‘Rituals Attended’ Posts
There is one word to describe this High Rite. Rain. It rained and it poured and it was lush with water. We gave up trying to stay dry or hide under umbrellas and jackets. Instead we plopped, stomped, danced, and drummed in the rain. It felt so good, as I’m often the victim of playing out in rain and thunderstorms due to my love for them. It felt very powerful, like we were sincerely connecting with nature on another level.
Our primary invocations were Dionysus and Selene, and this marked the 17 year anniversary of CedarLight Grove. Caryn told the story of CedarLight Grove and how the name came to be when our founder was on the banks of the Potomac in 1989 for our first ritual. The energy was high, and this was truly what rituals are about to me.
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Before ritual we did a series of warrior games, which I was asked to judge. They were amusing and fun, but I don’t think anyone took them very seriously. We honored Lugh and Tailtiue as our primary invocations, as Tailtiue is the Grove’s patron deity, and Airmedd was our gatekeeper. This was the first ritual organized by one of our newer members, Kat, and I felt she did a good job for her first run.
During the outsiders, we noticed that a patch of balloons had filled the sky from a nearby street festival, which I took pictures of because I thought it was amusing.
I felt slightly overwhelmed this ritual with tasks to do. Being responsible for pictures, drumming, guestbook, songs before and after ritual, etc.
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For our Mabon High Rite, our primary invocations were Mabon and Modron, with Elen as the Gatekeeper. I did not feel connected to this ritual, as I felt the chants were poorly done. However it was led by one of our teenage liturgists, and I felt she did a really awesome job.
Nothing in particular stuck out to me about this ritual. I did my usual drumming heartbeat, and we had a good turnout of guests, but other than that it did not feel as celebratory as usual. The best portion was when Jack told the Lore of the season, because he is able to project the story as a storyteller would.
(Word Count: 111)
Samhain is one of my favorite rituals, as I feel the most connected to the ancestors and to deity during this time. Our primary invocations were Iunium and Genii, as this was a roman style ritual, and the purpose was becoming good examples for our followers and admirers.
This ritual was entirely too windy so it was hard to hear anything, which resulted in not being as absorbed or focused for this particular high rite. However the setting and prompts were fantastic, with pumpkins, candles, and skulls to commemorate the occasion. We even lit the pumpkin on fire (as shown above) to give it a nice flare.
We honored the Earth Mother, and Janus as the gatekeeper, to which Renee even did the invitation to Janus in Latin, which sounded -awesome-. When acknowledging the outsiders, Kat used an old Roman method involving black beans, which I had never heard of.
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It has become a tradition over the last several years to do an all night vigil for Yule at CedarLight. It is also a tradition that this High Rite be strongly nordic based. We’ve generally started ritual at 12pm with the opening of the ritual, and then at 6pm opening the gates and leaving them open all night until dawn. But this year we started at 6pm, and people actually fell asleep. Whereas the first all night vigil we did, everyone stayed up the entire time.
Our primary invocations were the Landwights and the Landvaettir, and also the Aesir and the Vanir and all the Shinning Ones. There was fire spinning, accompanied by my own drumming. The omen was positive, depicting protection and good fortune, and symbolizing our current creative energies to move towards that goal.
(Word Count: 136)
Imbolc is always the coldest ritual for me, as the earth has had all winter to chill and freeze. This year we personified Brigid in her three forms as our primary invocation with three members of the Grove. Might I add that Caryn looked particularly dashing in her nordic goddess attire with hammer and steel. The Dagda acted as our gatekeeper, and the purpose was for inspiration and motivation.
The ritual itself was only somewhat moving. I enjoy Caryn’s rituals the most I think, which is why it’s hard for me to get into others. But Caryn took part in this one, and when she began banging on the steel with her hammer, you could really feel the energies rise.
(Word Count: 120)
The CedarLight Ostara 2007 ritual was a cold one. We honored The Alseids (The Land Nymphs) and the Hamadryads/Dryads (The Native Tree Nymphs) as our primary invocation. The omen was read by Will, who listened to the trees of the sanctuary to divine the message from the Gods. I don’t remember what the Omen was, but I think it was something like “We are here” or “The trees are listening.” Again this stems from our Grove not keeping track of the omens, which we are trying to remedy. I may update this once I am able to pull the omen out of someone at the Grove.
I rather enjoy honoring the spirits of the land, because the earth has a particular spirituality in my life. Being raised on a farm and experiencing animals of the wilderness in many forms gives me a unique appreciation for the spirits of the land, whether they are actual beings or in the trees and surroundings.
(Word Count: 161)
The “Beltane” High Rite for CedarLight in 2007 was actually done in a Hellenistic style for a festival called Thargelia. Now even though Athena is my patron/matron/whatever, and has been since I was 12, I’ve never considered myself Hellenic. I enjoy reading about the mythology and even the culture, but that type of spirituality has never been a part of me. In fact, out of all the main hearth cultures, I find myself least related to the Hellenic culture.
But none the less, I was excited to see a Hellenic ritual, as I’ve never experienced one before.
The ritual started with a purification of the hands in a saltwater mixture, which I found to be somewhat of a pain because I was attempting to drum but my hands were sticky. The Chief Liturgist also did not allow anyone to sit down unless they absolutely needed to, which was apparently normal in Hellenic tradition.
The procession was also completely quiet, which didn’t feel right for me, because it felt like there was no flow, nothing keeping people in sync together. Everyone’s eyes and hearts wandered around ritual confused and out of sort.
Overall it was a different style ritual, which is always welcomed, but it’s not one I’d want to attend regularly. I’m more into the strong fertility and celebration of the fertile ground with bonfires, dancing, and drumming at all hours of the morning. I suppose I am more into the primal energies of Beltane, and the wildness that comes with this time of year.
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Our Midsummer ritual at CedarLight this year was based off of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer’s Nights Dream.” Spoken in true Shakespearean fashion, the lore of the season was displayed in romantic and dramatic allure. The omen was “William Ditlow Pierson, Souffle”, done in typical Will satire. Random people were asked to give a word of inspiration, and after reaching a certain amount, specifically ordered words were chosen by the Seer to divine the omen.
Unfortunately our Grove has a problem with not recording Omens properly until someone recently brought it up. So I still have no clue what the meaning behind this or most other omens were during the last 5 years of ritual. Quite embarrassing, actually.
There was very little chanting done during this particular ritual, I’m sad to say. I did provide a minor drumbeat to keep the ritual flow in sync, but was not asked ahead of time to incorporate any chants. Chanting and even drumming really affect the ritual for me. When there is a lack of either, I’m usually very out of focus.
There were no particular deities called upon during this Midsummer, instead it was all Deities having to do with Seership. Slightly unorthodox, but I was game.
Midsummer is usually a Fool’s Rite in our Grove. I’ve attended 5 of them so far, and they’ve ranged from Chocolate rituals with chocolate chip cookie omens and eclair sacrifices, to dancing in puddles and the rain and even painting ourselves with mud.
(Word Count: 245)