Hail the Light, the Sun has returned, and your friendly neighborhood Detroit Paganism Examiner was honored to be able to attend Mutternacht in Hamtramck with a wonderful circle of celebrants in "Pope Park". In the Darkness of the Evening, we lit candles and shared the stories that our Ancestors created in the lights of their fires for centuries. As we gathered around the altar, placing our offerings, joy was contagious.
All assembled were there at
"Karol Wojtyla Park (known as Pope Park) to honor The Disir, our revered ancestral mothers"
Hillary Cherry lovingly facilitated a beautiful ritual in the Winter night, the wind lilting around the leaves and hair of the dueling Oak and Holly kings in the center of the park. Staffs bared and clacking symbolically, the transition of the Seasons played out before the audience as passersby sent curious gazes at the spectacle. A child's curiosity, followed by laughter, as they sparred, punctuated the scene.
Hillary has been holding these Holiday rites privately with family and friends for many years. This year when the idea presented itself that it would actually be possible to set up a public display in the Pope Park, she was delighted at the chance to get this going and approved by city council, a vote won in a count of 4 to 1. The altar will be up until December 31st, so please try to stop over there and enjoy it.
While at the Rock City Eatery, located at 11411 Joseph Campau Ave, for the family friendly After Party, I had a chance to ask Hillary what we can expect for next year. Her reply was
"Hopefully we can make it bigger and better and with more costumery and pageantry,"
"So basically, bring your best Pagan Manners and bring your best Pagan Wear and come on out and have a good time?"
The Holly King was the victor this time, of course, as he is at the strong part of His Season, yet the Oak King promises to return to regain his place at a Midsummer rematch next year. Plans are even now being formed for this epic battle. And all in our own area.
For those who may wish to put on their own rite of the Oak and Holly King, this author recommends one by Anna Franklin as found on her site http://www.merciangathering.com/. You may be familiar with her name as
"She has contributed hundreds of articles to both small press and professional magazines, and has written twenty-eight books including Herb Craft, Familiars- the Animal Powers of Britain, Pagan Feasts, Personal Power, The Wellspring [with Pamela Harvey and Helen Field], Fairy Lore, Magical Incenses and Oils, The Sacred Circle Tarot, Lammas [with Paul Mason], Midsummer, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Fairies, The Celtic Animal Oracle and The Oracle of the Goddess among others. Many of these books have been illustrated by the late Paul Mason, a friend since art college days"
So if you haven't had a chance to experience her perspective, this would be a good introduction to her Traditions.
Also, for those who are crafty, word has it that they are seeking some really awesome staffs for Midsummer. So woodworkers, start your carving. This could a real greater community effort. How spectacular.