We all strive to do this a little more –to get out and experience nature; to take a walk and meditate on the growth and the decay; to appreciate it all. With the sunny weather we have been having lately, I set out to get my son started early. He is at an age where touching everything is terribly exciting, so we wandered around the yard to see what we could find.
I thought it could be fun, for just a moment, to consider and see the world though his eyes. Everything is new. Everything is exciting. Each and every leaf is a new texture. And every colour is brilliant and thrilling.
Meditation is part of the Druid way, and it can be challenging, but there are many forms of mediation. For me, one of the best ways is to walk in nature and focus only on my breath and embracing the environment around me. It is a single focus that calms the mind and body, and I hope to pass it on to my little one.
I hope we can all take some time, with summer at its peek, to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us all.
I went outside to greet the sun, on this, the longest day of the year.
It was supposed to be a simple act of catharsis, though an important one – for a druid whose last full ritual was Beltaine, and who hasn’t prayed or meditated in what felt like months.
“Life got in the way”
“things are just too hectic from the move”
“I’ll start my daily devotionals again tomorrow”
As I sat there in quiet reflection, waiting for the sun to emerge from the rosy glow in the sky, a voice in the back of my mind kept whispering to me, “You’re missing something.” Eventually, the feeling got so strong I got up and brought my whole tote of ritual & altar gear outside onto the deck with me and set up a full impromptu ritual. This is what I love about ADF’s Core Order of Ritual – it was like riding a bike… by continued practice, the mundane-seeming physical actions of our rituals become second nature, and in those moments when our hands are busy and our minds are free, we can focus on the sacred significance that flows through, around, and between.
After the praises had been sung, and the offerings given, I was blessed with very good omens:
My omen of Acceptance of the Offerings Given was Muin (Vine)– a sign to, “Trust in what you have done and unwind”
My omen of Blessing (what the Gods grant in return) was Beith (Birch) – the tree of beginnings – which I took to be a glad sign of the gods’ invitation to a fresh start to my daily practice.
The ritual (and my morning) was comfortable and relaxed. I got up to greet the sun, and I felt like the light of the solstice soothed me in return. So when life gets busy, and you feel like you have no time for a regular spiritual practice, remember that making those few minutes of quiet reflection a priority can bring perspective and help you to better deal with the hectic flow of everyday life. Though not a pagan, I think Sukhraj S. Dhillon said it best:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Back in October, members of the Grove got together to kick-start some family mead making. While the initial phases were completed that weekend, there was a long wait between that first step and the next (or possibly the third, as I believe Dan may have actually done some extra things on his own to somehow advance the process… I don’t understand how this stuff works haha).
(See pictures from mead making get-together numero uno here.)
The phase completed last week was the final one. It involved filtering the aged mead from one carboy into another and then into bottles, which are then corked and will eventually be labeled (maybe). The whole process is sterile. Small glasses are passed around for tasting.
These three batches passed the test.
The rest of the time is spent catching up, consuming excessive amounts of coffee, and cooing over the babies. We genuinely enjoy each others’ company, so this is actually pretty swell. And adorable. Because babies. (Little Atticus –below– actually tried his first taste of solid food. He did not appear disappointed.)
As always, another lovely time in the company of lovely lovely people.
For an opportunity to actually partake in one of these batches of home-brewed mead, join us at AEGIS, where the Grove plans to share, laugh, and be merry.
In light of the recent tragedy concerning the massacre of 50 individuals at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Halifax Pride, like a number of Pride organizations around the world, held a candlelit vigil as a show of support, solidarity, and love. The vigil, which was held Monday night, was incredibly moving, with well over 1,500 LGBTQ+ community members and their allies in attendance.
Karina Furlan, a member of this Grove as well as the Halifax Pride Board of Directors, provided the following statements in a short interview, pre-vigil, with Halifolks:
“We’re all reacting to a big shock. We all already know that there’s hate out there towards us and there’s acts of violence towards members of our community every day, but something of this scale… I mean, just look at all of the people here today. In one day, hundreds and hundreds of people have rallied together to come out and be here to acknowledge what’s happened.
“Safe spaces are already kind of too few and far between in the LGBT community. I don’t even mean ‘spaces’ in the sense of physical places, but even existing in day-to-day life and being out is a big deal for a lot of people. So going to a place like a gay bar, where you’re assuming that you’re going to be accepted by everyone… and then to have that essentially shattered. It’s devastating.
“There are vigils and events that are happening like this all across the world right now and yesterday. I hope that everyone who is here this evening is looking around and seeing all the people who are here in solidarity and support of one another. I want people to carry this sense of solidarity always, not just as a reaction to something terrible. All these people are always here; love wins, and being aware that we’re stronger together is what’s most important right now.”
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The following statement was also issued from the Mother Grove:
Our hearts go out today to all of the victims, family, and friends of those in the LGBT community who lost their lives in the senseless violence that claimed 50 lives and even more injured in Orlando, Florida yesterday. We struggle to understand how hatred and violence can tear apart the fabric of a city, a state, a nation, and the larger global citizenry that we look to as members of the human community. Let us please ask the Kindreds for guidance and blessing as we send our prayers and any help that we can muster to those shattered by this human tragedy. Please include the victims and all those touched by this great loss in your prayers and offerings.
Just back from a wet yet wonderful time at Raven’s Knoll where I got to attend the meeting of the Canada East Druid Leadership, hosted by our Regional Druid, Erin. For the first time in our grove history, we got to make our report in person, which was wonderful, but even more wonderful was a chance to meet our Arch Druid, Drum (pictured below). While I did not get a lot of time to sit and chat with him, my impression was of a dedicated man who has the best interest of the ADF and it’s Canadian druids at heart. He did mention in his welcome words that he hopes to be able to visit each of the Canadian groves before his tenure is complete, a goal I certainly hope he accomplishes. Also mentioned was the fact that ADF is going through some changes in the next few years. It is his hopes that Canada can help to test out many of the changes for the ADF, before they become mainstream. This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Canada to play a role in shaping the future of the ADF in some way.
Other than that I presented our current projects, outreach, grove membership information, and future plans. From listening to the other reports, I can say that Nova Scotia is strong and vibrant in the Canadian druid scene.
It was also my pleasure to finally meet our former Regional Druid, Lisa, face-to-face for the first time. She received her Ordination the day before the meeting. While not the first Canadian to do so (as she pointed out), she is the only currently standing ADF priest/ess. Well done, Lisa! We look forward to following in your footsteps.
Again, I would like to thank Erin for inviting me to the meeting and allowing me to represent our grove, and thanks to the other leaders of ADF groves in attendance. It is my hope that I can attend the whole event in the future.