Keeping Vigil to the Fire, Again

Photo by Professor Bob (CC)
Photo by Professor Bob (CC)

In a week I will publish the next Solitary Druid Fellowship liturgy. This morning, I spent some time going over the previous one, seeing where small adjustments might be made and looking for places where supplemental material would be useful.

It’s been interesting to take on this position, which is a little like leadership, but not in a traditional sense. I do not lead a group of people in a regimented, orderly way, but rather I seek to provide them with what they need in order to lead themselves. To me, this is more a position of service and empowerment rather than leadership.

Still, I receive e-mails now asking for guidance and aid, which is new for me. I try to respond with kindness, with compassion, and with objectivity. I’m not a trained counselor, nor am I clergy, and yet people come to me. So I do my best to be honest with them, and to be encouraging.

In the midst of all this, I’ve found myself a little disconnected from my own practice. I suppose this is common for people to take on any kind of leadership role, but it isn’t something I anticipated. It used to be that I performed a full rite each morning, complete with offerings and omens. But then I wrote the morning devotional for SDF and began to do that as an act of solidarity with the Fellowship. The devotional is short and simple, and while effective for what it is, I still feel myself wanting more.

One thought would be to write a lengthier devotional. This is a liturgy I’ve promised to the Fellowship, and it’s on my list of things to write (which keeps getting longer and longer). But in a way, I’d like to find something of my own to do, something that is unique to me.

Last Imbolc, I posted a poem on the blog which went like this:


I keep vigil
to the fire
in my heart.

I keep vigil
down the sidewalk,
through the door,
between the empty lines
of chit-chat talk on
threaded screens,
in middle days
of winter nights,
where no one sees
except the Bride
for whom the flame is lit.

I keep vigil
to the fire
in my heart.

The poem came to me in a flash, and when I shared it I encouraged my readership to contribute their own verses. I asked that people keep the first three lines and the last three lines, but do whatever they wanted to in the middle.

The result was a stream of interesting, thoughtful, inspiring poems. The writing and sharing of the poems was a kind of crowdsourced offering to Brighid, and the act of doing something like this with others really moved me.


Perhaps I already have what I’m looking for. Perhaps I need to take a step back and see that the service work the Fellowship provides to me is very much like this collective creativity. It may begin with something I create, something that I offer up without concern for compensation or recognition, and the result is a complex, diverse, beautiful display of creative expression from an ocean of unknown people.

Maybe it isn’t so much about needing to create something that is unique to me as it is needing to create something that keeps that internal fire lit; something that is deliberate, and relevant, and fresh. Perhaps these words will be my own, or they might come from someone else. But either way it seems important as I approach this High Day — not as the organizer of a fellowship, but as a solitary Druid — that I set aside time to find what lights that fire in me.

This is what I think we are all called to do.

Maybe I’ll open up a Google Doc on, and invite the Fellowship to rehash this poetry exercise in anticipation of the coming High Day. It can be a way for us to collectively prepare creative offerings for our individual observances. The results can be a slew of original poems that each of us offer up to one another for use during our solitary observances.

Doesn’t that sound cool?

Would you join in?

[UPDATE: The post is now live on!]


6 responses to “Keeping Vigil to the Fire, Again”

  1. Andrea J. Quinn Avatar

    I love that poem SO much. This post and the one you wrote for Huffington Post are amazing and I plan to use them both tonight for our Imbolc celebration. Thank you for your inspiring words, and for posting them out here on the internet waves for all of us. I will be sure to let everyone in our group know about your writing and this site. Keep the fires burning, friend.

  2. Sister Krissy Avatar

    I really love this shared poetry idea. Beautiful! I don’t officially follow a Druid path, but being the spiritual slut that I am I love what you are doing with the Solitary Druid Fellowship. The last ritual was quite lovely, and I used pieces of it in my own practice. But there’s something really beautiful about a shared poetry experience and connecting us all through words and creativity. I hopped over and added my contribution. Excuse my French! *blush*

  3. Prabha Devi dasi Avatar
    Prabha Devi dasi

    I have a wonderful solitary practice that in the Vedic tradition is called bhajan. I also observe the pagan solstices and cross quarter festivals and was “hand-fasted” rather than legally wed. I’m a therapist and a nun, so have played a mentoring role in other people’s lives. But I am also a Survivor. Providing care for others was the primary way I felt safe and in control enough to have human relationships. It is being joyfully replaced with the sovereign inter-dependence of spiritual camaraderie. Now my world is opening, old structures crumbling as never before. The burning tower. For a time my solitary practice is disrupted. This Imbolc will be the purest, brightest and truest of my life. I’m remembering the first snowdrops poking the napes of their slender necks through the frosty oak-tree, leaf litter within the grounds of my English boarding school…

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Bright blessings to you, Prabha. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. It is a blessing to see into your heart in this way.

  4. dashifen Avatar

    Just let us know when and where to write. It’s not like Pagans don’t enjoy throwing a few words around 😉

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      You’re great, Dash.

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