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.