I just got back from Concentric Circles less than an hour ago (I’m starting this post at about twelve minutes to midnight), and for in many respects not going to plan at all, it went pretty well!
By “didn’t go to plan,” I mean one or more (or all!) of the following:
1) The original people I was going to go with weren’t able to go at all.
2) The other person from the Ekklesía Antínoou who was going to go wasn’t able to (and very courteously called me to let me know he wouldn’t be making it).
3) We got off to a later start on the road from here than expected.
4) My financial situation didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped it would, which had an impact on various other things.
5) When we went to buy offerings, the lines were excessive, and it all ended up costing more than I thought it would.
6) Pumping gas–or, rather, paying for it successfully before pumping–became a much more difficult chore than it should have been due to #4 and a few other stupidities on my part.
7) Even with all of that making us a bit later, the weather was atrocious, and slowed our travel down a bit (with one very close call/”Oh shit!” moment on the penultimate off-ramp before reaching our destination involving a hydroplaning spin-out that could not be avoided).
8) And, there was a major traffic slow just north of the Tulalip casino/resort, which had us backed up to just about Everett–about a five- to eight-mile distance that took nearly 45 minutes to get through.
So, instead of arriving at around 2 PM with ninety minutes to spare before show-time, we arrived just before 3 with about a half hour until showtime. Eeesh! But nonetheless, we reached The Longhouse in one piece, thankfully!
[Imagine this, only with torrential rains!]
Set-up was faster than expected, and we started close to on-time for our 3:30 session. Just before beginning, one of the diet sodas that I brought with me fell off the table I was using, and while the can didn’t open, it split and sprayed soda a bit on the floor. While it was a bit inconvenient, no one was too worried about it, clean-up was relatively quick and easy, and it seemed that Antinous and friends either enjoyed their pre-emptive offering, or the Chinese proverb of “piece, piece, break, break,” which often happens when a dish breaks or something before a significant event, took away the last of the misfortune and entropy from the situation before beginning.
Luckily, after that, everything went fine!
While there weren’t as many people at Concentric Circles as may have been otherwise due to the very bad weather and the necessity for all outdoor events to be relocated indoors, still, we only had six people at our session (including my intrepid and much-appreciated driver and friend!), of whom one left about halfway through–though he assured me later when I had occasion to meet and speak with him briefly that he wasn’t bored, he just couldn’t sit still. (Hmm.)
My Ekklesía Antínoou 101 PowerPoint presentation has grown slightly to about 113 slides, including more stuff on Pancrates/Pachrates, as well as Palaimon, Sabazios, and the Tetrad++, and even though I skipped over some of them and said things like “These are some hymns that we don’t have time for,” it still took 90 minutes of our two-hour session to get through all of them, which didn’t leave much time for the devotional ritual at the end.
Because another group was due to be using the space right after our session, we decided not to do the full devotional introductory ritual we had planned. I had started with the short Latin prayer to Antinous at the beginning of the presentation, so then when the ritual/devotions proper began later, we continued with the prayer to Polydeukion, and then the “Frankensteinian Antinoan hymn,” and then the Orphic Hymn to Antinous, complete with storax for everyone (!?!), which worked pretty well. We were then going to do one more thing, but in response to a question from one of the participants/attendees about whether or not we do magic, we did the Spell Against Homophobia, which I’ve not personally done in a while. (My ritual “Book of Books” actually fell open to that page when the person asked the question!) After that, we called it a day and tore down as quickly as possible, which wasn’t quick enough for the next group after ours, unfortunately.
After a short few minutes of speaking further with one or two people, and having a quick snack, we made our way over to Circle of Coll’s Druid Healing Ritual; I know one of the individuals who was putting it on (he’s a Seattle area denizen and has been to Ekklesía Antínoou events, PantheaCon, and various other things quite a bit over the last six years), and met the other afterwards (and sort of during the ritual as well at various points). It went very quickly, and while the OBOD style isn’t quite what I like–and, to be honest, the monism and gender-dualism really kind of ground my gears a bit–the main thrust of it was that it was the local iteration of the Earth Protection Ritual by OBOD on behalf of Glastonbury and the anti-fracking campaigns going in the U.K. at present (as well as being concerned with general protection of the earth, improvement of its health, and healing the damage to water supplies and the ocean). Part of the ritual involved the use of the following sigil:
In it, I see several things. First, I see a dragon banner, like the ones that King Arthur (as the son of Uther Pendragon) carries as the rightful sovereign of Britain.
[If it were facing the other way, that is!]
As a dragon, it further very directly represents the power, in every form, inherent in the earth. But, in this case and in these conditions, we are not there to harness these dragons, nor to slay them; instead, we must become the other thing that I saw in this image, which is the wolf trumpets/carnyxes of the Continental Celts.
These are instruments of warfare, quite literally, used by armies marching for a cause. I’m also reminded that one of the more modern words in Modern Irish for “wolf” is mac tíre, which literally means “son of the earth.” So, as warriors on behalf of the earth, and as children of the earth, we are called to be wolves and to hear the clarion call of the wolf through this sigil and its empowerment.
So, look at it again, and imagine all of that, and more, and wish it for the earth and for Glastonbury’s sacred water supply in particular.
We could have stayed for the remainder, but we were feeling a bit antsy, and decided to head away after that. We stopped for dinner with our friend, colleague, and co-religionist Erynn Rowan Laurie, and had a very nice meal and short visit afterwards, and then had clear weather and traffic going home, so that it took less than an hour from Erynn’s door to my own.
And now, here I am! I’m exhausted, and have already put away all of the sacred things that I brought with me, and am now looking forward to some sleep after my abysmal and paltry sleep of last night. But it was all in a good day’s work for devotion to Antinous, and I hope he and the other gods and heroes and ancestors we praised and discussed today are pleased with our efforts!