Tag Archives: Awen

Midwinter Solstice 2017- Lessons from the dark

I was going to put the ‘Yule’ chapter of my Wheel of the Year series as this festival’s entry, but it needs one hell of a re-write and, quite frankly, I’m not in the mood to rewrite pages of material.

Thursday marked the Winter Solstice and it was a dark, damp cloudy day. I was inspired! I wrote a piece for all my friends in Facebook land, I like to spread hope where I can.

Light, dark, balance is what counts. Lean too much towards the former and we see everything with rose-tinted glasses. There is no wrong in the world. Ignorance is bliss. Lean too much towards the latter and, well, there is everything wrong with the world.

I managed to get out of the house to take a walk in Highfields Park, just outside of Beeston, Notts. Although by the time I got there, the sun had already set and dusk would soon give way to night. This reminded me of the Owl card that I had drawn at the beginning of 2017. The concept of ‘Owl Time‘ was not lost on me.

Realising I was rushing through. I stopped and took in 9 deep breaths and closing my eyes. After that, I heard the sound of something in the lake. I turned and found a whole group of ducks swimming by the side of the man in the wheelchair being pushed by another. The ducks recognised him and were expecting to be fed…. their disappointment was evident when they started waddling along the embankment and quacking amongst themselves. A black bird with a white bill and stripe on its forehead ‘Pinged’ at the ducks. The scene was reminiscent of a uniformed official trying to keep order of loud football fans and the fans ignoring him as they pass him by.

Later, as I walked, it was getting darker but I could see to my right two white specks moving uphill. Two hares making their way. Do hares hibernate? I didn’t think so.

I went onto the small island where, surrounded by six tall Yew trees, I performed my ‘Five Senses Meditation’. By now it was dark and yet through the clouds, I could see cracks of a lighter sky. Night had not yet fallen.

Going to the lakeside, I made sure I wasn’t giving a false impression to the ducks (no snacks from this two-legged who didn’t think to bring munchies for the birds), bent down toward the water and held my right hand over the surface. Here, I gave my respects to the Lady of the Lake. When I was done, my hand was warm. And it was time to go home to perform my Ovate ceremony to greet the Solstice.

On my way home, I could see a clearing in the clouds getting larger until I reached my front door and the clearing revealed the sky as a teal-greeny-blue, right on the clock as the Solstice begun.

I came away from the park with these two lessons:

The importance of stillness.

There is always life, both in winter and the dark.

And as I was performing my personal ceremony, I was taken by Awen as I said out aloud and made the following observations :

In the dark, there is rest.

In the dark, there is the hidden.

In the dark, there is fear.

With fear, you can either run, do nothing, or take a stand.

Sometimes we must run, there is nothing wrong with a tactical retreat to fight another day. Sometimes we can do nothing but let the threat pass over. But there comes a time when we cannot run and we cannot do nothing and we must make a stand.

I said out aloud my fear and decided to take it on with the lesson I have gained from this year: Nothing is Accomplished Without Action. It was then the candle was lit.

Sure enough, the day after the Solstice was bright, the sky was clear and the sun shone with brilliance.

Merry Yuletide, one and all!

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Spreading the Inner Flame, a prayer.

This was a little something I devised myself.  Back in 2013 when I reconnected with fire, I realised I had missed meditating by candle light.

You can do this for yourself, for your gods (if any) your spirits (ditto), the middle bit is optional, or for whatever you feel….

image
Mdima Glass, photo by Locksley2010

“I light this fire,
This flame,
This candle.

For my Gods,
For my ancestors,
For the spirits around me.

May my inner fire warm me,
May my inner light guide me,
May my inner flame inspire me.”

Wisdom or Cliché?

Templeofapollogtp.gr

Image of Temple of Apollo from gtp.gr

I recently read a blog writing about two phrases that are often parroted in modern Pagan writings.  I first came across these in my early and mid twenties and was interested by one and confused by the other. You will have come across these many times, they might mean something to you or they won’t.  But if you’ve read any blogs or books, magazines about Paganism, Occultism, New Age Philosophy, you will have encountered them:

Know Thy Self”

And…

” As Above, So Below

I looked at them and thought to myself ‘Wow, are we still using those?” I’ll admit to being a bit jaded when I see those quotes.  It’s not so much that I don’t like them, but feel that they are often over used in forums and articles alike.  Y’know? Like a really good song with too much air time.

What I do like about them is that for those who first come across them, they are inspirational! I mean ‘Know Thy Self’ Man! That’s deep! The phrase from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi (Used as a sign in the kitchen of the Oracle in The Matrix- Oracle of Delphi- gettit?) That challenges YOU to KNOW who YOU are.  Yet how many of us do?
How many of us look at that phrase and actually, really examine ourselves? We are complicated meat-bags walking around with emotions and thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  But how many of ourselves actually know ourselves?

To know yourself is to know where you come from: your background, your childhood, your parents or guardians, the environment you came from, the education you received (and what it did or didn’t do for you), the beliefs you found or were indoctrinated with.

If you believe in anything, to know yourself is to challenge what those beliefs are to you, constantly.  How did you come to those beliefs, how did they shape you? Did you come by them yourself or were you taught? What do they mean to you now? Are they applicable to who you are anymore?

To know yourself is to see all your strong points and accept them.  It is to also know what your weak points are and accept them too.  And if you don’t like them, what do you need to do to change them?  What are your limits? Why do you dislike something? What inspires you? What do you dream?

To know your self is to be completely honest with yourself.  It’s no good if all you are doing is painting an image of the person you want to be or the person you are not.

Deep huh?

One of the things I love about studying the Bardic course in the OBOD Gwers is that you learn to know yourself before you can proceed to the Ovate and Druid grades.  Because how can you explore the deeper mysteries if you don’t understand the deepest of mysteries…. You.

And then we go onto: “As Above, So Below” When I first saw that I eloquently came out with: ‘What the fuck does that even mean?’
This only made sense to me if you look at it in terms of the weather: rain makes things wet or floods.  Snow clouds making the ground whiter and whiter, a sunny day makes for dry land and thriving plants, etc….
This phrase apparently comes from the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and even then is supposedly part of what he wrote:

That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing“*

Yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia but only because it provides the source of that translation.
I’d love to know more about that and also about to what Trismegistus meant by the ‘One Thing’. Creation? Life on Earth? Ponder, ponder ponder……
It’s an absolute wonder that our planet generates its own electromagnetic field to protect its multitude of life forms from the solar radiation of our Sun.  From the collection of dust and rock of the ‘Above’ has the ‘Below’ been created.

I’m sure there are very deep insights you can gain from either quote and when used for inspiration they do exactly that.

Writing this post, I am very aware that I have indeed just created another article featuring both phrases.  Well at least I didn’t mention ‘Microcosm’/’Macrocosm’…… Doh!

* https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism

Mash up poetry ‘The Journey’

The Journey

I look back at where lead me here.
The pain, the joy, the sadness, the gladness.

Days and nights gone by, now is instantly the past. The future rushes forward in hope and wonder.

I close my eyes, and breathe it in; each breath, each heartbeat a waypoint. 
In a life well lived?

Achievements? 
A million memories made!
Though as many chances squandered, moments wasted. 
In pondering, I waste a few more.

The door behind has been slammed, a thunder in my chest as I cannot go back.

I stand facing the shapeless abyss which is tomorrow, now is the shifting shingle beneath my feet.

With raised arms, and raised voice I scream into the void…
but the future can’t yet echo back.

And as I look back,
away it fades into the seas of memory.
To stay here will be to be caught in nostalgia’s cobweb.

Looking forward there is a glimmer of hope beyond the abyss.
A leap of faith is all between what remains of now and what is to come.

                            ***
It’s not often I post poetry, I think I have done on the Grove of the Corieltauvi blog, but I wanted to share this one.

I didn’t write all of it either.  As the title suggests, the poem is a mash up of my words and those of my good friend (and influence… Although good or bad remains to be seen… It was her party I decided to break myself and develop a close relationship with the mouthpiece to the Porcelain God), Cludgie.

I met Cludgie at the Am Dram group I’ve just recently finished a play with.  She told me she’d wanted to get back into writing poetry and asked if it was a good idea to start entering competitions.  Being the honest sort, I looked at her work and told her “Hell yes!”

The mash up was her idea and we discussed entering it onto a poetry forum, so I thought if Cludgie puts it on there, I can put it on here.  I’m rather pleased with the result and am putting it on here for the benefit of our collaboration.

The Awen strikes in many ways, and just goes to prove it can happen to everyone, not just us Druids (we just gave it a name).

I Love You

  Not quite a poem, just a collection of words:

I love you enough to see you,
I love you enough to hear you,
I love you enough to listen to your woes,
I love you enough to laugh with you,
I love you enough to care for you,
I love you you enough to give up everything I have for you,
I love you enough to accept you,
I love you enough to say Yes,
I love you enough to say no,
I love you enough to let you go,
I love you enough put you to Sleep,
I love you enough to say goodbye,
I love you enough to cry for you,
I love you enough to open up,
I love you enough to dare,
I love you enough to let you in,
I love you enough to give you a chance
I love you enough to love again.

This came to me during the LBE in my Bardic Grove.  I had prayed to my Goddesses, ancestors and spirits for strength in my spirit and healing in my soul.  I’m guessing the Awen struck because I had to write it down.
Part inspired by a conversation with Dumbledore and his daughter telling him ‘Its all about love’ and wondering about all the painful bits in love.  And part about accepting people for who they are, the break up with me and Pipes, saying goodbye to my cat (something I’m still dealing with) and beginning a new relationship with River.  But really, those words can apply to everyone.