Our Double Header January Beach Ritual

The weather broke for a day, after a week of snow and rain, and there was more snow the day after. It was actually sunny on Saturn’s Day the fourth of January when we did our Double Header Beach Ritual. Ed and Norma and Jen Micale and Justin and Jack and Betty got to Jenniforensic’s in Old Bridge, and then drove out to Pt. Pleasant where we met up with Deb and Josh.

We performed the second half of our twice-yearly beach ritual to Manannan Mac Lir, emptying the nine-waves water he gave us on the Spring Equinox into his gray and stormy winter sea, along with our well water. Jenniforensic and I emptied the mason jars, splashing barefoot in the cold surf, while Norma poured a bottle of Chimay beer that had survived both Samhain and Yule in our fridge, intact. It was clearly meant for Manannan. The waves were big rolling curls and the sky very low, although the weather was much better than it was at the Spring Equinox when we gathered the water, but the water and air much colder.

We drew triskeles and ogham and sigils in the sand, Manannan and Brigid’s name and GOG, and Justin drew “Loki” and Jen Micale drew “Loki was here” in norse runes. We put our sandy socks and boots back on and our feet were warmer, relatively, and we went back to the boardwalk for hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot pizza, hot.... anything hot...

After about an hour the nine of us went back to the ocean, which had since calmed and turned a pinkish blue. Bright light glittered farther down in the surf. Yemaya was waiting for us, and took Deb’s offering of a watermelon quarter studded with lots of white carnations. Ed offered Her honey wine.

It was remarkable how different the ocean was for each ritual.

We put our sandy socks and boots on once more, and went up to the boardwalk to play skeeball and “knock the cats” and Josh tried a Japanese dance machine and Norma worked a crane machine and won a right-to-life snowman complete with a see-through womb holding a little snowman. We won small plastic fish and stuff. We walked the boards. Jen Micale bought us fudge and Ed bought saltwater taffy. We said goodbye to Josh and Deb and drove back to Jenniforensic’s lovely apartment for hot tea and hot chocolate and hot coffee and... cookies and lots of conversation. We left late, and drove back to New Brunswick tired and cold, full of sand but fulfilled.
—Edwin Chapman, Scribe