Week 17 – DPWotY

So I’m finally, finally, finally typing up the week for the blog on time, meaning I have caught up on the blog entries. It is kind of scary because this the third High Day done and dusted, week 17 is pretty much the one third mark for doing the DP, well I say that but I honestly think that even once all the requirements have been met from the point of view of attending rituals, meditating, maintaining nature awareness, etc. there will still be a lot of work to do. The essays will need to be written properly, the journals polished and the book reviews tightened up into a coherently explanatory essay.

That being said it is kind of exciting, Beltane is seven months away and that was my goal, to be ready to submit the DP course work at Beltane. I think I’m in equal parts terror and excitement at this stage, a deer in the headlights possibly.

So anyway. The recap.

This was Lughnassa for us here in the SH and on Sunday 5th it was a warm (32 degrees celsius) muggy day (78% humidity) with large storms threatening (they held off until we were driving home), I was there in plenty of time since I had dance rehersals with my Morris Side before hand in the same park that the ritual was to take place in.

It was a decent turnout of people at the ritual, having been well advertised, there were a large number of non-ADF members there but it was still very exciting. I lost track but I’m pretty sure by the time ritual started there were sixteen of us there, seventeen if you count the doggo that was there. 🙂

So being run by an ADF grove it ran following the core order of ritual, celebrating Celtic pantheon. This ritual ran very smoothly, possibly the smoothest one I’ve been to since I was a member of ADF, and despite the large number of non-members at the ritual. There was the usual fumbled line here and there but it really was the only thing that went wrong. There were no interuptions, no panicked people needing to leave, the tree didn’t shed parts this time and even the fire lit smoothly. Now that I’m feeling more relaxed with the grove I didn’t fumble a single thing, which was really pleasing.

Lugh was the diety of the occassion for this ritual, which is fitting really and Mannan mac Lir was once again the Gatekeeper for the ritual.

The grove likes to share skills for this ritual so we had a variety of ‘offerings’, one person gave a piece of obsidian to the grove treasures and an athame hand crafted out of birch wood, another gave everyone home made frankincense pouches, another offered some mugwort from thier garden to the flames, a farrier of the group offered up a horseshoe to the grove treasures, someone offered up chocolates, one of the members offered up a herbal smudge they had made to the flames, there was a zucchini slice offered made from produce that came from their property, a tale of Lugh by the senior druid, a poem by another and I offered up herbs and rhubarb from my garden.

The omen was once again drawn from Ogham Oracle cards, this time we drew Alder which was pronounced to mean shield, guidance and protection. This was decided that it meant that we were being guided and protected and was thus a postive omen and was accepted.

Once again I could feel the Nature Spirits during the ritual but I also felt like I could sense Lugh there, I like to think he was pleased by the groves tradition of sharing our skills with each other and the kindreds.

I really loved the skill sharing part of offerings that the grove does for Lughnassa, it really added to the feeling of community that the grove has and was a marvellous idea. It took me weeks to decide what I was going to do for my skill share and I think it is a great way to get people to think about what skills the posses and what they have to offer to their community.

With that I think I have reached the end of the recap.

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Week 16 – DPWotY

Wow we are upto the third High Day preparation, sadly I was so behind on my blog that I hadn’t done this entry before I went to the High Day on Sunday, I’d only made some notes on it and what it means from a Heathen perspective. So for me here in the Southern Hemisphere we were celebrating Lughnassa/Lughnadsa/Lammas/Loaf-fest/Frayfaxi or whatever other name you want to give it. I have a friend who refers to this as ‘the bread one’, I guess the name isn’t that important so much as that we celebrate it.

This High Day is a harvest festival/celebration, the crops are being harvested and bread and ale are being made for the first time since the stores ran out. Offerings are made in the fields and waterways to appease the Spirits and to the Kindreds too, to celebrate the successful harvest and ward off damaging storms, blight and vermin from damaging the next one.

There are some sources that say in Heathen culture this day was celebrated with horse sports and could be better attributed to Freyr, Thor and Sif. The wights are also important in this celebration.

We make offereings from our crops as thanks, and grains, breads and ales are also a good choice at this time, especially if you make your own. At home I made offerings from my tomatoes which I have just been able to start harvesting from my garden, along with a wreath of herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and mint)

This is definitely an agrarian holdiay, supposedly the away season had ended and the Vikings that had gone of raiding were back to help harvest the crops that had been growing in thier absence.

I love this holiday because it means the worst of summer is over and we can look forward to cooling nights, enjoying our crops that we harvest from the garden, cooking with produce we grew ourselves and storms to see in the close of summer. Despite having been baked for months by the harsh Australian sun the garden looks vibrant, many plants are flowering or just finishing and from now on we begin to prune in the garden.

The grove I attend tends to follow a Celtic path, so this time of year they celebrate Lugh and his getting into Tara. They have a tradition of skill sharing, whether it is reading a poem you have read, reciting a favourite part of a myth or tale, singing, dancing, cooking or other skills. I feed and watered my herbs and rhubarb profusely for weeks in preparation of this celebration as the skill I wanted to share was gardening. I took offerings of fresh herbs and rhubarb to the  ritual, I had meant to take some seedlings too but forgot.

I think this season is growing in favor with me and now is up there with Yule for me as a favourite seasonal celebration/high day.

Anyway that is it for now, I’ll be writing about how the celebration went soon enough. 🙂