Experiments with the Sun Mirror

18208165226_463cd981d4_zWow, what a change I’ve noticed in my energy levels when I’ve been able to do even a few moments with my Sun Mirror in the morning.  The mirror work in and of itself was inspired by Levannah Morgan’s lecture on DruidCast episode 98, which is worth multiple listens if you’re interested in this kind of magical/energetic practice.

The first energy system I ever worked with was qigong’s Three Dantian, and that’s pretty much what I still stick with today (although Kristoffer Hughes has a fascinating Welsh energetic system which I’d eventually like to explore further).

I’ve been invoking Beli Mawr since we’re passed May Day. It’s likely that I will invoke Sunna in the winter months. I’ll likely do a formal dedication/consecration of the mirror as a working tool on Solstice, but even without the formalities, it’s been extremely effective for getting the nwyfre flowing in the mornings.

Stand or sit with the sun at your back. Use the mirror to focus a beam of light first on your Lower Dantian (roughly where the uterus is located), then on your Middle Dantian (heart), then on your Upper Dantian (third eye).*  At each cauldron, say:

Beli Mawr, ignite my passion.
Beli Mawr, inflame my heart.
Beli Mawr, illuminate my mind.

I haven’t really found a satisfactory way to perform this exercise when it’s overcast, unfortunately. However, it’s quickly becoming a foundational element of my practice, and I imagine it will prove invaluable when the winter doldrums strike in early March.


Kitchen Witchery: Mirror, Mirror

I was fortunate enough to find this lovely old mirror in the thrift store for six dollars. I figured with a little bit of elbow grease and some homemade furniture polish it would brighten up in no time.

Apparently, homemade furniture polish is only slightly different from homemade salad dressing: vinegar, oil, and lemon juice. There are a number of different recipes with which the Google-Oracle can provide the curious kitchen witch.

First I treated the wood with the salad dressing/furniture polish mix, removing all the dust and grime–paper towels and an old t-shirt work quite well. Then it was just time to sit down and polish up the glass was some glass cleaner and paper towels.

I really do love old furniture. Imagining the history and stories behind each piece is so much more satisfying than buying another soulless sofa from Eddie’s Furniture Basement. It’s easier to see the spirit of an old piece. There can be a wonderful exchange in caring for a well-crafted-but-slightly-battered antique, filling in scratches, polishing and shining it.  You develop a responsibility and even kinship towards the object. It serves you well, and in return you see its own sacredness and keep it whole.

I’m looking forward to developing a relationship with this mirror.  There are a few scratches and the silvering is a touch cloudy, but he has so much personality shining through his finish.

Now all I need to do is find a dresser!

Magic in the Mundane

15519344247_f2f1652951_zAfter yesterday’s post about repairing hoses, it occurred to me that much of my spiritual/magical practice is based upon finding the sacred in the mundane, in giving that little extra magical push so that the simplest tasks carry renewed meaning.

John Michael Greer has a wonderful description of re-enchantment, where is the act of literally singing the sacredness back into the world. There is something so simple and so beautiful about this approach. Though Greer is not necessarily talking about actual songs or singing, that’s the direction I’d like to explore today.

For hundreds of years songs have accompanied daily chores, from the butter churn chant to the rhythmic stroking of orders across the ocean surface. Songs not only serves to pass the time and to speed the work, but also allow a deep connection with the act that we simply do not have in our ages of ergonomic office chairs and glowing screens. The music comes from the individual, we breathe out sound into the world and breathe back in the gifts of our land and community. That connection of breath, of spirit is what can re-enchant the world.

Housework is one of the easiest places to start singing sacredness back into your home and land. I would venture to say that most housework falls under either the category of cleansing/purification magic (sweeping, washing dishes, brushing your hair) or prosperity magic (cooking, gardening, paying bills). If you make home remedies of any sort, that can also be considered healing magic. And of course there are also various sorts of protection/warding rituals for the home and its inhabitants (lullabies being one of my favorites). Finding songs or chants for each task can not only be a way for the work to pass more quickly, but it also allows you to really sink into the rhythm of the chore and in many instances to achieve  a light trance state.

To be clear I’m not necessarily talking about the stereotypical Neopagan dirge here. Use whatever gets you singing, whatever gets your Nwyfre flowing, whether it be Dvorák or Beyoncé. If it feels right, for more physical activities like sweeping or washing the windows, let your whole body move with your song. Push that broom with your whole being, not just your arms and hands. Push it with your core, push it with your heart. The important thing is that it is YOU singing, YOU engaging with the task at hand.

Remembering the layers of meaning behind a chore makes an act sacred instead of superstitious. Songs keep our focus on otherwise mind-numbing activities, and allow us to glean benefits that have largely been forgotten. One of the things I love best about being a Druid is being given the chance, every day, to fall in love with the whole world. Every little piece of it, no matter now mundane. How wonderful is that?

Of Orchards and Hoses

7294832570_648f26271eAs some of you doubtless already know, I live in a co-housing community, which is a slightly more capitalistic version of the stereotypical hippie commune.  We all own our own properties, pay our own taxes, and participate on a voluntary basis. We do have smaller units in exchange for a large common house and associated facilities, and we have co-housing due in addition to condo fees, which allow people to fund all sort of different projects, from a hot tub, to a community garden, to a fitness  room.  We use a consensus-based model for decisions, with a vote-based system if consensus fails.

One of the many neat projects we have going at the moment is a newly planted apple orchard.  There’s a mix of traditional and heirlooms, along with a nut tree or two–8 saplings in total.  I admit to having little interest in what particular trees were chosen, but now that they’re planted, I’m having a great time learning about tree care and orchard principles.  We’ve given ourselves the extra challenge of doing things organically, so there’s going to be quite a bit of experimentation (and I’m sure, failure) ahead.

I need a new male end! This one will never screw again!

The biggest challenge right now is water. We haven’t had rain in a good three weeks, which with new plantings is a major problem. The orchard is several hundred yards away from the nearest spigot, so we needed quite the length of hose–which was promptly hacked up in several places by a well-meaning member of the Mowing Team. Ooops. It was rather fitting then, as I’m attempting to reengage with Water, that I ended up working on repairing the hoses this week.

Hose repair is one of those things that is so simple, you wonder why people throw out their old hoses instead of fixing them. I learned by following around a grizzled Costa Rican man named Bert as he did repairs on fountains and irrigation hoses in the garden center where I used to work.  I’d be a second set of (much smaller) hands for threading things up into various fountain bases, and thus I learned the basics of keeping hoses in good repair. (Also, get a good heavy rubber hose to begin with.  Yes, they’re most expensive up front, but you will thank me, I promise.)

First, figure out the hose diameter, usually either 1/2″ or 5/8″, pack yourself off the the local hardware store, and pick up splicers and/or male or female ends as needed. Also, get yourself a good sharp utility knife if you don’t already have one.  (It’s my favorite Scared Druid Tool, with my pruning shears running a close second.)  The only other thing you should need is a Phillips screwdriver.

Alchemical union of male and female achieved!

First, cut out the damaged part of the hose. Keep the cut vertical, since if it’s angled it’s difficult to get a snug fit when you put in the replacement part.  Then insert one end of the connector into the hose–you will likely have to be very firm to get things nice and tight.  If the hose aperture is really too small, sometimes making a few tiny cuts in the edge of the opening will allow you to get the connector started in the hole.  Once it’s in place, and the hose is snug against the connector lip, open up the collar and then screw it down around the hose/collar edge to make the join water tight.  Repeat with the other side and ta-da! Non-leaky hose!

Preventative measures are always superior: don’t let the hose get kinks, don’t leave it outside for the winter…and for gods sakes, check the grass before you mow! But in case of accidents, now you know how to spend $3 and a bit of elbow grease rather than buying a whole new hose. It’s that whole “reuse” part of the 3 R’s that so often gets forgotten. Happy watering!