Archive for the ‘Muin Mound’ Category

1) Here’s an interesting if brief article on “spiritual blockage.”

2) The incessant coughing I have is apparently caused by seasonal allergies – something that I’ve never officially been diagnosed with until now.  Bugger all.  I was always so happy to be in the minority of adults who didn’t have to deal with allergies.  Why do I suddenly have them?  Did I not spend enough time outside?  Now I have all these bills and a nasal spray…  Bugger all.  I’m happy that I should find relief but I’m displeased with yet another medicine.  I’m really motivated to get a neti pot and make my father’s infamous but effective tincture now.  I don’t want to be part of the drugged up majority…  As it is, I would love to get off birth control but am uncertain of the medical implications that would have on me (I was put on it for medical reasons to begin with).  Too much environmental damage from the packaging alone!

3) I found a toad-shaped button to represent my husband on the grove’s quilt patch.  For those out of the know, the Artisan Guild is encouraging all groves, proto-groves, guilds, SIGs, and Kins to create a quilt patch that will be added to a larger piece.  The point is to have something representative of ADF to display at festivals.  I found a cat button to represent me weeks ago.

4)  Tailtiu, the doll and main offering I’m making for the Lughnasadh ritual at Muin Mound tomorrow, is nearly done.  I’m finishing the details.  To be honest, I don’t think she’s the best doll I’ve ever made, but she’s also not the worst.  I’m not using any metal armatures because she will, I believe, but placed in the bonfire.  She’s stuffed with fabric scraps which gives a lot more weight.  This is what’s allowing her to sit properly without the armatures.  Her fingers, however, are not the same without them.  Also, her head is longer than most of the dolls I’ve made.  I’m not sure how that happened but oh well.  Expect photos at some point.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Chant Help

Four or five years ago, when I was feeling my way through Wicca and eclectic Paganism, I was feeling “chant envy.”  Several of my Pagan friends knew more chants than me.  They could all spontaneously break out in chant and everyone knew the words…  I felt left out so I went on a chant hunt and found some classics as well as some things that I don’t often hear people use.

One of them went like this (more or less):

The Earth she is singing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth she is laughing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth she is dancing
Oh ma ma ma
The Earth is our mother
Oh ma ma ma 

Oh ma ma ma hey oh ma ma ma
Oh ma ma ma hey oh ma ma ma

I fell in love with it and was lucky enough to find an mp3 of it.  It’s one of my favorites and I often sing it around the house.

Almost a year ago, some of my grovies came back from a festival where they had learned it and it was incorporated into our rituals when we honor the Earth Mother.  I was really surprised but delighted all the same. The only problem was/is…  people don’t really know it.  Last week, during Summer Solstice, there was an embarrassing moment when we started the chant and the bard didn’t know it and everyone was mixed up.  I was singing the version I learned, but even before the ritual there was a minor dispute between the grove organizer and the senior Druid as to what the actual order of the lyrics were.  It pains me to admit it, but it sounded horrible and the energy just wasn’t there for me during that part of the rite…

I was searching around for the lyrics or even the mp3 I used to have but I can’t find it anywhere!  Can anyone help?  My grove likes to sing and dance to it but we really need to be on the same page.  It’s one of my most favorite chants and it’s really embarrassing when the grove flounders so…


( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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1) As stated earlier, I’m an official member of Muin Mound Grove.  That means I can plan rituals and run for office.  So, I am running for grove secretary – unopposed.  LOL  Our current secretary is going to be the new Senior Druid since the old one is MIA.  Some of you who know me may remember that I was MVPN’s secretary.  I had a laptop at the time but have since converted back to a desktop.  I will have to take notes the old fashioned way.

2) I volunteered to make the main offering for Lughnasadh – a doll of Tailtiu.  I’m really excited!  Part of my oath to Muin Mound Grove at my welcoming ceremony was that I would bring my art to help the grove.  I already have ideas!  It’s so exciting.  She will be minimally armatured.  I will probably use a stick or dowel for her spine so that she sits up, but otherwise…  Everything has to be flammable and safe for the fire.  The front hem of her skirt will be stitched to her hands so that everyone can place small harvest items in it.

3) I’m officially a Dedicant Program reviewer!  I have my first DP to look at and am impressed thus far!  The individual is an excellent writer.  I’ve only read one essay but it’s left a very good taste in my mouth.

4) Slowly but surely, I’m delving into Janson’s History of Art: The Western Tradition.   I’m very much engaged with it, in part  because I’ve always been motivated to take a history of art class but never had the time or maneuverability in my college scheduling.  I finished the first chapter which was a brief explanation about why art is important and how one should take a varied approach when judging its worth.  I’m getting into the second which is all about prehistoric art.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for judgement on my muse essay…

So, yes.  I’m getting more and more involved with ADF.  I love it and it makes me happy.  🙂

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From Friday to Saturday, I underwent the vigil to become an official “folk” of Muin Mound Grove along with Candee.  What this means is that, along with having a history of attending the grove and a good relationship with everyone there, I am taking on more responsibility.  If need be, I could be asked to lead a significant part of a ritual.  I’m expected to do more for the grove.  It’s really exciting for me.  I love everyone there and I’m proud to be a part of it.   I want to do more for my Grovies of my religion in general.

Muin Mound has various traditions that are part of becoming a folk.  Along with staying up until just after sunrise, we made Muin Mound pins to wear at ritual, underwent a long guided meditation, participated in a ritual, were formally welcomed during the main worship service, and watched the Wicker Man.

Now, I’d never seen the Wicker Man before.  It’s not the sort of film my parents would have had around the house.  It also has the reputation as a horror film and, for all my recent posts about ghosts and zombies, I don’t often watch such things.  When I found out what becoming a folk entailed, I decided to put off watching it until my vigil.

Why is the Wicker Man part of our vigil tradition?  Well, it’s a hugely popular movie in the Neo-Pagan community.  Everyone seems to rave about it.  Groups are even organizing Rocky Horror-like parties where people watch the movie and sing along to the beautiful songs.  I suppose we watch it because it’s become such a huge part of our Pagan culture and to become so involved in said culture is to experience its art*.

So what did I think of it?

Let me just get it out right now and say that I didn’t enjoy the end.  If you’ve never seen the movie, look away right now.  Did the uninitiated leave?  Ok, good.  Now, the movie is called The Wicker Man because, at the end, the investigator, who also happens to be a virgin Christian, is sacrificed to the Gods by being burned alive (along with various animals) to ensure the fertility of the land.  The residents of the all-Pagan island of Summer Isle, known for their apples, had a poor harvest the year before and wanted to give a really large sacrifice to aid them.  Now, I always knew this was going to happen because of the movie’s reputation and my background knowledge.  Julius Caesar wrote about the Gauls use of wicker men but, other than that literary blurb, no other evidence for the practice exists.  We know that the Celts did sacrifice people and animals, but the wicker man method was either incredibly rare, a one-time event, or a rumor that Caesar noted/created.

The film, over all, did not meet my definition of a horror film.  It simply did not “horrify” me until the very end.  I’m sure it’s more horrible to Christians who are easily offended by nudity, sex, and polytheism.  I spent most of the film giggling at the protagonist’s discomfort (or growling at his rudeness) and wishing that I lived on an island of Pagans.

And this brings me to why I didn’t like the end.  As stated, I know our ancestors sacrificed animals and people to the Gods.  I don’t feel that we have to do that any more.  Our society has evolved and, while I know some people still maintain such practices, I feel that we are in an age that requires less killing and destruction. We ravage our environment enough.  We kill too many factory farmed animals.  We have too many hungry humans in the world to justify killing animals to use up other important resources like grain and water.  Human sacrifice is now murder and animal sacrifice is now arguably unsustainable.  A better sacrifice to the Gods in this day and age would be to give up something you worked hard on, or, better yet, an environmentally damaging practice that is convenient to you (I could do more of this).  There’s also giving up time for community service.  There are many types of sacrifice and all are appropriate, in my opinion.  If you really feel that the Gods desire blood, put a razor to your own fingers.  If you must offer an animal, buy an animal to feed an unfortunate family in the name of your Gods.

Some people giggle at the sacrifice of the Christian at the end.  Me…  I was uncomfortable with it.  In the modern sense, it was a murder.  The Pagans of Summer Isle claim that he was a willing sacrifice because he came to the island by his own free will, but that isn’t so.  They tricked him and then sabotaged his means of escape.  I worry that many Pagans love the film because of their own bitterness towards Christianity.  As much as the religion makes me uncomfortable, I know too many good Christian people.

Now, I know that most Pagans wouldn’t dream of doing an actual wicker man.  Most are level-headed enough to know that such practices are best left to ancient history.  Hopefully most are aware that The Wicker Man is fictitious and that modern groups just don’t do that (knock on wood).**  After watching it with some of my grove mates, we had a brief conversation about how it was fictitious.  I think the key to Pagans watching and enjoying the movie is that it must be followed by discussion because it can be educational and inspirational.  When showing it to new Pagans or the highly impressionable, it should be prefaced in some way so as to cushion the blow.

Ending aside, I actually really liked the movie.  A level-headed person should know that it’s all fiction and that it’s not an accurate portrayal of modern Pagans (Are any movies?).  The music was beautiful.  I was familiar with a majority of it.  Damh the Bard does an excellent cover of “Gently Johnny,” and Mediaeval Baebes produced a playfully melodic “Maypole Song.”  Also present was the traditional “Sumer is a Cummin In” that I so loved from MVPN’s Beltaine rituals.


Mediaeval Baebes’ “Summer Isle (The Maypole Song).”

In the end, and after a night to think about it, I really did enjoy “The Wicker Man.”  The ending made me uncomfortable, but that is the point of horror films, I suppose.  Even though the movie wasn’t much of a horror film otherwise, it gave me something to reflect upon.  “The Wicker Man” can be a useful educational tool, is fun to watch as a fictional piece***, and has a lovely soundtrack.  I think I would like to add it to my DVD collection.

*I say this is Pagan art because I’ve read that the crew consulted with Pagans for ideas and traditions.

** My brain would explode if someone showed up for a Beltaine rite with an animal to put in a wicker man.  “But I thought that’s what you guys did!”  Oh that would be so weird…

*** …as opposed to a basis for practice or belief.

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My sweet peppers have been eaten by something.  This makes me sad.  I shouldn’t have put them out without a milk jug over them…  They were so little…  Everything else seems to be doing ok.  My hot peppers have flowers!  

 I was reading up on the vigil/welcoming ceremony Muin Mound does for people becoming a Folk of the Grove. I’m going to undergo the ritual in a couple weeks.  I’m really excited but also a little nervous about staying up all night!  I won’t be alone.  My grovie Candee will be going through it as well!

Today I also sent an apologetic email to someone.  I was bothered by something and felt guilty so I wanted to get it off my chest and be honest.  I hope I did the right thing and that I didn’t make things worse.  I did an ogham and animal deck reading shortly after because I was nervous about doing it.  The Kindreds seem to be telling me that it was a necessary step in the right direction and that it will mark a new beginning.  I’m hoping it means I will be closer to that person and think more carefully about what I say and do in the future.    

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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Like many, I don’t really know how to describe my time at Wellspring.  The word that keeps popping up in my head is transformative.  I had a wonderful time and learned a lot about myself.  I feel closer to my grove, the ADF community, and the friends I’ve made there.

It was great to finally meet so many people who I’ve only known online.  I spent some time with the Daws and Lesley who I know through Facebook and the ADF chats.  I also met my lj friends athenamsb and Thread_of_Song.  It was amazing to spend time with them.   I briefly spoke with Michael Dangler, Seamus, and Jamie.  I also saw Robb for the first time in a year or so!   I wish we could have talked more but such is the nature of a festival I guess!

Weretoad and I spent a lot of time with our friend Parallax who moved out to Albany earlier this year.  We’ve not been able to see her as often as we’d like to, so having her at Wellspring was great!  Her husband wasn’t able to come but we’re already plotting plans for next year!

I feel that Wellspring was transformative for me because not only did it increase my bonds with ADF as a whole, but it helped me to better understand my own insecurities and then deal with them/move past them.  I thought that being in a clothing optional campground would be hugely stressful.  In the end, it became very normal and even relaxing!  I felt more at ease and secure in my own beauty and worth than I ever have.  Like Michele said to me in the hot tub, eventually a switch goes off and you realize that there’s a definite difference between nudity and sexuality.  This was also my first time camping so I learned a lot and know better what I do and don’t need next year.

The rituals I attended were wonderful.  Kirk’s installation as Arch Druid was moving and powerful.  I’ve never seen so many Druids in one place!  The symbel on Sunday was a lot of fun and different from any ritual I’ve ever been to.  My husband’s favorite was the closing ritual on Monday.  He liked that it was more relaxed and that he could sit (he liked that about the symbel as well).

Goodness…  What else happened?

– I attended several helpful workshops including the Daws’ lecture on Stoicism and Kirk’s basic ritual skills.  I got a lot out of them!

– Several of my dolls were for sale in the ADF Store.  I even sold six of them!  I hope that everyone enjoys them!

– I entered the doll at right, Manannan mac Lir, into the Artisan Competition and won first place in the Sacred Art category!  Woo!

– Weretoad and I fell in love with sarongs.  I think they’re now our favorite form of clothing.

– I bought several sarongs, a dragon statue for my garden, and the book Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits.

– I enjoyed the annual meeting.  I especially liked Kirk’s idea to honor some of the most helpful people with certificates and rewards at the end.  It’s good to acknowledge the many dedicated volunteers!

– I did a LOT of dancing and it felt wonderful!  My grovies want me to do a workshop on dance sometime.

– Candee and I spoke a bit about reiki and she did some on my face because I was feeling so sick on Sunday.  It really helped and I am so grateful to her!

All in all, I had such a spectacular time and am so amazed with the hospitality of everyone from Stone Creed Grove to the solitaries!  I am honored to be a part of ADF and I cannot wait until next year!  Congratulations to everyones accomplishments!  Hail to the folk and our Kindreds!

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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I felt really ill yesterday due to hormonal issues.  I accomplished nothing after work.

I don’t feel fully restored tonight, but I’ve already been more productive than yesterday!  I did some work on a doll and did a quick ritual to promote healing in the areas surrounding the oil spill.  CedarLight Grove is encouraging everyone to take part, even if it’s just through meditation.

Speaking of CedarLight Grove, do they not have an amazing website?  I hate to say this, because I’m very proud of my grove otherwise, but I totally have website envy.  Ours looks really out of date…  Heck, even some of the information is old.  I don’t even want to link to it right now because it’s kind of embarrassing…  I really want to offer Skip a hand but, at the same time, I don’t want to step on any toes…  Maybe he’s just been really, really busy with ArchDruid business and, now that he’s “retired,” he’ll have more time for that?    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

In other news, I’m trying to clean the house.  My family is visiting this weekend and hubby and I have been so lazy!  Despite the existence of a designated “art room,” we tend to bring most of our projects into the living room.  I think the problem is a lack of surface area in the art room.  I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for a table to put in there.  Maybe that will help?

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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