Timeslip

Today I paid a visit to the place where my life as a Druid began.

I had been a solitary pagan for a few years, been to a number of witchy/wiccan type group rituals. I had read so many books, lots of them about Druidry, which had sparked my interest.

My first Druid ritual though was at Barbrook stone circle, high up on the moors above Baslow in Derbyshire. It is beautiful and stark and windswept. And for me it was like coming home. There was a lovely group of people there, members of SONG (Spirit of the North Gatherings), led by the wonderful Maddy Johnson. We were made to feel so welcome and the ritual was powerful and moving. I had found my spiritual path and my home circle. 

That was many years ago now, and sadly SONG is no more, but that circle is still very special to me, and walking into it takes me back to the years we celebrated each sabbat there with them, and back even further to connect with those who built it.

Today, the circle felt sad. It seems from the overgrown paths and long grass in the circle as if it is no longer used regularly, and I think it misses it. Unfortunately it’s a bit far for our local group to use, but I hope someone does start to use it regularly. These places need that energy input. It brings them to life.

Up over the Moor at the back of Barbrook 1 is a very different circle, Barbrook 2. It looks completely different being ‘walled’. Ìt feels very womb like and welcoming and today felt a much happier place than Barbrook 1, but both are very special places. If you get a chance, I would recommend a visit!

Summer break

On Tuesday I worked my last day of Summer term and I will not go back until September 5th, nearly 7 weeks of freedom! 


So far the weather has been scorching, unbearably so at times. Wednesday morning saw me at the hospital for tests. Yesterday though, my youngest daughter was here for the day, so me and my two youngest children, 18 and 22, went into Lincoln for a wander about. We had a lovely walk along the river, sat by Bradford Pool watching the swans and drank coffee on the pavement outside a shop. 


We had a lovely lunch at a local farm shop and restaurant and then a walk in the park, before it was time to catch her train home.

To anyone else, this is perhaps not much of a day, but time with family is so precious, we need to enjoy it while we can.

Starting tomorrow I am also looking forward to some quality time with my husband, who has a week of work.

I enjoy this summer break, whatever the weather, and am so looking forward to being able to relax and recuperate. 

Happy summer everyone.

The Druids’ Isle

image

It is true for most of us that a holiday is good for mind and body alike, providing rest and relaxation as well as a much needed change of scenery. If that holiday also feeds the spirit, it can be a life enhancing and even life changing experience. Such I believe has been my trip to Anglesey.

I have been a Druid for almost 20 years, a member of OBOD for 10 and a Druid graduate for 6, and as such I am familiar with many of the celtic tales.
As a child my family often took me to North Wales on holiday and I in my own turn have taken my children. This being the case, it is perhaps surprising that I have never before really explored Anglesey. I have been over a couple of times but only very briefly and with very little idea of what to look for there.

So on Saturday, just over a week ago, as we crossed the Menai Bridge, I was very surprised at the rush of emotions I felt. I was almost brought to tears, but couldn’t have told you why. It was like a feeling of coming home, a feeling of belonging, as if the island extended its arms to embrace me.

Everywhere I looked, every site we visited, the old tales came to life, the spirits of the ancestors still dwell there, the gods are real and in evidence everywhere you look.

The ruins of old roundhouses and farm complexes seemed filled with noise and bustle, the laughter of children, even though there was no one to see but us. The castles rang to the clash of swords, the burial mounds were heavy with sorrow and yet strangely alive and welcoming.

On meeting and talking to the head of the Anglesey Druid order it made me realise I need to go back next year to do their course, but I certainly hope to return before then, as often as possible!

To act or not to act (that is the question)

image

You could be forgiven for thinking I am considering amateur dramatics from the title of this piece. Thankfully for theatre lovers, this is not the case. I have just signed up for ‘a course in miracles’ as I have made a pledge to myself to try and develop a meditation habit.

As part of the sign up process I had to do a quiz to find out what negative thinking from my childhood may be holding me back. My result came out as ‘inaction’. On reading this my first thought was ‘outrageous!’ I take on more things than many people I know! I never have time to get bored, I always have something to do.

When I really started to think about it though, I realised that this is actually the problem though. I take on too much, I start too many things and finish too few. So actually I don’t think my problem is inaction, I think it is more a case of I’m complete action.

As such I need to learn to prioritise, to work on one thing at a time, and to finish it! Household chores need to be broken down into separate tasks. Often I look and see the huge amount of cleaning tasks and repair jobs to be done (house and garden are both a horrendous mess at the minute) and feel so overwhelmed that I can’t face doing any of it. If I broke it down into small tasks it would be more manageable.

The same is true of craft projects. I currently have projects in knitting, spinning, felting, quilting, sewing and weaving all on the go. I need to just pick one and finish it!

I  am determined to look at the way I work so that I can actually achieve something rather than just be constantly busy but actually getting nowhere!

Finding peace

image

In our druid and pagan rituals we often recite the Druid Peace prayer.

Deep within the still centre of my being
May I find peace.
Silently within the quiet of the Grove
May I share peace.
Gently (or powerfully) within the greater circle of humankind
May I radiate peace. /|\

Finding peace in such a fractured world is not always easy though. Our communities are shrinking, ever increasing numbers of factions appear in all walks of life, and it seems as a species we are intent on splitting into ever decreasing sized groups.

Once, we had tribes, large families, local communities. No, we are increasingly alone. While this may give us a kind of peace, solitude, it does not contribute to the peace of our communities, our countries, our world.

If I had the answer to this, or if any of us did, the perhaps utopia would be in sight. As we do not, my only answer, for me personally,bis to try to live up to the idea of the Druid Prayer.

‘Deep within the still centre of my being
May I find peace.’

If I can find no peace within, then I surely won’t don’t it anywhere else.

‘Silently within the quiet of the Grove
May I share peace.’

To me this is both the inner grove found in meditation, and also the outer grove that I share with our ritual group. I/we must strive to bring peace to both.

‘Gently (or powerfully) within the greater circle of humankind
May I radiate peace. /|\’

If I/we want a wider peace, we must ourselves radiate that peace out to the world. We must move past our petty differences, our past disagreements, and embrace each other as fellow souls on the journey, with peace, compassion and love.

This I will try to do in the hope that one day, it will spread and envelop the whole world!

Time to rest!

  

I work Monday to Friday, quite a stress filled position with lots of responsibility and not a lot of downtime. And often the workload impacts on my at home time too with reports to read, emails to be answered etc. 

So come the weekend, should there be rest? What would that consist of? Obviously there are household chores to be completed etc, but also there are other duties that call, family obligations and responsibilities etc.
So what has the weekend been comprised of? Well, yesterday morning, I had some business to do at the bank, then there was the weekly shopping to do and obviously various household chores. In the evening, we had a drive out to a lovely country pub where we had a gorgeous meal in very relaxed surroundings, before having to dash back to pick up our son. 

Sunday mornings though, surely they are for resting and relaxing? Right?

Well this morning we had to go and collect my Dad at his care home and take him out for the morning as we do most weekends. This weekend we went for a wander through Normanby Park. We saw spring blooming forth with daffodils, snowdrops, crocusses, primrose, catkins and new leaf buds bursting open. We also saw deer, a squirrel, peacocks, peahens, pheasants, crows, jackdaws, a nuthatch, great tits, long tailed tits, moorhens, mallards and many others.

This afternoon i met an old work colleague who I only see a couple of times a yearand we talked, laughed, drank cider and relived old times. We put the world to rights, sorted out the country’s education policy and SEN provision before bidding farewell and heading for home. Would I prefer to have stayed at home all weekend and rested! Hell no! Its not rest we need, it is enjoyable activity! Get out there and enjoy what your world has to offer, cos as they say … A change is as good as a rest!

Winter

image

I have spent many years following the wheel of the year round as a pagan. Celebrating each of the eight festivals with ritual in some outdoor space. As such, I  have enjoyed or endured every type of weather that nature chose to throw at me.

The most recent of these celebrations was 3 weeks ago, with the rite of Imbolc. Each of these occasions inevitably leads one to think of those other rituals from previous years. Our group, in its various guises, has seen rain, hail, sleet, snow and even watery sunshine for this rite. This year, however, is the first one where it has been warm enough to necessitate removing coats, as evidenced by the
picture above.

While warmer weather is almost always welcome, it is just not right. Where is the cold weather, where the snow? The plants are confused, birds are nest building. If we do get a cold snap, there will be much damage done.

Talking of damage, what is it with all the winds? I have never known a winter of such consistently windy weather.

It only goes to remind us that even though our lifestyle may be affecting the climate, nature is indeed very powerful and will win in the end. We challenge it at our peril.