Category Archives: Druidry

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. /|\

Full Moon Special: ‘A Triad From Today’

Full Moon ♍

A triad from today:

Creativity comes with other people,

Reflection comes with solitude,

Inspiration comes with the spirit.

/|\

I’d like to give a shout out for these two posts for inspiring the triad above.

Nimue and Amy, thank you!

Moon rises in the east….
Sun sets in the West….

Winter Solstice 2020 Special: “Horsing Around”

Originally written on….

Monday 21st December 2020

1st Quarter

Conjunction with Jupiter and Saturn.

Well. What a year! When I was writing about unstoppable forces, a world-wide pandemic wasn’t exactly what I had in mind….

And with that, let’s skip to the card and what 2020 brought to it.

Remember, the card was reversed, which although this isn’t necessarily “bad”, it just means there’ll be more work to do. Yes, when a card is drawn, we have to take it’s upright associations in mind as well: Leadership, Warrior Spirit, Direction. But let’s look at the main themes:

Madness: I think that pretty much summed up 2020 as a whole. I do find it interesting where the book says: “Sometimes we must go through a period of ‘breakdown’ in order to allow something to enter our lives.”

I originally took this card to mean that perhaps my hernia operation would meet with some difficulty. Little did I know that a disease would sweep the nations of our world and create a very different madness.

My recovery, allowed me to make some headway into my Ovate journey, showing me how to look at the world anew. I’m not only exploring the forest, I’m learning to read it!

During the first Lockdown, I made the step of streaming the ceremonies and lessons of the Robin Hood Moot online. I also took this time to learn how to video edit on my phone, started recording and creating my online storytelling (thinking of doing a podcast version, next), and finally started voice acting!

Strangely enough, Devi always referred to us getting married as “madness” and some would consider us mad for attempting to getting married during the Pandemic….. But we pulled it off, had our immediate family with us and enjoyed a thoroughly good time! Until I met Devi, I never saw myself getting married again and we did it!

And I survived turning 40. I mean, is there a membership card? Do we get cigars and a glass of port- how does this work?

And to cap off the ending of this year, I really jumped off the sanity wagon and applied for the Deputy Manager position at my day job.

The Druid Animal Oracle writes of the Boar reversed being the card of the Terrible Mother aka The Initiator. And if it’s one thing I learned from Boar, is that it also means an unstoppable force: something that’s so strong and brings destruction in its way that the only way you can limit it is to drive it else where: this was the method employed by Arthur himself when facing the dreaded King of the Otherworld Boars: Twrch Trwyth.

Recovery from my operation was inevitable, the situation with Covid-19 was unstoppable. What I took from this was to not give in to neither despair or panic. I accessed my warrior spirit to turn my situation into an advantage with creative, spiritual and even gardening endeavours. I stood up in leadership with listening to the members of my moot and made our physical meetings into virtual ones. I also took the opportunity to apply for a promotion. Something I would never have done a few years ago. And the focus of my wedding, with the lessons of the Ovate Grade and being at home for longer than anticipated had all lead to direction in my life.

2021: Each: Horse

It was with some surprise, I drew not only an upright card, but one of such adventurous possibility.

Horse tells of Travel, of the Land and The Goddess. Of connecting with the seasons and natural rhythms in life. How Horse will appear, I shall of course share…. I find it very cool that the card has the image of the Uffington Horse and we had taken the picture of it down from our dining table to allow for a wedding gift to be viewed….

Outside, it has been raining and the Winds of Change are already here, as though the previous year is being washed and blown away…. very well, Each, let’s see what journeys await!

Autumn Equinox Special

Fifth Waxing Crescent

The Autumn Equinox is a time of change where we mark and can actively see the shift of the seasons.  As the days become cooler and nights become longer, now is the time for letting go of that which no longer serves us.  Now is the time we can begin something new.

Like the fruit falling to the earth, like the leaves changing colour and like the low setting sun, we enter this time of transition.  As the season transforms, may we also allow for transformation within ourselves.

May you be blessed on this day and on this night.

Merry Equinox!

Pic from Grove Ceremony 2014

Locksley /|\ 🔥🍃🍂🍁

Celebrating the Solstice

Sunday 21st June 2020- New Moon in ♊-♋

The Summer Solstice, aka: Midsummer, Litha, Litha-tide, Alban Hefin or Alban Heruin.

By the time this blog is posted, the summer solstice has been and gone. Here in the UK, it took place on Saturday 20th June at 22:43 hours. There was even an eclipse and a solar flare too! Although both would have been seen in different parts of the world.

I might have mentioned before that I co-run a Pagan Moot here in Nottingham, it goes by the name of The Robin Hood Moot, so called because we (before Lockdown took effect) would meet at the Robin Hood Statue just outside of Nottingham Castle to celebrate the Wheel of the Year. Adapting to not being able to meet up in public, we took to having our celebrations online and started hosting meetings on the Full Moon.

The RHM hasn’t had it’s solstice celebration yet, we’ll be doing that tomorrow night, we’ll be riding the energy of the solstice. Mainly because everyone will have their own celebrations going on the Saturday and today is Father’s Day. Experience in the days of being a member of the now defunct Grove of the Corieltauvi taught me: People prefer to be with their families at this time. And so they should.

My friend and fellow RHM member, Tony, asked the question: “Yes, the Solstice is on Saturday, that part I know…. but was under the impression you do the sunset on the eve and sun rise of the Solstice?

As we know from the photos of the media, Stonehenge is normally swamped with people who had come to welcome the dawn of the longest day of the year. A tradition started relatively recently: it was William Stukeley during the 18th century who proposed that Stonehenge was used to observe the solstices. He was right, although scientists argue that the structure was geared towards the sunset for the Winter Solstice. The logic being that in knowing the shortest day had arrived, with it comes the promise of the lighter nights and the coming of the summer months. Hope; in other words.

Realistically, it appears to be facing both the sunrise at midsummer and the sunset at midwinter.

So, to celebrate the summer solstice at the dawn or the evening?

If you want to get technical: its all about rotation. The summer solstice happens in the northern hemisphere when the sun is at its highest point, the furthest from the Equator. When the North Pole tilts towards the sun directly at the sun at 23.4 degrees, that’s when it really happens.

The actual point of solstice didn’t occur until 22:43 BST last night.

Whether you chose to celebrate the dawn or the evening of the longest day was totally up to you. Some even do both!

For me, the summer solstice is about the victory of the longer days, the celebration of the season of summer itself. For keeping the inner flame going and being thankful for everything and everyone I have in my life. I also acknowledge the passing of time and even though I’m raising a glass to the fire or to the setting sun, I’m accepting that from here, the nights will become longer once again. And so the cycle continues. That’s what I like about the solstices, they are the tipping points to the times of light and times of dark.

Yogic sun salutations, rituals both simple and complex, energy work, chanting, having a picnic at your house, lighting bonfires or candles are all perfectly valid ways of celebrating Father Sun. However you celebrated or marked the occasion, I hope you had a good one!

In our Solstice fire, the Stag appeared to give blessings of the South….

https://time.com/5608296/summer-solstice-stonehenge-history/

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/things-to-do/solstice/what-is-the-winter-solstice/

https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice.html

Lessons of the Five Streams

Friday 22/05/2020 New Moon ♉>♊

Friend Rowan, the only sense I didn’t use was taste…. not into tree licking, Y’see.

If it’s one thing I have learned during Lockdown, it’s that there is much that can be learned from our senses.

I originally wanted to write about the five senses and using Cormac Mac Airt’s journey to the Land of Promise as an example. But looking into this story a little further has revealed more meaning.

It’s easy in our Western Modern world to think of ourselves as separate from nature and that the world is entirely separate from us. It’s also easy to want to pursue any path of Paganism by wanting to connect with some unseen and powerful force.

I do believe that the world is a wonderful thing, and by connecting with it, there is much to learn.

By connecting with it, I don’t simply mean that we somehow mystically connect with the spirit of the Earth. Rather I’m talking about actually paying attention to what is in front of us and what is around us.

By being still and closing our eyes and breathing naturally, we will be assailed by all of our senses at once, the best thing to do here is to select one at a time and then work with the rest:

Feel the solid ground beneath us, the wind blowing around us, warmth, cold, any aches. These are the things we become aware of when focussed on touch.

Hear the wind about us, the wind in the trees, the creaking of any doors or fences, birds, distant vehicles and people, any machinery, the buzzing of insects, whatever else you can hear.

Smell the air you take in and what comes to mind? The smoke of someone burning wood or trimmings? The wet grass after the rain? The scent of your skin in the sun?

Taste is a little more tricky, but it’s one I tend to go with what comes first: I taste my mouth for any flavours: mouthwash, tea or coffee, what I ate, maybe nothing at all. I also look out for any flavours that I crave. Sometimes there’ll be a scent that’s quite strong and you can both smell and taste it. Both are linked after all.

Sight, isn’t just taking in what you see. In relaxing your eyes and focussing my vision on something before me allows my peripheral vision to take in: the flying of insects and birds, a weed growing amongst the flowers, the prowling cat in the shade…. the world happening when we aren’t just looking at what’s in front of us. Even with our eyes closed we can still see light and dark, colour and shade, bursts of light in the dark and the reflection of our own veins and optic nerves.

And if we pick up on something, we can try and find the source: which direction is the wind blowing from? Do I need a jacket when going out? Where is that bird flying to? Was that buzzing a fly or a bee? Where did that smell of burning come from? And what IS one of my cats prowling after!?

When the Irish High King, Cormac Mac Airt went in search of his wife and children, he found himself in the Land of Promise and saw three strange and wonderful sights. The second of these was a pool of water being fed by five streams. Around this pool were nine hazel trees, the nuts of which dropped and the salmon in the pool left behind the husks of the hazelnuts. At least, this is the version from Lady Gregory and I, in turn, learned another variation of that story (in the older editions there were three wells, each denoting the kind of generosity a person can be, the last being the most greedy). Regardless, Manannan Mac Lir explains to Cormac that the pool he saw was the well of wisdom.

By attuning to our senses, we find the world is richer than it first appears. When walking in Bulwell forest about a month ago, before the golfers returned, I could see dark clouds on the horizon, I could feel wet on the wind and about halfway I saw magpies and swallows taking shelter, even though the rain was in the distance. By the time I turned back, the rain had already started and the smell of petrichor was in the air. By the time I got back, I smiled in knowing why the birds had took to the trees and that I’d recognised it.

In being aware of our senses, we become mindful of our surroundings and less wrapped up in our own thoughts. When we’ve quietened down the internal monologue, then we free ourselves to be more observant and open to inspiration. And who knows- by becoming more aware of what’s going on around us, we may gain a glimpse of the magical.

Broken Taboo- Full Moon Special

Thursday 7th May 2020- Full Moon♏

Last Super Moon of 2020

Breathe in two, three, four, out two, three four, Hidden neighbours mock each other, their tongue unknown.

Breathe in two, three, four, out two, three four, My mind races, focus uncontrolled. Naked!

I am naked before the moon of flattened yellow, Solar lights make a constellation of the garden.

A noise! A Spectator! Only I hear them and stand defiant. Tabby Cat leaps and plays with flying shadows.

I see the night, the stars peeping out of the cloud. I stand as a star, like them and we are free.

I feel the night, the cool all around, yet I am warm. I am a star, like them and we are free.

I breathe in the night, the air both in and out. I smell where I sweat and know the beast I am.

I hear the night, the voices of the unseen, The water that flows and the cat that runs!

I taste the night, the wild unseen in the dark, I taste the wild within, to stand in glorious audacity!

Breathe in two, three, four, out two three, four, I am naked and emboldened, my fetters unshackled.

Breathe in two, three, four, out two three, four, The moon begins to hide with a cloak of cloud and a mask of tree.

Breathe out two three, four….

I release the night, longing to go and to stay.

Of Awen, Dandelion and a Blackbird called Plucky

Thursday 23/4/2020 New Moon

I am very fortunate during Lockdown to be able to pursue my interests as well as keep myself busy.

The trick is to not get yourself overwhelmed.

Between a current project and my acting classes (online), I have been learning how use my smartphone as not only a film camera, but an editing studio too.

I’m a great believer in Druidry not only respecting the past, but being in the here and now. As I’m discovering: my performing and technical learning are complementing my Druidry, the reverse is true also.

Awen: As well as my creative juices now flowing again (I’ve had a bit of a dry patch for well over a year), Awen hit me in the most unexpected ways.

I was in my study doing some basic physical exercises (week 12 of recovery and seem to be doing well so far!) last Thursday and then the Awen flowed, it hit me: Make a storytelling slot on Facebook every Sunday during lockdown!

The Awen struck my mind with that thought and then it snowballed into an idea: I can record stories of myth, legend and folklore and even make this into a YouTube Channel!

Getting in contact with my friend Dee, who was interested in my idea for such an idea, she agreed to edit my footage and make it look good.

And so, Story Sunday was born and I put the first story out on both social media platforms, on YouTube it’s under my channel: Knight’s Tales, but the Story Sunday has it’s own playlist and category. The idea being that I’ll be able to add other storytelling performances (hopefully) under one heading.

For anyone curious, here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-0e_Pgz6JJOXaILpNfCdTw

It’s basic right now, but hey, it’s a start. And with the blatant advertising out of the way…..

I wrote the above with no smugness, I wrote it hoping to be inspirational: if a technophobic mug like me can learn how to do all that, so can you.

You see, the Awen doesn’t just mean “Inspiration”. It also means “Spirit” and shares the same root word in Welsh as awel or “breeze”.

And as I’ve been weeding (Devi calls weeding and planting “proper Paganism”…. I don’t think she’s wrong) a lot in the gardens too, I felt inspired to compare Awen to the humble Dandelion:

Dandelion: Dandelions are brilliant, they’ll grow anywhere, usually between other plants- so watch out for what you’re digging up! But bees love them so I left the ones with bees alone.

Awen is like the Dandelion: it grows, it flowers, then it changes all of a sudden into many different ideas to take seed and then it’s gone!

Blackbird: Most likely because I have been weeding, there has been the same Blackbird coming to the house everyday. Looking for food and nesting materials, he’s been really close to the house. I was removing several invading dandelions (For ideas can be unwelcoming too) from the potato patch and the Blackbird was there, at least 2 meters from me, just watching. It appears he was as curious of me as I was of he, we pretty much circled each other. He even made himself known when I was weeding the cherry tree today (he was close, by at least 4 feet!) he wouldn’t stay still for my camera though.

Because he comes so close and he doesn’t seem to care about the “Apex Predators” of the house, I decided to call him Plucky.

So, be like Plucky, dare to explore new ideas and methods, let inspiration take you and see what ground the Awen takes seed.

Next New Moon: Fri 22/5/2020

‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’ Film Update!

Wednesday 8/4/2020 – Full (Super) Moon ♎>♏

Hello everyone, I have a full moon special this month. For those who follow my blog, you may remember I was starring in a drama documentary called ‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage‘ made by the Lost Histories team last year? In fact, I wrote about it here.

It was supposed to have premiered on the 28th of March, but due to Covid-19, it’s screening was cancelled and it will be released on YouTube instead.

If you press the link below, it will take you to the Lost Histories website where you will find the link for the film. It will be active on Saturday 11th March, 19:00 hrs GMT.

See you then!

A Druid’s Pilgrimage film Premiere

Of Birch, Bee and Blackbird.

Tuesday 24th March, New Moon♓>♈

Note from Locksley2010: Ironically, I wrote this before the UK went into lock down and set it to publish automatically. Where ever you are, dear reader, stay safe! Tues 23rd March, 08:12 GMT

This was supposed to be a post talking about the renewal of spring. It still is in a sense, but considering what’s going on in the world right now, I thought I’d share what I learned from the little walk I did and how it may help these times of ours.

I was in town (before the full seriousness of Social Distancing was recognised by HM Government) and was thinking about everything I needed to do. It was a warmish and sunny day, so I walked through the Arboretum and visited Young Birch.

As I stood there, breathing slowly and being still, I saw movement amongst the daffodils: worker bees doing their thing! I also saw a Mr & Mrs Blackbird looking for things, food, I’d imagine. I tried to get a photo of them, but they weren’t having it.

I gained a sense of calm from these beings and learned the following lessons from them and how they can help us….

Birch: Be calm and be flexible. Through stillness we can collect our thoughts and gain perspective. Things might not be as we wish, but we can reorganise and plan around what outcomes may come forward. If the birch can venture into new territories to grow, so can we. If you are in Self Isolation, see if you can take the time to learn a new skill or language.

Bee: Be patient. There are certain things we can only do when the conditions are right. And when the opportunity presents itself: get it done. The hive of the bee is an entity in its own self, each part serving for the whole as well as helping others (pollenation). Like the bee, we must do what must be done when the time is right. This might involve social distancing or waiting until we can pick up the pieces again. If able, help others: even if it’s just communicating with them or doing something for them.

Blackbird: Keep active. These guys work and stay in the UK all year round, through all the seasons. For those off work, it’s important to keep yourself busy. Not only for getting things done, but for your mental health too. Get yourself organised, see what needs doing and if necessary: learn how to get them done; or do that thing you always wanted to but never got around to doing.

Friday the 20th was the Spring Equinox, the time of balance and everything beginning anew. Right now, things have gone a bit topsy-turvy. See if you can turn this time of chaos into some kind of benefit for you and others. Don’t panic and remember:

Be calm, be flexible, be patient and be active.

Next New Moon: Thursday 23rd April.

Mrs Blackbird, doing what blackbirds do….