Fest!

Jul. 25th, 2013 04:03 pm
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For anyone of a Druidic bent, the Solitary Druid Fellowship has its liturgy for Lughnasadh/Lammas/etc. up. I'm not doing it quite yet (it's not time) but I wrote out my adapted script; I will be honoring Lugh and Tailtiu. (Current plan is to honor Gaulish gods at the solar festivals, Irish gods at the fire festivals.)

BTW, SDF is Indo-European Druidry (affiliated with ADF) so not just for the Celtic-focused. Just FYI.
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Only two months later, I've decided to renew my ADF membership after all. I don't plan to become active, and I didn't subscribe to Oak Leaves. But I find that I do want to continue to support the organization.

And...ADF changes, you know? It's not the same organization it was when we joined, lo those many years ago. (Well, 1999. That's kind of many years. :)) (Although, since I no longer read any of the lists, I suppose I don't really know what sort of organization it is currently. But I think my point stands.)

What I mean is that I think it's a good group with good people, and while it may no longer be my main connection with the heathen/pagan world, I am not ready to say that what it has to offer has no value to me. And I met so many great people there, many of whom I still know here on Livejournal.

(Also I am a packrat. I am sure that has something to do with it.)
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I downloaded my email this afternoon--haven't read it all yet--and discovered that one of the ADF lists (Dedicant's, I think) is back on the animal sacrifice thing.

Within ADF you'd think it would be a non-issue because it's simply not permitted as a part of any ADF ritual.

You'd also think that any discussion of the issue would have to do with analyzing the role it played in ancient cultures--what purpose it served--and how that role and purpose could be achieved via different means within ADF today. And some of the discussion was about that topic, but far more of it was of the "animal sacrifice is just icky and you're disgusting for even trying to understand the reason behind it!" sort.

One person even stated that not only was such a thing unheard of in the neopagan community (which might well be true, it's certainly not part of mainstream neopaganism, but of course I am not familiar with every possible neopagan religion), but that reconstructionists don't do it either--and that is simply untrue. AFAIK it has not been done as a part of any Hellenic recon ritual, but I know of a number of Asatru/heathen groups that hold animal blots on a regular, semiregular, or occasional basis. These are of course private rituals, and far from common, but they do happen.

I can understand why a lot of folks think that the practice is impractical today--and it is, for most people and in most places. But we're not all urban pagans. If you look out your window and see houses apartment buildings, stores and/or the occasional gas station, you probably don't want to be trying to do an animal blot. If, on the other hand, you look out the window (as I am doing now) and see fields and forests, and no neighbors within shouting distance, the idea seems more feasible. Please note that I am not a farmer. (There is a barn out back but it's long been unused for its original purpose. Great for storing stuff, though!) I will not be performing any animal blots myself--I'm not qualified. But I have absolutely no problem with someone who is qualified doing so, or with attending such a blot myself. (Just not in an ADF context, of course! :))
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Yesterday Dan and I were talking about pagan groups and organizations. I still hold to my belief that human interaction is optimal within small groups. We build large ones because we need them, because we have developed into a society that needs them, but they never do work all that well.

I'm not bashing the big groups (heck, I belong to three, although I'm not all that active in all of them)--I like them, and what they are good at, they are very good at. Generally speaking, the groups I'm familiar with (ADF, The Troth, Hellenion) are great for networking and for providing information on their respective religions, for educating members, and for training clergy. All the big-picture stuff.

What you can't get out of a large organization is spiritual experience and group identity/cohesiveness/that sense of "family." For that, you need a smaller group. And the large organizations recognize this--ADF is made up of solitaries and of groves, and, honestly, there is a lot that a sol is not going to get out of ADF because they lack the grove experience. Same with Hellenion, I suspect. Both of those groups are designed around the concept of group worship, and provide for the formation of official groups--groups that are a part of the larger organization, and that fact is underlined by whatever requirements the larger organization puts on them (public rituals, reporting requirements, particular holidays that must be celebrated, etc.). The Troth does it a little differently; there are Troth-affiliated groups but as far as I know The Troth does not attempt to control what these groups do in any strong sense--and it seems to be more a matter of existing groups choosing to affiliate with the larger organization rather than smaller groups originating as a group of the larger organization.

My personal feeling these days is that, while I find my as-an-individual memberships in these groups rewarding, I am really not interested in affiliating as a group with any large organization. I like being autonomous--I like it that the only considerations as to what to do and how to do it are the preferences of our group. I just don't see any benefits to joining a larger organization as a group that would override the advantages of being a single unit, not at this point, at least.

But I know I could be thinking this because of having been part of a failed ADF protogrove--which is to say, the group stopped being a part of ADF. We existed for several years before then, and we are still going strong, several years later. Over time, we changed. I don't foresee any substantive changes in the future because we seem to have reached our home base as a heathen kindred. And the particular group of people was/is more important than any identification with a particular organization could be. What was important was finding a way that we-as-a-group could work together to honor the gods.
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I've been following the discussion of animal sacrifice on one of the ADF lists, and it's been interesting. I think they may have shut down the thread as off-topic because no official ADF ritual may include animal sacrifice (or blood sacrifice of any sort, IIRC), which is reasonable given ADF's history and philosophy, not to mention its focus on public worship (and the accompanying need for good PR!), and I don't think anyone was recommending that ADF should allow or condone it.

Where I would have a problem would be if ADF tried to assert this sort of control over their members' private practice, since many ADFers are members of other religions in addition to ADF's unique brand of neopagan druidry--a number are Wiccan, others are various types of reconstructionist, and as long as they don't try to combine it with ADF liturgy in an official rit, it's no problem. Fortunately, ADF has never had any interest in monitoring its members' spirituality outside of ADF. (I personally do not practice ADF-style ritual, finding other systems more personally rewarding, but I have a great fondness for other aspects of the organization. Admittedly I tend to swing a bit toward the recon side of things. :))

I do know folks who do or have done animal sacrifice. I have not yet been to one myself, but I certainly have no objection to it, because in the cases I'm familiar with it has been done by someone who raises their own animals for food already, and the only thing different about the sacrifice is that it is done in the context of ritual rather than in a purely secular manner. I don't think it would ever be a common thing (most Asatruar blot with mead for a reason--practicality) because most people don't live on farms (thus no animals) and don't have the experience or skill to do it properly. However, if you are going to be feasting on the home-grown pork or mutton anyway, I don't see why it would be a problem to kill the animal in a religous context, in which the life taken is especially honored. The only arguments against it that I can see would be the same ones that are against eating meat in general--and, as one who eats meat, I have not personally found those to be compelling. There may be something I am missing here, of course, since I know I've only skimmed over some of the discussion.
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16 dozen chocolate cookies with cherries and chocolate chips
10 dozen brown rim cookies
8 dozen pfefferneusse
6 dozen chocolate crinkles

15 dozen chocolate pecan sugar cookies
9 dozen Mexican wedding cakes
16 dozen molasses cookies
16 dozen chocolate cookies with way too many chips in them
12 dozen M&M cookies
7 dozen hermits
10 dozen peanut butter kisses
10 dozen snickerdoodles
12 dozen chocolate chip cookies
5 1/2 dozen sugar cookies
12 dozen butterscotch oatmeal cookies

Okay, now my feet hurt.

And now we have to sort and pack most of them for mailing. That plus wrapping younger daughter's birthday presents should take me until the wee hours.

So I think I might not make it to ADF chat tonight, although I'll be there if I can.
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I'm spending the day trying to catch up on various things. I did some ADF office mail; it's a challenge when I'm reading email on one computer and using the web on another (and all my notes for doing it are on my computer which doesn't currently have an internet connection!). And I'm straightening up around the house a bit. It's a grey day, not very inspiring--well, that's not quite true, it inspires me to sit and read a book and not accomplish anything! but I'm avoiding that inspiration so far.
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Early to bed is the plan :). I was up far too late last night trimming half-square triangle units (a quilting thing--I make them too big and trim them to size, since I'm somewhat more accurate cutting than I am sewing :)). I'm afraid I'm no longer too optimistic about finishing this thing on time, but hopefully it won't be too terribly late. I'm hoping to get the trimming done in a day or two and then start assembling the top.

It's going to be a long week :).

My rosebushes (they only bloom once a year but it's pretty spectacular) are starting to drop their blossoms. I think that's it for my flowers. I guess I should plant something that blooms a bit later--not that we have much of a growing season here to work with.

We're skipping drum circle tonight. Well, I tend to skip it anyway--I'm afraid I lost interest at about the same time that (or possibly because :)) some of the others started to get more serious and try to actually learn how to do it instead of just feeling their way. But the rest of my family is skipping it as well, means they're here, which is nice but distracting. I'm in ADF chat now, which is usually fun, but I'm too tired to focus on two conversations tonight.

As I said, early to bed :).
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I managed to finish cutting the batiks in time to get to ADF chat (now to do the solids, which is much less interesting). Well, it's almost half the work of this part done.

And I've read the first three chapters of my new book and can already tell I'll be referring to it frequently. I am such a slave to books! "Buy me!" they say. And how can I turn them down? After all, books deserve a good home with someone who will love and appreciate them. Or "You don't have to clean the living room yet, there's plenty of time...reeeeeead me......" Yep, it's sad.
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I'm alone in ADF chat; looks like SorceryNet is up to it's old tricks, getting in at all was a challenge. If everyone is having this problem it could be a slow night! A good chance to multitask and catch up on some computer stuff, in that case.

My daughter came running in today, shouting that she had "escaped from school!" Until September, but when you're eight, three months might as well be three years. It'll be great to have her back home with me for a while, and the little one is thrilled, at least until she tires of big-sister bossiness.

I'm debating whether to plant tulips or daylilies in front of the house this fall. Tulips are less expensive, but they're strictly spring blooms, while if I choose wisely I can have daylilies most of the summer. Plus I've already got a small bed of spring bulbs out front. Hm, maybe I'm done debating :).
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