Shining Lakes News

A Newsletter for Shining Lakes Grove, A.D.F.

Fall Equinox 2003 - Vol. 10, No. 4

Sometimes You Gotta Grin and Bear It

Back in 1997, we were doing our Grove's Samhain rite in the dark at Botsford's Recreational Preserve. This was our first Samhain outside; before then we had been holding them in the afternoon at the Friends' House. The luminaria lit the path down to the ritual space, we invited our Ancestors to be with us, and we all took turns sharing our memories of them. One of our members talked about her brother and sang a song that was a favorite of his, "Waltzing With Bears." As she getting ready to sing, I heard a voice in the dark, close to where I was standing, whisper: "Oh please, not the bear song again."

[bear w/witch's hat]Now, this is probably not a song that will make most people's Top Five lists, but it was certainly meaningful to her. Sure, I suppose she could have stayed at home that night and sung the song by herself, but that's not the point of participating in a group Samhain ritual. I could stay at home and honor my Ancestors all by my lonesome too-well, actually, I do. And I hope everyone who's reading this does something for their own Ancestors, on a regular basis and a little something special for Samhain. A plate of your teacher's favorite food, your grandmother's special incense, or just plain old booze-all make good offerings.

But in a group ritual, your offerings take on additional meaning because they are shared. Let's face it, there are things you can do in a group that you just can't do on your own. You can socialize with old friends and new folks, you can learn new things, you can have some yummy food that you've never tried before. If you do a ritual with others, then you're more likely to experience something new and unexpected. And if you want to do high-energy work, well, you tell me which ritual is going to have more energy-the one with one person or the one with forty?

Yes, group ritual is never as neat and tidy as solitary ritual. Nor should it be. Is it really so bad if those new folks you meet never become your friends, or if all of that yummy food isn't really that yummy?

Now remember, these words are being written by a computer geek who could very happily spend all of his time staying at home reading and playing computer games, but has chosen the more difficult task of creating something with the help of others. We find ourselves at the beginning of a religious movement that I believe will make the world a better place for decades, if not centuries. Sitting through the bear song seems a small price to pay for such a reward.

Yours in service to the Kindreds and the Grove,
Rev. Rob Henderson, Senior Druid

[fall leaves]

The Guilds

By Jude Howison

You may have heard about our Guilds and thought, "Weren't those trade unions in the Middle Ages? What does that have to do with Druidism?" Well we would like to familiarize everyone with the Guilds. Each edition of Shining Lakes News will have an article on one of the Guilds available in ADF. In this article I'd like to give an overview of the Guilds in general.

If you have been looking for a way to bring your spirituality into your daily life more, check out the Guilds. If you are looking for a way to be more of a family member of our Grove, check out the Guilds. If you are looking for a fun and social way to learn more about our druidry, check out the Guilds. The Guilds exist to provide people of similar interests an opportunity to get together to share knowledge, learn new skills, and to have fun.

Within ADF there are 9 official Guilds: Artisans, Bardic, Healers, Liturgists, Magicians, Naturalists, Scholars, Seers, and Warriors. Shining Lakes Grove currently has active chapters of three of these: Healers, Magicians, and Warriors (for many years we had an active Seers Guild and Naturalists Guild). We also have an unofficial guild of our own-the Producers Guild. The Producers Guild is currently inactive due to a lack of meeting place. We hope to be back in active practice soon. Also, if there is interest in any of the other ADF Guilds, members are strongly encouraged to start local chapters.

At Shining Lakes Grove we do not require any membership nor special qualifications in order to attend and participate in Guild meetings. Anyone who is interested, or even just curious, may attend meetings. If you are a member of Shining Lakes Grove you may apply for full Guild membership. Guild membership entitles you to vote, hold office, and attain rank through the study program.

As you can see, the Guilds offer many ways for you to grow in your spiritual path. If you are interested in knowing more about the Guilds, please feel free to talk to Rob Henderson, Rod Cox, or me. And watch this space in up coming issues of Shining Lakes News. In my next article I plan to talk about the Healers Guild.

[fall leaves]

The Present Present

By Jude Howison

As with so many people, my life is a string of deadlines. I have to be at work by 8:30 am, have the deposit done by 10:00 am, be ready for surgery by 1:00 pm, and so on. Then there are the longer range deadlines. I have to finish my book for the Dedicants Program by Oct. 1, write my Oath Ritual by Oct 25, inventory at work by Dec. 31, and-oh yeah, get this article to Gen by Wednesday. So anyway, you get the picture.

Every once in a while though, as I dash from one task to the next, I am struck by the present. It happened recently as I was driving home from a liturgists' roundtable meeting. My mind was, of course, working away on plans for the ritual in the near future. When I crested a hill the view of the sky framed by the trees with clouds floating gently above snapped me fully into the present.

It's moments like that that make me stop and rethink my life. Far too much time is wasted rehashing the past or fretting about the future. When it comes right down to it, all we really have is the present. And the present truly is a gift, a present. Each moment is given to us to do with as we wish.

We can ignore it and let it slip into the unreachable past, we can use it to fret and worry about what might happen in the future, or we can use it fully to feel the breath in our lungs, embrace our family, or make someone smile. I'm not saying that planning for the future is bad. Planning is necessary to help life work smoothly. I'm not saying that fulfilling responsibilities is bad; this is how we care for one another. What I am saying is try to stop now and then through out your day, every day, and just enjoy the moment. Take time to be fully aware of the present of the present.

[fall leaves]

Congratulations to our newly elected officers!

As no write-in votes were received for Outreach Coordinator or Youth Activities Coordinator, the Leadership Council may appoint people to these positions during the coming year.

Thanks to all who voted!

The Leadership Council would like to thank Piper for his hard work as Scribe. We wish him, Kami, and their family the best of luck in Florida!

[fall leaves]

SLG Leadership Council

Senior Druid
Rob Henderson

Assistant Senior Druid
Rodney Cox

(open position)

Michael McClennenen

Rodney Cox

Genevieve Stoyak

Outreach Coordinator
(position open)

Youth Activities Coordinator
(position open)

SLG Guild Leaders

Magicians' Guild
Rodney Cox

Warriors' Guild
Rodney Cox

Healers' Guild
Rodney Cox

Producers' Guild (unofficial)
Gen Stoyak

No e-mail access? Contact our officers at our snail-mail address or phone number.

Shining Lakes News (©2003) is published by Shining Lakes Grove, A.D.F., P.O. Box 1732, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106, (734) 998-1029. For information about SLN, contact the Chronicler at or call the Senior Druid at the number below. For information about Shining Lakes Grove, contact the Senior Druid at (734) 427-0282 or, or visit