Thick summer air hangs with muscular weight through the city. The Oak King, now on his recently acquired throne at Summer Solstice, already glowers with suffused fury and worry at signs of his increasing raggedness. His struggles with the youthful Holly King have already begun to take their toll on his emotions, his frustration mounting. He explodes in rage. His face darkens, his arms grip, he spits lightning and then releases his pent up turmoil in rain and heat. He pelts the windows with bright nails. But the Holly King has been born again, and he is strengthening. We feel the shortening of the daylight already; the Oak King has started to weaken. We plants and people start leaning towards harvest thoughts, celebrating life and love while aware that the wheel is turning. We’ve lived and loved too long not to have awareness of it. Soon enough, the Holly King will ascend the throne, so the story goes, and then, as that happens on Winter Solstice, the Oak King will be born again. And so on and on, we live in the cycles of life and story. Death, rebirth, abundance, harvest, storage, replenishing the used earth with falling leaves, weaving it together with spider threads, then down again to roots and new dreams. What then shall we do? Learn now the songs your bones would sing to future generations, singing up out of the earth.
I sit with my back against the tree where I first take my druid students in Central Park. Here I have made offerings to the tree, traced circles of the nemeton to hold our souls in safety, and from here sent them out on their first journeys exploring their edges, to follow their curiosity and to come back with stories nature tells them. No matter how many people may walk by, it is a quiet place where meditation is easy, sitting on the damp earth, feeling it reach up against the skin through the cloth. The earth reaches up against our bodies, feels our edges with cool fingers, figuring us out, touching delicate hairs, reaching into our blood and imaginations. Welcomes us home.
Now that the website for the Druid College has gone live (druidcollege.org), I am focusing on getting this one live in two days.
Greetings of peace. Welcome and sit next to me. What is your name? By what road did you come here? And what news do you bring?
And lastly today: a riddle from the great Welsh poet, Taliesin: Discover now what is the strong creature from before the flood, Without flesh, without bone, Without vein, without blood, Without head, without feet, It will neither be older nor younger than at the beginning.