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"He is strength, will, and action given form His hooves swallow the earth Thorns and antlers crown his fierce eyes He flies without wings His eyes are as sharp as his star-tipped arrows He is Cernunnos - King of Centaurs" Mythology of the Mother Circle Long have druids known Cernunnos as the Horned Lord; Aspect of the hunt, hunger, and primal instincts. Sometimes he is associated with the gnawing grip of disease, the ferocity of the wildfire, and the tempest's roar. For the Mother Circle, the Legend of Cernunnos stories the Hunt Father as a massive beast-man, depicted as either half stag or horse with strong body, large forked antlers and a bow of legendary strength. His arrows pierce the soul, shattering the mortal coil that delays the rebirth of nature. He and his many sons and daughters travel freely from the Court of the Fae Queen to guide the natural flow of the balance, and during the season of autumn oft associated with the Centaur King, he will blow the Horn of the Wild Hunt, beginning the greatest season of change. The leaves will recoil and shrivel into dark, fiery colors, the prey will be driven from their burrows. Hunters and gatherers alike will rejoice in the fair weather in which they will toil for the spoils of autumn, feasting on the weak and plentiful before the cold inevitabilities of winter. The celebrations of Cernunnos traditionally begin during the Fox Moon, or final Phase of Life. To honor the Hunt Father, the Mother Circle will coordinate adventures into the surrounding realms of the Grove. Before every hunt, a communal prayer is held before the grove is departed. The Huntsman's Creed is recited, the bows and blades of the hunters are blessed, and the hunters are sent off while the hearths and feasting grounds are prepared. The Creed is storied to be the self-imposed rules of any honorable hunter worshipping Cernunnos, including the sparing of young and mothers, the focus upon hunting the elder animal, and respect of animal population in reverence to the balance. Needless slaughter is taboo, and is said to invite the attention of mischievous or malevolent fae. The Huntsman's Creed With blade and bow, O Father, may I remain humble in harvest Grant my feet and arrows swiftness, may my eyes and sword be sharp When the heart is pierced, the throat cut May your arrow loft this animal's spirit to the Forest In their rebirth, may I remember this hunt Keep me their memory, the animal honored And in your will may the Wild Hunt forever come Cernunnos and Astrology of the Mother Circle While a majority of the kills sustained during the months of the Wild Hunts, there is some game that is coveted by Cernunnos himself. For the Mother Circle, a druid has become a part of the natural cycle once they arise from the waters of attunement. Druid and Draoi alike will eventually meet their end at the hands of Cernunnos' bow. Fabled to be tipped with the stars themselves, Cernunnos is also the artist of the constellations in the night sky, for every great hunt must preserve a story to honor the fallen. It is said that when Druids finally enter the Eternal Forest for rest, or Draoi for eternal turmoil, the wake of Cernunnos' soul-reaping organizes the stars into a memorial. Rumored to be the arrows of Cernunnos' bow themselves, comets or falling stars are oft seen as an omen of change. The graves of the fallen are typically marked with the simple pattern of stars and connecting lines forming the druid's memorial constellation, which are best seen from the Mother Circle's observatory. There the living druids ponder wisdom left by the fallen, warnings of those who have failed the Aspects, and legends of the Order's history.
An artists' depiction of the Court of the Faerie Queen "She is the breath of life in our lungs, the rain that both mourns the fallen and nourishes the living. She is the kaleidoscope of colors in spring; the heartbeat of the world. Her name is Cerridwen, Queen of the Fae." Mythology of the Mother Circle Oft regarded as the orchestrater of the druidic gifts herself, Cerridwen has been a lauded symbol of motherhood, guidance, and life itself. The Mother Circle has cultivated a rich culture in reverence to the Aspect of life, and hosts many notable shrines and sacred glades dedicated to her role in the Balance. Even if she is as silent as her equal counterpart Aspect, Cernunnos, the evidence of her eternal role in the Balance is just as clear and colorful. While the Father's symbol is fire, the Mother's is water. Her seasons are spring and autumn, when the flowers and harvest are at their strongest. In the mythology of the Mother Circle, Cerridwen holds dominion over all living things, but particularly of the fae who are thought to be the richest representation of life's potential. As such, the lunar calendar is a visible symbol of Cerridwen's three eternal promises: birth, life, and decay. The Lunar Phases and the Fae Moons The calendar is separated into three seasons to represent the flow of life. Additionally, each Archdruid of the Grove represents a lunar season. The Moons of Birth - Spring to early Summer, depicted as the Waxing Moon The Moons of Life - Summer to early Autumn, depicted as the Full Moon The Moons of Decay - Autumn through Winter, depicted as the Waning Moon Rarely, a thirteenth moon will be visible during the lunar calendar. Known as the Fae Queen's Moon, it is believed that Cerridwen's influence over the realm reaches a crescendo at the height of the full moon, calling the wandering fae and the souls of deceased druids home to her court in the Fae Realm. Phenomena of whimsical and beautiful natural wonder are storied to emerge on this sacred night, bathing the world in the pure light of the Mother's radiance. Depiction and Worship The Mother Circle traditionally displays Cerridwen as a winged being of wondrous bioluminescence, crowned with wisps and butterflies. When depicted in physical means either through statues or shrines, she is also seen as a green lady with misty eyes and wild tresses of ivy. Chiefest of the sacred places within the grove is known as the Mother's Sorrow, where the Cerridwen's glowing gaze looks down upon the pool in which the Rite of Rebirth, or Attunement, is performed. Here, a descendant is born again, bathed in the tears of the Mother. Just as in the labors of childbirth, Cerridwen baptizes her newborns in both tears of joy and tears of sorrow, for even druids will too decay, and suffer the eventual toll of death. The druids of the Mother Circle believe that all life is merely borrowed from Cerridwen, and in time it must be given back. The crying statue of Cerridwen within the Mother's Sorrow, overlooking the Attunement pool In addition to the physical worship of the Aspect, the Mother Circle believes the Fae Queen's pure spirits, known as faeries or the fae, are the manifestation of a mother's specific lessons, cherished traits, or even enactors of the will of the Aspects themselves. While not truly worshiped in the same manner as the Aspects, they are revered as sacred beings and are sometimes claimed to be seen fulfilling phenomena in nature. The StormTreader Stags, for example, are pure white faeries of deer that are believed to the source of lightning when they crash their antlers to smite the souls of draoi or evil spirits.
A move to a brighter future: With many reasons and tensions driving us, we will now move forward with new lands not under the rule of those seeking to oppress us, internally and externally. With the discussions and alliances forged between us and many others, we must now seek out a land not controlled by our constant oppressors. And so, we have taken up a new grove in the fledgling nation of Aeroch-Nor. We will be neutral and independent once more, and we will be able to grow and thrive like never before. We will hold respect to all views of the Aspects in the interest of good will between ourselves and the varied peoples of the world, and teach of the Aspects to all who come to learn. We will nurture the surrounding lands and help forests and crops flourish and bring balance to the region as we reach out to continue our charge to bring balance to the world as a whole once more. We have many allies who seek balance, order, purity, and the protection and betterment of life in all forms, and we will work alongside them in an unprecedented show of mutual respect and cooperation, the likes of which has never been achieved before. We welcome all Brothers and Sisters, no matter what path or Circle you follow, for we are all children of the Aspects. Circle of the Stream Official Charter Introduction Within the Old Order, it was common for the workings of the circle to be taught by word of mouth. With no official document, the workings were left to change each time a new group of Archdruids took their place. This is unproductive and creates friction. The Circle of Steam, therefore, establishes this charter for the purposes of defining how the circle functions. Druid Guides Druid Guides take up the responsibility of recruiting and teaching new druids. In exchange for these increased responsibilities, they are considered part of the Inner Circle. The duties of a Druid Guide include: Interviewing Seekers Accepting Seekers as Dedicants Providing Lessons and Tasks for Dedicants Attunement of Dedicants Further instruction and lessons of newly attuned Druids Archdruids Archdruids take up all the Responsibilities of the Druid Guide along with additional responsibilities. Archdruids are considered part of the Inner Circle. The duties of an Archdruid include: The duties listed under Druid Guides Calling and leading Moots Initiating a vote on Shunning and Unshunning an individual (See Moots for voting procedure) May engage in diplomatic discussions on behalf of the Circle. Any agreement reached is subject to a full circle vote. May make decisions of immediate effect during times of crisis or emergency, but at the first possible opportunity these decisions will come up for vote during a Moot to determine if they continue or can be done away with. Hierophants Hierophant is an honorary title granted to druids who have performed great services to the Circle. While a Hierophant is generally independent of any circle and should be respected, Hierophants recognized by the Circle have additional privileges. Hierophants recognized by the Circle of the Stream may: Issue a challenge against an Archdruid. In the case that the number of Archdruids drops below full and the existing Archdruids refuse to hold a moot to select new Archdruids within two elven weeks, a Hierophant may call a moot for the sole purpose of electing new Archdruids. In this case, Archdruids are selected by full circle votes. Teach their own students, known as Acolytes, in the same manner that Dedicants are taught, outside of the Circle or as part of it, at their discretion. Hierophancy is either granted by the circle, or formally recognized by vote during a Moot if the Hierophancy is granted by another circle. If another circle grants Hierophancy to a druid and that druid’s status is recognized by this circle, that recognition is automatically revoked if the druid’s Hierophancy is removed by the circle that granted it, or a vote is held by the Circle to no longer recognize the title. Another circle removing Hierophancy from a druid does not prevent this circle from granting that druid Hierophancy. Another circle attempting to remove Hierophancy from a druid granted the title by this circle is considered invalid and has no standing upon their title in the eyes of the Stream Circle. Hierophants raised by another circle that later merges with this circle are considered to have been granted Hierophancy by this circle, whether or not they were recognised prior to the merge, as a sign of respect. In the case that another circle’s Hierophant is not formally recognised by this circle, they are to be respected, but they are not qualified to exercise the powers normally granted to Hierophants. Dedicants Dedicants are the students, the learners, who wish to one day become Druids. Nothing is changing for Dedicants as compared to other circles, this is a long-held tradition and has been proven more than beneficial and wise. Druids holding Political Office The practice of Druids holding a political role is an oft-debated topic, changing many times in the Old Order, and some exceptions being made even to this day. Within the Circle of the Stream, you are permitted to hold Political Office so long as you still perform your duties to the Aspects and the Circle. Only Archdruids of the Circle of the Stream may hold the two Druid seats on the Aeroch Nor Council. If you are part of any other Political Position, you may not hold the title of Archdruid or Guide under any circumstances. You are expected to still receive lessons on your Druidic gifts regularly, including sessions of meditation. You are expected to still serve the balance to the best of your ability within your held position, with understanding given that you do hold responsibilities with your position as well. If a decision or action arises within your position that may conflict with the ideals of the Circle, you are to consult with the Archdruids to clarify the situation and try to find the best course of action. The Challenge The Challenge is the method by which an Archdruid may be forcefully removed. A Challenge is declared by a Heirophant recognized by the Circle. When a Challenge is declared, another Hierophant (or druid, in the case that no other Hierophants are available) is selected as a neutral party. The neutral party formulates a challenge of skill. Any druid who is a member of the Circle, other than the neutral party and declarer of the challenge, may participate. The winner of the Challenge takes the Archdruid position. Moots A moot is a meeting of druids. Moots are called by Archdruids unless under circumstances stated in the Charter. For a moot to take place, it must be publically announced no less than two elven days in advance, and a majority of the inner circle must be present. Votes may only be held in a moot. There are two types of votes that occur: An Inner Circle vote, and a full circle vote. An Inner Circle vote is a vote held amongst all attending members of the inner circle, requiring a simple majority to pass. A majority of the Inner Circle is required to hold an Inner Circle vote. A full circle vote is a vote held amongst all attending druids of this circle, requiring a simple majority to pass. An inner circle vote may be changed to a full circle vote by an Archdruid, at their discretion. Issues that fall under an Inner Circle vote: Raising a new guide Removing guides Raising a new Archdruid Recognizing a Hierophant raised by another circle Granting Hierophancy Any unspecified votes dealing with the management of the guiding branch Issues that fall under a full circle vote: Proposed shuns Unattunement of a member of the circle Finalizing diplomatic agreements Removing recognition of a Hierophant raised by another circle Repealing Hierophancy previously granted by the circle. Unspecified votes on matters that affect the circle as a whole Amending the Charter In the event that the Charter proves insufficient or needs to be altered, it may be amended given the following procedure. An Archdruid shall publically call a moot, giving no less than two elven weeks notice. A majority of active druids of the circle is required to attend. Each proposed amendment is presented individually, receiving a vote on it’s own merit. Amendments require a 2/3 majority full circle vote to pass. ((A second post below this one will contain the Druidic ranks and those that hold them within this Circle))