An alphabet of uncommon (but fun to say) words

I'm tired of "A is for Apple" and similar things. So here's a better, less common alphabet that I'll be reciting to my kids.

A is for "Aglet," the tip of shoe's lace,
B is for "Bulbous," the nose on your face.
C is for "Clockwork," the gears that go 'round,
D is for "Differ," unlike those you've found.
E is for "Equal," the way we all are,
F is for "Fragment," a piece or a shard.
G is for "Gremlin," breaks planes in the sky,
H is for "Hoodwink," a trick of the eye.
I is for "Irksome," annoying as heck,
J is for "Junction," that helps us connect.
K is for "Kindle," the fire's brithright,
L is for "Levin," electrical light.
M is for "Mulish," stubborn and set,
N is for "Nexus," where all things have met.
O is for "Omen," the portents we seek,
P is for "Pippin," the apple we eat.
Q is for "Queuing," to stand in a line,
R is for "Rondel," was pairing the rhyme.
S is for "Scraggly," a raggedy guy,
T is for "Tittle," the dot on an "i."
U is for "Ullage," got lost on the sea,
V is for "Vatic," like much prophecy.
W is for "Wyvern," a dragon of sort,
X is for "Xiphoid," shaped up like a sword.
Y is for "Yonder," like some far away land,
Z is for "Zarf," protecting your hand!

Eight sort-of-odd things having kids in 2013/2014 means that you probably haven't thought about

Having just had twins (a boy and a girl, as most of my readers know), I got to thinking about the ways the world is going to be different for them, and the sorts of things that will be radically different for them than they were for me. And this is what I came up with:

1) They will never understand the "white noise" signal on a TV thanks to High Definition TV. Also, dial tones and ring-backs are no longer real.

We no longer get static or snow: now, your signal is either there or it isn't. It really hit me when I was thinking about all the classic horror movies that will be the only experience they get to have with this phenomenon.

Sure, you can still get a dial tone on some phones that are hard-wired in, but how long that tone will be available is hard to tell. Already, it's nearly completely disappeared from most of our daily lives (I no longer own or use a phone, even at work, that has a dial tone). Ring-backs are also almost entirely fake: when you hear a ring when you call someone, that doesn't mean that their phone is actually ringing. It's entirely possible that the false-ringbacks will start to fade entirely from phones as well as we grow more comfortable with the notion that we don't actually need that signal.

2) The act of being "good with computers" is more complicated because technology is so darn easy.

Now, it's really easy to get technology to do what you want it to: it takes so little skill to engage in electronic media that literally everyone can do it. . . but most people can't do it well. People can get jobs as system administrators without ever administering a system these days, and it's easier than ever to cover up a lack of technical skill. I fear that the "easy way" in technology will be so tempting my kids won't even bother with the more complicated aspects that can so deeply enrich (and improve) their experiences.

3) Thor and Loki will forever be at least as much superheros as gods to them.

I don't mind this one that much, really, but when you think about the ways people interact with mythology, and add to this that there are two more Avengers movies and another Thor movie due out, it's going to be hard to teach these kids about Norse myth and have them separate out their impressions. I'm really interested to see how this affects the way they view the myth and stories I tell them as they grow up.

4) Spoken and written communication are no longer the best way to get your point across. And methods for written communication have changed dramatically.

We love to think back on the old 5-paragraph essay. Ah, yes: intro, points 1-3, and conclusion. Simple, efficient, and elegant. But people no longer communicate in that manner.

A large block of text (for example, a paragraph) gets a TL;DR moniker ("Too Long; Didn't Read). Note the paragraphs here: they're short, maybe three sentences long at their peak for the most part, and they're probably too long already. Complex thoughts have to be delivered in shorter bites, and one-sentence paragraphs are pretty normal: just read an NPR story sometime.

More important is this: an article on a topic is nowhere near as useful as a graphic, video, or even a gif. If you want to get your message out, it's got to be concise, and it has to catch your eye when you scroll past it. If you can't consume it and grasp it in 3 seconds, you've designed it poorly and it won't go anywhere; if you're really good, you can get the consumer of your message to get to your secondary content: the article you actually want them to read.

5) Teaching kids about sex is going to be very different.

There are two categories here that I'm thinking of, in particular:

A) Teaching kids "not to rape" is a big thing, and rightfully so, and our kids are of that pinnacle generation where this will be taught. I hope it makes a difference. Teaching this to both a boy and a girl who are the same age is going to be an interesting exercise, for me, as it will involve teaching them about this in different ways based on our society.

B) Teaching kids how to properly handle another person's sexually explicit selfies is another thing we're not talking about nearly as much, but is also important. Right now my cardinal rules are, "Don't ever share them or keep them in an accessible place, and as soon as you no longer want them, delete them!" I suspect I'll also have to teach them about responsible sharing of their own sexually explicit selfies, too.

6) Music is a fundamentally different experience.

The way we consumed music as kids, dating back to "just about everyone," was pretty straightforward: you could purchase an album, you could make a mixed tape, and you could listen to the radio play things without your input. Today, while albums are still created and radios still play pre-determined mixes, there's much less of a need to consume songs you don't like, or are not familiar with: you can buy just one song if you want.

I hope this doesn't lead to a reduced "musical diversity" or narrower tastes, but I suspect that most kids just "get that song I like" rather than buying/consuming a multitude of songs they aren't sure of. You can define your tastes in music now and never hear any music outside that genre.

7) Critical thinking and source-vetting are more important than ever.

Related to point 4 above, where I mentioned that "consume it in 3 seconds or it's not effective," consider just how easy it is to create terrible information and give it "authenticity" in that short period of time.

"I saw a graphic about X on Facebook, it must be true!" It really isn't enough tell kids what is right, to fill their heads with facts and figures. The problem is that it's so darn easy to deceive, and we're getting better at it all the time. I need to show my kids how to determine if there's a source for something, and if there isn't, how to determine if the information is real.

I've picked this skill up over years of being introduced to internet hoax after internet hoax, slowly, but my Facebook feed (and holy cow, my Tumblr dash) is covered in crackpot ideas about fluoridation, vaccines causing autism, bad history, and a variety of other oddities. Just yesterday, I saw a graphic about how we somehow paid for everything until the Income Tax was established in the Constitution (1913) without any issues and implying that there were no taxes at all. . . conveniently ignoring the fact that we levied income taxes to pay for the Civil War and have had sales/excise taxes since the beginning of the country. Teaching someone how to determine something is fishy, and then how to find information on it (which may not exist) and then be polite about pointing out its flaws. . . I have no idea how to do that yet.

8) Ben Afleck will be their Batman.

Sure, there could be another one that comes along, just like Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale replaced Adam West for our generation. Then again, looking at that list in hindsight, maybe time and change won't result in a better Batman for a long while.

Building Resources for the Solitary Pagan

One of the things I've learned by exploring the Pagan tag on Tumblr is that it's still remarkably hard for a young Pagan to figure out what he or she should be doing: rites seem complicated, finding good teachers is really difficult, and there's a veritable crapload of crap out there for you to get mixed up in.

Part of what I've been doing as a result of this very interesting revelation (let me be honest: I just thought it was so much easier today to figure this stuff out, what with all the interets and things floating about. . . turns out it's not) is creating content that fills that need. There's so much terrible content out there, and no one with any sense seems to have a web presence to speak of, so someone has to fill that gap.

I don't know how I'm doing, but I do know I am doing. It doesn't hurt that I can do these things when I'm taking care of babies so they don't require any actual "spare" time.

The biggest thing that I see is people not being sure "how" to celebrate a feast. There's a lot of call for ritual scripts, but as I mentioned above, they can be daunting. The aim I have is to make honoring the seasons so darn easy that there are no excuses to miss a High Day. So I've come up with this "5 Things" bit, and tailored it to solitary Pagans (in general, not just Druids).

My first one was for Samhain, and it was one of those "off the cuff" sort of things that started snowballing this process. (Click the graphics for larger.)

With Yule, I decided to get the graphic out the door a bit earlier, which turned out to be a great idea. I had some difficulty fitting everything I wanted to get onto the graphic and still make it readable, but it worked out in the end:

I have learned that you have to get these sorts of things out well in advance of the High Day. I almost missed that with Imbolc, but I did get the picture out the door:

One of the most interesting things about running a Pagan store is that you have to cater to absolutely everyone: not doing so will send you under pretty quickly. This means that sometimes, stuff I might want to make really Druid-specific gets sort of. . . spread thin on the Druidry and heaped with broader acceptance.

In other words, saying (true) things like, "If a holiday has '-mas' at the end, you're probably celebrating a Christian holiday," is less helpful than saying "sometimes, people call Imbolc Candlemas." In a lot of ways, it's an exercise in getting over yourself to do stuff like this.

In the end, this all works out: it provides information to a much wider audience, and gets more people doing what I'd call "Druid-like stuff." I love that fact.

These sorts of things have been really popular on social media. The prayers I mentioned a few posts ago have also done quite well, based on the same principles.

I started with this High Day making these sorts of graphics for my Grove, as well, which starts to border on doing ADF-branded versions of these, which I've been told I don't have approval to do, but I wish I could do some broader, ADF-specific ones that ADF could then share on their many social media sites. It's not too much work to just create one more, and I'd love to do it. Ah, well: them's the breaks, I guess.

In the end, I do hope to turn the prayers and ritual items (and maybe some of the spell cards. . . though that's a different post) into a full-color book. I think it would be a load of fun.

For Yule, I was the Guest Minister at another church. This is what I said:

Today, I was invited to speak as guest minister at a UU church near Cincinnati. I don't write a lot of "sermon-y" things in general, so this stretched me a bit. I really enjoyed the experience, and I enjoyed the final result.

A Birth of New Hope

Children of Earth, the dawn has come and today we have seen the first day that is longer than the day before it. The solstice, yesterday's blessing of light after the dark night, fulfills its promise today, showing that the wheel has turned, and that light has come back.

This is the dawn of the year, the light that begins softly and opens the gates of heaven for the sun. This is a time of hope, of viewing potential in a spark of light, of seeing the painted heavens that bear promise and joy.

Dawn is a curious thing: it is liminal and it is luminous; it is soft and it is sure; it is harmony and it is healing.

Dawn is also a double-edged sword: it is the last of all dawns before it, the oldest of all those you may ever see; but it is also the first of all dawns that will come after it, the youngest and most full of potential of all dawns you may see again.

Though each dawn steals a day from us and shortens our lives, its appearance also grants us a new day, and tells us that we are not yet at our end.

When the dawn has arrived, she is new and young: the bringer of hope and the bright light that guides us. Today, on this day after the Solstice, this is how we should see the dawn of the year, as the beginning of things new, as the beginning of something special. What is old is gone; what is new and promising is all that remains.

The dawning of the Winter solstice is celebrated widely, but even faiths and peoples who do not celebrate the solstice itself recognize this return of hope and joy, and celebrate it now. Some of these many traditions, familiar or not, are well worth noting:

  • Jews celebrate the rededication of the Temple at Hanukkah, when the sacrifices were restored and a new age began.
  • Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a festival of the god Saturn, who is said to have brought both agriculture and letters to the Latin states during the  golden age of prosperity and joy.
  • Romans (I mention them again because if anyone knew how to celebrate things, it was them) also celebrated the birth of the unconquered sun, Sol Invictus, at this time.
  • Christians place the birth of their savior at this time, ushering in a new hope for mankind
  • modern Pagans celebrate the feasts of their ancestors, and the hinge of light and dark, through such ancient customs as decorating trees, singing bright songs, and drinking the night away. I call these things ancient because they are so different from what we do today, of course.
  • Even secular events carry this theme. Consider that Washington crossed the Delaware at this time, leaving behind a dark period of defeatism in the Continental Army, and marking a new day and turning point in morale for American troops in the Revolution
  • about the only new hope that didn't happen at this time of year was the first episode of Star Wars, which happened in May.

There is something in our understanding of this time of year, an acknowledgement of the cycles that we experience, a recognition of the wheel that turns and re-turns through our lives. We, ourselves, are made up of these cycles, and we have an opportunity to change ourselves and be more each year.

This is the great dawn of the year, the time when all things are just a glimmer, and we can choose to draw them out of the darkness and fan them into full flame. Everything is potential, waiting to warm us, and to be warmed by our enthusiasm.

So I call on you, Children of Earth all, to honor the hope and the joy in this new dawn, to seek the bright future we all have before us, and to know that each new day from here forth is a day that is full of this new hope. So be it.
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Crafting Through Ritual: The Work of Our Grove

On Friday, a couple of our Grove members had their baby very, very early (24 weeks). The girl is apparently doing quite well given the premature birth, but there's still a long way to go.

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 finished piece: a crane carved onto cedar
The final form of the
Garanus changeling-bane

"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.

My twins have arrived. This is exactly how it feels:

It's hard to describe, but this is pretty damn close: Collapse )

Thank the gods that my wife is a social worker.

Welcome to Leo Colin Dangler (5 lbs., 3 oz.) and Amelia Ann Dangler (6 lbs., 5 oz.), born at (12:13 AM) on October 4th, 2013. Brought in by the gods of storms, swaddled in the bright cloak of night, and brightened in their eyes by the light of dawn. The world has gone from chaos to order, and all things are as they should be.

May the dawn whose rays first caress them be the first of many dawns to greet them both.

No one is ready for kids, but I have been preparing, anyway

Things I have learned, having a pregnant wife:

1) It is so rarely about you, or your family. Collapse )

3) Unsolicited advice comes from weirder places. Collapse )

4) There is an incredibly strong notion that a "perfect family" is one girl child and one boy child, and that having twins that are one of each somehow magically makes your family perfectly complete. Collapse )

5) I am so unprepared that words fail to describe a single way in which I am unprepared, but I should know that I am unprepared and that I am just going to be unprepared. Also, my life is definitely going to change. Collapse )

Things I have done to prepare myself:

So, since I am not prepared and cannot be prepared, clearly I have spent my time doing nothing, right? Just because that is the logical thing to do when someone tells you that there is no use in trying, it is not what I have done. In the hopes that someone else may find my unorthodox training methods useful, I wish to outline them in brief:

A) I have memorized Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky"

No, really. It was the start of something important, and I have moved on to other favorites of mine, like "Kubla Khan," "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," "The Highwayman," "The Lambton Worm," "Gilgamesh," "The Lady of Shallott," and many more. I need lyrical things to speak to them, and to read to them as well. Language is tricksy, so they should hear well-made nonsense and epic works. Sure, things die in most of those stories, but they gotta learn that life isn't all skittles and beer somewhere, right? Collapse )

B) I have researched changelings extensively, and put measures against them in place.

I am a firm believer in teaching our children about the unseen allies out there who aid us, but I don't care to paint a purely rosy picture of that unseen world (and certainly the lore is full of perils we can only glimpse from the corners of our eyes). If I ask my children to grow up with a knowledge of that world, I must also take it seriously. So, I have made two little icons for the nursery, each of which will serve as a home for a house spirit, and each of which is armed with iron, just in case someone wants to trade our kids out.

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C) I bought a blue canary nightlight

Problem: the outlet by the lightswitch is behind a dresser.

Solution: Maggie has asked me to re-wire the current switch to put an outlet on the same plate. In progress. She is also looking for a picture of a lighthouse for the opposite wall.

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D) I have started setting up their college funds.

This is mundane, but I want them to leave their college with as little debt as possible (none, if it can be done in 20 years). Making this a priority is vital, and it will be a priority for me for the next two decades.

E) I have been carrying around a 15 pound weight when not doing anything else.

Babies are tiny, but I figure I should get a head start. After all, even before they weigh 15 lbs, I will bet their squirming makes it seem like they are more. It isn't the weight, it's the flailing, right?

F) I went on a bear hunt. No, really: check out my entry on it!

But if you have been reading, you know that already.

G) I did all that other crap already.

By this I mean I set up the cribs, did all the laundry on all the baby stuff, assembled dressers, packed my bags for the hospital, kept up the dishes and kept my wife fed, painted the nursery and refinished the floors, preregistered our admittance to the hospital, wrote "thank you" cards to (we think) everyone, and got our car seats in. In other words, I got us to the point where we can bring the kids home (I.E., they will let us leave the hospital with them and we can put them somewhere when they arrive).

There: I have done all I can. Now, it's just waiting.

I went hunting bears in the dark, and it changed me quite a bit. . .

At Summerland last weekend, I had the privilege of having two friends put me through a rite of passage that was, in many ways, just kinda perfect.

I'd started the weekend on Thursday presenting on the notion of turning a myth into a ritual (though the topic has broadened beyond that as a result of research). To boil that workshop down to something really essential, it is this: anything can be a myth from which we can create ritual that has meaning and utility. I included lore, movies, TV, and even song lyrics in my examples of places we can draw ritual from (and how drawing from modern sources and retellings is nothing to be ashamed of). What I didn't really expect is that I would find myself in the middle of a perfect case study of doing just that later in the weekend.

On Friday night, while most folks were up at the bardic performance night, I was led into the darkness by dandelionlady (with my eyes closed) and left in the middle of the woods with the briefest of instructions: I was to go on a "bear hunt" and informed that I should "follow the shining lights, and you can't get lost." And with a slightly mischievous smile, she disappeared back into the darkness and left me all alone with a candle lantern and nothing else.

I spent a bit of time then discerning how to track the bears I was supposed to hunt. Fortunately, the way was, indeed, not difficult. I could see the first light from where I was left, and made my way to the first spot, where I caught my first bear. I followed the lights from place to place, catching the bears I was set to hunt and meditating a bit on the gifts that each one offered.

I remember very distinctly at one point standing in the middle of the woods at one waypoint and seeking the next one in the darkness. I thought about all the theory I know revolving around rituals and rites of passage and I said to myself, "Wow, this is powerful from both a personal perspective and an academic one." It's a thought I have never had in ritual before, even though I am always analyzing ritual and its performance (including my own). I think the key differences were a certain level of trust (perhaps "faith" is a better word?) in the ritual planners that is hard to come by sometimes for me, along with not having to plan anything except grabbing a set of offerings and being allowed to just "go with the flow" and have it all planned out for me.

The last light was held by a different kind of small bear (Kathleen's daughter, dressed in an amazingly cute bear cloak), who asked me if I was ready to continue, if I wanted to. I did, and I was led down to a fire where she and dandelionlady's daughters (also in amazingly cute bear cloaks) proceeded to honor the Spirits, challenge me with questions, and provide me with omens and gifts. . . all while singing nursery rhymes and children's songs that had been re-formatted to fit the Core Order of Ritual (think "Pop Goes the Well Gate" and you have it).

It was impressive and silly, frightening and comfortable, physically challenging and yet simple to do. It was deeply meaningful and incredibly hilarious. It informed me about the ability of kids of all ages to engage in ritual in significant ways. It also introduced me to the Hugs of Life, and one of dandelionlady's daughters decided to take the idea of "teaching him to be a daddy" introduced that night to amusing lengths. (This ended up with me under a pile of children at lunch the next day: nothing like starting the kinetic programming early, eh?)

In the end, one bear I had been sent to hunt was a bit elusive, and got away. During a conversation with one of the girls after the ritual, I found out that this was the largest bear of all (she also said that that particular bear was just like her mom). I informed her that it was okay, and that sometimes you don't need to catch the bear; instead, the process of chasing the bear is what is really important, and if all you do is get to chase, it can still be quite fulfilling.

The rite was a mythic dramatization of the book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," and relied on that book as the myth I was set to reenact in the ritual. It described some of the perils and frustrations of parenthood, and imparted upon me a bit of wisdom I hope I remember at the end of the day.

There was a lot of love that went into that ritual, both in planning and execution. It was clear from the very start, and it was really amazing to get to share it with those two people, as well. Their daughters did an amazing job (they were better in ritual than some adults I know, honestly), and having them there to challenge me a bit was a pretty excellent bit of inspiration, as it helped me work through the process quite well. Plus, when people ask why I wasn't at the Bardic that night, I have a great response: "Kathleen and Mel kidnapped me into the woods and made me a father."

I am deeply thankful to my fellow Priests (and their daughters) for putting this together for me.

Well, That Was Quick: trying to tell people one at a time about things doesn't always work

I guess I don't know what I really expected: to get to be the person who got to tell people the news that was mine to tell? To believe that maybe I'd get to tell people something cool one-on-one when it was quiet and intimate and joyful for me and for them? To maybe (just maybe) not have to pick and choose who got to know what at what time, but to let it flow organically from when I got to see people?

Well, whatever I thought, I know one thing for certain now: it is apparently not actually my news to tell, it seems.

So, without ceremony or care for whether you've heard or not (because if you haven't, I'll bet you're about to hear about it from someone other than me, so I won't get to see you be excited or terrified for me anyway): my wife is pregnant, and we're having twins.

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So, there you have it.

How to tell if your drinking companions are Maenads

(This questionnaire could save your life at your next party!)

1) Are there any guys there?
Yes: You can stop now. Not Maenads. Unless the guy's name is Dionysus. In which case: continue on.
No: Maybe not Maenads: continue on.

2) Is anyone wearing deerskin clothing?
Yes: It could just be bad fashion sense, but maybe Maenads.
No: Maybe not Maenads: continue on.

3) Does anyone have what looks like a stick with a pine cone on the end of it?
Yes: Question 3(a): Is it a sextoy party?
     Yes: Okay, maybe not Maenads, and good for you: continue.
     No: Better chance that they're Maenads.
No: Maybe not Maenads, and the chance is decreasing: continue on.

4) Are people having sex with each other without asking about STD's or using prophylatics?
Yes: Could just be a swingers party, but could be Maenads, too.
No: You seem to go to really boring parties. Maybe not Maenads: continue on.

5) Is anyone trying to nurse something not of their species?
Yes: At this point, I'm putting even money on Maenads.
No: Maybe not Maenads, but it's a good test of your social adjustment whether it got weird here, earlier, or if it's about to go off the deep end: continue on.

6) Have your companions torn any children or small animals to shreds?
Yes: Okay, this is more than a bit freaky. Getting warmer on the Maenads (or sociopaths).
No: Maybe not Maenads, and you're not an accessory to crime! Good for you: continue on.

7) If you answered "yes" to question 6: Are people eating the raw flesh of animals they just ripped up?
Yes: Probably a good bet at this point that they're either Maenads or sociopaths, but I suggest you have someone send you an urgent text message so you have an excuse to get out of there either way.
No: Maybe not Maenads: if they were ripping things apart and not eating it, you've totally got sociopaths, at least.

8) Has anyone hit a rock with her dildo-looking-thing and caused the stone to spring milk, wine, and honey?
Yes: Totally Maenads. GTFO.
No: Still maybe not Maenads, but if you've gotten this far and haven't ruled it out, you really need to reconsider what parties you go to!