As soon as I saw the dark clouds that late afternoon and saw the rain against the windows, I thought to myself “We should have stuck with going to Strider’s again…”
Too late to turn back now, everyone would soon be setting off.
And you know what? I’m glad we did.
We arrived at the car park to Beacon Hill, the Hearth Grove being unavailable, the idea of going to the original spot for the Grove of the Corieltauvi came up.
The rain had stopped a while ago so we didn’t get drenched, but it was still a little chilly. We did however get to meet potential new member, Leaf, and this was her very first time of doing anything like this… very much like Cymro who joined us last Imbolc.
Cthulhudruid and Greenwinterking led the way through a mini night hike until we eventually reached the spot. I could tell why the Grove came here in its early days. We were surrounded by shadowy Yew, glistening Birch and tall Beech. Here we were, the first ritual space of the GOC and it felt… wonderful. So full of peace and serenity. Though it was commented the wood has shrunken down rather considerably.
Proceeding with the ceremony, where we witnessed the “Hawk of the North” being summoned in the East, and me saying “Hail and Farewell!” To the powers of the South during the opening, it just goes to show that we still slip up every now and then. The Awens kicked ass however!
I had volunteered back in January to be MC of Alban Eilir so I decided to split the ‘main course’ into three helpings:
Oak and Holly: During a discussion in the January meeting about which order the oak and holly kings go, it was hinted that the GOC had its own version which, unlike the usual method, performed a ritual ‘passing of the torch’ rather than a duel of the kings.
Indeed, watching the Holly summon his brother to pass on his rule to Oak was actually quite poignant and respectful.
The reason for this being at the equinox was as Greenwinterking put it: “..we performed it at the Vernal Equinox because it is then we actually see the nights getting shorter and days getting longer. Then we did it again at the Autumnal Equinox because we actually see the days getting shorter and the nights longer…”
Statement of Intent:
Being the celebration of the return of the lighter nights, I wanted to honour the powers of the East with the Sword of Justice. Being the symbol of the direction for new beginnings and ideas, I was allowed (thanks Briseilid) to carry the sword around and asked people if the wished to state their intent, to the powers of the Air of what they would like to achieve this year.
I had even told the very quick tale of the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre, and why she turned an injured Lapwing into an egg laying Hare…
The Sword was used for people to state their goal for this year, the spirit of Hare called upon to help us in our dreams to find a way of succeeding in our intentions.
Once done, we cracked open the wine (Cthulhudruid particularly enjoyed the fact he didn’t drive this time) and shared in the gorgeous home made chocolate and cherry cake that Strider brought from his good lady.
Conversations and topics included:
Feeling and sensing the change of seasons and how people are usually out of touch with them.
Spirituality and detachment.
Tolkien being an awful writer (except for The Hobbit).
I hope that last night’s ceremony gave people some inspiration in what they would like to achieve this year.
I particularly liked the fact we were witness to bit of the Grove’s history and even re-used the old ground.
Oh, and we even picked up a toad on the way back!