We had planned to attend the Central New York Pagan Pride Day today, but in what seems to be a continuation of a pattern I’m only starting to see, health issues got in the way of socializing with a wider group of Pagans. Wellspring was thwarted by surgery; the Fairy and Earth festival cut short by extremely painful cramps; and now PPD is not happening for us because we all have colds. I’ve been keeping mine controlled by drinking tea whenever possible, but my little one is fussier, and it’s a long day out in the cold wind with a miserable child. If we lived closer, I would have gone on my own for an hour or so, but it’s so much driving, gas, and, as a result, money to commit for only a short time… So I made the difficult decision to miss it for the second year in a row (last year Bee was still an infant and it was raining the entire time). While it’s disappointing since I was looking forward to seeing old friends, attending a workshop on Manx folklore, the drum circle, and such, I now realize that I needed this day very much. It’s been a very stressful, busy few weeks. My spiritual life has been stymied by mental and sometimes physical exhaustion. I hadn’t been to the forest in ages…
So I changed that. Sniffles be damned! I went into the forest and reacquainted myself with the trees. I’ve found that the old place I gravitated towards to make offerings no longer feels right. It is too high traffic in some ways. It’s too near the entrance to the forest. Too convenient for others to access. By others, I mean those who don’t understand what I’m doing and move stones, leave trash, or spray-paint the trees. Most people view the forest as a sort of playground, not a sacred place, let alone a home to millions of other lives. The old place needs healing and attention, but sometimes a Druid just wants to reconnect and feel at peace.
I felt called to the opposite end of the forest, so I let myself wander there. I felt particularly drawn to the rocks and their lichens. I noticed the fallen hickory and acorn shells. Autumn is a wonderful time to learn about the tree population in the forest. Prior to today, I hadn’t realized how many shagbark hickories are in the forest!
I found myself drawn to an oak tree. I collected numerous acorn crafts for a project and then realized that I’d found a small grove of trees – the oak, an old hemlock, a hickory, and some maples. They formed a near perfect circle. The lyrics, “We approach the sacred grove,” left my lips and I found myself circling clockwise. I made offerings and the wind rushed through my hair, filling me with joy. I felt myself entranced by the swaying trees, especially the majestic maples towering above, already changing from green to golden and crimson.
I found a new quiet place to commune with the forest, and I left with a pocketful of acorn caps, and a handful of litter. I feel reinvigorated and ready for the coming week. I feel more connected to the land, to my Druidism, and to my spirit. I think my nasal passages even felt a little clearer! I miss seeing my friends and exploring other perspectives, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit the forest and be alone with my thoughts. Today I was a proud Pagan in the woods.