The Story of Muin Mound Grove ADF
As told so far by Skip Ellison - Senior Druid (1992 - 2001)

This is a living document. It is one that is meant to be read to the people of Muin Mound Grove each Lúghnasadh by the Senior Druid. It tells the story of our grove from its beginning and will continue to grow as long as the grove is alive. And so the

The story of Muin Mound Grove ADF really begins in the fall of 1990. Skip and his girls and Legend and her daughter traveled to a small festival held in Harriman State Park. Nick of Binghamton and Lake Circle from New York City had put it on. It was a cold and rainy weekend and the entertainment for Friday night was to be a band called "Real Magic" staring someone called Isaac Bonewits. The entertainment was late starting and everyone was huddled round the fire when someone said, "I wish this band would start!" Out of the dark, a flashlight beam shown down on the figure of a man dressed mostly in white who said, "Here I am, let the entertainment begin!"

They put on a great show that night and the next day, Isaac gave several lectures on Druidism. Skip thought they were interesting enough to join ADF in September of that year. The next spring, another festival was held. This time it was in a place called Brushwood Folklore Center near the town of Sherman, NY. Skip, Legend and Georgeanna Kavanaugh attended. The weekend started with an opening ritual led by a giant of a man, Ian Corrigan. As he called for the gate to be opened, a mist rolled up the hill and filled the ritual area. I though this was a great piece of ritual work and wanted to learn how to do it.

The festival gave all of us there a great enthusiasm toward this path of Druidry and Skip volunteered to become the Grove Organizer for the Syracuse area. It really wasn't too hard to get a grove started though. On the way back to Syracuse, the three of us agreed to form the grove and apply for our Provisionally Chartered status. We agree that Georgeanna would be the Senior Druid, Skip would be the Scribe and Legend would be the Pursewarden. The biggest question was, "What would we call the Grove?"

After much discussion, we decided on Muin Mound Grove, ADF. The word Muin came from the Early Irish word for vine to highlight the many wild grape vines growing on the property. The word mound came from the many drumlins the glacier's had left us in the area, and the rest was standard ADF format. Muin Mound Grove ADF was given its formal charter by ADF on July 2, 1991. The grove held it's first public ritual for Lúghnasadh of 1991 with about 20 people in attendance.

The grove went through many changes in the early days. It moved from a mainly Wiccian style of ritual it started with to one more in tune with ADF's format. During these changes, the grove membership moved in cycles from a low of three members to a high of about 50 regular members with more coming for rituals on Beltaine and Samhain.

In late 1991, Legend decided that the grove really wasn't what she wanted to do so she resigned her position and Sharon was elected to fill the position of Pursewarden, a position she's held ever since. Georgeanna moved to Phoenix, AZ in early 1992, and Skip was elected to be the second Senior Druid, a position he now willingly turns over to the grove's third Senior Druid, KiaMarie.

The grove first met KiaMarie in the summer of 1992 at the Central New York Pagan Picnic. She was there with several other women, Gloria, Mary Lynn and some others, and they all took an interest in the grove. When Skip was elected as Senior Druid, KiaMarie took on the post of Scribe, a position she held for many years.

You might say that in those early days, we were gluttons for punishment. We thought that holding a festival would be an easy task so early in 1992, we advertised that Muin Mound Grove would be holding a festival in August. We had decided to call the festival Muin Mound Madness, with the madness being on our part for doing it. We had many of ADF's leaders and groves show up and raised about $400 to finance the grove.

In 1993, after attending the Starwood festival at Brushwood Folklore Center, several grove members came back with the idea of creating a wooden structure modeled after the Grupple Dome that had been erected there. We held many work parties and had many people put in long hours of hard physical work and by mid-summer had erected the structure. It wasn't quite what we envisioned when we were planning it, it never had the roof structure put up, but it served as our temple for several years.

Also in 1993, our newsletter took on a more professional look as KiaMarie took over the publishing of it. It expanded to a larger format and went through several changes as different programs to produce it were tried. Then in 1994, we held our first 'grove intensive', called the Radical Collaboratum. It was held from Friday, 6/10 to Sunday 6/12 and gave us a chance to work on the grove identity, to find our grove patrons and to work on several other questions that had developed in where the grove was going.

After the intensive, the grove made some extensive bylaw changes and voted to include a new membership category, the Folk of the Grove. These would be the people that did most of the background work to keep the grove functioning. We started out with 5 people and have grown now to 12 members of the Folk. The first welcoming ceremony to the Folk was held at Samhain of 1994.

Over the next few years, the grove membership number continued to fluctuate as people moved into or out of the area. We have had several groves spin off from Muin Mound, some still active and others that have moved to different paths.

In 1996, we started making use of the back room for winter rituals and added in the hot tub! The hot tub turned out to be a favorite among the grove members but the feel of indoor rituals was something very different from that of outdoor rituals. In 1998, we went back to using the outdoor space for all the rituals, including the winter ones.

In 1998, our outdoor temple had reached the end of its life and was taken down. We then cleared a place in the woods and created our Nemeton, our sacred space. Much work has gone into improving it each summer and this work will continue to be carried on.

As we moved into the new millennium, our grove continues to grow and prosper. Our membership numbers are on the upswing again and more improvements are being made to the land to make our sacred space available to all. And on this night, we've held our first saining for a child of one of our grove members.

And now this story moves into the care of our new Senior Druid - KiaMarie Wolfe.

"Biodh amhlaidh! Be it so!"
(bee awlah)

Updated 9/22/01