Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Solstice Fires and Transformation

Yesterday morning, we had our 7th Annual Sunrise Solstice Fire at my house. It was appropriately gloomy and dark on my way home from work, like the sun was waiting for my fire before showing it's face. Jeremy and I lit the fire together, which was a little stubborn in the snow. After we had it going well, I began with my prayers and offerings. This is a family tradition, and as such, does not follow a Core Order. I offered grains to all three Kindred, since the food would be appreciated for the animals around my home. I offered wine to Apollo and Helios, Eos and Selene, the Deities of Light. Jeremy went inside, and I proceeded with my "fire meditation."

I threw my dried holly onto the fire, focusing my intentions to be changed and renewed in this season of rebirth. I stared into the fire for a few minutes, and then I saw myself walking into the fire, bound in tethers that were pulling loads. There were people sitting on top of each of the loads. As I stood in the fire facing these loads, and each of the tethers began to burn away, the people sitting atop their loads stood up, thanked me for my help, and then carried their loads away on their own. I was left completely naked and alone in the fire. So quiet, so peaceful. I began to melt into a pool of shiny, silvery liquid. As I floated about in the fire, I saw a woman's hand drawn across my surface, removing those impurities that had risen to the top. I heard her say, "Now, stand up." I stood up, still shiny and silvery, but back in human form. She nodded to me to walk back out of the fire, and as I stepped in the snow, the shiny, silvery me was immediately cooled back into human form. I recalled later that I was praying while this was all going on. I distinctly recall invoking the Ancient Wise, but I am not entirely sure the words that were exchanged.

I pulled omens: Shining Ones offer Dagaz, Nature Spirits offer Algiz and Ancestors offer Hagalaz. This is the third time in a row I have pulled Hagalaz, and Dagaz has been showing it's face quite a bit, as well. I am undergoing a dismantling, after which I will be awakened, but during all of this process, I will be shielded and connected to the Gods. I am in the middle of change, once more, and I find that to be quite comforting. The Gods don't change things they don't care about. :)

I logged into the IRC chat from work last night. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get in, and I'm still unsure as to whether or not I will get written up for it (which I doubt, since I am fairly harmless and have been for 7 years), but it was completely worth it! I was inspired by the words Jamie wrote for each of the invocations, and though I had nothing more than my intentions to offer (because my attendance was last minute), stopping what I was doing for a moment and focusing my energies on the Kindred was fulfilling in a way I've never experienced at work. There are a lot of Christians here, very devout Christians, that would be made very uncomfortable by the knowledge that I am a Pagan. I do not think any of them would react in a mean or hateful way, but I do respect them enough to use discretion. I have always answered any question brought to me with openness and honesty, and I am pleased to say that I have been almost fully outed to my peers on my shift this season. Part of the changes I am going through, apparently, involve a louder voice, a more forward and "labeled" example of what Our Druidry is all about.

I feel a little nervous, a little excited, and a little relieved that the word is getting around, as much as I usually hate the gossip mill. It has thrown quite a few of them for a loop. They have known me for a long time now, and finding out that I am a Pagan is totally outside of what some of them had previously assumed. I am not what the picture when someone says "Pagan." Hippie, yes. Pagan, not so much. I got a good laugh when one of my coworkers told me he thought I was a Catholic. I just smiled and said, "Not anymore." I'll wait until he has more questions and fill him in slowly.

All of this has lead me to realize that I need to write more. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas in my head that swirl around whenever I am driving, but so much other stuff takes place when my feet hit the ground that I have not made any attempts to write any of it down. I have some ideas for liturgy that I have been toying with, and I think it is time to begin writing again. I had such a bad time writing the Samhain rite that I haven't written anything new in ages, I think since Lughnasadh. It is time.

The time of transformation is upon us. May the Kindred continue to shape and change us in our winter cocoons that we may emerge ready to take flight after this Solstice Season. May the newly reborn sun shine brightly upon your heart and your hearth, bringing warmth and blessings to all who interact with both.


Friday, December 18, 2009

ADF Elections

Let me be the first to say that I was very surprised to be nominated. I have been considering the possibility of running for this position some time in the future, but I assumed I haven't really been around long enough for this.

I spent some time in meditation and pulled some runes, to see where the voice of the Kindred would lie:
Should I run for Member's Advocate? Othala. Well, that seems to be a "yes."
I then pulled one rune from each of the Kindred:
Shining Ones: Berkano
Nature Spirits: Hagalaz
Ancestors: Jera
Taken together, I see that the election experience will be a worthwhile (read: fertile) endeavor for me. Regardless of whether or not I win, it seems that there is great purpose in the process. Of course, it won't be all cake and ice cream (haha), but I will reap benefits from what I have sown. Plant, endure, harvest. I am pleased with that.

I have spent a great deal of time considering my ability to carry out the duties of the Member's Advocate. I won't run for anything unless I am sure I can actually do the job, should I happen to win. I know you, my livejournal friends, have seen me vent a lot of the emotions I tend to carry in regards to the terrible things that happen to other people, and I was a bit concerned that my previous posts may have a negative impact, but the more I thought about it, the more I have come to believe that those posts show my empathy. They show that people come to me with their problems and that I am more than willing to help them all to the best of my abilities--and sometimes beyond. (I secretly love it when people ask me for help. Shh!)

The best news? Before I decided to accept the nomination, I also had a lengthy conversation with my non-Druid husband. He said that as long as I remember that I have a family, he will support me in whatever decision I make. Even when I told him that winning would mean I absolutely had to go to Wellspring, he said, "Well, you wanted to go to that anyway, didn't you?" Yep. I even have Jeremy's stamp of approval.

With so many candidates nominated who have more longevity than me, I know that a win on my part would be just shy of a miracle, but I hope the process will help me to grow and will reflect positively on my Grove family and ADF. I have already gotten some interesting comments from some of my work friends and more distant family members in regards to my facebook announcement. :) If nothing else, this will completely out me as a pagan. And that's a good thing. Scary, yes, but good.

Good luck to all the candidates!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crane-Following Oath

I see myself standing on the shore, just where the water meets the land. I see myself, arms stretched to the sky, head thrown back, hair freely blowing in the salty sea air.

The cosmos spins on it's axis, and he comes...

I am the Crane, soaring above. She, below, is calling. As she focuses her energy, I see her begin to shimmer.

Soon, soon.

I circle her, once, twice, thrice, as her power continues to build.

Finally, her words become clear to me as she ceases to speak with her human voice and begins to speak from her spirit with conviction. I hear her. She is praying. She is praying to me.

"Garanus!" she cries. "I embark on a path today which shall lead me to new glades and deep, cool waters none have seen. I draw guidance from you who knows these paths and shows the way."

I see rays of light connecting her to the powers of the land, the sea and the sky as she speaks, growing brighter and wider with each declaration.

"I will bring with me a shield of piety to protect me and a fire of devotion to light the way. I will seek to serve those who drink from these same waters and travel these same paths."

Faces that flash before her and are projected from her mind into the very cosmos, connecting her to them as she is binding herself to me. "I will seek to serve and to support my community within and outside of ADF."

As I land before her on the shore, our eyes lock, and she states, "These things I Oath for as long as I follow you."

With that, she kisses her sacrifice and thrusts it into the waters knowing the action thusly binds her words, that the sea may rise up against her, the earth may open and devour her and the very sky may fall down around her should she fail.

And yet, she smiles as she walks away.

She smiles, because she walks with Cranes...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Order of the Crane First Oath Recap

So, I got lost on the way to ritual tonight. And, of course, something big happened to me, though on-the-sly for everyone else.

I got lost on my way to my very first rite with 3CG, Beltaine 2008. My review of that rite is the first post in my livejournal account. I had quite the epiphany that day.

I got lost on my way to my first Summerlands festival, which was also my first pagan festival ever. I learned several very deep and intimate lessons about myself, who I was and who I wanted to be.

I got lost going to the UUCE the night I had my 3CG initiation to become a full Grove Member.

And I got lost tonight.

It didn't occur to me that anything out of the ordinary may happen, though I will be paying more attention now that I see the pattern. It was a wonderful rite to Cerridwen with a theme of rebirthing. I was a bit scattered after being awake for only two hours (third shifters, eh?), half of which I spent driving with my daughter trying to find the site.

I was pleasantly surprised by the presence of some Sassafrassians that made me happy. :) I lead the music for this rite, including a toning that was really cool. I really enjoy it when everyone participates. You can feel the room begin to fill. [Note to self: ask about doing an instructional toning workshop.] The kids were cute. Aeryn played a wonderful praise song to Taliesin. Omens were good, ultimately. No one died, and Tigerlilly Willow Something-or-other (note to self again: ask Lisa what her new name is) made her initial Dedicant Oath.

Seeing Lisa give her oath reminded me that I was ready to schedule my Order of the Crane Crane-Following Oath. I pulled Seamus aside after rit, since he was the closest to me, and told him of my plans. Silly me. He said, "Well, why don't we do it right now." And then didn't listen to anything else I said. He hollered for Mike, who gave me his copy of the Order booklet (that has the oath texts in it) and even provided me with an offering, since this was all "on the fly."

So, there I stood, Seamus on my left, Mike behind me with his hand on my shoulder, Lees with a sickle around my neck and a few assorted witnesses. I took a moment and closed my eyes, pushing out into the cosmos for reassurance that this was what was wanted. I called silently to Garanus, the form in which I interact with Crane,
and feel a pulse returned to me. Yes, yes, now.

And so I gave my oath to be a Crane-Follower in the Order of the Crane. :)