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.

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[Originally Published in Henge Happenings #100 - Samhain 2013]

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Review: Avalon is Risen by Leslie Fish

Avalon is Risen by Leslie Fish

Music Review by Valerie Voigt


After many years, I have a new favorite Pagan album.  It’s Leslie Fish’s new CD, titled AVALON IS RISEN, featuring some of Leslie’s best compositions plus a few gems by other Pagan elders.

For those who don’t know already, Leslie Fish is a longtime Bard, famous among West Coast Pagans.  She used to direct Manzanita Choir, which performed for rituals in the San Francisco Bay Area.  This album is deeply rooted in her several decades of Pagan Bardic magical practice, and reflects not only her experiences but her very personal approach to myth and lore.

The title track, written by the late elder Druid, Isaac Bonewits, is an anthem:  it announces the triumphant return of the Old Ways and of the life-affirming values they embody.  This song celebrates the many Pagan paths, calling to the different branches of Indo-European Pagan priesthoods and joyfully inviting the rest of the world to throw off slavery and join with us in equal fellowship.  Using just this song as the basic text, one could teach a semester-long class in the history and lore of the Old Religions.

Some of the songs explore aspects of Pagan life and identity seldom found in either books or music.  For example, “Berserker”:  most of us have heard of these “bear-shirt” Norse warriors and their battle frenzy; this song considers what a Berserker’s life might be like, and the discipline that must be required of such a person today.   Likewise,
“Mount Tam” is about making difficult choices in an emergency situation.  Leslie, longtime Bard and warrior also, shares with us her personal choices, and invites us to consider our own.

On the other hand, her great sense of fun shines through, too.  “The Gods Aren’t Crazy” is a lighthearted—and theologically tenable!—explanation of Fortean phenomena (rains of frogs, UFOs, and similar unexplained occurrences).

The album’s production values are top-notch.  The sound engineering is professional-quality, and the arrangements are rich and varied:  there is none of the unfortunate sameness from which many “genre” type albums suffer.  The back-up musicians include such well-known and virtuoso performers as Kristoph Klover and Margaret Davis, and no
synthesized music is used:  it’s all done on traditional instruments.  Bodhran and French horn, mandolin and fiddle, harpsichord and oboe, all are played with skill, precision, and flair.

The gorgeous album cover, with its profuse Celtic and Norse-style knotwork, makes many visual references to Celtic and Norse myth.  The lyric booklet included with the CD includes liner notes with valuable supplementary information about the songs and about Pagan lore and history—and a little in-joke or two, here and there, for those who know how to see them.

A fun and thought-provoking work that will be appreciated more and more each year as the listener’s own study and knowledge of Pagan lore deepens.

Avalon Is Risen” is available for purchase and free Internet streaming from Prometheus Music's website. Also available from Amazon.Com.

[This review was originally published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #42, which is available from MagCloud. -ed]


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Two Adorations

By Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

EARTH ADORATION

Lady, you were the dream of Earth before the Earth was formed, and you will be the memory of Earth when the Earth no longer exists.  You are the Spirit which indwells the Earth that is.  You are the womb from which all earthly life emerges, and you are the tomb to which the dead of Earth return.  You are the fountain from which we drink, and you are the garden in which we pluck our sustenance.  You are the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, turning like a wheel from birth to birth, ancient beyond memory, yet ever young.  Praise to you, Lady, Goddess, Queen!

SUN ADORATION

Great Sun, you are the Lord of Worlds; the planets with their moons, the asteroids and the comets are your courtiers.  You are the bright star of the daytime heavens.  You are the heat that rescues from cold and death, and you are the light that rescues from darkness and fear.  You are the blaze of revelation and you are the glow of knowledge.  You are the newborn God, and you are the Champion and Hero.  You are the beloved of Earth, the center of her universe, and from you she does not stray.  You are her husband; your embrace brings her to fruitfulness.  As she is the Mother, so you are the Father of earthly life.  Praise to you, Sun God, Lord and King!

Review: Deep Ancestors

Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans

By Ceisiwr Serith

Review by Searles O'Dubhain

I recently read a book by Ceisiwr Serith, a member of ADF, that is a treasure of information concerning ancient Pagan and Indo-European practices. It is titled Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Serith shows us a way to discover, derive and learn about the practices of this very ancient Pagan culture in ways that allow us to bring those practices forward into our modern lives. Since it is about Indo-Europeans, it contains references to ancient Celtic, Irish and Welsh practices as well.

Deep Ancestors is a great read about our Proto-Indo-European ancestors. It uses the best available information from linguistics, archaeology and cultural cross comparisons to determine not only the “what”, the possible and the known about these people, it also gives one example of how they probably conducted rituals as well as the why. One would expect such a fact filled book to be a difficult read since it is based on current scholarly works and references, but this is not the case at all. Ceisiwr Serith has expressed the concepts and details about these cultures in a very readable and easily understood manner. Many useful and ready to use illustrations and examples are provided. The book is a treasure of knowledge about the foundations of modern day practices in the Pagan world that come to us from the past. It explains the roles of the deities as well as the cosmogony and cosmologies of the universe. For those whose religions and practices are rooted in the original tree of the Common (or Proto) Indo-Europeans, it is almost a Rosetta Stone of cultural awareness. It covers the structures and values of our deepest, ancient Pagan philosophies. Using this book one can easily construct personal, family or group rituals that have meaning from the past through the present.

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand and flesh out their current Pagan practices with the traditions and outlooks of our far ancestors. They are the beginnings of our religion and we have the responsibility to honor them by carrying forward their knowledge. Here we can learn the ways to get into touch with their spiritual awareness as well as the structure of being itself. Deep Ancestors explains to a great extent why and how the Celtic branch of the Great Tree is like it is. It also gives us an opportunity to form our own branches and families of that tree. It also branches across the board into comparative analysis of all the major, known Indo-European cultures and their philosophies. For those who follow Continental Pagan practices, it is a key to understanding their roots and branches as well.

[amazon_link id="0976568136" target="_blank" ]Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans [/amazon_link]
Author: Ceisiwr Serith
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: ADF Publishing (October 19, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0976568136
ISBN-13: 978-0976568131
Price: $24.95.