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Poison Oak Grove, an RDNA grove.

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Poison Oak Grove News



July 22, 2005

For our High Day Socials we try to gear the food towards the theme of that particular High Day. For the Summer Solstice this year we took a little departure from our usual High Day Social and celebrated "The Druids of Summer." This all started when the AD sent out the announcement for the service and got on a baseball kick. And it just went downhill from there. The menu was peanuts (in the shell), Cracker Jack, all beef hotdogs in whole wheat buns, potato salad, Curve Ball Ale, lemon- and limeade, and It's It chocolate covered oatmeal cookie ice cream treats (The AD threatens to make them using bannocks and goat's milk ice cream).

For fun Grove members worked on the song "Take Me Out to the Grove Site."

"Take me out to the Grove Site,
Take me out to the Oaks.
Bring me my sickle and waters-of-life,
Or a can of Budweiser and swiss army knife.
And it's root, root, root for the Dru-ids

For it's one, two, three ways of day and one of night!"

As you can see there was one line we were having trouble with.

June 18, 2005

After much work using maul, hammer, and chisel and many trips hauling stones, we're come to the conclusion that we won't be able to completely take down the altar at the old Grove site; it is just too well cemented in. However most of it is gone so it is unusable as an altar, which was of great concern. We were afraid that if anyone used it to burn anything or light candles, we would be blamed by the group who oversees the property now. We will be using the stones to build the altar at the new Grove site. Speaking of which, the leveling of the new Grove site is now finished. It overlooks a canyon of redwoods and live oaks. We learned in the process to go with the feeling of the site to determine which direction the altar should face rather than imposing a preconceived structure upon it or even using the same directional set up of the old Grove site. Work can begin on planting the sacred trees, building the altar, and digging the shaft for the new Toll Uaigh.

Now that we have a new site, I as AD started to put a lot of thought in how to make the new site a sacred space. I based what I came up with 1) on what I observed at the shamanic journey circle I attend once a month where the leader essentially takes a classroom and makes it into sacred space and the feel of the room totally changes; and 2) during the meditation at the last service (creating sacred space was my topic) it came to me that it is a three (!) part process: naming the space sacred, setting it up as sacred, and using it as a sacred space. I will also be putting small pieces of obsidian into the earth at the Grove site to help it heal after all that excavating, to ground the moved dirt, and as a way of thanking the site for letting us do the work on it to make it a Grove. There's that old Celtic concept of reciprocation again.

A month ago the AD took a class in braintanning buckskin at the recreated Miwok village, Kule Loklo, on the Point Reyes Peninsula. This coincided well with our rogue Druid Julie Ann's bearskin tanning article later in this issue. Between having to physically scrape the wet slimy stinky hide through several steps to remove first the flesh, then the hair then the membrane, and finally the grain, mixing a vat of cooked deer brains with egg yolks and mixing the deer hides in the warm liquid with my hands, this is not something I will want to do very often. Not being used to working with such I had to go to my "happy place" several times to get through the class. At least I've got a half a hide to show for it! (See photo below. The AD is on bottom row, far left. We are all smiling so much because it was two full grueling days of grueling and we were very proud of our work).

I am tempted, however, to try hair-on tanning, with a white tail deer hide Julie Ann so courteously will provide all the way from Minnesota, if I want to try it. Tempted, not definitely, is the operative word here.

May 1, 2005

After what has seemed like a long arduous year, Poison Oak Grove feels like it is coming back to life. The Arch Druid visited her mentor's grave up at Mount Shasta the second weekend in April. She brought a stone from the old altar and one from the new land to add to the rocks that encircle (it│Ň actually in the shape of a rectangle) the grave itself

The new grove site is done! Our retired fireman finished it in time for Beltaine so we will be able to have a service. A little more excavating might need to be done along the back wall to round out the shape a bit, but we'll have to see how the wall faired after some short but steady rain over the past couple of days. The next phases consist of determining where the altar and toll should go, finishing up the deconstruction of the old altar, using the stones from the old altar to build the new one, and planting the grove's eight sacred trees.

Some of you may remember my laments at not being able to write the lead article for nearly the past two years and instead republishing ones from the first publication cycle of A Druid Missal-Any, and that the Missal-Any has been coming out later and later. A large part was due to the energy drain after my mother died. Another part has been due to the enormous and daunting shoes IÍ┬e had to fill by assuming the role of editor for this rag. I've spent more time agonizing over writing than actually doing it, thinking I can't do this, Iͬ not good enough, I donÍ╔ know enough to do this, etc. A few weeks ago one of the members of the monthly shamanic journey circle suggested a book titled Psychic Power and Soul Consciousness by Korra Deaver, Ph.D., when I told her of my interest in psychic development. The book described the First Occult Law: Energy follows thought, in other words if you think something, you'll send out the energy and manifest it. I was creating my own not-able-to-write demons instead of overcoming them! If I could do this negative thought process then I could do a positive one as well! As a result here you have the first original lead article in a year. May there be many more where that came from, and a Missal-Any on time!



September 22, 2004
One night while eating dinner there was a slow crrrr-aaa-ccckkkk and crash! I said out loud, "What the hell was that?" My first thought was oh no, fire! (we had two fires in Canyon about a month ago, one very close to the house and were ready to evacuate), but then reason kicked in and I realized that's the sound of a tree falling in the woods! It didn't sound like it hit any buildings and we went out to investigate. A huge live oak tree had fallen across the path to the house and down the little glen almost to the deck of the people who live below. Other neighbors were coming out to see too and check to see if anything was damaged. Apparently it was heard from quite a distance as other residents of the town were asking about it at the post office.

I saw at this as an "opportunity" rather than an inconvenience. It was a well-timed gift. We will not want for fire wood this winter, even if the neighbors take some, which is important as a wood burning stove is our heat source. And no one or creature was hurt and nothing was damaged. Cernunnos was looking out for us! A neighbor told be that it was Celtic folklore that oak trees are known for protecting people and not falling on them. If any one knows more about this please let us know.

August 2, 2004

Eris continues to reign at the home of a Druid Missal-Any. In preparation for library shelves to be built, all the boxes of books were moved outside, including the box that has the Chronicles and the Lughnasadh liturgy in it. I emailed the liturgy document to myself at work, but it wouldn't print out on two printers. The printer at home needs the software to be reinstalled after the electrician turned off the power without telling me while the computer was on (this is why the Missal-Any is especially late this issue...), and PC Doctor had to come out to fix it. The printer paper is still in a box somewhere... Thanks to one of our members a last minute call is insuring we will have our Lughnasadh scripts!

Today was the last day in the cabin. I had moved out most of the contents the previous two weekends. All that was left was a low table made of burl wood, a few tools, and an unfinished self-portrait of Emmon. These items proved to be amongst the most challenging. The burl seemed to be almost as heavy as The Dagda's club, and I'm surprised I was able to move it at all, much less able to bring it home. The portrait was almost too big to fit in the car and rode up close to the ceiling of the car. I am still having a hard time grasping losing the cabin and why. It is much too simplistic to say, "it was time to move on." Alexandra Kennedy says you need not end a relationship because a person dies. Perhaps it was time for me to have my own "cabin," one that someone could not take away, as the house is like a bigger version of it, and it is mine and not a rental. Keeping the cabin forever wasn't realistic (the Muir Heritage Land Trust was thinking about tearing it down at one point), having this house isn't quite so.

On the way home from the cabin there was a small stand by the local pear orchard. A sign asked for people to pick pears for the Contra Costa Food Bank and I stopped and did so. I received some pears in return for the work and it reminded me of the concept of reciprocation so prevalent in ancient Celtic society. I will be offering one of the pears as a "first fruit" of the harvest at the Lughnasadh service, as well as some of the wild plums and blackberries that grow along the path up to the house.