In Closing, Pray for Peace Dear Brothers & Sister of The Craft

We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which
we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times
keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings
and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with
generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature
and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being
for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within,
knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

 

We pray for social justice,
for the alleviation of the crippling poverty
that condemns millions of people around the world
to lives of misery – hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving,
who are condemned to homelessness, slave labor, and prostitution,
and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture
even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war,
for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places
through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere,
for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation,
intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping,
training for entertainment, abusive pet owners,
and all other forms of exploitation
such as overloading and overworking pack animals,
bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

 
 

We pray for an end to cruelty,
whether to humans or other animals,
for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving
and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

 
 

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us,
and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

 

prayer for world peace – dr. jane goodall

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‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 21st

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

At night sometimes the world seems so topsy-turvy and you’re so weary of doing things the same old way. Then nothing seems to please….You try desperately for something new and different, something that doesn’t seem so much like you. Why? Tonight you are different.

One cannot expect the world to be top side up all the time. Such perfection does not come so easily to human nature. And always there is a search for something new and different. A change of pace….that thought that I don’t want to be me today, to think my thoughts and do my daily chores. I want to make a complete change now, to know a whole new way of life. And it is good to leave behind the many daily situations that sometimes stand too closely to be seen clearly, but to be wise enough to know which things should be left behind.

There have been clean sweeps that have left behind the dearest things….and have taken along the same dreary, dark unhappy things of the mind that should have been left behind.

A line from the prayer of serenity is “The wisdom to know the difference….” And wisdom says Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is common sense in an uncommon degree. If one has the wisdom to wait a bit, wait until morning – or several mornings – that uncommon degree of common sense will give us the wisdom to know the difference.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 21

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 21

“The manner with which we walk through life is each man’s most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise.”

–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

Every spiritual person should carry a vision of God’s will in every area of their life. One day at a time, each morning at sunrise, we should spend time praying to the Creator. We should say something like, my Creator, this morning I ask you to show me, in terms I can understand, what you have or me to do. By doing this daily, over time, we will develop an unquestionable vision. Each person is responsible for taking the time to do this. It will bring great joy and peace of mind to those warriors who do.

My Creator, give me the vision, today, of what you want me to do.

March 21 – Daily Feast

March 21 – Daily Feast

Other people have problems the same way we do. If the get loud about them, we don’t have to react. Resistance makes difficult times even more difficult to handle. It helps not to threaten but to let things cool down naturally. The Cherokee word for this is, to hi ge se s di, making peace, or peace for the earth. Forgiveness seems to be a necessity for so many things that are wrong. Forgiveness never degrades but elevates, and is not to let someone else get away with something but to free ourselves from an entanglement. It frees us from bitter resentment that can make us sick – and can help heal the sickness if it is already there. Eventually, it makes us glad that we did not react, doing and saying things for which we would later be sorry.

~ They fight among themselves, but if you strike at them they will turn on you. ~

LITTLE CROW, 1951

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

New, Old, or Returning to your Path…

New, Old, or Returning to your Path…

Author: Darksky

Firstly, like anything else in life no matter where you’re at in your stage, degree, or practice of the Magickal arts, you’re not the only one that has felt the way you do. We have all been overwhelmed, frustrated, unsure, or confused. New, old, or returning let me say congratulation and welcome! Taking the first step is always a big decision, but you did and now your here.

So now what? You have read everything in print, you have spoken to folks who practice the craft, you have heard from craft store owners, and of course people with their own witch/occult web site. I would say, take everything that you have heard with a grain of salt and do some research. Do not always take what you read or hear so literally. Getting into anything new or returning to it needs a point of origin.

Start with the basics, you cant do advanced work if you haven’t got a good working concept of the basics, and should you be rusty go back and review. True, there is so much to learn, but there are so many paths, traditions, and pantheons to experience. Patience, and being methodical will yield knowledge, safety, and rewards for all your hard work.

So…back to an origin, a jumping off point, Magick is the control of ones own environment, to be able to manifest change in ones self and ones surrounds. So how do we achieve this if we are not in control, distracted, or unsure? To just read books, take classes, buy tools, light candles, deal tarot cards, and attend seminars and book signings are merely actions. Magick without intention and intuition is incomplete and void. A magician needs to have confidence, intuition, and be able to infuse, inject, and penetrate every single aspect of his or her work with intention.

While magick is the art of control in order to manifest, it is also a connection with the universe, nature and the Lord and Lady, that is true, but more importantly it is a connection with ones self.
Self is so vital to magick. True magick is practiced without ego, but without knowing ones self, is it possible?

New, old or returning to your path, your thinking am I ready, have I read enough, how will I know if I doing it right? You may be thinking “I need a teacher, some one to tell me if I’m doing it right.” Sound familiar?

What you need is to learn to listen to yourself, feel the flow of magick, feel nature, feel the universe, and make and keep that connection with the Lord and Lady in your own way. Magick is without doubt, but it’s not without planning, studying, execution, re-evaluation, and perfecting. Never sell yourself short, or underestimate your abilities. I mentioned it before in another post, all the best and great magicians all started out on their journey the same as you and I, with a curiosity and yearning to be more, a feeling akin to something was missing, in short a calling.

You don’t need a certificate, or a degree program that says you are a witch. You will know if you are or aren’t. Would all the great magicians have been lesser practitioners if they had not attended classes? Don’t get me wrong, instruction is good and having someone impart his or her experience and mistakes can be an asset to your practice, if used as a resource. You need to make the magick you practice and craft your own.

Take all you read, hear, try, and are taught and refine it to suit your needs. What works for one witch may not have such a positive outcome for another witch. Write your own spells, your own rituals, make your own oils/incense. Study with out doubt, listen to what the elements, spirits, and the universe have to offer you and make it your own. Practicing the craft and being a witch isn’t the same for everyone. The early magicians that started out with the Golden Dawn took what they learned and applied and formed their own brand of magick. Alex and Maxine Sanders developed their own brand of magick; as did Gardner and Crowley, just to name a few. Christopher Penczak was a Laurie Cabot taught witch and he went on to develop his own brand, as I’m sure Laurie Cabot did.

Magick is personal, intimate, and forever growing. It’s always developing within all of us. Practicing the craft is just that it’s practice, hard work and commitment. Constantly revisit your BOS, and your rituals and styles of writing and preparations to become more in tune with the surrounds and yourself, until you reach a level of proficiency and confidence and belief, but in no way cocky or arrogant. Re-evaluate your workings, combinations of colors, planetary hours, days and nights of the week, and most of all your intentions and intuitions.

We all get a little lax in any en-devour and may look to a quicker way of doing things, and sometimes that a good thing. Magick and the practice of it, is not about the quick and easy way. Slow, methodical, purposeful, with anticipation and excitement. Never bite the magickal hand that feeds you.

So new, old, or returning to your path go slow, prioritize, research, meditate, question, experiment, re-evaluate, and keep silent, remember Crowley said, “Every man and every woman is a star”. Believe it!

 

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Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Paganism is wholesome because it faces the facts of life.
Aleister Crowley

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.
Albert Einstein

“Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law, love is the law. Love under will.”
Aleister Crowley

What Is A Druid, Anyway?

What Is A Druid, Anyway?

Author: Ellen Evert Hopman

There are many different Druid Orders and as is the case with most Pagan groupings, no two Druids will see things in exactly the same way.

To further confuse matters there is a different focus and feel to American Druid Orders and English ones. I can only speak for myself, as an American Druid of the  (Ord Na Darach Gile) .

History:

“Gaine daughter of pure Gumor,
nurse of mead-loving Mide,
surpassed all women though she was silent

she was learned and a seer and a chief Druid.”

(From The Metrical Dindsenchas, Gwynn translation, 1903)

There is plenty of evidence that women as well as men were Druids in ancient times. Druids presided at divinations and sacrifices and praised the Gods, but the primary task of all grades of Druids was to follow an intellectual path.

The Druids were the learned class of the ancient Celts, analogous to the Brahmins of India.

Both Hindu and Celtic culture are derived from the same proto-Indo-European roots. The caste system of the Hindus and the caste system of the Celts were essentially the same; both were fluid, that is one could move up or down the social ladder depending on skill and learning (it was only in the 10th century that Hinduism “froze” its caste system – a reaction to invaders from outside) .

The Druid was analogous to the Brahmin, the warrior to the Kshatria. There were the producer class of farmers and craftsmen and finally the slaves who were analogous to the Hindu untouchables. Among Druids there were specialists; it seems unlikely that every Druid was mistress of every Druidical function. Druids did not commit their knowledge to writing; important facts were memorized and passed down orally.

A Druid could be a Sencha, or historian for the tribe. They could be a Brehon, in which case they would have memorized volumes of Brehon Law making them eligible to be a lawyer, a judge, or an ambassador. A Druid could also be a Scelaige, or keeper of myths and epics. These myths were recited at important occasions like weddings and births, at the onset of a major journey or a battle.

The Cainte was a master of magical chants, invocations and curses. They could banish or bless with a song. The Cruitire was a harpist who knew the magical uses of music; she was mistress of the “three kinds of music:” laughing music (the sound of young men at play) , crying music (the sound of a woman in the travails of childbirth) , and sleeping music (the sound of which would put a person to sleep) .

The Druid might be a Liaig, a doctor who used surgery, herbs and magic to heal, or a Deoghbaire, a cupbearer who knew the properties of intoxicating and hallucinogenic substances.

Further specialties included the Faith, or diviner, the Bard, who was a popular poet and singer, and the highest grade of Druid, the Fili, a sacred poet and diviner whose words were prophetic.

Like Sorcerers, Druids performed feats of magic in the service of the king or queen and in the service of the tribe.

“Then Mogh Roith said to Ceann Mor: ‘Bring me my poison-stone, my hand-stone, my hundred-fighter, my destruction of my enemies.’

This was brought to him and he began to praise it, and he proceeded to put a venomous spell on it…”

(Forbhais Droma Damhghaire, Sean O’Duinn translation)

Druids were the teachers of the sons and daughters of the nobility. It was their task to hand down from generation to generation the knowledge of sacred animals, trees, plants, stones and all the details of the landscape, its history and how each feature got its name, as well as the tribal laws and precedents.

In contrast to village Cunningmen and Wisewomen (Witches) , who were counselors, midwives, magicians, herbalists, and veterinarians for their community, the Druids advised and worked closely with the nobility. A king or queen was a person from the warrior class who had spent their entire life learning the arts of defense and war, who was then elevated to the “Nemed” or sacred class by means of an elaborate ritual.

Druids were hereditary members of the Nemed class who had spent their lives learning the laws. A king or queen had to have a Druid advisor by their side at all times so that they could rule according to precedent. The stories of Arthur and Merlin are a good illustration of this relationship.

The justice of the king was so important that it would determine whether strong and good-looking children would be born to the people and if the weather, crops and animals would prosper.

There is evidence that the Druids supervised at human sacrifices. However, there is no evidence of the type of wholesale immolation in wicker cages reported by Julius Caesar. It is well to remember that Caesar was attempting to paint the Druids in a lurid light in order to get funding from Rome to continue his military campaigns and further his personal political ambitions. It seems likely that prisoners of war and criminals were dispatched in much the same way as we do it today, after judgment and sentencing.

The Druids were persecuted by the Romans and killed off in many Celtic areas.

However, the Romans never got to the extreme north of Caledonia (Scotland) nor did they invade Ireland. As a result Druids and their teachings persisted for many centuries. The Bards were able to continue to disseminate Druid teachings via story and song.

Who the Druids Were Not:

The Druids were not priests and priestesses of Atlantis, nor were they a lost tribe of Israel. Early English historians could not imagine that groups such as the Irish (whom they considered to be backward and inferior) could possibly have produced such a class of noble intellectuals and clergy.

The Druids did not build Stonehenge or the magnificent cairns of the Boyne Valley; Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange, which were built by pre-Indo-European, Bronze Age peoples. However, it is quite likely that the Druids used those monuments. In the case of the Irish structures, there is plenty of mythological evidence that the Iron Age Celts and their Druids revered these sites as sacred.

The Druids were not proto-Christians. They had their own system of ethics and deities that pre-dated Christianity.

Core Beliefs:

All of which brings us to the difficult question of what it means to be a Druid in the new millennium.

All modern Druids attempt to honor Celtic tradition. They also understand that there is no fully intact tradition of Druidism that stretches back to ancient times and that of necessity every Druid Order must create its own ritual form.

Some are happy to include recent speculations, such as the poetry of Robert Graves (inventor of the Celtic Tree Calendar) and others try to stick to more rigorously researched, scholastically verifiable sources.

It is more common to find practicing Christians among the English Orders. American Druid Orders, such as Whiteoak, Keltria, and ADF, place a larger emphasis on Pagan Celtic scholarship, seeing themselves as lore keepers for Pagan Celtic cultural, religion and magical tradition.

Irish Druidism is often concerned with the Forest Druid tradition, seeking to keep alive the ancient woods lore of the forest dwellers of the Elizabethan era and earlier.

As in the past, modern Druids tend to be intellectually curious, reading voraciously on subjects such as Celtic tribal law, history, philosophy, poetry, magic, religion, mythology, spirituality, traditional healing methods, music, archaeology and astronomy. They use these studies to create ceremonies that honor the Earth and the Celtic pantheon of Gods.

The Druids are not a male priesthood. There are a few popular authors and at least one old English Order that try to perpetuate that idea, but they are in the minority and do not represent the majority of Druids today. Druids are not among those who seek to exploit or ignore the Earth in Her time of need. They recognize that nature hangs in a delicate balance and that all life must be tended with care.

Druids do not ignore the needs of the people. As in ancient times they care for the welfare of the people, giving comfort in times of sickness and death, rejoicing in each other’s life passages and achievements, and seeking to advise, as best they can, the secular leaders of their towns, states and nations. They donate time and money to religious, cultural and humanitarian projects that capture their imaginations.

In short, Druidism is not a solitary path. The Druid is not isolated from her spiritual community, her town, her city, her nation or the world.

Ways of Worship:

Druids love nature and seek to know the land they live on intimately, observing seasonal and astronomical changes and animal behaviors as timing for festivals and as portents for the future.

Druids honor rivers, trees, mountains, green herbs, rocks, animals and every living thing. The Whiteoak Druids, for example, take an oath to protect “the Earth and Her creatures, ” making offerings to trees, stones, and to the local River Goddess of the Druid’s bioregion. Druids place an emphasis on praising the Gods and less of an emphasis on magic, using song, poetry, and crafts to express their love and kinship with their chosen deities. Druids make offerings to fire and water as a regular part of their rituals, in keeping with ancient Indo-European tradition.

Celtic Reconstructionist Druids, in keeping with tradition, work with the Three Worlds (Land, Sea and Sky) more than the Four Directions. Druids invoke and thank the ancestors, the Nature Spirits and the Gods in their rites. Druids are true polytheists, understanding each deity as a distinct individual with His or Her unique likes, dislikes, and spheres of influence. Among Druids it is considered somewhat rude to bring deities from different religions and cultures together in the same circle and every effort is made to work within genuine Celtic pantheons.

A Witch’s circle is a closed space, designed to hold and contain energy to build it into a “cone of power.” A Druid circle is a permeable affair; persons may walk in and out at will. Since part of the energy raising involves inviting the Nature Spirits to participate, Druids feel that there is no point in walling off the circle. Druid ceremonies are most often performed out of doors, ideally in the presence of living water, a fire, and a tree (or a pole or staff substitute) .

Modern Druids do not practice animal or human sacrifice, regarding hard work and artistic achievements as adequate offerings.

The major festivals of the Druids are: Samhain, the ritual end of the harvest season and great festival to honor the dead; Imbolc, a festival especially dedicated to the Goddess Brighid; Beltaine, the beginning of Summer and Lughnasad, the start of the harvest season and a festival dedicated to Lugh and His foster mother. These festivals are known as “Fire Festivals.”

Many Druids also celebrate the Equinoxes and Solstices and some meet at the full or new moons

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Reading and Other References:

For a list of links to the major Druid Orders, book lists and service projects please see:
Sources:

Breatnach, Liam (translator) ; Uraicecht Na Riar, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1987.

Hopman, Ellen Evert; A Druids Herbal, Destiny Books, Rochester, VT, 1995.

Kelly, Fergus; A Guide To Early Irish Law, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1991.

Kelly, Fergus (translator) ; Audacht Morainn, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1976.

Markale, Jean; The Druids, Celtic Priests of Nature, Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 1999.

Matthews, John; The Druid Source Book, Blanford Press, London, 1996.

Ellen Evert Hopman

Keltrian Druidism

Keltrian Druidism

Author: Tony Taylor

Keltrian Druidism was founded in 1985 by members of Ár nDra”ocht Féin who were looking for a Celtic-specific path. In doing so, they built an organization, The Henge of Keltria, and a tradition honoring our ancestors, revering the spirits of nature, and worshipping the Gods and Goddesses of our Celtic heritage. The tradition uses a very specific formula in its ritual form. Those people who regularly practice Keltrian style ritual and who define themselves as Keltrian Druids are following the tradition regardless of their membership within The Henge of Keltria. There are Groves and Study Groups in several states.

Core Beliefs

Keltrian Druids have developed thirteen statements which encompass their values and world view. They are as follows:

1. WE BELIEVE IN DIVINITY as it is manifest in the Celtic pantheons and that polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, animism, and pan-polytheism are all valid theistic perceptions of the Pantheon.
2. WE BELIEVE THAT NATURE IS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE GODS.
3. WE BELIEVE THAT NATURAL LAW REFLECTS THE WILL OF THE GODS.
4. WE BELIEVE THAT ALL LIFE IS SACRED and should be neither harmed nor taken without deliberation or regard.
5. WE BELIEVE IN THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SPIRIT.
6. WE BELIEVE THAT OUR PURPOSE IS TO GAIN WISDOM THROUGH EXPERIENCE, and that we may undergo several incarnations to facilitate the variety of experience necessary to gain wisdom.
7. WE BELIEVE THAT LEARNING IS AN ONGOING PROCESS, and should be encouraged at all ages.
8. WE BELIEVE THAT MORALITY IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL CONVICTION BASED UPON SELF RESPECT AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS.
9. WE BELIEVE THAT EVIL IS NOT A MATTER OF INHERITANCE BUT OF INTENT; therefore, actions are not in themselves evil. Rather, it is through the intent behind actions that evil manifests.
10. WE BELIEVE IN THE RELATIVE NATURE OF ALL THINGS, nothing is absolute, and all things, even the Gods, have their dark sides.
11. WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM THROUGH HIS/HER CHOSEN PATH.
12. WE BELIEVE IN HONORING THE GODS THROUGH THE CYCLICAL CELEBRATIONS OF OUR CELTIC ANCESTORS.
13. WE BELIEVE IN A LIVING RELIGION able to adapt to a changing environment; therefore we recognize that our beliefs may undergo change as our tradition grows.

Besides the thirteen beliefs, there are the three foundations which are to:

1. Honor the Ancestors
2. Revere the Nature Spirits
3. Worship the Gods and Goddesses of our Celtic Tribe

All religious activities of Keltrian Druids should be directed to support one of those three foundations.

Organization of Groups

Groups are organized into Groves. Keltrian Groves must abide by the Henge beliefs, ethics, bylaws and religious methodology. Chartered Groves apply to the Henge of Keltria Board of Trustees and are granted charter pursuant to a recommendation of the Council of Elders. There are differing terms for a Grove based upon the achievement level of the Grove Leader.

Groups who are just beginning may register themselves as Study Groups. Study Groups may be practicing Keltrian Druidism and have all the appearances of being a Grove but have not formally gone through the Chartering process.

Finally, there are many individuals who are practicing Keltrian Druid Ritual in a solitary environment. They may meet with one or more other individuals on occasion and may appear to be study groups but have not registered themselves as such.

Holidays

We celebrate 8 Feasts (holidays) throughout the year. These holidays originally come from two separate cultures. The solstices and equinoxes, which celebrate the cycle of the sun, came from one culture, and the ‘cross-quarters,’ which mark the agricultural and pastoral seasons of the Earth, came from another. The feasts are:

The Feast of Death (Samhain – Nov. 1),

The Feast of Rebirth (Winter Solstice)

The Feast of Stirring (Imbolc – Feb. 2)

The Feast of Flowing (Spring Equinox)

The Feast of Greening (Beltaine – May 1)

The Feast of Ripening (Summer Solstice)

The Feast of First Harvest (Lughnasadh – Aug. 1)

The Feast of Second Harvest (Fall Equinox)

In our rites, we relate the cycle of the year to the cycle of our lives. We choose a specific God and Goddess (Patron and Matron) to honor at each rite.These deities represent a different aspect of our lives, from youth to vitality to old age, wisdom, and finally death. As the year gets older, the Patron and Matron age as well.

Standards of Conduct

Members of The Henge of Keltria are bound by the by-laws of the organization which includes a set of ethical requirements. These ethical rules are similar to most Neopagan organizations and include the following:

1. Shall not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, sex, or sexual preference.
2. Shall not espouse or engage in the practice of blood sacrifice.
3. Shall not participate in the torture, mutilation, enslavement, or abuse (physical or emotional) of any sentient creature.
4. Clergy are expected to be honest, to abide by the law, respect the rights and privacy of others, to maintain a professional profile, and to respect certain sexual taboos placed upon virtually all professionals in our society, rules which have been instituted for the protection of the client.

Ways of Worship

Since we consider ourselves a nature religion, the ideal place for our rituals is outdoors, preferably in the woods or another place away from cities and ‘civilization’. This is not always practical, especially during winter, so we worship wherever it is convenient. The purpose of our rituals is to celebrate the Divine and have communion with the Gods and each other. We do this mainly through meditation, prayer and invocation of the Gods, Ancestors and Nature Spirits.

Most of our rituals are done around a sacred fire (or sacred candles for indoor rituals). Our rituals involve the participation of everyone in attendance. We distribute the ritual functions among several people, rather than have everything done by a priest and priestess. Our rituals also involve the participants through a good deal of singing and dancing.

In addition to the eight Feasts, we celebrate two lunar rites. They are called the Mistletoe Rite and the Vervain Rite. The ancient Druids collected mistletoe on the 6th night of the moon (roughly just before the first quarter). Since mistletoe was known as ‘all heal,’ one of the themes of this rite is healing. This theme extends to healing of our community, through a sharing of food and drink at the rite. The Sun and Moon are in a position of equilibrium at this time, so we also see this as a time of balance. This is when we seek to find balance in our lives.

Our other lunar rite is the Vervain Rite. The time of this rite was also chosen from classical descriptions of ancient Druidic practices. It was written that vervain was gathered when neither sun nor moon were in the sky. This occurs sometime during each night, except when the moon is full. We generally celebrate this around the 3rd quarter. This gives ample time for the rite during the evening hours. It also places this rite opposite the Mistletoe Rite in the lunar cycle. Vervain is said to be of aid in working magic. Thus, the Vervain Rite is our time for working magic. The purpose of magic in a Druidic sense is more like prayer. We work magic to help effect change in our lives. Druidic magic may involve contemplation, meditation, ritual or ecstatic dance.

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Reading and Other References

The Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual (http://www.keltria.org)

Sources

The Henge – An Introduction to Keltrian Druidism (http://www.keltria.org/membersh.htm)
What is The Henge of Keltria and What is Neopagan Druidism (http://www.keltria.org/druidq3.htm)
The By-Laws of The Henge of Keltria (http://www.keltria.org/Bylaws.htm)

For further information, contact The Henge of Keltria via its web site: http://www.keltria.org.

Living Your Religion Every Day

Living Your Religion Every Day

Author:   James Bulls 

This story is neither about high ceremony nor exotic sorcery; it is not about the alchemical secret to eternal life but the simple secret to everyday life. To preface this simple secret, consider the words of Johann von Goethe who said, “Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.” There are some who would disagree with that statement, but consider its merits on a day-to-day basis. For contrast, consider James Dean’s statement, “Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today.” You may certainly choose to live each day under the dictates of extremity, but such a lifestyle relies on black-and-white dichotomies quite incompatible with a harmonious lifestyle and a society that requires those members who wish to live successfully the ability to distinguish subtleties, nuance, and shades of grey.

To return to Goethe’s statement that moderation brings happiness, one must look at each day not as a singular opportunity to figuratively explode like James Dean but to burn a low, steady flame. Extremists who make dramatic resolutions toward religious expression attract much attention, but after the noise is finished what remains is a spiritual model incompatible with modern life. As it concerns living your religion everyday, the loud dramatists advocate set rules and habits for life: meditate for an hour every day; read cards every day; exercise every day; never eat this; never drink that; always perform the quarter, cross-quarter, full-Moon, and dark-Moon rituals; and so on. And so the misguided accept one absolute after another into their spiritual devotions until all their time and energy is devoted to planning for the next event.

The trouble with living your religion in terms of absolutes is that each of us is fallible and will fail to satisfy an artificial schedule and arbitrary definition of “spiritual perfection.” Absolutes invite failure, failure invites discouragement, discouragement invites dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction invites mediocrity. This “mediocrity” of which I speak is the ball-and-chain, which prohibits daily expression of one’s religion – it is the intangible obstacle that stands between the spiritually dead and the sublime angels!

Living moderately provides room for failure and permits one to find as much satisfaction in the loving preparation of afternoon tea as another might find in an elaborate Spring Equinox celebration. Moderation permits one to say “I forgive myself for my weaknesses, ” and “This is enough for today.” Living your religion on a daily basis is determined in neither quantity nor quality, but in the process and your ability to find satisfaction in it.

Much of the spiritual insight commonly taught in the New Thought, New Age, Wiccan, and Occult communities is imported from the East, but there is much of value in the West that gets overlooked. With respect to living one’s religion every day and the importance of moderation I set out at the beginning, consider the Religious Society of Friends, also called the Quakers. The Friends believe in moderation, modesty, and (not unlike the Zen Buddhists) a direct experience of God outside of material limitations. The Friends live their faith every day not necessarily through dictated prayer times and worship services, but through quiet appreciation for the Divine and making common-sense choices to live modestly which not only prevent egoic obstacles to spiritual growth but also provide more time for to focus on their friends and family members, community, and simple acts of devotion.

Living moderately (and dare I say modestly) is not a sexy adventure for bold heroes but the source of pure happiness. Living one’s religion every day isn’t a matter of selecting specific rituals, adopting absolute views in the name of simplicity, or making loud declarations for the sake of consistency – it is in fact a broad, consistent expression of your core values. For example, consider Pantheism, a path whose travellers see the very world in which they live as the body of the Divine and who value the environment, wildlife, and the needs of their kin and neighbours. Pantheists may have specific rituals they practice for spiritual edification such as cartomancy, theurgy, and folk medicine (Qi gong, Reiki, etc.) , but it is putting the carriage before the horse to say that the rituals are the religion – a religion is the sum of the core values and ultimate goals!

To live their religion every day, Pantheists may choose activities or make simple changes which support their beliefs such as: turning off a light when they leave the room; taking the time and effort to recycle paper, glass, and plastic; collect litter in their neighbourhood or at the local park; volunteer once or twice a month at the animal shelter; donate their time to Habitat for Humanity; making a meal for a friend or inviting a friend to a meal; walking or riding a bike when a vehicle isn’t needed; using cloth shopping bags; turning off the TV or computer to spend more time with your spouse and children; or even just smiling and saying hello to strangers on the street. None of these actions are as sexy and exciting as high ceremony or deep meditation, but they are all easily adopted into one’s everyday life and each of them supports the religious expression of the Pantheist.

Moderation is the simple secret to daily expression of one’s religion; you will not find happiness in strict adherence to daily religious ritual but in the small, simple activities and choices, which are the mundane foundation of your religious philosophy. If you worship the Earth, make choices, which protect the environment. If you revere the sacred feminine, make choices that would lead others to respect femininity. If you believe that your spiritual purpose is to serve your fellows, be friendly and willing to help. But if you want to live your religion every day, don’t obligate yourself to an arbitrary schedule of worship or you’ll only become a slave to your faith. Remember you values and you’ll immediately change from an event-based religion to a day-to-day expression of faith.