Taken from my Journal. The Entries on my Dedication Rite and Patronage Rite are listed separately in other documents.
March 20, 2001 – OSTARA
…at the moment I'm leaning towards Druidry – and I guess I'll be joining ADF and taking their study course…..Last night, to mark Ostara, I attended TAWN's (Tucson Area Wiccan-Pagan Network) open ritual at Kennedy Park done by the Silver Midnight Coven. A Wiccan ceremony – it was fascinating. I must admit, though, that when the coven leaders invoked the Goddess and Horned One, I think I was expecting more. But I did my best to visualize everything, from the energy drawn on the ground in marking the circle to seeing the God and Goddess standing in and around and inside the coven leaders. That really helped me! And it was my very first Sabbat! Ostara, the time of balance!
April 22, 2001
I did my first ADF ritual tonight, now that I have the Dedicant's program. Good fun! It was the Weekly Simple Devotion. It was a little shaky but what the hell, it was the first time! I'm going to do the Evening Devotion with candle tonight and the morning devotion tomorrow when I get up.
May 3, 2001
Druid ritual is now becoming a part of my life. I've been doing the Morning and Evening Devotions pretty regularly, though I'd feel better if I could memorize the rituals! I performed the Weekly Simple Devotion honoring the Gods again tonight and I think I'm going to need to expand on it a bit! <grin> ….TAWN held another open circle on Sunday for Beltane (the Wiccan date) and it was fun, but I really want to honor all the Gods, not just the Mother and Father. So the Grove is finally going to have a druid ritual for the Beltane full moon on Monday.
May 8, 2001 – BELTANE
Last night I got to experience my first group ADF ritual. It was the Beltane full moon and we gathered at Don & Arlene's (they have a circle). Senior Druid David did the rite; Don was the Seer, Arlene the Bard and Doug the Gatekeeper. I read a poem later in the ceremony. I quite enjoyed it, though it was a bit chaotic and when it got really dark outside, reading the rite became very difficult.
May 20, 2001
…Today I performed the Weekly Simple Devotion at my shrine for only the third time, even though I have been meditating since late March, and doing the daily Morning and Evening Devotions most days as well…..Today's rite, though, pointed out some discrepancies in the text – for instance, at one point it says that the student renews the incense but it never said earlier to light it at all! So I now light the charcoal after lighting the candles, then put the incense on the hot charcoal after elevating it. I also put a pinch of the salt in the cauldron after elevating it and pour in some water as well after elevating it. When the whole rite is over I dump the cauldron out on the ground just as I do after the Morning Devotions.
May 29, 2001 – On the island of St. Croix, USVI
Today the ritual was especially dedicated to Manannan mac Lir and his father in honor of my being at the edge of the sea here! I could really visualize Him here!
June 17, 2001
Today I did my Weekly Simple Devotion. I started with my usual breath counting meditation, finding the silence, and then I did my best to hang onto that while I began my devotions. After lighting the candles and incense, I welcomed the Gods, and they came! While They came readily and clearly with the needles, I have always sensed an admonition from them about relying on the needles too much. I need to be able to invoke them at will, not just on those rare needle occasions. Fair enough! And today I did. With more practice this should also get easier. The Gods became strongest and most clear when Cernunnos stood behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. Manannan mac Lir and Taranis wee there, along with Rhiannon and Ceridwen. Brigit even showed up this time! Bloeduwedd was there for a short time and the Mabon as well. When it came time for the meditation I went to my seat by the altar and did the Two Currents meditation, which is getting quite powerful for me. This time, however, the Gods were with me! Cernunnos assisted me in pooling the deep earth waters in my loins, then Rhiannon aided me in pooling the deep waters around my heart and then Manannan mac Lir assisted me in swirling the waters in my head and then fountaining them out through my head, chest and hands. I kept the waters flowing while Brigit called my attention to the star shining over my head and aided me to see the cone of light descend down from that star onto my head, filling it with white light. At this point a new presence appeared. Not very distinct, bit I knew it was Gwidion! He and the Mabon assisted me in getting the light to flow within me all the way down to my loins. Then I managed to get the light and the deep waters to mix and swirl all around within me, pouring out together through my solar plexus. And I suddenly realized something – the two powers attunement is about balance – the deep waters of the underworld brought into me with the aid of the dark, underworld Gods like Cernunnos, Rhiannon and Manannan mac Lir, and the bright, shining light brought into me with the aid of the sky Gods like Brigit, the Mabon and Gwidion – all mixing together and becoming one….. I also did my first divination with my Druid Animal Oracle deck invented by the Carr-Gomms. Incredible! My question was, essentially, “Where do I go from here?” I did the Triune spread – 1 st card is the motive or guiding idea, the 2 nd card represents its effect at the emotional, social or relationship level and the 3 rd card represents its effect at the physical level. Well, the first card was the Blackbird reversed, meaning I'm standing at the doorway between the two worlds, and need to forge a life of passion and purpose. The second card was the Horse. This card is about journeys, in the physical as well as the spiritual sense. I've been traveling a lot in the physical sense – Atlanta and the Virgin Islands in the past month and Europe next month. I've also been journeying to see the Gods through the needles and now in my meditative trances. The 3 rd card was the Earth Dragon, the guardian of the riches of the soul. This dragon is letting me access my inner riches – my power, as it were! And through this discovery I will learn more about the beauty in the hearts of those around me.
June 21, 2001 – MIDSUMMER
Today is Midsummer! Last night our Sonoran Sunrise Protogrove did the Open Ritual for the Tucson Area Wiccan-Pagan Network (TAWN) in honor of Midsummer. We gathered at Ramada #7 at Fort Lowell Park and in the hour before our meeting time the heavens opened with our first monsoon storm of the season. Taranis is telling us he's there, no doubt! <grin> The weather held for the ritual, though. We had some new people, though I doubt we'll see any of them join. My overall fear about our rites is that they're too wordy and don't have enough drama or theatre, or true feeling. We need dance and passion! My private workings seem to give me more spiritually, but I need the community aspects of religion, so will continue to push the other four people to liven things up a bit. One bright spot about last night's workings was the meditation. Our Seer took us through the “Tree” meditation where we grow roots and branches. I personally added the 2 powers aspect to what he was doing, but even so this part was spiritual.
July 4, 2001
Well, not too bad for a first try. This morning at dawn I celebrated the ADF Simple Rite of Offering as a dry run for my Lughnasadh rite I hope to hold on Silbury Hill or Windmill Hill at Avebury on August 4, the full moon. Today isn't quite the full moon – it's actually tomorrow, but today there would be no workmen about to bother me. But there were distractions anyway! There must have been a workman at the house building site next door since I could hear a radio playing country/western and “The Day The Music Died” It's so hot now that people work at dawn around here. Well, this is probably going to be common, so it's a good thing. I shall simply have to get used to concentrating and blocking out the noise! The purpose of my rite was to connect with the earth, my 3 Kindreds, to gain wisdom, and to practice! Part of it was to try and integrate the suggestions from the “Working The Liturgy: A Step By Step Guide” into the ritual. These suggestions are what make the rite real for me and not just mumbo jumbo. In calling the 3 Kindreds, the one I have the most trouble feeling are the nature spirits, though Lady Wax comes easily. Perhaps I need to do a rite and meditation dedicated especially for them, to discover who they are in this place. …. The meditation I did for the rite involved counting the breaths and the 2 Currents alignment. While I was off to a rocky start due to the noise distractions, I finally managed to get the earth power bubbling up with the aid of Rhiannon and the sky power shining down with the aid of Brigit. Those two ladies can be very helpful. Now I just have to get better at hanging on to the connection. I found I had to stop and re-center several times during the rite.
July 16, 2001
I managed to find time for my weekly devotional and more meditation today. We're on the cruise ship and today is a day at sea, so I did my rite.
I started with the Counting the Breath meditation….. At this point I started the rite with 9 rings on my bell, lighting the candle and incense. Now that I've made some holy water (light of the sun, moon and sacred fire – lightning in this case) I used it for the first time. I had no salt to offer so I used a crushed vitamin pill! When the meditation part of the rite happened, I did the 2 Currents, calling on Rhiannon and (especially) Manawyddin ap Llyr to help with the power of the underworld, through the sea I'm traveling on, and Brigit and the Mabon to aid me with the powers of the sky. When the two mixed, I sent them out together through my solar plexus into the universe. Is this the power we use to make magic? There seems to be a lot of it there.
July 29, 2001
…..she also told us about Dinas Gynfor, or Hell's Mouth, which traditionally was the site of the Druid's last stand on Anglesey against the Romans. She also showed us where it was on the map, on the north shore of Anglesey , and so we traveled up there for a look. Dinas Gynfor is an awesome place – a rocky crag about the ocean at a very high place – rugged and easily defended. One could imagine the harried, exhausted Celts holing up there and fighting off the Romans until the Celts were overwhelmed. The place was also atmospheric, with heavy overcast and the wind whistling through the crags. We had brought some ale, salt and bread with us, so I did a short ritual followed by a meditation. After counting the breaths for a while, I offered the salt, bread and ale to the Gods, drinking a bit of the ale and eating some of the loaf ourselves. Then I meditated the 2 Currents and Rhiannon and Cernunnos felt strong there. Then suddenly in my mind's eye I saw a woman standing on the top crag to my right, dark hair and gown blowing in the wind, staring at me. My first thought was that this was a death Goddess (the Morrigan?) and I could feel great commotion going on, like the faint echoes of a battle. Now I don't know if this site actually was the last great battle, but something happened there. Then I realized that this Goddess might actually be the spirit of this place instead of one of the Great Goddesses, or perhaps both! But I felt no menace from Her. Then She faded away as quickly as She came. Dinas Gynfor, if nothing else, is a very magical place.
August 4, 2001 – LUGHNASADH !
Today was a wet and rainy day, perhaps not too fitting, in some ways, for a festival of a sun/sky God, but also very fitting for my pilgrimage. Today we went to Avebury. ….. on the way we passed a stone that someone had left a bit of candle and bits of wheat at. So others were celebrating Lughnasadh as well! …. After dinner in the Red Lion Pub, though, we drove to Windmill Hill, a prehistoric ceremonial center overlooking Avebury for our Lughnasadh ritual. The wind was up and the rain came down in buckets. We found a spot in the lee of a burial mound where the air was quiet, and I set out the implements while Steve and Pug made a tent over me with the umbrellas. For the opening we had to circle the sacred space 3 times, ringing the bell 9 times, so Pug stayed behind holding the umbrellas while Steve and I circled the whole tumulus 3 times. This was my first ritual where I led others. The 2 Currents meditation, which I led, went quite well and the whole ritual felt very good. When I invoked Lugh and Epona the rain stopped, and it stayed dry until just after I thanked them for coming at the end of the ritual! Then it bucketed down again. Lugh, the sun god, just have wanted it dry while He was there. Pug again sheltered the altar place while Steve and I performed the closing triskel by walking widdershins around the tumulus, ending the rite. We carried the leftover offerings to the top of the tumulus and left them there. I did not do a divination, but my omen was the rain stopping while the Gods were present. What a thrill, to do my Lughnasadh rite on the night of the full moon on Windmill Hill as the sun set, in a proper “between” time!
August 26, 2001
I am in Ohio at the regional ADF gathering, Summerland 2001, and it has been a great experience! …. yesterday was my first large scale ADF rite, and it was very powerful. And quite moving! Doing the centering and 2 Current meditations and seeing the gates open and close with my mind's eye, things I can do now, only helped make everything more exciting! Amergin, the organizer, is a very dynamic fellow and led the rite well as sacrificer. He is also a bard and we sang parts of the liturgy to his words and music. Something to import to Arizona !
In the afternoon Ian Corrigan and his lady led another workshop. They are incredibly talented bards and he is on the main ADF Council. The workshop they led was called “The Poet's Voice” and it used ritual and trance to invoke the spirit of inspiration into us so a poem could emerge. My effort about Rhiannon ( printed in my meditation record) came from this ritual.
September 5, 2001
Today back home I also did my Simple Weekly Devotional, and for the meditation I started out with the Counting the Breaths and then went into the Meditative Rite of Offering. I need lots more practice with it but boy, is it ever powerful! My weaknesses are still in visualizing the Nature Spirits and, to a lesser extent, the ancestors. The Gods are easy! Today, in addition to Rhiannon's blessing of support (she put her hands on my head), Cernunnos poked me in the arm with his hard dick (and laughed again) but also brought me the promise of sexual understanding and peace. The Mabon also approached to offer his light of inspiration to me. Of course, the holiday with His name is in 3 weekends! All the visualizations are getting clearer, but I still have quite a way to go!
September 16, 2001
Today I did the Simple Rite of Offering for making offerings to the powers and to ask the Gods to heal those injured in the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes and to help those that died to reach the Summerlands. I did this rite outside today. I began with the Counting the Breaths meditation and then went into the rite as written in the DP, adding my own words to the rite's intention. The Gods came clearly – Manawyddin ap Llyr to open the gates, and later when I asked him to help the dead cross to the Summerlands; Brigit for healing the injured; and the Gods I feel may be my Patrons – Rhiannon and Cernunnos. I also did the 2 Currents meditation, which always helps me make the Kindreds clearer and helps me breathe the energy current into the ale. For the divination I used the Druid Animal Oracle cards, preparing the deck as usual, but only drawing one card. This was done after my special workings for healing and for the injured and dead of the terrorist hijackings. The card that came up was the Crane. This card shows aid in travel to the underworld, and also psychic knowledge and patience. Ah, I can see what this means. The healing of their bodies and all or souls will take patience. The dead are successfully being ferried to the underworld, and I am continuing in my psychic growth (again, patience!).
September 24, 2001 – MABON
This weekend was Mabon! The local pagan network here, TAWN, held its annual Fall Fest on Saturday with an open ritual led by a local coven that evening. There must have been 300 people for their ritual! We all did 2 meditations – the tree meditation and another guided meditation traveling to the underworld.
Last night, however, our Grove met and performed our Mabon Ritual! The Senior Druid had assigned 3 of us to take the various parts, and I was the Bard. I introduced 5 of Ian Corrigan's ritual songs that I had heard at the Summerlands gathering in Ohio in August (Amergin sang them to me over the phone so I could tape and learn them!). The ritual was great fun and, frankly, as good, if not better, than they usually are. The 2 Currents meditation was read by Arlene, who was taking the Seer's part, and she did well – even our guests could manage the meditation. I led a re-centering later in the ritual and that went well also. My only problem with the ritual was that it was too long – 1½ hours! We need to cut it back some. And seating would be a good idea! One thing we can do is to only repeat the songs twice instead of 3 times. But this ritual was a great experience with three of us amateurs doing a good job. Woof!
November 1, 2001 – SAMHAIN
Last night was our Samhain ritual! I took the part of Druid, Don did Seer and Arlene was the Bard. We had 4 visitors, which was great! I had worked the ritual based on the one from the ADF website. We sang as we processed to the circle. When it came time to connect with the Two Powers, our Seer wasn't prepared, so I did it, leading all from my own experience of the meditation. It went very well! Don led us all on a guided meditation to encounter our own dead, which was also very successful. Our Seer, however, was not prepared to cast an omen, saying his guided meditation was in its place. I am slowly coaxing everyone to be truer to the ADF basic ritual. It's a long haul, but I think I am winning! Overall, the ritual went very well, and quite smoothly. While there were a few “bumps” along the way, I'm really very pleased with the whole thing. I have to be careful, though, about pushing too hard, as I don't want to alienate anyone, especially our Senior Druid. There are too few of us as it is.
November 11, 2001
This morning I performed the counting the breaths meditation followed by the simply weekly devotional. When I came to the meditation part I did a thorough 2 Currents meditation. While the dark waters of the underworld and the warm light of the skies mixed and merged in me, I allowed the mist they generated to come out of my mouth on the exhale and surround me in mist. Then I called on Manannan to guard me as I meant to enter the Otherworlds. Rhiannon was on my left, Cernunnos on my right (though both were dim) and Manannan was behind me, with his hands momentarily on my shoulders. Then as I started to will myself to descend in the mist, suddenly Brigit appeared before me, holding her flame in the palms of her hands. She told me that the sacred precinct I was building was top heavy with dark Gods, and that the Gods of Light needed to be represented and honored. I mentioned the gas torches we were planning for the Nematon, but She said that a shrine would be needed. Cernunnos will have His sacred pool, the Nematon is dedicated to Rhiannon, and so a shrine to Brigit and Lugh needs to be at the end of the procession way. I saw an image of a stone altar with a stone-built shrine behind it, with a niche in it holding an eternal flame. She said that as I used Her inspiration it was only right that She be honored so! She also said that I would not be slighting my Goddess Rhiannon by also honoring other Gods. Rhiannon said nothing, so I suppose it's all right! Then the Gods departed and the mist evaporated. After 9 complete breaths I then renewed the incense and completed the ritual.
November 25, 2001
Tonight I performed a Simple Rite of Offering out of the ADF Dedicant's Guide.
I began with the Counting the Breaths meditation, for 9 x 9 breaths (9 sets of 9 complete breaths) and got truly centered and grounded. Then I performed the ritual. My intentions were to practice divination and a guided meditation I plan to use at Yule, with the assistance of my Matron Rhiannon and Patron Cernunnos.
When I opened the gates and called on the ancestors, spirits and Gods, I was pleased how clearly I saw them all! And so with Rhiannon on my left, Cernunnos at my right and Manannan behind me, I threw the 3-card spread of the Druid Animal Oracle. The cards that came up were 1) the Crane, 2) the Ram reversed and 3) the Stag. I read these to mean that I am coming from a place of patience and spiritual growth, but presently feel I am hitting my head against a brick wall (which is due to the lack of numbers in our Grove, I suspect, and their lack of spiritual awareness). But the outcome is a graceful and majestic independence of spirit for me. My new beginnings are blessed, and I shall become a power in Druidry.
The Guided Meditation is Ian Corrigan's journey to find the essence of the 3 Worlds: land, sea and air. It was good practice, and I have good images to work with for a future journey here. I hope to do this a few more times before Yule.
At the beginning of the Guided Meditation I did the 2 Currents meditation to mix the heat of the sky power with the cold, dark waters of the underworld to create the wizard's mist which surrounded me and allowed me to float into the meditation's journey.
December 2, 2001 – Purification of the New Circle
Today the Grove came over, for the first time, to help me purify the new circle and stones. What a wonderful day! It was just before sunset when we started. First, I was told to take a bowl of rock salt and walk widdershins around the circle 3 times, through all the re-bar of the foundations, spreading salt first on my path, then outside my path, and then inside my path. As I walked, I offered prayers to Rhiannon and Cernunnos and all the Gods, the Ancestors and the Nature Spirits (and even the Outsiders!), asking their help in purifying the area of all negative influences. I felt the presence of the Gods, Spirits and Ancestors, particularly my Matron and Patron. Then Arlene, our Bard, took a crystal bowl of sea water and used a sprig of lavender to asperse the circle, traveling deosil 3 times around it. The Gods seemed very clear to me then, Rhiannon accompanying Arlene around the circle with Cernunnos standing on the mound at the center of the circle, laughing and with a full erection. The air was charged with electricity and feeling, and I found myself crying. When this part of the rite was over, we took the crystal bowl with the remains of the seawater over to the huge pile of stones where we each chose one to bless and asperse. I picked the large stone that will stand to the right of the west entrance and our Senior Druid chose the altar stone. I then aspersed the remaining stones and finally poured the remaining water over the altar stone. When all was done, we retired to the house for a barbeque and glasses of wine.
December 22, 2001 – Winter Solstice
Last night we had our Winter Solstice ritual! I played the Seer for the first time this time – woof! We held it at Don & Arlene's house again. For this ritual I wrote in some paganized carols to replace 3 of our normal ritual songs. We opened with “O Come All Ye Faithful” for our processional. And in Affirming the World Order we sang “Unity in the 3 Realms” for the first time. We also sang “Silent Night” under Fire & Water and recessed to “God Bless Ye Merry Paganfolk”. We also continued our new tradition of passing around a wreath like we did at Samhain. This time we each had a paper ornament on the back of which we wrote a prayer or praise, then we each tied our ornament to the wreath, and then we burned it during the sacrifice.
As Seer I led the group through the 2 Currents meditation and later used the Druid Oracle cards for the omen. The 3 cards drawn were Horse, Cow and Otter. I interpreted them to mean we had all traveled long to get here, both physically and spiritually. Now we were finding spiritual nourishment and it would manifest itself in great joy and playfulness, so the Gods obviously favored our workings!
I also led the group in a trance journey to the 3 Worlds, written by Ian Corrigan, which I had found in an old Oak Leaves. I had gone through it in advance many times so that I could experience it as well while I led the others. I memorized the main points and then relived it while speaking. Most people enjoyed the journey, though I did get one criticism. One person thought that the journey was too long and that each of the 3 parts could themselves have been separate journeys. Perhaps the entire journey might have worked better as a story. Hard to say.
January 2, 2002 – Raising the Stones
Today we stood the great stones in the circle! The crane arrived at 7:30 am and we began shortly after that. Don and Arlene came over last night and spent the night so they could be here for the stone raising. …. Don and Arlene also chose a stone and its placement for the positions just east of the southern entry. …. It was just after we had placed the 5 th stone that I felt power in the circle. It was already happening. With each successive stone the power grew stronger and stronger.
As each stone was installed, starting with the altar stone, I put a small container in each hole. Each container held a stone brought back from the pilgrimage to England , Ireland and Wales that Steve and I took last summer. The little stones each came from a different place – Stonehenge, Tintagel, Windmill Hill, Glastonbury Tor, Woodhenge, the east entrance of Avebury, the Hill of Tara, Knowth, West Kennet Long Barrow, Drombeg Stone Circle, The Sanctuary (near Avebury), Penrhos Feilw in Wales and the Cove of Avebury stone circle which was put under the altar along with a container of Mistress Catrina's ashes and the lavender sprig we used weeks ago to purify the site. Stones still remain for the Well (from the Holy Well at Dunowen, Eire), the Fire (from New Grange) and the Outdwellers altar (from Dinas Gynfor, or Hells Mouth, in Wales ).
Finally the last stone for the circle went into place, and the energy inside was unbelievable. Even the workmen felt it. Steve, Don, Arlene and I stood in the center and tingled from the energy. This is a very powerful circle our Grove now has! We will have to learn how to contain and control it during ritual and magical workings.
There were two smaller stones left over, and we used them to mark the entrance to the procession way to the circle. All in all, this new spiritual center is quite spectacular!
February 1, 2002 – Consecration of the Circle
Tonight the Grove consecrated the new stone circle Steve and I had built. It was cold out but not too bad. I wore my new robes and acted as Druid 1. Lots of singing went on, and we did the circle's first ritual, in anticipation of tomorrow's Imbolc ritual.
At one point, I carried soil from the circle mixed with holy water from the well and poured it out in a “stream” in a circle around the outside of the standing stones. The omen was one of joy and acceptance. The circle was dedicated to Rhiannon, Cernunnos and Brigit. Rhiannon's image is in tile and is placed in front of the altar. Cernunnos has a shrine west of the circle with a fountain and pool. Brigit has a shrine east of the circle where an eternal flame will be, as soon as we can get it to stay lit! <grin>
The ritual was the culmination of a long, yearlong time of planning and building! The circle's official name will be the Summerlands Stone Circle .
February 2, 2002 – IMBOLC
Today we celebrated Imbolc with a ritual under the banner of TAWN as one of their open rituals. As a result we had around 35 people there! We processed from the guesthouse singing “Come We Now As A People” and it was gratifying to see heads turn as the new circle came into view! The ritual went very well…..
We had rehearsed earlier in the day to make sure it went smoothly in this new, larger space. The weather, though, was threatening – cloudy and with sprinkles of rain! I was very concerned. So after the rehearsal, when everyone went elsewhere, I sat quietly in the circle and prayed to Taranis, vowing to honor Him with an image in the circle if He would only see to it that the weather hold, the rain hold off and all be fine for the ritual. Then I offered oil to the fire for Him.
We all processed from the guesthouse and the ritual started after we reached the circle. Then, just as we were opening the gates, a rainbow appeared over the Rincon Mountains and the sun peeped under the clouds in the west, lighting up the tops of the mountains to the east. This was our omen! And during the invocations, birds circled the henge. The Gods were truly pleased with our ritual! And during the Praise Offerings I told everyone of my vow and how this was the second time Taranis had slapped me upside the head for not including Him.
People were pleased with the ritual. Perhaps we will get some new Grove members out of this!
February 10, 2002
Today I did a meditation and ritual in the circle with Justin Higgens (Darkeyes). This was the first time I have done a ritual without a script and I think it went very well! Of course, I may have left out a step or two, but the important part is that by doing it extemporaneously I found it was much easier to keep the visualizations going and to both feel and see the kindred there in the circle with us. The meditation was the 2 Currents and I used the Animal Oracle for the omen. I got the Swan (lovers) card.