Out-dwellers and you

Artist - Brian Froud

Artist - Brian Froud

Out-dwellers since the start of modern day paganism seems to be a much debated and discussed topic. Every group out there seems to have a different interpretation of what they represent and what they stand for in each persons lives and ritual. Some groups view the out-dwellers simply as forces of chaos that are working against their own personal practise and ritual. Others view the out-dwellers as deities they simple are not worshipping at that given moment. For me the out-dwellers can represent a wide variety of concepts but the one that stands out mostly for me is the idea that the out-dwellers represent the human emotions found in all of us, the chaos that envelopes our lives and work and those are the forces that work against us in our piety.

The Out-dwellers for me is a topic I feel doesn’t get the attention it deserves in modern day paganism and druidry. I personally feel a deep connection with nature spirits where others may find a deeper connection to the shining ones. I often feel we almost ignore our own personal issues when it comes to ritual and then wonder why we don’t feel a connection when we perform out rites. We perform magics in our rituals and we ask the divine for assistance and guidance as we walk the path of life. I personally feel it is ignorant to do these things and expect an answer while we don’t even address our own personal failings. Everyone has them but we ignore them or beg for those we want the attention from to ignore them as well. Our flaws are simply a part of us and thats okay.

The words I am using may sound and feel harsh but that is not the intent. I simply mean that deep down we are all only human. No one is above anyone else and we come with flaws. Our DNA is flawed, our lives are flawed. Our goals, our work ethics, our social interactions. They all have flaws in some way and that is one hundred percent ok. It’s ok to be flawed because there are no perfect people. What is wrong is to ignore those flaws and just to pretend they simply don’t exist. This in its self is a major flaw that we all ignore more and more.

As soon as we can get over that initial flaw though then we can embrace our other flaws and realize that in reality they are parts of us and are beautiful parts in some ways. The biggest issue a lot of people seem to lack other than ignoring their flaws is by allowing they flaws to take over and control our lives and our magics.

Iam going to start a small blog series here highlighting the various out-dwellers I feel effect us. This is just for personal reflection and nothing is meant by it. Everyone is entitled to view the out-dwellers as they see fit.

Celtic God Grannus

rom-relief-sulis-minerva.jpg

From some research online I am unable to find a whole lot about Grannus. A lot of his lore seems to have been approbated by the Romans. Anything online I can find in refrence to Grannus seems to be associated with Apollo Grannus which points that the dieti was taken from the Gauls and Celts. Tomorrow for Summer Solstice our grove will pay tribute to Grannus as our workings will be about self care and love and Grannus being the god of spas felt very appropriate. I will add to this post when I find more information to add as well as a future post will discuss the ritual and our workings its self.

1. Meaning of Name: Olmsted gives us “God of Hot Springs”, but has trouble justifying it. Green is not so optimistic, merely wanting to note that it, “probably derives from the name of Grand in the Vosges”.1

2. Pronunciation: GRAN-us, with the “a” like the “u” in “Gus”, and the “u” like the “u” in “put”.

3. Other Names and Epithets: Very many. Olmsted gives us: Amarcolitanos, Anextlomaros, Atepomaros, Belinus, Belisamaros, Bormo/Borvo, Cermillos, Glanis, Matuicis, Mogounis/Mogonts, Nerios, Siannos, Toutorix, Veletudo, Vindonnus, Vindoridios, Vindovroicos, Virotutis, and Vroicos. He may also be related to Olmstead’s reconstructed proto-Celtic divinity Nectonios.

4. Interpretatio Romana: Apollo.3

5. Irish Equivalent: None. The Dian Cecht performs a similar function, but is a radically different deity.

6. Indo-European Equivalent: If the association with Olmsted’s Nectonios can be believed, then he equates to Xákwōm Népōt, the “Nephew of the Waters”, and the “God of Fiery Water”.4

7. Realm: Ueronados/Upper World Deity, but, in role of God of Hot Springs, has Andernados aspects.

8. Iconography: Grannus was worshipped in typical Gallo-Roman healing shrines, often associated with healing springs. He is depicted with horses, a sun-chariot, and on one occasion, the “head of a radiate sun-deity”.5

9. Significance: Reasoning from the above, we can see that Grannus is a solar deity, possibly God of the Sun, certainly God of Light. Even more, he is a healing deity, called on to cure injury and illness. He was also called on for health and protection. As a deity at once solar and watery, hot springs are especially sacred to him.

Three Rivers Festival or how I learned to love the Shining ones

IMG_3709.jpg

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to the Three Rivers festival located at the Ravens Knoll in southern Ontario. This was the tenth year anniversary for the festival and it was attended by Druids and pagans all across the land from the United States, the Ontario region and my self from Eastern Canada.

I flew in on Thursday and met Rev. Jon “Drum” Pagano at the airport. We took the beautiful two-hour drive north and found our footing in the Knoll pretty quickly. We were greeted by Sarah “Sandy” Finn the ADF Members Advocate and her partner Mouse. As time went on we had the opportunity to meet other internet familiar names like Rev. Chelly Couvrette and Rev. Lisa Wasilkowsky Malik. That Thursday night was fairly laid back and relaxed with no real plans other than fire and good conversation.

IMG_3684.JPG

Friday was the first official day of the festival began with a variety of workshops and opportunities to meet new people. In due time, we were joined by Rev. Bonnie Lin Landry from the United States. That morning started off with an open discussion about Druidry in Canada which was an amazing opportunity for Rev. Lisa to tell us all about the ADF
Hearth Program. This was followed up by a great discussion about Brighid by the great Brian Walsh. The we finished up the afternoon with some poetry read by Judith Senior Druid to Lake of Oaks grove as well as a discussion concerning the Initiate program by Rev. Chelly. We moved onto a ritual honouring Lugh and Manannan mac Lir in the Nematon. We ended the day with a potluck shared by all attending and a great discussion concerning Elf-Locks, Lufa and Wichtelzopf from the Ravens knoll host Auz.

Saturday started off with fresh coffee and an Irish breakfast and we quickly moved into the ADF Canada East Regional meeting. The two main topics of discussion where the moving of the Three Rivers festival to Thornhaven and creating an ADF place of worship in Canada. The conversation was passionate and heartfelt on all sides. I look forward to seeing how that progresses. 

The final topic was the discussion the formation of ADF Canada. this has been a project for many over the years and we have agreed to form an online committee to look into the paperwork required for such an association to exist. Another thing that we will discover more about in the coming months. After the discussion, Rev. Drum lead a fantastic workshop about the Three Kindred and our connections to those beings.

IMG_3700.jpg

After the meeting the festival goers began to get themselves ready for the Brighid Shrine dedication ritual put on by Rev. Lisa. It was a beautiful dedication to a triumphant team effort by the four groves in the area to create shrines to the shining ones in the Ravens Knoll Nematon. I had not been to the previous shrine dedications but, I will say this was one of the most aesthetically pleasing and powerful rituals I have had the opportunities to attend. The artist of the Brighid Bust, for those curious, is Denisa Prochazka and the alter she sits on was crafted by Leo Lanoy Dit Watier.

After the Ritual, the Ravens Knoll crew threw a fantastic feast! From Greenman Potatoes to Irish eggs and Irish stew it was just delicious all around. We then had the opportunity to listen to the musical talents of Ellen MacIsaac and Danny Doyle as well as an encore performance by Libby Hortop.

We ended the night with the annual Bardic competition at which I was honoured to be a judge. The competition was fierce and hilarious but in the end, Leo stood the champion for the year. 

The next day being Sunday, it was my time to say goodbye to everyone and made my way back

Ostara Activites

IMG_4002.JPG

Spring is nearly here!! Let’s find ways to celebrate the return of life and longer days to come! Ostara is the spring equinox which means that the day and night are again the same length but this time, the days are going to get LONGER than the nights!

Listed below are a few ways to celebrate and honour the returning light and life:

IMG_4007.JPG

Greet the Dawn

It’s not all that early yet, so get up and greet that sunrise. You can mediate; do yoga; perform a ritual with your grove, family, solo or just take a moment to make an offering to the sun.

Get outside

The days are warming up and the weather is slowly improving. Get outside and enjoy it. Throw yourself a picnic if possible, if not, take a little walk. It can be fun to look for the new emerging life, breathe the fresh air and maybe even take on the #trashchallenge if you are feeling it.

IMG_4003.JPG

Do some planting

This is an excellent time to refresh the pots in your home if it is cold outside or, take some time to start your seedlings. You can also head outside and clean up your yard a bit from winter’s ravage. While you are doing this, focus your intent on your own personal growth and the beauty you bring to the world each day.

IMG_4005.JPG

Decorate Eggs

This tradition spans many religions but a great Druid or generally pagan twist on it is to decorate the eggs with symbols to help focus and manifest things you need in your life. They can be used as charms for the home and make a lovely display on their own or as an addition to your alter. Check out this link on Naturally Dyed Eggs and enjoy crafting with intent. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/easter-ideas/how-to/a31737/natural-easter-egg-dyes/

IMG_4006.JPG

Donate to a Rabbit Shelter or Group

Looking for something a little different? Try donating money or supplies to a rabbit shelter. Rabbits are a long-accepted sign of spring. The Ostara Hare has many a TAIL (god, I love puns). Check your local area for some bunny love and help a fuzz bucket today. Here are some local to our grove.
https://www.10000carrots.com/

https://www.facebook.com/honeysbunniesrabbitrescue/

Whatever you decide to do, take a moment for you. Breathe in some new life of your own and thank yourself for taking the time to connect spiritually. You’ve made it through the winter and things are literally looking brighter ahead.

Blessed be

Little Rituals

IMG_0217.JPG

Paganism to me has always been a topic of conversation I highly enjoy. What does paganism mean to you? What does it mean to be pagan in todays day and age? What makes paganism, stand out from any other religion or spiritual belief system? These questions for me always seem to boil back to the same question though of why? why paganism? What has brought me here and what roots me into this path.

I am personally a creature of habit and someone who really appreciates a set schedule and system for my week. I enjoy my Thursday night AD&D sessions with friends. I use to enjoy my Friday night Magic nights with friends. I enjoyed my Sundays with my family, etc etc. I like pattern and schedule in my life. Now do not get me wrong. I very much enjoy spontaneity. I enjoy being able to last minute decide to go out with friends or a last minute drive to Woflville for the sake of it. You may be reading this though and ask, wait… what does this have to do with paganism. Well for me Paganism isnt what I just believe. It’s what I do.

Over the last year our Grove has been fortunate enough to have been visited by the Arch Druid of ADF Jean Pagano (Drum). During his visit here in Nova Scotia we discussed a lot about bringing paganism and ritual into our daily lives. We talked about small daily rituals that he felt benefited him. and connected him to his path and this really connected with me.

It made me realize that in my day to day life small things I do over and over are what could connect me to the earth below me and ground me in a way. Something I am happy to discuss with anyone I can is shaving. Now this may sound silly but the small ritual I have created for my own personal care I found has really grounded me as a person. It lets me connect with my inner self and it calms me great. It’s also nice that shaving in general involves water which is an element I have felt very disconnected from over the past few years. I lay out my razor, my creams, my brushes each time I shave and then I perform my tiny personal ritual, from washing my face, too bringing the blade to my skin, to once again use the waters to cleanse my self. this is just one of many small rituals I perform for my self personally that connects me to something. in this particular case no Gods are involved, No spirits are thanked, this is a ritual just for me.

- Brian Larter

The Awen

IMG_2472.GIF

The Awen (pronounced ah-when) is an important symbol in the Druid traditions. The word itself is a Welsh, Cornish and Breton word for poetic inspiration. It is an inspirational muse for creative artists of all sorts.

The three beams are said to be three beams of light drawing down from three dots that are representative of the triple aspect of diety and also, the points at which the sun rises on the equinox and solstices (the Triad of the Sunrises). 

The lines represent not only inspiration but the inspiration of truth. In other traditions the beams are said to represent Sea, Air and Earth; Body Mind and Spirit or Love, Wisdom and Truth.

The Awen can often be found surrounded by circles. These circles are said to be representative of the cyclical and timeless nature of creation.

I hope this little blurb has helped you to understand a very common symbol in our Druid tradition.

Blessed be!

Staying connected in the winter months

IMG_2455.GIF

In a world increasingly leaning toward technology and the long winters we have it can be very hard to stay connected to your spirituality without comfortable and easy access to nature. I know you can still go outside but I get cold very easily and it can be a lot of prep just to try and get out for a little bit of fresh air on really nasty days and weeks.

So what do you do to keep connected? We recently discussed this online in the grove I was surprised to see I was not alone in the struggle. So I really started putting some thought into it…..

If you are a big social media user, try looking for local groups or just online communities. I have recently become slightly obsessed with #pagansofinstagram and #wildwoman_witchcraft on Instagram. I also Liked, The Moon Journal on Facebook. It can sound hokey but sometimes seeing inspiring images or stories can help you to feel connected or inspire you to take on something new.

IMG_2453.JPG

Reach out to fellow members of your path or pagans in general and set up “coffee dates”. You can talk about what is going on in the community; discuss pagan intellect or just chit chat knowing you are in the company of people who have similar interests. If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe start a reading club. Check out, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

Bring nature inside. If you have any window space at all, bring in some plants so you can have a little wildlife inside. This goes for your workplace as well. I have a little plant that I keep on my office desk and move to a nearby window on sunny days / over weekends.

IMG_2454.JPG

Start planning, shopping and preparing for your upcoming garden. You can start your seeds inside and it will give you a nurturing nature project to focus on. If you don’t have a green thumb (you aren’t alone) draw or make lists of what you would like to plant when the garden centres open up. Check out some gardening sites or books to really get inspired. I bought The Gardeners Bible (I know…. I know…) and I love it! It comes complete with information on soils and also companion planting. It was a truly inspiring read and I find it very easy to reference.

Finally, if you still cannot connect and you are really struggling, try adjusting your perception. Winter is a natural slowing time, maybe your body needs the break and you just haven’t realized it yet. This is a good time to rest and recharge. Aim to be grateful and explore the gratitude path when you embrace the season as she is.

Interfaith 2019 at the UU

As always, we were happy to partake in Interfaith week by attending the Imbolc ritual this weekend at the Unaversalist Unitarian Church.  

IMG_2340.JPG

What a fantastic and excited crowd. The intimacy of the space makes it a great venu for exploring new paths and sharing with fellow spiritualist.  

We set set up our table and happily spoke with anyone who was interested in Druidry and ADF. Community outreach effort is one of my favourite things about our Grove. We were equipped with GNSD and ADF panflets as well as little educational Ogham to hand out.

IMG_2223.JPG

Thank you to everyone who took part, we hope to see you all next year !

blessed be

Imbolc activities

Imbolc Activities to share with your friends and family

Make a Brigid doll:

IMG_2216.JPG

Brigid dolls are often made of straw and, among other things is the patroness od bards, healing and all things craft-like. Her effigies are hung over doorways to bring about protection and inspiration for the arts. They can be decorated with small dresses and if you are lucky enough to have any greenery or flowers this time of year she can be adorned with those.

photo borrowed from Pinterest. hexenwissen

Feasts and Fire:

IMG_2218.JPG

Of course, with the days getting longer this is a time to celebrate. Light a fire and have friends and family around for dinner. Choose homemade foods and throw a potluck with seasonal treats.

Spring cleaning:

My personal favourtie. Clean your home! This activity is usually undertaken before Imbolc Eve. Get rid of clutter and clean up with a focus on driving out any negative energy. Scrub all surfaces thoroughly and if you can bare the chill still in the air, open some windows and let the fresh air though the house. Making this practice into a preparation for your ritual can have rewarding results. Have the whole family join in and experience the benefits of a tidy and cleansed home.

Outdoor adventure:

IMG_2219.JPG

Traditionally, Imbolc was a time to visit sacred waters. Go on a winter hike and find a lovely pond or stream, you can take a moment to meditate on its peaceful nature and bring back fertility to your dreams. If you are comfortable, make contact with the water to fully set your intention to cleanse and purify. You can also use this little venture to thank the local spirits (they must get lonely in the cold) and pick up and trash you might see along the way.

 Imbolc blessings! The sun and goddess return! 

 

 

Ritual Baths

IMG_1931.JPG

With the recent passing of the Super Wolf Blood Moon I had asked some friends how they planned to celebrate (unashamedly looking for fun ideas myself) one, said she was going to have a ritual bath and meditate. This sounded like a great idea and since I'd had a bath without a toddler in it, it felt VERY magical indeed.

It made me start to contemplate the ritual of a cleansing bath.Of course the bath cleanses your body of dirt...we all know that but what more can it do for you?

IMG_1933.JPG

The idea behind a Ritual Bath is very simple. The idea being that you use the bath to purify yourself outward and inward using water, herbs/oils and intent. Usually, this is preparation for ritual but not always, sometimes you just need a good emotional and spiritual scrubbing.

This practice isn't unique to Paganism. Many religions use bathing as a means of purification. In Judaism it is known as the Mikveh. In Buddhism, they use a tsukubai to purify your face and hands before practice. Wherever you are and whatever you call it, the idea being that you focus your energy and cleans your mind, body and soul. Use the time to reflect and mediate on removing negativity.


Doesn't this sound awesome? Wouldn't you like to know how to do it? I can help!

Firstly, set the mood. Find yourself a private space with some peace and quiet. The goal is to set yourself up for success and you want this bath to be not only cleansing but empowering. You may want to light some candles or enjoy some natural light. Consider lighting a scented candle or some incense to purify the air while you relax into your warm soak.

Draw your bath and while doing so, consider hanging a satchel of dried herbs on the faucet or carefully adding essential oils to the tub.

I recommend any of the following hers or oils to be used for cleansing:

IMG_1934.JPG

Sage

Chamomile

Lemon Balm

Sandalwood

Lavender

Rosemary

Hyssop

Sweetgrass

Peppermint


I also like to add Epsom salts to help relieve lactic acid to further purify and relax my body and thereby my mind.

IMG_1932.JPG


Finally, you may wish to add some music or nature sounds to complete the mood.

As you soak in your tub contemplate and visualize any negativity seeping form your body. This may take some time. You will need to unwind and then begin your practice. Focus on the warmth enveloping your body. Breath deeply and enjoy the natural oils you've added. Allow your mind to wander down a path of cleansing and healing. Relax your eyes, close them and tune in to your own personal rhythm, become aware of your body's needs; recognize tensions and slowly allow them to seep away. When you feel that all of the negativity and tension has left your body, refocus on how relieving and mentally / spiritually energizing this process has been. See your body as whole and pure and when you are ready, get out of the tub and retrieve the plug to let all the negative energy go away. You should leave your tub feeling grounded and connected to yourself.

I hope yo have enjoyed this post and that you all have wonderful baths planned.

Blessed Be,

Karen