Announcing Druid Magazine

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One of the most fun things I’ve done this spring is to work on the inaugural issue of Druid Magazine as an editor for the Magical Crafting column.  A lot of very talented folks have put a ton of heart and soul into this project, and anyone with an interest in Druidry should check it out!

From our intrepid Editor-in-Chief, Renu:

Dear friends, With great pleasure, I announce the launch of Druid Magazine, www.druidmagazine.com, the OBOD members’ publication on American Druidry. An amazing team of talented editors, writers, authors, and artists worked very hard to birth this creation. We hope you enjoy reading and interacting with the magazine as much as we loved developing it for our community. Please send us your feedback. And consider joining the team! In addition to editorial positions, we will be accepting submissions for the fall issue until July 31, 2015.

We hope you enjoy the launch of Druid Magazine and join in the conversation about what it means to be an American Druid. Let us know what you think and any suggestions for content. Get involved—we are looking for writers, artists, copyeditors, and researchers among other positions.

The theme of the fall issue is the harvest. Submission deadline is July 31, 2015. Find more information on the next writing contest here. Please see submission guidelines and the style guide for editorial policies and procedures. Click here to submit. If you have a question for the Green Thumb Gurus, click here.

5th Annual OBOD ECG: Guest Speakers

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Awen bonfire, ECG 2014

There is just no way to completely describe the awesomeness of this year’s OBOD East Coast Gather.  It was our fifth year, and I’ve been attending since year one.  Each year is different, and like children, I can’t say that I’ve loved one more than the others because I’ve loved them all differently.  That being said, this year, devoted to the Goddess/goddesses was definitely one that deepened relationships with gods, community, and craft. The spread of DTIs* was rapid and joyous, and will doubtless inspire the tribe long into winter’s night.

One of the most wonderful things about ECG (aside from the food, the bonfires, and the mead) is its small size. Capped at 100 or so people, the scene is set for deeper conversations, renewed friendships, and lively discussions.  The guest speakers were so generous, both of their time and their wealth of experiences.  We were blessed with four wonderfully talented and amazing guests from the Isles this year: Kristoffer Hughes, Penny Billington, Arthur Billington, and Ursula Billington (yes, related!).

Kris heads up the Anglesey Druid Order, and has written a number of fantastic books.  His talk on Epona and the Cetlic Horse Goddess was engaging, entertaining, and sobering.  First of all, just getting to hear a native Welsh speaker say the names of gods and goddesses from the Mabinogi was a rare treat.  He spoke mainly of Rhiannon in her role as psychopomp, tying in many other threads of horse goddess lore, including the White Horse of Uffington and the revival of the Mari Lwyd.  Kris emphasized the importance of grief, and how our culture has sadly pathologized mourning (see the latest version of the DSM if you think he’s kidding).  He encouraged us all to think about how we want to die, and to make plans to ensure that our deaths and burials reflect how we lived our lives.  In the lifespan of the universe, a human only exists for a picosecond (0.000,000,000,001 seconds).  He challenged us to make the universe sit up and take notice in the time we’re here. Or, in his words, “Do epic shit.”

The Billingtons are Bards in every sense of the word, whether they were performing around the campfire, inspiring us with lectures and meditations, or just encouraging everyone to express themselves creatively however they could–to paraphrase Penny (who write the inspiring Path of Druidry), the job of a artist is to go out there and do it, and if you do it imperfectly, well, so be it! Getting to chat even a little bit about music and the creative process with these folks was amazing. Arthur and Ursula have a wonderful musical synergy and her gypsy fiddling added such richness to Arthur’s bluesy guitar chords. They treated the campfire to rollicking renditions of the Ballad of John Barley Corn, and the Hoochie-Coochie Man amongst many others.

Penny’s talk on goddesses, totems, and the spirit world consisted of one part ritual, one part lecture, and one part meditation.  In order to create centered space, she has us sing a long E to the East, I to the South, O to the West and Ah to the North, ending with Mmmm back in the center.  After a brief introduction, Penny has us make groups of three or four to talk about what the word “goddess” means to us–quite a valuable exercise since we had everything from One Goddess worshipers to devotees of single, small, local goddesses.  There wasn’t an expectation of everyone ending up on the same page, but it was great to have it openly acknowledged that there were many, many ways of interacting with these great spiritual beings who are undeniably more than human, but also somehow less so.  Penny then went on to examine the different animals/totems/symbols associated with British goddesses, noting that in times of need, these beings draw strength from their animals–Rhiannon and her horse, or Branwen and her bird, for instance.  The last bit of the lecture was a wonderful meditation that led to an exploration of three symbols of Brigid: the horseshoe, the chalice, and snowdrops.  In all it was a wonderfully varied lecture, with many bits of wisdom that will doubtless serve as meditative seeds themselves.

It’s interesting to note that thus far, most of the ECG guests  have come across the pond to visit our little tribal gathering.  What amazes me is that they always, always, fit so seamlessly into the community.  Of course there are some cultural differences (pants vs. pants anyone?), but at the core we’re all Druids. We love this world, we love this life.  The forests of Camp Netimus have begun to sing our songs back to us, welcoming our return with golden branches and croaking ravens.  We’re here to love the land, love each other, and answer the Druid’s call to art, to justice, and to peace.  We come together once a year to combine our knowledge, our gifts, and our passions so that when we return home, we brings new harmonies back to our practices and our groves.

Now, let’s do some epic shit.

*Kris Hughes is responsible for the wonderful term DTI, or Druid Transmitted Infection.

Back from Vacation, and…an Award!

After a truly wonderful, educational, and relaxing vacation, I return to my little corner of the blogosphere to discover the fabulous Nono nominated me for the Witchy Blog Award!  Thank you, Unca Nono, and now on to the rest of the award….

Seven Questions: (You may customize as long as they are still Wiccan and Pagan related)

  • How did you “discover” Wicca/witchcraft/Neo-Paganism? Interesting question. I guess you could say I discovered polytheism in 2nd grade when my godparents gave me their children’s well-loved copy of D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths.  Then I started building shrines to Zeus and Demeter in the backyard, and left offerings for the nymphs in the woods around the school grounds.  Then in high school, a friend lent me Scott Cunningham’s Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner. A lot of it resonated, some of it didn’t, but I kept what worked and continued to evolve my practice.
  • Do you grow herbs? Yes. And weeds. And vegetables. And trees. And chickens. I GROW ALL THE THINGS.
  • Are you “in the broom closet”? If not, share your coming out experience. Yes and no. My friends, family, and neighbors all know that I identify as a Druid. Personally I believe discussion of religion has no place at work, but I feel free to wear my gods’ symbols as I like. No one has ever commented and I never bring it up.
  • What tradition do you follow, if any? OBOD Druidry, Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery System, and my own spirit-taught wyrdness.
  • Do you consider yourself a witch, Wiccan or Pagan (or maybe something else?) A Druid and a squishy Polytheist.
  • How much of witchcraft/Wicca are you able to incorporate into your everyday life? Quite a bit. I do morning prayers/meditation, share a bit of drink with the Powers at breakfast and lunch, work on identifying new trees and plants when I walk around the neighborhood, and perform a final cleansing/thanksgiving in the evening. I also consider working in the garden and volunteering in my secular and Druid communities to be spiritually significant acts. And just taking the time to wonder at the beauty of this world–a simple thing, but one that often inspires the most witchy feelings of my practice.
  • Do you have a familiar? If you do, tell us how you meet him/her and how s/he takes part in your practice (if at all). Yep, that would be my rascal butch-dyke kitty, Jinx.  She doesn’t have all that much interest in ritual per se, but when I’m outside, she accompanies me everywhere–even when I hike a good half-mile into the conservation land. She’ll sit quietly until I finish meditating or whatever in my grove, then escort me back home. If you haven’t read her story, you can find it here.

 

The Rules:

Guest Post on Practice and Failure

My friend Sarah Twichell asked me to write a guest post for her blog, Leaning into Mystery. It’s on the relationship between failure and personal practice, which is not what I set out to write about, but it’s what awen decided to give me. 😉

While you’re there, check out Sarah’s helpful weekly prompts for practice goals, and generally insightful musings on magic and pagan spirituality. She’s a witch with a lot of oomph and I hope you enjoy her writings as much as I do!

Sea, Sky, Soil Now Available

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I’m thrilled to announce that Nicanthiel Hrafnhild’s introduction to Waincraft, Sea, Sky, Soil, has been published!  From the history of Waincraft, to its pantheon and other shining spirits, to seasonal celebrations, this is a great primer for a spirituality which nurtures a person’s roots as well as their leaves and blooms.

Buy it now through Ravens Hall Press.

Fail Faster

Due to a very energetic toddler and various other life happenings, this week’s regular post is a short one.

Gordon over at Rune Soup (probably my favorite magic blog) posted this fantastic TED Talk about the benefits of trial and error—of failing faster, as Robert Kiyosaki put it. It’s something I plan on watching several more times, at least.

Enjoy!

—A.V.