Pagan Blog – F is for …

I was originally thinking of making this F post about the goddess Freya but when I sat down to type … my mind changed.

 Today’s post is now “F is for FEAR”

Fear of “coming out” as a pagan.  For I can’t remember how many years I kept my paganism very very quiet, mostly for fear of upsetting my parents but also for fear of creating an upset in my work life.  When I say I kept it quiet I have a ring with pentacles on that I love … for a couple of years I only ever wore it when I wasn’t in the county I live and work in  … yeah I was that extreme! Continue reading

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E is for Equinox – Pagan Blog Project

I am lucky enough to live within driving distance of Castlerigg Stone Circle and Derwent Water, two places where I really connect with the earth and the gods and goddesses.  I visit Castlerigg for the Summer Solstice (staying overnight) and the Winter Solstice (though only for the sunrise) whenever possible.  In the summer the sun rises so early it is easy to get to work afterwards and though I am usually lucky enough not to be at work around the Winter Solstice (school holidays) if I am I go the nearest sunrise I can.

Sunrise 20th March 2009

So the solstices yeah but they start with S … what about the Equinoxes you ask 🙂

An Equinox (just in case you don’t know though I expect most readers will) happens twice a year when the hours of light and the hours of darkness are nearly equal everywhere in the world.  The next Equinox is on March 20th, which, as I live in the Northern Hemisphere, will mark the beginning of Spring and so is called the Spring or Vernal Equinox.  For those in the Southern Hemisphere it will mark the beginning of Autumn and so be the Autumn or Autumnal Equinox.  Well I virtually always go to Castlerigg for the sunrise on the Equinoxes too.  I am more likely to have to go at the weekend however that means I have more time to connect 😀

This year the Spring Equinox falls on a Tuesday, a work day for myself so I shall be getting up a ‘wee’ bit earlier than normal on the closest weekend day, Sunday 18th, and driving to Castlerigg to greet the dawn.  When I’ve done my personal ritual and the sun has either risen or it’s become so light you can just declare it daytime (a common occurrence at Castlerigg!)  I will then drive down to Derwent Water, the lake at Keswick, park up and go for a wander.  I don’t walk that far but it takes me a couple of hours … sometimes a chocolate couple!  I will take the time to really see what has changed, to listen and look for the birds, to enjoy the atmosphere.  I love to watch the changing seasons, watch the clouds ease over the hills.  It’s the Lake District after all, we usually have clouds to watch even when the sun does show his face.

Derwent Water - 27th March 2011

When I go for one of my walks at Derwent Water (if you know the area I just walk along to Friar’s Crag and back with that tiny loop at the end) I usually have a cereal bar or similar in my pocket and will scatter bits for the birds and other creatures.  I started doing this when I realised that on every visit at least one robin came out to see me.  In fact now the visit feels incomplete, painfully so, if a robin hasn’t chirped at me!  In my heart those Robins are messengers from the goddess, just because I don’t speak Robin doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t understand and it felt impolite not to give the messenger a gift, what else but food 🙂

Are you listening Willow?

I don’t always get such a lovely photograph but Winter Solstice just gone this gentleman posed for me most beautifully 😀

And of course no visit is complete unless I spend time with the tree I belong to … but that’s another post 😉

As part of the journey I am on I mark the turning of the wheel. Living in towns it can be easy to miss the changes in the world as the seasons change but I as well as taking the time to get into the countryside, my places of power, at special times, at the changes, I try to see what is happening all around me.  I am walking this path each and everyday, not just at the eight main points of the year.  I do my best to notice the changes all around, the daffodils which are a few inches above the grass in the corner of grass near work, the changing colours of the sea, the way the clouds come down and isolate us from each other.   The Equinox will soon be on us, can’t you tell!

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D is for … Damh The Bard :o)

If you haven’t heard Damh play you really need to check out his website!  His music, it, well, you need to listen to it, it’s always resonated with me. I first heard him play at … you know I can’t actually remember!  It was either Oakleaf, The Mercian Gathering or PaganCon at Preston … I’m lucky enough to have heard him a few times at all three venues.

Damh is a singer, a writer and a storyteller who will entertain you as well as make you think!  His music is at the heart of  Spirit of Albion – The Movie which is a musical, ten songs of Damh’s were picked out and the film story and characters were created based on them. It looks like it is going to be awesomely amazing 😀  Me, a fan?  Just slightly, I’m no stalker though, even if I do follow Damh on Twitter, and Facebook, and get the monthly newsletter lol

Spirit of Albion, the Movie. Directed by Gary Andrews. Photographs by Lusete

My all time favourite song of his is “Green and Grey”.  You can listen to it at that link and read the lyrics, the chorus is:

I’m no devil I’m Father to the land,
I have lived here since the Earth began,
Neither black nor white,
Priest hear what I say,
I’m green and grey.

This song resonated and touched me so much that it altered the design of my first (and only, so far lol) tattoo … the planned pentacle was surrounded by flames of green which fade to grey 🙂

Another one of my favourite songs is Cauldron Born, both on the CD of the same name.  Here’s a snippet:

Lady stir your Cauldron well,
Chant your words and sing your spell,
Deep within the darkened hall,
Hear the Goddess Ceridwen call.
Come and taste of the Cauldron’s Brew,
And magic she will give to you,
You will dance in the eye of the storm,
You’re Ceridwen’s Children,
The Cauldron Born!

 

Though I’m not actually a druid (ooh another D 🙂 ) I thoroughly enjoy Damh’s monthly podcast the Druidcast, it’s full of fabulous music, interesting interviews making me think and smile every time.  In this month’s Druidcast Damh is interviewed in the regular features “A Day In The Life Of” where you can hear more about him from his own lips, including his thoughts on becoming the Pendragon of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids on the Summer Solstice of 2010.

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D is for DRUMS :oD

The word drum is always said with/followed by a smile because it makes me think of camp and dancing around the fires.  Drums are amazing they get the heart beating, they guide Journeys, bringing us back safe.

All praise to those who drum for hours and hours around the campfires, whether dancing or not (and far too often it’s been not these last few years due to health) I appreciate, enjoy and treasure your ‘work’.  I put that in speech marks as drumming isn’t work, it’s the rhythm of life and as such to be enjoyed and celebrated 🙂

Above is a photo someone took at the Mercian Gathering, it’s of a drumming workshop held in 2009 by Scott Jasper of Dragonfly Moon.  It’s a workshop I look forward to with great keeness, in the past I’ve borrowed drums but last year I bought my very own.  I couldn’t drum the same as the majority as they had djembes but it was fabulous fun 😀

I feel that drumming brings me closer to the heart of the mother, at home I can only drum softly as I live in a terrace house but it’s something I do whenever I feel the need.

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Chanting

For this my first post as part of the Pagan Blog Project I chose to use one of the suggested topics for the letter C … Chants.

I first encountered group chanting at Oakleaf Camp, a small group that meets the last weekend of July in Yorkshire.  The focus of the camp is the burning of the wicca man on the Sunday during which there is chanting.  Prior to that, sometimes on both the Saturday and Sunday, there is the option to join in a chanting workshop.  The first time I did this it was with some nervousness as in one secondary school I attended the music teacher would not allow me to sing at all.  The cause of the poor singing was singled out in grammar school and I joined the choir there but the way that music teacher singled me out … it left a mark.

Chanting is nothing like singing, it is so much better.  The time in choir did help me as I remembered my breathing … from the diaphragm not the top of the chest!!!  Chanting, especially as a group raises some amazing energies, it’s awesome and for me one of the best parts of going to camp.  Not only is there the chanting workshops, where amongst other chants we practise the ones for the Burning Ceremony, but there is often chanting around the fire … usually after the drumming curfew lol.  At Oakleaf the chanting workshops sometimes take place at the edge of the field, under the trees but often, especially if the weather is very hot or wet, they take place inside the roundhouse.  Although we stand to chant there is a comfortable bench all around the edge to take a brief rest on in between songs if, like myself, standing isn’t something you can do for long.

  

Sitting here, thinking about and writing this post I’ve been trying to remember some of the chants.  I’m finding it difficult, I’ve struggled with this before but once someone starts I can nearly always remember them.

A couple of my favourites are:

I am a circle, I am healing you

You are  a circle, you are healing me

United as one.  United, be as one.

When we do this one during a workshop someone goes in the middle and we chant to that person.  Last year (2011) I was in the centre, it was something I needed, I cried while we chanted and I felt the energies fill me and lift my soul.  I can’t really describe how heart healing it was.

Moon rise, so rise I

Starfire burning, so burn I

Spindle spin, so spin I

The wheel turns, so turn I

Mother I feel you under my feet, Mother I hear your heartbeat

Mother I feel you under my feet, Mother I hear your heartbeat

This one you chant faster and faster as you go along, often with chants you’ll have people more vocally able creating harmonies and where there is two parts as in the above chant the chanters will split and sing the opposite parts.

Hoof and Horn, Hoof and Horn,

All that dies shall be re-born.

Corn and Grain, Corn and Grain,

All that fall, shall rise again!

 

This photo isn’t from Oakleaf, it’s from The Mercian Gathering, another pagan camp I attend whenever possible.  It is held in the beginning of September where Lammas is also celebrated with chanting and burning the Wicker Man.  The chant we sing while the Wicker Man burns at both camps is this one:

Horned One, Lover Son,

Leaper in the Corn

Deep in the Mother

Die and be Reborn

Well there a few thoughts on chanting … I hope you enjoyed reading about it and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of any opportunity which comes your way to take part in chanting.  Yes you can chant by yourself, I have done so, but chanting as part of a group is a totally different experience.

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Pagan Blog Project Newbie!

A friend sent me a link a few weeks ago to this project but I only read it yesterday.  My email account had sent the twitter notification to my spam box, luckily I found it yesterday.  When I saw the original link I was on my phone and it would not connect to the site.  Now I have seen and read the original post, follow link on above picture, I have decided it sounds a wonderful idea.  As my previous blog has been untouched for about a year and little posted on it in for a few years I decided to dedicate a new blog to this project.  I might post other things but this will be the main purpose of it.

What is The Pagan Blog Project?
(The Short Answer)
This project is a way to spend a full year dedicating time each week very specifically to studying, reflecting, and sharing your spiritual and magickal path. The project consists of a single blog post each week posted on your blog each Friday for the year of 2012 that will involve a topic that relates to Paganism, Witchcraft, magick, spirituality, and so on. You can use your posts to share your views on a topic, to talk about your own personal experiences, or to act as a catalyst to research a subject that you may not know much about and then share what you learn and how you feel about that. Each week there is a specific prompt for you to work with in writing your post, a prompt that will focus on a letter of the alphabet each week providing you a framework for your writing as well as a common thread for all participants to share in.

It’s only Wednesday, okay Thursday, it’s half midnight!  So I’ve got a day to think what about my very first Pagan Blog Post will be about … apparently this week the inspiration is the letter C.

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