New things on the horizon!

Today we tallied up the submissions for the next edition of The Fire on Our Hearth and were pleasantly surprised to see that we’re likely to add a good amount to the book. Clocking in at 44 pages of new material alone, I’m pleased with the turnout, particularly the eager turnout from our newest members.

Over the past week, the Clergy Council of ADF has been working hard to get caught up on many things, including getting back to the Clergy Training Program Circle 3 courses which I’ve helped author. While the courses are out for revision, I spent some time working on my own training, including this piece, suitable for the Blessing Cup section of any ADF rite:

Endless are the Waters
  Joyfully flowing
  Thoroughly cleansing
  Never sleeping
Endlessly flowing in channels
  Furrowed by Taranis
  The Great Bull
  The Thunderer

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

These are the Waters from the Heavens
  Waters from the Earth
  Waters gushing free.
Alone, Shining Waters
  Roaring in blessings
  Beautifully flowing to the ocean

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

Presiding over the flowing Waters
  Are the Shining Ones
  Who know truth from falsehood.
Shining Ones, givers of Blessing
  Knowers of cosmic order
  Ceaselessly purifying

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

As always with these sorts of things, this may make its way into a Grove rite, or it may not.

On an exciting new note, the Grove is planning its first Greek ritual for Spring Equinox: the Festival of Flowers. The rite is on March 22, and we hope to see you there!
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

Voices, like streams, flow together forever

As our Grove prepares to put out another edition of The Fire on Our Hearth (or, as it is affectionately known, “FooH“), it’s clear that this Grove has come a long way in just the past year since we originally released it.

At our last business meeting, our secretary revealed that we had hit thirty members. While that alone is very impressive to me, what has impressed me more is the way those members seem to have found a home with us, and how our voice is amplified and changed when their voice joins ours.

I can’t begin to describe how these new members have helped to shape the Grove. While it is likely true that new members are most likely to be the ones who volunteer early in their tenure, many of these have thrown themselves whole-heartedly into the work. It hasn’t been manual labour or monetary donations, either: one new member has even been hard at work on a song about Teutates, the “God of the Tribe.”

When I see things like this within the Grove, I realize that the things we have built have meaning. More importantly, they have a meaning that others can truly understand, experience, and embrace. We call Teutates “architect” and “builder” along with “gardener” for a reason.

Over the years, many members have come and gone (and some have since returned), but what we have found is that, unlike the physical presence of the person, their voice becomes entwined with ours, as many streams join to become a river which flows to the sea. Even now, in our liturgy, prayers, and business meetings, I can hear the voices of those who have gone before, and I can savor the sound of new voices joining and playing in the currents and eddies of this Grove.

It greatly excites me that we will be releasing a new version of this book, and the voice of this Grove will reach new heights and depths, helped along by the voices of so many new people.

Catch it on sale soon. . .
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler

Anagantios, and Bringin’ the Ritual to the People

Rev. Dangler stands in a small stone circle, with the Grove's flame elevated to the coming dawn

This is [the Druid Moon] where we see if Michael sees his shadow (once he emerges), in which case there will be 6 more weeks of hot dog buns; or whether he doesn’t, in which case we move immediately to lumpy gravy…

Never let it be said that we don’t have a real sense of humour regarding our rituals. . .

Today was two of my favourite holidays, all wrapped up into one: Imbolc and Anagantios.

Imbolc is one of our favourite rituals, barely changed a bit since Anne, Jenni, and I wrote it so many years ago. It’s special to me that this ritual has managed to stand as long as it has, particularly as the years have rolled by and the composition of the Grove has remained the same. There’s something about the dark room with the candles reflecting off the silver well, though, that gets me every time.

Anagantios is “Stay At Home Month,” and for this rite, that is exactly what our members do: they stay at home. During this ritual, I am privileged to travel to each Grove Member’s home carrying a flame from our Imbolc ritual. There, the house is blessed and cleansed, with the light of the fire being carried throughout the house, lighting every place where love, family, and guest may gather.

There’s something to be said for going to see people in their homes, bringing the ritual to them, and shedding the light of a goddess on their lives. I feel cleaner after I’ve done it, and I suspect that the houses all feel cleaner to the persons who have their homes blessed. In many ways, this is what my priesthood is about.

The idea of bringing the ritual to the folk is a special one to me: for a group so focused on public ritual (as ADF is), we can sometimes forget the individual and their needs. I found myself wondering today if I should make this part of my High Day routine, visiting members on all High Days in their homes, doing a different sort of blessing each time. Maybe one for each of the cross-quarters, where I could bless gardens at Beltaine and pets at Lughnassadh? I don’t know, but it bears some thought, I believe.

In a more long-term view of things, I know that one day we will have members who cannot come to ritual, and to whom I will need to bring the blessings of the Kindreds on a more regular basis. The day will come when this Grove has elderly members in nursing homes, or (more likely) contrary elderly members who refuse to go to nursing homes. At that time, it will be my job to visit until I find myself in a retirement home for old priests (the ones they don’t send to the glue factory, I hope).

And now I find myself wondering what sorts of rituals we might be able to bring to them: a sobering thought, I admit. We need rituals like this one for those who cannot come to our rituals. We need to be there for them, because they cannot come here to us.

But that sobering thought is tempered by a beautiful, radiant thought: today, I brought a goddess’ light to the homes of twenty people, all before lunch. And it was an amazing thing. No matter how daunting it may seem now, it is not impossible. We just need to get started sooner rather than later on the writing.

An image of our Imbolc altar: the well surrounded by candles
Our Imbolc Altar

Brightest Blessings,
    -Rev. Michael J Dangler