MAGUS: Mid-Atlantic OBOD Gathering

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I’ve been attending the OBOD East Coast Gathering since its inception 7 years ago and now there’s going to be yet another OBOD camp gracing the eastern seaboard: the Mid-Atlantic Gathering of the United States, or MAGUS for short.

Please note, this has to be one of the best names EVER for a Druid event.

More information can be found on the event’s website and FaceBook group.  According to the organizers, spaces are about 1/3 filled in the first couple of weeks–astounding for a brand new event!  And did I mention stone circles?

Yeah. Druids. In stone circles.

‘Nuff said.

New Year’s 2017 Ogham Divinations

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Following the deer trail deep into the woods.

New Year’s ended up being a fabulous women’s retreat at a dear friend’s home in Maine.  There was as much laughter, tears, and divine ridiculousness as five women could possibly summon!

We kept with our Grove’s New Year’s tradition of a divination extravaganza after the stroke of midnight, January 1st.  W. did wonderful tarot spreads for all us ladies, but I also kept with my yearly drawing of the ogham for a month-by-month forecast of 2017.  Being a Druid, I use a tree ogham, but of course there are color, bird, and even word oghams that could be substituted.

Since there weren’t any ogham sets handy, I instead cut 25 slips of paper and used those for the fews. (This is one of the nice things about both runes and ogham as divinatory systems: they can be constructed on the fly with whatever materials are at hand.)

January-ioho/yew
February-beith/birch
March-oir/spindle
April-saille/willow
May-ruis/elder
June-uilleand/gooseberry or honeysuckle
July-ur/heather
August-luis/rowan
September-fearn/alder
October-tinne/holly
November-quert/apple
December-ohn/furze or gorse

The lessons of Ioho are already apparent only a few days into the month of January.  One political regime is giving away to another in the U.S. and people are looking to their ancestors for wisdom and guidance in surviving whatever lies ahead.  This is the shaman’s tree, the axis mundi, evergreen and sometimes bleeding.  Sharing in its strength can only bolster us for what lies ahead.

12 Nights of Yule: Feast Night

7294830668_6ac2134bab_kYule’s emphasis (for me at any rate) is on family and community. The coming together, the sharing of food—it all strengthens the bonds between individuals as we move into the harsh winter months.

Gods know that 2016 has been harsh.  We need celebration and family (chosen or otherwise) desperately.

I have mixed feelings about gifts. By and large, I decided not to do gifts, and have been greatly enjoying the freedom from giving up the practice. The exception to this is my mother, whom I want to spoil just a bit this year. But releasing oneself from the obligation of hitting the mall in search of things that we don’t really need is tremendous.

Grandparents do, however, delight in giving things to the kids. I think they would be sad if they couldn’t express themselves that way. And my son, well, this is certainly a holiday for children, and he’ll doubtless be enjoying the spoils, as it were!

It’s been wonderful to see our family traditions change, making space for the things we like, weeding through the things we don’t. And it’s even more wonderful to realize that we can continue to evolve our practices as we grow. This is what tradition should be: repeated activities which strengthen and inspire the people who perpetuate them.

Merry Yule to all, and to all a good night!

12 Nights of Yule: Shining Night

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Four dot, is what will make a square, a bed to build on, it’s all there.
—”Growing Up” by Peter Gabriel

As the story goes, once Three can into being from One and Two, all manner of Shining Beings were born. Some chose to roam the inky blackness between the stars, their skin mirroring the cool glossy darkness of the void. Others dove into the centers of suns, burning with the brightness of nuclear fire. Still others settled on spheres of cooling rock, playing endlessly in soupy atmospheres and liquid stone.

Some of the Shining Ones settled on this planet, our home. And as the organic beings divided, recombined, multiplied and evolved, so did their luminous cousins. Thus things continued until the the Shining Ones drew a Veil between themselves and the creatures of matter that dwelt on Terra. It was still possible to travel to the Undying Lands, but most only did so in their dreams.


This night honors spirits of all kinds, those who exist glittering at the edges of our vision. These are the spirits of our tribe, the gods large and small, named and unnamed; the spirits of place, of root, rock, and water; and our own ancestors who have chosen to dwell in those luminous halls after they passed from this life. Tonight we give thanks to all these beings, and hold our breaths in wonder and anticipation of what morning will bring.

 

12 Nights of Yule: Night of Peace

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Deep within the still center of my being, may I find peace.
Quietly, within the silence of this grove, may I share peace.
Gently, within the greater circle of humankind, may I radiate peace.
—The Druid’s Prayer for Peace

Now that the stories of the beginning have been told, the time comes to pause and take a breath. In the revival Druid tradition when we give peace to the quarters, we note that without peace, no work can be.

Before launching into the feasting and ritual that marks the remainder of the Twelve Winternights, take this day and night to sit for a moment, and be still. This is the Feast of Breath, with nothing more important than the endless flow of inhale and exhale.

We swear by Peace and Love to stand
heart to heart and hand in hand.
Mark, o Spirits, and hear us now,
confirming this, our sacred vow.
—The Oath of Peace

12 Days of Yule: Children’s Night

Three dot, a trinity, a way to map the universe: three dot.
—”Growing Up” by Peter Gabriel

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Last night was the tale of how One became Two, and the joy they found in recognizing and joining with each other. From that union came a Third.  And once Three was present, the universe as we know it shuddered into being.

Three was not an only child.  Endless young sprang from the love of One and Two.  Those children loved one another as their parents did, finding completion in their divine opposite. Their infinite dances create what will become our sun-star, and later our home, every act of love bringing a new plume of magma to the surface, sending a fresh storm racing across the skies of this planet. Their play, their joyful work, made a home in turn for their own children.

These children, born into the oceans of a cooling world, returned to the way of One, loving themselves into legion. But then some followed in the manner of One and Two, joining with each other to create offspring with the qualities of both sires. And these children continued the dance, changing, growing, until the little blue-green world was covered with all manner of life.

Light a candle for the infinite progeny that defines our universe.  Acknowledge the differences between all beings, and how that diversity makes us stronger.  There will always be a connection, no matter how tenuous as all have arisen from the One, though that was long ago.

Blessings to all children, who continue the Great Dances of Life and Joy.

Fur and feather, scale and skin
Different without, but the same within
Many a body, but one of soul
Through all creatures are the Gods made whole.

12 Days of Yule: Lovers’ Night & Solstice

Two dot, a pair of eyes, a voice, a touch, complete surprise: two dot.
—”Growing Up” by Peter Gabriel

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Image c. Nevit Dilmen

Last night we told the story of One, that first being who birthed themself from Unbeing.  But it would not be much of a story if things simply stopped at One.

Fortunately for us, One eventually came to recognize themself.  Just how this happened no one can say for sure.  Some say they simply looked down at their hands and realized they had form as well as thought.  Some say One was lonely, and from that loneliness came an understanding of self.  Some say One looked in a mirror, and in that swirling pool of star-stuff they saw themselves reflected.

(“But where did they get a mirror?” asks the inquisitive child.  “Shhh, it’s a mystery,” replies the long-suffering parent.)

When the One recognizes itself, there are then two. The Second, by its nature, is now separated from the One; thus Two is the source of all further differentiation of the One.

As each studies the other they are drawn together. Gazing at one another, One cannot help but see something of themself in Two, and likewise, Two also sees something of themself in One. Two and One find they complement each other perfectly.  In each other, they find joy.

Light the second candle, celebrate the joy of unified opposites.

Happy is the moment, when we sit together,
With two forms, two faces, yet one soul,
you and I.

The flowers will bloom forever,
The birds will sing their eternal song,
The moment we enter the garden,
you and I.

The stars of heaven will come out to watch us,
And we will show them
the light of a full moon –
you and I.

No more thought of “you” and “I.”
Just the bliss of union –
Joyous, alive, free of care, you and I.

All the bright-winged birds of heaven
Will swoop down to drink of our sweet water –
The tears of our laughter, you and I.

What a miracle of fate, us sitting here.
Even at the opposite ends of the earth
We would still be together, you and I.

We have one form in this world,
another in the next.
To us belongs an eternal heaven,
the endless delight of you and I.
—”You and I, in the Palace” by Rumi