My eclectic spiritual path

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What is eclectic? The definition is ‘deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’, i.e. my spiritual path is shaping up to be a collection of ideas, theories, philosophies and ways of practicing my connection with the spirit.

I started out many years ago on a path of Witchcraft. It is still strongly present in my work with the elements, herbalism, connecting with the Goddess and flowing with the moon cycles, although my spell crafting practice have reduced dramatically. I have always been an intuitive witch, followed by a kitchen and hedge orientation. This particular journey began when I first connected to a part of myself asleep for a long time. I experienced awakening within myself when someone on outside pointed out some qualities and abilities I had no name for. I was gifted a book of shadows, an athame and a deck of Tarot cards and when exploring the meaning of it all I came back to my own deep alignment to the path of witchcraft. It did feel like coming home, calm, peaceful and deeply knowing. Things began to open up for me, transform and manifest at a fast speed.

All my paths’ directions came to me through intuitive and meaningful coincidences, i.e. I was directed towards a particular way of exploring my relationship to spirit be it through personal encounters with people, programmes I watched, images that came to me or groups I connected with. All these events felt very natural and noticeably meaningful to my development on my own unique spiritual path.

Since last year Druidry started show itself in various forms inviting me to explore it further. I began to read a lot and experienced many feelings, positive and negative, making me unpick various meanings. In particular I began my work with ancestors of blood, place and spirit. My deep connection to Celtic lands was clear and I felt a need to bring my skills and experiences into the open, out into the community. At that point I felt my life purpose became to clarify more and more. I recently attended a Druid Grove’s Lammas ceremony and although it felt deeply familiar and holding it strikingly highlighted for me how solitary I am and how my preference is strongly for intuitive practice rather than an organised ritualistic practice. I seemed to have taken a step back, which then made me think more about my initial direction as a solitary witch. I am not sure at this point that the call to join a community is currently working. Perhaps, it was a way to test and adjust, for which I am grateful.

Buddhism has been strongly present for me in the last year or so and just as I felt my Transpersonal/spiritual 5th plane of consciousness self very deeply, the Buddha within me aligned with that vibration. The vibration of peace and serenity, by far, the most precious vibration for me. For as long as I lived all I have ever wanted was inner peace and saw it as something elusive and unattainable until a few years ago when my spiritual awakening happened and I saw and experienced my Buddha self. I am in love with the vibration and it comes to me in the most natural way when I work with my clients. In my day-to-day life, however, connecting to that energy has always been a challenge. I have struggled to connect spiritual and earthly and experienced the split, or rather a challenge to bring one into another and vice versa, but this is the biggest challenge for us all, they say and a life-long work. I have a deep understanding of what that means and continue working with various aspects of myself through psycho-spiritual and therapeutic practices. Buddhist ways of being away of the present moment, middle way and mindfulness are practices I don’t see abandoning any time soon, however, some elements of the path remind me too much of Christian commandments and that word alone puts me off. In fact I stopped reading a book recently as soon as the author made a comparison with that and rules and conditions. Who know I might go back to the back one day and see how I feel. Meditation also remains a challenge and I am still exploring a way that sits the best with me. Actually the way Druids describe it resonates better, they call it an active participation in the process rather than abandoning all thoughts. I am an engagement sort of person and journeying techniques, e.g. are the ones I am used to the most.

Nature reverence and worship, as well as, the Wheel of the year strongly remains at the centre of my spiritual path. This has been one constant and beautiful way of my connection to myself and spirit. It has been a confirmation of the wholeness and connectivity of all things. I continue working with the Elements, trees and spirit animals, as well as maintaining my very strong connection to the land. My relationship to sacred sites, stone circles and Celtic ancient lands remains continuous. Scotland is and will always be my spiritual home, but I am also deeply connected to the land of Wales and Ireland. Magic, enchantment and wonder of all things nature is in my heart daily and have been my saviour, sacred connection to love and gratitude.

I think I have always been an eclectic sort of person. I could never see myself following one way completely and utterly, as my mind is curious and constantly questioning and evolving. I remain in curiosity and wonder and for things to settle within me they must align and resonate with my deep experience of spirit. It needs to make my heart sing and produce ringing in my ears and a sweet song on my lips for me to call it my way. This reminds me, as an example, that when I work with herbs either in my kitchen or recently by a Scottish Loch, I suddenly started to sing in the voice I hardly ever hear within me. It felt flowing and natural and I went to a place that is my spiritual retreat, my soul connected with the energy of spirit in a way that could not be broken. I experience joy and complete balance in moments like that. It feels right, it feels like home and very familiar.

What am I? I am Pagan and I am Intuitive, for sure. I am a nature spirit, seer and a Crone at heart. My spiritual name is White Hart Rose.

If you are on a spiritual path and, perhaps, finding it challenging to pinpoint what your path is, I suggest you relax. Remain open, patient and take it as a life-long commitment to finding your way while connecting to the elements of whatever spiritual paths come your way, those elements that make your soul sing whether it is collecting herbs or meditating. You are not lost, you are collecting parts of yourself that might have been lost or hidden and resurrecting your own experience of spirit the way it has always been within you.

Much love and many blessings!

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Druid’s way

Druidry

Druidry is not something in isolation of the whole universal way of being. It is not a prescribed religion with rules and texts, it is a free-flowing way of being in touch with yourself and the world carried in every day through engagement with awen inspiration. It is a spiritual practice, every day engagement with this world and everything in it. It is walking the earth in a way beneficial to the whole and the truth of nature.

These words summarise Druid’s way of living for me:

Honour, truth, integrity, listening and seeing, creativity, inspiration, healing, guiding, nature’s cycles, light and dark, seasons, stories, songs, rituals, everyday engagement, connection, involvement, wonder, enchantment, walking the land, magic in everything, leading, being with darkness, humanity, humility, authenticity, delight, spirit, community, joy, trees, nature deities, celebration, shamanic, otherworldly, sacred groves, ancestors, philosophy, seer, peaceful, humble, being with, voice, simple living, barefoot walking, tree talking, making a difference, understanding, seeing others, looking within, animist, standing stones, energy work, embodying, divine within and without, earthly living, participation, grounding

Having experienced some inner storms this week I looked within for what was needed and once I picked up a book on Druidry I settled into a space of peace and comfort. Another’s words on pages spoke to a part of me that is peaceful, content and in touch with meaning. I felt myself relax and calmed into a way of seeing things for what they are with speaking my truth at the heart of it. I find often I need to continue reading the words of the wise to stay connected with the part of myself that knows, feels and understands the ways of Awen, the inspiration of life with all its joys and struggles. I fall down and rise up again every time even though it always feels impossible, but it comes about just like a rain stops and sunshine graces the land once again.

Last night I was pulled into the stunning rainy landscape. I kicked my shoes off and stepped onto wet grass soft and glorious. Walking the earth connects me to the very essence of myself and to the centre of the whole. It feels containing as if the land is there to listen, understand and be with me. I feel all tension seep through my toes into the earth and on the in-breath I bring a renewed, fresh energy up into my body again. Roses in this garden smell incredible. It reminds me of home, my mother, the land of my birth and for a moment I am lost in a space of spirit so present my heart begins to ache with joy once again.

I am continuing to learn and make a practice for myself that serves the purpose of for myself and the whole. A practice that is authentic and in connection with everything that has meaning to me. I feel grateful once again for being shown a way as my chest relaxes in an outer breath and releasing all tension.

 

Walking with ancestors

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This morning was one of those mornings when I felt my time was well spent. I was called to visit woods, a particular place I know well. Whenever I am called like this I always follow and I got in my car this morning open to what messages awaited me.

A smell of pines surrounded me on the way to the woods and a field of associations opened up in my awareness. Pines connect me to home, a land I was born in and another place where that association is often activated in is Scotland. I love pine trees and I am so familiar with the smell. While driving I craved to see them and realised that was one reason I was called to this particular wood and not any other. This is the only place where I can find pines in a particular corner of that forest I knew well and worked in before.

 

As I walked into the woods with confidence and anticipation I came across a broken pine branch straight away. I picked it up and put it against my face. The smell at this point was constantly around me and I breathed it in deeply feeling connected. I also felt not alone. It took me back to the days when I was young and mushroom picking with my parents and grandparents. I also remembered my encounters with pines in Scotland and Wales, thick, furry canopy in dark green against the purest blue of the sky. Soft carpet of fallen needles underneath my feet and that crunch of dry foliage and sticks that is so familiar to my ears.

And then there it was, a squirrel. It sat still at the foot of a pine tree and I felt energy going through me and tears coming to my eyes. Grandmother. Memories flooded in. My grandmother loved squirrels. She even had a couple of stuffed ones in her flat. I remember them vividly sitting on top of a television. I watched the squirrel and it watched me. I never before witnessed a squirrel be so still for quite some time. It didn’t run or turn just watched me before starting to climb a tree but slowly with shaking her tail in an interesting sort of way. I felt my grandmother near me as she often is. I the sat down on a stump and my granddad came to mine. I didn’t know him too well but I was around him a lot and have so many memories of him painting and care taking his wounded foot. It needed bandages changed every day and he would do it in this tiny stool, looked like a tree stump. I felt him around too.
In a distance I perceived a deer, vulnerable, soft and gentle, innocent and pure. My sister, I thought, and with a fresh breeze I observed a silver beech swaying her long green sleeves in a wind dance. The birch is a maiden tree to me and also strongly associated with my home land. My sister died young and was the sweetest soul.

Pine smell continued to be around me and it felt comforting. My relatives are buried in a pine woodland cemetery far away in Russia, Siberia. Three graves together amidst pines with rows singing their demands and moans into the wind. Don’t you think crows often sound like that they are dissatisfied with it all. I love them, very characterful and unashamed of their nature. My sense of smell took me to that cemetery once again, a place I remember well. I also had an awareness of my father currently being there and perhaps in the actual cemetery as I sat on a tree stump in England communing with ancestors in nature. I created an intuitive ‘grave’ collage on the ground and while in that space it felt like I was in the actual place.

 

They live within us and their ash fertilising our souls and make us grow with each breath and memory of that connection.
I have always associated deep sadness with the land of my birth, yet today I don’t feel it. They have moved on a long time ago and I have known about it for sometime. They are together, but also go on travels of their own to be with their own essence. It is a forever kind of connection like water or air that couldn’t separate itself from one another’s being. Even with letting go the memory is stamped forever on a canvas of their experience. They might become strangers over cycles yet there will always be a certain recognition on every encounter and there are many encounters throughout a life time, I believe.

As I was leaving I came across these three crosses amidst trees. They looked significant and made sense to me.

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This Litha I am incorporating my ancestors’ altar into my main one for the first time. It feels right to perform a ritual in their honour around this time in June, around anniversary dates and what today’s walk taught me was that remembering my blood lines is to be included in my spiritual practice and something that is natural and within me.

Beltane 2017 re-defined

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This year is all about transformation on a level unheard of before. It is about renewing in ways completely fresh and bold, something that had never manifested in our lives. We are born in an energy of a great opportunity to change things radically, to look at ourselves with no excuses or hiding behind what is familiar. In many ways there is nowhere to hide and neither does it make sense any more. Masks and personas are becoming extinct and the spirit calls for us to embrace ourselves in what we have always meant to be.

Over the last few years May Day for me had been a sad time of hiding and illness, falling into a trap of a script playing out during that time over and over. Within a fail before or on the day there will be obstacles, emotional, mental and most of all physical that would prevent me from any kind of celebrating. A negative masculine would rear its ugly head and any kind of merging with a Green Man would become an ugly prospect. My mental state would become so bitter and angry at the masculine that a sight of a May pole would be a big ‘no, no’. This year just when I thought I was ok, having previously set my intention on not falling for the old tricks of my unhealed past, it struck again with manifestations in my internal and external life where masculine was not good to me. I fell into sadness, as predicted, but then something within me continued to fight.

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Druid path exploration begins

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Sadness rose within me and took me by surprise as I was reading words on a page. I felt tears coming up to the surface and my chest froze in deep sorrow. Anger and bitter disappointment followed the waves of deep mourning inside and I felt like abandoning the whole idea of reading about how Druidry, the ancient religion was overthrown by Christianity. Celts, I felt, didn’t fight hard enough somehow, or at least that’s how it came across in the book I was reading and, perhaps, it is subjective to the writing. Of course, we have little to no evidence of what it was like back in Neolithic times when Druids were practicing their nature laws. Nevertheless the feeling within me could not be ignored. I wept for nature, Earth, people.

What it felt like to me was a siege of something sacred and intuitive with nature, like fire that lived within people’s hearts was extinguished and their will was taken hostage and the earth entrapped in a cage. I also felt enraged at the idea of something being take away from nature, earth and attached to one singular deity where in nature there are so many. The earth is living and breathing, it is not an abstract concept, passive and static, hijacked, as I like to say it. It is described rather than lived every day in all its beauty. This is my experience anyway.

My experience of Yule and Christmas this year, I felt, reflected my feelings towards these two religions. I never experienced this before, which spoke to me of some growth happening within seeking to define a new way for me. There was a huge amount of resistance and dissonance present with Christmas to a point of wanting to completely redefine how I do things going forward. Yule I love very much and that is here to stay. I introduced an element of ‘called travel’ to my celebration this year, i.e. travelling to a sacred place I am called towards during Winter Solstice. I enjoyed that very much.

I began studying Druidry in the last three months, as the calling was becoming louder and signs began to sprout into my consciousness to pick up books and begin delving into exploring Druidic branch of Pagan spirituality. Having been on nature-based path for a few years now I mainly adopted principles of Wicca, working with the elements, herbs, rituals and spells, moon cycles, adopting animist perspective and also creating other rules of my own and ways of doing things that resonated with my soul. I have always been an intuitive witch and pagan rather than a ritualistic practitioner. HERE I write about differences.

Druidry called to me when I began to align with the idea of Living spirituality more and bringing spirit into life, getting actively involved in community work and walking the path as a way of life every day.

The first book I read Ancient Celtic Wisdom for Everyday Life by Sophie Cornish covered Celtic history and Druidic tradition through centuries. I describe my feelings above towards a transition from pagan to christian way of things and the deep sadness that I felt while reading this particular book. It was very strong and for more than a moment I considered whether I should carry on. It had such an effect on me. I did not enjoy this particular book. I felt it lacked passion and warmth and at several points I experienced resistance. However, it gives an account of history one does need to read about when starting out. One thing that did confirm I was somehow on the right track was a sentence within the first pages of the book referring to a link between Celtic culture and Russia. This was the first time I ever came across a sort of evidence in a book that such a link existed and I felt excited.

Here are some points that I liked when reading through the book mentioned above and below. Some of them are already at the centre of my practice:

  • reverence and connection to the land
  • active spirituality, living spirituality
  • relating and communicating with deities and gods of the land
  • the idea of sacred circle, elements, simple way of practicing
  • standing stones relationship
  • trees and herbs
  • spirit grounded and manifested in the land and in earthly life
  • celebrating the wheel of the year
  • a feeling of pride in doing and honour in carrying on an ancient tradition
  • it is easier for others from outside to relate to, e.g. in comparison to witchcraft
  • Awen – I love that there is a word defining spirit
  • Dryad relationship (one of my very early discoveries)
  • Peaceful and light with the Sun at the centre
  • Natural, intuitive magic and way of relating

As I continued reading I felt I would definitely be adding to my already established practice rather than replacing or taking something away. I value my practices and have solidified ways of engaging with this spirituality that I am going to keep.

Redefinition of names stood out for me and what people on this path call themselves. It made me think of my own name, my personal energetic signature and I am curious to explore that further. I noticed some shifts with regards to calling myself or others a Witch. There was definitely a shift in my preference and what it meant. I came up against some resistance and discomfort even. Druid word is not yet definted either and there is more to explore there. It feels very big at the moment. I also considered an idea of not having any label or name and it is certainly a possibility. I am not attaching to a particular way of naming things, it is all about experience, which is at the heart of what I do and how I live my life and my spiritual path.

The next book I read I absolutely loved and I highly recommend it Principles of Druidry by Emma Restall Orr

I started reading Living Druidry by Emma Restall Orr last night by the same author and again I love it so far.

Excited to continue on this journey of discovery

 

Sacred Land Trinity 

Scottish Highlands

Snowdonia, Wales

Connemara, Ireland

I worked with a bereaved client at the beginning of my psychotherapy training called Margaret. She was 83 years old and what a force of nature she was. Such passion for life, such grit, commitment, devotion, determination and inner strength like I rarely have come across in life, perhaps, only of my own mother. She was Irish. I loved her stories of growing up on a family farm in harsh conditions and amidst complicated family dynamics, but a place so beautiful that whenever she spoke of it I heard a song full of beautiful lyrics and melody of her voice changing into a sweet poetry with each breath. Our relationship was pure enchantment.

Ireland, I seemed to love the place without knowing why or how, I felt I knew it on some level. I married an Irishman first time round. I found the accent musically pleasing and lulling to my senses. Margaret spoke of returning to the land at the age of 83 after the death of her husband. Connemara. Perhaps she’s there now.

Years later I find that particular place is calling to me. Ireland. Through very subtle feelings, round about connections and encounters and things I have read it is as if I am weaving a plan, a map that will eventually take me there. I remain in wonder and curiosity with a sense of peace of getting to know that land one day.

Perhaps it is the completion of the sacred Land trinity for me, the first two being Scottish Highlands and Snowdonia, Wales. Perhaps I am on a journey of rediscovering some Celtic heritage of the British Isles, the path of Druidry that yes, lives in my DNA.

What a joyous journey I often stop to reflect, the one with soul at the centre of it all and spirit that is held in the land, in nature.

Th greatest gift of all

photoA man walked along a deserted beach when he came upon a cave. He heard many stories told that the greatest gift of all lied inside it. With confidence he walked up to the entrance when suddenly the door slammed shut right in front of him and a face appeared in the stone covering the entrance.

The face spoke, ‘To gain entry you must have wisdom of the sea, land and sky’ and it disappeared. The man stood confused. ‘What does that all mean? I don’t like water, woods scare me and flying is impossible’ he pondered on what the face said.

The face appeared once more, ‘What you are thinking are obstacles your mind puts in your way, you are out of touch with your body and emotions. Within you lie treasures of courage, vision, curiosity and intuition. Go on your way and once you obtain the wisdom of the sea, land and sky, you can enter the cave.’

The man walked towards the ocean and sat down on the shore in deep thought. Suddenly a seal came up to the surface and said, ‘I feel myself breathe when I swim in the water. It is invigorating, freeing and soothing. When I swim I hold faith that my body is so intelligent it will not only carry me through it, it will also open up the sea world beyond. With breathing you can feel deep within your body, which is a precious vessel of your soul’.

‘My soul? said the man. How do I know I have one?’

‘By breathing and feeling the water, as you glide through its surface and depths, by merging with the ocean as one and tuning into the feeling of being in the body, alive and flowing. You have not been present with yourself for a long time and lost touch with what it feels like to be free flowing with emotions.’

‘That sounds beautifully simple’, the man thought. Walking into the ocean he began to swim experiencing what the seal described to him. ‘I feel my soul’, the man screamed in delight.

The man sat on the shore when a bird few by and stopped to tell him a story of its experience in the air and how when it surrendered to the wind and allowed for it to carry it the bird’s heart expanded in freedom and joy. ‘We birds have skills and much experience in flying high and low, but without allowing and being one with the elements control threatens to take the wonderful feeling of freedom away’.

‘What if I fall? said the man

‘What if you don’t fall? said the bird. Fear, control and lack of faith is what holds you back from feeling fully alive’.

The man reflected on what the bird said and became overwhelmed by a feeling of wanting to fly with the wind and to look over the world from above. At that moment a mole popped its head from underneath the earth and began describing what it was like for him to be in touch with the soil he lived in. ‘But it is dark underneath’, the man quickly started to protest.

The mole said, ‘When you get accustomed to being in the dark you begin to see the light, a special kind of light, a light that feels homely, peaceful and glorious’.

The man suddenly felt deeply sad and alone for he had not experienced any of the things animals talked about for a long time. So, he decided to become each creature for a day to live through their experiences and learn to breath, feel, surrender and being comfortable in the dark. He decided it was time he learnt the wisdom of the sea, land and sky and when he was done, he was transformed. Many years had passed and the man undertook many more trials and challenges to obtain the wisdom the face on the cave spoke about. And when one day he was passing by the cave again the entrance was wide open for him to walk through. There was light streaming from within. The man recognised it as that special kind of light the mole told him about many years before.

There was a creature inside sitting against a beautiful lush tree with birds singing all round and water running off the rocks as clear as crystal and things growing in all splendour of colours and shapes. The creature smiled warmly at the man and said, ‘Welcome to your inner self. You have come far by learning the wisdom of the sea, land and sky. The greatest gift of all is your own inner beauty. You are home now.’

The man cried tears of joy and his heart filled up with love and gratitude. He felt in a state of belonging with everything and everyone. He felt whole.

Raw Pagan