Solstice Light Poem

Light sliding sideways into the branches, the green

Blessed are those to be seen

For the light cannot be extinguished in our hearts or the grassy planes.

Spirit sweet, slipping shaft, dancing, prancing, shimmering soul.

Piercing the cold and dark– sweet, sharp, brilliant light

Mover of shadows, bringer of illumination and enlightenment

Constant as a lighthouse directing me home

warm candle light, rise and fall of the flame

light returns from dark, raising spirits, bringing joy and hope to all

Light warms me, enlightens me, show me the way.

Illuminates the connections between us all.

- Stephanie Bass

THE JOURNEY INTO SPIRIT: A PAGAN’S PERSEPCTIVE ON DEATH, DYING AND BEREAVEMENT

Journey into Spirit

A review of Kristoffer Hughes’ book The Journey into Spirit: A Pagan’s Perspective on Death, Dying and Bereavement by Maria Ede-Weaving

Druidry teaches us to honour death and to remember the dead with reverence. However, for most of us, our wider culture has hidden much of death’s processes from view.  The physical realities of this most inevitable and unavoidable rite of passage have been obscured and this has only served to intensify the fear of death and sever the connection to its deeper mysteries. We live in a world of plastic, a substance which by its very nature defies the laws of decomposition, and this seems to reflect on some inner level, the chronic fear with have of the dissolution and decay that are the vital foundations of renewal and life.

This is a subject close to my heart. I have lost most of my close family over time and last year my father died. We were very close and his death was unexpected; the grieving has been intense. When Philip asked me to read and review Kristoffer Hughes’ The Journey into Spirit: A Pagan’s Perspective on Death, Dying and Bereavement, I had mixed feelings – although of late I have sensed an emerging from the darker spaces of my grief, parts of me still feel a little raw, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to gaze into death’s face again quite so soon, even if only in the pages of a book. Despite my fears, I am so pleased that I read this wonderful book.

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The Queen of Morning

Originally posted on We Are All Here:

Image

I approach her, but I do not speak until spoken to.

There is a fine mystery in this black walnut tree. And if I sit silently for long enough, maybe I’ll hear what it is.

I look at her every day before dawn, starting when I can just make her out against the sky.  Being near her feels like being near someone who is benevolent, powerful, rich and wise.  And somewhat intolerant.

She’s like a queen.

Walnut trees make beautiful, hard, rich brown wood, expensive and much prized. The nuts have a sweet, musky, woods-dirt flavor that reminds me of truffles.  They are locked away in a troll’s purse of rock-hard nutshell, and you really, really have to want the nutmeats to do the hammer-and-pick work of shelling them.  Just a handful will flavor a pound cake, but it will take you forever to get them, and your fingers can…

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Lost

Originally posted on Philip Carr-Gomm's Weblog:

sacredgrove

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~ David Wagoner

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Excerpt – Of Night and Day: Samhain Eve

“So I wonder, this year, is it possible for us to celebrate the living ancestors and not to have a gore-fest over dead remains of ancestors? The horror genre does not belong to this festival and only arose due to the Reformation when we stopped praying for the dead in Europe. Ancestors are like us. They loved, hoped, sat round the hearth, mourned their dear ones. Excluded ancestors can be scary because their pain overlaps our own lives: however, when we invite them to our hearth shrine, we begin to feel less abandoned ourselves.

It is the unmoving, lingering pain of ancestors who are stuck out of time that causes the horror and so why not do something about it? In his book, Images of the Soul, Dutch shaman, Daan van Kampenhout suggests this prayer whenever we encounter the pain of forebears: ‘Your pain is from the past. All that caused it has stopped now. Behind these tears is the pure strength of your soul. The soul is healthy and free, the suffering was only there when you lived, and now you live in spirit, so the pain has ended.’ Unless we actually address the excluded ancestors, then dawn will never arrive for them or for us.
Let’s try a different way and see what changes this Hallowe’en so that we can say this prayer with heartfelt joy:

I am the hallow-tide of all souls passing,
I am the bright releaser of all pain,
I am the quickener of the fallen seed-case,
I am the glance of snow, the strike of rain.
I am the hollow of the winter twilight,
I am the hearth-fire and the welcome bread,
I am the curtained awning of the pillow,
I am unending wisdom’s golden thread.

– Song of Samhain from Celtic Devotional by CM.”

Posted by Caitlín Matthews
http://caitlin-matthews.blogspot.com/2013/10/of-night-and-day-samhain-eve.html

The Brightness

Originally posted on Philip Carr-Gomm's Weblog:

Autumn-Lake

Falling autumn leaves teach us of the beauty of endings, of the bright flame of passion that doesn’t die but is reborn when life is transformed. The death of our bodies, relationships, dreams  and hopes can all feel deeply sad, and rightly so, for suffering is as real as joy, and loss is painful. But hidden within the darkness of loss lies a mystery, and although that mystery will always foil our attempts to understand it with our minds, Nature will sometimes offer us a clue as if to say: There! Can you see it in the brightness of these leaves?

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Clothed with Flowers

At our Beltane camp by the White Horse and at the Dryade camp in Holland I used a prayer from the meditation ‘Clothed with Flowers’, inspired by material from the Druid Plant Oracle. Since the prayer itself is nowhere in print, I thought I would share it here:

Enchanter’s Plant – Vervain – Herb of Grace, Holy Wort, Chief Herb, sacred to Venus and the Awen. May it bring inspiration, love, reconciliation and blessings into my life.

Guardian trees of elder, birch and hawthorn, I hold your berries elder and hawthorn, tears of your sap birch, and I ask for your blessings to drive away impurities, and to strengthen my heart.

Simple plantain – here with your leaves – Waybread of the Nine Herbs Charm – bring me the calm, the assertiveness, the resilience that I need.

Yarrow – Staunchgrass of the Diviner’s charm – bring me the stability of faith, the salve of faithfulness, the strength of virility, the healing of my wounds.

‘The Restorers’ – Painting by Will Worthington from The Druid Plant Oracle.

Valerian – All-heal and encourager of sleep, with your sweet scent, bring me calm, bring me deep peace.

Fairy flowers of primrose – prima rosa, first flower of hillside and garden, bring me love, bring me peace, bring me the blessings of Ceridwen’s cauldron.

Artemisia – Mugwort, Motherwort sacred to Venus – help me to see beyond the world of effects, to the world of causes and meaning, of beauty and power. May fatigue be banished, protection be always about me.

Mistletoe – drawn from oak and apple, seed of rebirth and of new life, All-heal of the Ancients – may my own life be refreshed at its roots, reborn with every dawn. May all be healed, may all be blessed…

Source: Philip Carr-Gomm’s Weblog