Ashes of Community

The Ashes of Community

The ashes you’ve taken from the remnants of the ritual fire were introduced to it in the spirit of community. By tradition, ashes are gathered from one ritual fire and sprinkled into the flames of subsequent fires.

Bring them to any ritual of the Pagan community that will utilize a fire. With permission of the priest, priestess, or other officiant, sprinkle the ashes into the flames.

If more than one participant brings ashes to the fire, the histories of the ashes are pooled into a list showing the dates, events, and places represented by those ashes.

By tradition these ashes should only be given to those who attended the fire from which they were drawn. They represent the shared spirituality of all those people who have honored their gods at these ritual fires.

The cleansing nature of fire allows us to draw our rituals together without fear of negative energy being introduced. These ashes cannot transfer the essential energies raised by one ritual into the next, only the spirit of community.

The ashes have been part of:

  • 67 ritual fires in 7 of the United States of America over 18 years

  • 2 familiar cremations

  • 2 handfastings

1990

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Summer Solstice Ritual

1991

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Men’s Ritual

1992

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Summer Solstice Ritual

1993

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Men’s Ritual

1994

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Summer Solstice Ritual

1995

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Men’s Ritual

1995

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Summer Solstice Ritual

1996

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisconsin

Men’s Ritual

1997

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

1997

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

1998

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

1998

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

Lughnasad 1998

Coven of the Rising Sun

Middletown, New York

Samhaim 1998

Daughters of Chango

Middletown, New York

1999

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

1999

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

Samhain 1999

Coven of the Rising Sun

Middletown, New York

May 13, 2000

Big Hill Shelter, Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail and Long Path, Harriman State Park, New York

Honoring the Lightning

Summer Solstice 2000

North South Lake Campground, Catskill Mountains, New York

Fire fueled by lightning-downed pine

2000

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

2000

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

February 16, 2001

Long Island, New York

Celebration and cremains of Biff, beloved familiar of Voyager, August 1983 – February 23, 2000

February 20, 2001

Fahnestock State Park, New York

Celebration of snow

2001

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

2001

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

October 6, 2001

Slide Mountain, New Hampshire

In memory of the fallen of 9/11/01

June 8-9, 2002

Laurelin Reteat Center

Bethel, Vermont

Cherry Hill Seminary Summer Intensive

Summer Solstice 2002

Dry River Falls, New Hampshire

2002

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

2002

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

September 11, 2002

Bridge Bay Campground, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

In memory of the fallen of 9/11/01

September 12, 2002

Grant Village Campground, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Celebration of the Earth

Beltaine 2003

Balsam Lake Trail, Catskill Mountains, New York

Beltaine 2003

Eddyville, New York

Summer Solstice 2003

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Ritual

2003

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

Lughnasad 2003

Circle Sanctuary

Wisconsin

Lughnasad 2003

Temple of the Old Gods

Hudson, New York

Full Moon, August 2003

Gaiaped Alliance

Mud Lake Shelter, Northville-Placid Trail, Adirondack Mountains, New York

Naming Ceremony: Gaiaped Alliance

Full Moon, October 2003

Gaiaped Alliance

Canary Pond, Northville-Placid Trail, Adirondack Mountains, New York

October 12, 2003

Gaiaped Alliance

Mud Lake Shelter, Northville-Placid Trail, Adirondack Mountains, New York

November 8, 2003

Eddyville, New York

Lunar Eclipse

Cremation of Mina, companion of River and Basia, ? – September, 2003

Yule 2003

Highland, New York

June 20, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Opening Ritual

Summer Solstice 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Handfasting of Sunnie and Robin

Summer Solstice 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Morning Ritual

Summer Solstice 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Bonfire Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Tribal Drum & Dance Ritual

June 22, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Bonfire Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Handfasting of Draig & Truth

June 22, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hickory Grove, Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Rite of Passage Initiation

June 22-23, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Candlelight Labyrinth

June 23-27, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Chaos Camp, Wisteria, Ohio

Sacred Fire

June 23, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Women’s Ritual

June 23, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hickory Grove, Wisteria, Ohio

Men’s Ritual

June 24, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hickory Grove, Wisteria, Ohio

Pagan Military Ritual

June 24, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Bornless Rite

June 24-25, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hickory Grove, Wisteria, Ohio

Sacred Hunt

June 25, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Hickory Grove, Wisteria, Ohio

Rite of Offering to Pomona

June 25, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Bacchanalia

June 26, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Bast Cat Ritual

June 26, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Stone Circle, Wisteria, Ohio

Summer Solstice Community Ritual and Wicker Sun Burning

June 27, 2004

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Town Green, Wisteria, Ohio

Closing Ritual

October 9-10, 2004

Gaiaped Alliance

Glastenbury Mountain, Vermont

New Beginnings Ritual

June, 2005

Pagan Spirit Gathering

Wisteria, Ohio

Stone Circle, Town Green, and Drumming Circle Rituals

July 5, 2007

Gaiaped Fellowship

Baxter State Park, Maine

Pilgrimage

July 25-29, 2007

Laurelin Retreat Center

Bethel, Vermont

Lughnasad Festival

May 23-25, 2008

Laurelin Retreat Center

Bethel, Vermont

Beltaine

May 26, 2008

Town of Ulster, New York

S’moranalia

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Finding Tom

I always enjoy the workshops and rituals availed to me at Laurelin Retreat, but sometimes it’s the unscheduled times that are the most educational.

On a personal note, my family is having a housewarming party coming up, and because the owners of Laurelin would not be able to attend, I asked if they could give me what we’ve been asking for as a gift regardless: a stone, no smaller than two fists.

Laurelin is fifty-six acres of rolling woods and farmland, crisscrossed with stone walls that now or formerly marked arbitrary boundaries and, like any good New England soil, will yield two good crops of rock a year. There are a lot of stones at Laurelin, and finding the right one for my yard was probably going to take some doing.

Fortune smiled upon me by giving me a companion, Noodleman, who was in need of a Fool’s Errand to complete. My plan had been to supply any number of pictures and make this into a photojournal of our quest. However, I lost the camera immediately after returning home, finding it again in time for a party, only to have it vanish once again, so I don’t expect to be able to give that thousand-to-one ratio promised by pictures. It’s been a week and this post isn’t finished, so I’m just going to have to do this with words alone.

One of the things that’s nice about Laurelin is the plethora of stone walls. Any old agrarian area is going to have them, and central Vermont is no exception. Farmers and landsmen of all sorts learned the art of stacking irregular stones in such a way as to make sturdy boundaries between fields, both marking territory and relocating stones out of plow’s way. I’ve been trying to relearn those skills in the past few days with the stones I’ve been discovering in my compost pile.

None of the stone walls held my interest, and the searching up and down the various streams didn’t find a stone that called out an interest in moving to the Hudson Valley. Finally, we cleared our heads with a solid period of time sitting upon a soft carpet of moss, with no stones in reach.

When we did decide to return to camp, the first stone to catch my eye was perfect. It was sitting on a stone wall along the old road, its top half covered in moss that was populated by inch-long, rust hairs among the bright green carpet. It was in a dry area which was well-shaded, the types of conditions that are abundant in my yard, and particularly in the place where I’m cultivating my moss garden.

“His name is Tom,” Noodleman told me.

Fool’s Errand

I took a Fool’s Errand this weekend while I was attending Beltaine at Laurelin Retreat. A Fool’s Errand often has a specific task, but the way one goes about accomplishing the task is anything but linear.

I took along a companion for this Fool’s Errand, a youth whom I shall call Noodleman. Noodleman has a certain bubbling, mirthful chaos in his personality, and I am very curious if this trait is going to settle out as he becomes a man, or if he has the makings of a Fool.

We were searching for a stone and we didn’t look particularly hard for it. When we did find it, we ended up leaving the stone someplace where we promised each other we wouldn’t forget about it, and ended up returning by another way and forgot it just the same. The stone was not offended, for stones do best when permitted to watch and wait.

But I did take Noodleman’s measure as thoroughly as a priestess with a skein of yarn might. I learned about how his thoughts were organized in his head, and I carefully shared some of the mysteries of Foolishness to see how he would respond. Foolish mysteries tend to be right out there in the open, but they’re so fnordward-thinking that few people ever notice them. The natural Fool will intuitively understand the rules that a Fool lives by.

Not every Fool’s Errand that I have undertaken has been with a companion, and most of my companions are not, and never will be, Fools. As a “Mentor in Mayhem” (dubbed thus by a mother to be named later) I am thrilled if a Fool’s Errand can be a rite of passage and a journey of discovery like it was for Noodleman.

So is Noodleman a Fool? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.