Midsummer in the Garden

Our First Summer Solstice Celebration was Community, Collaboration, Creation, and Corn!

We came together and created a ritual in which everyone, even the first-timers, were active participants. We learned some things about trying to acheive consensus among people of very different traditions: Stick to the common elements, share stories, songs, and information; then step through the door of released dogma and enter the experience of co-creation! It was fun and a bit messy, much like the rest of life. As the story of the gourds teaches, not all the seeds that sprout will live; not all flowers will bear fruit, and too much tending will disrupt the growth of the vines. People are similar, so we should tend in our lives that which has the best chance of growing to fruition and release and recycle those parts which doesn't grow so they may fertilize the next round of creation and not crowd out the best fruits of one's life's Garden.



May you never thirst!

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The land is generous with Her gifts. Between the blessing and the rain, everything in the garden grew noticably overnight. The blackberries are bursting with ripe juiciness and the tomatoes keep growing and coming up in new places. We give thanks to the earth and sky and freely share their gifts!

Remember the gift of the strawberry, and hold no hardness in your heart.

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Disregard the date on the pictures; time is an illusion anyway. This labyrinth was poured of cornmeal and repaired with that most underrated of ritual tools, the DustBuster... In the middle were gourd seeds, one of mysteries of this earth, a meteorite, mystery from the sky, and of course, the mystery of our own still center and the spirit that unites us all.

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We made stepping stones and learned that QuickCrete with sand is the best medium after all. The rains came and soaked the setting concrete so some of our crafty harvest didn't make it. The ones that didn't survive were put around the border of the garden or added to the driveway. They were all beautiful!

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Love was in the air...

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The children had a magical time thanks to face painting by Flute and Shaddragon, the cavorting kami in the sakura tree, watermelon, all the blackberries and cucumbers they could pick, and one wee marshmallow roast.

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The "Ritual Report"

We meet on land that originally was home to the Aniyunwiya/Cherokee, so in accordance with their tradition, the ceremony began at sundown and the colors used to represent the directions were: white for the north, from where the cold winds blow; yellow (actually shells)for east, direction of sunrise over the ocean; red for the south, fire, and the warm winds of summer; and black for the west, the source of the rains, and the place of night and the setting sun.

Participants chose a random bead from a bag and were grouped according to each of four colors. We were summoned to the circle with drums and rattles and proceeded to the ritual area where candles were lit to mark the center and four directions. We gathered according to bead color and each group agreed on a way to welcome their direction. Each person was smudged with sage and sound as s/he entered the circle. We sealed the circle by taking the hand of the person to the left and looking into their eyes, greeting them with head, heart, and hand until all were linked as a circle, then shared a group hum to merge our energies into one. Clockwise from the East, each direction and finally the Spirit in the center of each of us was invoked and made welcome.

We shared stories. We learned of the four Bacabs, jaguar children of the Mayan god Itzam and Ixchel, the moon goddess of weaving, medicine, and childbirth. In Mayan mythology, the bacabs, Cauac, Ix, Kan, and Mulac, are brothers and the gods of the four directions who hold up the corners of the sky (read more here). We journeyed with drums and trance to our inner gardens, where wisdom is found. We listened to the the story of the strawberry and remembered to open our hearts to love, and we learned the lesson of the gourds. We shared water and fruits of the earth and gave thanks to the creator and the directions around us, then proceeded to the garden for Oji's beautiful Tsalagi blessing ceremony.

Thanks to all who came. Wado!

Please send pictures and commentary for posting to rev@churchofthegreenwood.org.