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Last night, after our Full Moon ritual, I wound up in a conversation with a Wiccan Priest about Christo-Pagans.

“Those two things are mutually exclusive,” he said adamantly.

Something about his tone drew me in. I’m not a conflict junkie, but I felt like this was territory I should explore.

The ritual, which he had partly officiated, was focussed on the idea of being “in balance” or “out of balance,” with an emphasis placed on communication. This opportunity to explore how some people bring elements of Christian and Pagan spirituality into balance within themselves felt like an appropriate extension of our rite.

[A disclaimer: I do not consider myself to be a “Christo-Pagan,” but I did spend the early part of my life and much of my late teens and early twenties identifying as a Christian. I don’t feel any trauma around that. Some of the most important spiritual experiences of my life took place in the safety and familiarity of an Episcopal worship service, even if at the time I couldn’t align with the beliefs laid out in the creeds or doctrines. There is a line of continuity which runs from my early experiences as an acolyte all the way to this morning’s ADF-styled ritual before my very pagan altar, and I’m ok with the existence of that line. I’m not a Pagan who feels he must make a clean break with his past. In truth, I believe that one never makes that sort of clean break; the past is always with us.]

The conversation rose steadily in tone and intensity, but it did not become hateful or mean. At least, I didn’t feel any meanness directed my way. Christians, on the other hand… well, it was probably good that there were none of them with us in the courtyard.

“Christian” was, for my Wiccan friend, synonymous with Christian Institution, or Christian Doctrine, or any number of Christian atrocities that have been dealt out over the centuries. The terms, for him, seemed to be inseparable.

This troubled me.

An unwillingness to see any distinction between the damage done by the Christian Empire and the revelatory, mystical experiences of a Christian sage seems intellectually weak to me. I wouldn’t want my Druid traditions to be painted over in such broad and careless brush strokes.

There is talk in Pagan circles about the decline of Christianity, the role of Christians in Western society (some pointing out rightly that Christians have little room to claim “minority” or “victim” status in America), not to mention the responsibility that some would say that modern Pagans have to resist the influence of Abrahamic traditions at all costs. I’ve heard a few of my Pagan kin even using war language to describe how Pagans should approach Christians.

We are in a battle, they affirm. Take up your spiritual arms.

This, too, troubles me.

In the conversation, I tried to justify and defend the validity of a person finding spiritual sustenance from both Christian and Pagan traditions. I was seeking to have a discussion about the inner realms and their inherent mystery. It does seem paradoxical that a person could find a way to identify as both Pagan and Christian. But, paradox aside, these people exist.

The more we spoke, the more it became clear that my friend wasn’t having a conversation with me about anything spiritual. We weren’t two mystics talking about the Invisible, or the Mystery, or the Divine in any of It’s manifestations. I was reaching for that place, but he was talking to me about the social and the political components of religion, and very little else.

There are plenty of reasonable arguments against Christianity’s dominance in the social and political landscape. Any religion that claims itself to be the sole authority on all-things-spiritual, or that it is the only “True Religion,” is dangerous. Pagans have cause to be on alert about the growing movement of politically backed, hard-core fundamentalist, far right-wing Christians making inroads into office. One of them could end up in the White House before long, and that would mean bad things for American Pagans.

But again, I wasn’t making those arguments, or countering them. I was just suggesting that it would be a mistake for us to dismiss the spiritual experiences of any person — even a Christian.

I may turn out to be a Unitarian Universalist before it’s all said and done. A movement that is built around the principal that all of our spiritual traditions have validity, and that none of us can claim supremacy over the other, speaks to me.

I should be able to explore the ways that my study of Druidry and Paganism through OBOD and ADF have informed my perspective about Deity, Nature, and our interconnectedness without shutting myself off to the ways that Christianity informed my attitudes toward charity, love, and forgiveness.

I worry that Pagans, in our quest to gain equal footing in society, will employ some of the same exclusionary techniques and tactics used against us by the fundi-Christians. I see us speaking out defensively, and I don’t think we can have constructive dialogue with people of other faith traditions when taking that approach.

Of course, there are some in our midst who have no desire for dialogue; some who would have monotheism wiped out completely if they had the power to do so. In my opinion, this is reckless and shortsighted thinking, and it adds nothing to the movement towards a truly pluralistic society.

The victims can become the victimizers, if given the power and opportunity. I feel we must avoid making that mistake.

I recognize that this is a hot-button issue for many Pagans. Please know that I have respect for those of you who feel that you’ve been damaged by Christians, or the Christian Church. I’m in no way invalidating your experience.

I am, however, hoping that you might engage with me, perhaps in the comment section, about what this subject looks like from your perspective. I ask that you be as respectful as you can of the thoughts and opinions of others, and that you feel free to be open and honest about your concerns.

I look forward to reading what you have to say, and if you feel this post was worth reading please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

I don’t can. My mom has in the past, but she never taught me how. I borrowed a big book on canning from her once, and it sat in my kitchen for an entire Autumn, unopened.

I don’t pickle. My grandma did, on my father’s side. She was from the South, a land of pickling strange things. I didn’t ask her much about pickling before her mind went, and she passed away a few years back. She took that knowledge with her.

I don’t harvest, in any literal sense. We have the frames for raised beds in our backyard, but we’ve yet to fill them with dirt. We’re thinking about doing it in the Spring, or possibly this Autumn if we can put a plan together. We may plant kale, if we can learn what kale needs to survive. Water, I gather, and light. The basics. But there are other details, I’m sure.

I write about all of this because it occurs to me that in spite of my Pagan practices and my Druidic studies, I’m extraordinarily disconnected from the land. My food arrives on semi-trucks, my clothing is shipped in from overseas and my gasoline is the stuff of global conflict. It may be more accurate to say that I’m connected to many lands, and a consumer of all of them. But I don’t get dirty in order to eat… literally, I mean. There is something dirty in the way I get my food, for sure.

I’m feeling a disconnect, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

Survival of the Pagans

Star Foster wrote about survivalism, and what some would consider the practical, and others the reactionary practice of storing stockpiles of food in the basement. I think she’s onto something. She writes:

Paganism is about examining your life, being realistic about your material, spiritual and emotional needs, and honoring the past by looking towards the future. While I don’t think Pagans should build bomb shelters and start reckoning against a possible doomsday, stocking your pantry to give yourself some added security in an uncertain economy sounds pretty Pagan to me.

There is a spiritual component to all of this, too, and it is one that I believe Pagan’s have a responsibility to consider. After all, we pay lip service to the land throughout the year, picking up our ritual items at Big Box stores, serving our pre-packaged food on plastic plates at the end of our rites. We are not always the bastians of environmental responsibility, or aware of our direct connection to the land, for that matter. We fall short as often as anyone else.

The difference is, we talk about the land all the time. We tell stories about Old Gods who governed over the fields, but we rarely step foot in the fields ourselves. In some ways, it would be more appropriate for us to worship gods who govern the produce aisle, or the food processing plants, or the deities of the drive through.

Environmental awareness is theological awareness. That is a cornerstone of Pagan Theology, is it not? The Earth is sacred, alive, and sentient. There are unseen forces that influence and shape the physical world, and if we choose to worship them should we not also seek to honor them by being discerning about how we make use of the physical world? Perhaps it isn’t so much a question of survivalism, but rather one of responsible and ethical relationship to the land on which we live and worship.

How Are We Relevant?

I was struck by the absence of any mention of the global environmental crisis at a recent Lughnasadh ritual I attended. There was great emphasis put on the story of Lugh, but none put on how the idea of “harvest” is connected to the state of the land, or how the weather is literally affecting the crops, or how the story of an ancient Celtic God is in any way relevant in a modern society that is, as John Michael Greer might put it, on the long descent toward the end of the Industrial Age.

As a person who is relatively new to Paganism, and who is seeking to understand the relevance of these traditions and practices in a modern context, I was troubled by the disconnect between the old stories being told and the current realities we face. That may be one of Christianity’s great strengths; its ability to contextualize the central messages of the faith into a modern context. Hope, love, redemption, forgiveness — these concepts and experiences are constantly brought into a modern perspective in order for them to remain relevant to the religion’s followers.

Are Pagans doing that? If our central message is that we are more relevant than Christians because the roots of our religious practice extend deeper into the past than theirs, we’re not destined for a very long shelf life. Who cares about how ancient your practice is? A tradition isn’t relevant because it’s old. It’s relevant because it speaks to something that is happening in the world right now. And we should be asking ourselves — how does our tradition speak to the state of the world at this moment in history?

Pagans, in my view, along side anyone who holds the Earth as sacred and central to their religious practice, have a distinct opportunity to step forward and offer the world a message that is relevant to all people at this moment in history. We are in the grips of an ecological crisis, one that influences all aspects of our life. Economics, health-care, food scarcity and the distribution of wealth — It all starts with the Earth. If the Earth is in disrepair, by extension all the living things and active systems on the planet will, too, be in disrepair.

Getting Back To Basics

So, I look again at my backyard and at my pantry. There is space for dirt back there, and space on the shelves for jars and cans, should I choose to do the hard work. A backyard garden is a long way from sustainable farming, but it’s a step in the right direction. Even engaging in a discussion about what we eat, where it comes from, and how it arrives on our dinner plate brings us into a state of awareness of our relationship to the land.

And I don’t care if you identify as Pagan or not — we’re all living on this land, and we’re all a part of it. Deifying it isn’t necessary in order to live on it… but it, too, is a step in the right direction.

 

If this post sparked some ideas, please post them in the comments. And, as always, I’m grateful for you sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

We are all solitary. Even those of us who practice with a group, or who gather at festivals to dance around fires, or stand in circles under full moons. We are all solitary, still.

There are politics in Groves and Covens, just as in Churches and Temples. There are people who seek to shape things in their image, and to bend the will of the universe to their liking. And, there are people who just long to be loved, and respected, and made to feel important, regardless of the size of their theological vocabulary or their experience as a ritualist.

They are solitary, too.

There’s been an ongoing conversation in my solitary world with other solitaries, with Pagan politicians and with my husband about the idea of ministry, and what it means to me, personally, and to me as a member of the greater, if somewhat formless, Pagan community.

Words like ministry, or worship, or even prayer have been met with a certain degree of hesitation from my fellow paganus; an unwillingness to even consider how these words, rooted as they seem to be in Christian culture, might be aplicable to our spiritual tradition and experience.

That’s fine. I’m not here to evangelize, especially not for the sake of vocabulary.

But, I’m still feeling drawn to the resonance of certain words; ministry, most of all.

Ablaze In The Water

When I think of ministry, I think of fire. Fire, for me, is a symbol for transformation, for the exercising of one’s True Will, for both the stream of thoughts on the page and also the explosion those thoughts make as they are born into experience. Fire, in my imagination, resides primarily in the heart.

Ministry, as I understand it, is the act of nurturing that fire, both in yourself and in others. One who ministers is one who keeps the fire burning, or who teaches others the skills needed for this internal fire tending.

Viewing ministry in this way allows me, and people of many varying traditions – monotheistic, polytheistic, agnostic, atheist – to develop a craft of caring for the hearts of other people. Ministry, in this light, is more an art form than an extension of any sort of dogmatic imperative.

I brought up ministry to my ADF mentor, and told him about this fire in the heart. He suggested that it may also be good to imagine a fire in the head. The “Imbas“, or quite literally, “fire in the head” in Gaelic, is the inspiration from the Gods which drives us to create. It is also the substance, metaphysically speaking, which connects the Heavens, the Underworld, and this place we live in, often called the Mid Earth.

I like the idea that something inside me, something which connects my heart, my mind, and all of my creative parts is also the thing which connects me to my Ancestors, to my Gods, to this Earth and all of its inhabitants. There’s got to be a word for it in English… in every language. If not, there should be.

A Question Of Vocation

I grew up in a tradition of priests, not ministers. Now I’m in a world of priest and priestesses, and all I can think about is ministry. For a time, I thought I should be a priest. Recently, I considered that maybe I’m cut out for ministry.

Perhaps I could be both.

Priesthood, as I understood it then and as I’ve seen it played out now in ADF Druidry, is mainly a function of serving the community through leading ritual and through keeping the sacred days sacred.

I could do that as a solitary practitioner.

Ministry, as I’ve defined it above, is really about keeping the fire burning. I can make a practice of keeping watch of my fire, making sure it is lit, well fueled, tended to. Then I can reach out to those closest to me – as an act of compassion as well as one of piety – to care for them; to keep their fire burning.

This, perhaps, makes being solitary less solitary.

But I will always be a solitary. So will you. Even if we develop community around ourselves, there is an aspect of our journey that will always be done alone. I say this not to sound morose, or to suggest that we be pitied. This is just the truth.

There is cause for gladness, though.

The fire connects us. The fire, which led me to these words, leads you to creation, to re-creation, to transformation and new growth. In the fire, we are never truly alone. Through the fire, we are connected to all that has been before us and all that will ever be; we are one with the Ancestors, and we become the Ancestors of those to come; we glean insight into the nature of Divine Reality, and we discover the magic in the ordinary world we live and work in.

The fire brings light, and the fire destroys, and the fire prepares the ground for new beginnings; be they in your heart, in your head, or on the furthest edge of your imagination. The fire reaches that place, and the fire is that place.

 

A Blessing On You

May your heart and head be lit ablaze with the fire of Imbas, of transformative creativity, and may the awareness of this fire be with you, always.

May you be a Priest, a Priestess, and one who ministers to the fire.

 

If these words have spoken to you, and if you’d like to speak to my understanding of the fire, or more importantly, to your understanding of the fire, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you. And, let the blaze illuminate the computer screens of all your friends by sharing the post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!

Over the past few days I’ve taken great pleasure in reading and re-reading the posts of the Rogue Priest, Mr. Drew Jacob, who describes himself as,

Priest of many gods. Freelance author, nonprofit professional, and full-time adventurer.

I like Drew. He’s intellectually rigorous, but not snobby. He’s thoughtful and respectful of his readership, and he challenges us to think broader and deeper.

I think I’d end up a regular at his Temple if it weren’t 900 miles away.

Drew doesn’t identify as a Pagan, although I took him for one. I asked him how exactly he wasn’t Pagan, and he did a mighty fine job explaining that in this post, “Why I’m Not Pagan“. Give it a read.

In response, I’m writing to explain my relationship with the identifier, Pagan, and how it sometimes fits and often does not fit my sense of religious identity.

An Acolyte’s Primer

There’s no better preparation for becoming a liturgist, Pagan or otherwise, than to train directly with a priest in the Episcopal Church. They do liturgy well. I discovered a love of ritual at a very young age. Eight, maybe? The smells of incense, the white robes and rope belts, the ringing of bells and the chanting… it was heavenly.

I loved church. I loved being a part of a community. My priest taught me, directly and by example, that my actions, be they ceremonial or mundane, helped to created something vibrant and meaningful for myself and for others. Liturgy can be truly transformative magic, and the magic took root in my soul. But more importantly, the magic had context within the community. It served a greater purpose than my own personal fulfillment.

Did I love Jesus? Was a Bible thumper? No, not exactly. I didn’t not love Jesus. It just wasn’t really about him, blasphemous as that may have seemed. It was more about all the stuff that surrounded Jesus; the myth made manifest through our actions. That’s what made me feel good about being Christian. That, and the community of people who cared about me.

The Beauty of Ruin

I had my hard times with the church, don’t get me wrong. But I always returned because I believed in the magic that happened during the services, and between the people who showed up. I believed in an incarnate Spirit, and that She wasn’t just some idea for theologians to parse out. The Spirit was real, and moved through a place. God was a mystery, but the Spirit was the the source of the most amazing, moving, meaningful magic.

For a brief while, I was a youth leader for the Juniors and Seniors at my Cathedral. I was tattooed, queer, and unwilling to allow them to rest on dogmatic laurels. I challenged my kids’ assumptions about God, about faith and about the strange and often uncomfortable intersection of the two. I opened them up to the idea that there was more than one way to connect with the Divine. I told them that I didn’t really care what they believed. I just cared that they sought out something deeper. I wanted them to experience the magic I’d felt in my heart.

In time, I came to realize that the Church was not concerned so much with magic. The Church is a business, a bureaucracy. Ultimately, it all boils down to belief, and due process. Jesus is God, and God is Love, and saying that Love is the Law is legalism, eventually.

So, in spite of all the joy it brought me, I left.

by Hee K. Chun

From That To This

Being Pagan is much more than simply not being Christian. You don’t walk away from the Church and just – poof! – you’re a Pagan. At least, this has not been my experience.

Two years ago I found OBOD, The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, and I thought that their expression of Druidry might be a good fit for me. They hold up creativity as sacred, and their understanding of Awen (a Welsh word meaning, literally, inspiration) felt very much like my understanding of the Spirit. I sent off for their correspondence course.

OBOD isn’t a religion, per se. They are a Druid Order, and they approach Druidry more as a philosophy. You don’t have to be Pagan to be a Druid, they posit, and their stance was important to me at the onset of my new quest, because I didn’t know if I was Pagan. I just knew I was seeking something mystical, magical and communal. I was seeking an immediate connection to the Source — the Awen.

OBOD’s study course was interesting for a while, but I slowly lost interest. I had no community support, and the absence of religious structure left me feeling aimless in my studies.

I found religion and structure in ADF, or Ár nDraíocht Féin (Our Druidry in Irish). ADF also offers a study course, but it leans more towards the anthropological and less to the philosophical. ADF is much more like a Reconstructionist tradition, placing high emphasis on building a religious practice the approaches the traditions of the Indo-European people. Accuracy is paramount. ADF is also explicitly Pagan.

Pagan as Pre-requisite

I joined ADF and decided that I might be able to find the magic by participating in the religion. Rather than chase the Spirit, I would build the Temple. creating a home in which the Spirit could dwell.

And I’ve done that, at least on a small scale. I have an altar, and I worship daily. I’ve taken to reading books on polytheism, Indo-European tradition and Celtic deities. I have a personal religion now, albeit one I still don’t completely understand, and it satisfies my need for fragrant, candle-lit, ceremonial liturgy. What it doesn’t do, however, is provide any real sense of community.

A Context of Communion

It comes to down to is this: I believe that a solitary, Pagan/Druid practice is not a viable substitute for communal worship. Not for me, at least. The work I do alone should prepare me for work I do in community. Magic requires context in order for it to be valuable to anyone other than just myself, and community creates the context.

I think Pagans – and for now, I include myself in that category – would do good to sit with the idea of Communion, as it relates to community. Set aside the Christian connotation for a moment. I’m not talking about the consumption of body & blood. I’m talking about the something more universal.

See, communion is more than just a Christian sacrament. Communion is a human birthright. We commune with one another so that we might catch a glimpse, experience a moment of kinship with the spiritual forces that create our world, and with whom we work to create the magic in our lives.

Communion, as an extension of community, creates the context through which our personal magic is imbued with purpose.

So, for now, I’m a Pagan in search of Communion. This is my new starting point.

If this was post was interesting to you, please be a good friend and tweet or Facebook share it.

My friend and fellow Dedicant in the ADF Druidry Training Course, Kristin of Grey Wren’s Flight, had a mighty fine idea on Monday. She decided that in response to the disconnect we often feel between our experiences of real-life, physically manifest, grit’n’grime spiritual practice and the text-based, idea-centered, socially networked way we communicate online, she would share a photo of her spiritual work space. It is, in effect, a reminder that she does exist somewhere in the world…not just on my computer screen.

So, I join her today in the sharing.

Here is a photo of a my bookshelf, messy and well-used. My jars of herbs and roots sit beside candles, oils and a small statue of Hekate (while not a Goddess of my primary Hearth, she still makes herself known now and then). I’ve placed my ADF membership card in front of a cherished copy of The Solitary Druid and some other scary academic books I’ve still yet to read. The silhouetted photo of me on a pilgrimage to Ireland is a reminder of my time in the Episcopal Church; a time where I first commented to the sacred land of my spiritual ancestors.

There’s plenty more tucked into drawers and hiding inside leather pouches. But, I’ll keep that bit of mystery for another post.

Thanks to Kristin for encouraging this first Show & Tell Post!

Show and Tell #1

 

The Spring comes, and my life transforms. It seems to be almost as reliable as the coming of the Cottonwood snow. It happens every year, this pull towards the world; this letting go of Winter’s introspection.

In the past week, I’ve experienced a great upheaval and shifting in my professional and personal life. Relationships are changing, and I’m doing my best to remain calm and steady, respectful of the balance between what I can do to move things forward and what the currents are naturally doing on their own. It’s been hard, and I’m a little exhausted.

I think this pulling back from intense spiritual work, including a break from blogging and a relaxing of pressure around my DP work, has allowed me to prepare for this shift. My daily practice is still strong — stronger than ever, in fact. My devotionals have become so deeply a part of my life that I almost cannot remember what it was like without them. This sacred time feels less like a requisite of the DP course, and more a natural extension of my being.

In light of the hefty transitions and the attention they require, I’ve decided not to attend Wellspring. This saddens me a bit, as I was really looking forward to meeting my fellow sojourners in the flesh. But, I just turned over a huge plot of land, and I’m planting a season’s worth of new seed. You don’t just up and leave during the first few days and weeks after planting. You stick around. You water the earth. I have to make sense of what is coming, and I need to be here in order to do that.

I pray that all of my friends and readers have been well since last I wrote here, and I hope that you’ll reach out to say hello. To all of those attending Wellspring, I hope you have a brilliant weekend. I’ll send my spirit to be with you around the sacred fire.

Bright blessings,

Teo

April was a month of great change and upheaval. Perhaps I’ve been holding on to Winter, and all that it represents, and the Gods would have no more of it. Or, it could be the result of cosmic forces; a planet gone retrograde, or some other unseen spirit. I cannot say. All I know is that in the past few days I’ve felt a shift back into a familiar rhythm, and the world I walk through has not come apart completely. Not just yet.

My daily meditation and devotion throughout April was consistent, and at times quite affected by the circumstances of my life. Then, there were moments when I realized just how grounding and important my daily practice has become.

I wrote on April 11th:

For some time now I have felt a weight upon me. The uncertainties of my life, specifically in my work, leave me confused about what choice to make. Often, the result is a static state; a refusal to choose anything at all. The creative flow becomes blocked, and depression sets in. I ask not with a sincere heart how I might move past this sense of bewilderment, but rather I counter every offer of help with a negative, pessimistic response. It wears me out.

My time in devotion is different. While there are some days that start smoother than others, and my devotionals may be more or less affected by the other circumstances of my life, this is a sacred time. It is made sacred, and the weight is lifted. If only I could continue this feeling and carry this space out into the rest of my life.

Several inspired works came during devotional this month. In time, I’ll post them here on the blog. I’m also considering, with great sincerity, how I might take my writing and shape it into a publishable book. I feel that there is a great need for new myths in our community – new stories we tell to explain our experience of this modern, crumbling, beautiful world – and I feel that there may be a calling for me to write such myths, as well as songs of praise (a book, perhaps, to accompany the great works of Ceisiwr Serith).

I wonder what my readers might think of new myths being written… Would you find use in reading and telling stories of a totally modern, but utterly re-enchanted world? Could the creation of such works become a vibrant, relevant component of our modern Pagan and Druid path?

From Ian Corrigan’s blog, Into the Mound:

1: The Cosmos is holographic – the whole is repeated within the parts. Especially, the human microcosm reflects the macrocosm.

2: The Gods exist in the macrocosm.

3: Therefor, their reflections exist in each individual human microcosm. These reflections are what Jung perceived as the ‘archetypes’.

4: Thus, when we invoke the Gods, and they draw near to us, their reflection draws near to our conscious awareness. Often it is only these internal daemons of the Gods that we actually perceive in our invocations, and that can be sufficient. The Gods act as and in those reflections just as they do as and through an idol of gold. Sometimes we are able to expand our awareness outside of our microcosmic bubble, and perceive the God more directly… Those are the big events…

 

Eyes closed, offerings made and a candle was lit for Brighid. My breath grew long and slow. The blackness of my mind became illuminated with color, and image. Before me was a green pasture stretching out towards the other edge of darkness. In front of me stood a large tree, next to which was a stone well (not unlike the one I’d seen at the holy site in County Kildare). Between these two sat a third.

She was radiant, and soft. She sat on the ground, and there was food in front of her. Her hair was golden, and he face pale. She emanated light.

I approached her and sat down. I could not see the details of her face, but I sensed that if I could I would see a gentle smile. She seemed at once very young and unfathomably old. She was beautiful.

I stayed only for a moment, and then I stood and backed away in the direction that I’d come. She maintained her focus on me until it all dissolved into the blackness again.

 

I gazed on this scene for only a moment, but what I saw, however brief, was unique to my experiences in meditation. There seemed to be an interaction between my imagination (a key component in meditative work) and something else; something other. It did not make me tremble, as did my first interaction with Arawn. Instead, it brought a feeling of peace and tranquility.

I take it as a blessing.

 

Praise be to the Bright One, who is, Herself, the Fire! She rests beside the Tree and the Well, and her radiance is a blessing to behold!


I sat in my room, staring blankly at my altar. I hadn’t even lit the candle or prepared the incense, and I was already stressed, bewildered, and overwhelmed with the drama of the morning.

The episode leading to this emotional state of emergency involved two missing shipping receipts, a lost package in Alaska, and $400 dollars. I was a frantic mess, running around the house, trying desperately to find the pink and gray Post Office notes, certain that I would end up with a very expensive consequence for my dis-organizational tendencies. My husband tried to reassure me, but I couldn’t be consoled. I collapsed into my chair, folded my arms across my chest, and proceeded to pout my very best pout.

He quietly left the room.

After a few minutes alone I thought about making a petition to the Kindreds, and I thumbed through A Book of Pagan Prayer. There was nothing for my specific situation. I started to wonder if there was something ethically problematic about asking for aid in the retrieval of a lost item. Is that too trivial? Should I wait to petition the Kindreds for something more dire? Recovery from a life-threatening illness, perhaps? I didn’t know what to do.

So, I decided to do my devotional anyway. I would approach my altar with sincerity, and, if it felt right in the moment, I would ask for otherworldly assistance in as respectful a way as possible. I would do it in a spirit of ghosti.

I centered. I purified. We opened the Gates. I blessed my offerings and lifted them up to the Kindreds. I lit a fire for Brighid. I sought out guidance through the tarot, and the images were both intuitively correct and intellectually foggy. Then, I approached the altar, closed my eyes and spoke from my heart.

I said that if the Kindreds deemed this cause worthy of their assistance, and if they would kindly help resolve this situation in my favor, I would, in return, donate a portion of the $400 to a group that seeks to restore balance and harmony with the Earth, and that honors the Gods.

There. I’d spoken my peace. I’d also made an oath to the Kindreds; not something a devoted Pagan should take lightly. I felt better. I’d done all I could do. I closed out the space and left my room.

Sitting in his office across the hallway was my husband, typing away at his computer. When he saw me he paused, and reached for something on the desk in front of him. He held up the two missing Post Office receipts. He’d just found them.

I grinned, and chuckled under my breath. How brilliant. How perfect.

Before thinking to long about it, I went back into my room and opened my computer. I went to ADF.org and found the link to “Donate” through their web-store. I made a donation, fulfilling my promise to the Kindreds.

All was right in the world again… just like that.

Ghosti!

My relationship with Druidry is growing deeper, more committed and a little bit complicated. Tree roots come to mind.

I began searching out information on modern expressions of Druidism a few years ago, finding The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) first. I immediately connected with the spirit of the organization, and was delighted that they put such a great emphasis on creativity. I’m a writer and musician, and I’ve always sought out ways to express my spirituality through my creative gifts. That this tradition was encouraging it seemed like a sign that I was in the right place.

After a period of a few months working through their Bardic course, I drifted away from OBOD. Looking back, I attribute that to a lack of community around my spiritual work, as well as a lack of a religious structure. I got a great deal out of it, but there was something missing. Leaving the studies wasn’t a failure in my eyes; it was just the choice that felt best for me.

Then I found Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF), the group I’m working with now. ADF is a religious organization, and through them I found the structure and religiosity I was missing with OBOD. The community I was searching for has, more or less, been available to me, and I’m working my way though the year-long course of the Dedicant Path.

Here’s where the roots begin jutting out in yet another direction.

I just read The Druidry Handbook, written by John Michael Greer, Archdruid of yet another Druid group, The Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). I flew through the book, and found myself enchanted by their philosophy and approach. I loved the book so much that I purchased The Druid Magic Handbook, a follow up title built on the principles in the first book.

If you are unaware of the subtle differences between these organizations, and their respective takes on Druidry, let me try and explain one key point. OBOD and AODA accept the work created during the “Druid Revival” of the 18th and 19th century as valid material, created by inspired individuals and worthy to include in a modern spiritual practice of Druidry. They both acknowledge that some of the work created during this period was forged and misrepresented, and that there were great historical inaccuracies in the Revivalists’ perspective about Druids and Celtic culture. But, in accepting that they also believe in the idea that if the writing and traditions which originated from that period are inspiring and useful, then they should be celebrated and made use of. In the end, for them, its all about doing what works.

ADF takes a different perspective altogether. The emphasis, for them, is on building a new tradition around what is historically accurate, as best we know, about the ancient religious practices of not just the Celts, but the Indo-European cultures as a whole. ADF dismisses the writing created during the Revival, and places the emphasis on striving for a kind of historical authenticity that feels, to me, to be bordering on re-constructionism. It isn’t quite that rigid, but it still is searching to graft the new ways on top of the old, as best we can assess what those were. Being as true as can be to the “old ways” is very important in ADF.

Now, back to me.

I feel a pull towards the writing and approach of the Revivalist Movement, and I don’t really care that they made up or borrowed a great deal of what they were doing. What they created speaks to my heart, and that counts for a great deal, I think. I’m seeking to live a life that is rooted in this world, and that allows me to expand in my creative expression and my spiritual awareness. I’m looking to grow in my connectedness to the world while simultaneously become more fully myself. Shouldn’t the heart lead the way in that quest?

The question is, must I be a strict adherent to any one of these traditions in order to accomplish that? Can I be an ADF member, following through on my commitment to the Dedicant Path, while still harboring this love for the Druid Revivalists and their modern spiritual offspring?

I’m open to thoughts and comments from members of any of these groups. What has your experience been like? What resonates about ADF, OBOD or AODA for you, and why do you lean towards one or the other? Or, do you pull from all three traditions? Tell me about your tree roots and Druid groups.

I experienced a kind of breakthrough this morning during my devotional. For the first time since I began this path of Our Druidry, I sang my liturgy.

It was a magnificent feeling.

I think the experience was so fresh, so powerful, because the sung liturgy the part of the Episcopal church service I cherished the most. As I mentioned before, I was an acolyte, and I loved the liturgy. Wholeheartedly. I knew the rises and falls of the melody, and was moved by them. I relished in them. I sang along beneath my breath. It never occurred to me before today that I could facilitate that sort of worship on my own.

I had just finished intoning the AWEN, and I was centered and still. I was listening, deeply. From the silence, I heard in my mind, “Sing to Arawn.”

(I’ve learned to follow these voices during worship, and not spend time inspecting them too closely. When you receive this sort of quiet direction, you take it.)

So I did, and the experience was, in so many ways, more natural for me than speaking the invocation has ever been.

The melodies were simple, and reminiscent of those sung back at church. To Arawn, my melody was deeper, fuller; something felt right in singing with a manly tone when calling him. To the Kindreds, I lifted the melody a few steps, and, being that I speak close to the same words for each of my three offerings, I did my best to use the same melody for each of the Three. To Brighid I sang with the most passionate tone, which was still simple in its form (the Priest is never to interject too much, as it is the simplicity and beauty of the voice paired with the meaning behind the words that creates the proper worship experience).

After making my offerings, I thrice intoned the AWEN, recalling “Amen” from church. However, while singing the word I remained conscious that the AWEN is a force, living and moving through me and the world – not simply a statement of closing (as one might use, “So Mote It Be”).

This integration of yet another tradition from the Christian experience of worship feels right to me. There are so many effective aspects to the Episcopal liturgy, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t integrate them into my Pagan experience. This mashup of religious expression is coming from a sincere place, and I believe sincerity to be the most important ingredient in one’s religious life.

So, as I am moved, I shall sing to the Kindreds. I shall lift up my voice in praise to the Gods and Goddesses, the Ancestors who have paved the way for me, and the Spirits that surround me in this great land. I shall make a beautiful noise in their honor, and they shall hear me.

This post is a response to the blog post “Omens and Tarot“, posted yesterday on Grey Wren’s Flight. I encourage you to read the full post for context, and I’ve provided a brief excerpt below which summarizes what she wrote.

“I’ve been incorporating omens into my devotionals lately, partly because I’ve been wanting to take my spiritual work to the next level, and partly because I have so many beautiful tarot decks that need love. (I’m such a little kid, wanting to play with my toys.)

The short version of this post: how do you take omens during a ritual?

What’s the best way to take omens? It must vary from person to person, but how does one find a method and feel confident that it’s working? Any thoughts?”

I’m delighted to read the you’re incorporating the tarot into your daily work, especially if you already have a relationship with the cards. I also use (as one of 2 or 3 regular decks) the DruidCraft Tarot, and I know exactly the image you’re speaking of.

For me, I’ve chosen to use the cards in a slightly different way. After making my offerings, I ask of the Kindred something like:

“If my offerings are acceptable to you, please provide me a point of focus, a message of guidance, an Omen.”

Then, I work with the cards. I may lay out a single card, or a three card spread. I have an Ogham deck, and I may choose to use that over the more visual, narrative cards. I allow the spread to be guided by my intuition.

I also may change my request of the Kindred to suit my needs at that moment. Today, my request was that they provide me insight into the story, song and poem that I’m preparing for the Bardic Chair competition at Wellspring. When I sat down at my tarot table, I chose to pull one card from 3 different decks – the DruidCraft, the Llewellyn Tarot and the Ogham Deck (something I’d never done before). The message that came forth was amazing!

This may not be strict ADF or PIE orthopraxy, but to me it feels right. I don’t just want to know if my offerings were accepted or acceptable, because I don’t think that all the Kindred want from me are some oats and a bit of oil. This is a relationship, and the offerings, in large part, are symbolic of something much deeper. I make these offerings so that I might initiate contact with forces that are greater and more powerful than myself. The objects I use are – I think – mostly arbitrary. It is the sincerity with which I share these object – these symbols – and the focus and intent with which I hold them up in worship that matters most.

I believe we should make offerings that feel right to us, and make requests of the Kindred as our needs and desires dictate. If, by Their wisdom, they do not see fit to provide us with exactly what we are asking, it seems to me that we need not take that as an immediate sign that our offerings weren’t “good enough”. It could be that our requests were simply not coming from the place of true need or right desire (if I might risk sounding moralistic by using that phrase).

So, use the tarot as feels best to you. Or, seek out their Omen in the clouds…or in the pattern of your coffee grounds! Or, perhaps best of all, still your soul and listen for the sound of their voices in the sanctuary of your heart.

For the first part of Week 5, I was out of town. I managed to keep up my daily discipline, altering it slightly to fit a hotel environment. The Portable Altar was a much cherished tool. I managed to set aside about 30 minutes each morning to worship.

On January 28th, after making my offerings to the Kindred, giving praise and thanksgiving for their blessings, I wrote/discovered the following words. Each line was spoken during, or just before I shuffled the cards:

By the Fire

By the Water

By the Tree

In the Heavens

In the Otherworld

In the Middleworld

With the Shining Ones

With the Ancestors

With the Spirits of the Land

I believe I’ve started a new tradition for myself. I’ve used this prayer over my shuffling each day since.

My morning devotional was an anchor during my time away from home. I used this time with the Kindred to re-connect with my center, to remind myself of my creative gifts, and to recalibrate my spirit, if you will.

Week 6 was not my most meditative week, but I kept up with my devotionals. As things in my life get busy, and my mind is flooded with thoughts, meditation becomes challenging. Somehow, though, I find it easier to still my mind in service to the Kindred. Worship – prayerful action – is something I can do even when I feel unable to meditate.

There are times, however, where my mind is immediately calm; so much so that I feel a direct connection to the source of inspiration. Just yesterday, for example, I performed my devotional, made my offerings, invited the Kindred into my space, and I sat down to my table to draw an Omen. I drifted into a place of quite, dark stillness. An image appeared in my mind, as clear as a photograph, and the image spoke, I thought, to a creative project I’m working on.

I sketched the image, and then, in an attempt to get a better sense of the meaning or message behind the vision, I drew a 3 card spread. I was amazed to see that the image I drew in my journal – a picture of me in full Druid robe, standing before an altar – bore an uncanny likeness to the center card of my spread: The Hanged Man (which in this deck represents Pryderi, son of Rhiannon, and his assumption into a world between worlds). I may not have thought I was meditating, but my mind was primed and ready to receive this vision.

My daily devotional and my periodic, but often powerful meditative work, have become a central part of my life. For this reason, I feel blessed.

Ideally, this series of posts, “On Meditation and Devotion” will come weekly, and serve to summarize the daily entries I keep in my hand-written journal.

Week 1

On December 27th, 2010, I performed my first ADF style daily devotional. I read, near verbatum, the ritual that Skip Ellison shared in his book, Solitary Druid. I proceeded through the ritual, not sure if my words would be heard. I called on Arawn – the Welsh God of the Underworld, who first made his presence known to me in a dream I had last summer (an experience worth unpacking in a future blog post) – and asked for him to open the Gates. I made offerings of lavender to the Spirits of the Land, oats to the Ancestors, and olive oil to the Shining Ones.

After making offerings, I sat as my desk and, honestly, didn’t know what to do next. The book calls for meditation, and my intention, before I decided to perform a more formal devotional, was to write. But, I was unclear if writing would serve as a “meditative” act. So, I did little else during this first ritual. I closed it out according to the book, and documented my experience in my journal.

I arrived at my altar every day during this next week and did much of the same things as on the first day. Once I got off the page, I discovered that performing this ritual, especially when centered around expressing to the Kindred my praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, honor and respect, was a very natural experience for me. I know how to do this. Liturgy just makes sense to me.

Week 2

Starting on January 4th, 2011, I began exploring meditation more deliberately in my daily devotionals. There was, to be fair, a meditative spirit to the liturgy during the first week, and I worked to slow my breath, center myself and free my mind of distraction. But, during Week 2, things changed and my meditation became more focussed.

On the morning of the 4th, as described in my journal,

“I traveled…to a place where the Land, Water and Sky met. I heard my breathing, and the sound became the crashing of the ocean on the shore. Each inhalation was the pulling back of the water, and each exhale was the water slamming on the sand.”

The thought occurred to me (a thought I was having in that place and not before my altar, if that makes sense) that I should be doing some sort of ritual there. I imagined an altar, but it seemed out of place. No symbols I imagined seemed to fit, and it occurred to me that enacting the ritual I used to open the Gates may not be the one I was feeling called to perform in this new, mystical space.

I didn’t know what to do, so I raised my arms and said “Thank you. I’d like to come back.”

I brought my awareness back to my body and closed out the ritual, profoundly grateful for this experience and a little mystified as to what it meant.

I continued to visit this place throughout the week, exploring a bit further the landscape, but never straying far from where I first appeared (a cave near the point where the Land meets the Water and Sky). Once I smelled a flower, which I think may have been a calendula. Another time, a memory surfaced, along with an insight into the relevance of that memory in my current life. Each day brought a new experience; a new mystery.

Week 3

In my post, Turning Over A Good Omen, I wrote of a sign I received from the Kindred. During Week 3, starting on January 10th, 2011, I brought the tarot into my daily devotional. Read this post for a glimpse into how this change of routine brought with it a profound experience of connectedness to the Great Ones.

I did not visit the Sacred Place in my meditations this week, but I did have a revelatory experience that I believe was a precursor to incorporating the Two Powers Meditation into my daily devotional.

From my journal entry of January 14th, 2011:

“A more centered mediation/ritual this morning. The Hallows are still open as I write this. When I look through my mind’s eye, the Fire is raging, the Water deep and moving, and the Tree wide and surrounded by a mist. It occurred to me as I sat down to shuffle, after perhaps the 5th or 6th turn, that when I stand with the Flame overhead and the Waters reaching up into my feet from the earth that I am the tree which holds the Middle Earth.”

For anyone who is aware of the Two Powers Meditation, you will recognize this vision.

The following evening, while reading through Our Druidry, I decided that I was ready to explore the Two Powers Meditation for the first time. When I read through the descriptions of the Earth Power and the Sky Power, and how the energy is circulated through the body, I was flabbergasted! I saw this! This came to me! What a blessing!

Perhaps the Two Powers Meditation is the ritual I felt called to do in the place where the Land meets the Sky and the Water!

My last post, Turning Over A Good Omen, received a thoughtful and sincere comment from Grey Wren, a blogger and new friend whose DP work I’ve enjoyed reading. (Pay her site a visit. She’s delightful.) Her words are on my mind this afternoon, and I’d like to share them with you.

She wrote:

I could use a little Princess of Wands blessing in my own creative work today. It’s one of *those* days. I’ve been so wrapped up in discussing my personal struggles with the Kindred that I’ve neglected my professional struggles.

I’m writing this post from work, which may have something to do with why her words are resonating for me!

But this theme has surfaced in other places, too. In a mailing list thread that’s been steadily growing over the past week, one ADF member, Karen, joined the dozen-ish other members in who responded to the question, “What were or are your hurdles with the Dedicant Program”.

She wrote:

I’m finding my biggest hurdle is remaining constant in my studies and practices through the ebbs and flows of my mundane life.

Karen and Grey Wren are not alone. I think many of us feel this way, whether we’re working our way through a structured program, like the Dedicant Path, or building a spiritual discipline from scratch.

I pose this question to my readers, regardless of your spiritual tradition and practice (and there are a good 60 of you who are regulars to the site, so don’t be shy – speak up):

How do you integrate your spiritual practice into your ordinary life? What tips could you give someone who is struggling with this challenge?

The snow is falling outside my house. It doesn’t want to stop. It’s the light, lingering kind of snow, and it makes me feel a little bit slower than usual.

This morning, during my daily devotional, after my offerings had been made to the Kindred, I sat down to write a blog post. Sometimes writing seems like the natural form of meditative work to do. I started to write about an experience I had last night, during which I was approached by an acquaintance and asked if I would be interviewed about my religious beliefs. I politely declined, informing him that I was in the middle of a process, and that sometimes in order for a process to remain sacred, it has to be kept secret.

It may seem strange that I write on Bishop In The Grove about the desire to keep my beliefs private. This is a publicly viewable blog, after all. But, to the best of my knowledge he is unaware of the work I’m doing here.

What struck me as interesting about his request, and what sent me into a bit of a tailspin, was how he framed the proposed discussion. My beliefs were what mattered to him, not my practice. When I thought to myself, “What do I believe?” I was reminded of an earlier time in my life; a time when I could have told you exactly what I believed. I recited my beliefs quite clearly every Sunday morning.

As a child, I was indoctrinated into the Christian church, and by extension, the Christian worldview. This isn’t some deep, dark secret, nor was this morning the first time the thought had occurred to me. But, for whatever reason, today it felt like a revelation.

Indoctrination happens to the best of us. Most every child who grows up in a creedal church learns what they “believe” through the rote recitation of someone else’s words. Some grow up to continue to believe those words, to allow them to forever shape the way they see the world. And others, like me, grow up to discover that they are drawn to something different. The words become hollow. Mechanical. Devoid of any magic whatsoever.

ADF’s widely accepted beliefs, as explained by ADF’s founder, Isaac Bonewitz, make sense to me. I can accept them, at least as a starting point. But I am still a novice when it comes to talking about those beliefs as my own. In a way, they aren’t my own. They aren’t creedal, or doctrinal. They are descriptive, not prescriptive, if that makes sense. They describe the loosely held, collective beliefs of a body of people, to which I belong. They are not prescriptive of how I must believe in order to belong to that group.

I was made a Christian, and all of my “I Believe” statements were handed to me. I learned them, loved them at times, and was resistant to them at others. But, they were core to my experience of being a Christian. I was what I believed.

Now, I think I’m being called into a different process.

This is a process of discovery; a process that is all about the “doing”. In searching for a practice that is spiritually fulfilling, that, as my husband pointed out today, gets at the deep, deeper-than-Christian roots I’ve always been connected to, and in working with forces, movements of being, that are very old, (like, capital O, Old),  I will come to understand with great clarity what it is that I believe. I will be able to explain my beliefs, my worldview, to others, perhaps in a way that is universal, completely ecumenical. My beliefs will be a natural extension of my practice.

And, it will take time.

Patience is a virtue, the Christian adage goes. But, as you may know, patience isn’t on ADF’s list of virtues to study.

Perseverance is, though.

Perseverance, which I’ve not written about before, may be a current running beneath the surface of this post, and of my life as a whole. My vision may not be perfectly clear, and my path may be fog-dense at times, but the only way for any of that to change is by me continuing to do what I’m doing. Now may not be the best time to explain my beliefs, but if I persevere that time may soon come.

That's totally me in the middle.

For the better part of the past two months I’ve been developing a new workout routine. I’ve made it to the gym 6 days a week, for at least an hour per visit.

I’m there so much they should be paying me a salary.

Today I found out that I’ve reached my two month exercise goals, putting on several new pounds of muscle and dropping another 1 1/2 percentage points of body fat. The news was thrilling. I’ve put in the work, and it’s starting to show.

“What should I do to now?” I asked my trainer.

“Keep doing the work,” he said simply.

Now, for the better part of the past two weeks I’ve been developing a new spiritual routine. I’ve risen each morning and made my way into my little sanctuary of a room, lit my candles, and worked at teaching myself new words to say to new Gods. (That is, new to me.) I’m building myself a new religion; word by word, day by day.

The results of the physical work are measurable. I know my thighs are shrinking, as is my belly. I know that my shoulders are bigger, and that my chest is broadening. But the results of my spiritual work don’t come in inches or pounds. My spiritual growth doesn’t make my t-shirts fit any different. In fact, unless you’re really looking close at me you might not even see a difference at all.

But, there is a difference.

In an e-mail exchange I was fortunate enough to have with Kirk Thomas, ADF’s Archdruid, he told me that he was glad that I was doing the work.

“You know, that’s what it’s all about.”

So simple, these men in my life.

Do the work. That’s all you need to worry about. Just keep doing the work.

The results will be evident in time.

My altar is my Cathedral.

It is the place where I go each morning to worship, to pray, to meditate.

I make my altar new with each ritual I perform, infuse it with more of my essence, my intention, my magic.

There is fire on my altar.

There is water on my altar.

There is wood on my altar.

There is a place to make offerings to the Three Kindred, and there is special recognition of Brigid, my patroness.

Atop my altar is The Awen, and Brigid’s Cross.

I placed The Awen above all else because, to me, The Awen represents the Source of All Things. It is, in my understanding, the First Inspiration, the Eternal Fire, The Essence of us all.

The Brigid’s cross is a sacred symbol that I acquired during a pilgrimage I made to Ireland almost 10 years ago. I journeyed as a Christian, along with a group of other pilgrims. On this trip, I first encountered Brigid, visited her sacred well, and established my first, conscious connection to the Irish land.

I have placed a statue of Brigid on my altar. She stands, serene and prayerful, at the edge of a well. At her feet are two young sheep. Her head is framed by the rays of the sun.

I grew up in a tradition that accepted statues as useful tools for focus, but not physical embodiments, necessarily, of the Divine.

I chose to have a statue on my altar because I value the reminder of the Personhood of Brigid. She is a real, active force, and seeing a physical representation of a person helps to keep that understanding forefront in my mind during worship.

In front of Brigid, I have placed the candle, the wand, and the chalice.

I stand before this altar in the morning and make my offerings. I give thanks. I pray. I meditate. I am filled with wonder at just how close the Kindred are.

They are no more than a deep breath away.

I was thrilled when my copy of Jaan Puhvel’s Comparative Mythology showed up on my doorstep. It was a busy week for all package deliverers driving down my block. Puhvel’s book arrived, as did J.P. Mallory’s In Search of the Indo-Europeans (a title my husband was interested in), Kevan Manwaring’s The Bardic Handbook, and ADF Senior Priest, Rev. Michael Dangler’s companion to the ADF Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year, A Journal of Things Done.

Like I said, busy week.

I’ve shelved The Bardic Handbook for now – one new learning system at a time, please. I anticipate bringing it out if I should encounter any creative dry spells. Rev. Dangler’s Journal was a terrific purchase. It’s a must have for anyone who ever excelled at workbook-style learning (a little structure and guidance can go a long way). I put it straight to use.

Now, the Puhvel book. Let me tell you about the Puhvel book.

This is not a book to read. This is a book to reference. All it took was the Introduction and about three pages of the first section to figure this out.

No disrespect to Puhvel. He’s smart. Uber smart. And I’m sure that there’s plenty of valuable information in this book. I just think my brain might break into a billion bits if I try to read it cover to cover. And I don’t really think he wrote it for me to read. I think he wrote it for academia, and I don’t know if he means for them to read it either. It’s a good text, but not really a good read.

I think I’m going reach across the bed and steal my husband’s copy of In Search of the Indo-Europeans. I’ll let him take a stab at the impenetrable tome.

Yesterday I was speaking with an old friend about Druidry, telling him about ADF and the Dedicant Path. He and I have always had a deep spiritual connection, and it felt good to catch him up on all of the inspired work I’m doing.

When I talk, especially to people I’m close with, I ramble. It is during said ramblings that I often stumble upon insights about myself, my beliefs, or my overall worldview. When the self-censoring part of my brain shuts down, the creative part opens up, and all sorts of interesting things fall out of my mouth.

Point in fact: Drubie.

I am a Drubie, as in, New Druid, or New to the Druid Path. Drubie. Fun, right?

The word is light-hearted, and when I say it out loud it reminds me that while spiritual work deserves my dedication, focus and sincerity, I have to remember not to take everything too seriously. Irreverence is good seasoning, and you wouldn’t want your food to start getting bland. Would you?

So, here’s to all you other Drubies out there! May your spiritual meals have a little kick in ’em.

In a few days I should receive a copy of Rev. Dangler’s newly released DP Journal. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use is, or whether pen and paper will be able to compete with keys and pixels. It’s much easier to use all 10 digits to keep up with my mind, and my meager forearm is less likely to cramp when I type. But, I like paper, even if I don’t use it as much as I used to. I like the idea of paper.

I wonder what the Druids of old would think about my documenting these esoteric studies and experiences on a blog. Or better yet, what would they think of a blog?

Would they see this collection of text and color, space and lines, as nothing more than the illusion of paper; an untouchable substitute for true script?

I’ve heard that the Druids underwent extensive training to learn the secrets of their kind*. Upwards of 20 years would be spent studying, memorizing. They committed the wisdom of their kin, their tribes, their ancestors to memory. No books. No one-click ordering a tome of knowledge and having it delivered to your doorstep in 2 Business Days, only to be skimmed and shelved. These cats were memory rich. Their wisdom was a slow growth forest; not a downloadable book.

(*I’m not sure if there is any reliable evidence of this claim. I’ve still got some reading to do.)

This musing is not self-righteousness. I am not blanket-condemming the digital landscape and all of it’s parts. I enjoy the benefits, just like whoever might be reading this post. Who knows – you might be the person who posts a comment that completely changes the way I see all of this. In an instant you could transform my understanding; light-speed alchemy.

No, I’m not anti-digital.

I’m just a Neo-Pagan member of a modern Druid Fellowship, who finds much of his sense of community through the internet, and who documents his progress on this spiritual path through publicly visible, digital text, wondering what my spiritual development would look like to my druidic, spiritual ancestors?

Would they scoff, or would they approve?