From the Vice President – Samhain 2013

Photo of BeanSidhe

BeanSidhe

In this season we are inundated with the sights and sounds of the macabre. The ghost that says boo and the bloody zombie that slowly chases us. All of these symbols of death lend a lightheartedness to the realization that death is part of our life path. The emotions we experience as a loved one passes can not be fully described. We vary from sadness to anger and guilt with many other emotions that seem to be beyond our control. As druids we are always communing with our ancestors. We hold great honor for those who have passed before us. Samhain gives us the opportunity to work the task of letting go of to the physical, remembering the mind, and honoring the spirit of those who have passed.

As we step into the Celtic Winter we begin to receive the sustaining gifts from The Dagda’s cauldron of bounty. Gratitude is necessary for what we may be gifted with from The Dagda. If your body is craving steak and you receive a can of spam add a little hot sauce and be thankful.

The Dagda also blesses us in the Celtic Winter with the opportunity to renew our spirit.  The earth mother takes a sigh from growth and production. We see nature retreating. Animals secure their beds and rely on the bounty that the Celtic Summer has provided. We too can retreat into our mind and spirit and take this time to enrich our knowledge of the world around us and of ourselves.

The energy of The Mórrigán allows us to simplify and cull negative or disruptive aspects that we may have allowed to enter our life.

This is a time of gratitude and introspection. We now have the opportunity to walk the path of the responsible druid. One who is sustained with gratitude in mind, nourishment of body, and enrichment of spirit.

 Walk with Wisdom,
BeanSidhe

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.

The Pelegian Heresy

EXCERPT: The Pelegian Heresy

A Possible Druidic Survival?

— Brendan Myers

Photo of Brendan Myers

Brendan Myers

Allow me to introduce to you an unorthodox form of early Christianity, which I think everyone who practices modern Druidry should get to know: The Pelegian Heresy. Named for its chief promoter, a British philosopher named Pelagius, it grew in popularity in Britain during the fourth and fifth centuries, around the same time that Roman Christianity was spreading there. I’ve no doubt that it was a form of Christianity, and not a form of Paganism, but there is some evidence which suggests that it inherited some of the teachings of the Druids. Pelagius’ opponents described his teachings as “full of Irish porridge”, and accused him of attempting to revive “the natural philosophy of the Druids”. This of course is not unequivocal proof of paganism, but it certainly suggests the possibility. Pelagius’ use of triads, in the old Druidic fashion, to explain some of his core teachings is also not definitive proof, but it is another potential indicator. A stronger way to detect the pre-christian thinking in the Pelagian world view is by looking at which of its teachings most enraged the Catholic bishops from the continent. Here’s one that stands out:

“In the year of our lord 394, Arcadius, son of Theodosius, forty-third in line from Augustus, became joint-emperor with his brother Honorius, and ruled for 13 years. In his time, the Briton Pelagius spread far and wide his noxious and abominable teaching that man had no need of God’s grace...”1

I think one cannot stress enough the enormous importance of the idea that ‘man had no need of God’s grace’. It is the idea that it’s possible to achieve salvation, however defined, by means of one’s own effort, and without direct assistance from God. This is an affirmation of spiritual freedom, and also enormous personal responsibility. A few fragments of Pelagius’ own letters to his friends have survived history, and with them we can learn a little bit of his mind with them. Here’s a place where Pelagius specifically rejects the claim that we human beings are too weak to achieve salvation on our own:

Continued...

[This excerpt is from a three-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #41.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge via Mag Cloud.]


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Keltria Journal: The Visit

EXCERPT - The Visit

By Tony Taylor

Mountain Lion Walking

Mountain Lion on a path

The setting was a suburban, single-family home one mile from downtown Quincy, MA, and eight miles from downtown Boston. This is a densely populated  - or as the locals say, “thickly settled” area and an unlikely place for the wonderful, as in full of wonder, event about to transpire.

The Druids were gathered for a rare ritual. The elevation of a Druid to the Ring of the Oak occurs only after a minimum of seven years of study, experience, and service.  More often than not, it requires twice that many years to be considered for this honor.  The candidate was, as expected, excited as he meditated on his past accomplishments and future challenges.  He wondered what new mystery would be revealed and what new experiences would unfold.  The other Druids focused their minds on providing the ultimate experience for him. Often, the clergy performing the ritual gain their own new insights from the process.  It was an extraordinary and auspicious day.

The Chief Druidess, the Candidate and I....Continued...

[This excerpt is from a two-page article was published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magick, Issue #41.  It is available in its entirety to members of the Henge of Keltria via the Members Home page.  It is available to non-members of the Henge via Mag Cloud.]

The Bard’s Path: Poetry – Life is the Challenge

Life is the Challenge

by Aauriane Veleda

To be, to give
to sorrow and live
to move through to light
seeking solace in the flight

to wander to and fro
and see not what the mind body knows
to find more than reflected
to look deep introspective

first forward and then back
coming out without regret
returning the path once taken
discovering the new lanes awakened

looking forward and looking back
seeing newness in every crease and crack
gentle folds of pure delight
tickle the senses and encourage further flight

so where do we go
to find that we already know
deep within the inner core
seeing and ye shall find
all the more.

daylights is to darkness
as sun is to moon
so inner is to outer
and the fish to the lune

find your place of now
reconcile with yourself denial
come full circle, turn around
pick up your dropped pieces
consume them now

return to your whole
strike new ground in your being
explore this new land
like a lover, with freedom

for life is a passion
too desperate in glory to quit
seek the spice and the season
and revel, roll and rejoice in it
Life is the challenge
Live It!

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Review: Reiki for the Heart and Soul

Reiki for the Heart and Soul: The Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork by Amy Rowland.

Review by Rovena Windsor

I approached this book with no prior knowledge of the subject but with a curiosity about the topic.

One of the first things I do when I get a new book is check out the footnotes or

Reiki for the Heart and Soul

bibliography and the suggested reading list.  This tells me quite a bit about the scholarship.  I prefer books that act as a guidepost pointing me in the direction of further study and Ms. Rowland does this.

What is her goal for this book?  The title says it all:  Reiki principles as a spiritual pathwork or, in other words, to show the reader how to use the Reiki principles for personal development and spiritual growth - - not a bad goal.  She makes her case that this aspect of the training is not being adequately addressed in most Western Reiki training.

What are the Ms. Rowland’s qualifications to write such a book?  She is a certified Usui Reiki Master for over 20 years and a Reiki teacher since 1994.  She is also a certified hypnotherapist as well as a clinical therapist.

I am first struck by the description of the first Reiki technique and how similar it sounds to grounding techniques that we have all be taught.  This similarity between the things I have been taught and what she is advocating runs throughout the book.

She presents the goals of Reiki as a spiritual path, an expansion of our awareness of our personal potential and healing of the mind, body, and spiritual both of the client and the practitioner.  Ms. Rowland says to start where you are -- very practical advice for anything.  She does not show any physical representation of the three Reiki symbols so as not to violate her oaths.  The purpose of the first symbol is power and protection; the second is mental-emotion healing and intuitive insight; and the third is distant healing and connection to spirit.

The Reiki principles are more of a creed that has many similar versions of it as with anything that was originally an oral tradition:  Don’t be angry today.  Don’t worry today.  Be grateful today.  Work hard today.  Be kind to others today.  The five principles are universal principles.  The majority of the book is spent discussing how to develop a working relationship with each of the five principles.  There is a chapter on each principle.  There are exercises at the end of each chapter.

I would recommend this book for a variety of reasons.  It is written in a clear, easy to understand style.  Anyone with a curiosity regarding Reiki should come away from this book with a basic understanding and should know if Reiki is something they wish to pursue further or not.  The suggested reading list is divided up according to the chapters in the book.  This should help the reader target the books they need more easily.  Even a reader that is not interested in learning Reiki could learn a great deal about how to incorporate these principles into his own spiritual practice.

Reiki for the Heart and Soul: The Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork (Paperback); 256 pages; Healing Arts Press; ISBN: 1594772525; ISBN-13: 978-1594772528 - Recommended.