On the good side ADF community was in fine form. Everyone I met made me feel welcomed and appreciated. ADF rocks!
My attention this year was split between three things. The Norse Rite, the Warrior Games and making sure my grovemates didn't regret coming this year for the first time.
I may be biased, as I had a part in the Norse Rite, but it was one fantastic rite, easily on par with the very best of ADF. Anna, the Norse Kin Chief did a fantastic job of organizing and running the rite. I think it would have sucked without her. Everyone else who participated did great as well. Freya, as one of the Deities of the Occasion, in particular was very happy with the rite. She is one of my Patronesses and I want her to be happy. There was such a strong outpouring of happiness that it was astounding. Being able to feel that joy from Her at that moment was one of the top highlights of the weekend.
Warrior Games for me started out bad. I woke up on Saturday with a sinus headache and really wasn't in the mood to compete much beyond archery. I was prodded and glad I did compete as I started feeling better. My favorite had to be the spear throwing. Seeing as I'm a son of Odin spears just seemed natural. To take a moment to brag, I quickly mastered the technique and had relatively few bad throws. I was soon coaching others, even though I'm sure this coaching cost me first place in the spears competition. When I took my three throws with the spear (each one going further than the last) I was amazed at how smooth and effortless it was. It hardly seemed that I was throwing very hard. My last, and best, throw was 51 feet 7 inches. Of course, the guy I coached, Jim G, ended up beating me by over 20 feet, but it was still quite satisfying to compete. With the spears I felt a strong connection to Odin which meant a lot. For Archery, I got the best score, and then (as Chief of the Magicians Guild) cursed the other competitors so that they wouldn't beat my score. No one did. I didn't place in the other two events, rock throw and hammer throw. I'm not that fond of hurling objects for distance (with the exception of the spear) and usually don't do well in those events. Granted the hammer throw was more of an accuracy thing, but still... Anyway, props for Grey and Rachel for running the competition. There were no injuries, but much fellowship.
Two grovemates, Sean and Kris made it out to Wellspring for the first time. It was great hanging out and showing them around. As I said above I wanted them to not regret showing up. Despite the mud and wet, they seemed to have had a good time and even felt first hand the beauty of the ADF family. Wellspring (or any ADF festival) isn't about just showing up and going to some workshops. It is about belonging and being welcomed by the ADF community and family. As Kris said, it doesn't matter what Grove you are in, we are all ADF people. They got to experience rituals run by folks from different Groves all across the planet. Everywhere you turned were people willing to be helpful, friendly and giving. After leaving my shorts at home by mistake, I was offered shorts to wear. People were willing to give so much. It is this fellowship that I hunger for and makes me count the days between festivals. I always urge my grovemates to go to Wellspring or any other ADF festival because I know how wonderful it is. I'm really glad that Sean and Kris made it and now I will have help in urging others to go. If you haven't gone to any, go to an ADF festival. Wellspring in particular is great
I got to spend lots of time with Three Cranes Grove. You guys are awesome! I got to do healing for folks, which I love to do. I got to be part of the wonder that is ADF.
One funny thing happened on the way home. The Cranes mentioned that they stop at a certain Bob Evans in Erie, PA on the way home. I made my way there and arrived just as they were getting ready to go. I was sitting not far from where they were and soon a bunch came over to give hugs and to say good bye. The waitress came by then and was astounded that there were 6-7 women lining up to hug me. She was rather flabbergasted and had to be thinking, "Who is this guy and why are random people lining up to hug him?" So thanks for helping me with my street cred, Cranes. Then my grovemates arrived and Jessie and Craig from CA and we had a nice lunch together. On the way out we ran into Nick and Emerald who had just arrived.
Overall, damned good time!