ADF germany meeting by Mairi NicDhoiseu
When I joined ADF in 2012 there were only three members in the whole of Germany. We do not live close to each other, there are 300 km from one to the other, which is far for a German, especially with our high gas prices. So we tried to build community via the web. Ishtar did a great job with her website sternenkreis.de and published a lot of interesting articles and translations. We all started translating the Dedicant Path and other important articles while working on the DP. Year after year more people joined. Since translations could only be done voluntary, it took time to provide the DP in German. So I decided to provide a seminar based on the COoR in German, which would be split into eight parts reflecting parts of the COoR and also contained a lot of information on druidry, the kindreds, nature awareness, indo-european culture and divination.
Last year we decided it was time to meet in flesh, to discuss what our future should look like, what could be done to strengthen the German community of ADF. Unfortunately we couldn't meet in autumn 2013. But now in 2014 there was a great opportunity for all of us to make up for the cancelled meeting: Rev. Nancy McAndrew was in Germany and Janet McCandlas would host an ADF solstice rite.
We all met at Janets house and we all laughed about all the stuff we crazy pagans bring with us for just a rite. Instruments, ritual robes, books,... We started to plan the rite, which was dedicated to Danu as the local sovereignity Goddess with the River Danube not being far away.
After our beautiful rite we enjoyed our potlock dinner with Nürnberger Würstchen, vegetarian sausages, self made tomate bread, pumpkin seed cheese, salmon pastries, cheese and pepper, rolls and German beer and juice. We talked about building a German community, when to meet again and where. We talked about building protogroves in Hessia and Saxony, becoming DP reviewer so people could submit their DP in German, how to do funding, how to get on with the DP and CTP. Our kind host Janet enjoyed playing music with us, so her piano, a bodhran, a harp and some percussion accompanied our singing of "John Barleycorn", "Are ye sleeping Maggie", "Tree Wassail" and some more.
It was a really beautiful meeting, full of laughter and joy. Nancy as ADF Clergy and having started a protogrove (GOSH) herself could provide us with a lot of important information, which will be helping in building a German ADF community. We will definitely meet again.
Thanks to Janet and her husband Rob for hosting and thanks to all who came to make this meeting as great and wonderful as it was.
High Day Recap by Birgit R.
This was my first ADF group ritual ever, and the second group ritual in total, so one can say it was a really new experience.
The ritual was held on the first ADF-Germany meeting which one of the members hosted and under the guidance of Rev. Nancy McAndrew, who came over from the US.
Since we were a small group everybody got involved in one part of the ritual or more. And since we are all musicians somehow our ritual contained a lot of song.
After deciding what we wanted to do and preparing the ritual space we started out with a small meditation led by Nancy. Then we processed to the ritual space and surrounded the centre singing 'We approach the sacdre grove'. We made an offering to the outsiders and Mairi sang the 'Brighid Song' in Gaelic to call for inspiration. To establish the centre, first Nancy kindled the fire in our midst and made an offering to it. Janet took care of the water: Some of us had brought bottles with water from different places, Ellie had unity water from 2013 and Nancy had some from this year's Unity well at Wellspring. All of them were mixed together in a big cauldron. Then, while Janet and Nancy planted the apple tree at its new home, Birgit sang and played 'Tree Wassail' by Anne Hill as a blessing for the tree with the company of the others. The place was purified by water and incense.
Mairi called Mannanan as our gate keeper, and in his honour we sang 'Mannanan, carry us', Mairis own variation of 'Rhiannon, carry us', which Ellie underlined with her ocean drum for a beautiful wave sound.
Mairi then opened the gates and we were ready to make our offerings to the Kindreds:
Nicole gave grain to the Nature spirits, Mairi alcohol to the ancestors and Ellie frankincense to the Shining Ones. Our special deity of the occasion was Danu, who gave her name to one of the main rivers of the region and as such is the sovereignty of the land. Janet presented her a Danu statue which will have a permanent place in her new Nemeton, and sprinkled her with water. Nancy gave oil to her and afterwards everybody made a small offering of incense sticks. Early in the ritual we had a little accident, when the horn with our prepared blessing of the waters fell onto the incense sticks and drowned them. Obviously they had needed a refreshing of blessings... Let me just say that they burned nicely, so our offering seemed to have been accepted, drowned or not.
Nancy drew the omen using Mairi's ogham sticks. First she got 'oak', the ultimate druid tree: Yes, our offering was definitly welcome. Then we received 'birch': Nancy's interpretation was that this was a time of new beginnings for us, since we were starting to actively form a German group, not just fiddling around as solitaries. But it also included the message that this meant a lot of work for the coming time.
After receiving the omen Nancy asked the Kindreds to bless the refilled contents of our horn so that their blessings would be passed on to us and fill us, and we passed the horn around. In a second round we brought out individual toasts to our group.
In our core work we asked Danu for her support to keep the land safe from fracking, since there are some people starting to change their minds about this theme in dangerous directions. We asked her for her blessing of Janet's ritual place and formed a circle hand in hand humming our base tones to connect with this power.
Janet then finished the ritual with a lot of thank you's to all of those who were involved, we closed the gates and declared the ritual ended.
Like I said beforehand this was my first group ritual according to the CooR and I was really happy with it. Maybe it wasn't as personal as it would have been had this been a solitary rite. Instead there was another undertone: Everybody did something in her own style and it all somehow fitted together in harmony. It was great to see how the others approached different aspects and it was all there, from quite dramatic to very simple and easy. I loved singing together with the others because that's something I really miss when I'm working alone. And I was surprised how easiliy we were able to plan what we wanted to do before: Having the steps of the CooR as a basic frame was surely a great help in this. I was happy that we had to speak freely, since I'm no big fan of completely outwritten rituals. It felt as natural as possible to do what we did, even speaking English /or in Janet's case German. Afterwards we all had the feeling that our ritual had strenghtened our group and inspired us to further plans.