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Archive for April, 2009

Yesterday I spend a wonderful late afternoon walking through the woods down to the Saco River with my English Animist grovemate. We had a very fruitful talk about action, about living our Druidry as compared to practising our Druidry.

In all religions there are theological concepts, rituals and traditions. Once one has thoroughly ingested these, what is left? What is Paganism outside of the seasonal and lunar rites? Outside of the rituals, folk magics, myths, stories, legends, poems, and music? Outside of our traditions? What is at the heart of it all?

I practiced a martial arts that had a lot of mystique, cool outfits and unique weapons. It was so cool working out with a group where everyone had a uniform and gear. Over time the mystique wore off and I questioned myself, “What is left when you take all the reference of the tradition and the class away, the uniform and the gear?” That is the same question I now apply to my Druidry.

When people get involved in Pagan traditions, I think the mystique is something that feeds them on a deep level. They aren’t in Kansas anymore. The incense, smudge, altars, ritual clothing, and all the other mysterious ritual tools, songs, chants, etc. take them to a state of mind that is different from the norm. The goal being to stop and take the time to open our awareness to the sacred, to become aware of our own soul and to sort out where it fails and succeeds in relationship. We find healing. We find connection.

Over time this state of being is easier to get to. The tools and ritual aren’t needed. It is a matter of stopping our busy minds and taking a breath and there we are, in a state of presence recognizing the sacred and finding connection on a soul level to land, the community, and the gods.

And then things shift again, we find these periods extend. It isn’t a practice anymore. It is a way of being in the world every moment. Presence is about the moment, not the activity. I goals of Druidry and Zen are very similar. Bobcat once told me not to think of these things are skills but rather potentialities. I think this very wise and that simple statement opened some doors for me in my mind. A skill is about the individual. Potentiality is about relationship.

So the conclusion that my grovemate and I came to was that we need to live this. It has to be integrated into every activity we do during the day. Time set aside for ritual, celebrating the 8 major festivals, and the moon cycles etc, are important but they can be a distraction from the real point of it all. And the “point”, well that is up to the individual to decide. But for me it is this; to be fully alive, living in the freedom of the moment, finding inspiration through my connection on a soul level to the land, the community, and the gods.

We decided is this; our grove gatherings should not be about taking time out, but rather for doing things, to further engage. We want to have our grove get out and do things, like cleaning up the side of the river where people are dumping trash, helping each other garden or make repairs around our homes. These activities should be every bit as much a spiritual experience as our Samhain rituals. We need to carry this into every activity we do, from corporation to the deep forest. Chop wood, carry water. We have moved past the mystique and more into the heart of our paganism. It is time for our practices and expressions to shift with this.

I watched a red wing black bird this morning and wondered at the magnificence of its life. It is living completely integrated into Nature. There is no separation between its spiritual ideal and that way it lives in the world. That is what I am working towards.

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Showing up

I worked a 14 hour day yesterday and got home at 11:00pm, tired, aggravated, and with my mind racing on all the work input from the day. I usually just leave work behind as soon as I get in my car for the ride home at 5:00. Yesterday was too much stimulation. I didn’t manage to show up at home with all of myself present. My wife immediately noticed. It took me some time to show up which tells me I need to revisit some dedicated practices.

What is required to really show up? To be fully present? How can we make the shift?

I have two tools that I use. One is to meditate on rooting into the Earth, finding my mud roots as my teacher Bobcat would say. This is the beginning of being able to craft honourable relationship to the spirits of place. The second it to find my blood roots, finding my connection to my ancestors. The mud roots connect to the place. The blood roots connect us to the moment. This all takes some time. But with practice the time is shortened. And with a lot of practice, it becomes just a way of being.

What is a challenge is when we don’t seem to have the time to stop and find these connections. It is when we are in a perpetual state of being ungrounded that we need to seriously consider making changes in our way of being. I don’t like it when I suddenly wake up and realize just how unconscious a period of time has been. I never fully arrived. I don’t remember much about the day. I may eat a sandwich without really tasting it fully, or honouring the sacrifice that has become my spaghetti. Or when I find myself half-listening to a phone call or someone in my cube talking to me, and then consciousness shifts and I am alarmed by my lack of presence. Whenever life ceases to be utterly remarkable to us, we are in trouble. We have to arrive and show up fully or life will never be fulfilling.

If we aren’t fully present are we behaving in an honourable manner? Are we being respectful to the people and souls around us?

This simple ideal of being fully present is at the very core of the Druidry I practice and teach. Without presence there is no honour.

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Tribes

Earlier I posted some thoughts for the day and here is some follow up on the questions I offered.

What is your core tribe?

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. And when I think of my immediate relationships, I have to say my groves and the extended community of friends is my closest most important tribe. I have maintained an amazing circle of friends since childhood. These people along with my groves constitute the tribe that I feel most important to maintain. These define my local community in a lot of ways.

Interestingly enough, it isn’t my immediate family that I feel as my core tribe. I share a history with my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, but my life is so very different than anyone else in my family, that I don’t feel this tribe as crucial to my experiencing life to the fullest. Of course we all share the same day to day facts of reality that being a human on planet Earth entails, but my way of being in the world, where I focus my attention and share my passions is foreign to my family. Our curiosities don’t overlap. So the bonds of love and friendship, common interest, spiritual practices, creativity and adventuring, outweigh the bonds of love, history, and genetics. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my family deeply.

Expanding on the statement above, the bonds of my bloodline are strong. When I experience the depth of connection to my ancestors, getting past the living where I can feel the line of souls that stretch back to the beginning of humans standing right behind me, urging me forward in life, reminding me that this is my time, my moment, giving me strength to stand up and live fully, this tribe of ancestors is the most important tribe. However when I am able to do this, I don’t see this as separate from my local tribe. My ancestors are part of me. Our souls are intertwined. They are humanity. And one step further, my groves and circle of friends are part of this humanity. My ancestors and their ancestors are one in the same. We just draw the lines of the past few generations differently. My immediate living relatives are part of this humanity as well.

So what is the difference? When I think on the level of my immediate relationships, sticky with all the challenges of being human and trying to relate to one another given our limited consciousness, my chosen circle is the most important one in my life. It is there that I feel I can most easily express my soul truth. When I shift my way of seeing to feel the bigger web, to get past the physical, the tribe of my ancestors is the most important of all. And this tribe is inclusive.

It is all about how I chose to look at things in the moment. Tribes are like a scribble on a page, circle overlapping circle, overlapping circle, each one connected to the others.

How do you honor it?

I honour it by doing the work to maintain it. I honour it by accepting and honouring the sense of ethics this tribe brings out in each of us. I boast about them to other :>)

What do you offer it and what doesn’t it offer in return?

I bring to it my way of life. Hopefully I have brought inspiration and creativity to my circle, completing the cycle of inspiration as it has been my greatest source of it in my life. I think I offer it passion for living the spiritual adventure. I offer it a unique perspective on many aspects of life. I bring it truth and humor. I bring it some kick-ass homebrewing skills :>)

How can you deepen that relationship so Awen flows?

I can deepen this relationship by working on and learning to craft better relationships with all things. Only by working to feel and better understand my own soul can I deepen the soul to soul relationships in my life. By deepening my sense of awareness, by bringing more consciousness into relationship, I can craft relationships in life where the divine inspiration we call Awen, flows freely.

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Part of my grove (Grove of 4) went to see Gaelic Storm last night in Portland, ME. They were absolutely brilliant. We danced until our feet got sore and our hands got tired and red from clapping. The new songs from What’s the Rumpus? were awesome. My favorite tune of the night was “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe”.

My wife is a third generation Irish American. It was so beautiful to watch here reveling in the music of her ancestors. The continuity of musical inspiration flowing from generation to generation, tied deeply into her DNA was so clear, so powerful. It was infectious and made me realize I need to seek out the music of my ancestors (English and French).

If peak oil and economic collapse doesn’t prevent it, I can’t wait to go to Ireland. The Irish druids I have communicated with all seem to have a clue and understand in their very core that sacredness of the land and the culture. My spiritual thought of the day is:

What is your core tribe? How do you honor it? What do you offer it and what doesn’t it offer in return? How can you deepen that relationship so Awen flows?

Blessings of swollen rivers,
Snowhawke /|\

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I’ve moved my introduction to the About page. Thanks for checking out my blog. I hope you enjoy it.

Be well and many blessings,
Snowhawke /|\

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