Monday, February 2, 2009

Imbolc with the Cranes

Brighid of the Mantle, encompass us…
Blacklick Woods Metropark

The experience of an Imbolc rite with Three Cranes was highly anticipated. Rich in Grove tradition, it has the most attendee participation due to the candle-lighting ceremony. We are blessed to have a Flame Keeper among us, and so the light of Brighid, kindled at Kildare and traveled across the Nine waves, was present at our rite. But the day did not start here.

This day was also the Druid moon known as the “Stay at home” moon. Our Grove priest began at our Flame Keeper's home and lit a candle from the Kildare Flame. He then proceeded to visit the homes of all the Grove members who requested it and brought the light of Brighid into our homes. I do believe the grand total of members visited this morning was twenty. Mike had never been to my house, so it was nice for him to get a look at my personal space. There is something special about inviting someone into your home and it helps when they come bearing a gift like, say, the light of a goddess.

I spent the morning singing and putting things in order. I had the communal rooms of my home blessed with the light of Brighid, but left my personal shrine space for Hestia. After Mike left, I did a small devotional in which I honored both Goddesses of the Hearth, noting the importance of recognizing the inherent value of the hearth as the sacred center of the family as well as the community at large, and using the belief that all fires are sacred as a means of tying them together. It was a good devotional. I really felt the fire kindle in my chest, and it continued to burn for most of the day. I think they like each other, and I also believe that Hestia was pleased with the way I handled this.

The rite itself had a few easily camouflaged “hiccups,” but overall, our offerings were accepted. I did the grove attunement, the traditional Grove Crocus Meditation written by Jenni. Mike did a very powerful Waters of Life (Note to self: write a song to replace “Pour the Waters.”). I also performed “Blessing for Flame Keepers” during the working portion of the rite in which we collected and blessed the cloth to be used in the healing blanket (which is a story for another time). It went well!

Overall, it was a very good rite. Liturgically speaking, it was not perfect, but there was an underlying theme of closeness among the grove members. There was a lot of bonding before, during, and after this rite, and I did note that the people drawn to one another were also the ones whose homes were blessed that morning. There are forces at work of which we are not always aware, and the Lady of the Lambs has drawn her children together during this Imbolc season.

Omens for this rite include:
Have our offerings been accepted? Fern/ The Alder "oracular vision and shielding"... yes! (the interpretation was due in large part to the shielding aspect of this few)
What blessings do the kindred have for us in return? Uillend/The Honeysuckle "the core values found at the center of the labyrinth"
What further uses do the kindred have of us? Ruis/The Elder "the queen under the mound remind us to let go of that which has outlived its usefulness in order to make room for the new"
Taken together these might suggest:"Shielded and with the guidance of the kindred, we stand strong with our core values intact and treasured. We must be ready to surrender that which has outlived its usefulness and be ready for new growth."

I find it interesting that since I am DIC-ing the next rite, I brought the Ancestors box home with me. Being a Hellene, my next personal high day rite (Wednesday) is Anthesteria. It is a time for recognizing the forces (kheres) and the dead whom you feel the need to placate for a day. I had already planned on a very Ancestor-oriented rite in which I make amends and peace with the Ancestors of my family with whom my relationships were not the best. In a rite where I confront the Ancestors of Blood, I will be surrounded by the Ancestors of the Grove, my chosen family. The significance of this cannot be put into words. It's just ironic that I, of all people and of all times, have the Ancestors of the Grove with me. The Kindred will provide for you the things that you need to help you along your path. This is just one more way that they are supporting me and solidifying that I have made the right choices thus far on my path.

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