GryphonSong Clan – Feast of Awakening (Imbolc 2014)

Photo of GryphonSong's Keltrian Druid Altar
GryphonSong Altar

Our group is moving toward preparations for The Feast of Awakening in our area.  We will be enacting the sevenfold blessing of stepping through Brid's Girdle (the Crois Bhrighde ).  Healing and Protecting Mantles (Bhrighde Bhrat) will be hanging in the branches all around our Clan's Nemeton.  Our clan family and guests will be told to take them home but leave them outside all night to fully impart the Blessings of Breo-Saighit...our much loved Fiery Arrow.

"A Brighid,
scars os mo chionn
Do bhrat fionn dom anacal?

[Trans: "O Brighid,
 spread over my head
your bright mantle 
to guard me?]

No fire, no sun, no moon shall burn me,
No lake, no water, nor sea shall drown me,
No arrow of fairy, nor dart of fay shall wound me.

May the blessings of Brid of the Many Names
be with all of our Keltrian family as we collectively
join our Tree selves in the Great Work of awakening the Earth!
As was shared by our Matron

...

I put songs and music on the wind
before ever the bells of the chapels were
rung in the West 
or heard in the East.

I am Brighid-nam-Bratta (Brighid of the Mantle),
but I am also Brighid-Muirghin-na-tuinne (Brighid of the conception of the waves),
and Brighid-sluagh (Brighid of the immortal host),

Brighid-nan-sitheach seang (Brighid of the slim faery folk),
Brighid-Binne-Bheullbuchd-nan-trusganan-uaine
(Brighid of sweet songs and melodious mouth),
and I am older than Aona (Friday) 
and am as old as Luan (Monday).

And in Tir-na-h'oige (Land of the Ever Young)
my name is Suibhal-bheann (Mountain traveler);
in Tir-fo-thuinn (Country of the Waves)  
it is Cu gorm (Grey Hound);
and in Tir-nah'oise  (Country of Ancient Years)
 it is Sireadh-thall (Seek-beyond).

And I have been a breath in your heart.

And the day has its feet to it that will see me
coming into the hearts of men and women
like a flame upon dry grass,
like a flame of wind in a great wood...

May your hearts open with hope and joy like the first peeking flowers of the coming Spring!

Walk with Wisdom,
Eibhlean and GryphonSong Clan

HH-99 – From the President – Lughnasadh 2013

From the President

 Lughnasadh 2013

By Tony Taylor

Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe and Annual Meeting

Photo of Tony Taylor with deer staff

Tony Taylor

Wren and I have been busy with our many projects. Certainly the 2013 Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe and Annual Meeting of the Henge of Keltria was at the top of our list.  Every gather is great, but this year was among the best.  I hope we will have the gathering hosted there again sometime.

I enjoyed the field trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as workshops by Topaz Owl, Eibhlean Owl, and Steward of the Wood. It was really nice to meet our OBOD guests and a newer member from California who drove over 1000 miles to the gathering. She easily earned bragging rights for driving the longest distance to attend. There were many opportunities to connect with the nature spirits. Marmots, pikas, elk, magpies, and humming birds visited us throughout the field trip.

Book of Keltria

The big project Wren, Karl, and I are working on is the new Book of Keltria, which is our correspondence course in book form. There are new theology and ritual chapters replacing the previous versions of the correspondence course material. Also the Gods chapter has undergone substantial rewrite. A big change in the theology chapter is that the “beliefs” have been replaced with “hallmarks” of Keltrian Druidism. The fundamental difference between the beliefs and the hallmarks is that within Keltrian Druidism, what you believe is not as important as what you do. Hallmarks are based upon actions rather than words.

Book of Ritual

Another big project underway is a substantial rewrite of the Book of Ritual.  There are many things that were not covered adequately in  previous versions of the Book of Ritual. I hope to get this information incorporated and a new edition released soon after the Book of Keltria. This expanded edition will provide details on the how, what, and why of Keltrian ritual.

 

From the Editor – Keltria Journal #42

Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick - Issue #42

From the Editor - Tony Taylor

Tony preparing for a handfasting.

Tony preparing for a handfasting.

When I think about spring and summer all sorts of wonderful activities come to mind. Weddings, festivals, conferences, and eisteddfods all contribute to the excitement of these seasons.  The contributions of those who follow the bardic path enhance all these activities and are an important part of Keltria. For example, during Keltrian weddings and handfastings, we often practice the art of storytelling as part of the ceremony. It is great fun and enjoyed by everyone assembled. We weave the usually mundane story of couple’s meeting into a Celtic wonder tale completely blown out of proportion and peppered with innuendo. For example, the bride is the not so-helpless-princess and the groom is a knight who rescues her anyway. The “best woman” and “best man” tell the story then dissolve into an argument as to whether or not the groom is worthy of the bride and vice versa.

With hands on hips, the best man paces back and forth critically eyeing the bride while extolling and exaggerating the virtues of the groom. The groom is subjected to the same scrutiny by the best woman. Each attempts to top the other’s story. These tall tales always contain a bit of truth, as a Celtic boast should. For example, in reality the bride may have cooked a roast beef dinner for her family, but the boast might be that she single-handedly slaughtered the last aurochs when it threatened the tribe. She ate its heart, which gave her the beast’s strength and bravery. Then, she cooked the carcass in a huge cauldron, cast by her own hands, which fed her entire tribe for many days. Ultimately, the dueling duo agree they will allow the wedding to proceed and heartily shake hands.

At gatherings, and particularly at eisteddfod, there is a time and a place for the bards assembled to tell stories and enthrall the audience with their skills. We appreciate the opportunity these events provide us to hone our storytelling abilities.


Cover - Keltria Journal #42

Keltria Journal #42

The theme for this issue of Keltria Journal is storytelling. The authors come from a variety of backgrounds and share different perspectives. We begin with Jenne Micale, who, like many of us, comes from a family that did not speak of their history. She carries us along on her personal journey of discovery.

Isolde Carmondy and Chris Thompson, the Story Archaeologists, lead us through three different tales of the past demonstrating why telling the stories of places (dindshenchas) is important today. They emphasize that tales of time and place provide a connection and continuity, which explains our place in the universe.

Daphne Bishop associates the authors and film makers of today, such as J. K. Rowling, J. R .R. Tolkin, and George Lucas, with ancient storytellers. She challenges us to modernize the ancient Celtic lessons, imbuing them with relevancy to our times, thereby keeping them alive.

Mary Gavan, a professional storyteller, describes the characteristics of an effective raconteur beyond the mere telling of the tale.  If we follow our personal convictions and succeed against all odds, we become the inspiration for the storytellers of the future. However, stories are more than just the content. The successful storyteller captivates the mind, body and the spirit of the audience, creating an aura of wonder.

Finally, in the 1990’s many members of the Henge of Keltria were actively creating new mythology. Inspired by “The Power of Myth” the idea of  “MYTH” (Make Yourself The Hero) Keltrians staged “cattle raids”  at several festivals. The concept was to capture participants’ “cattle icons”, i.e., stuffed toys, by making imaginative plans and implementing them using guile and skill rather than brute force. At the evening’s campfire, tales were told of the day’s exploits in the form of the Celtic boast.

The results were marvelous. Twenty years ago, Beltaine 1993, we published “Cattle Raids”, the first of several stories from “The Book of the Valley”, as an example of how a tale can grow in the telling to become a Celtic wonder tale.  Elements of truth weave through the story but Celtic exaggeration runs rampant.  The story is clearly among the “Best of Twenty Years Ago.” Enjoy.

Send your thoughts and opinions regarding this issue, future themes, or other comments to letterstotheeditor@keltria.org. Be sure to indicate if the letter is publishable.

Note: Keltria Journal Issue #42 is available on the Keltria Member Webpage until Issue #43 releases.

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.

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"/]

Greetings All! (Samhain 2010)

By Grey Boar

Photo of GreyBoar

Vice President GreyBoar

The old Celtic year has ended and what a year it has been! Undoubtedly it was one of the busiest years I’ve ever experienced.

It was my privilege to meet those of you who were able to attend the “2010 Keltrian Gathering of the Tribes” here in Cumming, Georgia. The entire weekend was a joyous occasion for me and I thank all of you who took time out of your busy lives to attend.
I also want to thank those of you who contributed your time and effort to the success of the excellent workshops and rituals. Then too, I’d like to offer my gratitude to those members of Olde Stone Grove who participated as well as my bandraoi, BeanSidhe for all her hard work in planning and preparing for the event.

Tony and I manned a table for “The Henge” at Atlanta Pagan Pride Day on Saturday, October 9th. We handed out “Keltrian’ info flyers and membership forms to all people interested… and there were plenty! The official count was just under 900 attendees that day. As a side note, there was also a drive to collect food for the needy in Atlanta through the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The Bank was blessed with over a half ton of food collected from attendees and vendors.

At this time, I’d also like to give my appreciation to Tony for assisting me with the “Introduction to Keltrian Druidism” workshop.

Recently “Druidry” was recognized as an “official” religion In the United Kingdom, although some there are still unsure whether this is a good thing or not. It remains to be seen how this will affect the different groups there.

Yet with all the wonderful events that have occurred this year there has been sadness as well.  Alexei Kondratiev and Isaac Bonewits passed this year; both who were invaluable contributors to modern Druidism. The Atlanta Pagan community is certain to miss Lady Sintana founder and Wiccan High Priestess of the House of Ravenwood who crossed through the veil in September.  She was one of the first to fight for our rights to follow the Old Religion, in whatever form, here in the United States.

As we gather for ritual to honor our Ancestors this Samhain, let us all take time to remember all those whom have passed into “The Other World” this year and raise our drinking horns to their honor as well.

Still, the Celtic New Year is upon us. It would be wonderful to see more members enrolled in the Henge’s correspondence course. Then too, we would need more people involved in mentoring those students. Though we’re certainly not evangelistic, it would be beneficial to our Henge to have more members with the capabilities of “furthering” our tradition. Hopefully this would lead to more Groves. So why don’t you toss those ogham sticks and see what the Gods would have you do this year!

Happy Celtic New Year and a blessed Samhain to all!

Samhain Greetings (2010)

By Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

The 2010 Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe was a great success.  Kudos go to BeanSidhe, GreyBoar  and the members of Olde Stone Grove for hosting the event.  Workshops were conducted at a Holiday Inn Express, but the rituals and a potluck were held at their home, which includes one of the nicest personal ritual spaces I’ve ever visited.

Of course, I am eagerly anticipating applications from members who are interested in hosting next year. Look for notice elsewhere in this issue to submit your proposal to the Henge Office by Yule. This year we were in the southeast, last year in the northeast, and the year before that in western New York. It is a great chance to meet the Board, Council of Elders, and other members and initiates.

Congratulations to GreyBoar who was welcomed to the Ring of the Oak on Friday, August 13th, 2010. Also, congratulations to Aauriane Veleda, who was welcomed into the Ring of the Birch on Saturday, August 14th. May the mysteries revealed to them help them grow in their relationships with the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods and Goddesses of our tribe.

I am pleased to receive the good news that the Druid Network received notification that their application to be registered as a charity furthering the religion of Druidry was accepted on 21 September 2010.  A great accomplishment; they spent over five years working to receive their acceptance.  I celebrate their success and wish them continued recognition and further successes in all their endeavors.

On the other hand, the news regarding two national druid figures was sad. Alexei Kondratiev passed away last May after a heart attack. I never met him in person and really wish I had.  I first learned of Alexei’s work back in the 1980’s when he authored a tarot deck.  If my memory serves me right, it was “The New York Tarot” and consisted of photo images of New York.  In the late 80’s, I enjoyed his comic books Vidorix the Druid, and read all of the issues I could find.  They were intelligent comics based in Celtic myth. He has long been on our recommended reading list with The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual and Celtic Rituals: An Authentic Guide to Ancient Celtic Spirituality. So much so, that one Keltrian Grove adopted the name Apple Branch Grove.  Alexei became a member of the Henge in the mid-90’s, wrote Lesson Two for the Keltria Correspondence Course, and participated in the Keltria List. Although he didn’t post often, when he did it was spot-on and clearly from a true Celtic scholar. I will definitely drink to Alexi this Samhain night and for many Samhains to come.  May his continued journeys be filled peace, love, and wisdom.

Isaac Bonewits also passed this year on August 12th. I will really miss him as.  We first contacted Isaac in the early 1980’s (’81 or ’82) to help convince him to start a new Druid organization.  We, along with several others, convinced him there was a great deal of interest in a national Druid organization; he eventually founded Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship in 1983.  Grove of the Twin Oaks, my first Druid Grove, became one of the first ADF Groves, after the Mother Grove in 1983 or 84.  Isaac blessed my initiation and my elevation to second at Pagan Spirit Gatherings in the mid-1980’s. Isaac became a member of the Henge in the mid-90’s and remained both a member and a friend for many years.  In 2009, by unanimous decision, Isaac was awarded the first, and only, Druid Academy Nomination Award Committee (DANAC) Lifetime Achievement Award for his thirty-three years of publications, organizing activity, presentations, wit, humor, research and dedication to Druidism.  His Druidic life was an inspiration to me; he is sorely missed and will be honored this Samhain with many toasts.  May he travel well and be blessed by all the Ancestors, Nature Spirits and Gods and Goddesses whom he encounters.