Monday, November 4, 2013

Samhain with Prairie Shadow Protogrove, ADF

Photo by Shanda Hahn Kinkade
The day was clear and warm-ish, and the space for our ritual was huge and green, covered with a smattering of fallen autumn leaves.  It really was the best possible setting one could want for a Samhain ritual in Nebraska.  I'd met Amber, the Protogrove founder, a few times before at various places around town, and a little meet-and-greet held at her house a few weeks beforehand.  I don't think I've ever met anyone so passionate about an organization and a community as she is.  When I arrived at her house a few hours before the ritual, she was bringing out tables to be used as altars and a giant tote full of offerings, decorations, and various other ritual necessities.  In the next few hours we did some cooking (as my clumsy self destroyed her kitchen!) and lots of set-up as her husband built the fire we'd be using.  Others began to arrive, and a community was being built.

Photo by Shanda Hahn Kinkade
Prairie Shadow Protogrove is a brand-new group, the first official branch of ADF in Nebraska.  The ritual we were setting up for was the very first: a new beginning in a season usually thought of for its endings.  A smattering of people from the local Pagan community attended - including some friends from Nebraska Heathens United - one person drove in from out of state, and another nearby ADF member came out to join us.  The ritual was Hellenic, inviting Hestia and Gaea, and Hermes as our gatekeeper.  I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Hestia, and was especially happy to welcome the Goddess of hearth and home to help build and strengthen our little community.  For the main body of the ritual, we honored our ancestors of blood, land, and hearth - Amber spoke about her old friend Dale, and how he had once inspired her to begin a Druid group here in Nebraska; Prairie Shadow Protogrove, named after his old production company, is the realization of a dream they shared years ago.  There were some others in attendance who had known him also; even though I never knew him, the outpouring of emotion and memories of him was so strong I was brought to tears.  It was my job to pull the omen, asking the Kindreds if our offerings were accepted and what blessings they would give to us in return.  I pulled the King of Cups (the outpouring of love and remembrance for Dale was most pleasing), and the Nine of Cups, showing a content man with all he had ever wanted; the Kindreds gifted us with blessings of happiness and contentment in our lives.  We passed out the waters of life (or the cider of life, in this case!), drank deeply, and thanked all those who had come.  For a first foray into ritual, Prairie Shadow Protogrove did quite well!

After ritual, we had a potluck and lots of community-building.  Watching some friends I'd gotten to know recently meet one another was amazing, and getting to know some new faces was perhaps the best part!  I'm always up for a good religious conversation - especially when my husband gets tired of listening to me enumerate the differences between the Morrigan and Macha - and there was plenty to be had.  I honestly couldn't have been happier with how the day went, and couldn't be more thankful to everyone who helped put it together - setting up, writing liturgy, or simply bringing their presence.  It was an amazing day, and a wonderful start to what will hopefully be a long tradition for Prairie Shadow Protogrove.

No comments:

Post a Comment