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.