Druish and those Druids

I’ve been doing tons of soul searching these days about this Druish (Druid) thing –   Is it important to have in my life? And why? And what does that mean?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is important in my life and not in the way that it has been previously.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that for me Druidry is not a Religion in and of itself, at least not to someone like myself who practices a very Heathen/Norse Religion.  For me Druid/Druish goes beyond any kind of specific tenet or dogma or even mythology.  It carries with it a history of Nature, Truth, and Mysticism that has a definition hundreds of years long through many varied changes, organizations, and minds.  It’s difficult to say for me that any particular era in that long history is any more relevant than another…

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I’ve been trying on the operations and rituals of a few different Druid groups. Most have very Wiccan-esque, Golden Dawn inspired aspects that just don’t sit well with me.  I mainly stick with a Fire, Well, Tree composition as the basis for much of my religious work, which stems from studies of Indo-european mytho constructs.  I’m just not well suited to a Hermetically inspired religious framework I’m finding, so most of the revival era Druidisms are not cutting it.  More than anything I’m personally finding that Druidry is not a central focus of my practice but an addition.  My practice is not going to change drastically and if you’ve read my Morning Devotional posts you’re more or less familiar with it.  I am very happy with my Religious practice as it is and I’m not going to pepper it with components that don’t jive with it such as directional honorings or elemental correspondences or cabalistic craziness.  I’m still working on a personal definition of Druid –  but Nature, Truth, Mysticism (a definition that sat well with me some 10-15years ago) pretty much sums it up,  though one of Peace, Knowledge, and Power sounds good too. Those definitions don’t contain a ‘this is how Druids do ritual’ or this is what they believe slogan, it merely holds a philosophical outlook.

So where does that leave me.  I think it leaves me with RDNA, or it’s like; A non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic, and a very non-specific form of Druishishness that is not Revival based, but is Reformed and open.  The one thing I didn’t like about ADF is that it calls itself a Religion ” ADF will be a Neopagan religion..,” in the words of it’s founder, Isaac Bonewits.  I can respect that vision, but it’s not what Druid means to me.

I’m left wondering still if I need to belong to or support a Druid organization or if my current practice is enough.  Druidry does not modify my practice but energizes it, it is not a practice in and of itself but a mindset…in the end perhaps it really doesn’t matter one way or another.

 

Moving On and Beyond

So, it’s been about a month since leaving ADF.  I’m not sure yet where I stand…kind of odd to still be using much of the liturgy found within the Org and yet not officially being a part of it.   But then the ritual structure of Fire, Well, Tree: Ancestors, Nature Spirits, Gods – certainly is not ADF exclusive as it has it’s roots in Indo-european myth and cosmology and can be easily found with very little research.

I have contemplated more than once why I don’t just rejoin if my practice is going to be similar to what it’s been for the near decade of my membership.  But then my leaving wasn’t necessarily based on my agreement or disagreement with the philosophy behind the Orgs ritual frame (although I do have certain issues with it and have for years trimmed away much of what I didn’t like)….it was more on the current motivating vision found in the physical Org.

It’s been rather cathartic being a freelance pagan again.  Though no member of any Org should ever feel locked into a certain mode of religious practice – not being a card holding member of this or that feels a bit boundless.  I’ve thought about membership in a few other Orgs…AODA, The Troth, FoDLA, OBOD, RDNA to name a few.   I did join the Troth, as I feel the richness of the membership pool and the openness of their ritual form still allows me the freedom to pursue a practice that is mine.  Also the Troth is of value to me in that it is specifically Germanic/Norse/Teutonic based, and positive in it’s outlook.  One of the things that annoyed me about being in ADF was that I had to explain what my membership meant.  I’ve never considered myself a ‘Druid’ and I’m not a Celtophile, I’d always have to add a cavaet about being a Heathen within a primarily Celtic/Druid leaning organization, it gets tiring.

If I were to join a ‘Druid’ org again it would probably be along the lines of RDNA or OBOD, a more philosophically based form of Druidry that is more personal and less dogmatic, and not as Theistic.   However I don’t feel the need to belong to any of these yet or to support them with my dues or membership…I’m still trying to cleanse my palate a bit.  If there’s one thing I’m questioning after leaving ADF is my Hard Polytheist stance while under it’s banner.  That’s not to say that I’m not as pious in my practice only that it seems to be changing.

I’m also thinking deeply about getting an independent Heathen group off the ground in my area, a challenging endeavor that has failed in the past.

 

 

Days of the week – Prayers

Thursday

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Thorr

Great son of the ancient earth, May I be brave this day as you are brave; May I know strength this day as you are strong; May I know courage this day as you are courageous; May I trust and defend the goodness of my brothers and sisters as you know and defend the goodness of mankind. Great son and friend of man on this day, Thors-day, may you be named and remembered!
 Thors Prayer

 

Friday

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Frigga

Great Lady of Asgard, May I be wise this day as you are wise; May I be patient this day as you are patient; May I know the peace of silence as you know that peace; May I use my words calmly and concisely as you employ your words rationally and rarely.
Great Lady of Asgard on this day, Frigs-day, may you be named and remembered!
Frigga’s Prayer

 

Sunday

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Sunna

Great Lady of Illumination, May I be bright this day as you are bright; May I be swift of thought as you are quick across the sky; May I shine this day as you shine; May my will be sure and clear as you are bold and radiant.
Great Lady of Illumination on this day, Sunna’s-Day, may you be named and remembered!
Sunna’s Prayer

 

Monday

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Mani

Great Son of Night, May I be steadfast as you are steadfast; May I realize time as an asset as you hold it fast; May I know the blessings of prayer as you bless the dark; May I trust that there will be a well lit path just as you will always be brilliant in darkest night.
Great Son of Night, Great ‘Gleamer’ and ‘Teller of Time’ on this day, Moons-Day, May you be named and remembered!
Mani’s Prayer

 

Tuesday

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Tyr

Great Father of Order, May I be honest as you are honest this day; May I know and live my Troth this day as you know and live yours this day; May I stand tall this day as you radiate from above; May I seek betterment via my sacrifices as you have sacrificed for the good of all.
Great Father of Order on this day, Tyrs-Day, may you be named and remembered!
Tyr’s Prayer

 

Wednesday

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Odinn

Great Father of Mystery, May I be impassioned this day as you are passionate this day; May I seek answers this day as you seek answers this day; May I sing strongly this day as you sing this day; May I walk a road of bold decisions and wise ways as you great Walker and Seeker travel nine worlds of foe and friend, word and deed, lore and story.
Great Father of Mystery on this day, Wodan’s-Day, may you be named and remembered!
Odinn’s Prayer

Updates, Memberships, and Resignations.

The biggest thing on my mind lately related to this blog is my standing with ADF at the moment.  Not that the Org cares so much, but I’m deeply considering my place within it.  I am burdened by questions that do not have easy answers.  ADF has been a big part of my life for almost a decade…This post has been a long time coming, a few years I would say.  I have long pondered whether being a part of this particular Org is a benefit and this post is about choosing not to ignore the questions that have arisen.

After having detailed some of my concerns with the study programs to those who oversee them no reply came.  It’s not this alone that is upsetting me about my affiliation with ADF these days, but it certainly does not help.  My overall concern is that ADF is, or is becoming, the very thing I depise in large Orgs of this sort.   Eventually the Office and Overseers of large Orgs don’t care about the average member.  Is paganism perhaps not well represented by large Orgs?…I’m beginning to think that the idea of Orgs built to hold Pagans beneath an immense canopy of relateable philosophies is an erroneous endeavor.  Perhaps Paganism is best understood locally and via small personal cells of like-minded persons.

But then I also ask myself if Pagans do better when affiliated with a large Org.  Do we need the power of a large Org to protect and further the goals of Paganism in our modern day?  Does the meer existence and membership with Orgs as large as ADF insure a political power that Pagans may be without otherwise?  Does my membership in ADF say anything of relevance?

Another post of mine Contemplation of Continuance had me writing a bit about what thoughts cause me to re-up my ADF membership every year.  I’d thought I’d ask those same questions again in light of my current mindset…

This post tends to be tough on ADF.  And I don’t necessarily mean it to be that way.  I’m not ranting on what ADF is or has become, merely on my place within it and where I am on my Pagan path these days.

Have I grown as a religious person because of membership?  I can honestly say No here.  I have not been challenged by my activity and membership for a few years now.  Does there need to be a constant state of growth…no, but what good is being a part of something if it’s only my money that an Org has.  Being that ADF cannot get it’s act together in terms of Study Courses, I see no other way to answer this.  The bigger question should be if I think ADF should even try to better it’s programs…this is one of the things I’m wrestling with.

Is ADF an organization that does good? Um..I’m not sure.  The Groves within ADF certainly address the local Pagan communities need in a way.  I’m not sure that it’s doing good by being so obviously elitist in it’s theology and ordination process, however.  I’ve had the sense from the very beginning with ADF that it was the home of snobbish academics (I perhaps fall into this category on occasion), even experiencing it directly…and that feeling has only grown through the years.  That’s not to say that I’m not proud to be a member (or past member) of an academically rigourous Org, but it has its place. So I think I’m on the fence with this question.  I think perhaps the philosophy of ADF is good; Open ritual, academic honesty, reconstructionism curbed by modern culture.  Is it enough to keep me passionate about my membership?

Have I learned?  I think I’ve learned in spite of belonging to the Org.  Not good…not good at all.

Is ADF fun? No.  It’s getting to be a chore.  This very debate that I’m having with myself about the benefits of being or not being a member is an example of that.

I’ve heard stories of other members having a rough time of the programs as well and leaving to pursue other avenues of study and ordination.  For me it’s not ordination at all cost, or by the easiest means possible, and this is by far not the be all end all reason for thinking of moving on and out of the Org.  I’ve been a Pagan for all of my adult life, and I’ve never thought that an Org can declare a person clergy…that is up to the Community itself not to an Org thousands of miles away.

In the time it took me to type this up and ponder what my ongoing affiliation with ADF means I’ve come to the realization that perhaps it is time to sever my time with ADF, that maybe I have learned all I can during my stay and that I am actually excited by the prospect of being out from under it’s canopy.  I’ve thus sent an email to the ADF Office resigning my membership and await confirmation.

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A Game of Tarot: Video follow-up

A video follow-up to my other post, A Game of Tarot concerning the game Queens of Fate: A solitaire Tarot game.

This is by no means a How to Play tutorial.  It’s merely meant to give you a look at the setup and a fast play through to get you started.

 

 

Rules for the game can be found here: http://voices.yahoo.com/a-tarot-game-queens-fate-4787196.html?cat=34

A Game of Tarot

Here’s a good little solitaire game that will give you some time with Tarot.  It’s called Queens of Fate.  It’s a good metaphysical and Occult themed game that even though it’s mundane in aspect really carries alot of symbolism if your paying attention.  I’ve been playing it for some time and even though the rules at first are strange, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it.

So, if you have a bit of free time and want to give it a go, the rules can be found here: Queens of Fate

Perhaps I’ll do a Youtube video on it.  It’s a pretty challenging game, and I like to use it as teaching aid.  When a card comes up I’ll go over its meaning and depending on the time I have I’ll see how it interacts with whats already on the table.  It’s also fun to see what cards ‘defeat’ others or work together to clear another from play.

This is me playing Queens of Fate with my Star Wars Tarot deck:

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Queens of Fate

The main focus of the game takes place with the cards on the blue mat > I keep my Queens at the top, the next layer down are the Court cards, and the next the Minors that come into play.  On the left of the mat the draw pile (Destiny) is on the bottom left, drawn cards go directly to the right (challenge area), and Fate cards above that. My two discarded piles are for Major Arcana which with this Tarot deck are the black boarder cards face up, and the one laying horizontal on the top left face down are the minors along with the court cards – basically anything not a Major Arcana.  My play area differs a little from the rules, but I accomplish the same thing.

I’m not gonna go over the rules, because it takes a bit of practice to understand them fully.  I may post a video shortly playing a few hands.

Overall this is a fun game to play that if you’re open enough can not only be entertaining but also enlightening.

Portable Rune Magic(K): Sitting within Yggdrasil

Follow up post in the spirit of another : Cosmological Contrivances and Magickal Mechanisms

After having given a quick workshop on the magic(K)al work discussed in my Cosmological Contrivances and Magickal Mechanisms post, I was asked by an attendee for a possible Rune working that accomplished the same goals; that being magic(K) on the fly without any tools but Runes (and a more Pagan rather than Hermetic working).

I’d been working on something like this for some time and had yet to finalize my notes into a coherent system that could be easily worked and understood.  The difference between the Tarot and Runes is a fairly stark one.  Modern Tarot is greatly influenced by Hermeticism and correspondences developed by the Golden Dawn that reflect a judeo-christian/Kabbalistic sensibility.  Runes are a more tribal wisdom, and a more pagan/indo-european tool and esoteric paradigm.  It’s important to be aware of these differences when trying to use either in the way we want to with this practice, as they each require a different approach and outlook.

Donald Tyson puts forward in his book Portable Magic a fast and quick system of magic(K) that utilizes only Tarot as it’s tool.  Tarot is used to create the ceremonial area, to represent all the tools of the magician, and to enable complex workings to be simplified.  The crux of the system is in the Tarot representing the universe by means of the astrological symbolism found within the Major Arcana.  The Major Arcana become the Magicians circle, the Minor Arcana the things the Mage wants to bring into his life, the Aces the altar upon which the Mage works.  Another key component of Tyson’s portable magic(K) is not only the physical working of the cards and their setup, but the Magician is also asked to create a life size Astral ritual area that correlates directly with the physical working so that both are working together.

 

Portable Rune Magic(K)

The ritual area:  The circle is fundamental to Tyson’s system, but not necessarily so to the more Pagan version of his working that I wanted to recreate.  To get an idea of the circle take a look at the picture provided.  We are not trying to recreate the cosmos as Tyson does in his Ceremonial/Hermetic system but instead recreating the Multiverse and it’s many worlds as per Teutonic wisdom.  The Magician sits within his circle, but also within the mandala of Yggdrasil and among the nine worlds.  The horizontal access is represented by Niflheim in the north, Muspellheim in the south, Jotunheim in the east, and Vanaheim in the west.  Asgard, Lossalfheim, Svartalfheim, and Hel should be thought of as vertical.

Midgard is within the circle where the Mage stands.  Jera and Eiwhaz represent Midgard, Jera the turning of seasons and Eiwhaz the Axis upon which the world moves.  Othal is the Magician herself standing upon Midgard in the center of the Worlds.  The Altar is built using the Runes that embody the Aetts and their wisdom; Fehu, Hagal, and Tyr.

 

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Working Area – Yggdrasil

Example of a working

A working begins by laying out your Runes in the pattern described.  Before beginning take a few breaths to reach a calm state of mind.  Realize that you sit before a circle of stones, place the card that is meant to represent yourself upon Jera and Eiwhaz, you are now within that circle, upon Midgard.

Touch each card vocalizing or singing the Rune (exclude the Altar Runes for now), in your minds eye see it rise in light upon the stone.  Once finished pause and reflect on the power of the Rune and their presence around you.  Again touch the cards but this time name the world it represents.  See the circle becoming a living presence, it may take on the resemblance of Yggrdasil – the living tree and holder of all worlds…or each world may take the place of the stones, or the stones may remain – however you mentally or astrally see this just be sure that you realize that the worlds are here and now and you stand among them and before them.  If you are using the Rune Mandala for meditation or contemplation you can stay at this point, if you’re using this practice for magic(K)al reasons you can move on.

The Altar is utlized to realize the Magicians will.  From the remaining Runes choose one (or more for compounding or clarifying the focus) that symbolizes your need or desire, you can also create your desire from paper or draw a picture, or use your imagination.  Before placing the focus of your will (and the reason for the rite) upon the Rune altar touch each Rune of the altar and vocalize it’s name.  In your minds eye ignite the stone altar to life, the Runes alight upon or within it as you sing or say them.

Once the altar is activated your object, card, or imagining will be placed on the altar.  Your focus will be on that item alone, your will should be pushed toward the item with all the clarity you can muster.  It’s important to note that the Magician’s power is not due to the circle or the power of the worlds; the power for this is generated from the knowledge gained by standing within the Multiverse, she is not a slave to their powers but an awakened participant in the Multiverse and it’s creative and pulsing existence.  This is the power of the Runester.

Once you feel that you’ve saturated your desire with your will, cut your tie with the Altar and setp mentally back from the altar and what you’ve worked.  Sit for a moment and gather your thoughts, come back fully into the present moment and where you sit.  After a minute or two gather up the Runes in whatever way suits you.  You should shuffle or toss the Runes together in order to diffuse the energy of the working and to further distance yourself from what you’ve worked as not to drain further energy.