Reactivating & Repurposing This Blog.

I have never been someone to blog or write in a diary or journal.  I've never done it, even as a kid.

And I've tried here several times.  And not continued to keep up with writing it.

And yet, I find myself occasionally, and more and more often, writing long, journal like posts on Facebook - usually on my wall, occasionally on my various pages I've created, dedicated to my individual passions.

So I am going to try again.

I'm Rededicating this blog to several of my passions.  Here will be discussed Druidism, particularly of the ADF variety.  Any and all work that I do towards the DP, or any Guild study program (whether or not I will, or can, turn it in for 'credit'), will also be posted here.  Any discussion of my Hearth Cultures - Irish Celtic, Urglaawe Germanic, Polish Slavic will be included, as well as those rare 'other' deities or spirits I work with.  Magic and Spirit Arte, my personal pantheon of Deities, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits, particularly those Animal Spirit Guides I work with and worship. 

In conjunction with this is my work building and keeping shrines, spirit houses, talismans, icons, sigils and other sacred art.  Some of these posts may be shared to my facebook page



Ring Out, Solstice Bells

 ‎"Ring Out, Solstice Bells" Jethro Tull, lyrics by Ian Anderson

Now is the solstice of the year,
winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together beneath the mistletoe.
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.
Ring out those bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.

Summer Solstice Rite 2011 Baltic/Slavic, quasi-ADF style

This was performed for the Summer Solstice 2011.  There's a lot of background information and parenthetical text in this rite, mainly because the others weren't familiar with the Slavic/Baltic lore elements at all, and I wrote the rite myself, with not a lot of discussion beforehand.  Plus, there were little notes written for the participants with suggestions as to what they could do for their role, but basically leaving it up to them, as they are all extremely experienced ritualists.
Probably the only thing that wasn't done according to the written ritual, was that the omen was done by tarot, as I didn't have time to create the pysanky symbol divination set.  That's another project for another day!
I call this rite 'quasi-ADF', because the group of us that practice together, are not a grove, nor a protogrove, not even a study group.  A few of us are solitary ADF members, one is a member of an ADF grove, several are ex-ADF members, and a few are ADF-friendly pagans, and one is interested in Celtic shamanism, but through us, is interested in ADF druidism also....
But most importantly, I played a tad bit fast and loose with ADF's Core Order of Ritual.  Namely because the rite took place at my home, outside, and I felt that my house spirits should be the ones to deal with the Outsiders.  But since my house spirits are Zaltys, sacred to the Deity of the Occasion for this ritual, it made sense to me to have the Zaltys be the Gatekeeper, and also deal with the Outsiders, all at once.  So I rearranged those steps in the COoR to reflect this. At any rate, it worked.

Rasa – a Baltic/Slavic or Lithuanian/Polish Summer Solstice Rite, 2011
'Grove of the Misfit Druids', quasi-ADF

Hearth Culture focus for this rite:
In 'A History of Pagan Europe', Jones and Pennick write, “Despite the differences in language, many deities of the Baltic Pantheon are shared by the Slavs.” (p. 174). As an ADF Druid partially of Polish descent (which I assumed was Slavic), this was of extreme interest, because I kept finding conflicting information about Slavic versus Baltic practices – even from our own ADF Slavic Kin, and the Balts who also participate on the Slavic Kin elist. In addition, it (not so surprisingly) turns out that the modern boundary between Poland and Lithuania does not reflect the foggy border between 'Slavs' and 'Balts'.... And so, I feel I am justified (and honest) when I say that this rite is a 'Baltic/Slavic or Lithuanian/Polish Summer Solstice Rite'. As always, 'your mileage may vary'.
To the Balts, the Sun was a goddess - Saule Motul – the Mother Sun. Saule charged across the hill of the sky in a horse drawn chariot with copper wheels. The Sun is her jug or ladle from which light pours forth. One of the most powerful goddesses, she provides nature's warmth and fertility. Saulė is the patroness of all misfits, especially orphans, since only She is a suitable substitute for a mother’s warmth. Her universal Mother role is confirmed by the word for “world” - “pasaulis” which translates as “under the sun”.
Historically, the Lithuanian celebration of Rasa started the evening before the Summer Solstice, and included circle dances, games and divination, a ritualized meal, greeting the setting sun, lighting the bonfires and making offerings, and visiting the fields, trees and groves to bless them. Healing herbs and flowers were collected and poles or trees, often with 3 branches were erected with fires lit atop them. The herbs and flowers were garlanded upon them and hung with wreaths. The earth's axis as world tree with the sun perched atop it was a common motif. This was followed by a primary bonfire, where a corn dolly was burned to symbolize the passing of the old. Dancers circled the bonfire, and wreaths were cast. Bathing, and a boat with a fire aboard sails to symbolize Saule's stopping her chariot in the evening sea to wash her horses – tired from the day's ride across the sky. Finally, the people greeted the nocturnal celestial bodies – the stars, as well as the moon, and awaited the rising sun to worship her. Finally, the morning dew was collected and saved for bathing, and healing properties. The belief is that dew, like all waters, comes from the depths of the sea, through the earth. Combine that with the rising and setting summer solstice sun, and dew on that day is imbued with exceptional healing powers. Rasa is the Festival of Dew.
So as dew falls on the grass, so Saule's beloved animal was the Zaltys, or grass snake. This European species looks extremely similar to the North American garter snake – so much so that they were once classified with the same Latin name – Natrix, which is linguistically connected to the Irish nathr, the German nattern, and the Welsh naddred, from which we get the English 'adder'. All the while, the grass snake (like the garter snake) is completely harmless.
The Zaltys symbolized good fortune and it was considered very bad luck to kill any snake. It was said that Saule would weep to see her zaltys hurt, and her tears turned to amber as a reminder to men. Saule was also considered a goddess of the hearth fire. At Rasa, the Hearth Fire was extinguished and relit from a fire brought from the spiritual center of Lithuania. And the Zaltys, as Her favorite, was called the house-snake, and lived in the farmhouses by the hearth fire or stove. In some cases, as a fertility symbol, the Zaltys was encouraged to live under the bed. In some cases, a spirit house was provided for the zaltys to reside in, in others, the Zaltys lived under the millstone by the hearth. In winter, they sleep. January 25th is the celebration of Kirmeline (Day of Serpents). Kirmeline is the symbolic awakening of the zaltys. The best of human food, and milk is put out for them – if the priests can entice them to eat and drink, a prosperous year is foretold. Each farmstead worked hard to encourage a Zaltys to take up residence. People revered the Zaltys and they were kept as living guardians for sacred sites.
The Zaltys can traverse the Three Worlds (like a garter snake, they can climb the branches of the World Tree to the Sky, slither across, and within, the Earth itself – as well as swim across and dive to the depths of the Waters.) For all of these reasons, the Zaltys will act as our Gatekeeper, as we worship Saule as the Summer Solstice Sun.
Praise offerings for Saule can include anything golden, copper, yellow, orange or white. Golden apples, white wine, mead, or fruit juices. Amber or citrine. Flowers, wreaths, wheels, eggs, fire, fireworks or incense. Flax is sacred to Her, and a special meal of golden cheese and mead is often prepared on Rasa.
The group offering will be a handmade, organic grapevine wreath (LOL) to represent the wheel of the Sun. We will each be given a strip of yellow/gold ribbon or fabric before the ritual to concentrate our praise into. Then we will pass the wreath, attach our strips to the wreath, and finally the wreath will be tossed on the Fire. As it burns our praise will rise to Saule on the smoke.

  1. Clear-cut beginning – Nine knells – Drum. ONYX.
  2. Processional
  3. Purifications – stone (Matronae Stones), bowl of water, incense. SELF.
May the Power of the Land purify me.
May the Power of the Sea purify me.
May the Power of the Sky purify me.
  1. Ground, Center and Merge. ONYX. (Your discretion... but the Balts religion did focus strongly on trees, so a tree meditation w/ 2Powers would be lovely ) ;)
  2. Acknowledge Outsiders and Gatekeeper? - ME. (Offering, bowl of milk).
Now we enter the Alkas – our sacred sanctuary. As we do this, I ask my household spirits– my Zaltys, to come out from your spirit house, come out and draw the boundary with serpentine coils. Join your magic with mine to protect our sacred Alkas from the Outsiders – those who would disturb our rite. We assure that They are there, and We are here. Outsiders – take this bread and go – do not disrupt our working here tonight.
Zaltys – take this bread, salt, and milk as our offering. Zaltys – accept our offering! <All> Zaltys, accept our offering! Now, join your magic with mine to open the Gate! Part the Veil with your serpentine coils, curving up and around us and hold open the Ways! Travel the Ways of the Fire, Well, and Tree and hold open the Gates! Let the Gates be open with the arch of your serpentine coil – Open the Gate!
The Gate Is Open! <All> The Gate is Open!
  1. Bardic Patron – Brighid. EARRACH. (Your discretion) (Offering, light candle).
  2. Additional step – Bardic pre-emptive piacular offering regarding pronunciation – ME.
If out of ignorance of language in pronouncing words or names,
Or if we for ANY reason cause offense,
Kindreds, please accept this offering in recompense,
And know that our hearts and intent are pure.
(Offering, wine/mead – offering stone).
  1. Earth Mother dedication - Zemyna.– the Matronae Stones. - JOHN (offering, birdseed). Offer grain and say:
Davei manei, Žemyna, duodame ir tau
[You] gave for us, Mother Earth, we are giving for you too.
(a request for the land to continue to be fruitful.)

  1. Declaration of Intent. ME.
We are here to celebrate the Summer Solstice - The Longest Day, as our Ancestors did for generations before us, and as our children will do, generations hence. Tonight, we honor Saule – the Sun goddess. Saule Motul - the Mother Sun at Her greatest point. We praise her as her ride today ends and the dew falls, on this, the Festival of Rasa. Our Aukuras (stone fire altar) awaits.
  1. The Fire – the fire pit. - KIM (offer oil to the Fire).
In the heart of the Fire, kindles the Fires of Inspiration. Sacred Fire, Burn within Me. <All> Sacred Fire, Burn within Me.
  1. The Well - the pond. - ROWAN (offer silver coin to the Well).
In the depths of the Well, springs the Waters of Wisdom. Sacred Well, Flow within Me. <All> Sacred Well, Flow within Me.
  1. The World Tree – tiki torch – ARTOS (cense the Tree with incense, and light the torch atop it.)
Down through the depths of the Well to the Underworld, up through the flames of the Fire to the Upperworld, and spanning the Middle World of Nature and Men, stands the World Tree – Upright like you, Azuolas, Great Oak! Sacred Tree, Grow within Me! <All> Sacred Tree, Grow within Me!
<All> The Fire, The Well, The Sacred Tree – Flame and Flow and Grow in Me!
  1. The Creation Myth – EARRACH. (Your discretion. Will have a copy of the Creation Myth if needed....)
I say: From whence have we come? What is the Story of our People?
  1. Dwellers in the Three Worlds
-Worldly Spirits - Offer bread and salt. JOHN
Worldly Spirits, hear our call to join our rite! Barstukai (Elves), Ežerinis and Upinis (lake & river spirits), Laukų Dvasios (animal spirits of the fields), Household and homestead spirits, Come join us here, and accept our offerings! <All> Worldly Spirits – accept our offerings!
(Laukų Dvasios - spirits of the fields. When fields of crops waved in the wind, people saw them as spirits running through the fields. Some of these were Kiškis (hare), Meška (bear), Lapė (fox), Katinas (tomcat), Smauglys (boa), Arklys (horse), and Vilkas (wolf).)

-Ancestors Vėlės (souls) - spirits of our Ancestors. (Offering beer) DIANA
Veles, may our call reach you in Dausos, the hill of the sky, abode of the dead. May Vejopatis, Lord of the Wind, and Master of Dausos, speed your way here to join us in our rite. Veles, join us here, and accept our offerings! <ALL> Veles, accept our offerings!
-Blessed Ones (Offering, oil or incense to the Fire) EARRACH.

Deities of the Three Worlds! Deivas, the Chief God! Laima, Lady of Luck and Fate! Perkunas the Thunderer! Menulis of the Moon! Deities of Nature, Craft, and Kingship ! Join us here at our Rite! We give you praise and honor! Deities, accept our offerings! <All> Deities, accept our offerings!

  1. The DotO – Saule. - ME.
Saule Motul – Mother Sun! As you drove your chariot across the sky on this Longest Day - we praise you! <All> We praise you!
Saule who warms our fields, grows our crops, and provides for us - We praise you! <All> We praise you!
Saule Motul – Mother Sun! You who gather the misfits and orphans to you, and warm us at your hearth fire as only a Mother would – We Praise you! <All> We praise you!
  1. Individual Praise offerings
  2. Group/Conclusionary offering: THE SYMBOLIC SACRIFICE: the wreath.
  3. Saule Motul – accept our offering! <All> Saule Motul – accept our offering!
  4. Deity’s pronouncement – Taking the Omen – DIANA. Pysanky divination – with a very brief ''cheat sheet”, unless you'd prefer your own methods...
Before the Seer takes the Omen, I say: On this shortest night, after the longest day – the Veil grows thin, and our Gateway is well warded. The Kindred have heard our praise. Our offerings and sacrifice have been made. But a gift calls for a gift – what omen do the Kindred give us? What blessing do the Kindred give us?
The Seer pronounces the omen. I ask: What use do you have for this omen? Consider this omen within your heart and head. Interpret it's meaning in your life.
  1. Induction of receptivity – After the Seer reveals the omen, I ask: With the Omen comes the Blessing. Do you gathered here accept the blessing of Saule? <All> We DO!
  2. Consecration agreement – Holding the vessel above the Fire, I say: Then through Saule's hearth fire, kindle a blessing within this golden drink! Let this drink become the Dew of Rasa!
  3. Taking the Waters – passing out cups, and distributing the Blessing. We all drink together, sharing the ritual Blessing. Meditate a bit on the Blessing infusing thoughout your body.
  4. Call for unfinished work – Is there any work yet undone this night? …..... If not, then resettle yourselves to undo what we have done here as we close down this rite.
  5. Primary Deity
Saule, the evening of the Longest Day has fallen – you have ended your chariot's ride across the hill of the sky. You stop now, to wash your horses in the sea. Now as the days progress your hearth's fire will slowly be banked for the long winter's night. But even so, we continue to feel your warmth through the harvests, providing for us with your mother's love, through the winter's cold. And we know your warmth will return in your full glory to ride across the sky again.
Saule, We thank you!
<ALL> Saule, We thank you!
  1. Thanking the Dwellers in the 3 Worlds Deities – Earrach, Ancestors - Diana, Worldly Spirits – John.
  2. Bardic Patron - EARRACH
  3. Gatekeeper/gate closes – ME Zaltys, you have warded the Ways for us, and held open the Gates for us! Your magic joined with mine to open the Gates! Now we must close them. Zaltys, withdraw your coils from the Gate. Draw them back, so that the Gates may close. The Way is no longer open – the Gates are closed! We thank you for working with us this Summer Solstice night! Zaltys – we thank you! <All> Zaltys – we thank you!
  4. Tree – ARTOS, Well - ROWAN, Fire – KIM (The Sacred Oak is but a tree, The Sacred Well, is but water, the Sacred Fire is but flame, etc)
  5. Re-ground/re-center - ONYX
  6. Earth Mother - earthing excess power - JOHN
  7. Affirmation of Continuity - As we have done in the past, and as we will do in the future in an unbroken chain of tradition – Long Live the Tradition! EARRACH
  8. Clear-cut ending – Nine Knells - ONYX

Worldly Spirits Invocation

Worldly Spirits of Nature

Spirits of Place that inhabit stone and pool,
Broadest plain and loftiest mountain,
Dwellers Under the Hill,

Join us here, we give you honor and offerings!

Spirits of the Green, Growing World,
Fungi, evergreens, and flowering plants,
Smallest mushroom to mightiest sequoia,

Join us here, we give you honor and offerings!

Spirits of the Creatures,
Who swim the Waters, fly the Skies, and tread the Land,
Tiniest microbe to mightiest whale,

Join us here, we give you honor and offerings!

Worldly Spirits of Nature:
Join us here, we give you honor and offerings!

Struggling towards 'Right Livelihood'

I currently find myself struggling with the concept of 'right livelihood'.  Or rather, I am *still* struggling with it.  My working career thus far has seemed like one giant agony to endure after another, and that's considering that I *like* GIS and making maps, and the fact that I did meet some great friends along the way, not to mention my immanent fiance. I just can't deal with the office/corporate baggage that comes with it.  I really wish I could - I would be much more successful if I could just play the game, and leave it at the office.  But I just can't - I don't have those skills, I don't have that kind of 'climb the corporate ladder' ambition, nor do I want those kinds of responsibilities.  Maybe that makes me..... hmm, many things, lol; but I can't help but feel in my heart that there is something else out there for me to do.  The problem is *what*.

I am struggling (joyfully, mind you, but still struggling) with Living Earth Reptile Encounters.  To make it work, how I want it to work.  Others do it full time, so I think that I can too, but even still, getting the motivation to get the customers the way I would like to, is evading me.

I also want to work on my art, to see if I can sell some, take commissions, etc.  There is also my work on healing modalities involving the Greek Asklepios/Hygeia healing temple.  In fact, I'm even looking into acquiring some of the 3 species of European snake that were the objects of such veneration - but I fear that ophidiophobia will be too strong for customers to overcome. Animal assisted therapy, animal healing modalities (Reiki, accupressure, Tellington Touch, etc), and Animal Behaviorist are some things I am considering pursuing ....  but I also admit to some nagging scepticism involving Reiki, that was reinforced by some pagan friends whose opinions I respect.  But that musing/rant about the dichotomy of pagan 'skills' vs. New Age 'skills' I'll save for another post......

I've dreamt of running a pet store, but I do not have the capital to start one.  Naturalist, environmental educator, museum or zoo jobs in my area are either nonexistent or they pay very poorly.  With the price of gas at $3.99/gal., I need it to be more than a break even job.

I feel very much in a rut, frozen in place.  A recent(ish) omen at a dragon ritual reinforces this. drawing from a dragon tarot deck, but not being too familiar with tarot myself, I depended upon the expert seer's interpretation as well as the information looked up later from the book that came with the deck.  I drew the King of Coins. Abundance, Wealth and Sovereignty.  A kingdom to be ruled.  Sounds good, yes?  But then there's this: the slowest moving of these cards - movement at a glacial pace, requiring patience.  Followed by:  But don't rest on your laurels - get moving w/new projects.  Glacial pace, but get moving. Thanks, LOL.  On the card the king dragon holds symbols of wealth and power. At the base of his tree there are great piles of treasure from ages past, meaning the attainment of one's objective.

I've never really been known for my patience.  So I guess I have to get moving with those new projects, LOL!