The Lore of the Grove has come together over many years of ritual, and has been built by many hands. These relationships that we have cultivated with the Gods are the foundation of our work, and will carry us forward through the turning of the Wheel.
Whereas we may choose to alter our celebrations from time to time, whether by honouring other Gods, or engaging in different customs, it is important that we maintain our existing relationships. As such, the Gods listed below will always receive their due at the appropriate rite.
- We bring honour to Eithne, the mother of Lugh, and tell the story of her imprisonment in the tower of ice.
- We bring honour to Lugh, as the child of promise, and present him with offerings that he may grow strong.
- We hunt the wren, and tell the story of the King of All Birds.
- We bring honour to Brighid of many names: Hearth-Goddess, Poet, Smith, Healer, Foster-Mother, Inspiration.
- The Kildare flame is lit upon our altar and tended by one of our Brighidine flametenders.
- Inspired by traditional customs, we call to Brighid at the doorway, and carry in the brídeog (corn dolly) to welcome Her to our rite.
- We receive the threefold blessings of Brighid, through Her críos (girdle), crosóga (crosses), and brat (mantle).
- We collect gently used clothing and household goods for our Brighid’s Mantle Clothing Drive.
LATHA NA CAILLICHE (Vernal Equinox)
- We bring honour to An Cailleach of the Oaken Ridge, a primordial creatrix and goddess of Winter, specifically linked to our area and the Oak Ridges Moraine.
- Present at the rite is the carline (corn dolly) that represents An Cailleach, which has been in the care of a Grove Member all Winter.
- Also present at the rite are the stones used to build Her cairn, in which she resides for the summer. This cairn resides on the property of a Grove Member.
- Provided the Omen is favourable, the Workings section of our rite welcomes in the Spring.
- We bring honour to the Tuatha Dé Danann, for on this day they brought their magic and skill to Ireland.
- The Grove’s Fire is extinguished, and then relit from our nine sacred woods.
- The carline is shrouded, and burned as a remnant of winter in the sacred fire.
- We decorate a May Bush with ribbons and other objects.
- We walk between two fires, purifying and transforming ourselves.
- We bring honour to Manannán mac Lir, the Gatekeeper, and a magician of great skill.
- We bring offerings of yellow flowers and rushes to Him, in payment for his services as Gatekeeper.
- Lugh is asked to guard the Gates in Manannán’s stead, joining with us in worship of His foster-father.
- We raise a sunwheel, decorated with the ribbons from the May bush, and praise the Sun on the longest day.
- We celebrate the birthday of the Grove.
- A day or so after the rite, we carry the offered flowers to a tree on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, in a pilgrimage that follows the Oshawa Creek.
- We bring honour to Lugh Lamhfada, the Master of All Skills, and King of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
- We bring honour to Tailtiu, the foster-mother of Lugh, in remembrance of Her sacrifice.
- Warrior games, consisting of varying events meant to test a number of skills, are played to honour Lugh and Tailtiu.
HARVEST HOME (Autumnal Equinox)
- We bring honour to An Dagda, the Good God, prosperous Druid and keeper of Coire Ansic (the Un-Dry Cauldron).
- We host a sacred feast, whether as part of the rite or after it, and celebrate the abundance of the Earth.
- We collect food donations for our Dagda’s Cauldron Food Drive, to donate to local charities.
- We bring honour to Donn, the guardian of the House of the Dead (Tech nDuinn), where the Ancestors go when they die.
- A shrine for the Ancestors is created, with photos and mementos, and they are given special honour in our rite.
- The sharing of a báirín breac, a traditional divination cake with charms to divine our futures for the coming year.
- We draw lots with a burned bannock to see who will take home the carline, and host An Cailleach for the Winter.
- Before the rite, we host the Dancing Lights Grove Annual Turnip Carving Invitational, to make our lanterns for the rite.
- Every other year, the Leadership Council take their oaths of office before the Kindreds and the Grove and are installed during the ritual.