Why perform ritual? 

“Do you perform it for their glory, or for yours?” Was the question that popped into my head as I poured the water from Monday’s ceremony into the kitchen plant. 

    A slight rewording from the question posed to Dr. Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but an effective one nonetheless. 

    That previous night had me perform a personal meditation in order to find an answer to something I was thinking through.  Well, more accurately, the meditation was the middle bit of my ceremony (to my fellow members of the Grove who wanted to know how it is I can recall the words by rote….. This is how).  And to perform the meditations and visualisations I use without the ceremonial bits feels…. Naked.

    This is how I do it: 

    1. Peace to the quarters.
    2. Cast the circle.
    3. Bless the circle with fire and water.
    4. Prayer to deity or deities.
    5. Awens.
    6. Middle bit.
    7. ‘Hour of recall….’
    8. Thanks to Deity.
    9. Uncast the circle.
    10. Declaration of the end of ceremony. 

        It’s mainly based on the general OBOD ceremonies, but I have found the form that works for me.  No flowers though.  Can’t be doing with taking from the plant realm for the sake of aesthetics!

          The Order encourages members to try things out and see how things work for them, even saying to stop something if it doesn’t work for you.  I have kept the above as it works for me.  Some of the wording is different and the words I say to deity are my own. 

        The ritual water I give to the household plants, a way of giving back and not wasting what was taken.

        There was a time I would perform this every day, and even though it did calm my being, I became stifled with the repetition.  So now, I like to do it with meaning, the ritual bringing calm and satisfaction to myself as well as honour and communication to those that are listening.  

        Do I do it for their glory?  Not really, as I have other personal rituals for giving thanks and honour.

        Do I do it for my glory?  Perhaps.  But when I perform the ceremony it isn’t for glory, it is a series of repetitious actions that allow me to enter a certain level of consciousness that allows me to find a stillness.  This stillness can be used to calm my fiery temperament, to gain insight or inspiration.  

        And even if there is no one in the ether, the ceremony still serves it’s purpose. 

        “There are FOUR lights!” Pic by Locksley2010.
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        Owl-right, my son? 

        This would have been written New Years Day were it not for the extreme hangover I had suffered.  Regardless, I consulted the Druid Animal Oracle for my yearly focus.

        Of dragons and potential

        Last year’s card signified 2016 as being a year for discovering my inner potential power, it was not wrong!  Last year I had: 

        • Successfully auditioned for the part of Watson in a comedy version of Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. 
        • Performed two theatre plays back to back.
        • Provided the voice for the ‘Where Witchcraft Lives’ exhibit in Brighton.
        • Learned a great deal of my strengths and weaknesses.
        • Found my place in my day-job and I’m fine with it! 
        • Became a member of a brand new theatrical events group.
        • Completed my Bardic course and review. 
        • Completed my Ovate initiation just in time for Yuletide. 
        • Learned what my acting type is.
        • Discovered where I went wrong in my marriage.  
        • Cut my long hair off in the name of charity.

        So yes, quite a lot, really! 

        Eyes in the night

        And where does my focus lie for 2017?  The card drawn for this year is Owl, or Cailleach Oidhche . The card for detachment, wisdom and change.  It speaks of turning a disadvantage into an advantage, also it signifies a call to explain the Otherworld with studying esoteric lore and clairvoyancy.  Not sure about speaking with the dead, but seeming as I will be beginning my journey into the world of the Ovate (mystic, seer, healer) this is apt indeed.

        I am aware of the Owl being named as one of the oldest creatures of the Earth, according to one of the tales of the Mabinogion.  In another tale, it is the final form inflicted upon Blodeuedd by the sorcerer Gwydion.  Owl is also associated with the Cailleach, although which specific one, I am not sure.  Either way, both Owl, the Cailleach and studying esoteric lore are to be treated with respect. 

        Art by Bill Worthington.

        Learning from the past

        You can look back on your life at all the things that went wrong.  Think of all the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.  Fact is that choices were made and what was done is done.  

        Whatever our choices were, they have led us to now and who we are presently.

        When dealing with the past, it is healthy to learn from our mistakes and make changes for the better in ourselves or our environment- wherever and whatever that may be. 

        Nostalgia is great for taking a trip down Memory Lane, however we must remember not to stay there and become trapped by what was, whether good or bad. 

        We are the product of our own experiences, not just in life, we also learn from the characters we read in books or see in movies or television.  Even a song lyric can touch us and inspire our take on the world.

        When dealing with events from the past, it is important for us to go forward and learn from our mistakes, lest we wallow in dispair and do nothing, or worse: deny everything and blame everyone else. 

        Our choices make us who we are, but it is our actions that define us. 

        Memories flow into the pool of time, on the surface they may have gone, but we always remember. Photo by locksley2010.

        Realignment

        June.  That was the last month I wrote something in depth. I have managed to write something every month or so, albeit in the form of a poem, a saying, or even a prayer. 

        Actually, I don’t feel the need to write anything in depth.  No examinations of what those legends may actually mean, no breaking down of Pagan concepts (Classical or Modern), no questioning of the values or ethics around us.  In fact there are so many people reeling from the political victory of Brexit and Donald Trump, there are plenty already questioning the world around them…. 

         Whereas my investigative flair has faded to nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Diddley-Squat.  

        During August, I feared I might have severed the link between myself and my spirituality.  Since the end of June, I dedicated myself to learning my lines for a theatrical performance.  In August, I did the same with another, both of them are now finished and performed.  Having embraced my acting self as my Bardic self, I have sought to regain and discover new skills for being the actor I want to be.  As well as discovering the actor I am turning into.  

        It would be wrong of me to say I ‘put my life on hold’ because of the two plays.  Sure, I became less socially active and my days off were dedicated to line learning as were my evenings after work and then there were rehearsals.  

        Performance is a discipline. It is hours of line learning, practicing the mannerisms of another person, working with the energy levels of your colleagues so the show does not lag.  Remembering where to be in the right place at the right time, thinking within a split second of a replacement word if you end up forgetting the correct one and doing all of this with a huge adrenaline rush once you are doing it.  To do that and more requires focus and discipline in yourself. 

        And so, I threw myself into this creative path.  To me, it feels so right to do so.  It has stoked my inner fires and is my main focus. Where I may not be performing my Bardic Rituals everyday (the last was before I moved house in June) I have come to understand this, at the moment, is not what I need in my life right now.  

        I still light my candles to my deities, ancestors and the spirits around me.  I still honour the seasons that pass and celebrate them; I still give offerings and have even done a little research into Japanese Fox spirits.  I have discovered my spirituality is in who I am, not just what I do.  This has also allowed me to view my spirituality, my beliefs and my self objectively.  And in this I have learned much, including belief in myself. 

        But for the time being, I will post when I can with what I can give.  

        After all, if one’s spirituality is only defined by one’s work with ritual, then what is ritual if not a performance? 

        Photo by Locksley2010

        Beware the Goblin Moon

        We be there at sundown, Shadows stretchin’ all around. Goldy-peach bleeds the sky, be aware that ye we spy?

        Night grows dark and clouds Turn black, Moon faces east, Her belly getting fat.

        Purple is the haze, green is the ring, Beware the goblin moon. It’s our time to sing!

        That be us there- a chatter in the leaves, A tinkle in the stars, a giggle in the breeze. Eyes red as mars!

        If Ye leave an off’ring, we’ll play, A real treat, If Ye give some milk, Ye’ll Find us real sweet.

        Slippety- slap – snickety- snack!

        Should ye leave us nothing, Act the mardy grump, Should ye shout and swear, Or threaten a thump,

        If ye ignore our pranks, Or anger at our cause, We’ll scare ye o’ the dark, And lock all yer doors.

        Trickety- track – Clickety- clack!

        We’ll take all yer keys, And we’ll scare yer cat, We’ll scratch all t’walls, Grease your shoes in fat!

        We’ll pull yer dogs ears, Stuff jam in yer x-box, We’ll crack all your plates, And wee in your veg-box.

        Purple is the haze, green is the ring, Beware the goblin moon. It’s our time to sing!

        Parley- John- Parley- Jack!

        We’ll be nice to ye, if ye be nice to us, If ye treat us kindly We’ll give no fuss.

        We don’t want trouble, We’ll leave ye well alone. But ev’ry now ‘n’ then Leave us free to roam!

        Photo by locksley2010

        A blog about Druidry and Weirdry