------------------------------------
- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism

Sunday, May 28, 2017

DIY Idea: BATHTUB WILLENDORF

DIY (Druid Yourself) IDEA # 19...

-EoP

AVE MEO GAIA !


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The BREAKING of the STICK

VERNAL EQUINOX 2107, my "BLIAHDNA" - Wheel of the Year shrine,
with stick broken at exactly 6:29 AM EDT, Monday March 20th

Over the years, you may have seen me posting pictures like this on my blog or Facebook and, although some of you already may know the significance of this custom, some of you may not. "Custom?"... Yes, "The Breaking of the Stick" - - "but why do that? - Is it an ancient practice?"

My old article "The Power of the Impending Moment" sums up most of the idea here and introduces you to the tradition of the breaking of the stick at the sacred moment of the unique Earth/Sun relationship we pass through on every solstice and equinox. My idea of its core principle, the Sanctity/Veneration Feedback Loop, shows up in that article as well and in detail more recently in a post on this blog in November 2016.

"Ancient?" Although I first started this tradition in my own personal practice in the 1980's and incorporated it into my Grove Work in the 90's, I am not aware of a historical precedent for this ritualized action. This I'll assume is most possibly due to the fact that it was only recently that we have pocket timepieces that could with certainty mark a moment within the seconds of the minute of one's special moment de jour. I used to use the shortwave radio time signals from WWV at the Bureau of Standards in Ft.Collins CO - but nowadays, the times shown on anyone's cell-phone are reliably accurate to deep-down within the fractions of one single second. Yes, being within The Seconds of The Minute of the sacred event itself... that's what makes it especially powerful for me and the others who have adopted it or practices similar to it.

Yes, there it is, the imprint of the Sacred Moment, preserved in the broken ends of the stick, and clothed with all the import of that moment. 

Its utility in your Rites of the Wheel: This is why to me that, if, as is usually the case, your public rite is not held on the true day of the solstice or equinox, bringing the Broken Stick (wrapped/enshrined) to the rite and announcing its principle and importance, before revealing it at the right moment, and dipping the broken ends together into the Grail of the rite and using the wet ends to individually bless the Folk, that one can potently bring Sacred Time and its spiritual inferences right down to a very personal level in our rites.

So, as it is that I've been doing this four times a year since the 1980's, yes,  I've accumulated A Lot of Broken Sticks.  In all that time I never have gotten around to doing the one cool thing I'd always mused on doing: binding the sets of sticks together on a wooden wheel or grapevine wreath to represent at least one whole solar cycle of The Wheel. Inevitably the new ones shove the older ones out of centrality on my shrine/altars - and, even with my fitful attempts to tag them, I've been consistently inconsistent to the point where I've not yet tagged and stored even one set of four to make a wheel. Yet I do treat the old ones with reverence and I have long had a special repository for them though: my Kiste ("Sacred Basket") of the Mysteries. Below you see me offering them from it into the Brushwood Nemeton Fire during my ordination to the ADF Druid Priesthood in May of 2002...

Oh, and check this out... 

In all the years of doing this,
it had only recently occurred to me
how this...

can be seen as being 
similar

to THIS...



"oh, SNAP!"

"Now all the knowledge of the heavens 
pertinent to agriculture, standeth principally 
upon three sorts of observations, to wit, 
the rising of the fixed stars; 
the setting of the same: 
and the four cardinal points, to wit, of
the two tropics or sunsteads*, 
and the double aequinox, 
which divide the whole year into 
foure quarters and notable seasons..."


                                                           Pliny the Elder (bk.  xviii, chapter 25)
* Sunsteads: the December and June solstices




Saturday, March 4, 2017

WHO is an ANCESTOR ?



They're all among "The Dead"...


Those whose blood-lines lead down to you are "one's Ancestors"

Among your ancestors are those considered "one's Honorable Ancestors". As well but separately there are those who would be deemed your "Dishonorable Ancestors". 

Whom is it then that decides the "honorable" or not? Is it a distinction only made or makeable by your own soul's inherent ethical code? That's a tough one and serious food for thought. 

It remains my earnest contention that one commits a direct offence to "Your Ancestors" in using the term "ancestor" in the myriad of EUPHEMISTIC forms so commonly found in use by my dear friends in ADF and elsewhere. I feel that it is important for us to reexamine our usage of terms like "Ancestors of Heart" and "Ancestors of Spirit".

You can't choose your relatives, and you can't choose "Your Ancestors". 

You can chose among The Dead though. And among those is the host of the Honorable and Honored Dead, and therein are those, not of our blood, but whom we all revere and hope to emulate due to the superlative nature of their works and words.

Words like these are important... 

The solution here for us in ADF is to do the boolean thing and make it all so much simpler by saying "The DEAD" when that's what we mean - which, IMO, means for us to start doing it about ten times more than we've been doing up until now. And yes, once you go back far enough in the generations, we do all share the same, albeit remote, ancestry.

earrach 3/2017



Saturday, February 4, 2017

The BEGINNING of the END of WINTER !



So then, can I interest any of you in my campaign to re-educate our pagandom regarding this godzawful "Ooooh it's Imbolc, it's SPRINGTIME!!" - stuff? 

When my own astronomically-informed, folk-calendrically obsessive heightened seasonal sensitivity collides with what I perceive as sloppy Pagan scholarship, I literally flinch at every instance of the above that I encounter.

Y'see, there's a thousand years of folk references from Britain, Scotland, and the Continent (and who knows how much from preliterate times,) reinforcing the popularity of the Candlemas weather tradition of this likely being the midpoint in the span of winter's weather.

The old Irish references to Imbolc being the "beginning" of spring stand as an anomaly in relation to this larger body of European lore and IMO it's likely to the fact that the winters are far more mild in Ireland due to it being embraced in the warm waters of the "North Atlantic Drift" (related to the Gulf Stream). And, yes, I understand that American Neopagans find utility in this early spring reckoning since many of them live in the US' south and southwest...

Regardless, the February Crossquarter is neither a strictly Irish property, nor is the old Irish take on winter's run appropriate to the majority of the "Celtic" lands. For most them and most folks folks now, the February Crossquarter is the BEGINNING of the END of Winter and not so much the "beginning of spring".


( check back here later, I may expand this post further...


---------- NOTES:


1.) So, what is Irish weather like? See:
http://www.ireland.com/.../discover.../irelands-weather/

2.) It mostly all started with this quote from the Irish hero tales:

"No man will travel this country," she said,
"who hasn't gone sleepless from
Samain, when the summer goes to it's rest, until
Imbolc, when the ewes are milked at spring's beginning; from Imbolc to
Beltine at the summer's beginning and from Beltine to
Bron Trogain,* earth's sorrowing autumn.”


That’s Emer, reproaching Cu Chulainn, in the Irish tale “Tochmarc Emire” (The wooing of Emer), from a 15th Century text possibly copied from a 10th Century original. This is the oldest citation known for a fourfold description of the Irish year… / * “Bron Trogain” is generally assumed to be a name for Lughnassadh.

3.) Let's not forget that the cultures that contemporary scholars deem "Celtic" were first developing around 1100 BCE, deep in central Europe (Austria and thereabouts,) and expanded westward, reaching and Celticizing Britain and then finally coming to Ireland last, between 600-400 BCE.

4.) So, when "does" a season begin or end ?
See my essay: FUZZY LOGIC and the WHEEL of the YEAR

Monday, January 2, 2017

The DRUIDS ALMANAC for 2017


The WHEEL of the YEAR,  
2017. . .



Solstice:   Either of the two extremes of the Earth’s constant 23.4° axial-tilt, relative to the sunlight falling on its surface. Only at the Summer Solstice is the Earth’s north pole tilted the full 23.4° towards the Sun... and only at the Yule Solstice is it tilted the full 23.4° away from the Sun.
Equinox:   The Spring or Autumn quarter begins for the Northern Hemisphere as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary line between night and day, crosses the North and South Poles simultaneously. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised over both poles, only at these times of year are the hours of night and day equal anywhere on the globe.
Crossquarter:   Here defined as the moment in time precisely half-way between an adjacent solstice and equinox.
Bliadhna:   (Scots Gaelic,) Pronounced “BLEE-an uh”,
 “the ring of the year” -or- “the wheel of the year”.



For a downloadable / printable PDF of the above charts,

( UK/IRE, European or Australian versions available by request )

------------------------ 
SO, how good are you 
with your Moon-Phases?
Study that little chart for a bit and you'll be
throwing bricks at your TV set (like me) in no time!

Note: My apologies to our friends living far-south of the equator in the South Temperate Zone. The crescents there will seem opposite to those shown on guides based on the view from the Northern Hemisphere since we each consider the other as  being"upside-down, standing on one's head"! 
- e.

ALERT:
THE GREAT AMERICAN 
TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE of 2017
IS COMING UP THIS SUMMER
on MON. AUG. 21st !!
For info, START HERE...

IMO, It's not really exaggerating to refer to this
as a "once in a lifetime" event that
few of us would want to miss...
============================================================
For the full DRUIDS' ALMANAC, 
there's always a link on this blog's
page-header, or,
CLICK HERE


Sunday, December 18, 2016

A SONG for the SEASON


Carvings and photo by earrach


Here's a holiday a song I've been working on. 
It combines a beautiful old shape-note hymn's tune with my own lyrics, lyrics which are intended to blend-in the feel of our long passage from November's bleak Wasteland to the very heart of Yuletide and the Sun's return. The reasoning and imagery of its mythic theme are detailed in my pieces about the post-Samhain Wasteland, and in particular, my essay titled "The Old Man at the End of the Year".

My song is called "The Great Wheel is Turning" 
and the MP3 of me singing it is HERE... 
- the recording at this point is pretty rough, my "studio skills" are very poor but I couldn't hold on another year to share it, it means very much to me and I'm rather proud of it in concept. Please consider singing it yourself, wherever, if you like it...

-----------------------------------------------
The Great Wheel is Turning
Lyrics (c) 2015 Earrach of Pittsburgh; 

The tune is from the Kentucky shape note hymn Brightest and Best (Ritchie Family version)


Through the grey Wasteland of No-vembers twilight
Long-lost we wandered o’er hilltop and moor...
Thanksgiving’s past and at length we discover
Many miles henceforth the smoke from a hall

    (Could)’this be the hearth of our year-ending mystery?
     Will we meet He who will show us the way?

Trudging long onward through cold rain and snowfall
(With)’hope in our hearts we each persevere-on.

Comes now the Yuletide, the Sun’s de-scent en-ding
Standing astride the threshold ‘tween the years
En-ter the corridor on the Night of the Mo-thers
The sacred old cycle of Twelve Nights begun.

On the first morn of our bright Sun’s returning
let us rejoice and all raise up in song…

With eve-ry day now the Great Wheel’s ascending
(Pro)’claiming-its promise that Life will go on.

On the first morn of our bright Sun’s returning
let us rejoice and all raise up in song...

With ev-ry day now the Great Wheel's ascending
(Pro)claiming its-promise that Life will go on. 


----------------------------

A printable PDF file of these lyrics can be downloaded here...

With Yuletide blessings to all.

DECEMBER SOLSTICE 
occurs at 5:44 AM Eastern Standard Time
Wednesday, Dec. 21st, 2016




Here’s a trove of Book of Sassafras 

YULETIDE goodies from days of yore…


"Bah- humbug?" - No way... 
Yes, Christians should keep
"the Christ in Christmas", 
but
YULETIDE
belongs to everybody!

The three faces of the Spirit of the Yule and
the Fractal Mystery of the Twelve Nights
between Solstice Eve and New Years Eve...

The oldest records of Yuletide may be from
England of the Dark Ages, not Germany...

Don't overlook these basic themes when creating
ritual celebrations for the December Solstice...

WHY is it the LONGEST NIGHT?
It's just that simple, if you view it from the appropriate angle...

 Yes, it's true, you can hear the year turn...


Looking for  D R U I D  - ish 
Y U L E T I D E   T U N E S  ?
Check these out:
by Steeleye Span 


on their holiday album


EoP

================================ 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The SANCTITY / VENERATION Feedback Loop


The sanctity returned to us by the reverence we've invested in a spirit, object, place, or calendar date increases with our continued interaction with the object of our veneration. 

I call this "The Sanctity / Veneration Feedback Loop".

The Sanctity/Veneration Feedback Loop is one of the basic principles at work in aesthetics, religion, and personal magic: the more you venerate a principle or object, the more sacred it becomes in turn. Yes, you are the primary arbiter of the sacred and thereby, the holiness of the world is a factor that's largely in your own hands, it's up to you.


The veneration of holy things not only makes them holier to us but it can have a profoundly healing effect on us as well. We do not belittle ourselves by worshiping something, we elevate ourselves in the process… To a Pagan the world is full of things worthy of veneration, not solely the ghosts wrought from a grossly misunderstood book and forced upon them by red-faced men in bespittled pulpits spouting brimstone, politics, and fear.


So, RELAX,  it's really all up to you...

Only you define what “worship” means... Just don’t sell yourself short.. 
Here's a few models for the terrifying W-word, ranging from the mild to the extreme:

"Worship", defined as...

     Willful remembrance & acknowledgement.

or,
"Worship", defined as...

     Tribute and respectful salutation.

or,
"Worship", defined as...

     Overt acts of veneration of the sacred.

or,
"Worship", defined as...

     A willful act of submission to the sublime
     spiritual aspect(s) of a deity, spirit or thing.


--------------------------------------------------------



- Earrach, Samhain 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

What if GHOSTI is NOT what its all about?


What if 

*GHOSTI’s 

- not  -

what it’s all about ?



The Rites of the Wheel and priorities

IMO, although it’s a critically important factor in the execution of our rituals and, to a degree, in our relationships with the gods and spirits, the *ghosti principle is not the only thing to be concerned with in the design and execution of our annual eight high day rites. It should not be the primary reason for doing the rites nor should it suffice as our motivation when we find ourselves having difficulty in creating one. It is my contention that there is more to Our Druidry than that.

Then, who are we and what are we here (in ADF) “for”? - - I have come to feel that although ADF was founded on a certain set of intentions, those that one would cull from a current survey of its membership would differ in point and degree significantly from the original.

Yes, for one, ADF was intended to be a “priest-making machine” and in this I would concede that the organization is now well along its way toward that goal.

And then?

Then, the perennial question: “Whom does the Grove serve?”

On the other hand, and more central to my concerns, is the matter of Isaac’s earnest desire for ADF groves to be an open and continuous service to their local communities. This means that our high-day rites were to be not only open to attendance by non members but one of the main reasons for these groves and these rites is to serve the spiritual needs of our greater Neopagan communities. The vision rendered to me in the early 1990’s when I was founding my own grove was simply that: we were here to serve others, not our own memberships. We were to find ourselves best serving the Gods, Spirits and Ancestors through our ability to facilitate the spirituality of our neighbors. Our membership was to consist of those who wanted to join us and lend a hand in carrying out that service, not to be inwardly-oriented groups primarily serving their groves’ own interests. Quite simply, a grove was to be a “team”, not a “club”.

Isaac saw Neopaganism as a great field for potential development, both in ADF’s basic service to these communities through providing free, reliable, and quality public services, and also to address the great need for public education and the promotion of a more scholarly foundation for the future of Neopaganism. With his classic ADF tag-line challenge to Neopaganism at large, “Why not Excellence?” I feel he was also setting up ADF as a standard for other Pagan groups to emulate or to even do better.

So, our mission is not to solely be an exclusive haven for priests training in “reconstructionist” study and ritual. It is to serve the Mother of All Life, the Gods and other Kindred Spirits by serving our local communities. And by “serving” I mean to provide for them an annual cycle of high quality open, inclusive and inspiring public liturgies to enrich and facilitate the growth of Neopaganism in our culture as a viable and respectable form of modern spiritual expression.

A Priesthood of the Seasonal Mysteries...

Earlier I said we should not allow the *ghosti principle to be the singular reason for doing the Rites of the Wheel, nor should it suffice as our motivation when we find ourselves having difficulty in creating one. There is much more we can be achieving with our annual cycle of rites, for, just as is so easily seen in the practice of other modern western religions, the seasonal/traditional factors often trump the role of the deities involved, and for good reason, for that is where many of the most important motivations in tribal religious societies become motivated. From my perspective, the spirit being venerated in our rites is as much or more structured in the seasonal traditions and the season itself as it is in the deities ascribed to the season’s expressions.

- Earrach, 2016

RELATED POSTS:

"MOG ROITH'S LAMENT"...

----------------------

* Ghosti: building a reciprocal relationship with the gods and spirits by honoring them with appropriate offerings.
https://www.adf.org/articles/identity/ghosti-cheer.html