For the first time in a number of years, I went to another Grove’s High Day Rite. I knew some members of Grove of the Seven Hills, and their Yule rite was on the way to a visit to relatives.
It was really exciting to visit another grove. There are ways, big and little, in which things are done differently. You get to learn new takes on the same old chants. You observe how they handle their pre-ritual briefings. You see a variation on Kirk Thomas’s gate opening that requires less sure-footedness while still keeping the effect. All these ideas help you see what you’re doing a little differently, spark your own ideas — and give you things to incorporate.
Still, it was the things that didn’t go as planned that made me the happiest. Let me explain by proposing what I’ll term “Shipkowski’s First Comment on Liturgical Innovation” (with apologies to the ironically-named Arthur of “Arthur’s Laws of Love”):
Shipkowski’s First Comment on Liturgical Innovation
Other people’s liturgical innovations seem novel and exciting.
Your own liturgical innovations seem foolish and clumsy.
There were no big problems at all — but it was the little things, like thire Yule Log’s candles going out in the wind — that reminded me that, no matter what, we’re all still humans doing this, dealing with fact that things don’t go as planned. It’s very easy to see someone’s ideas and go “wow, I wish I could do that!” It’s another thing to know that innovation happens not in an environment without mistakes, but in the same universe in which you live.
Of course, if they think I’m not borrowing their change to the Portal Song, they are mistaken.