Tiny flowers know
that hope blooms eternal
pushing the way
through cracked stone
rebirthing the Earth
What is a seed
but a miracle
right in front of me
What am I
but a miracle
to be seeing this right now…
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A blush of green begins
Delicate lace of wild plums
Graces gray forestscapes
Heartbeat in the forest sings
The passion of life untapped.
The soul of the world
is speaking the language of spring.
During the drought we experienced in Missouri around three years ago, a lot of the trees in our woods died. Some of them died that year, but we weren’t absolutely sure they were really gone until no new leaves grew the following year. Some of them died the following summer, probably due to having been weakened so much by the drought conditions that they couldn’t rebound. This past winter, for a variety of reasons, we decided to cut some of them down. It felt, and continues to feel, like a somewhat “selfish” decision to have cut them, like we should have just let the cycle of the forest continue its life and rhythm unimpeded by human interference. It was hard to evaluate the variables of good woodlot management, firewood procurement, and personal safety while also feeling like I was betraying my sacred spot in the woods, betraying the relationship I built there. I still don’t know whether we made the right choice. I do know that the landscape in the woods has changed now and it pains me to see what we have done.
Life has its up and downs, its moments of excitement and most importantly of all - change. Nothing in life is ever the same, and opportunities abound if we have the courage to take the steps down the path towards our goals. It is with this in mind that I am so excited to say that Druid College UK is born, and to share this wonderful news with all of you.
After months of planning and preparation with Kevin Emmons (otherwise known as Snowhawke) from our sister college in Maine USA, the Druid College is pleased to announce its opening, dedicated to Earth-centered spirituality, to the integrity of our natural home, and to the crafting of sacred relationship. In short, The Druid College devotes its presence—and it is its sole intent—to prepare priests of Nature.
Foundations for this life-long journey are established by a three-year, intensive study. Unlike contemporary universities, Druid studies are furthered not only by personal reflection but primarily by ongoing personal connection and spiritual guidance of (i.e., apprenticeship to) a Druid Priest. In the UK as of 2015, those people are Joanna van der Hoeven and Robin Herne.
Being a priest of nature does not mean being an intermediary, but instead living a life in service, crafting a sacred relationship with the land, the ancestors and the gods. It requires service to the community as well as the land, wherein the priest acts as guide, witness or celebrant to a journey or journeys of crafting sacred relationship.
There are many Druid Orders and other pagan and earth-based organizations that offer solid training within their respective traditions. The Druid College is for those who wish to journey further. We wish to work with those who want to be ‘carriers’ of Nature-based spirituality – as compared to ‘followers’. We saw a need for a programme for people who desire to go deeper, for those who wish to be in service, to fill the role of priest for their community and the land they dwell in.
Here’s a cool yule idea for you: get outside! Winter Solstice hikes are all the rage, and there are many to choose from; sponsored by area state parks, conservatories, and small businesses. Have your troop meet you at your destination site for the scheduled walk. Revel in the crisp winter air, and observe the magical changes Mother Nature has woven around you. I cannot stress this enough – layers, layers, layers. You can never have too many, and you can always wrap something around your waist, shoulders, or neck if you need to make a temperature adjustment. Don’t worry about hat hair. This really isn’t a time of year for the overly fashion-conscious. By partaking in this healthy ritual, you are embracing the colder season, not fighting it. Chances are good that you will also work up a deserved thirst and appetite.
If your band of merry travelers wish to continue celebrating with an after-party, invite them over to your place for hot cocoa, cider, and mulled wine. Keep it easy and informal. Have a cookie exchange, where people can bring over some of their excess baked treats to share. (There are always an excess of goodies in folks’ homes this time of year!) Be sure to supply plenty of candles on hand, so that everyone has one to light....
Greek Hymns Honoring the Divine Feminine
The Orphic Hymn to Nature brings to light the age-old Mother Goddess of many names, the supreme Creatress, “dancing with whirling noiseless feet” her eternal dance of life and growth. It’s hard to find a more telling description of the Divine Feminine’s immense powers in all of the Hellenic literature!
She waits beneath