Scribe's Report

Welcome to the first number of the new News from the Other Grove, formerly known as the MetroDruid Nüz Dispatch. We’re keeping up the volume numbers—this would have been Vol. 10, our tenth year of publication—and we don’t plan on changing our editorial content, style, or our peculiar outlook on urban druidry. The newsletter staff is the same, although we’ll miss Bryan Perrin’s artwork.

Bryan has also asked us to change the name of the grove from the one he picked in 1990. For those who don’t know him, Bryan is the founder of Green Man Grove and was its first Senior Druid. We polled the ADF members of the grove and agreed to honor his request. We collected names at Yule and voted on the names that the officers felt they could live with. Grove of the Other Gods was the name the grove picked. See Norma’s article on the next page for more about this. We’re already calling ourselves “gog” or “magog” —In short, we’re all agog over our new name!

The vote was limited to the paid-up ADF members of the Grove; Grove of the Other Gods got nine votes, Jack-in-the-Grove got five votes, Metro Maze Grove got one vote and Soylent Grove got one vote. The other suggested names for the grove are on page 14.

Other news from the Grove: we have pretty much the same elected officers that we did last year, with the exception of Erica Friedman, our new Grove Organizer. Erica has been with the grove for ten years in various positions, including Rush Mistress and Warrior Chief and Dogsbody. Erica was also ADF’s national Members Advocate in 1995. Norma was re-installed as Senior Druid at Samhain 2001. Norma has been with the grove since its first ritual in 1990. Ed, who has also been with the grove since 1990, has been Scribe for several years and Editor-in-Coherent of the newsletter since its inception. Xuk, our pursewarden, has been with the grove since 1991. We were talking on the Autumn Equinox about how long people have stayed with the grove: it was Marcia’s ten-year anniversary with us. Pattie has been with the grove for ten years. Wandering Al, our Heirophant and Missionary, has been with the grove since Spring Equinox 1991. Other folks have been with us for eight, seven, six, five years...and we have a new crop of cool people who have joined us just these past few years!

SO what has the Grove been doing since our last report? We were asked by Portal of the Porcupine, a local Wiccan coven, to bless their apple tree, so we held a Wassail on January 26th. 25 people sang to the apple tree and toasted it and made noise and told it what they like best about apple trees. Then we sang to Sue’s mulberry tree and blessed that as well. A bunch of us stayed for POP’s moon circle that night (the moon was gorgeous!) and hung out around the fire and feasted and had fun. Wassails are one of the grove’s favorite rituals!

Yule was held in New Brunswick. We had 29 people and presented a mummer's play written by the brilliant Marcia Blaustein (See Yule Ritual Report). We had a Yule planning meeting two weeks before the ritual to get organized and spent lots of time creating props.

Norma and Ed were interviewed in December by the regional Home New-Tribune and featured in "A Day in the Life of New Brunswick," a special supplement about the "colorful characters" in the city. It turned out to be a positive, light-hearted article—a half-page spread with a big color photo of us by our druid altar.

On November tenth we celebrated Manannan's Feast Day with a trip to the Jersey Shore. Five of us went into the ocean with our well water and poured it out as we counted the waves. We collected shells and drew triskeles in the sand. This turned out to be a lovely little ritual, and as people around us saw us frolicking in the water and drawing in the sand, they took off their shoes and did the same! We'll be back on the spring equinox to ask Manannan to bless our well for the coming year.

Samhain was difficult. We were forced to limit the ritual to 40 people for safety and comfort, and we did so on a first-respond basis. We thought that this was the best way to limit attendance and still keep ADF’s policy of open public rituals. All of the 40 showed up, and with Ed and Norma we had 42. A few more people came after the ritual for the vigil and the ancestor's altar. Eleven stayed for the vigil until dawn. We had a planning meeting the week before Samhain in which we counted out a grain of rice for each of the dead or missing in the Trade Center disaster. That rice was buried in the morning before we ended the vigil and closed the gates (See Samhain Ritual Report).

On Sept. 27th Ed and Norma gave an ADF Druidry 101 workshop for the Rutgers University Pagan Students Association that was well-attended and led to interesting discussions.

We had 23 people at our Méan Foghamhar (Autumn Equinox) ritual. Our simple ADF ritual was suddenly more difficult than we had originally planned due to the destruction of the World Trade Center: its proximity, the fact that many of us used the building for various things, knew people that are missing, and were affected by the disaster in various ways (See Equinox Ritual Report).

In June we hosted a planning meeting for the 3rd annual Hands of Change NJ Pagan Picnic. We organized (by e-mail) and on August 4th led the main ritual for the picnic- an ADF harvest ritual that included invocations from eight groups: The Hearth of Tyr's Hand, Braided Stream Blue Star Coven, Hands of Change Coven, Red Oak Grove ADF, Earthcraft Community, Portal of the Porcupine and White Horse Independent Druid Grove and us. All told, there were about 30 people helping us and taking parts. There were over 200 people at the picnic, and Hands of Change tells us that there were 160 at the ritual. A nice article appeared in a local paper the next week. We also created a labyrinth for the picnic and Norma and Pattie offered free henna body painting (See Harvest Ritual Report).

Our ADF Dedicants group met five times between Lughnasadh and Imbolc; the next meeting is March 8th. We have a second group of people interested in the ADF Dedicants program, so we're starting the new group out on March 9th, and we'll have the first group help out with the second group. The first group should be finishing up their paperwork for national in the next few months.

Upcoming Stuff: By the time you read this we will have held our Imbolc celebration, honoring Brigid and Her bards. We have another workshop at Rutgers University coming up on February 21st, another in April, and Norma may be lecturing at the Unitarian Church in West Orange (where grove member Greg just ran his first service, rededicating the church as a peace site. He is openly a Neopagan in the church, and he said the parishioners were were impressed by his service. We’re pretty impressed, too, Greg!). Norma will also be part of a Pagan Panel Discussion at Rutgers University on March 14th and Xuk will present his Body Piercing and Modification Workshop at Rutgers on March 28th. Our Spring Equinox ritual is coming up; we've got a trip planned to the Jersey shore to collect 9-waves water and honor Manannan; and we’re planning a Venus of Willendorf hands-on workshop- the grove wants to do more "crafty" projects.

Blessings of the Season!

Edwin Chapman, Scribe