Over the past seven years, it has been my deepest pleasure to work with the members of this Grove. Today, it was a deep pleasure to hand over the “reins” of leadership to a new Executive Committee: we have elected a new Senior Druid, lees, and a new Secretary, Irisa. Our Treasurer remains Maggie, but we find ourselves in new territory: not only is this the first time all our officers have been women, but this is also the first time they have all been redheads!
The ritual today included the oaths of two of our officers (Irisa was visiting the Pittsburgh Grove, and will be installed at the next Druid Moon rite), but it also included the retirement of our old statue of Garanus and the presentation of a new statue. Our old statue was honoured one last time, and presented to the folk and to the new statue, allowing each to acknowledge the other for a moment before I gently kissed the old wooden statue and placed it on the ritual fire, a sacrifice to the patron of this Grove, Teutates.
It was a moving experience, taking the old statue around the fire: Garanus had seen so much through those eyes, and watched over so many of our rituals. While the Garanus statue is not considered to be the Crane himself, it is an icon that represents the Crane to many of us. I saw tears in the eyes of many of our members, and felt my own eyes sting with joy and reverence as I carried the statue around.
When I lifted the statue, I uttered a prayer:
You have guided us,
Walked with us,
Watched over us.
See now this statue of wood,
The icon we have gazed upon so long.
See through its eyes the new statue.
Know that we honour you with it as our new focus.
For guiding, walking, and watching,
We honour you.
We offer this icon now to Teutates,
God of our Tribe.
I then kissed the head of the statue, knelt, and placed the wooden statue on the fire. I reflected on this Grove, on how it has grown and on where it has been, and I smiled.
One day, we will retire this new statue, too. And I pray that we will do so on land that is ours, in a permanent nemeton.
As the statue of the crane went up in flames, I knew: we have and will continue to pray with a good fire.
-Rev. Michael J Dangler