The Fire on Our Hearth – A Devotional of Three Cranes Grove, ADF

The Fire on Our Hearth - A Devotional of Three Cranes Grove, ADFSeveral weeks ago, we discussed “The Voice of Three Cranes” in a post. In that post, we offered a glimpse of the devotional book we have been working on.

We’re officially releasing the book, entitled The Fire on Our Hearth – A Devotional of Three Cranes Grove, ADF on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008. Leaves readers (such as yourself) get to see it a bit early, because we really do love you all.

Thirteen different people are represented in the pages of this book, only three of whom are not current Grove members. The first sixty pages are prayers for all occasions (the bulk of which are original to this book, though a couple have been published elsewhere). There are also eight chants that were created by Three Cranes members which are not on the ADF website or available through other means.

Significant events from our history are recorded, too: not only in our Grove poem, “Clutiā Trion Garanonon,” but also in the evocations and rituals included: the poetic drama of last year’s ComFest, the Ritual for Healing after Hurricane Katrina, the prayers to Belenos at Summerset, and our Grove Inception Statement are all included.

Prayers don’t only appear in English, either: there are a few prayers in Latin and a couple in Spanish, too (translations provided)! There’s also a table for translation of the Coligny Calendar month names into English.

In short, The Fire on Our Hearth does an excellent job of capturing the Voice of Three Cranes.

Rev. Kirk Thomas, ADF’s Vice Archdruid, supplied us with a marvelous quote for the back of the book, saying, “This is a great book for solitaries, new Groves and Protogroves interested in investigating new rites and traditions for their personal and grove practices.” He also informs me that he has submitted a review to Oak Leaves!

You can purchase The Fire on Our Hearth at the Three Cranes CafePress site, or via this direct link. We expect to bring copies to the ADF Festivals that Cranes attend, too, but don’t wait: get them while they’re hot!

The book is $16.99 from CafePress. Please do help support our Grove: the profit from this book all goes back to the Grove for ritual space rentals, ritual gear purchases, and all those little things that just aren’t free when you’re running a church. And thank you in advance for your support, as well!

[also, for those unaware, the article mentioned in last week’s post was published on Monday.]
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

Planting new trees in a growing Grove

Every Grove in ADF has bylaws that govern their operations, and Three Cranes is no exception. It seems that about every two years or so, we find something in them that needs an update to more accurately reflect what we are doing, and what we want to be doing.

Most receintly, the Grove has updated our bylaws to expand on our membership criteria. As a growing Grove, we have come to a point that our old membership definitions were no longer serving us correctly, and we felt a definite need to re-work the system.

We’ve made some very minor changes (for a quick overview of the new process, see our Joining page), most of which are designed to help us get to know potential members before we welcome them into this Grove. Rather than being built to encourage a quick increase membership, we’re now built to encourage stronger interpersonal ties. It’s a shift in focus away from, “Get members!” and toward, “Let’s keep the ones we get.” And that’s something that we very much want to stress.

Membership in the Grove is something very special to us, as members. Each of us has a unique set of strengths and values that make this Grove far more than simply the sum of its parts. To steal a phrase from our liturgy, when we stand together, we are truly “one light, one depth, one united and sacred Grove.”

The act of Grove Welcoming is something that is also very special to us. As we prepare to welcome new members, we reflect on all those members who have come into this Grove before, what they have brought with them, and how they have truly helped nourish this Grove’s growth since we planted it on that Autumnal Equinox in 2002.

Indeed, this Grove is a family that I pray will never stop growing.

The Columbus Dispatch also came to our Ostara ritual today. If an article is printed, look for a mid-week update with a link to the story!
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

Dirty Druidry

This past week, the Druids of Columbus, Ohio, honoured the Earth Mother in a very dirty way. The Coligny Calendar calls this month “Ogronios” or “end-of-the-cold month.” Given our recent weather and the subsequent string of fifty- and sixty-degree days that followed, this moon fell into line with the calendar beautifully.

With the wet weather, though, our thoughts turned to the new growth of spring, and the reawakening of the Earth Mother.

As a Grove, we wanted to celebrate her during this time, and we also wanted to carry her presence with us throughout the year, from ritual to ritual. Because our rituals are done firmly rooted in the earth, at the boundary between worlds instead of in the places between them, building and maintaining that connection with the Earth Mother is vital. Her support in ritual is something that we count on, and part of being in this Grove is sharing the ways we are rooted in the Earth Mother.

To that end, the Grove brought dirt with us, from places we live or work or play. We brought dirt that had deep meaning and dirt that helped us connect in times of stress. And we brought dirt, as old and new members of this Grove.

We took this dirt and placed it in a bowl, and each of us mixed the dirt, speaking of our connections to the Earth Mother, to the Kindreds, and to each other. We passed it around, deepening our roots in the soil that maintains our Grovemates, and supporting each other as we spoke.

At the end of the rite, we took all the dirt and placed it in a bag that will now travel with us from ritual to ritual, always bringing our connection to the Earth Mother with it, and always maintaining that connection as a Grove.

This common dirt reminds us that all our roots seek the same cosmic waters, that we are all rooted side-by-side, and that our branches reach out with the branches of our Grove to find new heights together.
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

The Stillness of Winter

There’s something about shoveling snow in the dark, cold, silent night that can re-focus you on the many ways the Earth Mother knows to throw a curve.

Central Ohio has been under a record snowfall: Over twenty inches of snow fell at Port Columbus Airport, which is a record for our area, blowing away the previous record of 15.3″ set in 1910. Barely two weeks shy of the spring equinox, after a couple of days where we reached sixty degree weather, we are reminded yet again that we are still in the grips of winter, and that no matter how hard we try to avoid it, we are still at the mercy of the Earth Mother.

Many members of our Grove spent the weekend inside, huddled up and away from the snow. Some took pictures to post in their blogs while others spent some time on various projects they had been meaning to finish. Our Senior Druid, our Scribe, and myself spent some time trading emails about the Grove Devotional Book, which is in the final stages of editing and being prepared for the printer.

But it was last night, as I toiled to clear my drive way, that the lessons of this snowfall really hit home. I stood in the driveway, having cleared a measly 100 cubic feet of snow (hardly enough to back my car out of the garage), and felt the presence of winter.

There was no wind that night. The sky was clear and the stars were shining brightly above. The moon, in her first blush of waxing, hung low in the heavens. Wisps of clouds traversed the sky, failing to obscure even the dimmest stars. In all that beauty, there was no sound. It was as if the world had fallen asleep, and I was the only person witnessing the beauty of the earth.

I was in awe of the power and beauty of the Earth Mother, and I could do nothing but stand still for a time, finding that stillness within myself as well.

In two weeks, this snow will probably be but a memory: while winter is here and certainly capable of dumping more on us soon, we have seen the signs of spring throughout the past few months. Warm days, robins, and earthworms flushed from the ground by rains have all appeared to tell us that warm days and amazing activities are coming.

But until then, winter remains. Until then, there is joy in the stillness, and beauty in the new-fallen snow. Until then, the Earth Mother will show us the beauty of stillness within and without.
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

Ritual Yearbooks

ADF maintains what is called a “Liturgist Yearbook.” Every year, we gather together as much of the work of all the ADF members as we can, from full rituals to individual invocations, and we put them together into this sort of “yearbook” format.

It’s interesting to read through the previous years: each one is a snapshot of how ADF does ritual at that point in history, and since we started doing this in 2003, already there are differences in how things are celebrated, what things are called, and how we do things as an Organization.

Looking at the Yearbooks, though, I think I’m most pleased to see that each year, someone from our Grove has submitted something, which helps to make our Grove’s voice heard throughout the Org., and to show that we are a vibrant part of ADF and Neo-Paganism through doing the work of an ADF Grove. I do hope that as ADF as a whole submits more, we do, too.

What the Liturgist Yearbooks really show, though, is that ADF’s tradition is vibrant and moving: I suspect that when the next one comes out (2007’s is in the editing phase, I understand) it will show a greater variation in voice and form, which I am very much looking forward to. And if our own Grove’s 2008 rituals are any indication, we’re going to get more varied down the road, too.

The vibrancy of the tradition this Grove is part of is perhaps most astounding when we think about how we generally learn it: there are some pointers written down, of course, but many of us learned far more from others within the tradition than we did from reading: around fires at festivals, through visiting other Groves, or though late-night telephone conversations that stretched from coast to coast. From those things we heard and saw, we took things at least one logical step further, if not two. And that, really, is what ADF has always encouraged for the Groves from the beginning.

I hope that, as we go forward, the ways we do things continue to bring us joy and change!
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler