Monday, November 24, 2008

Drawing Down the Blessing.

At a recent Dedicant Meeting, we were reviewing our Samhain Rite. I played a guitar piece as stated in an earlier blog for the Return Flow portion of the rite. Several of us found that the music played while the water was passed amongst the participants helped to keep us focus on the rite and have a more meaningful experience. I have had problems experiencing the return flow with any sense of power when I am not at my home shrine, and I stated as much to them. After some brief discussions about why this might be, Seamus and MJD decided that I was to be in charge of the Return Flow portion of the Yule Rite this year. This way, I can do a comparison between the two and better analyze what might be blocking the flow of power for me.

I have been considering this task with great reverence. The Return Flow is one of the most powerful parts of ritual in my devotionals. I feel that trying to create that same sense of power in a public rite that I create at my shrine is a great responsibility. After no small amount of deep thought, it finally hit me why this is such an important item for me: Drawing Down the Moon.

I was a Wiccan for six years before I found Druidry, and as such I learned a thing or two about drawing the powers down upon yourself. I realized that when I do a Return Flow, I take the omen, the gift they give in return, and I focus my very being into placing that firmly into my cup that I may receive it. It was promised to me, and my offerings to them were accepted, so they have an obligation to pour forth that blessing, and my job is to harness and focus that blessing into a form that can be shared among the Kin.

Now that I know why this is such a big deal, I am hoping that my writing will come more easily. The version I do at home is somewhat Hellenic, but my Grove is doing a Nordic Yule with Odin as DotO. A little tweaking is definitely in order!

Wish me luck, and any suggestions would be helpful! It would be much easier if I could just do it with my guitar...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Samhain: In Honor of the Ancestors

At Samhain, we celebrate our Honored Dead and the God Cernunnos, Horned God, Keeper of the Ways. Samhain is the biggest grove rite of the year for Three Cranes, in terms of participant numbers, and this year was no exception.

Before the rite, we lit a circle of luminaries for light. Skarlett walked around the circle with incense, and I circled while playing my guitar to help clear the space. It was very centering. We processed in, offered to the Outdwellers, and entered our ritual space. AB said some beautiful words for divine inspiration, and AD did a deep breathing for grove attunement that was very grounding.

Our DIC was SB this year. He called on Cernunnos to assist us in opening the gates. After the greeting and offerings to the Kindred, we each tied a ribbon to a wreath with a few words for an ancestor. Seamus did an offering to the fallen dead, those who served, that was very moving. The Ancestors are still difficult for me to see as individuals. As a collective whole, I honor and offer to them with no problems, but when they are individualized, I am overwhelmed by emotion that I am only slowly learning to control. We offered the wreath to the fire and sang a chant as it burned.

Our omens were good: Perthro, Nauthiz and Berkano, Luck, Necessity, and Fertility. We are reminded during this time of year when all of nature is put to sleep to be mindful of our needs and remain fertile. The Kindred will be sure that our needs are met as long as we take the chance and trust in them. Our endeavors are necessary for internal growth. These are good omens.

During the return flow, while the cups of water were passed out, I performed Ian Corrigan’s repaganization of “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” It helped to keep us focused on the rite and maintain the liminal state of mind. Several were moved to tears by the words of this piece. This is my first performance as a Bard, and I am humbled that my music was able to connect with the other participants. I have always known I was called to music, but after today’s rite, I think I might actually be able to realize this goal. I am sure it will be an uphill battle, as most journeys are, but the first taste of success has given me inspiration and motivation for moving forward as an ADF Bard. I am grateful to the Grove members for allowing me to perform this service and to the Kindred for providing me with the gifts that make it possible.

Troy of Athens took his Dedicant Oath. It was wonderful. His words and obvious dedication to Freyja moved me.

The rite ended well, and the potluck was terrific! We had a good variety of food and drink including several crock pots and hot mulled cider. Yum!

Samhain is about the Ancestors, and remembering them keeps them alive. Through us they are not forgotten, but live on. Hail, Ancestors!