We had our Alban Hefyn ritual yesterday evening. It was strange to be in the park at a different time to usual, it was so empty and peaceful. It had been dull and overcast all day and it looked like it could pour down any minute as we made our way to the Grove.
There were only the four of us. UrbanDruid, Boabab and myself, plus a lovely lady called Giovanna who had travelled over from Sheffield on the train to join us. She is an American student who is studying archaeology at the Uni.
We decided to to the ‘official’ OBOD rite, it meant we each had three or four parts, but it all flowed seamlessly. It was nice that there were at least the four of us for the Directions though.
On the way up we noticed the park authorities had cut up the huge branch that had fallen from the copper beech and Giovanna volunteered to carry a section of it up to the Grove, so we could use it in our rituals, as an altar or a centrepiece. Afterwards we carefully rolled it under the rhodedendrons, to join the slabs of rock I had brought from home last time, and which we use to stop the fire bowls from scorching the grass.
It was only when we started preparing everything that we realised that none of us had brought lighters or matches. I usually have two or three with me but had cleared out my bag and Baobab had given hers to a bunch of teenagers on the way over. After Giovanna’s attempts to produce fire from a coin and a battery failed, Baobab was sent out to find a dog walker who smoked. Since we hadn’t spotted another soul for sometime, the chances seemed slim but she returned with a lighter – and assured us she hadn’t hurt anyone to get it! They wanted it back so we lit all the ’emergency’ tealights from my rucksack in case the candle blew out and then proceeded to burn our fingers trying to get the charcoal discs to light. It was really weird that on this, the biggest of the fire festivals, we should all turn up with no means to create any. It certainly gave us time to think about how much we take the ability to produce heat and warmth for granted.
The rest of the ceremony went without hitch – well as much as a Setantii ritual ever does, there was giggling again *sigh* but at least this time it wasn’t me! It is the imps that make us do it.
The sun managed to peek out during the ritual so we were bathed in light around the time of our salutations to it, which was wonderful. We had decided on passing on the picnic this time and as it was getting so cloudy and cold we passed on Baobab’s offer of yoga lessons too – we were going to to the Sun Salutation which would have been very apt. Instead we headed off to the ornamental ‘cave’ in the gardens for a sit down and a chat. We had just about parked our bums when the heavens opened.
We had a great time catching up and putting the world to right, but all to soon we had to up and leave.