This month's pagan soul group as very refreshing and I look forward to it every month. While most of us only see each other once a month, or on Sunday's at Church, we have started becoming quite close. Most of us have "bared our soul" so to speak several times, and I have seen everyone in tears at one time or another (including myself). Every month, someone different runs the ritual. I find this very nice. It reveals everyone's personal styles (this ranges from spartan, to elegant, to very elaborate) as well as shows different ways that things can be done and still achieve the same results. In fact, I have been inspired by "less is best" myself. The last ritual that Reverend Kayle ran, the altar was very simple. she had a beautiful vase with two pussy willow sticks, a candle, and some incense. And considering I have the wherewithal (as well as the tendency) to get very elaborate, for some reason this really appealed to me. Perhaps it's because I've been sloughing off so much dead weight and becoming more simple in my life, "getting back to Nature" so to speak.

This last ritual that Martha ran was very beautiful and very simple. The altar itself was very small. There were the directional candles, some sweet grass, a taper candle being held by a frog (really cool) and some flowers. Off to the side was set a table containing some beautiful sprays of flowers, a large bowl of Earth, a small bowl of water, a large pillar candle, and a small dish of borage seeds. After calling the quarters, Martha had us shield ourselves and then guided us through relaxation and a meditation. She handed round some small bits of paper & a pencil to everyone. We were to meditate on things that we wished to be better at and wanted help with and then write them down on the slips of paper. When everyone was finished, one by one we burned our papers, then stirred the ashes into the bowl of earth while saying a few lines. When then planted some seeds. I guess as the seeds grow, so too does our ambitions towards fruition. I asked for patience, abundance & prosperity, and the strength needed to stay on a difficult path that I have chosen for myself. Everyone had a chance to speak about what they asked for if they so wished and there were a few that were very poignant. Several people were in tears by the end. What I always find rather odd, as well as inspiring, that several times what one person may reveal actually ties in with what someone else has to say. I remember some time ago we had a guided meditation and almost everyone wound up along the same theme.

After the ritual was done, and we had helped clean up, everyone trouped downstairs for a small relaxing get together. Several people brought some snacks and I brought some wine. Hey, come on, I have to take advantage of the cool family discount sometimes. :D (Yes, some more shameless promotion of the family winery.) I brought one of my favorite wines, Domestic Goddess; it seemed quite appropriate for the occasion. It's a wonderful, smooth wine with a hint of sweetness although it isn't as sweet as a dessert wine. I have always preferred white to red, and it seems I also have discerning taste when it comes to the grapes as well. I didn't realize for some time that both of my favorite wines made by Carey's father, Stu, were both from the muscat. Interesting.

While everyone sat around discussing dates for future rituals, as well as larger occasions (an animal blessing for the whole Church to take part in later this year, as well the Summer Solstice), those that wanted to decorated small egg candles that Reverend Kayle got for the occasion. She also provided wax pens and sheets of thinly rolled colored wax to decorate our beautiful eggs with. While mine didn't turn out very well (at least in my mind) several were very inspired. Martha just cut small, thin green triangles, tore small sections from other varied colors, and got some really cool flowers in grass that made me think of a spring meadow.

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