hth: (Hth the 2nd)
[personal profile] hth
Other than some dilettanting with other groups and on our own, A. and I have primarily practiced in the ADF tradition, and part of its foundational values is open and public ritual. ADF groves are required to hold public ritual on the customary neo-pagan 8 Wheel-of-the-Year holidays, but for the many years since we left the Atlanta area and our former Grove there, we've chosen to uphold the tradition in our small way by making it known to our pagan and pagan-friendly friends that anyone is welcome to come along with us for any High Day they like. We usually have our friend Lisa in attendance -- Lisa isn't pagan herself, but enjoys the High Day energy and faithfully serves as our Grove Photographer, taking amazing pictures on her trusty iPhone. (One of these days, I'll post some of our back catalog; Lisa has an amazing eye for composition, and she makes our ritual spaces look much artsier than they really are!) Sometimes we have another person or two, a newbie pagan or someone from a different tradition who wants to See What We Do, but traditionally Bull Moon rituals have been "public" in theory and hearth-centered in fact.

A couple of years ago, A. started doing what I think of as public ritual 2.0 -- not a ritual where people are invited to join us necessarily, but rituals that take place *in public.* Her inner Roman/city girl locates civic spaces as holy ground, and she's done some amazing work in developing ritual that can be performed in public space. I'm trying to get her to post some details here about her Ludi Plebeii experiences in Durham's City Plaza, and she and our Wiccan HPS friend Amanda have collaborated to bring some ritual blessings to the Moral Monday protests at the capitol in Raleigh.

Now all of a sudden I feel like we're launching into 3.0 -- actual-facts ritual for the public. I'm writing a new autumn equinox ritual for Gaia's Circle, the community ritual group that we sometimes attend. We hosted one ritual for Gaia's Circle previously, but just by inviting folks to join our regular ADF-style Imbolc ritual; this is the first time I've designed something specifically for Gaia's Circle, with an eye toward making it satisfying for the eclectic membership. Now that our grove liturgy has pretty well stabilized, I haven't had any need to write new rituals from scratch for quite some time, and I'm having a lot of fun with it, finding ways to marry the design principles of California Eclectic Wicca with the polytheist devotional work that's Bull Moon's wheelhouse. We've also been invited to present an evening ritual at Thaumaturgy 777, our friendly neighborhood occult store/botanica. That'll probably happen in October, and will be a "working ritual" designed to bring people into greater awareness of the spiritual dimensions of our local landscape, and hopefully to make initial contact with some well-disposed local landspirits. I'm working off of a base of the "spirit art" rituals designed by Ian Corrigan, who has definitely been a major influence on my magical style, inasmuch as I have such a thing.

I feel like this is a big leap into a new world for us. We've talked a lot about wanting to be there for the pagan community in Durham -- and about wanting there to be a pagan community in Durham that can be there for others -- and after a lot of semi-patient prodding by the Gods and the Ungods, I think we're finally moving toward it in small but measurable ways. I'm having to learn and relearn a lot about building ritual and scaling it up effectively. Maybe someday we'll be able to put on full-on community ritual theater here in Durham. (Not saying that ritual in particular does it for me personally, but great muppety Zeus, you have to be in awe of the love and labor that went into it. On that level, it's deeply inspiring.)
hth: (Hth the 2nd)
[personal profile] hth
As Alisa likes to remind me, the Roman summertime was campaign season, hence her gearing up of Mars devotions and outward-turning Conquest of Obstacles during the summer months. While she has so far resisted the urge to conquer and subjugate the barbarian in her living room (that's me! hello!), the Hearth is definitely experiencing a mobilization of our energetic legions.

The theme is civic engagement over on Alisa's end (she keeps turning up those Kings of Wands). She's been a regular at Moral Monday protests, although she has so far resisted my every attempt to goad her into getting arrested. People's Durham, a small but very cool local group, has a strong investment in public education but a staff that's fairly overextended, so Alisa (who is a former education reporter and now works for an education nonprofit) is helping them out by evaluating some recent local initiatives to reverse NC's traumatic pitch forward into widening the school-to-prison pipeline, to see if there's any way that People's Durham can be of service. I'll let her be the one to post more about the connection between her experience of Roman paganism and her commitment to voting rights and the democratic process, but it's definitely work that she and I are both supporting on the spiritual and esoteric levels as well as through her direct action.

As usual, I'm holding down the more mystic side of our little universe while Alisa is being organized and productive. After spending a couple of years in "I really ought to write a book" space, I'm actually starting to do it. The book is untitled, but it'll be on the subject of what I'm calling, for lack of a better term, "feminist druidry," mining the intersection of my backgrounds in polytheist/reconstructionist-derived paganism and goddess spirituality, and hopefully proving thoroughly obnoxious only to *almost* everyone in both camps rather than *absolutely* everyone. Right now I'm in the outlining phase while I bang away at the final chapters of my first novel, and we'll see what happens from there.

There's more in the fermentation stage, as we're conspiring with some other local pagans to create some networks here in Durham. This is an incredibly progressive, environmentalist community with a huge amount of energetic bounce and sizzle, and yet pagans here are relatively isolated, all doing their own things without much contact as a community. My hometown, which is less than half the size of Durham alone (never mind Chapel Hill and other adjacent townships) *and also in Missouri* has a fantastic community resource that's been around for over a decade (not sure how much over; their current bylaws were adopted in 2006, but I was involved with them before I moved away in 2001, so they're at least that old). Hearthfires is very much a model for what I'd like to see Durham have, although obviously it'll develop its own character and mission that's relevant to the needs of the land and community here.

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October 2013

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