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

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.)

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.

Yule 2016

Back at the time of Samhain, the Green Man, old and tired and naked of leaf and vine, bundled himself against the impending long, cold, dark nights and welcomed a deep and well-deserved rest. While he settled to sleep, we cast into the universe our hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes for the new year, before we too pulled our blankets up and waited for the days to once again grow long.

The night of Yule, the Winter Solstice, brings with it the rising of a new sun and the rebirth of the Green Man. We have made it through the darkest time of the year, the longest night, and we rejoice. Through the burning of the Yule log, we invite the light back into our homes, and we celebrate the knowledge that with all endings come new beginnings.

     

Last night, we were finally able to get together for the celebration of Yule. There was singing and laughing and the sharing of bowls of homemade chili and cornbread and too many butter-tarts.

And also cat cuddles. (Because sometimes stereotypes are real.)

    

 

As spoken in ritual,

let us take a moment to reflect on the love and respect we share for ourselves, each other, and this family. Let us continue to be present in each others’ lives, and to support one another through whatever challenges we each may face. […]  Let us laugh and share, and be grateful for this life and this day, this fire and this food, these precious young souls, our homes, our jobs, our abilities to breathe, to speak, to listen, and to love.

Happy Yule from all of us here in the GNSD!

-xo

Mabon 2016

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The apple is the symbol of the Fruit Harvest. It is the symbol of life and immortality, of healing, renewal, regeneration, and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, longevity, and restored youth. In the Ogham, “Apple”, or “Queirt”, represents health and vitality. It is the heart of the Ogham Grove and the source of life. 

The apple also holds a pagan secret: when cut width-wise, it will reveal a pentacle. 

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This afternoon, the Grove gathered together to celebrate Mabon, or Alban Elfed, the second harvest of the season. There was paint, snacks (coffee!), good weather, and gratitude. There was catching up, joking around, missing, sharing, laughing, and loving. Most importantly, there was friendship and there was family, and for these we are the most thankful.

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A very happy [early] Mabon to you all!

-xo

 

“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.

🙂

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.

🙂