So Friday after work, I went straight over to the grove. We were doing a guided meditation, and while I'd tried for weeks to write it, it only came to me at the last minute (and I mean, I was sitting there on the floor at the grove writing it while everyone there chatted and wandered in and out.) It was only a few folks- Caryn, Me, Mark, and these two women, Cat and Jodi who show up randomly once in a while.
I've never written a guided meditation before, so I was kinda worried that it would end up being really cheesy...but I think it was decent, and it's been requested that I record it so that it can be used again. Two and a half pages written, and it only felt like maybe 5 minutes spoken, but it was more like 10 or 15.
After that, Mark and I went to Red Brick Station for dinner and were baffled and amused by the waitresses doing what we called "The salt and pepper ritual"- they would walk around, and go to empty tables, pick up the salt and pepper shakers, clack them together three times and hold them up and look at them. Now, we finally realized that they were checking to see how much was in them, but it seemed a little odd that they would do so repeatedly to the same ones, when no one had been seated at the table to use them in between subsequent clackings. So we decided that it was some crazy ritual that they did.
I slept at the grove on Friday night. Saturday morning was gorgeously sunny, and I went to the grocery store for a few things, and the liquor store for some wine.
Then I went back to the grove and slowly (really quite slowly) people started to show up. And the sky got cloudy. And it started to rain on and off...really only sprinkling, but I had these horrible visions of eventual downpours a la last Midsummer. Thankfully it never got worse than a sprinkle.
The ritual script vanished (and finally showed up this morning in the stupidest of places.) One member of the ritual team only showed up as we were in the middle of the pre-ritual brief. We had to go off-script (the only thing that went wrong was that I completely forgot lore of the season until Caryn reminded me while Kat was doing the invocation to Artemis...so it was slightly rearranged, and Jackie did that after my invocation to Apollo. For never having run through the ritual, and for a festival with which no one else was familiar, it went really well. (At some point, I said to someone, though I forget who it was, that this ritual really had no choice but to go well. Sure, it could have been better, it could always be. But in the end, I'm more than ok with how it went.
The offerings went nicely. Instead of confining it to the ritual patrons, I left it open to any Greek gods. Hymns were read in honor of Themis, Pan, Triton, Aphrodite, Selene and one or two others. And we definitely got the attention of the gods. It's been a while since I've felt such a real presence of the gods in ritual. I mean, I usually feel them around but this was...the only way they could have been more real was if they were to show up in physical, corporeal form.
Caryn said that she felt a much closer presence of some of the other gods, but that it was like Artemis was hiding in the trees and looking out from time to time, and that Apollo was sitting on a throne in a temple far away, but seeing it as though he was right there.
Nope, he was right there. If anything, the temple was right there too.
Towards the end of the offerings, I was really starting to get shaky. Partially for having not eaten and partially because yeah, I was nervous as all get-out.
I had intended to read a hymn and pour a libation of wine as my offering...( but plans, like so many trains, can be derailed )
After that, I was semi-impatient for the ritual to be over (mostly because I was really afraid at this point that I really was going to fall over.) but I didn't want it to be either. I was happy that people actually made use of the personal magic segment of the ritual instead of asking of the gods during offerings. I was happy that people didn't seem to balk at the idea of a more serious ritual, and remain standing unless they physically needed to sit. Will did the greatest omen reading using bay leaves, some of the water from the well, coals from the fire, and soil from the base of the tree. Before he did, he told an abbreviated version of the myth of Apollo and Daphne, explaining the origin of the bay laurel tree. I think that this is my favorite method that I've seen him use for omen reading. And then Kat, Caryn, Jackie and I stood in the center and each held up a chalice of the waters of life while I asked for the blessing. I was just beside myself. By the end of the ritual, the rain had stopped altogether, the sky started to clear a bit, and the air temperature was probably ten degrees warmer than when we started. It ended well. (And then I rushed into the house to grab something to eat.)
I should have gone to bed a long time ago. Sleep now.