druid

Gael Song

July, 2019

The Druid Garden, Edible Forest Magic

Because I worry about the overuse of chemicals across the earth, monoculture on huge farms that leave the soil depleted, the clear cutting of trees for building, so soil that has taken 500 years to build up is washed away in the next big storm or two, I am hooked on edible forest gardens! They are meant to be as simple as can be, ending up as a hunter-gatherer’s dream come true. And EASY! All those Monsanto chemicals kill the network of tiny micronutrients in the soil, too, organisms that break down organic matter into forms the plants and trees can absorb. Without micronutrients, plants and trees starve. If you are using herbicides on your grass, stop, now! Overuse of chemicals has killed off most of the honeybees, too, so those massive farms are now in a pollinator crisis. But honeybees think an edible forest garden is heaven on earth and come zooming in to thrive all summer long. If food grows scarce in the future from all those Monsanto misuses, the edible forest garden is my personal hope for a simple and natural solution. Everyone should have one!

This year, I moved into a new home, (one I own as opposed to rentals for many years) so, I could FINALLY have an edible garden of my very own! This has been the most fun part of moving, joy that is only beginning as the apples and blueberries plump up and ripen. I will take you through the whole building process, so you can see how any five year old could do this. Beginning a garden after a move is the best possible time because my gardens always begin with sheet mulching, a permaculture technique in which cardboard is laid down over grass and weighted with a few stones to keep it from blowing away. I recycled very little cardboard from my move. And in 3-4 months, the grass underneath has died and the cardboard disintegrated to become organic matter in the soil, enriching it. Be sure to remove the plastic tape and staples, though (the plastic comes off as easily as can be after the cardboard has been outside through a few rains). Sheet mulching eliminates the need for rototilling or digging to turn grass under, both of which also disturb the micronutrient network beneath the soil for 2 years or more. Sheet mulching is a peaceful, simple way to prepare an area for planting, cardboard best laid down in the fall for spring planting.

Every edible forest garden has three layers, a tall tree canopy, an intermediate height shrubby level, and ground covers. Many druids believe in three realms; above, middle, and below just like this. And a forest garden especially is druid to the core! And once the ground covers fill in, there’s no need for mulching with bark or sawdust on the soil level. I was surprised how many plants will fruit or bear under a thin tree canopy in dappled shade. And plants in edible forest gardens are meant to be perennial. Yes, perennial! This means NO digging once the initial planting is done (with the possible exception of a bit of weeding before those ground covers fill in Such edible forest gardens have the most PEACEFUL undisturbed feeling when they mature, like Eden. And one can walk through and harvest nuts or fruit or greens for years to come with very little care. I only add compost around my forest plants in the spring, for compost is loaded with micronutrients, and all my plants sigh in pleasure when it gets watered in, I can feel it. Then, aside from harvesting, which is pure delight, not work, and a bit of pruning or weeding, and organic spraying on the fruit trees if pests come in (I’ve dusted mine with spinosad only once this year), that’s the only work an edible forest garden needs every year.

Some of the plants can get out of hand, and you’ll have to decide how much of this you want to tolerate when you choose what to put in. Most edible forest gardens look like a jungle when they mature. But I am one of those folks who likes neat drawers, closets, and gardens, so I put my plants in sections, rounded edges (another permaculture principle, no straight lines. Research shows there is much more growth and activity with curved borders between plants.), with a path up through them that is mulched in brown bark. So, it all looks exactly like a tree with branches of plant families and companions, as druid as can be. See the photo above (taken before the chicken wire went up to keep out the very chubby groundhog family living nearby who entertain me every evening now that they are no longer eating my dill and lettuce to the ground!). The mulch in the small beds is sawdust I got free from a nice man who cuts and sells wood for heating a few houses away (You do need to add some nitrogen when using mulches because they deplete it when they break down, a little manure, for instance.). Next year or maybe by fall, all those saw dusted areas should be filled in and green. By spring of next year, I will have zero mulching to do. Only adding some nutrient rich compost here and there and popping yummy produce into my mouth!

So, let’s talk about plants that will thrive in a part shade, forested space. Of course, this greatly depends on the climate, and you’ll need to check what temperature number your own location is in when you choose what to put in. I’m in southern New England, so a lot of the edible plants in the texts about them won’t work here, heat and jungle type plants mostly. (In the south, you can have a ball with this!). Many edible forest plants I read about in texts also are quite unusual, hard to find, and with acquired tastes and reactions one has to watch out for if they aren’t cooked properly (like sunchokes-cook those babies really well or you will be on the pot all night long!). In my own little garden, I chose trees with leaves and branching patterns that don’t completely block the sun. I have a Butternut tree (sometimes called a white walnut), a white Oak for acorns (just shell them, boil for 10 minutes, changing the water three to four times to get out the tannins, and grind up immediately [they get hard very quickly] and store in the freezer for use in baking, very nutritious, indeed and as druid as trees! A friend of mine suggested putting them in a pillow case and running them through the washing machine to get out the tannins but I haven’t tried that yet, maybe this year. Tannins make the nuts bitter, a taste that is hard to get rid of in your mouth, too. The Native Americans put their acorns in nets and left them in streams for a few days to get the bitterness out. And it’s impossible to get tannins out of black oak acorns, no matter how much rinsing you do. Use fruit only from oaks with rounded tips on their leaves, not the pointed ones, and you’ll be fine. I have Paw-Paw trees in my edible garden, too, which are native to the US, even in the north, fruit well in part shade, and grow large delicious fruit that tastes like vanilla pudding! Yum! And I put in a small fig tree, too, which is hardly native and not truly hardy here. But a friend of mine has figs he’s grown for many years in his orchard. He makes a columnar box of 2” thick, hard insulation, ties the fig branches loosely together in a tall central stalk, and puts the insulation box over them after one or two frosts in early November here. The insulation box needs to go all the way to the ground and be tied or weighted down to survive winter storms, too Then my friend takes the box off just as the weather starts to warm in spring, just before the last frost in early April (protecting the tree if there is a late frost but opening it up to air out as the warmth comes in. Leaving the insulation on too late results in mold all over the tree.) And his figs are leafed out and budded with fruit well ahead of the rest of his orchard and produce really well with this method. I’ve been aching to try this ever since he first showed me. And I put in a semi-dwarf cherry tree and apple here, too, both of which I keep pruned down to a reachable level. (Most fruit trees now are grafted to roots of smaller growing types, so they will not get too large and need far less pruning than the older, full-height varieties.) So, those are my tree canopy plants for my first-year forest garden. I have a feeling my edible forest “tree” will be expanding and growing with new plants every year, but this was enough for me right after a move. I am aching for several more varieties of apples and cherries, a plum, and a native persimmon, though. (Edible forest gardening can be a bit addictive, fair warning!)

My shrub level then has elderberries, raspberries, and half-high blueberry bushes, too (North Country, with fruit that tastes like those wonderful lowbush Maine wild ones). Wild blueberry pie, mmmm! I’ve planted the raspberries in their own section on the side of the yard and will mow the narrow strip in between other “branches” of my forest garden, since raspberries send shoots off into the wild blue yonder and need to be contained a bit if you don’t want them all over your yard. All these are easy care plants, too, only the raspberries needing any canes that have turned brown cut to the ground after summer fruiting (not the fall fruiting or you’ll have no berries next summer!) All plants need regular watering, soil full of humus, and most need good drainage as well.

Of course, the ground cover level is lowbush blueberries! Along with alpine strawberries, both of which fruit well in dappled sun/shade, so are utterly perfect for a forest garden. I have regular strawberries, too, in front, so they get the sun they need, along with herbs like sage and rosemary, etc. I added a very few annual plants in between this year, too, since there’s so much sun under the new little trees and space between baby ground cover plants I could not resist filling in with eggplant, cabbage, lettuces, parsley, nasturtiums for my salads, and dill (These all need full sun). Once my trees grow big enough and the ground covers take over, the veggies will need a sunny spot of their own. And, of course, they have to be planted every year, so are not true edible forest garden plants, taking more work and requiring digging every year. But there are perennial vegetables, too; onions, leeks, broccoli that is mostly like cauliflower, asparagus, spinaches, and many more to choose from that I haven’t listed here. (See the book Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier, the edible garden guru.)

Put on your druid robe as you plant and carry your wizard wand, for this is the happiest, most delightful and druid way of gardening there is in the world. You’ll create your own Avalon. And you’ll have moons of delicious things to eat with little to no work to produce them. There you have it, edible forest gardening, as magic as can be!

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Gael Song

June, 2019

House Cleansing, Connecting with the Spirits of a Place

I recently moved into a new home, so the issues of cleansing and connecting with the land are particularly important to me right now. People can get quite fanatical sometimes about walking sunwise several times around a home before they barely set foot inside. But anyone moving in is standing on the shoulders of the person who recently vacated. So, I think it’s good to take a short space of time to feel what that person left behind, for it’s imprinted in the walls and soil, along with all the owners and the native peoples before them in layers below the earth. I very much want to know what those are before I cleanse them away, past life memories always built into these renewals. For instance, the previous owner here was a bit irresponsible, leaving debris down by the lake shore, a submerged canoe, a rotten trellis thrown over the stones. There is a certain discourtesy both to the earth and the coming owner in this imprint, but nothing severe. There are numerous weeds in the lawn, thankfully, so chemicals have not been used here. This would have bothered me far more than bailing out an old canoe. That canoe speaks of past lives as a Native near this place, too, something I needed to be reminded of by the spirit world, something I need to heal. Plus, I personally think it’s far more important to take time to bring enough order out of the moving chaos to have most of the comforts of a home back in place before doing a thorough cleansing (unless there’s a really nasty energy hanging around that needs immediate attention, of course). I’ve been here a week now, so this would be the perfect morning to anchor my spirit in here.

The first thing I always do at a new home I’ve been called on to cleanse is walk the land to sense the energies in depth. If any areas are particularly dark, I do an immediate healing on those. Then I walk sunwise around the home, calling on the Creators, Goddess and God, to anchor in, to protect and lead the owners as long as they are living in that place. Entering the home itself, I like to sprinkle flower essences in all the rooms, moving sunwise again. There are many essences or herbs that can be used. Most people sage a home, but since I’m allergic to smoke, I find flower essences work best. Sage is the wise woman essence, a good one to use. But I adore sprinkling Herkimer diamond flower essence across the floors (made by steeping a Herkimer diamond crystal, a clear quartz stone with points at both ends, in water in the sun for 4-6 hours and asking the spirit of the crystal to be implanted into the water, then stored in 1/3rd brandy in a dark quiet place.). This stone brings a new and sparkling energy out of the deep heart into the forefront of the heart to be brought into life and action when used medicinally. In a new home, it brings a heart brilliance into the rooms, a shift into a fresh way of life that is both heart centered and carries a new focus for the owners, a new direction in life. Other essences I like to use are: White Eden Rose, the Goddess flower, or Red Eden rose, the God flower, scattered everywhere to anchor the Creators’ strong love and holding power into each room. I use Love in a Mist very often, too, or Forget-Me-Not, both essences of the divine children (Love-in-a-Mist for the girl, Forget-Me Not, the boy), asking for comfort and gentle growth for the inner divine children of the new owners. Then I sing a chant or short song, which sends the signal out to the spirit world to complete the shifts put into place during the ritual. That’s it, quite simple, but effective in bringing in the thrust of change.

Outside any new home of my own, though, I connect more deeply, slowly, over a moon or more. I like to put my hand on every tree, feeling each one’s nature, for these will be my new friends in very real way. I like to sit on the earth in a power spot, a private nook or corner that’s especially lovely, and feel the connection with the Goddess rise up to hold me within. Before I leave any old home, too, I walk it counter clockwise, releasing the old connections to make room for the new. Here in my new home, I have many old oaks along the lake, some black, some white. I haven’t taken time to sit beneath them all and meditate, but I will soon. I feel their ancient strength, though, in everything I do, far different from my last home with only a young Rose of Sharon beside the back door. Oak leaves have a spinal imprint in their veining, so I know I will likely be building backbone in this place. There are maples here as well, so I’ll be taking some kind of action, too, for they resonate with hands, as you can see in the shape of the leaves. There are many lessons and strengths to be drawn from the trees of a place, always very carefully prepared by the spirit world for every owner, trees bringing exactly what’s needed by each person during their moons or years of living in each place. If there are other special features of the land, such as the small lake behind my home here, it’s good to meditate with these as well. I like to feel what each may have to say about beginnings in any new place.

And lastly, I like to take some kind of real action to make the new house my own. The first thing I did outside, on my second day here, was plant a small Goddess garden down by the water. It will be my meditation place. Then, in another week or so, I’ll be planting 12 small English oak trees, creating a nemeton here, a sacred grove. I’ll take my place as a Celtic priestess in a real way that day, the perfect ending of my transition here. I’ve already put in wildflowers I brought with me to put between the oaks, such as the foam flower in the illustration.

May all who are going through the utter chaos of packing and traveling, be blessed in your transitions and find peace, great joy, and spirit growth in your new abodes.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Book Review – Pagan Portals: The Dagda by Morgan Daimler

April, 2019

Book Review
Pagan Portals
The Dagda
Meeting the Good God of Ireland
by Morgan Daimler

The Dagda, the Good God of Ireland, is the subject of the book written by Morgan Daimler. She has created a beginner’s book on a Deity that is multilayered and complex. As of 2017, the time of the writing of this book, the author, Ms. Daimler had not heard of a book that was written solely on the Dagda.

The author, Ms. Daimler, has broken the five different chapters up into sub-entries. Each entry deals with a different aspect of the Dagda. Even though there are only 77 pages in the e-book, I found myself taking a lot of notes.

The first chapter describes the Dagda, in name, physical description, and in his relationship with others. The second chapter is the mythology of the deity known as the Good God, the Dagda. There are several different myths that Ms. Daimler uses; most of which have Irish titles that I can’t pronounce. (My pronunciation of Irish words is terrible so that my program that does my typing would misspell all of them anyway.) All of the myths that Ms. Daimler used as references showed the Dagda, as a God of many skills, abundance, and healing.

In chapter 3 one of the possessions that belong to the Dagda, is a cauldron of abundance. In modern neopaganism, the cauldron is often associated with feminine or goddess energy. In Irish were more generally Celtic mythology the cauldron is associated with Gods.

Also in chapter 3, she talks about herbs, trees, and resins. She does point out that herbs are a bit more modern and vary from person to person. Oak has always had a strong connection with the Dagda. Also having an association with the Dagda are frankincense and myrrh, neither of which are native to Ireland.

On page 51 of Ms. Daimler’s book she talks about the Dagda has a strong modern reputation as a Druid or working druidic magic, but she points out that there is nothing explicit in the mythology the connecting to the Druids. She does think it’s redundant that the Dagda has his own Druid. She says it’s redundant, if he, himself was also a Druid. I don’t think it’s any more redundant, then a tarot reader going to another tarot reader for a reading.

There are a couple of different things that Ms. Daimler includes in the book that I find interesting. One of the sub-entries is the Dagda in my life; I like when an author includes their working with a Deity or part of their own spiritual growth experience. She also includes a look at the Dagda in the modern world.

I do see this book as a jumping off book for learning more about the Dagda. I think some of the sources that Ms. Daimler quotes, will lead others to search more about Celtic myth. I’m glad to have read this book because it gave me a deeper understanding of the Dagda, and the way Irish/Celtic myths look at their deities. I highly recommend this book.

Pagan Portals – the Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland on Amazon

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page. If you are interested in a reading you can reach her on Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Gael Song

March, 2019

Druidry as a Path of Enlightenment

I’ve seen a number of articles debating this topic, and I very much want to say that my own solitary druid path has been nothing but a path to enlightenment! An email from an acquaintance recently said how she was interested in druidry but didn’t know how to integrate it into her life. Well, my own path is the easiest thing in the world to integrate into anyone’s life because it’s so simple. I went to a school to learn energy healing 23 years ago and since then, I’ve done two half-hour meditations a day. The first one, in the morning, is when I pick crises happening across the world from the daily news to hold in the light. It has utterly amazed me how many of these I have deep inner resonance with. I finally decided that all the dark happenings across the global stage are old fear archetypes being brought up for healing by the universe, that everyone could benefit by helping heal them as they come along. This small morning meditation has moved me forward by leaps and bounds and healed old inner darkness in my soul I’d never have remembered otherwise.

And the second meditation I do is in the evening, when I take all negative personal experiences of that one day, find the fear behind each event, and heal these in love. This, too, has been utterly miraculous in teaching me how we all create our own outer ‘realities’ and how these can be changed in the blink of an eye with inner healing. It’s the tiny diamond core, the drop of sparkling light in the middle of the four lobes of the heart, I use for healing. This light has a highly creative essence, and it creates all the fear and love beliefs surrounding it into our own little worlds. But the best part is that even ancient cosmic fears can be transmuted in seconds. I simply imagine my fears moving into the dazzling light there and watch as they melt, transmute, back into light, verbally releasing my contract to believe in that fear at the same time. And that fear is gone forever from my world and will not be created into it again. This, too, has become startlingly obvious as I moved along. My outer world became far more gentle, more joyful, simpler, and especially peaceful, so much so that the wonder and hope of complete freedom from fear drew me along my path as nothing else could, freedom from fear not just for myself, but for everyone on earth. This is what gives my heart wings (sparkly lilac ones to be exact) quivering in excitement!

But let’s get back to enlightenment. As I kept healing inner fears, I saw different colors of light move down into my aura. Each color stayed around me for 2-3 weeks, and then moved out below. It was if I was climbing a rainbow ladder of light, always moving up. And I was. This is enlightenment 101, as simple as can be! In this very uncomplicated way, I’ve moved up through 363 planes of light over 23 years. And I’m radically different from the person I was when I began this journey. These planes sorted themselves into 7 worlds or heavens with initiations between each level, first earth, then water, air, then fire, cherub, and bone, and finally diamond, which I can feel approaching but have not yet endured. Each level has its own challenges and gifts to the spirit. The soul level and water initiation taught me that I am not responsible for others and can only change myself, that I create my own reality and I alone am responsible for what happens in my life. I let go of a truckload of responsibility for others I’d carried since I was a young child, and the need to change others according to my own wants, too (which I’m sure my family greatly appreciated!). The third heaven, the spirit realms, taught me not to rush too much, to thoroughly enjoy the sacredness of life, to talk with butterflies and trees and rivers. It brought the whole world alive for me the way it had been when I was a young child. Even now, most of my inner knowings come from talking with nature, not from books or people or social media. All forms of life became sacred to me at that third heaven stage of life, to be nurtured and held in love. Then the fourth level, the logos sun, brought up persistent blockages on virtually everything I wanted to do in life, until I learned to back off and wait for the universe to direct me, instead. It taught me to surrender my personal desires to the will of the universe, divine will. Now, I just live a simple life in my home. I don’t go looking for things to do or try to make impressions on anyone. Whatever is needed will come to me as surely as sunrise. And miraculous surprises show up at the consignment store and in chance encounters in the neighborhood all the time. It’s so freeing to take care only of my own small tasks every day and let the universe take care of everything else! It has left me time to paint and sew, garden and walk with my dog by the sea, and make stained glass and all the fun projects I love so much. Then the fifth level brought me into repeated hostile encounters with women in authority, the pain of which taught me that loving kindness is the most important thing in the entire world. I try to hold it in my heart in every moment, and I do not accept aggression or abusive actions in any of my relationships anymore, none at all. Having been abused as a young child, I’d accepted being pushed around far too often before that. How very glad I was to leave it all behind! Then the sixth level led me through the writing of my trilogy, a lot of extremely complicated details about light structures in the seventh heaven that I had to sort out and simplify to put into the druid lessons of my trilogy, a whole lot of work, a webbing of detail that took long years to work my way through. But I learned never to make anything over complicated again! Not to rush, either. Wordy complicated anything simply turns me off these days, and I’m very glad for this simple straight-forward lifestyle. And the seventh heaven has meant adding all 23 years of inner knowings into those druid lessons of my trilogy, all those ray colors for healing, all those light structures with their Celtic regents and the many cosmic cycles they overlight. I am happy to embody these knowings and be able to teach and write about them, to understand the structure of the inner planes so thoroughly. It’s my piece to pass along to the world, and there is a deep sense of completion in my work. And everyone has their own divinity to embody along this way to give back to the world in the end, too. And then, my guides say, the diamond initiation, not too far off in the future, will bring in my true love and world service years, the crystal castle of my deep heart.

But it’s not all easy, I should add. Some of the fears, during the initiation phases especially, are quite intense. One becomes a spiritual warrior along the way. But I’ve been led so very carefully by my druid guides, and the inner empowerment has grown so gradually and steadily, blended in with tending roses and lilies and fashioning Celtic clothing to my heart’s content, that it’s been as much fun and stretching into new talents as anything else. The druid path is of the Goddess after all, Her spiritual stream on earth. Of course She blends it with an earth-centered, fun-filled life! After facing so many fears along the way, it takes a great deal to pull me out of center any more, too, a calm core of being that’s been built along the way. There are life magics that are withheld until the core wound is faced and healed during the diamond initiation, too, things hoped for but not realized until the very end of one’s path. So, one must be prepared to wait a long time for some things. I’ve been substituting chocolate kisses for real ones for a good many years now. But that, too, is as it should be, isn’t it? For it’s that promise of true love magic which will pull me through my diamond initiation into the dazzling diamond core of my being in the end. May everyone step into their own shimmering dreams-come-true as soon as possible. Enlightenment, Celtic style!

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Gael Song

February, 2019

Contemplative Druidry

During these dark winter days, when the pull inward is strongest, I want to bring up the topic of a contemplative branch of druidry. On my own path, I’ve been led into a silent lifestyle with two half-hour meditations a day, one focused on healing the planet and the other on whatever has arisen in my life that day. This practice has led me through a steady spirit ascension process, planes of light moving down into my aura for 2-3 weeks, then moving out as another color took its place from above. There have been 363 of these planes over 23 years of this continuing spirit practice, always an upward process, coming closer to a bright diamond light at the center of the cosmos that I can see in my mind’s eye.

The silence of my days brings me into very close connection with the spirit world, and I’ve learned to sense and hear the voices of my guides and family of light in the Otherworld over the years. These Otherworldy beings have taught me amazing things: the Celtic regents of those planes of light, the many cosmic cycles these regents overlight and regulate, the meaning of the druid moons and Ogham letters, a vast cornucopia of information I was unable to find in my fifteen years of research into Celtic times before I started my meditation practice. And my guides and family of light are always full of love and courtesy, an abiding, gentle, and profound love that I’ve never experienced in this earthly world. This Otherworld connection I maintain in the silence of my home links me to inner teachers from the far reaches of the cosmos, wisdom beyond imagining, plus that love and respect that I find so very nourishing, love I can no longer live without. I know a silent lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and I’m not suggesting this. But I am saying that taking an hour or so a day in silence to connect with the Otherworld brings benefits that are nearly miraculous. It would benefit everyone greatly, I’m certain of that.

At druid gatherings I’ve been to, there’s often a lot of noise, a rowdy, not always kind, atmosphere. And it brings me out of my inner connection to the Otherworld and sometimes feels like a large drop in the peacefulness and inner love I am used to feeling. Celebration, exuberance, and fun at druid gatherings are good overall; I’m not arguing against them. But I want the magic of my silent times and my interface with the spirit world, too, especially when with others of my own spirit tradition, for it potentiates everything that occurs. I’ve felt spirit magic during musical performances at gatherings sometimes, but the general noisiness interferes with my spirit connection to the Otherworld. The rituals are often lovely, but they, too, do not include moments of silence and are usually so formalized and scripted that I can’t stop for a moment to just listen, to feel the spirits of the trees or lakes nearby. It’s in the silence that spirit messages slip between the small spaces into our hearts and minds, that’s what I think.

And I long for a soul group that I can meet with once a month perhaps, to share a bit of silence and some spirit stories, perhaps, a quiet group, similar to the English Order of the Sacred Nemeton. So far, I’ve not met anyone who has much interest in such a thing, not in druidry, at least. I’d love to hear from anyone who does!

So, here’s to silence, to calling forth the nature spirits and ancestors of light, druid guides from the Tuathe de Danaan, perhaps. Let’s open our own practices, our gatherings and rituals up to the universe, the spirit interconnectedness of all that is. Let’s listen in the stillness for a change, for that’s where the true power is.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba Reborn, Alba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Solstice is…

December, 2018

Solstice is…

 

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

 

Holly sharp sting,

Red blood like

Berries, red, white

Mistletoe hang

Deadly dart and Baldur’s curse

Druids’ king seeking potion

Now a kissing spot

Love instead

Shown through gifts

Wrapped mysteries

Ribbons hiding

Hearts’ desires

Wrap the day in a bow

But presents wait

Wait for me:

 

The mother and priestess

Down in the woods

At the sacred crossroads

Of birch and oak

The mysteries of Male and Female

And everything in between

And beyond.

 

Here I find the altar

That no one knows of

But I

I lay the offerings

Salt

Offal

Nothing to scar or litter

Nothing to damage or drain

Leaving only footprints

For even I

Am not permitted to remain.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

 

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Gael Song

October, 2018

The Body of the Goddess, Earth

In most druid writings, there are lots and lots of descriptions about relating to nature, how wonderfully peaceful it is, how deeply restorative. It’s one of the most fundamental, if not THE fundamental, teachings of Celtic paganism. But I don’t think I’ve ever read what I personally feel is the reason for the tapestry of wonders and extraordinary powers of nature, which is that earth is the Body of the Goddess! In the seven heavens my druid guides taught me, which make up the planes of light of the inner realms, the first heaven is earth, and it is ruled by the Goddess. She teaches us wisdom because, once upon a time, wisdom grew stale and flat. Folks forgot the laws of love and bad things began to occur all across the universe (I hear the theme from Star Wars as I write this sentence). So, humanity volunteered to come down into realms of illusion and non-love to learn the laws of love all over again through life’s hard experiences. Wisdom is a living thing, it can only be renewed by reliving it into existence, and our hard, hard task is brightening the light of wisdom throughout the cosmos. This is humanity’s main purpose, and our overlighting teacher and mistress in this process is the White Tara, the Goddess. (The seventh heaven is the Diamond Core, and it is ruled by the God, just in case anyone was wondering what He might be doing.) I always see the ivory White Tara star when I look deep into the earth with my inner vision, Her Shamballa center of light, which orchestrates all that occurs here, our wisdom lessons particularly and the forward momentum of love across the globe. This is Her world.

So, when we are out in nature, looking at the misty ocean or appreciating the loveliness of a fuchsia sunset, perhaps, it is the Goddess Who meets us in the ethers, always. Why do we feel so held and peaceful in the forest or near bodies of water especially? Because we’re being embraced there by Her restful, patient, mothering intimacy that knows all will turn out just fine in the end. Or sometimes, it’s Her longing just to hold us close in our pain, when life becomes too harsh to even contemplate happy endings. By Her silence that is as gentle as the hush of night. I believe gravity also belongs to the Goddess, Her holding force that wants to keep us as close as possible, to feel Her endless love and tenderness for each one of us, to support us from below in utter physical security and steadfastness. Stones, too, so very important to druids as well, are Tara’s bones. It is Her essence we meet underground in those ancient chambers, dolmens, and caves the wise ones of the old ways used for ceremony and initiations.

The quality that I’ve always admired most about the Goddess is how She manages to keep adoring every one of Her children, even when they have strayed deeply into darkness. This means murderers, corporate executives who are impoverishing thousands with their personal greed, rapists, and on and on. Anyone can be comforted in Her embrace, anyone at all. All nature is infused with Her energy, Her enduring patient love that waits centuries, if that’s what it takes, for us to turn and seek to touch Her face, to begin walking the path back Home. In fact, I think we are completely lost without Her, and I worry about all the people I meet who will not even consider that She exists. This is one of my primary reasons for being pagan to the core! And it is this single belief in Her that has caused me the most grief from others over the years. Keep believing in Her, please! Keep the ancient ways sacred and open to those who turn back to Her when they are ready to remember. For She will be the saving of the earth!

Not only that, but it is Her Body that sustains the horrific wounds of war, fracking, pollution, a climate out of control. This is Mother love with a capital L! She endures practically anything to see that we accomplish our task, to remain nearby, to lead and hold us as we blunder along down here. It is time to remember, to return Her divine enduring love with real CARE, gentleness, responsibility for what we each do to Her. I saw a film once in which a man in Austria planted trees and vegetables in a veritable wasteland of dirt and sand. And in seven years or so, his farm looked like paradise, luscious fruit hanging from every tree, many-hued flowers spilling over each other in all directions, peace, fertility, a world full of Her beauty and fecundity once more.

All of these qualities of Her love infuse natural spaces, especially Her restful nature that we need so much in this hurried world. So, take a moment to sit beside a tree or river today and feel Her, will you? Remember Who is truly there! She is SACRED, far more than we know. And let’s take care of Her now, picking up that trash we walk over every day, not poisoning our grass and plants and air any more, instead, nurturing and blessing Her for Mothering that’s as deep as the ocean, as wide as the sky, older than the mountains, and as tender as the petals of roses.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment

Gael Song

August, 2018

Lughnasa


Lughnasa is my very favorite spirit time of year. The solstice/equinox and cross-quarter days mark the cosmic openings of the eight basic aspects of spirit in all things, shifts that are quite powerful. If you are into feeling energy or spirit, these can easily be felt. The masculine openings occur at sunrise, the feminine at sunset on the eve of each holy day. Early in each year, at Imbolc, this spirit opening feels like a baby, a little Girl. Then comes the Boy of the Vernal Equinox, the Virgin Girl and Boy of Bealtaine and Midsummer, the mother and father of Lughnasa and the Autumnal Equinox, the Grandmother at Samhein, until finally, the Grandfather opens on Midwinter. And all these cosmic aspects of spirit are quite different, with very varied directives in life, plus they open the six-week phase of growth for that inner aspect of the self until the next solstice/equinox portal for everyone. All of us, men and women alike, the cosmos and the earth, too, have these eight parts of our spirits, for this sacred structure interfaces all things. We are not so different after all.

So, on the evening before Aug. 5th, the cosmic Mother spirit opens; within each person, across the globe, and in all the planes of existence. And it is a dramatic change from the world server, strong-willed, action oriented Virgin Male of the preceding six weeks. Everything suddenly slows down. There is a nurturing, comforting presence billowing through the wind and clouds. I often feel the impulse to lie down and rest on the earth’s body, a mother herself. This is Lughnasa. Divine Mother can be particularly felt in the first fruits of the harvest. For this holy day also marks the opening of the action ethers within, which means manifestation into the physical, the specialty of the harvest father, Lugh, for whom even this feminine festival is named. This cosmic mother loves to nourish all her children with foods that delight, manifesting the tastiest blueberries or corn or cucumbers from her soil. The fruits of all the inner work of the previous nine moons of walking one’s path begin to appear at this time as well (the Apple moon is the tenth of the druid year), not just the outer harvest of grains and fruits, for the cosmic Mother wants to manifest all our dreams as well! (Though I have the distinct feeling that foods and recipes that simply cannot be resisted might be her personal favorite.) In my meditations into past lives as a Celt in Scotland over 2,000 years ago, I recalled large tribal celebrations at Lughnasa in honor of the earth mother, with extravagant expressions of gratitude for all the natural resources the earth mother had provided over the passing year, each tribe trying to outdo the others. I saw all priestesses who were mothers circled inside the groves in my visions, too, priestesses in divination meditations, calling out anything they saw that might lay ahead for the tribes, blessings and challenges both. And there were always swans on the lochs, too, the mother totem.

But more than this, Lughnasa falls during the Apple Moon, moon of the Goddess, the White Tara, July 27th-Aug. 19th. And when I do my own Lughnasa ceremony at my altar, calling in my druid guides to facilitate the opening of the mother part of my spirit, I always feel the gentle Presence of the White Tara come in around me as well. “Let Me come very close”,” She says, “I miss you so much, child of My Heart!” And I can sense spirit arms around my shoulders or a gentle head laid, very lightly, on my own with that strong eternal Mother Love pouring into me. And I remember the same thing happening in those ancient lifetimes, too, a personal encounter with the Goddess around the time of Lughnasa in those great tribal crowds, a sweet message of mother love to each and every person there. For myself, I need a space of silence for this intimate interface, not the loud, talking on and on, ceremonies that many prefer. And it’s when I fall asleep later that evening when I often feel Her most closely, spirit fingertips brushing across my temples. Oh, She can become very insistent about learning distressing wisdom lesson of the mother aspect at times across the next six weeks, I’ll grant you that, but not on this one holy day. It brings mother comfort and sweet abiding love, stronger in ways than any other. And then on Aug. 8th, three days past Lughnasa, there is always another personal Goddess message, but this time not a visitation, no, a physical gift of some sort that signifies what else will soon be manifesting during the harvest season. Lughnasa, mother comfort, peace, sweet rest, delicious things to eat, and the hint of fulfillment soon to come. No wonder I love it more than all the rest!

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment

Gael Song

June, 2018

Tree Magic

I wrote about the druid moons and the trees of the druid year in my third article quite a while ago, but this time, I just want to tell the story of my love affair with trees and how powerful they truly are. As I playfully experimented with reading the energy of life forms around me over twenty years ago, I gradually came to understand that all trees have a very specific energy, each tree family with a definite focus of help or healing. For instance, heart shaped leaves indicate that tree helps heal issues of emotion, the heart. Palmate leaves, like maples, help to heal issues of action. Leaves with a single straight vein up the middle, like Oaks, help the spine. And the parallel, fountain-like veins of Gingko leaves mean it will open up the root flow of the Goddess. My druid inner guides taught me that trees soak up the watery lessons of the Goddess every season, which flow up from the inner earth into the water tables of the planet. Then each tree breathes these out, specific truths, to all passers by. And I realized over many years, too, that the trees in my own back yard had been chosen very carefully by the universe. Sometimes I wondered if I was led to buy or rent certain homes for the trees in the garden! When you step into a forested space, the world becomes instantly peaceful, calming to the soul, and so very beautiful. And I always feel sheltered from the storms of life during my time there, as if trees hold the peace of heaven in their embrace.

But more than anything else, trees have been my solace along the difficult phases of my spiritual path. When I was in the midst of scary financial times (paying for my three daughter’s college educations over ten years) twenty years ago, a big old oak grew up against the balcony of my second story bedroom. And on evenings after particularly challenging days then, I’d sit beside the trunk of that strongest of trees and feel the love of Oghama (the name I use for the high God) flood down around me, His great warmth giving me support, plumping me up from the inside and instantly calming my anxieties. There was a circle of aspens in the woods nearby then, too, and because they are the tree that helps us get beyond our final hurdles into some new expansion of spirit, I’d sometimes go and stand within their circle. And always, I felt a grove of aspen elders awaken within those trunks, enfold me as their leaves sang so joyfully in the wind, and remove whole sheaths of darkness from my being. As magical as can be! But my favorite tree during those years was a young birch I discovered in the meadow on my woodsy wandering one day. It called to me, and I felt a surge of love surround me as I moved through scratchy underbrush to get close to it. This was just after the last of my daughters left home, and I’d closed my therapy practice to begin writing books, instead. But I was often lonely, getting used to solitude, and missed my family. And this little birch became such a friend to me! I went out to see it and share a hug nearly every day, and our spirits grew closer than close over the passing moons. One afternoon towards the end of my time in that home, I heard that birch spirit say quite clearly into my mind that in the spirit world, love is for always, that he would be my friend forever, that he’d send me love even after I moved away (a thousand-mile move!). And this touched me so very deeply, that sweet offering in the midst of my sorrows. I think of him still and send blessings on the wind, even now, fourteen years later. In the tiny cottage I live in now, I have a Rose of Sharon tree, the only one small enough to fit in my little yard. Rose of Sharon is the tree of the virgin goddess, Sìth, and she is regent of peace on earth. And it has been quite peaceful here beside the sea during the four years I’ve lived in this spot. There is whole language of trees most of us are completely unaware of! Take a moment then, will you? As you’re walking, feel the trees you pass by, notice the one that is calling you to come closer, and DO that. Open your heart. LISTEN. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.

I feel our tree friends waiting, always, in silent patience to be acknowledged, to connect with us, to speak into our minds and give wisdom or solace, especially during our tough times, to be our once and forever friends again. There is a longing in nature to hold us, guide us, and lead us all Home. Trees are living spirits whose consciousness is simple but profound, connected to angels, gods, goddesses, and guides in the Otherworld in every moment. They are FULL of gentle love, ancient wisdom, knowings that can assist and guide us all. Take their hands along the leaf strewn pathway of your life and let them befriend you.

But perhaps the most startling and life-changing tree moment of my life was when I first began to meditate about twenty-three years ago. I was working as a therapist then, in a marriage that was disappointing in the extreme, raising three girls largely by myself, and taking care of a big old house ever in need of repair. It took great effort to simply find ten minutes a day for my own thoughts! One extra busy morning, I was troubled by something or other and I decided to go outside for a bit of peace and quiet. And I sat under a large white pine beside that house and bent my head beneath it. And in one moment, I felt those branches above me turn into green feathers, the needles softening and wafting gently in the breeze. I could feel them brush my shoulders and greatly ease the burdens of the coming day. They are angels, I thought that morning in great surprise! Trees are angels in disguise! But it was the primordial LOVE that reached into my being in that soft moment which truly changed me, my sudden awareness of the immense and tender power of nature to nurture, hold, and guide, which shifted the very bedrock of my being. The white pine outside my bedroom window in that home was utterly ADORED from then on in return! And the tree sylphs I’d once recognized in childhood, and sadly forgotten in my growing years, opened instantly into my heart and mind again, the whole magical world of spirit ready to embrace me wherever I might need a bit of cheer. I bend the knee of my heart to the tree kingdom, always, a heart full of gratitude and the commitment to care for them tenderly wherever I find them.

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

 

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

June, 2018

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

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