Winter Solstice this year was special for me in a way it has never been before. This past year I have been fighting my way through nursing school. Never before has school been so demanding of me, that it has required me to let go of my ability to provide open public rituals to the local pagan community. In other words, Mabon for this year was canceled. What’s worse is that it was canceled last minute. I had done all the work of renting a space and writing the ritual, only to discover a few days before that I was overwhelmed with school work to even have the time to go and perform the rite. Sadly neither of the other two grove mates where able to take over. I hope that by this time next year that will be different. So having time off of school between semesters and being able to put together and perform a winter solstice ritual for the local community meant a lot to me. I discovered in the process how much I enjoy doing these. I am not sure why I do, I just do. I guess I enjoy the idea that ritual is “poetry in the world of actions”, and I very much like to see my “poetry” come to life. I also get enjoyment out of hearing what people get out of it for themselves. I love to hear the sounds of laughter and see the community come together.
Another thing that struck me at this rite is that we did a full on ADF core order of ritual, and we had about twenty five attendees, not counting the three of us that were druids. I stopped and thought “wow, of all the people here, only three of us are actually druids in the protogrove! What does that say about the quality of the rituals we give?” To me it means that we do a great job of it, and people like and appreciate what we do. We have been doing this for a year and some now, and people don’t just keep coming back, they look forward to our next rite. So even though they don’t seem to want to join our ranks in the protogrove, they like what we have to offer. I am ok with that.
We also had a number of first timers at the Winter Solstice rite this year. I think this is largely because of the new ownership of the local “metaphysical” shop. The past owner, sweet and wonderful as she was, pandered more to the “New age” group and carried very little in the way of neopagan or occult wares. Silly really when there is a pagan meetup group that meets weekly at the store. The new owners however, quickly realized the situation and within the first two weeks of ownership loaded the store with quality items to catch any pagan’s eye, both those new to the path and those with miles under our belts. The other thing these new owners have done is to actively promote the meetup, and our winter solstice ritual. The old owner would always let us put up a flyer, but she never really promoted what we did. I brought the flyer and ten copies to the new owners and in a one weeks time they had handed them all out. A small task the old owner never once managed. The new owners also were among those who came to the ritual. This has really shown me just how much a difference actively engaged owners can make to a protogrove. The net result as of today, I gained two new members to the Protogrove, and several others are considering.
I got a lot done magically and for the Protogrove and the community this last few weeks. It’s been a good run so to speak. Next Monday, I return to class and the trials of nursing school; all of which means that my posts to this blog will once again become few and far between. I humbly ask my readers to be patient, know that I will post as I am able. I will leave you all with some photos from our Winter Solstice Rite.