The Gathering of the Tribe is for all students completing their First, Second and Third Spirals, Priestesses and Priests of Andraste are included, so it really is a gathering together.
Over the weekend, the First Spiral create a labyrinth, and all walk it. We craft, hold ceremony, call in our Goddesses of the Wheel and eat lunch together.
This weekend was no different! We gathered in a wonderful barn in beautiful gardens, lent by a Priestess of Andraste, in North Essex. The barn regularly holds gong baths and reiki practitioner training amongst many other uses. It is cleansed and a truly sacred space.
Every morning we call in the Goddesses on the Wheel of Andraste, when First Spiral students wait in trepidation to know which Goddess they are calling. This is the first time these students call in with the group and they are often a little anxious, wanting to get it right, and hoping not to make a fool of themselves if they get it wrong! There can never be a wrong way. You often call in with each Goddess what you need or what might later transpire.
To watch the students standing in their own power is the most magickal moment for me and their faces light up with their love of Goddess.
Friday was the day we planned the labyrinth, but the weather forecast warned rain. Priestess Claire said it wouldn’t rain until after 5, so we took her word, knowing who to blame if we got soaked! In the morning, before lunch, the labyrinth was created by our First Spiral students whilst we sat and watched. After lunch, in sacred ceremony, all students walked the labyrinth whilst others drummed.
The effect of a labyrinth cannot be underestimated. It is a deeply moving experience, made better by sharing it with Spiral Sisters and Brother. In silence they walk, placing their intention on every step and at each turn of the labyrinth, giving to the labyrinth their fears or problems, leaving them in the centre. Returning back through the labyrinth they make new intentions, with new hope and possibilities. Many laugh, sing or dance their way out of the labyrinth.
We finished the day with a calming and powerful gong bath with our Priestess Nina, before heading home.
And yes! Claire was right, it didn’t rain until after 5!
Saturday broke with glorious sunshine. In the morning, after calling in the Goddesses, we had a happy hour discussing Tarot, Oracle Cards and Divination, reading for each other and scrying with the crystal ball.
After lunch was our crafting time, this is always a special time; we sit together creating and crafting, chatting, laughing, joking and teasing and helping each other.
The First Spiral create special items to remember this, their first dedication, and later all of us together to honour the people of Ukraine, made Motanka dolls, a traditional Ukrainian rag doll that is one of the most ancient of Ukrainian handmade household items that is found in every corner of the country. The doll symbolises a Goddess doll, a protector and patroness of women, honouring the Goddess Rozhanytsa who has been worshiped since ancient Slavic times.
Our last day on Sunday was a very important day for all students to make their self-dedication to the Goddess.
The students often arrive excited, if not a little nervous. It is a day for meditation, a pilgrimage to Goddess.
Their morning calling in of the Wheel of Andraste was especially powerful and deeply moving.
Whilst the Second Spiral prepare for their ceremony, the First Spiral were whisked away, for they cannot see it! Only Priestesses and Priests witnessed the Second Spiral Ceremony; it was beautiful and very moving.
After lunch it was the turn of the First Spiral, who in dizziness and excitement prepared themselves, as had the Second Spiral, dressing in ceremonial and beautiful robes.
We prepared with a meditation to meet the Goddesses on the Wheel of Andraste, led by Priestess Chantal.
The ceremony is conducted by Priestesses and Priests, and the Second Spiral, now new Priestesses of the Goddess, take an active part, their first time in ceremony as Priestesses. It is intensively moving and a deeply sacred ceremony.
Afterwards we celebrated together and brought the Gathering of the Tribe to a close with a farewell prayer.
This is the pinnacle of the training year, a time I look forward to with much joy. We work towards our self-dedication and to be a witness to the creation of the Temple Priestesses and Priests has been the gift from the Goddess to me.
We are so very lucky; our students are hardworking and dedicated to Goddess. We have, starting today 10th October, a new group of First Spiral students who I know will bring so much energy and gifts, as others before them have done.
We are really blessed with our Priestesses and Priests of Andraste who work tirelessly throughout the year in the love of Goddess. We none of us are paid. We do it willingly, with great joy in our hearts in Her name.
They are Priestess Chantal, Madron Mother of the First Spiral, Priest James, Madron Papa of the Second Spiral, Priestess Claire, Tutor of First and Second Spirals, Priestess Melonie, Tutor of the First Spiral and last but not least, Priestess Nina who gave us the free use of her wonderful home and gardens.
We have a committee to help us move forward properly, thanks to our Chair, Priestess Phyllis, and Priestess Melonie.
We have a Temple Weavers group, who find and plan venues for our Pop-Up Temples, thanks to Sister of the Iceni, Lizzie.
The East Anglia Goddess Temple and Community is growing very fast, every week sees new people joining our Facebook Group, and this last week we launched the new East Anglia Goddess Temple Website, thanks to our social media team, Carole and James.
Thanks to our Mother Goddess Andraste for Her unseen hands that guide us in love and gentleness. She can be a hard task mistress and She certainly has a sense of humour.
We are lucky that we all know Her and can share in Her love.
Copyright © Christine Watts 2022