2nd Annual Roving Summer Solstice Ritual
Good signs before the ritual: our city introducing itself to Mark (with
its lack of driveways and twisty streets) and Wolf from 3 Songs Grove in
Rochester NY sitting at our doorstep. 22 people in all. With Carol and Sandrock
staying to take care of the house and kitchen duties (thank you two!) we
headed out the back door and into the back yard.
Daphne chimed our chime and we began, Wolf invoking the Earth Mother. Good
choice for that: Wolf is an RDNA member as well as ADF and hes close
to Her. One of the best renditions of O Earth Mother that Ive
heard. Very nice invocation.
Norma gave us our meditation, I pointed out the horizontal directions specific
to the city and the river that we were honoring in this ritual. Jen Martin
invoked the well, ending the invocation in an odd Norwegian accent and pouring
the water into a purple bucket. Josh lit our sacred fire in a lantern and
Jen Micale honored the world tree in our Maple, and in a sapling in a small
plastic potan oak sprouted from an acorn.
We held off on opening the gates and marched out onto the city sidewalksWolf
and Jenniforensic barefoot. Outsiders were invoked by Justin as we all stood
illegally in the RW Johnson Hospital parking lot. Justin talked about the
Outsider qualities of Scepticism and Sarcasm and Irony and how useful those
things are. Many of us could relate to those qualities all too well and
wanted to go with him. He raced down the sidewalk and mailed a letter with
hell money to:
2323 Rottingwales Drive
Bennisuckett, NJ 33231
address being a Jersey Shore in-joke that would take way too much paper
Justin also ran into the Corner Tavern and treated the Outsiders to a few
bucks on the bar and ran out. He had intended on staying there with them
and catching up with us later, but wisely decided to pay for their drinks
This is the first time the Grove has invoked the outsiders before opening
the gates. Mugwort, and a number of other groves do it this waySkip
says that ADF is pretty evenly divided on this issue.
We arrived at the Old Queens Gates, which have a sun on top of them. (Rutgers
motto is The Sun Also Illuminates the West so there are suns
all over the place. Good place for a Solstice ritual, eh?) Chris and I held
the big iron gates while Nej invoked Manannan Mac Lir with rum & Coke
in a British Navy cup. She made her offering and we sang Walk with
us Manannan. Nej let the well be a gate, the fire be a gate, and the
tree be a gate to connect the two. With the grove and Manannan she opened
the gates as Chris and I swung open the Old Queens Gates. A yellowjacket
who had been guarding the gates flew off, and we entered through them. Nej,
full of Manannan, continued the walk as a cranky old guy in a sunflower
Betty invoked Brigid at the Old Indian Springs wellstone and tied one of
our Imbolc Brigids brats to a bush over the wellstone. We made offerings
of water to the well. Betty carried a basket with a doll made of old brats
from past Imbolcs. Jen Micale carried her oak in a pot, Josh carried the
fire in a lantern, Jen Martin the purple bucket, and Marcia and Dave took
turns carrying our big gold sun wheel. We made a nice ceremonial procession.
Nextto the little tri-lith, a standing stone bench made of two upright
stones and a slab. Nearby, the Freedom Tree and the Geology Museum with
its mummy and dinosaur footprints.
Mark invoked the ancestors, marvelling at all the bones beneath the ground
herehow old the hill is; how long people have been on it from the
days of the Leni-Lenape to the presentand remarking on the age of
the surrounding buildings.
We walked to the shade of an American Basswood Bee Tree full
of bumblebees and Deb invoked the Nature Spirits and found a crow feather.
At that point we had seen a yellowjacket, two rabbits and two weddings in
We walked through the campus until we got to Silent WillieWilliam
of Orange, the Father of the United States of the Netherlandsacross
the street from the theological seminary. Here Nora invoked the Goddesses
and Gods. As with the Ancestors and Nature Spirits, we each called in our
Nexta walk to Deiner Park, a slab of concrete over Rt. 18, but overlooking
the Raritan River, which was full and wide.
Norma invoked the City of New Brunswick, our Juno Loci, talking about the
history of the city, famous lunatics, the citys reputation for bars
and whores from 1686 until the present day. (She also mentioned that in
1670 this area was the first to secede from Britain. When the son of Lord
Carteret left for a trip to England, the farmers here, who were mostly Dutch,
revolted and, for reasons known only to them, elected Lord Carterets
bastard son President and installed him in a white house
in Elizabethtown. They tried to ally their new country with the Netherlands;
however, in 1674 Lord Carterets legit son returned, and with the Restoration
everybody just sort of forgot about it.)
I invoked the Raritan River, the longest river in NJ, its big watershed,
its history of pirates and smugglers, its glacial beginningsand read
part of a famous 1806 poem by that famous British poet John Davis:
thy Watry face
Reflected with a Purer Grace,
Thy many Turnings through the Trees,
Thy bitter Journey to the Seas,
Thou Queen of Rivers, Raritan!
offerings followedsongs and jokes and stories and stones and organic
thingsculminating in a spontaneous outbreak of On the Banks
of the Old Raritan. Two crows flew over, one missing a feather.
(This ritual was brought to you by the number two!)
Our omens were picked from our big shiny sun-wheel. Each invoker of
Kindred or Deity opened a door in the sun wheel to reveal a rune. Josh
interpreted the runes. Its the summer solstice. Hello! Were
noticing you noticing us!
From the ancestors we got Algiz (protection); the spirits of place and
nature, Teiwas (warrior); Goddesses and Gods, Perth (mystery); New Brunswick,
Berkana (growth); and the Raritan River, Ehwaz (movement, the course
of the sun).
Norma suggested that we spon-taneously make an altar by the fence overlooking
the highway and the riverand offerings were arranged in various
ways with sticks and found objects, sure to be an enigma to any passing
anthropology student or curious janitor. Josh left his totem Bear (see
Autumn Equinox 2001 ritual report in the last NftOG, or at our web site,
for more on the Bear and Salmon).
We walked back under the shade of more Bee-Trees and collapsed on the
very green Vorhees Mall to consecrate the Waters of Life. Jack distributed
the waters via spray bottle. We were all VERY happy to be spritzed.
Next time, Jack threatened, hell bring his super-soaker for the
Made it back to Hardenbergh Street and lit a fire from the lantern that
Josh had carried the entire ritual. We sang We will Kindle a Fire.
The fire kindled. The prayers and wishes we had written on gold-leaf
joss paper went up quickly to the kindreds.
Party and feasting followed! Until well past midnight! All in all, a
good ritual, and a fun time.
POETRY & STORIES