39 Days of Prayer – Day 16

Day 16 – Making Sound Decisions

Hekate – Witch Goddess of Greece.  Hekate is the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, forming the triad with Persephone and Demeter; though She also appears as having three faces unto Herself.  She has power over heaven, earth and the Underworld, and is often referred to as the Queen of Ghosts.  As the guardian of the spiritworld, She protects ghosts from harm and from causing mischief.  Originally a goddess of the wilderness and childbirth, Hecate is most often associated with the crossroads, a place of spiritual wisdom and dark intuitive magick. The ultimate sorceress and diviner, Hecate teaches Her followers the path of the witch, and guides the seeker to the depths of the unconscious mind.


Hekate, Goddess with Infinite Wisdom of worlds known and unknown

Hear my prayer.

In this cycle of life I will stand before many crossroads

Decisions will need to be made with a sound mind and a balanced heart

I call to you to as Mistress of the Path

And ask that you aide me in these times of need.

Guide me to the hidden parts of my consciousness

Teach me to access the knowledge I need without fear of what I may learn

And my each of my decisions lead me to wholeness and work towards the benefit of all.

You have my eternal gratitude Hekate, and my word that

I will honor my choices as a true child of yours.

Blessed be.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 15

Day 15 – Seeing the Self


On this day and in this hour

I stand before you Goddess

Who is rich in truth and confidence

And I ask that you help me to see myself with your eyes.

Allow the blinders of the world to fall away

And let me recognize the talents and wisdom you have bestowed upon me.

Teach me trust to your voice and to live without fear of judgment.

Blessed be.

Lost Bards

When I first became involved in the local pagan scene, a group called Hedd Wyn’s Grove ran open rituals in the Birmingham area – solstices and equinoxes. For a time I was a member of the grove, but moved on because it didn’t quite suit me. Some years ago, Hedd Wyn’s Grove stopped offering open ritual, as its founder moved away and those remaining had different plans. I was asked if I would consider taking on the responsibility of providing open druid ritual.

At that point I had some ritual experience and had led a small eclectic group for a few years. It seemed like an onerous responsibility. However, I wasn’t alone. Within a very short time frame we’d collected a number of former Hedd Wyn’s people, and others who had frequented the open rituals. We set up an egroup and started talking. Most of us at the outset had a sense of we didn’t want, but it took a while to find a shape and purpose. What was most important was the time taken to share ideas and explore intentions, until we were able to find common ground and direction. We’re a diverse bunch – OBOD students, TDN folk, bards, philosophers, shamanic druids, and others – our beliefs have very different shapes such that we are never going to have coherent dogma – which is excellent. We share a love of forest and a preference for improvising.

The name evolved because the more simple options didn’t work. Thanks to my accent, with its long vowels, I cannot say ‘Arden Bards’ much less ‘Bards of Arden’ without lapsing into full on Gloucestershire and making people giggle. The Forest of Arden used to be huge, and was (I am told be more learned friends) the inspiration for Tolkien’s Mirkwood. The forest is no longer here, but we meet in a landscape that would have been wooded and part of it. Out of that line of thought came Bards of the Lost Forest. Finding that name defined us. We work in bardic ways, with performance, creativity, inspiration and sharing that at the heart of our rituals. We are dedicated to a forest that isn’t really there any more, to the spirit of a lost, romantic past, to the idea that forests can be replanted and that the spirit of it lives on. The name gave us identity and direction. It was pointed out that we would be abbreviated to Lost Bards. That’s fine. We are, as Carol once said ‘pixie led’, we are all very good at getting lost, and we embrace that confusion. We live in strange times, where the folks with the clearest sense of direction are often the ones it is easiest to be sure are wrong. ‘Lost’ implies the possibility of ‘found’ and we are all questing, in our own ways.

We settled on being an open Gorsedd – a celebratory ritual group requiring no commitment. Anyone who wishes to attend out gatherings, can. We do the eight festivals, and other things – picnics, and workshops, as the fancy takes us. We initiate people as bards, and perform handfastings, child blessings and so forth as required. People make the level of commitment they wish to, which has resulted in a layered group, where influence is entirely about responsibility taken. Three of us hold the centre at present – myself, Caz, and Gary. Around us is a core of people who have made a deep soul commitment, and who attend most rituals, take active part and share ownership. There are those who come occasionally, who are less active, and those we only see once. That’s all fine. It gives people opportunity to explore both ritual and druidry without having to commit.

Bards of the Lost Forest has given me friendship, inspiration, community and a sense of purpose. I’ve learned to be more confident in ritual, I’ve shared hard times and good, watched others growing and learning alongside me. Bards of the Lost Forest is a blessing in my life, in more ways than I know how to express. It’s a group I am very proud to be part of and to have had a hand in shaping. We can be found online at http://groups.yahoo.com/druids-web

 Lost Bards and Dreamers

 We are a song tribe,

Music sharing, story speaking

Breakfast cooked at festivals

Nights starwatching on hills.

We celebrate as a clan

With cake and laughter

Our rites of passage mark,

Fair times and foul.

A vast, adopted family,

Care giving, life affirming

Spirit brother, heart sister

With age irrelevant.

We come together in circles,

In spaces held

To create and delight,

Nurturing each other.

Community of ideals,

Brewing and plotting

Lovers, friends, companions,

Earth people, green souls.

Always space at the fire

For one who comes to give,

Who loves as we do,

And cherishes connection.

At table, in ritual,

Session, dance or journey,

Welcome kindred spirit

If you want this, it is yours.

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Ancient Calendar: June 7, 2010

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Rome’s temple of Vesta would have been opened on this day in History. Vesta, famous for being a Goddess of fire and the hearth—the very thing that warmed the homes and hearts of Rome–happened to be one of their oldest Goddesses.(Same as the Greek’s Hestia.)

Vesta had her own Vestal Virgins too, who kept an eternal fire lit inside her temple located in Lavinium. It was prophesied that if the fire was ever allowed to go out, great catastrophic horrors would befall Rome.

Interestingly enough, at one point Vestal Virgins became as strict as Catholic nuns. Unlike the virgin priestess before their time, they ended up being actual brides to the spirit of Rome, vowing never to marry. In fact, towards the end of their importance (before Christianity came) they partook in many of the same ceremonies that nuns would later adopt. They even had their hair shaved off to ‘limit’ their magical womanly powers.

This was not always so…with Vestal Virgins and other Virgin priestesses of earlier times and cultures. In fact, the only thing Virgin meant was that the woman was unwed—not untouched. Their vows were at one time consummated in the temple, to the deity of Palladium, under sacred rituals which were heavily secretive. These Vestal Virgins were praised for their magical and mystical powers….not asked to conceal them.

The ritual sealing their vows was overseen by a Priest called Pontifex Maximus, which stood for creating a bridge between the God of Heaven and the Mother of Earth (Vesta). A sacred joining between the Vestal Virgins and Palladium would then occur.

And the Vesta Virgins were also encouraged to use their magical connections with the goddess and of their genders. How things changed, though, as time went on.

Sometime after the Vestals became changed and restricted, came an even greater threat. For once Christianity came and Rome converted, they were greatly persecuted. During the 4th and 5th centuries, they were robbed of their temples, and even forced  to allow their sacred fires to go out. Their treatment was horrific and some would say more terrible and sad than the converting and or destroying of their great temples. Vestal Virgins lost their places, their purpose, their homes, their endowments, their freedom from taxation, and all other privileges and respect.

Quote: Their Christian enemies feared them as mysterious and magical; they did not  understand them and did not want to do so; they wanted only to see them destroyed.–J.H. Smith D.C.P. 149–Barbara G. Walkers The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets–page 1046-1047.

Remember above when I said the Priest was called Pontifex Maximus? Well the word Pontifex was actually taken and used by the Christians after they took over. They shortened the word and made it Pontiff, which became a synonym for their title POPE.

Also, today  marked as the Nones of June in Rome.

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www.chscarlett.net

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