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…

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Openness

When I lived in a city, shielding was necessary – even instinctive. So many people, so much noise, bustle and emotion… everyone does it to some extent, I think, just so that they can think straight! From psychic ‘barriers’ to my leather jacket armour, I was ready to face that world.

But then as my Druidry developed, the shields began to fall away. I wanted to see beyond, even if that feeling was intense enough to knock me down sometimes. I didn’t want people to see the mask rather than me, hidden beneath. I wanted to feel the earth beneath me, the creatures around – and that meant the people too, of course.

Nowadays, that openness can be both a gift and a hazard. Given what I do, I would far rather be honest, giving what I can to those who honour me with their attention, or who come to me with questions. Although after a day of that (such as a conference or festival), rest isn’t just needed, but required. I have been known to give too much – and that’s the way I am. I’ve tried ‘holding back’, but that doesn’t come easily or naturally any more.

Most days, it’s a balancing act. I want to throw myself into tasks wholeheartedly, but then run out of energy after going for too long without recuperation or replenishment. I love seeing the passion of others, and do my best to help where I can – but I do leave myself vulnerable sometimes as well, when negative darts are thrown or toxic places have to be visited.

But I do my best. The hard times are more than made up for by the good, the connection with others that I feel so profoundly, the touch of a warm hug or sight of a true smile. Just kicking off my shoes to walk barefoot in the grass brings delight – and encourages others to do likewise.

I try to live my truth. If someone has a problem with me doing that… well, that’s their problem! And yes, that can hurt. But I’ll always invite them to come along, to try what I’m doing, just for a moment.

Exploring the world outside your shields may be scary – but imagine the alternative.