Packing up and getting ready for my three day stay in a beautiful yurt while I turn the big 4-0. See you all on the other side! xoxo
- I have blurry vision – I cannot see vertical lines very well. If I know you, and walk past you at an event or gathering, I’m not snubbing you – I can’t see you! (I forget my glasses all the time…)
- I went back to university in my early 30’s to get my degree.
- I have an innate good sense of direction.
- I have an overactive inner barometer – I am very susceptible to air pressure changes and often get headaches from a vast change in the weather.
- Since 1998, in the UK, I have lived in Cambridge, Norwich, Loddon, Northampton, Mumbles, Ipswich and now a rural village on the Suffolk Coast.
- I have sacrificed three rings to the North River in Quebec in my lifetime.
- Teaching runs in my family – my mother and aunt were teachers, and my brother and sister are also teachers.
- The taste of brussel sprouts makes me gag.
- I have been in love with David Bowie for 27 years and counting.
- Autumn is my favourite season.
Facebook is a strange beast.
I love the way that it keeps me up to date with my family in Canada, and the way that is has reunited me with old friends.
What I can’t stand are the silly mind games that occur on this social media site.
Take for example the “friending” and “unfriending” buttons. The word, friend, for me has quite serious connotations. I don’t make friends haphazardly. I’m not a social butterfly. The word, friend, is now a verb. People friend me. It’s no longer befriending, just friending.
For me, this trivialises friendship. If I am going to be someone’s friend, I am going to be there for that person. I don’t make offers of friendship, in “real life” or on social media sites lightly. It’s not on a whim. I can’t function like that. My biggest problem, however, is I think that everyone thinks the same.
I have no idea when people “unfriend” me. I don’t keep track of how many friends I have, and I don’t notice when people drop off. I am extremely naïve in that regard. I’ve had people unfriend, and then refriend me months later – I just assumed that they deleted their account and opened a new one. Then they unfriend me again, and I only find out when I try to tag them in a photo or something and can’t. There hasn’t been any exchange between us sometimes, or if there has been it’s been positive, but suddenly I have been unfriended for whatever reason.
Why the silly, schoolground games? And if it is a game, shouldn’t everyone know that they’re playing? If someone is trying to hurt me using Facebook, it fails utterly as I’m totally oblivious – or I only find out months after the event. I have no idea most of the time when I’m involved in any kind of game – I just assume that people are, on the whole, nice. Especially those whom I befriend. I’m going to continue thinking this way. Life’s too short to do otherwise.
I wonder if, when Facebook was created, the concept of friending and unfriending was thought through to its finality. The friend button could be used to bring people together. It could also be used as a weapon to hurt someone. Like a vicious, little child lashing out. People can get hurt, even from a child…
If someone I know and like posts things that annoy me, I simply stop receiving notifications from them. I won’t unfriend them, as they may not be like that in person. I have decided to be friends with them for a reason. Now, if someone did something utterly atrocious, that’s another matter. But I just don’t use the “unfriend” button as a weapon. There’s got to be dialogue involved before making that sort of decision.
Am I alone in this regard? I hope not – I hope that there are other souls out there, who feel the same way. Sensitive souls, who take the friend button seriously.
Facebook is a strange beast.
Meditating upon this for a couple of years now, I was absolutely delighted to come across this little question and answer session with Thay back in 2010. His thoughts on ancestors, on no self and awareness were exactly the same as my own, and resonate deeply within my soul.
Whoever I am.
Sometimes one has to retreat from the world, in order to better understand it. Finding sanctuary, a sacred space where we can open our souls without fear, where we can simply be, is a glorious experience. It happens a lot less than we need in our lives, in my opinion.
A goddess of sanctuary, Nemetona is an elusive deity. Not much is written or recorded about her in Classical texts or history. Just the barest hints and place names, some tribe names and a couple of inscriptions. Who is this goddess to whom we can bare our souls, in complete soul truth, knowing that we are held?
In our modern day world, so often we feel we have to close ourselves off in order not to be overwhelmed – by people, media, technology. For sensitive souls, it sometimes is pure hell. We need to allow our soul truths to emerge, otherwise as caged birds we function behind bars, never truly spreading our wings and knowing what it means to fly. We feel we have to be careful not to be too open, too emotive, too sensitive to what people are saying or what is happening in the world around us. We are not allowed to be offended, we are not allowed to speak out without fear of being shot down a lot of the time. We are told that we shouldn’t be so sensitive. Our souls grow smaller with each experience of shutting down, never letting anyone or anything in.
That physical space around us, where we feel uncomfortable if someone we do not trust enters, is a valuable space. It is our personal nemeton, a space where our energy exists outside of our bodies. Many liken it to your aura. Some nemetons are strong and radiant, some wounded with gaping holes, others barricaded with steel. What we have to learn, or relearn, is how to open this space in love and trust – that is what Nemetona provides, often in a world wherein we feel no other human is able to provide this for us…
To read the full post, click HERE.
For me, Druidry is not a white-robed affair. Crawling under low scrub pines and getting inside secret places of gorse bushes where only the deer trod, or standing on the seashore in the howling rain, or in the heart of the forest with the badgers and mosquitos – it just doesn’t work.
Druidry is not clean. It’s not an exercise only for the mind. It requires experience to turn what you have learned into real wisdom. It’s not just book-learning. Until you get out there and commune with the landscape, it’s not felt in the soul. It cannot live in the head. It will get you dirty, wet, hot, sweating, cold, scratched, bitten. It is dirty fingernails and peering under bushes. It is a return to the curiosity and wonder of the child, yet it is not child-like. It is deep learning, deep experience.
Druidry is not a male-centred religion or spirituality, nor is it female-centric. It is about equality and egality, anarchic and subject first and foremost to the teachings of nature.
It not just about standing in stone circles waving swords and reading off of sheets of paper with a group of other people, the media and tourists alike taking photographs. It is doing work in the heart of where you live, often without thanks or regard of any kind. It is giving back to the land, honouring the cycles and working for the community – and by community, I mean each and every living thing in that area wherein you live and call home, not just human. It is not about power and ego, but about communion and deep relationship. It is about dropping ideas of the self to better fit in the landscape.
It is not about writing loads of books and offering courses, achieving kudos through output, students and media. It is about the sharing of inspiration, acknowledging the inspiration of others and allowing the awen the flow through you in whatever way you see fit. One may be a teacher, or an author, or someone with whom the media interact – but they are not a spokesperson for all Druidry, nor a guru of any sort, and have no monopoly on wisdom. There is little room in deep Druidry for ego.
There are no titles, save those bestowed either by a person on him or herself, or by a group of people following a shared path and learning. These titles are not relevant to all Druids – just to the person or the group. Claiming to be an arch-druid of so and so has no bearing on those who are outside of the group. There is no central authority in Druidry.
Druidry is not about having things – it is about doing things. It is being utterly mindful of personal and global consumerism. It is about looking at everything that you do, everything that you have, everything that you take and everything that you give back. It is not about doing the bare minimum. It is about sacrifice, of time and ignorance, of ego and of desire. It is about constant re-evaluation of ethics, values and honour. It is about constant learning.
Druidry is not about attaining levels of initiation or ordination within learning, however. Courses and instruction may guide us, may open our minds and shatter pre-conceived notions, expanding awareness – but they are not there to gratify the ego through the bestowing of grade or rank. Druidry is also not about a specific point in time, where to call oneself a Druid means to have studied for twenty-some years, learned the genealogies of kings, etc. The Druidry of the past is not the Druidry of today. The Druidry of a small frame in time within the past and from a small, specific region is most certainly not the Druidry of today. Its wisdom can guide us, but it is just one window in a mansion of many halls. The Classical Druids were the Classical Druids – we are not, nor can ever be, Classical Druids.
Druidry is not just an exploration of the self. It goes beyond the self, to a life lived in service to others.
These are just a few things of what Druidy is not.
So what is Druidry?
It is allowing the wisdom of the oak to guide you in all that you do.
Paganism is all about relationship, and is central to my Druid path. Everything is interconnected – we simply could not exist were it not for the countless forms of other life on this planet. All life, in scientific circles, came from single-celled organisms that evolved into life as we know it; we all, everything on this planet, have a common ancestor.
Yet we are constantly bombarded by the dualistic thinking that has so plagued our species for many, many years. We often feel separated from nature, from the world, from other human beings, from our ancestors. It is often reinforced through marketing, various theologies and psychology, in most cases to ensure that there is repeat business, power and normalisation.
How many of us have come across the “food chain” concept when we were at school? Humans at the top, able to consume and control all beneath us. Whoever came up with this concept has not slept a night out in Canada, where the bears or cougars can get you, or swam in an ocean that has sharks, or paddled a river with crocodiles, or suffered from a debilitating or deadly virus. We are, most definitely, not the top of any chain whatsoever. We all become food for something, in time, whether it is before or after our physical death.
We are, however, all connected, and it is through personal relationships with place that the Pagan creates their worldview, learning from the land upon which they live, the ancestors and the gods. There is no such thing as a “thing” – we cannot look at anything (pardon the pun) in such regards. When we use the term “thing” we can often objectify it, not giving it the inherent right to existence that animism honours. Many native traditions use the term “brother”, “sister”, “grandmother” or “grandfather” when speaking of a life form that is non-human, whether it be non-human animal, the moon, the sea, a tree, the sky. In that way, relationship is acknowledged and inherent respect is created. A community is created, an ecosystem in every sense of the word. We are all descended from a few ancestors. We are all family. We have the stuff of stars in our blood and in our bodies, minerals found in distant galaxies.
As Pagans, we have to remember this in everything that we do. We have to ensure that we are not falling into the traps of dualism, marketing, secular culture. We have to see the beauty and awe in everything, and live a life that is filled with awareness of what lives and what dies, what threads connect us to the world. These threads will then shimmer with profound awen, where soul touches soul and relationship, true relationship, sacred relationship, is created.