Archive for November, 2010

I am sitting here at work stressing out about a mistake I made in a newsletter that went out to 15,000 people. Also, today’s election is in the back of my mind. I am worried about the state of America. It appears to me the country is on the verge of another disastrous economic crash that will make entire 2008 crash look like just one day off without pay. We have a totally broken government. Our elections appear to be bought and sold to the highest bidding corporation. Millions of people without work struggle daily just to have food and shelter. For the people who do have jobs, their benefits have been slashed and they work crazy hours while their businesses hoard record profits. Our prisons are filled passed capacity with young men whose lives have been ruined because they either used or sold drugs in a society built on drug use. The infrastructure is crumbling. The lack of civility in the USA is alarming. And I just keep thinking “I want out of this country! I want to live in a civil society, one that treats the sick and elderly with respect and compassion!” The stress begins to eat at me.

With humans being human, our systems have been and always will be flawed. And while we do our best to improve the systems, there is continuous social injustice and untold human suffering (as well as unrepairable damage being done to the Earth). This is just fact that goes far beyond political parties.

So what to do to avoid stress and despair?

First of all, getting perspective (a.k.a. shifting our consciousness) is essential. All of these human systems, with all their consequences, are just one thin slice, one distinct frequency of Nature. And the rest of Nature is all around us as well. It is vital to remember, the wind still blows, the rain still falls and the sun will set tonight and come up in the morning, and today is a beautiful day with all the opportunity in the universe for deep spiritual connection with rivers of Awen washing over us.

We have to learn to control our actions and our minds. We need to have developed sufficient habits so that when we are stressed out, we remember to reach for the sacred, to sink into our mud and blood roots, finding nourishment from the Earth and support from our ancestors. We need to acknowledge and honor the spirits of place. We need to breathe and open our soul to the forces of Nature and to other souls so that Awen may flow.

Not to do this is to choose to become isolated and disconnected. There will always be strife in our human systems; powerful people and corporate entities will always seek to exploit; no matter how advanced our technology people will suffer, and as individuals we will always make mistakes that others will judge. This is part of life. Yet if we can learn to shift our consciousness, we will also see that all that is just one tiny faction of Nature. It is also filled with sanctity and beauty just waiting for us to open our hearts so we can touch soul to soul. Let’s remember to reach for it.

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It has been my great honor to have been part a druid grove (the Grove of Four) for the past 11 years. It has been a great source of inspiration and joy. However, the past few years have seen our grove practicing what my teacher Bobcat calls, “Crap Druidry”. Basically we lacked focus and would simply get together and say, “So, what do you want to do?” This lack of focus prevented the kind of deep relationship where the Awen flows. We weren’t grounded and present enough to reach for sacred relationship to the land, the ancestors, the gods or even each other.

So after 11 years, we decided to dissolve the grove. We took this Samhain as an opportunity to make an end that was complete and honorable. It wound up being a rather joyous event. It was very freeing while at the same time it honored all the work we have done together. We each took turns speaking our truth about what the grove has been, sharing our frustrations and our thanks and gratitude. We opened a bottle of mead and honored each other and our members who were not present. We honored our teachers. We honored the spirits of place and the gods of Nature that were witnessing our rite. Basically we put as much attention and intention into the ending as we put into the beginning.

That is a rare thing in our society. We all too often put tremendous amounts of energy into the start of things, but rarely any energy whatsoever into the closing. This often leaves people just emotionally drifting. I think of the energies of weddings compared to divorce. I think of all those corporate kick-offs for projects that just fall away over time. It is hard to find our feet without proper acknowledgment of projects, cycles and dynamics coming to an end.

One great gift of honoring the cycles of Nature is that Nature doesn’t behave in such a manner. Birth and Death are equals – deities that work in congruence in order to maintain a balance where life feeds on life and the whole dance hums with beauty. We get an opportunity each year to really honor both deities in high celebration. Of course each day brings us birth, change and death. Every day is Beltane and everyday is Samhain on some level. And each day we need to acknowledge and craft relationship with these gods. Our pagan traditions teach us to flow with the cycles of Nature and her seasons. And in the fall, death and dying are in great abundance. So Samhain is a great holy day to honor the gods of Death.

So it was fitting to bring closure to our wonderful grove on Samhain. The Grove of Four is no more. Yet as we sat in the pine grove sharing, yarn symbolically wrapping one to the other in a tangled mess, we realize even though what has been is no more, the bonds of friendship and love between us remains. As we moved through the breaking of the grove, we began to speak of what we wanted in a grove, whether or not it was important to share ritual with others. We talked about diving deeper into our spiritual heritage and in our chosen path of Druidry. We honored the gifts that each of us brings, hoping to have those gifts shared more easily and with more inspiration. It became clear that out of this ending something new will come into being. Cycles turning, tides flowing into one another, endless storylines intersecting, picking up where another leaves off, songs entwining into harmonies and creating an endless symphony –  this is Druidry. And I am excited to see what comes out of this tide of dying, the spirits of decay returning form into potentiality, spinning and weaving spirit energies into new creativity. I look forward to dreaming in the dark between now and Yule and seeing what comes into being as the new cycle of growth begins.

Blessing of Samhain,
Wild winds of change howling in the dark night,
Snowhawke /|\

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