Posts Tagged ‘Druid’

Spring 2018 Update

Returning from some quite Otherwordly adventures, I wish you a belated Happy Equinox! I cannot even begin to explain how vastly my inner world (and thus also my outer world) has shifted in the past two weeks. Tania Marie just posted her epic Grand Canyon adventure overlapping some of that time, and I will just say that I’ve experienced something similar in terms of integration, timeline shifts, healing, courage and more. Maybe someday I will tell these stories as fiction, because few would believe them as fact. In any case, the internal shifts have created some lovely external manifestations, which I’ll share here.

During this same time period, I’ve noticed clients growing by leaps and bounds, too, so this energy shift seems available to many. I’ve witnessed people coming out of a fog, reclaiming sovereignty over body and soul, embracing an expanded life path, and many people finally clicking in with deep, nourishing soul mate romantic connections. My work Continue reading

Druidcast 129 ~ Philip Carr-Gomm on Creativity, Story and Magic

This afternoon, I finally had time to catch up on the December 18, 2017 Druidcast, which includes a question and answer session with Philip Carr-Gomm from the OBOD East Coast Gathering. Interspersed with lovely and haunting music, the discussion explores creativity, inspiration (aka Awen), receptivity, the power of Story, and the ethics and expression of magic, ceremony and cultural sharing — especially looking at Maori and Hindu crossovers with Druidry. Here’s the podcast link for anyone interested in the talk.

Fascinating Druidcast and a Quick Reminder

Oops! I meant to post the link earlier to Episode 106 of Druidcast, which contains a fascinating interview between Philip Carr-Gomm and A.T. Mann. I had not heard of A.T. Mann before, but this interview covers so much ground, including his book, “The Sacred Language of Trees.” I loved his discussion of the acacia tree, magical tree alphabets, and “God’s wife,” but was even more impressed with the mandala-like reach and spiraling of Mann’s research and art. Here’s someone who continues to learn and grow well beyond age 70, offering insights and synchronous twining to enchant and delight anyone feeling winter blues or too much intensity.

Also a quick reminder that the end of January fast approaches: January 2016 Specials remain available through the 31st.

Multidimensional Gardening (and Garden Update)

Today’s garden update includes yesterday’s appreciation of just how much gardening can get you in touch with multiple dimensions. Of course, I often engage with garden fairies and Nature Spirits, but even without that extra dimensional contact, gardening encourages whole brain and whole heart activity.

wild violets

wild violets

Whenever we get outside and observe growing plants, we begin to recognize the third dimension of solid forms. Participating in the seasons, the Sun’s daily movement across the sky, and the life cycle of plants from seed to sprout to plant to fruit to seed again also reminds us of the fourth dimension — time.

And yet, it’s not all cyclical time in Nature! Planting a garden inspired by permaculture principles also requires visualization of and consideration for how perennials, shrubs and trees will grow over the years. When we plant a food forest, we become more aware of light, shadow and their play through time. We need to allow for harmonious growth, aiming for abundance without crowding.

When planting bulbs, we might wait all winter or spring for any signs of growth, but we can leave future presents for ourselves when we most need a shot of color  — or gifts to early insects with few other sources of food.

Daffodils around fruit trees delight the winter weary eye, feed early bees, keep grass at bay and discourage animals from disturbing delicate tree roots.

Daffodils around fruit trees delight the winter weary eye, feed early bees, keep grass at bay and discourage animals from disturbing delicate tree roots.

Embracing the element of time by planting perennials also rewards us with green in spring — that sense of renewal that soothes and reopens the Heart Center after winter contracts us into death, starkness and the uncertainty of anything returning to life.





Old fashioned perennial vegetables like lovage put us back in touch with our Ancestors, for whom this celery like herb seasoned soups and provided medicine for ailments as diverse as kidney stones, digestive complaints and respiratory issues. When we grow and eat ancestral or heirloom foods, both subtle and physical connections strengthen the bond between our time and times gone by. We re-member our Earthly ties to those who came before us. We gain courage, wisdom and a sense of belonging as we surround ourselves with plants that return each year — and have done so for our Ancestors for hundreds or thousands of years.



Provided we use caution not to introduce invasive species into a new environment, growing crops from other lands can also remind us of our connection to lands and cultures from afar — bending not only time but also space. Along with our Tibetan prayer flags, we also have Himalayan goji berry shrubs:

Goji berry shrubs can grow to ten feet tall and require very little care once established. Known for increasing longevity and healing, goji's reconnect us to the Ancient Wisdom of Tibet.

Goji berry shrubs can grow to ten feet tall and require very little care once established. Known for increasing longevity and healing, goji’s reconnect us to the Ancient Wisdom of Tibet.

When considering the relationships of plants to each other, we often think of companion planting, but using cover crops encourages us to think of those who come after us. Nitrogen fixers like peas, fava beans (edible vetch), and clover leave the soil better than they found it. How might we do the same? For our gardens? For our cities? For our planet?

Cool season edible leguminous cover crop just starting to grow. It will provide food and nourish the soil for the next season of growth.

Cool season edible leguminous cover crop just starting to grow. It will provide food and nourish the soil for the next season of growth.

Many of the above photos show wood mulch, which creates its own multidimensional portals, mostly unseen to the human eye. As the wood breaks down, mycelium colonies form telepathic linkages among plants, trees, bacteria, fungi, earthworms and the complex ecosystem of the soil. Humans are more closely related to fungi than to plants, and the network of communication that runs throughout a healthy soil system would put our internet to shame! Not only is there a “Secret Life of Plants,” but also a secret life of fungi. Medicinal mushrooms provide superfood tonics and medicine to humans, as well as remediating toxins and radiation, and helping plants to strengthen themselves from invasions and disease. Mycologist Paul Stamets even claims mushrooms can save the world!

With mushrooms, we come full circle to the multidimensional nod to the Faery Realm that opened this post. Indeed, Faery Lore is filled with fungi. From the red capped fly agaric mushrooms to faery rings to spores resembling the mysterious pixie dust, mushrooms and their magical mycelia help us engage with other realms. So weather you grow herbs in pots on your window sill or live in the abundance of your own or a nearby food forest, know that the Web of Wyrd is far more complex than most people allow themselves to imagine. The cycle of life and the radical interconnectedness of all beings includes us, whether or not we choose to recognize and honor those connections. I leave you with a Druid prayer updated for modern times:

Grant, O Great Spirit/Goddess/God/Holy Ones, Thy Protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of Great Spirit/Goddess/God/Holy Ones/the Earth our mother, and all goodness.

John Michael Greer ~ The Buffalo Wind

This is a sweeping, Druidic perspective on Ebola, ecosystems and the transient condition of overriding Nature. Thanks to Ann K at exopermaculture for the link. I have always found Druids to be great thinkers, and this article does not disappoint in that regard. As we hover before what seems like a carefully calculated and summoned “Perfect Storm” in America, set to roil across the world, it’s both humbling and awe-inspiring to contemplate larger cycles of life.

Yesterday, I read a different article — this one by a Roman pagan — that provides a tender and empowering look at the spiritual aspects of preparedness. Two quotes jumped out at me from that blog, which seem to riff with the post below:

“When you, entering a forest, perceive the beauty of the forest and you feel to be in a complete harmony with it, then, intuitively, you are in peace with the Deities. They are an essential part of our real nature, our Deep Nature, and when we are separated by our real nature we live in the fear. Perceiving such normality means giving a real sense to our lives.”


“‘Si vis pacem, para bellum(if you want peace, prepare for war).”

This second quote forms the foundation of the article, which explores the idea of cultivating the Gods and Goddesses within ourselves as preparation for resolving our own inner war as the route to enjoying external peace. The article expresses the idea much more richly and subtly than I do here — with multi-layered meanings to the words “cultivate,” “Gods” and “Goddesses.” It’s a short piece, but worth the read, especially in context of the post below. (Originally seen on Foxglove & Firmitas.)

In any case, without further ado, here’s The Buffalo Wind …


The Buffalo Wind

by John Michael Greer

October 1, 2014


I’ve talked more than once in these essays about the challenge of discussing the fall of civilizations when the current example is picking up speed right outside the window.  In a calmer time, it might be possible to treat the theory of catabolic collapse as a pure abstraction, and contemplate the relationship between the maintenance costs of capital and the resources available to meet those costs without having to think about the ghastly human consequences of shortfall. As it is, when I sketch out this or that detail of the trajectory of a civilization’s fall, the commotions of our time often bring an example of that detail to the surface, and sometimes—as now—those lead in directions I hadn’t planned to address.

This is admittedly a time when harbingers of disaster are not in short supply. I was amused a few days back to see yet another denunciation of economic heresy in the media. This time the author was one Matt Egan, the venue was CNN/Money, and the target was Zero Hedge, one of the more popular sites on the doomward end of the blogosphere. The burden of the CNN/Money piece was that Zero Hedge must be wrong in questioning the giddy optimism of the stock market—after all, stock values have risen to record heights, so what could possibly go wrong?

Zero Hedge’s pseudonymous factotum Tyler Durden had nothing to say to CNN/Money, and quite reasonably so.  He knows as well as I do that in due time, Egan will join that long list of pundits who insisted that the bubble du jour would keep on inflating forever, and got to eat crow until the end of their days as a result. He’s going to have plenty of company; the chorus of essays and blog posts denouncing peak oil in increasingly strident tones has built steadily in recent months. I expect that chorus to rise to a deafening shriek right about the time the bottom drops out of the fracking bubble.

Meanwhile the Ebola epidemic has apparently taken another large step toward fulfilling its potential as the Black Death of the 21st century. A month ago, after reports surfaced of Ebola in a southwestern province, Sudan slapped a media blackout on reports of Ebola cases in the country. Maybe there’s an innocent reason for this policy, but I confess I can’t think of one. Sudan is a long way from the West African hotspots of the epidemic, and unless a local outbreak has coincidentally taken place—which is of course possible—this suggests the disease has already spread along the ancient east-west trade routes of the Sahel. If the epidemic gets a foothold in Sudan, the next stops are the teeming cities of Egypt and the busy ports of East Africa, full of shipping from the Gulf States, the Indian subcontinent, and eastern Asia.

I’ve taken a wry amusement in the way that so many people have reacted to the spread of the epidemic by insisting that Ebola can’t possibly be a problem outside the West African countries it’s currently devastating. Here in the US, the media’s full of confident-sounding claims that our high-tech health care system will surely keep Ebola at bay. It all looks very encouraging, unless you happen to know that diseases spread by inadequate handwashing are common in US hospitals, only a small minority of facilities have the high-end gear necessary to isolate an Ebola patient, and the Ebola patient just found in Dallas got misdiagnosed and sent home with a prescription for antibiotics, exposing plenty of people to the virus.

More realistically, Laurie Garrett, a respected figure in the public health field, warns that ”you are not nearly scared enough about Ebola.”  In the peak oil community, Mary Odum, whose credentials as ecologist and nurse make her eminently qualified to discuss the matter, has tried to get the same message across. Few people are listening.

Like the frantic claims that peak oil has been disproven and the economy isn’t on the verge of another ugly slump, the insistence that Ebola can’t possibly break out of its current hot zones is what scholars of the magical arts call an apotropaic charm—that is, an attempt to turn away an unwanted reality by means of incantation. In the case of Ebola, the incantation usually claims that the West African countries currently at ground zero of the epidemic are somehow utterly unlike all the other troubled and impoverished Third World nations it hasn’t yet reached, and that the few thousand deaths racked up so far by the epidemic is a safe measure of its potential.

Those of my readers who have been thinking along these lines are invited to join me in a little thought experiment. According to the World Health Organization, the number of cases of Ebola in the current epidemic is doubling every twenty days, and could reach 1.4 million by the beginning of 2015. Let’s round down, and say that there are one million cases on January 1, 2015.  Let’s also assume for the sake of the experiment that the doubling time stays the same. Assuming that nothing interrupts the continued spread of the virus, and cases continue to double every twenty days, in what month of what year will the total number of cases equal the human population of this planet? Go ahead and do the math for yourself.  If you’re not used to exponential functions, it’s particularly useful to take a 2015 calendar, count out the 20-day intervals, and see exactly how the figure increases over time.

Now of course this is a thought experiment, not a realistic projection. In the real world, the spread of an epidemic disease is a complex process shaped by modes of human contact and transport.  There are bottlenecks that slow propagation across geographical and political barriers, and different cultural practices that can help or hinder the transmission of the Ebola virus. It’s also very likely that some nations, especially in the developed world, will be able to mobilize the sanitation and public-health infrastructure to stop a self-sustaining epidemic from getting under way on their territory before a vaccine can be developed and manufactured in sufficient quantity to matter.

Most members of our species, though, live in societies that don’t have those resources, and the steps that could keep Ebola from spreading to the rest of the Third World are not being taken. Unless massive resources are committed to that task soon—as in before the end of this year—the possibility exists that when the pandemic finally winds down a few years from now, two to three billion people could be dead. We need to consider the possibility that the peak of global population is no longer an abstraction set comfortably off somewhere in the future. It may be knocking at the future’s door right now, shaking with fever and dripping blood from its gums.

That ghastly possibility is still just that, a possibility. It can still be averted, though the window of opportunity in which that could be done  is narrowing with each passing day. Epizootic disease is one of the standard ways by which an animal species in overshoot has its population cut down to levels that the carrying capacity of the environment can support, and the same thing has happened often enough with human beings. It’s not the only way for human numbers to decline; I’ve discussed here at some length the possibility that that could happen by way of ordinary demographic contraction—but we’re now facing a force that could make the first wave of population decline happen in a much faster and more brutal way.

Is that the end of the world? Of course not. Any of my readers who have read a good history of the Black Death—not a bad idea just now, all things considered—know that human societies can take a massive population loss from pandemic disease and still remain viable. That said, any such event is a shattering experience, shaking political, economic, cultural, and spiritual institutions and beliefs down to their core. In the present case, the implosion of the global economy and the demise of the tourism and air travel industries are only the most obvious and immediate impacts. There are also broader and deeper impacts, cascading down from the visible realms of economics and politics into the too rarely noticed substructure of ecological relationships that sustain human existence.

And this, in turn, has me thinking of buffalo.

In there among all the other new stories of the last week, by turns savage and silly, is a report from Montana, where representatives of Native American peoples from the prairies of the United States and Canada signed a treaty pledging their tribes to cooperate in reintroducing wild buffalo to the Great Plains. I doubt most people in either country heard of it, and fewer gave it a second thought. There have been herds of domesticated buffalo in North America for a good many decades now, but only a few very small herds, on reservations or private nature sanctuaries, have been let loose to wander freely as their ancestors did.

A great many of the white residents of the Great Plains are furiously opposed to the project. It’s hard to find any rational reason for that opposition—the Native peoples have merely launched a slow process of putting wild buffalo herds on their own tribal property, not encroaching on anyone or anything else—but rational reasons are rarely that important in human motivation, and the nonrational dimension here as so often  is the determining factor. The entire regional culture of the Great Plains centers on the pioneer experience, the migration that swept millions of people westward onto the prairies on the quest to turn some of North America’s bleakest land into a cozy patchwork of farms and towns, nature replaced by culture across thousands of miles where the buffalo once roamed.

The annihilation of the buffalo was central to that mythic quest, as central as the dispossession of the Native peoples and the replacement of the tallgrass prairie by farm crops. A land with wild buffalo herds upon it is not a domesticated land. Those who saw the prairies in their wild state brought back accounts that sound like something out of mythology: grass so tall a horseman could ride off into it and never be seen again, horizons as level and distant as those of the open ocean, and the buffalo: up to sixty million of them, streaming across the landscape in herds that sometimes reached from horizon to horizon.  The buffalo were the keystone of the prairie ecosystem, and their extermination was an essential step in shattering that ecosystem and extracting the richness of its topsoil for temporary profit.

A little while back I happened to see a video online about the ecological effects of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone Park. It’s an interesting story:  the return of wolves, most of a century after their extermination, caused deer to stay away from areas of the park where they were vulnerable to attack.  Once those areas were no longer being browsed by deer, their vegetation changed sharply, making the entire park more ecologically diverse; species that had been rare or absent in the park reappeared to take advantage of the new, richer habitat.  Even the behavior of the park’s rivers changed, as vegetation shifts slowed riverine erosion.

All this was narrated by George Monbiot in a tone of gosh-wow wonderment that irritated me at first hearing. Surely it would be obvious, I thought, that changing one part of an ecosystem would change everything else, and that removing or reintroducing one of the key species in the ecosystem would have particularly dramatic effects! Of course I stopped then and laughed, since for most people it’s anything but obvious. Our entire culture is oriented toward machines, not living systems, and what defines a machine is precisely that it’s meant to do exactly what it’s told and nothing else. Push this button, and that happens; turn this switch, and something else happens; pull this trigger, and the buffalo falls dead.  We’re taught to think of the world as though that same logic controlled its responses to our actions, and then get blindsided when it acts like a whole system instead.

I’d be surprised to hear any of the opponents of reintroducing wild buffalo talk in so many words about the buffalo as a keystone species of the prairie ecosystem, and suggesting that its return to the prairies might set off a trophic cascade—that’s the technical term for the avalanche of changes, spreading down the food web to its base, that the Yellowstone wolves set in motion once they sniffed the wind, caught the tasty scent of venison, and went to look. Still, it’s one of the basic axioms of the Druid teachings that undergird these posts that people know more than they think they know, and a gut-level sense of the cascade of changes that would be kickstarted by wild buffalo may be helping drive their opposition.

That said, there’s a further dimension. It’s not just in an ecological sense that a land with wild buffalo herds upon it is not a domesticated land. To the descendants of the pioneers, the prairie, the buffalo, and the Indian are what their ancestors came West to destroy. Behind that identification lies the whole weight of the mythology of progress, the conviction that it’s the destiny of the West to be transformed from wilderness to civilization. The return of wild buffalo is unthinkable from within the pioneer worldview, because it means that “the winning of the West” was not a permanent triumph but a temporary condition, which may yet be followed in due time by the losing of the West.

Of course there were already good reasons to think along those unthinkable lines, long before the Native tribes started drafting their treaty.  The economics of dryland farming on the Great Plains never really made that much sense. Homestead acts and other government subsidies in the 19th century, and the economic impacts of two world wars in the 20th, made farming the Plains look viable, in much the same way that huge government subsidies make nuclear power look viable today. In either case, take away the subsidies and you’ve got an arrangement without a future. That’s the subtext behind the vacant and half-vacant towns you’ll find all over the West these days. That the fields and farms and towns may be replaced in turn by prairie grazed by herds of wild buffalo is unthinkable from within the pioneer worldview, too—but across the West, the unthinkable is increasingly the inescapable.

Equally, it’s unthinkable to most people in the industrial world today that a global pandemic could brush aside the world’s terminally underfunded public health systems and snuff out millions or billions of lives in a few years. It’s just as unthinkable to most people in the industrial world that the increasingly frantic efforts of wealthy elites to prop up the global economy and get it to start generating prosperity again will fail, plunging the world into irrevocable economic contraction. It’s among the articles of faith of the industrial world that the future must lead onward and upward, that the sort of crackpot optimism that draws big crowds at TED Talks counts as realistic thinking about the future, and that the limits to growth can’t possibly get in the way of our craving for limitlessness. Here again, though, the unthinkable is becoming the inescapable.

In each of these cases, and many others, the unthinkable can be described neatly as the possibility that a set of changes that we happen to have decked out with the sanctified label of “progress” might turn out instead to be a temporary and reversible condition. The agricultural settlement of the Great Plains, the relatively brief period when humanity was not troubled by lethal pandemics, and the creation of a global economy powered by extravagant burning of fossil fuels were all supposed to be permanent changes, signs of progress and Man’s Conquest of Nature. No one seriously contemplated the chance that each of those changes would turn out to be transient, that they would shift into reverse under the pressure of their own unintended consequences, and that the final state of each whole system would have more in common with its original condition than with the state it briefly attained in between.

There are plenty of ways to talk about the implications of that great reversal, but the one that speaks to me now comes from the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, whose nature books were a fixture of my childhood and who would probably be the patron saint of this blog if Druidry had patron saints. He spent the whole of his adult career as naturalist, artist, writer, storyteller, and founder of a youth organization—Woodcraft, which taught wilderness lore, practical skills, and democratic self-government to boys and girls alike, and might be well worth reviving now—fighting for a world in which there would still be a place for wild buffalo roaming the prairies: fought, and lost. (It would be one of his qualifications for Druid sainthood that he knew he would lose, and kept fighting anyway. The English warriors at the battle of Maldon spoke that same language: “Will shall be sterner, heart the stronger, mood shall be more as our might falters.”)

He had no shortage of sound rational reasons for his lifelong struggle, but now and again, in his writings or when talking around the campfire, he would set those aside and talk about deeper issues. He spoke of the “Buffalo Wind,” the wind off the open prairies that tingles with life and wonder, calling humanity back to its roots in the natural order, back to harmony with the living world: not rejecting the distinctive human gifts of culture and knowledge, but holding them in balance with the biological realities of our existence and the needs of the biosphere. I’ve felt that wind; so, I think, have most Druids, and so have plenty of other people who couldn’t tell a Druid from a dormouse but who feel in their bones that industrial humanity’s attempted war against nature is as senseless as a plant trying to gain its freedom by pulling itself up by the roots.

One of the crucial lessons of the Buffalo Wind, though, is that it’s not always gentle. It can also rise to a shrieking gale, tear the roofs off houses, and leave carnage in its wake. We can embrace the lessons that the natural world is patiently and pitilessly teaching us, in other words, or we can close our eyes and stop our ears until sheer pain forces the lessons through our barriers, but one way or another, we’re going to learn those lessons. It’s possible, given massively funded interventions and a good helping of plain dumb luck, that the current Ebola epidemic might be stopped before it spreads around the world. It’s possible that the global economy might keep staggering onward for another season, and that wild buffalo might be kept from roaming the Great Plains for a while yet. Those are details; the underlying issue—the inescapable collision between the futile fantasy of limitless economic expansion on a finite planet and the hard realities of ecology, geology, and thermodynamics—is not going away.

The details also matter, though; in a very old way of speaking, the current shudderings of the economy, the imminent risk of pandemic, and the distant sound of buffalo bellowing in the Montana wind are omens. The Buffalo Wind is rising now, keening in the tall grass, whispering in the branches and setting fallen leaves aswirl. I could be mistaken, but I think that not too far in the future it will become a storm that will shake the industrial world right down to its foundations.

TDG ~ Telling the Bees

When David’s sister sent me this story yesterday, I immediately felt called to share it here. I was running out the door to give a presentation, though, so I made a mental note to post for later. While waiting on the porch for my ride, two notifications came through from a blog called “The Bees Knees,” linking to two pages on my own blog. Not only did “The Bees Knees” seem like a message, but the post itself was unusual even for that blogger: “I normally read Tyberonn’s posts on Spirit Library, but this is a link to Laura Bruno’s Blog (27 October article) that has this wonderful affirmation.”

OK, bees, you’ve got my attention, and I am now keeping my word by sharing the article and link back to the original. Formatting also appears as it does on the original post.

Telling the Bees
posted by Shadows

Bees figure largely in folklore although these days people are mostly uninterested in the old stories of how bees are an important part of our society.
The Egyptian Sun God Ra was supposed to create bees and humans from his tears.
In the Scottish Highlands you could go and ask the bees what the Druids knew because the bees knew everything.
Country folk had a deep respect for bees, recognising that without them there would be no life as no flower would be pollinated to create seed for life to continue.
The respect for bees continued for thousands of years, and as recently as the death of George V1 of England it was reported that beekeepers went, scarf on head for respect to inform the bees of his death.
Because Telling the Bees was the most important act of all.

I started keeping bees about 25 years ago and knew nothing about it, but that didn’t halt my enthusiasm.
Shortly thereafter I read in an old folklore book about Telling the Bees.This means that you must tell the bees the significant events, births deaths and marriages that occur within the family or suffer a consequence when the bees become hurt by neglect.
I didn’t take it seriously, but remember very well when on returning from my mother’s funeral I found my bees had swarmed and the hives were empty.

A friend gave me more bees,( You must not buy them according to folklore),and I set up the hives again, and this time the father of another friend came to rob the hives for me.
We continued this practice for some years because he had excellent equipment for robbing the hives and we traded wax and honey and queens with each other.
Then he became ill and over a period of a few months his health deteriorated and he died.I was very shocked at his death and busied myself with my friend preparing for his funeral.
A day after the funeral I found my hives empty again, the bees had swarmed.

The husband of another friend came to help and he became my bee-partner for a couple of years and then died suddenly in his sleep.
I had now read that as well as informing bees of deaths and births in the family, the beekeeper was also very important to them and they would be devastated if they did not hear of his death.
I decided I would tell them but time got away from me and a couple of days after the funeral I found all my bees in a swarm on the fence post.I lost them.

By now I was convinced that there there is a definite connection between everything that is alive on this earth and we must treat the bees with the respect they deserve as the bringers of life.

But what happened next convinced me like nothing else ever could.
A dear friend lost her 3yr old son very suddenly from a deadly virus and the family was distraught, specially the 5yr old sister of the little boy.
It was a tragic funeral with people weeping and the coffin covered with flowers,the family of the child stunned with grief.

Suddenly as the service was coming to an end a bee flew into the church.It flew to the coffin placed in full view of the mourners in the church.
For a couple of minutes it buzzed around the flowers, and the mourners, one by one, focused their attention on it.
Everyone watched as the bee made larger circles and then slowly, very slowly, flew over to the bereaved family.
It circled the heads of the three family members and hovered for a couple of seconds over the young girl’s head.
She looked up at it unafraid and it flew to about a foot beyond her face and hovered again.
She watched it happen as if hypnotised.The bee then flew out of the church.

Some cultures in olden days said that bees were a young person’s soul and they flew from the mouth of the deceased upon his death.
All cultures treated them with respect and awe and in some cases worshipped them.
I know I love bees and miss them now I no longer live in the country.

One wonders though what JK Rowling was thinking when she named the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Dumbledore.
Dumbledore is an old English name for a bee.

Happy Imbolc, Candlemas and Groundhog Day

Don’t you just love how all the holidays overlap? Hmmmm, whatever can it mean? That we are all, somehow much more in tune with each other than most people realize? Despite all the different religions and philosophies, as Joni Mitchell says, “We are stardust, we are golden …” and, as Robert Blum reminds us in “The Healing Runes,” “…what is eternal cannot be separated from its Source.” Blum’s are not the most accurate books I’ve found on Runes, but he sure got that right! I love linking these two ideas together, as in this 2010 painting I did in Hyde Park:

We are stardust

The time period between February 1-3 marks various religious and secular holidays, including the pagan Imbolc, Christian Candlemas, and, perhaps the most famous in the US anyway: Groundhog’s Day. This year’s Imbolc actually falls on February 3, but most people started celebrating on the first. Imbolc is a cross-quarter day between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, celebrating the Ascent of Spring from the days of darkness. As such, Imbolc asks us to consider leaving behind what no longer serves us. Sacred to the goddess Brigid/Brigit/Bridhe (pronounced Breed), this holiday can also emphasize her three attributes: healing, craft and inspiration. (Druid Magic, p. 99) It’s a wonderful time to bless your home, ponder core issues, and ask for the Divine Feminine energies to aid your quest.

Synchronously, when I drew four Wildwood Tarot cards yesterday, I found that two out of the four directly mentioned Imbolc: The Pole Star and The King of Arrows (Kingfisher).

The Pole Star (#17 from the Wildwood Tarot)

The Pole Star (#17 from the Wildwood Tarot)

Wildwood’s Pole Star description, meaning and reading points share some lovely little tidbits about this time period:

“The Pole Star is placed at Imbolc, on 1 February. It is associated with the new moon and universal lore and stands between the elements of Earth and Air.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70

“The blessing of the Pole Star radiates to the Earth across the abyss and reminds us that the same stuff of creation that duels and binds these mighty sentinels of the night sky burns within us. Latest research shows that stars are initially formed as a sphere within a ring or circle of matter, echoing the cup and ring symbols found carved on the stones of prehistory that may represent the seed of manifestation and the source of creation itself. The blessing of the stellar world bathes the Earth and the human spirit with healing and regenerative energy.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70

“The Pole Star symbolizes universal law, higher spiritual knowledge and power. … Mythical stories of great hunters and slain warriors honoured by the gods and placed forever in the night sky were handed down through time and developed into ancient religious practices.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 70-71

“The power of universal lore is at work here, either within the individual or permeating a web of circumstance that will bring profound change and new spiritual hope. … Whenever you are feeling lost in the dark labyrinth of life, remember that the same laws and primal matter that bind the Pole Star and fuel its giant heart also formed you.” The Wildwood Tarot, p. 71

I’ve been in Wildwood, Tolkien, portal painting, elf and faery mode lately, so I loved all the integrated references to stars and humans. One of my favorite “faery messages” from my Faery Wicca tarot deck is “We come from the stars, we come from the stars, shining down on the Earth.” I think it’s from the Three of Domhain (pronounced Dow-en), which corresponds to the traditional Three of Pentacles card. The Wildwood’s Pole Star is the traditional Star card, and the King of Arrows/Kingfisher=The King of Swords. This card, too, mentions Imbolc, as its position on the Wheel is “Departing Imbolc towards Spring Equinox.” “Reading points: You may need to exercise judgement, power, force of will. The king is impartial and helps you to see clearly what you no longer need to hold onto. Use your strength to cut yourself free of what weighs you down.” (The Wildwood Tarot, p. 81)

So here we have Imbolc, emphasizing inner knowing of what to claim and what to leave behind. How do these ideas relate to Candlemas and Groundhog’s Day? I awoke this morning with one of those aha moments about a Hollywood film. Another favorite line that jumped out at me from a random YouTube video, btw, is: “Hollywood is a wand. They cast spells with it.” Why, yes, they do, sometimes to viewers’ detriment and sometimes in ways that heal. When I awoke this morning, it occurred to me that the movie “Groundhog Day,” in which the jerky newscaster gets caught in a time loop on February 2 in Punxatawney, PA until he becomes a nice guy, could actually be better understood as an Imbolc spell. As Wikipedia puts it, “[Bill] Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxutawney, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and numerous suicide attempts, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.” Interestingly, Wikipedia also notes, “In 2006, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.'” On the magickal level, the circle casts itself around Phil Connors, and the circle (of time) won’t break until the letting go, healing and renewal are complete.

In American tradition, if the groundhog, Punxatawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2, then we can expect six more weeks of winter. I find even that tradition ripe with symbolism! What happens when we catch a glimpse of our own Shadow? For most people, seeing our Dark Side, also known as those parts of ourselves we have not yet integrated, initially sends us away from the Light. We don’t want everyone staring at us when we feel vulnerable, but it takes a certain amount of Light even to reveal a Shadow. Just as a sunny day on February 2 can mean “six more weeks of winter,” so viewing the increasing Light in our world and in ourselves can reveal some scary truths. We can run back into our holes, but eventually Spring will come. Warmth, growth and comfort will return, and just like Punxatawney Phil, we can grow brave enough to participate.

Candlemas also reflects upon darkness and Light, using candles during mass to symbolize the returning of the Light. Traditionally, Candlemas honors three occasions: “the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and it celebrates the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches).” The emphasis on purification, dedication and Light connects Candlemas to the pagan and secular celebrations at this time of year. According to Maya Sutton and Nicholas Mann in their book, Druid Magic, there’s a connection between Mother Mary and the goddess Brigit: “Our sources mention Brigit in the same breath as Danu, first Mother of All, and so she takes on the attribute of Mother. This thread linking thousands of years serves to exalt Brigit to the greatest position of any Celtic goddess. So great was her influence and revered status that the Christians could not displace her with Christ or Mary. Consequently, the Irish Catholics again gave her the position of Mother,t his time as foster Mother to Jesus and relative-friend to Mary. According to legend, St. Brigit was born of a Druid father in 453.” (Druid Magic, p. 97)

We also see Brigit/Bridhe/Brigid connected to the later Christian tradition via the cross. Pictured below is one of the handcrafted crosses by Colette of the mystical permaculture holding, Bealtaine Cottage Blog:

Brigid's Cross from

Brigid’s Cross from

Colette shares a lovely tribute to Brigid and her relationship to the rising Collective Consciousness of Hope. Filled with gorgeous photos and quiet strength, her post is definitely worth a click and read. However you choose to honor this weekend, I wish you:

Healing, protection, love and the warmth of a heart(h) fire.
May you leave behind you that which no longer serves.
May you face your Shadow and shine like the star you are!
And may you, too, find heartfelt blessings everywhere you turn.

Happy Imbolc and Blessed Be!