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Book Review: The Crane Bag by Joanna van der Hoeven

August 1st, 2017

THE CRANE BAG

By Joanna van der Hoeven

 

I read this slim volume on a two-hour ferry crossing between Dover and Dunkirk!

This morning I woke up (in our house set in the forest in Sweden) to the call of two cranes in the field in front of our house. It seems that today is the day for writing my review of this book. The cranes themselves say so!

This book is not actually about cranes though it does start with a Celtic crane myth. It is really a brief introduction to ritual tools and practices from the Druid tradition. “Held deeply within Celtic mythology, the crane bag is both a symbol of sovereignty, as well as an item containing the ritual tools of the Druid. With proper use, it can further the Druid in working with the tides of nature, finding his or her own place in the environment. Living in balance, harmony and peace” (- From the back cover).

This is a useful book for complete beginners taking their first steps in exploring Druidry. It will help you find out if this tradition is for you or not. If you want to delve deeper there are other books on the market (some by this same author but also by other authors) and if not, there is no harm done as this is a small and affordable book.

The author takes us through all the basics, from “What is ritual?” to why we may choose to carry staff and drum, as well as a bowl, knife, candles and incense in our crane bag. Having described the tools she takes us through the elements of Druid ritual: the Call for Peace, Casting the Circle, honouring the Spirits of Place and Three Worlds, the directions and ancestors and so forth.

I like the way she emphasizes the need to source our equipment in an environmentally conscious and sound way. She points out that a number of items can often be found in charity shops ( recycling is always preferable to using Mother Earth’s precious resources to make new items). She also explains how making tools for others is a sacred art for craftspeople (like drum makers). As a teacher of sacred art I agree completely!

The book opens with the story of how the Crane Bag came to be and introduces the legendary Celtic characters Aoife and Iuchra. It is a sad tale in many ways. She ends by asking: what happened to Iuchra and Ilbhreac (the male hero in this tale) and says that is a tale for another day. I had fully expected her to return to this question in the final chapter and answer it – but she doesn’t. To me this is an opportunity missed. A truly satisfactory story (or book) ties up loose ends, if only on the final page…

Other than that: this makes great summer reading for anyone keen to know a little bit more about Druids and their craft.

 

 

Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, July 2017

 

***

About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in August 2016.  

 

 

She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit 2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

 

 

Bad Witch Book Review
Pagan Portals: The Hedge Druid’s Craft by Joanna Van Der Hoeven

 


The Hedge: Intersectional Magick

 

What happens when a witch, a faery worker and druid blend these paths into one? Oddly this has been a question for me and my path for a while. Apparently according to this author her answer was the hedge, the edge of all three spaces. Liminality and the places between are where magick is created, where things are born and die. Finding the place where things meet, end and over-lap is always interesting.


This solution of sorts was pleasing to me, if missing something, though I could not say what.


I found once I got into the book proper (the pre-able was long and full of adverts/teasers for other books) I liked the open and easy tone of this authors work. Her voice was calm and I found her voice firm but unfussy.


I definitely was aware of a quiet (faery) knowing in her work, though her facts and explanations were simple enough to follow I feel like I might have to re-read this book several times more.


That in and of itself might tell you that I enjoyed this book.


There wasn’t a great deal that was “new” to me, but…the tantalizing idea that there might be someone else like me or similar was both comforting and unsettling. She speaks of the ease of blending these paths, which might be true for her, but for me has been quite challenging.


Our experiences were not the same of course but her methods and work ethic certainly mesh with mine a lot. Do the work, say the words, write what happened down. She says it much more politely than I usually do, maybe because I’ve had such interesting students…I digress.


She introduces and explains each part of her path openly, interestingly and well. She doesn’t go into flowery imaginings and her research is excellent.


Faery working is not easy and she doesn’t fall into the common mistakes of over or under estimating the “good neighbours”. She is circumspect (as one must be) and yet through in speaking about them. She speaks about her experiences with them and despite years of experience how unsettling a close encounter can actually be! There is no sugar coating how difficult walking the path (or riding the hedge) can be. She speaks of how lonely it can be to see the world from the edge instead of the middle. Valuable truths and comforting in equal measure.


There is a brief but more than competent over view of the wheel of the year and then she moves into the rites of Hedge Druid’s Craft.


The journey-workings are safe (as they can be) and rather beautiful. There is a power in sincerity and I swear I thought I had written


“By the power of three times three
As I will it, so may it be.”


Which the author uses throughout. It is spooky almost how similar my personal rites are to her work. As though the blackbird in my garden has been whispering in her ear! It is probably as simply as that this is what the faery have been whispering to each of us!


Her post rite grounding is also great.


Ancestors and its work with druid work has been a sticking point for me. My immediate family being something of a trash fire and much but my Irish line being an utter mystery makes this a real sore point for me, especially since my parents passing. Yet her advice is sound.


To speak of Gods then. I am like the author, reverent but not a natural kneeler. Her words are empowering and wise.


In all honesty I like this book a lot and it makes me feel uncomfortable in roughly equal measure.


I like it because it is extraordinarily like my path. It is full of wisdom and knowing, grace and simplicity. I think this is also why it makes me uncomfortable. It is like someone read my poetry or watched me while at my most private work. It feels like I have been “seen”.


Instead I might say, Joanna I hope to see you in The Dreaming.

 

Pagan Portals – The Hedge Druid’s Craft: An Introduction to Walking Between the Worlds of Wicca, Witchcraft and Druidry

Joanna van der Hoeven: Breathing the Ancient Breath

interview1

 

Joanna van der Hoeven is a best-selling author, teacher, and co-founder of Druid College UK. Joanna took some time out to speak to Mabh here at Pagan Pages.

Mabh Savage: Pagan Portals: The Awen Alone has been an incredibly popular release. Tell us a bit about the book, and why you think it has such wide ranging appeal.

Joanna van der Hoeven: I’m absolutely delighted at the reception The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid has received. It’s a book in the Pagan Portals series, a lovely series of books that provides an introduction to a certain topic in around 100 pages or less, and which are subsequently very affordable. I’ve had so many emails from readers, from all over the world, thanking me for this work and telling me how it has resonated with them, how it’s helped them to find their own path. I feel so blessed to have been a part of their journey, to have helped in some small way. Perhaps its wide-ranging appeal has to do with the fact that Druidry is a religion or spiritual tradition rooted in nature, which is all around us, all the time, and accessible to us each and every moment of our lives. To learn to live in balance and harmony with nature can never be a bad thing! The tenets of Druidry also work brilliantly with other traditions, from all over the world.

MS: What was your biggest challenge when writing the book?

JvdH: Trying to fit it all into 100 pages or less!

MS: And what did you enjoy the most about the process?

JvdH: I think the feedback that I’ve received from readers is the most wonderful part of it, to hear their stories, to learn about them and how they have interpreted the work. To know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life is so humbling, and so wonderful to experience. To have people take time out of their busy lives to write to you is simply heart-warming. If you’ve loved a book from an author, write to them, tell them! To have that human to human interaction, to hear that your words have been heard, can make all the difference to an author. A musician performing to an audience has instant feedback from the crowd, but authors often feel like they’re out there, writing and talking to themselves, not sure if there’s an audience out there listening or not. Writing can often be lonely. I enjoy working by myself, I enjoy solitude, but it’s still really nice to get feedback on your work.

MS: Zen for Druids hits our bookshelves very soon. Does this volume simply build on your earlier book, Pagan Portals: Zen Druidry, or is there a lot more to it?

interview2

 

 

JvdH: Zen for Druids: A Further Guide to Integration, Compassion and Harmony with Nature is the natural extension to the introductory Pagan Portals book, Zen Druidry. It dives deeper into some of the work from Zen Druidry, as well as covering a lot of new material. We examine very closely how Druidry and the teachings of Buddhism can combine, as well as how they can integrate into the eightfold Wheel of the Year. We take a closer look at meditation, its preparation and posture, and there is also a basic mindfulness meditation provided. There are also a couple of essays on mindfulness, as well as on integration: how to live an eco-centric life, as opposed to an ego-centric one. Zen Druidry: Living a Natural Life with Full Awareness is almost a pre-requisite for this work, if one is new to either Zen Buddhism, Druidry, or both. It covers the historical and practical background of both traditions, setting the scene for Zen for Druids.

MS: What prompted you to look at the cross over of Zen and Druidry?

JvdH: I had been practicing Zen Buddhism for years. I started out on my Pagan path as a Wiccan back in the early ’90s, and then stepped off that way for about five years to dive deeply into Zen Buddhism. When I found Druidry, I saw that they both had a lot in common with each other, and so I was able to combine and practice both, truly living each tradition with every breath. I did a lot of research, and discovered that Druidry shared many roots with other Dharmic traditions. Indeed, the words dru and vid appear in the Sanskrit language, and translate as “immersion in wisdom” or “immersion in knowledge”. There is a lot of research being done on the common Indo-European roots that Druidry shares with the traditions of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids even run a project called The One Tree Project, exploring and celebrating the idea that Indian and European culture share a common origin. It’s all very fascinating.

MS: How long have you been a druid?

JvdH: Well, I feel that I have been a Druid all my life, I just didn’t have a name for it. I came across Druidry around fifteen years ago, and it really resonated with me.

MS: And what’s the most important thing about being a druid in our modern world?

JvdH: I think it comes down to making your tradition relevant for the day and age in which you live. Druidry is all about having a deep love for nature, and allowing that love and reverence to inspire you to live your life accordingly. It’s important that a Druid walks her talk. It’s not just an academic exercise, or a spiritual escape, but a journey that incorporates all that you do, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, into how you live and breathe your Druidry.

MS: What prompted you to write Pagan Portals: Dancing with Nemetona?

interview3

 

 

JvdH: Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space was a labour of love, demonstrating my close work and devotion at the time to Nemetona, the goddess of Sanctuary and Sacred Space. I had worked deeply with her for many years, and this little book was a way of sharing my experiences of Her. It was so important for me at the time to have a place of sanctuary, to carry that sense of peace and calm with me wherever I was in the world. Dancing with Her, I was able to explore and extend myself even further into my studies in the Druid tradition, knowing that I was held in her embrace, that she would guide me where I needed to go.

MS: Do you think it’s important to reintroduce modern Pagans to more ‘obscure’ or partially forgotten deities?

JvdH: I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s important, but I do feel that research methodology is a tool that is necessary for the Pagan to develop. I had practiced my religion for many years, but not done the research. When I finally did the research, the tradition was even more inspiring, richer for all that work and knowledge. It’s important to know your roots, the roots of the tradition that you are following, as well as diving into comparative religion, so that you gain a better understanding of the world around you, in my opinion. That being said, you have to live your path, you can’t just read about it or study it. It’s not an academic exercise, but something that has to be incorporated into everyday life. There’s knowledge, which is gained through study, and then there’s wisdom, which is the application of knowledge in an experiential context.

MS: Are there any other lesser known deities or entities you are particularly close to or fascinated with?

JvdH: Lesser known, perhaps not. I have worked closely with Brighid these last few years, and have always been under the watchful eye of Morrigan all my life. Andraste has come to me in a tribal context this year, making the songs of the land where I live in Suffolk truly come alive.

MS: Do you have a favourite time of the year? If so, why?

JvdH: I love autumn. I adore autumn. My craft name is Autumn Song, for that very reason. It’s such a reflective and beautiful time of the year. Where I grew up in Quebec, Canada, autumn (fall) is a gorgeous display of colour and smells: the fiery hues of maple and the golden birches and the scent of wood smoke on the wind. I love the warm sun and cool breezes, the crisp nights and misty mornings. I love the sense of everything winding down. Twilight is my favourite time of day, and I get that sense all season long with autumn. Here where I live in Suffolk, UK, it’s also the season of the deer rut, where the stags proudly display their enormous racks, calling to the does. The smaller herds come together, and it’s so lovely to see them, from about 50 to 100 strong, running across the heathland and through the forest all autumn and winter. I only wish that the season was longer!

MS: And if you had to pick one special or sacred place above all others, where would this be?

JvdH: I’m not sure I could pick just one place. My backyard is just as sacred and special to me as Avebury’s stone circle is, or the Red and White Springs in Glastonbury. I love being in the Scottish Highlands, or out on the mountaintops of the Lake District. I adore the national parks of Quebec, where you can camp alongside the bears and wolves. The forests where I grew up hold a special place in my heart, where my imagination was able to roam free in my teenage years, creating stories and allowing me to open my soul to the songs of nature.

MS: Tell us a bit about Druid College UK.

JvdH: Druid College UK is a three-year training programme for people interested in the Druid tradition. It’s run over four weekends a year, with lectures, ritual, guest speakers and more. The college devotes its presence to preparing priests of nature, to help people develop their skills and knowledge in the Druid tradition in the capacity that works best for them, and to provide a platform for their ongoing and also further studies. It’s about living a life in service to the land, to the gods and to the ancestors. It all comes down to service, for those who wish to take up the mantle of service, where we can find perfect freedom and deep sacred relationship.

In Year 1 we begin with a deep dive into the core principles of Druidry. The course will cover the three aspects of druid training, exploring the gifts and crafts of the Bard, Ovate, and Druid. Each core craft works to reweave our soul connection to the land we live in. The goal is not to make every person a druid, but to learn how to craft a sacred relationship to the land, the people, and the Divine. This is the beginning of the path, not the end. The first year will provide the student many tools to explore the world around them, helping regain that sense of wonder we had as children, dancing in the beauty of Nature, running through the world guided by our curiosity. Using the three worlds of Land, Sea and Sky, with sacred Fire at the centre as our framework for the year, we guide the student in how to work intimately with Nature, how to craft a deeper, more wakeful relationship to the Earth. Using tools from Druidry, we wake up our soul. We learn to listen with our entire being. Reweaving our connection to the land and our personal cultural heritage, we find our place in the world. Year One is a deeply transformational year. It offers the student an intense study into the world of Druidry and Nature-based spirituality. Providing experiential learning opportunities, each gathering is wrapped in ritual with study and mentoring between weekends.

With Year 2, having journeyed a full year reweaving our connection to Nature, rooting ourselves in the land, year two leaps into realms of myth and transformation, we dive head-long into “Cerridwen’s cauldron”, so to speak. This is a year of working with energy, the unseen as we learn to build bridges between us, our ancestors, and the spirits of nature. This is a year of deeply shamanic exploration, learning the arts of transformation and “shapeshifting” – essential tools for priests of Nature. The use of ritual and trance is heavily emphasized in year two. Where year one was about finding ourselves, working to understand edges and boundaries, year two is about crafting flexible boundaries, so that we may change and shift them as needed. Exploring potentiality, possibility and prophecy, year two is about letting go into the darkness, seeking inspiration without limits. In year two we learn about integration, allowing growth for the “I” without the “me” getting in the way. We learn to let our edges soften, becoming one with the landscape, allowing our souls the opportunity for immersion with the natural world around us. We learn our own importance without being self-important, and we learn the importance and sacredness of all existence. Year two also focuses on developing teachers (if one chooses this role). The goal isn’t simply to provide experiences for the apprentice to do their own work. We are dedicated to true equality. We train apprentices, not students. Therefore we teach people how to facilitate these same practices and sacred rites for their own students and apprentices. Year two is learning about leadership and responsibility. Having journeyed through light and dark, through myth and metaphor, rooted firmly in the Earth, supported by our ancestors and having crafted true intimate connection with the gods, we are able to take on the role of priest, as Druid, as Shaman, Witch, whatever the appropriate name for our work. At the centre of all of this is walking with the wisdom of Nature, fed by Nature, taught by Nature, healed by Nature. Having done this work, we have the skills and potential to lead others back into the forest of great learning and wisdom.

The nature of Year 3 is that of being in the role as priests. This is a year of one walking their path and sharing their activities with the staff and other apprentices, learning from each other and acknowledging the work. It consists of: Declaring your “Chair” and manifesting it locally, purposeful sharing in community, applied trancing as priestly evolution, and training to lead ecstatic ritual. It’s a more independent year of study, where we gather only twice in the year to discuss our work all together. It’s about finding that place where we can be of service, and living it out in our everyday life.

MS: When you aren’t writing or teaching, how do you relax?

JvdH: I think it’s very important to take time out for yourself, to recharge the batteries, so to speak. I do so by taking long walks out in the countryside, by reading lots and lots of books, by visiting my family and friends back in Canada. I like to relax in the autumn and winter months by listening to music, lectures, podcasts and so on while knitting. Meditation is an important part of my daily life, and it helps me to reconnect with myself, bringing the illusory divide between the physical and the spiritual tumbling around my ears. I also like to get away with my husband for long weekends, perhaps taking the canoe out and exploring new rivers, or hiking a part of this land that we’ve never seen before.

MS: And finally, what other projects do you have on the horizon?

JvdH: I’ve just finished writing another Pagan Portals book, entitled The Crane Bag: A Druid’s Guide to Ritual Tools and Practices. It should be ready by spring 2017. It covers a lot of material that can be easily overlooked in other sources, and puts it all together in one convenient place. I’m also currently working on another book, a full length book on Druidry in a sort of fictional context. I’m using the style of a colloquy, a dialogue between student and teacher, to present the work. I hope to have it released by late autumn/early winter 2017. I’m also exploring putting out some music in the next couple of years, because I’ve always enjoyed singing and playing instruments. It’s important not to restrict yourself to one medium of expression, at least in my opinion, in order to keep that curiosity that keeps us going strong.

For more information on Joanna van der Hoeven, please visit her website at www.joannavanderhoeven.com/. She blogs at Down the Forest Path, as well as having a Down the Forest Path Video Blog. She also blogs for SageWoman Magazine, and writes for The Druid Network. You can support Joanna at her Patreon Page.

Mabh Savage is a journalist, musician and author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. Find out more here.

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

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(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

(Original graphic by: Violscraper)

Book
Review & Interview

Practical
Magic

A Beginner’s Guide to Crystals, Horoscopes, Psychics & Spells

I was lucky enough to receive
a copy of the beautiful book “Practical Magic”, written by
Nikki Van De Car and illustrated by Katie Vernon. This book was
published by Running Press Philadelphia, in 2017. It’s a beginner’s
guide to all things magical. It’s 152 pages long and is a hard back
book. There is an optional kit that accompanies this book, that comes
with a mini-book, 2 crystal tumbles, temporary tattoos, and a fold
out natal chart. Both the book and kit are available through many
retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. The book is also
available for kindle. I was able to dig into both the book and the
awesome kit, so read on to hear my opinions.

First off, both the book and
kit are so beautiful! I love hardback books, and even more so if they
have a gorgeous cover with an appealing title and artwork. The
artwork throughout this book is very lovely.

This book is an amazing book
for anyone new to magic or metaphysical topics, as it covers many,
many topics and gives a nice overview of the subjects to get you
started. In the introduction of the book, Nikki says it perfectly:

“Here’s the thing-you
don’t have to believe in magic to enjoy this book. You just have to
want to.”

I LOVE that!

This book has 3 parts, (1)
Healing for Hedge Witches, (2) Magic for the Weekend Wiccan, and (3)
Casual Clairvoyance.

There is information on so
many topics, here are some (there are many more), auras, palm
reading, tarot, crystals, sabbats, horoscopes/astrology, dream
interpretation, herbs, chakras, and some recipes and spells too. It’s
chock full of subjects I personally am very interested in, and I know
most of my friends would be as well.

The book is geared toward
beginners to magic, but as someone that’s been involved in magic for
a long time, I still found the book educational and fun to read. Some
topics I’m more familiar with than others, but each chapter I got
something out of. I think anyone would enjoy this book very much.

Their is a very nice kit that you can get to accompany the book. In the kit you get an adorable mini book, a gemmy rose quartz tumble, a gorgeous tigers eye tumble, metallic & horoscope temporary tattoos and a fold out natal chart you can fill in with your birth info. There are sections in the book that will teach you about both the crystals and how to fill out the natal chart.

I love this kit, it ties in
with the book perfectly and is such a fun addition! If you know me at
all, you know I LOVE crystals, so I was thrilled two beautiful ones
were included!

Including the natal chart was
a great idea and very helpful for those new to astrology. And I’m
also a big fan of metallic flash tattoos, so love that this fun
element was included. The kit is also a great price for all that’s
packed in.

I thoroughly enjoyed both this
book and the kit. This would make a perfect gift for someone
interested in all things magical. Its also available through many
sites and at a fair cost. I highly recommend this book and kit!

Nikki
was so kind…
as to answer some questions I had for her.
Here are my questions and her responses.

Retha:
What inspired you to write this book?

Nikki:
I just love magic. I always have- I was the kid that talked to trees,
hoping a dryad would answer. As I got older, I let all of that go,
but writing this book gave me the freedom to get close to that
feeling again. It gave me permission to be open to that kind of
wonder- and that’s what I wanted to share.

Retha:
What is one thing you hope readers learn from your book?

Nikki:
I want people to recognize the power of their own will. Over and over
again in the book I say ‘magic is about intention’. And so it doesn’t
matter how you want to channel your intention, your will, your magic-
whether its through chakras or dreams or herbal remedies. What
matters is how you live your life in that sense of personal power and
possibility.

Retha:
What made you decide to include a kit to go along with your book?

Nikki:
This was my publishers idea! Its a fantastic addition, and I just
love it.

Retha:
Who is your target demographic with this book?

Nikki:
It’s pretty feminine, so for sure women. I’m in my late 30s and I
would 10/10 buy this book, so for sure I’m part of that target
demographic! But I feel like there’s an insurgency of a younger
generation of Wicca-curious millenials, and I hope this book can
support them.

Retha:
How long have you been interested in magical practices?

Nikki:
After I grew up and got all adulty, I let go of magic for a long
time. It was only within the past 5 years or so that I began to
reconnect with my love of magic- when I sort of re-met that part of
myself, and I found I still really like her! Once I gave myself
permission to explore magic again, I started incorporating rituals,
spells, herbal healing, and the like into my daily life.

Retha:
What is your favorite section in the book?

Nikki:
Personally, I turn to the herbal healing section ALL THE TIME. It’s
the most practical. But I loved writing the section on pagan
holidays, and those have become a large part of life. I love ritual
and holidays, and having explored the meanings of these celebrations,
I have found I really wanted to make them a part of my family’s life.

Retha:
Are you planning on writing more books on magical/metaphysical
content?

Nikki:
Yes! In fact I have 2 more on the way! “Magical Places”
is coming out in 2019 and “Wellness Witch” will follow
shortly thereafter! “Magical Places” explores the haunted,
healing and fairy-occupied places of the world, and “Wellness
Witch” expands on some of the healing practices in “Practical
Magic” with specific recipes and rituals.

You
can reach
Nikki
Van De Car
through

Instagram:
@nikkivandecar

Website: nikkivandecar.com

I
hope you enjoyed both my review and my interview with the lovely
Nikki, and hope you will check out her website and book!! A huge
thank you to Nikki for answering my questions & sending me her
book to review and enjoy!

***

About
the Author:

Retha
N. Lent

has been married for 17 years to her husband Mark & they have
four cats that are their life. She lives in Norristown, Pa. Retha has
her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences
from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s
Crystals
” & sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry &
specimens on her FB business page. She has a FB group for her
customers and those interested in learning more about crystals &
all things magical called “Retha’s
Crystal Circle
“. She is also an advisor in the Sage
Goddess
Affiliate
Program.
She has her Holistic Healing Certificate and Pillars of Priestessing
certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an Ordained Pagan
Minister from the Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for
crystals, nature, astrology, working with moon cycles, ritual
practices, tarot and oracle cards, runes, essential oils, herbs,
manifestation work, ancient cultures, magic & music. Her favorite
place is New Orleans, La. Retha has an extensive personal crystal
collection and loves sharing her love of crystals with the world. She
has been a practicing pagan since she was 16 years old. 

You
can reach her at [email protected]
or on her business
page on FB
:
https://www.facebook.com/Rethas-Crystals-197411227666484/

Or
in her
FB group
:

Her
Sage
Goddess
affiliate link is:

www.sagegoddess.com/ref/84/

Or
follow her on Instagram at @spookygirl16

Book
Review

The
Bardic Book of Becoming

An
Introduction to Modern Druidry

by
Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

Ivan
McBeth died peacefully at home on September 23.2016, and his name and
work remains as that one of the penultimate Druids. Reading the
introduction and the words of his partner, Fern Lickfield drew me
into this book well before the actual meat of the book. And, the
closing words of Orion Foxwood, completed a beautiful book of hope,
teaching and wisdom in the way of the bard.

This
is a book of beginnings that offers those new to the path of Druidry
solid foundation in a style of mystery and magick that has survived
and evolved into a modern practice that honors the earth that was, is
and can be. This book is chockfull of visualizations, rituals and
stories filled with the keys of understanding that will open the
doors of personal experience.

A
most endearing approach is that of Ivan offering his own stories of
how he came to a path of Druidry, what it meant to him and how he
wished to enchant the world with these teachings that emanate from a
history that systemically wove the natural world and man into a dance
of collaborative embrace and mutual support.

Ivan
begins the teachings in Chapter One, entitled We
Are One
. A simple, yet profound
statement that he continues to peel back the layers of in reminding
us that we began inseparable from the Earth’s Mother and although
we have recently lost our way, the choice is ours to return to that
place of symbiotic union and relationship with everything.

We
learn that there are three levels/grades of training that form the
Druid Path, the Bard-the Ovate and finally the becoming of a Druid.
This study and path is one of commitment, the early Druids training
for at least twenty years and all of that training oral in its
passing on. Nothing was recorded. That was the way of the ancient
Druids. There have been revisions to this in keeping with the demands
of modern society and the inability n most cases to devote all of
one’s life and time to this training.

Part
One
moves smoothly and clearly
through al that is required to begin the foundations of a Drudic
practice. It is rich with visualizations, exercises, and
opportunities to create your own experiences that will form the
scaffolding of who and what you become as you evolve and grow in a
natural and wholistic world. The mere telling of Ivan’s experiences
is a mystical gateway filled with passkeys and inspired ways of
practice. This style adds a personal approach and engages the reader
into a palpable experience in the re-telling. This also exemplifies
the ways of the Druids in past years and the power of their teachings
handed down through storytelling and oral rendition. We are one and
our stories all lead to the mysteries of who and what we are on this
planet and in this time.

Part
Two
dedicates its chapters to the
Elements and the role they play in the practice of Druidry. These are
the cornerstones of the natural world and as such are held in the
utmost sacredness to those on a Druid’s path. I particularly liked
the way in which Ivan drew you in with experience and a very simple,
yet rich in layers of meaning accounting of the energies.

In
keeping with the tradition of experience that is so richly laden
within a Druid’s path, I am purposefully keeping this review brief.
The greater worth of its information is to be found by your diving
into its pages and immersing yourself in an ancient practice of
cultivating awareness of all
that is of this natural world; most importantly ourselves. This book
is a treasure of wisdom for anyone on a spiritual path that
integrates our responsibility as stewards of our planet and our
inter-connectedness. It is a read I would highly recommend, not as
encouragement of taking this path as your own, although you may find
that resonance, but simply as a book dedicated to living in accord
with the mysteries and magic of the Cosmos and how we may empower
that work within ourselves.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Robin
Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She
is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The
Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s
Written in the Stars

Astrology

The
Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry
of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The
Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening
the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A
Year With Gaia on Amazon

The
Eternal Cord

Temple
of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous
Devotions

The
Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A
Collection of Esoteric Writings

The
Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning
the Parts of SELF

The
Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings
on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping
with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights
of Devotion

A
Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings
for the Year

Her
books are available on Amazon
 or
on this website
 and
her Blogs
 can
be found at
Robin
Fennelly
 

Follow
Robin
 on
Instagram & Facebook.

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