SHINING LAKES GROVE ADF
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November 21, 2012
There were a few of us, who attended this grove's Samhain ritual, this year [and month]. It was our first time, and they are located in an area not easy to find, at all [important info not even being on a map, the address not showing on the road - and it was dark] so we were very, very late. There were a couple people who were friendly to us; one of whom, was a visitor, themselves. The other was a lady at the house. She was very sweet. The rest of them quite literally acted like we weren't there [avoiding eye contact, not responding to us, or engaging, etc.] - and snubbed us, outright.
Rob, the head of the grove, was rude, snarky, immature - and completely unsympathetic to the fact that we were first-timers. We were asked to introduce ourselves, but that was the extent of our inclusion or their interaction with us. We were given no direction, and were not filled in on anything; yet they treated us like we were stupid for not knowing. By the way - their site leaves out obvious and important info that the public needs to know, in terms of being prepared for their event and potluck, etc. [so you don't end up in a some fix, that is]. I'm glad I followed my instinct, and asked the right questions. There was also a woman, I believe her name was Gen - who was especially rude. I had made a large dish to share, and she complained nastily - aloud - about some ingredient in it that was disgusting and made her want to puke. One who I think was one of their own - even commented against her, that everyone else liked it. Not only have I been a very successful cook of 24+ years; but yes - everyone else loved it, and were going back for seconds and thirds [there were no strange or disgusting ingredients - if I even need to say that]. She was just being hateful; and why? She didn't even know me. She literally ignored me when I spoke to her or asked her questions, and didn't even try to hide her dislike for me. There was another girl who was cold and standoffish at first, but warmed up, later on.
The few of us, individually and collectively, had an all-around awkward and unpleasant encounter with this grove. I was taken aback, because they claim to be this open-to-the-public, welcoming group; with all these noble views and aims and philosophies...but in reality, they were brazenly unwelcoming, incredibly rude... I just don't understand it. And I really hate to say this, because we went with open mind; and looked forward to meeting and sharing this holiday with some pagan family, and immersing ourselves in such an atmosphere...but truthfully, it really was that bad; and these people [save the few exceptions] - were poor excuses for “public servants”; nevermind Pagans or Druids! It was an utter disgrace, and disrespectful; not only to us, but to Spirit - and themselves. I honestly don't get why they even bother walking such a path, when it so clearly goes against everything they really are; or why they publicly welcome the public, when they are so ill-mannered toward them. It was disgusting. It really was. I wish I could have given a good review; we hoped this would be an event we'd return to. But people need to know what they're in for, dealing with this group. I hope they treat others better than they did us. Even so - they still treated us, like this. And not that anything would excuse the way they acted - but the only thing we were guilty of, was being visitors. First-time visitors, at that. We apologized for being late, explained what happened, and were friendly and respectful - even after they made it clear by their manner, that we weren’t actually welcome. I’m a very understanding and warm person; and there were no two ways or misinterpretations, regarding their manner with us. It was unprovoked, uncalled for, and downright mean. That kind of behavior speaks volumes of true character, as far as I’m concerned. And though we missed a lot - what we did catch of the ritual, and then the ancestral dinner - there was no atmosphere of sacredness and respect, even to the Spirits. The general attitude was very flat and uninspired, like they were just going through the motions. This was on top of the overall negativity. It felt very empty, and certainly devoid of spiritual presence. Anyway...my advice: Consider dealing with people more worthy of your time, effort, gifts...whatever. This grove has neither the true Spirit of humanity - nor of Paganism or Druidry. Hopefully, they will consider themselves, and turn that around.
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