Day 5 – Altars, Groves and Nemetons
DCD does’t have any specific rules about altars the way some traditions like ADF do. We put what we deem necessary for the ritual and we try to make it beautiful. I loved the one from our consecration but it has been as simple as 3 cedar cones arranged on a stone. We knew it was an altar and that was all that we needed. It’s the energy and thought that the participants put into the altar that makes it a working altar not what is on the altar. Things on an altar are focuses not mandatory components in ritual. Sometimes you need to do stealth ritual like in an airport or other traveling place and you don’t want anyone to know you are doing it.
If you have to have an altar I recommend an Altoid or Sucrets box altar. All you need if you have to have it is a birthday candle – fire , a pretty stone – earth, a sea shell – water a feather – air, a small tissue with incense or perfume – offering and maybe a Goddess figure like a piece of jewelry and you don’t even need to ever open the box, just know that your altar is there. No matter what some people would have you believe, there are no altar police. If you think it’s an altar – it’s an altar.
Groves are more important – at least in the Druid Clan of Dana in the Fellowship of Isis. You need to belong to a Grove and for those that need to be solitary, there is a Facebook Grove run by an ArchDruidess. To be a Grove in the Druid Clan of Dana you must have an Arch Druid/Druidess. It’s why we had to be consecrated after Laura died. She was our Arch Druidess and our Grove ceased to be legal without her and she was supposed to do the consecration in the January 2013 after we became full Druids in 2012 subject to meeting any conditions she might have thrown in but she didn’t and we had made our pledges for what we needed to do in our Druid consecration and when we were ready Laura was too sick to do the consecration. It was a double heart break to lose Laura, our beloved Heiromum and the Grove and all we had done up to then to make it work. We were delighted and honoured to have Linda and deTraci consecrate us at Laura’s memorial.
Groves can construct their own trainings and levels for lack of a better term. In FOI all are equal but people can take different levels of experience. After we constructed ours with Olivia’s blessing. She changed some of the levels so some no longer are listed as separate paths like Herenach. Our Grove you enter as a Companion and you never have to go any farther if you don’t wish to do so. It allows you to be interested and participated but not do more than you wish. Then you can become a Bard which leads to Druid and lastly to Arch Druidess. However you decide to proceed it is the decision of the Arch Druidess and the Grove. Each step along the way takes you farther into study and responsibility. You choose what those responsibilities are and what you want to study and when you feel you are ready or your Arch Druidess does you move farther along the path.
A Grove gives you a home, it gives you like minded people to practice with and learn from and with. A Grove is the sum of its people. It isn’t a place unless you feel it needs to be. We had many rituals by Skype when Laura couldn’t travel and D&M are up in Portland and Laura and I were in LA. We did our Druid Consecration out at Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge and I know if Laura had known her back was broken when we hiked out there we would have found some place else to do it. If she knew she didn’t tell us.
We don’t have a Nemeton and there is no mention of nemetons in any DCD literature that I have found. That is an ADF name for a permanent home. Something DCD people seem not to feel necessary since we have cyber Groves.