It was cold, wet and rainy, but the fire was still going and I was alone, probably for the last time that weekend.
I had decided to take my Patron Oath on the Friday night of Summerland 2002, as I would be taking my Dedicant's Oath on the following Saturday. As I write this, I'm reminded that I did something similar years ago when I was confirmed into the United Church of Christ. The morning before confirmation, I was baptized, which is a slightly odd way to do it, I suppose. But that's neither here nor there for this discussion.
I had purchased a new wool tunic for the event, figuring it might be cold. It was a wise idea. With the rain pouring down at a steady drizzle, I would have caught my death out there had I not thought ahead enough. I had also made a pair of caligae with my own hands, and I wore these as well. The overall effect must have made me look like a Roman soldier just off duty, but I love the feel of the caligae and the tunic.
When I felt the time was right for me to do my rite, I walked back to my tent and changed. I took my offerings with me and struck out for the main fire circle, praying no one would interrupt me. Everyone else was either snug in a bed or at the Bardic Circle.
The Patron Rite is an extremely personal experience. I can't go into too much detail as to what was said, promised, etc., but I can give a brief account of what happened on a structural level, and how it left me feeling.
Since Beltaine 2002, I had been growing a beard, a sign of my submission and dedication to Esus. I had originally intended to make the shaving of the beard a part of my rite, but when I realized that I needed a mirror, warm water, and my electric razor (and that it was going to rain on that night), I opted to shave it off the Thursday night beforehand. While I never really liked the beard, my continued suffering through the scratching and general unclean look it gave me made my initial promise to keep it until my Patron Oath feel even more important.
I offered whisky to Esus and an apple to Eris. I settled down for a while, and we just talked. I called Esus "Father", and I asked Eris to continue to watch over me. I'm not sure how They would have acted had I suggested They were related, so I left that one alone.
As the conversation wore on, I just felt them near. I actually feel them here now too, as I write this. It's the feeling of fullness I experience when I do my daily worship rituals. It was amazing then, and it's always amazing when I feel it out of the blue.
In the end, I accepted the Patronage that They offered. And They accepted me as Their adopted son.
After the rite, I went back to camp and joined my friends for a good evening of togetherness.
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