Following Elliott’s birthday, we experienced a lot of momentum. A wonderful young lady by the name of Erin helped us secure a backdoor patio at a community center for weekly gatherings, and Sam (Elliott’s partner) created a Facebook group for our gatherings. Everyone made an effort to invite people to join the Facebook group.
The following week, we had our first Agnihotra gathering at the community center. It happened to be Erin’s birthday, and she organized the whole group to gather for Agnihotra.
Prior to Agnihotra, I kept close track of the time and wanted to make sure to announce to everyone well beforehand when it was time to start gathering for Agnihotra. I learned it takes time to move a group and have them become settled.
When I made an announcement that it was time for Agnihotra and I stepped outside, I was pleasantly surprised.
I saw a couple sitting outside in a corner of the patio. A man was sitting in a chair and a lady was on the floor, and I was slightly taken aback to see they each had their own Agnihotra sets.
Perhaps even more surprising was that each of them had a copper dish in their left hand and they were looking intently at their rice, and carefully separating broken pieces with their right index fingers.
It took a few moments for me to process what I say. I thought to myself, “That’s what I do. There are people here that take the time to sort their rice too?”
I realized this was my first encounter with people in Austin that practiced Agnihotra and was committed to the practice.
The couple was Adam and Alice, and Adam was the one who introduced Erin to Agnihotra.
I had asked them if they would like to join the center table where the group was going to perform Agnihotra. They in turn were pleasantly surprised to see the whole group was going to perform Agnihotra together.
As the group gathered, I ensured we had enough time for everyone to get settled, and for me to explain the Mantra and how to make the offering. It was a much smoother experience than the first time when I was quite rushed.
After the Agnihotra offering and meditation, Erin announced to the group that we would have weekly gatherings and they could join the Facebook group to learn more information. And after the end of the ceremony, I had the opportunity to connect with Adam.
I remember feeling very comfortable and it felt very familiar to connect with him. He explained how he started practicing Agnihotra and his background. There was quite the synchronicity, because he was actually looking to file for a patent on an idea he had, and I happened to be a patent attorney.
I walked away from that conversation feeling like I wasn’t alone sharing Agnihotra. There was someone in the community that connected with the practice, and was also committed to it.
It was a good first start and I felt good about the momentum and connections early on.
Perhaps this early momentum was what helped me prepare for the challenges ahead to helping build and support the Agnihotra community in Austin.