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Posts Tagged ‘Druidic ritual’

Come we now to the well
The eye and the mouth of Earth
Come we now to the well
and silver we bring
Come we now to the well
The waters of rebirth
Come we now to the well
Together we sing!

– Excerpt from “The Portal Song” by Ian Corrigan

This post may be controversial, but it’s something that must be examined.

There’s a tradition behind using silver in magical rites.  According to ADF member and author Ceisiwr Serith, there are two theories behind the use of silver with regards to water/the well – one of the sacred hallows in ADF tradition.  He says:

There are two basic theories as to why silver is put in the  well, and
what is done with the silver afterward will depend on which theory is  used:
1.  The silver consecrates the water.  If this is  the theory, then the
silver is reused.
2.  The silver is an offering, either to beings  associated with the
well or to the water or well itself.  In this case the  silver is not reused,
and is eventually disposed of either by casting it in the  water or burying
it**.

Since coming to Druidism and embracing it as my spiritual path, I have utilized the second theory.  At Muin Mound, we offer silver to the well with the view that it consecrates it but also, I think, as an offering to that hallow.  The silver is placed down a shaft as is traditional in many groves.  Offerings of precious metals is historical.  There are lakes and bogs full of gifts given by the Celts.  Modern Druids have adopted that practice.  On the ADF e-lists, the subject often comes up – “Is it environmentally friendly to offer silver?”  It ping-pongs back and forth but it’s usually accepted that the small amounts we put in aren’t dangerous and that silver has been used for hundreds of years to purify water.  That’s all fine and good – but why does the discussion always stop there?

The topic has come up again and I shared my qualms about continuing to use silver due to my concerns about mining it.  The topic remained on offerings.  Finally, out of curiosity, I started to look into silver extraction.  Here’s what I shared on the e-list:

Everyone tends to focus on the impact of putting silver back into the earth in the form of shafts or bodies of water.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m interested in the impact of extracting silver.  That should be where our focus is.

I did some digging and found a few resources that could be of interest.

“The Ecologist” explores whether or not silver can be considered ethical.  The biggest argument for calling silver more ethical than other mined resources is reusing it.  We put it back into the ground and buy more to put back into the ground…  Hmmm…  http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/clothing/270580/can_silver_ever_be_ethical.html  Be sure you go to the end of the article where it talks about labor at the mines.

Then, of course, there is the mining at sites that are sacred to other people: http://www.care2.com/causes/mining-in-mexicos-sacred-sites.html

The more I delve into it, the more I think that offering silver should be one of the practices we “leave behind.”  At least, that’s where I see myself going.  I don’t see how offering something that causes so much damage to the land and other people to be personally acceptable anymore…

To me, it feels hypocritical to continue offering silver. It’s not a renewable resource.  We’re supposed to be an Earth-centered spirituality and living in balance with the Nature Spirits.  Offering silver, at least most of the time, should be left back in antiquity with head hunting.

I could see reusing a silver talisman to consecrate, but making offerings is so central to my practice.  Something I’ve been experimenting with for awhile now, and seems acceptable to the water spirits thus far, is using quartz that I find in the forest on my walks.  I’ll sometimes find a little chunk that is exposed or came loose.  I give offerings of thanks to the Earth Mother for her treasures and use them in magic.  I’ve also been thinking about offering river stones.  I sometimes find beauties along the St. Lawrence river and see the ones that truly call out to me as gifts from the local spirits.  Giving them as offerings could be truly meaningful.  Finally, the local group could commit to cleaning a beach before a high day, then stating that we did so and naming it our offering to the water spirits.

What are your thoughts on offering precious metal to the well during ritual?

* Ceisiwr Serith.  "[ADF Discuss] Silver Offerings."  ADF Discussion List, 28 Aug, 2012.  Web 28 Aug, 2012.  Later in the discussion he says the first theory is 
only based on one source he has come across from Scotland.
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