30 Days of Druidry – Why Druidry

The first time that I tried to write this prompt was 6 years ago, the second was 3 years ago… Life is cyclical in threes sometimes.

However a quote from the first time I tried to write this prompt, all those years ago still fits to this day:

how do you explain the feel of the wind against your face, or the smell of a lover’s embrace? How do you describe a feeling, or emotion? This question is similar to both of those things.

Druidry fits in the cycles of life, it fits in the cycle of time. The way the spirits dance and the way the energy moves around us. It is the cycle of the seasons, of the snow and the wind and the rain.

It is who our practices should put first, and the order of the cosmos. It is the relationships to the spirits of nature, the relationships to our dead, and our relationships to the gods.

It is how our feet dance in the rain, or how our sun burns in the sunlight.

It is who I am through and through.

30 Days of Druidry – Revisited

Years ago I attempted to do the 30 days of Druidry writing prompts with Rev.Lisa over at Hazel & Rowan however I fell down on the task. As I have now gotten to the point of scheduling things more easily on here I plan on trying this again.

Part of my reasoning for this is two fold: to share my experiences and how I perceive the world, but also because my path has changed so dramatically from the first time I attempted this. Not only have I had to adjust for physical challenges from my body, but I have also had my paths change and wind like the mists on the breeze.

Our paths are all our own. Though these musings will be about my own, yours does not need to even be close to that of mine.

The post prompts are as follows. Honestly, I will probably be writing these now* and scheduling them for the future so as to not fall down on them again.

Week 1: Why Druidry?
Week 2: Foundations: Cosmology
Week 3: Foundations: Nature and Earth
Week 4: Foundations: The Three Realms
Week 5: Foundations: The Elements
Week 6: Foundations: Altar, Grove and Nemeton
Week 7: Foundations: Day-to-Day Practice
Week 8: Relationships: Gods/Deities and Spirit
Week 9: Relationships: The Ancestors
Week 10: Relationships: Spirits of the Land
Week 11: Relationships: Ritual and Worship
Week 12: Relationships: The Fire Festivals
Week 13: Relationships: The Solar Festivals
Week 14: Relationships: Rites of Passage
Week 15: Inspirations: Awen and Creativity
Week 16: Inspirations: Prayer and Meditation
Week 17: Inspirations: Storytelling and Myth
Week 18: Inspirations: Music, Poetry and Aesthetics
Week 19: Inspirations: Ethics, Virtues and Values
Week 20: Inspirations: Divination and Magic
Week 21: Inspirations: Mysticism and Philosophy
Week 22: Everyday Life: Druidry and Family Life
Week 23: Everyday Life: Druidry and Romance
Week 24: Everyday Life: Druidry and Work/Career
Week 25: Everyday Life: Conservation and Environmentalism
Week 26: Everyday Life: Druidry and Community
Week 27: Everyday Life: Peace and Social Justice
Week 28: Everyday Life: A Day in the Life of a Druid
Week 29: The Future of Druidry
Week 30: Advice to the Seeker

*even this post was scheduled 😉

Silence – an on going journey

My journey has not ended, but in truth has just begun.

Those of you that know me personally know that I’ve gone back to school for Environmental Technology. Being a mature student that got there on their Secondary School Diploma like a regular fresh out of high school student has its own challenges. However, there has been one I was not ready for: my body to try to give up.

I ended up having to go through the Access and Support Center also known as the Accessibility Office for numerous factors with regards to my general issues that have compounded since I last graduated. However, the one that I never thought would be that big of a problem is.

When I was going through school the first time, my hands would ache on occasion while I would be typing. Since I went through for Computer Programming and was typing day in and day out I thought this normal. It probably wasn’t. When I was doing my Initiate work I could only type for so long per day to do my course work or else my hands would ache and I wouldn’t be able to do much. Once again, I thought it was normal with the amount of typing I was doing…

Fast forward to now, the hypermobility has gotten to a concerning level in my hands and I am losing a lot of fine motor control in them. I can still cook etc even on bad days (well when the bindings don’t interfere) though showering is a bit of a pig (long hair + sore hands = NOT FUN!!!) however, that wasn’t one of the main issues as I don’t really mind when my hair is a tad greasy… The main issue: I can’t use traditional pen and paper or turn pages in books.

When it comes to class this does not affect my studies as much as you might think. The ASC office has a lovely technologist who has looked into getting those of us who need it our books in pdf format and the like for text to voice and scrolling purposes. However, this does interfere with another aspect of my life: my religious studies.

Many of the books that have high levels of scholarship are typically only found in print. Some of these it’s because the work was penned prior to ebook formats such as kindle and epub. Others it’s because it wasn’t in the author’s pervue to do preferring the old ways of doing research with regards to looking things up in books and the “if it works for me why can’t it work for them.”

Now without exposure to many people who may have physical or learning difficulties that is a common thought process and therefore I cannot really blame them. However, looking at much of the knowledge it is time that it is made more accessible.

There are people in our communities who may be amputees and do not have their hands. There may be those who are blind. There may be those that have visual processing errors and therefore cannot learn to read but can carry on a perfectly intelligent conversation verbally. There are also those who may lose their ability to do these things over time due to one or a host of medical issues.

As our pagan population ages, and as more and more people in the world end up with the genetic oddities that cause these conditions we need to look at what we expect of our authors and those that possess the knowledge. We have to speak up when we can about having formats that can be useful to as many people as possible. We need to look at all our options and say “could this be of help to someone?” vs the mindset of “everyone should be able to do it this way”.

Many of the authors that I know have been awesome as I’ve been poking them about making sure I have access to the scholarship I need and want access to. For that I am truly thankful. However, not everyone has the energy levels or as many of us say “spoons” to fight all the time. I am just stubborn enough to persevere through just about anything (ignore my days that I’m crying because my hands won’t make ravioli though please, and hell I keep trying even when crying!) but not everyone is. It is a very tiring fight to continually do. I was born into it with anaphylaxis in the 90’s. I know the things I need to do to get what I need, and really I am thankful for my mother for that. She taught me how to do this, how to explain to people what is going on and get them to compromise with me to fix it. Not everyone has these skills going into their disabilities.

These resources need to be thought of from the beginning. Publishers need to think of these things when talking to our authors. Our authors need to think of these things when dealing with the public and their publishers. How can you reach as many people as possible? Make sure all the avenues are covered.

As organizations we should be ensuring our websites are easy for reading technology (apparently wonky tables that have had cell merges are NOT the easiest things!). That they don’t require a bunch of clicking for sub-pages of sub-pages. Our leaders should be trained on the phrases to not say to people with disabilities from the start such as “it will get better” because sometimes, it won’t. Sometimes they just need the sympathetic ear to hear what they are facing with a “is there anything I can do?” not all do this though.

As ritualists we also have to think of these things.

What about the person who can’t do the spiral dance in ritual? what about the person who cannot understand the ritual because it’s dark and they primarily read lips but you’d typically never know they’re deaf? What about the person who is blind and can’t see the altar to know where to put things properly? When we know about these things in advance because it is one of our regular participants or grovemates that have these issues they can be easily adjusted for. However, what about an unexpected guest?

In the past, I’ve always run rituals out of my hand written book. I no longer can. I cannot turn the pages effectively mid ritual. I cannot turn the pages even mid part in a timely enough fashion to continue on. I switched to the thing I know works at school: my tablet. It is sometimes odd having tech in ritual for me, but I do what I do. I know the gods and spirits would rather me not want to die at the end of the ritual and still be able to eat feast than to use the older and less effective tool. However, I know there will come a day when some unknowing person is going to say something about my tablet. This is the case for many with some sort of disability, especially those that are a tad more invisible. (For those reading who haven’t seen me in the last couple years, I no longer need my cane 😉 )

There are many versions of tech that we all use from tablets, to reading software, to voice to text. Those without disabilites sometimes it is because they are as they will say “being lazy” however for others those are required daily pieces of living.

Springtime

The geese fly north from southern lands today,
The sun shines bright up in the sky so high,
Although we have not yet seen the grey jay,
Little animals are still very shy,

The snow melts more and more each day and night,
The plants begin to show their colour green,
Although it’s still so cold to get frost bite,
The sap runs high just like the old routine,

The trees begin to bud and show their leaves,
the maple gives it’s sap to us each year,
Animals begin to be tiny thieves,
The sap it runs be there never fear.

The spring has shown itself to us once more,
Delight and let the offerings out pour!

Living greener – Tips and tricks we can all manage

Some people will argue that things are not wasteful if they can be thrown in the green bin (a local green waste program) or blue box (local paper/metal/glass recycling). However, what if we changed that idea?

Think to your grocery bill every week or two. Think to the things you buy to use once and throw out. How many of them are there? How many of them do you think you could replace with reusable options? Not only are we throwing out the world’s resources when we use these disposable products, we are throwing out our money as well. Why buy something you can only use once when there is a completely viable option for something you will use multiple times?

Although it is good to think of the environment in these sorts of situations, that will not get the majority of the population on board with living a greener lifestyle. Disposable though, is expensive. Money is always one way to have people realize what they are actually doing.

So for example what if you bought cloths (or made them out of old tshirts, socks, and sweaters) instead of using papertowels? Yes it is a little less mucky. Though, you would end up saving quite a bit of money. Back in 2008 a package of 12 rolls of paper towels (Durham Region, Ontario) was around $10. A package of 12 cloths was $7. Even if you just bought one package of cloths vs the package of paper towels you would be saving $3. Let’s now look at that on a larger scale. In one year say a person went through 4 packages of paper towels, that cost is equivalent to 6 packages of cloths. For one year. Now, those cloths will last more than that year, the paper towels will not. If you then average the amount of paper towel usage over the average life expectancy of someone in North America (75+) that is a total of $3000 spent on just paper towels throughout one’s life.

There are many more examples of wasteful things that we use in our everyday lives some of them include:

  • Acne wipes
  • Air Fresheners
  • Aluminum Bakeware
  • Baby wipes
  • Paper Coffee Filters
  • Daily contacts
  • Cotton Balls
  • Disposable Diapers
  • Paper plates
  • Disposable Razors
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Most feminine hygiene products
  • juice boxes
  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
  • Paper Towels
  • Disposable cutlery
  • Ziploc bags
  • staples
  • Coffee stir sticks
  • Tissues
  • Wax Paper
  • Parchment Paper
  • Tea Bags

And the list goes on pretty much for infinity in our society. Have you noticed a trend with many of these though? They are expensive. Living greener isn’t.

Why not try making your own wipes? Using essential oils with a little alcohol and water as room de-odorizers? Using regular cookie sheets and roasting pans? A re-usable coffee filter? All of these things can reduce the impact that we have on the earth and not adjust our daily lives too much. What are some things you can think of that we can replace with a re-usable alternative?

Dedicant Class As Blog Posts!

As some of you may know I run a class for the Dedicant Program within ADF. As such I figured it might be a good idea to have the information available in text format for those who cannot access the videos on youtube for whatever reason. This is being done as a service to those who need the information so that they may complete their Dedicant Path.

I know that ADF has members who are deaf, learn by text, have memory issues and need to reference things etc. I will be writing these blog entries with the information I have put into the text and video classes that I ran from July 2015 to Jan 2016. This will be a text copy of that information for those who need a text version versus a video version.

A response

My friend over at Bull-headed follower of a Bull God wrote an entry about how they wish paganism showed the little things we all do to show devotion and not just the flowery worded prayers and actions. Well JoyousMadness you are getting your response as a post to my blog.

I chose to respond to them in this way since they are right, there are not enough blog posts and things about how we remind ourselves of our Gods and Spirits throughout our regular everyday lives.

So as some may know and others not, my altar is in my bedroom. It is there due to space constraints and living with parents. However it is there. This actually gives me a really good chance to check on it though. Every morning I have to go past the altar to leave the room and every morning I look into the well. Not to do anything divination based. Not to do anything knowledge based. No, to check to see if the thing is full. My house is very dry due to having the air conditioning or heat on all the time and as such my well dries out very quickly. I’ve actually put stones at the bottom of it to hold some of the moisture in case I don’t notice because I’m in a rush one day.

I then tend to look at the ancestor candle which lives directly behind the well and then up to the ancestor shrine. Depending on the day this makes me either almost cry or smile. Cry for the fact I have lost friends, neighbours and relatives. Or smile for the fact had these awesome people and pets not been in my life I wouldn’t be the person I am today (thanks guys ❤ ).

Once I’ve left my room for the day my day is much more mundane except for one thing that I do approximately 75% of the time: open the curtains. This is when I do my morning prayer if Mum hasn’t opened them first. It’s nothing fancy, typically whatever strikes me at the time, and is typically dependant on the light levels. If the sun is already up at full strength it’s my general prayer, if it is still coming up it tends to be something to Ushas and Agni (yes I’m a Celt (primarily), but they play an important role for me, I don’t question it).

Typically throughout the day I don’t end up back in my room. The one thing that does make me remember my patrons is when the crows begin to caw. My murder of crows (it’s gone from 3 to 9 of the beauties) remind me of The Morrigu and their influence. How they wish me to be strong through the pain when I need to be and fight for what I believe is right. Sometimes they caw at just the right moment. Other times they caw when they see me because they want food. My act of feeding them comes with no prayers but an honoring of The Morrigu just the same as they are one of Their forms.

Closer to Samhain I do things like walk through cemeteries to remember the ancestors and leave flowers for some of those who would not have descendants (children who died in the early 1900’s and even earlier in the 1800’s are typically where I get drawn) to do so. That typically doesn’t come with prayers just respect. I am thinking of getting a large enough sketchpad to do rubbings of the graves that are typical for me to go to. There may be something more with those ones…

This is my typical day though. It is the little things that matter. What are the little things you do? Link back to JoyousMaiden if you post them ❤

Conspicuous Consumption

When who you are is thoroughly caught up with what you own- with the things you display on your body or in your home- conspicuous consumption becomes central to the cultivation of a self and to structures of social value and distinction.
-Gay Hawkins

Our society is focused on stuff. A disposable society where buying something new is typically cheaper than fixing it. Have you ever taken your computer in to have the motherboard replaced, or a laptop screen repaired? Most of the time it is cheaper to buy a new laptop that is better than the one you currently own. Our focus on the best things for the money we spend is conspicuous consumption. Having the brightest or more expensive thing is how our society views wealth. Not in the terms of love, compassion, health, family, but in things.

These things are costing our planet greatly. Arthur H.Purcell termed the phrase wasteberg to allow the human mind to perceive how much waste actually goes into things as the percentages are the same. In an iceberg, you see 5% with the other 95% being below the surface, same with the wasteberg. With the wasteberg you see 5% of the garbage with 95% going into the processing and manufacturing of the item. For example, if you have 1 pound of things in your home, say a filing box, 19 pounds of manufacturing waste went into processing that filing box. All that waste is ending up in our landfills and filling our planet.

The typical response within society to “green” topics is to recycle everything. By recycling, you take it out of the landfill and put it into other products. However, there is still that wasteberg concept to take into consideration with the manufacturing waste that went into it in the first place. The better thing to do in this situation is to reduce.

Reducing the things that we use, using them till they are broken, fixing them and then continuing to use them. This is how we can reduce the strain on our planet. Think of all those early adopters to technology. Think of all the iphones that have been carelessly thrown out because the newest version came out. This is not the way that we protect our planet. Choosing items that are part recycled materials is one thing, but not using as much of the ingredient or item is another.

Think before printing off that email. Think before buying those veggies on the styrofoam plate wrapped in celo. Think before shipping something and how many packing peanuts is enough vs overkill, or can I reuse the newspaper that I got this week. Think before buying unnecessary items.

Just Think.

Starling named Howard

At the end of June a baby starling fell from its nest not too far from my home. My neighbour Laura, a local animal activist found him.

Her original thought “aww poor thing” then it was “wait it looks too alive” and gently poked him, he started flailing. She picked him up and brought him home and kept him overnight. The next morning a call went out on facebook to her local animal people to take this little one to a local animal sanctuary so he would actually have a shot at life. The call, although she forgot to tag me, came up in my newsfeed. I responded and within 20 min I had Howard’s bucket in my car on the way to the shelter.

The little peeps that came out of him for the hour ride were adorable. I chose not to have the AC or the radio on to ensure I didn’t chill him and that I could listen for if he was having any issues. The drive was very pretty, though I wasn’t fully paying attention to my surroundings, it was more, cars on the road, watching for animals to run onto the road, and is the bird still peeping. The drive back, a little less stressful.

However, when I was up at the animal sanctuary, after Howard had been checked in, as I was getting ready to leave, 3 crows swooped in around me. Two landed on my car, and one up in the tree I was parked under. The one on the trunk cawing away at me. So of course, it being me, I was standing there having a conversation with it. The girl tried to shoo the crow off my car, however that only partially worked to get me on the road, as the crow then decided that my shoulder was a good place to sit and caw at me. Did you know a crow cawing on your shoulder is very loud in your ear?

Once I got the crow off of my shoulder, and they allowed me to try to leave, I had to then make sure I didn’t hit the sanctuary’s dog. The poor little thing is deaf, very cute, but deaf. One of the other ladies came and got him away from my car. And then: the crow landed on my other arm! Silly crow.

So another conversation was had. This time me telling it I had to go feed my crows so it had to get off my arm. Once I did that off it flew, into the tree, and let me leave.

I didn’t lie to the crow, I fed mine as soon as I got home.

Into the Rabbit Hole

Vesta and I had had another day planned, to see if I could take more (she read my last trance post and agreed) it just happened to coincide with other trance work I had planned on doing.

However I didn’t follow the one rule of trancework: turn off the damn phone!

So as I was dropping, the phone rang. I turned off the ringer, giggled with Vesta since the phone had startled her and then we went back to it. The next needle sunk me down farther than I had been when the phone rang.

I walked around, down through tunnels that looked like over passes and car tunnels covered in graffiti.

At some point while walking I knew my physical body was as far as it wanted to go and I popped out just enough to ask Vesta to let me float where I was. I dropped back down easily.

As I walked a melancholy tune played. I’m not sure what exactly it was though. My ever present guide by my side, hand in mine as the keys to my trance were in my other.

We finally approached a door and I brought out the key that I was using for this endeavour and unlocked the door. My guide smiled and disappeared into the room. When I walked in, the place, it was our place, mine and his. Our room his room, the rest of the house set up similar to my own but with a touch of being Bilbo Baggins’s home.

Herbs drying at the windows, a roaring fire in the hearth, bookshelves everywhere, guitars on the walls between shelves, sheets of music strewn across tables. It was truly our home. I had yet to find where he and I could just be, where now that he could speak to me once more that we could sit and chat and have him relay all the knowledge he had of the other world. Have him relay the knowledge he’s been wanting to relay for so many years when he could not speak to me.

He kissed me and then I was back. No flowery return, no nothing of the sort. My guide’s normal “go get back in your body you’ve been here long enough” shove.

I asked Vesta to remove the needles.

I had taken 8 more than last time. I have been taking these in buttons vs straight across so the middle gets a little more sensitive than if they are all going one way. I kinda like it like that though.