Monday, March 07, 2005

World Woodcraft Gathering - Opening Ceremony

Ceremony for Formal Opening session – Sunday 7th August

All Folk present at the Gathering proceed to the Ceremonial Circle, which is surrounded by the regalia and symbols of all Groups and Woodcrafters present
Once gathered, the WoodCraft League of the Czech Republic (WLC) Keeper of the Fire performs their traditional fire-lighting ceremony – with the Order of WoodCraft Chivalry (OWC) Keeper of the Fire standing, to the eastern side of the unlit fire. The glowing embers are carried to the OWC Keeper of the Fire, with the words

‘behold; this flame signifies the continuation of our Gatherings; at Little Walden, Greenwood and Chudenice

The OWC Keeper of the Fire takes the embers and lights the Fire, with the words

‘we have experienced kindness, helpfulness, courage, strength & joyfulness, before. I charge this Gathering to rise, with the same Spirit, to the challenges of this occasion'

After a few moments silence Ashes from previous Fires are added to the Fire, commencing with

Ashes carried by a Representative (?from Forest School Camps (FSC)) from the North, with the words

‘behold, I come with Greetings from your brethren of the North – bringing the Gift of Life renewed, replenished, stored for future use’

All sing

Now welcome Life, safe kept in Winter’s hold
Though all above the field is bare & cold
Deep lies the seed within the silent earth
Shall spring at last to gladness of re-birth

After a few moments silence, Ashes carried by a Representative from the East (?from WLC), with the words

‘behold, I come with Greetings from your brethren of the East – bringing the Gift of Life new-born, up-rushing, bursting forth…

All sing

Now welcome Life, behold the living green
Newborn in vigour, bursting forth is seen
Now joy returns, in tender hope appears
The certain promise of the fruitful years

After a few moments silence, Ashes carried by a Representative from the South (?from OWC), with the words

‘behold, I come with Greetings from your brethren of the South – bringing the Gift of energy & life; splendid, vital, potent, glorious and full’

All sing

Now welcome Life, upon the noon-tide hour
In splendid beauty opens full the flower
And lifts its head towards the glorious sun
From whose rich store all Life is won

After a few moments silence, Ashes carried by a Representative from the West (?from North America), with the words

‘behold, I come with Greetings from your brethren of the West – bringing the Gift of Life, furfilled, mature & rich in experience and wealth of wisdom, love and peace’

All sing

Now welcome Life, in perfect fullness shown
The seed of Life unto its fullness grown
Behold the promise is at last furfilled
Of Life full-grown, which future Life shall yield

The OWC Keeper of the Fire places the Ashes on the Fire, with the words

‘with these logs, plucked from the Fires of Yesteryear, we signify that our Fire is the same, ‘tho’ ever new’

followed by individual Ashes, from any member of the Gathering present, with the words
‘to the Greater Life…’

All assembled hold hands around the Circle, as the Fire burns and gains momentum
The OWC Chieftain allows the flames to rise and then gives the sign & watchword

‘Blue Sky!!!’

to which all Folk respond

‘Blue Sky!!!’

The OWC Chieftain welcomes all Folk present, with the words

‘Greetings to our friends from the East and from the West and those from other Woodcraft movements in this country
Welcome to this, the 4th International Woodcraft Gathering; again sealed with the symbolism of the Fire-Lighting and the placing of logs from yester-year
May we, in all that we do this week, give of ourselves vividly, richly & whole-heartedly – keeping that Spirit of our Czech friends from the last Gathering; as the rain fell and we learned again about working with Mother Nature’

The Gathering Recorder steps forward, with the words

‘now is the time for all Groups and Members present to identify themselves’

Groups present, followed by Lone Members step forward to be acknowledged, with the OWC Chieftian leading the Greeting

‘Welcome & Blue Sky!!!’

for each

The Gathering Recorder continues by introducing the Officials present (– please see Appendix One)

The OWC Chieftain introduces the Gathering Song, developed in 2002, with the words

‘In Chudenice we wrote a song, which we will sing now’

Chorus:- Blue Skies above us & green grass below
camping fires & singing & tipees aglow

Seton began it & we carry on
practising LifeCraft in rain or in sun

Chorus:- Blue Skies above us & green grass below
camping fires & singing & tipees aglow

What is your language? & where are you from?
Sharing our differences Keeps WoodCraft strong

Chorus:- Blue Skies above us & green grass below
camping fires & singing & tipees aglow

happy campers jumping, stars twinkling bright
sparks flying, beer-sharing, talking all night

Chorus:- Blue Skies above us & green grass below
camping fires & singing & tipees aglow

The Gathering Convenor steps forward, with the words
‘now is the time for each of us to Declare our Interests and our Past – to learn, from each other, of our rich inheritance and hopes for the future of Woodcraft’

Each Group is invited to provide a short (5 minute) presentation; to include final ideas for the Discussion sessions

Following this there will be a Ceremonial Feast (in the Eating Circle) and an Evening of Glee (at the Camp Fire), whilst the Keepers of the Fire make arrangements for the Fire to burn throughout the Gathering (this may involve WoodCrafters watching the Fire overnight, at times)

1 comment:

bill naka said...
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