Last week, there was a discussion about “bad omens,” which had an end result of being a wake-up call. This weekend, our Grove spent our time from Friday at 8:30 AM until Sunday at 10 PM staffing a booth and doing ritual for the public at ComFest. In that time span, Three Cranes Grove, ADF, ran (or, in one case, participated in) fourteen rituals, including the intertraditional service for the Pride march and a Summer Solstice ritual.
During all this, we made many new friends and saw many old ones. We answered questions about Our Druidry and talked long into the night with people who were interested in ADF or the local Grove. We passed out pamphlets and free coffee. We listened to jazz and death metal.
At one point during a discussion with our Senior Druid, Seamus, he pointed out that no one gets to rest on their laurels, particularly when it comes to ritual. There is often a feeling of complacency that comes from doing good ritual, getting good omens for long periods of time, and having strong support. That feeling cannot be allowed to win over a Grove.
So this weekend, we fought back.
The first and most important job was to be prepared for the Pride service. It has always been important to us as a Grove that we support Pride, but marching has proven difficult since the march coincides with times we need to staff our ComFest booth. The opportunity to participate in the Pride service was an excellent alternative for most of us, and it was my job to close out the service with a blessing in the Earth Mother. While this was not a difficult part, it was a vital part, primarily because it was the part that would have the most lasting effect on the crowd (coming at the end) and the part that would reflect how “seriously” Druidry should be taken by the interfaith community. To put it simply, we represented ourselves well.
Also this year, our Solstice ritual at ComFest was different. Rather than offer invocations and praise offerings (praise offerings are too difficult when roughly half the group you started your ritual with are exchanged for another half who wandered in part-way through the rite and have never heard a pre-ritual briefing before), we honoured the gods of sun and thunder with a mythic story about the strength of the sun to overcome the thunderstorms.
For anyone who was there this weekend, they will seize on the impetus for the story’s theme. We made offerings to the Kindreds and then offered this story of praise to the god of thunder and the goddess of the sun. The story was an excellent addition to the ritual, and seemed to set a new bar for the Grove rites.
All told, we have listened to our omens. If the omens from this weekend are any indication, we are following the example they have asked us to.
-Rev. Michael J Dangler