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Self reliance & Personal responsibility

Learn it, know it, live it; Or die trying!

There is no system to survive. Nature tells you what she wants and you can either listen to her and live, or you can ignore her and die.

~ Cody Lundin

Forward: This short article is not meant to monger fear or install paranoia. It is meant to raise awareness & formulate questions. I hope to inspire those ready to take responsibility for themselves through education and a direct hands on approach to applying the skills of self reliance and bushcraft. In this article you will not find a how to, but instead some basic questions to hopefully inspire you to begin to formulate your approach to having a plan and being prepared.

While sitting around reading one late afternoon I get thirsty, so I go to my faucet for a glass of water. Something most of us do daily & not think of any further. In many places obtaining water is hard to do, you have to worry if its safe to drink, how to filter it, clean it, and know if it is potable. Good, safe, clean drinking water is something most Americans just never think twice about. Yet sadly if there was a disaster, like so many in the past (Hurricane Katrina to name just one) Water, water, everywhere; but not a drop to drink is what comes to mind. Why is it that our waste management and water municipalities put chemicals in our drinking water that are “in my opinion”-unneeded? Things like fluoride for example. Many of us were taught as children that fluoride was needed for the strength of our teeth. Did you know the Nazis put fluoride in the water they gave to the Jews. So, is my tap water ok to drink? This all depends on where you live and what you want to believe. I am not at liberty to tell you what you should do, but what I will say is do some digging and you’ll find what you can do for obtaining water that doesn’t have arsenic in it! If you have doubts, contact a local University or college and have it throughly tested. This in turn brings me to my next subject.

Im hungry, so I go to my fridge, garden, store, or local market:

As in the above, with mention of chemicals in our water, there are even more chemicals in our ready made consumables. You wouldnt think twice about your milk, bread, and eggs would you, but honestly you should. As previously mentioned, having your water tested; the same applies if you grow a garden. It would be most advisable to know the details of your dirt. You could be poisoning your family and not know it. You know that food and water tainted with things such as pesticides, weed-killers, and other lawn chemicals can leech into your garden and make you sick, or even kill you? You could be planting crops in tainted soil with lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals, and then watering them with water that is unclean. Only after having your dirt tested should you consider growing your own food; of course in an area far from neighbors who use lawn chemicals! This is very wise advice for those who forage wild edibles in suburban areas like parks.

On food: If there was ever a time when you needed to eat food, or make meals for your family and had no stores to rely on, no local markets, and for some reason you could not grow your own food what would you do? Do we as a Nation on a large scale even comprehend how easy it is can for what we have to be taken away from us. Better yet, how are you going to cook these items with no power, & no fuel? One safe, clean, and easy way is that of a homemade solar oven.

Right now I sit in my large apartment with running water and electricity. I look outside and see a very bad snow storm coming in, so I walk to my thermostat and turn it up a few degrees, grab a sweater and throw on some slippers. I am typing this with use of technology, etc, etc. All of these things could be taken away very easily. The food in your fridge will spoil and rot, your house will become the same temperature as outside, you’ll have no means to communicate by way of cell phone, or email. Worse, your plumbing and water will be taken out and then what do you drink? How will you use a toilet being out of tissue & then how to deal with human waste? If you have no idea what you should do in these situations, it is best for you to get educated with proper survival techniques. What could be worse is natural disaster, complete grid crash, war, or even national unrest with riots; which as I write this doesn’t seem far off.

These situations from large to small have the ability to impair even an educated person from making the right choices in their efforts to survive. You can not rely on gear if you have no training, field experience or even education. A real practical know-how, understanding science, the body and the situations you may face- having a plan will no doubt be a far more valuable resource than stocking up on useless gear. That is not to say all gear is useless, rather though knowing how to use what you have available, how to adapt and use what you have around you; be it in your house, car, or what nature provides is what makes all the difference. Many have said that being prepared is the best way you can enter a situation that is undesirable. This know-how and hopefully tried and tested way of self reliance will be easier to apply in a bad course of events if you have prepared in advance. The horrible fact that only 7% of Americans are prepared for  a survival type situation; this very sad because it isn’t all that hard to educate yourself and prepare.

Ask yourself some basic questions: Can you make fire without use of lighters or matches, build a shelter that keeps you safe warm and dry? Have you the ability to obtain, filter, clean, and sanitize water? Do you know how to trap, fish, & hunt? Can you positively identify various wild edibles, safely? Can you set snares and traps? Are you able to be rescued if need be without a cell phone? All of these skills are not some backwoods primitive wilderness rubbish, only applicable in rural areas. They are in fact things everyone should know, and be able to utilize in any situation, anywhere, at any time! You have to constantly remind yourself that these things are within your power and ability to achieve. After all, you would not be here reading this if it wasnt for your ancestors. They were able to face very demanding challenges, meet them head on and succeed. I think of the Ice Age, cave bears, dire wolves; I think of draught, famine, foreign occupation and oppression. I think of the Great Depression, Civil War, and countless natural disasters. The Plague, and even religious prosecution. All these things and more have been dealt with in a very gruesome, very realistic down and dirty human way. We have overcome more than we can imagine as people in our past, and we have the ability to do so again, but… Only those with a passionate will to overcome usually live to tell such stories.

No one will teach you these things, it is up to you and it is your personal responsibility to be educated. Do your best to have a plan of action in various scenarios. I think of being at home, on the road, being at work and what I would do. How do I get a hold of my family or friends, and do they know what I will be doing and possibly where I might meet them. A well planned agreed step by step should be talked about with those you live with or care about. It is a common saying that survival is 90% mental; from knowing about science, the body, nature, practical applications of techniques in the field and largely the understanding of human psychology. Knowing what fear, panic, injury, and even stress can do biologically to the body during times of doubt & disaster is valuable for being in a situation that could otherwise be deadly. Like a great author said in one of his books: “if you are reading this during a survival situation, it is already too late”. The well known saying: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance is a good mantra to meditate on.

Who am I to be ranting about all of this? I am just your everyday complicated man who loves the outdoors. I am not specially trained by the military, though through my education and much experience it is my opinion to agree with many of the experts on the topics I have mentioned. I know for what works for myself and my family, we have our methods that have been tried & tested. Nothing gives anyone the authority to be a ‘know it all’ in this field, rather I feel we should all grow and learn from sharing our proven methods and past wisdom experiences to aid us in our adaptability.

On Kits:

When 1st considering what you may need in your kit, all caution should be exercised. Spending money on gear can become an adventure into madness. I am often reminded of a saying I saw on a T-shirt Cody Lundin was wearing; it said,”The more you know, the less you need.” There are various types of kits from the one you may keep in your vehicle to a a basic one for camping or even your home or office. Essentially they are all pretty much the same, allowing you to meet the very basic needs of the situation. You could spend thousands on unneeded items if you become obsessed on reviews for the best gear. While the facts are that what you really need is a well rounded education that has experience behind it, and then only some basic tools of the trade. There is no need to buy a $500 flashlight that when for $25 you can buy a hand crank-solar charge model that also charges your phone, has a strobe option, and never requires batteries. You have to be practical and ask yourself the questions of what purpose does this item fulfill; can it be used for multipurpose needs. By no means should you just go to the woods with a knife and try and survive to test your skills, you’ll either have a horrible time and miss the point of a survival kit, or you could end up hurt or worse. What you can do is bring your kit camping, play with the items, get to know them, practice in different situations, and conditions. Get very comfortable with the knowledge you have gained through education and apply techniques out in the field. You could spend 15 yeas studying a subject and in all actuality have no real experience behind it. This is Warning to those that live in the Ivory Tower! Be cautious of any teacher, or mentor who boldly preaches his/her way to do things as dogma. In the end, the variables of Mother Nature humble even the experts. Staying positive, breathing techniques, and having a good outlook are always great ways to be when dealing with anything from; Oh shit I lost my lighter! to, Bloody hell my ankle is broken!

I am weary of anyone selling their personal survival kits online, after all who are they to sell me tape, or some other random objects I can get at a dollar store, ebay, or from a family member. Instead I like go over all gear kits and take some notes. From here I make my own lists, and I see what items I already may have in my home or garage. There are many items you can get at discount stores when beginning to build your kit. In time you may upgrade certain items so try to remember the process of building your 1st kit should not be a burden to your wallet in anyway. You do not have to go all out in one shopping spree. Set aside a little money each week, maybe like $20 that you might be spending on rubbish or frivolous expendutures. At the end of the month, see what funds you have and do some browsing for best prices of goods. It was the well known survival expert Dave Canterbury that said the best spent money of your kit should be on good quality tools. Items that make bushcraft easier, for without certain tools you can not fashion other needed things in nature without a burden to yourself ie. shelter & fire. Things like a canteen, good knife, folding saw, tarp, flint and steel, cordage, etc. I am not going to tell you what you may need or what you should buy. Though I will share with you my list so that you may either use it as a check list of items; or for a list to get you started. My list is full of what many will consider “unneeded items”, like a solar oven or even solar charger for lap tops. This is because many of my items are for home use and for my family, and not those items used for purely wilderness purposes alone. I have tried to add various items and options for those interested, though there is no way possible to make a complete end-all list. With attention to detail I hope this list will be well received. If you feel I have left out an important item, please do comment and share. As I have suggested, it is through sharing our wisdom experiences we grow and are able to adapt. All things begin as ideas in an immaterial world of dreams before we conjure them up to create them in physical form. I thank the universe for such inventions like military duct tape, and super glue. Think about where we might be as humans if the ancients had such items.

 Survival Gear & Extras

Think: Protection, Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, Rescue.

 Things You may desire to have: This is a basic list of items I find helpful in most situations. Obviously I do not carry all of these with me in my kit when outdoors. My personal kit is very small. Use the following as a check list if you feel inspired.

~ A backpack of some sorts- a Rucksack/ pack or ready-made carrying contraption using large cloth or blanket tied at corners and slung over shoulder. Some people like external frames with removable parts, while others like internal frame packs. Use what works for you, what you can afford, and what fits the need of what you do most often. A simple book bag work very well, as does a Blanket-pack. (see video below)

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Shelter/Sleeping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tent (to meet the needs of the situation)

Bivy-and-or emergency shelter

ridge rest mat or sleeping pad

various sized Tarps with grommets

550lb. test 7 strand parachute chord

Tarred Twisted Nylon Twine  aka.  bank line

heavy duty space blanket

polartec blankets

100% wool blanket

hammock

emergency space blanket

Shelter:  http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Skills/Shelter/Shelter.htm

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Fire kit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good butane wind/weather proof lighter

Bic lighter

water proof matches for back up

flint/steel comobo

blast match

wet fire

magnesium

instafire

~ Tinder kit ideas: dryer lint, cat tails, pine resin, char cloth, cotton balls with petroleum jelly,

magnifying glass, shelf fungus, etc.

! A fire must: The know how to make fire in the primitive way without instant combustion devices. This knowledge is worth its weight in “some substance worth great value”… But not Gold because after all, it is just a shiny metal.

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Water:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cody Lundin on water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji7wXezaUdA&feature=related

Dave Canterbury on water purification:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS80MMOAsEU&feature=channel_video_title

Do your research! There is a difference in methods from what many agree in types of acceptable drinking water. From Boiling, treating, filtering and purifying. You have to know your water, know what you are able to do to treat it before you can trust it. It’s always the things in water you can NOT see that make you sick or kill you. Things like bacteria, viruses, parasites, and protozoa have to be considered always present before drinking unknown water. It’s the dead animal 3 miles upstream, it’s a farmer dumping his chemicals on his property leaching into the creek, it’s biological and chemical & Its viral, and bacterial. Again, do your research.

Klean Kanteen wide mouth BPA free Stainless steel water bottle 40oz. or 64oz.

Canteen

stainless steel canteen cup

purification tablets

filtration system

tincture of iodine 2 % drops

collapsable drinking bladder 1-2 gallon heavy duty plastic

Chlorine Bleach: Sodium Hypochlorite 5.25 & 6%

non lubricated condoms

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Important things and & many unneeded items:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large survival fixed blade  (examples): Busse FFBM, KA-bar long Heavy Bowie, Ontario SP52 , Ka-bar Cutlass machete and Ka-bar grass machete.

~ Not all knives or metal is created equal, do your research, read reviews and field test your knives 1st.

Folding saw-  Silky foldable saws or Bacho Laplander Also Sven saws.

A small fixed blade: Ka-bar Heavy duty Warthog is my choice

A folding blade- good as a back up.

Good quality Hatchet and or Axe

Good multi-tool: Leatherman, Gerber, Spyderco, etc.

Mini strobe light 

A good quality LED flash light

A good head lamp. Petzl is my choice.

Mini-led flashlight- I like the  Photon Micro-Light II PRO LED Keychain Flashlight

extra batteries (dated)

extra 550lb test (7 strand) parachute cord

signal mirror

heavy upholstery thread and sewing kit

military duct tape

super glue

heavy duty large ziplock bags

bread pan

safety pins- few sizes

eye screws

scapel xacto blades

milspec snare wire 10 or more feet

a few carabiners

XL condoms non-lubercated – for water bladder use

dental floss

clear plastic tube for drinking- approx 3feet

55 gallon barrel liners

bright cotton bandana

heavy duty rain poncho

survival whistle

sea line dry bag

solar/ wind up radio: I like the Etón Scorpion it can charge a cell phone, give weather reports, has a flashlight and even opens your beer!

solar charger for phones

led wind up flashlights

solar charger for laptop

solar oven

solar food dehydrator

small mess kit- cup, pots and a pan.

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Protection & hunting options:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good knife

UDAP bear spray

small cross bow w/extra darts

blow gun w. extra darts – see link below

slingshot tweaked for big game and fishing       see  link below

bolo and sling

mini fishing kit: 80lb test and lower test, sinkers, hooks, lures. – see link below

wire for traps, & snares

any guns you may own

extra ammunition

a good knowledge in the martial arts

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Personal medical kit – First Aid:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any daily medication needed. This might be inhalers, insulin, or even antacids. Things that if without could compromise your health.

personal I.D.

note card of any pre-existing medical conditions/allergies etc.

contact numbers

pain killers

antibiotics

steroids ie.prednisone

bandages

gauze

medical tape

allergy meds

anti-histimine

antacids

super glue

duct tape

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Clothing & the Layering system:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waterproof 3 layer Goretex parka

Polartec 300 ecws fleece uppers and lowers

down vest-optional

upper- base layer-thermals, over layer, warmer layer, water proof gore-tex shell

lower- underwear, thermals, polartec, water proof gore-tex shell

Feet:

Gore-tex water proof boots for hiking or backing. I like Zamberlan, Asolo, Scarpa, & Vasque.

Nikwax for leather boots

synthetic liner socks like polypropoline

over-socks made of Wool

gore-tex socks

Gore-tex Crocs or Gaiters

Winter Gear:

optional layers of down coat, or vest

gore-tex shell mitts / Polar Tec 300 Gloves, leather gloves for camp work

polartec Hat or wool

-20F sleeping bag or something similar for your location/situation

polartec sleeping bag liner

ridge rest sleeping pad

camp chair or something water proof to sit or kneel on.

sun glasses or ski googles

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Around the House:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rechargeable batteries AA and AAA

other various batteries – dated

battery recharger

hand-crank for recharging

can opener

freezer zip lock bags

strike anywhere matches

aluminum foil

toilet paper

trash bags

Chlorine Bleach: Sodium Hypochlorite 5.25 & 6%

extra dish soap

bar soap

washing soda

rubbing alcohol

extra crank radio

candles and survival 7 day candles.

extra flashlights

lanterns

lantern oil

extra lamp oil wicks

camping fuel- white gas

cooking oil

distilled white vinegar

baking soda

baking powder

extra 7 strand parachute cord

plastic window kits

bubble wrap

various sized cast iron pots and pans

polartec blankets

100% wool blankets

extra tarps of various sizes

bungee/shock cords

* The next step in Preparation would be Food Storage for the home. What items your family uses often, dry goods, and other nonperishable items to have on hand. Things like Dry egg powder, powdered milk, flours, rice, beans, canned tuna, etc.

The following vid clips inspired this article

Please watch them

 Interview with Cody Lundin on his Book ‘When all Hell Breaks Loose”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiOYa0zBHyw

Cody and words of wisdom!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0W2vIcptkYw&feature=related

Cody Lundin at the store: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmmpg-XCU-k&feature=related

 

 

Links to short educational vids that you might wish to know about:

Camp Knots:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCsG–lksuU&feature=channel_video_title

Wool Blanket:

Blanket pack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTFfnT5g0ls&feature=channel_video_title

Blanket wrap coat: http://www.youtube.com/user/wildernessoutfitters#p/search/14/VkSscmFKKMM

Wool blanket wrap ‘how-to’ for sleeping:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOkDlFzrYSE&feature=channel_video_title

Trapping:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNpiyq02ccQ&feature=relmfu

Pocket fisherman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS80MMOAsEU&feature=channel_video_title

Water purification:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS80MMOAsEU&feature=channel_video_title

Lunar compass:  http://www.youtube.com/user/wildernessoutfitters#p/search/0/_g-kmUoPufg

Blowgun:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjIUuvausnw&feature=relmfu

 

Hunting slingshot:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3apLrcmpeE&ytsession=lySeeszFYdVBLOhDKv_Tsn5EUGcKwcNxZo_9GTJFUtAndvIL5ZUVsVPcSvgNDhIKHGtgNWKF7BrtiMjvyhAYpRxXz8echx8HYCvxx3uGSir9G23zHioxkdZSLI5-wpVPCQsGLJaU9ho2pM2GeF_B5hrHD_KgJGRxOouQBpE0tObprLmXtNtBzod9fTNXLQgAfGLcxIt-VrMPAdVG6KmneT0qs20IGEe6ZBcGbEH8kauURp60n7bkXS_EHJw3LPnHDaHxTNxE1-zpNnJwFUzFs7y3HEmWxC40dogDPp3mdvs

~ sling bow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGIcCRJGYug&feature=channel_video_title

~ sling bow modification: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6LxKfpAPYA&feature=relmfu

~sling bow target practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NshtEe_TsRA&feature=related

~ sling bow fishing modification: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyxjnDNHW7Y&feature=relmfu

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Please consider the following for your next book purchases:

 When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes:  http://www.amazon.com/When-All-Hell-Breaks-Loose/dp/142360105X

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive:  http://www.amazon.com/98-6-Degrees-Keeping-Your-Alive/dp/1586852345/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

The Pathfinder System: Survivability for the Common Man

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Other Great links:

http://www.codylundin.com/

http://www.thepathfinderschoolllc.com/

Many Survival topics: http://www.m4040.com/Survival/navbar.htm

Our tradition

       After nineteen years of studying and taking part in various rituals for different types of occasions, I thought it was best to use a format that I created inspired by the Gaelic traditions that worked best for my families personal path. There are many modern ritual formats out there, from the simple solo ones to the complex ones using multi-participants containing subtle layers. Druid Orders like OBOD, and even AFD have nice things to offer, but they didnt fully flow for us. As we know Ritual from Sanskrit means, ‘to flow’, this idea of stepping into a current, having fluidity, movement, and being apart of a stream bed of inspiration was well founded to our Indo-European ancestors. I decided to take what I knew from the tradition I honor (The Gaelic one) and put a very basic format to it, allowing for various family roles to be utilized in its participation. It is in no way complete or a full comprehensive, but I would suggest is a good starting point for those that otherwise do not have access to this type of material. I feel to have ‘Druid only’ rituals insofar as members of the Druidic class to celebrate festivals is not only innaccurate but unproductive for how my family celebrates our path. Ritual was for the members of the community, the tribe, the family and extended family. It was as we may know the Druids role to over-see that ritual had no flaws, perhaps to keep the flow moving in context to the cultural norms. It is odd for me to see any modern ritual wherein the Druids are running the whole show, or doing it all themselves {Including any such members of the Druidic class; ie. Bards and or Ovates} Would we not have seen the rural community gather for rituals, where the Druid played but a role within them, leaving room for many other members of that community to participate? Regardless, this format is something I feel no one has really shared widely; that I know of at least.

I hope you enjoy it for what it is worth. It is though a format never the less, and happily, formats can be like a recipes. Any good cook knows about recipes, the basic elements/ingrediants, where to bend the rules, where to add creativity and your signature making it your own based on your personal taste. Though, certain ingredients must be present, steps followed, the right cook time, temperature, and agreed goal of what the end dish should be. I think of pasta, and how it can be made many ways, various noodle styles, sauces, vegetables, meats, herbs, spices, & add ons. On this, please find the following as my personal recipe. Enjoy it, tweak it, or make it your own, any way you may wish.

~ Dreoilín Cónocht

A Basic Ritual Format

(For Semi-Formal group work)

Part One:

Tuath & Guests greeted and questioned at Gateway:

Cearnaigh: At Gate-(Question with Lugh at Tara format)

~After passing questions they cross over into sacred space through gateway. Each then greets the roof-tree (féige)and salutes (ardartha)Draoi and Bandroi or any Ri, or Ríoghain that might be present as guests. (Ardartha)- Salute only extremely high authority, fists to forehead.

Treibh Máthair: Guests ritually washed: (Níghe)- washing, ritually done. Not as cleansing, but as “crossing” into ritual space.

Tuath and Guests form a circle  -Cuairt coimhgí – circle of safe-keepings.

Draoi: in the East: Welcomes guests and talks about the ritual taking place

Seanchaí:  Poetic Introduction of any New-Commers.

Laoch: Offerings made to the Outsiders. (outside ritual area)- West or N.West

Wards put up by Draoi:

Fógairt proclamation; ward to compel, esp. expel

Builds the (Airbhe) an encircling “hedge” which protects those inside and may be crossed but with ill-effect on whom does so.

Dúnchur- closing of the entrance to a power site

Treibh Athair: Cleaning ritual space.  Toitriú- using empowered smoke-mixtures.(Dried herbal smoke mixtures- similar to smudging)

Treibh Máthair: Cleansing with Water:  Méarsmeachanna-“finger-flicking”used as warding  (Dieseal)

Wards by BanDraoi:

Farc- ward to restrain, including to bar entrance.

Forchoiméad- ward to preserve, & maintain

Crios- ward to protect

Laoch: Lighting the (Tine chnámh) Bonfire. When possible use the *9 sacred woods, or the *3 woods of the Gael. Also no artificial means of ignition. (Fire is pre-built by 3 members of the tribe: Draoi, Brehon, Ollamh)

Píobaire: Sound the (Dord) Horn three times  when fire is lit. Once in each direction: S.W.E.

All: Go raibh amhlaidh- so be it.

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Part Two:

Fáidh: Prayer –   May our Ancestors and the ancestors of this place be released from their past deeds.

May the enchantment be lifted from the stones.

May the trees allow us the ability to see our connection to community.

May the energy once again flow freely here in accordance with divine will.

May the stars turn forever above us as they wheel in their paths through the great heights above.

May the veils be lifted and open a place to us here, in this place, in our time; Forever and always.

All: So be it: Go raibh amhlaidh, Bunchur!

BanDraoi: We are here to honor the traditions of our ancestors.

Draoi:  Toghairm (summoning invocation)  Déithe Ársa a bheith anseo le linn!

(Honor Directions in the following order: E.S.W.N. Center, Above and Below)

E. Ancient wind blowing from times beginning clear away our obstacles

S. Fire deep within ignite a passion inside us for forging this work

W. Water from the earth, water from the skys, water that has always been; Refresh, renew, rejuvenate and replenish us always

N. Soil- dark and rich, deep earth provide us a plentiful bounty in all we do.

BanDraoi: Center: A meeting place of the self, the spirit, and family found within our hearts and at our hearths, be always present.

Treibh Athair: Above- Sky father- Deiwos; allow us the inspiration, clarity, and freedom to be limitless in our creativity.

Treibh Máthair : Below- Earth mother- Dea Matrona;  allow us the rest, comfort, security, and insight from the solitude of your caves.

~Honoring Ancestors & Tribal deities, Nature Spirits, Gods and Goddesses- offerings/gifts brought (pre-made)

Seanmháthair: Ancestors: Ancient ones of our people, be a link to us into that which is unseen.

Fáidh:  Nature Spirits: Spirits of time and place we honor you in our work here today.

Draoi: Gods-  Trí dée dána

~Dagda, Eochaidh Ollathair, Ruadh Rofhessa: All Father, Good God, Shining and Divine, You of great splendor. Red one of great knowledge: We pray you guard and guide us as we work for a greater good.

~Ogma, Grianainech, Cermait: You of the sunny face, of the honey mouth, and most eloquence. Great champion, we pray that you allow us your truth in on our tongues as we speak the words needed to help and heal throughout our work.

~Lugh, Lámhfada, Samildánach: Champion of Light, of the Long Arm, Master of Arts, Many skilled one, we pray that we too may become masters of ourselves to better serve others in need, that our arts become proficient and with Light may we radiate a goodness from ourselves as we shine with fire in our heads.

~offering

All: Guard and guide us in all that we do! (Garda agus sinn a threorú i ngach a dhéanaimid!)

BanDraoi: Goddesses-

~Danu, Dana, Anu: Great Mother or the flowing waters, You whom are fertile and abundant, We pray that through you we may all nature those who come into our lives.

~Brigit, Exalted one, Great fertile healer, Poetess and Smith, You of rejuvenation, spring hope, and maidenhood; We pray that through the secrets of your forge, that we too may be able to transform the elements in our lives, shaping them as gifts for the betterment of our communities.

~Cailleach, Feasam, Phiseogach, Wise one, Sorceress, Veiled one, Old woman, Grandmother, Storm Hag, Grandmother, through your wisdom allow us to embrace humanity with open arms. Be not frozen or cold to us, but welcoming and wise so that we too may be remembered as you to our people.

~offering

All: Guard and guide us in all that we do!  (Garda agus sinn a threorú i ngach a dhéanaimid!)

Possible Other Offerings:

Meditation~ (Machnamh)- different type of meditation, contemplation.

Aes dána- Music- style depends on type of ritual.

Aes dána- Song/Poetry  (Aircheadal)- set-piece poetry or chant used in every ritual.

Goltrai, strain of lament and weeping.

Geantrai,  strain of merriment.

Suantrai, or sleep-strain, (light trance for next section of work to begin)

Poetry-Filíocht: i.e. a very specific type of verbal magic. Done by the following: Draoi, BanDraoi, Ollamh, Fiildh.

ALL: Weaving Spiral Dance – (Music Playing) Dance Deiseal around (Tine chnámh) bonfire.

~after dance

(During this section the Guests and Tribe may be seated and rest in quiet observance)

Spell work: Depends on the need of the Tribe, but not limited to the following. Done by any or all educated.

Mainly those focused on healing, ridding the unwanted, helping others, etc.

~Breachtraíocht – (general term) magic esp. folk-, herbal.

~Upthaireacht – folk magic

Draiocht-Magic: Depends on the need of the tribe, but not limited to the following. Only by Draoi and BanDraoi

Athmhothú-(act of switching) alternative states of consciousness at will

Fiodhrádh- “wooden utterance”, the druidic system of

divination by means of tree-letter-names.

Leapaidh Lánlaidhí-“harbourage of complete

attentions”; (esp. secure or powerful) mind-set (to do bríocht

or in meditation).

Bríochtaí- spells, largely or fully verbal.

Somhoill – suspension of bríocht in stasis to adjust details

requiring gabhlairdeall. Gabhlairdeall – “forked attention”, division of

consciousness, esp. during somhoill.

Ciútaí “extra decoration”, stylistic addition in bríocht with no bua itself

but used to help make it unique.

Roscanna – a druid rhetoric, i.e. magical

incantation; not a set formula but  each use unique (or at

least slightly varied) extemporaneous utterance esp. incorporating

ilchiallú. Ilchiallú- (ilchiallú – pun, doubled entrendre, i.e. in bríocht a

“sea-horse” is valid as a “horse”.)

Foirteagal- binding by names or words of power.

Iompóchur- bríocht to reverse, reflect, “boomerang” ward.

Astaidhbhreacht-“reading” (in the clairvoyant sense of an object).

Aoir – bríocht satire, usually mallacht.

Cloch iompaithe – turning stone. used esp. for mallacht.

Mallachtaí – curses. Used to reflect and redirect ill will back to its originator.

Corrguineacht – “crane magic”, bríocht, esp. mallacht, on one

foot, one eye closed, one hand in belt.

Grinnthoil – lit. “lucid intent”; directed consciousness to

influence event, thing, or person, with or without communication

of data.

Iarrairdeall – lit. “solicitous attention”; blank-mind receptiveness.

Díonghabháil – “thatch-yoke”, tag at end of bríocht asking it

please the gods.

…etc

Treibh Máthair: Blessing of Bread and Mead (sung poetry)

(offerings and libations)

Passing the horn and plate- dieseal.

Fáidh and Baisleac: Trance-Támhnéal:Toinéal -immobile without outside originating vision. Use of Drumming, Drones, and Rattles. Or Léargas-insight, non- (or very light) trance vision, psychic sight.

Ollamh or Fáidh: Journey – No rattle, Drums only (changed beat)

Fáistine-Divination:

Draoi, BanDraoi, Ollamh, Fáidh and Baisleac:

Dreanaireacht – Divination by the flight of birds. (Crane, Raven, Wren) and or-Duck, Goose, Crow, Magpie, Heron, Hawk.

Néaladóireacht –  divination by clouds

Crainnchaint- – communicating with live trees.

Crannchurársa- casting of lots, Ogham

Taircheadal – verbal prophesy

If needed:

Teinm Laida- (see notes below)

Iombhas forosna –  ”         ”

Dícheadal di Cheannaibh-  ”         ”

Breitheamh:-Brehon Law- Outstanding Contracts, Grievances, other Tribal Business.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part Three:

(Guests and Tribe rise from sitting)

Give thanks to Ancestors, Nature Spirits, Gods and Goddesses

Seanmháthair:  Ancestors: Ancient ones of our people, we give thanks for your wisdom, without you we would not be here. Go raibh maith agat

Fáidh: Nature Spirits:  Spirits of time and place, we give thanks for that which is unseen yet known by us through our feelings

Draoi: Gods, ancient and divine- through you we work and give as to become shinning ones ourselves.

BanDraoi: Goddesses, ancient and divine- through you we celebrate and share joy so that we might be remembered like you, as a memory to our people.

Final offerings – Móideacht: votive offering.

Píobaire- Sound Horn 3 times. Once at E.W.S.

Seanmháthair- Spread ashes of fire while saying prayer

Prayer:

SMALADH AN TEINE

A chumhnadh,
A chomhnadh,
A chomraig
An tula,
An taighe,
An teaghlaich,
An oidhche,
An nochd,
O! an oidhche,
An nochd,
Agus gach oidhche,
Gach aon oidhche.

SMOORING THE FIRE

To save,
To shield,
To surround
The hearth,
The house,
The household,
This eve,
This night,
Oh! this eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night.

Thank directions in reverse

Treibh Máthair -below: Earth Mother, Dea Matrona; thank you for your comfort, security, and insight during this work. We honor you.

Treibh Athair -above: Sky father- Deiwos; thank you for your inspiration, clarity, and limitlessness in our creativity. We honor you.

BanDraoi- center: From the center of this circle, to the center of our Tribe, within the center of each of us, may we always be at peace with eachother in our homes and abroad.

Draoi-

N. Abundant Earth you have fed us with your rich bounty, we thank you.

W. Waters of Life you have washed and quenched us with purity, we thank you.

S. Sacred Fire you have ignited a passion for truth in each of us, we thank you.

E. Winds of Time you have swept away the old and refreshed us with newness, we thank you.

BanDraoi: Departing blessing to Tuath and Guests: Beannú na déithe’s n’aindhéithe ort. Go gcumhdaí is dtreoraí na déithe thú.

Draoi: Neart inár lámha, fírinne ar ár dteanga, glaine inár gcroí. Is é an dóiteán a chomhlánú.

Depart ritual space.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Part Four:

Celebration and Feasting (not in ritual space)

Seanmháthair / Treibh Máthair  -Blessing of the meal

BanDraoi: Prayer and Thanks

Anyone: Toasts-Mead Circling -passing to the right- * Tuathal (Food also passed to the right)

Entertainment: Story- with musical accompaniment

Feis: Celebratory Music, Songs, Poetry, Dances

Games-Fidchell & Brandubh

Refreshment and Merriment

~END~

~Disclaimer: This is the format our family uses; It may not work for you, & it might be best for you to adjust this to better suit your own needs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTES:

I know there will be Celtic Reconstructionists and Traditionalists that will no doubt have but a few problems with our ritual. I can hear the comments now, such as what about this, or that? Or why are you using this or that within your ritual. The answer is: Ní hanasa, See my preface to the ritual about ‘what works for us’. After all we are honoring the past and yet celebrating in the now.

*The 3 sacred woods of Gaelic Mythology: Rowan, Hazel, Yew.

There seems to be many references to the 9 sacred woods, each a different version from the next.

* The 9 Sacred woods:

1. Birch 2. Oak 3. Rowan 4. Willow 5. Hawthorn 6. Hazel 7. Apple 8. Fir 9. Elder

“Nine woods in the Cauldron go,

Burn them fast and burn them slow.

Birch in the fire goes

To represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might,

In the fire it brings the God’s insight.

Rowan is a tree of power,

Causing life and magic to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand

Ready to help us to the Summerland.

Hawthorn is burned to purify

And to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel – the tree of wisdom and learning

Adds its strength to the bright fire burning.

White are the flowers of Apple tree

That brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine

Giving us both joy and wine.

Fir does mark the evergreen

To represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady’s tree

Burn it not or cursed you’ll be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Old Scottish poem

“Choose the Willow of the streams

Choose the Hazel of the rocks

Choose the Alder of the marshes

Choose the Birch of the waterfalls

Choose the Ash of the shade

Choose the Yew of resilience

Choose the Elm of the brae

Choose the Oak of the sun”

So what would #9 be then; Thorn, Apple, Rowan, Elder, Fir?

Mentioned Ritual Members:

Tuath-Tribe/Family and extended Family

Cearnaigh- Spearmen

Rí – Chieftain, like a King

Ríoghain- like a Queen

Treibh Máthair- Tribe Mother

Draoi- Druid

Seanachaí- Storyteller

Treibh Athair- Tribe Father

BanDraoi- Female Druid

Laoch- Warrior

Píobaire- Piper

Fáidh- Seer/Diviner/Wiseman

Baisleac – Wisewoman, female folk-wizard

Seanmháthair- Grandmother

Aes dána- The multi-skilled artisist/musicians. Poet class.

Ollamh- Dr. of Poetry, Professor, Highest rank of Poet.

Breitheamh- Judge, Law keeper.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Divination: There is much confusion even among scholars on agreeing to not only the etymology, accepted spelling of Imbas Forosnai, Teinm Laida & Dichetal di Cheannaibh, but mainly in the methodology from literature of how each of these were performed and used by the Draoi or should I say Filidh. Also to note, the three main types of divination are often confused with one another. Often we see a partial method from (A) lending itself to another (B) while claiming it to be as (A) when it is in fact parts of (A-B) combined, yet portrayed as (A). Not to mention the confusion that each could be done in combination with another or on its own; Worse even is that Teinm Laida and Dichetal di Cheannaibh have such similar applications, using similar techniques. One major problem that exists is the wall between the scholar and the mystic. We have many scholars ‘talking about’ these translations, yet we don’t hear from any mystics on their account of trying these methods, experimenting, or any detailed accounts of how one applies them in any traditional form. There should be work done in furthering the education and translation of these subjects found in literature, as well as in ‘felid work'; if you shall call it this for a deeper understanding of the process of how these are best used. These poetic forms of divination as we know them today appear to represent something in the nature of rubrics in the early texts. They are phrases extracted from various texts of spells or of mantic processes. I would suggest they are indeed from the metrical tractates, that they are treated as titles of distinctive poetical forms or meters, and not how we know them to be as single type or style of an individual means of practicum. Here then are my random notes of their classification. I hope it makes clear what so many works have kept obscure or incorrect!

Teinm Laida:

Illumiation of song, sometimes called Breaking the Marrow.

This may be a type of kenning for Chewing on the nuts of hazels, which is a legendary source of wisdom. Chewing the nut, not  “breaking open the nut” which seems to be- a method described to Dichetal do Chendaibh

The confusion may be from Teinm Laida in its context of, “breaking open by poetry”. This was to recite or sing a song until arrival at answers, one must obtain a trance like state to obtain. This composing was done without thinking,

Teinm Laida was certain kind of poetry, and was done following a format, yet was also done without prior thought.

Some call this, chewing the thumb- burning thumb- burning song. Done while chanting. This is also confusing because as we will see with Imbas Forosnai, the association of the thumb or fingers in connection to inspiration and the mouth.

In Teinm Laida the Fili-poet understands and receives meaning from his sung-chanted poetry & gains inspiration to the posed question.

Fionn Mac Cumhail after a trance or sleeping in the house of sidhe mounds, is enabled to chant the teinm ladia

Fionn puts his thumb into his mouth and chants the teinm ladia to find out where Lomna’s severed head is.

Teinm Laida also uses a poets staff or poets wand.

In some stories Teinm Laida is a means of identifying a severed head.

It could be suggested that it might have once been a rite for the identification of dead persons.

Tenm is derived from the root word tep “which means heat”. In many old stories the severed head is placed beside the fire perhaps for the purpose of smoking and drying for preservation.

Could it be possible that in the early instances of Teinm Laida it was a chant of a severed head beside the fire at a feast? The connection to the head and Teinm Laida is also confusing because as we will see, Imbas Forosnai also shares this parallel.

Imbas Forosnai/Imbas forosna/Iombhas forosna:

Wisdom that illuminates, Manifestation that enlightens, Illumination of tradition.

A much disputed technique of trance using or gaining Imbas (inspiration-Illumination) with which to prophesize. This seems to be a form of sensory deprivation in order to enter into a trance and receive answers for prophecy.

(Nora Chadwck) ‘ translation-summerized’pg 47 celtic seers source book

The Filidh(Poet) chews a piece of red flesh of the pig, cat, or dog, and puts it then on a flagstone behind the door and chants an incantation over it. He offers it to his gods, and calls them to him, and leaves them not on the marrow, and then chants over his 2 palms and calls again to him his gods, that his sleep may not be disturbed. He then puts his 2 palms over his 2 cheeks and sleeps. (Men)? watch over him as he sleeps that he may not turn over and that no one disturbs him. Then it is reveald to him that for which he was engaged til the end of three days and nights.

What we see from Fionn Mac Cumhail stories: Uncooked or partially cooked food is present. It is the property of the sidhe, Fionns thumb or finger entering the sidhe mound, after a withdrawal placed in the mouth. Fionn puts his finger ( mer ) into his mouth was because of some of the liquid dripping off of the vessel that had been spilt on it. It’s not clear weather it was because he tasted sidhe liquid, or because his finger had been in the sidhe mound, or because his finger was grazed and ” raw(red flesh) ” made him place it in his mouth. This Imbas allowed Fionn to see what was invisible in physical vision which is deemed “second sight”, but it also allowed him to hear and understand the spirits of the sidhe mound.

These seem to be the basic concepts of this form: Chewing the flesh, Make invocations over power object, placed at threshold of dwelling, or behind the door “inside” (as an offering?) Chants again over the hands, calls spirits to aid, laid down in darkness covered eyes with fingers, palms on cheeks, (incubation) Is watched over, either guarded or watched over by spirits, awakening, answer achieved from darkness and brought to light, revealed by way of poetry.

Cormacs glossary

The poet chews mir but in the stories of Fionn its mer. Mir seems to mean a piece or morsel. There are many tales with severed heads that have the ability to speak, sing, and even chant and have the right to and at times remind the quests of their mir or portion. Perhaps an offering to the head is like an offering to the spirits or sidhe.

There is a phrase- At opair do deib idol -translation – take it to (from) the sidhe; In context of retrieving meat from the mound.

Within Cormacs glossary when the Poet eats(chews) the raw red flesh it could be implied that this is an unhallowed diet, of which would immediately put him in touch with his heathen spirits.

There are many tales of Fionn Mac Cumhail and others that mention: Imbas, heads, fingers or thumb in the mouth. Sidhe mounds, and water and fire. This illumination gained is often followed by Teinm Laida.

Dícheadal di Cheannaibh/Dichetal do Chendaib/Cetal do Chendaib/etc.

Extempore Incantation, Incantation on the bones of the fingers, Cracking open of nuts of wisdom

dícheadal – incantation

mantra-like incantation using munda-like repetitive motion (recital through finger ends?) which is unusual in allowably containing rudach.(Rudach)monotomy in a bríocht (verbal spell) or filíocht (verbal poetic spell) generally unacceptable in bríocht but allowable in dícheatal di cheannaibh.

‘cetal and dicetal translate to -chanting or incantation

There is mention of a cetal do chendaib which seems to be little different somehow than dicetal do chendaib. In this ‘cetal’ version from txts we know one version of its example is  “The Song of Amhairghin”

Duan Amhairghine

Am gáeth tar na bhfarraige

Am tuile os chinn maighe

Am dord na daíthbhe

Am damh seacht mbeann

Am drúchtín rotuí ó ngréin

Am an fráich torc

Am seabhac a néad i n-aill

Am ard filidheachta

Am álaine bhláithibh

Am an t-eo fis

Cía an crann agus an theine ag tuitim faire

Cía an dhíamhairina cloch neamh shnaidhite

Am an ríáin gach uile choirceoige

Am an theine far gach uile chnoic

Am an scíath far gach uile chinn

Am an sleagh catha

Am nómá tonnag sírthintaghaív Am úagh gach uile dhóich dhíamaíní

Cía fios aige conara na gréine agus linn na éisce

Cía tionól na rinn aige, ceangladh na farraige,

cor i n-eagar na harda, na haibhne, na túatha.

Amergin’s Challenge

I am a wind across the sea

I am a flood across the plain

I am the roar of the tides

I am a stag* of seven (pair) tines

I am a dewdrop let fall by the sun

I am the fierceness of boars*

I am a hawk, my nest on a cliff

I am a height of poetry (magical skill)

I am the most beautiful among flowers

I am the salmon* of wisdom

Who (but I) is both the tree and the lightning strikes it

Who is the dark secret of the dolmen not yet hewn

I am the queen of every hive

I am the fire on every hill

I am the shield over every head

I am the spear of battle

I am the ninth* wave of eternal return

I am the grave of every vain hope

Who knows the path of the sun, the periods of the moon

Who gathers the divisions, enthralls the sea,

sets in order the mountains. the rivers, the peoples

Amhairghin, or Amergin as usually spelt in English, was one of the leaders of the “Men of Míl”, the first human arrivals in Ireland who battled the Tuatha Dé Danann or “gods” for posession of the island.

The piece here entitled Amergin’s Challenge certainly deserves to be one of the most famous of all Irish poems, for it is the first poem, according to legend, uttered by a mortal in Ireland, proclaimed by Amergin as he first set his foot on the beach. Unfortunately, the existing texts are all corrupt, greatly open to varied interpretation none of which agree among themselves! However, a basic core can be discerned – e.g. all copies mention such elements as wind, wave, stag, boar, etc and begin with statements of “I am” and go on to rhetorically ask “who (except I)?” The “poem” has sometime been claimed to be a pantheistic hymn but is in fact no such thing. It is clear from the context of the narrative that it is a self-proclamation by Amergin of superior port-hood and a challenge to the Tuatha Dé Danann. Given the extreme unreliability of the texts and the contention about them, in this one case the present author has taken a rather great liberty in his attempted to reconstruct it in a coherent form. This amounts to yet again another version but one which retains the elements and diction central to the rosc’s obvious intent. (Seán Ó Tuathail) http://www.imbas.org/articles/excellence_of_the_ancient_word.html

Other versions:

Earliest manuscript:
Lebar na Núachongbála (The Book of Leinster)
p. 49 in the diplomatic edition; from the CELT site

Ic tabairt a choisse dessi i nHerind asbert Amairgen Glúngel mac Miled in laídseo sís.

1. Am gáeth i mmuir. ar domni.
2. Am tond trethan i tír. 1550] {MS folio 12b 40}
3. Am fúaim mara.
4. Am dam secht ndírend.
5. Am séig i n-aill.
6. Am dér gréne.g
7. Am caín. 1555]
8. Am torc ar gail.
9. Am hé i llind.
10. Am loch i mmaig
11. Am briandai.
12. Am bri danae. 1560]
13. Am gai i fodb. feras feochtu.
14. Am dé delbas do chind codnu.
15. Coiche nod gleith clochur slébe. {MS folio 12b 45}
16. Cia on cotagair aesa éscai
17. Cia dú i llaig funiud grene. 1565]
18. Cia beir búar o thig Temrach.
19. Cia buar Tethrach. tibi.
20. Cia dain.
21. Cia dé delbas faebru. a ndind ailsiu.
22. Cáinté im gaí cainte gaithe. Am. 1570]

I can give two translations that are closest to the version in the Book of Leinster; the first is John Carey’s (which is the more accurate), and the second R.A.S. MacAllister’s (which isn’t as accurate, but was good for its time)

John Carey’s Translation

James Carey’s translation: from The Celtic Heroic Age (2003) (pg. 265)

As he set his right foot upon Ireland, Amairgen Glúngel son of Míl recited this poem:

I am a wind in the sea (for depth)
I am a sea-wave upon the land (for heaviness)
I am the sound of the sea (for fearsomeness)
I am a stag of seven combats (for strength)
I am a hawk upon a cliff (for agility)
I am a tear-drop of the sun (for purity)
I am fair (i.e. there is no plant fairer than I)
I am a boar for valour (for harshness)
I am a salmon in a pool (for swiftness)
I am a lake in a plain (for size)
I am the excellence of arts (for beauty)
I am a spear that wages battle with plunder.
I am a god who froms subjects for a ruler
Who explains the stones of the mountains?
Who invokes the ages of the moon?
Where lies the setting fo the sun?
Who bears cattle from the house of Tethra?
Who are the cattle of Tethra who laugh?
What man, what god forms weapons?
Indeed, then;
I invoked a satirist…
a satirist of wind.

This is the version we used for the show, although we dropped the medieval glosses and made a couple of small changes to make it easier to a listener to follow.

R.A.S. MacAllister’s translation from Lebor Gabala Erenn (Irish Texts Society, 1941)

I am Wind on Sea,
I am Ocean-wave,
I am Roar of Sea,
I am Bull of Seven Fights,
I am Vulture on Cliff,
I am Dewdrop,
I am Fairest of Flowers,
I am Boar for Boldness,
I am Salmon in Pool,
I am Lake on Plain,
I am a Mountain in a Man,
I am a Word of Skill,
I am the Point of a Weapon (that poureth forth combat),
I am God who fashioneth Fire for a Head.
Who smootheth the ruggedness of a mountain?
Who is He who announceth the ages of the Moon?
And who, the place where falleth the sunset?
Who calleth the cattle from the House of Tethys?
On whom do the cattle of Tethys smile?
Who is the troop, who the god who fashioneth edges
in a fortress of gangrene?
Enchantments about a spear? Enchantments of Wind

-MacAllister’s translation of séig as vulture, while possible, isn’t as likely as Carey’s eagle; same for dam, which MacAllister translates as ox, but Carey as deer. One reason I think Carey’s is better (other than being more accurate) is that the four animals are given as a deer, an eagle, a salmon, and a boar–which are the four animals that Tuan mac Cairill transforms into when he survives the flood and invasions to be the oldest man in Ireland (“The Story of Tuan mac Cairill”); the deer, eagle, and salmon are also three of the oldest animals in “Culhwch and Olwen”–in other words, I think they have some cosmological significance in Celtic mythology (eagle=sky, deer=land, salmon=sea, boar=otherworld). Eleanor Hull wrote an article in the 1940s about this.

One other note; in “The Wooing of Emer”, it’s explained that the cattle of Tethra refers to the fish in the sea.

Alternate Translations

Lebor Gabála Érenn: The Book of Invasions, §74.

I am Wind on Sea,
I am Ocean-wave,
I am Roar of Sea,
I am Bull of Seven Fights,
I am Vulture on Cliff,
I am Dewdrop,
I am Fairest of Flowers,
I am Boar for Boldness,
I am Salmon in Pool,
I am Lake on Plain,
I am a Mountain in a Man,
I am a Word of Skill,
I am the Point of a Weapon (that poureth forth combat),
I am God who fashioneth Fire for a Head.
Who smootheth the ruggedness of a mountain?
Who is He who announceth the ages of the Moon?
And who, the place where falleth the sunset?
Who calleth the cattle from the House of Tethys?
On whom do the cattle of Tethys smile?
Who is the troop, who the god who fashioneth edges
in a fortress of gangrene?
Enchantments about a spear? Enchantments of Wind?

Gods & Fighting Men, Lady Gregory, Part 1 Book 3

I am the wind on the sea;
I am the wave of the sea;
I am the bull of seven battles;
I am the eagle on the rock
I am a flash from the sun;
I am the most beautiful of plants;
I am a strong wild boar;
I am a salmon in the water;
I am a lake in the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
Iam the head of the spear in battle;
I am the god that puts fire in the head;
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
Who can tell the ages of the moon?
Who can tell the place where the sun rests?
Celtic Myth & Legend, Charles Squire, p.124

De Jubainville: Cycle Mythologique.
See also the Transactions of the Ossianic Society, Vol. V.

“I am the wind that blows upon the sea,”
sang Amergin;
“I am the ocean wave;
I am the murmur of the surges;
I am seven battalions;
I am a strong bull;
I am an eagle on a rock;
I am a ray of the sun;
I am the most beautiful of herbs;
I am a courageous wild boar;
I am a Salmon in the water;
I am a lake upon a plain;
I am a cunning artist;
I am a gigantic, sword-wielding champion;
I can shift my shape like a god.
In what direction shall we go?
Shall we hold our council in the valley or on the mountain-top?
Where shall we make our home?
What land is better than this island of the setting sun?
Where shall we walk to and fro in peace and safety?
Who can find you clear springs of water as I can?
Who can tell you the age of the moon but I?
Who can call the fish from the depths of the sea as I can?
Who can cause them to come near the shore as I can?
Who can change the shapes of the hills and headlands as I can?
I am a bard who is called upon by seafarers to prophesy. J
avelins shall be wielded to avenge our wrongs.
I prophesy victory.
I end my song by prophesying all other good things.

Celtic Myths & Legends, Chapter 3: Irish Invasion Myths

I am the Wind that blows over the sea,
I am the Wave of the Ocean;
I am the Murmur of the billows;
lam the Ox ofthe Seven Combats;
lam the Vulture upon the rock;
I am a Ray of the Sun;
I am the fairest of Plants;
I am a Wild Boar in valour;
I am a Salmon in the Water;
I am a Lake in the plain;
lam the Craft of the artificer;
I am a Word of Science;
I am the Spear-point that gives battle;
I am the god that creates in the head of man the fire of thought.
Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountain, if not I?
Who telleth the ages of the moon, if not I?
Who showeth the place where the sun goes to rest, if not I?”

Robert Graves, Faber, p.13

I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.

MSN Group

I am a stag of seven tines,

I am a wide flood on a plain,

I am a wind on the deep waters,

I am a shining tear of the sun,

I am a hawk on a cliff,

I am fair among the flowers,

I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke,

I am a battle-waging spear,

I am a salmon in the pool,

I am a hill of poetry,

I am a ruthless boar,

I am a threatening noise of the sea,

I am a wave of the sea,

Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?

I am a stag of seven tines,

I am a flood across a plain,

I am a wind on a deep lake,

I am a tear the Sun lets fall,

I am a hawk above the cliff,

I am a thorn beneath the nail,

I am a wizard who but I Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear that roars for blood,

I am a salmon in a pool,

I am a lure from paradise,

I am a hill where poets walk,

I am a boar ruthless and red,

I am a breaker threatening doom,

I am a tide that drags to death,

I am an infant who but I Peeps from the unhewn dolman arch?

Enya’s La Soñadora

I am the wind that blows across the sea;
I am the wave of the deep;
I am the roar of the ocean;
I am the stag of seven battles;
I am the hawk on the cliff;
I am a ray of sunlight;
I am the greenest of plants;
I am a wild boar;
I am a salmon in the river;
I am a lake on the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
I am the point of a spear;
I am the lure beyond the ends of the earth;
I can shift my shape like a god.

I am a stag of seven tines,
I am a wide flood on a plain,
I am a wind on the deep waters,
I am a shining tear of the sun,
I am a hawk on a cliff,
I am fair among flowers,
I am a god who sets the head afire with smoke.
I am a battle waging spear,
I am a salmon in the pool,
I am a hill of poetry,
I am a ruthless boar,
I am a threatening noise of the sea,
I am a wave of the sea,
Who but I knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?

This art was said to be learned 12th year of training, and yet it is mentioned that dichetal di cheannaibh was taught in the 8th year, so are we to assume that these were different forms, I think so.

dichetal di cheannaibh it seems was also a recital through finger ends. Possibly some form of ogham on the hands using it as a nemonic device for composing this form?

We see it is an “Incantation on the bones of the fingers”

-Extempore incantation, an incantation on the bones of the fingers, a Cracking open of nuts of wisdom. Where in Teinm Laida it was to “chew upon” the nuts of wisdom.

Some say because of touch, and the fingers involved with this art form, that this method uses the wand or poets staff. Though the earliest txts seem to agree that it was Teinm Laida that used these Magical tools. Perhaps they both do?

Since there remains a large debate over which method made use of the poets staff and wand we can clearly see that both Teinm Laida and  Dichetal do Chendaib  used use of the fingers. Imbas with its palms on cheeks and fingers over the eyes; It interesting fact in irish the whirls on the end of your fingers are called suil meire, meaning the eyes of the fingers- a ‘seeing with the fingers’.

Because of names like, ‘chanting by means of hazels of prophesy’, with the concepts of chanting-hazel-prophesy, it is easy to confuse this form with Teinm Laida and even Imbas Forosnai for that matter.This poetic form was a way to chant in prophetic strains, just as was done in the other methods mentioned, hence the constant confusion.

Though one major thing to mention is that this method was allowed to remain ‘in the order of art’ for the Filidh by St. Patrick; as it did not lend itself to making offerings to ‘heathen spirits’ as did Teinm Laida and Imbas Forosnai.

In this song Amairgen subsumes everything into his own being with a philosophic outlook that parallels the declaration of Krishna in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita.” It also is quite similar in style and content to the more ancient Sri Rudra chant of the Yajur Veda.

Aisneis di chennaib a chnaime /aisneis dichennaib a chname The 4th method which remains very obscure is survives as a type of Christian hymn of sorts; most likely it was transformed from a poetic-spell to a hymn, and then allowed like Dichetal do Chendaib to survive as one of the poetic forms of the Filidh.

Cuill Crimaind – ‘nuts of wisdom’ are mentioned in many of the tales concerning Imbas forosnai dealing with Fionn MacCumhail which lead to confusion when in comparison to dichetal di chennaib in its ‘cracking open of nuts’. It is accepted that once Imbas Forosnai has been achieved teinm laida and dichetal di chennaib were then used. Also too, this cracking open of nuts like in so many things Celtic alludes to much deeper symbolism with added double meanings. A multi-layerd definition for only those steeped in and proficient with the education and lore may be able to decipher.

One thought on Cracking open of the nuts (hazel) to obtain their wisdom to then chew upon, could allude to the following: A question with an answer greatly desired is asked, hoping insight into the hidden is gained. Inspiration achieved, the cracking open by a certain style of sung poetic spell is used. Thus chewing on the nuts is perhaps leading us to another form of divination? and even a further style of poetry spell also sung. After all we know through modern culture, one thing can mean things; as we see this within Gaelic culture.

Questions such as: Is it the Hazel which is a tree of wisdom, or its nuts; is it the Salmon who eats the nuts and Fionn who eats the salmon who ate them part of a symbolic ritualistic process? What if Fionn had ate just the hazel nuts? Perhaps it is something like this: (With reference of Fionn Mac Cumhail) From skin to the flesh, flesh to bone, bone to marrow, marrow to the juice… Would not the applications of Imbas lead to Teinm Laida, and further on. Ongoing meditative insight needs to be considered here, perhaps while chewing on some hazel nuts?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Filidh training curriculum

Ranks of Poets (Filidh):

~Year 1 Ollair (principal beginner) Rank: Bronze branch. Requirements: Grammar, 20 stories, Ogham study

~Years 2-5 Tamh (poets attendant) and Drisac (Apprentice Satirist) Requirements: 10 additional stories each year, philosophy, poems, dipthongal combinations, law of privileges

~Year 6 Cli (Pillar) Requirements: 48 additional stories. 20 poems

~Year 7-9 Anruth (Noble Stream) Rank: Silver branch. Requirements: 95 additional stories, prosody, gosses, prophetic invocation, the styles of poetic composition, specific poetic forms, and the place-name stories of Ireland

~Year 10 Ollamh (Doctor of Poetry) Poetic forms and http://www.imbas.org/articles/excellence_of_the_ancient_word.html

~Year 11 Requirements: 100 poems

~Year 12 Rank: Gold Branch. Requirements: 120 orations and the four arts of poetry

Filidh- For a very basic insight on the Seer-Poets:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fili

An excellent link on Druidic Rhetoric: http://www.imbas.org/articles/excellence_of_the_ancient_word.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terminology:

Beannú na déithe’s n’aindhéithe ort – “The blessings of the

gods and the non-gods upon you”.

amhlaidh – thus, used as “go raibh amhlaidh”, “so be it”,

but not as a wish for something to occur but that the

requirements have already been met and said conditions should

continue as they are now (as mallacht it means “may you be

stuck with this forever”).

go gcumhdaí is dtreoraí na déithe thú – “May the gods guard

and guide you”.

Neart inár lámha, fírinne ar ár dteanga, glaine inár gcroí. -

“strength in our arms, truth on our tongue, clarity in our

heart”, definition of fianna honour (several minor variants exist).

* Tuathal – 1) pagan (the native Irish term, several other

Latin loan words are in modern usage); 2)*** counter-clockwise, to

bind, return to sourse, secure, close, invoke inward (cf deiseal);

modernly under christianity the word means “wrong way”. It is suggested that when the Celts feasted, items were passed to the right.

Déithe Ársa a bheith anseo le linn! Ancient gods be here with us!

Garda agus sinn a threorú i ngach a dhéanaimid! – guard and guide us in all we do!

Is é an dóiteán a chomhlánú.   This ritual is complete

Etsy link

Please visit my Etsy shop for my latest creations. http://www.etsy.com/people/DruidCrafts

Our song

I have a song within me that is a gift from the forever changing-changeless one. It can not to taken or broken, but shared and given will it be with love, compassion, and tolerance.

This song is not made by us and it yet is. This song of creation sings within us all, it is in every song and sound you have ever heard. It is the morning dove and the owl, it is the trumpet and the harp, it is the vibration of reed and the whistle of the wind. It is the child’s first cry and it is our last words before death. We express our songs differently, under various emotions; though like seasons ever changing and the moon ever waxing and waning, our songs reflect our humanity, and our connections to a deeper vibration. Found within the mysteries of all of our ancient cultures, found within the science of our DNA, within and without this song connects us to ourselves and to a something many dare not to proclaim. Like a jewel with many facets each side unique makes up a whole. Each cloud takes form for us to see and returns to the unseen to be formed again and again, shaped and shapeless just as this song.

It is the math found in all things that we still do not comprehend. It is the deafening tone of silence, the symphony of crickets, frogs and even the sound of thunder. It is beyond us, and our ability to manipulate it for ourselves. Yet it is within reach for us to mimic allowing us to express our emotions.

It is joy and it is sorrow. Its complicated, difficult to explain, and yet easy to feel and experience. It is a riddle of rhymes, it is bardic poetry. It is all around all us all of the time, and found within you and me. This thing, this song, this expression we hope to achieve. It is our hope & goal for humanity, its everything we all believe.

By Gabriel Krebs
Inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Not long ago Deglan noticed our clock of the Uffington White Horse. It is stylized and has no images of numbers on the clock. For those that are unfamiliar with the design you will notice after looking it up that it doesn’t look like a horse in a normal way.

He kept going up to the clock and pointing saying Horse. We thought it was odd, and just let it go. It’s not like we talk about the clock or the image, but we figured, hey a child’s mind right? Early this week he goes to the clock and says Horse, Chalk. Now Allison and I were beyond curious. How could he know that this horse was carved out of the earth and made of chalk? The image on the clock doesn’t lead you to think so either, and again we never talk about it. So Allison sits Deglan on her lap, and looking up the Uffington Horse on wikipedia to show him. She reads aloud and shows him pictures on the website. He sees one picture and yells out, “Die in there.” Its a picture of a hill and could possibly be a burial mound. I asked Deglan, “what did you say?” He repeated, “Die in there, sit in there.” It was after he said this he said something in jibberish, but not his normal jibberish, it almost sounded like a strain of forgotten words in a dead language.

I stood up and put my right hand behind my back and said to him, Deglan, how many figers are behind me? He said 3… he was right. We stopped asking him questions and continued with dinner.

The Bardic Call

Give me my whistle, so I may play you the songs of the wren.

Give me my bodhran, that I might call down a thunder, to aid your sleep.

Give me my harp, so that the dreams of your soul shall ignite into reality.

 

I shall sing to you the Bards song, a tale you may know.

Of how things came to be,

and why the flowers grow.

 

Over the glen and in the grove,

beside the lake and shore.

When the moon glows full,

and the heart is still;

the trees will whisper, beannachtai mhor!

Some of my unorganized thoughts on Druid related topics

Be well advised, many of you Droo-ids, might be offended.

 

Druidry is Celtic, in that it came from the Iron Age culture of the Celtic Tribes. There is no Druidry that is not Celtic, to call it otherwise labels it as something else entirely. I feel to deviate from Celtic Pagan roots in the tradition of even modern Druidry is an injustice. I am not saying do not study other paths, but to integrate them into another system often times causes conflicting philosophies when put into practice. It is in my opinion, bad form when certain groups suggest a Roman Druidry, Norse or Wiccan Druidry, or even Celtic Wicca for that matter. To follow this path today means taking on the Celtic path with full responsibility for preserving the old. Being proud of our culture, its ancestors, and traditions, embracing them fully without need of romantic outside influence is a focus I feel more should be diligent in observing with their paths. Study and grow from all cultures, but celebrate one.

 

Weather or not our Druidry was inspired from an earlier Bronze or even Neolithic age is unimportant. I am suggesting that since we no longer live in fully agricultural society and we have been removed from “real nature” for countless generations. I would furthermore argue that our modern paganism & even Druidry is no longer really Celtic (because we no longer live as the Celts did) but instead Celtic in flavor, style, and attitude in heart & spirit. There is no dishonor in this since we are growing and evolving by meeting the challenges we face in our times with the spirit of who we are. This modern Druidry if you will, should still strive to be what it once was in some respects. In that the Druids who practice and celebrate this faith should not only acknowledge the past by studying and taking part in the social functions held by those educated; but also try and keep much of the folk customs alive. Doing this all the while embracing who we are and the current situations we are involved in, even on a global scale. Like the symbolism of the Janus head, a healthy attitude in looking forward to where we are headed as a spiritual path requires us to also embrace honoring our past, and letting go of preconceived notions of romanticism placed upon us by those of the 1700’s. We know we can never be or measure up to the real Druids of ancient times from what we read and study through legend, and  myth; but this does not mean we can not become great Druids of our own kind to help, heal, and teach those about positive messages pertaining to the environment, family, culture, and the undying human spirit. I feel there needs to be more balance in the modern spirit of this Neo Druidic movement.

 

There is something to be said about tradition. In so far as that there are many groups and individuals who practice this philosophy of personal sovereignty, allowing the inspiration from nature and from within to be their only guides on the path. This almost carefree attitude of the tradition has no respect for real methodologies practiced and celebrated by our ancestors as well as what I am assuming a dying number of us today.

 

For example: Recently I had a conversation with a woman online about Inspiration. She made a post on her Facebook wall about being “washed in Awen”. Since I recently accepted her friend request and didn’t know her from beans, I decided to privately message her about the topic. I asked her if she knew of the many practical applications the Awen has, and those of a more traditional use. Her reply was short and said, “It’s elemental”. This is the exact point I am trying to make about many individuals and modern so-called Druids of today. They lack education of history, and experience of the tradition to know for themselves what these many subjects really are, & how they are used. I replied to her saying that there are many old traditions and even modern ones on the topics of Awen meditation and even its use of chanting for the direction of energy in such applications of healing to name but a few. Her response to this was she was not interested, as it is not necessary because of her view of personal sovereignty; In that each has their own right to be guided as they may. It is not that I don’t agree with this, but to only subscribe to this thought process I feel is missing much of what is available, especially in the terms of tradition and culture. I then replied to her comments saying, I didn’t think there was anything wrong in sharing traditional practical knowledge if growth is really the goal. I never heard back from her. Three days later I saw she was teaching classes on Druidry. This made me beyond irritated to have an uneducated person representing what should be the social function of an earned title through years of experience before guiding others in the tradition. So my guess is she read a few books, liked the surface of the nature based philosophy, and called herself a Druid. So with this logic, can I read a few books on law, or even medicine, and call myself a Lawyer or Doctor? Can I even study various books about boats and ships for many years never stepping on a vessel, and call my self a sailor because I have the knowledge but no experience? Furthermore can I read some random websites on Freemasonry, buy a ring from ebay and call myself a Master Mason? The answer you are waiting for is not No. The answer is Yes, because this is sadly what people are doing everyday! There is no dispute in any moral or ethical fiber in the worlds various cultures, that to pretend to be something you are not is not only hurting others, it is hurting the self. I am sure there will be many modern pagans that disagree and say that I am missing the point here, given the “spirit of tradition”. Again, it is not that I disagree, it’s is a double edged sword. We must allow room for growth, evolving, and meeting the needs of our times in the tradition of the path. Though to not have room for tradition, its practices and many practical applications that define the path we celebrate is the greatest problem we are facing in this rapid paced world of wanting instant everything. So by now most of might be thinking, what is a Druid then?

 

 

What is a Druid exactly?

I think it is good to define a few things like, what was a Druid long ago, what did they do? Also what is a Druid of today, and what do they do? For there are no easy answers and many shades of grey on this topic. One thing is always made up of many layers so it seems.

 

First let us look into antiquity for a moment to define the roots of this great tree. History teaches us that these people we call Druids were a social caste of sorts. Being a Druid was a job, much as it was a social role. For example today in the Jewish tradition the Rabbi is a educated man of his faith, a teacher, a philosopher and respected member of his community that people turn to; much was the same function of the Druid back then. One just wasnt a Druid, they had to be educated within the tradition, gain respect of the tribe, and be of service to their people through difficult times of war, death, famine, draught and survival.

 

Just as there are different people with different talents, each Druid back then and even now offers something personal to the path. Some are more inclined to focus their attention on herbal lore and healing, while others focus on Philosophy, Psychology and Priestly functions or even Entertainment and Music. We must remember that in ancient times these Druids were not these wise sage type wizards lurking around darken forest groves. They were in the community, and apart of the everyday life and culture much as is a Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor or Judge is today. These Druids were on the farm, in households, and cold be found teaching various schools of thought to the tribe at different times of the agricultural year.

 

Though, they are also said to have colleges of sorts for higher learning and training, that even Romans saught to send their young. Centers for learning were found throughout the Isles often times in secluded spots remaining away from villages. Perhaps from outside sources this is where the hermit type image of the Druid gains its confusion.

 

They held various social roles within their communities. Due to their education, they were the most elite of their people & thus were held with great respect having much authority in public matters. This can be seen in their roles as advisors to Kings. It is said many of them could speak various languages, and could write in them as well. They were Doctors, Professors, Teachers, Scientists, Astronomers, and some even taught the warrior class stratagey and battle techniques. They acted as Judges and Lawyers among the people to keep law, records, and settle disputes with a very detailed tradition of law some speculate drives from a Vedic root.

 

Within the education of the Druids path one began their studies with various bardic lessons of poetry, music, medicine, divination, magic, as well as countless other topics for 12 to 19 years before earning the rank or title of Druid. All of this education was to be memorized using many mnemonic techniques. Imagine for a moment every story you ever read, movie you watched, song your heard, commercial, and more being memorized. We are capable of many great things if we dedicate ourselves to the path of growth. They chose not to write their spiritual practices down for the preservation of memory being one of the most noble of causes to earning the respected title; That and to not have written religious documentation for the uneducated to obtain was also important.

 

You see, some feel that the Druid role might be a left over remnant from an earlier time period. Perhaps the Bronze or even the Neolithic culture? Where the wise men and women of their times were masters of their environment. They knew the forest for the trees. What was food, medicine & what was poison. What things could be used to build a home, tools, weapons, and even heal you. These wise people in later cultures that we call Druids from the Iron Age applied this earlier nature understanding to the seasons, and agriculture cycles in their time. Superstition surrounds anyone that has the understanding of time, tides, weather, and even how to mine and manipulate metal. Much how many of us today do not understand the computers we work on. Most of us do not know computer language, programing, or other roles of higher education such as quantum physics or mechanics. This is why we dub them “wizards”. They are in a class of their own, and controled information, communication, entertainment and the ebb and flow of the culture itself.

 

 

So, Druids today; who are we, what do we do, and what does it mean to be a Druid?

Sadly many of the Druids of today are not the most educated, especially on the history and traditions of their own spirituality. All too often, one reads a book, likes the title of Druid, and tells people they are one. This is a giant taboo for many reasons. It dishonors history of the ancient path, ones ancestors, and even the Gods themselves. You can call yourself anything you want, but that doesn’t actually transform you into the title you trying so hard to assume.

 

In our culture there are various types of Druids and Druidic movements. Everything from social clubs with no respect for the ancient culture that talk about sci-fi, to eclectic pagans celebrating modern Wicca calling it “Celtic”. Others claim a past to the 1700’s in the UK & celebrate a type of Bardo-Druidc revival. Depending on where you live, you might even see white clad robed figures lurking about stone circles calling them selves Druids. Confusing more so to those of us that know history, but not so much of those that belong to said Orders. Perhaps like the ancient Druids, it is best to be educated and know and grow from what sources we have in our times that trace root and are inspired from ways of old. Doing so to allow us to gain personal insight. I say read all you can from various authors, study and apply. Join covens, groves, orders and study the information they provide. Take classes at University, and try for a degree in something you feel applies to the path. Learn foreign languages, learn instruments, poetry, embrace other cultures learn and grow from them, as you celebrate the Celtic path with respect and honor. Do this in the spirit of progress for the Druid path.

 

Today Druids come from all walks of life. Some are modern hippies, vegitarian off the grid types, while others are professors and work in the field of education. Some are musicians and entertainers, and some Doctors. We must remember that, some of Druids of our time are trying to use the inspiration of the past to honor the spirit of today. The re-constructionists and other hardcore fundamental groups will no doubt have a problem with this. I argue what validity would practicing a pure strain of unbroken ancient Druid tradition have in our culture? What value would it have for us in achieving the goals that are beset upon us here and now? I do think both sides of the spectrum here have value, and one should not limit growth from any angle.

 

Most if not all Druids seem to have one thing in common, which is Nature. How it is involved and what each does within and for nature is different. Many place value on the earlier tradition, such as veneration of the ancestors, and of some facet of the spirit world. The rest depends on the tradition one follows.

 

For me, when someone asks what does it mean to be a Druid, a few topics arise. First and foremost I am inclined in my response to demonstrate that the social function of a Druid is a type of earned position through dedicated education. Albeit one that doesnt seem to have the value it once did due cultural differences. That without a tribe, a community, a class room by any nature, the Druid is just a regular person who has been educated in the tradition; or do I dare say, I hope has been; For the majority have not!

 

A Druid should aim to have a college degree, they should serve a community. Being able to teach, lecture, and hold legal rites of passage for those in need, after much education and self growth. The duty of service to a community where accepted they should embrace and dedicate themselves to, even if its only some minor workshops on topics to share.  To live a certain lifestyle which allows for some freedoms from the norm is also wise. Since helping others often takes it toll on the self, having the freedom in schedule to retreat for rejuvenation often is overlooked but well advised.

 

I think one major subject that modern Druids often neglect is wilderness survival. Ancient and modern techniques of knowing the woods, making shelter, fire, foods, water, and even rescue. Tracking, traps, snares, hunting-fishing, the art and science of being a woodsmen. As the mass populous live in cities and suburban areas this wilderness knowledge might not be seen as important; I argue knowing how to stay alive in any surrounding is a valuable area of study. For is there a more spiritual relationship a Druid can have with Nature and even his/her students than not that of the minimal survivalist armed with nothing but his crane bag, teaching them how to survive? I think on the old words of wisdom; Tell me and I may forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I will understand. This tradition is a hands on get dirty in the garden tradition. You are the tree and you are also the gardener of your tree. Having said that, there is always a time to leave the Ivory tower and go on an adventure. Leave the books at home and apply the knowledge allowing yourself to also read nature.

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