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  1. Today
  2. Moonsmith

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Yes but let's see a few other responses first.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Pearlbrook

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Thanks, Moonsmith! If you don't mind me asking: thinking back to when you first considered yourself a Pagan, how did you come to really formulate these ideas into a cohesive reality? Was there a process? And you say that the most important function for you is to understand the nature of the universe - can I ask what makes this the principle role for you? I definitely connect with that idea on an emotional level, and would love to hear your thoughts on it.
  5. Last week
  6. Earthdragon

    A Need To Join.

    Hi Moonsmith, As our views on good and evil etc are subjective and speaking for our own selves (I've been writing about my own view of these matters only rather than speaking on behalf of society in general) do you include yourself in the statement that you made that people are not free to review their thinking about general concepts like good and evil?. If so doesn't this contradict what you're saying about learning the power of your own thoughts, choosing your own way? Also if you have become heretical and that is acceptable to our society why do you not see reviewing your ideas of good and evil to be acceptable to society? As regards opportunity and motivation to do this sort of work - yes I think it is serious spiritual work but then there are many people who have put thousands of hours into their spiritual practice. We spend time doing what we need and want to do. That is a given. Each of us can ask ourselves whether we can spare some time each day to do some introspection. Why would they? That is for each us to answer not me on anyone else's behalf. If people are happy with their situation then that's ok.
  7. Moonsmith

    What do you get from your paganism?

    Yay Pealbrook. Starter's Orders is the perfect place for a question like this. It is the only thread that we allow outsiders [Guests] to see. As well as being of general interest it is a showcase for the Valley. I quite often point outsiders here. What do I get from my Paganism? An explanation for the existence of the universe that suits my way of thinking and which is founded on thoughts, ideas and principles that accord with my philosophies. A bloody good fit. My Paganism carries no commandments, no sin, no guilt, no faith and no self [or other] judgement. Right action, by my own tenets, is my contribution to my beliefs not the result of them. As I've said elsewhere, learning, trying to understand how the universe works is the most important function that I can perform. In doing this it is important that DNA is nurtured so that the learning continues, hence my three legs of rectitude. Oh - those are on a different thread. Sorry to repeat them for those who only read them two days ago. Act legally Act socially and Act with kindness. Thanks for the post.
  8. Moonsmith

    A Need To Join.

    Of course! The dark side thread refers to the very general concepts of good and evil, light and dark held by "people" [unspecified]. We are agreed in that thread that these concepts are subjective and vary with cultures and contexts. I doubt whether many individuals consciously act in ways that they believe to be evil. They will always rationalise and see justice in their actions. Why should they review their thinking? Societies look across borders and sometimes perceive evil in those who are not of their kind; as might those looking back. In general individuals in those societies are neither free nor motivated to look beyond their learned thinking for all the real and perceived reasons that we have discussed.. To do so might even be dangerous. This thread refers to my thinking which has been jolted out of its complacency by accident and by association with other societies and changed in ways permitted by my own. This post was my own thinking and advice to an individual. Yes, circumstance and liberalism coupled with inclination may allow a few of us the luxury of introspection. Even in a liberal society most of us are far too busy for that.
  9. Earthdragon

    A Need To Join.

    Hi Moonsmith, given the latest thread in Thrill of the Dark Side and your comment that we are all, as individuals, a model of society being conditioned as we are as regards fundamental ideas like virtue, are your statements above compromised at all by that? In either event can you relate the above comments to the lack of freedom to choose our own thinking that you describe in the Dark Side thread? I agree that the content of spirituality and the experiences that go with those are so wide in scope as the variety of paths out there shows. Great to be able to touch upon some of them even if lack of time disallows in depth study 😉
  10. Not sure if this belongs here or in general Paganism but... What do you get out of your paganism? Do you have some foundational beliefs or principles that guide and are guided by your journey? Perhaps some core concerns or values? How has being a pagan affected you (or how do you think it will affect you), and vice versa? For me, the years have taught me kindness. I always tried to be kind, but in a sort of passive way. I used to describe myself as a misanthropic philanthropist. Now, it is important to me to do things with the best of intentions, to assume likewise of other people - or at least assume that they are not being deliberately rude until proven otherwise - to apologise when I get things wrong, and to try and make someone's day a bit brighter as often as possible. I believe that this has come mainly from my pantheism. If we are all a part of one cohesive thing (the universe) then we all deserve respect, alongside the animal and natural worlds. The flip side of that belief is that the universe will be a more welcoming place if we attempt to look after it. I don't anthropomorphise my view of the universe into an image of Gaia or anything, but I do believe that it is the biggest higher power that I know of, and we are part of that. In my book that demands respect and responsibility: if we don't take care of it, who will? So Paganism has brought me to be more aware of my impact on the world and encouraged me to recycle, choose cruelty free products and take a whole range of other steps to reduce my footprint. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject!
  11. Earlier
  12. Moonsmith

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    \I/ \I/ \I/ .......touche 🙂 Of course we can both remain in our comfort zones for now as neither of us anticipates the discovery of any such evidence.
  13. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    If there is verifiable evidence to the contrary I would be more than happy to adjust my views 🙂
  14. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Which could well (given this type of source) be a reflection of Roman propaganda or be a valid description of certain happenings which themselves do not reflect the behaviour of the Druids on any large scale. For a topical comparison one would not conclude that the whole British army uses politician's portraits for target practise based on the headlines yesterday. Or equivalent also might be to say the Churches in America all condone the death penalty because priests attend executions to give last rights...
  15. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Our views definitely diverge there as I see the different descriptions as potentially representing different flavours of experience. I see empowered choice as having more possibilities psychologically than identifying with "fight it"... Well it's either martial or it's not so I agree with you there. The art I practise incorporates softer more meditative health aspects to balance the training out. The all or nothing "train to kill or train for death" doesn't appeal to me though I respect that approach. "Fighting" I translate in my way as breaking the intent of the attacker .
  16. Badger Bob

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Cathbhadh was a leader of fianna in Conchobors story off the top of my head. I practice more in the Welsh tradition so I don't have any more examples without doing some reading. Empowered choice, fight, struggle, conflict, it's all semantics. The effect on the psyche is the same. As for martial arts, while there are training benefits to exploring the spiritual side, if you are not training to beat the living tar out of someone then you are just doing a funny dance. I spent some time with my Iaido sensei recently who also happens to be a Soto Zen monk. He berated me for treating Iai as a fossil, something to be removed from its context and put in a glass case to be observed but not lived. He told me to train for the kill or train for death anything else was not Iai.
  17. Moonsmith

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    I well understand your stance on this ED and I shall not contradict you in what I see as an article of faith. What follows is my understanding. For the purposes of debate I can see reason in your comments about lore. This was not my contention. According to Caesar, Druids could write using Greek letters. Whatever they may have written in those Greek letters, nothing has come to us. Neither do we have any other writing about them by their neighbours or adversaries other than the odd aside by a Greek or a Roman. (Every word of which I have read many times) I am frustrated by this lack of material. I am dependent upon interpretation if I wish to go beyond a dozen pages of script. Just a few weeks ago I was at a talk by Professor Hutton. (The OBOD White Horse Druid Camp). He suggested that the Irish account was written down 150 years after the event and might have been composed at that time rather than recorded. The pros and cons of oral tradition have been laid out here too often to repeat. We each have a view. ED I am a Druid but I require that my belief be based on an account that is feasible to me. Where my beliefs are constructed I require to know on what foundation that construction stands and of what material it consists. I have left behind a global religion (Christianity) with its vast library of recorded and composed material because such a foundation will not support my belief. Like you I am a non-combatant Druid. I have a hazel staff not a sword. That the Druidic record may be different in your understanding neither diminishes nor exalts either of us. We each know what we know and find support in what we know. Go well, Pat.
  18. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Why would that be odd for an oral tradition? The ethos of memorized lore and oral transmission would commence from the get go. It's therefore most unlikely that after decades of tuition and practice that Druids would start writing notes and letters to each other don't you think? There has been a continuation of such Bardic transmission until very recently in the Hebrides. It was only 60 years ago that a version of the Tain learned through oral tradition was recited by heart by a crofter/bard in the Uists. It was recorded by academics from Edinburgh University. Such traditions certainly were maintained in Ireland too. The oldest of the Irish texts are clearly based on oral transmission and contain contemporary material. Eg. The book of Leinster http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/celtic/ctexts/colloquy.html ED
  19. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Hi BB, Are you including the Irish tales in your observation? Also the interpretation of all people being in a fight of some sort is subjective do you think? To feel pressured by something (internal or external) and yet find a course that doesn't succumb to that could well be felt to be empowered choice rather than fighting against said pressure don't you think? I know you've done alot of karate. I've just restarted my martial arts training after many years away from it. That the training is separate and different to fighting is clearly in focus for me. ED
  20. Badger Bob

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Druids fight pretty much all of the time in the medieval stories, they fight with their tongues and their will but rarely with their hands. I very much identify my Druidry with fighting environmental damage, cruelty, injustice and complacency at the state of our tribe. Everyone fights something, even if it is only the urge to punch the next person who won't shut up about "that b***** thing".
  21. Moonsmith

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Who makes these assumptions? While the victors did indeed write the history of Druids they were by no means totally condemnatory. As Ellinas suggests it is very complicated and you have to attempt to guess the motives of each writer in order to get a context - Soldier, poet, orator and occasionally you find a[n] historian. Once you start trying to second guess an author from 2000 years ago, history itself is lost. What is odd to me is that while the Druids didn't write down their lore, according to Caesar, they could write using Greek letters. Despite this we have no Druid domestic note, no Druid petition/adjudication and no Druid correspondence. Furthermore we have no other contemporary Gallic or Germanic reference to them only the Greek/Roman. Even those Roman documents contain little more than asides in documents, the bulk of which do not refer to Druids or their doings. It is very frustrating. We are left with so much surmise and interpretation. Those of us who are trying to study Druidic history are really finding it difficult.
  22. Ellinas

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    No. They understood propaganda, and, as the victors, wrote the history books. The problem is finding evidence to contradict them. So, rather than simplistic, it is problematic and a touch complicated.
  23. Very young children are amazing in their capacity for love. For them, it's so simple and natural to love the world. My daughter reminds me of this regularly, and I am so grateful for it. She's inspired me to take back my own love and the power that comes with love. She joins me each day in blessing the Earth, the beings, and ourselves. Her happiness shines out of her as we do this, and I find myself reaching for that happiness inside myself. This little girl loves the process so much that she'll remind me when I forget. I read once, in a book written by Sandra Ingerman, I think, that the act of blessing is an act of power. Accepting that power can help us heal, not just ourselves, but the energies around us. It is an act of love, an act of magic that feels inside all of us, and it is, for many people, a power we have given away to others to do on our behalf. Taking it back, taking responsibility for it, and using it with love reminds us that we have agency, sovereignty, and strength unrelated to our station or location in the world. View the full article
  24. Stonehugger

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Is it too simplistic to assume the Romans used what we'd now call fake news to justify their extermination of the druids?
  25. Last weekend Cerri and I went to the USA. I’d been booked to play music and speak, and Cerri gave two workshops at Paganicon in Minneapolis. Our good friend Kristoffer Hughes had also been booked and it was lovely to be met by Kristoffer in the foyer when we arrived. Paganicon is a three day Pagan convention held in a large hotel in Plymouth, a few miles outside of the Twin Cities, and the festival literally takes over the space for those three days. There are very nice lecture theatres, a big stall space, two lovely restaurants, a couple of bars, and as it was held in the hotel most people took rooms there too, so there was always space and time for casual meetings and discussions. I guess there were about 900-1000 people, so a good size too. This was both mine and Cerri’s first ‘hotel’ Pagan conference/convention and I have to say we both loved it. We don’t seem to have this kind of event in the UK. I guess the closest is Witchfest International, but that is one day, and held in a conference centre, so it’s not quite the same. Being immersed within the conference at the hotel and not really leaving the atmosphere really adds to the depth of the experience. Some may say it feels a little ‘corporate’ but I think there is space for camping in fields, communing outside within Nature, getting wet and muddy, and also having the comfort to chat and go deep in our discussions within a beautifully held indoor space over a few days. I am very lucky to be able to travel, to meet Pagans all over the world, and to be welcomed into their communities through my music and my work with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Since my first overseas trip in 2006, I’ve met some truly lovely and inspirational people, and many of them were there at Paganicon. But before we got chatting, we arrived, checked in and found our room. I don’t really want this to read like a ‘what I did on my holiday’ essay. What I will say is that the presentations by the speakers were first class. There were at least two talks happening concurrently all weekend so it was impossible to get to all of them, but I was struck by the depth of knowledge and willingness to share that wisdom by all of the presenters I saw. My first public outing was to play a song to welcome the Goddess during the opening ritual. The theme of Paganicon this year was Sacred Groves (probably why there seemed to be a lot of ‘Druid’ things happening) and the Well, so I chose to play my song Brighid. My time came and I stepped forward to play. It was a beautiful moment. My voice called for Brighid to be with us, and when I got to the chorus everyone joined in with me. “Ah!” thought I. “We are going to have an amazing time tonight at the concert!” The voices of everyone welcomed the Goddess of Fire, Goddess of Healing, Goddess of Spring, welcome again. Then as the song ended I asked those present to call out the name/s of their Goddess, to also welcome them into this sacred space. And thus the song ended in a cacophony of voices and names being called. Cerri then led a meditation to the well, the Cauldron, warmed by the Breath of the Nine, to bless the circle, the conference. When I got to the concert hall it had been arranged with a large dancefloor area with the seats quite a long way away. So when I took the stage I invited people to come and sit on the dancefloor and chill for the first set as I played more reflective songs. Of course, the dancing would come later. The dancefloor filled up. It was a great night. A party and celebration of Paganism and folk music. When it ended I was buzzing and more than a little high on the adrenaline. Happily, we were invited for a Scotch Whisky tasting session in the room of Jason and Ari Mankey. I’m not sure if it was the amount of whisky, but I found that after a while, each one tasted became my favourite… And no hangover the next day. Hurrah! The next day was filled with talks and workshops and I found myself one of four people talking about the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids on an OBOD panel. It is always so inspiring to hear how people all over the world work with the OBOD course. How Seedgroups and Groves practice their Druidry in other countries. How different Druidry in the USA can be to that practiced in the UK, yet still have that huge swathe of connection and community through the common language of the OBOD Gwersi. Truly wonderful. It was also wonderful to meet so many DruidCast listeners, and hear how the podcast had helped them to make the decision to join the Order. The time on the panel passed way too quickly. An hour and a half literally flew by. I love sitting on panels. As you sit there looking out and seeing the faces of those attending you know they can literally ask any question they want, and you are sitting there having to answer with no time to think, no time to prepare a reply. So the answers that come forth are from a very honest place. Sadly that night the jet lag (and probably the whisky from the previous night…) caught up with me, so I couldn’t stay up for the masked ball, nor to see my friends Tuatha Dea perform. But I could tell from the sounds around the hotel that everyone was having a great night. As we sat in the bar having a nightcap before bed I saw two massive yellow ears moving downstairs. “I know those ears,” thought I. And sure enough a full sized Pikachu was walking across the hotel foyer on its way to the ballroom. Now that’s how to do a masked ball costume, I thought! We also saw Pikachu having his photo taken at a professional photograph stall that had opened in the foyer. Well, you have to have a go at these things, so me, Cerri and Kristoffer stepped before the camera. Look, there is a sensible and lovely photo, but this is my favourite. I can’t remember what was said but that is some explosive laughter right there. Good times. The next morning we walked into the restaurant area for breakfast and Jean Pagano (aka Drum), a lovely man and head of An Draiocht Fein (the ADF), came up to me and said, “Damh, you can have your Biscuits and Gravy today!” If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know how much I love that dish. If you’re new you might be thinking, just as I thought when I was first told we were having ‘Biscuits and Gravy’ for breakfast that, to be honest, a digestive biscuit and Bisto does not sound very appetising. It’s not that at all. The biscuit is a savoury scone, and the gravy is a white sauce with spicy sausage, and it is delicious. So I tucked into that. Noms. That day, more talks, more discussions, more inspiration, and another panel, this one with Jean Pagano (ADF), Kristoffer Hughes (Angelsey Druid Order), and myself (OBOD). It was held in the ‘Druids of the Midwest’s’ hospitality suite. This was another thing I’d not encountered before. The entire second floor of the hotel was taken up with hospitality suites from different groups and traditions. You walked in and there were drinks and snacks, space to sit and chat about whatever the tradition or groups were. They weren’t big and quite a few people wanted to hear what we had to say, but everyone managed to get in and have a seat. Another round of intense and exciting questions and once more the time flew past. Monday arrived too quickly. I remember being at the Pagan Spirit Gathering and watching everyone leave, as the campsite became empty once more, and I slept alone in the tipi, in the quiet and dark, ready to catch the plane home the next day. Paganicon ended in a similar way. Suddenly Pagan’s Pantry, the snack space was gone. Then the huge Paganicon banner in reception, then people walking across the foyer with their suitcases, then the stall area empty. Hugging friends who are all packed up and heading home. People you love that live in completely different continents, not really knowing when you might get the chance to see them again. I don’t like that bit. But it always arrives. So soon we were back in the UK, a country seemingly chasing its own tail like Dill the Dog from the children’s program The Herbs, trying to work out the conclusion of the ‘B’ word. Enough of that. What did I take away from Paganicon? I think it would be amazing if there was a Paganicon-style event here in the UK. If a group had the nerve (because it would be a huge financial risk) to hire an entire hotel for a UK Pagan convention. If a group did that, would people come I wonder? We hold an annual conference here in Sussex and just about get 180 people each year. For a hotel convention, you would need to guarantee 900 people at least to make it viable. Who knows. But I think it would be a good thing to have if the community got behind it. American Pagans talk about their theology very openly. I love that. You can really go deep and chew the Pagan theological fat with American Pagans. Not so much with Pagans here in the UK (I am of course making a huge generalisation here). Maybe it’s because religion is still such a big part of the culture in the USA. Here in the UK much of the bloodshed over hundreds of years has been fought due to religious intolerance, so we are quite distrusting of ‘religion’, even going as far as preferring to use the word ‘Spirituality’ to describe what we do and believe and avoiding the ‘R’ word altogether. I think maybe the New Age from the 80s and 90s wore some of us a little thin when it came to spiritual and religious discussions. Add to that the culture of social media where there always seems to be so many people ready to ‘correct’ you, or slam you down when you open up about your Path and experiences. Well, that can’t help. I don’t know really. It’s just something that I’m very much aware of every time I go to a Pagan event in the USA, and sometimes I just wish it wasn’t so. The other thing? Lots more young people. In my talk, I asked all those under 30 to raise their hands. There were loads. In the UK it feels like there is an aging demographic at Pagan events. I’ve been trying to get my head around why that might be. There are a lot of possible reasons and maybe it’s a combination of all of them, but it was so good to see so many young faces there. I’m not thinking that UK Paganism is in trouble, it’s obvious that’s not true. It seems that maybe instead of young people being enchanted by magic, spirituality, the environment (I’m thinking the 90s road protests here), as they were when I found Paganism, it feels that people in the UK are finding their Paganism later on in life. After they have maybe had their children, and they have moved out, taking that space and time for something important to them that they now have space and time for. From speaking with new members of the OBOD that certainly seems to be the case. Yet in the USA there are still many under 20s who are seeking out Paganism. Maybe that is also a result of the way religion is a big part of American culture. Either way a Pagan from the UK would feel very much at home at a Pagan gathering in the USA, and also at one in mainland Europe and as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. Once more re-enforcing that there is a worldwide Pagan community that it is still very much evolving, changing, and growing. A big Blessed Be to that. View the full article
  26. What is this life all about? Who are you and what are you supposed to be doing while you're in this body, on this planet? Abby Wynne, author of Heal Your Inner Wounds, discusses why healing our inner wounds is our soul's true purpose. View the full article
  27. Moonsmith

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    My path too is Druidic. Caesar [among others] tells us that "the Druids usually hold aloof from war and do not pay war taxes....." but he later in the same passage describes how Druids were fearless in battle because their belief in a form of reincarnation removed the fear of death. [De Bello Galica, VI, 14.] He also reports that they did some very nasty things to criminals and captives. This presumably involved a fight. It is said that they enjoyed wickerwork 🙂 [De Belo Galica VI, 16.] On the other hand Diodorus describes how Druids might walk between two armies drawn up for battle and stop the fight! [Histories, V,31, 2-5] For myself, - I hate guns, swords and weapons in general with a passion. On the other hand I have a filthy temper but that is usually directed at myself. No, I do not fight my way out of [or through] problems or situations. I once got into a pub brawl and accidentally won [if such a thing is possible] I found it addictive and that scared me. I had good friends who ensured that it never happened again. I now try to think my way out or utterly retreat and do things another way.
  28. Stonehugger

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Who else here doesn't identify with "fighting" or is it just me? I sometimes have mental models of how I do, or think about, things. Others may or may not identify with them but it's not a problem if they don't. I don't personally think of myself as fighting. Possibly wading through something. Possibly standing firm against something. Even the old "screaming in a cave" was useful for a while!! Maybe I do fight with aspects of my thinking that I don't like though.
  29. Earthdragon

    [A Cauldron Full of Stars] Blessing the spring

    Who else here doesn't identify with "fighting" or is it just me? I'm on the Druid path and was told a while back that Druids don't fight. But then there are plenty of old stories of Druids who did fight , Fintan et. al.
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