Ripples, Spring Equinox 1997

Table of Contents

Nonretractables

Well, here we are again. It's been a long cold winter for so much of the Grove it's absurd. Money was pilfered, the debate on child abuse raged, several Grove members announced relationship separations, and a few lingered in suicidal depressions. More than one of these crises caused the delay of Ripples a full six weeks.

The good news in all of this?

Brighn, Chronicler

Hypocrisy and Paganism

Omega Sygal-Moon

What is hypocrisy? Webster's Dictionary defines it as "simulation or pretense of goodness; feigning to be what one is not; insincerity." It defines hypocrite as "one who dissembles his real nature; a pretender to virtue or piety: a deceiver."

As followers of an earth based, life affirming religion, we seek to improve the quality of life through love and truth, and to continually change ourselves and our environment for the better. I'm sure we have all heard this statement made many times, but how many of us actually live by it? Are we just pretending to believe this, or is it truly reflected in our actions and the way we live our lives? The only ones who are rightfully entitled to make these kind of judgments about us are ourselves, of course, and even then we must do it as honestly as we possibly can. We must strive not to deceive ourselves about our faults.

Certainly, believing that we are essentially good brings us closer to actual goodness, no matter what others' perceptions of us might be. The belief gives us the strength and faith to strive for more.

The concepts of both good and evil are largely perceptional and emotional in nature. In general, it's wrong to kill. But if a police officer shoots and kills someone in the line of duty, most people would not consider the killing to be wrong. On the other hand, the friends and family of the deceased might feel that the officer's actions were unjustified because someone they love has been taken from them. In the same way, an action that one person sees as hypocritical might be seen differently from a different point of view.

If Helen presents herself in public as being conventional and monogamous while carrying on three intimate physical relationships, even if those relationships are all loving and consentual, she is being hypocritical. She might maintain that her relationships are the business of those people who are involved, and no-one else; she might argue that she's preserving and reserving her right to privacy. But it is in doing one thing and saying another that hypocrisy is born: What makes Helen a hypocrite is her actions combined with her public advocation of monogamy as the best way of life. A person who is openly polyamorous might feel that Helen is being hypocritical by hiding her relationships, but a person does not have to make everything about themselves public. Their actions should simply conform to their publicly espoused beliefs.

As pagans, we have chosen paths less travelled. Many of us have found that socially acceptable ways of living are insufficient to fulfill our spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. So now we are struggling to gain social acceptance. We can understand that the primary goal of ADF and SLG is to make the worship of the Old Gods open to the general public. But we should wonder how far we are willing to go in order to reach that goal. The grove is attempting to portray an image of political correctness to obtain social acceptance and be more accessible to newcomers. Is the price of this to give up our right to be ourselves?

We can no longer commune skyclad with nature on our Holy Days because our rituals are too public and society still largely views the natural state of the human body to be wrong and offensive. Our relationships are being hidden beneath a veil of secrecy instead of being celebrated for the love and joy they bring us, because society still sees heterosexual monogamy as the only acceptable form of intimacy. Our traditions are being diluted and altered to make them more acceptable. Magick can no longer be practiced overtly at our rites because the public might think that we're superstitious crackpots, and our rituals are losing more and more of their spiritual and magickal substance.

It is true that we need to be gentle with those who are new to paganism in some ways, but as a friend of mine put it: if you keep the baby on the bottle, it'll never learn to eat solid food. If the public or persons new to paganism can't be open-minded enough to accept others as they are, then maybe they should reconsider why they are pursuing a path that is based on freedom, truth, love, and acceptance. Are these only valuable when they are being applied to themselves, but not to others?

So, how much are we willing to sacrifice for social acceptance and political correctness? Are we going to allow the strictures of public opinion to deprive us of the spirituality and freedom that the practice of an earth religion has promised us? If we don't consider these questions, the qualities inherent in our religious traditions will soon be evaporated by the harsh glare of society's scrutiny.

A Hard Lesson

Fox, Senior Druid

The leadership of this grove has learned many lessons over the past three years. Some of the ones that spring instantly to mind are the need to constantly work on our interpersonal skills and the need to tread lightly in the minefield of passions surrounding child rearing issues. But the hardest lesson that we have had to learn to date is to never have total and unquestioning trust in anyone when it comes to money.

Money is something we have always had little of. This grove was not founded around the aim of building a big bank account, and it shows. The membership dues that each of us pay do not even cover the cost of a necklace and newsletter postage, and every six weeks the grove mails out an issue of Shining Lakes News to about 300 households, never asking for a dime in return.

However, over the last 2 years or so we have begun to develop big dreams. Increasingly we talk of getting our own meeting space so that we will no longer have to meet in members' homes. We have also talked of buying land as a permanent home for our nemeton and a place for campouts and festivals. Most recently the dream of buying or building our own church has moved to the fore. Unless any of us have rich and generous relatives, these dreams all come with very big price tags.

With that in mind, we established a land fund and started a fundraising committee to help us build toward our financial goals. The fundraising committee has already accomplished much, and there are many innovative ideas in the works. Individual donors began to dig into their pockets to add some of their green energy to the land fund, and it finally began to grow. But just as it seemed that we were getting things moving in the right direction, disaster struck!

On January 4th, a day I'll never forget, I discovered that the grove had been robbed! I had been helping to build a meeting room in Marae's basement with some other grove members. I ran out briefly to the bank to pick up a money order for ADF. When I arrived at the bank I found that the accounts for both ADF and SLG were virtually empty.

I was both furious and dumbstruck. I walked about for days feeling just like someone close to me had died. I was convinced that SLG and ADF, perhaps even some of the other groves, would just collapse under the weight of loss and scandal. Thankfully, after having regained some balance, I saw that we could get past this crisis.

After retrieving all of our records and piecing our financial history together, we now know that Gwydion had been taking portions of cash from the accounts for his own use over most of the last two years. In total, there is $4,706.18 missing from the grove account and a much larger amount from ADF's account. The total theft is more than $20,000! On top of all this, I recently discovered that he never paid our bill of about $900 to Camp Talahi for last year's Lughnasadh festival. It is now past due by 8 months, and we have no way to pay it.

The months since the discovery of the theft have been very hard for me. Beside the understandable shock and feelings of personal betrayal, I have been under serious attack from all across the country for having this happen on my watch. There have been calls for my resignation as Archdruid and demands for dismissal of the entire board of directors of ADF. This incident has put a black mark on my tenure as Archdruid and has brought shame to our door-step. We have much to rebuild.

In what little contact I've had with Gwydion since January, he has indicated that he wishes to replace the money that he has taken. I have worked extensively with George Cooney, a local lawyer and longtime friend of the grove, who has given his time, money and legal knowledge with no expectation of payment, in order to help us. We have filed suit in the Washtenaw County court for the return of the funds, but I'm sure it will be a long time before we see a substantial portion of it back.

Our thoughts have now turned toward insuring that this will not happen again. Michael McClennen has taken over the jobs of Pursewarden and Registrar, offices that he filled a few years ago. This time, we are setting up the financial records on the computer accounting software called "Quick-books". This software is custom made for small business applications, and seems to be just what we need to keep our records in order. We are also implementing new procedures to insure oversight of all future financial transactions.

So now we begin the process of rebuilding. It is my hope that you have found something within this community to inspire you to join in the effort. As for me, the experience of seeing our little tribe threatened by disaster has served as a strong reminder of just how important this work and all of you are to me.

Letters

Hello, Mr. Chronicler, and congratulations on a wonderful first issue of Ripples! There are a few things I'd like to comment on.

The article on solstice gifts for children mentions that "The Secret of Roan Inish" has not been released on video yet, but does have a warning that the article is out of date. I'd like to confirm that, indeed, the video is out. I saw it at the video rental outlet a couple of days before I read Ripples. Eerie, huh?

When reading your "Inside and Out" article, I was surprised that you didn't mention a very specific Indo-European myth to support this statement: "What happens when Loki is not invited to a party because only a few people are invited? Loki mopes and pouts and kicks stones around and deals with it. What happens when Loki is the only one not invited to a party and is specifically disinvited? He gate-crashes, acts like a total and utter Holy Terror, and carries on to no end. Chaos insulted is chaos that is uncontrollable." This is exactly what happened when Eris (Greek goddess of chaos) was the only deity not invited to a wedding held in Olympus. She threw an apple labelled "For the Fairest" into the banquet hall, three goddesses argued about who it should go to, and before you know it, the Trojan War broke out.

Without the chaos of heat and entropy, the entire universe would be at absolute zero. Not a place I'd want to live in! And what about those rituals which celebrate rites of passage? If no change is possible, how can anyone become something new? For that matter, how can our rituals change the world if no change is possible? I've always thought of the Outsiders as malevolent forces, not chaotic ones. And I wouldn't want malevolent entities involved in my rituals, but chaotic ones are always welcome. I don't want any golden apples to deal with, thanks.

I look forward to the next issue!

Rob Henderson

Reports

Healers' Guild

After many months of getting our by-laws approved, the SLG Healers' Guild is finally officially open for business! Our duly-elected officers are:

In the coming months, we plan on having workshops on alternative healing techniques at our meetings, on topics such as herbal preparation and aquatherapy.

If you would like to join the Guild, or if you'd like to lead a workshop at a Guild meeting, please contact Rob Hen-derson at 313 487-4931 or via robh@cyberspace.org, or see our Web page at http:// www.msen.com/~robh/slg/healer.html

Rob Henderson

Artisans' Guild

After the Artisans' Guild inducted its third member, Victor Foshion, at the 1997 Imbolc ritual, it became a functioning Guild which will operate fully under its by-laws from now on. Elections were held during the March regular meeting, and we are pleased to announce our new Guild officers. The position of Guildmaster will be held by Victor Foshion, the Guild Scribe will be Johnna ap'Morrygan, and the new Guild Purser is Raven Hecate-Ana Spiritdancer.

Now that the Artisans' Guild is functioning under its bylaws, the membership process is even simpler than before. To join the Guild, a prospective member needs to contact the Guildmaster or Guild Scribe, and may not even need to attend more than one regular Guild meeting. Anyone interested in joining as an apprentice (no application process necessary) should be aware that there are Journeymen available to instruct you in crochet, embroidery, and beadworking. In other Guild news, we plan to begin offering workshops at our regular meetings. Members of the Guild will design a small project which can be completed or mostly completed during the two-hour meeting. We plan to announce the projects in Shining Lakes News, and those interested in participating will be asked to register so that a materials packet can be made up for them prior to the meeting. A small fee will probably be charged to cover costs. Anyone with suggestions for things they'd like to try or techniques they'd like to experiment with should contact me at (313) 485-8632.

Johnna ap'Morrygan

Bardic Guild

Toots of the horn to our Bardic Guild members who presented at ConVocation this year. Kami Landy gave child-related presentations for both children and adults, Raven Hecate-Ana Spiritdancer offered advice and ritual on Cronehood, Brighn al-Ya'alina led a Fool's Journey, I did water stuff and Christian stuff and gave the best concert of my life, and Omega Sygal-Moon took the plunge with a water ritual in the pool. In addition, David Rozian took pictures and brought the most marvelous "sin" ("cinn"? "cynn"? —"Davroz's Sinful Cinnamon Synthesis") to the SLG room party, and Mama Moon worked some powerful fertility magic at Norseworking. I think every Bard who was able to make it to the Con contributed something substantial to its success, and I'm very proud of all of us!

Bardic Guild seminars have begun focusing on Sacred Drama, with a time-out in March for a special voice workshop presented by Alison Rene. We are hoping to improve our work during ritual by learning more about dramatic presentation and the technical aspects of movement and voice projection. I hope also to begin coordinating story-telling and other vocal work with drumming as a trance and performance enhancement.

And speaking of drumming, we are trying to improve our coordination and communication among drummers and other leaders during ritual. Therefore, anyone who wishes to drum for rituals is now required to attend pre-ritual rehearsals, which will take place sometime after the liturgical work is done but before Fire Watch (usually within a week or two of the ritual). The next rehearsal, for the Solstice rite, will be Tuesday, June 10, after the Liturgists' Roundtable. If you are unable to make the rehearsal, we ask that you not drum as part of the group ritual work, although you are of course welcome to drum in the course of your individual praise offering. Any questions regarding ritual drumming or the SLG Drum Corps may be addressed to me at (313) 663-3276. (You do not have to be a member of the Bardic Guild to be in the Drum Corps!)

Several members of the Bardic Guild and a few other folks with some singing experience will be producing a Yule Album as a fundraiser for ADF. We need to make this really good, folks, and we're working with a deadline, so if you are a good singer or musician and wish to be involved, please get in touch with me as soon as possible. We will be working with Ian Corrigan and Todd Alan, among others, so we do intend this to be professional quality. The songs have already been chosen, and I am working on the arrangements now. We had our first rehearsal on Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m., and we expect to begin recording in late April or early May. This will involve commitment but should also be fun.

Marae Price
Bard Mór

Grove Elections

Local elections are approaching again, and SLG is seeking nominees for two offices this year. Nominations for the positions of Scribe and Pursewarden/Registrar will be accepted by the Nominating Committee members until Summer Solstice of this year. The position of Scribe involves preparing and sending mailings, entering mailing list information, taking and compiling notes of Grove business meetings, and similar duties. Candidates for Scribe should be computer literate and have good organizational and communication skills. Access to a computer is strongly encouraged. The position of Pursewarden/Registrar involves handling the Grove's financial transactions, maintaining financial records, producing financial reports, processing membership applications, sending membership renewal notices, and similar duties. Candidates for Pursewarden/Registrar should be computer literate and have basic bookkeeping or accounting knowledge. Access to a computer and familiarity with Quicken or Quickbooks software is strongly recommended. To get more information on these offices or to nominate yourself or someone else, contact the members of the Nominating Committee. This year's committee members are Marae Price (313-663-3276), Rob Henderson (313-487-4931), and Brighn (517-487-2643). Please be aware that candidates for these positions must be FULL Grove members (that is, member of both SLG and ADF). If you are not currently a full member but are interested in running for one of these offices, please contact the current Registrar, Michael McClennen, at (313) 761-1137 to change your membership status.

Johnna ap'Morrygan

Ecologists' Niche

What have we done for our Mother lately? Here's a place to exchange ideas on ways to take care of our environment. The Grove has adopted a stream through the Huron River Watershed Council's Adopt-A-Stream Program (see Ana's House). Several Grove members participated; we hope that in the future more of you will have the opportunity to be a part of this project. In the last Niche I noted that several of us pick up trash. Another way to approach this is as a spiritual practice. Whenever I am out communing with Ana (and on other occasions as well), I make a point of taking away trash that I find in that area— sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what I find and how equipped I am to carry it. I do this as an offering of thanksgiving for what I have received, and as a way of expressing my love for her. In these days of water pollution and careless littering and dumping, I feel that this is every bit as appropriate an offering as flowers or silver lovingly placed in her waters. If you have a "green" habit you wish to share, or if you have done something special for our land, please send it to the Ecologists' Niche at the grove address, or give me a call at (313) 663-3276. Your Mother thanks you! — Marae Price, Grove Ecologist

Green Scene

One of the oldest and well-known medicinal herbs, which gave rise to a modern-day wonder drug, is the bark of the various species of willow tree. There are about fifteen different species of the genus Salix in the northeastern quadrant of North America, some of which are alien and some native.

While all species of willow have similar medicinal properties, the Black Willow (Salix nigra) and the White Willow (Salix alba) are the most commonly used. Black willow is a native species, and its beneficial qualities were known to Native North Americans before the arrival of Europeans. Black willow is a small, scrubby-looking tree with the characteristically long and narrow leaves common to all willows. Unlike most willows, however, black willow leaves are not white on the underside, and each leaf has two very small, egg-shaped leaflets where the leaf stem meets the branch. White willow, on the other hand, has comparatively light-colored leaves which are white underneath and slightly hairy on both sides. The only willow in our area whose leaves are hairy on both sides, white willow is also an alien import from Europe. Please note that neither of these willow species is the weeping willow (Salix babylonica) with which we are probably most familiar, though the leaves are similarly shaped.

In Europe, the medicinal history of willow can be traced back to the first-century herbalist Dioscorides, who prescribed it for pain and inflammation. It was used for these and other disorders continuously until the beginning of the twentieth century. The most important part of the willow used medicinally is the bark, though the leaves and whole stems can also be used. Spring is the easiest time to harvest willow bark, which should be taken from large limbs rather then the trunk. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow slit across the width of the limb. The length of your cut should be no more than one-quarter of the limb's radius. After making your slit, simply peel a strip of bark down the length of the limb. Girdling, or removing bark completely around the limb, must never be practiced because it is very harmful to the tree. Try to harvest just a little bark from many different branches rather than a lot from one branch. The harvested bark should be dried at room temperature and then stored whole in a cool place. You will wish to grind the bark up just before using it, which can be done with an old cheese grater or similar item. A tea of ground willow bark is very efficacious in treating headache, other aches and pains, fever, and inflammation. To prepare, boil 1 teaspoon of bark in one and a half pints of water in a covered glass or enamel pan for 30 minutes. Cool slowly, sweeten to taste as necessary, and drink a mouthful at a time, the exact dosage to be determined by the severity of the condition.

Willow bark is somewhat irritating and should not be used by persons with stomach or duodenal ulcers. It may also cause stomach irritation or vomiting in some people. If you are sensitive to aspirin, you will probably not be able to use willow bark. Since aspirin is unsafe for children, it is probably best to avoid treating them with willow bark as well.

It is no accident, of course, that the uses and cautions associated with willow bark are virtually the same as aspirin, because the active ingredients are virtually the same. Willow bark contains high concentrations of a compound known as salicin, although salicin was first isolated from another plant, queen of the meadow, in the 1820's. The compound was named salicin after Salix, the genus name of all willow species. Salicin was known to be the compound responsible for willow bark's medicinal effects. For decades afterwards, chemists experimented with salicin, eventually producing first salicylic acid and then acetylsalicylic acid from it. It was not until the 1890's, however, that the potential of this chemical compound was realized. It was then that a chemist for the Bayer company tried to treat his father's arthritis pain, and its success helped him convince his employers to market it. We of course know acetylsalicylic acid as aspirin.

As well as its contribution to medicine, willow also has a host of other uses. Since willow bark is astringent, the same recipe used above (but without sweetening!) can be used as a skin cleanser. Willow, particularly young shoots of willow, have been used for centuries in basketry. Because some types of willow expand when wet, they can actually be used to make a watertight basket. Though most willow is very difficult to work with, it has often been used for items which must be very strong. In fact, willow makes another contribution to medicine because it is often used to make prosthetic limbs, due to its strength and resilience. Willow trees are useful in various types of erosion control programs because their roots form dense, twisting mats which help stabilize soil, particularly along stream beds and in marshy areas.

Classical writers assert that the Druids held willow to be a sacred tree, and this is corroborated by vernacular sources. In Ireland, willow was one of the nine sacred trees held to have important magical properties. The great hermetic herbalist Culpeper classifies willow as mildly dry and cold, which would typically imply connection to the element of Air. He also states that it is ruled by the Moon. Other writers, however, connect willow to the element of Water, since it is a water-loving plant. Crowley additionally correlates the willow with the goddesses Ceres and Persephone.

Willow trees are very common and quite easy to find, particularly near water. They are also surprisingly easy to grow. They are best propagated from cuttings, so much so that discarded willow baskets have been known to take root and grow into trees. Willows are quite hardy in terms of temperature, but require considerable water and are rather susceptible to disease and pests. Many species make attractive ornamental trees, and they generally grow quickly. If you don't have access to a willow tree, you might try simply growing one!

Johnna ap'Morrygan

(Ed. note: This article is presented for entertainment, not to suggest a specific medicinal course. Always consult a licensed herbalist or doctor before using herbs medicinally.)

Ana's House

In the last "Ana's House" I described the work of the Huron River Watershed Council and indicated that Shining Lakes Grove might be getting involved. Sure enough, we have joined the Council and we have adopted Traver Creek, in Ann Arbor. Our specific site on the creek is by the railroad tracks. It is a lovely little stretch of water, and I am told by the HRWC staff that it is in very good health.

Our first assignment in the Adopt-A-Stream program was to take maximum and minimum temperature readings for the months of January and February. Maximum/minimum readings are done for two months in the winter and again for two months in the summer, simultaneously at all adopted sites. The thermometer remains in the water at all times and is read once a week, so we have a series of readings of maximum and minimum temperatures for each week throughout the two months.

Several members of the grove have participated in the weekly readings: Jim Hoyt, Rob Henderson, David Rozian, Kami Landy and her boys Timothy and Gareth, and me. Jim and I made the first foray out on Sunday, January 12, exploring the stream on both sides of DhuVarren Road and ultimately settling on a location upstream for our temperature monitoring site. Other work, such as the stream searches to be done in the spring and fall, will be done at the downstream site in order to be consistent with past surveys.

To get to the creekside, we had to wade through a field of horsetails, and we suspect that when the weather warms sufficiently there may actually be some pretty soggy ground there. We also made a note not to wear shorts in the summer: Another common name for horsetails is "scouring rush," and for good reason. We walked downstream to a point where the creek curves close to the railroad tracks. In a sheltered place next to a tree at the edge of a more wooded area, we lowered the thermometer into the water, got an initial reading, and then anchored the thermometer to a sapling along with the reset magnet.

The following week we had some incredibly cold weather, and when Jim and I got to the creek we were presented with a major challenge: The creek was frozen fairly solidly, and most solidly where our thermometer was located.

I took advantage of the solid state of things and walked out on the creek. The creek is only a couple of feet wide and probably at most four or five inches deep, and after the toe-numbing experience the week before, I was wearing my hiking boots. I gave a couple of exploratory stamps and the ice held, so I tried stamping on the ice near the thermometer. It was like stamping on rock. Obviously, we were not going to have an easy time of this. I went looking for something harder than my foot to try to break the ice. I walked to the other side of the creek, wandered downstream a bit, and found a steel fence post sticking out from beneath the trees of the streambank opposite me. I had to cross the stream again to get to it, and here was where I found the thin ice. I found it with my right foot, and I learned that here the water was a little over six inches deep. Having received my baptism, I found solid ice and reached my goal.

After a bit of work, I managed to break off a bit of the post. I took my trophy back to the recalcitrant thermometer. We were going to get our reading, one way or another.

It took about fifteen minutes of whacking and thumping of the ice, with Jim and me taking turns, before we finally hacked the thermometer loose from the main mass. We had to be careful not to whack the thermometer itself, adding yet another dollop of mercury to our burdened environment. We did manage to get it loose, but that wasn't the end of our problems. The ice went clear to the bottom; after retrieving the thermometer, we measured the block of ice that still surrounded it at about two inches thick.

Since removing this ice with the steel bludgeon would have been dangerous, we looked for a smaller tool. Jim had a pocket knife. Some of the thermometer was accessible; fortunately it had been face down in the stream, so once we got the mud off we could read the numbers for the most part. With Jim's pocket knife we shaved away enough ice to get a clear reading. We plopped the thermometer back in the creek (in water closer to the opposite shore) and prepared to depart. We then realized that we still had to reset the thermometer, so we fished it out. After some struggles we finally got the marker set and the job was done. By this time we were feeling like it had been a long enough day.

On the day of the last reading, Kami and the boys and I went out and found the creek running high; a far cry from the quiet little creek whispering under the ice. I will miss the weekly trips, but expect to go back just to visit our "kid."

Marae Price

Creek Fair 1997

On Sunday, March 2, the Adopt-A-Stream Program of the Huron River Watershed Council held their annual Creek Fair at Kensington Metropark. A couple of other grove members and I attended. This was my first Creek Fair, and I was astounded at the number of cars in the Nature Center lot; I drove around a few times before I could get a space. Obviously this was a popular event!

I discovered that a large proportion of the attendees were children, some with parents and many with school groups (though I'm told that this many kids was not typical). I signed in at the registration table and headed in to find out which creekshed I live in. I had an idea it was Mallett's Creek, which flows south and east of Ann Arbor. There were maps showing the Ann Arbor area with the creeksheds outlined; unfortunately there wasn't quite enough detail to be sure. Finally, at a display on Mallett's Creek, I found a photographic map which showed detail down to individual houses, and that confirmed that I am positively in the Mallett's Creek shed. (If anyone else is curious to know what creekshed they live in, let me know, or better yet, call the HRWC Adopt-A-Stream Project at 769-5971).

On my way to the Mallett's Creek display, I got sidetracked by a couple of activities. A woman in waders was doing a demonstration on mapping a creek. She showed the techniques used for measuring width, depth, and flow, with plenty of audience participation. She also explained the significance of bottom type and sedimentation in terms of habitat for insects and fish, and related how bottom type was related to flow speed. After the demonstration, I wandered over to the far corner where Celtic Ramble, a traditional music group, was playing Irish fiddle tunes. After listening for several minutes, I wandered over to the creek displays.

As I was reading the information on Mallett's Creek, a school group set up microphones next to me and performed a delightful song called "All the Rivers Run." I got a copy of the lyrics and was jotting down information on the CD (all watershed songs) when the displays started to be taken down. The conference part of the afternoon was starting at three o'clock, and they were setting up the room for speakers. I was disappointed not to have time for the other room of the fair, where they had the Live Creature Creek exhibit and some other neat stuff.

The conference was facilitated by Joan Martin, who directs the Adopt-A-Stream Program, and with whom I have had several good discussions. She introduced three speakers: Steve Sutton, representative of the Department of Natural Resources; Brian Jonckheere, Drain Commissioner for Livingston County; and Dr. Mike Wiley, professor of Aquatic Ecology at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources.

There was also a skit about a homeowner who cared enough about the watershed to be involved in Adopt-A-Stream, but whose typical suburban lifestyle involved many habits and practices which are damaging to the environment. The performance was amusing and informative, culminating with the insects (including a human-sized stonefly) rising up in protest against the polluter. Only his pledge to do one good thing for the Huron saved him from becoming supper for the bugs.

I learned some interesting and exciting things from the speakers. Steve Sutton told us that legislation has been signed to establish a state-wide Adopt-A-River program, with similar goals and strategies to our local Adopt-A-Stream. The program would coordinate data compilation and interpretation from the various sites, making it available statewide, and also would enable state-wide recognition for groups active in river care. The program has not yet been implemented, but I hope it will be soon. Steve also mentioned the President's call for designation of American Heritage Rivers, suggesting that at least one of Michigan's rivers (perhaps the Huron) should be among the first ten to be so designated.

Brian Jonckheere discussed the duties of a drain commissioner and how they have changed over time. Originally, the main objective was to drain wetlands for use, usually by digging ditches. (In Ann Arbor, at least one creek (Mallett's) has been turned into a ditch, while another (Allen) is entirely underground.) In recent years, as the value of wetlands has become recognized, the drain commissioner has become very much involved in watershed and wetlands protection, with concern for animal habitat and stream health. Washtenaw County Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin was also present at the fair; she has long been a supporter of Adopt-A-Stream. I hadn't quite realized before how important the elected office of drain commissioner is in terms of environmental protection; this is something to bear in mind next time you go to the polls.

Mike Wiley talked about the data which has been collected over the last several years, and how it has helped us to better understand the problems our creeks face. The work done by the Huron watershed creek adopters is outstanding; we generate more data in a given timeframe than is gathered for any other river in the state. Of the creeks being monitored, roughly a third are in the condition we would expect given the average health of the river, which is reasonable but not optimal. About a third are in better condition than that, and we hope to preserve their good health. Unfortunately, the other third are in serious trouble. Mallett's Creek, my creek, is undeniably in the worst shape of any monitored creek. Traver Creek, which the Grove has adopted, is in the average group, which means it needs lots of help to avoid becoming troubled.

After the creek condition update, Mike discussed a particular question which the winter stonefly search helps to clarify. Stoneflies congregate at creeks in winter for mating. By limiting counts to a specific high-concentration time of year, attention can be focussed on human-generated causes of stonefly absence. Stonefly populations are driven out by pollution, but the nature and source of the pollution is important to determine if it is to be stopped. Comparing conductivity of the water with the winter presence of stoneflies helps determine how constant or high the pollutant levels are. If conductivity is above a certain level, this indicates pollution and one expects stoneflies to be absent. Other creeks have lower conductivity and have healthy populations of stoneflies.

During the conference, Blossom Home Preschool gave a dramatization of what is happening to Mallett's Creek (in addition to the pollution, Mallett's is plagued by frequent surges in water level and flow, which is disruptive to wildlife habitat), and their decision to become Mudbusters and fight erosion. Their main project involves Buhr Park off Packard Road. In conjunction with Allen Elementary School, the Blossom kids are creating a "Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow" as a water retension area for Mallett's Creek. This is quite a project, and promises to make a lovely nature spot, with boardwalks over the meadow and plantings of native species to naturalize the area. They already have commitments to help from landscape architects, builders and suppliers. Since I live in the Mallett's Creek shed, I got on their contact list.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and informative afternoon. It was encouraging to see so many people actively involved in caring for our Mother and all her tributaries, especially so many children. I was reminded how important it is for each of us to be involved in the care of the watershed. Mike and Steve pointed out that government regulations change with the political winds, and scientists are at the mercy of their grant money. We, who live on her shores and cherish her, whose lives are linked with hers, are the ones who will make the biggest difference.

Marae Price

Fiction

Icarus

I wrap myself in angel's wings.

They bear me only slight comfort, the cherubic voices chiding me, the tattered feathers hiding me as I curl into the cave my own wings make.

This is no small solace I seek, but the solace of comfort in a fragile world.

I seek wisdom, but the feathers are mute. Even the wind that rushes through them speaks only in vague murmurings and far-spoken dialects.

I seek guidance, but the labyrinths that wind around me are of my father's making, and the keys that he has given me, rusty and bent, will not open the locks he forged.

I seek freedom, but the wax that binds these feathers is not made for skies as daunting as these. The sun, too hot, blazes down upon me in mockery.

The longer that I wait, biding my time for escape, the higher the sun rises: Even now, as Night has strewn Her oppressive mantel upon the sands and the sea, the sun burns brightly in my eyes.

My solace becomes my shroud.

Hide me, precious wings, from the moment that I have let slip by: For now that it has wandered past, it turns to laugh at me, and leer, and point its finger.

My fists are clenched in anger, but the moment past cannot see, for my fists are wrapped within the feathers that were to be my liberation, tangled up now within a web of hesitation.

These are no angel's feathers. These are the feathers of a pigeon, of a partridge, or, worst yet, of a mockingbird.

My soul beats hard at the interlacing womb, my soul beats hard at the suffocating tomb, my soul beats hard at the miscarried loom, but I cannot get free.

Panicked, out of breath, detached from the reality that has become, I resign myself,

and wrap myself in demon's wings.

Brighn

Earth Magic, Out of Reach

Red and softly shining there before me
I hold the light of evening with my eyes,
As always feel the ocean in my ears.
"You can't go home," yet something in me dies.

For now I only feel, alone, harsh ground.
Life's strength I loved is far beyond my reach,
The river's song an echo, only sound
Where once earth's power spoke so clear to teach.

The gate is closed, my way is hidden now
Like faery mounds unfound within the dark.
New tasks, new place, new life for me somehow
Must fill my aching heart with life's strong spark.

Now I'll, sun-blind, wander paths forever,
Live, forgetting moon and river never.

Kami Landy

Announcement and Advertisements

Upcoming Fundraising Events

Renaissance Ball

Dining, dancing, costumes, and old time revelry "Druid style"
Spring/Summer '97

Rummage/Garage Sale

Time to clear out those basements and attics for items to donate to a great cause!

Art Fair

See ad in "Announcements"
July '97

Celtic Festival

Summer '97

Euchre Tournament

Looking for fun with friends?
Wanna help the Grove?
Come out and play at the Grove's monthly
Euchre Tourament!
Prizes to the top 3 teams! Snacks provided!
All this for only $6.00! WOW!
6:30PM at Marae's, 1325 Rosewood, A2
May 17 • June 28
Don't keep missing out! Mark your calendar now!

In Memorium

The Ancestor's Plaque, an important part of our ritual altar, has spaces available for rememberances of honored ancestors. You can create a monument for your loved ones to be honored by the whole Grove. The 1" by 4" brass plates sell for $15 to cover the cost of the plates, engraving, and mounting. For more information, contact Fox at (313) 434-7444.

Advertisement

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Wellspring

The Annual Conference for Ár nDraíocht Féin

May 28 to June 1, 1997 @ Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, NY

Featuring:

Rates: ADF Members Others
Before May 20 $55 $65
At the door $70 $80

To preregister, or for more information, please contact:

Stone Creed Grove
P.O. Box 18727, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
216 428 6627 (Ian Corrigan)
email: tredara@ncweb.com

*Hospitality needs your help! To volunteer, please contact Deb Kest at 401 785 9605.

Art Fair is coming!

And we're going to be there!

Will you?

For the first year ever, Shining Lakes Grove will have a booth in the non-profits' section during Art Fair. We need volunteers to help run the booth. The Art Fair will run from July 16th through 19th, with weekday hours of 9 AM - 9 PM and Saturday hours of 9 AM - 5 PM. And we need to have at least one person there during every one of those hours. Please contact Rob Henderson at 313 487-4931 or robh@cyberspace.org if you can help us out.

Ripples Information

Ripples is the quarterly journal of Shining Lakes Grove, ADF, and is published every other high day, or as close to that as possible. Subscriptions are free for current members of the Grove, and $5/year for everyone else. The single copy price is $1.50; back issues are subject to availibility. Proceeds from sales defray publishing and mailing costs, or go to the General Fund. Advertising rates are $3 per issue for business card size, $5 per issue for quarter page. Copy must be camera ready.

Please send letters, submissions, artworks, advertisements, or anything else that seems relevant to:
Brighn
Editor and Grove Chronicler
206 E. Main #9
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 487 2643
kershawp@pilot.msu.edu
brighn@cyberspace.org
or to Ripples at the address below.

See volume 3, issue 3 or contact the editor for submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions to volume 4, number 2 is July 11, 1997.

Shining Lakes Grove is the Ann Arbor-based grove of Ár nDraíocht Féin, an International Druidic Organization. Shining Lakes Grove presents rituals, Bardic circles, and other events for the NeoPagan community and the general public. For more information, contact:
Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
P.O. Box 15585
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-5585
(313) 480 2082
If busy, try: (313) 434 7444
FoxADF@aol.com

The editor was assisted by:
Jenna Hirschman: layout, design, data entry, critique
Valerie Hartzer: proofreading
Jaguar: original layout

Visit our Website!
http://www.msen.com/~robh/slg/

©1997 Shining Lakes Grove, ADF (copyrights on individual pieces retained by the authors)