Well 2013, it’s been interesting. You had some great moments but also some really difficult times. You were a year of great change and growth. There was death and birth alike.
We started the year performing a blessing ceremony on our apartment and then enjoying an evening with friends. The omens were good but I don’t remember what they were now. I wish I had kept that written somewhere. This year, I’m making a point to write down the omens I have been taking for the coming year. Excuse my language, but it seems rather half-assed of me to only look at the omens going in but not reflecting on them coming out! So, lesson learned!
They say that the way you ring in the new year impacts your energy for the coming year. If that’s the case, 2013 was one of great friendship! They certainly helped me get through the difficult times and were there to celebrate the happiness I found.
A photo of our Imbolc altar by Weretoad, 2013.
In February, the North Country Druidic Study Group was reborn as Northern Rivers Protogrove, an officially recognized ADF protogrove! As we approach our one year anniversary, you can be sure I will spend some time reflecting on the successes and learning experiences so far. For now I will say that I’ve been so blessed to be part of this. I’ve formed so many wonderful friendships with people from around he world because of Northern Rivers.
This month was filled with reflection and joy as spring was reborn! I spent some time with Muin Mound grovies, meditating on Ériu , and connecting with and relating to the energies of life and rebirth all around me. With morning sickness truly behind me, spring brought out a joyful period of Pregnancy. I started to feel like a Goddess myself!
A photo featuring my grandfather as an infant.
My grandfather died in April. It was not a surprise and definitely a mercy as his battle with cancer had taken away his quality of life. Prior to that, he had lived a long and very blessed life. I eulogized him here and honored him again at Northern River’s Samhain rite. The ordeal was very difficult on my family, especially my father, his brothers, and my grandmother who is only just coming to terms with the loss of her mate. Truly, nothing brings the blessings of life into crystal clear focus like death.
Gifts from a mother blessing. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.
This month brought many wonderful things. Some of my dear friends, including grovies, helped to organize a baby shower for Weretoad and I. It included a beautiful mother blessing ceremony. So many beloved people came from near and far to celebrate with us. We also revealed our baby’s gender which, while annoying to some, was incredibly exciting to us! This month, I continued to feel like a Goddess as my belly swelled. It didn’t stop me from dancing around Northern Rivers’ maypole when we celebrated Bealtaine! Who better to bestow fertility to the land than a mother herself?! Oh, I will look back at this month with fondness… So much magic…
My little girl. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.
Oh, June. This month began with many difficulties. We had a difficult time moving into a new home to make room for Bee. Suddenly, I became unwell and then I went into labor early which resulted in a cesarean birth. June sent me a heap of challenges, but I put my faith in the Kindreds and myself, and I persevered. The reward was a beautiful, healthy baby girl. The magic I felt so strongly in May grew and transformed into something even more magnificent. New life arrived, and my role was elevated to mother. May Brighid guide me and protect my baby girl!
This month brought more change, upheaval, and death of a sort. After a joyous beginning, the month ended with the revelation that my sister and former brother-in-law were no longer happy together. This resulted in a divorce that continues to sadden the tribe. So much had been kept from us for whatever reason that the discord came as a great shock. It was as if someone died because an illusion shattered and I no longer had a brother. The important things are that my sister and niece are together and safe, and that my sister is growing into a strong, independent woman. I am so thankful for my husband who, despite his annoying traits (which everyone has), dotes on me and the little one.
We celebrated a quiet Lughnasadh as August opened and we found ourselves reeling from the events at the end of July. Spending time with grovies, old and new, helped to cheer us. This month also saw me growing in strength after the cesarean. I started to exercise again, and enjoyed wonderful walks with my husband and baby. The month ended with a wonderful surprise – we saw an otter in the St. Lawrence River right in Alexandria Bay! It’s something I had always hoped to see. For such a playful creature to grace us with his presence, it felt like the Kindreds were smiling on us and reminding us to find joy in life despite the difficulties.
With autumn in the air and so much change in my life, I entered September reflecting on the creative and destructive sides of the Earth Mother. I returned to work and broke into tears multiple times, but I have remained strong in that regard. Balancing work, me-time, and time with baby has been difficult, but it’s become easier. We ended September with a baby saining for Bee. It was wonderful to celebrate her wee life with the Kindreds and loved ones, including old friends from Muin Mound Grove.
October is one of my favorite months of the year. Samhain is a favorite holiday, so there was that, but Northern Rivers had a burst of activity! Tara lead a wonderful workshop on gems and crystals and we went for a walk around the new “Area 51″ sign which celebrates the supposed vortex in Watertown’s Thompson Park. We excitedly prepared for the upcoming Samhain ritual which was amazingly successful!
Bee playing with her Druidic treasure basket. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2013.
I started to find the balance I needed between my spiritual practices and motherhood. I know this will evolve as Bee grows, but finding ways to engage in my Druidism while also meeting Bee’s needs has been very important to me. A lot of it has simply required me looking at typically mundane things in a new light. Motherhood in itself, with all its ups and downs, is very spiritually transformative. It has brought me closer to Brighid. I shared a couple of my (so far) successful attempts to introduce Druidism to babies: “Singing to the Sky” and “Treasure Baskets.”
The year ended with ups and downs that we persevered through with the help of loved ones. I lead a Winter Solstice ritual for Northern Rivers that didn’t go was I had hoped. I have been fretting and reflecting on it a lot, but my grovies have been really encouraging and understanding. Rather than throwing in the towel, I’m going back to basics and reading all I can about ADF’s COoR. The group will be meeting later this month to discuss ADF liturgy, brainstorm ideas, and plan for Imbolc. We must take these things as learning experiences! Rather than becoming entirely consumed by one public ritual, I also threw myself into the 12 Days of Yule lead by fellow ADFers from Three Cranes Grove. It’s been a very special experience because it helped me bridge my Druidic practices with my Christian family’s, and it became something my husband and baby did every night with me. It meant so much for my husband, especially, to help me with each little ritual. He’s even started to say the words with me and doing some minor divination. I’m really hopeful that we can keep it up with weekly devotionals.
Potion, our beloved ferret. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 20??.
Right before the Winter Solstice, we lost our dear friend Potion the ferret. As I recently wrote, it was expected. That didn’t make it any less difficult. At the same time, we know she is in a better place and that her suffering in this realm has ended.
And with that, the pain and difficulties I faced in 2013 have ended. My body has been healing, the dead have been mourned, and the transformations accepted. More importantly, my family has embraced our blessings and thanked the Kindreds for them. Now it is time to look ahead to the possibilities of 2014! May everyone reading this have a wonderful New Year!
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