Meeting Manannán

So I have an apprentice who’s always Manannán this and Manannán that. I realized he was a deity I had no first hand knowledge of. So I figured it was time for a little trip to meet this dude.

I dug out my drum. I burned some incense. I started playing my drum and chanting the name of Manannán. Soon I was in a trance.

I was on the shore of a river. I could see across the waters there was a man in a boat paddling his way towards me. As he got closer I could see he had long strawberry blonde hair and wasn’t wearing a shirt. And he was muscular !  As a gay man of course I took notice of that!

He paddled across the river and up on to the shore. His big arms had no problem with this task. He got out of the boat and approached me.

“You wanted to see me?”  I asked if he was indeed Manannán. “Who else would have made the effort to cross the river to greet you here?  You realize you don’t need to worry about me ferrying you across for some time. Unless you’re ready to go now!”  This he said with a smile. I assured him I was good thanks. “Are you in need of a foster father?”  I told him Cernunnos was taking care of that for me. “ If that doesn’t work out keep me in mind. I’m pretty good at that” again with the smile. “Well you’ve met me now. And there’s nothing I seem to be able to help you with. So I’ll leave you with this piece of information. I’m older than the tribes themselves. So I truly belong to none though I have been known to affiliate with one or the other. But I really am older than that.”  I assured him he didn’t look old. “Why would I want to look old when I can look like this?”  Now he flexed his impressive muscles. He got in his boat and started back across the river. And that’s where my trance ended.   That was my meeting with Manannán. Wow!

Full moon trance session

Tonight is the full moon. I decided to do a trance session to commemorate it. Here’s what happened.

I waited till the moon was out. I lit some juniper incense. I lit some candles. I got out my drum and started drumming. As I drummed I chanted the name Cerridwen. As a moon goddess I find it appropriate to honor her at the moon’s different aspects. I chanted and drummed for several minutes swaying gently to put myself into trance. Soon I felt the shift in my consciousness that signals I am in a working trance.

It took almost no time before I saw Cerridwen. She was seated on a stool. She was stirring a brew in a caldron. Her long black hair fell over her face obscuring her features. I stayed there watching her at her work. Suddenly she looked up at me. Sharp blue eyes caught me in their gaze. “Come. Drink the brew. Gain wisdom.”  Frightened but drawn by the hope of gaining wisdom I slowly stepped  towards the caldron. She stopped stirring and handed me a ladle. As I stood at the brim of the caldron I leaned down to get some of the brew. In a heartbeat Cerridwen pushed me by my shoulders face first into the caldron. Down I went. But the caldron had no bottom. It became a tunnel. The tunnel went fast and deep down underground. Soon I found myself in the Underworld. It was twilight and very still. From around the corner of a mound of earth came my old friend Cernunnos. He approached me and said “ You are here for wisdom. You wish to study magic?”  I nodded my head in the affirmative. “Then come here to learn. To ease your journey here burn mugwort. The gods and goddesses will be here when you’re ready. They will assist you.” Then suddenly the trance was over. I had seen what I was meant to see. The full moon shone down.

A gay Druid

I’m gay. And I’m on the path of Druidry. Why is this important?  Being gay touches every aspect of my life. So it’s only logical that it would be a part of my spiritual path.

How does being gay affect my spirituality?  For one thing it means I have a closer calling to the goddesses rather than the gods. Just as in ordinary life I find myself more drawn to women to be my friends so it is with my affiliation with deities. I just get a deeper connection with the feminine. It’s easier for me to have a rewarding relationship with a woman. In my Druidry I have deep ties to the Morrigan and Cerridwen. They are easy relationships for me to foster. The divine feminine speaks to me and resonates strongly for me. Being gay offers me the chance to be more in touch with the feminine aspects of my spiritual path.

Being more in touch with the feminine allows my to explore the worlds in trance state. During those explorations I am not as hindered by the logical rational masculine side of myself. I am able to put all of that aside to experience profound trance sessions. If I were not gay I fear that this connection to the Otherworlds would not be so strong. It is by being acutely aware of my feminine self that I am more free to explore the esoteric side of Druidry.

I am deeply in touch with my feminine self and this gives me the opportunity to take the path less followed by my straight brothers. I delve deeply into my feminine self for my spiritual experiences. Being gay allows me the freedom to do that without the negative connotations of trying to be a tough guy.

I’m not saying that straight men can’t experience the feminine self because they too can access these sides. I have helped many straight men to access this side of themselves as part of their apprenticeships with me. Many have struggled with this concept and as a gay man I am uniquely suited to guide them in their exploration. That said  I just think it’s easier for me as a gay man. I have experienced the call of the feminine self and continue to explore it. I have no self judgement about this. It’s just part of who I am.

Do I neglect my masculine self?  No.  I utilize my masculine side to help me explain the experiences I have when tapping the feminine.  My masculine self offers me the structure to examine my trances.  It offers me the chance to have a relationship with Cernunnos.  So it’s not that I don’t explore my masculine self.  It’s just somehow easier to access the feminine.

I’m gay. And a Druid. I’m happy with that.

Dormant

I have been agonizing over a topic for a post for this blog for days now. Days. I have done trance sessions. I have scoured my books. I have just thought about it in general. Then just now in the stillness of my empty condo it hit me. That’s the topic. Struggling to find a topic. In other words a time to be dormant.

In our hectic busy lives we often forget the strength of remaining dormant. There’s always so much to get done. Every hour. Every day. We keep ourselves busy as if by doing so we can keep something bad away. What are we so busy hiding from?  Ourselves.

It’s easier to keep our minds and bodies busy with the smallest little thing rather than face the truth that comes from silence. In silence we are faced with the issues that really matter. Big issues. Not the everyday prattle our brains come up with to keep ourselves engaged. If we would just break the cycle and allow our minds to remain dormant we could think of the big things. Don’t worry. While we’re dormant the big things will find a way to finally break through to the surface. By remaining dormant we leave ourselves wide open. And that’s when the things that truly matter get their shot.

Farmers know the wisdom in letting a piece of land stay dormant for a season. Then the ground can become fertile again and bring forth a bountiful harvest. Why shouldn’t this same wisdom apply to our fertile brains and spirits?

So I need to remind myself from time to time to stay dormant. To allow the wisdom of the seasons do their thing. It’s not unproductive to stay fallow. It allows for greater growth later. It allows us to stay fertile. And that’s something I want to be.

Beautiful things

I love beautiful things. Especially handcrafted items.

Above are my beautiful handcrafted “crane bag” and Druid grimoire. I think both are incredibly beautiful things. But their beauty haunts me.

I’ve had both items for some time. The bag was an Etsy find. The grimoire was custom made for me by an incredibly talented crafts woman from Australia. I adore them both and both are featured on my altar. But they remain unused. Pristine yes. But unused.

Why?  The bag I have yet to find any items I deem special enough to include inside it. The grimoire remains blank because I haven’t had any thoughts grand enough to write in it. So they haunt me. I feel bad I have yet to use them.

So why did I get them?  I had good intentions. I meant wholeheartedly to put them to use. But I keep hitting a brick wall when I approach them. It’s as if they are to remain pristine. But beautiful.

I like surrounding myself with beautiful things because in some strange way they remind me of the beauty of nature. The bag reminds me of animals and the sun. The grimoire reminds me of plants growing in spring. As I have MS my forays into actual nature are limited. I have houseplants for the same reason. They too remind me of the splendor of nature indoors.

Which brings me back to the beautiful things above that haunt me. Perhaps I’ll break down and use the bag to house my crystals. Perhaps at the beginning of the new year I’ll use the grimoire to follow the Wheel. Perhaps the insights and items I’ve been waiting for will make themselves known tomorrow. Who knows?  All I know is that beautiful things surround me as it is. And perhaps that’s enough to expect of them. To remain beautiful things.

Journey to the Otherworlds

I was doing a trance session the other day. I got myself into my sacred Grove and enjoyed the calm. Out of the trees comes Cernunnos. Apparently he’s my new best friend because he shows up so often in my sessions!  He took me by the hand and lead me to this enormous tree with a huge trunk. There was an opening in the tree. He lead me through the opening. Inside the tree was a spiral staircase leading up and down. We went to the staircase and Cernunnos lead me down the stairs. We finally arrived at the bottom. He lead me through another opening. He finally spoke. He told me we were in the Underworld. It was sunny but not bright. It was cool and damp. There were other people there as well. After a quick look around Cernunnos lead me back to the tree and the staircase. This time we climbed up. We finally got to the top. Once again he lead me through an opening. And this time we were in a place with bright sun. It was warm and dry. Cernunnos spoke and said that this is the Upper Realm. Again after a quick look around he lead me back to the tree. We went down again but this time we stopped before we’d got to the bottom. He lead me through another opening and we were back in my sacred Grove. Cernunnos had some words for me. He told me that now that I knew how to get there it was my duty to visit these other realms. Then he faded back into the forest. I slowly came out of trance.

The next day I went into trance again. I was in my sacred Grove and found the huge tree with the staircase. Down I went. Finally I was in the Underworld. I looked around and suddenly everything went red. And out of this mass of red appeared an image. It was of an ogham fed. I took note of the image. Not knowing ogham well  I thought I’ll research it later. Then I decided to go up the stairs. So up I went until I reached the Upper Realm. This time as a looked about everything went green. Out of the green cane another image of an ogham symbol. I took note again and headed back down the stairs to my Grove.  I slowly came out of trance. I quickly wrote down the ogham feds I’d seen. Then I turned to my books to research their meanings.

The fed I had seen in the Underworld was Saille. My references told me that one of its meanings was new forces flowing. That made sense to me as this whole Druid experience is still relatively new but things have been flowing freely in this regard. Then I looked up the one I had seen in the Upper Realm. It was Koad. One of its meanings is reaching to the gods. Made a lot of sense considering where I’d been and what I hope to do.

A powerful set of messages. I’ll have to think on them. And then the hard part. Now to put it all into practice…

Battlegrounds

Much of the lore is filled with tales of battle. Whether army against army or one on one these were a warring group of people!  So what can we learn from this war packed group of tales?

For one thing I don’t take these stories literally. I view them as metaphors. If we substitute the wars that go on inside us for the wars of armies we get a whole new picture of the lore.

Think of the war inside ourselves over the issue of belief. As rational beings it is only natural that there should be some interior fighting over this matter. Our intuitive side craves the belief in something bigger and greater than who we appear to be. But then there’s the rational side that says we have no scientific proof of the divine. It’s a battle I wage often inside my own brain.

Of course there are mental battle matches over the truth behind magic. Magic is a theme often brought to light in the lore. Does magic really exist?  Or are we merely creatures of clay incapable of otherworldly acts?  I have had this mental battle in the past and have answered it for myself to my own satisfaction. But it was truly a war of will to get to that point.

If only things were easy!  Then there wouldn’t be a need for internal battle. But we are complex creatures and the very nature of Druidry requires thought. I say wage those battles in your head!  Wage them every day. Only with such dedication came you have a living breathing spirituality that will be profound and personally rewarding.

Crossed legs

I must confess that I have a bad habit. I cross my legs. When I sit. While I’m laying down. I do this s lot. Why is this a bad habit you may ask?  It’s bad because it cuts me off. Cuts me off from the multiverse.

When I’m sitting and I cross my legs I take one foot off the ground. One avenue of contact with earth is cut off. I’m no longer as solidly attached to one of our major sources of energy and inspiration. To be cut off from the earth is to be cut off from life itself. Big problem. It’s better to keep both feet solidly on the ground as much as possible. At the very least its then we can tap into a great reservoir of energy. Having both feet on the ground is kinda like plugging a cord into an outlet. Why unplug it?

Then there’s the whole spiritual aspect to this. Crossing my legs leaves me with a barrier from the multiverse. It serves as a type of moat to keep me in one side and the rest of the multiverse on the other. This is not the way I want to live. My motto is to be open. How open am I when I create walls to keep the world at bay?

Why make an effort to keep myself open at all?  That’s when the magic happens. When I leave myself open to experience all that can occur the magic just pours in. I become bigger than I normally am. I become smarter than normal. I see things as they truly should be. And that’s a good thing.

So I’ll try to uncross my legs. Leave myself open. Stop being so cut off.   Be grounded to the earth. I’ll become a part of the world around me.

A quiet time

Today I went into trance as usual. Drummed my drum. Smelled the burning incense. At last I was in my sacred Grove. As usual I called upon Llewelyn my spirit guide. And I waited.

And waited. And waited. And waited. I saw myself sitting in my Grove in my Druid robes on a rock. I was just sitting there waiting for Llewelyn to respond. He normally does. But it normally doesn’t take him so long. So I called out for him again. Nothing. And so I waited. And sat.

This had gone on for a while. I decided to listen to the birds. I listened to their cheery songs. Other than that all was quiet. Very quiet. And still I waited.

There was sun streaming through the branches of the trees. The sun created patterns on the floor of the Grove in the grass. I sat there contemplating these patterns. Suddenly it appeared to me that one of the patterns the light was forming was the symbol for Awen. /|\. Then it dawned on me that the whole purpose of the day’s trance was the quiet. No visitation with deities. No big messages. Just the quiet.

I sat there on my rock not thinking of anything. Not politics. Not world affairs. Not money troubles. Nothing about my projects to attend to. Just me, the birds and the Awen symbol in the grass right in front of me. And I was calm.

I stayed there that way for quite a while. Enjoying the nature. Enjoying the solitude. Enjoying my own company. It was good. I felt recharged. I felt at peace.

Lesson to self. Not everything is a drama. Not everything requires my immediate attention. Not everything is a disaster brewing. Sometimes it’s just quiet. Sometimes it’s good to be all alone. And I definitely need to visit my Grove with no agenda. I need to allow myself the quiet time.

Clan

So for today’s trance session I had no expectations. I wanted to just go in and see what happened.

I started like I always do. Calling on my Druid ally Llewelyn for guidance. He appeared   We were in my sacred Grove. He told me to pay close attention to what was happening. My ears pricked up in anticipation. I was ready.

Soon my Grove was filled with deities. All around me. Cernunnos stepped forward and placed a hand in my shoulder. He guided me to the center of the group. Soon there was a mumbling from those assembled. I tried to strain my ears to understand what was being said. Soon the voices became louder. And louder still. I could finally make out what they were chanting. It was one word. “Clan”. The volume grew to the point that my whole being shook with the vibration of that one word. Clan. Then as the volume got to a deafening sound I was immediately snapped back into ordinary consciousness. Left to puzzle this vision.

At first I was confused. I’m no god. Why would the assembly of deities call me one of their own?  I was suddenly reminded that many of our pantheon has their beginnings as mere mortals. Was it a message that I was on the same path?

Then I thought about the fact that we are ultimately the same at many levels. It doesn’t really matter what nation your people hail from. We are all people. A clan of the human race. A lesson my departed father seems to have learned since passing over. It was his word that started me on the Druid path a year ago despite our German heritage. Was this a message to further bring home the message we are all the same?

Either of those two answers fit well with what I’ve been learning. Either is a message well worth contemplating. Are we all at some level not a deity?  Are we all not of one big family of men?  Are we all not one of the clan?