The Tangled Hedge

A hedge-hopping awenydd follows the Mother of Life's trackways and brings back what is needed, connecting the village with the numinous wilds.

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Exciting Homecomings - A Triad

Three things I'm excited about exploring in 2018:

Elen of the Ways - I discovered this goddess a little over a year ago, and felt instant belonging and surprise that I hadn't heard of her before, and that I hadn't thought to go looking for such a goddess. It felt like remembering I have a mother, or something. :) A horned/antlered goddess and lady of the green... how perfect for me! I've been reading everything I can about her, and I signed up for a now-filled course offered by a priestess of Elen (Walking the Antlered Road) that includes a year of lessons, journaling, movement-meditations, soundings, chants with wrist malas, and an oracle deck. It has been amazingly exciting to get to know Elen, and to start to see how many of the goddesses I've already been drawn to are probably-to-definitely versions of her paleolithic, pan-Indo-European (and perhaps beyond) presence and enduring veneration. The Welsh name, Elen, is but one. You might be as surprised and delighted as I to discover where the others have been all this time! So I recommend Caroline Wise's book, "Finding Elen: The Quest for Elen of the Ways," as well as Elen Sentier's books, and I will be writing more about her in this blog in 2018, and suggesting the connections I have seen.

Sound and movement - I have been feeling a need to have ritual movements, both for personal practice (I've been imagining a Druid's staff and movements with it to greet the sun and moon and seasons...and hand mudras... and dancing...) and for the psychological bonding when done in synchrony with a group (I just wish I had a group!), not to mention how I've been missing having a shared lexicon of songs (like growing up Mormon) and making music with a group. So I'm excited about the Elen chants, soundings, and movements I'm learning in the course mentioned above. I want to create chants of my own, too. I'd like to get more into the musical side of my bardic studies, as well. I've been gifted a very beautiful Native American flute, and I'm loving her smooth sound and hoping I can find a way to make music with other musicians again. I've also become keenly interested in the Celtic harp, so perhaps I can begin to learn that, soon. I've recently discovered Hand Ogham, too, both for memorizing the ogham with a hand-memory-palace, and communicating with ogham via the fingers, in a signed alphabet. (Well, I'd known about the latter for a long time, but haven't really studied Ogham yet.)

I sense that in my society, we're missing out on embodiment and sensual things, with all the emphasis on intellect (missing out on the spiritual, too, but it's all connected.) As a child, I found ritual fascinating and exciting, but then I lost all interest, probably from growing up to focus more on intellect, as well as how inane or ill-fitting some rituals can be, like when they command a presence, or basically call on gods or spirits, going "Hey, pay attention to me, I'm going to ask you for something" and I'm not usually asking for anything, and I just don't usually need any ritual in order to exist in magical awe and awareness or engage with magic and inspiration. Lately, that missing part (ritual) is itching. This is the way ritual is coming back in like a tide for me. Not poetic liturgy, as I'd have expected, being a word person, but a more visceral movement and sound.

The Ogham Grove - One of my "Giftmas" presents was a beautiful, densely illustrated book called, "The Ogham Grove" by Yuri Leitch. Fore more than 20 years now I've wanted to study ogham and especially tree ogham. Various things got in my way, but the system and uses of ogham presented in this book have me so excited and feel so natural to me, that I'm finally diving in and starting to memorize it all. It seems to unlock a bunch of the mysteries and bardic/Celtic lore, like a key that we've had to rediscover, so kudoes to Yuri Leitch if he has found such a key! I'm even putting the sun wheel and moon wheel from this book into my calendar (welcome to the first day of the Sun in Birch, BTW, and the full Moon in Vine). The astrological overlay with this grove/wheel is intriguing, too! I don't know enough about Ogham yet to know where this offering fits in with the rest of the theories and history and lore, but it suits me very well, so far, and will be where I launch into further studies (finally!) I'm grateful for that.

So I finally found my mother goddess, rediscovered ritual, and got started with my ogham studies. I'm so thankful, and I'm looking forward to this year. May it bring all of you exciting discoveries and comforting homecomings, too. :) Happy new year!

[Image credit: "Calming the Waters" by Kimberley Webber]

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Lia is an awenydd, writer, journal editor (A Beautiful Resistance), copyeditor (Druid Magazine), hedge witch, mother, musician, OBOD Bard, and anthropology major, living in the wild, enchantingly beautiful mountain west (USA). Her spiritual influences tend toward the ancient and indigenous, with a future-focused hope that humanity will return to a spiritually-rich and thriving sustainability.


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