Saturday, December 9, 2017

Samhain Remembraces part 2

Today I crunched across the frozen ground and it becomes cold and snows.
There have been no leaves for a while.
I am counting the days until Solstice and the light returns.
It seems like a very long time since then.
Thank you to all who passed through this Samhain season. 
We sure generated a lot of activity and light.
Super helpful in these dark times. 

Community is everything.

Our ritual weekend was a good gathering of many folk,
younger and older and from different parts of our lives.
It was damp but it was warmish,
weather echoing the wyrrd, strange yet welcome.
How it happens is a dance,
Like listening to the birds.
Randomly coming together and circling up.

 Community is everything.

The shift of relationships between before and after,
interwoven inter-generational interactions.
Thoughtfulness in planning and action,
gentle gratitude and communication always helps.

 Do we ever stop mourning/honoring our dead?
Do we ever honor our living enough?

Community is everything.
Our fires were strong and amazing.
And very hot and bright.
It was a great ritual.
I am still smiling in recollection.
Thanks and thanks and thanks again.
Thanks to the ash tree and the magnificent dried grasses.
Thanks to harvests and flowers and fruits.
Thank you summer, you were glorious.
Thank you winter to come.
Thanks for family and friends and family of friends.
Thanks to our ancestors and especially our recently dead.
Thanks to animal companions and wild ones, those around us and those gone on.
Thanks for who we were and who we are and who we will become.
Thanks for great good bounty and blessings.

Community is everything.

Our omens
from our beloved Ancestors: Yera or Jera- a full year's harvest, it relates to the idea of a completed cycle
from the Spirits of Nature & Place: Tir or Tirwaz- Spritual Warrior, has to do with the directional and that direction is up and it has to due with balance and justice and has to do with truth and justice.
In Nature there is truth and trust.
from the Gods & Goddesses: Daguz or Day, that tends to represent high noon or midsummer but from an extreme and interesting viewpoint or vantage point. The apex.
And also when we think of Day we think of accomplishments and our sense of productivity.
for the Season: Sowelu or the Sun, and so we have the sun's journey whether it is the year or the day, it is about following the direction of the sun, it is empowering.
So there was lots of people and lots of love and lots of food and lots of talk.
Activity and rest and reflection and laughter
filling the heart and soul and belly.

Community is everything.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Samhain Gathering of Spirits- part 1

 These warm last-November days belie the winter that is to come.
Now it is the Thanksgiving break and soon it will be Yule.
And Spring and Summer will return even as we welcome the season's end  now.
But first it will be dark and colder.

One turn of the wheel since our brother Earrach moved on to the Ancestors' Realm.
This time when we feel their presence most,
restlessly moving between the worlds as leaves rustling through the trees.
We leave out dumb suppers for maybe a week before Hallowe'en through our ritual day and beyond.
We want these travelers fed, we want our dead to feel welcome.

Preparation seems to be key.
Advance planning, as best as possible, allows for magic to happen.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Seeking balance

We live in times of great imbalance, uncertainty and increasing challenges.
Our small gatherings of quietude and focus seem hardly enough.
Yet maybe they are.
 Sometimes I can take notes after ritual, sometimes I can take more pictures,
and sometimes I just have to soak it in and hope that there is remembrance.

We had been particularly unsettled,
especially due to the passing of our friend Earrach of Pittsburgh.
He got to see the eclipse
but lost his battle
against the diseases that ravaged his body
on the last day of August.
His memorial was on the Autumnal Equinox at precisely the stick breaking time of balance.
It was the day after Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.
A time to forgive and start again.
We don't travel much at all. It feels safer at home.
Home is where the heart and our hearth is.
But of course we would attend and Bryan would participate, as much more than an obligation
and a compassionate connection, this is what family does.
We bury our dead. We honor our ancestors.
We care for each other in this life as best we can.

We rescheduled our grove ritual from that time. 
Our rites have for years been based on Earrach's calendar which precisely detailed the actual times of Equinoxes and Solstices and the midpoints in between. 
Cake for Earrach by Sandy Batts Starr
There is no need for me to go into the politics of this Druid organization to which we belong,
nor for me to rehash the machinations of those seeking to disrupt old orders.
Suffice to say that while the memorial and Equinox Ritual was powerful and beautiful and honorific
of a great man and his beliefs,
and we hugged many incredible people with so much love,
there was a lot that was hard for us as compassionate folk. 
We are here to honor the gods who give meaning to life.
This beautiful and all too brief life filled with human foibles and folly.

Respect and kindness goes a long way and history is not always to be brushed aside.

photo of the OG priests at ordination in 2002 photo by David Oliver Kling

Bryan and Earrach's widow, the awe-inspiring Diana, fed all of Earrach's broken sticks to the fire. 
Years and years of snapping branches at the precise moment of solar movement or balance. 
Later I discovered more and more sets of sticks around their house.
Perhaps these moments are eternal and ongoing and there is no breaking and no ending.
We drove 7+ hours each way over 2 days with not much sleep or appetite. 
Arriving home exhausted but alive we were greeted by my friends' college-age child
who I helped bring into this world and my almost college-age child.
What is this ever changing life? What is the turning of the seasons?

Fortunately our wise and sensitive grove-sister convinced us to have a day of rest after our return and our Equinox ritual was on Monday afternoon at the time of stick breaking on Friday.
It was like a bookend of time, with the weekend in the middle.
Working hard on balance, being very off-center.
But the house was clean still from before and we had many many many peaches to share.
Maybe small blessings and baby steps is all there is.

She brought a cool friend and our kid drives himself home from school. 
And she came alone with a heavy heart.
All we had to do was be and be together.
It's hard to remember back then, especially as so much global tragedy has happened since.
Our ability to stay focused has been compromised.
Especially in time of illness and stress, time appears to bend strangely or slip away invisibly.
But we had food and snacks and offerings and love and each other and got through.
And now, knowing that he will no longer be reading this blog, nor looking at the pics of our fires
and seeing them and their magic as I see them,
there seems something lost. 
Who is this for, who sees this and cares, why do we share if there is no one to share with.
Still we go on.

our well and our fire-to-be
our sacrifice


 It was a great ritual.
Not the last of the flowers, but the beginning of the end of the flowers.
Sap from the spring from the back of the fridge, our apples and our peaches, 
fat and grasses.
Not enough tears for our sadness and pain. 
Not enough laughter for our simple joys and spark and birdsong.
Not enough prayers and silence for our healing.
And never too much gratitude but enough.

Our Omens

 from the Ancestors:Othalla or Odul. It is the sacred enclosure.
That place where we keep our sacred treasures or our precious things.
from the Spirits of Nature and Place:Tiwaz named after the god Tir or truth and trust.
It is directional and balanced.. Honest.
from the Gods and Goddesses: Laguz or Lake. It is that which we draw up from.
The action of drawing up and out and also the well from which we draw from. What comes out of us.
for the Season: Kenaz or the Torch. It's the ability to craft and shape and illuminate. 

 To everything (turn turn turn)
There is a season.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Lughnasa notes and musings -part 2

Daylight is so much less now. 
Frantically rushing towards darkness, the spiral of weeks moves onward.

Lughnasa is such a tipping point.
We think of the Equinoxes as fulcrums, but these holidays before them really alter the trajectory.

And I do not morn the waning summer, nor do I look to hasten the wintertime.

I am an August baby, the bugs have only recently started their non-stop 24 hour buzz, 
fruit processing time has begun.
It feels like the summer should begin now. I am almost finally ready.

We have spent so much of this season doing and praying.
Working on health and sanity and schedules.
Lughnasa was the first time to rest, to look around at this blessed bounty of our life,
welcoming the time of the shining heart.

I couldn't take any notes at the time because there was a satiety that I needed to sit with,
even knowing that the moment and memory would ebb like the endless days.
Sometimes it feels like the spirit lingers longer when I don't try to capture it.
Then was after dropping off art, after being interviewed as artists, after the extended family time
and before the birthdays.

 we started the fire in the morning, just us. 
  clippings of cedar and juniper, flower stalks from the garden, our sweetgrass braids

she was supposed to come early, but all things on summertime time, 
and everyone arriving at once 
as it happens 

the peonies from last season, the uneaten sweets, herbs and beer.
I kept searching my pockets for more to sacrifice, there are so many prayers to be said,

so much gratitude to share, never enough simple time or words.

I remember the grounding meditation of earth and breath and birdsong.
I remember his steady quiet drumbeat.
I remember us 3 women circling as we do.
I remember the kid smiling. 

and especially sending out our thoughts and prayers, our song and healing to our brother

the fire is always like dancing spirits
especially in photos 

 Our Omens
from the ancestors: Berkanu or beginning
from the Spirits of Nature & Place: Tir or that directional movement upwards
from the Gods & Godesses: Daguz or day 
for the Season: Mannaz or man


 the light in the center coming forth

and now tomorrow there is to be a total solar eclipse,
an owl called just outside the window in the almost dark.