Family Times: Mead Making (part II)

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Back in October, members of the Grove got together to kick-start some family mead making. While the initial phases were completed that weekend, there was a long wait between that first step and the next (or possibly the third, as I believe Dan may have actually done some extra things on his own to somehow advance the process… I don’t understand how this stuff works haha).

(See pictures from mead making get-together numero uno here.)

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The phase completed last week was the final one. It involved filtering the aged mead from one carboy into another and then into bottles, which are then corked and will eventually be labeled (maybe). The whole process is sterile. Small glasses are passed around for tasting.

These three batches passed the test.

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The rest of the time is spent catching up, consuming excessive amounts of coffee, and cooing over the babies. We genuinely enjoy each others’ company, so this is actually pretty swell. And adorable. Because babies. (Little Atticus –below– actually tried his first taste of solid food. He did not appear disappointed.)

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As always, another lovely time in the company of lovely lovely people.

-xo

For an opportunity to actually partake in one of these batches of home-brewed mead, join us at AEGIS, where the Grove plans to share, laugh, and be merry.

 

 

 

 

#prayfororlando

In light of the recent tragedy concerning the massacre of 50 individuals at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Halifax Pride, like a number of Pride organizations around the world, held a candlelit vigil as a show of support, solidarity, and love. The vigil, which was held Monday night, was incredibly moving, with well over 1,500 LGBTQ+ community members and their allies in attendance.

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(Photo cred: Stoo Metz)

Karina Furlan, a member of this Grove as well as the Halifax Pride Board of Directors, provided the following statements in a short interview, pre-vigil, with Halifolks:

“We’re all reacting to a big shock. We all already know that there’s hate out there towards us and there’s acts of violence towards members of our community every day, but something of this scale… I mean, just look at all of the people here today. In one day, hundreds and hundreds of people have rallied together to come out and be here to acknowledge what’s happened.

“Safe spaces are already kind of too few and far between in the LGBT community. I don’t even mean ‘spaces’ in the sense of physical places, but even existing in day-to-day life and being out is a big deal for a lot of people. So going to a place like a gay bar, where you’re assuming that you’re going to be accepted by everyone… and then to have that essentially shattered. It’s devastating.

“There are vigils and events that are happening like this all across the world right now and yesterday. I hope that everyone who is here this evening is looking around and seeing all the people who are here in solidarity and support of one another. I want people to carry this sense of solidarity always, not just as a reaction to something terrible. All these people are always here; love wins, and being aware that we’re stronger together is what’s most important right now.”

* * *

The following statement was also issued from the Mother Grove:

Our hearts go out today to all of the victims, family, and friends of those in the LGBT community who lost their lives in the senseless violence that claimed 50 lives and even more injured in Orlando, Florida yesterday. We struggle to understand how hatred and violence can tear apart the fabric of a city, a state, a nation, and the larger global citizenry that we look to as members of the human community. Let us please ask the Kindreds for guidance and blessing as we send our prayers and any help that we can muster to those shattered by this human tragedy. Please include the victims and all those touched by this great loss in your prayers and offerings.

Rev. Jean (Drum) Pagano
ADF Archdruid

Canada East Druid Meeting June 2016

Just back from a wet yet wonderful time at Raven’s Knoll where I got to attend the meeting of the Canada East Druid Leadership, hosted by our Regional Druid, Erin.  For the first time in our grove history, we got to make our report in person, which was wonderful, but even more wonderful was a chance to meet our Arch Druid, Drum  (pictured below).  While I did not get a lot of time to sit and chat with him, my impression was of a dedicated man who has the best interest of the ADF and it’s Canadian druids at heart.  He did mention in his welcome words that he hopes to be able to visit each of the Canadian groves before his tenure is complete,  a goal I certainly hope he accomplishes.  Also mentioned was the fact that ADF is going through some changes in the next few years.  It is his hopes that Canada can help to test out many of the changes for the ADF, before they become mainstream.  This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Canada to play a role in shaping the future of the ADF in some way.

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Other than that I presented our current projects, outreach, grove membership information, and future plans.  From listening to the other reports, I can say that Nova Scotia is strong and vibrant in the Canadian druid scene.

It was also my pleasure to finally meet our former Regional Druid, Lisa, face-to-face for the first time.  She received her Ordination the day before the meeting.  While not the first Canadian to do so (as she pointed out), she is the only currently standing ADF priest/ess.  Well done, Lisa! We look forward to following in your footsteps.

Again, I would like to thank Erin for inviting me to the meeting and allowing me to represent our grove, and thanks to the other leaders of ADF groves in attendance.  It is my hope that I can attend the whole event in the future.

Peace and Love,

Marc

 

 

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Beltane, a personal reflection

This year’s Beltane ritual was my first experience at holding the lead position in a major ritual. Not being accustomed to speaking in front of people, I was fairly nervous going into it, but also looked forward to the experience and the chance to face my fears and the challenge head on. Doing my due diligence, I researched the gods and goddesses associated with this festival, settling on the Welsh goddess Creiddylad and the Irish god Belanus. These deities both seemed to call to me. Belanus being the more obviously associated, being the namesake of Beltane — Bel (Belanus) and tane meaning fire — but also Creddylad, being the goddess of flowers and love and the daughter of the sea god Lir. These two gods seemed to balance and compliment one another like the best relationships seem to do, and being a traditional festival in which to hold marriage ceremonies, this seemed appropriate.

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The ritual was going as well as could be expected, given that it was a cold and cloudy day. The rain held off, which was a god sent (pun intended). It was even a bit inspiring seeing the mist of my own breath escaping my lips. Images of the mists of Avalon jumped to mind briefly. Thankfully, I was able to project my lines for all to be able to hear, as that was a concern for me, being a quiet spoken individual by nature.

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When the first Ogam was drawn –Blackthorn (“Wounding”) for the Omen– we were all a bit thrown. Were the gods displeased? We didn’t forget any of the offerings. We didn’t skip over anything vital. Why were the gods showing their displeasure at our gifts? So, adding a couple of more offerings to the fire, we drew another Ogam. This time, Yew (“Transition”) was drawn. A little better (and upon later reflection, explaining much). We were all relieved when, in return, the gods blessed us with the Ogam of Apple (“Wholeness”).

I must admit, I was rather thrown in the moment by what had been drawn. I even shed a few tears, but recovered enough to enjoy the maypole dance and other festivities, and then to close the ritual properly. Over the next couple of days, I reflected on the Ogams that we drew, and read over their meanings in greater depth. Blackthorn, although quickly translated to “Wounding”, also “offers initiation into the mysteries of self-conquest and transcendence”. Yew’s main translation, “Transition”, is also known for “transformation, renewal, (and) rebirth. An opening, a new element approaching.” Looking further into Apple was interesting as well. Not only was it’s basic meaning “Wholeness”, a very good blessing indeed to receive from the gods, but also a deep connection to the universe. While reading the section on Apple, a few more unexpected connections popped up. “The apple tree in Celtic myth is associated with Avalon, the Island of Apples,” where King Arthur is said to have gone to heal from “grievous wounds”. Belanus, the festival of Beltane, and the Son of Lir were all also mentioned within Apple’s explanation. The interconnections at play were numerous. Since thoughts of the mists of Avalon had come to mind due to the chill in the air and seeing my breath at the very start of the ritual, it being mentioned in the Apple’s texts was fascinating. For a connection to then appear for both of the deities that I had chosen to call upon, Beltane directly and Creiddylad, daughter of the sea god Lir (and therefore sister of the son of Lir), well, I must say, it felt as if the gods were definitely working their magic.

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So, looking at the Ogams drawn for the Omens and Blessings received from the gods, I think that their combined meanings tells a larger story. We may all be wounded in many ways (Blackthorn, wounding), but it is through the healing (Yew, transition) of those wounds that we can become whole again (Apple, wholeness). It’s the point of the human experience really. The greatest lessons in life are often the result of the healing process from traumatic life experiences. This time of year, when the flowers spring forth from the ground and love is in the air, this is a time for transformation and rebirth. A reminder to let go of old wounds and to transition into wholeness. To learn from our experiences and become wholly who we are meant to become, both individually and as a grove.

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So say we all.

 

-Written by Lily M.

(Quotes all taken from Ogam: the Celtic Oracle of the Trees by Paul Rhys Mountfort.)

**photocred: Karen

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Ottawa Pagan Conference

Had a wonderful day at the Ottawa Pagan Conference today.  While it was more a planning session with the various pagan groups within Ottawa, and less really what I expected as a conference, some wonderful things did come about from it.

Firstly, there is something wonderful to be said when the leaders or representatives of the various paths can come together to report on their groups’ past activities, give a brief look at what is being planned, and, more importantly, discuss common issues and devise ways to deal with them.  If the day was spent only doing this then, in my mind, it would be time well spent.  But more than that it fostered a wonderful working relationship between the representatives of the various groups…. Heathens, Druids, Witches… all collaborating.  It was a very refreshing atmosphere, and one I feel we could use more of.

Also included today was a wonderful talk given on Communication and Community by Marie Francois.  She teaches religion and such at the university.  I found this talk fascinating.  Many of the things we have expressed as a grove were touched upon in her talk through the fundamentals she laid out.  At the risk of a long blog entry, I will attempt to capture some of it.

To have effective community in any form, she postulated it requires very key elements:

  1. Proximity.  They either have to live close together or at least have more than sporadic physical interaction with each other.  We live and are dying as communities because the physical comradeship has been replaced with electronic messaging, phone calls and the like.  This is one of the reasons I feel the ADF made it that all rituals should be open and celebrated.  To bring people back together and in person, to reforge the bonds of community that are being lost.
  2. Continuity.  We have to be able to pass on what we know and what we learn.  We have to be able to share it with others.
  3. Custodians.  Every one of the community members needs to take responsibility to learn and share the history, myths, and customs.  By doing so, we create common language and understanding.  Furthermore, it allows the history to be alive and active.
  4. Common language.  As mentioned above… if we don’t understand the metaphors or myths that we work with, or we can’t find commonality, then we can’t communicate effectively
  5. Common vision.  In which direction do you want the community to strive?  This also represents the legacy that is passed down.

While I can’t put everything from the talk down into this blog, these are the basic points with which every group, and society in general, should be aligning itself.

My thanks to the organizers of the event.  I am also going to include a link (below) to a wonderful group that runs several of the festivals up here in Ottawa.  If you happen to be traveling this way, you might want to check out their schedule and see what is being offered.

Many Blessings

Raven’s Knoll Special Events Campground – they handle festivals for any and all of the pagan groups up here….  ravensknoll@rogers.com   or www.ravensknoll.ca

“Happy Yule”

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From our Grove and family to you and yours, may we extend a very “Happy [belated] Yule“, “Merry Christmas“, “Happy Holidays“, and all the rest!

We are all oh so fortunate to find ourselves surrounded by amazing and inspiring people. On this day of celebration, we have feasted, exchanged gifts, laughed, and loved. To each other and to you we say thank you for being. May your days be eternally filled with love and warmth, and possibly an overload of cookies.

🙂

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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