There are few things as enjoyable as being able to comfortably and casually head outside on a beautiful Spring day after experiencing Winter. Continue reading
Photo credit to Emily Martorano on justfarm.org
Having decided midway through reading this book, Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard, to blog my reactions and reflections, I am continuing this post series (will I finish it? who knows) with Chapter 8: Other Biomes and Chapter 9: Livestock & Restoration Agriculture.
Close-up photography is probably my favorite style; I have always been fascinated by seeing things that appear small to the naked eye shown up close and in great detail. The floral works by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) left a deep impression on my sense of aesthetics in this way I think. Of course I could not resist this Weekly Photo Challenge by The Daily Post.
The butterfly in this photo, which I believe to be an Enodia creola, allowed me to get rather close, an unusual occurrence compared to my previous endeavors to photograph butterflies. Totally unafraid, perhaps even determinedly, this butterfly repeatedly landed on shoulders and arms until I finally went to snag my camera. Although I cannot get as close as I would like with my current lens, the level of detail in the photographs such as this that I can get is still satisfying.
As Lughnasadh draws closer, we have been spending more time with the southwestern nemeton of Visionsong. Something that always fills me with a sense of wonder is the shift in the energies of each nemeton of Dreamvine Circle as the Wheel of the Year progresses. The visit we made today was particularly powerful for me for a few reasons, but the main reason was the way this nemeton’s energy has to me seemed to coalesce into a powerful and communicative consciousness in accordance with this time of the year.
I sense this building consciousness primarily as a chorus of ‘voices’, voices mainly consisting of the surrounding trees and stones. While most of the time the chorus is more of a subtle, blended hum of ‘sound’, today it was more like distinct voices speaking ‘languages’ I could not understand with the logical part of my mind. As I stood ‘listening’ today in the center of the nemeton, I felt an insistent surge of.. I hardly know what to call it. Feeling? Inspiration? I wanted to intone the Awen as a response to this surge of energy, but I am still rather self-conscious about using my voice as a mode of sacred expression. Settling for using my mind’s voice, I ‘intoned’ cascading Awens, lending my ‘voice’ to the voices of the nemeton. By the third Awen, it seemed like all the other voices had joined mine such that a chorus of Awens resounded through the woods and fields all around. It briefly took my breath away.
I read a quote from Carolyn Myss recently that struck me in much the same way: All life breathes together. It is times like those that I experience that reality firsthand, and I might never have come to these kinds of experiences without having come to a conscious practice of modern druidry. As I am sure many have said before me, druidry has ‘always been’ my spiritual practice, I just did not know it by that name until recently. Very much looking forward to celebrating the beginning of the harvest season on Lughnasadh once again!
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To celebrate the burgeoning life of our favorite park and Michigan in general, we revisted Wildhorn Rock and the place I now call Flowersong Crest (the hilly area being named for the abundant flowers, the constant sounds of birds and frogs, and its position in the southern part of the park’s overall Celtic medicine wheel as described in the Settling of the Manor of Tara), gathering flowers and burning offerings to Cernunnos (the predominant spirit of Wildhorn Rock) and other spirits of place for the continued fecundity and fertility of the surrounding lands.
It’s March of 2014 already. Seems like we just had the new year, though I think the incessant snow skews one’s sense of time. Continue reading
It has been snowing quite a bit here in Michigan for November; it almost feels more like the day after Christmas than the day after Thanksgiving. As can probably be expected, people tend to spend more time indoors when it is cold, especially when snow is involved. This inevitably results in the congregation of people, with families to their houses, students to their classrooms or commons, and so on. When people get together, they tend to talk. It is a great opportunity to share stories. Continue reading
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For the most part these moments that defy articulation rest on a paradox: at every crossing there is always a moment in which one is neither on one side nor on the other, neither what one was nor what one will be … One is in suspension-hovering timelessly in between.
We welcomed the autumnal equinox last Sunday with a ritual in Visionsong. With votive offerings of smoke, apple, water, and tobacco, we bid farewell to summer and, together with the trees, turned our awareness toward the balance of light and dark, and began the journey toward Samhain and the approaching dark half of the year. The equinox is a liminal time, and certainly, the energy of Visionsong, and of the ritual we performed inhabited a gap, as it were, between summer and autumn. I think the liminality of the experience though is much larger than that. I have only rarely experienced a liminal time or place quite as abrupt as a single day or a single ritual. Nonetheless, the ritual was powerful for me, and led me into the embrace of autumn.
Within the transformative space of ritual it becomes clear that liminal places are places of power. Since I have had many significant experiences in liminal places, I have never really questioned this idea, but as I was pouring the votive offering in Visionsong, I asked myself why. I didn’t ask because it suddenly struck my philosopher’s mind to ask, but because the water I poured onto the altar seemed to have its own ideas on where to land, stubbornly ignoring my attempts to ‘aim.’ In a mundane setting, I might have tried harder to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, but in the liminal state of ritual, the liminal time of dusk, and the liminal entry of the equinox, I just allowed it to go where it would go, to merge with the inherent energy of liminality.