Finding peace

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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

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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.

Time

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What an odd concept it is, this putting back of the clocks. As if, somehow, we can add more time on to the day, or take some away. A day is the same length, whatever the clock may say.
Unfortunately though, most of us have our lives dictated to by the ticking masters in the corners of our rooms. When to get up, when to leave the house, when to eat, when to sleep.
But what is time really but a man made concept. I am always reminded at this time of year how our ancestors lived, not by the rhythm of the pendulum, but by the rhythm of the seasons and the motion of the sun. Their lives were dominated by the growing season of crops and before that by the migration patterns of the animals.
It is true that our lives are less fraught with danger than they were then but I feel, that in losing our close connection to the earth and her seasons, we have lost a very important part of ourselves.

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

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Autumn truly is the season that England does the best! The colours are breath-taking in their beauty, and all the more so when coupled with the faint smell of decay that is all pervading in the autumn woodland. It reminds us that this is natures firework display before the long dark days of winter are upon us.

It is also a last opportunity, before the depravations of the colder months, to gather food from the wild, both for humans and for animals. Today, we were only gathering Sloes, for the wonderful yuletide treat of Sloe Gin. But there was so much else we could gave foraged for. Rowan berries, Rosehips, Elderberries, Hawthorne berries. All there for the taking, a sign that nature looks after those who know how to harvest her bounties!

So it has been a wonderful afternoon of beauty, bounty and friendship, and has certainly left me counting my blessings!

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Celebrating Age

  
In our society today, getting older is not generally seen as a cause for celebration. Our society values youth and beauty above age and experience. That was not always so, and is still not true of some cultures, but in ours, as you age, you are deemed to be less useful.

Mentally I do not really feel any different to how I was at 20, although experience has perhaps taught me to be a little more tolerant and patient with others. So what to do when, as I have, you reach 54, try to make ourselves look as young as we can, or accept who we are, and celebrate it?

I have recently made a decision to stop dying my hair, after many years of doing so, and let the grey come through. It feels good to have made that decision. As I speak to other women though, many feel they are not ‘ready’ to do that. If they are continuing to dye for their own preference, that is fine, but is it sometimes because of the expectations of others? If it is, that is quite sad.

As part of this idea of celebration age, myself and a couple of friends who are slightly older than me, decided to have a croning ceremony in Cumbria. We gathered with a small group of friends at Long Meg and had a wonderful ritual that was about recognising our experience and valuing us for that.

It was a wonderful, warm, loving experience, and one that I would recommend to any woman who has passed child bearing age. It is. Ot a time for mourning what has gone, but of celebrating the path that we have trod, and looking forward to what lies ahead!

Mixed Blessings

  
Yesterday was a mixed sort of a day. There were upsets and frustrations over family matters that cast a bit of a cloud over the first part of the day, but as always my wonderful circle of friends managed to turn that around!
The afternoon was spent wandering around the wonderful Japanese farden pictured above. The rain was falling quite heavily, but umbrellas are marvellous inventions, and it anything, the rain freshened everything and made it all the more beautiful. The company of good friends always makes it a sunny day whatever the weather, and this outing was no exception. The ‘Heavenly Tea’ also helped!

After the amble round the garden however, the adternoon took a rather surreal turn. We were there for a concert entitled ‘Natures Heart’ and while I was not sure what to expect, it can be safely said that it was nothing like I imagined! I am sure that many there enjoyed the adternoon’s ‘entertainment’ but it was not to my taste, nor that of my friends, so after the first half (1 hour) we escaped into the garden for the half hour break, then left before the second hour began.

The most enjoyable part of the whole day though was the friendship we shared, so despite the weather, and the ‘music’ I believe a good time was had by all!