For opening ritual I wanted to give people a chance to turn their intentions for the day into some form of physical action. I personally feel that more can be gotten if clear goals are stated up front. In this case, the folk lit candles and whispered their intentions to the flame. We asked as a community for Hephaestus to take our thoughts and ideas, and make them into reality. I am unsure how well this ritual was received, and will freely admit it was not my strongest work. I am not normally nervous about standing up in front of people, but this opening made my belly do flips flops, and then add a jump rope trick or two just to be sure. I didn’t get any complaints, so it must have been somewhat decent.
The first workshop was fantastic. Michael covered all the different types of prayer, including: Adoratory prayers, Thanksgiving, Petitionary/ Supplication, Expiatory prayers (prayers that ask for forgiveness), Loving, and Meditative prayers. Michael made sure to expand upon Expiatory prayers, and when and why they might be needed, even though we do not really have a concept of sin in Paganism. The part that stood out most to me was the idea of writing prayers down. Good prayers are best when they are able to be used again. Drum then took over and gave us ideas on how to take the different types of prayer and use them in a single hearth culture. He gave wonderful examples of how he uses them with his own Irish hearth. The hands on activity of writing our own prayers was very helpful, and I hope others enjoyed doing this as much as I did.
The second workshop was the one I was looking forward to the most. I have a very hard time connecting with my ancestors, mostly because my relationship with my living family is nearly nonexistent. Drum did such a brilliant job of explaining who the different types of ancestors are, and how they play into his personal druidry. He talked about the ancestors of the bone, those who had lived on this land before we came, and I truly think I have a better relationship with them than I do with ancestors of the blood. One thing I am going to work on is asking my blood ancestors for help in how to deal with living relatives. Maybe, with their help, I can improve both relationships with them and those living.
The last workshop was ritual basics. This is where Amanda screwed the pooch. I lost track of time hanging out with folk, and didn’t get the workshop started till way late. Poor Michael probably had a huge amount more to say, but I cut him off so that ritual wouldn’t start way late as well. This was a very important workshop, full of great ideas for how to do good ritual. Too bad I promptly ignored it all when we did the full ritual right afterwards. Just kidding! Well, mostly, but in my defense the ritual was written well before hand, and wasn’t gonna change it minutes before we used the script. Michael spoke about how to arrange the altar and people so that everyone could hear and see what was going on. He also talked about intentional movement, something I tend to be bad at. If you read this, I should add that I am so very sorry Michael. I wish I hadn’t started so late, so that we could have heard more.
Last came the full ADF COoR rite in honor of Athena, Metis, Prometheus, and Epimetheus. I truly feel that they felt honored and pleased with the ritual. I led a real quick path working so that people might have a chance to meet these wonderful deities that don’t get the love they deserve (not that I am biased or anything). Afterwords, Michael and Drum talked about how we do some things differently in our Grove, and that there might even be stuff that they might steal. I really wished I had asked what was different and what they were taking (this way I’d know what bits we were doing well enough to consider taking). I don’t get a lot of feedback generally, so I am hoping that anyone who was there will leave some thoughts in comments. I really would like to know what we do well, and what could use some work. In general if you went and would like to leave a quick note for what you’d like to see for next year, I’d greatly appreciate it. I would also like to add that I am grateful for those brewers willing to share their wonderful yummies. Next year can only be better. To the stars we go! Ad Astra!