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I conducted my Maitag ritual in midafternoon on Friday, May 3. I specifically took half a day’s vacation for this, since doing a ritual after work seems to cause me to struggle with grounding. This was a solitary ADF style ritual that followed the Core Order of Ritual. I used a combination of sources to create this ritual, including the Solitary Ritual Outline on ADF’s website, a published Maitag ritual, and the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s Beltane devotional supplement. I honored Nerthus as the Earth Mother, Heimdall as the gatekeeper, and Frey and Freyja as the Deities of the Occasion. I brought incense for the fire, but forgot the silver for the well (oops!), and mead and poetry for the kindreds and honored deities.

I am really glad I took the time to put together a ritual I liked out of bits and pieces of other published rituals. I still haven’t made the (seemingly insurmountable) step of completely crafting a ritual from scratch, but I added in some sections that I just thought worked really well from rituals I’d done in the past. I will continue to use that language going forward, specifically the language and hand motions I used to open the gates after invoking the gatekeeper. I totally forgot about using the two powers to feed the opening gate, but I will try to remember to use that imagery going forward.

That said, I definitely got little chills once I got the gate open. I think my greater familiarity with this ritual and my increasing familiarity with the CoOR in general is helping with my ability to connect. (I also am having a much lower anxiety level today, and that helped as well.) My grounding and centering took much less time than I’d expected to reach a stable light trance. My overall focus was good as well, though I didn’t maintain the trance state all the way through the ritual. That will take practice.

I also think I like the SDF calling of the Kindreds better than the one I used this time, so I’ll be using that in the future.

This was my first ritual with my new tools, and I think they work swimmingly. Instead of a ton of small bowls for offerings, I now have one large bowl to collect the offerings (which is MUCH easier to handle) and my new goblet works splendidly for pouring offerings out to the Kindreds. I also purchased some new incense to use, and I am extremely pleased with it. It’s available on etsy, and I can’t recommend the seller highly enough. There was a problem with my shipment, and after two weeks she shipped me a second one – rush delivery – to make sure I’d have it in time for Beltane.

For the omens, I asked “What blessings do you have for me today?” and drew the following runes:

  • Ancestors: Tiwaz (Tyr): Guidance, Justice, Navigation – The right direction, spiritual guidance, the path that leads to right action and justice. The cosmic order is being maintained. Things will be set to right, so long as you live with deep integrity. Willingness to self-sacrifice for the greater good. Victory and success.
  • Nature Spirits: Jera (Year): Year, the harvest, hard work – Each is given their proper due in full measure, good or ill. The golden crop, sown in the past, has come to fruition and is now the full harvest; the results of earlier efforts are realized. Natural cycles will always spin, and the year will always turn again, but for now all is well. The order of the cosmos is maintained, and everyone reaps the benefits of hard work and has a chance to build a new harvest for next year.
  • Gods and Goddesses: Pertho (dice cup, vulva): Chance, the unknown – A secret thing, hidden matters, an unseen destiny. Initiation and the unknown changes it will bring. The gamble that is any new beginning. Female mysteries.

When I set my rune bag down, the following rune “jumped” out, so I am considering it part of the blessing:

  • Gebo (Gift): Gift, Reciprocity – You have given freely and will gain freely in return. The cosmos is in harmony, and you are working properly within it. Sacrifice and generosity, and the balance between them.

Since I asked essentially three separate questions this time, I feel that I’m being given three separate answers. That the Ancestors will provide guidance, justice and navigation – spiritual guidance and the knowledge of the right path to take forward. The Nature Spirits will grant a full blessing, and my hard work will be rewarded. (I hope this means my garden will do well!) The Gods and Goddesses have a hidden agenda for me, but I am on that path, and they will reveal it in time. Perhaps that will lead to an initiation, formal or informal, in time.

Having Gebo “jump out” at me suggests that my ritual was well received, and that my work on it was appreciated. I felt good about this ritual, and I think the Kindreds agreed. All the omens were fairly positive, and I am encouraged about continuing to figure out where my next step will be.

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To those not from central Texas, West sounds like a direction, not a town. But West, TX is a town about 20 miles north of Waco on Highway 35, a central point of the Czech population and home to a Czech festival, a number of fine bakeries and ethnic food stores and restaurants, and a number of good, hard working people.

Earlier this week, a massive series of explosions at the West Fertilizer Company leveled part of the town of West. The community of responders is still looking for people buried in the rubble.  Ammonium Nitrate is not something to mess with. Some reports say the search should be completed sometime today, but things look pretty grim.

Boston has (understandably) taken center stage this week, but the people of West are hurting as well, and their community will continue to hurt just like the other damaged communities will after this week (My heart goes out to those who are being evacuated for flooding in the midwest as well). The Yellowdog Grannie has some information from the front lines of the rescue work – you should go read her blog if you aren’t familiar with her.

I went to college in Waco, and frequently went to West for pastries. If you’ve never had a handmade kolache, you’re missing out. While I was glad to see that my favorite of the West bakeries – the Czech Stop – survived the blast, I am even more glad to see that they are actively involved in helping get people back on their feet and care for the first responders. My heart hurts for this town – a town that I knew only by association really – and for my inability to do more than donate a little money.

And so, like I did earlier this week (and am still doing) for Boston, I turn to prayer.

Great Freyja,
Who flew like a falcon over the whole earth in search of your lost husband,
Place your falcon cloak over the shoulders of those who search through burned homes and buildings
Bring them peace in their terrible work.

May your sharp eyes and swift wings speed their search
May they find those who yet live.
Strengthen their hearts, which are already full of care for the wounded,
And bless all those who would aid them.

May the dead be at peace, and their families comforted.
May the survivors be at peace, and their recovery swift.

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