But this post isn't really about her, it's about what our Grove has done ritually to help out.
First, of course, was the Grove healing blanket: this was a quilt put together in a joint project between our healers and artisans and blessed each Imbolc as part of our regular work. It travels from person to person, going where it is needed most, and cleansed between individuals by one of our healers.
Maggie and I had it most recently, as Maggie has been recovering from the birth of our twins, and Leo and Amelia were kind of touch-and-go for a bit as well (though not comparatively speaking). We got the blanket to the hospital (via tanrinia) where it was able to be in the NICU with the new baby crane.
On Saturday, the night after she was born, we had a regularly-scheduled Druid Moon rite, so we made a portion of the working all about this new little girl. Thinking about what we could do before the rite, I came up with the idea of a protective thing for the new baby that we could all charge. But what to do?
I had made these lovely little "Changeling Bane" figures for our house spirits to dwell in while the twins were in the hospital. (full description and picture in a previous entry). I still had that lovely cedar wood left, plus the hand-cut iron nails we'd used for ours, so I cut and rough-sanded another piece and packed it up.
At the Druid Moon, we made our offerings. The omens were good: Fehu, Odila, and Ansuz, and we set to work.
I passed the piece of wood around the circle of nine Druids, asking each to hold the wood in their hand and feel and visualize the shape within the wood. The block itself was originally rather non-descript for cedar: not a lot of color variations, light grain, and only a tiny knot near the bottom. Each person took their time with it, as we sat in silence, letting everyone concentrate. When it came back to me, at the end, I held it and let the shape form in my mind.
On the way home from the rite, I turned to Maggie and said (as I ran my hands over the shape that was forming), "I think this block is going to be a crane." "That's perfect," she said.
So I went home and set about to carving, taking away parts of the wood slowly but surely. I gave this crane a crown, set him in the water, and had him hold onto a stone, which I represented with a hand-cut iron hobnail, much as I had done with the figures for my children. I chose this stance for the Crane in the image because of the story from Pliny:
The final form of the
"When they rest at night they have sentries who hold a stone in their claw; if a sentry begins to fall asleep the stone falls and wakes him. All the other birds sleep with their head under their wing, except for the leader, who keeps watch." -paraphrased from Pliny the Elder, Natural History X.30
May the Crane watch tirelessly over this little craneling, and keep her safe as she rests.