All posts by Mike @ Optional Kitchen

Honoring the triple fire

Tonight Three Cranes Grove celebrated Giamonios, the Gaulish end-of-winter moon. It was a small group of us, just four — we celebrated the Thargelia in honor of Artemis and Apollo as our public spring cross-quarter ritual just yesterday, so most people elected to stay home. But our intimate gathering provided a relaxed, informal resumption of our outdoor druid moons, where we cleaned out the firepit in our nemeton and rekindled our fires. At this moon we honor Belenos, god of the fiery sun, and honor the triple fire of sacrifice, inspiration, and fellowship. Our working in this small-group setting gave us the opportunity to speak from the heart: each person volunteered to speak on the fire in one of its three aspects, and I volunteered to tie them all together. So, with appreciative credit to Lisa Lea, Jan, and Thorne for their explications of the fires of sacrifice, inspiration, and fellowship, respectively — and with apologies for my rephrasing and reconfiguring of their words — some thoughts on the fire at the center of all.

Continue reading Honoring the triple fire

Singing: the voice, the body, and the gods

There’s a certain lift that can happen sometimes, when singing. Or, I suppose I should say, there’s a certain lift that happens to me sometimes when I’m singing, a moment when the composer has written a particularly stirring chord progression. Perhaps it’s a suspension where one line rises, aching, tipping on the edge of dissonance before resolving into the cadence. Or perhaps an unspooling of harmony, the voices calling out in unison and then peeling off until the music shifts from one monochromatic tone to a welter of harmonies intertwining. Or the inverse, a tangling near-cacophony of complex lines combining as if by magic to ring out one spare, simple motif.

Continue reading Singing: the voice, the body, and the gods

Dry brown vines and fresh green and rust-colored vines twine around each other, creating a complex self-supporting structure.

“I want you to know how much I cared”: being open, not being strong

As so often happens when I’m moved to write something, today’s post comes from multiple sources that, while not intrinsically connected, end up jostling against each other in my daily life. Usually I end up working to hide the seams, as it were, to make the writing feel like an uninterrupted whole, but today I’m showing my work. (Sorry for mixing those metaphors.) Today, meditations on openness and honesty, courtesy of my non-druid friends, Jens Lekman, homosexuality, and my husband.

Continue reading “I want you to know how much I cared”: being open, not being strong

Many multi-colored arcs of light, superimposed, cross the frame from lower left to upper-right, with smaller arcs diminishing concentrically toward the lower right. The overall effect is similar to an LP made entirely of traces of light.

When in doubt, make offerings: orthopraxy as guiding force

Three Cranes Grove celebrated the festival of Imbolc this past Sunday, and it was a hard one for me: essentially, I wasn’t in the ‘right’ headspace. I’d had a nonstop week leading up to it, I’d agreed last-minute to take on more parts in the ritual than I’d anticipated, I had nine hours of choral rehearsal scheduled around the rite, Jarod and I had spent the night with our godson after his mom gave birth — which to be utterly clear, was a joyous duty we were happy to take on, but was just one more thing in a very busy timeframe — and overlaying it all was a pervasive sense of fear and despair surrounding the Trump administration’s activities. I was pretty frazzled. I went to Imbolc out of a sense of obligation, rather than desire. And so, as I posted on Facebook that evening, I was amazed to discover after the fact that even the memory of the rite was deeply moving and grounding. I ended up exploring the issue of why and how my meta-experience shifted throughout the course of ritual with a friend, a graduate student in Old Testament archeology, and in the process of explaining religiocultural differences while also trying to draw parallels to his Evangelical Christianity, I came to a better understanding of the ways orthopraxy functions for me as a member of ADF and as a ritual practitioner.  Continue reading When in doubt, make offerings: orthopraxy as guiding force

A fogbow (an all-white rainbow that sometimes appears in fog) hovers over the cracked ice of the Arctic Sea; the prow of an ice breaker pokes out of the lower corner, its shadow on the ice below.

On ritual, responsibility, and consecration

It’s been quiet around these parts for a good while, but it’s not for a lack of activity in my real life. Rather the opposite: I’ve been buried under a pile of responsibilities and activities both secular and religious, and writing that has no clear deadline or penalty (read: this blog) has gotten put to the wayside. Of course, there is in fact a penalty: I begin to feel like I have a well bottled up in me, and as if I’m betraying promises I made to the gods when I first started this site. And so, segue, I’m here to write about running ritual and the difficult but worthwhile responsibility it brings, centered around my first time running a ritual at this past Winter Solstice. Continue reading On ritual, responsibility, and consecration

An abstract digital art piece, multicolored undulations intertwining across the image, predominantly oranges and reds

A month of prayers: week 3

When I buckle down and hammer out headnotes, I get things out more timely; thus, week 3, barely a week and a half overdue! Continue reading A month of prayers: week 3