The 20th Annual Witches’ Ball and GNSD Raffle Basket!

 

Come out to support your local Pagan CKDU Radio Show, The Witching Hour, and to just have a ball. There will be music, drinks, and a costume contest!

The event will take at Menz & Mollyz Bar (2182 Gottingen St.), November 4th, starting at 9PM.

The Grove of Nova Scotia Druids will be hosting a raffle to raise funds for our “Land Acquisition Project”.  The basket will include lovely gifts from Rustic Revolutionary Pottery, Nude Bath Products, Mighty Oak Workshop, and much, much more. Tickets will go on sale at the event, so be sure to pick yours up for a chance to win a lovely basket of goodies.

Practising Mindfulness

There’s a certain amount of mental and physical preparation that goes into any task. Sometimes, it leads you to a very peaceful place and, other times, it brings on bouts of anxiety. Really, you make the choice.
As I rolled out of my yoga mat tonight, I noticed it was caked with some type of food (probably goldfish crackers lovingly left by my toddler)… initially, this was a little bothersome. I considered stopping what I was doing and cleaning rather than actually taking the time to care for myself.
In the end, I left the crackers and continued with my practice. It was well worth it. I was quickly able to center myself and be present.
While working my way through my flow, it occurred to me that the same could be said for all ritual practice. Some of us get anxious and bothered at the thought of performing ritual. Others embrace the chaos. The remainder just try to be in the moment and find it cleansing. I will forever strive to be the type of person who finds ritual practice purely cathartic. And I am almost there.
I wear a small pendant around my neck that is supposed to remind me to always be present, and I find I never need that more than just before going into ritual. So many things can go wrong: people get stressed, items go missing, children misbehave, and somehow you have to center and enjoy. But getting there is the ultimate gift to yourself. In the end, we don’t have a regular mass like some religions, and when we get to perform ritual, either solo or with our groves, we need to allow ourselves to embrace, enjoy, and be present.

Mabon Activities

With the Fall Harvest just around the corner, I thought it might be time for another lifestyle post, with some fun Mabon family/group-friendly activities.

Mabon is the second harvest and is celebrated at the Autumn Equinox. Mabon is the Welsh God of all things wild and free. He is also associated with the Sun God, whose power dies on this day. During Mabon, we give thanks to the spirit of vegetation for the sacrifices made so that we can live through the winter. The Goddess at this Sabbat is the grandmotherly crone, warm and wise.

  • Have a Pot Luck or Harvest Feast and share your harvested fruits and veggies. Give thanks and respect to the harvest and share stories of your plans for the coming winter months. It is good for everyone to share and be part of a group.

  • Take some time to prepare your yard for the coming winter months. Clean up garbage and branches. Maybe even extend your clean-up to a nearby park or around your neighbourhood. Kids can help tidy or play outside (fresh air is always great), and everyone benefits from helping our Mother Earth and having a clean space.

  • Create a decorative wreath or hanging for your front door using seasonal dressings like acorns, pine cones, and corn bundles. You can incorporate the colours of the season by using red, orange, and yellow ribbons to finish it off.

  • Honour the wildlife in your yard by making a homemade bird feeder and watching the wonderful friends it brings to your yard. (Below are basic instructions for making your own, with an easy-to-follow guide for children too.)

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Visit from the Regional Druid

This past weekend, we were graced by a visit from our Regional Druid, Jaime Cadorette-Thifault. She was an absolute delight.

In addition to showing her the local sights (Peggy’s Cove, Fisherman’s Cove, and several watering holes), we were lucky enough to have Jaime for a Welcoming Ritual where the Gods from multiple pantheons were hailed and gifts were exchanged.

It was an honour to play host to such a wonderful (and funny) woman, and we appreciate being included in her tour of the canadian groves.

A Declaration of Intolerance

In an effort to create a sense of solidarity for the right and good, while also taking a stand against such intolerance as racism and Nazism, the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids have added their name to a Declaration of Intolerance.

Please take a moment to read and consider.

www.pagandeclaration.com

Summer Solstice

At the beginning of the month, a small group of us came together to cast away our stresses, relish the cool grass between our toes, and embrace the sun-warmed Earth. For the next few months, as the nights begin once again to lengthen and the shortening days are bright and full of life, we can be present and enjoy this rest before the harvests of Fall.

(It is also a good time for gathering herbs, for both magical and mundane purposes.)

    

It is a pagan custom to honor the dying God, as the sun reaches it’s peak and begins to wane. So we honoured the gods, the ancestors, and the spirits on this beautiful midsummer afternoon, and then we ate and we laughed and we enjoyed each others’ company.

And we wish for you all the loveliest of summers, filled with the juiciest of berries, the sunniest of days, the warmest of company, and the heartiest of laughs.

(And also s’mores. Because s’mores.)

-xo

Beltane Ritual

Beltane was a great time. We danced the may pole, shared delicious snacks, and had a wonderful ritual with Grove and friends.

During the ritual, we pulled two Oghams as usual and were met with the following: Blackthorn, which represents challenges, difficulty, and poison, followed by Yew, which represents access to ancestors, death, rebirth, and faith. Suffice to say, from great challenges come lessons, new life, and rebirth. We will embrace the challenges that are coming to us, knowing that the outcomes will be worth the efforts and struggle.

Good luck to you all with your Spring and Summer ventures and Blessed Beltane!

Beltane Activities

Beltane is just around the corner and I know you are all looking for family-friendly activities to celebrate. Beltane is a time to celebrate fertility and, while you may not want to beat your children over the head with this (so to speak), you do want them to understand it brings life and all the things they love about spring and summer.

Here are some fun group and family-friendly activities you can do to celebrate.

Crafts:

Make a floral crown or cone. Teach the children to be respectful of what they harvest and to do so mindfully. (Adults, you need to remember this too!) For your pretty flower crown or bouquet, something is dying. If you are not a fan of this, try potting a plant to bring inside, and decorate the pot.

Ribbon is also highly associated with Beltane because of the May Pole (which you can always dance by the way), so why not try braiding some ribbon crowns or hanging ribbons from trees to decorate your celebration.

Have a Bonfire:

The Bale Fire is a long-standing tradition used for protection and purification. It is also a fantastic gathering point for stories and celebrations. So why not grab the marshmallows and have yourself a little roast.

Go A-Maying:

Take a walk though the woods and enjoy some of the new life that is budding up around you. You can take pictures, clip trimmings, or draw what you see and maybe even enjoy a picnic in nature. It’s always good to get some fresh air and commune with nature.

Gardening:

This is a great way to introduce your children to the idea of fertility without having to explain the “birds and bees”, if you aren’t quite ready. The seeds breed life and life is all around us. Children can help by tilling and watering the soil. They will gain a sense of satisfaction and acquire new skills through helping with the planting.

 

Dance that May Pole:

Beltane is all about fertility and fun. What better way to wholesomely celebrate than dancing around a giant phallic object and decorating it? Try to weave your ribbons over-under-over-under to create a beautiful pattern down your may pole. You can also tie wishes for the next year to the pole before wrapping it. Focus on those hopes as you dance, and watch the magic come to life.

Bake a Green Man Cake:

We all love the Green Man and we all love cake! Lets combine the two and enjoy! (Keep scrolling for a recipe!)

I hope this has helped you in deciding what to do with your May Day celebrations. Enjoy!

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Celebrating the Renewal of Life

The birds return from the southern lands, bearing spring time beneath their wings. Nature has awoken, seeds are sprouting, tree buds are bursting, the earliest plants are starting to fight their way from the frozen earth, and the birds and animals are preparing to have their young.

     

Ostara is the time when we recognize the importance of planting, growing, and nurturing new ideas, projects, plans, and plants, while seeking to maintain balance in our lives.

  

This past weekend, our grove hosted our Ostara ritual. It was a lovely, happy, sugar-fueled, chaotic gathering, with kiddos running around left, right, and center. It’s amazing how in a few short years, our family has grown to include so many adorable little people, each bearing their own unique personalities, wonders, and curiosities. (And also trouble-making capabilities. Let’s not forget that one.)

As a grove, we have come to deeply cherish these young lives, the energies and the laughter they bring into our circle, and our rituals and our traditions are evolving into these family-friendly, kid-inclusive events, where we get to delight in each others’ accomplishments, in baby’s first steps; where we get to marvel at ever-growing vocabularies and unexpected insights; where we get to share stories and experiences and rejoice in each other as friends, as family, as human beings just living this beautiful life.

The Spring Equinox allows us to step from the dark into the light half of the year and gives us the first signs of spring in the land.[… It] is a time of creativity, growth, and the seeing of new beginnings.

Let us celebrate this renewal of life.

Let us breathe in the scents of new blossoms, feel the warmth of a new sun, and hear the songs of the earth below and the skies above.

And, in the spirit of Ostara, let us clean our houses, paint some eggs, and eat some chocolates.

Happy Ostara, from us to you!

xox

(All quotes are excerpts from the afternoon’s ritual.)

Spring Cleaning

Ritual is not only for the High Days. We have smaller life rituals that we perform each and every day: the ritual of brushing our teeth, the ritual of getting dressed, etc. With Ostara and Spring just around the corner, I thought it was time for some “Spring Cleaning” which, as with all things, is best done mindfully.

I love to clean, so there’s no issue for me there, but if you are not a fan of scrubbing things down and tidying up, maybe doing so mindfully will help you to achieve a greater sense of accomplishment and comfort.

The ritual of Spring Cleaning has existed since the dawn of time. In North America, it is typically done in response to the cold and wet climate we endure throughout winter. Traditionally, it would be a time to dust and air out the home, change the hay in bedding, and be rid of all things that accumulated in the home during the harsher months. Nowadays, it is mostly an excuse to give the house a good once-over and recycle things we no longer need.

So apart from the obvious aspects of cleaning, like removal of dust and debris, cleaning surfaces or carpets, and laundering things that may get forgotten, we should keep in mind a few things:

  • Firstly, you must perform each task with a strong sense of intent. Focus your energy on removing not only the physical mess but the emotional and spiritual mess as well. Visualize your home filling with a bright light as you cleanse it.
  • When performing a ritual, it is best not to use harsh chemicals, if they can be avoided. Try a natural brand or even making your own cleaning solution with vinegar, water and essential oils to give the house a fresh smell without the burning compounds. (Check out for DIY natural cleaning inspiration here, here, and here!)
  • Clean from top to bottom and from the back of the house out the front door.
  • Burn sage in order to cleanse and purify the air.
  • Open your most Easterly windows to allow the energy of the sun to pour in.

Good luck, folks!

 

(Check out our “Spring Cleaning” post from 2015, including a “House Cleaning Ritual” document, here)