I am taking the new moon today to pause in my daily round of prayers, to take a space of silence between lunar cycles. I have decided to title my dated posts by the moons I am following rather than by the Gregorian calendar months. The blog will record itself the conventional date of the posts, and I shall feel free to relate with time by a different measure here in my explorations of Contemplative Druidry.
I am calling the moons after what they are titled in the Perennial Course in Druidry I am following online. We are always guided to create regional names ourselves for the moons, which I have done in the past. I have called this season Frost Moon in years past. My Farmer’s Almanac calendar calls it Cold Moon, and while I agree that this is the cycle in which winter’s coldness does arrive definitively and make itself apparent, the moon after Solstice carries an even deeper cold. I am inclined just now to call this cycle Heart of Darkness Moon, as it takes us into the darkest point of the year before we greet the returning light of the winter solstice sunrise. Which provides the setting for why Emma Restall Orr calls this cycle Fire Friend moon- for in the heart of darkness, we reach most for the Spirit of Fire to warm and comfort us. This spirit will also see us through the cycles to come though, for while the light may be returning, they are the cycles of the most bitter cold, so we make friends with the fire now, as we will become close companions over next several cycles.
I read today in Orr’s book _Spirits of the Sacred Grove_ that the druids of the past were to have indicated that the written word was a dead word, the life taken out of it by fossilizing it in form, no longer in a state in which it might breathe, grow, and live, as the oral word does. I am sensing that this is the source of vitality in my current daily prayers, in that, while they have a general shape which I could write down once and state, when I connect with the powers of land and imbas, these spirits flow through the prayers, and when spoken, become what they need to be in those moments, which change from moment to moment and do not remain static. My Celtic Mandala prayer took on a new form today again, of its own volition, which it is free to do so long as I allow it that freedom to move through me as it needs to. Today, rather than recite the prayer in whole prior to commencing my walk, the prayer wanted to be recited -while- I walked. I walk the same circuit each day, and so face each cardinal direction in turn, and the prayer wanted to engage with the powers as I faced each associated direction on my walk. The full rhythm of it hasn’t revealed itself to me quite yet, as there is still the trick of where to best work in those parts which honor the powers associated with above, below, and center. I look forward to my next walk, as I am sure it will take more shape, and I really like this idea of my contemplative walk literally embodying this prayer within its very form, and giving space for contemplating each segment of it, before I make the next turn in my circuit and open up to the next direction’s powers.
There was also a section of the same book which spoke to historical roles of druids past, and the author’s idea of the role of druids today. While I certainly appreciate the proper place for those who choose to pursue ‘roles’ within Druidry and the larger Pagan community, this is not what calls to me personally when I seek the path of Druidry. What I seek for myself is a spirituality connected to the land and to nature, in which I can find a place for myself, and the space in which to express/practice this spirituality on an everyday level in ways which feed my spirit and soul and body equally. The newer term I engage with here, Contemplative Druidry, seems to fit this need and expression best. In Contemplative Druidry, there are no roles per se, although there might be those who facilitate group contemplative sessions, or celebrants who choose to make themselves available to other druidic folks for overseeing and guiding time-of-life ceremonies of a druidic nature. For myself, I do not seek these roles. The spiritual role I have been most comfortable with so far has been the role of Priestess of Brìde, by way of dedicating myself to keeping Her Perpetual Flame alight in this world, to tending the waters here in honor of Her healing wells, and to taking on a leadership role by maintaining a Priestess Order dedicated to Her, and creating new rites to honor Her. Within the overall scopes of both historic and contemporary Druidry, I could see this priestess role fitting in them as druidic roles, and that is fine, but for my contemplative practice, I seek no trainings or roles; I seek instead a nourishing and meaningful spirituality to embrace on a daily basis, and if I were to call myself a druid, it would be in reference to one who is undertaking such a spiritual practice, or walking such a spiritual path, connecting to nature, where I find and commune with my gods.
Happy New Moon! May you also find a moment of sanctuary during the moon cycle’s moment of pause in which to spiritually reflect and refresh your soul.