Druid Heart: Honouring the Land

Living life from a priest of nature'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, Witch and Animist who honours the natural world around her and seeks to live with awareness and compassion. She has released seven books, including the best-selling The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid.
www.joannavanderhoeven.com
https://twitter.com/JoannavanderH
Lughnasadh and the State of Grace

Lughnasadh is upon us, and the farmers are anxiously looking to the skies for a few clear hours when they can harvest their crops of wheat in my area. It has been a hot, dry summer, and of course, just when the harvest is due to come in we get changeable weather with rain showers every day; not ideal when you need to gather in a crop like wheat totally dry, or else it will rot. So just like our ancestors, we look up and hope and pray for some dry weather, and for the farmers, that they’ve rented the combine harvesters on the best day for it, and not when it's going to dump it down halfway through their work.  

Things are unpredictable in life. It's just something that we have to accept. With a little grace, we can face the problems and triumphs, the highs and the lows with equanimity. Grace is a word that is little used today, but one which I think is important, and one that I've been trying to live each and every day.

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Rescuing the Druid

We all have our ups and downs in life, and these can certainly vary dependent upon many factors: genetics, environment, disposition, culture, upbringing and more. The Druid faces the same challenges as many others do in their journey through life; being a Druid is no different in what the world throws at you.

What is different is how you deal with what comes your way. That doesn't mean as a Druid you won't suffer from depression, or heartbreak, grief or anxiety. But the methods that we use to face these challenges helps us to understand ourselves, and each other, a little better, and learn where we fit in the holistic scheme of things.

I've faced many challenges in my life, and still continue to do so on a daily basis. One challenge that I faced over this winter was my love and enthusiasm for dance had gone. For the last six months, I was seriously considering quitting dancing altogether. For over a year the question of my love for it had been rolling around in my brain. Over the winter holiday period, I was this close to giving it up completely. In fact, I had made up my mind that upon my return to England, I would inform my dance class.

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Bullies and Re-membering

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    I pray for it and work toward it by being as kind as I know how to be--with discernment always as I am sure you do as well. My nex
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Bullying was very common in my grade school and I was the butt of much of it as I grew up. It did make me a very strong individual
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    It can make some people stronger, and it can utterly break others, like you said. We just need a little more kindness in this worl
  • Kim Campbell
    Kim Campbell says #
    I was bullied in 7th grade. It was so difficult to be ostracized by my peers based on the rumor of a "friend". It breaks my heart
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Technology can certainly be abused, no doubt about it. I think we have to look at healing the human spirit, so that it breaks the
Re-weaving the Connection Every Day

A large part of the work at Druid College is teaching our apprentices how to re-weave the connection to the land each and every day. We cover a wide-range of topics in doing so, from conscious consumerism,  political and environmental activism, daily and seasonal ritual celebrations and more. Our focus from our last weekend was on daily connection, how we can bring everyday actions into our practice, to make the mundane sacred; indeed, to highlight the fact that there is no such thing as the mundane. It's only in our perception.

Part of the homework given was to write an essay on how the apprentice can re-weave the connection every day. I thought I would share what I do with them, and you, in the hopes that it may inspire you on your path.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Yes indeed!
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Nice reminders of how to keep the day sacred--I think we can also turn this to the land, holding the prayer, as we pass by in a a

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Revenge of the Druids

Treat others as you would like to be treated. Such a simple phrase, yet so hard to comply with when we've been hurt or wounded in any way. Our first reaction is to hurt back, to wound in return. Yet is this how we would like to be treated? What if the person who hurt you didn't even know that they had? What if it was completely intentional? Is it then justifiable to perpetuate the cycle of hurt? How do we, as Druids, work with anger and wounding in today's society? How do we work with honour?

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Intentional action, as opposed to reaction
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is so well written, Joanna. I have a similar approach to responding to personal injustice; I ask myself, "What is the right

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Songs of Imbolc

Imbolc approaches on silent, padded footsteps. A time of quiet rejoicing, where here in the UK the festival and time signifies the start of Spring. Though for many in North America, the equinox is when the celebrations for Spring begin, here in the warmer climes of these isles hugged by the gulf stream we already begin to see the changing of the seasons reflected in the green and growing things, as well as the birthing of new lambs.  Just today, as I went outside to meditate, the songs of the birds had changed, and the robin and blackbird were singing their first songs of courtship, even as the blue tits chirped their appreciation of the sunlight. The slender green shoots of crocuses are beginning to appear, alongside a wash of green from the grape hyacinth shoots. Living so close to the sea, our south-facing garden is always ahead of the season it seems, and at this time of year, it's most welcome.

It's been a difficult winter for many, and the signs for the future can seem bleak. But as followers of an earth-based tradition, we know that we can look to nature for guidance, for inspiration, for sanctuary and for blessing. Our relationship with the land, sea and sky helps us through the darkest of times, with the gods and ancestors breathing their ancient breath into our bodies, inspiring us to carry on, to create change, to go with the flow. Nothing is permanent.

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