Back to school

Summers get busy and it can be expensive when you have a family and you just want them to have fun. But harder still is Back to School.  Brand name clothing, the new hot trend in back packs and exhaustive lists from teachers can add up quickly.

The Grove of Nova Scotia Druids is always looking for way to help our community and with most of us being parents we know the stress back to school can bring. To that end we have banded together some funds and coordinated with a local food bank to help meet the needs of families in our area. 

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A big thanks to the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank for their helpful information and guidance as we shopped for precious essentials.

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 On a more personal note: This was one of the first time I really sat down and explained why we donate to my 3-year-old. I know this lesson isn’t over and I am going to keep doing charitable things while involving him but I feel it is important to start explaining WHY at a young age. I am hoping that this will become normal and a way of life for him. I hope that showing him that some people don’t have access to the resources he has will help him to be more appreciative of those resources. Of all the aspirations I have for my child this has been something I have thought about since his conception.

I recall being young and in the Catholic Church where I knew exactly what to do but never why I was doing it. I did not understand the weight and symbolism of the faith and would blindly practice without emotion or sincerity. I was part of, what today would be considered a large family with 4 kids. It was all my parents could do to get us lined up; well dressed and to church without having the energy to really explain WHY. They were strongly devoted and though we all went though our baptisms and first communions none of the children have continued to practice as my parents did. It’s been my experience that if we want to show others the value in our actions and beliefs, they need to understand WHY things happen the way we do.

Brightest Blessings to you and yours and may your returns to the school year be seamless and full of smiles.

Avalon Pagan Gathering

Every year the Grove of Nova Scotia Druids attempt to attend at least one festival together as a group. This year we had the amazing opportunity to attend the Avalon Pagan Gathering in the heart of Cape Breton. Fires where burned, witches bread was made and Mead was drank. It was an excellent time had by all and especially the tiny monsters we brought with us.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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/

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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

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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

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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!