Well, I did it. I DIC-ed my first ADF rite with the Cranes. This was also our first EVER Hellenic rite. When I was first approached about doing a Hellenic rite, I was assuming it would be more of a "them humoring me" kind of affair. What actually happened has blown me away. Back story: I was a solitary for a long time, surrounded by people who never took my faith seriously. I am used to being humored when it comes to things like dumping a portion of really good wine on the ground or the recycling Nazi-ism that is rampant in my home. I have very good people in my life, but they just don't understand. Not my Gods, not my high days, not my devotion. But they love me, so they humor me.
Spring Equinox planning began very shortly after Imbolc. I had already been working on the rite I was dong as a solitary, so when I was asked to do the High Day, I merely had to adapt for a group (harder than it sounds to go that way than to go from group to solitary!). From the beginning, everyone has been supportive of my efforts and done a lot to make this rite a success. When the girls decided to make ritual gowns, I was excited. I have never been one to wear any type of ritual clothing, though I have donned a few cloaks in my time when its cold, purely out of function. I was floored when things in my life once again went topsy-turvy and the girls made my dress for me. No, seriously. I showed up twice for fitting purposes, and never sewed a stitch. The dress? Absolutely beautiful. (There are some picture floating around, so I will see what I can snitch from someone who was at the rite. My camera was broken the night before the rite.)
So, after much personal drama and a mere hour of sleep, I showed up at the park, ready to go. The final count was 54 participants for this rite. 54! That's a lot of people to stand up in front of and profess your love to a Goddess! We had a few treasured guests from out of town who came all the way in and participated with offerings and songs, altar decorations and basic Hellenic flair. (Thanks for coming! It was awesome to have you among the rest of my beloved Kin for the day!)
The rite itself went fairly well. I will try not to over-analyze and go negative like I usually do when critiquing myself. I made a few mistakes, one fairly big one, but just kept going so no one would ever know. Hopefully, those who noticed didn't think that I meant for it to be that way, but realized that I was compensating for a bad ritual move! The praise composed by the other members was all very moving. I could tell how much thought and preparation went into the writing of their pieces.
What next? Well, the completion of this high day is the final piece to my Dedicant Program material. Once I insert my write-up of the rite, I am ready to submit. (Really? Can it be time already? Whew!) So many things about this rite have humbled my spirit and filled my heart with love. Watching everyone band together to make this a success was inspiring and encouraged me to do my best. Seeing all those happy faces when I got there and being able to perform the rite outside filled my spirit with joy. Most of all, calling on my patron and watching 54 people sing her praises and make her offerings was almost more than I could handle. I really felt that providing a place for the people to make offerings to Persephone was an offering in and of itself...and if I weren't Hellene, this probably would never ahve happened. I realize that, and it is humbling. I stood up there and watched everyone make offerings, listened to two people sing songs to her and did my very best not to cry. I am trying to feel pride for what I have done, but I had so much help and really had such a small part in the whole thing that I barely feel able to take credit for the success of this rite. All in all, it was amazing.
In conclusion, I have decided that it was time for our Grove to honor the Hellenic gods. We have done a great job of honoring all the members of the IE cultures so far, and this has been long due. I am hoping someone will write a Vedic or Baltic Rite that we can do as a Grove. What better way to learn and to grow than to be exposed to different ways of doing things? As long as we always pray with a good fire...
PS) We are never, ever doing Earth Mother, Blossom Lifter again, so don't ask.
PSS) I have to admit, I do like being spanked by a Norsewoman in a chiton... ;)