“I’ll have to sort out the baggage in your boot…” Tatterhood.
A glorious night was enjoyed by all. The stars were out, the moon was a hunter’s yellow (at first) and there was that familiar chill in the air heralding the approach of winter. Last night was a celebration of three parts. Leithin Cluan’s initiation, honouring of the ancestors and Tatterhood’s birthday “Soy flavoured burps”. And the moment we arrived, we were greeted by the cries of an owl, or should I say Cailleach-Oidhche; a very good sign indeed.
Greenwinterking had kindly printed out the initiation ceremony for Leithin Cluan and asked all to play a part in it. I was asked to be the role of Mabon, who would lead the initiate in the journey of the elements, this was particularly testing whenever my turnip’s candle would blow out. Thankfully Greenwinterking lent me his head-torch, something I was conscious of when the others were saying their parts as I didn’t want to dazzle whilst watching them. As Leithin was wheel-chairing it last night, I was also responsible for pushing her around the circle and to where she needed to be; a task I didn’t mind in the least (until we hit some very resistant grass tufts) as it was less of a struggle for Leithin and I got to warm myself up when pushing her uphill.
Like the rest of us, she swore allegience to the Grove and all her words were from the heart. There’s no going back now… She. Is. One. Of. Us…. muahahahaha!
NB: Don’t worry Glamorgan, Greenwinterking acted as your proxy in reaffirming of vows.
Greenwinterking had also provided us with a wonderful Samhuinn ceremony to remember the ancestors and had even created an ethereal path of tea-lights leading to the Cailleach’s fire. There was something quite enchanting about the faint lights with the open sky which reminded me of the Elfish camps in Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. Let’s just say I was very glad the Grove circle didn’t disappear when we approached it. Each member had to walk alone from the Grove heart, along the path and to the fire where they to cast into flames an old unwanted habit/ part of themselves/aspect of life. Seeming the Cailleach is the Dark Lady of the dark half of the year, she is the crone, death and the initiator all rolled into one, this was highly appropriate. Myself and Leithin cheated as we got to travel together and it became near impossible for the wet tyres to go over the thick grass tufts, so we journeyed to the fire by foot and cast our bits of paper into the embers. Upon returning to the circle, we were asked to share what Samhuinn meant to us. There was even a Grove tradition restored as Greenwinterking brought back toasting, something the Grove used to do when there were only four members (many winters ago).
Roles were passed on, Tatterhood is still our current Herald, she had no choice we wouldn’t let her step down. And I was given the role of Sword-bearer, something I am very honoured to have been chosen to do. I even held back crying out loud “BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL!” Grove members have already heard this anecdote, I just put it in for you lovely readers.
Back at the car park we celebrated Tatterhood’s birthday and sneakily (or blatantly obviously) signed her card, one at a time when she wasn’t looking. Little cake, wine, pastries and pink beaver (there’s always a pink beaver) were shared, in fact, I enjoyed what was left over of the Little cake whilst typing this, and you know what? it tastes of woodsmoke!
It was a marvellous evening, cold or not, and showed that as well as paying respects to the dead, we could also celebrate the living.