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Archive for July, 2011

The Voice by Eimear Quinn won the Eurovision Song contest back in 1996.
Those who are fans of Celtic Women would surely love Eimear. She blends traditional Celtic folk with contemporary New Age sounds. She has good vocal range and shows restraint where it is warranted. Sometimes artists with good range feel the need to show off their “pipes”. Eimear understands to establish the mood of a song you need to practice restraint.

The lyrics to The Voice speak to me in a very Druidic way. To me this song is stating that if you open your ears to Nature you will here it speak to you and share its knowledge with you. The Voice is the voice of the Natural World. Listen to the winds and they will whisper in your ear. Listen to the water and it will show you its visions.

The lyric “I am the voice of your history. Be not afraid-come follow me.” speaks to me personally. When I visit my Sacred Grove I am always speaking to my Druid anscestors. To me my ancient Druid anscestors are my guides who lead me down the Druid path. I have one in particular that is always by my side. He is the voice of my history.

This is a very Bardic-type song!

Here are the lyrics to this song:

I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name

Listen my child you say to me
I am the voice of your history
Be not afraid – come follow me
Answer my call and I´ll set you free
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice and I will remain

I am the voice in the fields when the Summer´s gone
The dance of the leaves when the Autumn winds blow
N’er do I sleep throughout all the cold Winter long
I am the force that in Springtime will grow

I am the voice of the past that will always be
Filled with my sorrow and blood in my fields
I am the voice of the future
Bring me your peace, bring me your peace
And my wounds they will heal
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice

I am the voice of the past that will always be
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice of the future
I am the voice
I am the voice
I am the voice
I am the voice

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My Druid studies have taken me to this point; a circle. Looks simple enough, does it not? The one common thing most people will notice is that the circle is not linear. The circle is continuous and never-ending. See what I am getting at? No? Well, let me explain. Once you start looking at your life, nature, seasons, and days, you will soon come to realize that we are not so linear. There is no straight line from birth to death. Everything, and I mean everything, is cylical. Once you see how the circle works in the natural world and in your life you will start to understand that you are an equal part of the natural world; just the same as a squirrel or chipmunk. See, the circle packs quite a punch! When I first discovered this whole idea it really changed the way I looked at the entire natural world and the energies it has to offer. Now it’s time to explain how the circle works; then you will get a broader understanding at the power of the circle.

The Circle as Your Life:

Get a picture of a circle drawn in your mind or draw it on a piece of paper if you need to in order to visualize what I am speaking of. I will use cardinal directions to help explain. At the top (North) of the circle this represents Birth/Death/Re-birth. Now, move clockwise to East. This point in the circle represents Youth/Young Adulthood. Continue now to the South as this represents your Middle Age/Mature period in life. Then move West as this represents the Elder years of your life and preparing for death. Then you arrive back up to the top (North) of the circle where you are re-born again.

Next I’ll explain the fact that this ties directly in with the Seasons, the days, the Sun, and the Moon. See, we are not creatures intended to be disconnected from the Natural World and its energies. Bear with me.

The Seasons:

Winter:
We place this at the top (North) of the circle. Why? Because after the Winter Solstice, which marks the longest night of the year, the new year is being born/re-born. The days are growing with light, the Sun is getting stronger. Druids, in ritual, light a single candle to signify the birth of a year. This also explains why in the 4th century that Christians marked this time as the birth of Jesus; since there was no historical evidence to make such a claim, it makes sense to place his birth at this time.

Spring:
We set this at the East of the circle. The year is starting to bloom and grow. Just as in our life we are blooming and growing during our youth.

Summer:
We set this at the South of the circle. This is when the year is mature and strong. Temperatures are hottest. All blooming and maturation of creatures are complete.

Autumn:
We set this at the West of the circle. We are now reaping the harvest of the year as the natural world is beginning to weaken and prepare for death until the new year is reborn.

We complete this seasonal circle back to the Winter Solstice. See, I don’t see the winter months as cold, dark, and dreary; although perfectly acceptable if you do. I see the winter months as a time for reflection and meditation as energy and light are slowly gaining momentum.

Sun and Days:

Midnight:If the Sun rises in the East and Sets in the West, then we place midnight at the North point of the circle. This is when the Sun has died for the day and is preparing for re-birth.

Dawn: Placed at the East of the circle, as mentioned above, the Sun rises in the East. This is when the day is growing and becoming mature.

Noon-to-Mid Afternoon: Placed at the South of the circle. This is when the day reaches the height of its maturity. The point of the day when the Sun is the strongest.

Dusk: Placed at the West of the circle. The Sun sets in the West. This is the point in the day when its preparing for death (mid-night). The day is old. We prepare for sleep until the birth of a new day.

Up next is the Moon. Many people in the Wiccan and Druid paths use the Moon for its potent energies for use in their magical spells and rituals. Let’s face it; the moon’s energies affects our moods, the tides of our waters, and those of the living World. The Moon is very powerful. Many spells and rituals are created around the phases of the moon. Once you understand the moon’s energies you can then create your own spells and rituals. This is much more powerful than reading spells from a book that may or may not really get to the heart of what you want in your particular spell. When you think of the moon’s phases in terms of a circle, then you can truly understand and harness its energies.

Moon Phases:

New/Dark Moon: Place the New/Dark Moon at the North point of the circle. This is when the moon’s energies die and are being re-born. A lot of people like to use this time to recharge, recoup, or relax. I personally use this time to meditate or take to magical studies in preparation for the next Moon’s energy.

Waxing Moon: Place the Waxing Moon at the East point of the circle. Think of this phase in the same way you think of youth, dawn, and spring. The Moon’s energy is growing and gaining strength by the day. This would be a great time to write or perform spells to bring gains into your life.

Full Moon: Place the Full Moon at the South point of the circle. This phase is just like middle-age, summer, and noon. This is when the Moon’s energy is the strongest. All spells during this phase are in play. Remember, the energy is the strongest, so make sure you choose your spells wisely; they are going to be very potent during this phase.

Waning Moon: Place the Waning Moon at the West point of the circle. This phase is just like elder years, autumn, and dusk. The Moon’s energy is slowly dying. This is a great time for spells that are meant for banishing. However, if you really do need a gain in your life during this phase, just create a spell for its opposite. For example, if you need money and it can’t wait until the Waxing Moon, just create a spell to banish the financial problem you are currently going through. Get it? Good!

We complete the Moon circle back to the Dark/New Moon. Now, when you step outside and look up at the moon you will be able to tell what phase the Moon is in just by looking at it.

Yes, I realize this is a lenghty blog post, but its an important one. I will admit, I used to be one of those people who thought very linearly. But when I decided to look at the World and my life in terms of a circle suddenly this basic shape took on a very powerful meaning. Everything is born, then dies, and is reborn; you become a much more powerful and enlightened person when you realize this. Now you can see why Wiccans and Druids perform rituals in a circle. The circle is constantly flowing with energy. In solitary rituals you stand at the center of your circle, not only for protection, but to represent the Spirit or the Sun (as the Earth revolves around the Sun). A circle can be as big or small as you want. When you are in a group ritual and you open the circle to create a crescent moon shape you are just making the circle bigger to include whatever you may be facing into the circle.

Remember, the circle is powerful. As you begin to harness energies of the Natural World think in terms of a circle to be your guide. Once you realize this you begin to see that you become a very powerful, magical, and wise person. When you step outside your door you realize your toolkit is vast and immense. There is so much at your disposal and suddenly your eyes open to the amazement of what you have to work with to bring betterment to yourself and your community.

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Awen

The Awen I sing,
From the deep I bring it,
A river while it flows,
I know its extent;
I know when it disappears;
I know when it fills;
I know when it overflows;
I know when it shrinks;
I know what base
There is beneath the sea.

From a medieval Welsh Poem by Taliesin

There are some people who ask me about the meaning of Awen. They tell me it sounds an awful lot like Amen to them. Granted, I think these two words are closely linked etiologically, but nonetheless different.
Much of what I know about Awen comes from my studies with OBOD (see link on right-hand side). I have yet to experience true Awen. Awen is the goal of the Druid. In most Druid circles Awen means “Blessing of the Gods” or “Gift of the Goddess”.
Awen is the elixir of inspiration that brings illumination, clarity, and wisdom to any who experience it.
As Druids we are healers, diviners, shamans, wisdom-keepers, etc…so naturally a Druid’s goal is to taste Awen.
Awen will pass you by if you don’t slow life down and really open your eyes and heart and listen to what the natural world and Gods are saying to you.
Like I stated previously, I have yet to experience Awen, but it is my goal. What I have learned to do in my Druid studies is start to slow life down and really open my eyes and ears to a whole new existence. Once I master this then I can move on to another phase of my training.
To have a better understanding of Awen I suggest reading the Celtic myth of Ceridwen and her search for Awen.

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It’s not often that an artist produces music that can alter your mood or put you in an imaginative frame of mind.  Yet Michael Cretu, who is the mastermind behind Enigma, does this time and time again.  I’m going to be very absolute in the next statement but it’s true (for me).  Every single one of Enigma’s songs has the potential to take you to a different realm (others like to call it astral planes or otherworlds).

Some of his work touches on Christian themes others touch on pagan themes.  Some of his work blends the two seemlessly (great for those Christo-pagans).

In my Druid path there is one song that is short in length but packs a big punch lyrically.  The very essence of who I am as a Druid, or rather, who I strive to be as a Druid is captured in “The Cross of Changes”.  Read these lyrics and it will provide you with a small look into the world of a Druid.

Lyrics and video:

If you understand or if you don’t

If you believe or if you doubt

There’s a universal justice

And the eyes of truth

Are always watching you

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DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!!!!  Please read further for details:

So, I know that this book has been published for quite some time, but I need to speak about this book now!  There are many new students of Druidry and may stumble across this book on various websites or in bookstores.  These individuals may be compelled to buy this book simply by reading the back cover.   The back cover alone presents outrageous claims!  Claims include this work touches upon genuine Druidism…masterful reconstruction…authentic lessons; I could go on but let’s not spend anymore energy on that.

The author, Douglas Monroe, claims to present teachings on the actual, never-before published Book of Pheryllt…there is no such book, why do you think it’s not published??  The Pheryllt appear to be more mythical than historical figures.  Some scholars even suggest that Pheryllt is a Welsh attempt to translate the Roman poet Virgil’s name.  How can this book be an actual historical book?  Where did Douglas Monroe happen to find this never-before published work of gold?  Does he know something the rest of us don’t?

Next outrageous claim, that the word Druid means “oak men’?  Really?  It’s common knowledge that Druids revered trees.  It’s also common knowledge that the Oak was “King” of the trees to the Druids.  So then, I guess, Mr. Monroe could only deduce that Druid must mean “oak men”.  The prefix dru generally means a “wise one” or “truthful one”.

Druids come from Atlantis???!!! When did we actually conclude that Atlantis existed without a shadow of a doubt?  I must have missed that one.

Celtic society was misogynistic?  So I guess those women Celtic warriors who fought alongside their male counterparts don’t count right?  In fact, most scholars, would point out that women in the Celtic world “wore the pants” for lack of a better term.  If you use the Celts understanding of Nature and the Gods and Goddesses then you will find that women were seen as those who bring rebirth.  The female aspects where immensely important in Celtic society.   This is a far cry from misogynistic view points.

I could go on and on all night about this.  But in efforts not to continue to raise my blood pressure, and put more of my energy into this subject, I will stop here.  I will provide a link at the end of this post that you may go to learn more about the falsehoods throughout this book.

I ask of you that if you know anyone who is interested in walking the Druid path tell them not to get this book.  Read works by Graeme Talboys, Philip Carr-Gomm, etc…

Bottom line is that this book is a complete fabrication with no historical evidence to back this work up.  No credit of truth should be given to this book.

Here is a link for more information http://library.druidry.org/reviews/21lom.html

 

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Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt ‘Mummer’s Dance’

In my first music post, I feel the need to call attention to one pagan artist whose music inspires me.  Loreena McKennitt was the first pagan artist I ever heard when I first stepped foot on the pagan path.  This song, “Mummer’s Dance”, to this day still inspires me to stay on a path that feels so much like home.  The mystical nature of this song speaks to me and is truly a magical song.  This song puts me in the right frame of mind anytime I need to journey to my Sacred Grove (more on that later).

Magic can be in the form of song.  The composition, arrangement, and lyrics of this song place a sense of calm over me.  If I have a particularly stressful day I can listen to this song and the stress washes away.  The magical intent of this song is strong.

For those of you not familiar with paganism and its forms and think magic is about spell work…this is not entirely true.  Yes, I perform spells and rituals.  Think of spells like prayers (if you are Christian).  Prayers are a way to communicate with the divine to bring something into your life or banish something out of your life.  Spells are essentially the same thing.  However, magic can also be performed by way of music, etc…as evidence in the Mummer’s Dance.

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Hail!

Greetings and welcome to my blog!  My name is John and I am a Bard on the Druid path.  I live in Massachusetts and belong to the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids.  I am also a musician and I play the bass in a local Boston rock band.

I first started walking the Druid path a bit more than 10 years ago when I felt the need for more spirituality in my life that the Christian church wasn’t providing.  I was not big on the authoritarianism and dualism of the church.  I then began exploring my celtic ancestry and came across Druidry and Wicca.  Druidry has ancient roots deeply planted over thousands of years.  The Druid revival began a couple hundred years ago and today is growing stronger than ever before.

I also blend Wicca into my spirituality so you can say I practice a Druidcraft.  My belief system is based on Celtic polytheism and pantheism.

In this blog I will discuss my Druid beliefs, history, music, and poetry.  The music and poetry will be some of my own works and I will also include some works that I truly admire.  My disclaimer on this right now is that I will not always post pagan music (although I will post a lot of that).  I do like a lot of music and the music I post has spoken to me in a great way.

Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @ModernDruidBlog.

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