A visit from the ArchDruid of ADF

Last week, our grove had the pleasure to host the current ArchDruid of ADF, Jean “Drum” Pagano for a few days in our little corner of the world. To say that I found the experience to be both humbling and deeply inspirational, still wouldn’t do this visit justice, but I will do my best.

Most of the grove together for ritual during Drum’s visit

You can only learn so much about a person by interacting with them online. Over the years I have always been pleased with the Mother Grove’s general leadership, but it was a wonderfully reaffirming experience to have a leader of our faith travel to the Maritimes, with a sincere interest in learning who we are, and how we represent ADF in Nova Scotia. To find that leader to be intensely knowledgeable, deeply considerate, and without a demonstrable hint of ego, just further reaffirmed my confidence in both my personal path, and the direction of our organization’s leadership.

After picking up Drum from the airport, we proceeded (in somewhat typical Nova Scotian fashion) immediately to a local pub, and dove right in to wonderful discussion of everything from religion and politics, to our grove’s borderline obsession with bacon.

Despite some fairly wet weather, we were determined to do some sightseeing the following day, stopping at the Atomic Cafe (an excellent, Druid-owned coffee shop), York Redoubt (a historical site and national park where we frequently conduct public rituals) and Peggy’s Cove (a classic NS tourist spot). After a quick supper at the home of the amazing hosts Brian & Karen, a few of us joined Drum for a live radio interview on the local pagan program “The Witching Hour”. Despite the late hour and busy day, Drum still happily continued the conversation and questions that spun out from the interview at a local coffee shop.

Saturday was again a flurry of activity with a quick visit and breakfast at the Halifax Seaport Market, followed by two wonderfully informative free public talks on the history of Druidry, and devotional work as a part of pagan practice.

Following the talks, we toured the Halifax Public Gardens, before continuing on to the home of our members Marc and Lily, for a ritual of welcome and a potluck.

A special thanks to Brian and Karen Larter, without whom, this visit may not have happened – and who opened their home not only to Drum but also to the tagalong van den Hoek family, and were most excellent hosts. Thanks also to Marc and Lily Meadows, who opened their home to the whole grove on Saturday for a fantastic ritual and potluck. Thanks also to Kelly Moore, Don Adams and Dan Negus, for bringing us on the The “Witching Hour” on CKDU radio.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to have hosted a member of the mother grove. May we continue to grow stronger together… “as fast as a speeding oak”  😉

Hosta Fundraiser Sale!

You’re not going to find a deal like this any time soon!

When: Saturday October 21 – 10:00am – 4:00pm

Where: 949 Herring Cove Rd, Halifax

What: Hostas! – Shade loving perennials that are low maintenance, hardy for our NS winters, and easy to grow!

How much?:  $15 Each or 3 for $30!!

“Go Green” with the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids this Saturday with our first ever perennial fundraiser! Let’s plant the promise of a greener spring, this fall!

We will be selling mixed Hostas (a classic shade/part-sun perennial plant) for $15 each, or 3 for $30! To be planted in your garden this fall 🙂 Each pot contains 3 different Hosta varieties for a beautiful mix that will add lush texture to your property in many shades of green. Suitable for shady and partly sunny areas, Hostas require no special care and are very long-lived and hardy in our Nova Scotia climate.

Yes, you can safely plant these in the garden now, to come up next spring – and planting instructions will be provided with every purchase (Cash only please) 🙂

Imbolc 2017 & World Interfaith Harmony Week

We are happy to announce that we will be conducting our 2017 Imbolc ritual as a part of Halifax’s World Interfaith Harmony Week, in conjunction with the Earth Spirit Society of Nova Scotia (ESSNS), on Saturday, February 4th.

The ritual will take place in south end Halifax, at the Universalist Unitarian Church (5500 Inglis Street), and will be followed by a “meet & greet” where various pagan organizations in the city will have displays and information about their traditions

Doors open at 6:30pm, and the ritual (with an opening welcome statement and introduction) will begin promptly at 7:00pm.

Thanks to the hard work of the Pagan Presence Committee and ESSNS, the Pagan community has had an increasing involvement with interfaith in Halifax, and the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids is happy to be a part of it again this year.

For more information about Interfaith Harmony Halifax, visit:  http://ihhalifax.ca/home/

For copy of the 2017 event guide, including all the events put on by different faith groups click here.

A Solitary Solstice

Today I rose before the dawn.

I went outside to greet the sun, on this, the longest day of  the year.

Sunrise on June 20th, 2016
Sunrise on June 20th, 2016

It was supposed to be a simple act of catharsis, though an important one – for a druid whose last full ritual was Beltaine, and who hasn’t prayed or meditated in what felt like months.

“Life got in the way”
“things are just too hectic from the move”
“I’ll start my daily devotionals again tomorrow”

As I sat there in quiet reflection, waiting for the sun to emerge from the rosy glow in the sky, a voice in the back of my mind kept whispering to me, “You’re missing something.”  Eventually, the feeling got so strong I got up and brought my whole tote of ritual & altar gear outside onto the deck with me and set up a full impromptu ritual.  This is what I love about ADF’s Core Order of Ritual – it was like riding a bike… by continued practice, the mundane-seeming physical actions of our rituals become second nature, and in those moments when our hands are busy and our minds are free, we can focus on the sacred significance that flows through, around, and between.

After the praises had been sung, and the offerings given, I was blessed with very good omens:
My omen of Acceptance of the Offerings Given was Muin (Vine) – a sign to, “Trust in what you have done and unwind”
My omen of Blessing (what the Gods grant in return) was Beith (Birch) – the tree of beginnings – which I took to be a glad sign of the gods’ invitation to a fresh start to my daily practice.

Solstice3

The ritual (and my morning) was comfortable and relaxed. I got up to greet the sun, and I felt like the light of the solstice soothed me in return. So when life gets busy, and you feel like you have no time for a regular spiritual practice, remember that making those few minutes of quiet reflection a priority can bring perspective and help you to better deal with the hectic flow of everyday life.  Though not a pagan, I think Sukhraj S. Dhillon said it best:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Today I rose before the dawn, to greet the sun

and it was glorious.

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Samhain Ritual 2015

Our Samhain celebration was a wonderful gathering, with a few new faces joining in our Grove’s celebration. we had 10 people in attendance for the ritual, with additional family and friends joining us for the feasting and celebration through the night. After opening the gates and calling to the Morrighan (who was the  patroness of the rite), we had an ancestor meditation to honour those who had come before us.  As is our grove tradition for this festival, we left the ritual space with the gates and invitation to the kindreds open, and proceeded inside for an amazing potluck supper – setting aside a plate at the ancestor altar for our honoured dead. Once all the desserts had been “sacrificed at the altar of our appetites” and the night was winding down, we went back out to our altar space to close the gates and thank the kindreds for their presence and the blessings bestowed.

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The feast of Samhain comes from the ancient Celts, meaning “summer’s end.” This day is a holy in-between time, that sits opposite Beltaine in the wheel of the year.  This is a time when we perceive the veil between this world and the next to be at it’s thinnest, and we might glimpse beyond to the otherworld.

Whereas Beltaine is a celebration of new life and vibrant fertility, Samhain is a celebration of our ancestors and those who have passed beyond this world. It celebrates and venerates the year and the lives that have ended, so that the cycle can begin anew.  This is our “Pagan New Year”, for the ancients observed their calendar as beginning in the dark half of the year, much like our lives – which are begun in the darkness of the womb. It also marks a time of feasting and a celebration of the final harvest, so that the tribe could put on that needed layer of fat in preparation of the cold winter months ahead.

The meditation in our ritual was inspired by the Ancestor Prayer written by Rev. Michael Dangler from Three Cranes Grove, ADF,

Ancestor Prayer