Week 13: The Nine Virtues: Wisdom

Wisdom as defined by Our Own Druidry:
Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate and decide about the correct response.”

Wisdom as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Knowledge that has been gained by having experiences in life.
The natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand.
Knowledge of what is proper or reasonable: good sense or judgment.

Jnana as defined by Wikipedia:
Knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality.


When I think of wisdom, I usually think  of the Vedic jnana as a definition. Many years ago when I was instructed about the definitions and expressions of jnana, it really took root deeply for me. In the modern Western world it seems that we often limit wisdom to ‘what we know’, when it can be deepened to cover what we have experienced and what we feel or intuit. Wisdom, for me, is the point where what we have learned through personal experiences, the empowering guidance of others, and our own latent intuition find intersection. It’s the place where our knowledge, experience, and intuition come into synchronicity.

I often think of indigenous herbal medicine teachers when I contemplate wisdom. These individuals have been trained in the empirical and traditional knowledge of herbs; how to identify them, harvest them, cultivate them, and prepare them as medicines. They have also experienced powerful personal connections and events related to the plant allies they work with which transcend knowledge. There is also an intuitive or heart-centered connection to the plants which allow them to enter into relationship and reciprocity with them.

I work with a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European hearth culture, and in that practice Dyeus Pter, the Shining Sky Father, is the embodiment of wisdom for me. He is a special god who sits atop the World Tree and is able to take in the fullness of what is happening in the Xartus. He can perceive, analyze, harmonize, and empower that which goes beyond rational- the very hidden patterns and substrate of the Cosmos. His wisdom is about working knowledge and intelligent pattern in a very intuitive and even artistic way- the perfect combination of brain power and heart power. I have found that aspiring to cultivate personal wisdom brings me more into alignment with these bigger pictures of wisdom. I get to try and model my own work and wisdom after grand, graceful, cosmic expressions of wisdom and apply them to any area of my life that might need them.

I love that Wisdom is on the list of virtues. It inspires us to learn, experience, and feel all at the same time. It challenges us to read books, hear lectures, attend rituals, meditate, and journey and to apply what we learn and experience in a truly holistic way; to keep it not only in our brains but in our hearts, and our very bodies.

As I’ve been meditating on wisdom in preparation for this essay, I found myself coming back to the Deep Waters over and over again. Meditating on the ancestors dissolving back into the Earth and flowing back into the primordial waters below makes sense to me. The Waters of Wisdom in the Earth contain the experiences and empowerment of all those who have walked this path before us. It is a living tonic of memory and meaning, and with a little organizing anything can be fashioned from it.

From the fiery waters of Xapom Nepots that bestows immortality and the vision of the Shining Ones to the waters that bubble up from the deep Earth, Wisdom is gained through effort, study, and experience every day, all the time. It’s a living thing that is inspired by books, edified by the words of the elders, and given fruition in practice.


References

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Wisdom. Web. Accessed July 18, 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom
Wikipedia: Jnana. Web. Accessed July 18. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jnana
Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Serith, Ceisiwr. Deep Ancestors. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.

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Meditation Journal: Week 03

There was a lot of work and not much time for rest this week, and I found that this impacted how much meditation I was able to do, and how much quality there was in the work I did do. I am still pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish, but have noticed that high-stress and a busy schedule can definitely push the inner work to the back burner. The interesting thing is that making time for even just a quick Two Powers meditation can help with the stress levels, making the whole day better. Practice makes perfect, and hopefully soon meditation will be my go-to when things get challenging.

This week I did just a handful of meditations, and focused only on Two Powers. I’ll get back to my Inner Grove work in the coming week.

Meditation Journal: Week 02

This week I spent a lot of time listening to  Seeking The Inner Grove meditation as provided by the kind folks in the Three Cranes Grove. I added this meditation to the end of my Two Powers and the flow was really nice.

My meditations this week were all about continuing to get deeper into my Two Powers work while also cultivating more familiarity and comfort in my Inner Grove. I plan on keeping this up in the coming week of meditation work.


References

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Three Cranes Grove. Web. Accessed frequently. http://threecranes.org/meditations/
Seeking The Inner Grove. Web Audio. http://threecranes.org/meditations/dpwoty/
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.

Week 12: Ancestors, The Mighty Dead

In March 2016 I lost my first close friend as an adult. I’ve lost family members, and it’s been a tumultuous process, but I’m at the age where some of the people I spend the most amount of intimate time with are passing on. This has been inspirational for me in connecting to the Ancestors and keeping them and their power active in my life.

I have learned so many amazing things from the people that have come onto my path, and I am realizing just how much they are still part of what I do- regardless of their physical presence in my day-to-day existence. As I contemplate the fundamental importance of continuing to love and nurture the Ancestors in most every indigenous and ancient culture, I realize just how important this practice is for a healthy, happy, and whole life.

Based on dreams, moments of inspiration in the voices of the departed, and sheer synchronicity, I have no doubt that the Mighty Dead are in fact alive and well, somewhere. The more I work with my Druidry and spend time with them in thought and in ritual, the more they find creative and often surprising ways of reaffirming their presence with me.

I think that the people I have been close to who have passed on would be happiest if I kept them alive in my memories and in my heart while living my life in the fullest and most amazing way possible. As I cultivate a wider bridge to cross at my own death, I am grateful that I get to walk with those who have already crossed their own.


References

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Three Cranes Grove, ADF. “An Awfully Big Adventure: Signposts on the Soul’s Journey Through the Indo-European Afterlife.” Online Video. YouTube. November 8, 2014. Web. July 5, 2016. https://youtu.be/Szqz9Clyfa0
Ellison, Rev. Skip. The Solitary Druid. ADF Publishing. 2013. Print.
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.
Ar nDraiocht Fein. Web. Accessed April 2016. https://www.adf.org/

Meditation Journal: Week 01

The last week of meditation work has been really good, and I am proud about how things have gone and where they’ve gone.

As part of my 1st book review, I am reading The Horse, The Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony. In this text, on page 134, he gives an amazing retelling of the classic reconstructed Proto-Indo-European creation story. I absolutely love this story, and its resonance with me is one of the reasons why I am so attracted to the PIE hearth culture. I have been meditating on this story daily for the past week to not only memorize it and unfold its meanings, but to also learn what it might mean for me as an individual.

My meditations this week have started with the Two Powers meditation, then working on my inner Grove and connecting with Deiwos, W’kpotes, and Xansus through offering and prayer, and ending with a visual meditation on the creation story mentioned above.

I am meditating at night right now, but want to start, one day at a time, working a dawn/sunrise meditation into my routine so that I can greet the day and the procession of the solar Deiwos Dyaus Pter, Sawelyosyo Dhugter, and Diwos Sunu as Xausos opens up the gates of dawn. I am planning to start waking up with the dawn on Sundays to do a simple offering and meditation, then see if it’s something that makes sense worked into other days of the week as well.


References

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Anthony, David W. The Horse, The Wheel, and Language. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2007. Print.
Three Cranes Grove. Web. Accessed frequently. http://threecranes.org/meditations/
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.

Week 11: The Two Powers

Since my first attempt at completing the Dedicant’s Program back in 2013, the Two Powers meditation has been a fundamental practice for me. Essentially, it makes sense to my mind and my heart, and the experiences it leads to for me have deep value.

I would say I work the Two Powers meditation in either a short or extended format most every day, sometimes more than once a day if I need it. I find it to be a doorway through which I can do deeper spiritual work or just give myself a few moments of self-love to calm, center, and relax. It has varied applications- and that makes it worth working with consistently.


References

Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Three Cranes Grove. Web. Accessed frequently. http://threecranes.org/meditations/
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.
Ar nDraiocht Fein. Web. Accessed April 2016. https://www.adf.org/

Week 10: Seond High Day Recap

For this solitary Summer Solstice ritual, I based my work off of the Solitary Druid Fellowship work of Teo Bishop (no longer active) which can be found here. I strictured my ritual around the Core Order of Ritual, but made some changes to make it more applicable to the Proto-Indo-European deities I work with, and some personal aesthetic preferences.

I spent a good deal of time planning this ritual because I want to work on being able to write my own, from start to finish, within the layout of the COoR. I tried to make sure that every individual step felt right, and also that the overall flow made sense and had clear purpose and intent. I notice that sometimes I get caught up in the doing and am not completely present with the depth of meaning behind that doing. I tried to make the wording, prayers, and actions be more evocative so that I would stay mindful and present throughout the rite. I felt very successful in that, and got some ideas on how to further refine my flow for the next High Day.

The Deities of Occasion for this Summer Solstice ritual were all of the Solar Deities that make up the group I usually work with: Xausos (who acted as Gatekeeper), Diwos Sunu, Sawelyosyo Dhugeter, and Dyeus Pter. Along with honoring Them, I also had a secondary purpose in this ritual to open myself up more to the Xartus and ask for guidance in aligning and understanding more as I grow in my Druidry.

As you can see from the image below, I planned out my offerings pretty meticulously so that they were all within reach and in order of use. I found this to be super helpful, and it allowed me to focus more on the offering itself and less on checking and double-checking that I had it all right.

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I am definitely going to keep doing my offerings this way when there are many to be made- it just made things so simple!

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I moved my shrine to my living room so that I could have more light and more space- it usually resides in my bedroom which is not well-lit and doesn’t have much room to spare. I have recently started working with a living tree as my World Tree, and the experience has been really amazing! I turned the original ‘stick’ I had into a drumstick for my ritual drum.

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I felt like the ritual went very well. While Dyeus Pter was the focus of my offerings and praise, it was Diwos Sunu who really came through. I have been close to Them for some time, but recently that closeness has escalated into a nearly constant state of companionship. Signs that I am choosing to read into with fervor have been happening all around me- from unexpected sightings of horse-related imagery to dreams, conversations, and moments of synchronicity. Since this ritual took place on June 21, 2016, my relationship with them has deepened significantly. I had planned a small tattoo of Them on my right thigh as a way to keep awareness of them with me as I try and walk (read: gallop!) in ghosti with the Kindred, but that tattoo session ended up coming early and the placement changed significantly in a last-minute sort of way.

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I looked forward to the drawing of the omen for this ritual because previously I have only drawn to ask for guidance and areas of focus for my own development. This time I decided to also draw to reflect how the ritual and offerings were received. I admittedly found this daunting because I has fear about not being accepted. I worked through that and drew two omens; one for how the ritual and offerings were received, and one for what I could work on in my personal development between now and the next High Day. I used the Druid Animal Oracle by Phillip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, but hope to move to Ogham soon.

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Blackbird – Omen of Ritual & Offering

I interpreted this card as a positive sign that my ritual was good and that my offerings had been accepted. In the book that accompanies these cards, Blackbird is described as an omen of spirituality, mystery, mysticism, and ‘otherness’. They can be seen as a messenger from the otherworlds, and as an ally in traveling or experiencing these realms.

I have some concern, as mentioned above, about my offerings being received and making it through the gate, so to speak. This omen, for me, was reassuring that my work does in fact go through to the other worlds and that I need to trust the process, even when I may not be able to perceive it happening so strongly.

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Horse – Omen of Personal Focus

This card was drawn in reverse which at first alarmed me. Once I read the meaning, however, I felt quite blessed. I probably don’t have to point out that this is just another instance of Horse showing up, and after the experience I had just had with Diwos Sunu, it came as a clear, positive, and powerful message of ghosti.

In the book, Horse is considered to be an omen of rhythm, connection to Goddesses, and the land. Reversed it shows that the individual may be out-of-step with the natural process of life, and that they need to work to trust and get into rhythm with how things go. This is very relevant for me and what I’ve been working on. Horse helps us get our own cadence into alignment with the natural process of life, of Earth, and of self so that we can shake off fear, scattered energy, and lack of follow-through.

I am really happy about how this ritual went, what kinds of doors it opened up for me, and how it has nourished a budding relationship with Diwos Sunu in such a powerful, tangible, and undeniable way. I am looking forward to the next High Day, and am working on ways to honor Diwos Sunu more in my daily life as well.


References

Druid Network- Solitary Druid Fellowshop Archive. Web. Accessed June 2016. https://druidnetwork.org/what-is-druidry/rites-and-rituals/solitary-druid-fellowship/
Carr-Gomma, Phillip and Stephanie. The Druid Animal Oracle. Touchstone. 1995. Print.
Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.
Ar nDraiocht Fein. Web. Accessed April 2016. https://www.adf.org/
Ceisiwr Serith / Proto-Indo-European Deities. Web. Accessed April 2016. http://www.ceisiwrserith.com/pier/deities.htm
Proto-Indo-European Religion. Web. Accessed June 2016. http://piereligion.org/pieritual.html