Yesterday I went to my first ADF style ritual – Lughnassadh with Black Bear Grove. I drove down with a friend. According to Koronis, the senior druid, the area we were working in is a popular party spot, and so the first order of business was to clean up the litter. Luckily I had a couple of trash bags in my car – the site was completely trashed (complete with discarded clothes and an air mattress, as well as the usual bottles and beer cans) and we needed more bags than had been brought. While we picked up trash, Koronis set up the altar. The other members of the grove arrive and the pre-ritual briefing began, complete with a quick lesson in how to sing the Portal Song, and then Koronis sent us off to begin the rite with individual meditation. I marched off to meditate in the nearest patch of poison ivy. -_-
Koronis called us together with ‘Come We Now to the Grove,’ and we reenacted Lugh’s entrance at the Gates of Tara – each of us told a skill (the funniest being, “I have a great knowledge of pharmacology!”), and was rejected; finally, the last member said, “But we come as one, as a Grove; do you have anyone who has all these skills?” and were allowed to jump the moat-puddle and enter the grove. One of the members made an offering to the outsiders, and then we did a group meditation before purification and honoring the Earth Mother. One of the members had brought cherry tomatoes from her garden, and gave us each a tomato from the altar for the invocation. She said some words honoring the specific goddess, Tailtiu, and then offered a more general invocation, talking about how the Earth Mother is the only goddess we are never without, the only one we can always touch and always hear and always see; we all ate our tomatoes together to honor her. Koronis spoke our intent to gather in honor of Lugh, and then we sang the Portal Song to consecrate fire, well, and tree. Then three grove members opened the gates and invoked the Kindreds, and then one of the members whose patron is Lugh offered an invocation to him. Offerings were made to various gods and goddesses, and then a final mead offering for which Koronis made a prayer of sacrifice. One of the grove took an Ogham omen, which was favorable, and then we shared the Blessings in the form of mead and water passed around the grove. Since we were honoring Lugh the Many-Skilled, the working on this particular occasion was a blessing of tools – people brought cooking implements, metalworking tools, garden tools, and various other things, and we passed them around to impart individual blessings to them. I passed around a ring I wear to symbolize some major life lessons I’ve learned, that has a lot ‘in’ it, so to speak.
Finally, we thanked the Kindreds, closed the gates, expressed our gratitude to Mother Earth, and declared the rite ended. We shared a meal after, but I had to leave before they began the grove’s traditional Games of Lugh, an eight-year tradition that I look forward to attending next year.