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July 9th, 2007


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02:47 pm - And On the Sixth Night, the Druids Harvested the All-Heal
So, I spent last night working on this ritual.

The Grove requested that we do more rituals at our last business meeting. I am, of course, happy to oblige them, and so I started doing research.

One of the specific requests was that we start doing rituals based on the cycles of the moon. Somehow, I had the brilliant idea of doing a sixth night of the new moon ritual.

Of course, this meant digging through sources, since I was suddenly of the idea that maybe I should try and have some real grounding in what happened in Gaul on said night.

So a problem arose: the original rite, according to Pliny, involves a golden sickle and sacrificing two bulls. As I can't afford a golden sickle and blood sacrifice just really isn't my cup 'o meat (especially a holocaust sacrifice, as it appears was done), I've had to find a way to take the spirit of the rite and translate it into a more modern ritual.

Fortunately for me, I'm feeling inspired recently.

I've looked at what ideas others have had for doing rituals revolving around the moon cycles in a Druidic context.

The Henge of Keltria's Mistletoe Rite was my first stop. I found myself unimpressed and remarkably underwhelmed by the whole thing: it's pretty much just an ADF rite with healing involved. "Boring," I thought after considering doing that month after month after month.

Then I thought about things Druids in white robes could do in trees, swinging sharp implements around. "Sure," I thought, "I can do that. But who else is dumb enough to go regimental in a white robe and climb a tree?" It would have been a major setback to my desire to prevent the Grove from becoming MJD-dependent.

I thought about burning a couple of loaves of bread shaped like bulls, but then I remembered what one of our members said about burning bread (it's apparently an Irish folk legend that burning bread is bad luck).

I thought about just doing a "lore night", but while that's a logical first step, it's not the ritual people want.

I thought about using Alexi Kondratiev'sCeltic Rituals (Later re-published as The Apple Branch) Celtic Moon calendar, but because he based his work off an Irish poem that I just couldn't get into, I decided against that.

So as I worked on the ritual, I decided that the purpose would be two-fold:
  1. It would be our welcoming ceremony for new Grove members
  2. It would also do more inner work (trance and potentially ecstatic work) and help create a stronger Grove identity
I also decided that I would work outside the usual ADF Core Order of Ritual. Because this isn't a High Day ritual, I'm under no constraints, and while I have the COoR to work with for general ideas of structure, I'm completely free to exit it and abuse it (as, I feel, is proper for a list of items).

The rite itself will involve four key things: 1) Gaulish names for months (and variations on themes for them, such as Cantlos [song month] in September/October; this is an adaption from Kondratiev); 2) A more central role for Garanus, the Crane, in our Grove's hearth religion; 3) mistletoe, and actually giving it a strong functionality within our Grove; and 4) an actual mystery that simply can't be described (partially because I am not sure if I'm able to do it yet, though it's all worked out in my head).

I'm doing this whole "welcome to the Grove" thing without any oaths or real ritual terror; I'm not as interested as some folk (and traditions) are in hazing new members, no matter how much in fun it might be to the guy with the knife. Really, I just want us to affirm, ritually, our identity as Grove members, and to give some tangible benefit to those who join.

I'll have to find someone, at some point, to go over this liturgy with me and discuss it. I find, though, that I can't bounce ideas off people in my Grove, because if I'm going to try and work mystery and mysticism into a ritual, the element of surprise is crucial. It interests me how much I truly rely on their feedback in our usual rites, and how much I notice when I don't have it available.

At the next Liturgy Meeting (this Thursday), I'll get more verbose about my plans when I speak to the Grove. But, as a taste, I want all our current members to go through this as a "Grove welcoming", too, so that we obtain that shared experience.

Now, I just need one thing: a source for sprigs of mistletoe. Part of the issue is that I need them before August, when we will do our first of these rites: that's well before the holiday season (where you can sometimes get ahold of it).

Does anyone have a source for sprigs of mistletoe?

Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: productive
Current Music: "Frank and Lola", -JB

(27 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:zylch
Date:July 9th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
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ebay? Or perhaps a local nursury could help?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 9th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
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E-bay is less helpful at the moment (though it may become more helpful soon), and most mistletoe items I found there were things like tinctures for ingestion.

Er, yeah.

But I'm going to try nurseries and flower shops, as that's the widest bit of advice on the net so far.

I've also found a couple of places that sell mistletoe for fundraisers (kinda like Christmas tree sales or wreath sales). Those might be more useful further into the year.
[User Picture]
From:hekatatia
Date:July 9th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Can't help with the mistletoe leads but wanted to say how very interesting I find this ritual!
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 9th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
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You're at the top of the list of people I might want to chat through this with :) Your ideas on COoR flexibility and my own seem fairly similar (if still different, I think), and so I'd be really interested to see what you think of it.

So, yeah, don't worry: your interest does not go unnoticed :)
[User Picture]
From:west_
Date:July 9th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
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Extremely important:

There are 2 plants, completely unrelated, that share the name "mistletoe", unfortunately. They have nada to do with each other - purely a quirk.

One is a powerfully healing tonic, the other is toxic. Ack!

VISCUM ALBUM is what you want. Its commonly used in OBOD ritual, consumed regularly by many, is a clinically proven anti-tumeric (used in cancer treatment in europe) and very beneficial immune stimulant. its non-toxic in every way, drinking it as tea is *great* for you.

American "mistletoe" is poisonous. the stuff you see in little boxes at christmas. Do not use this!

Preparation of the tea, for beneficial use, is not like making regular tea. Infuse for 24 hours before drinking, to get a proper extract.

Have any naturalists around, to help with the infusion?

[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 9th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Either way (toxic or not), we won't be ingesting it. :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 9th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
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ah, good.

meanwhile, european mistletoe is excellent, ingested and in ritual. good and good for ya! We use it ritually throughout yuletide.

[User Picture]
From:nantonos
Date:July 10th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
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european mistletoe (viscum album) is used as an anti-cancer therapy specifically because it is toxic :) as well as an immune stimulant.
http://www.uspharmacist.com/index.asp?show=article&page=8_1416.htm
[User Picture]
From:wishesofastar
Date:July 9th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
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Maybe you could get a gold-plated sickle; that would probably be a lot cheaper. And you could use it to cut open 2 cans of Red Bull; I imagine it looks something like blood. ;)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 9th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
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I dunno: I've never seen the liquid that's in a Red Bull can.

But Pliny's pretty particular: I need to white bulls. I wonder if they have a sister company?
[User Picture]
From:viedansante
Date:July 10th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
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What about white bulls made of clay?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 10th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
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interesting idea. We could bake them and smash them :)
[User Picture]
From:viedansante
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Or, another idea is to leave them soft (like, use modeling clay) and pack fake blood pellets into the neck area, and then slit the clay and the pellet in the act of sacrifice. That might be too involved, though...
[User Picture]
From:nantonos
Date:July 10th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
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gold plated or golden-coloured is most likely historically correct, too. Anyone who has
a) seen solid gold
b) felt mistletoe stems
knows that solid gold is pretty soft and mistletoe wood is really tough; no way could it be cut with a gold blade.
[User Picture]
From:gypsydove
Date:July 9th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 9th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
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They were my first option, but then I saw this:

To ensure freshness, holiday mistletoe will not be harvested until the end of November. Therefore all orders will be shipped fresh between Dec 4 and Dec 9, 2006.

Unfortunately, since we want to start doing these in mid-August, it won't work well for us.
[User Picture]
From:gypsydove
Date:July 9th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
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acckkk.... didn't read far enough... sorry there laddie...

[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 10th, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC)
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no worries :)
[User Picture]
From:spottedtoad
Date:July 9th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
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Feel free to drive on out to Arizona. Our mesquite tree are at times filled with Phoradendron californicum 'Desert Mistletoe". Nasty parasitic thing it is. Might be a bit of a drive for you though.
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From:qorinda
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
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Heh, I was going to suggest this too... We have mistletoe growing like crazy at the site where we do Medieval Madness.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:July 10th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
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http://www.mistletoesprigs.com/mistletoe.html

Harvested year-round. Best site I could find in ten minutes of the google, plus its a small outfit, so you should be able to talk to them and make sure you'll get what you need (no frickin' red bowes, etc.)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:July 10th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, good stuff, thanks!

The red bows are, it seems, often an "extra touch" you can get.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:July 10th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
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I know, I was really refering to the berries, if you explain to them that you want the whole thing they should be able to keep the berrys on 'em if you ask nice enough.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:suicidekttn
Date:July 10th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
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No clue on the mistletoe, but I can call a few nurseries around here if you'd like.

I want more rituals! Now if only they were closer, or I could teleport...or apparate. I have not been able to get to one all year *sigh*
[User Picture]
From:tanrinia
Date:July 10th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
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what? no sacrifice in effigy? what WILL that do to our reputations...

and yay trance and ecstasy :)
[User Picture]
From:nantonos
Date:July 10th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for not only describing the ritual but also, the thought processes that led to it. Very interesting.

I have mainly seen mistletoe growing on apple trees (at Glastonbury, Somerset) and on sycamore (on a drive through Sequanni territory in France with Ceffyl).

I hadn't heard 'all-heal' applied to mistletoe before - mainly hear that term applied to Valerian (Valeriana officinalis).

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