Tobal proclaimed Tyrone ready to solo at circle and the elders approved. Melanie, Nikki and Becca brought newbies to be initiated.
It was raining and miserable outside. The good news was the snow was disappearing really fast. The gathering spot was a mess of slush and mud puddles. Sheets of the gray material were placed as canopies over the smaller fires so they didn't go out. The bonfire appeared to be holding its own as the circle and initiations were held but didn't seem to put out as much heat as usual.
Most clan members sat under rain shedding canopies that kept most of the rain off. Even wet the robes retained body heat as long as it wasn't continually washed away by fresh water. It was not comfortable but it was bearable and did put one in touch with the elements in a very direct way. Most of the clansmen were so accustomed to being out in the weather that being wet was a minor discomfort to them.
Tobal almost felt sorry for Angel and the High Priest as they dropped their robes and stood in the chill rain invoking the Lord and Lady. Angel and the High Priest gave no indication they were even aware of the bone chilling rain and proceeded normally through the ritual. Tobal did notice they put their robes back on after invoking the Lord and Lady and both remained close to the fire for a while. It helped reassure him that they were human like he was.
He also noticed the Lord and Lady seemed more real and tangible to him although they remained in their stations above the central fire. He had been continuing the meditations and exercises Crow had taught and they were increasing his ability to feel connected to the Lord and Lady. He still thought of them as his father and mother. How that could be he had no idea. He only knew it was the truth. He felt it deep within his core.
This was not the God and Goddess appearing at circle during rituals and initiations but the spirits of his parents still alive,well and aware of him even though they did not seem to have anything to say to him. He did feel their love and support and wished he could talk with them or reach out and hold them. Their images had become sharper and he could see his father carried the same dagger that was sheathed and strapped above his own ankle and his mother had the same necklace of amber and jet he wore around his neck. This realization brought tears to his eyes and he wondered how such things could be. It was always at circle that he could feel their presence the most strongly.
It was the celebration for the Spring Equinox and there were plenty of high spirits in spite of the poor weather. In fact, there was a lot of excitement about the rain taking the snow away. The main topic people were talking about was getting started training again as soon as the weather broke.
After circle the party was taken inside and wet robes exchanged for dry tunics or furs or simply let to dry in front of the fire as their owners casually remained nude by the fire drinking beer and joking.