Lughnassadh with Columbia Grove on August 7th 2016 marked my 1 year anniversary attending rituals with them and we got off to a dramatic start as the skies opened up and Lugh sent us some much needed rainfall (with thunder to boot) 30 min before our ritual began and promptly stopped as we needed to start. We all braved/celebrated/danced in the preliminary rainfall, and prayed that the fire would start so we could made offerings to the Kindreds, Danu the Earth Mother, our warrior and protector the Morrigan, Ogma for inspiration, our Gatekeeper Manannan mac Lir, and our deities of the occasion Lugh and Tailtiu.
We made a special offering to our newly departed member Deb who has joined the Ancestors this past month to welcome her on her new path. After our meditation to meet Lugh and Tailtiu, as if on cue, the sun made its grand appearance across a beautiful blue sky lifting our spirits high.
We had warrior games of spear throwing and one guest was crowned our grove champion. I called upon the warrior Morrigan for this ritual and wrote her invocation myself. What happened during the invocation still gives me chills. I felt as if she had stabbed me with the spear I was holding and threatened, “Don’t say this if you don’t mean it” and I said the invocation without faltering. It was the first time a deity had spoken/warned me in ritual and I lost my place. During the ritual crows kept flying around whenever I spoke as one of our members pointed it out. This was the moment the Morrigan entered my spiritual life.
Lughnasadh marked my 1 year anniversary attending High Day rituals with my grove (Columbia Protogrove)
Being an anniversary for me, I spent a lot of time reflecting on why I am here, how much I have changed, and really solidly connecting myself with my spirituality. I have seen all the seasons and celebrations through the eyes of an ADF druid in training now and alongside an awesome array of people. I have researched more history and traditions within this year than ever before. I have found ways to connect with Hearth cultures I am not drawn too. I have been INSPIRED each high day in the ways of our ancestors. I have seen happiness, I have seen teamwork, and I have seen GROWTH.
This is a very emotional anniversary for me because I am deeply proud of myself. I feel grounded. I feel my roots with my own Druidry will carry on beyond my grove because my spirituality has a wholly different importance to me now.
As for the ritual itself, the energy was beyond words.
I came into this ritual with my own growth and sense of pride being my 1 year and all but there were a lot of things I did not expect.
First, I called upon the Warrior Goddess Morrigan this ritual to protect our rite. I wrote my invocation fluidly and without reference before hand as if she were a Goddess I had worked with before but I have never once called upon the Morrigan. In many ways, she has intimidated me so I have given her respect from a distance but never directly invoked her.
It was a big deal for me to write my first Invocation truly from the heart without using examples as reference. I was really proud of it, but with spear in hand, as I shouted the words to her, something happened with me that I cannot fully describe.
She was there.
It felt as if in my opening statement I had been stabbed in the heart with the warning "Don't dare say this unless you truly mean it, girl!"
I went cold, I had goosebumps, but that was replaced by fire in my chest that came out through my lips. My words came out flawless and carried more power than even I had had intended. The goosebumps lasted to the end and after I finished, I had lost my place in the ritual.
I felt, "removed" from the general routine of these rituals and this feeling actually continued a lot during the ritual for me. I am sure it was not noticeable to others but it felt like a sudden rush of adrenaline had built up and then it had no where to go.
I've been a very violent person in the past, and I've struggled with adrenaline balance for YEARS, so this was a feeling I know well but not one I have ever experienced in a ritual.
It was like feeling ready to fight for my life and realizing I was alone without threat, then I blinked and saw all the grove guests standing there as our members continued with the ritual. I had to mentally catch up to where we were.
It really was undeniable how strong I felt the Morrigan.
This ritual dealt with death and celebration on several levels. Our deities of the occasion were the Warrior God Lugh and his foster mother Goddess Tiailtiu and we mourned her death and celebrated her sacrifice, love and harvest. We also mourned the loss of one of our Grove founders, Deb, who passed away and joined the ancestors 2 weeks prior.
I volunteered before the ritual to say something on Deb's behalf and to do the Grove offerings for her, and this was another hugely powerful part for me. Already feeling affected by the Morrigan I spoke for Deb and tried desperately not to let my voice crack and break. I was very in the moment and later another Member of our grove told me that a crow landed a branch above us when I began to give my speech to Deb and shortly after she counted 3 additional crows who flew away with the first. I wish I would have seen that myself, but I do not doubt the words for a moment because I know how deeply I felt the Morrigan there. The offering and words were powerful enough, but the added visual of the crows was something truly unbelievable to me.
Another part of this ritual with great meaning to me was that while our Seer was taking the omen I felt a tickle on my hand and looked down to a beautiful black and white jumping spider on my wrist. I giggled and showed another Member sitting next to me and let the little guy/girl wander up my wrist and then jump off of me. Given my general relationship to spiders this was a very welcome visit by a wonderful little jumper. This is a species I have seen for years and years but when I looked up its genus and species (Phidippus audax) I discovered its common name is "Bold Jumper" and that they are fearless little spiders who tend to prey on food much larger than themselves. I've never thought of how brave and bold this particular spider was but given my experiences with the Morrigan in this ritual, again, another element seemed to add to the "Warrior" aspect.
There was a great deal of sadness in this ritual and generally speaking, I am not the person who cries easily in public. I might get teary eyed, but tears generally do not fall. There were 3 offerings from Grove guests (and a member) that reached me deeply. I connected with their words, I was moved by their honesty, I felt their passion, their pain, their loss. Then there was the breaking moment where it all became overwhelming to me and for the first time ever, I openly sobbed during a ritual. Tears streamed down my cheeks while a member gave offering of song, I was so thankful for my relationships with my deities, I was so proud of my 1 year anniversary, I was overwhelmed by the loss of Tiailtiu, of Deb, of many of our guests personal stories that shadow my own dark past, I just lost myself in the moment. It was in that moment that felt tremendously connected to the nature and the people around me.
We had 25 people attend and at the arrival time, our grove was visited by a downpour of rain and thunder. I thought for sure our guests would leave. I worried that we couldn't continue on outside but as soon as we were ready to start, the sky cleared and by the end of the ritual there were blue skies and sunshine blessing us. Lugh had brought us rain, and thunder, and the sun all at once. Oregon has been so desperate for rain that every person there rejoiced.
This ritual moved me in ways I could never fully express in text. Im still tremendously emotional about it. In the comforts of my own home I have sobbed off and on since coming home just remembering all the details of the day and how much I appreciate each of our grove members for all the hard work they put into this ritual.
My Druidry is my heart. My Grove is my home. My Grove members are my tribe.
Morrigan, I still deeply fear you (as one should) but I feel you there and I respect your power and honor your presence.
------------------*from the newsletter, I might use this for final write up*-----------------
"We got off to a dramatic start as the skies opened up and Lugh sent us some much needed rainfall with thunder to boot 30 min before our ritual began but by the time we started the weather had cleared to a light drizzle.
With a total of 25 guests who braved/celebrated/danced in the preliminary rainfall, we prayed by a good fire and made offerings to the Kindred and too Danu the Earth Mother, our sovereign Goddess Columbia, our warrior and protector the Morrigan, Ogma for inspiration, our Gatekeeper Manannan mac Lir, and our deities of the occasion Lugh and Tiailtiu.
We also made a special offering to our newly departed member Deb who has joined the Ancestors this past month to welcome her on her new path. After our meditation to meet Lugh and Tiailtiu the sun made its grand appearance across a beautiful blue sky lifting our spirits high.
Many guests competed in our Warrior Games and took turns throwing spears into a targeted hay bale and we crowned this year’s Grove Warrior!
Our Omen was taken by Seer Mama Gaea from the Gaian Tarot deck
Ancestors: 5 of water (R) - too often, when people suffer from emotional distress, they sit and linger in that negative emotion. The ancestors are telling us to let that energy go. allow it to flow through you and away from you. Honor those feelings that you have, but allow them to leave you so you can heal.
Nature Spirits: Elder of Earth - If you spend time to connect to the Earth, each person will find that super power that they can master. The Spirits of the Earth are here to help us on this journey. We just have to take the time to see them. Once you find that skill you are supposed to master, then that will help you become the person you are truly meant to be
Shining Ones: Ace of Fire - The image of the snake escaping its shell is one of great renewal and transformation. When you find your true passion, your creativity bursts forth. So the Shining Ones are providing us with that energy we need to start that new transformative journey.