All posts by locksley2010

Based in the Midlands, Locksley2010 is now studying the Ovate Grade of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. He is an actor and storyteller, he likes cats, honest people and thinks he's hilarious. Do not feed after midnight!

Learning From Past Lives

New Moon ♋️

“…. A lesson which they (Druids) take particular pains to inculcate is that the soul does not perish, but after death passes from one body to another….“ – Gaius Julius Caesar.

Both the Celts and Druids were said to believe in the soul. Not only that, but they were also said to believe that when a person died in this world; the soul was reborn in the Otherworld in its next life, and so the cycle continues on and on, this world to the next, the next world to this one.

Perhaps Caesar, in his cynicism was right, that the reason the Celts were so renowned for their bravery was down to their belief of the immortality of the soul.

And here we have something that has separated opinion for centuries: does the soul exist? Beyond that, is it transmigratory?

Recently I have been considering my own soul’s journey. Contemplating whether my own soul has had lifetimes before and if so…. Why can’t I remember? Why don’t any of us remember?

In my twenties, I underwent a guided meditation into a “past life”. Images flooded my mind of being a red headed woman in the 18th Century who was married to a handsome aristocratic man. Whilst he was away, I would dress up in his clothes, take one of his swords and start duels in the local town.

What are the chances of that being less of a past life and more my imagination fulfilling a desire? How is it when people do share past lives, they tend to have been rich and famous? Saying that, there are those who have supposedly lived very ordinary lives….

I didn’t trust it then and I don’t now. I think there are so few genuine cases of past lives because there are very few who actually remember them.

I even attempted a visualisation meditation this year to try and make contact with my own spirit to see if I could learn of my past lives. Instead, I ended up talking with my paternal Grandmother. Spirit? part of my psyche? Either way, we discussed the soul and how:

Each flesh has its own life, each life has its own lesson.

How this lesson helps our soul to grow and also how each life goes back to what she called The Source.

So why did I trust this and not the visualisation from almost 20 years ago? Because the first outcome was expected. That I’d go and retrieve a memory, it would be exciting and glorious…. and all my expectations were met. The second was unexpected and even left me feeling a little unnerved. Yes, I had set out to communicate with my own soul-essence but wasn’t sure if it would work. I wasn’t even sure what I would encounter (if anything at all!) But to be met by my deceased Grandmother and discuss such things as memories for that lifetime are for that lifetime in particular…. It was a hell of a surprise. As for what The Source was, we didn’t go into that. It just was.

It took me months to process this as well as my Grove-Sister’s Tatterhood blog post to unlock it.

Thanks to her piece on learning to love being ourselves, this took my mind in the direction of how many times I had already changed in this lifetime already. And so, in examining the “Past Lives” of this life, I was able to break down each of these incarnations of myself. I also learned that a lot of them were actually about me not loving who I was being at the time….. as well as how that drove me in those times.

Applying what my Grand-Mother said, I broke them down and learned the lesson from each of these former selves:

The Believer (09-19 yrs): Always ready to believe- but question everything.

The Witchy Poet (19-22 yrs): Seek and embrace inspiration, but don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t.

The Actor (22-27 yrs): There is always something to learn, don’t allow inexperience to feed paranoia and arrogance.

The Lost (27-33 yrs): Mature decisions require mature actions.

The Wounded (33-40 yrs): Dare to try and take solace in being alone. Don’t do everything all at once.

The Adult (40-?): Everyone has to grow up sometime…. Do it with style! At least- that’s what I’ve learned so far.

In line with what I have written before, we are all the same person at the core, but we change as we get older and our experiences influence this. And so old modes of thinking and old personalities, like The Doctor from Doctor Who? Burn away as they regenerate into someone else. The same person fundamentally, yet different in outlook.

I still don’t know where I stand on spiritual past lives, I think if we do travel from lifetime to lifetime, then I agree with my Grandmother (spirit? Psyche? Genetic memory?): We aren’t supposed to remember. Why this is so, I can’t say. But it appears a few anomalies do exist.

What I can say is that although there are those who seek and those who want to believe in their past lives, what about the past lives in this life time? The ones we can remember and learn from? What changes have you gone through and what did your former self teach you?

Picture by @aaroonio

Midsummer 2021

3rd Waxing Gibbous ♏️

Taken 30 mins after sunrise.

Today began with slow awakening, thick grey lightening up with pockets of light.

Traces of pink scattered the east, the promise of sun blocked by banks of green.

Heavy anthracite cracked and melted in a sea of pastel blue and shots of silver.

Warm sunlight is caressed by the cooling wind, there are rain drop kisses if I stand still.

Same gentle breeze keeps the leaves chattering in their choir, and wind chimes sing their song.

Those first shy drops later become tentative splashes, then lovingly embrace all in sight.

The verdant green stands firm, pulsing life and soaking up all that is given.

* * *

May the dawn greet you, may the sun shine upon you, may the longest day bring you joy.

Locksley. /|\

Lessons From the Park

New Moon ♊️

In the middle of May, I was walking through the Valley Road park here in Nottingham, when I saw something unexpected: mugwort leaves!

Mugwort, or Artemisia Vulgaris, if you will. Personally, I find the Scottish Liath Lus or “grey plant” more favourable.

Did you know mugwort can be made into tea, flavour beer and even be smoked as tobacco? Watch out though, it contains thujone which makes it a good insecticide but is toxic to cats and can damage the kidneys and liver in humans if taken in large quantities. It is thought to encourage menstruation, perhaps leading it to one of its many names: motherwort.

Had I not looked into the properties of Mugwort, I would have disregarded it as ‘another weed’. Because that’s the way when we aren’t familiar with something. We either take interest and learn to know what something is, or we dismiss it because it isn’t important to us.

I have reached a stage in my Druidry where I am now exploring both plants and trees. And even though I previously knew some of their names, I was completely ignorant of other species. Sure, I already knew of birch and sycamore and oak. As much as I already knew about yew, dandelion, buttercup and nettle. And this exploration has influenced a lot of how I now approach my blog over the past year.

As my knowledge and understanding increases, the landscape becomes more familiar, the fog of ignorance melts away. Becoming acquainted with the flowers, the plants and wildlife allows not only a growing familiarity, but an appreciation and most of all…. respect.

Spider’s web in the morning dew.

Reflections From Frost

New Moon ♈>♉

Dead Nettle in Frost by Locksley2010

Last week, in building up to this month’s new moon, the British weather had shown every example of its arsenal. Almost one for each day!

Beginning with spring’s warm sunshine giving way to chillingly cold winds, crispy frost, to swift flurries of snow, pockets of rain and gusts of wind. Blue sky being obscured by thick iron clouds…. to give way to blue skies again. And remember…. Blue skies don’t necessarily mean they are warm days.

The weather, here in the UK, is often a talking point because it changes so regularly. So we often talk about it, apparently we’re renowned for it!

It was walking in the frost that inspired this post: frost and ice can preserve on what it takes hold. In some cases it keeps things in stasis, in its extreme (like all things) it can kill.

In the case of looking at the dead nettle (its not actually dead, this is the flowering variety that doesn’t sting) being covered in frost one day and for it to be free the next, this brought to mind the nature of change.

Oh, for sure, the lengthening days, growing green and variety in birdsong are all indicators of the change of season, but even beyond the vernal equinox: winter hasn’t fully loosened it’s grip.

Humanity spends much of its time in keeping things as they are. Where stasis has become our way of telling ourselves that we control the world. But time, experience and the world teach us this isn’t so.

Night gives way to day, winter gives way to summer, youth gives way to maturity…. many die and many are born. What was old gives way to the new, relationships and friendships form, others break. A forest becomes a wasteland, which then becomes a park that becomes a nature reserve. The young can take something old and look on it anew.

As we grow, we too change in the course of our lifetimes: who we were as children isn’t who we are now. We may be the same person in our core, as much as a tree is always a tree, or a dead nettle is always a dead nettle.

But as time goes on, the experiences we go through, our victories, our losses, our lives change us as time goes on.

Regional Druid (Witch) Challenge

New Moon

My tools.  Photo by Locksley.

I was inspired by this post from the Ditzy Druid.  She was in turn inspired by someone on Instagram called Via Hedera who started a challenge called the “Regional Witch Pic Challenge” and tasked everyone to post a photo “that highlights the toolkit of magic” where we live. In fact, if you click on the link above, you can see her post which also contains the link to Hedera’s Instagram.  Plus, if you look at the Ditzy Druid’s blog you’ll see she has written a few novels.  They might be your thing, so check her out above!

Ok, so I’m very much a Druid who lives and works in an urban environment here in Nottingham in the UK. 

I’m lucky enough to have my own back and front garden and not only are there flowers and trees, but my wife has had a long time to grow it to how she likes.  Nottingham is blessed with having several parks, even in industrial places and there are also nature reserves where mines used to be….

And so, there’s plenty of natural inspiration and resources to meet and connect with.  And out of the tools I use in both my personal and group ceremonies, only three items are from Nottingham itself.  All of these are normally situated on the window ledge in this order on my altar.  For the purpose of this photo, I laid them out on the rug in the room where I practice.  The rug reminds me of the sea.

Allow me to introduce you to the gang starting with the small stone 12 O’Clock from the candle holder:

Stone of the North. I found this during a camp at Bestwood Country Park, Nottinghamshire.  It originally helped with amplifying any hands-on-healing, but became much more convenient for being my cardinal direction pointer for the North.  Especially when carried by….

  • Belt Pouch.  A gift from my dear friend, Kelly who introduced me to OBOD in the first place.  This pouch would carry a few of these items which I used as a travel altar.  I believe it is important to respect the cardinal directions in any new place.  The pouch now contains two small sticks: one of Birch, the other of Rowan.  I’m learning the Ogham and so, the pouch will become more full in time.
  • Pocket Knife.  A gift from my brother, it’s authentic Sheffield Steel and as that’s where I’m originally from, it serves as a link to my family and a reminder of my past.  It has never been sharpened and not used to actually cut anything.  Not yet.
  • Emissary Stone.  I use this to connect with the Earth, in paying respects, blessings and in grounding if need be.  I found it outside the Queens Hospital in Nottingham.
  • Deer Antler.  Given to me by my Grove Brother, Cthulhudruid.  Not only does this represent the element of fire in the south, I use this in ritual when calling upon that element too.  Worry not, the antler was part of one that was shed, not forcibly taken.
  • Holly Wand.  Originally one of the last Morris dancing sticks I had before it broke.  I held the broken piece in my hand and instantly knew what I could carve it into.  It became a project over the years until it came into it’s completion back in 2018.  Sliced, carved, filed and sealed all by myself.
  • Washed Slate.  I’ve had this since I was a kid!  As a child we went on holiday (vacation) to Wales and I remember playing in the sea and shouting “Thank you Poseidon!” Can’t remember why though, but I do remember picking the stone up and was very excited as it had a shell fossilized into it.  I have used this as the cardinal point for the West since my early days in Paganism.  Now, when I see it, I think of Manannan Mac Lir.
  • Chalice.  A gift from a friend back in my university days.  I have used this not only as a cardinal direction marker, but as a drinking goblet, spell-work vessel, blessing and anointing cup, but have also used it in performing for a friend’s handfasting. I’ve even used it as a scrying bowl, too! Out of all the items present, it’s definitely had the most use.
  • Glass Candle Holder from Mdima, Malta.  I bought this because I thought it looked like the sun.  And so it sits proudly in the centre of my altar, and in the centre of any solo ceremonies or magic work requiring a fire…. Especially when it isn’t particularly safe or practical to light an actual one.  I also use it when opening up my Ovate ceremonies and for housing any candles lit for the gods, the ancestors, the spirits around me, anyone who has recently died, when I want to give thanks or for anyone I feel the need to remember.

I am thankful that a lot of them are mainly gifts and will always be grateful for them. I use these mainly in my own circles, usually still sat on the altar, most of the time I’ll either use some of them or none at all.

Even though Witches, Pagans and Druids may have their own items and tools, the tools alone don’t make you magical. You do that, in what you bring and do for yourself, the people around you and your community. In whatever you do, let your spirit shine through, that will be magical tool enough.

Locksley. /|\

Merry May! Bealtaine 2021

Last Quarter

Bluebells of Woolley Woods, by my Dad David Knight.

Though the sky is grey, there is blue behind the cloud.

Though the rain falls, the bells ring blue in the sea of green.

But hark! The sun bursts through dismal banks!

A rainbow garlands shines the southern woods to the poplars of the west.

Though the rain falls, it quenches the thirsty ground.

Though the sky is grey, the sun shines still!

***

Indeed, after a day of much needed rain, my wife shouted to say the sun had come through and a rainbow could be seen!

Bealtaine blessings and Merry May!

Locksley. /|\

The Changing Voice of My Blog

New Moon

This post was inspired by another from my friend and Grove-sister, Tatterhood.

When I first started this blog back in 2013, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I didn’t really know what I wanted this blog to be. It was originally set out to be a blog exploring my spiritual practise of Modern Druidry.

In fact, it’s full title was “A Wise Fool- A Blog of Druidry and Weirdry.” And was originally set out to document any bizarre happenings (dreams, ghostly encounters and the like) as well as what I learned and discovered in my exploration into Druidry.

For those who are new to my blog (Hello and welcome, btw!) Druidry is a nature based spiritual practise seeking the Divine within the world, and our relationship with it. In the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) I have passed the Bardic Grade (Seeking the spiritual self through self exploration and creativity) and am currently studying the Ovate Grade (spiritual connection in the natural world and examining my relationship with it).

For those who’ve followed my blog for any length of time (Hi and THANK YOU! xx) they will have seen this blog cover many subjects and change as the years went on.

My blog over the years has had different voices: snarky, humorous, ranting, posts about myths, the Modern Pagan celebrations and even about gender and my holidays (vacations) and acting endeavours. Looking back on it, it’s been one hell of a journey.

As I have grown, so has my blog, there are posts I think I could have written better and there are posts I think were more of explorations into that particular subject rather than a full study.

Right now, and as of last year, my blog has been mainly about finding inspirations in the natural world. I don’t go heavy with the Druidry theme as my practise is personal and I’m not in the habit of preaching. But Druidry is fundamentally my blog’s flavour: for what does the Druid seek? They seek Awen, connection with the Spirit or Divine Inspiration. And inspiration in the world around me is what I have felt the drive to share.

Realistically, my blog should be called A Wise Fool: A Blog about Druidry and Inspiration.

My writing voice has changed: No longer someone who’s trying to find who they are, or someone writing like they have something to prove. No longer someone trying to sound academic or ranty: What was the finding of my subject? what was the lesson learned of that encounter? My writing voice is more reflective than experiential now.

As I commented on Tatterhood’s post about her own blog:

Blogs and writing voices change in time.  What we started with isn’t necessarily where we are now; that’s the beauty of the journey.

Has your blog changed in time? Has your writing voice changed?

Book Review! Love Lies Bleeding

Full Moon ♍

Two posts on the same night? Aren’t you lucky!

Going with the flow of Awen and with the “Creativity comes with other people” theme from my other post, I felt compelled to write this one!

I haven’t done a book review before and I am thrilled that my first is for my fellow blogger and friend, Aspasía S. Bissas’ novel ‘Love Lies Bleeding’.

Firstly, ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ is a romance. I don’t do romance books, but this was a first. Ok, technically Dracula could be classed as one- alright, a love story!

Secondly, this is a story in a world that has vampires in it.

I love vampires. I especially love the modern version of vampires being sexy, having cool powers and using blood drinking as a metaphor for sex.

Our main protagonists are Mara and Lee. Mara’s a young (looking) vampire who is older than she appears; loves her garden and dreads spending anytime with Nigel. Nigel’s a vampire of the Enlightenment, the vampire high society. He’s also a bit of an arrogant sod who loves the sound of his own voice.

Lee is human, he has a cheeky demeanour and punky sensibilities. He is all life and daring, which is a contrast to Mara’s ebbing Humanity and this flutters something in her undead heart as she begins to feel again.

Problem is, Nigel presents serious problems for them both….. and there’s also the problem of Dominic. Did I mention Mara has a stalker?

When I first started reading ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ I was totally confused. There were British words and turns of phrase, yet there were Western dialects and prose. Mara was from Ireland and, of course, is going to use words such as “arse” and not “ass”.

Bissas has great skill in setting the scene, you can see grand houses standing tall, gothic and dark. You can imagine shadows dripping down the walls to hide whatever might be haunting them. And this all set against the urban noise of bright lights, thumping music and sweat of the mortal populace. You can imagine the grime of the alley way and feel the thrill of the victim thinking he’s getting lucky…. only to be the latest feeding opportunity.

Bissas also eases you in slowly, introducing the characters at a good pace so you aren’t bedazzled in some Tolkienesque saga. She also sets the stage and scene so you come to see what the Enlightenment is all about and what it will cost for Mara to join it.

In terms of the romance aspect, we aren’t talking Twilight, here. Mara and Lee fall in love and they pursue it, knowing full well, this can’t last. But how long can they ignore that fact? How long until they have to make sacrifices until the cost is too high? In this world, vampires aren’t supposed to fall in love with their prey!

I met Mara with curiosity, she comes across independent and a bit of a high-profile-almost-anarchist. But as we discover, she’s putting on a mask to hide the fact she feels dead inside. Mara is dedicated to her garden, allowing opportunity for the insertion of plant lore which was a wonderful touch and adds to the story.

It’s Lee who enables her to feel alive and give her a cause.

Lee, I didn’t like Lee at first. I found him annoying and cocky when he’s trying to be charming and funny oh, wait…. like all men when we’re trying to impress someone? Yeah. Lee, fortunately, grew on me. He also has layers which make him completely relatable. Which I found a great foil to Mara’s ennui. A ghost is trapped in the past, Mara is trapped in her immortality. One of my favourite conversations is in a later chapter when they bicker and snap at each other where I thought “Yep, definitely been there!” Rather than being a rebel for the sake of it, he has his own reasons for flipping authority the finger.

The novel is written in 3rd person, but primarily follows Mara and Lee’s perspective. Any other characters are part of the narrative, but we don’t read their thoughts or what they’re planning. This was a brave choice to write following only the two main characters. But I would like to have seen events from the perspective of others. Nigel is boring. We know this because Mara’s point of view says so. Dominic is dangerous and obsessed, again we see this from Mara’s eyes. For me, it would have fleshed both male antagonists out with a bit more from their side of the story and dislike them more. Although we do come to learn more about them in time.

At the end of the night, vampires are monsters. And ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ is not afraid of this; whether it’s Mara’s hunger becoming uncontrollable- is it her age, or is it something else deep within her? Is Nigel really boring or is it that he’s so inhuman that he is above such a paltry thing such as emotion? Is Dominic really stalking Mara or does he see her as prey…. even if they are both vampires? And what of Mara and Lee? Can they pursue their love? What lengths will all go to get what they want?

These are the questions that can only be answered by reading the book!

Love Lies Bleeding is available from Bookshop in Canada and the USA. Being the UK, I had to get it from Amazon.

Get it, read it and enjoy it!

Locksley. 😉

My copy, with beaten corners and all…. sorry about the rug, Aspasía!