2002 Yule Rite
The grove had 27 people at our Yule ritual,
and one nature spirit. The focus of the ritual was Demeters sorrow
in the midst of winter, and the attempts of the Olympians to cheer her
up, ending with the Baubos baudy badinage and lewd exposure.
Greg started us off with a chime. He is threatening to buy us a new
chime. Elizabeth, our guest from the Orange Unitarian Church, led us
in getting down and invoking the Earth Mother. Norma had us meditate,
focusing on our hands opening as flowers. Justin let us know where we
stood on the horizontal plane, while reality started to slightly slip,
and when we got to the far east, we waved hello to Erica and Pattie
in Japan. I dont know if they waved back. Justin continued and
declared the center of all worlds to be a few inches over Normas
head. (Justin noted that Justin did not invoke the outsiders at this
Al invoked the well (well, well, well...) He called it a grail, a witches
cauldron, a hearts chalice.
Josh invoked the sacred fire, scaring us all by telling us how humorous
fire could be, and all the jokes that fire can play on us, and all the
jokes we could play with fire. Norma inquired after the location of
the Grove Fire Extinquisher. Every grove should have one. We do.
Nora began the sacred world tree invocation in a stately, sober manner,
but, somehow, by the end of it she had us singing the log song from
Ren and Stimpy. I dont know how that happened.
Norma invoked our ever-patient and hopefully amused Gatekeeper, Manannan
Mac Lir, who helped us to open the gates. The gates opened. The Bilé
was beautiful, encircled in gold, green and red ropes and pine and holly,
thanks to Jenniforensic and the Morris Museum and Maria Raven and her
(it must be huge!) holly tree. Marias fresh sprigs, clipped on
her way to the ritual, were decorating the house everywhere.
photos of the party and the bilé click
Ed asked our usual outsiders outside: skepticism, tensions, doubts,
anything that wouldnt feel comfortable in this ritual space....
and I also pointed to those outsiders who may not think of themselves
as outsiders: stodgey, stick-in-the-muds; self-proclaimed authorities;
overly serious deities... I pointed them outside. They accepted our
offering. A few of them got a poker game going.
Betty invoked Brigid with a clean, clear and lovely invocation. We sang
Fire us up!
Sandrock invoked our ancestors. The first called out was Joe Strummer,
who died earlier that week.
Nej and Jenniforensic and Cliffy Sniffypants invoked the nature spirits
together. (No, thats not a magickal name, thats his real
name.) Jen translated Cliffys invocation from Guinea Cavvie to
English. The nature spirits wanted lettuce and carrots, and were quite
pleased by our offering of same, but Cliffy wanted to know when wed
bring on the bitches. Our own personal nature spirits then
joined Cliffy in accepting our offerings.
A resplendent Jen Micale invited the Goddesses and Gods to join our
somewhat rollicking party, and we called in our personal patrons and
Norma invoked the Baubo, starting the invocation by announcing I
have to pee and going on to speak at length of several other miraculous
bodily functions. We were set for our visit from Demeter. Lady Sue invoked
Her briefly and sadly, and She took a seat in front of the bilé.
(Lady Sue had been knocked down by a bad cold and was pretty miserable
herself.) Demeter took up stoic residence. She sat there grim and grieving
and we all tried Her with jokes and stories and limericks and songsmost
of them baudy, some of them not, some of them surreal, most of them
hilarious. The humor continued nonstop for quite a while. Demeter was
not pleased, perhaps even a bit annoyed. For one thing, She had heard
most of these jokes before, centuries ago. We were starting to get worried,
even thinking of driving out to Target after the ritual for long underwear
and wool socks. Norma/Baubo threatened to flash everyone and lamented
that she still had to pee. Demeter asked her why she hadnt yet
gone. Demeter said, So, go pee. What are you waiting for?
Norma responded with, I like to suffer for my religion and
Demeter laughed. And then said, Shit. I laughed. We all
cheered. Baubo flashed Demeter, showing off Her Curious George boxer
Our omen readers stepped up and organized themselves and decided on
the Hello Kitty Tarot (The Cutest Tarot Deck Youll Ever Own®).
Nora got the Two of Golf Clubs. Either they really liked the golf
jokes or theres a reason the puppys tee shirt says do.
Josh pulled Judgement. Use good judgement when blowing your own
horn. Deb pulled The Moon. Leap of faith, jump over the
moon. Liz got the Ace of Wands and the King of Wands, prompting
her to say Im going to get lucky twice! Betty pulled
the Magician, The magic of the ritual and we noted the Magicians
John Travolta pose. Chris drew the eight of pentacles and the seven
of swords. Be careful of material possessions: someone wants them.
Consensus for the grove: Be lucky, magical; give your balls to
a mouse; and, theres a great big joke that were not getting,
but well know it when we get it.
Norma consecrated the waters. We passed the waters; the pourers poured
and the passers passed. Our waterbearers dont get nearly enough
credit for the job they do, stumbling over bodies, reaching with tiny
cups full of dangerous liquid across peoples heads. We beheld
the waters and together we drank.
We thanked the deities and kindreds and Manannan and Brigid and ended
Our third annual Win a Cthulu for Yulu raffle collected
$48 and got Amy the new Summer Fun Cthulu who, when he awakens
from his dark, demon-infested sleep, ready to devour the universe into
his mindless maw of shrieking madness, will discover that hes
dressed in bathing trunks, sandals, sunglasses and a straw hat. Perhaps
hell decide to take up surfing instead.
The food was fabulous and there was little left over by the end of the
Our Awful Gift Exchange went well. People were happy picking
up wonderful gifts that other people thought were absolutely awful.
As Nej said, it made holiday gift exhanges that much more fun to open
gifts and exclaim Its perfect.... and then under your
breath ...for the awful gift exchange. Nora regaled us with
recipes from the cookbook she got, and she plans on making us dishes
out of it as soon as she can figure out what quark is. Or
rocket or several other eastern European ingredients. (At
least, we think its eastern European).
Maria Raven gave the grove a bottle of dirt from Stonehenge, not an
awful gift at all. We will be mixing some into our Earth Mother bowl
on the bilé and placing some on the altar.
We had fun playing with our gifts and talking and laughing until late
Many thanks to Lady Sue for being the perfect Demeter. We hope youre
feeling better now. Thanks to Jenniforensic for the photographysee
it on our web site at www.othergods.org. Thanks to Peg, our metaprompter.
Thanks to all who came prepared with jokes and riddles and stories and
songs. We made Demeter laugh, if just for a moment.
Edwin Chapman, Scribe