DUIR – URA – Druid Cord

DUIR – URA – Druid Cord

by Eibhlean/Owl GryphonSong Clan

Photo of Secretary Eíbhlean

Eíbhlean

Cord work is widely adaptable. One very basic use is for protection. A cord can be made with the intent to protect the wearer from harm. Then, when worn, the cord protects from specific types of harm as the need arises. One caution: these protective cords should only be used when needed, not casually worn day in and day out. They work well when sleeping in an unfamiliar place, or visiting somewhere the wearer is uncertain about.

The truly wonderful thing about the Druid’s Cords is that they are completely Continue reading

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

A TREATISE ON NATURAL LAW: PART II

By Autumn Rose 

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

In Part I of this treatise we reviewed a sampling of law codes representing societies around the world and covering almost 4000 years of history.  From this review we discovered that all the codes prohibited a uniform set of destructive acts.  All punished violations of those prohibitions with greater or lesser severity.  All regulated commerce, the use and transfer of property, and sexual conduct and marriage.  All of them assumed the existence of a Deity or Deities, and all attempted to be fair in formulating and applying the law, with one exception: Until recent centuries no law code recognized the equality of all human beings, and modern codes still struggle with the concept.

Given the uniformity of the concerns expressed in legal codes in all times and places, it seems logical that those concerns must have a single source, and equally logical that that source must be humanity’s shared social nature.  But what is the source of our social nature?  The thesis of this work is that we are part and parcel of the larger natural world, that we respond to the same imperatives operating in the rest of Nature, and that those imperatives are the source of our social nature.  What, then, are these imperatives -- these “natural laws” in which human social law is embedded?

The most fundamental natural laws are those of mathematics, physics and chemistry.  These laws govern all matter, both organic and inorganic -- but our concern here is with the organic, with life.  What we are seeking are the laws (in addition to mathematics, physics and chemistry) that apply to all life, both animal and vegetable, and from the simplest to the most complex -- including us.  In the course of this search we will speak of groups and individuals, groups being anything other than individuals - e.g., species, ecosystems, kin groups, communities, nations, and so on.

The first and most basic law of life is simple: Survive! This imperative applies to both individuals and to groups.  For individuals, of course, survival is ultimately a lost cause.  Most lifeforms live only for a season or less, and even among more complex species individuals rarely survive beyond their useful life.  At its simplest, “useful life” refers to the ability to procreate. In socially organized species it includes as well the ability to contribute work for the good of the group, which ability diminishes with an individual’s age.  But however hopeless their quest for survival may ultimately be, individuals are programmed to extend their lives as much as possible and frequently fight hard to do so.   The impulse to survive is undoubtedly the strongest biological impulse.

What are the methods of survival?  We have mentioned procreation, which is the chief means by which groups survive --and then there is acquisition.  There can be no survival without nourishment, shelter from the elements and protection from danger, and means must be found to acquire these necessities.  For plants, acquisition is almost entirely a passive process.  A plant can stretch roots down into the ground and leaves up into the air to collect nutrients, but it cannot relocate under its own power from the place where it is rooted.  If that place does not supply its needs, it probably will not survive to reproduce.  Animals, with their power of locomotion, can venture abroad in search of sustenance and safety.

And what are the methods by which lifeforms acquire what they need?  By competition and cooperation.  We sometimes hear the expression “It’s a jungle out there,” which is based on the premise that life in the wild is a state of unbridled and brutal competition.  There is competition, of course, but also a great deal of cooperation occurring in Nature.  Some of it is unintentional.  A honey bee probably has no plans to assist a plant with its reproduction, but it does so anyway in the course of flitting from flower to flower to feed.  Plants likewise probably have no idea that the oxygen they expire enables animals to breathe, and we have only recently understood that the carbon dioxide animals exhale helps to support plant life.  In the more complex forms of animal life, however, at least some cooperative acts may be consciously chosen.  We used to believe that all non-human behavior was instinctive, but studies in the past few decades have revealed that more animal behavior than we imagined is learned, either from parents or from individual experience.  Do wolf packs organize themselves to run down their prey in a certain way because they are genetically programmed to do so, or because they remember that that’s the most efficient way to do it?   Whatever the answer, there is no question that animal groups in the wild practice cooperation. On the other hand, such groups usually have an alpha male, a position that has to be competed for. This is only one example of how competition and cooperation both contribute to a group‘s survival.

It hardly needs saying that we find innumerable examples of both in human society.  Each has its positive and negative applications.  Competition among individuals has the positive effect of elevating the ablest among us to useful positions, but when it goes awry it can be destructive, as in the case of war.  And cooperation loses its usefulness when it becomes mere mindless conformism. Ironically, social groups sometimes organize (cooperate) for the purpose of competing.  War is one example of that.  Politics is another, and team sports another still.  It often happens that an individual may be in conflict (competition) with the very group or groups on which he is dependent.  When an individual’s personal interest conflicts with the interests of those around him, or with the common good, he may commit acts that are disruptive of life in his vicinity, sometimes even criminal.  Obviously the interplay of competition and cooperation in human society is complex --more complex, perhaps, than elsewhere in Nature.  Nevertheless, it is an expression of the same impulses that operate in the rest of Nature.

But what is the connection between these natural impulses and the legal codes we cited in Part I?  To answer that, we will return to a consideration of our fundamental imperative, survival.  Like individuals, groups seek to survive, and the most cursory examination reveals that social groups regard a measure of order as essential to that survival.   Order brings with it an expectation of predictability and safety, which produce in turn a sense of security --and the more secure an individual feels, the less likely he is to disrupt the social order.

Repeatedly in human society, instances occur where cooperation is desirable but absent, and other instances occur where competition is undesirable but present.  Both situations are destructive of order and need to be remedied, and manmade laws have been the answer for thousands of years.  So societies have a goal, survival; a strategy, the maintenance of order; and a tactic, laws that maximize cooperation and minimize the harmful kinds of competition.

One question remains: Is the human desire for order really a reflection of Nature?

Contemplating such natural phenomena as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, we may well wonder if Nature and order have anything to do with each other.  But then there are those previously mentioned laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry.  Even hurricanes and earthquakes and the like unfold according to these most fundamental of natural laws.

We began Part I of these reflections by citing the will of the Gods and Goddesses, and we will finish here by doing the same.  In view of the undeniable truth of the observation that concludes the previous paragraph, we may fairly say that the Gods and Goddesses of Nature do indeed ordain order --but not too much of it.  (And even in this we humans reflect Nature at large.)