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

 

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The Druid’s Vow

The Druid’s Vow is a common aspect of many British Druid rituals.  The words for those that are unfamiliar with them are:

We swear by peace and love to stand
Heart to heart, and hand in hand;
Mark! O Spirit, and hear us now,
Confirming this, our sacred vow.

In my experience of OBOD influenced rituals it is usually said three times with participants often holding hands.

The Druid’s Vow is one of those pieces of not quite doctrine that many British Druids seem to use without  really thinking deeply about what they are saying.  I’ve been guilty of doing that myself in the past.

The words of what is now known as the Druid’s Vow first appeared in 1956 in a Universal Bond ritual that took place on Tower Hill in London (Hutton, R. The Druids, p187).

I presume that as Ross Nichols was a member of the Universal Bond before he formed the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids that he adopted this verse into his Order’s rituals. I’m also assuming that when the OBOD distance programme was developed Philip Carr-Gomm naturally included this verse in the rituals that were presented to members.

Over the years I’ve witnessed a number of online discussions about the use of that verse.  There are many for whom using the words “we swear” and “sacred vow” are just not possible unless they are in a group where they know all present and really do feel able to swear to stand in peace and love with them. There are others who will use the words if they are among people they know but only meaning it for that brief moment.

I’ve used the words in the past without thinking about them.  At rituals in the last year or two I have mostly used them when I feel able to at least say that for that moment I stand in peace and love with those present.  I have also been at rituals in the last year where I have felt unable to use those words now that I think more about them and attempt to mean what I say.  There have been occasions that for personal reasons I have not felt very peaceful during the ritual that was taking place, others where there were so many people I didn’t know present that I felt unable to use the words and remained silent instead at that part of the ritual.

Today while doing the washing up (I find that’s a good time for thinking of other things) I suddenly realised that changing the word “swear” to “seek” would totally alter the meaning of that verse and make it more accessible for me and hopefully many others. And I’ll also be talking to plural spirits which is an alteration I have heard before.

From now on I think I’ll be using this version of the Druid’s Vow:

We seek by peace and love to stand
Heart to heart, and hand in hand;
Mark! O Spirits, and hear us now,
Confirming this, our sacred vow.
 

Endless Wells

There is an endless well of patience and calm I reach into for my children.
There is a deeper and stronger well of love.

Sometimes I don’t manage to connect with the well of calm,
I lose patience.
I yell and shout and my children cringe from the volume of my voice.
Not the words but the sound.

I cry in shame that I have lost my patience, my calm,
That my voice has hurt their ears.

I reach into that well of patience again and again for them.
I never have to reach into the well of love
For that flows up and out and fills every part of me.

When they are asleep I can no longer find the well of patience and calm.
I can not be calm for me.
I have no patience with my faults and mistakes.

Again I cry over my mistakes.
Again I cry in frustration at the challenges we face together.
I cry in fear, in tiredness, in pain.
I let go and lean on my love.

And then I stop crying.
I breath.  I remember.
And the well of love flows through me
Leads me back to the well of calm and patience.

Lets me reach deep once more.

Old year, new year

2011 was not an easy year for me.  I did manage to keep my weight down which given the various stresses I’ve been under I feel quite proud of but I think I’ve probably cried more this year than I have for many years.  In spite of all the stress and difficulties I have been dealing with though I have also found a happiness that I never expected I would find.  I have found myself more able to be the woman I was inside.  The woman that had to be careful what she said and did so as not to cause problems at home no longer has to be as watchful.  There are now times when I am actually encouraged to drop the masks and let go of my emotions and that still feels odd.

The winter festivals of Eponalia, Winter Solstice and Midwinter were not the easiest for me.  Eponalia and Midwinter (aka Christmas) were both at weekends and I was unable to be with my children for those.  I did make a bigger deal of the Winter Solstice with the kids than I had done in previous years though.

Eponalia for me was very much about acknowledging and embracing the darkness as well as honouring Epona and horses generally.  I got to write and lead the local Tuatha de Bridget group ritual and these things were the focus for that ritual.  Interestingly enough it was a beautiful bright winter’s day for that ritual.

On previous winter solstices I had started a tradition of going for a walk with my son around the local houses and looking at their decorations and lights.  Last year (2010) the weather had been too cold, snowy and icy for us to continue that but this time the weather was fairly mild so out we all went.  My nephews and niece joined us too making 5 kids and 1 adult.  This was the first time my little girl could join us and every time she saw new decorations she shouted “Lights! Lights!” and bouncing up and down with excitement.  She also kept wanting to knock on the doors and I had to explain that we didn’t do that at this time of year, that was a halloween thing. After the walk I gave presents to all the kids as I wouldn’t be seeing them on Christmas day until the evening and they all had fun opening them.

Midwinter (or Christmas) was a quiet one, probably the quietest I have had for years, but although I missed the children I did have a good time and it really felt like the light was coming back and not just the physical light.

New year’s eve was also quiet as again I was away from the children.  I spent it with the new love of my life though and it felt really wonderful to be with him.

So here I am in the early days of 2012.  Next week the children return to school and nursery and I return to work.  Later this month I will have the first court hearing connected with my divorce and early next month will be the second one.  Hopefully this year will see the divorce completed and I will be able to start moving on in more ways than one.

Life is full of changes, some more traumatic than others.  May this year be filled with changes for the better for all of my readers.

Love and Dreams – In honour of Maponos

From time to time I attempt to write poetry.  Occaisonally I think it’s good enough to share.  This isn’t one of those times but I’m sharing anyway.  This isn’t the first version of this as I started working on it in September.  So those of you with far more skill than I with words, please be gentle with any comment you feel moved to make.  I’m not sharing this because I think it’s good but because I feel I must.

Love and Dreams – In honour of Maponos

In my dreams, my fantasies
I lie in your embrace.
I dream you are my lover and
I gaze upon your face.

Your eyes are dark, like mountain pools
You find by cliffs of stone.
In their depths a mystery
That maybe I’ll be shown.

But you are lord of dreams and song,
Of healing and the sun.
You are not bound by human form
And your embrace would stun.

And still I reach towards you
My fantasies I clutch.
I lay myself before your eyes,
Dream of a lover’s touch.

Do you dream, have fantasies?
What lies in your embrace?
Do you care what words I use
To seek to know your face?

Are my dreams and thoughts enough
To give you face and form?
Is the love within my heart
Enough to heal this storm?

These words they don’t come easily
Although they’re in your praise.
I want to rest within your strength,
To heal beneath your gaze.

Autumn 2010

Love and death

Last year on 4th September my beloved grandfather died after being ill for some time. Today almost a full year later his wife of many years, my grandmother slipped away in her sleep in hospital.

Many are the memories I have of both of them. He was a loving gentle man who enjoyed nothing more in later life than a comfy chair, a cup of tea and a slice of cake. He spent his early years on Jersey and returned there for holidays every year he could. That is also where his loves of steam trains and cream teas began. He had a special wave for myself and my brother. So many memories…

My grandma was strong willed and loved being the centre of attention. She was a wonderful amateur actress and had performed in many plays when younger and directed a range of things with the W.I. in later years. In the last few years in spite of problems with her eyes she took art classes and loved it – she did well too. She loved clothes and jewellry and shoes and had a pretty large collection of all three. I have some bits of jewellry and some shoes she passed to me.

In her youth my grandma sang with a big band, she also served in the second world war in the signals if I remember correctly. She loved the films and recordings of Deanna Durbin and introduced me to some of them when I was much younger.

As many reading this will know I love to sing. My grandma encouraged me in this and paid for singing lessons for me when I was younger. One of the last things I was able to do for her was sing something to her over the phone. I picked “On Wings of Song”. The words I learnt seem to be a bit differnt to those I can find online.

On Wings of Song I’ll bear thee
Enchanted realms to see
Come oh my love prepare thee
In dreamland to wander with me
A garden I know of Roses
By moonlight silver’d o’er
Upon that lake reposes
A balmy lotus flower
Upon that lake reposes
A balmy lotus flower.

The bending violets whisper
Their fragrant secrets there
Waiting for thee their sister
Still closed are their blossoms rare
With wistful glances are peering
The bright eyed slender gazelle
The rushing tide is nearing
Upon the breeze it swells
The rushing tide is nearing
Upon the breeze it swells

And there we will sit and rest us
Under the palm trees shade
And dream that love has blessed us
And joy will never fade
And joy will never fade
Never fade.

For Pauline Elizabeth Potter 1925 – 2009.

First Principles

The words of another seeker encouraged me to look at what principles are the most important to me. I had to do some thinking to figure this out but essentially there are three things that have guided me for much if not all of my life. These are Love, Truth and Duty.

The most important one of these for me is Love. If I was to use one statement to illustrate what I mean by this I would turn to the new testament of the Bible and borrow the phrase “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.

Truth is something I seek and try to live by. I do not mean just telling the truth as I see it but walking my talk – or at least trying to – in all I do. To me Truth can be a multi faceted gem, we see maybe one or two faces of it clearly but some is obscured and some reflected. My truth is not necessarily the complete truth or the only truth but in seeking to walk in truth I hope to learn more of others and for others to learn more of me.

Duty is another difficult thing to explain. By duty I do not mean to do my duty as others see it but to do my duty as I see it. To serve to the best of my ability those that I have chosen to serve. To balance my duty to myself with the duties I have chosen to take on for others. Duty and service are closely entwined for me.

These are the principles that I believe have guided me all my life and are likely to continue to guide me in the future.