Together thankful



Back at the time of Ostara, the Green Man emerged from sleep, cloaked in leaves, with vines sprouting from his beard. He was young and energetic and readily took up the plow and began his task of fertilizing the fields. By the time we arrived in August, to the celebration of Lughnasadh, the Green Man had been busy, and we graciously reaped the fruits of the first harvest.

At this second harvest, we rejoice once more in the bounty of the Earth and the fulfillment and reaping of our labours, both physically and spiritually. But with the changing of the foliage in the Green Man’s crown, we see that he has grown tired. We invite him to eat and drink with us, before sending him to rest while we prepare for the coming of winter.

     

Today we celebrate the Autumn Equinox, known to us by many names, amongst them the Mabon or Alban Elfed. At this time of balance, we give thanks to the waning sunlight for providing for us the means to be fed and full through the long cold days of winter, and take a moment to pay our respects to the impending darkness.

There is little evidence that Mabon was actually celebrated in Celtic countries, and all that is known of Anglo-Saxon customs of ancient times is that September was considered a “holy month”. The term “Mabon” came into existence in the 1970s, with the celebration since becoming part of our reconstructed Paganism. It is said that the druids honoured the Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees; however, this evening, following this ritual, we will instead break breads together, toast with homemade jams and spreads, and share in each others’ company. And we will be thankful for all that we have, have had, and will come to have in the future.

–excerpt from our Mabon ritual, York Redoubt, Halifax

Blessed Mabon to everyone!
May your bellies be full, your nights warm, and your hearts complete.
xo

 

 

 

 

Imbolc 2017

Now is the time of stirring, when the earth begins to soften and the waters to flow. While frost still bites and winds blow, and the light is growing stronger, and life begins to wake.

Imbolc is the day that we celebrate the passing of Winter and make way for Spring. It is the day we honour the rebirth of the Sun. It is also a day of celebrating the Celtic Goddess Brigid. […] This is a time for communing with her, and tending the light of her sacred flame. At this time of year, we will light multiple candles or lanterns to remind us of the passing of Winter and the entrance into Spring, the time of the Sun.

     

This past weekend, we joined the Pagan Presence Committee in the celebration of Imbolc as part of the 2017 Interfaith Harmony Week, a week which sees groups of multiple and diverse religions, faiths, and spiritualities open their doors to the public, inviting anyone interested in learning about and experiencing various traditions.

The evening opened with our Grove hosting a ritual, and followed with a “meet & greet”, where attendees got to explore a number of pagan tables and ask questions about the different paths and denominations. Snacks (including a chocolate fountain!! –yes, too exciting not to mention) were shared, and wonderful conversations were had. It was a lovely event, and we were pleased to be a part of it.

Happy Imbolc, everyone! <3

(All quotes are excerpts from the evening’s ritual, and photocred goes to Karen.)

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.

“Good Witch” – “ Bad Witch”

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I recently came upon an article discussing the “crazies” in Pagan communities. Here, you should read it too:

http://badwitch.es/pagans-know-total-douchebags/

But I’ll give you some highlights…

 

A lot of pagans? Douchebags. Complete tools. So, so fucked up.

 

The thing with paganisim, witchcraft, wicca and all that jazz is that it is a religion of individuality, and the shadow side of that is that it can really easily turn into a religion of ego.

 

I couldn’t take it. I was done with the events where one douchebag would talk over the main speaker, just to prove how much he knew.

I was done hanging out with people who wanted to be witchy because they wanted to be edgy and cool.

I was done with the shallowness of it all, with the constant ego battles, with the drama and the showing off

 

 

Yes, yes, I know every community has them. But don’t you feel like ours attracts just a few more?

I have personally hit this wall more than once and proclaimed that, “I AM DONE” or, “THAT’S IT, I AM GOING SOLITARY.  But here’s the thing: each time I do, I somehow come back… With the support of the wonderful people I have met though my Grove, I continuously end up attending and even hosting “Meet & Greets”.

I can relate to Demi’s desire to draw back from what I call “holier than thou” pagans or the ones who believe the world is owed to them, but if I truly gave up I would never have met some of the wonderful people I now call my Grove.

So, keep trying. Pulling back can sometime give you much needed time to heal, but, when you are ready, be sure to reach out again and tag in someone new.

#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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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

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.

🙂

Imbolc 2015 (Event)

Saturday night’s Imbolc event was a great success. The ritual was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the number of people positively flooding through the doors was fantastic!

Unfortunately, with all our focus being directed into set-up and participation in the ritual itself, none of us managed to capture any particularly share-worthy photos of the celebration. That being said, we did manage to get our hands on this one:

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The Triskele Altar (Clootie Tree and well), photographed by a friend of Alba Nuadh and posted with permission.