Autumn Equinox 2010

October 4th, 2010

On 26th September, members of Hollow Hills celebrated the Autumn Equinox with a ritual dedicated to the Greek goddess, Demeter.

Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presides over grains and fertility of the earth  and the seasons.  Demeter and her daughter Persephone are central figures in the Eleusinian Mysteries (secret initiation ceremonies held annually at Eleusis in ancient Greece and regarded as a major festival during the Hellenic era).

The celebration of the Autumn Equinox is a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of deities during the winter months.

Offerings of food and drink featured heavily in this ritual, with gifts of honey, bread, fruits and wine being given, and of course the throwing of barley at the altar by all members simultaneously.  Always a fun part of Greek rituals!

We cast for two omens using “astragali” (knuckle bones) and a corresponding omen table: the first omen received gave us the message “There are no crops to be reaped that were not sewn” and the second, “You will go more easily if you wait a short time”.

The first seems to be guiding us to think about what foundations are we laying, either in our personal lives or as a grove, that will give us our desired outcomes? Are we reaping what we sow?

The second seemed to be advising us to employ a degree of patience and forethought in our actions, rather than rushing headlong into something, but also that waiting too long may produce reckless actions.

Our ritual ended with a thanking of deities and other-worldly entities that had been invited and honoured, and we then returned inside for our feast just as the heavens opened and a torrential downpour began – it seems the gods were benevolent in holding off the rain until the formal work was over. A positive omen in itself, perhaps? 🙂

Hollow Hills Autumn Equinox Ritual Altar 2010

Beltane Omens

May 1st, 2008

For every ritual we draw an omen. We do this for a multiplicity of reasons. Most of the time we draw one card each from the Nature Spirits, Ancestors and the Deities and the cards are to see if they have accepted our sacrifices, any messages/warning/positive thoughts that they may have for Hollow Hills Protogrove and also if any of the messages pertain to the individual people attending the ritual. We often use the Greenwood tarot, but we have also used a Greek form of divination involving dice, and reading hot wax dipped into a bowl. One day I would love it if the Protogrove would have a rune and/or ogham reader.

After the divination is done, we also meditate on the omen and what it means to us as individuals and as a group.

Our omens for the Beltane ritual were very positive, and really were a reflection on the ritual we were performing. From the Nature Spirits we received Strength, from the Ancestors we received Spark of Life and from the Deities we received Joy.

I see the Strength card from the Nature Spirits meaning following the path that is right no matter what others might say. As Druids, we need to stay on the path and make people aware of the Earth on which they live and also to have the strength to help with recycling, cleaner air initiatives, not littering, using cars sensibly, etc. Anything we do to help the Nature Spirits will help them go stronger. The Nature Spirits are already strong, but as a united front, we will be even stronger.

The Spark of Life card from the Ancestors told two stories. The Ancestors gave us the spark of life. They were there before us guiding us. The card shows a bow drill – one of the ways that the ancient ancestors made fire –by rotating a stick with a small bow. This is a card of positive energy and also portrays the spark of life within all of us that we will give to future generations.

The last card drawn was from the deities and was Joy. It is portrayed by a crane, a very sacred bird. When they return from migration it heralds warmer weather. This card is about community warmth, joyful friendships, bonding with other people in different ways, and very happy times.

It was determined that the praise offerings were accepted because of the nature of the omens (we take them all into consideration).

We keep track of our omens from ritual to ritual to see if there are any trends or if anything has come to fruition, or if warnings were heeded.


Doreen Taylor
Grove Organizer
Hollow Hills Protogrove, ADF
Aldershot, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Beltane 2008

April 30th, 2008

The Druids and friends of Hollow Hills Protogrove celebrated Beltane on 26th April 2008. It was a beautiful and sunny day that lent itself to the celebration of “summer is a’cumin in”.

ADF’s Vice Arch Druid from the United States, Rev. Kirk Thomas, joined us and honoured us by performing the Waters of Life section of our ritual. When Kirk visits he always shows great enthusiasm for ADF Druidry and always spends a lot of time answering questions. His presence is always appreciated, and always a lot of fun!

Our deities of the occasion were Belenus and Sirona, both Gaulish deities.

Belenus is a fire god, worshipped in Gaul, parts of Britain and other parts of the Continent. His name means “shining one” and he can be associated with heat/fire/purification. In some instances he is in charge of the welfare of sheep and cattle. His name has been found on about 50 inscriptions, so he is fairly well documented as a popular god on the Continent.

Sirona is a goddess of healing springs. She was a popular goddess from Brittany to Hungary. She has been depicted with a diadem on her head, often with a dog on her lap (dogs are symbols of healing) and a snake (also a healing symbol) around her arm. She is also often shown holding three eggs (for fertility). Sometimes she is also shown holding a libation dish and a scepter.

The altar was festively decorated with the flowers from our garden and a “tussy mussy” made by Lucy.

Many offerings were given – honey, butter, wine, whiskey, oatcakes, silver to the well, incense, songs, poems – all joyfully given to the deities, ancestors and nature spirits.

Our omens for the ritual were very good. From the Nature Spirits we received Strength, from the Ancestors we received Spark of Life and from the Deities we received Joy. I will talk in depth about the omens in another post.

Both fire and water can be healing and transformative, so the theme of the ritual was healing with fire in water. To aid transformation and purification in our lives we lit floating candles and meditated upon those things that we would like to purify, heal and transform in our lives. We put the candles in a bowl filled with Glastonbury water procured for us by our member, Tior. Thank you, Tior for bringing us a bit of Glastonbury! We later moved the candles into our home and they continued to burn all night long. We also purified any ritual jewelry and tools that needed purifying with the fire and well.

The ritual was followed by a shared potluck meal that included BBQ burgers and chicken, quiche, and salads, not to mention the sweets that our members love! We sat outside in the spring air and fellowship, good conversation and laughter followed.

All of our rituals are open to the public and our next ritual will be a Norse Midsummer – won’t you join us?

Doreen Taylor
Grove Organizer
Hollow Hills Protogrove, ADF