and laughed (and drank) and had a great time.

Something interesting (?) happened after that, which I will not discuss here.

By the time I made it to the drum circle, it was late and the drummers were winding down. I stayed and talked and danced (and tripped over a bench). It was a powerful few hours for me internally. I made some new friends that I look forward to getting to know. It was encouraging to meet them, as we have a lot in common. I like kindred spirits. :)

Breakfast was good after only a few hours of sleep. It was rather surreal to return to normal functioning. Summerland at times feels outside of time and space, which I assume to be a gift from the Kindred. I broke camp in a record thirty minutes, so I went to find others who needed help. Everyone seemed to be well organized. I ended up barcoding shirts for Regalia. It is nice to help get things like that accomplished.

I was sad to go, but I deeply missed my children. When I got home, I was appropriately mauled by them. I took a shower after throwing my disgusting dirty clothes in the wash, followed promptly by a moment with the hubby and a nice long nap.

My only regret is the amount of alcohol I drank. I know that there are plenty who had more than me, and I probably needed the release. My life can be stressful to the point of emotional exhaustion, and I am always the one responsible for everyone and everything else. I am glad that I was among friends and able to "let loose" in such a way. I don't really know how much I had because I didn't keep track. Me! Didn't count and measure! I have guilt, but I am grateful for the reprieve from the zealous organization and almost OCD restraints I tend to use to bind myself. My shoulders haven't been this loose in ages!

Overall, this has been an experience that is changing me and helping to set the course of my life. I feel more sure than ever that I am finally where I belong. Thank you, Druids, for being who you are. It turns out you are a lot like me. Who could ever ask for more than that? Hail!

PS) Thanks to Jim for saying the words "Poo-poo" and "Underwear" several times to ensure I didn't get too homesick. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


In an attempt to "rally the troops" recently, we have been discussing quite a bit on the ADF Solitaries list. It seems that many of them are interested in fellowship and community of sorts, almost grove-like affiliation with one another, while others are very against any attempts to "herd the cats." I find both of these points of view to be very interesting.

Firstly, let me discuss the Solitaries in search of fellowship. I understand them. I am one of them. I have recently become affiliated ("Friend of the Grove") with the local grove here. I was a lonely solitary. I spent all my high days alone, when in my mind there were huge feasts and bonfires and dancing and music. The live high day rites I attended were not like I had imagined, either. Funny thing is, even if you don't find what you thought you wanted, you may realize that you found the best thing for you.

All this aside, I will never give up my solitary practices. Solitary work is the backbone of my faith. It is during this time that I foster relationships with my Patrons. This is the time I use to find out where I am and where I need to be going. So, in the interest of the Solitaries looking for fellowship, I think that having an active place for them to commune with like-minded individuals is an excellent way to fulfill this need in their lives. I furthermore feel that having a quarterly newsletter that lets you tell other Solitaries what you are doing is an excellent way to foster unity among the members of the most diverse group in ADF.

Secondly, the individuals who find this idea to be negative are harder for to understand. I can accept that the Solitary list is there, but it's presence does not mean that it is doing it's job. There have been entire months that have gone by without seeing a single post to the Solitaries List. I really feel that we are at a point where we must take action to attempt to network the solitaries and make us feel more of an integral part of ADF. After all, Solitaries statistically make up over 50% of the members! In addition, if a solitary member does not wish to participate in things geared toward Solitaries then why join a solitaries group? Besides, the projected activities are not requirements. Every person has the right to chose whether to take part or not in any activity we suggest. There seems to be some unresolved anger issues regarding attempts to unite the Solitary ADF members, and I might be too new to understand.

For now, I am afraid I will have to just agree to disagree with this vein of thinking.Finally, I would like to note that I have probably just created a lot of work for myself in regards to archiving solitary rites and the like on the Wiki, but I want everyone to know that it is worth it. I only wish someone else had done this before I was here. I think a resource like this a few months ago would have made a big difference to where I am today.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Solitary Lughnasadh

The responsibilities of family lead me to miss the rite for Lughnasadh with Three Cranes this year, so I found myself in the position of solitary Druid for my first High Day since becoming a Druid. After working with the COoR for a few months, this was not as difficult a task as I thought it would be. There are a few minor details I missed, because I tried to do it all from memory, but other than that it went very well.

I gathered together my materials and did my Rite outside by my fire pit. I found enough sticks and such around the yard to have a small fire—but big enough for my purposes. I set up an altar with a pitcher and a chalice for the Waters of Life, three candles for the Kindred. My wand, and a bowl of water for the Well.

After grounding and centering, I stated my purposes. I offered dried lavender to Garanus (in the fire) and opened the gates. I offered steel cut oats to the Earth Mother. I read a poem about the Kindred and lit a candle for each in turn. Then I offered sticks of a special type of incense to the fire, one for each Kindred.

The main deities of my rite were Lugh, Rosmerta, and Tailtiu. I read a poem written by MJD from Three Cranes about the Marriage of Lugus to Rosmerta. I also told a story that I improvised about Tailtiu clearing the land and sacrificing herself for the people—just as a King does. Like mother, like son, eh? I also offered a shot of Wild Turkey to the flame—which was quite dramatic since it had died down considerably during the first part of the rite.

Omens. Beautiful. The first was Laguz. Offering accepted. The second was Eihwaz, and the third was Perthro (again). The message I received is one of moving forward but slowly to build a solid foundation that enhances life with change, not causes constant turmoil and chaos (though occasional chaos can sometimes work in your favor). The primary layers must be strong and sturdy in order for the rest of the structure to be solid and lasting. It also seems I am on the right path.

I performed the return flow for the Waters of Life and drank a measure that I poured into my chalice. This is not something I do during daily devotionals, so I used a scripted piece I found as a reference.

I dismissed the Kindred and closed the gates. The rite was ended!

A few notes: I did not use much music. I was outside by myself at 11:00 at night, and the mosquitoes were terrible. I also did not use a full two powers meditation because the mosquitoes were too distracting. Instead, I used an old breathing pattern technique I have used for years to calm and center in preparation for a performance—which is a lot like being DIC. There is a lot to do in a ritual for a high day. I definitely could have used at least one other person to assist with tending the fire and making the offerings readily available. I had to turn on the flashlight to find things several times! All in all, I am pleased with this Rite. I have learned a few things that will help the next time I have to do a solitary high day—which I am sure will happen. Being the only Druid in a family of five can be difficult, but I know that the gods don’t care where I am when I call to them—only that I call.

Offerings accepted—hooya!