Last weekend we attended an annual Pagan event - a Beltane ritual and celebration, held on the beach at a state park. This was the 28th year! We haven't been attending quite that long, but we've been going as a family for the past several years. There were probably about 150 people there this year.
At the beginning of the day everyone gathers in a big circle for the ritual. The leaders of the ritual cast the circle, other Pagans help by calling the quarters, and the ritual basically gets everything magickally prepared for the main event, which is dancing the maypoles. This year there were 4 maypoles, with about 10 percussionists providing the music.
As head of EarthTides, I was asked to call North, and a few of us gathered before the ritual started, to make sure that we were all on the same page. The High Priestess for the ritual, a well-known and respected witch, decided she needed a bit of a helping hand to mix the salt and water and then sprinkle it around the circle. I did what we usually do in our community, which is to ask a young person to lend their aid - I asked if the Priestess would like ElvenTiger to come up and help out. I knew ElvenTiger would be glad to, and sure enough, when I asked her, she readily agreed.
ElvenTiger has been a Pagan since birth, and has worked with a few different circles, as well as apprenticing with a local Priestess of Brigid. So of course she did a great job, and had fun, too.
My proud mama moment happened after the circle, when the High Priestess thanked me for lending her my "wonder child." She had worried that ElvenTiger (who is 11) might be uncomfortable being up in front of such a big circle, in a setting with adults and kids of all ages. But when she asked ElvenTiger about it, she said calmly "it'll be fine." And when they walked around the circle, sprinkling the blessed salt water on the participants, the Priestess lost her place. She asked ElvenTiger if she recalled where they had started, and her reply was "oh, yes! I'll tell you when we get there." ElvenTiger later told me that they had started with the person next to Dryst, so she knew her brother would be the last one they sprinkled!
I'm so happy that ElvenTiger has matured into a graceful young woman who enjoys being helpful to people of all ages, and is comfortable in many different settings. She is unafraid of being in front of others, this child who was once very shy and seemed velcroed to my hip in social situations. She is beautiful and wise and kind, and I'm so proud and lucky to be her mother in this lifetime.