A Prayer for LBGT Pride

My sacred Ladies, I come before you,
A woman grown in a lesbian home
And I pray for the well-being of women loving women.

My sacred Lords, I come before you
As you embrace and love across cultures
And I pray for the well-being of men loving men.

My sacred Loves, I come before you,
Child of a bisexual parent,
Parent of a bisexual child,
And I pray for the well-being of those loving more than a single gender.

Single gendered, I come before Sacred Ones of all genders and of none,
And I pray for the well-being of those who cross boundaries, who re-define what we are as human beings.

I come before all beings here.
I can not know your journeys,
I can not know your fears,
I can not know your pain,
I can not know your joys,
I am not as you.
But I stand beside you in love and respect,
I stand beside you in Pride!

rainbow rose

 

Deepening devotions

Today (Thursday 30 July) is the day before a full moon and as is my custom I have set out my offerings to Brigantia for this moon.  I am blessed in that my daughter has taken an interest in joining me for these devotions and the ones I do for Maponos in particular and this evening as I finished off some washing up she began to get things ready for us.

Since I began flame tending earlier this year my lunar rites for Brigantia have also developed. In addition to lighting three tea lights and offering a bowl of oatmeal and a bowl of warmed honeyed milk I now include a small bowl of water which I dedicate to Brigantia and use during flame tending to anoint myself with.  I’ve also started to put slips of paper with names of those I know that are in need of healing into a small bronze cauldron I have and requesting healing for them both as part of my flame tending devotions and now part of my lunar devotions as well.

I light the tea lights and my daughter and I offer our praises to Brigantia together.  We make the offerings together and then I sing while my daughter dances round me.  I am enjoying the increased depth of connection I feel with these devotions.

Tomorrow evening (Friday 31st) I will make my devotions to my lady Epona Rigantona. These devotions have also changed slightly since I began flame tending as I felt strongly that in addition to the flame tending I needed to do more for Epona.  I began knitting some roses dedicated to Her.  Some have been kept here on the shire I have for Her while others have been sent out to individuals I felt should get one.  Now when I light my single candle for Epona at the full moon I place a beautiful stone carved with a Pictish style horse in front of it with the wooden quaich I had made for libations sat with an offering in it behind the candle and arrange the roses I have kept for Her around them all.  I now have an additional prayer I use with my prayer beads during these devotions which I usually do alone.

I have recently made contact with others who are devoted to Epona and I hope that my communications with them will inspire me further.  Already I feel I have been led to them.

On Saturday 1st August and the day after the full moon I will make my usual offerings to the one I know as Cailleach.  These alone out of the devotions I do have not really changed.  Perhaps they will at another time but for now I don’t feel I need to do more than I currently do for Her the main aspect of which is a libation offered in a particular goblet.

All the food and drink offerings I make are left out overnight and ritually poured out into the back garden the next morning.

On Sunday 2nd August I will be making my usual weekly devotions to Maponos.  This is another area of devotion that my daughter usually joins me in.  For Maponos we prepare a special oil burner, adding drops of one of three oils I brought for this purpose alone. Again for this one I sing and my daughter dances.  I also have a prayer we have begun saying together which includes praying for healing for those names in His sister Brigantia’s cauldron. (Their relationship is more my UPG than anything bu some tales do have Angus Og and Brighid as siblings so I don’t think it’s an unreasonable link).

This weekend I am also aware that many will be celebrating Lughnasadh.  Of all the festivals this is the one I feel least connected to and as it happens I will be unable to join with others to celebrate this time.  I think this year that instead I will be thinking of all those celebrating but for myself focusing more on my devotions to those deities I have been gradually developing deeper connections with.

Hail the Gods!

(and by using that wording I mean to give honour to deities of any and all gender types)

My truth isn’t yours

As a self named Hearth Druid I write about what is close to my heart.  Sometimes that’s a long thought out sharing of part of my spiritual life, sometimes I blurt.  This post is a blurt.

My truth isn’t yours, your truth can never be mine but we can talk about our truths, share them and hope that in sharing something of what we share will help someone else.  Those who know me will be aware I have been having a lot of problems with stress and anxiety over the last few months.  I’m doing much better with that at the moment but I have a secret and I don’t want to hold it in, I want to blurt it out.  I know some won’t believe it but others will.  The more logical part of me will say it doesn’t matter what you believe, the more emotional part of me wants to be listened to and accepted for what I believe I may be.

Enough of the mystery already.  So here goes. I think I am on the autistic spectrum.  This isn’t a sudden thing, it’s been something I’ve been wondering about for a while and the more I have watched my daughter (identified as Aspergers) develop the more I recognise myself in her. I didn’t have this type of recognition with my son (also identified as autistic).  Both my kids are bright, both are on what is described as the high functioning end of autism. Now I am in the process of looking at my own past through different eyes and so much is making better sense now.  I am now on a waiting list for an adult autism assessment.  In the meantime I have spoken to a small number of women also identified late in life as autistic and they have all been very helpful to me. One has known me for several years, one for a couple of years and one is a new developing friendship.  All of them have recognised within me what I have come to see for myself and the affirmation that has given me is wonderful.

I’ve also been able to talk to my beloved partner about this openly and frankly.  I first mentioned the idea of me possibly being on the spectrum to him a couple of years ago and at that stage he’d not long moved in with us and he didn’t think it was likely then.  Now, after living with us for a couple of years and seeing us all in varying moods and situations when I mentioned it to him again a couple of months ago he said he thought it was likely.

Some people will say that everyone has a few autistic traits and that is true but it’s not individual traits that give an identification of autism it’s a pattern of traits.  That pattern can be obvious or subtle but it’s a pattern that means the individual has long term, ongoing challenges with social communication and almost always some more extreme sensory issues.  The pattern has to fulfill certain diagnostic criteria for a formal diagnosis.  I believe my pattern does that but my journey of identification is still ongoing.

Why am I sharing this? Why blurt it out? Because at some level I feel the need to do this.  I don’t want to hide my thoughts and feelings about this in a closet.  I want to be out there, misunderstood maybe but living my truth openly and with pride. I’m not good at keeping things that are so important to me secret, I want to talk about them, write about them, share them. It’s part of who I am and I’ve always done it.  I’ve always shared things with complete strangers that others give me funny looks about but that’s me.  That’s my truth and I feel better for blurting it out.  And blurting it out again, and again and again.

Oh and swaying and rocking are soothing to me so don’t be surprised if you see me doing it more often.  And I’m a tactile person with a need for deep pressure contact – that means I love hugs.  I try to be aware that others don’t like them for varying reasons though.

Perennial Druidry: Waves through Grasses Moon

As readers will know this year I decided to start working with the Perennial Druid course materials hosted on the Druid Network website. Unit Seven in the Perennial Druidry course is called Field Poppy Moon by Bobcat.  Poppies though are not very evident in this area at all so this name does not seem to fit here.  What is most noticeable to me is the grasses. In our local park many of the grasses are now almost as tall as me, some taller, with spots of delicate white and yellow wildflowers and the darker greens and purples of tall, vibrant thistles.  As the breeze blows the grasses gently wave, the sounds and sights remind me of the sea.  To me therefore this is Waves through Grasses Moon.
I have found that this moon I have had little time to devote to the course.  Partly that’s due to the demands of home and family and partly other reading leading to inspiration for new prayers for both Brigantia and Maponus.
This unit talks about midsummer as a festival time and a season of waning summer.  I don’t do anything separate to the summer solstice in terms of ritual for midsummer although I do note its passing and I don’t really feel the pause that Bobcat talks about, my perception of this time of year is different.  This moon started on 27 June and ended on 26 July so I’m a touch late writing up my reflections but that’s life.  For me this period is a very busy one.  Here in Glasgow the children break up for summer around midsummer so this moon marked the first weeks of the summer holidays.  For me juggling part time work with family time, organising cover for when I’m at work, getting school uniforms ready for the next school year and looking after two children with different needs is both hectic and often tiring.  Luckily I do have great family support but it’s still tough.  My energies have often been drained with day to day life this moon with little left over.
As I have been going about though, my eyes have been drawn often to long wild grasses along road verges, in our local park and in fields left fallow.  I’ve also been enchanted by dancing damselflies and summer birds like swifts sweeping over the grasses. I have had moments of wonderful inspiration leading to new prayers.  I’ve been able to take moments where I could pause and connect with the life in our local park and in my garden.  My garden in particular has taken on a deeper role as a place of grounding and re-energising for me. A few minutes wandering around doing a spot of weeding or dead-heading roses of an evening has taken on an increasing importance at this busy time.  These things link into the themes of this unit of energy, life, stillness and strength in the course.
Yesterday I honoured my ancestors as is my practice at the dark moon.  Today I prepare to move forward into the next moon.

Symbols

Recently I’ve been thinking about having something new added to my ritual wear to symbolise something of where I am now in my spiritual journey.  I had been thinking about trying to embroider something on my robes but to be honest I’m not sure my embroidery skills are really up to it.  While chatting about this the other day with my partner Neil he suggested I get something made up and after a bit of chatting I decided a handmade custom belt by SkyRavenWolf would be the way to go.
I had a few ideas of what symbols I wanted to include but now I had a reason to make some decisions about what I wanted to include and what those symbols would mean to me. I ended up with six symbols that were the most important to me and each one has layers of meaning for me.  The symbols I chose are:

  • Briar rose
  • Rowan with berries
  • Raven
  • Horse
  • Roe Deer
  • Cauldron.

Each symbol has meanings linked to my family and home. Each symbol also has a layer of meanings tied to spiritual beings or ideas.  And I can also position them on a six spoked wheel as if I was in the centre and the wheel was the horizon about me, when drawn that’s with one spoke going horizontally or East-West.
While I was a member of Brython a six-spoked wheel was adopted as the symbol of Brython.  There were a few reasons for this which I won’t bother going into now as Brython is effectively no more.   I adopted this symbol for my own and included it in my first ever (and currently only) tattoo.  Now I can add my own six symbols to the meaning of that wheel.
The layers of meanings work out as follows starting with the East:

  • Cauldron – my hearth and home – Brigantia – East – Equinox sun rise and full moon rise
  • Horse – myself – Epona – South-east – Midwinter sunrise and gibbous waning moonrise
  • Rowan – my son – ancestors – South-west – Midwinter sunset and waning crescent moonrise
  • Raven – Neil – Cailleach – West – Equinox sunset and full moon set
  • Briar rose – my daughter – descendants – North-west – Midsummer sunset and waxing crescent moon rise
  • Roe deer – my local area – Maponus  – North-East – Midsummer sunrise and waxing gibbous moon rise

So there you have it, personal symbols and associated meanings.

Quickening Moon reflection

Recently I decided to start Bobcat’s Perennial Druidry course as I wanted something that would provide me with a bit of a framework for further developments and exploration of what Druidry means to me.  As it happens the moon I started the course on is the thirteenth moon that is only included every few years and its one of reflection.  The Quickening Moon challenges you to spend time looking back and reflecting on the past seven years.  Some may think that beginning a new course with reflection is an odd idea but reflecting gives you the chance to see where you are on so many different levels. 

There are several areas of significant changes in my life over the last seven years such as physical changes, family changes (this time seven years ago I had just found out I was pregnant), my separation in January 2011, my reduction of working hours from working full time as I had been all my working life to now working half time, my relationship with Neil but I’m not going to go into further detail on those things in this post.  Instead I’m going to write about two areas in particular.  One is my developing knowledge and experience of autism as that is a core part to all I am and do now and the other is my relationship with Druidry.

It was only seven years ago that I began to think that maybe my son was on the autistic spectrum.  In March 2007 he was referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for behavioural issues at school relating to anger management.  At that stage professionals in the school environment involved with Rowan did not think he was on the spectrum. I wasn’t so sure.  He had his first assessment meeting in May 2008 and at that initially the psychologist thought he wasn’t on the spectrum either but after thinking further about that meeting with him she thought it might be worth doing the formal assessment with him.  As a result he was formerly diagnosed in October 2008.  By this time Rose was a year old and seemed to developing fine but as you can imagine I started to watch for developmental markers.  Rowan had a speech delay so I was particularly relived when Rose developed more normally in speech.  Rowan continued to get support from CAHMS during 2009.  

In August 2010 Rose started nursery and it became apparent that she was having problems.  I began to wonder if she was on the autistic spectrum too.  Around this time Rowan’s meltdowns at school were becoming more severe and more difficult for the staff to handle.  By August 2011 Rowan had been found a placement at an autistic unit following a couple of very serious meltdown incidents at his mainstream school.  By late September he had been transitioned to his new school.  Rose entered year 2 of nursery that year and her problems continued although the nursery were able to cope with her very well and provided excellent support for her.   Rose started in mainstream primary in August 2012  and because the nursery is part of her school campus area the transition was very well supported.  In fact the support assistant who worked with her in nursery was employed to support Rose in primary too and still does so. By October it was apparent that her problems were increasing and I asked our GP to be refer for an autistic assessment.  Her initial assessment with CAMHS was in December, followed by a referral to the autism assessment specialist team. In May 2013 she as diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.  In August 2013 Rowan transitioned to a high school autism unit which is suiting him much better than his primary placement did.  In fact earlier today he told me he likes school and thinks his school is a good one.  He is gradually becoming more aware of his stress levels and beginning to be able to take action to remove himself from stress and calm down before he hits a meltdown state.  There’s still a long way to go yet though.  In the meantime Rose has had increasing problems in mainstream school and has recently been allocated a place in a new type of unit.  She will begin her formal transition in mid February but today I took her to the new unit for a visit and she loved it. 

Seven years ago I had no idea what an amazing and often stressful journey I would be going on with autism.  I have learnt so much about so many different aspects of the autistic spectrum and I continue to learn more all the time. There is a saying that if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. Yes, those on this spectum have a few general things in common to be given an autistic diagnosis but they are all totally unique just as every other person is.  Learning about autism has emphasized the amazing diversity in each one of us as well as teaching me some profound lessons about our senses and my own abilities.  And it’s very much an ongoing journey. I am sure I will be learning about autism for the rest of my life both through my children and others I have the pleasure of meeting and getting to know.

So how has my relationship with Druidry changed?

In April 2007 I joined the Caer Feddwyd forum.  A couple of individuals whose posts on the Druid Network I had particularly enjoyed had moved away from the Druid Network and were now mainly posting in the Caer Feddwyd forum.  I was starting to miss them so joined the forum to see what was going on.  At around the same time the Druid group I co-facilitated in Glasgow, Caer Clud was fading away and I was having increasing issues in dealing with the amazing diversity of opinions to be found within Druidry on just about everything.  In August 2007 I ran the last Glasgow DruidCon with my friend and co-facilitator.  We had both decided it was time to stop running these annual conferences.  There didn’t seem the same level of interest in them as when we had started and both of us were increasingly being drawn in other directions.  In my case with my increasing family.  Having joined Caer Feddwyd in April I was then invited to join Brython that Samhain.  Brython at that time was a new development and did not have a website or forum of its own.  Over the next year I began to get increasingly involved in Brython in between family and work commitments.

Samhain 2008 the Brython forum was set up.  Brython increased in energy and enthusiasm of its members over the next couple of years.  Material was developed and a new Brython website was formed using that material.  In March 2009 I began my blog and at that stage I notice that I was no longer calling myself a druid in any way.  I had moved out of the forest of druidry and had begun referring to myself as a Brythonic Polytheist. In July 2009 I attended my first Brython camp (actually my first ever Pagan camp of any kind).  It was an amazing experience for several reasons and I began to feel much closer to this small group of people that made up Brython at that time.  I wrote about it here.  

Looking back on it I can now see that the cracks were already appearing within Brython, cracks that would over the next couple of years widen leading to more of our small group choosing to leave Brython and go their own ways. There were other Brython camps that I went to, One in 2010 that I wrote about here and another 2011 parts of which were too personal for me to write about here.  All three had been in Wales and all three were wonderful experiences for me which I will not forget in a hurry.  But following the camp  in 2011 more of the group moved on to work in other ways and in my opinion Brython is no more now.  The Brython forum no longer exists but the website and material on it still exist as a resource for others interested in Brythonic polytheism.

Even though during this time I didn’t consider myself to be a Druid I had continued my membership to the Druid Network although there were times I openly questioned whether I should still be a member. My membership did lapse in December 2012 but I rejoined in May 2013.  One of the reasons I let it lapse at that time is that I was now living in a two membership household and wasn’t sure if we needed that.  By the following May I had figured out that we did.  During 2013 I started to get much more involved in the Druid Network community and website.  I also began to think more deeply again about what Druidry meant to me.  I had come back into the forest after a break away and I was looking at things with new perspectives. At the same time as becoming more involved in the Druid Network I was also able to attend a couple of rituals with the Druids of Caledon, a lovely bunch of more local Druid types.  

Eventually in November 2013 I decided after much soul searching to start referring to myself as a Druid again, specifically a Hearth Druid.   

Reflecting as I have been over the last moon has led me to realise how much and how profoundly my life has changed in the past seven years.  Now I have seen more clearly the personal landscape I have journeyed through I feel I am more able to journey on with a better understanding of who I am now.

A short statement

I am a Druid in Scotland.
I have no sovereign but the Land
And the Land speaks softly to me.
I am guided by my deities,
Watched over by my ancestors,
And my decisions are my own.

I seek to take responsibility for my actions and inactions.
I choose with open eyes which path to take.
Sometimes my path is not clear to me but it is still mine.

At this time my service is to the future,
To my deeply loved children.
My focus is my home, my hearth and my family.

I do not walk alone.
My soul mate walks beside me.
My wider family of blood and spirit walk behind me.

I am not alone.
I am part of the web of life
And I am a Hearth Druid in Scotland.