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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

TWO POWERS REVISITED



(c) 2016 Earrach


Above is my version of a brief substitute for our “TwoPowers” Meditation"...
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CONCERNING THE ADF  (Ian’s)  
“TWO POWERS”   Meditation…

Per the ADF website, it is
“a basic meditation intended to link the Druid's spirit and flesh to the currents of Earth and Sky”.

In the (Ian crafted) ADF parlance, what are the images for these two powers?

1.)   The cool “magnetic waters”; below the Earth – The waters of chaotic potential (“Magnetic” needs to be seen strictly as a metaphor of course… )
2.)    A single star, high in the heavens above your head; blue white power comes down a ray from the star at your zenith 

NOT all the way to the “center of the Earth” ?
“Cool” underground water is only found in the first 100 to 200 feet below our feet. below that; below 1km deep the the Earth’s temperature rises to levels intolerable for human life. We live on a very hot ball of rock with an exceedingly thin skin cool enough to sustain life.

Why is the Sun always left out of our Neopagan imagery?
I have already written a series of essays about this years ago and have presented the material as a workshop at a number of festivals. Now I do understand that there actually are a few of you out there who agree with me on this but I still insist that we are deeply in the minority when we choose to use the Sun as a representative of one of the two great poles of our cosmology... and again I must ask, "Why not the Sun?".

Female Earth vs. Solar Male…
Western mystical systems have been strongly influenced by Hermetic occult philosophy and Alchemy which were quite fond of characterizing the Male Principle as solar and the Female Principle as terrestrial (if not lunar). It works quite well for some folks  - - and leaves others deeply conflicted.

Such choices are up to the individual. The continuance of most life on Earth and the whole of human succession depend on the conjunction of binary pairings - but once the process has begun, yes, it is subject to CHANGE and proceeds in manifold forms.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

A MIDSUMMERS MAY-EVE NIGHTS DREAM



The Old World celebration of the Summer Solstice, (astronomically: June 21st), which became fixed popularly in the folk calendar on June 24th as the Feast of St. John the Baptist, was simply “the”, greatest annual all-night bonfire party of the whole year in Old Europe.

Really.

For example, Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (1890), one of the largest compendiums of seasonal ethnographic lore ever compiled, devotes nearly 5-dozen pages to chronicling the customs associated with the Midsummer’s bonfires alone.

Yet we, as gloomy-goth American Nightshade Neopagans, seem to all but ignore that set of facts…

Seriously now, how often do we see June Solstice and its lore included in popular or scholarly Neopagan media and given to be as significant or even important as a part of our descriptions of the other high days on the Wheel of the Year? Comparatively speaking?

"Evil burning day-moon" my ass.

Grrr.

Oddly enough, the modern societies of Northern Europe still uphold the old Midsummer traditions and the whole populations of Sweden, Norway and Denmark go all-out every June and carry on without us with national holidays celebrating it.

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

So. There’s my old rant and I’m sticking with it...

I’m sure that a lot of you take umbrage with some of that phrasing and others may be offended by my generalized characterization of “we… Neopagans”…


BUT NEVER MIND! 

THIS TIME I’M HERE TO DECONSTRUCT
ANOTHER POPULAR PAGAN FACTOID…


OK guys, let's push all that 
FAERY LORE BACK TO 
MAY-EVE WHERE IT BELONGS...

...UH-HUH:

SHAKESPEARE’S PLAY HAD 
NOTHING TO DO 
WITH MIDSUMMERS’ EVE !!!


Yep.

‘Matter of fact when you look at it, the setting of the play ranges over three or four nights total, leading up to MAY EVE... and that’s it. Go on, it's right up there on the shelf, check it yourself...

Boom.

Have a look over at Wikipedia, ( @ 2016-mid2017** ).

BTW, In the article subsection “Problem With Time”, I’ve woven-in about a third of the text of that paragraph myself… Well, that’s another distraction; Moon, astronomical stuff, you know, me...

BUT for today’s MAIN POINT:


Look at the section above it, before the 'Time one; 
the one titled “SOURCES” and you'll see that...

1.) Per Shakespeare historians, it remains officially unknown when and where the play was first performed.

2.) There is a popular and plausible (but unproven) model that the play was first presented at a gala royal or high society wedding-celebration held on Midsummers Eve – and hence it retained a “dedicatory” but confusing title, unrelated to the timeline depicted in the play itself… 

3.) As a consequence, the intention of name of the play remains a puzzle. Nothing in the play alludes to or would confirm that it had anything to do with Midsummers, yet a number of points allude to one of the four days of its duration was actually May Eve. 

-------------- 
Theseus, right at the play's beginning declares 
"four happy days bring in another moon..."

and also, Hippolyta says:
 "And then the moon, like to a silver bow 
new-bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities."

Click to enlarge... )

** the Wikipedia article subsection's text, as it stood since I added to it in 2016:
" Problem with time

There is a dispute over the scenario of the play as it is cited at first by Theseus that "four happy days bring in another moon." The wood episode then takes place at a night of no moon, but Lysander asserts that there will be so much light in the very night they will escape that dew on the grass will be shining like liquid pearls. Also, in the next scene, Quince states that they will rehearse in moonlight, which creates a real confusion. It is possible that the Moon set during the night allowing Lysander to escape in the moonlight and for the actors to rehearse, then for the wood episode to occur without moonlight. Theseus's statement can also be interpreted to mean "four days until the next month." Another possibility is that, since each month there are roughly four consecutive nights that the moon is not seen due to its closeness to the sun in the sky (the two nights before the moment of new moon, followed by the two following it), it may in this fashion indicate a liminal "dark of the moon" period full of magical possibilities. This is further supported by Hippolyta's opening lines exclaiming "And then the moon, like to a silver bow New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities."; the thin crescent-shaped moon being the hallmark of the new moon's return to the skies each month. The play also intertwines the Midsummer Eve of the title with May Day, furthering the idea of a confusion of time and the seasons. This is evidenced by Theseus commenting on some slumbering youths, that they "observe The rite of May."

(emphasis mine. - egc.)
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With thanks to Maria Stoy who helped me get a start on this rant some ten years or more ago...   - e.



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?  As is often the case, if 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 then in the reception of the blessings, dipping the broken ends together into the Grail of the rite and using the wet ends to individually bless the Folk, that type of operation 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 of 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...
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For the full DRUIDS' ALMANAC, 
there's always a link on this blog's
page-header, or,
CLICK HERE