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





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 )

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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


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 essays about the post-Samhain Wasteland, and in particular, my piece titled "The Old Man at the End of the Year".

It's 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...

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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. 


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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

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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 and 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.


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- 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"...

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* 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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WORSHIPFUL THINGS


Summer Solstice sunrise
(c) 2016 earrach
Worshipful Things
A personal inventory...

I am not a monotheist or panentheist, nor am I in agreement with any definition that would end up positing a Universal-Godhead separate from This World, nor even of “One” utterly permeating it.

Nor do I believe in a "Creator" or a Creation.

I believe that there is a spectrum of Worshipful Things: 
- - things to which I reflexively feel a profound need to render my reverence.

They are not all "spirits".   Nor would they all qualify as "beings".
Note here that I am actually more comfortable worshiping THINGS than beings...

We are trained by Western Culture to assume that “worship” is
            (a.)       for “God” (only.)
            (b.)       who is an entity…
            (c.)       who is of a discarnate, transcendental, nature.

I do not feel constrained by those criteria in the least.
As a matter of fact, I find them particularly offensive to my religious sensibilities.

It might actually help to cite a couple of the things I worship…
( Listed here in descending order; the greatest first, followed by the successively lesser...)

1. The Earth, Our Ultimate Mother (Land/Sea/Sky).
(
The Thing; not the "idea"...)

2. The Sun
(
The Thing; not the "idea"...)

4. "Bliadhna" - The Seasons
("blee an-uh" Scots.Gaelic for The Wheel of the Year )

3. The Great Way of Things / -a.k.a. "The Wyrd"
The great virtually ineffable and interconnected Fabric of Existence.

5. "The Kindred"
-An ADF term for the IndoEuropean set of the three kinds of Spirit-Folk, inhabiting the Three Worlds (Middle, Lower and Upper realms) recognized in the IE lore:
           
i.   The Wordly Spirits: the others, dwelling along-side us in the World of Form:       
                 The Creatures/ The Fey/& certain genius locii(Spirits of Place).
           
ii.  The Ancestors: in the Underworld Realm/Eternity
           
iii. The Blessed Ones: in the Celestial Realm/ the Ideal- or Perfected Ones/ 
                 certain ancient Gods and Goddesses; including ehumerized Heroes 
                 (the undying oversouls of certain superb once-mortals).

To me, these things are worthy of veneration.


           
There's a start.
                                               
-Earrach
                                                ( False Gods "R" Us ® )

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The following is an excerpt from my essay "Neopaganism and Belief"...


Ok, ok, but what do you REALLLY believe?? "

In case you've read this far and aren't aware, like most of my essays, this is an opinion-piece. I just wanted to check-in with you on that before I proceed to my next point. For a start, I shall hereby submit an admission of my general SKEPTICISM toward most persons' ( all persons' ?) statements-of-belief as not being truly representative of their personal "reality-constructs." I suppose that makes me somewhat of a cynic, but I believe that this is a terribly important idea, no matter how bitter a pill it seems.

Perhaps a logician could show us an equation illustrating the "reasoning" behind each of the various contemporary "faiths"... yet even if these people have achieved logically-valid systems of "belief" –in my opinion, the fact remains that most people internally sustain numerous conjectural models, sorting them and finally grooming a current "preferred" model to "bind" themselves-to ( re-ligio: "to bind").

Initially an intellectual choice and later an obligation to one's personal history and self esteem, they do NOT always (or even "often") represent the basic reality-construct that the person employs reflexively to apprehend the world from moment to moment. No, I do not have a lot of facts to support this notion; just a very strong intuitive conclusion based on careful observation of others and as objective of an analysis of my own behavior as I can muster.

The ordinary "statement of belief" springs from the reflective realm, not from the reflexive. More a matter of politics, they all too clearly resemble press-releases: public statements to others, and to ourselves, of

(a) how we'd like to think of ourselves -and-

(b) how we'd like to be thought-of by our peers.

This is why, in the Glossary, instead of saying "the theist believes in god" I've chosen to use the phrase "the theist asserts a personal faith in the existence of a deity."

Don't get me wrong, I think statements of belief are wonderful things; I think everyone should sit down and write one out right now. And then write another one tomorrow. And another one the next day... So yes, I'm taking the position that it's more useful to discuss statements of belief as being simply what people choose to say about themselves, today, and that we should always reserve judgment on knowing what it is they actually "believe", regardless of what they say.

(end of excerpt.)


Monday, August 1, 2016

A BLESSED LAMMASTIDE TO ALL

painting by Winslow Homer


My LUGHNASSADH / LAMMAS  essays HERE...



Saturday, June 25, 2016

BRYAN PERRIN This is Why You Should Know Who He Is

Bryan's Blog...
Bryan's ADF Grove...


BTW,    Bryan is a professional artist and holds copyright on all of his works, so please don't repost his work without his express permission.  -earrach

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Grail and the Stricken King


The Lore tells us of gods, demigods or great kings of a solar nature who, in the height of their potency, are struck down and then fade away into a twilight state as the landscape of their kingdom likewise fades into a literal wasteland. Some, like the great King Arthur are borne away across the Waters to the West to an otherworldly place of healing and rest, to someday return in the Hour of Greatest Need. Among the various justifications offered for the symbolism of these stories is the easily seen seasonal theme of the solar lord rising to his apex at the Summer Solstice and thereafter ever so gradually declining in stature through the rest of the year.

The Golden One, Struck Down...

The myth of the stricken Solar Lord, wasting away in impotence and desolation, is a particularly tragic version of the Sun’s cycle through the year, perhaps most clearly so in the story of Balder the Beautiful from the Northern Tradition...

The gods, marveling at the radiant Balder’s invincibility ( hmm... Solis Invicti ?), were making a sport of casting weapons at Him: there was virtually nothing which could harm the Golden One. The ever-jealous and crafty Loki had managed to find the one thing in the world which hadn’t promised to spare Balder harm: the mistletoe. Placing a dart fashioned from the mistletoe in the hand of the blind god Hoder, Loki whispered directions into his ear and Hoder loosed the dart, felling Balder, who then lay slowly dying in the arms of His grieving mother, Frigga. The whole world, it is said, wept...

Although in the Northern Tradition, the Sun and the Moon had specific deities assigned to them (the Sun in fact was once Sunna, a goddess,) Balder has long been rec­ognized as a Solar metaphor and His story may have passed into the northern pantheon from an earlier or neighboring tradition. 


The  Grail  as  a  Symbol  of  the  Hope  for  Restoration

The Holy Grail or Sangreal comes down to us in the tales of King Arthur compiled by Thomas Mallory in the 15th Century CE, although the Grail Romance itself is a story-form popularized by earlier continental writers from medieval France, Germany and Italy.  The Grail is depicted as the holiest object on earth; the most hallowed, sought after and desirable object in existence. The Grail most often is portrayed as the long lost link with the sacred past which can only be apprehended after a long and dangerous quest, yet  it also sometimes shows up unannounced and uninvited. Encounters with it can result in harm, for the unworthy, or transfiguration and healing for the few who reach or maintain a state of purity worthy of its blessing. Similar transformative vessels or more commonly,  cauldrons,  with magical or regenerative powers are common in the lore of the Celtic peoples. 

Most of us are familiar with the Grail as a feature of the Mystical Christian side of the Arthurian myth. Just as the earliest written stories of Arthur date from 500 years after his time, the heroic and mythic themes in those stories are perhaps more representative of the ending-twilight of the Northern Tradition in the 15th century British Isles than it had to do with themes current in the age of Arthur (ironically, who lived around the 5th century, at the dawn of Britain’s overrun by the Scandinavians). Arthur as a tragic-hero, again clearly in the type of the stricken solar-lord, became a fitting substitute for Balder in the minds of a people too long distanced from their ancient heritage by centuries of Northern influence. 

Often, as traditions undergo radical change, vital new symbols enter the mix, sometimes powerful symbols, long suppressed; symbols which return from the distant past as if called back to reconcile an ancient disorder; to heal an ancient wound.           
                                      - Earrach
(c) 1996, 2016
================================================================== 
About the Above: 

This was originally an article I did for our grove newsletter back in the late 1990's. It was an effort to link the Stricken Solar Hero and the Grail themes for use in a Summer Solstice grove rite. Nonetheless, I still hold firm with gods and myths and spirits taking a back seat to the use of overt veneration of the REAL SUN (yep, that one, up there) at the Summer Solstice.

Ah, but that year's Sassafras Summer Solstice “Grail Rite”? 


...it was memorable. 

Our Pagan community had just suffered a serious fracturing and many of our groups suddenly were cut off from the meager local resources we had come to rely upon for getting together and worshiping as Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, and Goddess Worshippers (yes, worshippers of "The" Goddess; this was the 90’s,). There was a palpable sense of our ragtag community being now wounded and in danger of losing hope. 

Our rite took place at the Unitarian (UU) church’s garden garth with the church’s great black stone tower and walls wrapping around us on three sides. We had about 35 attendees and it was nighttime and the event was lit solely by a group of tiki-torches… At the height of the rite we called out an invocation to the Stricken Solar Lord in His various mythic guises to come forth, to as it were, “return to us, in our hour of greatest need…” Then, slowly out of the shadows at the side of the garden there emerged three veiled maidens, the middle of whom was dressed and veiled all in white (“white samite”?). She held out before her a beautiful silver grail-chalice, also veiled in white. The three of them came before me, the presiding priest of the rite standing before the hallows on the flagstones of the head of the ritual space, and she presented to me the Grail, our symbol of Hope for Restoration…  As she stood there holding it aloft, I bent down and in the space between us, I pried-up a large flagstone, under which I had earlier dug an offering shaft… She handed the Grail to me, I held it aloft for veneration of the assembly and then after a choice few words binding our intention to it, I plunged it down the shaft and carefully re-positioned the big flagstone covering it. 

It’s been over 15 years since we’ve done a rite in that garden and I often wonder if that chalice is still buried there, working its magic. It certainly seems to have, since it was only a year or two later that our grove quickly “blossomed” and really began to attract a number of the very special folks that have carried it through the years from then, to now.

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SUMMER SOLSTICE, 2016 
occurs on MONDAY JUNE 20th at  6:34 PM, EDT

 
Here's an illustration I did back in 1977 which was used recently on the cover of ADF's magazine Oak Leaves...


"Midsummers Eve"


(c)1977 earrach
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A HYMN TO THE SUN

GREAT AND GLORIOUS GOLDEN SUN,
SHINING YOUR LIGHT AND WARMTH
UPON THE WORLD!

FIERY FURIOUS FURNACE SUN,
BLAZING SINGULAR CENTER
OF THE CIRCUIT OF OUR YEARS !

HEAR ME NOW AS AGAIN I PLEDGE, 
NEVER TO FORGET
MY PERPETUAL RELIANCE
ON YOUR RADIANT GLORY.

HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE O SUN !
HAIL, PRAISE AND THANKS TO THEE !


-Earrach of Pittsburgh
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"If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to worship the Sun, then I say once again, ‘Completely!’ For it is a revelation of the most high, and in fact the mightiest which has ever been granted us mortals to perceive. I worship it in the light and creative power of God, whereby alone we live and move and have our being, and all plants and animals together with us.”

 - - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gespraeche, Vol. IV: 441-42).

SEASONAL READING:

"Why Not the Sun?" 
- my standard essay on the Sun and Neodruidic practice. 

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"The (Neopagan) Solar Apostasy"

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Remembering THE SUN at the SUMMER SOLSTICE

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"What's a SOLSTICE ? 
(vs. Equinox, etc.)"
(click here)
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The Gayatri Mantra
(click here)
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Is the Sun conscious? Is it "divine"?
(click here)
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SOLSTICE (SOLC): 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 June Solstice is the Earth’s north pole tilted the full 23.4° towards the Sun... and only at the December Solstice is it tilted the full 23.4° away from the Sun.
EQUINOX (EQX): The Spring or Autumn quarter begins as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary-line between night and day, momentarily crosses the North and South Poles. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised simultaneously over both poles, only on dates near these times of year are the number of hours of night and day equal all over the globe.

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more info at