Belated Ostara

I actually really like the equinoxes though I know many people who struggle with them. I like the fall because, well, it’s my birthday (specifically, the 22nd), and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than ritual and feasting afterwards.

The spring, I enjoy because I love that moment of balance and quiet before the spring starts bouncing out in all due force. Minnesota is weird: some months, spring comes quickly, and if we’re lucky, it falls on a weekend. Some years, winter drags its feet about leaving (like this one, apparently: it was 35 and clear and melted snow on Thursday. Friday? 3+ inches of snow.)

Anyway, Thursday, before a busy SF con filled weekend, we did our first Sabbat ritual. Have a photo of the altar after we dyed eggs. You can see the altar here – it’s had a little photo editing done, as I am apparently incapable of pouring red wine into a cup on a white cloth without spilling some.

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Preparations

I’m in the midst of the next post in the Seeker series, but I want to pause here – because tomorrow night is the first working for my new group.

The upcoming workings (currently scheduled through Beltane) are being done with a longtime friend and covenmate, and are intended to give me a chance to try out some things before settling into a pattern (and to give her a chance to get a chance to try out some new things). And, of course, the “Not quite sure where I’m going to end up job-wise, so can’t make longer-term plans yet.”

We’re both excited.

Tomorrow’s working is by way of being a preparatory working – setting up some patterns for future use, so that we don’t need to do it next month (when we actually will need it for one of our tradition-specific rituals). We’re also trying out a new circle cast (that I finished Wednesday), new quarter calls, and maybe some new other things. We wanted to start simple, before we get to the more complex work coming up. (You can tell that she’s an engineer by training, and I’m a librarian: we prefer our change in stages where we can isolate what happened if something goes wacky.)

I have bread rising (a variant of my spice and honey loaf that I hope will work), and I’m now comfortably trying to figure out last minute details. But there’s always last minute details.

1) Do we want to try a new chant or two? Which ones? Should I make a mix CD of background music for some of this?

2) What do I want to wear, and how does that set the tone for what we do going forward? (Hey, by this point, I have a range of ritual clothing.) What jewelry do I want to wear, and what are the ritual implications of it? (I have a number of specifically dedicated or focus pieces.)

3) Thinking about various parts of what I’m responsible for tomorrow, and how I want to approach them (quarter calls, deity call, etc.) Have I forgotten anything? I’m a big fan of “Begin as you mean to go on” these days, so I want to make sure I think of things in advance.

4) Remembering to pack various and sundry things. (We are, for the time being, alternating locations between her home and mine.)

Plan A and Plan B

I just had what will be my last Sabbat (for a while, anyway) with the group I’ve been working with since 2001. That makes today a good time to talk more about Plan A and Plan B (and Plan Riff Until Ready)

Everyone in the group I’ve worked with since 2001 knows I’m hiving: it’s something I feel strongly called to do. I’ve talked about that recently.

There’s only one problem.

I have no earthly idea *where* my next job is going to be.Which is why my “I’m hiving” practical steps get a little tricky.

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Recent planning

So, Wednesday night, I showed up at my friend L’s house, and in the hour before we left for our evening meeting, we came up with a plan.

Our basic outline:

We currently have 6 rituals planned out through Beltane:

  • February 16th : A full moon
  • March 8th: A tradition specific one
  • March 20th: Combined spring equinox (the 19th) and full moon (the 21st)
  • April 5th: A new moon
  • May 3rd: Beltane

I’m going to stop attending rituals with my current group on March 7th, but L’s going to continue ritual with them for the time being, so part of our scheduling is about not requiring her to be in two places at the same time.

We also need to schedule an evening of prep work for the March 8th ritual: this may not be a full blown ritual set-up, though.

Our goals:

Our immediate goals look something like this:

Goal 1) A regular ritual cycle.

We’re eventually aiming for Sabbats, full moons, and some sort of shared practice or focus for new moons (but not necessarily a group ritual or even getting together.) You’ll notice that this isn’t there yet. That’s because of goal 2.

Goal 2) Not overwhelming ourselves.

We want time to think about each ritual, and to have time to deconstruct and fiddle and play with things in the planning stages. (Plus, we’re starting from scratch on these, in many ways.) We also are working around L’s ongoing commitments elsewhere.

Thus, we’re aiming at 1-2 rituals per month for the immediate future (and expecting we’ll be getting together for dinner to talk and plan more often.) The fact that the Sabbats and full moons are tending to line up close together in early 2008 doesn’t hurt here, actually (especially after avoiding whatever day the current group is scheduled for.)

Goal 3) To spend these rituals doing some work toward determining ongoing deity work.

Core discussions about the tradition have come down to the agreement that our initiatory deities should be the same, but that moons and Sabbats are open to other combinations than we currently work with. I am fond of those deities, but not particularly pulled towards them (and L feels the same way), so exploration seems in order.

Discussion and thought has lead us toward three potential pairs (possibly with a summer/winter model or exchange), and so our first four rituals are going to include work with each of them in turn. At that point, we’ll evaluate and see if there’s something we want to have turn into a longer-running set of work/exploration, or not.

Goal 4) To share ritual writing and responsibility for the time being.

Eventually, I’d like to go to a more complex model, but for two people, collaboration is great and in many ways, ideal. We are going to explore how 2 person rituals are different from rituals designed for 8-20 people (the sizes we have the most experience with.) and I expect to write quite a lot more about that as we try things out.

What’s after that?

I’m desperately hoping that I’ll have a good idea of long-term job choices by Beltane, in which case we can move forward with longer-term plans. We do not want to open up to other potential members, never mind potential students, until we’re sure I’m going to stay in the area.

If we don’t know where I’ll be by early April, we’ll schedule some more, and come up with some other things to try. (One we know we want to do, but that isn’t currently scheduled, is a Roman feast, complete with garum, or at least as close an approximation as we’re going to get.)

The thing we’re not worried about is seeing each other for discussion: I’ve ended up over there for dinner about every third week, easily, and it’s something we enjoy a tremendous amount. Or tea. Or walking. Or gardening, when it stops being winter.