Wheels are in motion

It’s official. Plane tickets are purchased. Museum pass acquired.

In January, I’m headed to the British Museum for the Celts: Art and Identity exhibit.

The last time I set foot on the Isle of the Blessed was 2002. It’s been way too long. Though this will be a short trip, with any luck I’ll be able to visit a couple of sacred sites in addition to gorging on museums. And a bonus–I get to spend a few hours in Iceland each way.

So, if there are any UK folks in or near London between Friday, January 15th and Monday, January 18th, I’d love to get together for a cuppa or a pint.



Here’s What They Don’t Tell You

IMG_0805My ex liked to move about every two years (just moved again, as a matter of fact)–probably one of the many reasons we’re no longer together.  If you’re always running, you never let yourself have the time to be affected by relationships, whether it’s with neighbors or the land itself.  I hated being rootless.

Listening to the land is what being a Druid is all about though.  If a single sacrament exists that unites all Druids, it would be to Know Thy Lands.  But what form does this take?  We are undeniably people of the Sun; her journey thought the sky dictates our celebrations.  By and large, our rituals are as open to outsiders as they are to the sky.  Knowing the land will bring health, wealth, prosperity. The overflowing arms of a fecund Mother, bucolic prancing lambs, and a piping Pan are among our most beloved images.   And that makes sense, after a fashion, even if it smothers the raw truth of what the land is in a gloss of anti-industrial Romantic bubble wrap.

Here’s what they don’t tell you.  Sometimes being tuned into the land isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Dreams of giant squash bugs, visions of creeping fungus and of garden beds crying out for blood.  Holding a dying mother turkey in your arms as her pullets cry out for her.  Maggots in the compost heap, rats’ nests in the hay.  Keeping a dead chicken in your fridge until the Ag Department can come to determine if it’s bird flu.  You can’t turn your back on the compost, shite and death. The Black Hen of Cerridwen, if you will, that’s one call you can’t ignore.

After five years of watching, writing, listening, tasting, I’m finally settling into the rhythms of being Wachusett’s long shadow.  Even as I know nature owes me nothing, I marvel in being able to eat from my garden and get eggs from our chickens.  And now, at the end of the season, I’ll revel in the catabolic processes that will work their magic in the fallow months to make the land fruitful again come spring.

No, they don’t tell you that before the wonder of Pryderi’s return comes a terrible claw seeking revenge. But now that you know the land, do they really need to?


East Coast Gather 2015

Whew, it’s been a couple of weeks of crazy prepping for and going to the annual OBOD East Coast Gather. There was more than a little bit of crafting overdrive between finishing an item for the silent auction, random ritual paraphernalia (painted stones, hag tapers), and making sure all the labyrinth supplies were packed.

Bear journal for the silent auction.

Hag taper, lighting the way from Bard to Ovate.

Sacred stone WIP (not posting the final, well, because, reasons).

Better bloggers than I (John Beckett, A Druid Way) have done excellent rundowns of the individual events of ECG, so I’ll not tread that ground again here. My experience of this year’s gathering can be summed up in the words “kindness” and “community”.  There was an overwhelming amount of kindness: from Damh the Bard, who took time out of his busy schedule to play music with the kids, to John Beckett, who was willing to let me chew his ear off about polytheism and my Lady of Birds and Horses, to the young woman who kept an eye on my son so I could help with the Ovate initiations.  A harvest of kindness is something to be proud of, indeed.

Very blurry Damh the Bard.

On the community end of things, earlier this year I came up with a slightly nutty idea of creating a labyrinth for folks to walk (more of this story may show up in the Order’s magazine, Touchstone).  I probably could have done the whole thing myself; the beautiful thing was, I didn’t have to. The labyrinth was formed by over 330 LED color-changing tea lights, which had the (hopefully!) fae and fanciful effect of shift color and pattern as a person walked the path. Once the seed pattern was set, a small group of folks gathered to stuff candles into paper bags while the kids gathered up pebbles to keep them weighted down. Then, every night, a flock of volunteers descended to turn on the lights, and in the wee small hours of the morning, another crew gathered to turn them off.  None of this was officially organized. It was an outpouring of spontaneous community spirit which was humbling to behold.

Labyrinth by day…

…labyrinth by night.

Every year it’s hard to leave Druid Camp, as my kid calls it. But far better to be sad at the parting than to be excited to leave! Next year, we won’t be having any guest speakers. We’ll be able to dig deep and focus on each other’s wisdom, and twine our roots more deeply across this land. I can hardly wait!


The Keeper of Palmyra

palmyra-khaled-asaad-gettyThe news of Khaled al-Asaad’s murder shocked me to the core. This man was a scholar, absolutely devoted to the study of his beloved Palmyra.  His torture and beheading at the hands of Daish (ISIL) for refusing to reveal the locations of valuable antiquities is the the most revolting and reprehensible of war crimes.

I did not know Mr. Asaad personally, but his unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity are shared by all archaeologists. I cannot even imagine what his family is going through, the horror of losing a loved one in such a way. I can only pray that in time, they will be proud of the sacrifice he made.  This 82-year-old man protected his life’s work to his last breath.  May we all stand so certain in our convictions in the face of barbarism.


Sun Mirror Meditation

CIChmMjXAAAIKnkI thought it might be interesting to share some of my own personal visualizations from the Sun Mirror meditation that I’ve been doing in the past few months. The uses I found for the mirror have been a curious combination of healing, charging/energizing, and prophecy. I’m not quite sure how that last bit is going to work out long term, but we’ll see. For now, just some thoughts and images that have skated through my mind while using this technique.

Beli Mawr, ignite my passion. This is the Root, the hard bones of the earth, and the flesh of the soil and falling leaves. It needs to be solid but still able to flow, to convey blood and sap to the whole. The Root dwells in darkness, hot red warmth that seethes beneath the surface.  It is the strength of the Land, the cup that holds the healing waters.

Beli Mawr, inflame my heart. The Heart of the Sea, a pearl precious beyond measure. If the Root needs to flow, then the Heart needs to overflow. Fire burns away the chains locked around the heart, leaving one to love fully and freely again. Wayland the Master Smith fills the gaps between the shards of your heart with molten gold. He says “The metal needs to be soft. You have a heart, not a sword.”

Beli Mawr, illuminate my mind. The Mind opens to the Sky. See with clarity, strengthened by the will of the Land. Be crowned by the circle of light, your own true will coming to the forefront. Know that emotions hide behind logic, and pulling the veil of reason aside will reveal someone’s true motives–including your own.


Journey to the Ancestors

This last blogging hiatus was a bit longer than I anticipated, but with good reason: I drove my father out to the family cemetery in Ohio so that he could visit his brother’s grave.  My uncle died last year, but the ashes were shipped out to Ohio in 2014 and as such my father had not been able to pay his respects. In spite of two minor car accidents in one day (neither of which were our fault, and one of which was a hit-and-run), it was a deeply satisfying trip.  I was able to take many picture of the family plots, which will help flesh out the genealogical profiles for each of these people.  I also now have graveyard dirt from the triple crossroad in the center of the cemetery.  Likely there will be an paternal ancestor bottle coming soon.

But for now, some pics from the trip: