Saturday, February 15, 2014

Imbolc with Prairie Shadow Protogrove ADF

Logo by Amber Doty
On a bitterly cold February evening, Prairie Shadow Protogrove ADF hosted our first Imbolc ritual.  Luckily, the wonderful Amber managed to find us an indoor location, so we stayed warm!  A Celtic ritual, I put it together to honor Brigid, an Irish Goddess commonly associated with Imbolc.  I was so excited, because this was our first ritual with some real participation!  We had volunteers who welcomed the Earth Mother Danu, and also helped with opening the Gates.  To me, it helped the ritual feel that much more communal - less a performance, and more of an actual gathering to honor the Kindreds.  We invited Manannán mac Lir, my favorite psychopomp, as Gatekeeper - and I didn't spill any water anywhere!  After Yule's water disaster, I'm very grateful.

Though I didn't write the ritual (more cobbled it together from ADF sources), the idea for our main working was my own, and one I hope was as powerful for others as it was for me.  Both some Germanic and Celtic tribes had a tradition where all the hearth fires in the village were extinguished, and re-lit from one common fire - this tradition in Kildare is centered around Brigid's eternal flame.  Though this is a tradition attested to around Imbolc, Beltane, and even Samhain, the NeoPagan celebration of Brigid and Her flame at this time of year makes it seem an appropriate custom.  Though we had to use LED candles as our Fire given open-flame restrictions, the idea and energy were strong - the Fire was built of several large candles and many tiny ones, making it a lovely source of light.  After the Blessings, each participant came up to take their own piece of this communal Fire, to carry it back home to their own practice.  In this way, our bonds as a community were strengthened by tying us all together not only in ritual, but also outside of it.

As our third official ritual, Imbolc felt much less new-and-exciting, and more a standard, enjoyable ritual with a nice group of friends.  We had some new faces, and some previous attendees unfortunately couldn't make it, but the Protogrove is starting to form a core group of sorts, and I love it.  Despite the weather and some other cancellations, twelve people attended!  After the ritual, we held potluck as usual, and I had a great time chatting with all the awesome people who came out.  We talked blogs, Pantheacon, being new to Paganism, and parenting - a great range of topics, and I really enjoyed hearing some new perspectives.  I also got to try some homemade hummus, which really made my night.  All in all, it was a lovely time, and I'm so grateful to everyone who made it - especially, as usual, the best Grove Organizer ever!

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