Midsummer at the Grove

This Midsummer, I was invited to a Druidic ritual at the Sierra Madrone Grove.  This was to be my first ritual down my new path.  I haven’t even taken the first oath for the Dedicant’s program yet!  Sierra Madrone is a bit of a drive for me, so it turned into an “almost all day” thing, and I’m really glad that I went!

I got to the ritual site a little early, but the Senior Druid was already there and was very welcoming.  We all chatted a bit as more people arrived, and I spun some yarn on my new spindle from Purlescence Yarns.  It turns out that there are quite a few spinners and yarn crafters in the Grove!  It was fun to chat with folks about my craft.

When we were ready to start the ritual, we moved off to the side to do the offering to the outsiders, and then processed into the ritual space.  The outsiders are those energies and spirits and beings who would disrupt our rite, so the druids give them an offering to encourage them to stay away.   In the lovely outdoor space that we had, we made that offering outside of our ritual space … which makes sense 🙂

The Senior Druid lead the ritual, but there were a number of other, experienced, druids who also participated in the leading of the ritual.  The ritual was very good .. the senior druid explained the different steps for all us newbies (there was 3 or 4 of us) so it was easy to follow and the “huh?” moments were minimized to the point of non-existent!

We called Manannán mac Lir to open the gates and we were in between the worlds.  Our bard honored was William Butler Yeats, a “modern” mystic and fantastic poet.   We also called to Áine, Queen of the Fae to join us on this day of faerie frolicking.

When it came time to do the offerings, I was surprised at the number of folks who made offerings.  Later, it was explained that it was about average.  Druidry has the concept of “a gift for a gift” … if we receive, or expect to receive, blessings then we should return with a gift of our own.

Towards the end of the ritual, we placed a bundle of wheat and a bundle of reeds by the fire.  Traditionally, wheat (for Áine) and reeds (for Manannán mac Lir) were burned and spread around the fields to bring prosperity to the crops.  To represent this, we put the bundles near the fire, and then we each took a few stalks back to our altars.

After the ritual, we had a pot-luck dinner and I got to chat with some of the members of the Grove.  I had a great time and stayed until most others had left.  I look forward to spending more time with the folks of Sierra Madrone.

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