New Year’s 2017 Ogham Divinations

31287115774_dda4cea8b6

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.

Advertisements

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: Night of Peace

pexels-photo-25251

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

mountainsoftibet_forweb-11

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

450px-candles_in_love_07406

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

12 Days of Yule: First Night

One dot, that’s on or off, defines what is and what is not: one dot.
—”Growing Up” by Peter Gabriel

Tonight, the retelling of the story of the world begins. Tonight, celebrate the spark, the divine explosion, the first existence of the One.  One has not yet become Two—One is undifferentiated from Itself, yet has separated from the void of Unbeing.

Light the candle of potentiality. Stand on the threshold of wonder, the precipice of fragmentation, before the One explodes into infinite multitudes.

The kindling of flame
The kindling of the Wheel
The kindling of light and dark
The kindling of the Powers
May hope be kindled in the hearts of all
May your flame join the eternal Fire

598px-a_young_star_takes_centre_stage

Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA, Karl Stapelfeldt (GSFC), B. Stecklum & A. Choudhary

 

Creeping Tendrils in the Mind

15901326063_22481140d5It’s that time of year.  The time when the fog of depression begins to creep out of the snow and wrap itself around the winter-weary.  Things will be better by May Day, but purgatorial Equinox still looms distantly.  Despite being magically inclined, it’s not a tool that I’ve ever wielded against depression until a few weeks ago.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long.  Maybe pride, maybe denial, that false optimism of I-can-beat-this-on-my-own.  I’m “fortunate” in the sense that my melancholy comes and goes, but getting it to disperse in the winter can be a monumental effort.  Of course the little spell pouch helped–not a panacea by any means, but it did make a difference.

I tossed this spell together with minimal fuss and little regard for astrological timing–probably it would be best done on a new moon or failing that on a Sunday in the Hour of the Sun or Moon.  There was no formal incantation, but I performed extemporaneous prayer to Brigantia as I assembled the components.  The pouch was nearly worn through in places, but it released the scent of the herbs nicely, serving as a tangible reminder to be kind to myself and breathe deeply.

Pouch to Ease a Melancholy Mind

Lavender–calming
Tansy–against depression
Agrimony–brightening
Lepidolite–balance, calm
Quartz–clarity, power boost
Rose quartz–self love
Pentacle charm–protection
Sigil (this one is personalized for me, you should probably make your own)
Pouch colored lavender or white

Please note that the following accompanying behavioral changes will enhance the effectiveness of this working: getting my ass outside for exercise (yes, even in winter), more leafy greens and fruit, journaling, and seeking out neighbors and friends for social stimulation.