One of the path classes had been using the seed sorting part of the story as a focused meditation exercise and offered to open that up to the whole camp for the ritual. You could go during the day of the ritual to sort the seeds, but you were also expected to go again during the beginning of the ritual. There was a period of about 45 minutes at the beginning where everyone was tasked to do three things. One was to wander the land in silent meditation and reflect on one's personal allies. Another was to go to Aphrodite's temple where 3 priestesses were engaged in aspecting and see if there was a message for you from Aphrodite. Appropriately, after your message you were given a pearl. The third thing was to go and sort seeds. There were several different kinds and also a chant to the tune of "Hoof and Horn" though it was "Sift and Sort". I could have sat and sorted and chanted for hours.
When we regathered in the stone circle for ritual we did an allies circle which was one of the most empowering things I've engaged in. You stood in a circle and one by one folks stepped to the center and stated something about themselves. Others from the circle who were feeling/dealing with the same thing stepped into the center with the speaker when the "caller" said for the allies to step in. Then the caller told the person who had spoken to look around at who their allies were and then to look at the rest of the people holding the boundaries of the circle because those were who supported them. It was amazing. The only thing asked of whoever stepped to the center was to keep it concise for time reasons. Those of us who'd been at the planning meeting had been asked to step in early to get it started and to model the concise format. I hopped in second and stated, "I am new camper struggling against the frequent refrain of 'but that's how it's always been done'". This was an obvious theme at camp and I hesitated for how it might be taken. As was true of most everything all week it was taken graciously and some folks stepped into the center with me. Thank Gods!
I joined some others as allies when they had their turn to speak. It was so powerful, so nicely done with respect and reverence. A great way to round out the 3 earlier tasks at the beginning of ritual. This was the one ritual I purposely did not volunteer for a role in because I had assisted with purification the first night, called West the second night, facilitated the trance with sound on the third night and I just wanted a ritual in which to be a participant. I was so glad it was this one.
Below are some shots of the stone circle where rituals were held.
This is the Mother stone:
This the stone I tended for the week. I brought a candle with the scent "Midsummer Night's Dream":
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