Archive for May, 2011

I was just recalling a conversation I had with my dear friend and mentor, Bobcat, during my visit to England this past winter. I was thanking her for all that she had taught me. She asked what exactly she did teach me that I didn’t already know. I responded with telling her that her teachings on Druidry put a lot of things together for me. But most importantly, the key defining element of Druidry, was something I hadn’t found in my other spiritual pursuits. It was something I think other religions hint at but never really spell out and teach one how to attain. That thing is actively finding inspiration, Awen.

What I learned from her was that Inspiration isn’t just an impassive thing that just happens upon us. It isn’t just a state of grace where we are blessed. It can be actively achieved, consciously, when we need it.

Inspiration comes from actively negotiating the currents of deep relationship – soul touching soul. This teaching moves one out of feeling at the mercy of life, victimized, downtrodden, defeated. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to pursue soul level relationship. Whether or not we do this is our own decision. We can find inspiration anywhere, anytime. It is a matter of choosing to engage with other souls in a sacred manner. That receiving inspiration is something we achieve consciously through our own negotiation of relationship isn’t completely unique to Druidry. But teaching one how, is something I haven’t found elsewhere.

Yes, soul deep relationship (sacred relationship) takes knowledge and awareness. It is difficult to do in a crisis situation. Our engaging this deeply doesn’t mean it will attract an equal response. The relationship may not be a gentle one. Learning to maintain a sense of groundedness, a sense of self in the face of soul bare relating takes time. It is life-long process of learning through trial and error. Relationship on this level can be incredibly challenging as we work through all the layers and scars of our own woundings. It takes a lot of courage. It takes deep honesty.

These are simple truths and challenges. There are no shortcuts. For me, Druid craft is all about learning how to do this, how to find the courage, awareness and commitment to seek inspiration when life is a drag. It boils down to two choices: disengage and have a mundane life burdened with a sense of defeat, or to engage fully, looking straight in the mirror, dealing with all of our issues and insecurities, finding the courage to open our soul to life and the souls we encounter along the way.

Living life this way isn’t clean. It isn’t “safe”. But a safe sanitized life isn’t going to feed us. We need inspiration to live. And whether or not we have the inspiration we all desperately need and desire, is completely and utterly up to us. It is a sticky process. We will feel pain. But the reward is the energy of life itself flowing through us. And that is worth it all.

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Poulnabrone Dolmen - Portal tomb in the Burren, IrelandI recently returned from a wondrous trip to Ireland. During the trip my wife and I visited the Burren. The Poulnabrone Dolmen located there is around 6000 years old, predating the great pyramids by 2000 years! This portal tomb was in use by the local tribes for more than 2000 years. Amazing to see such continuity, such magic.

Visiting this place it wasn’t difficult to feel the spirits of the ancestors, the endless line of people from the first settlers of Ireland 7000 years ago right up until the present. This experience got me thinking about paganism and how part of our core ideals is the honoring of the Spirits of Place. I think most every pagan who visits this site would say, “This is utterly sacred”. There wouldn’t be pagans chipping pieces of the stones away or dancing on the top of it on a holy day. I think we would recognize the religious significance of this amazing structure. And we would honor all those ancient souls who visited the site by continuing incorporating the location into our modern religious rites.

I write this because visiting such an ancient land made me realize just how much the landscape should be part of our religious practices. Our ancient pagan temples are in ruin, too fragile to utilize anymore without the utmost consideration. I wonder if it is time for modern pagans to build new temples – ones our progeny will be able to use a thousand years from now. We need to plant new groves. We need to work with the land and the Spirits of Place to see what Nature will support. Or is it that we need to make temples that leave no trace? Is it both?

Our Beltane on the Beach (Bealtaine – Irish spelling) here in Maine, has been going on for 29 years now. We dance around the Maypoles on the shifting sands and then the tide comes in removing all trace of our celebration and ritual. I found great inspiration in seeing the endless miles of ancient stone walls in Ireland, Poulnabrone, stone circles and cairns as well as the more modern Christian ruins of castles and abbeys. I also get great inspiration seeing the tide come in and remake the beach as we go our separate ways every May. I wonder what future pagans will find from us that helps them find the thread of continuity and connection back through the millenniums to us and back into the mist of time? Thoughts, dreams, prayers?

Blessings of stone, story and song
Snowhawke /|\

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