I’ve wanted to sit awhile with the ripples from the final piece of the Cauldron Born ritual before blogging about it. And honestly, I’m not going to say all that much as I think most folks will get more out of doing it for themselves than reading about my experience on the internet.
I will say this: Awen did not descend on me in a blinding flash as I sucked the burning drops from my thumb. In fact, I was afraid I had performed the ritual incorrectly. Instead, pieces have been slowly knitting together, seams vanishing and scars strengthening. I’m now certain that I received a gift from the cauldron, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be: wholeness.
Since I first wandered out of the forests of eclectic Neo-Paganism, witchcraft and magick took a back seat to the Serious Study of Druidry. I had quite the case of “Druids don’t do that” syndrome. My first exposure to Druidry was through ADF, which at the time very much frowned on magickal work (at least this was the case in my interactions with the local grove and email list–magick was considered impious); devotion at the expense of magick was further reinforced by my forays into Heathenry/Asatru.
As some of you have noted, I’ve been posting more about kitchen witchery lately. Those little spells and charms have always been a part of my practice, but it’s something that I felt I couldn’t publicly acknowledge since I was a Druid not a witch or Wiccan. More than one scholar has established a (false) dichotomy between Druidry and more outwardly magickal traditions like Wicca. I had ended up internalizing that polarity, buying into the false assumption that if I did magick and if I were a Druid, then that necessitated some sort of dual trad practice. I knew I was a Druid, but what was that missing piece?
As it turns out, nothing.
Walking with Cerridwen for the past year, meeting her challenges…it’s given me renewed confidence to forge my own path as a Druid who also practices spaecraft, hedgecraft, the cunning arts. OBOD leaves room for just about anything you’d want to do, and it remains my home, a cozy hearth in a woodland glade. As it turns out, there also happens to be a root cellar and a bone pit in the back yard. I just hadn’t built them yet.
Now another set of spirits joins the Order’s guardians, beings whom I call upon when it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get dirty. Spirits of my land: the turkey, the toad, the coyote, the skunk, the blue jay. Spirits of garden and hedge: datura, tobacco, mugwort, comfrey, agrimony, mullein, lavender. Spirits of the deep wood: hawthorn, oak, white pine, paper birch, beech, chestnut, maple, hemlock, sassafrass. The Twelve Winds of Eire. Sometimes the kitchen smell of lavender scones and lemon verbena tea; sometimes it smells of decaying flesh and newly macerated bones. This is my path, in darkness and in light, crepuscular to the core.
Cerridwen gifted me with wholeness. My robes, though those of a Druid, have never been brilliant, shining white. They’re just too hard to keep clean.
Brown doesn’t show the dirt. Doesn’t scare the deer either.
9 thoughts on “Awen #13: The Final Rite”
I admit that the attitude of “Druids don’t practise magick” is downright baffling to me – the entire reason why I _got_ into Druidry was “to become a wizard”. I’ve always associated Druids with magick first, healing and science secondarily, and sacrifice to the Powers as a tertiary type thing. And I have this mental image of the Ye Olde Ancient Druids doing things that we would recognize as cunning craft, to work for the betterment of themselves and other people. To my way of thinking, of _course_ a Druid would be involved in things like seership work and being in tune with the spirits of the Land.
Mind you, my introduction was not through ADF, where their Druidry seems to be more about a particular ritual format focused on the worship of the gods, and I can see how if you start there it can create that attitude. So, I’m glad you’ve been able to recover your witchy side. It’s been good to see you talk about it, and I’d like to see more of that.
And my ritual robes are white not because they’re pristine but so you can’t see all the… never mind. 😛 (I couldn’t help myself.)
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I know many, many people get what they need from ADF, but frankly, that worldview really did a number on me that’s taken 10 years to purge. I sorely wish I had run into OBOD or AODA first.
I’ve been on a research kick (big surprise!) of plowing through my old fairy tales in search of bits of magical lore. It’s proving quite fruitful, to say the least. But yes, getting back to that core witchiness that I’ve been lacking since ADF tried to beat it out of me…that’s been huge. Glad you’ve been enjoying the posts!
No comment on the color of you robes…no, none at all. 😉
On the note of fairy tales, if/when you acquire a copy of Voices of Vanaheim, there is a chapter entitled “The Hidden Folk” which is a few short stories, most of them retellings of folklore (Scots and Faeroese), and then “The Rhymer” is a retelling of Thomas the Rhymer/Tam Lin. You may find it interesting.
I know that I myself internalized devotion over magick due to my years with the Piety Posse and also having to justify interest in magick to Heathens, and joined AODA to break out of that and get back to my occultist roots. I don’t know if some people realize how damaging the “religion must always be more important than magick” mindset is, and I’m thinking about doing a post specifically on this subject (and possibly more than one, to take a couple different angles on it, like I might examine this specifically from a Vanatru perspective on my PaganSquare blog; I’ll be sure to credit you as having gotten the juices flowing there).
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Voices is on my want list right now, but I can’t justify getting any more books until after I move! Definitely looking forward to the Hidden Folk and Tam Lin stories, though.
Interestingly enough, I actually found Heathens to be more accepting of magick and such than ADFers. Which is saying something. Of course, a lot depends on the local culture as well. I do hope you write up that article, though, because for some of us, magick is as fundamental to our practice as breathing.
There are no rules! Congrats on completing your rite 🙂
Thank you! It was certainly a challenging experience, but nothing worth doing is without some effort.