As a part of the natural world we must deal constantly with cycles of life and death. Several of today's stories in Earthy Thursday deal with these and related themes, as well as what sits just beyond our everyday human experience.
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For many people, myself included, Druidry and Animism go hand in hand. Since the Age of Enlightenment and perhaps even further back in history (perhaps with coming of Christianity) Animism has gotten the reputation of being somehow backward, a superstitious and childish view of the world wherein everything is “alive”. This belief is completely biased in that it is totally from a human-centric point of view; those who believe it to be silly would say that believing a stone has a soul is absolutely ridiculous. This point of view is a projection of our human perspective, of what is alive and what isn’t, what is ensouled and what isn’t. It doesn’t take into consideration differences in the metaphysical. This perspective is often derogatory of Animism, yet it fails to actually understand just what Animism actually means, and what living with an Animistic perspective can bring to human consciousness.
With the Winter Solstice approaching, and in the cold dark months of the year, we have an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the deeper parts of our existence, those shadowy elements that seem to fade away so easily in the heat of the midday sun, those thoughts that require darkness and the teaching that it can bring. Thoughts such as life and death, darkness and light and the cyclical nature of existence are all excellent themes to meditate on at this time of year, with a natural introspective element to this season allowing us to perhaps go further, deeper than we could or would in the warmer, more outwardly focusing half of the year.
This season, with the increasing darkness and the lack of light here in the UK brings more sharply into focus thoughts of death and dying. It is often said in Western Paganism that the Sun God dies at Samhain and is reborn at Yule, when the days begin to lengthen and the light in our lives is increased. However, lately my thoughts have abandoned the concept of death, as well as birth, into a more Zen-like “No Birth, No Death” frame of mind.
Having meditated on this for a couple of months now, and seeing it reflected in nature around me, as a Druid this is how I internalise the teachings. For me, nature is the greatest teacher. I look to no other authority other than nature. It is the core of my religion, the core of my being. Having looked deeply into the nature of death and dying, of birth and living the concept of no death, no birth makes a lot more sense to me right now. Let me explain.
The clergy team came together last weekend and plotted the Beltane ritual for Mother Grove Goddess Temple. We'll be in a new park this year--ah, new to us: it's a seasoned public park.
I've been pondering and writing about the Recent Awfulness with Klein and the Frosts over at my personal blog and I can't really manage to dredge up anything else about that that hasn't been said by a hundred other people who have far more Important and Serious things to say about it than I....
Seeds are magical.
For Ostara we planted five seeds.
The soil that held them was mixed with ashes.
Ashes that had once been paper,
that had once held our Imbolc intentions,
and that now nourished the soil.
Our seeds, so small in the dark soil.
Tiny seeds of possibility-- asleep.
We set them in the sun with water and our blessings.
I planted seeds as a child.
I plant seeds as an adult,
experiencing the anticipation and wonder anew.
I ran to peer at the soil every day,
hoping for growth and new beginnings.
The adult kept the excitement away.
The adult made plans if the seeds did not grow.
The child stayed hopeful and rejoiced when seedlings emerged.
Seedlings are magical.
Our “babies”, our seedlings.
Tiny and delicate,
they persevere every day.
All five have grown.
All five lean towards the sun.
Some are stronger than others.
Some fall with the water.
They won’t all grow into tomato plants.
They won’t all gift us fruit.
Until then, they are tiny little possibilities.
They are tiny little hopes-- awake.
Life is magical.
♡ Hear me reading this poem at "I planted seeds" by Paola Suarez, a reading. ♡