This Imbolc has caused me to see how I’m just a wee bit overcommitted. It’s hard to complain about – for so long I had to do this all alone that it seems silly to complain about having too many to satisfy. Friday night, I did a private AODA Imbolc ritual. Saturday, I did a “non-demoninational pagan” ceremony with my eclectic group. Sunday, I joined Llyn Hydd Grove for their Imbolc ritual. Sunday afternoon, I performed my Druid Apprentice initiation ceremony. One solid weekend of Imbolcing. I enjoy all the groups I work with, and I don’t want to give any of them up. Still, it feels scattered to me.
I wish my imaginary grove existed. With the power of imagination in mind, here is how I would like next Imbolc to be:

On the afternoon of Saturday, Feburary 2nd 2008, a grove of druids meets. Some of us have been with this grove since its inception, some are first-timers, some are in between. A few of us are AODA initiates, but some are either followers of a different path of Druidry or merely curious. We establish the grove according to the AODA format and perform the ritual. It’s longer and more involved than the one given in the Handbook because we’ve met a few weeks before to talk about what we want to do and some people have ideas to incorporate. The ceremony is partially AODA and partially uniquely ours, and we do it in the early afternoon to catch the waning sunlight, since it’s fairly cold out.
After the ceremony is done, we come in (I’m picturing this in my backyard but I don’t want that to limit where I might end up by next year, so it’s a generic backyard) and warm up with hot cider and a bowl of nourishing soup, and other nice food items contributed by grove members. We share a meal and talk about whatever we want – we enjoy each other’s company and become better friends over the meal. After all that, we have a brief meeting to formally go over Grove business and set times and dates for activities between now and Ostara.
Tonight, it happens that one of our members has joined the AODA and wants to be initiated into the Order as a Candidate. Anyone who hasn’t already been through that initiation heads home at this time. We have planned for this, of course, and have set up a space indoors (since it’s cold and dark out now this is better done inside). We send the candidate off to prepare himself while we set up the altar and transform the room into a sacred grove, and when all is set the candidate enters and the ceremony is performed.

By the time that’s done, it’s gotten late and we’re all kind of tired, but happy and excited for the new initiate. Everyone goes home, I clean up, do the dishes, and sleep until noon on Sunday.

That’s more intense and involved than anything I did this weekend, but it’s all compressed into one afternoon and evening. It’s also much more focused and more got done.