Review: Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

by Carmen Reyes

Review by Tony Taylor

Book Cover - Tree Readings 13 Ogham Tree Oracle - Carmen Reyes

Tree Readings is a lovely little book that walks the reader through thirteen of the ogham consonants.  “Q” and “Z” are not included nor are the vowels, however, because they really are about kennings and the tree lore that is okay.  She helps the reader discover their tree allies and inspires cultivation of relationship with the trees and the goddesses related to them.

The book is divided into two major sections, first the Tree Signs.  In the Tree Signs, Carmen assigns an ogham to standard trees and then focuses on the benefit of the ogham.  For example, Holly’s ogham is “Creativity and Mastery.”  She includes a “Lady” she associates the ogham with, adds some key associations, words, poetry, and a Celtic astrology association.

In the Kennings, Charms & Treasures section, the author provides botanical highlights, associations for the Word Ogham, various other associations, and, most interestingly, to a particular Goddess.  I was distracted by the inclusion of Roman & Greek deities; however, adhering to one pantheon os specific to Keltrian practice.

She finishes the book with a Tree Calendar, information on tree essences, references to further reading, supplies, and a nice bibliography.

Carmen is a member of the Henge of Keltria and I considered nominating her book as the “Best academic book” by a Keltrian, to the Druid Academy Nomination Award Committee  (DANAC) for an “Oakie” award.  However, there are no DANAC awards this year, but I am hoping I will still be able to submit her fine book next year.

I recommended Tree Readings for anyone wishing to develop their relationship with trees.
[amazon_link id="1453690719" target="_blank" ]Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle[/amazon_link] Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (July 29, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1453690719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453690710

[amazon_enhanced asin="1453690719" /]   [amazon_product_cloud title="Product Cloud Widget" market_place="US" category="All" height="280" width="336" show_title="True" show_popovers="True" background_color="#ffffff" hover_background_color="#cc6600" popover_border_color="#918C8C" hover_text_color="#ffffff" title_text_color="#000000" title_font="Verdana" title_font_size="13px" cloud_text_color="#003399" cloud_font="Verdana" cloud_font_size="14px" curved_corners="False" show_amazon_logo_as_text="False"/]

The Mistletoe Rite

The Mistletoe Rite

by Karl Schlotterbeck

Photo of Karl Schlotterveck

Karl Schlotterbeck

The mistletoe rite has special significance to Keltrians, partly because of the reverence our ancestors had for mistletoe itself, and partly because the Mistletoe Rite is probably the ritual we most celebrate and is also a point of contact with the public. In addition, the Mistletoe Rite represents and enactment of many Keltrian principles. Thus, it is important that anyone with an interest in Keltrian belief and practice, as well as members have as thorough and understanding of it as possible.

The ritual is explained in detail in the Book of Ritual. Nevertheless, because of the significance of this rite, we will examine some of the most important of its aspects.

The significance of the Mistletoe to the ancient Druids is certainly legendary, through its meaning, because nothing was written, is open to conjecture. Of course, there is the “historical” report about Druids cutting the mistletoe with a golden sickle, catching it in a white cloth and making a sacrifice -- all on the “sixth night of the moon.” Since this would have meant in olden days that the fist night of the moon was the first visible crescent (the visible “new moon” as opposed to the astronomical misnomer of new moon which now refers to the conjunction of sun and moon during the “dark of the moon”). Thus, the sixth night of the moon would most likely have been about the first quarter, when the moon was half dark and half light as its cycle was moving toward increasing light (or waxing).

Modern writers have noted Mistletoe’s medicinal uses (which can be explored in most any herbal reference). Others have suggested that it had more symbolic significance since it did not seem to be rooted in the earth, seemed to appear out of nowhere and who’s berries were associated with fertility (though they are toxic). The fertility aspect of mistletoe survives to this day in our winter holiday tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.

Keltrians and the Mistletoe Rite

The focus in the Keltrian Mistletoe Rite is on healing and communion. Then, if we place these purposes within the context of Keltrian traditions, we will see more clearly the meaning of the elements as well as their order. In summary, during the Mistletoe Rite, we consecrate the space, open the veil, meditatively create our symbolic grove of tree-beings, and invite the presence of ancestors, nature spirits and gods and goddesses.

Since the Book of Ritual explains the specifics of each of the elements of the ritual, we will primarily concern ourselves here with the meaning of the various elements. Naturally, proper preparation of the ritual tools, controlling intrusions (like the ringing of a telephone) and selection of the ritual space itself are all part of the preparation. They are “setting the stage” for the celebration and the consensual use of the participants attention and energy for a common cause (healing and communion). When done properly, there will have been a gathering of people who create a timeless and boundless “space” into which is invited those of the Other World whom we revere for the purpose of sharing in feasting and fellowship.

The Rite

In the Mistletoe Rite, celebrants gather to create a timeless and boundless “space” into which are invited past, present and future Druids, the assistance of Manannan Mac Lir, the ancestors, nature spirits and gods and goddesses for a sharing of healing energy as well as feasting. During that time, we have joined consciously with the Other World and those beings share in our world as we do in theirs. Thus, they partake in our songs and food.

The ritual itself is laid out in detail in the Book of Ritual. Some flexibility is certainly permissible in the ritual, however, since it is an organic living thing and its flow of energy may best be served in various ways at different times. Indeed, one may note a discrepancy between the Outline for Mistletoe Rite and the following text in the Book of Ritual. Be that as it may, there are some significant routines and changes should be made only after considering what the original part was intended to do and the spiritual/psychic effect of the change. First of all the veil is parted before the Triads are invoked. (We would not invite someone in without opening the door to ease their entry.)

The Mistletoe Rite begins with the Processional which includes anointing with the oil with blessings of mind, body and spirit. This act alone has several meanings. First, it acknowledges right in the beginning that we are of a triune nature, it honors the Celtic focus on the skull, it begins to bring us into a state of togetherness as well as the first benchmark that we are leaving the ordinary world. The tri-line is a connection with early mysteries since its origin is uncertain.

Marking Sacred Time and Space. Keltrian Druidism takes an approach different from most other traditions in terms of time and space. Many traditions create a circle to contain energy, to banish negative influences, to protect the activity or to otherwise set a boundary between the inner ritual space and the outer (profane) world. Keltrian tradition, however, “universalizes”  sacred space. To do this, Druids, Bards and Seers of the past, present and future are invited to the place of the ritual (into the Otherworldly Tree), making all time now.

In addition, the powers and gifts of the directions are also invoked into the Otherworldly Tree to make all space here. In this way, the Otherworldly Tree becomes the focal point of all time and all space and is symbolically planted in the Hill of Usneach which was considered the ancient Druidic Center of Ireland.

Announcement of Rite. A simple announcement of the nature of the rite may be said, followed by an optional song.

Tree Meditation. The tree meditation is explained more fully in the Correspondence Course.   It helps to move the consciousness of those gathered from their everyday worlds into the sacred space which has just been created.

Parting the Veil. Having brought ourselves into the sacred space, the designated Seer acts to part the veil which normally separates this world from the Otherworld. Generally, a sea shell is the ritual tool used to request of Manannan assistance in parting the veil between the worlds so that we may have more conscious communion. Manannan is considered guard of the veil and in mythology often helps humankind. The optional Manannan chant/song can be sung here.

Triad Invocations. With ourselves gathered at the center of time and space, and the veil between the worlds thinned,    celebrants make specific invitations to the ancestors, spirits of nature and gods and goddesses -- in that order.

A bowl of water is presented and the ancestors invited to enter into it so we may have a physical medium to realize their presence. The celebrant who has invoked the ancestors then anoints the brow of all present with the water into which the ancestors have been called. Optionally, an ancestor chant or song may be sung here.

Similarly, nature spirits are invoked into the cauldron of earth which is then used to anoint the brow of each participant.  Optionally, a nature spirit chant or song may be sung here.

In the same manner, one of the celebrants then invokes the gods and goddesses into the cauldron of burning incense who’s blessing is then disbursed by wafting the incense toward the brow of each person. Optionally, a gods and goddesses chant or song may be sung here.

In this way, with the ancestral waters, earth of the nature spirits and scent of the gods all on our brow, our physical selves are given a sense of real participation and connection with those of the Other world.

A note is due here about ritual protocol. Celebrants who invoke those from the Otherworld (Manannan, ancestors, nature spirits, gods and goddesses) are expected to exercise a respectful manner which we would give any visitor invited into our space: the speaker identifies her or himself -- using their given or magical name -- the way we would if we make a telephone call. After all, the beings invoked during the rite are not servants to do our bidding, but respected guests invited to share the evening with us. This process is more fully explained in the correspondence course invocation lesson.

Explanation of the Rite. Two celebrants (called D1 and D2 in the Book of Ritual) engage in a ritual dialogue which helps to further explain the purposes of the evening’s rite as commemoration of the ancient gathering of the mistletoe at the sixth night of the moon.

Consecration and Blessing. Three drops of mistletoe tincture are put into the two chalices which are then blessed with the sickle and branch and pronounced “the waters of health.” These chalices are then passed sunrise for all who wishes to do so to drink. Generally two chalices are prepared, one with mead and the other with water. Each is equally consecrated.

Feasting. First the drinks are gathered and, using the sickle and branch, a blessing is asked of the ancestors to help us grow in wisdom. In the same way, the food items are gathered together and, again using sickle and branch, the blessings of the nature spirits are asked to bring the celebrants sustenance. A plate and cup of libation offerings are prepared and then all eat as a community, sharing of each other’s bounty. Those of the Otherworld take this opportunity to share in our world’s pleasures as well.

As the celebrants feast, there is often much levity, sometimes songs, stories or poetry or, in more serious moments, theological discussions.

Closing. When deemed appropriate by the primary celebrants, an announcement is made that the closing is drawing near and it is time to bid farewell to those whom we have invited. In closing, all things are done in reverse order. Thus, the gods and goddesses are first thanked by the one who invited them. The nature spirits are thanked by the one who invited them. The ancestors are thanked by the one who invited them.

The one who invoked Manannan to part the veil once more steps forward, thanks him and asks that the veil be returned.

Participants are returned from their tree consciousness created by the tree meditation to human consciousness through a reversal of the tree meditation by the one who lead it in the beginning.

Finally comes the announcement of the closing which includes a statement that time and space will resume their normal course. This may be followed by a song.

The Ritual Process

Over all, one should be aware of the progression of actions within the ritual leading more and more deeply into that boundless, timeless space of gathering and Otherworld connection and, when finished, an orderly return to ordinary consciousness, having been refreshed and renewed through the communion with each other and those on the Other Side of the veil.

  • Processional and Announcement
    • Creation of sacred Time and Space
      • Tree Meditation
        • Parting the Veil
          • Triad Invocations
            • Consecration and Blessing
            • Feasting
            • Thanking the Triads
          • Closing the veil
        • Reversal of Tree Meditation
      • Announcement of Closing

Keltrian Druid Sigil

Ancestors Chant

Ancestors Chant

by “A chorus of Karl’s”

Photo of Karl Schlotterbeck

Karl Schlotterbeck

Archdruid Karl, bard extraordinary put together a fresh Ancestor’s Chant.  The words are simple, and there is a drone of “ancestors” in the background.  You’ll love it.

  • Ancestor spirits, here with us today
  • Waters of blessing, inspire us on our way

The music is available to download or listen. Hear:  Ancestor Chant by Karl Schlotterbeck

Brighid’s Well: A Meditation

Brighid's Well: A Meditation

By Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

The following meditation is one that I frequently use for myself, as well as use in rituals for White Cat Grove. The central images are Brighid's well and the bilé, or sacred tree, upon which strips of cloth are hung. In Ireland, wells are sacred to Brighid – the goddess and later the saint – and the destination for pilgrims seeking healing even today. As Irish monk Sean O'Duinn notes in [amazon_link id="1856074838" target="_blank" ]The Rites of Brigid: Goddess and Saint[/amazon_link], strips of cloth were frequently hung on the sacred trees located beside holy wells, perhaps as means to transfer illness away from the body.

On a practical note, solitaries performing the meditation can either record it themselves or, if more experienced, memorize the basic sequence of images and see where it takes them. I've included pauses for those who are reading the meditation to others. The best way to make sure the pauses are long enough is to go on the journey yourself, splitting your consciousness just enough to read and see at the same time.

Use whatever trance induction works for you. The one I use most frequently is descending a staircase into the Earth, with the stairs shifting from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and then white before ending at the gate to the Otherworld. I use a frame drum as a trance “steed” or ritual tool; feel free to use your bell branch, a rattle or go without, as your spirit calls you.

Follow the beat of the drum, deeper and deeper into the Otherworld. (Pause.) Settle yourself under the Otherworldly Tree, the World Tree, the axis mundi that links the worlds within and without. Settle in and let yourself see or feel this tree; let your mind wander until the vision comes into focus. Let the drum guide you, focusing your attention. How does the tree appear to you? (Pause)

The tree is the starting place on our journey today. Breathe in and out, in and out. Standing beneath the tree, let your eyes skim the landscape of the Otherworld. What do you see? What sort of land lies before you? Is it day or night? What season is it? (Pause)

Today, we shall journey to Brighid's well, her holy well of healing. Call for a guide to come to you, speaking from the depths of your heart. (Pause) Who or what is this guide? Greet your guide and ask to be taken to the well. (Pause) Your guide begins to lead you there. Where does the road lead you, through what landscape, in what direction? Notice your journey, for the path has meaning in and of itself. (Pause)

You arrive at the well. See how it appears to you. Does it have the rough-hewn loveliness of nature, or has it been ringed by stones or decorated by human hands? Is it open to the sky, or covered by a roof – the thatch of the countryside or the majestic shaping of stone? (Pause)

On one side of the well, you see a tree decorated with ribbons and streamers of cloth. They are clooties, prayers to Brighid tied on its branches. What sort of tree is it? Look closely. (Pause) At its foot is a basket containing ribbons. Take one and notice its color. (Pause) If you feel moved, tie one on the trees branches to ask a prayer of Brighid. (Pause)

Now, we go to the side of the well for a prayer. If you wish it, your guide will offer a a ball of clay  for you to shape your prayer into or possibly a clay tablet to write on. You can shape the clay  into an image of a body part or person you wish to heal, or use a stylus to write your prayer on the tablet. Take some time to do this. (Pause)

Your guide beckons that it is time to go. Give your thanks to Brighid, the well, the tree, this holy place. (Pause) Follow your guide back along the path, back to the Otherworldly Tree where we began. (Pause) Take a moment to thank your guide. (Pause)

Now slowly open your eyes. Shake yourself out. Slap your cheeks, pull your earlobes and stamp your feet. Welcome back!

Grange Lios Stone Circle

Grange Lios Stone Circle

County Limerick, Ireland

by Steward of the Wood

It was a beautiful, fall morning in County Limerick as we drove through the Irish countryside.  We were celebrating the second anniversary of our Handfasting.  The years had gone by quickly.  Our happiness together was immense, yet each of us still harbored some inner anxiety that the “bubble” would burst. Occasionally, we shared with each other the fear that the joy we still felt together would be gone as had happened in previous relationships.

This trip together was also the fulfillment of a dream for each of us.  For me, it was part of a continuing search for my ancestral roots in Ireland as well as my roots as a Celt and a Druid.  For my partner, Firefly, it was a chance to feel the spirituality and close connection to the land that the Irish feel.  For both of us, it would turn out to be a true spiritual journey.

We were on our way to the sacred area of Lough Gur and the Grange Lios Stone Circle.  It is the largest and one of the best preserved stone circles in Ireland with a diameter of 150 feet and dating back 4000 years to the Bronze Age.  Although built by the earlier Ancestors, the Celts actively used the Stone Circle and revered the entire Lough Gur area as archaeological evidence attests.  The circle contains over 100 stones which are nestled into an earthen bank.  The entrance way, between two large entry stones, faces to the east and the sacred lake of Lough Gur.  Around the outside of the earthen bank are many, very large oak and ash trees as well as several, very large, ancient hawthorns.

Firefly and I walked the short distance to the Circle and approached in a deiseil manner offering praise to the Gods and Goddesses, Nature Spirits, and Ancestors.  I told them that as a Druid I honored them and asked to be allowed to commune with them.  As we walked to the east near the entrance, six small, black-and-white Holstein calves approached, obviously curious about us.  They were grazing on the lush green grass and both the calves and we tried to appear oblivious to each other although this was not true for any of us.  Firefly and I were looking at a very large hawthorn and she stooped to walk underneath its spreading crown to be nearer the tree.  At this point, one of the more curious calves walked up to her; and as I looked on, the calf stretched out its head as Firefly did the same and they appeared to kiss.  Clearly the Nature Spirits accepted our presence and knew that we came in love and peace.  Firefly spoke lovingly and softly to the calf; the scene was magical.  We got goose bumps and the hairs stood up on our arms and the back of our necks to be part of such obvious welcoming by the Spirits.  We expressed our gratitude by leaving an offering of corn meal at the base of the hawthorn.

From there we walked to the entry way of the circle which is lined with large stones.  There is an ancient track to the east connecting the circle to Lough Gur.  This track obviously served during rituals for the sacred processions from the Lough to the Circle.  Walking through the entry stones, each six to seven feet tall, and into the circle filled me with a sense of joy as a smile crept across my face.  To be in this ancient, sacred place was exhilarating to say the least.  The bright sunlight filled the circle and the smell of earth, grass, cow dung, and all the other smells of agriculture wafted through the warm, fall day.   The oak and ash trees surrounding the Circle gave me the impression of ancient guardians, the Watchers and Timekeepers.  A smallish stone formation, flanked by much larger stones, on the northeast side of the circle drew my attention due to its shape and the many shining coins lying at its base.  It had the appearance of a small (3 feet tall) human and consists of stones carefully stacked on each other.  I thought that this must be the famed Crom Dubh or Crom Crúaich (early Milesian God; black or bloody crescent or head; Lord of the Mound; Irish) who is reported to be in the Circle.  We greeted Crom Dubh and honored him, giving our magickal names and the fact that I was a Druid.  Then we gave him a gift of two shining coins.  As we kneeled to place the coins on the rock at the base, it glinted in the sun as Crom Dubh smiled and I felt a shift in time.

Standing up, I turned around to witness a procession approaching down the roadway from the Lough in the east.  The summer sun had not yet risen but was close, yielding an ethereal aura.  Wrens were singing sweetly and the air was filled with a mixture of musty earthiness and the smell of smoke from the torches being carried by the procession.  Firefly and I were dressed in Celtic dress.  She wore a long red and green plaid skirt and a beige blouse with a silver torc around her neck and silver buckle in her belt.   The buckle had a beautiful Celtic design.  I had a long, beige tunic covered by a red and green plaid overcoat and wore a silver torc with boar’s heads on the ends.  I also wore a wide leather belt with a large, silver, Celtic buckle.  We stood on the raised, earthen bank surrounding the Grange Lios Circle, which was a good vantage point.  At least a hundred others also stood on the earthen bank as onlookers to the ritual.  All were quiet as we watched and waited expectantly.

A torch bearer led the procession followed by a Druidess, an ancient woman, dressed in a white robe with a crown of intertwined vines and branches and adorned with bird feathers.  An Ovate, dressed in a green robe with a similar crown, and a Bard, in a blue robe and holding a harp, were next in line and then four musicians playing a flute, a harp, a bodhrán, and bag pipes.  Finally, another torch bearer ended the procession.  The music being played was soft and had a haunting air about it.  The procession entered the Circle and the torch bearer and musicians stood just inside the entrance while the others continued on into the Circle.  The last torch bearer joined the first one at the entrance.  The Druidess, Ovate and Bard moved toward the western side of the center of the Circle and the Ovate and Bard stood slightly behind the Druidess who moved up close to the central fire pit.  Once they were in position, the musicians stopped playing.

Then we all waited patiently and expectantly for Lugh Lámhfhada (of the Long Arm), Radiant Brow, Sun God, to bless us with the first rays of his life-giving sun.  This day was the annual ritual and festival of Lughnasadh, the festival created by Lugh in honor of Tailtiu, his foster mother.  Just before the first rays peaked over the eastern horizon, the Bard called out in a clear, resonant voice and entreated all present to honor Lugh and Tailtiu and to call to them.  At that moment, a panoply of voices and music rose up calling to the God and Goddess.  As if answering the call, the first rays of sun rose over the horizon and streamed down the entry way and into the Circle striking the altar and the Druidesss beyond it.  Simultaneously, the Druidess lit the sacred fire, fueled by the nine sacred woods in the fire ring.  The flames rose into red, yellow, and orange fingers reaching to the sky and the Druidess raised her arms in honor to the God and Goddess.  She held a bronze sickle in her right hand and a bough of ash in the other.  The crowd and musicians were then silent and the Druidess called out to Lugh and Tailtiu to bless the bounty of the harvest and all in attendance.  The fertility and bounty of the harvest were evident by the grain, vegetables, and game arrayed on the altar in front of the Druidess as she touched the sickle and ash over the altar.  The Ovate was called forth to divine the final outcome of the harvest which he did with Ogham sticks.  All waited with hushed breath while he worked.  Finally he looked up from his sticks and pronounced in a loud, sonorous voice: “The harvest will be plentiful and the bounty of the land will be great this year.  We are blessed.”

At that signal, the Bard called out in a clear, loud voice:  “Then let us celebrate the harvest and honor the God and Goddess with games and feasting”.  Everyone burst forth in cheers and musicians reveled in their loud, gay music.  The crowd then streamed into the adjoining field for games and feasting.  The excitement was palpable as they began to celebrate the Feast of the First Harvest.  It is a joyous time especially if the harvest promises to be a good one and the starving time of winter will be forestalled.

Firefly and I stood on the earthen bank and watched and savored the joy of the crowd.  I then heard a clear, strong voice call out: “Steward of the Wood and Firefly” and we turned to face the Druidess.  She welcomed us to the ritual and said she had our answer.  Firefly and I turned to face each other with quizzical looks on our faces while the Druidess broached a sly smile.  We were directed to walk a short distance to the northeast of the Grange Lios Stone Circle to a smaller, but very magickal stone circle.  The Druidess said that the largest stone held an answer for our question but she did not state either question nor answer.  She then stepped up to the edge of the Circle as Firefly and I knelt down and she made the sign of Imbas on our foreheads and then bid us to go.  Her touch was warm and filled with the power of the Earth Mother causing a tingling sensation on my forehead.

We were both speechless as we moved toward the smaller Circle.  The Circle was quite visible but made with smaller stones and no earthen bank as compared with the Grange Lios Stone.  What totally captured our attention was that one of the larger stones (about six feet tall), located on the northeast side,  had split and from the split grew both an ash tree and a hawthorn.  We approached it in reverence, circling in the deiseil manner and offering prayers to the Triad and introducing ourselves.

We could see that the tree crowns merged and their roots were entwined, penetrating the large fissures in the magickal stone.  This stone which had been one solid, powerful, formidable force had split and instead nourished and provided a structure to hold the trees.  Ash, or Nion, signals transformation and change but it also carries the possibilities of growth and maturing.  There is a real strength in ash.  Hawthorn, or Húath, with its numerous thorns indicates obstacles and challenges; and with its red berries and white blossoms, there is a strong presence of the magickal for this is the Faery tree.  Hawthorn also carries the promise of protection, as it was used as protective hedges, and passion with its major role in adorning the pole in Beltane festivals.

As Firefly and I stood in wonder, we reached out to join hands.  With our other hands, we gently touch the hawthorn.  At that moment we knew the answer that the Druidess foresaw.  It was the question we had about the duration of our relationship.  The stone’s hard, strong nature was split to form a cradle for growth and development of the intertwining trees.  They in turn signaled the transformation of thorny, difficult relationships into magickal protection of a strong, passionate love.  Having lived full lives but ones marked with past failed relationships, we had met only a few years earlier.  Our mutual love of nature and of Celtic spirituality had fused a bond that seemed eternal but the past scars haunted us.  Now our eyes met as we formed a three-member circle with the magickal stone and we knew our bond was for eternity.  We embraced and pledged our eternity together, reaffirming our bond that was formed two years past at our Handfasting in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Our eyes closed as we kissed; and when we opened them, our mundane world had returned.  Gone were the revelers in the nearby pasture.  Gone too was the lively Celtic music and the mixed smell of food and smoke from the fires.  What was not gone was the tingling feeling of being alive, blessed by the Triad, and totally connected with each other, the earth, the hills, the Lough, birds flying over…Danu truly blessed us.  This magical experience will be with us eternally and we held hands as we walked back through the lush, green grass knowing that our bond was truly blessed.

Greetings All! – Beltaine 2011

Photo of GreyBoar

Vice President GreyBoar

Mother Nature has been at again.  It’s been quite a winter for most here in the U.S. though I’m sure that by now warmer weather has come your way.  This year started with record temperatures and snowfall amounts for many.  Some people here in the north Georgia area were trapped in their neighborhoods for nearly a week by iced roads.  Folks in some of the northern states really were trapped by snow that measured in feet rather than the few inches we experienced here.

Now with all the recent volcanic and tectonic activity as well as the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it seems as though Mother Nature has it in for us.

Not really though, it’s just the way the laws of nature work.  As Druids, we of all people should understand the basics of nature and learn to exist within Earth’s various events and cycles.  One of my favorite triads is:

“There are three people accursed: they who work against the laws of Nature without concern, they who know nothing of the Mighty Ones and do not seek to learn, and they who know much and will not share their knowledge with any other.”

Of particular importance to the subject of this article is the first third of this triad…the section regarding working against Nature.  For the most part, we can’t control Nature with the exception of being in a very small environment such as a building or other enclosure.

Acting unsafely or foolishly against Nature can actually curse you, with the possibility of loss of limb or life. The best we can do is to prepare for these cycles and events.  Sometimes it’s easy enough, for example, putting on ones coat, hat and gloves to go out into the cold.  On the other hand it could be quite difficult too, if for instance you and your family had to evacuate your home for several days because of an impending hurricane or wildfire.

This last March was “National Preparedness Month” and so I took the time to research, via the internet some ideas as how to better ready myself and family should some sort of disaster occur.  According to the American Red Cross, folks should have a “72 Hour Kit” or bag…sometimes called a “bug out bag” or B.O.B. I learned that there are important items that every family should keep on hand within the home, that their courses enabling one to assist injured family members and neighbors in the event of a disaster.  I won’t go into all the details because your preparations will be unique to you, your location, and your level of experience.

The American Red Cross has various websites addressing these issues.  Then too, there’s an organization called “Zombie Squad” that offers some very practical ideas and advice while at the same time lacing it with “zombie humor”.  (“Zombies” being a metaphor for disastrous events)  Their web address is; www.zombiehunters.org.

Take the time to ready yourself and be “the Druid in the know” as it may save the lives of friends or family should the need arise.

Have a blessed and safe Beltane!
- GreyBoar