“Quoth the Raven…”

Here we are: 2014, a year away from the Hover Boards we were promised in the movie ‘Back to the Future 2’.

Bringing in the New Year has undergone many changes, especially in modern times where the mainstream celebrate with fire works and lighting Chinese Lanterns, perhaps unknowingly passing the old year and welcoming the new with the most basic (and instinctive) method of communal celebration: fire.

The New Year in folk tradition paints this as a time of transition, not only numerically, but in the world around us as well as the Otherworld.  Yorkshire lore has it that high winds around NY are the ‘Winds of Change’ where the new year is literally blowing away the old year, its effects and energies being cleared away.  In some areas including Yorkshire and beyond (apparently this also applies in Southampton), it was tradition to open all the windows just after midnight to let out all the bad luck and spirits gained from the old year… you had to be careful closing the windows though, because you could end up trapping a passing spirit in your home!

And in this transitional chaos, the world was seen as being in flux.  Meaning, if you knew where to look you could divine what the new year portended.

One Celtic tradition has it that if you were to watch the skies all of NY night, and you knew your clouds, you could tell what the year has in store.  I honestly can’t remember where I got that from, I think its Irish with variants in Scotland and Wales.

Others include:

* First Footing: good or bad luck on you and your household depending on the looks of the first man to come to your door just after midnight:
Dark Hair: Good fortune
Red Hair: Bad fortune (there’s your racist).
In fact, with that tradition, apart from the dark haired fella, any red headed, squint eyed, flat footed, women (there’s your sexist) are all bad luck!  Although if a man has a high instep or rides a horse then that’s very good luck (!?…).    I have flat feet and, in the right light, red in my hair, so next year I might go and knock on the doors of any neighbours who piss me off!

* Clocks: Should be wound up at the time of the beginning of New Year to bring good luck.

* Waking up: For a girl to awaken in the morning of New Years Day to see a man pass by, from her bedroom window, supposedly meant she can hope to be married before the year is ended.

So, getting into the spirit of New Year divinations, I asked my Druid Animal Oracle this simple question:

What do I need to focus on in 2014?

The answer:

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Raven (Bran) reversed.

It means recognising that you cannot build or make foundations of something new without the destruction of the old.  It can also represent having to endure the dark in order to find the light.
Or it can mean the realisation of opposites “in light there is darkness, and in darkness, there is light”. There are stars in the night sky and there are embers that darken in any fire.

I will admit to thinking “Oh shit” when I drew it, but at the same time there is a sort of dread excitement… a development of something new but something will have to give way, what that will be is for 2014 to reveal.

“Allons-Y!”

Sources

Anonymous, ‘The Complete Book of Fortune: The secrets of the past, present & future revealed‘, Blaketon Hall Ltd, Exeter, 1988, p. 483.

Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm, ‘The Druid Animal Oracle Deck‘, Connections Book Publishing Ltd, London, This version printed 2005, pp. 20.  Illustrated by Bill Worthington.

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Ethical Healing

OK, on the OBOD course, I’m given to understand the sphere of healing falls within the Ovate grade.  I’m not there yet, I’m still studying the Bardic grade, although I’ve been a practicing healer for as long as I discovered I could do it (really? Yes, since I was Sixteen- a long time ago!).

I’m not one of those “Are you sick? Let me HEAL YOU!” types who go around and start ‘psychic spamming’ and  laying my hands on you against your will.  The last time that happened to me was just awkward, I felt sorry for the woman, good though her intentions were (I wasn’t ill or sick, I was recovering from heartache after bumping into my ex all the way back in 2000).

I don’t follow Reiki or any official Spiritual Healing organisations, though I have experimented and gone on courses to help refine my method.  Instinctually, I know what to do:

Its all about energy, you replace somebody else’s negative energy with positive energy and send the negative down into the Earth to transform into neutral energy to go to where ever  creation has use for it…

I try to avoid using the word ‘energy’ its far too vague and just a bit ‘hokey’.  I’m not trying to show off, I seriously believe we all have innate abilities that our 21st century minds have been convinced ‘don’t exist’.  We all have these gifts, its just that some can access them easier than others.

When I talk with a friend or member of my family and I discover they are suffering in some way, if I feel it appropriate, I will offer healing to them.  If they accept, no worries.  If they decline, I respect their choice.

A Native American I met, told a group of us the story of finding his mentor dying in hospital.  He went straight away to his mentor and began calling up on the Ancestors and Energies to help heal the dying man.  His mentor, waking up, asked him what he was doing, to which he said “I’m healing you”.  The mentor replied “Did I ask you to?”

Its all very well sending healing to other people when they say they are suffering somehow, but are they actually asking for healing? Sometimes the suffering just want to have someone listen to them, that in itself is its own form of healing.  Every now and then, people just need to vent something or get a subject off their chest… and when they do, it can actually help them to feel better.  We don’t always have to ‘send’ anything.

There is a great difference between healing and ‘surgery’.  I can send you as much healing light from my arse as you like but what if that’s only patching a plaster onto the wound?  What if your suffering actually comes from not the symptoms but the cause of the actual problems? This could be anything from poor diet, underlying issues or even something psychological or simply your biology.  What if your suffering actually comes from things around your life that need some attention or getting rid of? This is what is known as Holistic healing (or wholistic) which means healing of the self by tending to other aspects to our lives that may add contributing factors… I don’t really have magical healing light from my backside btw. 😉

The best form of healing is understanding ourselves and accepting that there are things in the world that are bad for us.  I can’t use a conventional swimming pool for example, the chlorine in it triggers off my eczema in a very bad,  red, itchy way.  In fact, my eczema has taught me humility.  Understanding my ‘skin condition’ has taught me not to be too vain and I have to watch what I eat and drink.  Saying that, if I didn’t have eczema, I’d be a lot more vain than I already am (I’m a Leo, of course I’m vain!) and eating and drinking a lot more shit than I usually do… most likely pumping my body with chemicals that would potentially do harm in other ways…

When someone asks for healing I am always willing to oblige, even if the effects aren’t immediate, they usually manifest within 24hrs.  If not, then the healing has helped in some other unexpected way.

When I’m asked if I can send healing to ‘so and so’ I don’t always respond.  Unless I know the person in question or have taken into consideration other factors (why? and what?), I often refuse because the request is on their behalf.  Yes they might need some kind of relief but again ‘Are they asking for healing?’ I often find it difficult to give people healing for those who-

        A: don’t really want it
        B: don’t even believe in it.

Then again, there might be a request for, say, a young boy rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties, of course I will send healing out for his comfort… but do I have that right?  I recently sent some healing via bi-location and consulted my Oracle to see if it did a young boy any good.  The response was of confusion of the request and of none interference… I was not meant to help him.

Say if someone is dying and talks to me about healing, I cannot and will not even pretend I can help them.  The best I can do is give them some energy (or Chi or Prana, or Nwyfre as we call it in the Order) to help make them comfortable, otherwise I simply ask the Gods if it is that person’s time then please make it quick…

Our society tends to avoid the subject of death unless its on the news or in fiction.  Perhaps there is something to be said for people like the Native American mentor who wanted not to be healed, but let go.

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The healing power of our Sun in the sky, not from my bottom

What makes a ‘Man’? Part 2

Its been just over a fortnight (when did we start saying biweekly?) since I put up my last post.

I seriously didn’t have any idea it would generate such a positive response- I just got shook up be a bad dream, which opened up a few anxieties I wanted to get off my chest.  That in itself was a good exorcism of those personal demons.

In my last post, I wrote about courage being essential about what makes a “man”.  By this I don’t mean fearlessness, that is something that (realistically) doesn’t exist.  I mean the courage to stand up and do what is right, the courage to actually dare to make our dreams a reality, the courage to stand by one’s beliefs, the courage to go forward instead of looking back.

Last time, I spoke about my feelings on how I perceive I have failed to utilise my potential, something I have decided to face and take on.

In the past two weeks I have made progress in writing my book (just about finished the last chapter, then I need to fully rewrite the conclusion, leave it a week and check for spelling errors and bad grammar as well as correcting sentences that don’t make sense), I have also been rehearsing the part of St. George for a traditional Mummers Play (being performed in Lady Bay and Beeston on the Solstice day! And I’m the only Pagan in the group…).  Tonight, I will be having my first rehearsal for an acting project created by a friend of mine.  The idea being that once its filmed, he shall upload it onto YouTube and see how it turns out.  I’m a little daunted by this, its the first straight acting piece I’ll be doing since 2007, after I sacrificed that world for a business venture and my marriage (courage was essential for both those adventures, the first evolved into something else and the latter is ongoing).  After a lot of soul searching and stopping from running away from myself, it turns out my performing side was still there all along and will always be a part of me.  It just that now I’m no longer denying it and am seeking to work with it once again.

On the OBOD Bardic course, we are encouraged to find our creative and expressive side.  I knew of mine all along, I just lied to myself saying that part of me was over.  What a fool I was!

Embracing the fire within has taught me that my Bardic self is my true self, something I only diluted with Morris Dancing alone.  Having the opportunities presented to me this year to pick up the rest of my performing side has taken the courage to do that what my spirit has been crying out for.

I have no idea where this project I’ll be rehearsing for is going to go, or even if it will be a success.  The important thing is I am stepping forward to do where I feel my potential lies.

I came upon the gorge that had ripped open the land like a wound.  Instead of anything like blood escaping or bone and muscle being revealed, this wound was dark, sucking in any hope and life into its depths. Looking around the land that was once whole and complete, the gorge stretched on for miles around, as far as the eye could see.  On the other side were pear trees, I could only just make out their vibrant green leaves and golden fruits.  The rest of that land was hidden by a fog, the hidden unknown of the future.
  I spent years looking for a way round, there was none.  I even spent those years thinking I was content with staying on this side, where I know the things I do and am familiar with all on this half of the gorge.  And yet. Yet… the calling from the other half was there, I tried to ignore it, hell even told myself I didn’t need to listen to it. 
  Then one day, I spied the pears of those trees and became hungry.  I knew that whatever lies in that fog is where I needed to go.  So I walked back towards the land I already knew, heading toward the trees and rocks I knew all the names of, and then I stopped.  I turned to face the gorge and breathed deeply, every intake as though they were my last.  So… I ran.  Running toward the gorge, the fire blazed within my chest, my breath as quick as I could take it, the strength in my legs burning as I headed closer and closer to the gaping precipice until my right foot touched its lip at which point I yelled only one thing as I leapt into the air above the darkness: “Geronimo!”

What makes a ‘Man’?

Today’s blog was actually inspired by a dream from last night:

I’m in a two-storey cafe, sitting at the head of a table, Pipes is sitting next to me.  The room is full of actors as we’re filming something in the area and we have all invaded this cafe run by my In laws.
  Sitting at the table beyond ours is a man, he is short and stocky, in his late 40s and has short black hair that is going white at the roots.  He is wearing a white sports top and blue shorts.  He looks a little like Mr Toad.
  In between actors walking between our tables, Pipes is trying to explain to this man why it is wrong for him to have loaned some tables to my In Laws and demanding them back despite the fact her Mum and Dad bought them off him.  In short, he wanted both the money and the tables.  Looking into his newspaper, he states out aloud: “I don’t understand this, why isn’t he arguing for you? He is less a man than he is a warrior!”
  Everyone stops and gasps… he was talking about me! Gob smacked, I just sit there in silence as the man gets up, looks at me then leaves…

I’d quite forgotten all about it until I followed a memory trail that revealed the dream I had.

I told Pipes as I remembered it and she asked if I knew why I dreamt of that.

Thinking on this has revealed something that I actually keep secret, even from myself…

I feel I have failed.

The man in the dream was obviously my Shadow (for those unfamiliar with Jungian archetypes, a subconscious manifestation of the bits of our identity we don’t want to acknowledge, often parts of ourselves we’re afraid of).    This time, the Shadow has personified itself in the things negative about Men in general: he was arrogant, sexist, greedy, selfish, single-minded and uncompromising.  In the dream I also got a sense of what he was like in his life: wealthy, the top of his game, runs his own company, a success, whence the arrogance… all the things I’m not.  Besides our sex and gender we had one thing in common: honesty. In the dream I didn’t defend my Wife, she, as my feminine side was speaking for me, this was a masculine Shadow directly challenging my own masculine self.  In the dream I simply let him walk away because I couldn’t argue back.  In my dreaming mind he was right.

This for me, presented a mind-fuck.

This morning I flipped between sadness, anger and then conviction.

I present a friendly, witty and laid back demeanor, yet underneath hide my own issues which is to do with the fact I feel I have failed.  How so? Let’s look at the stereotypical image of what we in the early 21st Century take a ‘Man’ to be:
Muscular, strong, stoic, rich, handsome, successful, determined, authoritive.

Once ‘Man’ and ‘male’ were synonymously linked.  Nowadays its a concept when you consider transgender or transsexual people.

Looking at the above list: I’m no pussy, but I’m no beefcake either.  I have strength in my beliefs, but not always in myself.  Stoic? No. I’m definitely not rich, both me and Pipes live on my wage in a job I am, at the minute undergoing confidence issues with (I kept fucking things up in September and now doubt myself there).  However, I have a wealth of Celtic History and the old tales.  I have Pipes, my cat and our rented home.  Handsome? I don’t like to brag. ;D determined? Not as much as I’d like.  I’ve been happy to follow and let others take charge, especially where I’m not an expert.  Authoritive? Sometimes, I know I can be in certain situations, but not all of them (work for example, I’m not an industrial person, I just pretend to be).

So, on to the biggie: Successful.  Here’s the crux.  We assume that to be successful we must be rich and have plenty of money to be happy.  That’s not really my problem, I know a couple who have the money, two cars a house and its driving them insane.  So I know and understand that money isn’t everything.  So why do I feel I have failed?  Because, in my mind, a Man has focus in his life be it his trade, his calling, his beliefs.  I feel I have failed because I have not attained “success”.  By that, I mean a contribution to Humanity.  To be able to turn around and say “Yeah, I did good there, I’m proud of that.”  I feel that in sacrificing my acting career (before it really begun) I squandered the ‘gift’ I was given, therefore creating a hole within myself of confusion and fear. 
  On the other hand, If it wasn’t for my sacrifice, my Wife would never have been able to get Pagan Pride up and running or begin her music career.

  This writing has been very cathartic for me and if you’ve read it this far, thank you.  I’ve even answered my own question “How do I be a man?”

Y’see, Druidic tradition teaches us the Shadow is represented by the wolf in the Druid Animal Oracle.  Wolf teaches that the Shadow is not to be feared or attacked, it is to be learned from.  Once that is done we can work on ourselves and transcend the barriers we place on ourselves.  The modern ‘Man’ is material in his ‘wealth’ and distractions, however he has no honour and no courage.

The answer to my question is: I can be a ‘Man’ by having the courage to do that what I am afraid of and stop whining about feeling lost and confused… especially when I actually know what must be done.  There are too many people who think they aren’t worth it in this world… I’m one of them and I don’t want to be anymore.
As Dian Cecht told me: “Love Yourself” and I’ll only start doing that by doing what really makes a man: Bravery.

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Photo by locksley2010

Here’s me, a man with long hair enjoying a glass of wine, cheers!

Full Moon Shenanigans

 

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Image by locksley2010, Midwinter Solstice 2012

Ah yes, the beauty of the full moon.  That silver beauty in the sky inspiring many and getting all the moths (bat-bait) into a tiz.

  This Saturday just gone (19th Oct) was the night I got together with my witchy friend, Lumi to pay respects to the moon spirit and make wishes.

  Technically speaking the moon was full on Friday night, so Saturday was really the first waning gibbous phase.  However, once the rain clouds had moved (rendering the public meeting cancelled) to reveal a starlit sky and a gorgeous moon (we’re talking degrees here, and unless you had a telescope to prove it wasn’t 100% full, then for all intents and purposes, Saturday’s moon was considered full), so me and Lumi decided to carry on the ritual at her place… it was actually on the way there the rain stopped and the sky revealed itself.

  The full moon is considered, in the Western Magical Tradition, to be linked with female energy as it rules earth’s tidal flow and the Human menstrual cycle.  It is also considered to be a magnifier of magic, psychic ability and a time of divination and reflection.  The Moon reflects the light of the Sun, after all, so I think a time of reflection is very apt.  In the OBOD Druid tradition, this reflective aspect is put to use.  In the Order, members are encouraged to focus on a meditation for peace in the world on the night of the full moon.  It seems this either only helps to encourage small acts of good and kindness or maybe there aren’t enough Druids doing this, I mean, take a look around, things are NOT peaceful! Any way, I digress.

  One of the really weird things that was happening during the rite was on the Telly in the background.  As Lumi was calling upon the spirit of the Moon, there was a rite of Artemis being played on an episode of the Beeb’s new fantasy series: ‘Atlantis’.  Very appropriate, indeed as Artemis is one of the goddesses of the moon.

  What I didn’t expect was while Lumi called upon Morgana (as in Morgana Le Fay), in my mind’s eye, I “saw” a lady in a white dress.  Her hair was long and dark (almost a chestnut brown), her aquiline eyes were also dark, her pointed chin at the base of her heart-shaped face.  She was very thin, frail you could say. In certain angles her face could be considered skeletal, but even that was because of her handsome and sharp features.  In this waking vision, she stood behind me and very gently put her hands on my shoulders and said “This one knows me.” She vanished after we asked for her blessing.

  Do I know Morgana Le Fay? Not quite.  I certainly have never called on her before, but I do consider the Lady of the Lake one of my goddesses.  I do know her from the Arthurian stories of course, depending on which one you come across, she is either a sister, nemesis or healer to Arthur himself.
  I also know her as a figure based upon Modron, mother of Mabon ap Modron, and daughter to Afallach, one of the chiefs of Annwn, the Cymraeg name to the Otherworld.  She is also based on Arthur’s sister, Anna*.
  So, do I make a habit of conjuring up the spirit of Morgana and have regular chats with her? Not at all.  As a mother, a lady of the lake, a sister, a supernatural being, that is how I know her.  Will she appear again? Will I get to work with her in the future, that I don’t know…

*The figure and character of ‘Morgan Le Fay’ in terms of her origins and role is explored in the book ‘The Keys to Avalon: The true location of Arthur’s kingdom revealed’ by Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd, Element Books Ltd, Dorset, 2000, ISBN 1-86204-735-9.

Enter the Dragon

Normally I’d post this in the ‘Synchronicity’ category, but because something happened this morning, its going straight into ‘Weirdry’.

Where to start? At the beginning….

It was the last week of August this year, on the Monday, in fact when I settled on the idea of performing the Bardic ‘Fire Weaving Ritual’ on the last day of August, Saturday the 31st.  So I asked the Druid Plant Oracle if this would be an auspicious time to do so.  In short,  the reply was in the ‘yes’ category.  I try not to use yes and no questions with any oracle as the answer can be vague at best, or raising more questions at worst.
  The next day, Tuesday, was Léithin Cluan ‘s leaving party.  Because its unlikely she’ll be joining us at Yule, she gave some of us our Yuletide gifts in advance (not everyone as she was collecting them throughout the year).  Mine was a small dragon statuette .  She’d named it ‘Alfred the Great’, I called him (of course it was a him) Bubba.  Bubba sits proudly in the fire section of my Altar at home:

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Bubba the symbol of the Dragon Spirit.

So not only a gift from my friend, but a sign of the gods, a dragon symbol to say “Yes, perform the ritual”.

On the Saturday, on my way to the St. Anne’s allotments to perform the ritual, I went through the Arboretum and found this image:

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Two more dragon’s, technically they are fire-breathing wyverns (Wyverns are two-legged, dragons are four).  Another sign.  The ritual went fine and dandy, I just found it strange the spirit of the Dragon made itself known.  I’ve never worked with it before or called upon in, but somehow the Bardic fire course has opened up that communication… something I had to use this morning.

  My wife, who shall now be known as Pipes on this blog (as in nice set of… she’s a singer y’see.) Went out last night for an open mic acoustic night.  Around midnight she called to say she was going jamming and let me know when she’s on her way home.  Fair enough, and I go to sleep.
I then wake up at 4am and there’s no sign of her there.  I look down stairs, no one around… so my mind starts playing tricks.  I get my phone, no sign, so I call and leave a message of the “Where the fuck are you?” Kind.  I leave a text, give it a few mins (OK, 30 seconds) and call ten more times.  No answer.  I start thinking the worst… getting a grip I get my oracle and ask where my wife is.  Not expecting an exact answer, just a clue.  I didn’t understand it (at that time in a morning, who would?) So I break my rule and ask a yes or no question: Is she safe? Two cards pop out, both talking about creative endeavours and pursuing her calling. 
  Aha! So she’s OK and still making music? I feel a bit better but I still need to know.  So I called on the dragon.
  I lit my Altar candle and breathed in and out deeply three times and invoked the fire as I often do, then stared directly into the flame and said:

Oh Spirit of the Dragon, I ask you to please find my wife and get her to call me.  If she is safe and asleep at a friends place, awaken her.  If she is in danger, give her the strength to get away and call me.  Where ever she is get her to call me.  This I ask of you.”

I let my nervous energy be the fuel for the connection with the spirit.  I paid in advance with an offering of tobacco and blew out the candle flame.  Looking at the time it was 04:30.  I get a text message from Pipes at 04:43. It worked! OK, it was a text, not a call but it was still contact.  Pipes was fine (drunk and stoned) and still jamming.  Apologising for worrying me, she was now getting a taxi.  She did get home and she was alright (a little drunk and high).  Thank fuck!

I get the idea it worked because my instinct of protection was what linked me and the dragon together.  That and Pipes works with the dragon anyway, which was why I called it.

I won’t use the dragon every time because I don’t think it will warrant it.  But the need and cause must be great to get its attention… at least that’s what I think right now.

All together now:  “Anaal Nathrack…”

A blog about Druidry and Weirdry