February 5th, 2011
|03:24 pm - Trinities and Allies: Working Druidry Thoughts|
Over the past few years, I have noticed that even though my path is one of Druidry and nature worship, I tend to talk mostly about the Deities and the Ancestors; often, I speak less specifically and with less honor to the Spirits of Nature than I do to the other two Kindreds.
Druidry is founded on threes: trinities of place (land/sea/sky), trinities of cosmos (upper/mid/underworld), trinities of gates (fire/well/tree), trinities of functions (priest/warrior/producer), trinities of sacrifice (drowning/burning/strangling), and trinities of blessing (self/community/cosmos). We do so many things in three, but I know that I sometimes (and others as well) don't pay as much attention to the Spirits of Nature in the trinity of the Three Kindreds.
It's natural for folks to gravitate, I think, toward one primary, one secondary, and one tertiary relationship. I think, too, that it's perfectly okay to do that, in general. . . but I also think that when you notice it, it's time to start revising the way you approach the Spirits, as if you notice, then surely they notice.
I am primarily attracted to the deities: the shining gods and goddesses of order who keep the world moving are really the religious center of my work. The Ancestors and the Nature Spirits have always been important to my work (and I work with them daily), but when I began this practice, and for much of it, it has been the deities that I was primarily concerned with.
When we began the Clergy Order Work in 2006, we started working heavily with the Ancestors in the form of the Ancient Wise. Before this, I had often had trouble connecting with the Ancestors as a whole. Death itself is not something that I have ever been particularly familiar with, and so the relationships that resulted from work with "the Ancestors" was somewhat limited: I could say I had a relationship with my grandfather, but I could not say that I had any other particular Ancestors, mostly because my grandfather was the only person that I really had a relationship with prior to his death. Other people who had died were people I didn't feel I knew well, or did not have an interest in getting to know better.
What I experienced with the Ancient Wise was a category that I could finally relate to. Working with them was not awkward, because there was a "box" that they fit in: these were a specific group of individuals with whom I shared a connection, and they were clearly willing to teach me.
I began, then, to connect with them via trancework, which led to study, which led to forming a coherent picture of the "place souls go" for the first time in my life. Suddenly, I had a deeper understanding of death and what it meant, including its value to the cosmos (and, by extension, to each person). Additionally, understanding the process of "Ancestor-making" allowed me to understand my ancestors better, and to place them as part of the larger, proper-noun "Ancestors" that we call to in ritual.
So now, when I call out to the Ancestors in ritual, I call out in a unique way, drawing the Vision Work into my mind's eye, and allowing my breath to vocalize it. There is a connection that has formed, that was cursory at best before.
So now I turn my attention to the Spirits of Nature.
Ian and I have been having a wonderful discussion for the past few days about allies among the Nature Spirits, and I am excited to see where this will lead us (other ADF Priests will get a summary of this discussion soon on the Order list). Specifically, we have been talking about a class of Nature Spirits (or a "court," if you will) of somewhat celestial origin as potential allies, which the Ancient Wise might introduce us to formally. I am noticing, though, the same thing that happened with the Ancestors: the Spirits of Nature are beginning to fall into place, to be organized in my mind. Drawing on the work that we've been talking about, I foresee a deepening of experience with these Spirits as well, and already they are aligning themselves.
This excites me mostly because the Nature Spirit portion of our rites (particularly when I've been asked to do the invitation) has always been the least effective part of our rituals to me, due to this lack of connection. Heck, I talk about them so rarely that I don't even have a LiveJournal tag for "nature spirits" (well, starting with this entry, I do). As the connections build, I see them drawing in and improving, and I have a feeling that the next time I open my vision's voice in ritual to call to the Spirits of Nature, there will be new images that appear and draw up from the well of inspiration.
I've also given some thought to particular allies among the deities. I know that this will bring me full-circle, but some of those thoughts are frightening to me as well as exciting. I have recently been thinking about the gods of order and oaths, and the price of devotion to them. . . I would imagine a geis of truth placed upon their followers, and that is quite the sobering thought. While I don't think of myself as a person of great lies (well, perhaps a couple of stretched truths when I feel the need to improve a story), I, like everyone else, make use of the "little white lie" from time to time, generally without thinking of it. The idea of having anything other than the whole truth excised from my life is somewhat frightening.
But I am also excited by that notion.
So, I think about these allies, what they mean, how to be introduced, and what it will be like to work with them. Exciting and frightening: isn't that how all new relationships are to be?
Back to writing support materials for the ADF Clergy Training Program's Discipline 2 course. . .
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: refreshed
Current Music: "Summerzcool", -JB
I too have a harder time connecting to the Nature Spirits. I think of them as the "gods" of animism, which again, hard time connecting to those. I would love to hear more about your thoughts on them.
Sooner or later, for sure. The Discipline 2 work, we've decided, has to stay "private" until a person becomes clergy, but we've found it valuable to take some of the work we do and make it fully public, too (such as the Prayer to the Ancient Wise). Mostly, it's not so much that it's soopur-seekret-drooidee stuff, but it'll include some specific directions to our "astral congregating place" (which we commonly refer to as "the Mound"), so we don't want to spoil the work for the new Priest by giving them the script in advance.
I did tell Ian that we need Secret Decoder Rings, though. He told me we needed a code to decode first. I say, "Details, details."
So some of the work that is done on this front is likely to trickle out to the membership pretty soon, much as the Prayer to the Ancient Wise did shortly after it was written. . . and we'll encourage our First Circle graduates to take up the work with these "Celestial Spirits" (as I've been calling them most recently: we are quite likely to call them something else, I suspect), along with the rest of ADF.
I'm pretty excited about it, obviously. :) We'll see how it pans out.
That's neat, but I wasn't even thinking about the Clergy Order work or anything like that. I just think the ideas behind the Nature Spirits isn't really fleshed out. It feels like a "hey, we're a nature religion, let's worship nature" tacked on. I was actually thinking about this the other day, and lo and behold you post about it now.
It feels like a "hey, we're a nature religion, let's worship nature" tacked on.
I think that I sometimes get that feeling more about my own personal religion than about ADF's general religion: I've seen people who get a lot of "bang" out of the NS portion of our rites.
I hope that more people getting those personal experiences will help flesh us out as an organization with the NS getting more attention, though: I can see (and feel) that we lack some of that.
I also like that we can chat about what we think we're lacking and what we'd like to work on. . . and that it's okay :)
I find other terms such as Land Spirits, Worldly Spirits and Spirits of Place (that some groves use interchangeably help me see the "Nature Spirits" place in our cosmology. I look to how various Indo-European cultures viewed the spirits around them, be they of the home, barn, fields, boundaries, woods, marketplace, city etc. Roman religion is helpful for this but you can also find its survival in the Gaelic, Norse, Baltic and Slavic cultures. House hold and agricultural spirits most likely evolved out of the ancestral cult (as did some of our gods) and some may indeed think of these spirits as lesser gods. Our categories of the three Kindred are by no means cut and dry and "Nature Spirits" seem to include "everyone else" but I don't think it was a choice of hey "let's worship nature" except in so much as the wording being more appealing/familiar to neo-pagans.
|Date:||February 6th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)|| |
I agree that some people are more attuned to certain Kindreds. For me, I am more connected to the Gods and Nature Spirits. I have a harder time with the ancestors. I try to get outside a lot, garden, am an environmentalist... nature looms large in my life. I'm very much an animist.
So what do you think of my conception of the Nature Spirits as the "gods" of animism?
Ashley, this is exactly how I view them. I almost exclusively use the term "Noble Ones" in private ritual, because the idea of deifying the natural spirits around us is like deifying the humans. It just doesn't feel right to me. Yes, I agree that there is a lot to be gained from attuning oneself to the natural world around us, but I do not worship such things any more than I worship humans. In order for me to "pay due" to the spirits of the natural world, the "gods of animism" as you say, I have created (in my head, of course) a capitalized version of the beings of the Middle Realm. For example, there are cranes all over the world, but Crane is the Noble Spirit that embodies them. There are spiders and owls and wolves, but the Noble Ones behind their energies and instincts are Spider and Owl and Wolf. Plus, there are many more ethereal creatures that I just don't understand, The Sidhe, the Faeiries, etc. :P
It's been interesting for me to think of them in this way. Just as we are the children of the Mother, so are all spiders children of the Spider and etc. I have met whom I refer to as Wolf in a journey, though others have said he is my spirit guide. I have also met Crane. Either way, it is a very real and rewarding way to look at the spirits of the Middle Realm!'
Heh, thanks for reading that brain dump...
That's pretty similar to how I view them. Glad I'm not the only one :)
After all the reading I've been doing, I've concluded that the IE Gods are ultimately Gods of order, society, and civilization. While there is the occasional naturalistic God (Usas comes immediately to mind) most of them are Gods of human structure. Even Gods that i learned back in the day were "sun gods" turn out to be Gods of some human endeavor, like Apollo or Artemis.
Between that and my general love of Daniel Quinn (who advocates for animism, amongst other things), I make offerings to the Noble ones as benevolent beings beyond our order. Where Outdwellers are opposed to what we do, the Noble ones were here first and oversee the non-human world.
Ah, but Usas is a goddess of order :) Her appearance at the appointed place at the appointed time is what ensures that Surya will track through the heavens, and she also robs us of our life, even as she grants us a new day.
Ian has been calling the Noble Ones "The Never-Born," which is a term I am loving at the moment. It's excellent at capturing their character, I tend to think.
The arrangement of these beings into "courts" has also been a major topic of discussion. I am interested in how their organization and human organization mirror one another, with the Nature Spirits modeling "idealized" human organization in general.
Man, I'm really enjoying these thoughts :)
Ah, I didn't know that about Usas. I'm relatively unfamiliar with the Vedic Gods, and thought Usas = Dawn, period.
I have to admit that I have gained more insight, knowledge and overall spiritual growth from working with the Ancient Wise than from anything else, and this idea of working with a similar class of Nature Spirits definitely intrigues me.
I do have some Ancient Wise-related questions, but I haven't asked because I'm not sure I'm allowed to know any more than I do. I have been working with them since Raven and Carrion's consecrations at Summerlands a couple years ago.
I just cut a long post that I suddenly felt I needed to email to you. Don't know which you'll get first, but I'm going to gmail now.
|Date:||February 6th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)|| |
Of course with me it's nature spirits ancestors, the shining ones.
Maybe we can do my meditation from lastyears equinox that worked on connecting with natue at a druid moon or litergy? I did write to help some people......who were not there.... to connect with nature more..
After it warms we can also as a grove sit by the stream behind the uu and just observe..
I can see some grove outings coming up.
|Date:||February 7th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)|| |
Strange that it did nor say who I was....... it's Paul... or moonwolf1999 on lj.
Strange that it did nor say who I was....... it's Paul... or moonwolf1999 on lj.
|Date:||February 6th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)|| |
Since I've started working outdoors and all around the county, I've definitely felt more of an affinity for the Nature Spirits than I did before. Every day is like a new discovery, just yesterday before the ritual I saw three does and about twenty of what I'm pretty sure were wild turkeys of some sort, all in the same back yard. I've seriously been considering working this into some form of divinatory tool. So I'll certainly be interested in anything you develop here!
Well, we may not actually do it, but it's one of those triplicities we find in ancient druidry, so it bears mention :)