Our Yule planning began when we were planning Samhain when
Norma pulled a volume of Mother Goose out of her posterior and it fell
open to a tongue-twister called The Leith Police. Erica
suggested we use it as an Outsiders offering, and though it was inappropriate
for Samhain, it seemed like a good way to lighten ourselves up for Yule.
We began collecting any bits of tongue-twister or riddle or goofiness
we could find.
After a discussion of Deities, we decided that this would be a good
time to honor Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles. The festival of Five-Faced
Ganesh occurs around the winter solstice, and is celebrated by local
Hindus. The holiday is a newer Hindu holiday and encompasses a lot of
old European Pagan solstice traditions.
had been interviewed over the phone by a reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger,
a large, regional paper, and a photographer showed up the Moons
Day before the ritual. Norma appeared in the centerfold of the Weekend
Magazine on Friggas Day, resplendent in red hair and Druid robes.
Also accompanying the article was an inset photo of our Green Man mask.
In spite of heavy rain & floods, we had 24 people. Just before the
pre-ritual briefing, a huge double rainbow broke across the sky to the
north! It was full and thick and bright against the dark clouds
a really good omen.
It turned out to be a happy, playful ritual. As our Senior Druid said
before the ritual began, We keep saying that the Gods have a sense
of humor trust Green Man to test it!
Ganeshs candle was lit first (traditional in any Hindu ritual),
and then Parvatis (Ganeshs mom), and then a candle for Laxshmi
on Ganeshs right (because its traditional to light a candle
for the Goddess of Luck).
Norma explained what we were doing. Al the Wandering Druid invoked the
Earth Mother, known to the rest of the world as Mother Earth.
(Why do we call her the Earth Mother?) and we recited a
Mother Goose ryme There was an old woman lived under a hill, and
if shes not gone, shes living there still... Norma
led a hairy meditation (Theres a party going on inside your
body...) and described the season and the rationale for what we
were attempting. I riffed on the dubious Druid horizontal cosmological
directions, making them more local and site-specific (In the east,
we have Mrs. Masons house. Shes in Plainsboro visiting her
daughter. Theres also the Hospital parking lot, which may or may
not conform to city zoning ordinances...)
Pattie invoked the well, held up a cue card, and we all recited (or,
attempted to recite) beautiful babbling brooks bubble between
blossoming banks. Hillary invoked the sacred fire, and we attempted
to sing fire flow through me, fire flow free really fast
until it came out as flee flow froo me flie flo fweeee.
Kat invoked the Bilé, and we tried six slim slick saplings
Then Xuk intoned in a monotone baritone, We control the horizontal,
we control the vertical, do not attempt to adjust your metaphysical
space. We did not.
humble scribe invoked Manannan Mac Lir, Keeper of the Ways, Guardian
of the Gates, Son of the Sea, and he appeared tap-dancing on 3 legs
across the sea, opening the curtains of the clouds for us. We recited
The seething seas ceaseth, and thus the seething seas sufficeth
us six times. Then Pattie and I sang man- na- na- nan do-
do-dododo from Sesame Street® as others
Manannan has done a lot for us over the years, and has put up with a
lot, and we have 2 rituals planned especially for him this coming year.
Norma opened the gates. Erica finally got to make the outsiders offering
shed been wanting to make since before Samhain (and with a chorus!):
The Leith Police dismisseth us... which is too involved
to go into here.
Lady Sue invoked Brigit, and read through all of Brigit bought
a bit of butter.... without a flaw. It turns out that when Sue
was an actress, this was one of her voice-training exercises!
Norma invoked the Ancestors (Bring out yer dead!) and we
recited a bombastic scary Beowulf-like ryme that will remain a Green
Man secret until we can use it on other groves and in other rituals.
Xuk came up with a great rhyming thing for the Nature Spirits, and after
that we recited one warm worm wears wool which turned out
to be pretty easy. Connie invoked the Goddesses and Gods as a class,
and we all shouted the names of our Patrons and Patronesses as we sang
The Name Game Song.
invoked Ganesh and Parvati, telling the story of how Ganesh got his
elephant head, and how he came to be worshiped first in the Hindu pantheon.
We recited Ganesh is an excellent, benevolent elephant and
Its pretty Parvati, Ganeshs Mommys party!
Praise followed. Sue led us all in Theres a hole in the
bottom of the sea. Hillary led us in reciting Jabberwocky (from
memory!) Norma explained that although she was not the fig-plucker,
nor the fig-pluckers son, she would pluck our figs until the fig-plucker
comes. Badger Girl, in a tribute to Marcel Duchamp (or, maybe Marcel
Marceau), read her praise offering silently. I dont know what
she read, but it was fabulous. I read a poem and danced in a ring until
the cords on my robe dropped around my ankles. Erica read an Ogden Nash
poem about Medusa, and Marcia read a ryme that shed created on
the rainy drive down the parkway to the ritual, a limerick that rymed
Parvati with harvati.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, including the kindreds and
guests of honor. There was even more praise, I think. We ended up reciting
We surely shall see the sun shine soon! Norma performed
the main sacrifice, a bit of holiday greenery treated to the Druid triple
death. Our omen was received from Lewis Carroll, stitchomantically conjured
by Pattie: Im sure Ill take you with pleasure,
the Queen said, Two-pence a week and jam every other day.
We concluded that the omen was way good, and we launched into
a raucous puja, forever losing our chance to sing 99 waters of
life on the wall.
participant got a chance to stop drumming and spend some personal face-time
with the elephant god, with his rat and umbrella, and ply him with coconut
milk, ganges water, flowers, indian candies, peanuts and such...
As the puja wound down, we thanked all and closed the gates, reciting
A brother to his brother did utter, Go my brother and shut
the shutter. The shutters shut, the brother
did utter, I cannot shut it any shutter.
The ritual ended, food and drink were copiously fed and drunk.
All in all, a happy, warm, bright and funny ritual that brought us all
together laughing and singing as the winds blew down the street and
the temperature dropped below freezing. Tho the Iceman cometh, our spirits
Edwin Chapman, Grove Scribe