Sunday, January 19, 2014

Yule with Prairie Shadow Protogrove

Photo by Amber Doty
It's taken me a little while to get around to this post, because I'm not exactly sure how to write it.  In late December, Prairie Shadow Protogrove ADF met for its first Yule ritual, and second ritual ever.  This was also the first ritual I'd ever put together or led, after only about 6 months of participating in my local Pagan community.  It was also at my house, which is scary for me because of how intensely private I tend to be (and how terrible at cleaning!).

Photo by Amber Doty
But despite all of that, I like to think it went pretty well.  We gathered just as the light was fading from the sky on an absolutely beautiful December day - the high had reached to the lower 50s, almost unheard of for winter in Nebraska.  As the sun set it began to get colder, but our fire-builders managed to keep some warmth around despite the wind.  As part of a Germanic solstice ritual, we honored the sun Goddess Sunna and the return of Her light.  We also welcomed Heimdall as Gatekeeper, and Nerthus as Earth Mother.  A friend was kind enough to bring some of his homemade mead, which was offered to those present as the blessing waters.  As we reached the part of the ritual where all participants extinguished their candles as a representation of the long solstice night, it had become as dark as it gets in these suburbs, and the deep blue of the night sky hung over us.  But when those 17 or so candles were rekindled, welcoming Sunna back to this world, the backyard became bright!

Photo by Amber Doty
Afterwards, we held a potluck, both to honor the traditions of hospitality and feasting, and so those who attend Prairie Shadow Protogrove can continue to get to know one another.  Citing the Germanic tradition of the Yule Boar, I even made some bread in the shape of a pig, and we were lucky enough to also have someone bring a desert bread shaped like the sun!  We had quite a few people attend who hadn't been to our Samhain ritual, and it was delightful to meet and get to know them.  Again, I can't thank Amber Doty enough for her work in founding this whole group, and the continuing administration work that she deals with - and also for coming early and helping set everything up, and being the best ritual-leading partner ever.

Prairie Shadow Protogrove will be holding its next ritual on February 8th at the Next Millenium in Omaha at 5:00pm - there is a study room to the right of the store entrance.  Check out our Facebook page or our website for more details.  I hope to see anyone in the region there!

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