Turkeys for all!

2015-12-21 11.36.06 HDR Around Yule, it is easy to get pulled into the commercialism that surrounds the holidays and run out to buy everything in sight. Between decorating, having the “right snacks”, and picking ” the perfect gift”, things can quickly get out of hand. What’s more, not having the ability to participate in the holiday festivities (provided this is something you desire to do) can be even harder. No family (or individual) should have to go without if it can be helped.

This year, the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids decided to donate a few turkeys and stuffing to a local food bank. Each of us felt it was an extremely important and valuable experience. Feed Nova Scotia had the means to store turkeys weeks before the holidays, and allowed for drop-offs Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. We are happy to share that, thanks to the small donations made by our little group, three families got turkey with stuffing this year. We truly hope they enjoyed it!

Brightest Yule Blessings for all — we give thanks for the gift of giving.

Family Times: Mead Making

One of the greatest aspects of this Grove is that we are, above all else, a family. We comprise a group of individuals who genuinely value each others’ thoughts, opinions, and feelings. We consult each other on all matters of importance, we share in stories, experiences, hardships, and sweet memories, and (!) we actually enjoy each others’ company outside of formally sanctioned, structure-based events (e.g. rituals).

This past weekend, most of us were able to get together for a morning of mead making. The process of making mead, like that of other alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine, beer), actually requires several steps, thus we were only able to complete the initial phase. (This basically involves measuring out and dissolving pounds and pounds of honey into large, sterilized buckets, and then mixing in a few key powdered ingredients. The full step-by-step instructions can be found at the link at the bottom of this post.)

The event proved to be a lovely kick-off to the Thanksgiving weekend, complete with love, laughter, baby-snuggles, coffee, and honey. (Mostly that last one.) The following are a few snapshots of the morning. Enjoy!

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“Look sexy, Dan! This is going on the blog.”

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A wonderful time spent among family!  -Karina xo

[Mead-making instructions will soon be posted here! Please check back later!]

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Mabon Ritual Celebration

What a fantastic Mabon celebration this weekend! Ritual and picnic went off without a hitch and, despite the rain, we even had a few guests, including (but not limited to) Erin Picard, our ADF Regional Druid who was down to visit all weekend. Thank you for visiting us! We were very pleased to have you with us for Mabon.

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The ritual took place at York Redoubt and highlighted the Harvest, with a strict focus on the rebirth that comes as nature falls. In our moments of reverence for the passing of the trees and the impending winter, we are also reminded of the regeneration that will come with spring and the fun new projects the winter months can yield. All participants were handed acorns as keepsakes or plant-ables to emphasize these values. The Oghams pulled were “Fir” and “Gooseberry”; great omens for a Harvest Festival.

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We’ve said a physical “goodbye” to one of our longest standing members, Marc, who is moving away but will be keeping in touch regularly and will come home to us again in what will hopefully be a short two years. He will always be in our thoughts and the Grove will always be his family.

Also of note this fine Nova Scotian murky day was the signing of our Charter. We will be sending off the paperwork to the ADF “Mother Grove” to acquire Full Grove Status, something we have striven to accomplish for many years.

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Please enjoy a few pictures of our celebration. It was so nice to have guests come out and express their fondness for the Grove’s organization and comradery.

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AEGIS 2015

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We were fortunate this Lughnasadh in that most of the Grove was able to make the trip down to the beautiful Annapolis Valley to celebrate together, as a family and as part of a larger community, at the annual AEGIS Pagan Festival & Spiritual Retreat.

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This year’s festival theme was “The Wild Hunt”, which was reflected in the activities, feasts, and rituals. The GNSD was well-represented throughout the festival, participating in numerous rituals, stepping up to perform a number of volunteer duties, engaging in many a conversation, and taking home three “Golden Pine Cone Awards”.

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Overall, the AEGIS Festival proved a time for…

Connecting with old friends and meeting new, deep spirituality, bug spray, coyotes, bacon bacon bacon, a sense of community, “energy”, jaunts to the beach, campfires, marshmallows, mead horns, potlucks, baby coos, trees, breezes, sunshine, bare feet, face painting, workshops, offerings, playful puppies, broken tent poles, barbed wire, chicken saute, pallet bridges, water buckets, swollen feet, “bad” cider, coffee, ice cream, cool streams, smiles, laughter, love

…and photographs (some of which you see here).

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A wonderful and memorable weekend hand by all. We hope and intend to return next year.

🙂

Adopt a Highway

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The Proto-Grove of Nova Scotia Druids will be adoption a 5km stretch of highway though the Adopt a Highway Program http://novascotia.ca/agri/wins/adopt/

We are looking for volunteers to come out and help make our planet a little cleaner. If you like to spend time in the sun and help out Mother Earth please contact us using the email below. Date is TBD in August pending a permit and group availability and we are all very excited.

Hope to see you there!

Please email karen@aperturestudios.ca to join in the fun

A Summer Solstice Tradition

Summer Solstice is a great time of year to relax and enjoy the sun (weather permitting). It is also a great time to collect and dry herbs. For me, I like to get a couple harvests out of some of my herbs but particularly my Mint Plants.

Did you know you can make your own Mint Tea? Grab yourself some baggies or better still a metal tea ball. Dry your mint and grind it up in something used only for food. I like my coffee grinder, gives me a good excuse to really clean it out. Mint can also be added fresh to ice cold summer drinks like water or mulled into fancy drinks like Mojitos.

Gathering Herbs this time of year is important. Like the sun they are at the height of their power and if they are to be used for magical purposes this will play a part. Each custom has its own suggested time to harvest. Some like to harvest first thing when the morning dew still rests on the leaves. Others prefer to go out at midnight and there are even a few who claim noon is the best time. I am partial to noon; it’s the height of the sun on the sunniest day of year? Just makes sense to me.

However you decide to do it, enjoy it. It can be a lot of fun to bundle, hang and dry what you’ve worked so hard to cultivate and now finally get to use.

Summer Solstice is a great time of year to relax and enjoy the sun (weather permitting). It is also a great time to collect and dry herbs. For me, I like to get a couple harvests out of some of my herbs but particularly my Mint Plants.

Did you know you can make your own Mint Tea? Grab yourself some baggies or better still a metal tea ball. Dry your mint and grind it up in something used only for food. I like my coffee grinder, gives me a good excuse to really clean it out. Mint can also be added fresh to ice cold summer drinks like water or mulled into fancy drinks like Mojitos.

Gathering Herbs this time of year is important. Like the sun they are at the height of their power and if they are to be used for magical purposes this will play a part. Each custom has its own suggested time to harvest. Some like to harvest first thing when the morning dew still rests on the leaves. Others prefer to go out at midnight and there are even a few who claim noon is the best time. I am partial to noon; it’s the height of the sun on the sunniest day of year? Just makes sense to me.

However you decide to do it, enjoy it. It can be a lot of fun to bundle, hang and dry what you’ve worked so hard to cultivate and now finally get to use.

Beltane Fun

May 02 2015, marked the Grove’s first Beltane fair, and what a fun day was had.  The air was cool, but the sun came out and warmed us all.  It began with friends and family gathering for a wonderful ritual, in which all in attendance both the very wee, and the not-so-wee, were invited to jump the ritual fire.  Some made it over the main fire, while others leaps the small pile of ashes that accidentally made it to the ground.  Even the little ones got in the act as we swung them over the fire pit.  It was great to get everyone involved.

After wards two grove members had a battle of words while personifying the Seasons of Winter and Summer.  Rest assured that though Winter put up quite the fight, summer proved triumphant.  This was much in evidence as the day following temperatures rose to a sunny 15 degrees.

We retired indoors briefly for warm cider, and great chats, before the muchly awaited Beltain pole dance.  We added a modern twist to this tradition by adding our wishes and hopes for the year to the pole, and as the dancers wrapped the pole (with much energy and laughter as they danced around) the wishes were held tightly.  (At the end of the day the pole was taken and wrapped where it will be stored for a year with wished and ribbons intact)

With the formal activities all taken care of, the potluck meal was begun, and more rousing conversation.  Some chose to stay by the fire and enjoy the first flames of the season, while others preferred the modern hearth and honored the kitchen party.

As the day winded down, guests and grove members alike were invited to light a candle from the fire, and take it home to rekindle the energies in their homes.  All in all.. a wonderful day that will hopefully grow and be repeated.

 

Other activities for the Beltane minded:

Take flowers and place them above each window and door to the outside in your home to invite new life, growth, and inspiration.  If you have a bramble bush on your property, place a few flowers here as well.

On the morning of Beltane turn out all the lights and put out all fires in the home, and with the candle from the ritual fire, light a candle in each room.  This will bring the prosperity, fertility, and creative energies back into the home after the long winter cold.

 

Beltane Ritual

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The GNSD will be conducting Beltane on  May 2, 2015 at 2pm all are welcome but space is limited. The day will consist of a Grove led Ritual; Traditional Games; Fire Jumping; Maypole Dancing; Outdoor Pot Luck and later in the evening a Bardic Fire.

Please contact Marc at merlynn11@hotmail.com for directions and availability.

The Beltane Ritual is weather dependent. In the event of rain (or snow) the event will be canceled and any subsequent planning will be posted.

Hail and Welcome!

You have just discovered the blog of the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids (hereby –probably– to be referred to simply as “the Grove” or “GNSD”). For factual and [hopefully] up-to-date information on who we are and what we stand for, click around the rest of the website or drop us a line, either through the “Contact Us” tab or by directly commenting on a post here.

In the meantime, let us tell you what this blog is –or perhaps “could be”– all about…

On this first step of our blogging journey, our direction remains somewhat ambiguous. In future posts, we may use this space to share our personal experiences, beliefs, and opinions, both as a group and as individuals of that group. We may use this space to present stories, legends, teachings. We may talk about virtues. We may highlight Paganism in the news. We may toss up pictures of past rituals. We may invite you to upcoming ones. Heck, we may just shoot ya a line here and there to let you know what we’ve been up to.

Either way, we are a fun-loving, passionate group of people who share a common belief, and we are ever looking forward to making new discoveries, growing as people, and sharing laughs. We invite you to join us.

Welcome!

🙂