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.