Beltaine with Prairie Shadow Grove and Other Things

Prairie Shadow Grove is the ADF grove of which I am a member.  We celebrated our Beltaine ritual yesterday.  Our ritual was done honoring the Welsh god and hero Llew Llaw Gyffes.  The ritual was small with only 6 adults in attendance, but it was moving.  The incorporation of chants accompanied by a tin whistle to welcome in the kindreds (the ancestors, the nature spirits, and the gods and goddesses) was truly inspiring.  As with most our groves rituals these days, the offerings were made by the four children in attendance.  Sons and daughters of some of our members, these well behaved little ones ask and our granted the ability to help with the ritual when they so desire.  Although we held the ritual indoors (in a garage space because of the wet weather) we were still able to submit what we wanted to expel from our lives, written on pieces of paper, into a burning bowl.  This echoed the purifying bonfires of the celebrations of old.  As a kemetic, however, it also reminded me of execrations.  Aside from burning a bit of my thumbnail, I would say it went well indeed.

The food was delicious as always.  I usually bring something store bought, but my fellow grove members are incredible cooks.  I definitely had a few helpings.  We had a raffle to raise some money for our newly designated grove.  I walked away with both presents from friends and prizes from the raffle.  One of the raffle prizes that I won is a book called The Reluctant Empath.  I have been asked before if I am an empath, and I always go back and forth with this question.  My true answer is that I simply do not know.  I feel things, but determining whether it’s due to empathic abilities, bipolar anomalies, or some other source is something I’m not able to do yet with confidence.

I know that my gods want me to trust my intuition more.  I will continue to try doing so.  As work has becoming busier and more emotionally exhausting of late, I need to work on grounding during it.  I can’t leave early every night because I’m emotionally exhausted.  I need to work on ridding myself of the extra emotions that I’ve gathered, whether from me or from others.

A friend gave me a statue of Odin, which is now on my altar.  Another friend gave me a few books on fairies.  I feel that at some point I may be working with these creatures, though I know I’m not ready to do so yet.  I have much to learn.

Several of my fellow grove members and my friends outside the grove are not artistically inclined.  I am not.  However, I see the power of doing art as a devotional act.  Many of my friends have been making prayer beads of late for their gods.  I think this is a doable project that I could start with.  I joined the ADF Artisans Guild to help inspire me to create.  There is something special to creating things yourself.

I joined a number of ADF groups recently to learn and grow.  I am still pursuing my dedicant’s path.  As I become more active in my grove, I want to become more active in the organization itself.  I desperately want to take advantage of some of their learning programs.  I must do the dedicant’s path first, however.  I think laying out my progress during my grove’s monthly meetings will help to encourage me to forge ahead.  Our Grove’s Senior Druid, who recently became clergy, is very inspiring.  I hope to some day become at least somewhat as success in leadership and scholarly programs as she is.  Everything takes time.  I have to be willing to put in the time to reap the benefits.  Wish me luck!

Kemetic Orthodoxy, Druidry, and Muddling Through

I keep going back and forth about going through the Rite of Parent Divination with Kemetic Orthodoxy.  I think to not do it is to choose the harder path (not necessarily better), but if I’m wavering this much then I’m not ready.  Perhaps I will do it in the future.  If I don’t do it now, then I probably need to do some shadow work.  It’s not my favorite option, but there is definitely some negative thinking that I need to eradicate.

I’ve felt a strong draw back to Sekhmet recently.  Djehuty is always there, but Sekhmet is more like a mother figure for me.  Perhaps I need to focus back on those relationships.  I really don’t know.  I guess no one really does.  There is also the exploring of the relationship with Ra for which I haven’t done much.  I have been doing the Kemetic Orthodoxy Rite of senut most days, and that has helped me greatly.

I also feel like I need to spend more time getting to know my akhu better.  I put together a little shrine, but it doesn’t look like much.  I need to set up a routine to honor them.  I am going to get a little book to write down the names of ancestors that I know and leave it on the shrine.  I would also like to get a bigger statue of Anup for it.  Right now I just have a charm there.  Perhaps I can come up with a weekly rite.  I’ve been leaving rum on the akhu shrine and just letting it evaporate.  I might add a glass of water.  I would like to establish a ritual with some routine.  Daily would probably be too much, but perhaps weekly would work.

I want to bring my druidry into my home practice more.  I’m moving around altars, and looking for a good place to put the druidic one.  I’m exploring heathenry more because I think the Norse hearth culture will be my center for ADF.  I’m trying to re-establish my relationship with Loki and get to know Odin better.  I’d like to come up with something simple that I can do for them daily.  I’m still looking into that.  It’s odd, I feel more attracted to the Jotun, yet I still feel like Odin can help me get to where I want to go spiritually.

Basically I need to work on trusting myself and my intuition more.  I also need to work on my divination techniques.  It is still what I use most of the time to communicate with the Gods.  I also need to work on bringing my Gods back into my everyday life, talking to them throughout the day.  I love ritual, but I also need this more mundane connection.  I guess I’ll see where my path takes me.

The Imperfect Druid

Last October, a week before Samhain, I joined ADF, an international druid fellowship.  I was looking to learn more about the neo-pagan community and hoping to meet some pagan folks in town.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I went forward with the thought that I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try.  ADF has an academic path that you can follow if you want to get deeper into the classes of the organization referred to as the dedicant’s path.  You don’t have to do the dedicant’s path, but it is laid out for any who like the challenge and want to pursue further study within the organization.  I haven’t followed it like I originally intended.

I made a promise to Hekate to try out the druid way for a year.  I have done some study, but I have not done all of the required writing to go along with it.  At times, I seem to forget about it entirely until the next wheel of the year holiday.  I have been able to attend a local ADF group that holds some of their holidays in my hometown.  This has introduced me to a few other pagans and educated me more about the local pagan community.  I am still so shy that venturing out of my little group seems like a stretch.  Even going to the holiday rituals that my proto-grove holds the next city over (only 45 minutes away) has been too scary for me to attempt yet.  I feel like an outsider, and yet I still feel a part of the rituals.

When I was younger, preserving the ecosystem was very important to me.  Twenty years later, I feel so out-of-step with the young want-to-be-activist that I was.  As a member of ADF, I could call myself a druid, but I have a hard time referring myself as such.  I don’t recycle as much as I should or could.  Going to some place new to do something that I haven’t done before seems overwhelming, whether it is dropping off cans at the recycling center or dropping clothes off at the local Goodwill.  I recycle more than I did before I joined, but I am still working through my fears.

ADF is focused on Indo-European pantheons, so my Kemetic leanings make me feel out of place at times.  When I joined ADF, I was much more focused on the Greek pantheon.  Right now, I don’t have a specific Indo-European pantheon that I explicitly focus on for ADF.  My proto-grove changes up which pantheon it focuses on for different holidays.  I will probably stick to the Greeks or the Norse to include Hekate or Loki.  I currently don’t feel comfortable performing a full ADF ritual solo, though I do like celebrating as a group.  I could add less intense druid rituals to my practice.  I don’t know if I will.  I do plan on putting more time into researching the core ideas of ADF.

I”m going to the Midnight Flame Festival, a regional ADF festival put on in September by the Grove of the Midnight Sun.  It will be my first big pagan gathering.  I’m driving up to Michigan with some local ADF members.  I am very excited.  The pantheon being honored is the Norse pantheon, so I’m hoping it will bring me closer to Loki.  Hekate has been very patient with my multiple interests.  I do feel that she led me to the Netjeru.  However, I still feel obligated to learn more about neo-druidry while I am a member of ADF and possibly see how it could fit in with Kemeticism.

New Beginnings

I’m going to try to catch up and keep up with The Cauldron Blog Project.  The Cauldron is a pagan forum that I go to learn about others’ paths.  January’s topic was Resolutions, Habits, New Beginnings, so I’ll start there.  I’m new to practicing polytheism.  I was finally able to accept that hard polytheism is my world view in the middle of 2013.  I spent most of my life as a practicing Roman Catholic.  I did a lot of searching over the years, but it was still hard to admit to myself that I was a polytheist.  Once I did, more research began.

I started off practicing Hellenismos, and then I got interested in Kemeticism.  It is definitely possible to honor both of these religions, but I just don’t have the spoons to do it right now.  The Gods or my tarot cards or my subconscious brain, however you want to call it, kept insisting that I cut back and drop the labels.  I was stressing myself out trying to do everything perfectly and failing in every way.  So now eclectic is the closest thing I have to a label, and I don’t really like it.  It has some bad connotations in my mind.  I’m mad that I see it as less respectable, and I’m mad that some other people would agree.

I want a practice that is recon-influenced.  I’ve looked into Hellenic, Kemetic, and Heathen practices.  I don’t know if I want to follow all of these paths, but I want to be able to honor the Gods that I follow in a way that They feel respected.  I want to snap my fingers and have everything laid out, but building something takes time.  That is how I have to approach it, as a building project.  I have to get the base done before I can put windows in the top floor.  Laying the plumbing pipes comes before putting up wall hangings.  Finding a place to start and figuring out what comes first is confusing, but life takes work.

I am trying to slowly build a life with Deity.  I started nightly devotionals on January 1st.  I would like to add in some daytime devotions throughout the week, but finding the energy can be hard.  As long as I can take at least one step in my religious practice, it is a successful day.  I just have to remember that.  My nightly devotionals are one of those steps.  Although I find it frustrating, I would like to add  some meditation to my week.  I would like to add some daily rituals to give thanks to Gods that I don’t honor nightly.  I am slowly trying to find workable ways to add these things to my schedule.  I am reading blogs, books, and message boards to see how other people do things.  I don’t want to start down one road because it is the only one I see.

I joined the Neo-druid organization ADF to get a Neo-pagan view point and to meet people.  Their dedicant path is a little overwhelming, but I think it would be good for me to do at least a portion of it.  I may be posting some of it on this site as I work through it.  I was able to meet a few people and to attend my first pagan celebrations with the local proto-grove for Samhain 2013 and Imbolc 2014.  I don’t know if druidry will stay a part of my path, but that is why I am trying it.  Meeting people has given me some insights.  I am trying to absorb as much information as I can.  Sometimes, though, I have to take a step back.  Taking on too much too quickly is one of my faults.  Absorb and pray.  Read and practice.  Little steps add hope.  I don’t know where they’re taking me, but I hope they’re leading somewhere.