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I’m very proud to say that the North Country Druidic Study Group’s first ritual went well!  We celebrated the autumn season and honored the Nature Spirits, thanking them for the harvest.  There were 11 of us in total.  For 7 attendees, this was their first time joining the group.  It was also a first exposure to ADF Druidic ritual in many cases.  This made things a bit awkward at times, simply because everyone is learning – including myself with regards to properly explaining roles, chants, and expectations.  My usual ditziness reared its ugly head, of course, but I like to think it makes for a more relaxed environment.  😛  We have some growing to do, but our first ritual went well and several people told me afterwards that they loved it and are so excited to be involved.  Some have also expressed gratitude that I’ve started this group since finding things alternative to Wicca is very difficult in the North Country.  I’m happy to oblige.

Washing local potatoes for a vegan, gluten-free potato salad!  No Druidic gathering is complete without a potluck.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012
The finished product.  It was delicious!  Everyone who came was very generous.  I wish I had taken a photo of the spread.  There were scrumptious homemade rolls, cake, pies, apple flatbread, apple  strudel, veggies, teas, and salads.  Mmmmm!  Just about everyone remembered to bring their own plates, cutlery, and cups.  I’m really trying to cut down on waste out of respect for the Nature Spirits.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.
The group’s first ever altar!  Because everyone is learning, I took charge of bringing all the ritual tools – including a cornucopia to house our key offerings.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.
A closeup of the offerings in the cornucopia.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.
Later, I brought the offerings into the forest near my home.  I carried them to the shrine I visit and carefully laid the items out.  Look at the group’s generosity – tomatoes, squash, peppers, flowers, herbs, berries, and pumpkin seeds!  They go back to the Earth Mother and the Nature Spirits.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

Future gatherings are already in the works! We’re planning a coffee hour this month and we will be celebrating Samhain early November. Wish us luck as our acorn of a group germinates into a sprout!

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Before traveling to Syracuse, we stopped at the Burrville Cider Mill for some  locally made cider and donuts.  They were our potluck contribution.  I mulled the cider and it was fantastic.  Visiting the mill was a wonderful way to ring in the new season.  Autumn pleases all of the senses!
A pouch I made to hold old match and incense nubs.  Because they were objects used in magic and ritual, throwing them into a garbage can did not feel right.  I collect them in handmade pouches and put them into the seasonal fires.
For our Autumn Equinox workshop, Willow taught us how to make corn dollies – a traditional craft  for this time of year.  I have tried before but certain aspects confounded me until this group activity.
My finished corn dolly.
Here she is posing with my hubby’s corn dolly. These were offered to the Earth Mother during ritual. 
The wheel has turned.  Contrary to the summer rituals, our Autumn Equinox rite began under the veil of night.  There was a slight chill and we joyfully circled around the sacred fire.
The main offering was a bowl with some of our personal harvest.  Everyone contributed with fruits, vegetables, grain, herbs, and flowers.  They were put into the hedge for the Earth Mother to take back into her.

I hope your celebrations were filled with joy and that you communed with the harvest spirits.  May your autumn be full of blessings and bounty!

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My life has once more become hectic.  I feel like I report that in my blog every couple weeks.  Just goes to show how cyclical things are!  This time, the stress has everything to do with getting back into my work schedule.  It’s too easy to come home and collapse!  I haven’t been as spiritually active as usual.  Again, this seems to be cyclical.   Anyway, a fellow flamekeeper’s post on the SIG e-list reminded me that last night was my shift!  So, although it was right around the time of night when hubby and I start to prepare for bed, I took some time and lit the candle for Brighid at her shrine over my stove.  I prayed.  I took several deep, calming breaths.

Hubby really liked the way the wax melted so he snapped this photo.  I think it’s a really beautiful photo and wanted to share it with you.

Photo by Weretoad, 2012

 

 

 

Occasionally, we all feel too busy, too tired, too stressed.  In reality, you probably have a couple minutes to stop and connect with whatever spiritual powers you like.  Chances are you need to.  Go ahead and take that time for yourself.  And don’t feel guilty when you can’t.

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Stones from a pet cemetery near my parents’ home.
A well in the pet cemetery.
Activity from the seed tray!  I love seeing the seeds move , then roots!
Chive blossoms!  In March!  Wow!  What a lovely sight.

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I wanted to share some photos I took during my last nature walk.

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A bottle full of moss.
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My outdoor shrine.
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Bones.
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Part of a small rodent’s jawbone.
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Wildflower.
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A moss covered rock.
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Trees waking up!

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Photos from Muin Mound Grove, ADF.

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