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Ringing in Spring with the Druids

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a virtual ritual to mark the spring equinox, or Ostara as I refer to it. Three Cranes Grove is a group in Columbus, OH, affiliated with Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), a Druid church in North America. Because of precautions around the coronavirus, Three Cranes decided to conduct this annual ritual online through Facebook, and they invited anyone who wished to join in from the comfort and safety of their homes.

I thought it was a great idea, so I signed up. I attended for a couple of reasons: ADF always conducts great rituals, my local Vodou house doesn't mark the spring equinox, and I needed some extra spiritual juice during this scary time.

Here are my takeaways. First, one of the leaders guided us through a meditation where we envisioned extending our energy or roots down into the Earth, just as a tree would do. Then we envisioned the opposite direction, extending our branches up into the sky like a great cosmic tree or axis mundi. It's been a while since I've done any meditation like this, and I really miss them. I resisted at first because of some Christian baggage, but when I surrendered to the work, I felt a piece of me relax and fall into place again. Very refreshing. Second, the simple hand-washing ritual they offered truly felt magickal. It was a simple yet effective way to help attendees let go of the day's worries (coronavirus) and enter into sacred space. Finally, the ritual's message could not have been more on point! In ADF rituals, they typically use a form of divination like runes (I don't know the actual term). As it was thrown, the question was, "What should we do now as individuals?" The answer? Clear as a bell, it was "Stay in place." Given we're all quarantined in our homes more or less, this was really assuring--and also a bit funny. Then one of the ritual leaders spoke about what he thought this message could mean for us. Most importantly, it was that staying in place can be a blessing. Too often, we think we have to keep moving in one direction or another; this is "good," and to not be moving is "bad." But is any of that true? Why do we insist on this perspective? He urged us to consider that staying in place can have great practical reasons, like preventing the spread of a virus, and it can also have positive spiritual implications. In other words, there is nowhere else we should be but right where we are.

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