Revisions to the Grove Book, and the Gardener

[Due to an internet outage at the Grove Priest’s house, the past two entries appeared late. If you’d like to see them, follow the links: “A Growing Grove, and Actions that Speak” | “A Prayer for a New President“.]

Recently, the Grove began work on a second edition of The Fire on Our Hearth, correcting a few typos and mis- (and missed) attributions while adding a significant number of prayers and rituals. So far, the list of things to add is at 30 pages, and we’ve given a “turn it in by” date of Feb. 14th, so the new edition might be out by March 1st at the latest.

I fell in love with this Grove all over again when we put the first edition of FooH together: hearing the Voice of the Cranes come to life within the book and watching how it had developed was an amazing thing. Now, as we approach twice as many members (!), it’s developing in many new ways that I hadn’t expected, as well.

With new members bringing a wealth of work from their previous traditions (or Groves) along with them, it seems that the Voice of the Grove might get a bit more muddled: this is not the case, though. This Grove has never been terribly. . . controlled. . . in terms of what we do and what we don’t do. Though guided by the Gardner’s Hand, we know this Gardener well enough to realize that he’s a patient sort of person: he doesn’t weed the garden unless it’s absolutely necessary. When something new and different sprouts in this Grove, the Gardener watches it, waits on it, and seems to know before anyone else just how it will fit within the Grove’s greater tapestry.

Looking out on this garden that grows around, within, and most certainly with the Grove, it is easy to see that everything has its place and that everything is in that place, even if it didn’t seem possible when it first sprouted.

As we return to the Fire on Our Hearth, reorganizing, re-working, and building it up, we know that the Gardener has been doing the same with us, and will continue to do so for as long as this Grove stands, rooted deep and crowned high.
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

A Prayer for a New President

[Due to an internet outage at the Grove Priest’s house, this entry is appearing late.]

This is a new kind of week, and it will end with a new kind of president. While Pagans often feel left out of the political system, it’s important for us to remember that Paganism was once a civic religion, concerned with the people and their leaders. It is always proper to say a prayer for our leaders, and I encourage everyone reading to occasionally say one for the man who will take the Oath of Office on Tuesday.

Here is my prayer for the inauguration:

   Teutates, god of our tribe,
   You who have guided the people from darkness,
   You who lit the fire that forged our nation,
   You who have tended this democracy through bitter winters,
   Be with our new president.

   Let him hear the voices of the people.
   Let him see the joy inherent in our ideals.
   Let him touch the hearts of the Folk.
   Let him know the depths of freedom’s promise.

   Hold him in your hand, Teutates.
   Speak to him when he needs guidance.
   Pour your blessings out upon our People through him.
   Teutates, guide, bless and hold him.

   Esti.

I do not know whether Obama will be a good or bad president. I do not know if he can deliver on his promises, or if he will do anything differently than other politicians have in the past. But I do know that I can pray for him, that I can have hope, and that I can ask the Kindreds to watch over him and be there for him.

And that is the least we can do for any elected representative.
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

A Growing Grove, and Actions that Speak

[Due to an internet outage at the Grove Priest’s house, this entry is appearing late.]

I am ever amazed by what we have built here in Central Ohio. Most often, I am entirely lacking in words. . . which is really just fine with me: I am so overwhelmed by our actions that words seem moot!

I never dreamed of having a “Top 5” Grove in terms of numbers. Never in a million years. I expected maybe 6 members, possibly as many as 9 on a good High Day. To break 70 people at ritual twice in one year is also something I never imagined. To co-sponsor the second-largest ADF festival is better than my wildest dreams. Having had people stick with the Grove this long, some since the second public ritual (and with NSJoe getting back into the ADF game, too) is something I was told was impossible seven years ago in this [college] town.

We Cranes aren’t sitting on our hands here, and the energy the membership puts into this Grove astounds me at every turn, every day of my life.

In three years, this Grove has won two Founder’s Awards for “exceptional actions of public service.” Sometimes, I feel like mentioning this award is somewhat silly: it’s just a sheet of paper that Isaac gives out each year. I has, however, also given us a burden to carry.

We’ve been held up as an example in ADF. Isaac believed that Groves were not just places people would go for worship, but that they were also places that people would look to see the good that Pagans could for one another and the community at large. When we ask ourselves, “Where are the Pagan soup kitchens, the Pagan homeless shelters, and the Pagan community food pantries?” I am more than willing to say, “They’re coming: ADF will light the way on these.”

We have a long way to go, but with actions like what we’ve seen so far, we can see it on the horizon.
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

It’s never too early for festival season!

To those who celebrate the secular new year, a happy one to you, indeed!

While last week, I was out in Kansas with family (thus no update), this week we’re back and ready to get back to work. The Grove had a Druid Moon on January 1st, during which we honoured Skaði and thought about the way that the frost and snow can sometimes bind us at this time. I love this ritual, as it’s a good time to think about what is keeping you where you are, and what you can do to break free from it.

Also, the Festival season dances brightly on the horizon, and the full schedule of events on the ADF site shows the upcoming list of places to go that have amazing people to meet.

If you haven’t been to an ADF festival, consider going to one this year. If you’ve been to one in the past, well, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing! Come back to the festival scene again this year and getting to see some of the friends you made last year.

Remember, it’s never too early to start asking for days off, saving money, and getting your camping gear ready to go.

I hope to see you at a festival in 2009!
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler