As I as on my way to Skye I missed our Alban Elfed ritual, but Badger has very kindly agreed to let us know what went on and Ruth has supplied a photo of the altar!
‘The Grove observed Alban Elfed on Sunday 22nd September, a gloriously warm day that felt more like mid-summer than the beginning of autumn. A number of regulars couldn’t make it this time, but a turn out of eight celebrated an exuberant, fun ritual, prepared and lead by Mark Buxton, who stepped in at short notice. As our Wiccan friends might say, ‘reverence and mirth in equal measure’.
This was the first rite at which some of the Setantii had undertaken to deepen their relationship with a particular ritual role for a year and a day. In this capacity, Amy fulfilled her part as a keeper of the Northern Gates and Clare as a keeper of the Southern Gates, intensifying their respective relationships with Earth and Fire. Badger, having embarked on a bardic role of learning by heart and reciting a poem appropriate to each seasonal festival, left the fire-brand at home, no doubt to the relief of some.
The ceremony allowed an opportunity for personal reflection and the intimate atmosphere encouraged several of those attending to step forward and share heartfelt thoughts about the passing year, at this, traditionally the last ceremony of the Celtic old year. It also included a wee Eisteddfod in which yours truly, the Badger, recited his first poem (see below) – an autumnal ‘mash-up’ of 19th Century romanticism meeting 1960s hippiedom and blending as one! Anyone interested can try to work out which bits are Emily Brontë’s and which are Robin Williamson and the Incredible String Band’s (no Googling now).
As boys will be boys, the ceremony also included a scrap between the Holly King and the Oak King, which the Holly King won by two falls, a submission and a knock-out. The ritual fight must have presented a curious spectacle to the odd unsuspecting dog walker who strayed our way!
The squirrels were a bit thin on the ground but there is now a triad of Mustelids represented on the altar, a wee badger having arrived!
The ceremony was followed by the customary picnic and a good heart-to-heart natter for a number of us, whilst others reclined on the green sward (i.e. slobbed-out) and enjoyed the sun.
This is my October song,
Oh, there is no song before it.
The words I speak are not of my own,
But my joys and sorrows bore it.
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
The fallen leaves that jewel the ground,
They know the art of dying,
And leave with joy their glad gold hearts,
In the scarlet shadows lying.
And I shall dance when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.’
I’m sorry to have missed it, it sounds like a great afternoon! Thanks very much for the guest post Badger 🙂