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Archive for the ‘Celtic’ Category

Place of Resurrection

“Let your feet follow your heart until you find your place of resurrection.”

This Celtic saying reflects the importance of pilgrimage as a spiritual practice in the Celtic tradition.

At the holy well of St. Brigid in Kildare, Ireland.

Why “place of resurrection?” During  pilgrimage we leave behind our usual ways, our comforts, as we step into the unknown. Resurrection is about the trust we have that our steps will be led by the ever-unfolding presence of guidance in our lives – that which brings us hope, healing, renewal, liberation, transformation, rebirth – whatever we choose to call it: God or Goddess, cosmic serendipity, Tao, flow, Christ consciousness, emergence, the Universe.

Celtic monks sought their places of resurrection in this world, journeying to find the place where they could best fulfill their mission. Many of us are wanderers in this way – spiritually if not physically. We follow our hearts to best discern where we can serve, and how we can bring the spirit of resurrection to others.

Feel free to share your pilgrimage and resurrection stories.



The Green Man Archetype

We should not be seeking the Garden, it is not lost. It is we who are lost. It is we who are alienated from the Garden of which we are a part, which is around us and within us now, and always has been.

Green Man

So says Billy, one of the many Green Men present at the Convention I am attending this weekend. I apologize that his photo, above, is not more clear; the light was low.

Brian Froud said that a first step in reconnecting with the spirit of nature is to acknowledge that it is possible. Before “taking things” from nature, we should seek permission. Communication, he said, is possible and necessary, and there are no “rules” about how to do it; it is individual and intuitive process.

At the end of the Green Man Panel, Brian was made an honorary member of the Blessed Order of the Greenman (BOG).

Blessed Order of the Greenman induction ceremony

Other members on the Green Man panel included Celtic scholar John Matthews, folklorist Steve Winick, artists Wendy and Brian Froud, and BOG founder Shane Odom.

So far (it’s not over yet) attending this event has been a colorful, inspiring, and thought-provoking experience. There have been many other workshops, gatherings, and events here. More posts will follow as time allows – it’s a busy time!

St. Patrick was Welsh!

St. Patrick was born Maewyn in Welsh-speaking Britain before he was captured from his rich parents and taken into slavery in Ireland.

He later preached Christianity to the Irish.

Trefoil-shaped Moss, Dorson's Rocks, 5/09

Confessions of a Religious Naturalist

I confess.

I confess that my primary locus of concern, meaning, and spiritual experience is the world in which we live. I find my religious orientation in nature, in being part of this world. This includes not only what we typically consider to be the “natural world” apart from humans, but also the cultural forms which have emerged within nature, including our human expressions and creativity regarding ethics, aesthetics, relationships, and – yes – spiritual practices and experiences. The Universe seems to love profligate diversity: natural, cultural and religious diversity. Can our small minds wrap around that? Can our common experience of life on this Earth expand our sense of who we are and what we understand our places to be? Can we come together to share and celebrate our understandings?

That confession made, I must also say that the world-to-come also concerns me, if the term is understood to mean not some after-death realm, but rather the future of this world and its life-forms (metaphorically, the Kingdom [kindom] of God, which is present and yet to come). This concern is born of compassion, of a sense of belonging. As a religious naturalist,  I understand and take part in the beauty, mission, and yearning of other forms of religious expression, including those of the little country church I attend. At the same time, I am fascinated to see what forms of ritual and community emerge around the growing (yet deeply historical) “religious naturalist” orientation.

One reason I find Celtic spirituality so appealing is that in the early years, Christianity in the Celtic lands evolved separately from Roman Christianity, and retained a deep understanding of the world as sacred. A Celtic religious orientation is intertwined with daily activities, events, tasks, relationships. More about that in a future post.

So, I confess – yet it is an open confession, because my understanding is evolving as I learn from life. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Today is Sunday, a good day for a confession; this post will suffice as my Sunday meditation, because it’s a wild day – I’m not driving to church given the wind storm, fallen branches, and the power going off and on.

Now to post this while the power is on!

Persephone returns!

In the Garden, March 5, 2010

When the first green shoots appeared in early spring, I took my then-young daughter out to the garden. There we sat on the earth while I told her Charlene Spretnak’s version of the  myth of Demeter and Persephone (Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths).

There are many Spring-related stories, myths and legends, but I chose this particular version because of the themes of mother-daughter love, the removal of the “rape” element (which was added in later, Hellenized versions), and the message of our deep embeddedness in nature.

Now I have granddaughters, and can share stories with them. Brigid’s light grows, and she spreads her green mantle across the land; the Christ-light will soon be resurrected in our hearts; and this month we celebrate the Celtic saints David (with daffodils) and Patrick (with shamrocks, seamrog– clovers and trefoils). One of my favorite Celtic saints is Melangell, patron of rabbits and hares, small animals, the natural environment, and healing. Bunnies and chicks! http://saintspreserved.com/Melangell.html

The daylight grows stronger, and will soon equal the hours of darkness. The robins are here, the mounds of snow are shrinking, and the green is sprouting. At last.

In the Garden - March 5, 2010

Green Spirit

On this white and snowy day, I’m sharing a springtime photo, plus a link I just added to this blog.

The people of GreenSpirit:

* celebrate all existence as deeply connected and sacred

* understand humanity as integral to the planetary landscape rather than its distinguishing feature

* find inspiration in the traditions of Earth-based peoples and Celtic spirituality

* are exploring the unfolding story of the Universe and promote common ground between people in the context of this vision

* seek to redress the balance of masculine and feminine and befriend darkness as well as light

* create ceremonies and celebrations which connect us more consciously with the cycle and seasons of the Earth

* seek a more just, sustainable and peaceful way of life in harmony with the Earth

The statements above (in italics) are from the GreenSpirit website. I learned about this organization  from my friend Marian, an active GreenSpirit member. This group in Great Britain is based on the Creation Spirituality movement. To learn more about Creation Spirituality, visit the CS website.

Meanwhile, closer to home, through Sanctuary Without Walls I am looking forward to hosting gatherings where we can explore how our place as part of the natural world and our earthly and cosmic story can offer us inspiration, healing, a sense of peace and balance, a profound feeling of belonging, and more. Posts about this and other events will appear as plans develop.

The Full Moon, Candles, and Brigid’s Crosses

This evening I will gather with women friends outdoors to walk a snowy labyrinth illuminated by ice lanterns and the full moon. What could be more magical for this weekend of Imbolc / Candlemas / Brigit’s Day? This full moon will arrive at perigee, the place on its non-circular orbit when it’s at its closest point, a distance of 221,577 mi. (356,593 km.) from Earth. It will be the biggest full moon of 2010. The moon will exert a strong pull on the ocean tides at this time. Pause, close your eyes, quiet your self: as a watery creature, can you feel the moon’s pull?

On Sunday, we of Caim an t’ Stratha of the Céile Dé will gather with members of a nearby Catholic church to weave Brigid’s crosses with locally gathered rushes. In the Celtic calendar, Imbolc brought the first harbingers of Spring, but now my snowdrops are under snow, and an Arctic front has given us bone-chilling temperatures. It’s a time for hearth and home. Light some candles, for the light is growing.  It’s good to know that the snowdrops are there, awaiting their time.

Immanaire!