After reading through and sampling many other books on Druidry, I am returning to the volume I started with, The Path of Druidry, Walking the Ancient Green Way, by Penny Billington. I really resonate with with her tone, and her emphasis on what she calls ‘the magical current in the land,’ because I can really feel it when I focus on that phrase and the land itself. I also appreciate how she structures her book and its lessons, presenting opportunities for key experiences, and integrating them fully. Hers is an intuitive sort of teaching rather than a technical sort, which speaks to me. So, I am delving into its lessons, and journaling my experiences and thoughts here.
Chapter 1 is where the Three Rays of the study are laid out. The Nature Ray consists of daily prayers, or moments of communion with nature, throughout the day, which I have been doing, and daily walks outdoors, which I have also been doing, and journaling the experiences from those. The Knowledge Ray consists of both practical and inner visualization work. The Devotional Ray consists of practicing gratitude, developing compassion, and integrating the experiences of the Nature and Knowledge Rays into action and results in the outer world. So, I begin:
Chapter 1, Knowledge Ray- perform visualization of an ancient druid in what I feel is an ideal setting, to create an inner working space. See, sense, and feel the landscape around me, noting what type of landscape it is, and what I might like to have with me to feel like a druid, including what I might be able to do here which I could not do in the outer world. List the aims I have for this druidic study, whether they seem realistic or not, just so that they capture the ‘feeling’ of what I am aiming for.
The space I feel drawn to is a lakeshore about twenty minutes from my home here, in a small, secluded park. I see myself on its grassy banks, wearing the druidic robe, listening to the wind in the trees which surround me, seeing it play on the water of the lake, and watching the birds fly from treetop to treetop, or swim and meander along the shoreline. The air is cool and smells damp, from recently-fallen rain; the sky is partly-sunny, with its light shining like soft veils from the white sheet of clouds. There are gardens and beehives up from the shore, and trails through the woods which lead to a village. Behind me is a fire temple, where I tend its perpetual flame with other priestesses, and huts where we each live. What I have here with me especially is a swan, which visits me daily, and communes with me. He teaches me how to journey in the spirit realms. What happens here which cannot happen in the outer world is that he can magically grow large, and I can climb on his back and fly with him.
My personal aims for this druidic study are to develop a deep, connected spirituality; enlarge my knowledge about local flora and fauna; learn how to spiritually commune with local flora and fauna; learn about spirit healing for earth healing, including faery healing, and how to do it; develop a rhythmic, nourishing daily spiritual practice; explore and integrate ancestral myth on a spiritually deep level; develop a deep spiritual bond with this place where I dwell; understand more about ancestral mind; commune with my ancestors; commune with my druidic swan; read weather patters and commune with the weather and celestial bodies; learn and practice herbalism; learn and practice permaculture; and integrate my priestess practice into my Druidry.
The Devotional Ray work this chapter asks me to clear and set my physical space for this work. I have already created space for this, through my priestess practice, but am also working more with the seasonal altar in my living room, having just taken down the Midwinter Solstice advent I had been keeping there, and now have it set to begin and Imbolc Advent I am developing this month, to prepare myself and my space for Brìde’s springtime return from the Underworld, where She has been sleeping in a mountain, dreaming the Dream of Summer. I am very excited about this Advent I am creating! It officially begins this Sunday, running for the four Sundays preceding Imbolc, Imbolc Eve, and then culminates with an Imbolc Rite on Imbolc Day which I wrote last year as a part of a seasonal Brigidine liturgy based on the Scottish story, The Coming of Angus and Brìde. This is a part of my priestess practice as a flamekeeper of Brìde, which I feel will be integrated into my Druidry, because it is Brìde who inspires and guides me, and all things She leads me to tie into and build on each other.
The work in this book will also be combined with my ongoing explorations in the Perennial Course in Druidry which I have been journaling here.