Hi there, I've been a solitary, eclectic pagan for about 20 years, off & on. I have always felt the draw of the Goddess & have acknowledged Her even when I really wasn't practicing. I'm not Wiccan & I really don't strictly follow a Celtic or Asatru path. I'm not into a lot of New Age hoo-ha that has infiltrated Paganism. I'm currently reading into the 1734 Tradition & Clan of Tubal Cain. I read books on Traditional Witchcraft, the Occult, The Robert Cochrane Letters, Evan John Jones, Doreen Valiente, Robin Artisson, Peter Paddon. I'm on a few Yahoo groups devoted to these topics, as well as others. I tend to stay away Llewellyn books, as I tend to find them on the "Fluffy" side of things. I'm currently learning all about the lost art of Enchantment through gesture & Visceral Magick. I am also a student of Southern & Appalachian Conjure.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go to a local Mabon Ritual in Point Pleasant Park. It was a beautiful autumn day, the sun was shining, the air was warm, the sky clear. I arrived at the park an hour before the time scheduled, so I could go to my favorite little place where I like to be still with my thoughts. I saw a couple of birds splashing in the cool water a few feet away from me. I could feel the magic in the air already, I knew that this day was going to be special.
I had prepared earlier that day by making homemade mac & cheese for the potluck, some loaves of bread and getting things in order. I slipped into the bath for a ritual bath with some scented water, while my son played his math game on the computer. I did a meditation and asked the Goddess for a blessing. I was told that today I was going to meet some who would have an effect on me. With this is mind, I set out for the park with Heather Alexander on my iPod and a good book to read on the bus.
About the time when the ritual was set to start, no one was where I was waiting. Did I go to the wrong place in the park?? It seemed so, I looked on a map and saw that I needed to go to the other side of the park to get to the rit on time. It's a fact in the Pagan community that nothing really starts on time, but I still don't like to be late for anything. So, I hustled my butt across the park, uphill carrying my food. I finally found where I was to go, thanks to a couple dressed in their robes setting up the ritual space. I went over to a picnic table and set down my food and sat down where a friend offered me a bottle of water. I was kinda sweaty & out of breath from rushing to get there.
After a bit, we got things rolling by casting the circle, whilst chanting. This was a different take on the ritual as it was a Dionysian type ritual. At one point after hearing the story of Pomona, we all were given an apple half with a coin (wrapped in saran wrap) pushed inside the core, hanging by a thread. We had to try to get the coin out of out neighbor's apple with as few bites as possible, taking turns. What a way to get to know the person standing next to you...mine just happened to be the guy I was on a blind date with.
After the ritual ended, we all sat down to where ever there was a spot free to eat all the delicious food from Earth's bounty (or the local grocery store). There were meats, cheeses, breads, hummous, corn bread, etc. This was a feast!! For the desserts there were apple crisp, cinnamon rolls, cake, apples, etc. My poor stomach was not a huge as my eyes, but I tried a bit of everything.
The people at the ritual were very nice, and someone from my facebook came over to talk to me. She was cool, we shared a few laughs while we ate. Talked about the joys of dating again, in front of my blind date. I just hope he didn't feel awkward about out discussion. I don't think he did, as he was putting his 2 cents in, too. So, overall, I had a great day at the ritual, learned some new things, met some cool people (blind date incl) and lots of laughs (even during the ritual).