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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RITUAL TECH, Sorting It All Out for Your High Day Themes


Sorting out the seasonal, symbolic  and practical meanings related to a high day is a very important process in having things end up “making sense” and thereby having your annual round of liturgical works become  a dynamic,  interrelated system  - rather than just a series of thematically disparate ‘events’.


        The Nornic Modalities :

 From          Past         Urd            Formerly
 Through    Present    Verdandi    Presently
 To              Future      Skuld         Consequentially…

The Seasonal Delineators

( Don’t even get me started on folks who don’t integrate  
seasonal factors into the themes of their Rites of the Wheel! )

What’s  peaking?           = The  beginning of the end  of
What’s  finally ending?   = The  end  of...
What’s  beginning?        = The  beginning  of…

A better approach for getting a handle seasonal factors? SEE THIS...

Symmetry :  oppositional relationships across the Wheel…

         Yule               is opposite          Summer Solstice
         Imbolc           is opposite           Lughnasa
         March Eqx.    is opposite          September Eqx.
         Beltane          is opposite          Samhain

A good exercise:  
Come up with a sensible and dynamically functional justification for the following: “Why would ( “should”)  Imbolc/Brigantia  be held on the February crossquarter-day instead of some other time of year (ewes and lambs excluded) ?”

Think back / think ahead..
The core of this factor is about seeing if there is a sensible relationship between this rite and the last and/or this rite and the next - but make sure you’re not just duplicating one of the following...

Beware of the Neopagan High Day "SEASONAL SMEARS” 
You’ll have to make a decision. These simply can’t  all  be “right”…
HINT:  Clear this up by using the Seasonal Delineators above.
Candle-rite:       Samhain                                                              
Candle-rite:       Yule;                                                            
Candle-rite:       Imbolc.                  

Springtime!        Imbolc
Springtime!        VernEqx
Springtime!        Beltaine
Wedding rite:    Betaine**   
Wedding rite:    Summer Solstice  
Wedding rite:    Lughnasa    

              Harvest!           Lughnassad
              Harvest!           AutEqux
              Harvest!           Samhain

Dark Descent:   AutEqx
Dark Descent:   Samhain
Dark Descent:   Yule

**BTW, there’s a wealth of old European traditions about May weddings being unlucky.
…leading consequently to the familiar June-weddings custom

The Methodology of the Mysteries

The Rites of Eleusis, the grand religious initiatory celebration of the ancient Greeks was performed continually for nearly 1400 years and thereby developed a specific and apparently very effective set of operants for the dispensing of its profound mystery-teaching. A writer contemporary with the Rites tells us that the Eleusinian Mysteries were delivered through a sequence of special methods:

the    dromena                  “things acted”,
the    legomena                  “things said”,

the    deiknymena          “things shown”

AND so, we put it all together, and come up with a map...

Friday, December 18, 2015

So WHY is it the LONGEST NIGHT ?


And, there ya' go. 

The dashed line is the path of an average city in the US (or the UK) as it circles the North Pole at the December Solstice. Just look at how much time we spend in the dark compared to the light! The whole rest of the year the margin of the Earth's day/night boundary (formally known as the Earth's "terminator") falls inside the Arctic Circle, which in our diagram here is marked as the heavy-black circle encompassing the central dot which represents the North Pole. ( * compare with June Solstice shown at bottom of page. )

The modernized name is actually the "December Solstice"
since it's only the "winter..." solstice for us in the Northern Hemisphere.
For folks in Argentina, South Africa or Australia, it's their "Summer" solstice.

W A S S A I L  !
With Yuletide blessings to you and yours
The 2015 Yule Solstice stick... broken at 11:48 PM Eastern...

With Yuletide blessings to all.

occurs at 11:48 PM Eastern Standard Time
Monday, Dec. 21st, 2015

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...

 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



((  * For comparison, here's the JUNE Solstice...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I don’t like it but I’m significantly stupider than I was five years ago….

It’s not Alzheimer’s, nor have I had a stroke and ended up with aphasia or other related condition. It it is a neurological condition and was something that came on rather suddenly and occurred as a direct outcome of the fact, well, that I’m still alive…

In the spring of 2012 I was diagnosed with cancer (it’s called “CLL”, a common form of Leukemia) and had my first three rounds of chemotherapy that autumn. I remained ok until the spring of 2015 when I had to have another round of chemo. Right after my first round is when things had started to change. Within a month or two I could articulate a difference in my cognitive experience of life that I eventually discovered is described by others as “Chemo Brain”. Chemo Brain has a clinical name* but it is not yet a formally recognized disorder by the medical establishment (probably under duress by their lawyers). Chemotherapy is vastly more sophisticated, improved and more effective now than it was even 20 or 30 years ago. Far fewer patients are sickened or face losing their hair; and far more folks are living productive lives in spite of their conditions. Many cancers that were a death sentence then have now been moved into the category of “manageable”. The chemo that I get is very effective yet does not make me feel fatigued or nauseous and it doesn’t cause hair-loss. For a person with the diagnosis of cancer, things could be so much more difficult; I consider myself extremely fortunate.


Through my whole life I’ve operated on a tight pattern of reflex that would be instantly recognizable by artists and other highly creative individuals. I was always discovering new ideas and perspectives and immediately found myself compelled to carry-through with these ideas to some creative end. For me that meant creating artwork, or later in my life, written word to capture and convey these stimuli to others in unique or instructive ways. When I say “compelled” I mean it; it was never a matter of bootstrapping myself into figuring out how I could “get” myself to do the next thing. No, they crowded at the edges of my perception, all simultaneously clamoring for my attention, drawing me into their gravitational fields of excitement and promise. For me, creativity was a compulsion, not  a “choice”.

Before I started chemo, it was as if I was a healthy frog on a staircase of six-inch high steps; I happened to be a frog who could jump six and ¼ inches so I had no trouble merrily hopping along and continually ascending the staircase. After chemo started, the small but significant difference became evident - - it was clearly as if my frog-self could now only jump to a height of five and 7/8 inches and that tiny change made all the difference in the world…

My ever robust creativity-as-a-compulsion dynamo was broken. My productivity cycle spun down to a crawl. Everything was just a tiny bit harder to do. Tiny, but oh so a meaningful of a difference. This was not simply a change in the quantity of the output of my writings, diagrams and drawings… this struck directly at the core of my self-definition. I was no… longer… “me”.

These small cognitive after-effects of chemotherapy have been a very dramatic change in my life. Oddly enough, I’m now realizing that I have been becoming acclimatized to this increasingly less-new chemo-brain “dullness” and the memory of what it was to be “that other ('me') person” whom I’d been for the whole previous history of my life has already begun to fade significantly. As a consequence the urgency is diminished but it is no less distressing in retrospect.

SO... If you've noticed that I've been recycling more and posting less - it's got a lot to do with this stuff, but I promise I'll keep trying, er, "doing".


Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Gallery of MY ARTWORK

"Asleep Beneath the Stone"  (c) 1975 earrach

Much more on my

"The Last Druid"  (c) 1977 earrach

"The Enchantment" (c) 1972 earrach

"Dolmen in the Rain" (c) 1978  earrach

"Math and Goewin" (c) 1978 earrach

"Issac Bonewits in the Nemeton at Wellspring" (c) 2005 earrach


Book of Sassafras

Saturday, September 12, 2015


1.) Calling the September Equinox "MABON" is totally BOGUS...
Just in case you haven’t already heard, the word / name "Mabon" has never, ever, been related to the Autumnal Equinox or any other Pagan calendar date before a point in the 1970's when it was first erroneously associated with it by one Wiccan group in the US. Not even one good mythic or lore-related reason for them pinning the character's name to the date ever seems to surface. Stupid, but we're stuck with it; please ditch the usage and tell your friends.

2.) What IS the primary date of the SEPTEMBER EQUINOX ?
(Not what you’ll read in Pagan books!)

Well, if you happen to have your cheat sheet (see fig.1,)
you are in for some big surprises...

Yes, I don't know if I've found one 'pagan' reference book yet that lists the correct general date for the September Equinox !!! Even if they include it in a range of possible dates, rarely does ANY source infer that the 23rd of September is the principal date for the Autumnal Equinox and the other is an occasional variant.

It simply does NOT FALL ON THE 20th, nor the 21st, or 25th - - those are just plain wrong:
it usually falls on September 23rd and occasionally on the 22nd.

The year to year variance in the date and time of the equinoxes and solstices is actually due to our wonderfully efficient Gregorian Calendar correcting itself. Bobbing around the natural year's fixing points like a puppy pacing from one extreme to the other on a very short leash, the corrections are achieved through the application of an extra day every four years or so ("leap years") and the occasional extra day thrown-in on certain century-turning years.



Article 4: Calendar

1.)     The High Days of the ADF calendar are the eight Neopagan High Days which are the solstices, equinoxes, and points equally between them. For legal purposes, these High Days occur on:

a. Cross-Quarter =                 November 1st
b. Solstice =                             December 21st
c. Cross-Quarter =                 February 1st
d. Equinox =                             March 21st
e. Cross-Quarter =                 May 1st
f.  Solstice =                             June 21st
g. Cross-Quarter =                 August 1st
h. Equinox =                             September 21st

2.) For ceremonial purposes, local congregations shall celebrate each of the eight High Days within one week prior to or after the aforementioned dates, or at some other time determined by Board-established policy.

3.) The ceremonial year of ADF shall begin on the first day of November and end on the thirty-first day of October in each civil year. ”


More September Equinox fun HERE... 

USNO Website 
- the US official standard data site for astronomers and calendar makers.

- "Fig.1" which I created for an article in the mid 1990's, was derived from a sample of 22 years' data from both the USNO and the Observers' Handbook from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

- Text and table & images originally are from The Druids Almanac and docs linked to it, (c) Earrach.