Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Winter Solstice Ritual Attendance

I attended the our local Grove's Winter Solstice Ritual this past Friday night.  Unlike previous rituals this one was held at a local Unitarian Universalist church and, as such, was advertised on the Fellowship's publications and social media.  As a result, there were over 50 people in attendance, although most placed themselves in a strict "observer" role.

The ritual was written by our Grove Organizer and was in ADF Core Order.  We honored the Slavic pantheon (one near and dear to my heart), and I recited (from memory) the invocation to the goddess Rozhanitsa.  Rozhanitsa is dear to me and I was very pleased to serve in this role.  I also made the white reindeer cookies which were distributed for the sharing of blessings - this follows an Eastern Slavic winter solstice tradition.  I missed having a "real" fire for sacrifices; since we were inside we had a substitute chemically-based flame.  It was beautiful but couldn't handle the sacrifices. Offerings were instead put into a communal bowl and then left outside under a bush.

This was the first ritual of the grove that included singing; clearly we have some work to do in that area.  As I mentioned, the Grove Leader wrote most of the ritual, as she normally does.  I wished I had been invited to provide more input into the ritual, as I felt that some of the writing was questionable - not because of something lacking on the Grove Leader's part, but because of the inherent complexities (and confusions) of the Slavic pantheon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012 Samhain Ritual Attendance

I attended the our local Grove's Samhain ritual on Saturday, October 27th.  This was the first ritual since the grove had graduated from proto-grove status, so spirits were festive.  As had been the situation for the past several rituals, the ritual was actually held on property owned by my family.  The ritual was written by the Grove Organizer and was in ADF Core Order.

The ritual focused on the Hellenic pantheon, and my participation included addressing Gaia at both appropriate points in the ritual.  For an offering to Gaia I sprinkled corn kernels from my husband's small plot of non-hybrid/non-GMO corn grown on-site.

I have to admit that I felt a bit out-of-sync with this ritual, as my personal leanings (that align with Proto-Indo-European Slavic traditions) associate a time of darkness/connection with ancestors more with the winter solstice.  However, during the personal offerings I spoke aloud three names of dearly departed, and presented an offering of tobacco.

While I did not so much personally feel the veil lifted during the ritual, it did get me thinking more about how I'd like to prepare and observe the similar customs in December.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 Autumnal Equinox Ritual Attendance

I attended the our local Grove's Autumnal Equinox Ritual this past weekend.  As with previous rituals this gathering was on property owned by my family.  It was written by our grove organizer and was in ADF Core Order.

There were several folks in attendance who has not been at rituals recently and this added to the generally festive mood.  We honored the Vedic pantheon and I recited the Statement of Purpose.  This was the first time I saw what happens when someone offers whiskey to the fire - what a show!  My daughters were very impressed.  Fresh patchouli clippings were also offered to the fire and the smell was heavenly!  It ended up being a very sensual ritual.

During the ritual I found myself pondering the conundrum of whether we are addressing gods known by different names in different cultures, or whether they are distinct deities all together.  I actually think about this often and typically come to the conclusion that they are separate (though related) deities, but it is our practices and beliefs that have fractured them into separate entities.