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 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.