Double Whammy! Imbolc 2014 & February Meeting


Dumbledore’s Fireplace by locksley2010.

Please note that ‘Professor X’ shall now be known as ‘Dumbledore’ and ‘Zhukov’ shall now be known as ‘D2’.

Don’t ask me to try and light a fire!
I tried it on Saturday 1st and that didn’t work, neither did this one.  At least it did for a short time, but fizzled out.  Even after using lighter fluid.
  Ah well, we all agreed the fire was a decent metaphor for Imbolc: it might be getting brighter, but Winter isn’t done yet… not by a long shot.

Tuesday 4th Feb 2014
We were guests in Dumbledore’s bright and welcoming abode and were even given permission for use of his garden for the ceremony.

Luch Dorca had originally volunteered for this year’s Imbolc, but due to an emergency, he had to pull out. Our thoughts are with you, man.  Me and Tatterhood managed to make an ad hoc last minute ceremony on the theme of fire, earth and water.
Unlike our usual rites, we split the group: men and women.  The men had bodhran’s and djembies (sic?) Including Briseilid, our honorary bloke, indeed, her beard is like gossamer. We lit the fire (after a while) and drummed to the chant “Awaken and grow” which came out as “awa-kenan-gro”.  This was a ceremonial effort to bring back the warmth of the Sun and encourage Spring’s return.  The women were given plant pots and soil with seeds and water to represent the sowing prosperity in the New Year.  Some of these were kept and the rest passed on to the men.
  Its been two years since we did a proper wassailing and the last time was at Tatterhood’s parent’s house… the apple tree’s were abundant indeed!
So we were hoping the same rite would bring good health to the young mountain ash in Dumbledore’s garden.  We gave it the tweaked version of the wassailing song and lashings of mead.
  We even shared mead in the circle as well as Irish Whiskey cake and even gave the rest of that to the mountain ash: “Awaken and grow!”
Once inside, we were treated to bread, cheese and wine.  We even sat and had an Eisteddfod as Oak Queen read out Little Gidding from the poem ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S. Eliot; harkening back the warmth of summer.  This was followed by a chit chat and Dumbledore showing us his book collection (two rooms, people! Two rooms!) As well as his reenactment swords.

Sunday 9th Feb 2014
Only a small attendance on this night, the usual suspects had been unavailable for Tuesday 11th, so we decided to have the meeting on the Sunday instead.  Briseilid had volunteered her pad and so we arrived.  There was only me, LadyMorgana, Briseilid (obviously), Luch Dorca (yay!) and Cymro ap Arthan (who also was unable to make the ceremony).  I provided cheese and broken crackers, and Briseilid allowed us her living room and red wine.  The rest of the Grove were, unfortunately either finishing late from work or ill… My cold might have been to blame, sorry guys!

This meeting’s theme was all about the Question Cards, especially the newer ones as opposed to the “heritage” ones.  We were supposed to do a few of the newer and a few of the older to compare, we didn’t get that far as we only had time for three from the newest deck:

“In our ever expanding grove, and considering past problems, how far will we go to accommodate? Is the grove a democracy or does the minority rule the majority?” Luch Dorca.

This question was devised due to our group having a big influx from last year and the beginning of this year. It also brought up a discussion our Herald, Tatterhood, had started on the ceremony night (‘Do we put a cap on how big the Grove should be?’). Feelings went from the Grove is the perfect size now, to we stop as soon as factions start forming. The ‘past problems’ being the Grove, in its early days (almost 18 or so years ago!) Was indeed split into two factions. To stop this from happening again, no one has the role of ‘leader’. Only the Herald comes close, but even then the role is more of ‘organiser’ and ‘arse kicker’.
This question also related to how do we treat disabled potentials in the group and do we change plans if they can’t make a certain ceremony (like say, the Grove Heart itself or Burrow Hill). Do they as the ‘minority’ rule the ‘majority’ (in a certain way)? The short answer, no. The choice to join in is theirs, but we will accommodate them out of patience, respect and love.
  We have at least two members who have some form of disability, I think Cymro put it best when he said he would never accept the Grove changing to just benefit him as he would actually be insulted if we tried to do as such, he enjoys that we do our ceremonies outside. Should we go to Burrow Hill, then yes he would find it difficult terrain, but would still want to do it as a test to himself.  At last years Samhain ceremony, he found walking down to the Grove Heart difficult, but accepted it as a challenge. 
  Yes I wrote his part in our Mummers Play as the victor so he wouldn’t have to get onto his knees, but that was working with our players to include them, not out of pity.
  I would often push Léithin Cluan’s  wheelchair if she wasn’t up for walking, I didn’t mind that at all.  So yes we we will make allowances but we won’t change on how we do things out of doors.  Unless its really, really raining (and even then we’re hardcore!)…

“Does studying and working with OBOD stop us from exploring other spiritual paths?” Briseilid.
No.  Would be the short answer.  We in the GOC are a varied bunch when it comes to our individual beliefs.  Both Dumbledore and Cymro have or are followed/ing the way of the Tao.  Luch Dorca and D2 are drawn to the Anglo-Saxon and Heathen ways.  Briseilid and Lady Morgana work with shamanism, we have at least one Thelemite in the form of Cthulhudruid.
  If anything, what the OBOD ritual formats do is give a framework from which to use.  In our Grove we are free to not just call upon the usual elemental quarters, we can use those of other spiritualities if we wish. 

How do you utilise your Druidry?Locksley.

Do we accept our Druidry as an ongoing process or is it a hobby?  I’m very glad to say we take our Druidry a bit more seriously than just reading a gwers and attending a ceremony.  Briseilid is a healer, so she effectively uses hers everyday.  LadyMorgana has to employ some serious negotiation tactics at her work and finds that Druidry has actually helped her to be more mindful before she speaks out.  Luch Dorca knows his history and explores his creative endeavours of writing (he’s an actual author and playwright!), Cymro has always felt there was something more to our world than just the physical, now he is beginning his spiritual journey, that feeling is making more and more sense.  Me? I have my very own blog to discuss this with.  The short version is I love local folklore, old stories of gods and heroes, and I am picking up my acting once again…. that is my Bardic self.

It turned out that of all the above questions mine was very similar to one of the “heritage” set.  According to Cthulhudruid, a lot of the new questions are rehashed versions of the old.  Something, I guess, that goes to show that not only does life go in cycles, so do the questions we ask that help us define our existences.


9 thoughts on “Double Whammy! Imbolc 2014 & February Meeting

  1. It wasn’t that I thought that the newer questions rehashed some of the heritage ones, although some of the do cover topics we have discussed before. My thoughts were that I could see any real difference between the newer and heritage questions in terms of validity. Although the heritage questions were posed countless years ago, I still think that they are just as relevant and thought provoking today; and that the majority of the newer ones would have been just as relevant and valid 6 or 7 years ago.

  2. Hmm. I’d have been interested to have been there to give my opinion on the question that relates to disability. Disability and Paganism is something I’m doing a lot of work on at the moment, and as you know, disability rights and activism is part of my life’s work. I’m writing an article for Pagan Dawn about it at the moment that you might find interesting. It will put things a different way from the way you did in the meeting, so maybe it’s good that I wasn’t there…

    • Léithin, following our telephone conversation, I have made the necessary adjustments to the post… it should make more sense this time. 🙂

    • No. I disagree. It’s never good that you weren’t there. The question arose from several incidents that happened during the early days of the Grove and I thought that, being as we are growing in numbers, it would be a good time to discuss this issue before it raises it’s ugly head. The incidents that spring to mind were;
      1. Rituals held inside because someone ‘doesn’t like the cold’ (which were rubbish and it wasn’t that cold – wear more clothes),
      2. Rituals in daylight because someone ‘doesn’t like driving at night’ (even though it meant other people couldn’t turn up because they were working),
      3. Times of rituals and meetings changed at the last minute because one person couldn’t make it (this lost us at least one prospective member),
      4. Ideas to bring the grove closer together voted down because one person wasn’t in favour (basically a veto).
      So the question wasn’t aimed at disability, age etc per se It was aimed more at the type of person who thinks that they are bigger than the group. Accommodation through negotiation is good, veto is bad.

      • Thanks for clarifying, Luch Dorcha, and I apologise for misunderstanding and taking things personally! I had a conversation with Locksley that cleared things up a lot. I really appreciate you making it even clearer.

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