Posts Tagged ‘Kripalu Yoga Center’

We’re very excited to have access to a fire pit and the ability to use it! Weretoad was thrilled to be the fire keeper and took this wonderful photo. 2012.

Last night, the North Country Druidic Study Group gathered for its second ever ritual – Samhain!  Although a few days after the calendrical holiday, my Druidic tradition believes that the veil remains thin for some time.  Personally, I view it like the lunar phases.  Samhain is when it is at its peak, while the days before and after are waxing or waning towards that point.  With that in mind, we gathered at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Adams, NY.  As I discussed before, it’s absolutely perfect for our group.  We have access to a stone circle with a fire pit that we can use!   In addition, we can use their indoor facilities for our potluck.  Their hospitality has been such a gift and I pray we made a good impression. We’ve already been welcomed back for future gatherings so I have a good feeling that this is the start of a good relationship!

As you can see, the stone circle is beautiful! Photo by Weretoad, 2012.

The ritual went well and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I grow in confidence each time I lead one.  The omens I drew, which, like Muin Mound, I interpret as the lessons and blessings we will receive from the Kindreds this quarter, were very positive and spoke of staying strong and connected to ourselves, our families, and the Kindreds over the harsh winter.  The chanting remains a challenge.  I’m keeping things simple and introducing a chant at a time.  I goofed on the closing chant, but live and learn, right?

Winter was definitely in the air, emphasizing this time as the beginning of the dark half of the year.  We actually saw snow on our way to the ritual!  The trees, compared to the shot of the stone circle above (which was taken in October) are now bare and skeletal.  For at least one member, the mysteries of death suddenly made sense based on Nature’s lessons.

Our ancestral altar complete with mementos and offerings. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

After the rite, we made our way into the warmth of the Yoga Center for our feast.  We had quite a spread and welcomed our Ancestors to our revels!  The group is growing closer and bonding over our interests, our love of nature, and our call to Druidism.  We chatted with folks from the Yoga Center about meditation, energy work, intuition, and daily devotionals.  It was a wonderful evening and I know everyone is excitedly looking forward to the Winter Solstice!  The wheel turns and we move and grow with it.

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First of all, I’m very excited to announce that the North Country Druidic Study Group has been welcomed to perform our High Day rituals at the Kripalu Yoga Center here in Northern NY!  They have a lovely little stone circle with a fire pit that is just perfect for us.  What’s more, they have an indoor facility with heat, electricity, bathrooms, tables, chairs, and a kitchen!  As I’ve told everyone, I like to perform rites outside surrounded by Nature and in the elements, but I understand the importance of having indoor space, especially for a group of people.  Individuals can suddenly feel ill, babies can become too cold, and people want to feast in comfort come winter.  Access to this lovely, sacred space comes as a particular stroke of good fortune in a month that has been largely stressful and disappointing in other life areas. Of course, it hasn’t happened without much effort – phone tag, many messages over FB, letters, meetings, and much explanation.  I’m very grateful to the Yoga Center’s board, in particular Kimberly Ward, who has been communicative and supportive since the beginning, and Steve Williams, who has been very helpful and welcoming over the phone.  I pray this is the start to a wonderful, positive partnership!

Of course, being a facility that has a vast lawn to maintain, electricity, heat, water, etc…  It should not be a surprise that the group will have to pay a little to utilize this space.  This brings up the question about money.  Ah, that necessary evil that permeates our life…

Like others in the group, I rent an apartment lacking a private lawn or sufficient space for large group rituals.  What’s more, since we are aiming to become an ADF grove, our rituals must be open to the public and accessible, yet we also want more privacy than a park can offer.  Although there are many people in ADF comfortable with such a high level of hospitality and open their home to complete strangers, I’m on the more protective side of my property and, especially, pets.  There are other members who have children and I would be the same way.  Renting a ritual space at an established property just makes sense.  We aren’t alone in the ADF community.  As it turns out, a great many groves and protogroves rely on the hospitality of spiritual and community centers – UU Churches, libraries, camping lodges,  and even Masonic temples.  Because of this need for space, other groups also deal with the annoyance of money.

As the study group matures and moves towards our first anniversary in the summer, acquiring access to this space has solidified our desire to move forward with becoming an actual grove.  We will not stagnate over the winter without a good place for ritual!  Yet we are suddenly faced with business.  Who pays for this space? Will a request for donations be enough? Should we start collecting dues?  Who pays the dues? What constitutes a member of the study group?

Most people probably recognize that we’re moving into bylaws territory.  Even though protogroves aren’t required to have any, it seems like something is necessary when money comes into the equation. I’m no stranger to bylaws.  Muin Mound Grove has some that we’re currently in the process of reviewing.  The Mohawk Valley Pagan Network I used to belong to had them.  I was actually involved in the process of writing them!  Like money, bylaws are a necessary evil.  It is unfortunate that spiritual communities have to have these rules, but due to the imperfect and sometimes unpredictable nature of humanity, rules are a form of protection.  The key is not letting the rules take over the function of the group, and being open about their necessity and formation.  I’m hopeful that people who were very interested and involved before don’t become discouraged by this development.

I’ve been spending some time looking over other grove bylaws for ideas.  The study group’s second business meeting is tonight and I plan to start at least discussing some of the issues at hand.  The group is growing up.


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