Coincidence…

I’ve often said that I don’t really believe in coincidences any more. Here’s one example of why.

Today, while performing a Handfasting ritual, I called to the elements to set the space, as I always do. It was a sunny, calm day, but we were indoors due to the physical needs of those present.

Air made itself known by billowing the curtains on command (and cheekily blowing the skirt of my robe). Water likewise, by having the kitchen tap suddenly burst out some drips when called.

This may seem to be just my noticing because I was looking at that precise moment. Except that something like this happens at every single ritual I’ve ever done.

From rainbows appearing when the couple say their vows, to storms waiting until we’re done before letting rip (more than once).

And that’s before I even mention what happens when I call on ancestors or Gods by name.

Many years of such occurrences have taught me to keep both an open mind and open eyes. You call with true intent… you will get an answer.

Something to bear in mind next time you say ‘Oh Gods, help.’ 😉

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What Do You Do?

Today, I was in my little office. Some admin was done, a bit of cleaning, and then meeting a student to chat about Stuff.

One of the questions that was asked – and which is often asked of me – is what a Druid Priest actually does. And every time, I have to pause and think.

There wasn’t a moment when I suddenly looked around and realized ‘Wow, I’m a Priest!’ Rather, it was a process of doing the work and being called by that title, until I had to face up to the fact that I was Doing It.

I’ve written about it before in other places, and no doubt will do so again. But today, it got me thinking in a new way.

Yes, Priest-ing is looking after, guiding or otherwise holding space for folk. When working, I do that.

But as time has passed, and my health has created interesting new speed-bumps to life, I’m having to Priest to myself as well.

I’m very easily tired. I give my all, and it wears me out. I’m not going to stop doing that, by the way, so don’t ask! I willingly do what’s needed, saving some energy to get myself safely home, and then setting aside time to rest. But it’s the question of how best to recharge that’s been in my mind lately.

Doing things that I enjoy helps, certainly. Sometimes, distractions that make me laugh, such as comedy movies or television. Knitting, with its repetitive but focused creativity. Books – absolutely. If the right one can be found, total engagement as I let myself sink into that particular world for a while.

But I think more is needed now, otherwise I’m finding myself wiped out for longer each time. So perhaps ritualised ‘wind-down’ is needed more than ever – something I’ve tried before, but found difficult to get into the habit of.

I’ll no doubt explore this and natter about it as I move forward. But for today, the inspiration from another led me back to myself. Unusual, but needed, I think.

Holding the space to stop doing, and simply ponder…

First Flowers

Thick fog this morning. Drizzle and greyness. Winter. 

I had to push to get work done at first. But as I got on with jobs, they seemed to become easier, more fun.

By afternoon, the fog had lifted. The sun appeared, and the sky brightened into blue. My heart began to lift. 

I can still see my breath, but it’s 5pm and still daylight. I don’t need as many layers of clothing.

Then, in our little grove, in the midst of a stand of trees past the badger setts, are the first snowdrops. Just one patch, with the rest not quite there yet – but those white heads are here again. They made it. 

Spring is on the way. We can lift our heads and breathe…

Imbolc blessings, my friends.

Wrapping

Many years ago, not long past the very beginning of my Druidry journey, I saw a priestess at work. Prior to a ritual of passing, she sat at a riverside, shawl draped over her head. Utterly at peace, preparing for what was to come.

I’ve heard of many modern-day Priestesses who do this. I usually wear a shawl or scarf of some sort, and have been applauded happily by fellow non-Pagan chaplains for being a woman with her head-covering prepared if necessary. It can be a sign of respect, but also an act of protection. Literally covering the head to enter the right ‘head-space’.

Last year, I was recommended a site called ‘Wrapunzel‘, which is run primarily by Jewish ladies who wanted to share their love of beautiful wraps and allow other women to practice their faith and not look dull while doing so. Nowadays, the Wrapunzel Facebook group plays host to women of all faiths and none, ladies undergoing chemotherapy or other illness… those who simply wish to stand in their womanliness while having their head covered. For whatever reason.

I’ve met lovely new friends on there, Pagan and otherwise, and while still exploring my own practice regarding wraps (ie still practising getting the things on and looking good!), I’ve found this so useful when alone and preparing for ritual – as in that original circumstance, back when I was witness only.

Many modern Pagans wear hoods on their robes. ‘Hoodies’ are common on the high street. The act of wrapping, whether tichel or hijab, can be a political statement. Or it can be a consolation, a ‘head hug’ (love that term!). Our ancestors did this, in virtually every culture, and now so do we.

Today, it struck me as inspiring. A woman wishing to add to her beauty and be proud. This video is a ‘How to‘, one of many on this YouTube channel, but made me smile so much this morning, just from the simplicity of the act but also how happy the lady looks once she is done and ready to face the day.

And then, in a local charity shop, I found a pretty glittery green scarf for £2. Perfect. Now to keep practising…

The Journey

Yesterday and today I’ve been away from home, ensconced in a lovely manor house with a group of friendly Pagans, learning about Chaplaincy. Much laughter but also seriousness, shared intention and determination.

Coming home this evening I felt empowered, as if another level had been reached through the unity of our work and perspective. I wanted to drive for miles to explore, or to go for a run when back… To Do Something, to hold on to that energy!

Of course, that wasn’t to be. I set my course and returned safely, to a quiet house with just a sleeping kitten and myself, pondering the adventure.

We set the foundation, charge our energy and prepare our focus. When the time is right, we will be ready to move – but not just yet. Enthusiasm isn’t fuel enough, not quite! 

We’re still in winter. Finding inspiration in the dark, the peace, the planning and story weaving. 

The journey has begun. But first gear has to be the starting point; or the prologue before the action. 

I will do my best to hold on to that laughter and determination, moving forward.

Stars

A day of ups and downs. Magic, work and inspiration, as well as sharp bumps and some overwhelm…

I stepped out this evening, into the crisp night air, and felt the wind on my skin. I looked up at the stars, heard the trees whispering. The rain has finally stopped, the clouds gone.

I stand, and breathe. As I tell others to do so often. The simplest of acts – to simply step outside. Remember where you are, feel it, look with all of your senses.

The year is beginning to unfold. I am listening for what is to be heard.

I stand in my power. The peace of the winter night is welcome.

Surviving

This morning, I awoke in the throes of a panic attack. And it was HUGE. A whirlpool of chaos, sucking me down with constant thoughts of distress, failure, pain, hurt… And ultimately, the solid fact that You Cannot Do It.

Somehow, I managed to grab on to a lifeline in my mind (and a pillow in reality). Somehow I stepped out of that barrage of awfulness, managing to see it from the outside: a black hole of destruction, from which nothing good can emerge. But that wasn’t me.

I remembered who I was. I remembered how to breathe. I got up, found coffee. Showered, prepared for work.

I am now home, from a fast-paced, full day. Hectic and demanding, at top speed… But I did it. I Could, and Did. 

Someone spoke to me today of battling his own demons. Sharing made the tension fall away from his shoulders; as the session went on, his smile grew, until silly jokes were being shared instead. ‘I feel so much better for coming here.’

Battling for what is owed, for those I care for. ‘Go kick arse, Cat!’ Because they know I will.

Such words are worth more than gold. If the panic had won, I would not have heard them, because they may not have even been spoken. 

I survived today, and the demons did not win. Not just me, but those I touched with words, smiles… and a little Force Lightning.

😉