Today I decided to go out in the backyard and have my own little picnic. I made a turkey and provolone sandwich and some iced green tea. I also had some cottage cheese. I spread a blanket outside on the grass and sat down to eat.
As I ate, I watched Mama Goose groom and tend to her nest as she sat on it. She got up once and seemed to be nudging the eggs, perhaps to tell her babies, “Hey, you can come out anytime now!” I also saw another goose, possibly Papa, land in the pond. He swam around and dipped his head in the water for bits of food. Apparently I wasn’t the only one eating lunch.
I heard all kinds of birds around me; I don’t really know what any of them were unfortunately. Some were in other people’s yards, others were in nearby trees. They provided a lovely soundtrack to my meal.
After I finished eating, I poured out some of my tea as offerings to the lovely Sunna and Freyja, my Ladies. I also poured out a bit of mead for each of them that I had brought outside with me.
As I sat in Nature, I noticed how calm I was. It was a wonderful feeling to be outside in 70-degree weather listening to birds and enjoying food that itself came from Nature (though sadly it wasn’t organic).
I had forgotten the simple pleasure that an outdoor picnic can bring.
Many blessings, Victoria
May 1 is usually celebrated among Pagans as Beltane, a festival of fertility and whimsy. Now is the time to acknowledge the life and fertility all around us in Nature, like flowers blooming and animals nesting.
I acknowledged this High Day by pouring offerings of coffee outside to the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Shining Ones. Next week my fiance and I will celebrate with a formal ritual.
May all areas of your life be in bloom!
[I made an assumption about Joanna Van Der Hoeven, who writes the blog octopusdance that she just complained about trash instead of picking it up, since she didn't mention picking any up. I now realize this is a big mistake, as Joanna herself explained:
Hello, I never said I was too good to pick up trash hun – I have no idea where you got that sentiment. I walk away from every sacred site with someone else’s litter – I can never ever leave it there. From glass cider bottles on the Tor, to cigarette butts and the plastic wrapping that flowers are left it – these are always taken away by me to be disposed of properly. Perhaps you should have asked me first whether I do set the example before you assume otherwise? Please talk to me before expressing words such as these on your own blog – we share a mutual love for the earth, from the passion I can see in your posts! Awen blessings. x
Thanks Joanna for correcting my mistake! However, I still find the rest of this post to be valuable. Enjoy.]
[A] thought occurred to me after I had thought about [people who complain about litter but don't do anything about it] for a while: If you’re such a “good Druid[/Pagan/Wiccan/whatever]” and trash bothers you that much, why can’t you be the better person and show the Earth Mother you care by picking it up? Not only is picking up trash an offering in itself (you are offering your time to beautify the Land), you are also setting an example for others.
When I was in college, I took the city bus to a stop downtown, then got on another bus that went directly to campus. Every morning, I picked up any trash that happened to be at the downtown bus stop. I did this to show the Earth Mother and Nature Spirits that I care, but I also did this because that particular bus stop (and the street on which it was situated) was very busy at that time of day. By picking up trash, instead of staring at it and complaining, I showed other people that it’s okay to want to make the world a more beautiful place and that one person can make a difference.
Whenever my fiance and I go camping and hike in the woods, we pick up any trash that we happen to see along the trail or at the campsite for later disposal. Just this past Monday, which was Earth Day, I picked up trash during my walk around the neighborhood. I went out for a walk with the primary intention of exercising, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to pick up trash along the way. My hands were full of trash by the time I got home since I didn’t think to bring a trash bag with me. I put the trash in our bin and washed my hands inside.
Setting an example for others is what Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi meant when he said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Today is Arbor Day in the United States. This is a day where trees are celebrated for their contribution to Life. Many tree plantings happen on this day.
I’d like to share with you a prayer from The Magical Druid’s Facebook page:
Many blessings, Victoria
I was originally going to post about Integrity today, but I feel very strongly about this Declaration of Interdependence from naturalpantheist that I decided to post it instead. Next week, I will write about the Virtue of Integrity.
I is for the Declaration of Interdependence.
After saying a short prayer of thanks to Freyja and Sunna for their guidance and comfort, I did a divination with my new set. I asked, “Freyja and Sunna, what guidance do you give me at this time?” As I was shuffling the cards before casting them, the pink heart fell out onto the Fire section of the cloth. I took this to mean that Freya and Sunna still care about me and offer their love. After putting the pink heart back into the stack and shuffling some more, three cards fell out onto the Well section. Two were facedown. The one face-up was the shooting star, meaning wishes. Since the Well belongs to the Ancestors, I at first thought “ancestral wishes,” but that made no sense. Now I realize that maybe wishes to do with wisdom are being fulfilled, since the Well also represents Wisdom to me.
After putting those cards back and shuffling a little more, I put the stack in their little bag and pulled a smaller stack out at random. Then I cast.
The small plant emerging from the soil represents fertility. It landed in the Tree section, which represents Nature Spirits and the Land on which we live. So, be aware of the fertility around my home. That is simple and straightforward enough, especially with Beltane around the corner.
The face-up cards in the Well area are the moon and pentagram, which represent intuition and magic respectively. I find the appearance of the pentagram in this casting interesting, since I have recently joined a magical order. Its position on the cloth probably means that it is somehow connected with my Ancestors. Perhaps some of my Ancestors themselves were members, or perhaps the people who have traversed the same magical path before me will become my spiritual Ancestors. The moon landed in a position where it appears as if it is waxing. I see this saying that my intuitive abilities will increase, perhaps as a result of magic since it almost seems to point towards the pentagram.
In short, the message I am getting from this casting is this: Pay attention to the fertility of the Land around you. As you continue your magical studies, your intuition will increase.
I know it’s rather disjointed, which does bother me some. If anyone has any ideas about reconciling everything into one statement, please let me know!
Today is Earth Day, a day created in the 20th century to bring awareness to our Mother and Her health. I celebrated by going outside, noting the beauty of the environment around me (in my suburban neighborhood), lifting my coffee cup to the sky while saying “Hail the Earth Mother,” and pouring some coffee on the ground as an offering.
May we all remember the Earth Mother every day.
Earlier today, I was at my wit’s end. I had no idea what I should be working on in regards to my spirituality. I ran upstairs and grabbed my symbol cards, came back down and laid out the casting cloth, and mixed up the cards. After grabbing some of the cards out of the stack and tossing them in the air, this is what happened:
I chose not to read the face-down cards at all. The pink heart is romantic/platonic love and friendship. Since the Sky is the domain of the Shining Ones (Deities), I took it to mean that they cared about me. I also see this as an indication to simply show the Shining Ones that I love them through ritual and offerings (something I’ve been slacking off on lately).
Thank you for the guidance, Kindreds.
Last week, I talked a little bit about Hospitality and how it applies to our relationships with other humans. Hospitality isn’t just a Virtue for human interaction, though. It plays a big part in our interactions with Deities, Nature Spirits, and Ancestors.
In an ADF ritual, offerings–gifts–are made to these beings in the hope of receiving blessings–the Kindreds’ gift to us–in return. We do not offer to the Kindreds in the hopes of averting punishment and ensuring only “good” things happen to us. We offer to them to show we appreciate their guidance, their strength, their beauty, and their power. In return, the Kindreds’ give us gifts of their own, like strength, wisdom, comfort, and even challenges that allow us to better ourselves.
(I apologize for this being so short; my brain isn’t functioning very well today.)
I was finally able to finish my casting cloth yesterday. Here’s a picture:
The silver triskele primarily represents (in this instance) the three Hallows (Fire, Well, and Tree), which form the Sacred Center of ritual. In case you can’t tell, the Tree is at the top, the Fire is at the bottom left, and the Well–a waterfall–is at the bottom right. The dividers between the three sections represent the Three Realms–grass for Land, clouds for Sky, and waves for Sea. In ADF tradition, each of these Realms and Hallows is associated with different groups of beings: Land & Tree with Nature Spirits; Sky & Fire with Gods and Goddesses; Sea & Well with Ancestors. (If you would like more information, please see this post.)
As you can see, though the design is simple, a ton of meaning is embedded in my cloth. I gave an example of how this would work in a previous post, though I can give another example. Say the hammer landed near the Tree with the raincloud. The raincloud normally means depression or sadness, but in this instance I would take it to mean a storm (since it’s in the Land section). The hammer would mean that the Nature Spirits would protect me from this storm. It is very hard to explain theoretical examples without actually trying it out, though.
I will bless the cards and cloth during a full ritual today, then try the set later to get a feel for how it works. I will probably post a picture of the results.
Many blessings, Victoria