From the Vice President – Imbolc 2014

by BeanSidhe

Photo of Vice President BeanSidhe

Vice President BeanSidhe

Greetings fellow Keltrians,

As I began to prepare to write this letter I decided to look back at some older additions of the Henge Happenings. I wanted to see if I was on the right track with what is to be conveyed in this quarterly newsletter.

I started with HH #31 which was released August of 1996. Issue after issue what continued to jump out at me was the sheer determination to produce the finest quality Druid origination possible.  My chest swells with Celtic pride as I Continue reading

Knitting is a Service Too

By Tony Taylor

Photo of Tony Taylor taken by Karl

Tony Taylor

I received an email from a long-time member asking what could she do for the Henge. Although she does not practice Keltrian Druidism, she loves the Druid way. She enthusiastically supports the Henge while celebrating with a local grove of another tradition.  She also has skills in many disciplines; she writes poetry and songs, shares her plant knowledge and lore with others, and gives psychic readings. Her degree in pastoral studies aids her in her daily work as do the Gods and Goddesses.  She also mentioned that she knits.  I went on-line and looked once again at examples of her knitting - impressive, beautiful work. Clearly, she is a very talented person and has much to share.

“Ah-ha,” I exclaimed aloud.

In Keltrian Druidism, we think of the Bard, Seer, and Druid as paths or areas of service rather than levels of accomplishment. That is to say, Keltrian Druids of all levels of accomplishment act as Bards, Seers, and Druids. Anything you do that honors the Ancestors, reveres the Spirits of Nature, or celebrates the Gods and Goddesses is a service to them.

For example, we celebrate Boann at the Feast of Flowing and at the Feast of Flowering.  Boann represents the woman cycle of life during which an individual takes care of self. We always need to be cared for like the Maiden, take care of others as a Mother, and take care of our community, which is the responsibility of the Crone. These are the four stages of care in our lives. Throughout all of our lives, we have times where we take care of ourselves; however, the other three phases of life are never excluded as we do so. In other words, the characteristics of all of the Gods and Goddesses are within you. They ebb and flow in their influence in your daily life. Similarly, you do things that fit the path of the Bard, the Seer, and the Druid every day.

The key to being a Keltrian Druid is service to the triad. Keltrian Druids, first and foremost, consciously honor the Ancestors, revere the Nature Spirits, and celebrate the Gods and Goddesses of the Irish Celtic pantheon. I encourage members to share their knowledge, skills, and abilities with the other members. Members can share through writing, song, photographs, workshops, pretty much any medium that will print.

In our knitter’s case, if she decided to knit a pouch for ritual use, she could write about the iconography she used. For example, if a Keltrian sigil, awen symbol, or maybe a cauldron representing The Dagda, were used she could describe why she chose that specific iconography. She could  explain the specific purpose for which the pouch is intended and the method used to consecrate and dedicate it for that purpose.  Photos of the pouch, possibly even in a simulated ritual setting, could accompany a potential submission for publication. (Note: Photos during actual rituals are not appropriate.)

Knitting as type of knot magic and is quite ancient.  Concentrating on the pouch’s use or the intended recipient while working on it creates an object of both beauty and power. Such a work is easily service to the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods as well as to the Henge.

Follow me on Twitter: @tonytaylor50 and @Keltria
Friend me on Facebook - Search for: Tony Taylor Keltria
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[Originally Published in Henge Happenings #100 - Samhain 2013]

 [amazon_enhanced asin="B007J30M7W" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00C6SKMU2" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B000KFNWVO" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00180L5F0" /]

From the Secretary – Beltaine 2013

by Eibhlean

Photo of Secretary Eíbhlean

Secretary Eíbhlean

Beltaine 2013

Keltrians around the world are feeling the expansive spring and pre-summer energy energy. We celebrate in many new and innovative ways, so let’s share our joy of learning and growing as a tribe.

Our 2013 Gathering is coming together beautifully and we encourage everyone to join us in Colorado for what we anticipate will be a great and empowering Gathering....

We continue to look for innovative ways to reach out and engage our collective and the greater community.  Please share your stories and insights regarding honoring our Ancestors, our joy at sharing this amazing world with the Nature Spirits and our devotion and service to the Gods.  Keltrian Druids appreciate the many unique perspectives that intelligent and thoughtful minds bring to the tapestry of our shared understanding.  We stand together in sadness and joy.  We continue to strive every day of our lives to Walk with Wisdom.

With gratitude,
Eíbhlean/Owl
Secretary – Henge of Keltria

Were They Warriors?

by Steward of the Wood

Photo of Steward of the Wood at the Lia Fail

Steward of the Wood

War has been a factor of the human existence for tens of thousands of years.  Our Celtic ancestors reveled in war among themselves and with others and the Bards revered warriors like Cúchuláinn and Finn mac Cumhaill in tales.  Have you ever wondered if your ancestors were soldiers or supported armies?  Common touch points in the USA are the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War.  Entire organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, have developed around this interest in our ancestors.

Learning whether an ancestor served during a war used to be quite tedious, but recently has become much easier. Increasingly, documents about military involvement of past wars have become available online or at least streamlined through federal, state, and local processes.

My grandfather served in World War I and my father and uncles served in World War II. I always wondered if my ancestors also fought in the Civil War and Revolutionary War. Growing up in the state of Tennessee in the U.S. where sympathies were very mixed between the Union and the Confederacy, I also wondered for which side my ancestors fought. Were they arrayed on both sides? In addition, since my ancestors originated from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany, I was not certain whether they fought for the American Republic or the English during the American Revolutionary War.

Like many Americans, rumors and stories abounded within my family as to whether ancestors fought; and if so, for whom they fought. As I embarked on my now-consuming ancestry quest a few years ago, I decided to investigate the issue of whether they were warriors or not.

National Archives Building Washington DC

Military records are available in the U.S. through a variety of sources such as the National Archives, books of lists of muster records, and on-line resources. Given these various resources, my first move was to sort through my family trees to develop a candidate list with men between the ages of fifteen and sixty-five for the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. Given that these wars occurred on U.S. soil, I assumed that it was "all hands on deck"; or in other words, every abled-bodied man (and many women) served in some capacity. This age range at least held most of the best candidates. Then the search began.

Sources of information range from free, such as books available from a library or a historical society, to “for pay,” such as www.ancestry.com. As you can imagine, the free sources require more work but can be effective. In addition, the U.S. National Archives are a great source of military records. My personal favorite source is www.ancestry.com. On their web site, I can search military records and have been able to identify seven possible ancestors who served in the American Civil War. To no surprise, given that Tennessee was viewed as a “border state,” most of my ancestors from the western part of the state were Confederate soldiers while those in the eastern part of the state were Union soldiers. It was literally true that the war divided families.

Men with common names are the hardest to prove; and when I looked up several of my ancestors, I found many soldiers with the same name. To solve one case when I found two likely candidates, I ordered the service records of each. To order, go to www.archives.gov . At the bottom of the home page, select “I want to: Get my military record.” This will take you to another page where you select “Older (pre-WWI) Service Records,” which is listed on the left side of the page. Then choose “How to order older military service or Pension Records” and you have the choice of ordering online or printing the form and mailing it. The cost of each of my requests was $25. From the two soldiers who I checked, I was able to determine which one was my ancestor by where he enlisted. It was so interesting to see copies of the actual pay stubs and to follow him across the South. He was wounded and spent time in a hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; then he was a prisoner of war and ended up in Baltimore, Maryland. It is fascinating.

Daughters of the American Revolution Washington DC

Similar records exist for the U.S. Revolutionary War through books and the U.S. Archives. The records of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are a fabulous resource and are searchable. Records from the DAR are especially useful because: 1) their requirements for proof are strong, hence the records tend to be reliable and 2) they include descendants of the soldier, so several generations are listed. My grandmother, aunt, and cousin were members and they did the hard work to prove our ancestry. Through various searches, I have identified ten ancestors who served in the war and most of them have proven records in the DAR. Interestingly in one case, both husband and wife occur as veterans. The wife “furnished supplies.” This may seem trivial now but I am certain that it could have meant her imprisonment or death if caught. She must have had the Celtic warrior woman’s genes…go Mórrígan! To date, all my ancestors who I have found were soldiers for the U.S. rather than the British.

These are but a few examples of military actions, which may have involved our ancestors. As mentioned earlier, my grandfather, father, and uncles were all veterans, and I have their service records. Despite whether we are supportive of war or not, our ancestors made their choices and those choices are part of whom they are. As we seek to know them, it is also important to know if they were warriors. If this becomes a source of interest and pride, then there are organizations such as the DAR or Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) that you can join to pursue those interests. Keep up the quest.

Ádh mór ort!

Solitary practice: A full moon rite to Manannan

Solitary practice: A full moon rite to Manannan

by Jenne Micale

Photo of Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

Connecting with your Gods – whether it be your matron or patron, the Gods of the season or whomever you wish to work with at the time – is an important part of Druidic practice. And as a special blessing for solitaries, much of this connection must be made on your own time, rather than with a grove. Grove rituals augment your personal practice but cannot replace it; solitary work provides the spiritual depth and skill development that group ritual draws on.

In my experience, one of the best ways to foster such connection is to have a designated time and ritual to connect with your matron or patron. I have a vigil ritual I perform every 20 days in honor of my matron Brighid, as part of Ord Brighideach. For Manannan, my patron, I do a divination and/or trance-themed rite on the full moon.

“Why the full moon?” you may ask. “Isn't that Wiccan?” The reason I honor Manannan on the full moon is two-fold; first, and most importantly, He requested it. The second concerns his role as sea god; the moon is the puller of the tides, both oceanic and spiritual. Traditionally – and yes, the Wiccans are right about this part – it's an opportune time for magic and divination. Unlike Wicca, however, my full moon rite does not center around a moon/mother goddess, but on the god of the sea and liminality. Granted, one could conceivably honor Manannan on the dark moon as well, but the ritual would have a far different tenor; whereas the full moon is the time of peak flood-tide, the dark moon marks the deepest ebb.

The ritual below can be inserted into the typical Keltrian ritual structure, with the honoring of direction, opening of the Gates and honoring of the Gods, Nature Spirits and Ancestors. Much of the language is co-opted and occasionally reformulated from Alexander Carmichael’s [amazon_link id="0940262509" target="_blank" ]Carmina Gadelica[/amazon_link], that indispensable book of Scottish lore. I did use some from Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson’s compendium [amazon_link id="0140442472" target="_blank" ]A Celtic Miscellany: Translations from the Celtic Literature (Penguin Classics)[/amazon_link]. If I marked it, it’s borrowed from elsewhere. The working/trance invocation — the one that mentions the crane bag — is my own. The salt-water and sage purifications aren’t all that different from other Pagan traditions, probably; feel free to substitute whatever form of purification you feel comfortable with. Feel free to share with whoever is interested; it’s for public use.

Invocation (combination of 11th and 9th century Irish verse from A Celtic Miscellany):

The ocean is full, the sea is in flood, lovely is the home of the ships. The sandy wind has made eddies. The rudder is swift upon the wide sea…. Look before you at the glorious sea, home of creatures, dwelling of seals; wanton and splendid, it has taken of flood tide. Manannan, Lord of the Sea, of wave and of magic, of travel and journeys, of wisdom and truth, I honor you on this night.

Salt water blessing:

I cleanse myself with the salt and the water, with the waters of the sea, the realm of Mac Lir.

Anoint and sing, from the Carmina Gadelica:

A wavelet for thy form
A wavelet for thy voice
A wavelet for thy sweet speech
A wavelet for thy luck
A wavelet for thy good
A wavelet for thy health
A wavelet for thy throat
A wavelet for thy pluck
A wavelet for thy graciousness
Nine waves for thy graciousness.
May the spirit satisfy me with the water of grace.

Cleanse with smoke:

I cleanse myself with the flame and the herb, so that all that is ill is washed from me.

Waft and sing, from the Carmina Gadelica:

Ward from me every distress and danger
Encompass my course over the ocean of truth
I pray thee, place thy pure light before me
O Mananann on this very night
O Mananann on this very night
Be thyself the guiding star above me
May you light every reef and shoal
Pilot my boat on the crest of the wave
To the restful haven of the waveless sea
To the restful haven of the waveless sea

The working; use divination, scrying or trance. Sing:

May Manannan grant me
A glimpse of the crane bag
A glimpse of the mysteries
In the bag of secrets.
A glimpse of the Apple Isle
And its cup of truth
The isles of the Otherworld
And the swine at its feast.
Rattle the silver bough
To laugh, cry or sleep
To lead me on my journey
And to bring me home.

The divination/trance follows; use whatever you’re called to.

The return.

Ground and sing (from the Carmina Gadelica):

Bless to me, O Manannan
The earth beneath my foot,
Bless to me, O Manannan
The path whereon I go;
Bless to me, O Manannan
The thing of my desire
Bless to me, O Manannan
Bless me to my rest.
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my mind
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my love
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my hope
O Thou Lord of the Wave
May I be blessed in your eye.

Close with the standard Keltrian ritual format.

Celtic knotwork bar

Ancestors

From the President

Ancestors

by Tony Taylor

Photo of Tony Taylor with deer staff

Tony Taylor

Wren, GreyBoar, BeanSidhe, and I recently hosted a booth at a small Pagan gathering near Atlanta promoting The Henge of Keltria. It was an excellent opportunity to network with people I seldom see and meet new folks. We all enjoyed sharing how and why Keltrian Druids celebrate the Triads and the wheel of the year with people from a variety of paths.

While conversing with a young Druid of a different tradition about Ancestors, Wren brought up the subject of genealogy as a tool for knowing one’s ancestors better and how it enriches that part of the Triad. He seemed a little surprised at first, his previous experiences with people using this area of study was usually someone attempting to prove lineage to royalty or a relative of renown. For him, like many, the concept of “ancestors” was rather nebulous and shrouded in the mists of time along with the Gods and Nature Spirits.  Several of us joined in the conversation explaining why genealogy is an important tool in our spirituality.

One of the three foundations of Keltrian Druidism is to “honor the Ancestors.” For many Keltrians, “Ancestors” include those who helped us form an understanding of our spiritual selves, those who impacted us directly, and those who are genetically related to us.  The first two are easy for us to remember and honor because they affected us during our lifetime; we remember them.  Those who died before us, whose impact upon us is indirect, but still important, are much more difficult to honor because we really don’t know them.

We use the tools of genealogy to learn and understand more about those ancestors we have never met.  Through that understanding comes the ability to honor them.  Learning and understand their lives, their aspirations, and their challenges may be the key to understanding yourself and your values.  For example, neither my 2nd great-grandfather, his siblings, nor his wife could read or write.  All of his children attended school and received an education, even though the school was over 5 miles distant and a difficult walk during the rough Minnesota winters. I believe that my belief in the importance of an education came from him.  This genealogical history provides material for me to honor him. Not only do I know his name, but also I know many things that were of importance to him.

Our knowledge of our ancestors provides the context for us to honor them. Without my 2nd great-grandfather’s name, without knowledge of his experiences, without knowing some of his values, I would not be able to honor him.  Genealogy, from the Keltrian perspective, is not about learning of a royal bloodline or finding lost cousins. It is about the having the knowledge of our Ancestors making it possible to honor them better.

Connecting with your Ancestors

Connecting with your Ancestors

By Steward of the Wood

Photo of Steward of the Wood at the Lia Fail

Steward of the Wood

What is it that connects people, not only to family but even to total strangers?  Of course many things attract us, but one of the strongest is our common bonds.  Humans are “pack” animals like horses, wolves, cattle, and many other creatures.  In addition to a common need for shelter and food, there is a basic need for social interaction.  We need each other spiritually as well as biologically.

Have you ever stopped to think of all the ways that you are connected to other humans, both alive and dead?  It is a fact that the DNA in every cell of your body was passed to you by your ancestors.  In fact you are carrying exact copies of genes that are tens to hundreds of thousands of years old.  No wonder we feel closeness with our ancestors.  In addition, our bodies and personalities are shaped by those genes and the family environment in which we grew.  When you look at a stranger’s face in a crowd, do you sometimes see your own or a close relative’s features?  There is a reason for that.  A simple formula (2n) illustrates my point.  For every generation that you go back from yourself, take where n is the number of generations from yourself. For the number of parents, n=1 and you have =2. For your grandparents, n=2 and you have =4 and so on. Just for fun, let’s go back twelve generations, about 400 years, to when the Europeans arrived in the New World.  If I did my math right, we would each have 4096 ancestors.  Can you imagine?  No wonder there is a common bond to others…we are all generally related. Assuming that there are on average three generations per hundred years, how many people were our direct ancestors when the Celts arrived in Ireland perhaps 2500+ years ago, in 75 generations?

Spiritually as Druids, we feel a strong connection to our ancestors as well as to our own spirits from past lives.  We believe that the Ancestors are with us at all times; and remember, yours are there too.  Our parents, grandparents and so on back to the dawn of time are with us… and that is a good thing.  As you pray to the Ancestors during ritual or at other times, pray to your personal ancestors, call them by name, look at their pictures, hold an object that they owned, visit their home or other place where they lived or died.  If you listen carefully, they will communicate with you.  It is exhilarating.  Personally, it is more of a “knowing” that an ancestor is with me or perhaps the hair may stand up on the back of my neck or I may feel a little queasy.  I am learning to not panic but to just “be with it” and listen with all my senses.  By this simple process, I often feel a “leaning or direction” which leads to a solution to my question.

I observed a very interesting phenomenon over my life time, but especially in the past five years as I learned specifically about Druidry.  Almost universally, people like to talk about their relatives, their ancestors, and where they lived.  As I grew closer to my ancestors, I started making a point to ask others about their ancestors.  Almost without exception, someone will tell me about where they grew up and then frequently we begin to talk about the national origin of their family.  It is amazing and incredibly powerful.

Usually the interaction starts with a general dialogue.  For example, this dialogue could develop sitting next to someone on a plane.  With family, friends, and colleagues, the discussion may unfold over a cup of coffee or other libation.  At some point, I ask where they “hail from” and then the dialogue and excitement invariably starts.  I always encourage them to share first and then I share some of my background.  Many times the person asks me how I came to learn so much about my ancestors.  I describe the process of starting with living relatives and resources such as family trees, pictures, letters, etc.  Then I describe using online resources, both free and for-pay.  Usually at this point, I give them the free website of www.rootsweb.com.  Two simple examples follow of how this worked for me.

Last summer, my sister and her life partner visited me; and of course during the visit, I engaged them in a discussion of ancestry. My sister’s partner told me her family story and how little ancestry she knew beyond her grandparents. Later that day, I invited her to sit with me at the computer to investigate ancestry together. Before long, we found information on her parents and grandparents and their siblings. Intrigued, I traced her family tree for several hours the next day and pieced together her ancestry to the early 1800’s.

Photo of Immigrants Landing at Ellis Island - Public Domain - US Government

Immigrants landing at Ellis Island, New York Harbour (c.1900)

She joined me periodically, her eyes glistening and her voice animated. When they left the next day, I presented her with a hardcopy of her family tree dating to the early 1800s. I have known her for over twenty years and cannot remember an incident in which she was so excited.  I gifted her with knowledge and the possibility of connection with her ancestors.  Since then she shared her family tree with her brothers and sisters and they also celebrated. What a marvelous gift and it took so little time on my part.

Another interesting incident happened recently. During a phone conversation with a work colleague from Washington, DC, she asked how I liked living in Colorado.  I replied, “I like it fine and am comfortable with the cold weather since my ancestors evolved in northern Europe.”  She immediately asked me for more details about the origin of my ancestors.  Then she quickly mentioned that her grandparents immigrated to the US through Ellis Island, New York during the 1930s and 1940s.  They were Jewish and originated from central Russia.  Unfortunately she knew little about the family except their names and origin.  I told her of possible resources including websites and how to use them. The power of our conversation fascinated me and her energy and enthusiasm was incredible.

I am called as a Bard and Druid to explore my own ancestry and to help others discover theirs. Many resources are available today, often on-line at our fingertips. Clearly a worldwide movement exists to learn about our ancestors.  Over the years, I watched the increase of the number of individuals listed on www.rootsweb.com from a few million to tens of millions.  The number grows daily…and the website is free.  Starting with this article, I will write a series of articles for Henge Happenings. Each one will address a specific aspect of learning about our ancestors. Please join me for each one and I invite you to work along with me. I ardently welcome your feedback through the Henge of Keltria office or the Keltria-L or Keltria-G group sites.  The Keltria-G group site is dedicated to ancestry. Whether you are already active in your search or just beginning, we all benefit from sharing what we know or asking questions to facilitate our quests.

Join the Henge and support The Henge of Keltria - Druidism for the 21st Century.

The Bard’s Path: The Last Lesson

The Last Lesson

by Wren Taylor

[Ed Note: This article was first published in Henge Happenings in Samhain 1999 and is reprinted here in remembrance.]

3:30 AM -- I sit bathed in the cold light of the conical copper lamp suspended over the glass topped kitchen table. This is the only light illuminated in this empty, old house. I sit on a wooden chair bundled in layers of pink flannel and a thick, peach colored terry cloth robe. My arms are wrapped tightly around my knees. Shivering, I listen to the barrage of ice and snow born out of the February storm. The maple trees sigh under the weight of the onslaught. I believe the storm is attempting to capture me and turn me into a pillar of ice. It would be so easy to do right now.

This old house of my youth has the unmistakable scent of having been shut and empty for many months, which it had since Mom and Dad moved into my old apartment over their machine shop.

Scattered before me on the table are the family’s old photo albums. As I absently flip the leaves, the house softly sings to me with the ghostly voices of holidays and birthdays past. I close my eyes, let my head fall back and listen to the squeals of laughter, voices raised in sibling competition and the soft murmurs of affection exchanged while tucking five children into their beds. I remember…

Unconsciously, I lift my fingers to my face to chase away an annoying itch and abruptly stop. His scent… His scent is on my fingers… It’s a combination of Corn Huskers Lotion and something else – something that is uniquely my “Da.” He quietly passed to the Otherworld just over an hour ago. I pull my fingers away from my face and study them under the circle of light. I think, “How odd…” Like lightening, my left brain engages and responds, “It’s not odd at all! He’s only been dead an hour. After all you did for him today of course they smell. Go wash your hands!” I ignore the practical advice and instead bring my hand back to my face. I close my eyes once more and review Greybeard’s last lesson to his children.

When the call came, it was not unexpected. I was in the fortunate position to drop everything and book the transcontinental flight. Greybeard, as we affectionately called him, was cognoscente and able to sit in his recliner for most of the first week. In a hoarse voice, he spoke excitedly of his anticipated adventure. He obviously enjoyed sending his children on treasure hunts to find specific items. He required particular pictures from the Hubbell telescope, CD’s of whale songs and various other items to help him illustrate what he expected to find on his journey. It was fun in a curious sort of way to march to his chair-side in triumph clutching the found treasures. He lavished praise on us as though we were small children although the gray was obvious on our own heads.

We discussed his funeral and he declared that it would be a Viking funeral. (That old coot! All of these years, he told me he was a Southern Baptist when he really was “one of us”…) My mind immediately flashed to the local environmental group. I dubiously questioned whether we would be allowed to launch a burning boat with him on it from the town dock. The compromise was a model Viking boat to hold his ashes. It was decided that the small boat would be launched in the brook that runs beside the building. He liked that idea. I suggested that since he had not realized his life long dream of punting on the Thames, the boat could be retrieved and I could take him with me when I travel to Stonehenge some day. All kidding aside, he liked that idea very much, too. He asked me to do a “Brunehilda” for him at his “party.” Slowly I said "suuuure", but would he mind if we waited for the warmer weather? I pointed out that the breastplate would be a killer in the sub-zero temperatures. He chuckled and said fine, fine with a sparkle in his old tired eyes.

He said he was having too much fun at the party to leave, but then, he was so very, very tired. Even so, I admired his cheerful attitude and sense of humor. In a somber moment, Greybeard did extract a solemn promise that under no circumstances would he be transported to the hospital. I couldn’t blame him for that, however, the red Do Not Resuscitate order on the Hospice paper work gave me an indescribable shiver. He required around the clock care, but I was honored to be a part of it.

Reciting William Henley’s Invictus, he went to his bed for the final time. His last spoken words were, “Love, love, love.” This was Greybeard’s last lesson to his children.

[amazon_link id="B0043GX3EC" target="_blank" ]INVICTUS[/amazon_link]
by William Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods my be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud:
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

[Ed note: Invictus is also available on MP3]
[amazon_image id="B005K99U02" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]Invictus (by William Ernest Henley)[/amazon_image]

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