Rainy day reflections

It’s a dark rainy day. Quiet in the house. Nothing stopping me from doing a session of meditation or trance work. I made myself ready and waited for the wisdom to come rushing in. And waited. And waited.

What to do when you’re sending your brain all the cues that something is ready to happen and nothing does?  Sometimes I stubbornly will it to happen. I force a solution. Today I thought I’d take a different approach. I’d let my mind have its way. I’d let it run rampant if that’s what it felt it needed. So much for wisdom I thought.

First my mind went to the approaching new year. In a week or so it would be time to celebrate Samhuinn. My first on the path of Druidry. I had celebrated the holiday years ago when I was practicing Wicca. This time I knew it would feel different. Not sure exactly how. But it would be my first Samhuinn using a set ritual to mark the event. I am going to do my initiation into OBOD self ritual on the 31st. This will mark my serious start of their program. And they have a wonderfully deep and spiritual ritual to denote this date. I will easily remember my anniversary date this way.

Then there’s the actual ritual to commemorate Samhuinn. This I will perform on the 1st. Again thanks to OBOD for providing such a powerful ritual. I look forward to actually doing these two rituals back to back. Should make for an energetically strong couple of days!

Next my mind flitted to thoughts of the Morrigan. As the first deity I’m studying on this path she occupies a far amount of brain matter. All of the books I’m reading about her. All of her depths of ambiguity. All of her many aspects to learn about. If I was to be called by a goddess that offered a place to sink my teeth into it had to be her. Of course she called me!  She knew I was up for a challenge.

Next up on the hit parade was thoughts about ogam. I just this past week started studying it. So far on this new plain of mental battle I’m struck by the similarities with the Norse runes which I’ve been studying for years. They both historically trace their way to similar times in history. Both were gifts from the gods — Odin the runes Ogma the ogam. Both made their way into the hands of those of us in this level of reality. Both are alphabets. That’s how far I’ve gotten in my studies. But not a bad start for someone with a Nordic background.

And then the thoughts slowly drifted back to the mundane. I had to go to the bathroom. I was hungry. I decided to call it quits for this session. I had started out with high hopes of gaining wisdom. All I got was a flurry of mental gymnastics.

But maybe I thought to myself that was the gift of wisdom right there. Maybe sometimes you have to release your mind to wander aimlessly. Perhaps the deepest wisdom comes from that. And I suddenly was pleased with the results.

News!

I’m very excited. Last night I got my first month gwersi package from OBOD. I am a Bard!  It included information on getting a mentor. So I followed the steps and I already have a mentor assigned to me!  They sure work fast!

What does this mean for me?  First and foremost I now have a structured approach to studying Druidry. This is key for me. I find that having a structured set of courses to follow helps keep me focused and moving forward. Important goals for me.  I find I can be a little all over the place if I don’t have an external structure in place. This is a path that I take seriously. I don’t need to be distracted along the way.

Will I quit my membership to ADF?  Certainly not. Being an active member of both groups is very much possible. Each group offers me different things. I plan to use these two groups and their different strengths to my fullest advantage. Time will tell what each has to offer me. As I’ve only been on this path for a little over three months I look forward to exploring both groups.

Am I any less a vitki?  Absolutely not!  Being a vitki is my first path. I won’t abandon it without a fight. I still honor and work with the Norse pantheon. No need to totally abandon something that already works for me. But I no longer self identity as a practitioner of Asatru. I am now identifying myself as a Neopagan Druid. That umbrella offers me the chance to do both freely. As I’ve said before these separate paths I’m traveling concurrently. Both have very different things to offer. I plan to continue with both.

Does this whole thing make me a crazy lunatic?  Possibly. I just know myself and my need to follow spiritual messages wherever they may lead me. I have always been a seeker. I seek wisdom and understanding. This new set of labels and these groups allow me the freedom to accomplish this goal. If you’re interested in my journey stay with me while I share my story. I would consider you welcome company.

What am I exactly?

It was bound to happen. I started on this path of Druidry three months ago. I planned to practice both this new path along with the old path of Asatru concurrently. Well things change…

I am finding that Druidry offers me a spiritual path that fits my needs better at this time in my life. The focus on the Earth. The gods and demigods. The ritual practice.   The magic.

Don’t get me wrong. Asatru offers all of that. But it always felt a bit empty for me. Especially the ritual aspect. I just never really felt connected to it. And I tried for twelve years. So it’s not like I didn’t give it the old college try. But for me something was missing.

I’ve found that Druidry offers more avenues for me to explore.   I’ve found already two different groups that feel like home. The ADF and the OBOD. Both offer different ways to approach Druidry. I’m working on both and finding that the two work well for me. OBOD offers guidance through weekly lessons. ADF offers ritual format that seems natural to me. Both are vital to my spiritual growth. I’ve found that I already have experienced more spiritual growth over the last three months than I had experienced in practicing Asatru for several years. This is exciting stuff for me!

Maybe it’s because it’s still new and I’m bound to grow quicker. I thought a lot about that explanation. But I remember being new to Asatru. The growth wasn’t as rapid or profound as it’s been with Druidry. And I have a different feeling about my spirituality now. Asatru feels heavy and somewhat laborious. Druidry feels like light coming through in the forest. At least for me.

But I still want to honor the Norse gods. And remain a practicing Vitki. I feel there’s no reason I can’t still do that and practice Druidry as well. Especially in the ADF framework.

So what does that leave me as a label for myself?  After a lot of thought and some research it seems the best label for me right now is Neopagan Druid. I’m pretty comfortable with that. And for me labels are important. They offer a way to explain who you are to yourself and the rest of the world. So for me finding a label is vital.

So I’m not discarding twelve years of my life. I am adopting a new label for myself spiritually and discovering a new spiritual path.  It feels like the time has come to shed the old skin to let a new one grow. The only thing certain is change…

Druid state of mind

When am I consciously aware of being on the path of Druidry?  At this point in my journey there are still times when I’m reminded of the path I’m on. So here are some of the times throughout my day when I find myself thinking like a druid.

When I take down the recycling. I know it sounds silly and somewhat stupid of me but doing recycling seems a very druid act. The fact that I actually care enough about the environment to sort through my garbage and separate the recycling out means my frame of mind has switched to an awareness of our Mother Earth.

When I listen to music. Any music. Not just Celtic music. Any music with a strong beat. It puts me in a sacred state of mind. It allows me to relax my conscious mind to the point of nearly being in a trance. Letting go of myself. This is definitely part of my path of Druidry. Forgetting the confines of three-dimensional reality and tapping into something bigger than self. Getting in touch with the Big Picture.

When I study. Definitely part of my path. Learning new things and perhaps letting go of some of the old. Taking new concepts and thoughts and incorporating them into my current state of mind. This shows and reminds me that even this late in life I have much to learn. New ways to grow. And isn’t that what being alive is all about?

When doing or preparing to do ritual. Nothing gets you into a sacred mindset faster than the act of ritual. Whether it’s for one of the major holidays or daily devotionals. Performing these rights puts beliefs front and center. It transforms consciousness from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Being in this state of mind gives me the time to stop worrying about the house chores and think about other matters. Otherworldly matters. For that alone it is worth the time and effort put in.

These are just some of the ways I follow the path of Druidry. Each day seems to bring new examples of the sacred in the midst of the mundane. New ways to be and act holy. I look forward to what each day will bring as the sun rises. I look forward to each new day.

Read the signs!

Ever since I started down the Druidry path three months ago I’ve been looking for signs and omens that I am right in accepting this call. After all I had a path that I was pretty satisfied following. But then I had my first druid calling in the form of a dream. But always one to self doubt I needed some reassurance. Here’s a rundown of some of the signs that have been thrown my way.

I knew nothing about Druidry except that trees were a big deal. As I had trained myself in trance work and was comfortable with that I decided to start there. Sure enough the multiverse sent my a druid spiritual ally in the form of Llewellyn. He guides my path and I try to chat with him daily.  That was sign number one.

I asked Llewellyn if I should start studying any particular deity. He introduced me to the Morrigan. After meeting her in her three aspects she called me to follow her. After some quick internet research I heeded her call. Sign number two.

As a total newbie I wanted to have as much information sent my way as I could handle. That’s when the books started being thrown to me. Books on lore, books on the Morrigan, books on Celtic magic. Plenty to read and get me started. Sign number three.

I had a friend who knew I was getting involved with Druidry. He said he had belonged to a druid group a while back. I asked him its name. ADF. I had also heard about OBOD. But upon researching the two I decided to go with ADF. If this friend hadn’t mentioned it I would never have known that it existed. Sign number four.

When deciding to heed the call of the Morrigan I had no idea how noisy it would be. I mean crow cawings. I have lived in the same place for 18 years. Before now we never had crows. Now they’re around all the time. Sign number five.

That’s just five ways the multiverse has tried to set my mind at rest. Yes, this is a valid path for me to follow. Yes, this was waiting for me to wake up to. Yes. I am destined to follow the path of Druidry. I will follow wherever the signs may direct me!

 

Dueling goddesses

The day started out with an auspicious omen. As I was walking the dog I heard the caw of a crow. I saw it sitting there under the tree across the street. Morrigan was letting me know it was going to be a big day. I thanked her for the message. And got to it.

I knew I would be performing a ritual today to mark the autumnal equinox. I had already planned to affirm my decision to follow Cerridwen as well as following Morrigan. Little did I know…

I started the ritual. I lit incense. I got myself into the correct state of mind. I started all the steps I had already learned in performing a druid ritual. Then came the seeking omens phase.

I turned to my crystal ball. I started gazing. Soon enough an image appeared. It was me. I was very busy shuffling some wooden blocks. On the blocks were symbols. Runes and /|\.  As I shuffled the blocks I started stacking them one on top of the other. Higher and higher I stacked until I had to get on a ladder to continue. And then the vision faded out.

I took it to mean that as long as I kept shuffling my two spiritual paths of Asatru and Druidry I would continue to grow. Grow beyond this reality into the higher places of existence. Not a shabby vision to have!

Now came the time in the ritual when I made it apparent that I would be a follower of Cerridwen as well as Morrigan. I stated my intent. I got a vision of a dark haired woman busy over a mortar and pestle. She looked up at me and said “Welcome” then went back to her work. I felt her energy. It was supple and pliable. Very different from the hard steely energy I had sensed from Morrigan. As I was making mental note of the differences I sensed Morrigan’s energy start to push through. As that occurred the Cerridwen energy pushed back. Back and forth between the two like a tug of war. The two energies were overwhelming me. I said aloud that I would follow them both. Both would get my attention. Still the battle. I stated again my intention to not ignore either of them but to follow them both with equal devotion. Finally in a great snap the battle was over. I sensed both energies of the goddesses. In tandem. Neither pushing the other out. Coexisting in my ritual room.

The rest of the ritual was a blur. I finished off exhausted. I was going to have my hands full being a follower of these two!  But I was sure I was up to the task.

As if to get the last word in I heard a crow caw.

First encounter with Awen

In my studies I’ve been learning about Awen. The force that connects all of the multiverse. In Norse tradition we have a similar concept in Ond. So I’m not unfamiliar with the idea.

The book I’ve been studying likens Awen to a river and sea. As those don’t really exist in my understanding of the world I decided air would substitute. So I decided to try an exercise to get in contact with Awen.

I went outside. I let myself become aware of the wind. As I stood there getting in touch with the air and wind I felt myself filling with a blue energy. The energy was coming up my legs and feet from the ground. That energy slowly filled me. So much so that it needed to be released. So I started blowing this energy out of my mouth. I saw the blue energy leaving my mouth and becoming a part of the wind. It joined the wind and blew away. But I had more energy to release. I stood there releasing more and more energy that became one with the wind.   There was no end to the amount of energy flowing up my legs from the ground. As I released some more would appear.

As I stood there aware of this blue energy being taken on the wind I had an image of the wind touching everything in the physical realm. Trees. Bodies of water. Other people. And with this realization came the image that all things were connected to the energy. Everything was doing just as I was doing. Expelling the blue energy from the earth into the wind were it blew and touched everything else. It was this huge cycle of blue energy touching and being created by all the forces of the world. It was never-ending.

I was allowed the time to make this realization before I was suddenly snapped back into ordinary consciousness. The exercise was over. I was allowed my first introduction to Awen. It was powerful. An energy so huge it touched everything in the multiverse. I stood there letting the lesson sink in. Then I thanked the Shining Ones for the vision. I went on with my day.

Since then I’ve been in touch with this feeling of connectedness. Not all the time of course but enough to keep me going. It’s good to know I am connected to all things. Makes my daily existence seem not quite so small. And I am grateful for that.

Three rays /|\ #druid

Three rays /|\.  A symbol of Druidry.   Seen on social media signatures. On the cover of many books. I first encountered this symbol in my readings on Druidry two months ago when I decided to follow this path. It’s cool and all.  But what did it mean?

The number three abounds in the druid world. Three realms. Three aspects of the Morrigan. Three sacred plants. And on and on. Which does help explain the three rays symbol. But I wanted to know more. There are a couple of the interpretations that stuck with me. Here’s my newbie take on the subject.

Nature, knowledge and devotion. Nature is a sacred concept in Druidry. The reverence for the land and water that sustains us and holds us firm. Trees and plants that provide beauty and oxygen. Rocks that remind us of our own stability and steadfastness. Rivers that provide water which is the essence of life. The list goes on.   Knowledge is studying all you can manage on the topic of Druidry. Acquiring knowledge to see life through sacred eyes. Knowledge of the lore and all the life lessons therein. Getting to know the world around you. Learning more about those you love. Druids should have a huge appetite for knowledge. It is a life long journey that never ends. I hope to pass to the Underworld reading a book!  Devotion is honoring the gods and goddesses. Keeping the major holidays. Engaging in personal ritual. Finding time each day to connect with the other realms. Honoring the many different spirits that inhabit the three realms. Building personal relationships with the deities.   All are ways to show our devotion.

Another interpretation that caught my eye was piety, virtue and study.   Piety fits nicely with devotion as discussed above. Virtue can be interpreted as living a life our ancestors would be proud of. Living a life in accordance with the lore. Proving to ourselves and the Shining Ones that we can exist in a state of balance with the spiritual realms. Study of course is the accumulating of knowledge as above. Read, read, read!  I would also say it’s not just gaining knowledge through study but applying it. There is no good in a book that is not being read and acted upon.

As you can see there was overlap in these two examples. Which just further points out the importance of the concepts. Repetition helps in learning and memory as well. Things repeated are remembered.

So that’s a quick personal take on the three rays. Definitely a newbie perspective but hopefully you may have gotten something out of it. Bright blessings to all!

Old practices meet new practices

I’ve been a heathen for twenty odd years. It is a practice that has held me in good stead all this time. When my father issued my call to Druidry two months ago I was a little surprised. But there’s one thing I’ve learned in my fifty two years is that I should never ignore the messages from my dad. He has never steered my wrong even since his death. So I was off on the new path.

At first I was concerned. Did this new calling mean I would have to give up heathenry?  After some meditation on the topic I realized I could practice both paths concurrently. There was no reason to abandon the Path of Asatru.   I could follow a new path while honoring my current path. This put me at rest. There was no reason to abandon the relationships I had carefully fostered with the gods I knew. I would just be building new relationships with a new set of gods. Whew!

My decades as a polytheist had taught me quite a bit. I was obviously going to use that experience in my new endeavour. I had a whole new path to learn about. I had no real exposure to Druidry. Where to start?

One of the tools I had picked up along the way is a level of skill at trance work. Soon I found that if I went into trance with the goal of connecting to the deities of Druidry I had success. I gained a druid spiritual ally. He introduced me to Morrigan who called me as a follower. I was making progress in the realms other than the one we live in. One thing that I found comforting about Druidry is the fact that there are three realms unlike the nine in Asatru. Less to conquer and get to know!  And more manageable.

Devotion to the gods is another skill I had under my belt. I find it relatively easy to garner relationships with those on other planes of existence.   Although I have only started building a relationship with Morrigan so far on the Druidry path it’s a start. I’m sure I’ll be introduced to new deities as time goes on.  I’m in no rush. I want things to develop organically.

Study is also not new to me in regards to spiritual practice. And boy did I have a lot of studying to do!  Luckily the gods of Druidry have been placing appropriate texts in my way to discover. That and a couple of crystal ball sittings have so far lead me to the right books at the right time.

And of course there’s the aspect of daily devotion. I spend some time each day in meditation or trance to build relationships with the divine. It helps that I’m not required to work. And we don’t have a TV!  So I have plenty of time for daily devotion. Lots of time for revelation.

So I’m sure that it’s no coincidence that I had years of preparation before introducing me to the Druidry path. I was ready to accept the call once I had it. These past two months have shown me that it’s a path worth journeying on. I hope to do it justice.

Full moon ritual

Last night at the full moon I did a ritual. I tried my hand at following the ADF formula for ritual. I used their ritual guidelines to provide a framework to build off of. It was successful. Here’s how.

I started the ritual with some breathing exercises to center and ground myself.  I lit candles and incense. I had water in my cauldron. My plant was there as the Tree.

I decided the incense would serve as my offering to all spirits. I called upon the Gatekeeper to open the gates. Then I called the Spirit of Mother Earth. As I felt her presence I offered incense to her. Then I called the Spirits of Nature. As I felt them arriving I said a thank you. Then I called upon the Spirits of the Ancestors. They too arrived. Last I called upon the Spirits of the Shining Ones. Once I felt them I was able to get down to work.   Everybody was here!  Almost.

The purpose of the ritual was to strengthen my bond to the Morrigan. As a last addition I called on her too. She took a while longer to make her appearance. But I was patient and full of resolve. Her presence was the strongest of all.

I asked for the blessings of all the assembled spirits. I lit more incense as an offering to them all. I thanked them for allowing me this time with them.

I went to my crystal ball. I asked the Morrigan to send me a sign that I was on the right track in following her. In the flickering candlelight I saw a clear image of myself. In the vision a crow flew by cawing. Then the image was gone.

I thanked the assembled spirits for attending. I  especially thanked the Morrigan for her image to me.  I called upon the Gatekeeper to close the gates. My ritual was done.

I cleaned everything up and went to bed feeling the ritual had served its purpose. I woke up this morning. As I was walking the dog a huge crow flew by me. It landed and looked at me. It cawed loudly. In that moment I knew the Morrigan was with me. I was definitely on the right path. I felt a serenity come over me. I was at peace. Blessings to the Morrigan!