A ritual closing

On March 22nd, 2007, Hemlock Vales Protogrove, ADF came into existence.

Previously, Rev. Michael J Dangler suggested a ritual closing. In some behind the scenes discussion (due in part to WordPress.com being extremely slow at the time), he pointed out some possibilities and suggested it could be done as part of Spring Equinox.

That’s not what I did. Part of it was that the bandaid was already ripped off, so to speak. I didn’t want to drag my regulars — who were willing to join ADF solely if it would make me happy — through a funeral when I was the only one grieving. Another was timing. It struck me as auspicious to do it exactly three years later.

So, tonight I performed the rite, a full COoR rite. It generally followed Hemlock Vales’ ritual methodology, and so was fairly off the cuff; the invocations are firm in my mind.

However, here a few bits about what I did, should anyone else find themselves in the same situation or wish to critique.

I actually opened a double set of gates; one with my Home Shrine, and one with Hemlock Vales’ standard indoor ritual gear. The latter was closed during the Workings Section — along with a few words and the removal of Hemlock Vales’ website — no longer a “closed” page, but a “410 Gone” status code.

Statement of Purpose

I walk the path, but I walk it alone.

I  am in the hall, but the hall is empty.

I am here to formally close Hemlock Vales Protogrove, ADF and give thanks to the Kindreds for their support of it.

Prayer of Sacrifice

Shining, Noble, and Mighty Ones, I give to you these gifts. Hemlock Vales has been blessed by you, and so it is time for one final gift, as a Protogrove. Holy ones, accept these gifts, I pray. (repeat last line 3x)

Workings Section Preface

Now it is time to end the public face of Hemlock Vales Protogrove. This Protogrove may and can return, but it is time for it to fade from view — though the actions it has taken, learning it has done, and upholding of *ghosti- will never fade.

So, what was the Omen? I asked what message the Kindreds had for me, and received Gebo, gifts; Jera, year; Isa, ice. I saw this as about the cycle of gifts over a long period of time yet the recognition of stagnation that had occurred.

Lest anyone ask — I am okay. I saw this coming, and have accepted it.

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ADF’s Mottos

ADF as an organization has two mottos, one of which I feel gets more press than the other.

The one that I feel gets more press is “Why not excellence?” A noble sentiment, and one I admire, though I also feel is asserted too vehemently at times.

The other one seems very separate, but very related to the discerning eye: “As fast as a speeding oak tree!” We know where we want to go, but sometimes progress becomes glacial. It might even be the fault of the first model, per Voltaire’s comment that “The best is the enemy of the good.” Excellence as a target can cause inaction, even though, ironically, it may be necessary to make 49 bad attempts to make one good one.

This blog as a project, and to a much lesser degree the Protogrove, have both been hit with a bit of paralysis, and I found myself uncertain how best to restart. The Protogrove is still running — we did have a Lughnasadh rite, and there will be an Equinox rite — but I found myself unable to write a restart. So many things to cover — Lughnasadh, a workshop/simple rite for the local college group, etc.

The answer is to just start back up, and back-track as needed and relevant. Even if it is as fast as a speeding Oak tree. Now to set myself a schedule for updating regularly.