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I’m officially moved out of my apartment in Houston. On the way home I stopped by Armand Bayou to say goodbye. I have a ton of memories at this park, and it’s been my home and my landbase for 15 years. And so I say goodbye, and move on to newer and different things. Here’s a few pictures from this morning – it’s gorgeous early summer here on the Bayou.

We made it to Denton! Lots more to do, but I’m starting to settle in. With COVID closures, it’s been hard to do much exploring, but I’m trying to stay in good spirits. I do feel very displaced, but all will be well in time.

I don’t have a desk or computer access right now, but that should change within the week. Until then, I’m saying my daily prayers and living out of boxes, and slowly getting used to a whole new life.

Charlie says this outside door is pretty great!

Initiate Liturgy 1

This course will prepare the student for part of the Initiatory Tests by informing how they perform ritual and why.

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Just a brief post to check in. Some major new developments have happened in the last two weeks (alongside the entire world going to hell in a handbasket), and I think you’ll start to see more and different flavor of posts here as I get going.

First – I got laid off last week. There’s a possibility that I’ll get rehired in August, but I’m proceeding as though that won’t happen. I’ve got my resume up and running, and I’m pretty happy with it, but obviously the job market is… not great right now.

As a result, I’m moving immediately, as soon as I can get packed and get up to North Texas, instead of waiting until my lease expires in mid-May. Not having a job, I’ve got plenty of time to pack, but even that has left me with more loose time than I’d like.

I’ve gotten in contact with Blackland Prairie Grove – the ADF grove that meets in Arlington. They’ll be about a 60-75 minute drive from where I’ll be living, unfortunately, but I’ll hopefully get to see them on occasion. Obviously, my job when I meet them is to learn the way they do things, but I’ve offered the use of some of my live-meet technology expertise as they start planning a Beltane ritual.

That’s all mostly mechanical though – on a spiritual front, I’ve been called to do deeper work, and that deeper work needs to be something structured. As such, I’ve spoken with the ADF Initiate’s Preceptor, Rev. Jan Avende (who some of you will know is also the priest who ordained me), and re-upped my study program membership with ADF’s Initiates Program.

A lot of the coursework is duplicated with my clergy training work, but all of the Initiate coursework has practicum elements that I’ll be doing. I’ll be starting ASAP with Initiate Liturgy 1, which my longtime readers will know harkens back to Liturgy 1 that I fulfilled for the Clergy Prelim program in 2014.

I’m intentionally going into these with fresh eyes though – with the focus on becoming an initiate – a spirit worker, a resource, a magical practitioner. I’ve done the work with the focus on being a clergy person, and I think I’ve proven in the last few years that I’m capable of that. So even though there’s a good bit of overlap, I’ll definitely be refreshing all the work, and you’ll start seeing study program courses posted here as I pass them.

I’m really excited about this. I like achieving things – I especially like working on my spiritual pursuits. I like digging my claws into the nuts and bolts of what makes magic and trance work, and this kind of work will absolutely enhance the work I do in ADF, in the wider pagan community, and as a Senior Initiate in the Henge of the Cobbled Path.

So wish me luck! There’s lots of good that could come out of this, so let’s hope it ends with less heartache than it is beginning with.

People as Things

“…And that’s what your holy men discuss, is it?” [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
“Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example.” [answered Mightily Oats.]
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?”
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
“Nope.”
“Pardon?”
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that–”
“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes–”
“But they starts with thinking about people as things…”
–from Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.

On Being a Cog

I love this – especially the idea that while you may not be able to change the verbs in your life, you can change the adverbs. Great read for our troubled times.

Rooted Flame and a Deep Wellspring

Often we look at what is going on around us and we get overwhelmed at these huge systems that need so much fixing. We tend to take a stance in our language as though they are broken machines on a table in front of us needing to be fixed, or else these engulfing mechanisms in which we are trapped, whirring to some other purpose than our own. These two perspectives often feed each other. We look at them as though we are outside them, then we carry that sense of disempowerment back into them and get caught up in the narrative of being a cog in the machine (or whatever story most speaks to us in that context).

But we ARE embedded in them, not as mechanical parts but as persons with agency in relationship with other persons with agency*. So instead, let’s change the language and thus the story…

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I’ve done some updates to the site, including grabbing a domain for it. (You can now access my site at prairiedruid.com) Since I’m getting ready to move, there will be a good bit here about me changing my practice with the land, and saying goodbye to Houston and the Bayou Woman and the places I’ve spent the last 15+ years getting to know.

I’m excited about this new venture in my life, but will be sad to see my work with the waterways change and go away. There IS water in North Texas, but it’s mostly in creeks and lakes – it’s not the perpetually ebbing and flowing waters for the bayous. It will be a whole new landbase for me to learn and get to know, and that is both exciting and daunting.

I’ve lived in North Texas before (I moved to the DFW area when I was 12, and lived there until I moved to college in Waco at 18), but I wasn’t pagan then, so it’ll be a renewal of things and something that I’ll get to explore.

I won’t be leaving my druid practice behind – but I’m absolutely adding “witch” and “polytheist” to the list of things that will get talked about on this site. Because I am those things as well, and my practice will be expanding as I have more space from not being a full-time grove leader anymore. I will miss Nine Waves – I’ve spent every Friday night (almost) of the last seven years preparing and leading that group. But I am also looking forward to a break.

One thing I’m considering is doing some teaching via Zoom conferences – these will be seminars based on things I’ve done in ADF and beyond, and would be open to anyone who wants to join. (I might offer a donation basket, but at this time do not intend to charge for basic stuff. I reserve the right to change my mind about that.)

It’s an exciting time for me, and also one of very mixed emotions. But the renewal of my practice has already begun, and that is something I am very much relieved and refreshed by.

This is beautiful, powerful – it resonates like fire and flood, like wind and darkness.

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This is a prayer for Imbolc.

This is a prayer for when roads flood.

This is a prayer for the lingering dark.

This is a prayer for resistance.

We spark the fires to beg the light to return, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We fire up the forge to bend hard metal to our will, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year that it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.  We write the poem to express what’s inside, but we never really know if it will work.  The road may flood; this could be the year it all falls apart.  The February rains may be too much.

Imbolc is a chance…

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Endings and Beginnings

I started this blog back in 2012, and I really didn’t know where it was going to take me. I was newly started on the path of an ADF druid, and wanted to chronicle a year of study. It’s turned into much more than that over the last eight years, and there’s a wealth of information here that I hope I will always have access to. It’s humbling to go back to your beginnings, especially once you’re in a more established practice, with a lot of learning under your belt.

That said, my time as the Druid in the Swamp is coming to a close. I am moving about 300 miles north in May, to a small city in “North Texas” (not really Dallas Ft Worth but sort of). I will no longer live in the swamp – I will be living in the biome known as blackland prairie.

Nine Waves Grove is also coming to an end with my leaving. We do not have the requisite number of people to maintain our 501(c)3 status with the government or with ADF (though our rituals are very well attended). So at the end of April, Nine Waves will close its doors, something I consider a roaring success.

What is to become of my personal path though? I am still a druid – but druidry and priesthood are different things to different people, and I’m growing and changing as I contemplate moving somewhere that I will be a participant and co-religionist rather than “Senior Druid” or even “Grove Priest”.

I won’t be deleting this blog, certainly, but I might be creating a new one. It seems silly to continue to identify as the Druid in the Swamp when I’ll be doing druidry and witchcraft and polytheism differently, and when I won’t live in the swamp anymore.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts on this process might be. Should I rename the blog? Keep it and archive it with a farewell to this chapter in my life and start something new? I don’t have much of a readership, so it’s not like I’ll lose people, and I can always put a link to the new blog here if that’s what I decide to do.

Shoot me your comments – I’m really at a loss for how to handle this.

A Blessing for Baking Bread

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Blessed are you, Earthmother, for the grains which we have harvested from your abundance.
Blessed are you, Earthmother, for the yeasts which grow upon your feet and in your breath, that our bread may rise.
Blessed are you, Earthmother, for the clean waters which flow across your skin.
Blessed are you, Earthmother, for the salt of your tears and your tides, which enriches and seasons our lives.