"Come we now as a people, to gather at the sacred well
Come we now as a people, to gather in the warmth and light of the Flame."
-ADF traditional hymn used by permission.
This is the hymn my Grove uses as our precessional for almost all of our rites.
It frequently gets into my head and sticks. Dreams in the last year have added this simple round as score only for me to awaken with the tune upon my lips.
It's become a deep part of my religious life.
At home I change the plurals to "I" but use it daily. Like a mantra I sing this several times a day. More if it has earwormed me on any particular day.
Why Arden, what does this simple song have to do with the Sun?
Well friends, today I had the honor yet again to haul my butt up our local Tor (sacred hill) and witness the birthing of the Solstice day.
The journey up the Tor is a rite unto itself. At least for me, the kid with exercise induced asthma in which any incline causes me to wheeze more than a three pack a day smoker in their 90's, the climb is a trial unto itself.
It's a challenge. I've climbed that hill five times in the last year. It's never easy.
But each time I slogged up that incline, thrice with dew slogged shoes and twice on half frozen slush I tried to go faster and farther without stopping.
Carrying a small load of offerings and what nots I ascend. Drinking in the world around me as my body's labor clears my mind and focuses my intentions. The climb becomes a walking, albeit a breathless, meditation and grounding.
At the top is my place of worship. There in a small clearing cut for joggers and dog owners in once lush farm stand the land brushes the sky.
The view encompasses the hills and valleys of my childhood. And directly in front of me, in the summer, the sun rises in epic grandeur.
So in the glooming of pre-dawn, this day I climbed. I only had to stop once to pour dew from my shoes, a point of which I am slightly proud.
As I crested the Tor the mists of the night clung like lovers to the land. And the sky shifted from periwinkle and grey to that distinctly dawn shade of violet. The promise of morning's warm glow only minutes away.
There joined by friends we "forged another link in our tradition." We honored our Kindred and praised the Sun in it's yearly moment of greatest strength.
The Sun's cherry red glow inching upward behind purple hill again stabbed my heart in it's glory and wonder. And beneath the ever rising, color shifting light we shared a moment of harmony.
As a member of the ADF, part of our teaching is that offerings are reciprocal. (This is not a notion I am yet comfortable with but that's another post for another day.)
So in our rites there is a section where after we give to our Kindred they in turn bestow blessings upon us. It it appropriate to ask for boon at this time. I always quietly stand at this part of our rites and ask nothing.
But today the Kindred had other ideas. (Don't they always!)
I am an Animist working in a druidic tradition. Animism is what I believe and ADF tradition Druidry is what I do. And within my animistic practices it is not uncommon for me to be overcome by my Kindred and they then to speak to me. If I can explain it simply, it's like my conscious self gets shoved to the back if my mind while the Kindred inhabit and lightly control my body.
This occurred today during the blessing portion of the rite. I heard a chorus of voices in unison. I was asked to share this message and I accepted the oath to do so.
"Child of my heart, dance with me! Lay down your heaviness upon the ground.
Let us help you and all your brothers (sisters) sway in time with life.
Rejoice for your love is returned. It is given back in multitude!
Fly. Sing. Laugh. Dance. And share this bounty to all you meet!"
And so I am sharing this message of love and joy and reminder of the sacredness of play.
On this Solstice day be it your longest or shortest day rejoice. Live a little happier today. Play a little harder. Laugh and revel in being alive.
Come together as people and delight in each others humanity.
And let the sunshine in.