2003 Summer Solstice
by Edwin Chapman
It rained on our Solstice ritual, but 23 people showed up anyway. Wed
asked them to bring canned food and boxes to honor the tutelary deity of
New Brunswick, and took nearly 60 boxes and cans to Elijahs Kitchen
for the homeless. They were thrilled- donations dry up in the summer- and
sent us a lovely letter thanking the grove.
Our omens were: the Hermit (pulled by Daphne- alone at the top, community
involvement would be a good thing), the Hierophant (Akasha Deb- feeling
of high church; sitting in the rain not lesser or higher than getting together
to worship, dragging our butts out here with food for the city), Knight
of Swords (Betty- cut whats in your way and get where youre
going), and Wheel of Fortune (Jenne- the scholars, the temptations, everything
on the wheel is here in the city and will keep turning long after were
all gone.) Overall: be brave, be wise, listen and you wont get your
ass kicked, remember were not islands.
The ritual was supposed to be a pageant through New Brunswick, with our
usual Druid ritual icons, and people dressed in costumes to portray day
and night in the city. People came dressed to play their parts, from businesswomen
to clubgoers to students to homeless.
Norma led the ritual, opened it, led the meditation. I did a geological
horizontal directions, stressing that this had been a river ford for native
americans long before it was a crossroads for the colonials, and that people
have been living here for millennia. Maria Raven was the perfect Earth Mother,
and honored Her with a poem. Nora gave us a beautiful well invocation, talking
about rain and water. Betty invoked fire very personally, and Sue invoked
the world tree.
Jenne Micale invited Manannan Mac Lir into our ritual, and led us in helping
Him open the gates. Akasha Deb took the outsiders outside (she was really
dressed for the part in black vinyl and leather). Sandrock invited Brigid
to come and inspire us, talking about the fire of the sun, the fiery summer
things that we do that remind us of Her.
Our Ancestors were invoked by Jenniforensic, who had us look closely at
the skull mask she was wearing, and then showed us how the dead would prefer
we remember themby ripping the skull mask off and showing her flesh-and-blood
face. Carol gave us our Nature Spiritslocal spiritsin a tiger
mask inspired by the tiger lady in Jackson. Lauren, invoking
for the first time for us, invited our Gods and Goddesses to join us, talking
about spirit in general and the places it resides. This was beautiful.
Then Jenniforensic, in a blue-spangled cape, gave us New Brunswick at Night-
a fine and accurate performance involving students, drunks, clubs, silence
etc... She woke up Erica, as Day, who passed out various tools of the day
to different people (rakes, snow shovels, suntan oil, umbrellas, pens and
paper...) and assigned us various parts to play in an improvisation of New
Brunswick in the Day. (I got involved in giving Daphne and her friend directions
to the hospital- a block away- guaranteed to get them good and lost.) This
was a lot of fun.
We gave our praises: There were poems, songs; people contributed various
objects. Dave told about his psychic connection to a famous ragtime pianist
who was born here, and how he got to play on the same piano as his hero.
I told the story (with a tricorn hat and a bag of plastic cannons) of how
Alexander Hamilton saved the revolution just a few blocks north of here
by holding off the British with his artillery while Washington escaped south.
Lots of good praise.
The main sacrifice was a peony from the rainy wet garden- but really the
main offering was the pile of cans and foodstuff by the bilé.
Out of 23 people, only 3 didnt take a part in the ritual or offer
praise. We had 2 new people. The food was good and plentiful. The storm
was heavy, with lightning flashing, thunder rumbling in appropriate places
in the ritual, fire truck sirens and shouts as the city took part. Really,
a surprisingly powerful ritual, even if we didnt get to do our usual