On Saturday, I had the opportunity to be a part of a Druid ritual for Imbolc. My dear friend Gynwyt Siarad led the ritual.
My part of the ritual was to provide an offering to the outdwellers, which are chaotic forces, so they would not "trouble our Work". The offering was a nice bottle of Guinness, which was placed at the furthest spot away from the actual circle. I knew I could do that part of ritual. I have done it before many times, but in the past, the chaotic force was my drunken okie ex-husband asking, "Baby, can you get me another beer from the refrigerator?!" As I trudged across the lawn, to set the beer in the furthest corner of the ritual space, I imagined all those times, I walked width of 3 or 4 rooms in our home (maybe 80 feet), into the kitchen and handed my ex his beer. The kitchen was never more than 20 feet away from where he was sitting on the couch. The outdwellers, in my mind, definitely had beer guts and burped loudly.
On a more serious note, I also felt strongly about providing the outdwellers with an offering because it provided me with the opportunity to pay my respect to these forces. Although they are not so easy to deal with, they have provided me with a great deal of knowledge of who I am not.
An interesting thing did happen at this Imbolc ritual that involved my offering to the outdwellers. Two of my ex's family members showed up, my ex's niece and her mother, Babs. They are solitary Wiccans that wanted to be part of the ritual. I love them dearly but I could not help but note the irony. The family I married into were nothing like the family I was raised in. Not even close. They are a family that have constant and on-going drama in their lives. Their lives are about the closest representation of chaotic forces or "outdwellers" that I can think of: mental illness, prison time, alcoholism, drug abuse, single-wide trailers, Welfare and ignorance. I guess what they say about "opposites attract" is very true. I am glad to say that I am a recovering "bad-boy addict".
Babs is very special to me. She is an aged toothless biker mama who walks with a cane and doesn't take shit from nobody. She's quick with the cane, so watch out and don't piss her off. She was beautiful and a true badass in her day. She has seen alot of life and lived through it. Many nights I sat in her 15 foot trailer (yes 15'), crying whilst in a business suit over my ex's drug abuse problems. She suffers from depression and agoraphobia so she was always home when I needed to vent. She always offered me kindness, love and a caring ear. She taught me that even the "outdwellers" can offer humanity.
As I paid my respect and provided offering to the astral outdwellers, I quietly acknowledged the family of outdwellers that stood before me, physically. They are still a significant part of my universe. As below, so above, as above, so below....
The other significant part of the ritual was the part when all participants were allowed to honor the goddess, provide her with an offering and humbly request another gift, a gift for a gift. Although the goddess is not within the pantheon I usually use, I have worked with her since about a year ago. I knew her lore and I have asked her for assistance with a close family member. Given the situation and my experience level with the Gods, she was a very appropriate goddess for me to work with at the time. I was fearful of losing my close family member to the dark forces last year, the same chaotic forces that the "outdwellers" are known for. Life has significantly changed for my close family member, for the better. I knew I had to thank the Lady of Light and Home for bringing my family member back from the Darkness. I love my troubled, mixed-up family member with all of my heart and soul.
I wept quietly by her Fire as I provided my offering and asked only that she continue to provide her assistance. The outdwellers wept too because they love our close family member too.