A fascinating book that will lead to discussions, a lot of the posts by Druids I don’t agree with (as a Druid myself), but is that not the point of this type of book? To read it and then discuss the points with other readers? I did struggle with the American contributors as I struggled getting to grips with making it more of an organised religion with people being ordained and such but that’s my opinion. I think this is a book that if discussed at local moots would lead to a good night of debate and conversation. A book well worth a read even if it’s just to see if what the contributors were hoping for years ago has come to pass(and some have).All in all I enjoyed it and whether I agree with the pieces or not I respect all those that contributed to it. I do recommend it.
Spirituality without Structure, By Nimue Brown
Even though it is only a small book, it contains such a wealth of information and insight that it makes you question yourself, which as a Druid is always a good thing. When you question your belief you stop taking it for granted. I also found myself agreeing with a lot of the content and finding that my belief is not a million miles away from hers.
If you are thinking of leaving the mainstream religions or have left and are in a bit of a panic then this book is for you (it also mentions cake).
Let’s Talk About Elements and the Pagan Wheel, by Siusaidh Ceanadach
It is mainly aimed at children , but I do feel that adults will enjoy it just as much. Each section has some questions and challenges set for children. A must read for all children, who wish to learn more, I’m sure they will come back to it time and time again.
The Handbook of Urban Druidry, by Brendan Howlin
As an Urban Druid myself I can agree with most of the things that he says in this book. For some Druids the thought of doing “Druidry” in an urban environment can be a bit hard to get their head round, as most are more used to a forest or woodland setting, but this book helps you come to terms and find a way to be a Druid no matter where you are. Lessons and observations are laid out very well and it is not a complicated book that you could get lost in. I did find it useful and it was good to know that another feels the same way about the cityscapes as I do. All in all a good read for those just starting on this path or maybe just want to look at their town and live in the same environment as the author.
For Druids, relationship is central to spirituality.
The best kinds of relationships are rooted in equality. Where there is a power imbalance, it should be rooted in issues of responsibility, not in control. For example, a parent has responsibility for their child as that child learns and grows. But that does not give the parent the right to control their child. One person in a relationship might have more money than the other – and money can be easily used to exert control. As soon as you step into situations of control, you cease to have a relationship of equals.
Some people assume that certain things give them power – money, gender, social status, level of education, and age are probably the most frequent ones. Perceiving certain things as valuable, and then believing that makes you more important, carries with it the implicit assumption that people who have less of this are less important. They are lesser than you and therefore should be ruled by you.
As soon as a person believes that certain things make them more important than others, they have thrown away all scope for true relationship. There can be no scope for respect and equality with such a person. There can be no balance or equal sharing, and there is an inherent disrespect for the person who, for whatever reasons is deemed ‘lesser’. And from experience if such a person sets the benchmark for ‘important’ somewhere and you achieve it, you can be sure either they will move it, or have some other reason to disregard you. It is not about the status signifier, it is actually about the belief that they are more important, which they will justify by whatever means necessary, be it ever so illogical.
If a person seeks to establish themselves as the powerful one in a relationship, it is because they want to be in control and they do not want the other person to be their equal partner in all things. The source of power and authority can so easily then be used to put the other person down. They are not as important because they do not have a proper job, a degree, as much life experience, a car, as much money etc. Putting people down takes power from them. Focusing on these kind of details to justify control shows a total lack of respect for the person you are with.
We’re all different. Each one of us has an array of strengths and weaknesses. In terms of relationship, how much money a person has is far less significant than how much compassion they have, how much magic in their soul. Society encourages outward displays of physical wealth, status symbols and trophies. If we internalise those values and bring them into our relationships, we ruin our chances of good and meaningful connections. Where there is inequality and disrespect, love will not flourish.
There needs also to be an equality of giving. That doesn’t mean that we must give exactly the same things to each other. Balance can be found in other ways. You cook the meal, I wash the dishes. You pay the gas bill, I pay the electric. A sharing of work, responsibility and ownership is essential in good relationship, and that’s not about hours spent in paid employment or money earned. Financial contributions are not the only ones that have an impact. If one person gives and the other does not, that creates a power imbalance. Energy in the relationship only flows one way, until that person has nothing more they can give and either stops, or walks away.
If you want to have power over something and make it do your bidding, get a car, or some other mindless piece of technology that will not be hurt or offended by this. If you want an actual relationship with a human being, there is absolutely no room for any notions of power, control and inequality. If you can’t respect the person you are with, it probably means you shouldn’t be with them, for both your sakes.
Today we have a little bit of Rome, some apples, and some runes. What an awesome combination, hu?
The festival of Ambarvalia would have been kicking off in Ancient Rome on this day in history. It was all about Ceres and purifying their land and soil. Anyone who owned land or farms would walk behind a bull, ram, hog, or whatever three times along their property line. The purpose of this was to cleanse and bless the soils…to purify them in Ceres name.
Way back when, there was a man named Charles II who escaped from Cromwell and hid himself in an oak tree right after the Battle of Worchester. In honor of that,England made Oak Apple Day. Now while those there would look to recognize the day Charles II invaded the roundheads and restored the monarchy, celebrations of this kind flourished from a much older time. We owe it to the Druids, who had a festival honoring the oaks and the sacred apple.
Odal, a rune, symbolizes Ancestral Property, so think of that as you mark your Calendar on this day for the Runic Half Month of Odal begins.
Quick note: Well folks…it seems like the Pagan Holiday thing is a hit judging by the Readers coming to the blog. However, if you would like to see something added or if you like them the way that they are, please drop a comment and let me know. We love to improve or just let sleeping dogs lie.
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Moving on to what you came here for…the holidays!!!!
Saturday is the day of Seatere, Seater, Saturn, and Loki—trickster of the Norse Culture.
Saturday is a good day to deal with matters and or invoke magical spells concerning:
A Gift of some sort, and or maybe something to do with your property?
Are you moving your home? Is someone else moving their home? Do you have matters concerning the elderly and or maybe you need to work on self discipline?
Remember that Saturday belongs to Saturn and the Element of Earth.
Today’s Moon Phase: Waning Crescent
Lots of stuff happening on November 14th:
The Celtic Festival of Dubricius
The Celts also made this day sacred to the Goddess Moccas
Druids Traditional Feast of the Muscians
Greek Festival of Oschophoria
Egyptian 3rd day of Isis
If we could hop a time machine visiting each of these cultures, this would be what we’d find….
We could watch in Celts during their history as they celebrated by having a Festival for Dubriciu– who was said to have crowed King Author in Colchester. They would also be honoring Moccas by making this day sacred to her–a Celtic pig Goddess.
While the Celtics were doing their thing, the Druids were doing their own. Today they would be having the Feast of the Musicians which was a huge celebration in honor of Musicians and Bards.
Hoping the time warped fence into Ancient Greece, we would find them having the Festival of Oschophoria.
This would be a grand celebration. Why? Because it was all about Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine and Fertility. Oh he was a much loved and highly favored God to. I mean who didn’t;t envy a God who was known to walk the face of the earth with his own entourage of Nymphs, Woodland Spirits and Satyrs. This God was clearly the rock star of his day—I mean why wouldn’t he be? Everywhere he went vines sprung forth from the earth and there was peace and absolute happiness.
Now let’s take a peek into Egypt where we find the 3rd day of Isis. If you remember– two days ago began the journey of Isis in search of her husband’s body. Yesterday, she mourned for him, and today…oh yes, today Isis finds the body of her beloved Osiris.
That’s it for today folks and I guess that’s a good thing since so much is going on. So who do I drop off where? Who will be staying in Greece and who will be skipping over the Egypt? or maybe we lost a few in Celt-land or did they sneak off to stay a spell with the Druids? Never the less, join us tomorrow for another fabulous Pagan Day in History!
Want something to read further? Here’s some links I scooped up for you…
To announce my new release on The Pagan and the Pen, I wanted to post something relevant to my story. Cat’s Curse is a Celtic historical romance/fantasy set in sixth century Scotland (Alba). I based this story on an actual Irish warlord and many of the minor characters are based on real people. One of those real people is the famous monk, St. Columba, who was a close friend of this Irish king and though a minor character, St. Columba (Columcille) played an important role in the story. Throughout my story and through the entire trilogy, there is the lingering conflict of Christianity versus Paganism, a favorite theme of mine. Having pagan beliefs, it was tempting for me to elevate one over the other, but as a writer, I try not to be biased and tell the story as it is. One challenge I was faced with was—how do I portray a Christian monk?
Most of my information on him came from Adomnan’s Life of St. Columba. What I found fascinating is that St. Columba had visions, spoke prophecies and performed miracles. These were well-documented cases. In fact, he picked Aedan (my hero) to be king over his brother because an angel came to Columcille and told him to pick Aedan. He also prophesied that Aedan’s older sons would die in battle and his youngest would be king after him.
When I created this character for my story, I didn’t want to show him as a pious monk. I thought of him as a monk with a warrior heart. According to one account, St. Columba was forced to leave Ireland (Eirean) because he caused the deaths of three thousand people as the result of his involvement in a battle between his kinsmen and King Diarmait mac Cerbaill. He was exiled to Scotland where he attempted to convert the pagan Picts as his penance for this unfortunate event. For some reason all of this information made me think of him as a monk who followed God, but also would be willing to sacrifice warriors’ lives in battle for his beliefs. He is described as a tall, imposing man. And he had to be in good physical shape as a man in his forties to be able to travel into the wild country of northern Scotland to meet with King Bridei. Early Christian warriors followed God because they saw him as the greatest of all warlords with his army of angels at his side. I wondered if maybe some early Christian monks also believed this.
I also saw him as a monk with a druid heart. One interesting bit of information left out in Adomnan’s book is that St. Columba was born into a pagan family, which made me wonder just how much pagan beliefs influenced him even after becoming a monk. It seems likely to me that some of the early monks had to be influenced by the teachings of the druids, and in fact, some of these monks may have even been druids at heart in the guise of monks. I’m sure it was dangerous to practice as a druid and it may have been a matter of survival for druids to disguise themselves as monks. St. Columba’s island of Iona, where there was a large Christian monastery, used to be a druid sanctuary and highlanders still refer to it as Druid’s Isle. I pictured him as a Christian trying to convert pagans to God, but also as man who had some understanding of pagan beliefs and didn’t force people to convert.
The Irish monks formed what was called Celtic Christianity, which differed from the church in Rome and there are accounts of St. Columba being part of a mysterious community called Culdees that may have included druids. One of the things that made me think he could have been a druid is that he wore his tonsure like that of a druid (from the front of the head in a crescent shape) rather than the Roman tonsure that was a circle on top of the head (representing a halo). This was how the monks in Ireland and Britain wore their tonsures and was one of the disputes between them and Rome. Another interesting thing is Columcille wore white robes, as did other early monks in Ireland and Britain. I am pretty sure druids also wore white robes. We will never know for certain if he was influenced by druid teachings, but all of this gave me something to think about as I created this character for my story.
Another thing that fascinated me was that St. Columba was descended from the powerful Ui Neill clan, the clan that the high kings of Ireland were picked from. Now why would a man turn his back on kingship to be a monk? Maybe he really cared about serving God or maybe he knew that the real power was with the church. Could St. Columba have had another motive for converting the pagan Picts? By converting them he could bring them under Irish rule. It gave me something to think about. The church had all the wealth to back these kings. Some of the early Christian kings were Christian in name only so they could get the support of the powerful church. There was one documented account of Christian Briton kings taking some Irish people as prisoners and making them slaves. The church condemned this act, calling it un-Christian. I also use this approach in my story, having a couple of Christian kings with dubious beliefs. Not everything is all black and white. And that is how I wanted to portray St. Columba—as a man with shades of gray.
Blurb from Cat’s Curse:
Cardea, follower of the Great Goddess is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker. For centuries she has lived with hate hunting and feeding off humans. Now she finds herself at the end of a sword blade held by the most handsome and arrogant man she has ever met.
Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata and a Christian, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females or he will turn into a black cat like his brother. He especially distrusts this strange female who could be the one who cursed his clan since no one knows Cat Anna’s true face.
Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?
Though they are drawn to one another they still have some doubt in their hearts, each with dark secrets. Aedan is still uncertain about Cardea and if she is the one who cursed him since no one knows Cat Anna’s true face. Kelley
Excerpt from Cat’s Curse:
They moved on silent feet by the light of the moon, crossing carpets of fern. Cardea’s body thrummed with the magic of the moonlit night, aware of everything around her from night birds watching them with piercing eyes from treetop perches to Aedan’s even breathing, and the sound of his warm blood pulsing through his veins. She always hunted alone, but Aedan felt like a part of her, matching his movements to hers, their even breathing matching the same steady rhythm.
The forest vibrated with life all around her, each tree and plant emanating its own gentle heartbeat and scent. A shift in the wind brought a new scent–the scent of blood assailed her senses. A warm-blooded creature stood just ahead of them. Turning to Aedan, she pointed to where the creature waited to forfeit its life. She notched her arrow and moved forward. Nodding, he moved to the right to close the animal in, his spear balanced confidently in his steady hand.
A small meadow came into view. Like a scene from the faery realm, the meadow, bathed in moonlight, radiated a silvery blue glow. Flowers twinkled in the bluish glow, meadow grasses rippled like gentle waves on a loch, and the full Hunter’s Moon filled the skyline, cold and mysterious. A majestic stag stood in the meadow, still as a statue. Nine tines glowed in the eerie light.
Cardea raised her bow, pulling back the bowstring, her hand steady, aware of Aedan waiting for her to take the first shot. Something did not feel true to her. The air seemed to be polluted by a malicious, musky scent. Danger. It seeped into the meadow, curling in invisible smoke-like tendrils around the thick tree trunks.
Out of the corner of her eye, something moved above Aedan, drawing her attention away from the stag. A large wildcat perched on an outstretched oak branch, its body coiled and ready to pounce on Aedan’s unprotected head. Sharp teeth and claws flashed in the darkness of the thick-leaved tree. She pivoted toward Aedan, pointing the arrow in his direction. A look of surprise filled his eyes and his spear arm raised, aiming the spear at her. Cardea let the arrow fly. It roared past Aedan’s head, hitting the wildcat in the heart. The beast slumped over, falling with a loud thud to the ground. The stag bounded out of the meadow and into the dense forest, leaving swaying ferns in its wake.
Aedan looked at her and she could tell by his unquestioning expression that she had earned some of his trust. “That, lass, is why I hunt with my hounds.” Aedan prodded the dead cat with his foot. “This is the largest wildcat I have seen.”
“It would have torn your skull open.” Cardea stood next to Aedan, staring down at the dead beast, surprised that she trembled at the dreadful thought.
“Ye saved my life, lass.”
His tender voice filled her with joy.
“It will make a fine warm pelt for winter,” he remarked. Unsheathing his sword, he handed it to her. He knelt, laying the huge cat on its side. “Ye made the kill. Ye should make the first cut.”
Aedan handed his sword to her, unsheathing a long knife from his belt. A warrior never relinquished his sword to anyone unless he trusted that person.
He trusted her now.
The possibility of finding love after centuries of loneliness seemed more likely now, but why does my heart sing of happiness and then die off with a dour note of sadness? She wanted desperately to tell him her secret, but fear paralyzed her so that she could not get the words out.
‘Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic’