Oak part 2

The first time I wrote about my oak was in April this year. At that time I shared a picture taken last summer.  Over the winter the oak naturally lost its leaves and it was slow coming back this summer and I was concerned it had been lost.

Last year I was told that they liked being planted with companions and that this where they were happiest and when I was gifted the oaklings I had made a mental note of the fact that wherever they were growing holly saplings were growing alongside them so I was wondering about planting the oak with holly.

I then spoke to a fellow OBOD member who quite successfully grows oak from tiny saplings and acorns and learnt that his are potted in large pots and given room to grow.

My poor oakling was in the tiniest pot and so a new home was found and it seems to be growing now. I’m hoping that if all goes well it may be big enough and strong enough this time next year to be planted out in the garden in its permanent home.

Book Review – Merlin: Once and Future Wizard

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Merlin: Once and Future Wizard

by 

Elen Sentier

 

 

As someone who has the pleasure of working with Merlin as a guide and teacher I was really looking forward to reading Elen Sentier’s ‘Merlin: Once and Future King’ and I was not disappointed in any way, quite the opposite. I often find myself reading of others work with Merlin only to see him glamorised or mythicised beyond recognition so it was really refreshing to read of Merlin being described as ‘tricky’ and to feel that yes, this is someone who really has worked with him and who knows him, not someone who’s knowledge has been acquired 3rd hand as it were.

Elen’s account is both personal and academic, in that in her book she generously shares her own journey with Merlin alongside deconstructing and explaining some of the myths and legends that surround as well as looking at those people and places connected with him. This is always done in a thoughtful and considered way, leaving the reader with insight and material which they can use to draw their own conclusion about Merlin.

I love synchronicity and shortly before starting to read ‘Merlin: Once and Future Wizard’, I found myself studying Brocéliande in Brittany, France, in my OBOD work, then discovering that one of my student’s home places is very near Brocéliande and that she knows it well, then finally reading Elen’s version of the same place. I’d like to think Merlin himself had a hand in this although maybe if he did it wouldn’t have been as clear to see 🙂

Due for release on 9th December 2016

Creative Fire vs Wild Fire

imageI have always known that fire can both feed and destroy but until recently had only ever had first hand experience of fire as a force that is creative. The last couple of weeks though I have seen the other side, the wild destructive, all consuming side of fire. It’s been a hard lesson for me but one that I believe will stay with me for a very long time.

The first thing I should explain is that there is a lot of fire in my energy anyway, usually balanced and dampened nicely by earth which is my predominant energy. I work with fire all the time, I love having fire around my room when I am healing, I use fire to release things I no longer feel are serving me, I sit close to fire, dream into the flames, always have fire present when performing ritual or ceremony and it has never failed to fulfilled its role as creative fire for me.

I am at present training as a Bard with the OBOD and have so far spent time working with earth, water and air. The week before last I was ready to begin working with fire, something I was really looking forward to. As part of the training each element is begun with a ritual that helps me to connect with whichever element I am to be working with. The ritual went well and I was very comfortable with it all until at the end as I was meditating on the fire within my fire bowl. The energy of fire ran along the ground, into my body and my energy field and for a few moments I actually became fire.

As I stood up after the ritual my abdomen felt uncomfortable and within hours I had cystitis. My pharmacist when dispensing my medicine blamed it on ……too much heat.

The following week I spent two days passing on the Munay Ki rites to a student. These are given and received as seeds that are then fed with….fire! Probably not the most sensible thing to have been doing but it’s hard to reschedule work sometimes.

Since then fire has continued to blaze inside me bringing some things to light that might otherwise have been hidden but also continuing to create problems for me as I have been completely out of balance.

I have been working hard with the elements of water and earth, especially water, to try and calm down the fire raging through my being. I have avoided any contact with fire, the energy of fire and also direct sun wherever possible. Gradually things are now settling down but I know I’m still not quite there yet.

August 1st was Lughnasadh, chance to hold a ceremony to mark the cross quarter fire festival, the turning of the wheel and to call down the God of Light and Fire. I gave this a miss, finding instead other ways to mark the point in time and recognise its significance for me and my life.

An Ovate in the OBOD that I was ‘chatting’ to online, explained my recent experience as being like the difference in the Norse tales between Loki and Utgard-Loki or creative fire and wild fire; wild fire is so ravenous it will eat everything and even consume itself.

I hope that the fire in me is now almost under control. I am being patient before I continue my work with the element for although I love fire I have discovered first hand, the dangers, the risks involved and even though I need its energy to feed the seeds I am sowing in my life now I really do not wish to be consumed by it.

Book Review – Fairy Witchcraft

As someone who knows next to nothing about either Fairies or Witchcraft this book was a real eye opener. Reading how the author works to connect with fairies, the advice she gives to those starting out, combined with stories about fairies from Irish Mythology as well as those based on her own experience provide the perfect starting point.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in following a fairy path or who is interested in how someone else does.image

Pagan Blog Project – Making Ritual Work For You

imageAt the moment I am enjoying spending some of my time working at Bard level with the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) which has made me think much more deeply about ritual both the form and the purpose.

As a shamanic healer I’ve never been one for formalised ritual as in shamanism we work with the spirit of the place, our own guides and allies plus more than a little of our own intuition when we perform ritual. As with much of shamanism there is no right or wrong only what we need to do in that space at that particular time. Consequently my rituals are never the same two years running even though they may take place at the same time of the year and sometimes in the same place. The spirits of the place may ask me to do something and their wishes or needs are always paramount. My own guides and allies may guide me in a particular way and the energy of those present, or my energy if I am on my own, may also affect the way I perform the ritual.

At Bardic level with the OBOD however there are set rituals for set times of the year, one for each of the eight turns of the wheel. To be fair the OBOD does encourage us to make the rituals work for us, to use what resonates and leave what doesn’t. The form is a suggestion so it is still possible and encouraged, to make each and every one work for you.

My guides though had other ideas. At the start of the course they told me that it was important for me to work through the rituals and ceremonies exactly as they were written so that I could understand the symbolism of them. In doing so I could then make an informed choice based on understanding. So that is what I have been doing. I would like to say it’s been easy….but….

I have obviously learnt so much by working in the way my guides told me to. A lot of things that I would have done instinctively or because I had been asked to now make perfect sense. I have a much stronger connection with the eight turns of the wheel of the year whereas before I would have celebrated Summer and Winter Solstice, Samhain and being as I live in Ireland and it’s hard to miss here, Beltane. And this is where the ‘but’ comes in…I find myself doing the ritual set out in the OBOD materials and then doing the ritual again in my own way. It is doing it my own way that gives me the strongest connection always.

So coming up to Summer Solstice on Saturday what will I be doing?

First of all I will carry our the ritual as in my OBOD materials for this is my first Summer Solstice training as a Bard. It will be a solitary ritual as I will be on my own. Had I been with other OBOD members then I would have fitted in with the group ritual and here I can see that having a scripted ritual makes perfect sense so everyone knows where they are, what their role is and what is happening. Once I have done this though I will, as usual, perform my own ritual.

I will be in my garden and in one particular area the energy has always been special. It is here that I used to have my labyrinth and where I am as sure as I can be that there once stood a stone circle. First of all I will sit quietly and connect with the spirits of the place to see what they need from me, if I need to undergo a shamanic journey then I will. I will listen carefully and then if I need to collect something to work with for them will do so. I will then journey to meet my guides and allies to see if they need anything of me and again if I need anything I will collect it.

Most often I will work with sage, drum and rattle at some point in the ritual and there is always earth, fire, water and air present. I will follow my guidance and also my own intuition, doing what feels right for the space and spirits present. The ritual may be long or it may be short I will only know when I work on Summer Solstice itself, at the moment I have no idea, which is exactly how it should be.

I was going to journey for a Summer Solstice ritual/ceremony to add here but have been told not to. Instead I have been asked to suggest that you take yourself outside to whatever space feels right for you, with whatever feels right for you be it drum, rattle, bells, candles, water, feathers, crystals or anything else that you find calls to you.

Once you are outside be guided by your own intuition and instincts. Change what you are doing if it doesn’t feel right, if it does then carry on.

If you have a ritual you have found elsewhere great. Don’t follow it religiously but make it work for you and what feels right in the space that you are in. Use it and adapt it so that it fits and feels right. And above all have fun.

Summer Solstice is a celebration, a time for thanking the period of light and acknowledging the move towards the darkness once again. This is something to be celebrated as we all need to reach the point again, as the wheel turns, where we go within. To do otherwise isn’t healthy, so make the most of the long summer nights but know that as they drawn shorter all is exactly as it should be.

Book Review – The Druid Shaman

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The Druid Shaman, as the title may suggest, looks at shamanism from a specifically Druid perspective, and its place as the ancestral shamanism of Britain and Europe. The book begins with an introduction to the Celts, Druids, what a shaman is and a look at the shamanic tale of Taliesin. Practical Druidic shamanic tools are shared, along with the very important basic tools of how to raise your own energy and power and how to create sacred space. The importance of the world tree and the need for balance reoccurs throughout the book.

Whilst there is no attempt by the author to teach shamanic journeying, through a series of guided meditations/pathworking exercises the reader is gently encouraged to learn to make contact with their own Druid guides and indeed the very Earth itself.

I have worked with Shamanism for a number of years and as such it was fascinating to read Forest Danu’s Druid Shamanism whilst comparing and contrasting it to my own form. Of particular interest to me was the section on divination and as with other areas of shamanism, it was interesting to read about divination from a Druid perspective. As someone who has recently become a student of the OBOD I also enjoyed her explanations of some of the myths, legends and figures that accompany Druidry.

This is a well researched book, written by someone who clearly has both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience. The book is also well referenced and has a good reading list for follow up reading. I would highly recommend Druid Shamanism to anyone with any interest in Shamanism in general and in particular Celtic and Druid Shamanism.

Book Review – A Modern Celt

imageJust as I began to write this review our player which is on shuffle started to play Horslips Dearg Doom so knowing there is no such thing as a coincidence I’ll take that as an omen that it is the perfect time to write about A Modern Celt and the Tuatha De Dannan.

I am in the strange place of being of Celtic ancestry, born and lived most my life in England and then moved to Ireland, land of my ancestors. Although I have a passing acquaintance with the myths and legends of the land that is now my home Mabh Savage brings these to life as she weaves their stories in with her own life and experiences along with those of her parents and friends. We hear about the children of Danu the Morrigan, the Daga, Brigid, Lugh and Cu Chullain before being taken on a journey through the Turning of the Wheel, the Craft of the Fae and much much more. The book also contains some ideas about how to connect with your own ancestors and an appendix containing some useful background information including a glossary of Celtic terms plus exercises in Magic with a Celtic Twist.

Ms Savage has a delightful easy to read style, her approach to her paganism, witchcraft and the Celtic background that is the driving force behind the book, is all dealt with a light touch and it is this as much as the tales she weaves that carries the reader along. She shares with the reader her struggle to make sense of being drawn to her own Celtic ancestry and the importance of it in a modern world. In particular I really appreciated her take on ‘magic’ as it is very conducive to encouraging anyone reading A Modern Celt to see the magic that they create in their own lives, day in day out.

I would recommend this book to pagans, non pagans, explorers of life and especially to anyone with even a passing interest in the Tuatha De Dannan and Irish Celtic Mythology for it will surely awaken their desire to learn more and maybe even to investigate their own ancestry.