Harvest time

Part III

Although many beautiful, strong and moving poems and songs can be found, it is recommended that each of us listen to the Awen moving and find inspiration from within its humming.  Certainly, a poem or song written elsewhere, by someone else, may hold deep resonance with you.  The blessing of that to have shown up in your life is rich.

However, it is suggested that from your own relationship with nature, where you are rooted, that you listen and let poetry and songs come from within your own soul.

When?  Whenever something of importance in the agricultural cycle is noticed, especially the “firsts”:

First Frost; First corn; first apple or persimmon; First Brussel sprout; First snow;  First green shoot poking through the snow….like that.  Of course, Firsts are much easier to discern when the seasons are more sharply defined.  And yet, those attuned to climes with subtler shifts can accommodate themselves to the weather patterns and feel the changes.

Part IV

This means that the nice regularity of the cosmic calendar (Solstices and Equinoxes, and other rituals evenly spaced throughout the year, for a total of 8) is an abstraction removed from the variances of your actual agricultural cycles. (Well, of course local variances on earth are not likely to fit neatly into the galactic Procession we know as solstices and equinoxes.)  What if your first harvest is not on Lughnasadh, August first?  Adjust.  A pagan is one who is deeply attuned to the patterns of the land, and thereby the rituals are not likely to be regularized, calendarized, predictable.  Step into the flow of What Moves Moves.  Sense, smell, feel, listen, taste, respond.

When the first salmon is seen arriving to spawn, the entire life cycle of the salmon can be sung, welcoming it home to its birthing site, back to the beginning, and from thence rebirth into roe.  Expressions of gratitude, humming while sitting next to the river bank, and an offering to the river….

It’s important to craft new songs for our cycles of agricultural relationship.  The offering is not to have produced some fine iambic pentameter, noble, remarkable to anyone else.  The offering is that gift of word or phrase or gesture that emerges when your heart dances on the moment.

 

 

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Harvest Season

Agricultural cycles of nature have a prominence in our awareness.

Part I:  Agricultural cycles vary from place to place, and for different reasons altogether.  Attend to the cycles of your locale and work with that.  If your apples are ready in October, well after another’s have ripened in August, work with how things are moving where you live.  If first frost comes in December (or never), while another’s has come in November, sing your First Frost Song when the time is ripe, neither before nor after according to any one else’s imaginary calendar of “supposed-to-be”.  The spirits of place where you are is where your roots are.  Feed your own roots while jolly well giving thanks for the maintenance of everyone else’s roots and harvests.

Part II:  Beginning with c. August 1, and with the Festival of Lughnasadh, we enter the harvest season.  Lughnasadh is the first of the harvest festivals, all things being equal, which they aren’t.  The harvest season extends into Samhain (aka “hallowe’en”).  From thence to Yuletide, we enter the cycles of dying in agriculture….well, unless you live in an all-year growing season.  Depending on where you live, some celebrations do and some do not belong to your agricultural cycle.

Druidry is a living religion.  Participate according to the roots of your agricultural region.

Consider that a blessing is not applied to a situation, but that blessings emerge from the life force.  Make relations with the season as it truly is where your roots are, then the harvest of blessings will ripen in your own backyard…..and won’t have to be imported.

All to say, now that it’s harvest season for most of you readers, buy local produce and crafts.  There’s the blessing!

Fundaments of Druid College

The Druid College NYC subtitles itself “Nature (or Earth) – centered spirituality rooted in place.”

This means that students and apprentices join in personal and communal reflection, rituals, and by ongoing personal connection with and spiritual guidance of a Druid Priest.

Towards what end?:  A life in service, crafting a sacred relationship with the land (specifically the place where you live), the ancestors (both blood and mud ancestors), and the gods (a term exquisitely defined founded upon concepts of nature-based relationship).

The energetic thrust is for apprentices to be “carriers” of nature-based spirituality, compared to “followers” of any one person or any particular religion.  Druidry itself is a living, organic path, ever growing out of the life force (Awen), not seeking to duplicate the past but to  guide all students into living with a “lit mind.”  Druidry is an ever evolving dynamic founded upon relationship, relationship, relationship, even down to the smallest quark, atom and molecule and as expansive as cosmic systems, each of which has purpose.  For us, all of life is enchanted, vibrant, humming with vitality, and capable of charm and enthrallment.

We seek knowledge–scientific, historical, biological, geological, mathematical, astronomical, philosophical, literary, theatrical, shamanistic, ritualistic, et al, and dive into depths of trance, therianthropic, transformational, restorative,  and healing, and integrate various paths into alternate realities as part of investigating and maintaining, in our lives and with the land, the power and beauty of nature–ourselves integral to it all.

Therefore, Druid College NYC is a center of learning, of sharing and of support for any one on a path of nature-based spiritual practices, leading to devotion to the land, to human dignity, to arts & skills of transformation….all in alignment with principles of Druidry.

 

DRUID COLLEGE NYC OPENS

BearDruid

 

Druid College NYC opens October 6 & 7, 2017, accepting 8 students in its First Year Program.

The College meets Fridays and Saturdays on the first weekends of October, November, January, February, March, April, May and June, and then takes the rest of the summer off.

We meet on Friday evenings and Saturdays (not Sundays), concluding with a ritual related to the season.

Each of the weekend meetings emphasizes direct experiences with nature, organizes teaching around five elements (earth, air, fire, water and mist), and–for reasons of establishing priority relationship with nature–gradually introduces and teaches ritual, its components, its purposes, inspiration and leadership skills.

This course is an earth-centered spirituality based in place  (“spirits of place”), so it will look closely at Druidry from an urban perspective.  We will discuss the standard three levels of Druidry (Bard, Ovate and Druid), with special emphasis in the first year on the role of the Bard and the bard’s special understanding of inspiration rising from Awen
leading to service.

Spinster's Rock, Drewsteignton, England

The teacher is an Animist Druid Priest.  He is co-founder of the Druid College in Maine and collaborator with our third Druid College in England.

Total cost for the 8 weekends is $1600.

Please note that once enrolled students are expected to attend every class as scheduled.  So, please clear your schedules for this course.  Due to wild scheduling issues and many other opportunities in urban settings, make-up sessions are just about impossible.  The teacher is available for conversation and deepening teachings in between class meetings as needed.

The word “college” is used in its original meaning of students meeting with the teacher wherever appropriate.  Most of the times we meet at a private studio on the east side of Manhattan  (E. 73rd St.), but field trips can be expected, such as to Central Park for direct experiences with nature.  There will be homework that will be described at the time.

To contact the teacher to express interest and to set up an initial interview, please contact James Lawer at jameslawer@sbcglobal.net.

A Vision

Visions that come to us can be challenging, enlightening, soulful, disruptive and even beyond reckoning.  At their best, they anchor us into the land, into service to the earth and all its inhabitants, and frequently come with energetic drives to achieve something essential, particularly as it relates to service.  Whether or not we feel ready or able to follow through is not the provenance of vision.  Vision is a weaver and engages our capacity to choose.  They may frighten us (sometimes for very good reasons) or provoke us (sometimes causing us intense reflection) or calm us (sometimes with nothing more than realizing we are at the right place at the right time).  But most often, they are leaders, speaking to us from the Great Mystery, beckoning to us from the What Moves, and have the effect of telling us to gird up our loins and get on with things.  So, they can come with determination that changes our lives.  What is presented to us may not be far afield from our lives as they are, but they can certainly invoke a new way to wake up and have purpose for our lives.  Such is the case of the newest vision I received a week ago.  How this has altered my life and my relationships I will speak to after describing the vision itself.

Note:  I was wide awake when I was taken into vision and saw this in rapturous, full on color and 3-D experience.  I was, in other words, “there.”

There is a very big, steep mountain.  It is so tall, the top is somewhat obscured.  Ranks of various trees, rocks, bushes, rotting leaves, broken twigs, rivulets of water, animal paths….all that is “mountain” is before me.  At the bottom, where I am standing, are many people coming and going, in cars or walking, gathering to arrive or to leave or to assemble in small groups to discuss.  The parking lot abuts the mountain where it touches the flat floor of the earth.  The sun is shining and the mood is gentle with waves of energy moving like rippling water over everything.  All of the people are there for ceremony, either coming or going.  I see dancers and elders from the Naraya (Dance for All People), but most of the men and women I have not yet met.  The atmosphere is electric with ritual work, intentions and transitions.

An Owl comes to me.  I get on the back of the Owl, and she/he flies me up the side of the mountain, effortlessly climbing on the wind over brush, paths, stones, and aiming straight on to a place the owl knows, but which I do not yet know.

About half way up, a large, black onyx cube is positioned on the side of the mountain.  It is large than I, a perfect cube, and unlike anything else surrounding it.  It is entirely black, and although it seems to be polished, it does not reflect the world around it.  The Owl settles next to it and wordlessly indicates that there is a door that is not visible, except one has to know that it is there.  I enter it.  (I will talk more about this box after the next paragraph.)

Owl then flies me on its soft back to the top of the mountain.  At the top is a large greenhouse and laboratory.  This is my Domain, I realize. I feel at home here; I know what I am doing here; all is familiar and profoundly alive.  This is my Domain of work and research.  The greenhouse is surrounded by walls of glass, so it is full of light no matter what the weather.  I see rows and rows of tables on which plants are growing.  All the tools, equipment and supplies are there, including a place where matured plants are drying, a table for preparations of medicines and a site of test tubes, beakers, hot plates and so on.  Through a door I go into the laboratory and all its equipment and supplies–Bunsen burners, sinks, faucets, microscopes, computers and printers–all that makes for a complete Domain of research.  In other words, this mountain top Domain is where I also live and work.  I am usually along here, but I do not feel lonely.  I feel tremendously alive and physically present.  From this Domain, I take prepared medicines of various kinds down to the people at the bottom of the mountain.

Now, that Black Onyx Cube.  It is purposed for me to enter it in both directions, up and down the mountain.  This is where I enter the Void.  Inside is vast emptiness, yet hardly empty at all.  There are free floating cave paintings that become three-dimensional and move off their cave walls, becoming alive.  Carvings move and have breath.  There is a large insect (such a one exists in biological reality), where her body is a huge abdomen filled with eggs, that could encompass an entire table, though her head is minuscule in comparison.  Her abdomen is rippling with life.  She is tended to by “Tenderers” who gently push on her abdomen, moving her interior world and caring for what is unborn.  In the Cube, these Tenderers are not just others of her insect species.  She is the Realm of Possibilities and the Tenderers are the various communities of living beings that gather around her and welcome the birthing of possibilities of the Great Mother.

There is a Great Swirling, cloud-like, bottomless, no-wall-at-all endless motion.  Everywhere is the center.  Everywhere is the endlessness.  Everything opens to all directions simultaneously.  Things are cleansed by being brought into appropriate scale to all that is.  Old patterns that are no longer needed are taken back into the vast Cloud of Unknowing.  The New is continually emerging. There is free fall.  There is constant change and transition.  There are different kinds of shadows and shadowy colors, like a great soup, like images of the great clouds on Jupiter or the methane gasses on Venus.  This is the Void, into which all things go and from which all things emerge, a zone of transition.  I realize I must enter this on the way up the mountain to my Domain and on the way down to the ceremonies and the people.  Owl is my mode of transport, my carrier, and in that, my deep, deep friend.

Now, down to work.  Immediately I understood that I had to make a bibliography of all my collected books and articles, because a supersized message is “The Path of Plants is the Way Home.”  The message continues:  “The Narrative of the Plants is the Path of Life.” The Black Onyx Box is, in a way, my sacred soul space that unites Domain to Realm of Service.  And I have a great deal of work to do, having been rather lazy about some things more recently.  No time to die yet.  This entirely energizes me; fills me with a sense of the enormity of what work there is to do, but with a kick in the butt to get going.  And, and, and:  I feel so very good to be alive!  I know that I am in my body, experiencing my body, relinquishing my life to this task that is just revealing itself now.  I feel very earthy, very centered on our planet.  I feel at home and joyful to get out of bed every morning, without complaint, and setting my feel on this path of service.

Words: Let us go looking

Words ought to be medicine.  Too often they are merely descriptive of that which they are not yet and remain only pointers.  But words as “poesis” become that which they signify, the god language, the path, the reawakening, the healing, the logos, the medicine.  Giving meaning to situations and events of existence is the medicine of language.

So we are going to look to the left, to the right.  We are going to go searching for the truth and find it.  To the left and to the right, let us look.

Let us look on the land to find our help.  Why are the people so confused as to not know why they have become helpless?  Are they weak?  Let us go looking.  Let us look to the land and to the spirits of place attending us.  So, let us go looking.

Maybe they are draining us, so let us go look.  And find the path that is clear.  We look at the tracks of our feet.  Where have they come from?  What is that soil under our nails?  Where did we get that?

Let us look and see where we walked away from the earth.  Let us see where our path is going.  Let us look to the left and to the right and put our feet onto the soil.

The Back Road Cafe

If  you have yet to read The Back Road Cafe (published in London by my friend Dale), then this is a good time to go there.

The latest batch of my poetry has just been entered there.  (Time to write more.)

Dale’s most recent blog “Democracy, Oligarchy, and the Elements of Resistance” is worth reading.  Where would you find yourself in it?  For me, poetry, music, dance and other arts have the capacity to speak truth to power; creativity and laughter are prophetic; communities that bond together for the wellbeing of themselves and others are great forms of service; if we do not serve the land, we have written our own obituaries already.