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The Uncomfortable Zone

Pushing out of your comfort zones, getting out of your depth, might just be the best thing for you to evolve creatively, mentally, physically and more. This is the time of year when New Year's resolutions are put to the test, and they either triumph or fail spectacularly over the next few weeks. Many, many people no longer even bother, but I say what the hell, go for it, at least try. Trying to change one's own behaviour is singularly the most difficult thing a person can try to do, as we human beings are such habitual creatures and are able to use our reasoning minds to justify just about any decision we make. We are masters of delusion and illusion, but we are also able to break through those barriers to create wonderful masterpieces of artwork, of living life well, perpetuating creativity to its full potential.

When I'm working and I'm feeling safe, comfortable, secure, then for the most part I am not doing my best work. Only when I'm trying something new, or pushing myself to explore something deeper, not running over the same material again and again does something remarkable happen.  That something is either a wonderful achievement or a brilliant failure, but either way it wasn't boring. When I wrote my first book and had it published (a medieval fantasy called Falconwing, now out of print but may be coming back in the near future) I simply gave it my all. I had been working on it since I was fifteen years old, and it was only published in my 30's.  I then tried my hand at non-fiction with Zen Druidry, and then began a triplet of introductory books for the Moon Books Pagan Portals Series, with The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid  still an Amazon No.1 Bestseller in the category of Druidism well after a year from its release date in 2014. 

I enjoyed dance, and one day thought I'd give belly dancing a go. I had a talent for it, and after five years decided to try my hand at teaching it and coming up with my own dance company. I didn't know anything about having a business, but I gave it a go with all that I had. It turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done, and I have met some of the most wonderful people who have become lifelong friends.

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Druidry as a religion and spirituality for modern life.

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Relationship

Druidry is all about relationship, and you cannot have relationship without some form of communication. It may not always be in words, human to human, but opening those lines of communication helps us to perceive that the world is more than just our own sense of self. When we begin to see that there are other perspectives, other points of view we also come to an awareness that the world is being experienced by each being individually, in a collective state of unity dictated by space and time.

Events around the world this year have shone a spotlight on discordance, in human to human relationship, and in human to other-than-human relationships. Violent attacks, disregard for the environment, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and more can be attributed to an "Us" and "Them" mentality. When we remove this dualist point of view, and encompass a more holistic approach, we see that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. In Buddhism, it is acknowledged that suffering exists in the world, and that this suffering is caused by the illusion of separation. If we look deeply enough scientifically, anthropologically, and even spiritually we can see that there is more that binds us together than tears us apart.

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Druid Priest: Behind the Robes

Coming onto this website, ready to copy and paste my words into a new blog for my channel, I see that fellow Druid priest Cat Treadwell has done something similar!  Brilliant post Cat! Thinking alike and all that...   At any rate, here I offer my words on working as a Druid priest. 

Most people see the outer face of the public Druid priest, working for her community. But what is it like behind the robes, so to speak?

 

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  • John Reder
    John Reder says #
    What is it about humans that we have to dress up? I have always wondered when we stopped choosing our clothing for practicality a
Book Review: The Salmon in the Spring

There are very few books out there that can blow open your mind and your soul, leaving you with an entirely new perception of the world in a deeper, more integrated way. Jason Kirkey's The Salmon in the Spring: The Ecology of Celtic Spirituality is one such book.

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Harvest-Time

Every day at this time of year, either morning or evening, I do some gardening, keeping back the riotous growth that excels in this season. If I didn't, many plants would simply take over the garden, crowding out some other favourite plants. Though these crowders may be near the end of their cycle, in their death they will still smother those that have great potential, as their time is arriving.  It's a hard time of year to keep on top of things, as the sun is so hot in our south-facing garden, and time is limited to mornings and evenings when we won't burn to a crisp or keel over from heat exhaustion. Jack in the Green is running riot, uncaring, reaching for the sun, drinking in the rain.

Yet if I want my irises and lilies to survive, I must release them from the choking hold of ground creepers/covers that threatens their existence.  I must carefully weed out and try to keep under control those plants whose vigorous growth would otherwise overwhelm others. In this, I feel a kinship to my ancestors, not only my recent ancestors whose work with plants runs in my blood, but also ancestors of this land who depended upon agriculture to survive. Both physically and metaphorically, this is the ideal time to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Even as I hear the tractors and combine harvesters rumbling in the fields on the other side of the street, so too do I look both within and without to see what needs harvesting, and if the harvest has been good.  Getting out in the garden brings it all home, showing that if you take on the responsibility of growing things, of nourishing them, then you must do your job well in order for your harvest to be good.  Walking out in the fields after supper, running my hands over the tops of the wheat and barley that grow around here, I make my prayers for the harvest to go well, for the people to be nourished and for the land to be treated well. The time nears for when we give back in great gratitude as Lammas, Lughnasadh, Harvest-Time arrives.

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Weaving a Stronger Web

Taking time to become aware of the self is a large part of the modern Pagan movement.  In the last twenty years, exploring the psychological aspect in many of the traditions has been as important as the metaphysical and the spiritual work.  Many have done this, as part of a training course or in their own deep learning, but perhaps subsequently allowing it to fall by the wayside; once it’s been studied, that’s it, let’s move on.  Being aware of your emotions and behaviour is a never-ending quest in self-awareness.  In order to live as Pagans it should be a lifelong exercise, in order to ensure that we are living honourably and respectfully within nature and the natural cycle.

Indeed, it is our responsibility to be aware of what we put out into the world, emotionally and physically, as Pagans.  We know that we are a part of a greater web, therefore when one strand is tugged, all the others shiver all the way down to the core.  We need to be able to see when we have failed to act with honour, in our human relationships, in our relationships with the natural world, in our relationship with the gods and the ancestors.  And in doing so, we can work to make amends, to reweave those threads that have been pulled apart.

Sometimes the damage is so great that we need to start again, and that is perfectly acceptable.  When there is no possibility of working with another without losing that sense of honour, where there is no respect, then we can walk away calmly and begin again, focusing our energy on creating the world we wish to live in that benefits the whole.  We can still try to understand the situation, working with compassion, but we don’t have to participate in it any longer, especially when it becomes abusive.

We face many challenges in our modern world, some of which we shared with our ancestors, some not.  Alienation, isolation, war, climate change, technology: all these we have shared previously with those who have gone before. How we respond to it makes all the difference. Emma Restall Orr, on the Patheos website as part of her article on the environmental crisis and how to respond gracefully as a Pagan, states:  

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