*all parts written by Rev. Jan Avende unless otherwise noted*
Video of the Ritual can be viewed here.
“Come We Now As A People” Continue reading “Harvest Nights 2016 Unity Rite”
Trillium was, once again, a wonderful festival. The weather was fantastic (and unexpected) and the fellowship was delightful. I went to Trillium the first time a few years ago, and had a really good time, and so was very happy to have been able to make it back this year. I drove with MJD, and let me tell you, there is nothing like being in a car with someone for 10-12 hours to really allow for deep and engaging conversation. Bonnie and Luke also deserve a special shout out for their exemplary hospitality. They welcomed me to their camp to stay with them all weekend. There were many workshops throughout the weekend, though I only made it to a couple.
One of the workshops I attended was Monika’s on “Differentiating Between Mental Illness and Spiritual Experience.” I was fantastic, despite some technical issues, and I really want the extended version to get into some real discussion about it. It is extremely useful information, especially for those in leadership roles. Michael and I were talking about bringing her to Columbus to do a long workshop, possibly at a Leadership based Pagan Fire Seminar.
The other workshop I attended was Kirk’s on “Sacred Gifts.” A lot of the information he presented was stuff that I was already familiar with, but I really enjoyed the discussion that grew out of it. One of the folks there brought up Animism, which is not something that I typically think about, but it was interesting to consider how your relationship with spirits may change if you broaden the definition of what you consider a spirit and who you might give offerings to. I also really like discussing the nature of sacrifice in general. I know Kirk has a new book coming out soon about it, and I will definitely be adding it to my library.
I attended 4 rituals over the course of the festival: Opening and Closing, as well as the Main Ritual where we honored the Earth and planted a tree, and a memorial for Bess.
The main ritual was done by the clergy of ADF, and it was somewhat surreal to be included in that group. I called forth Inspiration, and also took Bonnie’s Dedicant Oath Renewal alongside Carrion.
That was a powerful experience. Bonnie had asked me if I could bring the Grove’s sickle with me so that she could maintain that tie to our Grove as one of her formative experiences as a Dedicant. Like a true Crane, she took her oath with the sickle at her neck 😉 and her hands held Carrion’s Oath Ring. I tapped into the Current while she was oathing, and connected her and her words to the sickle and to the Grove.
The memorial for Bess was also very moving. Nancy led it down by the Ve. We called to Bess’s patron’s and passed a horn, speaking words to honor her memory and share her stories. Then we sang. Luke, Bonnie, Emerald, Sara, and I had spent a good chunk of the day learning a song that Bess wrote: “A Kindred Prayer.” It has a simple and catchy melody that has been stuck in my head for days now, and as the song progresses it adds in harmonies and countermelodies. We intend on singing it again as a group at Wellspring. Bardry is one of the ways that immortality can be pursued.
One of the interesting things that I noticed (an yes, found annoying as often as I found it pious) was that I continue to wake up about 15 min before Dawn, even without an alarm clock. Dawn in Cross Junction, VA is about 30 minutes earlier than it is in Columbus, OH, but that didn’t even phase my body. I still got up to greet Her and do my morning devotional. I noticed it when I went to go visit Thom in Colorado as well, and that is a 2 hour time difference, and in the other direction. But even there, I still got up and was able to greet and honor Ushas. I even tried to give myself a few days off this weekend, a few days to sleep in. It just didn’t happen, despite haven’t stayed up way later than I should have.
I aso had the chance to have some in depth conversation with many of the folks that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. Nick and I chatted at length about secret squirrel IP stuff, which was awesome. We’re trying to get a meeting together at Wellspring so we can sit down with other initiates and talk thorough some housekeeping stuff, as well as actually do some work. I chatted with Carrion about ADF coursework and the various ways we do magic, which was pretty awesome. I think we perform magic in similar ways, at least to a point. There was also some (slightly) tongue in cheek discussion on creating a “piss bucket servitor” so that you didn’t have to stop socializing to go pee. Heh. Additionally, I think Bonnie and I are running about even on lives right now 😉
The Bardic Circle was wonderful, as always. I think Trillium and Summerland have the best Bardic Circles of the festivals I attend. They’re very relaxed, and anyone who wants to can perform. It is great for building confidence, and we get to see the crazy amount of talent that our ADF Bards bring to the table. I am honored to count myself among them. I once again stood entranced by Wayne’s poetry. Bravo, sir!
On the way home, Michael and I stopped at Sideling Hill to stretch our legs for a bit and take in some of the sites.
It was gorgeous. I love looking out over the mountains and seeing the way the peaks and hills seem to be shrouded in a blue film the further away they are, and the way you can see the mists rising and floating in the valleys.
All in all, it was a wonderful, and extremely rewarding and fulfilling trip for me. I hope to be able to make it back again next year to enjoy the first festival of the season.