DPWOTY Week 3: An Essay on the Autumnal Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox occurs near to September 21st each year and marks the day in which the time shared between the light of day and the dark of night stand in equal balance. Known in some Neopagan groups as Mabon, it is a time to recognize efforts made throughout the year and to give thanks on what one has harvested through those efforts. It is also a time to reflect on missteps taken and consider how to do your planting, literally and figuratively, when winter passes once again.

In my Gaulish Hearth Culture there does not seem to be a particularly notable feast or celebration associated with this season apart from Diocomrextio or Tiocobrextio depending on your interpretation. This event, suggested to additionally take place at other times of the year, is focused on the righting of wrongdoings and renewing old or breached contracts. Evidence on the Roman calendar suggests working with several different gods throughout this time of year with Jupiter (Taranis in the Gaulish pantheon) coming up regularly. As he is commonly associated with the wheel and the sun I find this particularly fitting, as one might give thanks to him for the warmth given throughout the growing season.

I have been with my Grove at this time for a little over a year and as such have had the pleasure of celebrating this high day with them twice. Raven’s Cry often honors different pantheons throughout the wheel of the year but since I have known them we have celebrated it in a Welsh fashion, as Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”. In this rite we would give thanks to both Beli Mawr and Llyr, of the houses of Light and Dark respectively, and give thanks for what we have harvested in addition to asking Llyr for support in His time of darkness and cold.

It is for both my Grove and for myself personally a time that is much looked forward to. In the part of the country in which we live the summer season (and a good portion of the fall season) is quite hot. While we do love the bright sun of the Southwest, the turning of the season promises cooler breezes and beloved most of all – rain. It is also a time of strong reflection after the busy summer season. It is a time to slow down and look back and see what worked and didn’t work. For me I find it a time of rest where I can reap the effort and time spent through an incredibly taxing summer work season and begin planning things for the coming year. With Samhain and the end of the Pagan calendar coming fast and the American Christmas season coming shortly thereafter it is a good reminder to take a breath and contemplate as the bookends of the year fast approach.

While my involvement in agriculture is nonexistent I still observe the harvest themes fiscally as the summer is one of my busiest times work-wise, so it fits nicely into my personal life rhythm. I also very much enjoy the increase in cool breezes and the rain, rare as it is, is one of my favorite elements of the dark half of the year. While storage for winter is not a specific need for our climate there is some preparation to be made for winter. Financial planning for potential family visits or end of year gift giving is smart, as is preparing the home for potential invasion by pests as the weather cools. It is also, of course, the time of year to dig out hats and scarves!

Should I have the pleasure of passing down any traditions from this time of year I would emphasize strongly the elements of harvesting, reflection, planning, and honoring the forces of balance as that balance shifts. With modern lives as busy and complex as they are having a definite season to put on the brakes, reap what has been sown, acknowledge successes and failures, and plan for next year is a valuable thing to have. Seeing and communicating with the spirits of light and darkness and acknowledging their role and relationship to one another, to the Earth Mother, and those who are nourished by Her, is just as important. I feel these are the key things to take note of for the Autumnal Equinox and a strong foundation for growing further practice around this high day.

All in all this is my favorite time of the year. Even in a completely non-spiritual context I feel that there is a calm and a comfort in the air to this season unlike any other. While in the past I rarely looked forward to this time particularly it always hit me once it was upon me how much I loved autumn. Now that I have an active pagan practice at home it comes with a handy holiday attached, allowing me to better acknowledge and embrace the magic that comes with the turning of the leaves.


Revisiting the DPWOTY – Week 1

The Dedicant Path, while not required to be a practicing Druid nor a Druid in the ADF tradition, is certainly a useful tool for educating oneself on the history of Paganism, and Druidry and is a required step for those seeking to become clergy like myself. As I am incredibly rusty as a student and look to framework in order to ease my learning process I am looking to use Rev. Michael Dangler’s “The ADF Dedicant Path Through The Wheel Of The Year” which will provide reading assignments, homework, and guidance through writing the necessary documentation required for completing the program. It is my intent to use a portion of this Druidry weblog to document my weekly work and share my progress as I move along week by week, hoping to complete the course work required by the start of next year. Continue reading “Revisiting the DPWOTY – Week 1”

10/17/16 – The Oath and The Ledge

Today I renewed my Dedicant’s Oath before The Kindreds using my personalized Oath. It was a quiet, intimate morning ritual kept to simple offerings of love and a tiny LED flame as my giant cat decided he wanted to take part as well and I couldn’t well reach most of my altar with him on my lap. Still though, despite it being a little weird, it was a nice ritual. It felt good to do the Oath again, now in a more comfortable mood than I had been in months prior.

When I moved into meditation I called on Artio, who had previously indicated to me through the runes that she wished me to meditate, and asked her to join me in my mental grove to pass along whatever she had wanted to tell. The grove was unstable when I arrived. I knew I was having a hard time ‘tuning it in’. The creek was undulating up and down like a ribbon and I focused to ‘flatten it out’. In time the tumult settled and I sat, listening to the kayaderosseras trickle past me, feeling the grass around me. I felt very small in this moment, the grass taller around me than before.

Eventually I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A tree had sprung up in the distance to my right. Another tree followed, followed by another. As the trees appeared so too did the earth below them pull up into a slope. There was suddenly an inclined path up off into the distance lined with tall, shady trees. I looked toward the grove as I knew it and then looked up at this new formation and willed myself to ascend the slope. I quickly reached a sharp wall of dirt that was too tall for me to mantle. I tried to get my paws up on it and could not. Perhaps I was too small at this time to climb it. I looked back down and the path back to the grove seemed darker, as night had begin to set in. I tried again to climb the ledge but I could not. Moments before I rose from the visions I saw some sort of thick, floating stone disc near me. I knew that a book was hidden inside it though I could not see it.

So as the tingles left me and I turned my eyes to the little battery-powered flame on my altar I called on Artio again, lifting my rune pouch. For my Monday omens I asked if that ledge was for me to climb or if I should remain down in the grove when next I visit that place. These runes called out:

Perpo – The Dice Cup

Fehu – Cattle

Ingwaz – Ing

As the runes were cast, Fehu was leaning atop Ingwaz.

I see this answer as “You are uncertain right now. Go and spend some of that pent up energy with others.”

Indeed I am perhaps slightly overtaxed with thoughts and concerns right now. I am on my autumn vacation and I’ve been making great effort to make it a low impact relaxing type of vacation but my sleep last night was riddled with static in my mind and my meditation today was equally rough. Bear-Mother asks me to go work out the fuzz, shake off the itchy, shedding fur and have a nice time.

We’ll talk again next time.


#DPWOTY – Week Two (Preparation)

It’s about time I got back on track with the WOTY course for my Dedicant Path work. Week two brings us to the First Oath. While it is true that I have been practicing and growing along the Druid’s Path for well over half a year at this point and, yes, at one point I scratched the surface of the week two writing, this weekend was firmly dedicated to for really reals reading and writing to get further along the program.

I feel doing the First Oath now/again is just as important as if I was fresh off the Druidry bus. Like one might renew their wedding vows after so many years, my understanding and love of the Kindreds, of my blessed Shining Mothers, has grown so much since I even considered the DP. The First oath of Falling Sticks circa October 2016 vs March 2016, I feel, is the brass concert of Senior Band vs 5th Grade Band. It has more confidence, more harmony, and a richer sound.

And so I prepare now, a re-dedication if you will. This oath is neither to ADF itself nor any members of the priesthood nor the Archdruid himself. This oath is a message of love and dedication to the Kindreds for whom all this practice is centered around honoring, nourishing, and befriending. What follows is my written oath, to be made in ritual once I have completed preparations:

“I declare, to all that will hear, to be a pagan, seeker of ancient ways, whom speaks with and gives of his heart to the Gods.

By this oath I set upon the Druid’s Way and make my dedication known.

I seek virtue, protecting myself and those in my life, that we may all know strength, joy, truth, and prosperity.

I seek piety, an ever-growing bond with the Kindreds, keeping the rites through the turning of the wheel.

I seek study, growing my love and practice through the truth of the elder paths.

To all here who bear witness, let my vow be heard! Let my dedication be known! Let the Ways be upheld! As my path goes ever on! So be it!”

While the framework is certainly borrowed from OOD I worked to make it my own, with words and sentiments that were comfortable and true to my vision, to my path forward. It certainly feels right, in this moment, but I fully expect to be stirred in the night with more… Or less words. For now… I sleep. Tomorrow… More reading!

Rune Divination Journal – 5/30/16

My rune reading tonight continued my saga of being warned about loss of the path. The runes fell in the pattern of an inverse Tiwaz, warning me of a loss of guidance. This path contains great amounts of old wisdom (of course) as well as strength, kinship, learning, and adaptability. Losing the way lies between a guttering flame and a joy smothered in chaos.

I came away from this reading with wisdom from my Patroness Nantosuelta. That she wishes to reinforce my bravery moving forward and not let myself wane in piety or joy, lest I lose my footing.

Which, of course, means introducing myself to Belenus very soon, cold feet be damned.

An Exhausted Stream Indeed

So remember the other day when I drew Laguz before heading to work? Well it got more interesting.

Fast forward from my day to the evening where I retired early to prepare for a very early shift the next morning. I was pretty tired and had to be up at 4am so I got to sleep pretty fast… And then the midnight commotion came. Our cat, very likely because I got to bed so early and my husband retired to his room as well, just became a terror. He ate and ate and barfed and then ate and ate and barfed and then made a mess in his litter box and… It was just one thing after another. All the hustle and bustle eventually roused me and, in my bleary state, I began to assist with damage control.

It was pretty apparent that he hadn’t gotten adequate time with his daddy today and he was all restless and wired up so I hauled myself out of bed and plopped down, semi-conscious, in my computer chair. He near immediately alighted onto my lap and settled down, something he very rarely engaged in with me personally.

So there I was, pulled from sleep at 2 in the morning to give laps to a restless kitty. But he needed it. He very clearly needed it. And as I turned on Saltybet and struggled to not slump over unconsciously onto him I saw Laguz again. That straight stroke with a sharp bend. Adaptability. Deviating from the plan. Flowing like water to do what needs to be done.

Yup. You got my number with that one.

Waiting to meet the runes.

My first set of runes arrived in the mail today. Carved and blessed by The Magical Druid in Ohio, they’re a very lovely little wooden set. They smell just lovely and while I’ve yet to spend any amount of time feeling them in my hand they look nicely carved. I’m waiting to get too deep into them until I set aside time to properly welcome them to my home and stain them appropriately. I look forward to learning more about them and, of course, expanding the vocabulary in which I can communicate with the Gods.

I was thinking about the face that came down from the sun and I’m starting to suspect it might have been Belenus. I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Summer Solstice rites a bit and it could be that He wanted to swing by and give me a little pat on the back… Or a little kindling to my flame.

I’ve also been thinking about the falling sticks to which I derived my internet handle here. I’ve been asking occasionally to return to that dream thicket where I witnessed the fallings sticks of true names. I have yet to return. With my recent exploration into shamanic-style journeying I’m wondering if perhaps I’m to find my way there again as I grow in my spiritual power?

Either that or my true name really is just Falling Sticks.

A Face Came Down From The Sky

Tonight I was preparing to settle in for the evening. I sat myself before the altar and focused on centering myself. I did my breathing and then moved into the Two Powers meditation. I set my roots, drank from the underworld, and filled my belly. I looked up to the sky, the light between, and called down the fire to fill me…

And as I did a face briefly shone before me. It was a man with a broad, long nose and a moustache. He said nothing and had a neutral expression, and then he was gone.

His visage completely fled my memory as I finished my evening devotional, as I did not even think to inquire about the man’s image in my prayers… But after I had called the flame back to candle to smoke I remembered… And came here to journal the experience.

I started a conversation with the ‘Ecstatic Trance” group on the ADF message service regarding my transformation experiences. I have received some sensory exercises to try so when I have several moments alone to truly focus on it, I will attempt to learn more.

I am also now waiting on the arrival of my first set of runes, carved by The Magical Druid. On recommendation from my mentor I am to receive and hallow these runes and explore their use going forward in my Dedicant work, to see if they are a fit for my practice.

It’s become another late night completely by accident so I will finally, finally lay myself to sleep.

Mothers, please keep this home safe and sacred. Wrap me in your loving arms while I slumber and guide me safely to enlightening dreams til the sun returns to me.

Travelling on the bus to Her

I was just now on the bus to work and thought it would be an excellent time to do my morning devotional. My mentor suggested strongly that I attempt to work it in to my commute, as it’s largely time spent alone and I cannot do much else besides sit.

Well… I sat and did my breathing while listening to an mp3 of nature sounds. A forest stream, my favorite. I performed the Two Powers meditation and found my center… And then I went to my sacred space, my mental grove. I came from my childhood bed, turned left down the hall, stepped out onto the grass and followed the cliff down, West. I passed the skunk cabbage and the tractor path to the pond and found my way under the canopy of massive trees that covered the space near where the Kayaderosseras passed our home.

I sat, a distance from the creek, and watched.

Artio entered from the left side of my view, from the East. She walked with a Bear, her self as well. Bear was a deep red-brown as was Her long, wavy hair. She wore a loose white gown and walked barefoot through the creek.

She sat up on the crossing log and played her toes through the clear water. Bear, too, played. She rolled and splashed a moment, playing with the pebbles shimmering under the water.

Artio then turned to face me, smiling. She was radiant. Bear approached and all my focus was on her. I could feel pressure, like the air had all been compressed down on me. I had felt this before, when Bear came to me and mauled me, tore at me.

This time Bear did press down on me. Her massive head was all I could see. Teeth and claws and blood filled my vision but also an embrace, a mother’s lapping of the tongue. Playful and gentle shoving. The shoving intensified, pushing me in lazy arcs like a dog with a ball. Then it was toward Her. Best pushed and pushed til I sat at Her feet and She sat both before me and beside me.

Artio spoke, sitting on that log, looking down at us. Her voice was soft and motherly.

“You were seeking me.”

I thought of saying words but I didn’t… Or I couldn’t. I felt that sort of… Black miasma swirling around my mouth like chains of viscous wind.

“You are beautiful.”

“You are not strong…”

“…but you will be.”

“Return now.”

And then I awoke, seated on the bus.

I am still reeling a bit from the experience but it certainly affirms some elements I’ve been aware of. My desire to be beside Her, to serve Her. My desire to grow. Her encouragement fills my heart so much. And Bear, so aggressive and so loving. Every encounter with Bear is terrifying or nurturing or both. I both cherish and fear every encounter.

This was the first time I can recall seeing Her so clearly, hearing her voice. Bear’s force has been stronger in the past but never before had I sat so close to Her shining radiance.

It was a hell of a day to start a Wednesday, I tell you that.

A Blessed Morning, A Clumsy Evening

Today was a rollercoaster of spiritual interaction. I went to the park and made shared an apple and water with the spirits of the park, then I went about my business for the day. I got a little bit of sunlight following my offering and prayers so that was nice.

I came back home with some new stuff for the altar. Got a mister with some orange oil for my incense analog as well as a pillar candle, with the intent of cutting back on tealight waste. (I may end up switching to votives, however. The pillar candle is maybe a bit too big.)

When I got home I sat down to do a full ritual. I had some real killer offerings tonight. The turquoise as usual, water, some syrupy nut bread, and some spinach, as well as my new orange oil mist. The offerings were great. They were well liked. My words… My words are still just… Just awful. So clumsy. I sound terrible and I’m just… It’s so awful.

I really need to take the time to use the COOR and carve out a ritual that I can be comfortable with and commit to memory. So far, though, I sound like an idiot every time. I’m still learning the pieces and where they go and, what’s worse, I’m fumbling with all of them.

Bless my Mothers and their patience, though. Bless them with all the blessings that can be blessed. I’m fortunate they tolerate my clumsiness.