A mighty oak

I have a sacred grove that I go to when I meditate. It’s a clearing in a massive forest. Deep within the trees where almost no sun shines through. It has a grassy lawn and in it I am surrounded by the trees. Sounds of nature permeat the silence.  The sounds of birds. The sounds of squirrels scampering. The very sound of the forest itself breathing and growing all around me. It is a restful spot. A spot where I can go to clear my head and recharge my batteries in the wonders of nature.

In the ring around my clearing is an oak tree. Massive in size the other trees seem juvenile in comparison. This is an oak of great years. An oak of much experience. This oak has seen it all.

The oak stands there alone amongst many. It soars above the rest. It has huge gnarled roots that grow deep into the ground. It’s leaves are massive as well. And acorns lay strewn at its base.

This oak offers me comfort. When I am feeling worn out by my world it takes my burdens upon itself. It offers me flashes of wisdom when I quiet my brain enough to hear its messages. It is a destination for a troubled soul.

It offers me a view of stability. It stands there never moving. Always planted in the same place. Always with its branches swaying gently in the wind. It offers hope to me as I am scattered and frantic and it is solid and strong.

For me this tree is the Tree of Life. Offering advice to those who would heed its ancient wisdom. Offering a place to go of solitude and rest. Offering a sanctuary to those in need of spirituality. This oak offers whatever is needed. And still on it gives.

Meeting Lugh

I decided it was time for me to meet a new deity. I’ve been working with the Morrigan and Cerridwen for some time. But I knew the pantheon was full of cool folk I just hadn’t met. So off into trance I went to see what I could find out.

As always I contacted my spirit Druid ally Llewelyn. Once we were chatting I told him I wished to meet a new deity. Soon enough there was a man standing in front of me. He appeared to be middle aged. He had a beard. He was dressed in peasant clothes. And he held a very large sickle.

As I took him in I asked him his name. He replied “Lugh.”  All I knew about this god was that there was a holiday named for him. But that’s all I knew. So I asked him what I ask all deities when they’re around. I asked him what wisdom he could give me.

“I am the god of the harvest. I collect all the things that have grown for a full season. I offer wisdom in allowing you to know when it’s time to reap the benefits of your works. Turn to me for wisdom in that regard. I wil not fail you.”  And then he disappeared into a mist.

I thanked Lugh for his words. I thanked Llewelyn for the introduction. I came out of trance. And I started pondering this experience.

A god to help me know when it was time to reap. I could use that!  I often start projects but have no idea when to end them. Makes for a messy life. So I can count on Lugh to help me tie up the loose ends. I can complete projects with his assistance. He knows the time to harvest what I’ve been working on. Cool indeed!

So that was my experience meeting Lugh. I still have to process it all. But at least I have an inkling of where to turn. We’ll see where this leads. The deities have yet to fail me!

Hey there Brazil!

I just have to give a shout out to the reader in Brazil who checks this blog every day. Thanks!  But it has brought up a subject for me. The internationality of Druidry. Let’s take a moment to look at this phenomenon.

What brings us together across national boundaries?  First of all there’s the love of nature. Nature is universal. Trees grow in every nation. Flowers bloom everywhere. And the lessons nature teaches are valid no matter what language you speak. The changing of the seasons. The passage of time. All have valuable lessons for us. And they can be taught wherever you are.

The lore crosses boundaries. The lessons to be found in the lore are universal. Reading the lore offers ancient wisdom that can be applied today. There is no doubt that those stories from years gone by can speak to us today. If we’re open enough to learn. Wisdom is to be found in the lore. Check it out!

The pantheon of our gods is universal. From Cernunnos to the Morrigan the gods also have valuable insights to teach us. It is through their stories that we learn. They are certainly worthy of veneration.

There is so much universality in our path it should be no surprise that people are drawn to it no matter where they live. For wisdom. For inspiration. For a love of nature. All of these things make Druidry a universal path. No matter what language you speak!

Beltaine ritual

This is the time of year for the birth of summer. Plants sown is Spring start to grow and reach fruition. Animals born in Spring start to reach maturity. Everything is growing!  And we take this time to celebrate creativity.

For me creating comes from action between the feminine and masculine. Both must be in play for true creation to occur. It is through the union of these two forces of nature that all things are born. Now is the time for the growth of these new elements in our lives. We see the growth of the crops and know deep within ourselves that we are in a period of growth as well. Ideas planted in Spring are spreading their roots and taking shape.

It is with these ideas in mind that I approached Beltaine. So my ritual was a celebration of the union of the masculine and feminine.

I started the ritual as I always do. I lit incense. I drummed in the four quarters and deities to be honored. Of course amongst this list were my patron deities Cerridwen and the Morrigan. I never do ritual without invoking them.

Amid all the incense and drumming I kept in mind my goal to honor the union of the feminine and masculine within myself. I did an act where I inserted a wand into a chalice of water. This symbolizes the coming together of these aspects of self.

Then I meditated. I let my mind be free of daily concerns so that I could open up to the universe. I got some interesting insights into the masculine and feminine and how I need to balance them more thoroughly in my life. Basically I need to allow my feminine self show through in my practice of Druidry. No big surprise there. I am drawn to Druidry in part due to its celebration of the goddess energy of the multiverse.

Then I thanked the deities and drummed my farewell to the quarters. My ritual was complete.

I am still going to ponder the lessons of a balanced sense of self. I need to take steps to include the feminine more into my practices. It is a noble goal and I hope to make significant progress in this regard during the time of year when all things grow.

I’m dead

Yep. I’m dead. I’m not feeling anything spiritually right now. It’s been this way for several days. I just cannot connect to the astral realms. As I rely so heavily on direct communication with the gods for my practices this is a problem for me.

Ive gone through these dry spells before with my other path of Asatru. I always come out of them. But this is the first time it’s happened with Druidry. I’m sure it will pass. But right now it just sucks.

My ogham studies are at a dead stop. Even though I got a beautiful new set of ogham sticks. I’d have thought that alone would light a fire in my belly. Spur me on. Nope. They’re just sitting there quietly calling to me. I don’t feel like heeding the call.

I could be doing my OBOD studies. I just got a new set of lessons in the mail. That normally gets me back on track. But not this time. I’m ignoring them too.

I could read the Lore. There is so much I’ve purchased to read that it’s not for lack of material. I have plenty I could be reading. And I know I have so much to learn. No real excuses there. Just not feeling like it.

So what to do?  I feel all yuck and dry inside. Disconnected. Not a good feeling. I pride myself as being a spiritually driven person. My paths are who I am. They define me. I look to the other realms for guidance all the time normally. But right now it’s just ugh.

I’m sure this will pass. I’ll have a dream. Or I’ll have a successful trance session. Something will give. Eventually. But for now I stew in this feeling of yuck.

Theres much to do. I’m going to read my ogham books. I’m going to play with my new set of sticks. I’m going to do an OBOD lesson. I’m going to read some Lore. I’m going to get myself out of this funk somehow.

Ir maybe I’ll just go sit on a rock…

Wrestling with faeries

I’m having trouble believing in faeries. I know that they’re part of the lore. I know they marry humans sometimes. But really. Faeries?  Really?

As I understand the concept of faeries. They are a form of nature spirit. They assist in the growth of green things. They work magic. They assist humans when the mood strikes them. And I can buy all that.

I have no problem in believing in beings from other realms. I even believe they can cross over into our realm when they feel like it. I have witnessed firsthand the work of such beings. Having had a family farm in my youth I can tell you the growth of plants is nothing short of magic. You take a seed. You plant it. It gets rain. And poof! Soon you have a plant pushing its way up through the ground. Magic indeed. I can believe that there are entities behind the scenes in all that. Something’s at work there. Otherwise it simply defies imagination. No wonder our ancestors saw magic at work.

The Morrigan is said to be the queen of the faeries. She oversees all of their work. She helps decide what they will or won’t do. As queen she commands respect from her tribe. Again I can buy all of that.

Maybe I don’t have such a problem believing in faeries. Maybe I’m simply the victim of too many Disney films. I don’t believe that faeries are all pixies flitting about.

Maybe I need to start a regimen to invite them into my life. Some close encounters would be great. I wish I lived closer to nature now. It’s times like this I miss my youth.

Believing in faeries?  Maybe I’ll let them win this wrestling match!

Prayers

Prayer plays a role in all spiritual paths. The act of prayer is a form of communication with the gods. It acts as a bridge between us and them. It serves as a strong foundation in my practices.

I pray mostly to offer thanks to the gods. Thanks is a good thing to be aware of and practice. We all have so much to be thankful for. Our loved ones. Our health. Our abilities to make it through one more day. And letting the gods know you’re thankful for the role they play in all of that is important.

I also use prayer to honor the gods. It makes a difference that you are taking the time out of your busy day to perform this act. Making time for the gods every day is something we can all aspire to. What better way to take that time then in honoring the deities who play a role in your lives?

I avoid Santa Claus prayers. Asking for things or intervention in an issue on my behalf. If I do offer those kind of prayers I’ll make sure I’ve exhausted every avenue offered to me in this realm. Help from the other realms is great and all but I think the gods appreciate those who do as much for themselves as they can.

Prayer for me also involves offering. I like to offer something to the gods I’m praying to. It is often something simple. Like incense. Or juice. No need to go overboard in this regard. Unless of course you feel it’s called for!  Let your imagination run wild here. I’ve offered crystals. I’ve offered ogham sketches. All seemed to be accepted gracefully by the gods. So I don’t feel hindered in types of items to offer.

Let prayer become a daily part of your routine. It will definitely help you build stronger relationships with the gods. It will help you achieve a calmer state of mind. And you’ll be performing an action that is sure to bring you some form of reward.

Making time for the gods

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in following this path over the past several months it’s that I need to make time for the gods. No matter how busy my life may become spending time with the gods needs to be a priority.

How do I spend time with the gods?  There’s a couple of ways. The first is through simple meditation. Taking time to quietly sit and clear my mind of most everything but the god at hand helps me build a relationship with that deity. I pick a god I want to be closer to. I sit quietly with some incense burning and meditate on that god and their attributes. This helps me build a bridge between our reality and theirs. New ideas may come to me dealing with my everyday life. It’s a time for honest communication with the deities in a nonpressured setting. This is an important skill for me in my spiritual practice.

For deeper communication with deity I go into trance. This is where I build my more lasting bonds. The act of going into trance helps my brain switch gears from the casual communication of meditation to a more serious communication. Trance work for me is also a vital part of my practice. There I can actually hold conversations with deities. I get more direct information. I find more answers. This is also vital to my building a bridge between the realms.

Then there’s the ritual. Doing ritual makes definite time for the gods. In my experience the full blown ritual with incense and drum and the structured action tells the gods that they’re important to you. I try to make time for a full on ritual at least once a week.

Can I make time to do one of these three things every day?  I try. But I know if I don’t I end up getting grumpy and nasty to be around. For that reason alone it is worth the effort.

Make time for the gods in your life. Only then will you reap the benefits of having relationships with deity in your own life!

Spring

Spring is the time of great promises. As the spring rains fall to the ground nourishing the plants around us and they draw that water up into themselves, the only thing that can happen next is green!  The great wonderful greening of the earth. The start of new things.

Spring is an excellent time to begin new tasks. Taking on a new task in your life now will mean that by fall harvest something miraculous will have occurred. You will have grown. Throughout the summer heat you will be experiencing growth of whatever task you have set for yourself. You will become something new. Spring means new life. New growth. What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than to set yourself a new goal?

The rain that falls in spring has a place as well. It is nature’s way of reminding us of our own potential to grow. As the rains fall from the sky simply remind yourself that it is a necessary part of new growth. We all become more than we were during this time. It is the nature of spring.

So with this new time of growth upon us I challenge you. Challenge you to set yourself a goal of growth that can see a harvest of in the fall. But don’t  be scared that your goal may not be fully achieved in one year. Set a big goal that may take tending for your lifetime. The sky is the limit!  The loftier the better!

I offer you the energy of spring. That grand time of renewal and growth. A time when all things are new. A time to cast off the old to make way for the future harvest. Let this time of the year embolden you to do great things!  Hurrah spring!

Chats with Ogma and Odin

I confess I do a lot of trance work. I journey to the other realms for knowledge not available to me otherwise. Two recent sessions resulted in knowledge from my Druid path god Ogma and from my Asatru path god of Odin. Here’s what happened.

One day I traveled to the Norse Realm of Asgard to attempt to talk to Odin. This is always a dicey prospect as he talks to me about as often as he doesn’t. This day he talked to me after me doing my whole drumming and chanting routines to get myself into trance. He appeared as he sometimes does. He seemed out of sorts. He asked me what I had come for. I told him wisdom. Then he drew himself up before replying.

“I will tell you nothing. It will be this way with all the gods here and in all the nine realms. The task you have been charged with is this. Learn to communicate with the gods of your new pantheon. Learn to travel in their realms. Until you have mastered this task no one here will offer you counsel. Learn of the new gods you wish to follow alongside us. Do this for your own good and growth.”

I must admit to being a little taken aback by these words. They seemed so…harsh. Granted it was a fine task to set for me. But to cut me off?  Seems unfair somehow.

So the next day I set myself the task of learning to navigate the three realms of Druidry. It seemed a strange way of doing things. It seemed like a shirt that didn’t fit quite right. But I keep pressing on.

After several days of this exploratory exercise routine I asked my Druid spirit ally Llewelyn to show me the ins and outs of this new multiverse. I also asked him to set up a meeting with a deity I had yet to really build a relationship with. This left things pretty wide open because even though I’d had cursory encounters with the deities of Druidry nothing like a relationship had been established with any of them. Llewelyn told me that I needed to meet with Ogma.

I was standing in a Grove. A mist suddenly arose and became so thick I couldn’t see. Then through the mist a man appeared. Gray hair. Piercing blue eyes. Llewelyn told me it was Ogma.

I told him he was just the party I needed to speak to.  I admitted I was having a great deal of difficulty with my ogham studies.

His answer was swift and firm.  “Study two of the few a week.  Get to know them very well.  Then move on to the next two.  In this way in ten weeks you will have learned them all.  Then tell me you’re having difficulty.”  He vanished in the mist.

I was very pleased with this advice.  It seemed easy enough to do and very practical.  Good stuff.

So I’m still taking exploratory excursions.  And this Monday I will begin the two a week plan.  I’m still a little miffed about the Norse gods going AWOL.  But I have new territories to chart and new gods to know.  Stay tuned for updates on my journeys!