Archive for the ‘autumn equinox’ Tag

“What am I doing for Emnight 2020?”

[Updated 11:51 EST]

John Beckett offers Two Online Equinox Rituals on his blog.

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Ah, Emnight — that word I’ve lifted wholesale from Old English emniht, from *efenniht “even-night, equal night (and day); equinox”. (Hail, Kin Down Under at the start of Spring)!

I don’t know about you, but I like the homely feel of Emnight — literally, the feel of home. It’s a word loved by use, a word with its edges rounded off, that begins to match the age of the celebration, fitting for the interval when we enter the dark half of the year. Not em-day, but em-night.

Always we’re climbing in and out of darkness, in and out of the restoring earth. Hiking with friends at the Putney Stone Chambers.

I’m doing three things around Emnight, since you asked. First, hosting a Zoom workshop with the Druidry and Christianity group I’ve mentioned in previous posts. One of our members has recorded a meditation that will form part of what we do online and in our hearts. We’re also drafting a set of commitments for members’ guidance and practice. Here’s what we’ve got so far, a nice symbolic seven that may shift as we explore and revise:

1. We commit to a daily spiritual practice to help us attune to divine presence.
2. We commit to witnessing and practising an ever-growing path of peace.
3. We commit to becoming more in tune with the natural world and its rhythms.
4. We commit to weighing our thoughts, words and deeds — are they true, kind, and necessary?
5. We commit to not judging others on their paths, but instead to rejoice in those places where our paths cross.
6. We commit to sharing our relevant knowledge and our own faith/spiritual experiences for the purpose of our mutual spiritual development.
7. We commit to sharing the divine love by service to others according to our abilities and circumstances.

Try them out. Sharpen them, adapt them to your path and practice and situation.

Second thing I’m doing: a small Zoom Alban Elfed gathering, with a meditative read-through of the solo OBOD ritual for Autumn Equinox. The advantage of the solo version is that it’s scaled down, maximally flexible for whether three or thirty people join us (and our numbers will hew toward the former, not the latter).

“I stand at the threshold of dark and light”, runs the solo rite. “Though I come to this gateway time after time, never come I to the same Gateway twice. Tonight I shall pass through once more, and enter the dark half of the year”. The center of the ritual asks us to acknowledge the Four Directions and the representative objects we’ve placed there. A time, as the eight yearly rituals all are, each in their own ways, for gratitude, reflection and commitment.

Autumn Equinox, East Coast Gathering 2017

And last thing: a fire with just my wife and me and a few bluejays for company, along with a fall crop of crickets singing counterpoint. “Pray with a good fire” remains one of my standing counsels for those seeking to put their leanings into practice — that ancient advice from the Rig Veda. A fire focuses and clarifies, lifts the heart, and embodies the moving spirit in things.

Posted 18 September 2020 by adruidway in autumnal equinox, Druidry, emnight, OBOD, prayer

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East Coast Gathering 2017

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East Coast Gathering’s host camp. Photo courtesy Krista Carter-Smith.

Once again the Tribe — as many as could attend — converged on a hilltop in northeastern Pennsylvania near the autumn equinox for the 2017 OBOD East Coast Gathering. Some travelers contended with the after-effects of Hurricane Irma, others with more personal challenges. If you can make the effort, you experience the reward.

This year featured a Croning Ritual honoring nine women who requested this rite of passage, and a coming of age ritual for a young member. As Druid (and other Pagan) groups mature, similar opportunities will continue to arise to commemorate and honor such capstone events of our lives.

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The spirits of the Land know us and often have a message for those among us who can hear them. And this weekend in particular we were urged simply to listen — more on that later.

The Land near ECG. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

The overriding theme this year, twinned with our official theme “Discovering Awen: The Bardic Arts”, was clearly gratitude. Our delight poured forth on the several Facebook pages we frequent. Again and again, attendees wrote of their thanks to others for simply coming. With their presence and conversation, workshops and smiles, they reminded us of the beauty, fellowship and vitality of our chosen path.

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Members of Mystic River Grove. Photo courtesy Dana Driscoll.

This year marked my seventh Gathering in the PA hills. ECG opened its gates in 2010 and has subsequently given birth to the Gulf Coast Gathering and, last year, to MAGUS as well, the Mid-Atlantic Gathering (my review here).

Once again the event sold out quickly, and once again part of the draw, besides reconnecting with friends, was our special guest, this year the Chosen Chief of OBOD, Philip Carr-Gomm.

Philip and his wife Stephanie had been in the States longer this time. They’d just come off the previous weekend of giving workshops with the Green Mountain Druid Order in north central Vermont.

OBOD Chosen Chief Philip Carr-Gomm with attendees. Photo credit Elysia Cook

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Partly to honor the Chief, the Opening Ritual received special attention. Mystic River Grove, with members across New England, prepared thoroughly.

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Mystic River Grove prepares for Opening Ritual. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

Because of a new job, Saturday was the only day I could attend, so I made the most of it, rising early and driving to camp to arrive at breakfast.

Saturday included the main Equinox ritual, as well as a lunchtime talk by Philip, Ovate initiations, and as always the bonfires to draw the Tribe together after nightfall. I missed the Opening Ritual, ably led by Mystic River Grove, the oldest OBOD group in the States. The pictures hint at how marvelous it was.

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Brom putting the final touches on another masterpiece, with Alkandra helping. Photo courtesy Nadia Chauvet-Thanasoulas.

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Interior of a camp cabin — home for the Gathering. Photo courtesy Jo Ami.

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Cat and Gerfalc of Mystic River Grove in ritual garb as Owl and Moose. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

Loam introduced us to the Indian practice of rangolee or kolam, a form of ritual painting with rice flour. Below you can see the rangolee ogham (a splendid merger of Hindu and Druid traditions!) taking shape in the fire circle.

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Loam and a friend laying rangolee, ritual painting with rice flour, around the firewood. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

The unusual warmth of the weekend spurred me to stay robed from the afternoon ritual all the way through until the evening Ovate initiations. (Thank-you’s again to my wife for choosing a very breathable fabric when she fashioned my robe!) I’m sitting and gazing into the fire below. The rangolee remain vivid in firelight.

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After the Saturday evening Ovate initiations. Photo courtesy Steve Cole.

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Cat spearheaded the ritual planning and mask-making for Mystic River Grove’s Opening Ritual. Here she is as Owl. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

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Sarah F. as Salmon for Mystic River Grove’s Opening Ritual; she also served as Grove Mother during initiations. Her long-running astrology blog always has something to teach. Photo courtesy Gerfalc Hun.

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“Again the Labyrinth” — Cat gathers a team to set up the scores of electric tea lights in paper bags, switching them on and later off each night. Photo courtesy Steve Cole.

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Late Saturday — last night of the Gathering, people linger

“May the harmony of our circle be complete” go the words of standard OBOD ritual. If we’re growing at all as Druids, we keep getting reminded just how large our circle is.

Those who attend the Camp before and after us each year all contribute their energies, and not everything meshes automatically. But in particular, Druids can imagine themselves more in tune than others, and this in turn can lead to an arrogant obliviousness to what the Land is actually saying, and to a disrespect of the expressed wishes of the non-human inhabitants. As guests, the messages ran, we can do better.

As a result of the experience of past years and this year in particular, by both organizers and some attendees, and messages received from the land spirits of the Camp, next year’s Gathering will reflect a change in approach and perspective. These changes will appear on the ECG website. Listen, respect, celebrate. Old lessons, perennially new.

Here’s to the spiral of 2018!

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Trees of Camp Netimus. Photo courtesy Elysia Cook.

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