If you’ve been reading my blog for the past year, you know I’ve been working towards building an ADF Druidic community here in the North Country. It started in June with a “coffee hour,” and progressed into a few study group meetings – the first in Watertown and the second in Carthage. Our Facebook group has grown and, while discussion comes and goes, the interest remains. We’ve even attracted someone right across the border in Canada!
Our next gathering is coming up this weekend and it is going to be a bit more than a study group meeting – I’m actually planning a ritual to frame the opening and closing of our time together. The purpose is to celebrate the new season and honor the Nature Spirits for their bounty. Since the group has been discussing Nature Spirits, it seemed right to make them the focus of this ritual. We’ll also discuss our next planned ritual, Samhain.
Last weekend, I met with two of the study group members. They have both been very involved since the very first meeting – I felt they were ready to help me organize something bigger. The Autumn Equinox rite coming up is going to be very casual so as to “blend in” at the public park we’re meeting in. Since it’s our first ritual, I don’t want it to be too involved. Everyone is still learning and the less they have to keep track of, the better it will be. All the same, I will be sure everyone is involved in some way so they experience a sense of ownership and I don’t feel alone on stage. I’m hoping this only grows at Samhain. We’re still working on finding a more private yet accessible location for that rite… and we have a possibility in the works.
When Weretoad and I left Muin Mound’s Autumn Equinox rite, he lamented the possibility of growing apart from them through forming a new group. I worried the same thing. We discussed it some as we took the long drive home. I asked him if he would be happier if I abandoned the possibility of starting a protogrove, but he insisted that I shouldn’t because he knows it’s important to me. I found myself asking why is it important. Am I just looking to play leader?
Reflecting on my life, I always end up in such positions. I dare say it’s natural for me. I started clubs as a child, was elected president of a literature club in college, and was elected scribe in two Pagan groups. I naturally like to facilitate and organize, especially when I see a desire in the community. Someone has to step up and help make things happen. I like to make things happen, even when it stresses me out. (Don’t even get me started on organizing parties – I love doing that too…)
But it isn’t just my desire to make things happen. There really is a desire in the North Country for something other than Wicca. Not only that, but there’s a desire for open community. Covens are hard to find, but ADF Druidism is all about opening its doors. This doesn’t come without some complications, but it’s necessary for such a group to be out there. I think most Pagans are into security and safety, but not everyone is into extreme secrecy. Some of us just want to come together, form friendships, educate/learn, work magic, and worship the Kindreds. I read about other groves who meet every month – sometimes twice a month! – to share discussion, healing, and fellowship. I used to be part of such a group in the Utica area and I loved it. I still get excited to see the people I met through that group. It’s not that I don’t get excited to see my grovemates in Syracuse – but I can’t see them as often because of proximity. I miss being able to meet without it being a big day trip. I miss being able to say, “Hey, who wants to meet for tea and casual Pagan discussion tonight?” without worrying about gas prices and getting home at a decent time for bed.
I truly hope this study group turns into something more. Like my husband, I will miss seeing Muin Mound as often when the study group matures… but I know we won’t lose touch. Hell, I’m already plotting ways for the North Country group and Muin Mound to get together!
At the same time, I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch. The study group still has a lot of work to do to become something more. I don’t want to embark on the protogrove boat alone – I need to know everyone has my back and that we’re in it together. Perhaps by next June, we’ll be ready.