The weather was beautiful, sunny and 45 degrees. The location was good, a park shelter by a stand of trees that was away (but not too far) from the parking lot. We placed the fire pit (Fire safety, always!) outside the shelter under the blue sky to enjoy the sun. It was a great day for ritual.
We honored the Anglo-Saxon goddesses Eostre and Hertha along with Woden for bardic inspiration and and Thunor in helping ward our space from the outsiders. We used Anglo-Saxon runes (known as the Futhorc) to receive our omen. Our working was making cowrie shell necklaces to honor fertility. Cowrie shells were worn as amulets by the Anglo-Saxons.
The Anglo-Saxon culture in Britain was from the 5th to 11th centuries AD, beginning as migrations of Goths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Suebi, Frisii, and Franks and ending by being subsumed by invaders, including the Normans. Anglo-Saxon deities are similar to Norse deities in the same way Roman deities are similar to Greek deities. For more information, check out this brief BBC article or Wikipedia for their culture and Wikipedia for their religion.
As interesting as exploring Anglo-Saxon religion would be (maybe another time), the point of this post is to talk about public ritual again. While the adage “You get out of it what you put into it” is true, the first step to begin any enterprise is to show up. Many people will ask us if it is okay to come to the ritual. This is understandable, as Pagan worship has been and still is often closed to the public. There are many reasons for this which could fill a book or doctoral thesis. (Anyone know of any?) There is the trepidation of having a non-mainstream (for now!) faith and sharing that with strangers. But when Black Bear Grove says our rituals are open to the public, we really mean it. Our rituals are public, but we respect your need for privacy. We don’t take pictures of people without permission. We don’t record attendance in any way except numerically (how many people showed up!). We don’t require that you believe any certain way. We just ask for respectful participation or observation.
Our parent church ADF, A Druid Fellowship, has the philosophy of open ritual for all, so our Grove motto is “Just Show Up!” At Spring Equinox we had a guest from out of state who was in town to care for her grandcats, who had no idea what this ritual would be like. We had a Grove member who is very busy with an important life event that had no time to prepare. What‘s the important thing here? They showed up! You don’t know if you will like our ritual? Just show up! You can leave at any time; we won’t be offended. You can participate as little or as much as you want. Often do our members say that when they felt like it was an effort to get to ritual, they always felt better for going. They just showed up!
For more information, see our First Ritual With Us? webpage. You can also come to a meeting first. Go here for our meeting schedule. Unless it says it is for members only, meetings are open to the public as well. We would love to meet you.
Just Show Up!