Friday, December 30, 2011

The Orchard of my youth

The drive was long as always. Eleven and a half hours alone in the car. As I turned off the paved road onto the dirt road upon which I grew up, the change was obvious like coming upon a bombed out city block after turning a corner.

I was lucky to grow up where I did. Lucky to live at the liminal place between farmland and the wilds. Lucky to grow up on a dirt road with only one visible neighbor, farmers fields and the ancient prune orchard on the other side of the dirt road. In the early spring those trees burst with little white flowers and it was magical to walk among them playing peekaboo with the fox and the deer. In the summer my parents and I would walk through the prune orchard on lazy warm evenings, headed over to the peach orchard. We'd follow the meandering deer paths without much care knowing that they too ended at the peach orchard. I have spent countless hours of the fall time in the prune orchard, grease paint on my face, bow in hand, tucked away behind a tree or in a blind made out of the blackberry bush that borders the orchard, in the hopes a deer would offer itself to the hunt. I remember the flight of an arrow, the red trail it made. I remember the falcon who took his dinner from a flock of Starlings in a tree not twenty yards from me. I remember cold misty winter walks among the bare trees who seemed to stand like silent soldiers in nice clean rows. Not so long ago I remember taking my kids on their first explorations of the old orchard. The mixed looks of excitement, awe, and nervousness.

I stopped the car. I couldn't help it as I looked out over the orchard. The trees no longer standing like soldiers on parade, but instead laying down, blasted by some bulldozer, their bodies broken and scattered. Some thrown into carnal piles awaiting the torch. The lonely mists still hung about, but the orchard is gone and all that is left to me are my wandering memories.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Ah..a winter solstice ritual. Nothing major, just my three other protogrove mates and myself, all working together in practiced harmony doing a basic ADF ritual of blessing. No scripted lines, just the four of us speaking from the heart as inspiration fills us. My grove mates were fantastic, everything went great till about the time I am going to drink in the blessing and I have the sudden realization that...I FORGOT TO BLINKING OPEN THE BLINKING GATES!!! and sadly the only small bit of consolation I had was in thinking that none of the others noticed either! doh! does one forget that?! It's only a key part of the ritual. Apparently the fairies made off with my brain. I have been doing this ritual format for a year now, I'd think I'd freekin' have it down by now. Well the nice thing about living in CA is I can make like the kid in the picture. ;) now...where is the nearest Palm tree...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lighting the dark places: An essay about the meaning of Winter Solstice

Holly hangs in the door way, the wreath hangs on the door; the tree is lit and decked out in our finest tree ornaments. Candles are lit and the smell of sugar cookies hangs in the air. Yes all the signs of Yule are here, but what does it all mean?

The winter solstice has been marked in some way by every Indo-European culture. To the Romans it was Saturnalia and later Sol Invictus, to the Teutonic folk it was Yule. To the Irish it was…ah, but that is the question. It would seem we have just enough evidence to know that the winter solstice was an important day to the pre-Christian people of Ireland, but we have no idea what they did to celebrate it or what exactly it meant to them. This poses a few problems when, like myself, one’s hearth culture is Irish. So I find myself falling back on the traditions I know, most of which come from Yule traditions. Things like the Yule tree, evergreens, and holly to kiss under; to name just a few of the trappings of this high day. What these things all tie back to in some way is honoring the rebirth of the sun, and hope for our future. The winter solstice is important for on the day of greatest darkness, when there seems that the light is about to fade, we find our hope renewed knowing that the sun will again return, that the winter will end and the spring will again come and the wheel of the seasons ever turns on. Yule is a time of giving to others. It’s about sharing good will and good food. It’s about rejoicing in hope, about honoring the sun; it’s about light, even more so it’s about BEING the light. It’s about being the weak little candle flame pushing back the seemingly overwhelming darkness in another’s life. It is about the smell of evergreens, in the home, it is about baking cookies for your friends, it is about the kiss of peace, hope and love under the sprig of mistletoe.

The dawn is cold and grey; I am bundled against the penetrating cold of the morning, my hot coco steaming warm in my hands. I wait in the darkness, eyes scanning the ever lightening horizon, when suddenly; shooting me in the face is the first beams of the sun on the solstice morning. It’s not the cold that shoots through me, but exhilaration. Like that first sliver of light, the winter solstice has come to represent that moment of inspiration that can suddenly shoot through a person’s inner darkness, giving them an inner light. This is a good time of year to stop and think about what slivers of inspiration a person would like to have in the coming months. It’s the time of year to look into our selves and find our inner darkness, the places where we are ignorant, stumbling, or lost. Then upon finding it, we have the opportunity, the imperative, to bring in the light of inspiration, to become “enlightened”.

Winter solstice is a crazy time of year. Full of sparkling and blinking lights, sales, shopping, office and school holiday parties, commitments to family, and decorations. We get pulled in so many directions at once it’s easy to lose sight of what this high day is about. So take a time out each day of the “season” just to remind ourselves to honor the light of the sun, the light within, and to shine it on the dark places of our spirit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Voice of wisdom--inspiration

Recently Ian Corrigan has been writing about creating a neo-pagan path of mysticism. This got me doing a lot of thinking on this as well. The other day I had an inspiration about a possible path for neo-pagan mysticism. It has only come to me in the last 48 hours or so. I am pretty excited about the idea and I meditated on it, and had a spirit walk about it this morning, and chatted with my ancestral teacher. He gave it a thumbs up. I am going to explore the ideas and concepts a bit more before I got into any details on here just yet. I need to do a little more research about the ideas and to test out the concepts for a few months at least. If I feel like I am really onto something you'll be seeing it on here.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cottonwood river protogrove Samhain 2011

The great wheel ever turns and Samhains come and go. This year though, will be one that I shall remember for a long time. This year I took charge of the ritual aspect of the Kern County Pagan Circle’s Samhain festival. The festival included all day activities and overnight camping. The ability to camp out in Oct. is one of the nice advantages of living in a warm place. Some of the activities were pumpkin carving, sugar cookie making, sugar skull decorating, and face painting. I would say we had about 30-40 attendees. Before the ritual I lead a guided journey written by Arch druid Rev. Thamos. The ritual was put on by our local protogrove. I was the lead liturgist and Seer. We got the local community involved with the blessing of the fire, well, and tree. The three other druids did the invocations of the kindred, and the purifying of the grove. I opened the gates with the aid of my fellow druids. We had asked a local witch who was crone to play the role of the spirit of winter the Cailleach. She came to the center of the circle and oversaw the offerings being given to the ancestors. Almost every one stepped up, and shared a short story about the ancestor or ancestors to whom they were giving offerings too. This was the third year in a row our local pagans have done this ritual, and I could really see a difference between those who had done in for the third time and those who were doing it for the first. The difference was in their emotional reaction. Those who were doing it for the first time often had to pause in their speech due to the overwhelming feeling and emotion that was bursting forth. Emotion they had stuffed for years. Those who were doing it for the third year, were emotional, but not near so as they had been three years before and the emotion was often more one of joy at the telling of the stories and joy in the remembering. It really made me realize just how powerful the Samhain ritual is as a healing technique.
When all were done, we sang to the kindred, received the omen of their blessing, which this time was the Ogham. They offered us transformation and inspiration. The drink was blessed and many drank in the blessings. After words the ritual was closed with a short grounding exercise, closing of the gate, and one last song as the recessional. An excellent ceremony in all. I was very pleased with it. You can find a YouTube photo video of the ritual here:

and that's a wrap!

Hail my readers! Thank you so much for being patient while I finished up my first semester of Nursing school. It has been a tough semester. Nursing school is hands down the hardest schooling I have ever done. In the end I passed all my classes and in such a way tha I am pretty sure they teachers will remember my name! ;) I am on winter break now for the next few weeks and I have a lot of catching up to do with my writing, so stay tuned and get ready for a flurry of posting!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is Samhain?

“Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned.” --Havamal, stanza 75

In the beginning of all things there is darkness, for all things began in the great dark. Samhain thus marks the end of the light half of the year, and the end of the year of the wheel. It begins the dark half of the year and the beginning of the year. The history of Samhain like all of our high-days mostly lost to time with only a few fragments remaining. I leave the noble task of finding those bits of history to more scholarly men then I. I am more concerned with what Samhain is today. What it means to the Neo-druid and the Neo-pagan community at large.

It is said then that at this time of year the veil between the worlds grows very, very, very thin. The thinnest it will be all year. No one alive is really sure why this is so, only that it is, and I for one am apt to agree with what I have seen. Perhaps the ancients thought it so because with the veil thin, the stuff of the land of the dead leaks through into our world causing the falling of the leaves, the death of the flowers, and the disappearance of the animals. With the number of deaths I see occurring at this time of year I am apt to think there may be a grain of truth to that idea. As the veil thins we are visited by the spirits, most notably the spirits of the dead and our ancestors. Thus it is at this high-day we honor our mighty dead. There are many ways to do this; some like to have a dumb supper, others leave a candle burning in a windowsill, and yet others build an ancestral alter and have a party in which they are all invited. The historians tell us that Samhain was the end of the harvest. What you had reaped is what you had to get you through the winter. Most of us are no longer farmers, but Samhain is a good time to look back over your year and see what is it you have reaped and why. What have you gained and what have you lost?

Irish myth tells the tale of the Dagda meeting the Morrigan on Samhain eve and the lust for life that is the Dagda met the lust for death that is the Morrigan and the two did couple. This is a reminder that Samhain is not just about death, but it is also a celebration of life. It is a celebration of the successful harvest! A celebration of the life being remembered, and a celebration of the life being lived right now by the pagan! It is a reminder that life and death are partners, a couple forever handfasted.

Samhain is a time to explore our feelings about death and dying. It crawls up into our face grabs our coat collar shakes us hard and demands we look it in the eye. When we remember and honor those who have passed before us, we acknowledge the simple fact they have died, which inevitably leads to the realization that we too will die. One day we will be the honored dead. Leaving behind our children and the “…fair fame of one who has earned.” Powerful stuff for a people growing up in a culture that denies the reality of death with tooth and claw. That shuns old age. Samhain is powerful healing. Samhain is sweet smiles caressed by bitter tears.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I am stag hear my Roar!

ah the noble stag. Beautiful and quiet; a gentle creature of the forests. When danger approaches the use their amazing agility and speed to get away...most the time. Ah how people forget stags have antlers, and time to time they do use them. They use them to fight off potential rivals and the occasional "wolf". Today I had the displeasure of needing to use my antlers. I sat and listened to my step-daughters bio-dad once again emotionally abuse her over the phone for not calling him back on HIS time table. This has been going on for a while now. I love my step-daughter, and no one deserves to be emotionally abused. I should know, I lived it for 10 years. I am coaching my step-daughter to stand up for herself in a respectful manner, but to see her beautiful face once again reduced to tears and that confused expression of pain for having committed only an imaginary crime her bio-dad could see, I had to step in. enough was enough. I could have handled it better I suppose, but nature needs to run it's course. I launched a verbal goring he will not soon forget, nor do I think he'll ever look at me the same again. good. I am completely OK with that, nor do I regret my actions or words. I am sure there will be repercussions. I am OK with that too. No one emotionally abuses a member of my family and walks away thinking that was a good idea.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finishing what I started...The tree of light exercise

Looking back over the last few years I realized that I never completed JMG's Druid magic energy work system. I was ready to do the final exercise called the Tree of Light, but I never did it. Today was a good day to give it a go. In essence the exercise is to take the two powers and from there energies create a seed of light that you visualize inside you. This seed then grows roots and branches, trunk, and leaves. Growing up and down. I am not sure if it was cause I felt emotionally and energetically drained after my clinical work today and really needed this, or if it was the exercise today, but I felt even more tapped into the two powers then I have in the past. This also ties into my work of "being the oak". I really felt my inner spinning come to a stillness I haven't had in some time. Today at least this was a powerful magical working and spiritual exercise. When I was done I was shocked to open my eyes and find how much time had passed in what felt to me like a few min, was in fact closer to an hour. This to me is another testament to my need or to it's power. You can bet I will be working with this for a while.

I'll know my name when I hear it called again...

The other night I had a very interesting thing happen. I was sound asleep, when suddenly I heard my name called in a woman's voice. It was sharp, distinct, and crystal clear. Upon hearing my name called my eyes snapped open with a start. The room was dark, the only sound that of my b'loved water witch gently sleeping next to me. The clock read 4:31. There was only my name. Nothing else. This has happened to me once before, years ago now, back when I was just taking my first baby steps upon the neo-pagan path. The first time it happened it was a deep masculine voice calling my name. I was sleeping in my old boyhood bed room at my parents at the time, and when I awoke, with that same start as the other day, I expected to see my father standing over me. No one was there. I believe both of these instances were spirits calling me for some reason. I have no idea what kind of spirit be they nature or of the gods or ancestors. There is just the sound of my name being called loud enough to snap me awake from a dead sleep.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The evolution of my home shrine

1. 2. 3.

My home shrine evolution

Over the past year my shrine has changed and grown. My wife and I each have our own shrine. They are placed in what we call our “magic” room, but it is also our guest room. This hasn’t been a problem for us as both my wife and I are open and friendly about our religious beliefs and anyone who would be staying with us already knows.

The first picture is how my shrine looked when I first started in ADF. It was very much a shrine based not on ADF cosmology buy on Wicca or Ceremonial magic cosmology. You will see the four elements represented. You will also notice an athme and a rattle. On the wall is a Bridghit’s cross. At the back of the shrine is a set of antlers. The antlers help connect me to my spirit guide the stag. In the center of the shrine is a silver chalice. This chalice was passed down to me from my mother’s father.

In Picture 2. You can see things have changed. At this point I was familiar with ADF cosmology and redesigned my alter to represent that. In the center is my representative world tree. I made it myself and got the idea from Rev. Ian Corrigan’s books. At the base of the “tree” I have a bowl for a well and one with a candle for my fire. Again you will see the silver chalice and the antlers in the back ground. Between the chalice and the antlers is a bowl for incense offerings. On the other side of the alter from the bowl for incense is a bell. I found the bell at a Goodwill and built the stand for it. I ring the bell nine times at the start and end of my devotionals. In the far back ground is a bowl of earth left over from picture one and the feather of a golden eagle.

In picture 3. is how my alter looks today. Sure got cluttered! At the center is the same tree, well and fire. Again you’ll see the bell. Still there is the incense bowl for incense offerings. Just beside that there is a bowl of salt. This I also use for offering. It is nice to be able to pick up a pinch of salt and place it in the candle or an offering bowl (not shown) as needed. The red square in the front is actually my symbols of power that I created for spirit art as taught by Rev. Corrigan. The chalice has changed. Sadly the antique one started to lose its silver plating and was no longer safe to drink from. Some day when I can afford it I’ll have it re-plated. Also added is a picture of Bridghit and a statue of Donn or Curnernnos. Again you will see the deer antlers in the back ground. What you can’t see is a small skull fetish that is hiding behind my bell in the picture. This is a fetish I use to help connect me to the mighty dead. Also not shown are prayers that I am currently learning, taped to the wall behind the shrine.

I am not sure just how my shrine will grow and change next. I have given thought to perhaps putting a shelf on the wall and creating a small “subshrine” dedicated to the ancestors. I have also thought I’d like to get plaques that represent the gods I work with most often and put them on the wall above my shrine.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Looking back over the last two years

As is my tradition at this time of year. I am looking back over my posts of the last two years. All that I have been through, all that I have over come. I can stand back and look see how much I have grown and changed. As we live day to day it's easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Personal growth, spirituality and magic can be a very difficult thing to measure at times. A journal or in this case my blog has been the best tool I have ever had to give me a "measure" of how I have changed and grown.

One thing I noticed is that over the past few years I am not doing as many spirit-walks as I used to. Instead the focus of my magic is more about bringing the spirits to me on this plane, then about me going to them. I haven't stopped spirit-walking entirely just not as often. The tech of my magic has changed a lot over the years as well. I have gone from a wicca style ritual to the ADF style ritual. My focused has changed from just doing magic to worshiping the holy kindred. When I read about some of the things I have overcome, witnessed, and played a role in, I feel almost as if I am reading some one elses life. I still have the memories, but it seems all so long ago.

Today my life is really good. I am doing well in my R.N. classes. I am still finding time to meditate almost every day. My beloved water witch and I are getting along amazingly. My ex-wife is being fairly quiet. My life is mostly in balance. The meetup goes along, and the protogrove is getting on its feet. Samhain is coming, the vale grows thin. When I can I will do another ancestor working soon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A hand up

When I awoke this morning, I was facing down the two difficult tests. Pharmacology and a Nursing fundamentals midterm. After my shower, I went to my alter as usual, but instead of my usual morning devotional and meditation, I did an abbreviated formal right using COoR. In this right I focused on giving offerings to my ancestors and asking for their help with these tests. I asked them to place their blessings into my cup of water, and I drank it up. I really could feel them at work inside me.

Later I really felt them nearer to me. As I started the first test I felt some one standing in front of and near me. I thought it was the professor as she had been walking around a bit making sure people were keeping their eyes to their own. It's a big room and she's a bit short and can't see every one from the front. Any rate I sense her there, and could see some one faintly in the edge of my field of view. After a few more moments I noticed it hadn't moved, and flicked my eyes up to look at that spot squarely, expecting to see the professor or at least some one, only there was no one there. I have chosen to believe this was me sensing an ancestor being with me. While I was taking the test, I was really listening to my impulses on what answers to pick. At times when I came across a question to which I really didn't know the answer, I followed what I felt was the ancestors speaking to me. The net result? my grade went up 6% over the last two tests I had like this. As of this writing I haven't gotten the results back from the midterm. I didn't feel I needed as much help on it though. Either way, I felt the ancestors near, and this was comforting to me. It helped me stay calm, with a relaxed focus. I believe it helped.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meditation Journal #15 Be the oak

The other day, I made a post on Facebook bemoaning how being in nursing school has taken away my social life. Now almost every free moment I have is spent in school, studying, or doing some chore around the home. In that post my friend told me "be the oak". That struck a cord deep within my soul. It occurred to me the other day that being the oak is exactly what I am trying to do when I meditate and do the two powers meditation. Not literally an oak of course, but to soak up the power under the earth like an oak takes in water from the soil. To soak up the power of the sky like the oak's leaves soak up the light of the sun. I suspect JMG had this idea when he created his tree of light meditation exercise. What's more, I have also found that when I am in a situation that requires wisdom and slow careful thought; Situations where one might come to find their emotions making there decisions for them, its a time to employ the idea of "be the oak". To say that it has become a mantra isn't the whole truth. When I tell myself "be the Oak" I feel that I am actually tapping into, or rather calling into me the spirit of the oak. When I do it, I find myself feeling much more rooted, stable and unmoved by things like "flimsy" emotions. It's a very good feeling. I feel like I have tapped into working with that tree spirit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

gone like yesterday

Last night my b'loved water witch came home and asked me to do an Ogham reading for her. I knew it was serious not just from the tone of her voice but just in the fact she was asking me to do it. It's not some thing she askes for often, and only when it really counts. The question was she wanted to know what has become of her friends half-brother who disapeared in Mexico (where he lives) a month ago. I did my prayer, energized the question to the sticks, and cast them. The answer was immediate and without any doubt or obscurity...he was dead. It was so obvious I immediatly choked up and felt a hot tear run down my cheek. I picked up a few other details as well. A weapon, most likely a gun, was used. Money and drugs were some how involved but not directly. So was anger or lust; not sure which, probably both. I am no master of the Ogham, but I have done enough readings to have confidence in them. I never expected to do such a reading. I hope I don't have to again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My own Mabon

Some times, you need to fly solo. I love people, and I love sharing high days and rituals with lots of people. I love a drum circle around a fire with dancers of all kinds. This time however I chose to keep it simple. There were a number of factors that went into my decision to celebrate the fall equinox alone. First of all now that nursing school has started, I am very busy, and I do not have as much free time as I usually do. Secondly my pagan community just put a lot of effort into a pagan pride day and asking them to then put on a public ritual would have been too much. Thirdly, I just wanted to.

I kept it as simple as I could. The setting was my back yard. A place that has seen two years worth of rituals now; the Nemeton is well established. I used no table or alter. I placed a white alter cloth upon the ground near the fire and well. I brought out oil, incense and ale for my offerings. A silver chalice of pure water. I wore only my old comfy blue jeans and no shirt. Over my shoulder hung my self-made crane bag. In it were the silver stag symbol I use to silver the well, a lighter to start the fire, and my Ogham for divination. In my right hand my staff.

I began the ritual declaring my presence and my intention. The words were not prescripted as I have often done before. These came straight from my heart. I ran through the core order of ritual, a format that I know very well now having practiced it dozens of times. All of it spoken, just between me the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors. I gave my offerings, and asked for a sign of their acceptance and blessing. The ancestors gave me Beith. The spirits gave me Tienne. And the gods offered me Nin. I took these for a good omen and blessing. I asked for the blessing and drank them in to the deepest part of my soul. I spent some time just sitting at the fire contemplating the omen and the blessings and my life in general. I am not sure how long I was there, but the fire started to die down. I thanked the kindred, and closed the right. As I walked back in to the house I felt at peace.

I would not want to do every high day solo. No, I miss my friends and fellow pagans too much to do that. I love the high days with lots of food and laughter. With people to help me do rituals and do them big!...but every once in a while, just once in a while, I need to do one alone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Mabon?

Autumn equinox also known as Mabon or Alban Elfed, is the time of the harvest. In the welsh druid tradition it is associated with the sun setting into the “ocean” that surrounds the world. It is placed on the western side of the wheel of the year and is associated with the setting sun, the coming of old age, and the reaping the fruits, grains, and nuts of the year. Alban Elfed to me is very much about taking up the rewards of the hard work. The reaping of the harvest that was lovingly planted, the enjoying of the labors of spring and summer. Perhaps it’s the Americana in me, but I also think that at this festival it’s important to show thanks to the holy kindred for all the blessings they have given throughout the year.

There are many reaping rituals from the old world that relate to this holiday. Most of them have to do with either the first cutting of the corn or the last. I can relate to this having grown up on a very agricultural community that had seasons very near to those in the British Isles. Now that I live much farther south in a totally different ecology, I find that these old associations of the last of the harvest don’t ring as true. Here the growing season is very long and the final harvest is still a long ways off. That’s why agricultural products are still California’s largest export.

One harvest that is the same in all the northern hemisphere though is the harvesting of wild game, the hunt. I think many modern pagans forget the importance that the hunt was to bolster the food stores of the ancients. The rituals surrounding the hunt have found to be some of the oldest known rituals in the world. As a hunter this time of year it’s important to give thanks to the nature spirits that we hunt. A gift for a gift—the heart of the Ghosti* relationship after all, they give their lives so that we may live, in turn it is only right that we give them something . I honor them with offerings, before the hunt, and I honor them by telling their stories after the hunt. Most importantly I honor them by donating money to groups like the Rocky mountain elk foundation and Ducks unlimited. I believe these organizations do more to preserve the ecology than any other organizations.

So there you have it. Mabon is a special feast of thanks and offering. It really makes real the idea of the Ghost* relationship. It is a time to reap the efforts of our hard work and a time to give thanks to the holy kindred for all they give us…as a gift calls for a gift.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meditation journal #14 the garden

Today I pulled out the Ogham for Gort. This few is interpreted as a garden or farmers field. It signals growth and happiness through hard work. How fitting for me at this time. I am working hard in the nursing program and growing from it. The program is really challenging me, something school doesn't do to me often. What's more, I am really enjoying the program. I am very much working and toiling away to grow and though I am enjoying the journey I know joy awaits me at the end of the "season" as well. I also asked myself where do I go when I need to be in a "safe" place? Not hard, I go to my alter. Here is where I feel safe and find communion with the powers of the world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Central Vally Pagan Pride

This weekend I had the oppertunity to set up a both at the Central Vally Pagan Pride day celebration. The booth was for my local Pagan meetup, and we took the opertunity to do a rafle and raise some money for our group to pay for our public rituals that we do. I have been to four different Pagan Pride day celebrations, and this year was by far the best one yet. It was fun, well organized and ran increadiblly smooth. All of our meetup members who went had a good time. I even got to accidentaly group one of my blog readers! no really it was an accident. =)
The meetup was honored with the task of doing the closing ceremony for the day. I can't say enough how proud I am of every one that participated in that. It came off beautifully. After the ritual but before I had stepped away from the alter, I woman came to my wife and I and asked us to bless some items for her. I was deeply honored, and touched, and did my very best to move as much energy as possible into said items.

Nursing school as been keeping me very busy of late. I am doing well, and really enjoying it. I know it's going to be a great profession for me. I am still meditating 4 or more times a week with daily devotionals.

I have not noticed any negative back lash from my last working. I am planning to move ahead then with the next part and create a fetish with which to give offerings to the mighty dead.

Also coming up quickly will be the first handfasting that I am presiding over. It will happen near the middle of Oct. After that will be Samhain! Pieces are falling in place for a full on all day festival!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meeting the Ancestors

First I want to start saying sorry for the long period of silence here on my blog. I have started my nursing school training and wow, the amount of work and time required is more then any course I have yet done. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. I think it's safe to assume that my posts will not be as frequent as they once were. Despite the work load however, I am still doing my meditations and magical work, which brings me to the main point of this post.

Two days past I held audience with the dead. I did the working as instructed by Ian Corrigan's book of summoning. The rite ran smoothly with no interruptions. I used the suggested offerings of bread, ale, and honey. I believe the working was a success. I got the impression of the ancestors about my fire in my inner vision. When I asked if my offerings were accepted I pulled the ogham few of Nuin. A few of weaving and communication. I took this as a good sign. That I and the dead are interwoven and they are willing to communicate with me and form a connection. Thus I asked their blessing upon the waters. Some of this water was drunk and some was used to create a skull fetish that now rests on my alter and will be a physical anchor for them to receive my offerings on a daily basis, and in return, I hope they will teach me and bless me with the wisdom of their years of experience. One disappointment I had was I had been hoping to get a sense of my father's mother being present. I never really knew her, she lived far away and died from lung cancer when I was only about six. Perhaps in time if she is still in the realm of the dead she will make an appearance.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pagan baby blessing=success

Tonight I got to do my first pagan baby blessing. I was honored that the couple asked myself and my b'loved bride to do the rite for them. I met with he happy parents last week to find out what they had in mind. We created an eclectic wicca/adf druidy rite. I'll post the outline for the rite when I get a chance. The high points of the right were the 12 gifts each person gave to the baby. I was to give the gift of "reverence". There was a call to the ancestors, and to the spirit wolf, the parents totem, to watch over and protect the child. We finished with a stylised great right to bless the waters in the chalice which as then used to anoint the child. I received many compliments on the rite. I am very pleased with it. I did learn a few things though. 1. never test a new product during a public rite. Stick with what you know works. I used a new brand of synthetic fire log, and well, it was a very sad fire. It just didn't burn well. Also living where I do, scheduling a baby blessing for Aguste was not the best idea. It was too hot for the little guy outside, even after sun down. Babies can't regulate their body temperatures like adults can. We ended up having to move the ritual inside. Despite these lessons learned I think it went well and I know I enjoyed doing it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Essay on the two powers

The two powers meditation is a mental and spiritual exercise that helps one connect to the two powers or currents that make up all things. The two powers are divided into “the flow of the earth” or “the flow under the earth” and “the sky power”. In my experience I would describe the nature of the earth current as heavy, cool, liquid, dark, nourishing, filling, calming, soothing, and dull. The nature of the sky power seems to be fast, light, bright, shooting, electrical, warm, empty, fiery, energizing, and cutting.

The earth current is the chaos from which all things arise; the sky current is that which gives form to all things, thus together they create all things in the universe. These two powers are not stagnant; in fact it seems to me there is a constant flow of these two powers. Most people are not aware of them, just as a fish is not aware that it lives surrounded by water, that is, until the water is taken away in some manner. Many ancient cultures have similar ideas to our two powers. As a teenager and young man I studied Taoism and they name the two powers Yin and Yang. I have chosen the Irish Gaelic culture as my hearth culture. It would see the closest idea to the two powers they have is the concepts of Bri and Bua. According to Rev. Ian Corrigan’s book “Sacred fire, holy well” Bri “ the innate meaning, ability, power and/or talent in any person, place, or thing” and it is loosely associated with the earth power. Bua “ the power, meaning, ability or forms placed upon or within any person, place or thing by the will and work of a being.” And thus Bua is associated loosely with the sky power (Corrigan, 2006). Personally I see both Bri and Bua made up of both currents, the difference according to Rev. Corrigan is energy in stasis and energy in motion (Corrigan, 2006).

It would be very easy to see the two powers as a binary system. Light and dark, heavy and light, life and death, chaos and order. Though there is some truth to this, it is more complicated than that. The two powers are complimentary and have to come together to create everything. So within all things are the two powers. Water is not all earth power, and light is not all sky power. Men are not all sky power and woman all earth power. We are a mixture of both.

Some people attribute gender and cultures attribute gender to the two powers. Having felt the two powers and used them in a variety of magical workings I can understand why this occurs. What’s interesting is that there is not a constant between the genders assigned and the different cultures. Some cultures call the sky power male, while others female. Perhaps because of my previous exposure to the Taoist idea of yin and yang, I have never felt a need to assign the two powers a gender.

One the main practical applications of the two powers exercise and attunement is for the purpose of grounding. This exercise works well for ADF and fits into the cosmology very well. Our cosmology is made up of the fire, the well, and the tree, the land, sea, and sky. The two powers correspond nicely with this because the fire is the sky, is the sky power. The well is the sea, the earth power. The tree is the middle world in which we live where the earth power and sky power meet. This makes ties the concepts together and adds to our understanding of the cosmos on a spiritual level. This in turn helps to open our heart and mind up to the two powers and thus achieve the grounding needed for good ritual work.

Meditation journal #14

my mental discipline training is on going. When it comes to the Ogham meditations I have pulled Ngtal or wound/charm and Ciert recently. Ngtal got me thinking about the times I have been wounded both physically and emotionally and how that has affected my personality and how I respond to events in my life now. It got me asking where do need healing? Mostly I came away feeling that I have healed much in the last few years. I looked at what I do to heal the people around me, and the natural world. I find that I really enjoy the work of the shaman. Working as a person who mediates between this world and the world of the spirits.

Ciert is a few of difficulties and challenges, of ill luck. However there is hope to the badness of it. This got me thinking about how I handle situations of ill or bad luck. What I can do in future times of bad luck to handle the situation better then I have in the past. When used carefully in magic, Ciert can be used to help end bad luck and difficulties. This led me to thinking about what I do to help people with their difficulties. This is a skill I learned long ago and one I often employ. I usually do it in a practical way in this world, I have also done it in a magical/shamanic context as well.

I continue to do the two powers meditation and working. Today I felt the two powers even more strongly then before. I didn't think this would happen any more, as I had been feeling them very strongly for a long time now. Yet today showed me that there is the possibility of pulling the two powers in in even greater amount. This leads me to wonder just how much a person can learn to draw in. How much is really needed for magical workings and spirit art? Do I command enough of the two powers to gain the authority I will need in working with the spirits? I suppose this is a question to put to my spirit ally.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ready...set....oh wait.

SO I got Ian's updated book to Druidic spirit arte. In it he has a couple new rituals to do that at allow one to contact the dead, and get a teaching spirit from among the dead, as well as build a shrine to the dead on which to leave offerings, thus strengthening that connection. I haven't done this, and I sense it's some thing I need to do before I do the hosting of the Sidhe. I am in the process of gathering the things I need to do this work.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Religion isn't free.

I always knew that ADF was not a financial power house in the world. During Druidpalooza it came to me just how true this was. ADF doesn't even own an office space. That's right. It was said that the financial troubles stem from the idea that most pagans feel that religion is free. I am here to say Religion is not free. Spirituality is free. Religion costs money. ADF is a organized religion. Some thing all ADFer's should be aware of. There are a lot of good things that can come from being in an organized religion. Social programs, nice places of worship, training programs, high day celebrations, and community services just to name a few. All of these things cost money. Money that has to come from people like you and me.

In the past 6th months I have come to love ADF and what it is, and what it could be. We share the same dreams...the same goals. I would love to see ADF Nemotons spring up all over the world. Beautiful places of worship. Places of peace. These places will not come for free. If you are like me and you want these things. If you want ADF to have a simple office, if you want to see pagan druidry grow and take it's place in mainstream society, we are going to have to work for it. and me...are going to have to pay for it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Signs of power complete

The clay disk with the signs of power has been made whole and holly. All I need to do now is gather together the offerings for the Sidhe.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


“By the blessings of the holy kindred let my seas be fertile, let my sky be fertile, and let my land be fertile”—Invocation of fertility by Gwynt

Fertility is far more then the simple matter of physical reproduction. That is merely one small meaning of the word and very little to do with it as a virtue. defines virtue as:
1. the state or quality of being fertile.
2. Biology . the ability to produce offspring; power of reproduction: the amazing fertility of rabbits.
3. the birthrate of a population.

None of these definitions fit the meaning of fertility as used by ADF and as a virtue. In ADF Fertility is defined as: "Bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, and nurturing". When I read this I come to understand that fertility is much deeper virtue then just about producing children. It’s about the act of creation, regardless of it’s something physical or not. It could be art or ideas. When I see the deeper meaning to fertility I see its value as a part of society. A society with fertile people is healthy, strong. It can overcome almost any problem that comes its way. Fertility is not just coming up with ideas, though that is the first stage of it, to be truly fertile, I believe one must in some way bring the ideas into the physical realm. The Painting painted, the words written or typed, the invention built, the plants must grow. Ideas are but seeds. If the seeds never grow, one cannot say the ground is fertile now can they?

I see the land, sea, and sky as not just realms around us, but within us and what we are made of. I see my physical body as the land, my emotions the sea, and my mind the sky. When I speak the prayer quoted above, I am asking that my body be strong and full of life. I am asking my emotions to grow and change to spring up and die off as is natural. I am asking my mind to be creative, for ideas to grow and blossom. This is what it means to be fertile in land, sea, and sky.

I think one of my greatest acts of fertility I have done in my life was the creation of an eclectic meet up group of pagans in my area. It is called kern County Pagan Circle and is made up of Wiccans, eclectic witches, druids, and Asatru. We meet each week at a local metaphysical store. Many people who were lost and following the faint rhythms of their pagan heart have come to the group and learned to hear those rhythms clearly. They have found not only information, but a community, a community that has come to call itself “the tribe”. It has grown over the years, and at our Lughnasadh celebration we had forty five attendees and their families. This represented three counties and five cities. When I look at all the happy faces, I know that I had a hand in helping them find a spiritual path that makes them fertile in land, sea, and sky.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meditation journal #13

I continue with my daily devotionals and meditation. Last week I had one meditation that turned into a spontaneous spirit walk. I found myself dropping through the air to be greeted by Eagle. We flew together for a time and he showed me some things and had some words of wisdom to share. I wish I had written it down sooner. In the vision Eagle took me to the tower in which Balor of the evil eye had imprisoned his daughter in the hopes of preventing the prophecy of his death by his grandson from coming true.

I am still alternating my days between the two powers exercise and Ogham meditations. Yesterday was the two powers, and I felt the flow strongly in me. I find that I enjoy the sensation a good deal. Today was an Ogham meditation. I pulled the few Beith or Birch. It represents beginnings and purification. I thought of how my life is about to take on a new beginning in a few days with me beginning the Registered nursing program.

Signs of power

Last night I made my first attempt at the signs of power needed for the hosting of the spirits. It is currently drying on my alter. Thus far the clay and summoning earth mixture has not cracked and we are looking good. I will do the blessing of the signs this Friday, assuming of course that the disk doesn't crack.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lughnasadh with Coast oak Grove

My Lughnasadh started when I arrived at the camp site. The day was filled with lectures and learning, as well as time getting to know good friends. After dinner we washed up and donned our robes. We gathered in a circle of the grove, the central fire already burning. Coast Oak grove took the lead in the ritual of course, but they asked the three of us from the newly forming Cottonwood river protogrove to take up some of the parts. The ritual of course followed COoR. Though they did do some things in a way I had never seen or thought of doing before. It was also the first time I had witnessed the use of whisky as sacrifice and offering in a ritual.

There was the stating of the intention and a welcome. This was followed by the earth mother offering and a song to honor her. Next came the invocation of inspiration to Brigit and an offering of milk, pored out onto the ground, so as not to put out the fire. Cottonwood protogrove stepped up for the blessing of the hollows. I did the world tree. I was a bit nervous, especially since the Arch-druid was standing right beside me. Next was the invocation of the kidreds. Again each member of cottonwood protogrove got to invite one of the kindreds to the fire. I was assigned the gods. I felt that I did a good job, but again nervous. Next came the part where we ask that the sky not fall, the sea not rise, and the land stand firm. Coast oak grove's tradition at this is to take a bowl and add earth, then water, then symbolically scoop in air into the mixture. The bowl then sits on the alter through the ritual. After each point in the ritual there was a song to go with it. I enjoyed this a lot more then I have in the past. I am not sure why. It maybe that Coast Oak grove did such a good job of making us feel at home.

At the offerings, I put a knife that I had hand crafted into the fire for Lugh. He has helped me so much the past couple years. I hope that it pleases him, and he will continue to bless my life. After the invocation of the waters of life and the Omens, which were excellent by the way, some thing unexpected happened. The seer of Coast Oak Grove called the three of us of Cottonwood protogrove to the center and had us stand back to back, where we, and the fledgling protogrove were blessed by the arch-druid and the others around us. It was an amazing and magical, not to mention loving moment. It's some thing I will never forget.

After that the ritual was wound down in the usual way with offerings of thanks to the kindreds and gate keeper, and a recessional song.

I look back now to when I did my first ADF COoR all alone at Yule. How much more I have come to understand the core order of ritual, and the why's of it. How now, I can do a ritual without an outline. How much I have grown. How I have come from standing alone on a cold day stuttering and uncertain, to standing in the midle of 20 people confidently filling my role. I wounder what it will be like another year from now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What is Lughnasa?

What is Lughnasa?

“Feed the flames and set them dancing. Hail the sun and hail to life! Spear of fire burn so brightly as the sun wheel in the sky. Spear of fire burn within me, oh hi lunosha, oh hail lughnasa!”—Omnia, Lughnasa

Lughnasa, to me at least, is of major importance. Lugh is major god of the Irish Celts and the other Celtic tribes as well, and Lughnasa, often translated to mean “the feast of Lugh” is the time of year we celebrate him, and the stories that surround him. In the Irish stories Lughnasa came about as a result of three major events. First the defeat of the Fomorians by Lugh and the Tuatha de Danan. Second the death of Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu after she cleared the land for agricultural use. Lastly was the marriage of Lugh to the goddess of sovereignty Eiru, who’s name I believe Ireland is derived from.

The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, is a feast that commemorates all these events. It’s a time of thanksgiving and the first celebration of the three harvest festivals in our calendar of neo-pagan high days. The harvest of Lughnasa is the grains of the land. The Barley corn and the summer wheat. Bread is of course a common and important part of Lughnasa rituals. Lugh is a god who is called the master of all skills; as such games of skill are another important part of a lughnasa ritual. As Tailtiu lie dying from the over exertion of clearing the land she said “let there be games in honor of me, and there will always be music in Ireland”. Feasting is also a part of this time of year as people come together to celebrate. The ritual also helps to mark the change in the agricultural season. The growing time is mostly over and it’s time to get to work harvesting, for all the harvests must be in by Samhain. A large bonfire was another tradition, and can often be found still today in many neo-pagan Lughnasa rites. Lughnasa was also a time to make oaths and vows, a time to do business and have weddings. One major factor that would contribute to this was that during Lughnasa all warring and fighting must cease between families and tribes. This seems to me to lend itself to a good time for marriages and business, without fear of violence. I think all of these are excellent traditions and I would love to see them continued in our reconstructed pagan rites.

On a more personal level Lughnasa is about celebrating a personal patron. Lugh inspires me to lead, to master the skills I need, and to broaden myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. So at Lughnasa I spend a few weeks before hand crafting something just for Lugh. Something that takes skill to do, and then I sacrifice that thing to him in a good fire. An example from this year would be the knife I made for him. I did not forge the blade, that was given, but I assembled it and gave it a handle from a block of oak and shaped it. At the ritual I dedicated it with a few words and placed it into the fire. I also make sure at some point to telling the Story of Lugh, of his birth, childhood, coming to Tara, his kingship and the defeat of the Fomorians, and ending with the sacrifice of his mother and marriage.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Druidpalooza 2011: harvest the grain of knowledge

As with so many things in life I didn't know what to expect at my first Druidpalooza. This was the third year for this event sponsored by Coast Oak Grove, ADF. Myself and the two other druids who are forming the protogrove with me packed our gear and drove 5 and a 1/2 hours to the camp site. The camp grounds were nice, and had running water toilets and quarter operated showers. One of the more developed camp grounds I have been to in years. We were greeted with a great friendly smile and a hardy hand shake. After introductions we unpacked our camp. the usual things: tent, sleeping pads and bags, food, clothing bags. The final touch was the new banner for our Protogrove. Just before we left, we had finally settled on the name of Cottonwood river protogrove, ADF.

The first night was a chance to meet the attendees and ADF's Arch Druid. We spent the night talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. We were fed great food and fun stories. Unable to stop myself as usual I shared my own stories as well and when not talking I absorbed as much of the experience as I could. People were quick to pledge their help to our fledgling protogrove and much advice and wisdom was given to me on tips and tricks to running a protogrove. I took it all in. By night time the park had been filled to capacity, around us was an extremely large and noisy church group, as well as many other campers. This was, for me, the only down side as the sheer number of people created a chaotic energy about the place, and the noise of so many kept me awake at night between crying children and random car alarms. Sleep came only in spurts.

On Saturday we woke, showered, eat breakfast, and after dishes headed out for a short hike. When we returned we had the first of our lectures. A great lecture on "hot topics in druidry". I gleaned a lot of advice and ideas for future use from this lecture. It really got me thinking as how I will describe to some one what druidry in sixty seconds! A challenge to say the least! The next lecture came after lunch. The topic was Pre-Republic Roman cosmology and liturgy. I found the lecture fascinating as it was one that I know nothing about. Despite my interest however, the food, warm weather, and gentle cooling breeze got the best of me and I caught myself drifting off once. I managed to stay awake by drinking some pop and snacking on trail mix. I didn't want to miss any of it. After that lecture we had a small break and then came together again for the archdruids talk on "the lady with the mead cup". I had been very much looking forward to this lecture. It was everything I had hoped for. It really helped to crystallize a lot of ideas I had had running about my head in regards to Ireland's goddesses of sovereignty. It also helped define what the sacred king is and we enjoyed learning about the pros and cons of being such a thing. In the end, we were asked, how might the ideas and stories of the sacred kings and goddesses of sovereignty might be used for trans-personal work. This is something I hope to explore in the near future, and when I have some ideas I'll share then with the Archdruid.

After the last lecture it was dinner and on to the Lughnasa ritual. Coast oak grove invited us to join in the ritual. This was both an honor and made us a bit nervous. Though we know the COoR, the details of ritual very from group to group and we were not familiar with their details. Still I feel the ritual came off very nicely. Many offerings were made. I offered the knife I had made last week just for lugh. I couldn't help but get emotional as I made my offering. Lugh has given me so much, helped me so much the past few years. It felt good to give him a gift back. I felt that it is something he'll truly appreciate. I made it myself to the best of my skill. When all had given offerings, omens were taken with the Futhark runes. Three runes drawn. Three of the best runes possible. Truly it was a very good omen. The waters of life were blessed and we drank them in. Next, much to my[ surprise, the seer for Coast Oak Grove called the three of us, Cottonwood protogrove, to the fire and had us stand back to back as we were then blessed by the archdruid and all those in attendance that our protogrove grow strong and healthy. It was incredibly touching. At least a couple of us had tears. To soon the ritual was ended, and the fire was once again just a fire.

We stayed up late into the night sharing drink and stories and wisdom. We then went to bed, and upon Sunday morning it was time to pack up and come home. The drive home felt long to me. I was aching to see my b'loved water witch again. Several times I nodded off on the drive. Good thing I wasn't the one driving! In both my waking and napping I found myself processing all that I had learned and seen and experienced. Now I am home, my stuff put away, yet still I know I am processing all I learned. It was a great time, and great experience. I know that I will remember it for many many years.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Druidpalooza

I am leaving early in the morning for my first ADF Druid get together. I'll probably be posting stories of the experience when I get back, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


For 't is always fair weatherWhen good fellows get togetherWith a stein on the table and a good song ringing clear.- Richard Hovey, Spring

It had been six or seven moons since I had last seen my parents. The eleven hours of driving wear weighing in on my low back. My emotions rubbed a bit raw from having to drop my children off with their mother after a wonderful two week visit with me. In short I was tired, achy, and already missing my kids. I drove up to the large house of my child hood. The verdant forest surrounding it was lush and green; the grass in the wild places as tall as me. I sat in the car not sure of what to expect inside. Though my relationship with my parents had always been pretty good as a rule, how they were with each other was a question. I knew my father had just moved back home after a year’s absence, as they had worked out the issues that can build up after forty five years of marriage. Add to that their closet alcoholism and things can get weird. Thankful I didn’t have to sleep in my car or get a hotel, I got out. My father met me at the door, he had obviously noticed I pulled up and was waiting, and he met me with a warmer smile then I had felt from him for some years. Mother was in the kitchen putting the last touches on her amazing eggplant parmesan dish. It takes her all day to cook it and she made it just for my being there. The food was amazing, but even more so was the feeling of warmth and welcome I felt. At dinner I regailed my parents with stories of my adventures and the crazy things that life throws at us and of the times shared with my kids. I helped do the dishes and we shared in some ice cream. Never once did it feel awkward or uncomfortable. Though I had visited many times since I moved out of state, this…this was the best hospitality I had yet known. As I lied in bed that night I wondered what was different. It wasn’t the special dinner, no, they had done similar things in the past, it seemed to me that the difference came from deep within my parents. It would seem they had worked through much of their problems, and found that at the center they still loved each other. This love flowed. Not just between them, but out into the home, into me the guest. I realized then that this is what real hospitality was. It’s not the home, the bed, the food, the drink or the conversation. It’s the love.

ADF defines hospitality as: “Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honouring of "a gift for a gift."” Often times in our modern American society we think that the whole burden of hospitality lies upon the host. Yet this is really only half the relationship. The other half lies with the guest. Being a good guest is just as important. This relationship is the “Ghosti” relationship. This is the relationship that we share not only with other humans, but with the gods, spirits, and ancestors. We meet with the kindred in a very special place called a Nematon. It is here that we invite the kindred to join us. When they do we give gifts to them in the form of sacrifice. In return they gift us back with their blessings. This is the meaning of “a gift for a gift”. Since learning about this concept I have tried hard to incorporate it into my life, not just with the gods, but with friends and family too. This has worked well for my life. I feel that the relationships that I have developed over the last few years have been the best I have ever had. I feel that having this understanding of the Ghosti* relationship has been a big part of that. I have also come to realize that there is a big difference between just going through the motions of the Ghosti* relationship and doing it with love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meditation journal entry #12

Been some time since I have written about my meditations. There hasn't been much to write about though until recently. The last two weeks I didn't make time to meditate like I normally do. I had the very special visiting time with my kids. I got to have the for the whole two weeks and wow, what a great time we all had. I can't put into words how nice it was to be with them again. I can only say I felt complete in a way I usually don't. Still, after they went back to their mother, I slipped into my old routine of daily meditation. The first day back at it was pretty interesting. I really worked the two powers and filled my three cauldrons. I had a strong sensation of them realigning. I have come to suspect that what I sense as a re-aligning is what the original author of the cauldrons of posey may have meant when he talks about the cauldrons being tipped on their sides or upside down and how we can turn them right side up.

Today I chose to do an Ogham meditation. That means I pull out a Ogham Few at random and meditate upon it's meanings as they pertain to my life. Ruis was the few that chose me today. I considered what are my passions in life, what am I passionate about. This seemed very fitting at this time as just last night my b'loved water witch was saying how I don't seem as happy of late. Though last night I came up with several reasons that may be contributing to this, it occurred to me today that much of it is that I am not acting upon the things that I am passionate about. One of those things that I am passionate about it helping people with the problems they are struggling with. This led me to post on FaceBook that I was giving free Ogham readings for the day so as to get more practice in. I had several requests. Good questions most of them and I enjoyed the practice and I feel that I was able to help those who asked. All but one that is. One question I could not discern an answer that made sense. I may attempt the divination at another time. Part of the difficulty is the nature of the question isn't one that the Ogham is going to be able to answer easily. In the end I feel a fire in my heart that I haven't had in a while.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summoning earth...check!

The air was warm and pleasent. The darkness around me like a comforting hand. The wind was a gentle breeze, perfect to keep the fire burning hot. The noise level was acceptably quiet and still, a small blessing when you live in an urban environment.
All was in readiness for the ritual of creating the summoning earth. I had to make a few changes to the recipie though. Due to the climate I live in getting my hands on Rowan and Hazel is impossible. Two woods needed for the ritual. Oak I had, but not the other two. As the purpose of the woods is to add thier Bua to the summoning earth, I thearized that I could get the same effect with using their Ogham coralations. I lit the fire. The dried pine needles went up in a "whoosh". The oak caught quickly. As the fire's life grew stronger, I placed the Ogham few's in it. Then I place the herbs. When all was placed I began the chanting. "A teine gealach"
"A teine Or"
"A teine dearg"
"A teine mor"
"A teine naomh, bigi anseo liom!"

I read the chant at first, until it became memorized. Slowly the chant became less mechanical and began to flow from me like water. I felt my mind sink into trance. My eyes closed. I held the vision in my head and could hear the nine chanting with me...or was it me with them? I am no singer by any means, but in time the chant came out as song. I am not sure how long I was chanting/singing when I suddenly felt a presence behind me and to my right. I can't explain how I knew. It's like those times your sure some one is watching you, only more that they are standing there as well. I turned and looked but of course didn't see anything. I could just feel them. I came in and out of trance as things distracted me. Loud cars, the neighbor putzing around his back yard, but that feeling of some thing or some one being there near me watching me never went away. I found it a bit un-nerving. None the less I kept on with the chanting. Two and a half hours worth untill the fire died and the embers were only the faintest of glowing. I had to get up early the next morning for a long trip, so I called it good. In the morning while every one was still asleep, I scooped up the cooled ashes and completed the ritual adding nine drops of my blood and two handfuls of grave yard dirt.
Done and done and well done.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Po-sun-co-la takes three...

In June Po-sun-co-la took three lives. Two of them were largely due to stupidity. The third was a bit more curious. The man was simply camping at the edge of the river and was reported missing by other campers. His body was found down river lodged in the roots of a tree. So was one of the earlier victims body. The third body still hasn't been located.

Monday, July 11, 2011

grave matters

The full moon once again approaches. The time for making summoning earth is nigh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nature Journal #5

Last week and weekend I got to spend several hours enjoying nature. On Thursday I sat again at the bank of Po-sun-co-la. I like to sit at the foot of a tree, some of who's roots have been exposed by the eroding bank of the river. The river still is high from the melt off in the mountains. she flows quickly these days. Already the temperature is in the upper 80's and low 90's. Once I was comfortable, I reached into my crane bag and pulled out some incense. I lit it and offered it to the nature spirits of the place as gift in hope of their welcome. Things were quiet and still for some time. After a bit I heard voices. This was not overly surprising as I was in a park, and though I was in a secluded spot off the "beaten" path from time to time people pass me by. What did surprise me though was to see a man floating down the river in an innertube! of course he was not wearing a life jacket. I could only shake my head and watch him pass. I small prayer escaped my lips for his safety. Po-sun-co-la has a reputation as a killer. Once the rafters went past silence returned. I watched the trees in the dappled sunlight. Some of them dipped their branches into the water casually. Birds flit from branch to branch. As I looked up and to my right I was treated to an aerial show. A large group of damsel flies had swarmed. They would all fly together in a spherical pattern centered around some thing only they seemed to know, then suddenly they would simultaneously fly off in different directions and land on the branches of nearby trees. After a brief pause, at some unknown signal to me, they would all fly together again in the massive sphere of darting damsel flies. This patterned repeated itself time and again as I watched transfixed. I have never seen damsel flies behave in this way before. I have chosen to take it as a sign from the nature spirits, that my offering was well received and I was welcome in that place.

Over the weekend I got to travel just south of Yosemite national park for a handfasting. On Sunday, myself, my beloved water witch, the air witch, and my fellow ADFer druid got to spend some quality time in a giant sequoia grove. Long time readers will know that I have spent a long time with many different trees. I often exchange energy with trees. I walked up to a large giant, estimated at well over 2,000 years old and placed my hand on it's soft bark. I talked to the tree, and gave it the offering of water from my canteen. The energy that I got back from it was not like any tree energy I have ever felt before. It's hard to put into words. After giving it some thought I would say it was like sleepy silk scarf lightly running over the skin of my arm. So much more subtle then any tree energy I have experienced before. Besides the sequoia there were beautiful dogwoods with bright white flowers in full bloom. There were some old growth Douglas fir as well. This was very pleasing to me as it was like being in my old home again. There were also incense ceders. I took some incense ceder and a small black raven feather I found to use in my Lughnasa offering. There was also sugar pine and white fir. It was nice to once again be in a place where I could recognize the trees.

Lastly one of the neatest sights was that of a tree growing out of a stump of a giant sequoia that had been cut down over 100 years ago. I immediately thought of the ADF symbol.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues. Joseph Hall

Moderation in ADF is defined as “Cultivating one's appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency." Seems simple enough on the surface, yet I can’t help but feel that this definition is a bit limiting. I am a big proponent of moderation in all things, even moderation; always have been. The way this definition is worded though specifies “one’s appetites”. This then focuses on things like food, drink, drugs, and sex. These are the safe things; the easy things that most people in most cultures will agree should be carried out with moderation. But what of things like anger, love, generosity, education, exercise, cleanliness, control and reward and punishment? These are things that I feel also need to know the virtue of moderation but don’t fall clearly under the title of “appetites”. I think we would all agree that anger needs moderation. Without it bad and often unjust things happen. People die every day to un-moderated anger. What of love you ask? Love also needs to be moderated. I define love as “putting the needs of another above your own.” With this definition in mind, is it not possible to see how a lack of moderation in love will cause a person harm? They will become a slave to the one they love, always putting themselves last. In this way they don’t get enough of why they need to flourish and be happy. Let us look at one more; moderation in control. Many times in my life, almost daily, I see people struggle to control every aspect of themselves, of their life, of things that they logically have no control over. Most often it’s the other people in their life. It’s one thing to try and help a person see the effects of their behavior, it’s another to manipulate them into doing what you want. I never could control my mother’s drinking, or my father’s smoking. I never tried to control it. I figured out from early on that it wasn’t anything I was or wasn’t doing that made them drink or smoke. I can’t control my ex-wife’s burst of anger and vengeance. I can’t control their behavior; I can have moderation in my response to it though.

All that being said, there are times when moderation must be discarded and extremes must happen. Sadly there are simply times when the extreme is necessary to bring things back into balance and back to moderation in the bigger picture. War might be an example of this. Though I do not condone war, I do believe there are times when it is necessary. It may be that getting drunk is necessary and is in fact the moderate response. Moderation is the overall theme of life, but there are those rare occasions when moderation must be put aside. Moderation is the key to living a balanced life, and a balanced life is a good life.

124 Knots

"In this knot I bind the love of two doves"...and so I spoke
124 times in all as that is how many knots it took to make the cord used in my friends' handfasting. My friends have been through a lot, especially in the last year and a half. At one point the end of their marriage seemed assured. I won't go into details about it, as it isn't really my story to tell. I will say that I believe magick was involved in both the seduction and awakening of the couple. In the end they have come through together, whole and stronger for the experience. Both learned and grew more then they ever thought possible. Being asked to craft the cord with which they would use to renew their vows was one of the greatest honors of my life. You can see it in the picture here. I hope its magick serves them well, but to be honest, I doubt they'll need it. They have made all the magic they will ever need.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer solstice 2011

Wow what a difference! I participated in two summer solstice rituals this year. First I played a bardic role in a solstice ritual put on by Kern County Pagan Circle. This is an eclectic meet up of all kinds of pagans, and we put on public rituals for the eight High days. This one was put together by an eclectic wiccan. She and another male member of the group did a pretty good job. I would say the ritual was attended by about thirteen people. The ritual took place on a Saturday at 1:00pm, when the sun was at its zenith. I got to do a lot of drumming for the ritual. The ritual centered around the age old battle between the Holy king and Oak king. We had very nice masks and they dressed up in costumes, and used metal swords with blunt edges with which to fight. Good props make good theater and good theater makes good ritual. The gathered people seemed to really enjoy the fight and story that went with it. I am pretty sure we’ll see these two again at the winter solstice.

The second ritual was an ADF druid only ritual using the COoR. This took place Thursday the 23rd. I had wanted to do it on the 21st but because of work getting in the way, it had to be pushed back. There were only three of us at this ritual, and I performed 90% of it. The energy was so different from the larger group ritual I was part of. I can think of a number of reasons for this. First off is just the number of people in attendance makes a difference. The next major difference for me was that I didn’t feel as mentally prepared for this ritual as I have for others in the past. I have been so busy lately with the mundane world. I must be honest with myself here, I also didn’t put as much pre-work into the ritual as I usually do. I knew there would only be me and two others. I also felt that I had memorized the COoR well enough and that I knew my wording well enough that I wouldn’t need as much. I am wishing now that I had perhaps put a bit more pre-ritual preparation together.

The part that felt the “choppiest” to me was the asking for the blessings into the cup. The words did not flow easily and inspiration left me. I didn’t feel tongue tied so much as numb. Like I could still talk, but it was not with a honeyed tongue. So this is a section I still need to polish.
Most of the ritual went very smoothly, and it was nice to see one of my fellow druids, a new comer to ADF, willing and able to step up and take part in the ritual.

The ritual was very basic COoR. This was so we can all get used to it and practice. Lugh was invited to the grove by name besides the holy kindred in general. At the point to give offerings, we all had some-thing to give and called to different deities. I don’t know if the others were my fellow’s patrons, but I know mine was. I gave a sprig of rosemary that I grew in my garden. An omen was then taken with Ogham fews and I felt the offerings had been accepted. The blessing was the invoked into the cup and passed between us. There was no singing, or drumming. Just simple ritual. Sometimes simple is the best way to be.

After the blessing I had a bit of magic to invoke. Dear friends of mine had decided to renew thier vows of 20 years in a handfasting, and asked me to craft the cord with which the fasting would be done. I made the cord with 124 knots; a charm spoken over each one. With the blessing of kindreds flowing through me I called upon the couples ancestors, I called upon the nature spirits, and Angus Mac Og to lay their blessings upon the cord. I held it upto the open gate. When I felt the time was right I lowered it to me and summoned up the two powers and let them flow through me and into the cord; thus hoping to seal in the energy and the blessings.

I felt a little awkward with people around watching. I usually do such magics solo, but I felt it was good for the other two to see a bit of magic being done, and I felt safe enough with them there.

So it goes another turn of the wheel, another summer solstice done.
May your fires burn brightly, may your waters run deep.