Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Study Programs’

20140731-121739.jpg

It arrived! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

I’m ashamed to say that I never read the late Adler’s groundbreaking book, Drawing Down the Moon.  The news of her sudden death moved me to order it immediately.  I needed to read it; I needed to honor one of our community’s elders – now ancestors.  I had admired her as a journalist on NPR, now I definitely needed to explore this other side of her.

It arrived today!  I’m very excited to start.  I’m not sure how I will fit it in with my other projects – the various ADF study programs, sewing, crocheting, and managing a protogrove…  but I’m committed to finish it by Samhain.  In fact, I invited my grovies to join me in reading or rereading it with me.  We’ll periodically discuss things that jump out at us on our Facebook group, and have a final discussion towards the end of October.  We’ll then honor her further at our Samhain ritual.

I can’t believe it took me this long…

Read Full Post »

If you’re ever in the 1000 Islands, visit the Thousand Islands Art Center in Clayton, NY. They have exhibits and offer a variety of classes. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

 

Last Sunday, I was called on by a friend in my community and protogrove to sain her workspace – the pottery studio at the Thousand Islands Art Center.  It was a wonderful experience for both of us, and I learned a lot!

I was extremely humbled when she asked me to perform this ritual.  She told me she felt I had the experience and that she trusted me.  Not only did this make me feel good about myself and the rituals I’ve been leading in the area, but it reminded me of why I started Northern Rivers Protogrove.  It’s always been for community.  Not only is gathering with like-minded people to celebrate the seasonal changes and honor the Kindreds deeply fulfilling to me, but it is to others as well.  When I started the study group that would evolve into Northern Rivers, the growing interest and feedback I received clearly showed that there was something lacking in the area.  I returned to my Initiate Letter of Intent in thinking about this because I remember writing a lot about community.  I wanted to continue within my tradition’s study programs to grow in my spirituality and to give back to others.  Agreeing to help my friend really reawakened that awareness of “calling” in me.  It takes a lot of work and preparation to serve the community, and there are challenges as I need to balance it with the needs of my other career and my family, but it’s still very important and deeply gratifying.

Before I agreed to help, I first asked why she wanted the saining.  I wanted to know if she desired a general blessing because of new beginnings and old, negative energy, or if she felt there was something darker there – an angry ghost, perhaps.  I very honestly told her that I have very little experience with such things and do not currently feel comfortably taking that on.  We have mutual trust and she also honestly told me that it wasn’t anything of the sort.  Because I never want to put my own sanity or my family’s safety in harm’s way, I don’t see myself performing sainings for anyone I haven’t known for a little while.  That trust is important.  Maybe, down the road, I’ll feel more comfortable helping strangers, but I just lack the experience right now.  It’s important to know your limits and establish your own boundaries based on what you honestly feel are your current skills.  Having done a yearly saining of my own home around the New Years (both secular and religious), I felt confident in my abilities, and my relationship with the Kindreds, for her needs.

Like I said, this was a positive experience for both of us.  She felt that the space was on the mend, and I felt myself putting my magical training to good use for a wonderful person. It can be intimidating to do magic and ritual for others, but leading seasonal rites for Northern Rivers has taught me that the best rituals are when I do what feels best in my heart and listen to my intuition.  That’s exactly what I did.  As soon as I allowed for that to happen, symbols started to jump out at me from the environment.  In our discussion after the ritual, it was revealed that many of my feelings had a real basis in what my friend was experiencing.  The omen, as well, was also very telling to both of us.  When that happens, it feels damn good!

Now I did learn some things to help me improve for the future.  Next time, I should tour the entire space beforehand.  I thought we would sain the studio only, but in reality she also wanted to attend to another storage area that belongs to the studio but was across the hallway.  I felt a bit clumsy and annoyed with myself when she revealed this mid-ritual, but it was easy to fix and incorporate into the rite.  As I always tell my grovies, we have to be able to think on-the-fly in ritual when necessary.  I also forgot to bring a separate bowl for offerings.  Thankfully, I set up a working altar right by a door so we were able to pour offerings in the garden nearby.

Gifts from a friend.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Gifts from a friend. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Let me point out that, regardless of my belief that our clergy and elders should be compensated for their work, I didn’t go about this for any other reasons than to help a friend and hone my skills.  She surprised me after it all by gifting me with some of her favorite (locally made) incense and a dish that she made in the studio.  I was absolutely giddy with her gifts since they are things I can use in future magical workings!   These gifts are precious to me and will remind me of how good and fulfilling it is to give mack to my community.  Furthermore, this whole experience will help me complete some of my advanced Druidic studies within ADF!  Like Magic 2!  Go me!

Read Full Post »

I recently discovered something that is helping me with the more academic requirements in ADF’s advanced study programs. Bee is capable of eating finger foods so, sometimes, in the evening, I’ll put her in her highchair, give her some organic baby rice cakes, puffs, or fruit, and let her have at it. Meanwhile, I sit at the table next to her with a cup of tea, some reading materials, and notes. Sometimes I even read bits aloud for her which she finds entertaining.

Sure, I only get to read a few pages at a time, but it’s better than nothing! Here I go, as fast as a speeding oak!

Read Full Post »

Offerings given. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Off to the forest with offerings tucked in my coat pocket, I trudged through the snow. Though much of it has melted, certain areas, especially the places between human dwellings and the forest, are still very deep. Movement was slow and difficult without snowshoes. As always, I thought of my spirit animal, the white tailed deer, as I clumsily made my way. They are so graceful and surefooted in the snow. Were a pack of coydogs to chase me, I would have a difficult time getting away in such conditions. And yet even thinking of deer surviving in the winter gave me strength and renewed my perseverance.

As I crossed the hedge, I noticed how the going became easier. The snow was melting faster in the forest. Why was that? Was it because the canopy of evergreens kept so much from piling up so there’s just less there?

Chickadees sang happily. I made my way to the shrine, passing some deflated birthday balloons that had blown in from somewhere. I made a mental note to grab them on my way back. As I stepped up a hill towards the shrine, I noted the familiar shapes of deer a few yards away. I stopped and looked around. When you slow down and really look  it is amazing what you can see.  A whole herd seemed to materialize out of the trees.  Some stared back at me, some struck their hooves against the ground, others continued to eat.  I proceeded slowly, not wanting to frighten them.  This herd and I continue to meet.  Do they recognize my coat, my tread, my scent?

I held an apple out to them.  I did not expect them to come and take it from me, nor do I want to encourage that.  I spoke softly, praising them, wishing them well, and telling them my intent.  I softly chanted “Fur and Feather”.  They ran a little to the other side of the forest.  They watched me a moment more, then vanished into the woods as they walked away.

I placed the offering upon the shrine, its stones bare of snow.  I thought of the deer, admiring their qualities.  They are all at once gentle, courageous, persevering, nurturing, cautious, and the females are very tribal seeming.  They are good qualities to admire and emulate.

I left more offerings of seed and herbs for the local spirits.  I took in the stillness and the life all around.  The melting snow… The red buds forming on branches… Spring is coming and potential is in the air!  I left the forest feeling light hearted and festive.  Funny how I even had balloons in my hand…

Snow melting around the roots of a big hemlock. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

Read Full Post »

The ice thawed quite a bit on the weekend, and the bitter cold hadn’t returned, so I decided to take a stroll to the forest.  I missed it last week, even with my desire to learn more about the tree and other beings around my home.  I did stop and say hello to the ash tree on my way.  There was a silence about it today.  A village it may be, but it’s a sleepy village right now.

The forest hedge was full of life signs.  Water pooled amid the snow and weeds.  Hoof tracks and deer droppings.  Coyote tracks and scat.  Once more, an ominous reminder of how the forest is not a zen garden.  With that in mind, I crossed the hedge and slowly made my way up the small hill into the forest.

I quickly realized I had disturbed a herd of deer.  We all stood and stared at each other for a long while.  I took a few quiet, slow steps in, able to watch the deer, but the snow was crisp and broke loudly.  In typical clumsy human fashion, I made a lot of noise walking about no matter how hard I tried not to.  The deer scattered, leaping gracefully over a distant ridge.  My heart leapt with them…

I made my offerings and stood listening.  The forest felt different than it did a few weeks ago.  That ominous feeling was gone and the forest was playing its music.  The red squirrels quarreled.  The crows cawed.  The morning doves cooed.  I left feeling refreshed.

Now that the temperatures have returned to below zero fahrenheit (a low of -27 today!), I marvel at the woodland creatures and how they survive.  Of course some won’t make it, but each species overall perseveres.  It’s really inspiring…

 

 

Read Full Post »

Trees are more than just the tree itself. Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2014.

 

It’s a beautiful day in the North Country. It’s warmer than the week before. There was even a small bit of sun earlier. A perfect day for a walk to the forest. Only… yesterday’s rain made the lingering ice even more hazardous. The driveway and remaining “snow” are really slick. Walking the short distance from my door to my car is clumsy enough for me. I decided it would be too dangerous to go into the forest on my own today. And why risk twisting an ankle when I have to provide for my family and take care of a baby? There’s definitely something to be said about getting out in the elements no matter the weather to commune with the spirits of Nature… but there’s also wisdom in knowing not to take unnecessary risks!

That didn’t mean I gave up and went back inside!  I just decided to commune with nature closer to home.  It’s something I really ought to do more.  We have a lovely tree in the front which I believe is an ash.  I would like to grow closer to it and part of that will involve spending time with it.  I made offerings at its base and said hello, but quickly realized the tree is not simply the tree.  It plays host to a whole tribe of beings – fussy moss, pale lichens, insects hibernating in the folds of its bark, grasses and mallows growing below, morning doves cooing above…  When you stand before a tree, you are really standing before a village!  So I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I want to positively identify these creatures and learn of their properties and lore.  If I make this little patch the focus of my natural awareness for the sake of my current Druidic studies, I will be able to visit more frequently.  I will still make my treks to the forest, but the ash is easier to get to – and clearly just as wild!

 

Read Full Post »

…is moving…

20130528-182213.jpg

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,052 other followers