Friday, December 31, 2010

her hidden children: a book review

I have often joked that "Wicca is to neo-paganism what beer is to drug use, it's the entry drug of paganism". her hidden children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America only confirmed that idea in my head. First off I want to say that this book is excellent. It is well written and easy to read, yet it is well documented and noted through out. Never was I left with the feeling of "where did she get that from?" as I have with other authors. Hidden children really lined things up clearly for me that were foggy and nebulous before. Specifically the way that Wicca and paganism came to America from England. Though I have long heard the name of Raymond Buckland in the neo-pagan world, never did I realize that he was the direct priestly link between America and Gardner. The author Chas S. Clifton also made me come to understand how only having one official Gardnarian witch in the U.S. led to the problem of not being able to initiate enough people fast enough. One thing that the Clifton didn't mention, that occurred to me as well that fed into this problem is the geography. The British isles are not nearly as big as the U.S. in land mass, and it is conceivable for people in the British isles to drive reasonable distance for initiation. However, it is far more difficult for some one on the west coast to get to the east coast of the U.S.
Clifton goes on to describe how this in ability for people to get access to a coven and specifically the Bucklands, led to many people to strike out on there own, particularly on the west coast. At first this was met with resistance from people who had been "initiated" in Gardnarian Wicca. It would seem however that Mr. Buckland eventually saw the inevitability of it and published a self-initiation ritual. People on the west coast did much more then just self-initiate but they made some pretty radical changes, or just flat out created their own systems of paganism or witchcraft.

The nature of nature religion
Clifton does an excellent job of explaining how Wicca and by extension neo-paganism came to be conceived of as a nature religion. Clifton points back to the the first Earthday in 1970 as being the key point in time when Wicca began to be described as a "nature religion" by various authors. I really liked the authors point that Wicca could be described as a true indigenous religion of the British isles (though I think even this is a bit of stretch), however that was not true for neo-pagans in the U.S. So it was that with America's historical and often romanticised, love of nature, combined with the awakening environmental movement that a good way to describe Wicca was as a "nature religion" or "earth religion".

Another thing I would add here is that describing Wicca as a "nature religion" helps to do away with the connotations of the word "witch" or "witchcraft" and puts it more into the same realm as the beliefs of the first nations (Native Americans) thus making it much more palatable for the main stream. Clifton points out that none of the British Wiccan authors of the early 1970's described Wicca as an earth religion, but American authors were, thus the idea of Wicca being a nature religion is an American adaptation.

The war of words
Clifton does a really good job exploring how Gardner and the authors to follow had to face the up hill battle of redefining terms such as "witch", "witchcraft", and introduce the word Wicca. A battle that is still going on. Clifton also talks about the rhetoric that Gardner created to help push his agenda and find acceptance in the main stream. Ellis, in his book "A brief history of the Druids" talks about how druids thought of themselves as seekers of truth. Though they meant the great truth of the universe, it also applies to the little truths. As a druid I think it very important that the rhetoric created by Gardner be exposed, and gently washed away to find the real truths it covers up. Wicca does not need an artificial history to make it worthwhile. I found the part in "her hidden children" where Clifton discusses the origin and meaning of the word Wicca to be very interesting. The author concludes that Wicca does not mean "wise one", as Gardner had proposed, nor "one who bends" at all, but in fact is simply old English for "witch" and carries with it all the old negative connotations it always has had. I suspect that this etymology is going to "bend some wise ones" all out of shape.

Wicca and pop culture
This was an interesting chapter, though over all I felt the author could have taken it up to more modern times discussing such films as the "witches of eastwick", "Practical magic", and "the craft". Not to mention "Buffy", "charmed" and lets not forget "harry potter". I know of at least one witch personally who came to Wicca through reading Harry Potter. The point that was made on me however was that Wicca and the redefining of the "witch" has had an affect on pop culture all over the world.

Everything else
Clifton lumps all the other non-wicca neo-pagans into one chapter at the end of the book. Druidry's bit was well done if perhaps a bit shallow at times. Still I got a good sense of where ADF roots were, and the circumstances in which they grew. It wasn't made up. It wasn't glamorous, or particularly inspired. There was no lightning bolt, or the decent of a shining god or goddess. There were no prophets or much of anything rally. It was an organic grass roots movement of sorts. Just the way a druid organization should start.

Seeking the blessings of Lugh

My interview was looming in a few hours and I decided it would be a good idea to follow up stags help with some divine blessings in the hopes that it will help me land the job. I felt that the time and need were right to do my first fill druidic ADF style blessing. I began by gathering the offerings I would need. Ground flour for the earth mother (we didn't have cornmeal). Olive oil mixed with sandalwood and dragon's blood essential oil for the gods. I didn't have mead or whisky on hand so I used mulled apple cider as offering to the ancestors. Incense sticks for the Sidh. As I was doing this indoors at my alter, I used an offering bowl. I felt the working went very well. I did forget to state my clear intention of the right after my prayers to the earth mother and call for inspiration. Still by the time I got to the point when I drink the blessed cup, again I used the mulled apple cider, I could really feel the blessings flow through out my body. It was a pretty intense sensation, and I truly felt "power-full". The Deity I called to for aid was lugh. Those who have read my posts will know that he has been a strong influence in my life in the past year, and I still feel that. When I was living in Oregon, it was Cernnernos who was the most active. I can't help but feel that where I live now is ruled over more by Lugh and the place I was before more by Cernnernos. Or, it simply could be that the change is more within me.
Sorry I digressed. I went to the interview with confidence and friendliness. There were three of us applying for two positions. I should know by the end of the day.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roosted ain't roasted

Times have been tough for me financially of late. It's been a struggle ever since I moved to the desert and my attempt to start my massage practice over flopped. I have been going back to school and working when and were I can. Recently it's gotten even tougher. Medical bills, and the grant I was doing my teaching aid under ran out. I have been turning in Resume's and applications like crazy, but no bites. Not even an interview scheduled...until today. Yesterday I had a deep meditation and a spirit-journey. I met with various guides and gods. At the end of the journey, I suddenly felt inspired by the story of Lon Milo where he sends his first Goetic demon summoned to help him find work. He gave the Demon an hour to get the ball rolling, and it did and Lon got a job by the next day. I don't work with Goetic spirits, but I do have my totem. I usually am not the commanding type, but this time I commanded Stag, my totem, to find me a job that I would like and is compatible with my schedule. He had one day. By 6:30pm that night I had a call for a job interview to one of the many jobs I have applied for. The interview is today at 8:15pm. I am very excited and it fits the criteria I gave Stag. I am really excited about this for several reasons. If nothing else it is confirmation of my "magic". I still have to interview for the job, it's not s sure deal. As they say in turkey hunting "Roosted ain't roasted".
Magick will be employed. ;)

Friday, December 24, 2010

The curious case of American Land spirits

Recently I was involved in a discussion about land spirits. As the discussion progressed it touched on what I feel is a very important issue to us druids living in the Americas. That being, land spirits are more often then not, tied to the land and thus couldn't come to us from Europe, and thus how do we treat with the spirits of this "new" land? The natives of this place have a long and good history of working with the land spirits here. Sadly, in most places, and certainly here on the west coast of the lower 48 the natives are almost completely gone. This is a very sad thing, but not the focus of this post. The question is, can those of us of European descent summon, honor, call, and treat with American land spirits? It was suggested that the spirits here are used to being summoned with certain type of ritual, that being those of the local natives. That the land spirits here have native names, and should only be addressed as such. ok...what if the name is not known, and can't be learned? And what of the idea that they can only be summoned with native American style evocations? Where does this leave the modern druid? Even if I were able to learn, say the dances of the Umpqua Indians to summon the spirit of the Umpqua river, that would most likely be considered cultural appropriation and that's just not P.C.

I have been tumbling these thoughts over in my head for several days now, and here is what I have come up with. First off, spirits are as individual in personality as people are. What might be ok with one spirit won't be ok with another. How do we find out? I vote for good old fashioned trial and Error. Go out there and do what druids do in the way druids do it. If the spirit doesn't like it, I am sure it will let you know, if you bother to listen. Let the spirits be our teacher. I think and feel with but a few exceptions so long as the spirits are approached with offerings, respect and love they are not going to be over critical if you said the right name, pronounced in the correct native dialect or be upset if you didn't dance in the native way. Using a name the spirit is familiar with would be very helpful in treating with it, but not critical. So those druids that are inclined to work with such spirits, I say do your homework and get out there and get to know your spiritual neighbors!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Helter Skelter yule

Yule finds me in two places this year it would seem. On the 18th the purple witch lead our intrepid tribe in a eclectic wiccan ritual. Though she's been a witch for some time, this was the first time she's lead a ritual for any one else. The ritual was uniquely her, and for being her first one, very well done. So my critiques of the ritual, well the alter, though a fabulous representation of the woman leading the ritual didn't work for me. Much much to cluttered with things. It reminded me more of a place one set their "nick knacks" rather then an alter. This also caused some delay. There was no pattern or rhyme or reason I could see to the alter lay out. There was no welcome speech or declaration of why we had gathered before the ceremony started. One thing the purple witch did right, was to talk to the quarter callers and explain to them, even demonstrate, what it was exactly she wanted them to do. During the portion that was a guided meditation, the purple witch, due to nerves I think, read through the meditation way to fast. Speaking of reading, she read the entire ritual, however, she did a very good job of that. She didn't speak with a monotone voice, and put life into what she was saying, especially at the end. One thing that caught me off guard and surprised me a little was that there must have been a miscommunication, as the purple witch dropped doing what I thought was an important part of the ritual due to being indoors. Again I think that can be explained by her nervousness, which was great. As part of the yule/solstice ritual each year we do a Sumbol to each other. It's a chance once a year when we get to brag on another's achievments within the group. It was great last year and this year was no different. There were happy tears shed, perhaps the most moving was when two young ladies expressed to their father just how much they loved him and how happy they were he had found love. The purple witch handed out new paganized lyrics to old Christmas songs, and we sang. By the Gods we were awful! But everyone had smiles. The closing was a bit scattered, but in the end the purple witch managed to tie it up and close the ritual with a high.

The festivities started at 2:00pm with wreath making. This was fun. we got the greens for free from the Christmas tree lots. We had more then enough to make all the wreaths people wanted to make, and to outline the circle. As it turned out for the first time in three years I was going to be forced to do a ritual indoors due to rain. That's really nothing to complain about considering where I come from and how much it rains there. Once the wreath making was done, everyone helped to get the room ready for the ritual. As I said the ritual was pretty good and I think folks enjoyed it. After ritual we had potluck and feasting as we always do at the sabbots. It was a smaller group then usual, but the food was good. We had made plans for everyone to go to a light show at the local animal park, but that was canceled due to the heavy rains. I guess there's always next year.

The following day I got in my car and drove 11 1/2 hours to spend this week with my children. It has been a fantastic week and we are having a lot of fun. Anywho, on the 21st, I stood in the back yard next to the mighty river that I grew up on, and performed a simple, short ritual honoring the rebirth of Bel, the celtic sun god. I didn't do a full ritual as I did not have all my materials. I had my crane bag and in it just the baisics. I did not ask for blessings or any of the like. I also gave thanks for bring me to my old home safely.

Incorporating what I learned in "...the Druids"

I have been sitting here wondering how I am going to incorporate what I learned in "A brief history of the Druids" into my spiritual practice. Looking at it right now, I see the things in this book as forming the unseen "roots" and "enriched soil" of my tree of practice. It's the parts of a tree that are so important, but usually completely overlooked by those who gaze at the beauty of such things. We see the trunk, branches and leaves. Maybe we notice the bark, and some sharp eyed folk see a birds nest or the like. Few go digging at the roots and earth. Yet these are vital aspects to the beauty of the tree for without it they would not exist. What I am trying to say is that this knowledge will form the ground work from which my spirituality can find solidity and history. It helps me to feel courage as I pick up this torch and carry it into the future. I have a better sense of who my spiritual ancestors are and who it is I am offering to. Last but not least, there is a folk song I love to listen to. In it there is a repeated line that says "son, you don't know where ya are going if ya don't know where ya been" This rings true with neodruidry and neopaganism.

Book Review: A Brief History of the Druids

Growing up, my first introduction to "Druids" was through Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. They were portrayed as some sort of priest of the forest. I now understand why after reading A Brief History of the Druids. This is an excellent book of scholarly work. I learned so very much from it. It's not to difficult to read and the Author, Peter Berresford Ellis, does a good job of pulling guiding the reader through his thought process and explaining his interpretation of the supporting or refuting evidence. His style of writing was very readable and is not "text book". I know because I never found my mind wandering while reading his book, unlike when I read my Anatomy and Physiology book. One of the things I liked about this book was how Ellis is sure to first give an overview of what we know about Celtic culture. This is important to know so that one can understand druids more fully. They did not exist outside of their culture, but were integral to it. Ellis looks at all that has been written in the classical world of the druids via the Greeks and Romans, then not taking anything as truth looks to substantiate their claims by finding what corroborating evidence he can find from within Celtic cultural sources, such as Celts writing in Latin or Greek, or from the Gaelic languages. I find it fascinating all the similarities in language and culture that the Celts and Druids share with Vedic culture.

Ellis gives female druids their own entire chapter. He could have simple proved that there were in fact female druid, of which there is plenty of evidence, and left it at that. He expounded on the idea though, and went on to theorize about how woman were viewed in Celtic culture and some of their roles. He gave some great stories that I had never heard before, and a quote that I won't soon forget. After killer her Roman capture and rapist, Chiomara says "Woman a fine thing is good faith. A better thing only one man be alive who had intercourse with me." I can't say I fully understand her meanings, but I get the jist.

One of the most striking things I learned was about my wife's heritage. It was a joyful surprise to find my wife's family name talked about a good bit in the book. Though my wife knows a lot about her history, we both learned things. Namely that it was her family that started the tradition of handing out Torcs as rewards for bravery in battle. (On a side note my wife has decided that she needs a Torc. I told her I EARNED a Torc. When she asked why I told her it was because I was brave enough to marry her.)

It was in the 8th chapter "Wisdom of the Druids" that the book bogged down for me. Some of the info was new, some not so much. Much of this I had already learned in previous studies and if felt a bit tedious. Here is also where we run into one section that I question the ideas drawn. That is Ellis uses early Celtic Church philosophies as a basis for theorizing what druid moral philosophy would be about. Though I find the idea insightful, and intriguing, I have strong reservations about making any such correlations. Again the written Christian material came LONG after the druids were gone. I am not saying that it should not be done at all, but that it must be taken with a serious pinch of salt.

The author finishes up with a discussion on revival druidry. I found his work accurate and insightful and in line with other such information I have read.

I really enjoyed this book and took away so much from it. I learned a great deal that will give me insight into the Celtic gods, spirits, and ancestors, and not least of all myself. I would recommend any serious student of Druidry to give this book a read.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fresh scent of Douglas Fir

snnnniiiiiiifffffff! ahhh! The lovely tingly scent of Douglas fir fills my nose and home. It's scent sends me on a mental trip of days spent running through the forests of my home as a child, with my trusty golden retriever "Regal" beside me. Times making forts, and spying on the local wildlife. Times not so long ago, of silently slipping like a shade through the grey early morning light on my birthday, bow in hand. It was raining, and being my first hunting season I was completely unprepared for the weather. Soaked to the bone through a few layers of Cotton Tshirts, all I could feel was the heat of the hunt. I had stumbled into a heard of deer in the woods taking shelter. I found myself for the first time with the very real possibility of killing a deer with my bow. My heart pounded and adrenalin rushed. It came to a point near exploding when I drew down on the calm and unsuspecitng doe. I'll never forget the wet slap of the feathers as they whisked by my face. In the end the only thing I ate that night was "tag soup", still I was hooked, no more then just hooked, I was a willing lover of the bow hunt. My wife's lovely voice calls me back to reality. How does one describe to another these things when she asks "why do you love Douglas fir as yule trees? over the noble fir?".

So tomorrow is our little pagan tribe's winter solstice celebration and ritual. We have a lot planned. Starting at 2:00pm we'll have wreath building. 3:30-4:30 will be ritual. Following the ritual will be Potluck till about 6:30. The festivities will end with a trip to the local light show at the zoo. I won't be leading the ritual this time. Another witch from the group will be doing that. She has never done a group ritual before, but I have looked over what she has come up with and I think it's pretty good. Interestingly, we have had rain the last couple days and they are calling for more rain tomorrow. I hope it will hold off long enough that we can do this outside. If not we will bring it inside. If that is the case I can say that it will be the first time I have had to do an indoor sabot in 3 years. Living in the desert does have some advantages.

On Sunday I head back to my hometown, my parents, and mostly my kids. I miss them like I miss the smell of Douglas fir. I miss them as I miss a part of who I am. Yet I hate being away from my b'loved wife too. These trips are filled with bitter sweetness both in the coming and the going. Perhaps someday the holy kindred will see fit to bring these two parts of me together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ring a ding dong beneath the world tree

So here they are! The first picture is my alter with the world tree representation I made. I got the inspiration from a picture in Ian's book. I am sure if he sees this, he'll know which one I am talking about. The second picture is the Bell I got at Good will and the stand I made for it. It makes a beautiful sound that goes right to my soul. There is some magick in that old bell, I can feel it.

Yesterday I memorized a simple dedication ritual from ADF and the nine virtues. You can expect to see some thoughts about the virtues in the not to distant future.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A love for learning.

This week has been AWESOME when it comes to things learned and done. I have begun building a symbolic world tree for use on my alter. I got the idea from a picture from Ian's book. It's assembled, today I will stain it. I also made a stand and frame for a beautiful sounding bronze bell I got from Good Will. It is also assembled and needs staining. Pictures to come so stay tuned!

On Monday I got the chance to attend a 3 hour lecture on "southern Conjure" by Orion Foxwood. I have attended a lecture once before by Orion at Pantheacon. This time we were lucky enough to have him come to our home town. Though I am not strongly interested in this type of magick at this time, the knowledge and history I learned were great, and Orion is very much an entertainer when he lectures. I highly recommend others to take the time to attend some of his lectures.

Also on Monday I got the first of the books in on Druidry that I ordered. This one is "A brief History of the Druids" by Peter Berresford Ellis. This book is amazing! I am learning so much it's hard to even put into words. As I read it I feel like I am soaking up each word and meaning. The stories are great! In fact I even learned a whole lot about my wife's ancestors. Things even she didn't know, and she knows a good bit! It's cool kinda feeling when reading a scholarly work such as this book and see your wife's ancestors discussed and written about. As Robert said the other weekend to me "if you had half a brain in your head you'd marry that woman." (the joke being that he was AT the wedding).

I have pretty well mastered ADF ritual format, or at least Ian's version that he writes about in Draiocht. There are still a number of other "smaller" or shorter rituals that I want to memorize, and I am no working on those. Things like cleansings, simply hallowings, short dedications and the like. One thing I found interesting listening to Orion was that some of the types of spells he mentioned southern conjurers do are also in Ian Corrigans book. It was cool to see the cross reference. I Am not sure if this is because Ian himself pulled these spells from southern conjure, or if it is from the cultural mixing of magic that happened in the Appalachians and American south that Orion spoke of. Specifically I am thinking of the "uncrossing" spell. Also I am really enjoying the meditations and visualizations in Ian's book. There is a strong melding of JMG's druid magick system and ADF/Ian's system going on in me these days. Fitting the two together hasn't been difficult.

Ok, enough talk, time to get back to my books!

For the love of a teacher

I just discovered that one of my spiritual teachers growing up has a blog! If you have the time, I'd like you to head on over there and poke around a little. His magick is different them what most of my readers are accustomed to reading about, but I'll let William's blog do the talking.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sad, but True

Down the road a ways from my home, there is a "Frosty King". It's a Dairy Queen knock off. Thing is, in my town there is only one Dairy Queen and it's a LONG ways away from me, there are however several of these Frosty kings. The one near my home I noticed some time ago had a broken window. The kind of break that would indicate some one threw something through it. This struck me as a bit odd, as its not located in a "bad" area of town. Still there are homeless about and perhaps a ticked off customer. What really struck me as odd was when the window was fixed only to be broken again in a matter of days. For a long time the owner simply put up some plywood. Can't say I blamed him either. I never went there. No reason why I didn't...just didn't. Well last night after attending my wife's bosses 40th anniversary dinner, I decided to go through the drive through of the Frosty king. Might as well give it a try. When we got to the service window I was pleasantly surprised to find a young woman, probably 14 or 15, wearing a attractive shawl over her head. That's right, she was Muslim. What I am assuming was her younger brother also showed up in the "picture" and he too was obviously of middle eastern heritage. Then in a flash the broken windows suddenly, and very sadly, made sense. This restaurant was owned and operated by a Muslim family. Though it's not located in the "bad" part of town, it is located near the "white" part of town. The window was the repeated victim of hate.
Suddenly, I was grateful that I can choose to be like the fox, and blend in and hide my pagan beliefs if need be. These fine folk didn't get that option.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where I am at, and where I am going

Phew! It has been a busy week. Started off with a final in my Microbiology class. Another easy A. The classes I had this term were not very challenging. Not like the last couple terms. I usually have at least one class that has me doing spells to help me get the grades I demand of myself. Not this time. With the illness that my wife has gone through that's probably for the best. I thank the holy Kindred that they guided me into the classes they did.

The last few days I have been working at the local new age/occult store. It's been fun, if a bit slow. My friends like to come and hang out and chat with me and I enjoy that. I recently signed on with ADF and I received the book that is a guide to their ritual format and the "dedicant's path" study program. Maybe I am crazy as fox in catnip, but I get all tingly inside thinking of all the fun I am going to have studying and writing and learning...or maybe I am just a druid at heart. I am excited about this new system of magic for two reasons. First off, after reading through the material I believe this work will bring me closer to the divine, that is, the gods. I also believe that this work will up the power of my magic significantly. Already things that were hazy in my mind are clearing and crystallizing. I am finding understandings that I was unsure of before. Today I ordered the books I'll need to finish the Dedicant's path.

So where is this taking me? I believe to better health, wealth, and wisdom. To wisdom, love and power. At first I was wondering if all the work I have done in JMG's druid magic handbook was going to jive with this new system and in most ways, I think it will. Yes there are some differences, but nothing so much as to be a huge inconvenience.

The pagan group I am leading is coming along nicely. Recently we have had a influx of people new to the pagan path and as such those of us in the leadership decided that it would be a good idea to teach the basics of doing solo rituals. For now we are teaching a very "wiccan" style ritual. It feels a little "skitso" to me at time to do that as I am learning a very different system, but I know that most the people in the group are wiccan based and that is the material most new pagans have access to.

Last but not least I got the chance to mentor one of the pagan group members tonight. I am really proud of how far she has come over the months. She has a lot of "stuff" on her spiritual path to deal with, and so far she has done a beautiful job of it. It's not easy stuff, but today she showed a lot of intelligence and insight in seeing what was going on, with a little help from me pointing a few things out.

The holy kindred are good.
Magic is good,
and I too am good.

Monday, December 6, 2010

it's coming together

I did the ritual outlined in Ian's Draiocht today. It went much smoother for me today then last time. I also recieved my packet of information from ADF and their dedicant program. Yes, it's going to be a good year. A good year indeed!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For the love of story.

Last night I had a birthday party. That's right, is old and wise druid turned am amazing 36 years old! wow right?! no? oh well....ok so I am not ancient and all wise, but I am working on getting there. My age, though is not the point of this post. I love story. More then movies, more then reading a book, a well told story is truly a form of magic. It's unlike anything I have ever felt or experianced and I love the feelings. I can't find words for it, how it makes me feel, the sense of being wrapped up in the magic of a story. I just know I like it. So for my party, I asked the guests to have a story to tell and share. It could be a well known fairy tale, or something they made up. It could even be a true story, but I also reminded them to never let the truth get in the way of a good story. I was a bit nervous if people would do it. Would they really take the time from their busy lives to memorize a story to share with me and the others? would they get shy? I am glad to say, I was NOT dissapointed. Though not everyone brought or shared a story, most did, and the stories were fantastic! Stories of Tigers, and foolish travelers, of modern day wizards down on their financias and the comical demon summoning that came of it, of a funny uncle who pretended to be native american as he guided people down a rafting trip, and perhaps the most powerful of all was the story told by my b'loved wife. She told her story not just with words, but also in sighn language. It was poetic with out being a poem. It was about me and her, but no one else would have picked up on that. It brought a tear to my eye. (hold on, I have to go put a bucket under the leak in my roof...back!) It was the best birthday I have had in a very very very long time. I did not get many material gifts, and that was just fine, for the gifts I got were far more precious. A story told is a gift of the inner self. A gift of wisdom, humor, drama, and much more. It is a gift of the soul and of the spirit. I will never forget this birthday, nor the gifts given, or who gave them.

The story of my magical and spiritual path goes on as well. I am still working on learning the ritual format laid out in Ian Corrigan's book Draiocht. The more I read it and memorize parts the clearer it becomes. I feel at times the meanings are some how hidden but then slide into me brain like as snake through tall grass, suddenly I just "get it." Ian's book made me take another look at ADF and after watching the video's of the Ceremony for Bonawits, I decided to join ADF and learn their system as well. Also, on friday I finished the last Gwersu of the Bardic grade from OBOD. It felt good, and I learned a lot, yet I have chosen not to go on with their Ovate grade program for a couple of reasons. First and formost, I simply can't afford it. Second I fell that most of what they have to teach, I can learn else where and less expensivly. Lastly, it has come to my attention that OBOD is not a church or nonprofit organization. It is run by 4 people who's positions are appointed not voted, and there is no transparency as to where the money goes. Now don't get me wrong here, I am not saying they are fakes, and the quality of the materials thus far have been top notch. Perhaps some day, when I have the money to spare, I'll invest in their Ovate program.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Working the new gig

Last night I got the call from several friends and fellow pagans for prayers and the like to help them with things going on in their lives. I decided I'd try my hand at the new method I am learning in Ian's book. I have been working on memorizing the opening and closing. Well, best I can say is that I stumbled through it. I had forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. None the less, I kept to the over all pattern and I feel that it went well, if not as smoothly as I would have liked. I asked for aid for a woman who was to have a job interview today. Another wanted blessings for a deceased friend, aid for another who's father just passed the other day, and another for a friend who, due to economy and politics was demoted at work and got a pay cut.
I threw my own needs in there some where. In the ritual, I asked for an oman via Ogham for each person on the nature of the blessing. On one of them I pulled "straif". I wasn't sure how to interpret this as a blessing. It was for a friend who asked for the work to be done, but did not tell me the nature of why. I am still new to Ogham and if any one else wants to give their 2 cents I am all ears. The only book I have on Ogham is from "The druidry handbook" by JMG. in it he says that Straif translates as "sulfur" and is an Ogham of necessity and inevitable change.
The tree association is the Blackthorn.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A journey to the sea, a spirit walk beneath.

Today I and my b'loved went back to the ocean side town where we got married back in June. Gods it seems so long ago already with all we have been through with her illness. Now that she is finally back to health, it was time to visit again. How I love this place. The people in the town are so friendly and I feel so relaxed. We first had lunch at the garden restaurant where we were married. The food was excellent as always. We then drove to the beach proper. There my wife and I both collect some sea water to make use as spell components in the future. Hers will rest on her alter. Mine will be mixed with rain water and water from the local river to be used in druidic spirit art rituals and other rituals as well. After play with the waves, trying to collect water without getting wet in the very cold fall ocean, we walked a bit. Wanting to meditate a while I sat upon a large storm tossed piece of drift wood, aged and bleached to a flaky white by the sun. After finding the comfortable spot, I closed my eyes and just listened to the sound of the waves and the wind. I felt what was left of my tensions slip away. I then let down my energetic walls and felt the power of the land, sea, and sky all around me. The power was immense. Then then it hit me a phrase I had learned from Ian's book in the opening of the grove ritual. "In every place where triads meet, let this be the center of the worlds. Let this sacred center be the boundary of all worlds, that my voice be carried, and my vision see." In that moment I understood what it meant. Not just in my head, no not in my head at all but in my gut. I was there at the meeting of the worlds of land, sea, and sky. I could feel their boundaries pressed against me and each other. With my heart and mind I called out to Manannan MacLir. Once....twice...thrice I called his name over the ocean. After the third call I heard his voice deep and ancient and distant answer me. I felt my spirit stand and walk to the waves. I thought of how our emotions are so much like the ocean with its waves, tides, storms and times of calm. How we as humans must learn to work with these emotions as sailors must learn to work with the "moods" of the ocean. Though there are things that can be done to protect the land and ships from the ocean, it can never be controlled. I can see how emotions too can not really be "controlled" like many think they can be. I would argue that in fact, they shouldn't be. emotions are natural, however, they do need to be channeled and directed in positive directions lest the raging storms sink ships, destroy ports and docks, or flood homes. I heard Manannan call me to the water, telling me to enter. I did. As my spirit self I sank below the waves and swam away from the shore. First fighting the waves, then just letting them pull me out to deeper water past the breakers. Once there I was silently greeted by Salmon. I grabbed on to his back, and he pulled me deep and over a ledge. There we came upon an underwater village of mer-folk. They paid me no mind though I got a few stares. Salmon pulled me to the doorway of one of the buildings. Suddenly a black haired mermaid swam up to me, kissed me as in some sort of benediction upon my forehead and then quickly darted off into the blue distance. My wife's totem is the mermaid and I felt that this was in fact her totem giving me its approval and blessing. Salmon then led me through the doorway into the building. I was in a maze, and I was suddenly alone. Turning around there was no longer a door behind me, but just a solid wall of worked stone. I heard Manannans voice and he said "Many people become lost in the sea of their emotions, lost like in a maze, unable to escape. Forever wandering, searching. Can you find your way out?" Understanding that it was my task to solve this maze I began walking. As I did so I had a few realizations in short order. First I realized that this maze was going to shift and flow with the currents. Second that walking the maze looking to solve it was futile and would never lead me to the way out. I stopped walking and stood and I realized they way out of the maze of emotions was to be "still". Not physically (though this usually helps a great deal with the rest) but mentally, spiritually and yes, emotionally. I sat, closed my eyes and "stilled" my inner self. I felt a shift in the waters around me, and opened my eyes and there in front of me I realized that there was a large square window that allowed sunlight into the maze. I simply had to swim out. I was greeted by the mer-folk who seemed cheered by my finding a way out so quickly. Salmon came to me, and I grabbed on to his back as is my custom, and he pulled me back to shore. I bid him goodbye and walked back to my body. I felt myself easily slide back in, and open my eyes to the physical world. I looked around, saw my b'loved and went to her. We finished the day by taking some pictures, getting her some small pentacle earrings from a local merchant and drove the two hours back home.

The Red cord

So it was that yesterday I made the time to do the initiation ritual of AODA of a druid apprentice. The air was cool with only a slight breeze. the sky was clear of clouds and very blue. As I was preparing the grove a leaf blower was noisily blowing away at the neighbor's, but the man finished just as I was stepping out to do the ritual. It was not a difficult ritual, though it did get me thinking about all I have learned and done over the past year. I suddenly realized how much I have read, how much I have studied, not only in druidry, but in college as well. I gained a perspective I had not before. I found myself on a tall hill overlooking the forest. Seeing the forest as a whole and not just the trees. It is very difficult for me to get as much out of these initiatory rituals when done alone as compared to when done surrounded by others of the order. Yet if I were to wait till I got such an opportunity, I fear I'd be waiting a very very long time in deed. Despite this, I did feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I felt honored to be entrusted with this degree. I am very much looking forward to continuing my studies. It felt good to wrap that red cord around my waist.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Energy in, energy out

It has been some time since anyone has come to me for energy healing/work. So it was that I was glad that the little magi was willing to allow me to aid her with a problem she has been having. She reports that when doing her work as a Ceremonial Magician, she gets a lot of pain in the top of her feet. Upon further questioning I was able to pinpoint that when ever she does any kind of spiritual energy work she has the pain. When the work is done, the pain subsides. At first I was hoping that this apperent energy blockage, for thats how I see it, would clear itself. She's new to energy work and magick and often people new to this will have some discomfort that often clears up. It became apprent that this wasn't going to be one of those times. was time to get to work. I did some massage, and some moving of energy out of her legs and the different energetic bodies of the Magi. Once I felt I Had cleared the blockage, I used two magick stones one of my mentors gave me to balance the flows. Then to test the work, I pushed energy through her feet and legs. First from the legs down, then from the feet up. She reported that that went well, so I went to her head and gently ran energy, first the energy of the deep, water, from head to feet. Then I ran Fire. this also was reported as feeling good. The little magi went home and did her energy work, and reported back that the pain was greatly reduced, but still a small amount of discomfort. This is not unusual, and I hope she'll schedual a follow up soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wedding without, wedding within

Yesterday I got the honor of hosting a friends wedding at my home. We had planned it to be an out door wedding, but wouldn't you know it, for once it rained in the desert and we had to bring it in doors. Lucky for us, we have the perfect house for such an event. Many hands make for light work, and in no time at all we had a beautiful (and secretly pagan) wedding ceremony and a very subtle alter to boot. I made some new friends and got to know some others better. The couple are very much in love and it brought joy to my heart to be able to be a part of it. During the ceremony my wife and I held hands and looked often into each other's eyes. It was like being married again. It was a good good feeling. I am an amazingly lucky man. There was only one snafu to the beautiful and joyous event. The bride's mother. She was not happy about it. I don't know the details, only other peoples' speculations. Regardless of the reasons the woman's lack of joy, her fluctuating from fits of breaking down in tears to the point of having to go off alone, to cold glares at her daughter, was sad. The bride, I must say, handled it exceptionally well. I know she'll make one oak of a witch some day.

The mother's breakdowns did provide me with a chance to test some new magicks however. As it happens she took her emotional vomitus into our "Magick" room. Nice huh? Ah well, a cleansing I did go today. I memorized the cleansing ritual of Ian's and performed it in the magick room. I liked it. I liked the flow of energy. I liked the charm of speaking. I liked how it felt when I was done. I think I will try to make a habit of doing it a bit more often.

School is keeping me busy and finals are quickly approaching. So is Thanksgiving. I plan to take a trip to the ocean on Saturday for meditation and to collect sea water, a needed ingredient for future cauldrons and the spirit arts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just an update

Just a little update. I have been fairly busy this week with mundane things. We are hosting a wedding here at my home for a friend this Saturday and when I am not studying for class I am getting things ready around the home. I have started gathering the needed items for my AODA initiation. Still need to get to the fabric store to get a new cord belt. I have been memorizing the opening ritual as written in Ian's book. I just about have the opening completely memorized. Then it will be on to the closing. From there it is a matter of memorizing several prayers and bringing the needed suplies together for the work. It's still going to be some ways away. I Have not performed the tree of light ritual yet, but it's also in the works.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the wake of the storm

The storm in my heart passed as storms always do. No damage was done to those around me, or to myself other then some wasted time being out of balance. It's not often that I have days like that any more. Most days go as I need and want. Most days are filled with love both from within and without. I spent some time in my yard this week quietly touching things up. A little weeding, some raking up of leaves. Some times these are the best meditations. The more you work with the green and growing things, the more your spirit soars.

To all my druid readers pagan or otherwise, I HIGHLY recomend that you watch the animated film "Secret of Kells". It's kid friendly, but is so much more. It's a work of art. I found it beautiful and deeply moving.

As I stated last post, I have recieved the initiation ritual for the next AODA grade. I am currently in the proccess of gathering the needed materials.
I also need to complete the Tree of Light ritual. These things may have to wait till December when I am on winter break from college, but we'll see if I can get them done a bit sooner.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just angry

I don't know what it was about today. Maybe it was the short and pointed email from my ex. Maybe it was peoples unwillingness to be flexible in regards to thanks giving. Maybe it was that I one again(despite my usualy good discipline) managed to forget to make my credit card payment on time, or that my stepdaughter got some very poor grades, or most likely it was all of these things, what ever it was I have been angry in my heart all day. Mostly I feel I am directing it at myself. I have done a pretty good job of not taking it out on those around me and thus preserving those good relationships. I have fluctuated between wanting to be alone, run away to some other place, or just yelling indescriminatly. In the end I did none of these things. I went to class, work, grocery shopped and cleaned up after dinner. I tried to loose myself on the internet, but that only bored me.

On a good note, I did recieve the initiation to the Druid apprentice level from AODA today. I have looked it over once. I will carry out the ritual soon.
I hope I feel better tomorrow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

and...that's a wrap!

Just a note to my readers that yesterday my love and her final surgery. The Gallbladder has finally been removed. What's more the Dr. was able to do it with the least invasive method. I do believe that this is in part due to all the spells and blessings and prayers she recieved. Now all that's left is the healing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Water and Fire: a new meditation

As I talked about a few posts ago, I got a new book on Druid Sorcery by Ian. I have read the book cover to cover once and then started over, it's a lot to digest. Until today, I hadn't tried any of the exercises in it. This type of magick is not the kind a person can skim over and just jump up and do. no, that would get one in trouble and in a hurry. This is much to learn, to understand, and simply many rituals to memorize that will prepare me to work with spirits. His system does share some common themes with Greers magickal system. Namely Ians ideas of the two energies represented by water for earth energy, and solar or sky energy represented by fire. In Greer's Druid magic book these energies are called the "Telluric" current and the Solar current respectively. Many of the exercises in Ian's book are designed to get one in touch with these energies and learn to control their flow in one's body. Though the specific techniques differ this same theme occurs in Greer's system. One thing Ian wrote that really expanded my understanding of these two energies is the idea that the earth or water energy is filled with the chaos of potential, and the solar or fire energy is order. Though he Ian doesn't come out and say it, it seems to me that it's the coming together of these two energies that causes physical manifestation. Perhaps the two energies came together and created the manifestations of Land, Sea, and Sky and it is the coming together of these three elements in different proportions that creates the myriad things in this world, for are not all things seemingly made up of the three?

Last night I pulled out a meditation that spoke to my spirit from Ian's book. In short, during this meditation one takes a drop of water and places it on their forehead and closing the eyes focuses on the sensation of the water. This is followed up with the staring at a candle or some other flame and filling the mind with only these two things, water and fire. I started my daily work as I always do, giving an offering of incense to the Holy Kindreds, followed by the energy work I have learned from Greer's system. After the two dragons exercise and sphere of light, I sat down in front of my alter, lit the candle and placed the drop of water on my forehead. It was not hard keeping these two elements solely in my mind at the beginning, but after about 10 min my mind wandered slightly here and there, and I wrestled with it like a fish on a line. Some times running to the left, some times to the right, but always having some tie to fire and water.

I really enjoyed this exercise. I plan to make it one that I revisit regularly.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Samhain again

What a day, what a night. It takes or rather, I put a lot of work into getting ready for the Sabbots I lead. This years Samhain ritual started Saturday at 10 pm but I started getting the house ready the Thursday before. A number of people from our pagan group showed up on Friday morning at 10 am to carve pumpkins, but by then I had already been to a school, bank, gas station, donut store, two rite aids two grocery stores, and a dollar tree. We madly carved 10 pumpkins 8 of which were done with pentacles and placed around where the circle would be for the celebration later that night. It was a lot of fun. Others helped me clean up and organize the yard.
After the pumpkin carvers left, I ran to Lowes to see if I could get some more Tiki torches. I couldn't find the cheaper bamboo ones I was looking for, so didn't get any. I did pick up some more firewood however. Came home and then took a bit of a nap. I was tired. I had been up late the night before (Friday night) attending the Samhain of a local witches coven here that I am friends with. It was a very windy ritual with gust as high as 50 mph. I couldn't help but think of the stories of the wild hunt. Glad I was in a protected circle. ;-)

After my nap I showed and dressed in my robes. It felt good to put them on again. Though I do meditation and energy magick daily, I only were my robes on sabbots and a few other occasions. By 9pm the house was bursting with people waiting for the ceremony to begin. The prominent sound was that of laughter and happy chatter. At 9:30 I and a fellow druid lit the torches and candles in the pumpkins. I hallowed the sacred flame and water, and using these hollowed the grounds where the ritual would take place. Because of the large number of attendees (about 25 people) my beloved and had chosen not to cast a circle. With that many people and a few children around it seems there is always the need for people to break the circle, also we were not doing energy raising or spell casting per say and didn't feel it was necessary. So we proceeded without.

After the hallowing of the grounds the ceremony began with my love asking the attendees to step out side. Once all had been gently herded out, the dancers performed a dance which represented the symbolic changing of the seasons ending with Samhain. It was beautifully done and I give my thanks to those lovely ladies for having the courage to do that. Once the dance was over, the attendees lined up and the smudging began. 23 or so people is a lot for one smudging line. Though it seemed to go fast enough, I think that having two smudgers and lines would have been a bit better. It did work just fine and the attendees were kept the talking to a minimum and were respectful.

The ritual went very well I believe. My b'loved wife took the role of high priestess and I have to say that we make a fantastic team. Despite all she's been through with her illness these past months, she danced, and her voice was strong and confident. I could really feel how the years of doing rituals together have really honed us into a powerful team. It's hard to measure the success of a ritual, but I have to say, when you have a number of people willing to speak aloud their remembrances of the dead and weep in front of 22 others in the process, not once, but person after person, you have done it right. Even I shed tears as I spoke of a child hood friend who died of cancer in 2007. I was not there for him in the end, and it's a regret that I have lived with for a long time. The priestess who married my wife and I, honored her ancestors with an old Celtic song. This brought some more tears. We had a Crone who spoke of her "bat crazy grandmother" which had us all chuckling with much needed laughter. Some people gave their hair as offering, other spat. It was a powerful time of no time.

Once all the offerings had been given, I led the gathered in a guided meditation with the hopes that they would be able to contact some of their ancestral spirits. During that time, I got images and the impression the my child hood friend has been reborn into the world again. Trusting in this, I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my spirit. As of this writing, no one else shared anything that happened to them in the meditation. After the meditation Robert, who I had asked to play the role of seer, set to work doing just that. Once again he did not disappoint. Once again the card drawn was pertinent and poignant to the ritual and time. So it was we know what our blessing would be. So it was that my b'loved wife and I blessed the waters of life and each member drank in the blessings of the ancestors. The ritual was closed in the usual wiccan ways (the ritual was a combination of wiccan elements and druid elements as our pagan group is made up of both).

The ritual was followed by the sharing of food and drink and much laughter. Robert gave a few individual readings. Slowly people trickled out and home, and my love and I crawled into bed around 2am, tired but satisfied, like the feeling you get after some really good sex.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

As the wheel turns

As one turn of the wheel completes and another begins, I like to look back and review all that has happened, all that I have learned, experienced, and felt. The highs and the lows and everything in between. I have learned a lot this year. A lot about myself, alot about running a pagan spiritual group. I have learned a lot about anatomy and physiology as well as what it's going to take to become a nurse. I have learned a lot about service. Service to myself, to my b'loved, and service to my community. I have learned that joyful service is love manifest. I have learned much about Druidry, it's philosophy, history, and magic. I have learned about opening the gates that guard my heart and letting my love and joy shine through to the world and not be so guarded. I have invoked the two currents, keeper of the three cauldrons, sheath for the spear of fire, rider of the two dragons, and soon I shall be the seed of light.
Right now I am learning about perseverance in the face of obstacles. I am learning about compassion for types of people I have never had to deal with before. *on a side note, the person from an earlier blog who was creating drama, has really changed their course of late, a change for the better. I realize now their behavior was really stretching my ability to be compassionate. I find myself wishing now that I had been more compassionate. That I had been better able to realize what they were really trying to say.

In the coming year I will take all that I have and am learning and build upon them. I will grow in wisdom, power, and love. Or at least, that's the general idea. ;-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


So a while back readers will recall that I passed my candidacy in AODA and given the green light to start my Druid apprentice level work....just as soon as I send in my $100.00 and receive the initiation ritual. No problem...if I had the money that is. I don't mean to complain, and I am not asking for a hand out, but I do feel the need to vent my frustration over this. I keep trying to find the extra money to send in, but it just isn't there. I keep trying to save my side massage money, but keep ending up having to use it for food, or gas. I just can't seem to get a little bit ahead. I am going without other things I want in hopes of getting the extra cash together, but it just doesn't seem to materialize. I am frustrated by it. I haven't spell cast for it yet. I guess I feel that I should be able to come up with the money without having to resort to that. I don't see it in the near future either. It's almost November, and before I know it, I'll have to find money to get or make presents for others. I know in the big scheme of things its a small thing. I have the reading list for the grade available and I have even started doing the work despite my lack of funds. It's just hard to be patient sometimes. I live a simple life, I don't ask for much, guess that's why it galls me so. To add fuel to the fire, yesterday I realized that I am coming to the end of the Bardic Grade in OBOD. I have really enjoyed all I have learned and the quality of the materials is second to none, but there is simply no way that I can afford to move on to the level of Ovate. I know it won't be like this forever, but for now the financial reality rubs the wrong way.

cool beans

The wife's surgery went exceedingly well. Better in fact then the Dr. had hoped. My b'loved is doing great and after a night in the hospital is now resting at home. We are now heading into the last surgical procedure and finally getting this over and done with.
My thanks to everyone who sent thier well wishes and prayers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back for another go

Tomorrow is a big day. Not only do I have my Microbilogy midterm, my beloved has to return to the hospital to once again allow the Dr.s another shot at removing gallstones from her common bile duct. this time they intend to go through the billiary drain they installed over a month ago. She will have to stay over night. We are both a little nervous, and I am so not looking forward to having to stay another night in the hospital. On Tuesday morning I have a 3 minuet speech in my death and dying class. I am nervous. Not about the classes. School is something I seem to have a nack for. I am nervous about how the operation is going to go. The last time they tried to take the stones out (via a different methed) She ended up with internal bleeding and passing out in my arms in the midddle of the night and prompting another emergency room visit and a several nights stay. I pray to the holy kindreds that they keep her and watch over her. That they guide the surgeons so that they get all the stones and do not do any more damage. Our enderance has been pushed and we just want this whole process to be over with. It's interfered with every aspect of our lives.

In the pagan meetup we discussed the ideas of "perfect love and perfect trust". It was a really good talk. One that I think I needed to hear more then any of the others in the group. When I started this group, I was very open and loving to all the people who came. In time as I came to realize some of those people were..well frankly, a pain in my ass and didn't contribute much to the group, that it became hard to have that sense of perfect love and perfect trust. The talk was a good reminder that I need to work on it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Samhain quickly approaches on the cold winds of October. A few days of refreshing rain have come and gone to this arid desert. The oak king as finally released his grasp of the wheel of the year. The changes of this time of year always quickened my blood when I lived in the northlands. My longing for the hunt would be palpable and I would suddenly get the anxiousness of that ADHD kid whacked out on Mt. Due until opening day finally arrived and with bow in hand I would set off on another year of adventure into the deer woods. I haven't picked up a bow in about year. I haven't hunted since longer then that. Not for a lack of want, but a lack of funds and time. College keeps me busy. Family keeps me busy.

Daily I continue my energy exercises. I have mastered the two dragons exercise. The finally energy exercise is the tree of light. I suspect after samhain I shall do the invoking of it for the first time. Once I am done with that I have picked up a new book of Druidic magick that I will start to study. This magick comes from Ian Corrigan (you can find his blog here ) and his book Draiocht. This magick will proposes a system of spirit summoning and partnership. I have read the book once through, but have not yet started the magick exercises there in. I can see some correlation with Greers work, but there is also a lot of differences. I suspect it will be many moons before I am ready to even try the basics of spirit arte. I intend to keep my readers well informed of the progress right here on this blog.

The drama queen of the pagan group is acting up again. Once again she came to me and accused people of the group of banishing her and magically attacking her and trying to take her power. Though when she spoke with me she was careful not to drop any names. She went on about how she wants to come to the Samhain ritual, but was told by a Tarot reader that if she does they will magickaly attack her and take her power. That was Sunday. Monday, she sent me a message on FB that was a totally different story. Now it's some mysterious coven that's attacking her, oh and they are working against my wife too! making her sicker and sicker! and she knows all this how? oh that's not hard, she knows this because she's "the all knowing one of the group" and "she just knows these things" Need I go on?'t think so. For the record, my wife is getting better, not worse. This woman has in the past year been magically attacked four times, yes, count them...four. First was the B.S. about the spirit that was suck on her by some young dark magi. Then there was the incident where she claimed another member of the group magickally attacked her in a sabbot circle. After that was some peace, then at the Pagan Pride day celebration she claimed to have been magically attacked again. Now this. Frankly, I am done with the B.S. I don't have the time in my life right now to deal with this. Also I feel that this woman is a threat to the well being of the group. I can see that deep down she's very lonely, and seeking attention, and validation, mostly she wants to be loved. Yet these behaviors and others that I have not discussed here are repulsive to people. Simply put, she's broken, and I am not the one to fix her. I have talked this over with a few others in the group and we all feel that it's best if she goes else where.

I have written the Samhain ritual for this year. I am mostly happy with it. Below I have posted the outline.
Samhain 2010

I. Preparation of ritual space
a. Set up Tiki Torches
b. Lights in trees and in harbor
c. Set up alter and decorations
d. Cleanse space with Holy water and sacred fire
II. Ritual
a. Opening
i. Smudge participants as they enter
ii. Opening words of welcome
1. Light fire
2. “By star and stone…”
3. Marluna’s words of welcome
iii. peace to the quarters
iv. Druids prayer
v. Quarter invocations
vi. Lord and Lady invocations
vii. Ancestor invocations

b. Ritual body
i. Ancestor Meditation and communion
ii. Offerings to ancestors
iii. Ancestor blessing invocation
iv. Divination of the blessing
v. Wine and cakes

c. Ritual Closing
i. Libation
ii. Farewell to ancestors
iii. Farewell to lord and lady
iv. Farewell to quarters
v. Closing words
1. from Derek
2. from Marluna
3. declare the rite ended.

III. h'ordeuvres and drinks

Thursday, October 7, 2010

toung tied and twisted just an earth bound misfit I

"Learning To Fly"
by Pink Floyed

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast,
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought, I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone
A soul in tension -- that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss

Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

As I was driving to the book store today I heard this song on the radio. This is one of my all time favorite songs. It just calls to me and strums a cord deep within my being that I find hard to explain. I suppose it sums up nicely the feeling I have in my spiritual persuits. My body is earthbound, but my soul is learning to fly.

Today my wife had another minor operation. She's home resting now. She has a good bit of pain, but is handling it as best as she can. The operation was early this morning and I didn't get a chance to do my daily ritual or meditations. I did get a chance to review my Ogham while she was undergoing the procedure. I also got to hear the above song and it has renewed my spirits and helped to refocus my spiritual goals. Perhaps that is the retuning I was dreaming about. Also today, in talking with my friend I got clear on which path toward my career goals I want to take at the end of this semester. Another tuning up of sorts. Right now I am feel calm and peaceful.

I have been reading about the druid group getting cheritable status over in the UK. I for one think it's a very good thing.
May the blessings of the holy kindred be yours.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A gift for a gift

This morning I did my CoP and the rising dragon exercises as normal. In the time that I would normally meditate I found myself in need of divine guidance. In the past I would have done a spirit-walk or deep meditation, but on this day I simply didn't have the time. So I made prayers. Each morning I give the gift of incense to the holy kindred. Most times I don't ask for anything in return, but this morning I did. I asked for steps to be taken on behalf of my wife's health so that what surgical procedure she needs next would be manifest. It will be done this Thursday. I asked that the path in regards to my educational steps be made clear after this semester. That I be given a sign of where I am supposed to be. I invoked these things as a gift for a gift. Gifts have been given and received.

Last night I had another dream. I dreamed that I was learning to play a Mandolin. (sp?) or maybe it was a Lute. Not sure. I don't know how to play a single instrument other then a drum or a degree do (Sp?). Neither of them am I particularly good at. I can't even read music. Recently I have been wanting to learn to play a harp. I am in love with the music it makes. Sorry I digressed. The key feature of the dream is that the string were very loose and I had to tighten them back up to bring the Lute back into tune. It wasn't easy and when I thought I had them tight enough, I came to discover that in fact I did not. Eventually I did get them in tune and I was able to create beautiful music as if it just sprang from my heart to my fingertips. Perhaps I am being told that my life is out of tune in some way. That I need to work to get it into tune and when I do the music of my heart will leap to my finger tips.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

smooth feathers and a good book

Yesterday I shared lunch with the person who took the brunt of my Internet social faux pas. It seems that all is well and good between us now. That's a relief. I do like the person a lot.

I just finished spiritual Mentoring by Judy Harrow. I really liked this book. I learned a lot and gained a number of useful insights into some of the behavior I have noticed in the Meetup group. I highly recommend any one who is in any kind of pagan leadership position to read this book.

I have been doing my energy work of the two dragon exercise daily and really enjoy it. As I do it more I find that I can sense the "white" dragon more and more. Previously I described it as feeling more ethereal. Today it felt more "solid". Still different from the red. It's hard to find the words to accurately describe the sensations.

I had a good spirit-walk yesterday as well. Stayed in the middle world and traveled to my friends home and did some healing work on her from the astral. She reported feeling better if not completely well.

School goes very well. I got the highest grade on the Microbiology test as well as the last quiz. The ethics of Death and dying continues to be interesting.
All is quiet on the inner fronts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Inner thoughts

I have been meditating a lot about the whole fiasco with my response to the ritual at Pagan Pride. I have been asking myself "why?, why so upset?" Well I think there are several layers to this question. At the most shallow of levels I simply didn't care for the way it was planned out and executed. However I know from my totally out of character response that its much deeper then that. At some level I was afraid. Afraid that non-pagans would get the wrong idea about what we neo-pagans do for ritual. That fear comes from pride. I am proud to be a neo-pagan, so proud in fact that I don't want non-pagans to think less of neo-pagans and thus me. So Pride and fear, and thus ego was an issue here.
Expectations, I had come to the ritual with certain expectations and they weren't met. Expectations can get a person off balance emotionally when they aren't met. I should have known this. I have seen my mother do this so many years at the holidays. She always had such specific expectations of people. e.g. how they would act, what they would say, what she would say, ect. When the reality never lived up to her expectations it always sent her into a depression or at least contributed to it. Mostly I had expected the ritual to meet my spiritual needs and it didn't. I had hoped that it would and I wouldn't have to hold a Mabon/Alban Elfed type ritual myself. When it didn't meet MY needs I got annoyed that I would have to be bothered to do it myself.
My disappointment with the ritual triggered fear. A fear that I would some day create and lead a ritual that made others feel as put off and as unhappy as I was. It's sort of like you don't like people who represent aspects of yourself that you don't' like.
Arrogance. I honestly believed/believe that I could have done a much better job, and was righteously indignant that even though I had offered to help with the ritual a few weeks earlier, I was never consulted, and in my mind "NOW look what they did". All of that is Bullshit of course, but there it is.
Though I don't mean this as an excuse, I believe it is a factor to my unusual behavior. I have been fairly stressed out. Wife's been ill, school work is constant, money is tight as always, missing my kids...the list goes on, but I think you get the idea.
So all of these things leaked out when I posted what I posted on a different place. At the time of the writing I didn't mean it as bad as it sounded later, but that's how our shadow-self works at times. I wasn't recognizing what I was saying and doing. In the end, some really good hard working people got hurt, friendships were damaged, though I don't think beyond repair. The good in all of this is that it has shown me things I have yet to polish about myself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mabon and twin dragons

Mabon went very very well. During the day I worked hard at getting the ritual area ready for company. That was then followed by getting the house ready for company. The usual picking up and cleaning. My lovely wife helped a lot, especially when one considers that she isn't up to 100% yet. Oh but she's almost there! It occurred to me that it seems a bit strange that I spend 5 hour getting ready for a one hour ritual. Now that it's all said and done, I'd say it was totally worth it. I am pleased with the ritual. As the ritual was done for an eclectic group of pagans I made the ritual from both OBOD druid elements and Wiccan elements. I also added in the opportunity of giving offerings such as is done in ADF rituals. The ritual included the usual quarter invocations and a generic invocations of "Lord" and "Lady". As a hard polytheist I much prefer to call by specific name, however this was an open public ritual and in an attempt to make it work for all present, as well as my wiccanish wife I chose this way. I feel it still worked. The theme of course is about giving thanks for all we are given through out the year. This Mabon was especially important to me as it marks our pagan groups first full year of doing the Sabots together. Other then giving offerings and receiving blessings, no magick was done. At least not in any obvious way.

I have done the twin dragon ritual and several days of exercise. Definitely some interesting energetics going on. It seems to me that the red dragon feel more liquid like and the white is more ethereal as they pass through me. The portion with the spear of fire really does an amazing job of making me feel connected with both the center of the earth mother and the sky or cosmos.

I have created a stir in the local pagan community with some things I posted else where about the ritual that was done at pagan pride day. I definitely made some mistakes and I am taking responsibility for that. I have been making amends where necissary. Though I feel that my critiques are legitimate, the way that I said them and the mode by which I transferred the information was completely inappropriate. Thus the need for amends. Given time I suspect things will calm down.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taming the two dragons

I am ready. I have done my work as diligently as I can for many many weeks now. I feel that I have filled my three cauldrons of earth, sun, and moon. I am ready to do the two dragons ritual and exercise. When I do the three cauldron exercise I no longer feel the intense change in vibration that I used to. This indicates to me that I am already at the level on a daily basis. I still feel energy move, just not a big change. JMG recommends doing the right on a Sabbot. Well tomorrow is such a day. Not only that it is also a full moon, or near to it. I plan to start the day with an Ogham reading to be sure that all is ready, then I will set up the alter, dress in my ceremonial robes and perform the ritual.

On another note, My love and I have decided to host a Mabon ritual this weekend for our pagan community. It was sort of last minuet. I had planned to use the Pagan Pride day ritual as a mabon community ritual, but it seems that personality conflicts got in the way of the group trying to put it together and well, what came out was shabby pathetic gathering that calling a ritual would be an insult. So feeling cheated, I wanted to do a proper ritual.

My b'loved's health is quickly returning. She still has more procedures to struggle through before she'll be healed, but at least for now her strength is returning.
I'd like to thank everyone who sent blessings and well wishes. I truly believe it has helped.

As for my schooling, I seem to be staying on top of things well enough. The Microbiology class has not turned out to be as difficult as I thought it would be. I took the first big test last night. I am unsure as to how I did. I expect to find out tomorrow night.

Last of all, that spell I did many posts back...the one to protect our income and money is still working. Just out of the blue my wife mother sent us money unbidden when we really needed it. This is an act that I am told is completely out of character for her. On top of that my wife's father also offered to send money unbidden, out of the blue, but we graciously declined. No need to be greedy.

May the Macha continue to bless your life with abundance, and may your winter be an easy one.