Druid Heart: Living a Druid Life

Living life from a Druid's perspective

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Joanna van der Hoeven

Joanna van der Hoeven

Author, poet, singer, dancer, blogger and activist, Joanna van der Hoeven (Autumn Song) is a Druid and Animist who honours the natural world around her and seeks to live with awareness and compassion. She has released five books, including Zen Druidry, Dancing With Nemetona and her latest - The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid.
www.joannavanderhoeven.com
https://twitter.com/JoannavanderH

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The Uncomfortable Zone

Pushing out of your comfort zones, getting out of your depth, might just be the best thing for you to evolve creatively, mentally, physically and more. This is the time of year when New Year's resolutions are put to the test, and they either triumph or fail spectacularly over the next few weeks. Many, many people no longer even bother, but I say what the hell, go for it, at least try. Trying to change one's own behaviour is singularly the most difficult thing a person can try to do, as we human beings are such habitual creatures and are able to use our reasoning minds to justify just about any decision we make. We are masters of delusion and illusion, but we are also able to break through those barriers to create wonderful masterpieces of artwork, of living life well, perpetuating creativity to its full potential.

When I'm working and I'm feeling safe, comfortable, secure, then for the most part I am not doing my best work. Only when I'm trying something new, or pushing myself to explore something deeper, not running over the same material again and again does something remarkable happen.  That something is either a wonderful achievement or a brilliant failure, but either way it wasn't boring. When I wrote my first book and had it published (a medieval fantasy called Falconwing, now out of print but may be coming back in the near future) I simply gave it my all. I had been working on it since I was fifteen years old, and it was only published in my 30's.  I then tried my hand at non-fiction with Zen Druidry, and then began a triplet of introductory books for the Moon Books Pagan Portals Series, with The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid  still an Amazon No.1 Bestseller in the category of Druidism well after a year from its release date in 2014. 

I enjoyed dance, and one day thought I'd give belly dancing a go. I had a talent for it, and after five years decided to try my hand at teaching it and coming up with my own dance company. I didn't know anything about having a business, but I gave it a go with all that I had. It turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done, and I have met some of the most wonderful people who have become lifelong friends.

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Druidry as a religion and spirituality for modern life.

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Darkness and the Winter Solstice

The solstice season is upon us, and it’s only a couple of weeks before the longest night of the year here in the northern hemisphere. It’s a season of darkness and cold, where we are given the opportunity to find the gifts that darkness brings. It can be hard, when the rest of the world seems to be doing their best to stave off their fear with bright lights, noise and extended shopping hours, but if we are able to push beyond that we can see the sacredness of this holy time, and the exquisite power that it brings.

I am mostly a diurnal creature myself. I prefer to go to bed early and rise early, rather than staying up late. However, at this time of year the darkness catches up with me, and by 4pm it is pitch black out there. My usual sunshine nature turns inwards, and time for reflection and contemplation kick in. But that is not all there is to the darkness that pervades my life at this time of year.  The sweet relief of darkness beckons me to release into its embrace, when edges are abandoned and we are allowed to float free in space and time.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • John Reder
    John Reder says #
    What “impressed” me with what (or how) Joanna wrote is that it triggered the memory of the original Fleetwood Macs song “Bare Tres
  • steven rice
    steven rice says #
    Love it. For many years I was a second shift worker and the shift usually lasted to the early morning hours. Many times I would a
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hello Steven, Oh, how I miss the snow! Living on the edge of the North Sea, the water keeps the temperature too high for snow most

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Relationship

Druidry is all about relationship, and you cannot have relationship without some form of communication. It may not always be in words, human to human, but opening those lines of communication helps us to perceive that the world is more than just our own sense of self. When we begin to see that there are other perspectives, other points of view we also come to an awareness that the world is being experienced by each being individually, in a collective state of unity dictated by space and time.

Events around the world this year have shone a spotlight on discordance, in human to human relationship, and in human to other-than-human relationships. Violent attacks, disregard for the environment, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and more can be attributed to an "Us" and "Them" mentality. When we remove this dualist point of view, and encompass a more holistic approach, we see that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. In Buddhism, it is acknowledged that suffering exists in the world, and that this suffering is caused by the illusion of separation. If we look deeply enough scientifically, anthropologically, and even spiritually we can see that there is more that binds us together than tears us apart.

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Druid Priest: Behind the Robes

Coming onto this website, ready to copy and paste my words into a new blog for my channel, I see that fellow Druid priest Cat Treadwell has done something similar!  Brilliant post Cat! Thinking alike and all that...   At any rate, here I offer my words on working as a Druid priest. 

Most people see the outer face of the public Druid priest, working for her community. But what is it like behind the robes, so to speak?

 

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  • John Reder
    John Reder says #
    What is it about humans that we have to dress up? I have always wondered when we stopped choosing our clothing for practicality a
Riding the tides of Samhain (No sh*t, no flowers)

 

"I can make whatever choices I want in my life, and I will live with the consequences of those choices. But if I want to live a life close to my deepest desires, I have to risk knowing who I really am and have always been. Knowing this, then I can choose."

 Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation

  

We live in a culture and a world of avoidance.  Television, social media, alcohol and drugs are just a few escape routes we have to avoid truly knowing who we really are.  At this time of year, when Samhain is fast approaching we cannot avoid the very real fact that we will die, that death is unavoidable, though we may try.  Looking at death straight in the eye can reveal some very hard truths about ourselves, about how we live in the world, and what our responsibility and duty is to the ancestors, not only ancestors of the past but perhaps more importantly, ancestors of the future.  

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Anges - I understand your perspective, and find it fascinating - though it vastly differs from mine. I don't believe in a Crea
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    Not true, we do not have to die. We have created a death hormone over the eons. We can bust that death hormone. I know because abo
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    I see death as I see birth - it's an event that happens in our lives, but it is not a start nor an ending to life. Death is not th
  • Agnes Toews-Andrews
    Agnes Toews-Andrews says #
    This Metaphysician feels you are not understanding immortality, of course the soul--that part of us that is a God spark, lives on
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Hi Ted! Yes, at this time of year I go over my Will, closets, mind and attachments, etc and have a really good clean out. It's be

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The Soul Behind the Soul

Hildegard von Bingen wrote: “The soul is not in the body; the body is in the soul.” (Vol XXII, No. 5). This is a concept that I’ve been thinking about all week, and how we have tried to place unnatural limitations upon the body and soul based on our dualistic way of thinking.  I suppose a true Zen answer would be the body is the soul and the soul is the body, but right now I’m enjoying thinking that the soul contains the body. Next week I’ll probably veer off into a more Zennist approach.

For this to happen, the soul must accept the body, not the other way around. As I’m not entirely certain that there is even such as thing as an individual soul, it’s an interesting concept.  What if the “life force” on this little ball of rock hurtling through space is all soul, all an expression of soul?  What if everything is an expression of the Earth’s soul, or the soul of the universe?

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  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Lovely reflections. Thanks!
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    You're most welcom, Molly!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I really love this conversation, Joanna. I've been recently speculating that each planet's level of vibrational consciousness all
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    I know - it blows my mind each and every day. Perception is such a strange beast Why can't you trust an atom? Because they m

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