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Archive for the ‘Nine Waves’ Category

So ADF ritual has two main phases – an offerings phase, where we send all our love, devotion, and offerings through the portals into the otherworld, and a blessings phase, where we accept blessings in a “return flow” from the otherworld. Those blessings are concentrated into a sacred drink, called (usually) the Waters of Life.

Originally the Waters of Life were whiskey (or sometimes water). ADF ritual has expanded to include mead and other alcoholic beverages. The alcohol represents the “life” part. As Nine Waves got started, we typically had mead for our Waters of Life, since that fit with our hearth culture and was tasty.

However, a few things happened that got me thinking about including alcohol in our rituals:

  1. We now meet in a park that does not allow alcohol
  2. We now have an underage regular ritual attendee, and in Texas it is VERY illegal for us to give him even a sip of alcohol
  3. I have circled in the past with recovering alcoholics, who would not be able to partake of our blessings
  4. I myself am on medication that is contraindicated with alcohol, so I was dancing with danger already
  5. There is nothing in ADF ritual guideline that specifies that the Waters of Life must be alcoholic
  6. There was a spirited discussion on the ADF Facebook group about the topic, where several good arguments were made

We figured we could do two things – we could have two cups/mead horns, one with actual mead, and one with water (which presents a logistical issue, even in a group of only 10 people, and would still be breaking the rules of the park where we meet), or we could just go with a non-alcoholic option.

One of the best posts on the ADF Facebook discussion came from Ceisiwr Serith, who spoke of making his own sacred drink for rituals. His recipe included barley (which I can’t consume, having celiac disease) but it got me thinking about ways to make a sacred drink that we could all enjoy, that would feel special (since that’s important), but wouldn’t exclude anyone.

So I went digging for recipes, and came across some recipes for “soft mead” – basically honey water. And I got creative, and came up with the following:

Spiced Sacred Drink

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves

Juice the lemons and toss them – peel, juice and all – into a large, non-aluminum pot with all the other ingredients. Cover and place over very low heat (do not allow to boil) for up to 3 hours, stirring frequently. Remove the lemons, and let sit for up to another 3 hours. Strain and serve warm or at room temperature.

Nine Waves was, overall, very skeptical of my creation. They liked having mead, the alcoholic “life” was important, and it felt special to us to share mead from our mead horn together. But they humored me, and I have, I must say, converted them all. This is extremely tasty, especially warm on a cold night around a campfire, and it requires preparation and is “special” – I only make it for our rituals. And we now don’t have to worry about new people being averse to anything (other than a possible allergy to any of the sacred drink ingredients) or not being able to consume alcohol.

It’s a win for everyone. (And it really is tasty.)

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It is with great excitement (and only a little abject terror) that I get to announce that the Clear Lake Druidic Study Group has chosen to branch out, and has been accepted as a new Protogrove in ADF. I am ostensibly the Grove Organizer, but as I am more interested in service/ministry/spiritual stuff, I have taken it upon myself to welcome volunteers to be in charge of things like “budgets” and “bylaws”.

We’re working on a website, and have a Facebook group (two things which seem to be required for group legitimacy these days).

Our name – Nine Waves – comes from a couple of sources. First, we are a coastal protogrove, and so an ocean reference seemed appropriate. Second, we work mostly in the northern hearth (Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic), and our chosen gatekeeper is Heimdall/Hama, who is said to be the son of nine waves. Third, we all thought it sounded nice (which is always important when naming things).

Not a whole lot has changed so far – we’re still meeting every Friday for coffee and study group, but we now have business meetings each month, and we’re working on some publicity stuff. ADF stresses open ritual – PUBLIC open ritual, to be exact – and so part of our job as a Protogrove is to let people know that we will be hosting High Days, and where to find us.

We don’t have a permanent ritual location yet, since it’s hard to find a place that works in both good weather and bad, but we did find a fairly large gazebo at a local park that worked nicely for Ostara. The only problem with it so far is a complete lack of electricity, and no place to build an actual fire, but candles are okay. (Note: Grove Ritual Organization Box needs a small supply of book lights for evenings when it gets dark during ritual.)

If you had told me three years ago when I joined ADF that I’d be part of ADF leadership, I probably would have laughed at you, but the change has been slow and steady, and I’ve learned a lot through running the study group. I hope I’m up to the task of leading a protogrove. I made an oath at our Ostara ritual that, barring crazy unforeseen acts, I would lead the PG for three years (unless they throw me out). I’m excited to see what kind of a community we can build in three years. There are 4 founding members of the protogrove, which is pretty neat (as that’s enough to be a chartered grove eventually), and I hope we only build from there.

 

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