We began with music, which was wonderful for this bard. I played several original pieces during what I presumed to be a soundcheck (ha). It started out that way, but the Sound Engineer, Tom, was enjoying the music, so he never stopped me. It was a treat for me to play pagan songs for a mixed crowd, sending strength and beginning the threads of the community bond for this ritual between pagans and non-pagans alike. What a beautiful way to begin a service! (I think we should start including more "prelude" bardic pieces in our future rites. It would be a great way to introduce more music to the folk, as well.)
Two Powers attunement was effective and well delivered. Our Deity of the occasion was Tailtiu, and Chronarchy told her story as our main offering, which went very well.
The Ogham Omens were as follows:
What Blessing do the Ancestors have for us? Duir, The Oak....Strength
What Blessings do the Spirits of Nature Have for us? Oir ,The Spindle Tree.... The Blessings of our home and Hearth
What Blessings do the Shining Ones have for us? Ur, The Heather The Blessings of the Homelands
Taken together these might suggest "The Kindreds remind us that true and lasting Strength flows from the sacred Home, its Hearth and from the sacred soil of our Homelands"
2010 Dublin Irish Festival Lughnasadh
In all, there were at least 327 participants counted, making this our largest rite by far. Samhain 2009, our first rite with 100+ participants is now a distant second. My, how far we have come in the short time that I have been a Crane!
On a personal level, this was the first rite that I really had to "work." We have a large grove, and the parts are usually spread out over a large number of people with the magical acts performed by the Priests and Elders of the Grove. As Grove Bard, I probably participate on a similar level to a Grove Elder, but the chanting work done is not typically very taxing, and the songs are pretty spread out. For this rite, however, I began with several songs designed (by me) to showcase my voice (read: pagan power ballads). Amidst the chaos of the greater festival, I put into practice during this rite those words I keep repeating, that music is a ritual device--and I used it to it's full potential. By the time we were through the chant for the waters about three times, I felt the draining effect of long-term expending. I was grateful for my training then, because I was able to send my roots down and draw deeply from the Earth to carry me through the next 14 times through. It was awesome. I feel very proud of myself for finally "getting it," this whole business of allowing the Kindred to work through me in a magical act without losing control. I don't know if I can do it without the music, but this is a big step for me.
I crested the 24-hour mark sans sleep toward the end of the rite. Needless to say when I arrived home, I kissed my kids and went straight to a peaceful sleep. And I woke up full.