Dreams that feel significant

I woke this morning from an unusual dream which feels significant. In this dream I was at some sort of gathering somewhere rural with nice front garden and driveway. It was at the end of this gathering and Neil and I were walking down the drive on the way out. Andy and Helen Guthrie drew level with us, we hadn’t known they were there. Andy have me a hug, as he usually would, then he looked at me and said: “The salmon aren’t spawning properly.” We said something like we hadn’t known that and Neil left to check on this. Andy went on to say there were 14 areas where the salmon weren’t spawning properly. Then I woke up. 

This felt like a significant dream. I’ve never dreamt of Andy before, or Helen come to that. And what he said initially was so clear. Does it mean there are serious problems with our rivers? Possibly, the gods know we put enough shite into the world to cause all sorts of problems. But I don’t think it’s that simple. Andy, as those who knew him will know, was a teller of Celtic stories and myths, he knew these myths in his blood and bones. To those who know Celtic symbols the Salmon is a symbol of wisdom and inspiration and there are a few tales of those who sought the Salmon of wisdom only for another to receive its gift. Could this dream have something to do with the sharing or seeking of knowledge, wisdom or inspiration?

What are you seeking? What are you sharing? Have you gradually drawn in as I have or have you been reaching out? What does it mean to you that the Salmon aren’t spawning properly? And what of the 14 areas Andy spoke of, what are they?

Sometimes dreams feel bigger than just for you. Sometimes you need to share them.

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Imbolc Memories

Images of Imbolcs past flood my mind.

Woken early, a gift of chocolates.

A simple ceremony in a local park.

Guesting with a coven, the smell of my hair burning!

Chanting to honour Brigid

Our Lucy pours out the offering of milk

Flames of hope shared in the cold

Warm drinks after shared in the warmth.

Long conversations of the Brighids in the past.

Memories…

A Mantle of Love

I wrap a mantle of love around you
Love from friends
Love from family
Love from far and near.

I wrap a mantle of love around you
Love that protects
Love that nurtures
Most of all, love that supports.

I wrap a mantle of love around you
Love from hopes
Love from joys
Love through pain and sorrow.

I wrap a mantle of love around you
I leave it in your care.

For Nimue.

A Dreaming to share

I often wake more than once in a night. Sometime I wake, like last night, having had an unusual dream. Last night’s dream was vivid in imagery but not in colour. In terms of colours the whole thing was in different shades of grey.

I was led or brought to what seemed to be a life sized relief carving of a water fall with a cave. The one who led me there seemed male but it wasn’t clear if they were or not. Once we were at the place they seemed to step or fade back from view, still there but in the background.

A sound started. Drumming, deep and from a single drum then voices wordlessly chanting, female voices, a kind of otherworldly choir.

A single louder voice spoke out:

“Without air we cannot breathe.”

The drumming and chanting sounds continued. The relief of the waterfall began to slowly change as I watched. The cave deepened. The water began to very slowly flow into the cave, across the roof of the cave and down the back of it into the darkness. A pale drinking horn, a fairly small one, faded into view floating in the air just inside the mouth of the cave. Drops of water slowly fell into it.

I reached in and took the horn, it was full although I’d only seen a couple of drops of water fall into it. I drank. The water was cold and incredibly refreshing. I put the horn back to float in the air.

The same single voice as before spoke again:

“Without water there is no life.”

As I continued to watch roots began to grow on the floor of the cave, pale white threads weaving into a loose mat like mycelium.

Again the voice spoke out:

“Without roots we cannot grow”.

Then I woke up. The background drumming and chanting had continued throughout the dream.

Sometimes dreams are meant only for the one dreaming, this one I felt was to be shared. For me it feels like a healing dream.

Love

Love doesn’t have to be a close thing
Of bodies touching, writhing.

Love doesn’t have to be returned
To still be felt heart deep.

Love can reach across oceans,
Drift with winds over mountains
And into valleys.

Love has many tastes and yet none,
Many textures, sounds and colours
Yet is indescribable.

Love is simple and yet so very complex,
Strong yet so very fragile.

Love is in my mind and in my soul.
Love doesn’t have to be a close thing.

By Potia.

Sweet Darkness

Sweet Darkness will you hold me?
Let me rest in your embrace?
The day is harsh and painful
Please hide my tear streaked face.

Gentle Darkness will you hold me?
Let me feel your soothing touch?
My heart is sore, my head is full,
I need your peace so much.

I know that I can find you
When the moon has gone away.
In star lit skies I see you
Until the break of day.

Now dawn begins Her journey
She starts to paint the sky.
Sweet Darkness I must leave you
For in daylight you are shy.

And I must walk in sunlight
Beneath the painful glare,
Where other people judge me,
But some of them still care.

Gentle Darkness I will find you
When day retreats from night.
I’ll rest within your presence,
Find strength again to fight.

By Potia

I Prefer Individualism Over Gate Keeping

This, so much this!

Life With Trickster Gods

I am a Pagan. I am a Druid. I am a Polytheist. I believe the Gods are real. I believe They are all separate, unique entities that can be experienced in a variety of ways. I know there are other Pagans that believe similar to me. Just as I know there are other Pagans that do not believe as I do. There are those that find all of that discomforting. I don’t. I take great comfort in understanding that the Gods are experienced differently by everyone. Why would I take comfort in that thought? Because it means we are all individual, unique human beings. It means we have the Free Will to expand our understanding of Those Beyond our understanding in a manner that speaks to each of us. It means we are not cut from the same mold, that we are as unique as I believe that the Gods…

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Practicalities of a home retreat

I was asked elsewhere if I could write a bit more about the practicalities of doing a home retreat following on from my last post.  The simple answer is yes, the more complicated one is I can tell you what I did and what I learnt from it but this was something planned solely for me so various aspects may not transfer well to others.

The first thing I did after making the decision to have a home based retreat was to plan out what I could do and when. My first initial thoughts had been to just do a day but I felt this wouldn’t really give me enough time to really benefit from the whole process. I think I was right in that.  I decided to do a three day retreat. I felt that would be enough time to feel the benefit but not so much I would start having difficulties in focus while at home.  I didn’t get that quite right but life has ways of throwing up things you don’t anticipate.

Here is the plan I developed:

Aim: To reset mind, emotion and spirit in a busy world

Minimal technology use – no facebook or email checking. Meals to be eaten, and chores to be done, more mindfully. Reading to be spiritually focussed.

Planned daily routine

  1. Morning devotional mediation before breakfast honouring Brigantia
  2. Breakfast
  3. Morning prayer and chanting in honour of Maponnos
  4. Mindful chores
  5. Devotions to and communing with the Herd Mothers
  6. Lunch
  7. Devotions to and communing with the water beings
  8. Afternoon exercise – walking or yoga type stretching
  9. Reading or devotional craft work
  10. Mid afternoon devotions to and communing with Gofannon
  11. Reflection time – may include journaling or blogging
  12. Devotions to and communing with Loki
  13. Dinner
  14. Evening activities – could include reading, crafting or divination
  15. Late evening devotions to and communing with An Cailleach
  16. Bed

As you can see the routine above includes several periods of prayer/communing with different beings. These are the beings I have regular devotional practices with at the current time.

So that was the plan. It didn’t work out quite like that in practice although it wasn’t far off it. I learnt I made a pretty big mistake putting exercise in the early afternoon. It was too soon after lunch and I had to tweak that so I did some reading or craft work after my post lunch devotions in order to let my lunch digest a bit more before doing exercise.  I also usually ended up sitting down and doing a bit of reading after my chores and before doing my pre lunch devotions to the Herd Mothers partially to relax a bit physically after the chores and partially because I had more time available than I anticipated.

In addition to the devotions of the retreat routine I also felt I needed to incorporate my usual daily devotions which include a libation to the being/s I focus on that day.  The retreat devotions did not include libations or other physical offerings. As my retreat took place on a Tuesday to Thursday that meant the first day there was an evening devotional to Brigantia, the second day I honoured my ancestors and the third day I did my evening devotions to Gofannon.

I was pretty good at restricting my online time but I did have the odd quick look at facebook or emails if I was looking for something in particular, for example on Thursday, where I usually join a zoom singing session with Sing aLoud.

Thursday, the last day of the retreat was a more difficult day to keep the retreat focus going. There were a couple of unanticipated interruptions. One was a brief visit from my kids who were staying the week with their dad. Lovely to see them but unexpected and it knocked me off the routine a bit. The other was news from my husband family down south that his mum had taken a turn for the worse and she wanted to him to visit. We had known she wasn’t well but this sounded much worse. Fortunately travel restrictions in Scotland were just lifting and we decided to travel down that weekend to see her. If the travel restrictions hadn’t lifted I think we would have still gone anyway under the circumstances but we didn’t have to make that call. I still completed the retreat but as you can imagine my mind was much less focussed after that news. It did seem apt that I needed to work harder on a day where my daily devotions were honouring Gofannon who UPG tells me appreciates hard work and perseverance.

Things I missed from a home retreat included simply being somewhere else which can help in distancing yourself from your usual routines and interactions with other people. I’m lucky in having a pagan and Druid husband as talking bout some of the things I was reading or thinking about was helpful.  If I did this again I think I’d try and set up a zoom/skype session or two with others I could talk to and reflect on some of my retreat experiences with so probably fellow druid types.

Overall the home retreat did help me with a spiritual reset and I came out of it feeling more strongly connected with the beings I honour. I also came out of it with a desire to re-kindle the druid aspects of my path and signed up for the British Druid Order (BDO) distance bardic course.  I’m also trying to be a bit more active in the Scottish Druids Facebook Group I set up and admin.

Hopefully if you are considering doing some form of home retreat this will give you some ideas to consider in your own planning.

Thoughts on a retreat at home

Today is the second day of an attempt at a home based retreat.  There are good aspects and not so good aspects about trying to do a retreat at home. You can set your own structure with a home based retreat. In the current circumstances of Covid-19 you don’t have to worry about social distancing while travelling or staying somewhere else if you do something on your own and at home. But it is much harder to leave the mundane aspects of your life behind when you stay at home and unless your family joins you in retreat activities you don’t have others to talk to during times of reflection. You also don’t have anyone else keeping you on track for activities.

I developed my own retreat structure which is a mix of devotional time, contemplation, mindful chores and exercise with time each day for reflection too. On the whole it’s working pretty well although there are aspects that I am finding need a bit of tweaking – I definitely wasn’t thinking clearly in putting exercise after lunch for example even with a light lunch. I have also greatly reduced my time on email and Facebook during this retreat and any reading I am doing is focussed around spiritual or religions matters.

I picked this week to try this as my kids are staying with their dad for a week which means my days are not punctuated with their day to day needs. Not that either of them are particularly needy during school holiday periods but there are some care requirements in an autistic family. Technically it’s only one at school now but the lad did try college this year and is now looking at modern apprenticeships. Anyway, I digress, suffice it to say it’s easier to immerse myself in spiritual matters without them here.

Luckily my other half, Neil, is also a druid as many readers will already know so although he hasn’t joined me in this retreat I have been able to talk to him about some aspects.  We had an interesting conversation yesterday while walking round our local park.  In it the idea of Druidry as an entity came up.  This immediately brought to mind a passage I had read earlier that day in the book “Contemplative Druidry” by James Nichol in which Penny Billinton speaks briefly about the concept of egregores although Neil had come to the idea of druidry as an entity in a different way.  I have been musing on the idea ever since.

Druidry as a being,
An egregore.
A child growing
Changing into…

Would Druid then become both the name of someone in a form of relationship, consciously or unconsciously, with “Druidry” and the name of the relationship itself? This could also help explain why it is so difficult to define “Druidry” as it is partially formed by those that have relationships to it. This also changes how I feel about being druid as it becomes my relationship, my connection to the entity “Druidry” and like any of my relationships that will always be unique because it is partly shaped by me, a unique being.

It’s been an interesting experimental home retreat so far and I have one more day to complete my intended aim of a three day home retreat.