Monday, August 1, 2011
Druidpalooza 2011: harvest the grain of knowledge
As with so many things in life I didn't know what to expect at my first Druidpalooza. This was the third year for this event sponsored by Coast Oak Grove, ADF. Myself and the two other druids who are forming the protogrove with me packed our gear and drove 5 and a 1/2 hours to the camp site. The camp grounds were nice, and had running water toilets and quarter operated showers. One of the more developed camp grounds I have been to in years. We were greeted with a great friendly smile and a hardy hand shake. After introductions we unpacked our camp. the usual things: tent, sleeping pads and bags, food, clothing bags. The final touch was the new banner for our Protogrove. Just before we left, we had finally settled on the name of Cottonwood river protogrove, ADF.
The first night was a chance to meet the attendees and ADF's Arch Druid. We spent the night talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. We were fed great food and fun stories. Unable to stop myself as usual I shared my own stories as well and when not talking I absorbed as much of the experience as I could. People were quick to pledge their help to our fledgling protogrove and much advice and wisdom was given to me on tips and tricks to running a protogrove. I took it all in. By night time the park had been filled to capacity, around us was an extremely large and noisy church group, as well as many other campers. This was, for me, the only down side as the sheer number of people created a chaotic energy about the place, and the noise of so many kept me awake at night between crying children and random car alarms. Sleep came only in spurts.
On Saturday we woke, showered, eat breakfast, and after dishes headed out for a short hike. When we returned we had the first of our lectures. A great lecture on "hot topics in druidry". I gleaned a lot of advice and ideas for future use from this lecture. It really got me thinking as how I will describe to some one what druidry in sixty seconds! A challenge to say the least! The next lecture came after lunch. The topic was Pre-Republic Roman cosmology and liturgy. I found the lecture fascinating as it was one that I know nothing about. Despite my interest however, the food, warm weather, and gentle cooling breeze got the best of me and I caught myself drifting off once. I managed to stay awake by drinking some pop and snacking on trail mix. I didn't want to miss any of it. After that lecture we had a small break and then came together again for the archdruids talk on "the lady with the mead cup". I had been very much looking forward to this lecture. It was everything I had hoped for. It really helped to crystallize a lot of ideas I had had running about my head in regards to Ireland's goddesses of sovereignty. It also helped define what the sacred king is and we enjoyed learning about the pros and cons of being such a thing. In the end, we were asked, how might the ideas and stories of the sacred kings and goddesses of sovereignty might be used for trans-personal work. This is something I hope to explore in the near future, and when I have some ideas I'll share then with the Archdruid.
After the last lecture it was dinner and on to the Lughnasa ritual. Coast oak grove invited us to join in the ritual. This was both an honor and made us a bit nervous. Though we know the COoR, the details of ritual very from group to group and we were not familiar with their details. Still I feel the ritual came off very nicely. Many offerings were made. I offered the knife I had made last week just for lugh. I couldn't help but get emotional as I made my offering. Lugh has given me so much, helped me so much the past few years. It felt good to give him a gift back. I felt that it is something he'll truly appreciate. I made it myself to the best of my skill. When all had given offerings, omens were taken with the Futhark runes. Three runes drawn. Three of the best runes possible. Truly it was a very good omen. The waters of life were blessed and we drank them in. Next, much to my[ surprise, the seer for Coast Oak Grove called the three of us, Cottonwood protogrove, to the fire and had us stand back to back as we were then blessed by the archdruid and all those in attendance that our protogrove grow strong and healthy. It was incredibly touching. At least a couple of us had tears. To soon the ritual was ended, and the fire was once again just a fire.
We stayed up late into the night sharing drink and stories and wisdom. We then went to bed, and upon Sunday morning it was time to pack up and come home. The drive home felt long to me. I was aching to see my b'loved water witch again. Several times I nodded off on the drive. Good thing I wasn't the one driving! In both my waking and napping I found myself processing all that I had learned and seen and experienced. Now I am home, my stuff put away, yet still I know I am processing all I learned. It was a great time, and great experience. I know that I will remember it for many many years.