Bardic Initiation

S. lighting the way for the initiate. Used with permission.

Wednesday night a few of us Grovies gathered to initiate B. into the Bardic Grade, or more specifically to reignite his journey on the Druid path. The site which watched over us is one the Grove has been using for many years, and you can feel the openness of the place, and the welcoming breeze to our work. A beaver splashed noisily as we set up the circle, which entertained my son no end.

I love our Grove for so many reasons: the camaraderie, the pool of knowledge, the creative spirit…but most of all I love the humor and kindness that all of our Grovies possess. We can pull of sober when it’s required, but if someone flubs a line, it is always smoothed over with a smile and some fancy word-work.

This was my first time acting as Grove Mother, with my friend A. as Head Druid. Part of me feels like I should have been nervous, but most of me was just excited to give B. the best initiation experience that we could. I think we met that goal.

Each of the Grovies had a gift for B. once the ceremony was completed. Mine was a set of meditation beads set up around nines and threes. The center bead was a “thunder egg” aka geode, the large rounds were banded agates, the counter beads were petrified wood, the start/end bead was ceramic, and the three tail beads were red jasper. Our initiate was a Pisces, so I hope this brings some Fire and Earth to his studies.

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Geode, red jasper, banded agate, petrified wood, ceramic, glass, silk.

Afterwards, we did as all good Druids do: we hit the local pub for post-ritual noms. Grounding and centering never tasted so good! May B. complete his Bardic journey with the love of the gods, goddesses, and all goodness.

Strategic Sorcery Homework #4

Consecration Through Use

Creation (March 24–30, April 13 & 14, 2013):

I repeated the steps for Day 1 for each sigil, which meant that I ended up getting a lot of practice with this part of the ritual!  I combined the creation of the sigil with the cleansing, meditation, and first-use components.  I unwrapped the canvases, purified them with water and fire, and left the stack of ten sitting on my altar until I needed them.

Each day, beginning on Sunday with the Sun, in the Hour of the Sun, I would draft the design during the morning planetary hour, then paint it during the afternoon hour, and finish/use the sigil for the first time during the evening hour (the exception to this was the outer planets, which I had drafted all at once in a fit of inspiration and then just painted during the planetary zeniths). I felt like this gave me a really solid grounding in how these energies felt at different times of day.

As I painted, I entered a light trance state, which allowed me to fully experience the sigil as it flowed onto the canvas. This combined steps 3 & 4, letting me meditate upon the tool and experience it with all my senses—the texture of the canvas under the brush and pens, the smell of the paint, the scratch of the Sharpies and gasp of the paint tubes as I squeezed them. There came a point with each sigil where the pattern seemed to almost float off the canvas, arching up to receive the final strokes of gold or silver paint that finished each piece.

When the sigil was done, I placed it on the altar and breathed in the energies from it, letting them gather and swirl around me. After attuning myself to the planet, I set the sigil on the altar to await its brothers and sisters.

There was a two-week gap between the creation of Uranus and Neptune. It was strange, but I just couldn’t attune myself to either Neptune or Pluto during that time. Then I looked at the calendar and realized that for some reason I needed to wait for the Dark Moon to feel those particular energies. It makes sense in retrospect, but was frustrating at the time. So I just continued aligning my energies with the completed sigils on a daily basis until the creative block passed.

Familiarization (March 30–April 24, 2013):

I kept the stack of sigils in my handbag, on my kitchen altar, or next to my desk with the daily “dominant” planet on top. (My 3 year-old son was particularly enamored with Venus—which I find hilarious since he’s a Taurus—and I had to keep stealing it back from him.) Each morning, I lit a candle in front of the stack and aligned myself with the topmost sigil. Then I would trace the pattern over the piece to reinforce the work.

 

Sigil Ceremony Chart

 

Ceremony (April 25, 2013):

On the Full Moon, Day of Jupiter, Hour of the Sun, I performed the following Ceremony.  I’ve been studying astrology for a while now, and I wanted to be able to incorporate that into my magical practice, but on a physical, visceral level. So the purpose of the rite was to anchor the sigils to each other in time and space, making them no longer just a stack of symbols, but living representations of the planetary energies.

After I established a working zone using the OBOD Ovate Grove Ceremony, I used the Cardinal astrological signs to stand in the Quarters: Aries in the East (Spring), Cancer in the South (Summer), Libra in the West (Autumn), Capricorn in the North (Winter) (I made the decision to align them with seasons rather than elements for various reasons). Then I asked first the Fixed signs, and finally the Mutable signs to stand in the circle, until all twelve were present.

Next, I lay out the planetary sigils around the circumference of the zone in accordance with the chart above, starting with the Sun and proceeding through the MV(E)MJSUNP sequence, to give grounding in the physical universe.

Then came the heavy magical lifting part of the rite, which was to take the tendrils of energy from each sigil and connect them to all the others. When that was done (and boy was the place humming when I finished!), I pulled each sigil to the center of the circle. When they were all stacked, Sun on top, Pluto on bottom, I pushed/collapsed the energy of the web down into the stack, binding them together.

I sat and meditated with my multi-part tool, just letting us get acquainted with each other. At last I thanked the spirits of the Zodiac and unwound the circle. The sigils are now arranged above my working altar, surrounding a painting I did to represent my work from the Bardic Grade of OBOD. Each day I pull one down and attune myself either with the daily energies (Moon on Monday, etc.), or with energies I might particularly need for that day (Mercury for good communication on a Monday morning debrief with my boss). These have become some of my most-used and best-loved tools.

Strategic Sorcery Homework #3

Druid Bugout Bag and Mobile Working Altar

The planetary power exercise took a cleansing ritual of our old property to a whole new level. The following took place on the 5th of April 2012, Day of Jupiter, Hour of Mercury.

Tools: smudge bundle (white sage, common sage, and lavender, the last two being grown on the property), dagger, hurricane water, salt, talisman (upright pentacle, seal of Mars in the center, Jupiter to the left, Mercury to the right–on a post-it note).

The working altar was set up in the kitchen, as it was the center of the house.

Divination as to the outcome: Four of Pentacles, Ace of Pentacles, High Priestess.

Process: First, cleansed the hose/drove out the critters, working from basement to attic (counter-clockwise on each room and level), by Fire and Air with smudge bundle, saying:

I cast you out by Fire and Air,
I cast you out by the steel of my blade,
I cast you out by the force of my will.
You cannot hide from me,
You are not welcome here.
Flee before me!
The grasping tendrils of smoke drag you away, far from this place.
By the storm of my heart, the flames of my will and the strength of my arm, I cast you out!

Then, purify and bless with Water and Earth, using hurricane water (from Sandy) and salt, again working up from basement to attic, but moving clockwise.

I bless and purify this place, by Water and Earth, of any stain of sorrow or pain.
May this home be blessed by the love of Water.
May this home be blessed by the gifts of Earth.
Pain turns to strength and sorrow becomes wisdom.
Shine, that the light of this place may join the greater Light.

The results were immediate. Both my (ex-)husband and I have been able to work in the house without anxiety. We also had a rash of new interest in the listing; this does coincide with the usual spring real estate boom, but it was waaaay more than we had last year.