First off a little update:
July and August were a little rough as far as meditation goes. I’ve at least lit a candle or taken a breath or 3 at my altar each day but work has really pulled me away. I’ve finished my big project at work though I can move on. The first of August saw us in Bozeman, MT where I will attend massage school in 2014. It is a very pretty city with lots of music, arts and things to do. V and I really enjoyed it there and we can both see us living there in the future, which is actually very comforting. I was going to prepare and complete my Lughnessa ritual in Yellowstone National park but we ended up taking a different way home inadvertently. So I had to postpone the ritual another day ( or 10!) I wrote my essay and posted it here and constructed the ritual when I returned home but I really wanted to do the ritual out in the woods.
A few days ago V suggested we go camping for a few days before school starts for him. We’d been told about an area called “High Creek” by several friends about 20 minutes from home. It is a beautifully secluded canyon and has a nice creek running through it. We were able to find a nice spot on the river itself and set up camp.
Being next to the river was so lovely and it reminded me of home in NC. Our camp was nearly totally enclosed by Bigtooth or Canyon maples ( for some reason i didn’t think utah had a native maple tree but anyway) It is very sheltered and cool, thanks to the river. We made our own little fridge in the creek by building a small dam close to the shore. There was also some large trees that fell and created a natural fence between the road and our campsite, it really but down on noise. Beside the west side I created an altar under one of the trees. It had a big flat rock under it, practically begging to have offerings set on it.
I brought my portable altar from home and built a little fairy house out of the stones nearby. I left offerings in it right off, thanking the spirits for letting us stay in this space. I also gave some beer to the river and oil to the fire, again in gratitude for such a nice place to relax for a few days. I gave a mixture of tobacco and breadcrumbs to the fairy house and felt I actually got a nice response from the genis loci.
We cooked dinner and gave some of my plate to the nature spirits before I ate. I also poured some beer for them too.
After we cleaned up dinner it was nearly sunset and I decided it was time for my ritual. I used the Solitary ritual provided by Teo Bishop with the statement of purpose and closing also provided. In this ritual I used the Fox/Sionnach as my gatekeeper. Within this forest grove it just felt right. I felt the power and presence of the gatekeeper sionnach as I spoke her name in Irish. Much more than with Manannan Mac Lir at Summer Solstice.
This may be because I have such a strong connection with the fox spirit already and it being a liminal being natural to the woods it felt correct.
I raise my voice in memory of those who fight for their people! I sing of the games that commemorate those who went before! On this day, I honor the mother who nurtures the folk: Offering of herself that others may live, Deepening the work and clearing the way; Declaring peace among enemies and friends. Though I am alone at my hearth, I know that others have worked before me: I honor them today with the harvest of work done. Bright on the earth, bright at the center, Bright in the eye of the waning summer, I am supported by the Kindred in my space. Hail to the mother who gives of herself, Hail to the folk who honor her, Hail to the seasons that turn and bring her memory to our mind!
I celebrate this High Day with the solitaries of the Fellowship.
I pray with a good fire. This ritual recognizes the great and noble Gods, Lugh and honor his foster mother Tailtu, and I call on the gatekeeper, Sionnach
When it came time to ask for omens I pulled for the skills needed to go forward in this year for myself, my community (ask of me) and the ADF.
Myself: 6 of wands
community: 3 of cups
The 6 of wands seems pretty auspicious since it is pulled on lughnessa and is the mastery card. Possibly representing the internal process to develop self-leadership, so that all my skills and abilities are used on concert to help me achieve my goals.
In this card the king is leading a group of hunters successfully back home with food and nourishment for the entire community.
This is what I desire. I know i am a natural leader but self mastery is of the utmost importance and why I choose the DP. For most of my life I have been a leader but the internal organization was missing. I relied on just one of my skills, my natural charisma to lead instead of using them all.
The 3 of cups seems to be telling me to continue in my efforts as community leader. The celebration of unity and happiness in that unity is what is needed. Lately i have felt the need to withdraw but I believe that this feeling was due more to me not using all my skills and not finding the balance of leadership either. This card is also about balance. 3 is steady and true but a single person can not bear more weight than the others.
The Tower always seems to be scary but i think that it compels us away from stagnation. This is especially important in an organization such as the ADF. It may refer to a flash of insight, or illumination rather than destruction. The powers of lifeforce or instinct and intuition or Awen are being summoned , contacted more freely to flow more fully within the organization. The tower card seems like an opportunity to grow close and wise using the deft skills we all possess, like the good god Lugh, to succeed.
When I asked for blessings after these omens I became quite emotional. I had used this wording at summer solstice and did not feel this way then. When I raised my cup to be filled I felt the acceptance of my offerings by feeling the presence of the spirits. I felt the embrace of the shining ones, the nature spirits and the ancestors in a way I truly have not before. Maybe it was the little maple grove in which I sat, or the influence of my liminal fox or my ancestors supporting me on my journey. but I felt the divine reach up and bless my cup as I drank with deep gratitude.
I place my hand upon the ground, Earth Mother. You have supported me in this rite as you do in all things. From you I come and to you I shall return. You are my mother, and I am your child.
Your children give thanks For the blessings and bounty of This great earth. May we keep you
In our minds and hearts, And may we honor you in every action.
My little Sionnach then closed the gates and returned the extraordinary to the mundane. Maybe there was something …some power in the old roots of the fallen tree near where I sat, or the continuous, hypnotic babble and fall of the sacred water …or maybe it was the presence of the shining ones witnessing my honest work. For whatever reason for the experience I am grateful. Now and Always.