Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heliogenna with Three Cranes Grove, ADF

Heliogenna is the brain-child of the very talented Litrugist and Poet from the Hellenic Recon circles, Hector Lugo. It is a nine day solitary festival broken into three parts: the Sunset of the old year, the Night, and the Sunrise of the new year. The Crane rite was inspired by the Sunrise portion of this festival and was dedicated to the Titan God of the Sun, Helios.

Beginning with Hestia, Gaia and an invocation to the Muses (named individually), our rite began with a definite note of theater--highly appropriate for a Hellenic ritual! Rev. Mike Dangler called to Eos, the Titan Goddess of the Dawn and Helios' sister as gatekeeper in a very visually moving meditation and invocation that set the stage for a greatly inspired ritual.

Our Omens were drawn by Emerald using the Olympian Oracle as follows:
  • Were our offerings accepted: Alpha. "The God Apollo says you will do everything successfully." That would be yes.
  • Gifts offered to us in return: Upsilon. "The affair holds a noble undertaking." Emerald pretty much said the Gods are pleased with the work we are doing and will aid us in further endeavors.
  • Further needs the Kindred have of us: Xi. "There is no fruit to take from a withered shoot." Exactly. Continue on with the work we are doing, paying attention to sowing our seeds and nurturing new growth.
I had the honor of calling down the Waters for this ritual, an act I rarely get to perform but one that I enjoy immensely.

Our working consisted of gathering together written notes of things the folk wished to have removed from their lives and left behind rather than carried forward into the new year. We added to this the negative energy drawn and discarded from each person in attendance and asked Helios to burn away those impurities with the pure light of the Sun. I felt the working was powerful, and I do hope the fruits of this working are noticeable right away in the lives of the folk.

This was a well executed rite, and I am glad to have participated in it.
Happy Solstice, Everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rite of Passage Reflections

On December 18, 2010, I was ceremoniously released from my vows in the Christian faith and baptized by Fire, Well and Tree in the snow surrounded by 9 members of my heart family.

When I arrived at T's house, I was greeted by a smiling group, genuinely pleased to be joining me for this occasion. Half of us even donned our ritual wares, and I was crowned with a halo of holly and white ribbons to accompany a white dress and white cloak. AG looked quite the complement in deep green and black!

We processed to the nemeton with care as we trod through the snow. The fire was lit and off we went! The rite followed the ADF Core Order of Ritual, and the first working came at the Deity of the Occasion position, during which I invited the Triple God of the Christians. More distinctly now than ever, I felt the definite presence of three Beings enter our space, and the Holy Spirit descended just as I remembered her. I thanked them for the gifts they have given my in my life and the beginnings of my spiritual path, I recognized them still as the Gods of my Ancestors, and I made them one final offering--the cross that my father had given me when I was 16 in tolerance and support of my choice--in exchange for release from the vows of baptism and confirmation. It was a difficult working!

I then made offerings to all three Kindred and to my patrons, offering many things that I felt were important between us: pomegranate seeds to Persephone (tossed and ingested), Wine to Athene, red amber to Freyja and green amber to Idunna.

Omens, taken by a magical AG who did quite a bit of working throughout this process: Isa, Hagalaz and Perthro. I was not too thrilled at first glance, but they are rather appropriate. Isa made us laugh because we were standing in the SNOW, but more importantly, AG saw a bridge between what was and what is to be. I received this omen with just this significance when I decided to begin the path of Druidry. Hagalaz was absolutely appropriate considering I had just rent my entire past asunder. And Perthro, well, I suppose it is a hefty chance to take, dissolving the bonds of baptism. In that faith, without them, there is no admittance to their Heaven. I haven't had much time to think more on these omens, but in a few days, I will revisit and see what further information lies there.

After that, we proceeded to the Waters of Life, during which there was much giggling. It seems a very large amount of energy was released into the circle, and it was difficult not to succumb to the urge to belly laugh for no apparent reason--especially since most folks were not to excited to draw down and share those blessings. :P

With the Waters infused, we moved to the second working, where SB baptized me by Fire, by Well and by Tree. I was subjected to ritual smoke, Waters of Life and swept with a broom by my favorite witch, April. It was not as emotionally or energetically intense as I thought it would be at that moment, but definitely empowering!

SB had be draw omens from his bag of oghams myself. From the Ancestors, I received Fearn, the Alder, shielding and protection. From the Nature Spirits, I received Nuin, the Ash Tree, connections to the world and spiritual inspiration. From the Shining Ones, I received Huathe, Hawthorn, purification and wisdom. I think these are wonderful omens for such a significant rite of passage!

Finally, I repeated my Dedicant Oath. I purposefully did not write anything out or revisit what I had prepared the first time. I wanted the words to flow in that moment as I meant them from my heart. In the end, it was pretty similar to the original oath, for my intention to follow the High Days, study and express the Elder Ways and Elder Gods through my art has not changed. If anything, it has only become a stronger driving force in my life.

We made cloak angels on the way back to the house where we had music, food and revelry, and by the time I got home, I was exhausted. I retired for the evening just after 9:00pm, and I slept straight through until morning. I even took a nap before the Three Cranes Grove ritual on Sunday.

Overall, I am very happy with the rite. It was a beautiful day spent surrounded by beautiful people. Thank you to all of you who shared in this important day with me. I can't wait to see where my path will lead next!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A prelude to a rite of passage...

In one week, I will be performing one of the most important bits of magic I've done to this day. I will be severing my ties of baptism and confirmation with the Christian God and rededicating myself to the Elder ways through a pagan triple baptism that I have composed. The work itself isn't too overly sophisticated, and I am grateful that I have two experienced and talented Druids in my Grove that have offered to assist me in this endeavor.

AG will be assisting with the breaking of the bonds. She will be spending time with the Norns this week to create a rope weaved from three strands that shall be "tied" to the three connections I have to the Christian Triple God. During the rite, she will wrap this rope around my wrists, connecting them to that thread within me as I bring them forward that has me connected to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am most nervous about severing ties with the third, for there are some fond memories and a lot of divine inspiration built up there. I think the fact that I am still this "tied" to that relationship is the biggest indicator that this working needs to be done.

Shawneen will be performing the baptism, by Fire, Well and Tree. He has a very powerful yet smooth voice and quite an amazing ritual presence. The fire portion will completely burn away the ties to those things in my past that no longer serve me and purify my spirit for what is to come. The Well will wash me in the power of the Kindred and tie me into the Underworld powers. The Tree will connect me to the realms and to the Kindred. At the end of this, I will offer to my patrons and other influential Goddesses and end with a repeat of my Dedicant Oath.

I'm not exactly sure how this will change my life, but I do expect the changes to be internally monumental. May the Kindred bless you all, as well, in this transformative time of year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eos and Tithonos

Long ago, as the first Gods ordered the universe, it fell to Eos, the beautiful daughter of Hyperion and Theia, to bring forth the dawn from the East. Each morning, at the close of night's time, Eos would rise up in her chariot from the river Okeanus, ascending to herald in the light of day to Gods and mortals alike. Eos was often found spending much of the day with her brother, Helios, as he rode across the sky, bringing the light of the sun to the worlds.

During one such ride, Eos' eye fell upon a young warrior god in training, Ares, the brilliant God of War. He was magnificent in form and breath-taking to behold. Eos drove her chariot down to get a closer look, sending her rays of rosy light to shimmer and shine on his skin and blade. Ares, being of the strong masculine sort, was moved by her grace and beauty as she shone on before him in ethereal wonder. It was no time before the two found themselves spent between lover's sheets.

Ares, unfortunately, had already pledged his heart to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Desire, and when she heard of their coupling, her wrath filled her with a passionate anger and thirst for revenge. With a simple spell, Aphrodite cursed Eos to be forever enthralled beyond measure with young and attractive men.

After a string of lovers that Eos stole away to the ends of the Earth, Orion whom she bore away to Delos, Cleitus whom she bore to the immortals very realm, her heart fell upon the Trojan Prince Tithonos who freely reciprocated her love. Eos and Tithonos existed in happy union, bearing two children, Emathion and Memnon.

As time passed and she watched him age, Eos became distraught at the thought of losing him. She went to Zeus, Mightiest of the Olympians, who had his share of unquenchable passion for mortals, and petitioned him to grant her Tithonos immortality. Zeus, being moved by love, granted her this wish.

As further time passed, Eos noted that Tithonos was continuing to age. He grew older with the years, and she returned to Zeus in confusion. Zeus revealed to Eos her folly: Eos had not asked for eternal youth for her love, only immortality. With great sadness, Eos watched her love grow weaker, older and miserable. One day, when even his voice had disappeared into the void and Tithonos was nothing more than a shadow of a man, Eos used her love and her magic to turn him into a grasshopper. In this form, Tithonos maintained his most shining qualities, a carefree wit, a graceful gait and a lilting song that even still elicits peace, patience, and solidarity in reflection of his patient and eternal love for Eos, Goddess of the Dawn.