Mead Experamentation

At our first Samhain as a group, everyone chipped in to help make a large 5 gallon batch of simple honey mead.

As the secondary fermentation nears, we all made the decision to split the mead into 5: 1 gallon jugs. Each member who pays for a jug will get to experiment with a gallon of mead, playing with ingredients, taste, and such. This has a double intention actually, as a 5 gallon batch is expensive to make, but a 1 gallon batch much less so. This way, when our first mead is done, not only will everyone know how to make mead, but we can all continue through out the year on our own at very little personal cost. I’m think about next Yule (2013) hosting a mead contest to see who made the best batch by vote.

As it stands, I will be making a mix I am dubbing Snapdragon Mead, with a mixture of peaches, almond extract, and ginger. I know one of the members is going to be fiddling with pomegranates, another is doing blackberry/raspberry, someone is doing apple/cinnamon and another isn’t sure yet but she’s thinking on pears. Since everyone put money/time/ingredients into the original batch and we have 9 members, the hope is that everyone will get at least 3 bottles of mead to rack and drink later. Plus we will be keeping 8 bottles aside for the Sabbats to drink as part of the “cakes & ale” portion of the ritual. Plus, with Yule coming up, the secondary fermentation should be ready to bottle at Yule!! *sequels of delight*

Aside from that, I have to express about a 50/50 level of disappointment and enjoyment with how the groups lessons are progressing thus far. For our first meeting after Samhain, only 4 members showed up, with the rest either making no notification or (in two cases) having perfectly legit reasons not to be there. However, I am happy to say that everyone seems to be keeping up with their book lessons as well as reading the material I’m providing online so not bad really.

I set up this first year as a group with only minimal expectations. I am 27 where as most of the members are in their early 20’s, so I am taking a lot of the responsibility on myself in order to create lessons, provide resources, host events and as such. I am not the high priestess (mainly because I disagree with the entire hierarchy), but as the more practiced member I am more or less providing a map to where people need to go. We decided as a group not to call ourselves a coven/grove/etc. for at least the first year because a lot of us are either entirely inexperienced or haven’t practiced in a while. So it felt unfair to try and place labels on ourselves. That being said, the curriculum I set up amounts to a first degree study program for eclectic paganism and I am expecting it to be treated as such.

Next Samhain (2013), we had discussed holding a large, overnight festival as well as “initiation” of ourselves as a formal coven/circle/whatever. However, I had made the proviso (which in hindsight was a little short sighted or me) that anyone who could not attend at least 14/18 of the years meetings would not be up for initiation into the group.

My intention was to see who was really sincere about studying along these lines. Be honest, we’ve all gone through phases and interests which petered out later on and while I would generally welcome anyone who wanted to learn or felt they wanted the experience into a group, we all agreed we were looking for something a little more formal and frankly that takes work, time and effort. But what I didn’t put into consideration was that 6 of our members are still in college, three of them hold full time jobs, and one lives about a half an hour drive from our meeting places.

In other words, I have to make allowances.

After conversing with another group member (as well as my girlfriend) the decision was made that 14/18 would be ideal and something that should be striven for, but if someone can not make all of those meetings, that is okay. I will post all the info, discussions and resources on fb and ask people to keep up with this in their field grimoire. At the next meeting (whichever they can attend) when we all take the opportunity to comment on what we’ve learned, they can show that they have been keeping up with the group even if they can’t be physically present. Anyone who is sincere in their interest is more likely to “show their work”.

 

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One Response to “Mead Experamentation”

  1. What an amazing group activity! I would love to try my hand at making mead one of these days.

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