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Updated January 22, 2006
December Yule Ritual
We had a big turnout for our Yule ritual. The ritual got started with some traditional Pagan caroling and everyone saying what makes them happy. Then we had a demonstration of swordsmanship, acting, and blood tossing as the Holly King unsuccessfully defended his throne against the Oak King. The Oak King will now rule until the sudden death rematch in the Summer. We then made presents for each other, something that everyone seemed quite enthused about. Hot glue was an essential ingredient. Afterwards we gave each other gifts, wrapped it up, and ate for a long time.
November Native American Ritual
Each year MoonFire does a Thanksgiving ritual centered around the Native American traditions. This helps us both remember what we are thankful for, as well as remember the traditions of the land of which we are apart, and the way Thanksgiving came to be. During the ritual we constructed a medicine wheel out of stones that were placed by those who had birthday's corresponding to each of the twelve directions in the wheel. Stones were then placed to draw the energy into the center from the outside ring, one line of stones for each of the cardinal directions. We then got to each speak about what we were thankful for. As MoonFire we are thankful for so much, and for this ritual we were thankful that David and Jeanet came back to help us put on such a powerful and inspiring event.
Our annual Samhain blowout was a Witches' Sabbat this year, complete with horned deer skulls, drumming, and calling on Cernnunos and Cerridwen. About 30-40 people attended, and worked magic through the making of a community talisman. The talisman was a small charm bag, with ingredients blessed by the God and Goddess, and shared amongst the participants. We ended with a spiral dance and potluck.
On Sunday, October 15 we held our annual community ritual. It is an informal ritual where we share what MoonFire means to each of us, and install our officers. After calling the quarters and invoking the Gods and Goddesses we each had the chance to come forward and place something on the altar that symbolized what MoonFire meant to us. From a ball of string from past community rituals to masks bought at Renn Faire everyone had something to share. Afterward we did a web weaving where we threw twine back and forth to represent the interconnect web of spirit that we build as part of MoonFire.
Renn Faire Outing
Seven of us traveled to Annapolis on Saturday, 7 October, to attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival. One of us ate two pieces of Death by Suicide chocolate cake and survived, most of us bought something, and we watched jousting, Celtic music, and tag-team Shakespeare.
On September 17, Patrick put on an amazing Despacho ritual. The altar was adorned with an almost endless number of items, from confetti to starfish, with which we would make a community Despacho. Each participant got a chance to come up to the altar and pick some of the ingredients that would make up the Despacho. Ingredients were labeled according to the gifts that would accrue from using them, from wealth to happiness to spirit. After we made the Despacho, Patrick blessed it and then it was ritually burned in MoonFire's cauldron. A colorful, meaningful, and interesting ritual!
Feeding the Homeless
On September 24 about 10 MoonFire members and associates participated in our bi-annual feeding the homeless working group for the Arlington Street People's Network (ASPAN). Erich did a great job of cleaning the kitchen (we anticipated a certified food-service worker who never showed up), and managing the assembly line. The PeanutButterandJelly and Baloney sandwiches flew off of our line, leading us to finish early. Unfortunately, only Erich could deliver, something we need to work on for next time. It is a truly rewarding experience to make the food, but its even more rewarding to hand it out along with a kind word!
The Steering Committee has approved the voted-on list of officers for this year. Thanks to everyone who voted, and thanks to those who are willing to come to the Steering Committee meetings and help run the group. Without you we are literally nothing!
MoonFire held its Fall campout 8-10 September. We camped out in great weather. In the morning we took nature hikes, and were quite lazy. In the afternoon we did the potluck, and made dreamcatchers. Patrick's evening ritual repeated a Zoroastrian ritual he did several campouts ago. It was raining last time, driving us into a cabin where we gamely put on a fire ritual in the cabin's fireplace! This time we had a proper bonfire, and celebrants got a chance to experience a different path, and to talk about what they were thankful and wished to celebrate in their lives. We finished with a bit of drumming, talk, and a peaceful, cool night.
On Sunday, 30 July MoonFire celebrated Lughnasa with a ritual in the Stregherian tradition. We chanted our way into the circle, where we followed the general outline of a ritual by Raven Grimassi. After invoking the God Tana and Goddess Tanus, we did a knot magic spell working, and reflected on the gifts that we had harvested for the year, and what we expected to harvest in the future. In the knot working we tied three knots, one for responsibility, that which others harvest from us, one for bounty, that which we wish to harvest, and one for spirit, that which is given by the Goddess. We finished with a merry potluck! You can see the order of service here.
On Sunday, July 16 MoonFire celebrated the creative gifts that the Goddess has given each of us. From knitting (which was well represented) to wand-making, to computer coding we each got a chance to place on the altar what we created, and speak a little about creativity and the role in plays in our lives. We recognized the centrality of the Goddess to inspiration and creation, and how each of our creations is in a small way a reflection of the greater creation of the Goddess.
Spreading the Light Ritual
On Sunday, June 18 we held our third Sunday ritual for Litha. The ritual focused on spreading the light of community. Participants lit tea-lights to spread the light of MoonFire and our faith, then got a chance to talk about what our Pagan community meant to them. A common theme was the fact that MoonFire creates a safe space within which we can be Pagan. At the end of the ritual everyone got a woven length of yarn to tie around their arm to remind them of the thread of community. You can see the order of service here.
On 23-25 June we had our Spring Campout. The weather held until Saturday afternoon, when the rain started. In the morning our famous nature guide took us on a nature walk, then in the evening we did a ritual involving a guided meditation followed by finger painting.
On Sunday, May 21 we held our third Sunday ritual for the month of Beltane. We called on the Sun God Bel, and invoked his sacred well. From his sacred well we drew forth tokens of that we used in a life and self affirming spell. The spell was cast through chants and meditation, and it gave those attending something positive to practice for the coming month. You can see the order of service here.
On Saturday, May 20 we held our quarterly stream cleanup. With a disappointing turnout we are set to the task of considering whether we want to continue, or go to an RSVP system.
On Sunday, April 30 we celebrated Beltane with a fun and uplifting ritual. With the Altar on the Church terrace decorated with the elements and ritual objects, and the circle cast with a smudge of Sage, we got a chance to drum and chant in the sun.
Feeding the Homeless
On Sunday, April 30 we worked in the UUCA Kitchen to feed the homeless. We had a great turnout, with approximately 15 people making sandwiches and packing bags. Later MoonFire members delivered the bag dinners and hot soup to the homeless at two Arlington locations.
Earth Day Ritual
On Sunday, April 16 we gathered to raise energy and awareness for Mother Earth. Andy and Kim led us in a ritual in celebration of Earth Day, which is next weekend. We chanted and drummed to raise positive, healing energy for the earth, then shared things that we could commit to in the future that would help the Earth. Andy and Kim also shared the history of Earth Day, and some of the influences it has had. Afterward some members did a mini-cleanup along Glebe road where we found a modest amount of trash, and one dead 'possum. The potluck continued on with lots of conversation and laughter.
Inuit-themed Spring Equinox Ritual
On Sunday, March 19 MoonFire members and friends gathered for an Inuit themed Spring Equinox ritual led by Patrick. In the lands of the far North, the vernal equinox marks the beginning of the longest period of daylight. It's a time for introspection and transformation, to examine where you might be out of balance, and where you might need to let go of the past and prepare for a fertile future.
We honored the Inuit goddess Sedna and the Northern Lights, which the Inuit shamans use as gateways to take spiritual journeys to receive guidance. Before the ritual, participants were given slips of paper to write short descriptions of what they want to transform or let go of from the winter season, and what new transformations they wished to seek for the new season. During the ritual, we placed the papers which what we wanted to release into a bowl of darkened Alaskan spring water. The slips with our desires for the new season were placed in a bowl of clear Alaskan spring water. We then took a guided journey through the gateway of the Northern Lights to release the unneeded/unwanted ideas or burdens. After completing our journey, we saluted the first Arctic vernal equinox sun so that may shine over us and allow our new transformations to settle into our daily lives during the next full six month period of Arctic daylight. We concluded by asking for Sedna's blessings.
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