“Ok, everyone, we need to be in the right mindset for this Celebration's requested Hearth culture and I think that we can lead straight into Ritual if we all meditate around the table. Hey, Susan, why don't you get a little closer? Everyone who shows up gets to participate in Druidic rituals. You don't really get to stand aside even if you're just here for your thesis and the food.”
“Sure, sure, I told you I'm cool with the terms and conditions, Hilly.”
The goði, Hilary, frowns at her but doesn't say anything, just pulls out a binder out of her bag and clears her throat. “Hm, it's six. I think that's close enough to count – eleven minutes off means we'll still be doing the ritual during the solstice.”
Ugh, Sue thinks, meditation, that's a great way to start off a party. I'm not going to fall asleep standing up listening to you nattering on in the slightest.
“Hear the sounds of your breath as you run with the rhythm of the land, the pulse of the Tree...”
Thank goodness we decided to use the shortest rite possible after listening to you drone on! Hey, even if all I hear is blah blah blah, it's still doing it's job. She tries not to yawn and tunes back in.
“Listen. Breathe. Know that beside you runs the root of divinity, one of the three great roots of the Tree, and that the root goes into the forest before you all the way to the Well of Wyrd, where you will soon meet the three goddesses of destiny...”
Huh, since we're doing short form ritual, we went for the Norse meditation? The offering must be the small wooden ship then – what the hell was that? Something like static had crackled in her hair and the air was turning cold and humid.
Great, I thought the weather was supposed to hold this weekend. She tries not to be visibly frustrated and just manages to hold in another yawn.
“Let the waters of destiny flood your body and your mind, restoring you to your true nature, your trueself and goals. Receive the visions...”
Whoa, is it getting damp or what? At least we're not grilling tonight; wet food would suck eggs.
“...a rainbow that is not a rainbow, a bridge that is not a bridge, a passage to the realm of the Shining Ones.”
Shit, am I getting sick? I feel like I'm running a fever. Wouldn't I have noticed before this? I felt fine earlier! But what else explains why it feels like the temperature took a nosedive?
“...it is made of fire, in all the colors of the rainbow.”
Sue braces herself on the table behind her and tries not to throw up.
“And when you are ready, take your second step, feeling the flames burst within you from your center, filling you, in every corner of your body, arms and hands, chest, abdomen, pelvis, legs and feet, neck and head, consuming you with divine fire and renewing you. Feel it completely...”
Oh, fuck, is this what they mean by the two-day flu? Ugh, dizzy...
“And when you are ready, take your third step, and as the fire within joins with the fire around, look about you at the trees and see that they have this same rainbow fire about them. The divine is in them too...”
Gotta keep breathing. The sparkles in front of your eyes represent a lack of oxygen. Keep breathing. Keep breathing, dammit!
“...wiggle your physical toes. Wiggle your physical fingers. And when you are ready, keep your Otherworld eyes open, and slowly open your physical eyes, so that you may keep seeing the radiance in everything and everyone around you. By fire and water, you are made unique. And yet we are one.”
“Yes, we are.”
Everyone turns and practically falls over trying to face the new voice.
“I am dreadfully sorry to impugn on your hospitality like this, but in exchange for the magic you so helpfully lent me and the dedication of your rite to me, I will heal you from the illness I caused draining you to arrive here,” the tall, really hot but kinda beat up guy says with a cultured tone. Dressed in something Ren-Faire-esque, he's clearly not from around here.
Sue gets her throat working, “You're the reason I feel like shit, jackass? What the fuck do you mean by that!” She grips the table harder because falling on her face doesn't seem like fun.
Hilary snorts and leans forward, “Yeah, and who do you think you are to ask for that? If you are a God, you should have been able to come down on your own power! Who says we're all sick anyway? And... and... even if we are, it could just be pesticides or the paper mill or something not magical! So there!” Sue notices that Hilly's clearly scared out of her wits, normally she's way more articulate than that. Then again, who could blame her?
He laughs and walks close enough to see that he's not actually dressed like he's going to a Ren-Faire. He's wearing... something else. “True, but I could prove that easily by healing you. And it seems like I could helpful... or let you all experience what a whole group of people vomiting in close quarters feels like.”
Sue shouts out over the couple of guys who are being loud, stupid, and obnoxious with their posturing, “Well, go ahead and prove it then, smarty-pants!”
The guy raises his hand and quickly throws a small green ball of light on the table where it dissipates into a large green cloud that envelops the group and fades away. Abruptly she feels better, and looking around Sue can tell that everyone else feels better too.
Hilary’s boyfriend (Jeff?) coughs and shuffles his feet, addressing his question to the guy's right side. “So do we get a name, Your, uh, Godliness?”
“I am Loki of Asgard. And as I am a prince as well as a God, my title is His Highness.”