Friday, September 12, 2014

Inspiration from the Midnight Flame

Mead Hall of the Grove of the Midnight Sun -
just amazing, right?
First, an admission - the first big Pagan event I attended was sort of a flop, for me.  I drove all the way up to Minneapolis to attend Paganicon, not knowing a soul except a few usernames on a forum I frequent.  It turns out that I'm probably a bit too shy to dive in and introduce myself in social situations like that; and so I ended up attending a few workshops that weren't really relevant to my path and driving back home pretty disappointed.  So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I decided to attend Midnight Flame, an ADF festival, with my friend and Grove Organizer.

I don't know if it's because the rituals were all fairly familiar and geared towards my personal spirituality, or because I recognized and knew people from ADF's facebook page and email lists, or because our Protogrove ended up bringing four people along (though I imagine it's the absolutely sweet and welcoming demeanor of the hosts, Flip and Deb Rutledge), but I had an incredible time.  Meeting people who's input I had only seen online was amazing, and seeing a large group of people do ADF ritual was so inspiring.

And that's the biggest thing I brought home from this festival.  The Midnight Flame that burned throughout the night lit a fire in my heart, and the wonderful people have filled me with ideas.  On the way home, I waxed poetic about the beautiful stoles of Three Cranes Grove, the amazing way that chants transported us to a sacred place in ritual, the value of a longer and more focused processional.. I could go on even now.  Our Protogrove is still very new compared to many of the groups we met up in Michigan, but that doesn't mean we can't borrow some ideas and traditions to improve the ritual that we do.  And the more we improve, the better and more cohesive our rituals feel - the easier each person there will be able to connect to the Kindred; and that is our ultimate goal.  Pagan Pride Day is coming up this weekend, and I've used the idea of humming tones as a building of a group mind, just as I saw it done last weekend.  Here's hoping we're half as successful!

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