The Heart of Camp

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Around this time of year we begin to seriously prepare for our annual Lunasdagh Druid Camp. I have attended camp the last 5 years and I look forward to it every year.

Camp is held for 4 or so days during Wellington Anniversary weekend. I have learnt to take the day before off to prepare and pack in. At camp, everyone takes time to listen to each other and share opinions thoughtfully in a way that unfortunately doesn’t often happen in our day to day lives, so after a nasty culture shock going back to work after camp I have learnt to take a day off afterwards too.

At our camp we have work shops centred on a chosen theme. On one of the evenings during camp we usually have time to share stories. I love how over the years some of these stories have grown and become a part of our Grove story. And I look forward to adding to them at our coming camp.

At our camp opening we light a candle. We keep this flame alight until our closing ceremony at the end of camp. I have always loved that we do this, and enjoy spending time watching as the candle burns bright during the night. Last year we lit our own candles from the camp candle each day and placed it around in a star shape (photograph above). This was an addition to our camp candle that I hope we carry with us as it was beautiful.

Every morning we start the day with a meeting, where we all say a word on how we are feeling so we can check in with each other. This is a beautiful way to start the day, listening to each other and knowing we are being heard. It helps set the tone for the rest of the day of sharing and learning.

The theme we are working with for next year has me pretty excited, and I am sure we will write some blog post of some of our activities, so watch this space.

– Mary

 

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Voices on the Wind

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Last weekend three of us trekked up to the top of the Tor to add our voices to the Warriors Call. The Warriors Call is a group the protests against fracking. For the past 5 years they have organised a worldwide ritual day where groups or individuals can gather  to do a ritual to add energy to the anti fracking movement. This years ritual, Voices on the Wind, was held on the 15th of October.

When I brought up the idea of doing Voices on the Wind at Spring Equinox 2 others in our Grove jumped at the idea. The number 3 is often considered a magical number. In the Druid tradition we have the 3 Awens, the 3 drops of inspiration. And 3 became made a recurring appearance throughout our ritual.

I first noticed the number 3 when I was drawing the Warriors Call sigil to create a flag for the ritual. I noted that there were sets of 3 lines, like the Awen symbol. Then only the 3 of us turned up for the ritual. And to top it of when we got to the top of the Tor we discovered 3 sheep!

When we came together we discussed each of our motivations for wanting to do this ritual. We felt that it was time more people became aware of the damage fracking was doing to our Mother Earth. We want people to be more aware of renewable choices and sustainable living. We were also upset by damage caused to our own home lands by fracking and oil drilling. We focused our energy on the spread of knowledge, the healing of Mother Earth and resounding NO to fracking!

On top of the Tor we did a simple bardic ritual and spoke of our intent. We chanted 9 cascading Awens into the wind. After our call we threw lime dust into the wind to strengthen the earth, as we called more of our intention.

It felt good to answer a call to action, to do something to aid Papatuanuku, Earth Mother. It is my hope that we will continue to aid her, spreading the knowledge needed to help her. For more information on fracking and the Warriors Call please visit their website here. Look out for further blog posts containing information on how you can live more sustainable.

Book Review: Warrior Goddess Training; Becoming the Woman You Are Meant to Be

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“Warrior Goddess Training; Becoming the Woman You Are Meant to Be”

HeatherAsh Amara, Heirophant Publishing, 2014.(Available through NZ Fishpond website, $16.99 including delivery).

 

“If you don’t love and honor yourself with every fibre of your being, if you struggle with owning your power and passion, if you could use more joyful play and simple presence in your life, then it is time for an inner revolution. It is time to claim your Warrior Goddess energy” (p xv, 2014).

 

I was looking for some help to reignite my spark for life and myself when I serendipitously found HeatherAsh Amara’s Goddess Warrior Training book online. This teaser introduction quoted above follows through in the earthy, helpful and compassionate journey of self-discovery that she invites you embark on. HeatherAsh comes from an unashamedly earth based spiritual stance in honouring the seasons and deeply knowing the power of the elements yet writes in an accessible way and provides excellent introductions for those not familiar with this path. This rich spirituality is woven throughout the book and had my soul dancing with the pages.

 

The journey of personal transformation is not an easy one, and so too with this book, HeatherAsh goes beyond the theory of living compassionately from your authentic Self to actually helping you achieve this. She guides you through a journey designed to enable you to unpack some of the mental, emotional, spiritual and life baggage that might be holding you back and not serving you anymore. Written with warmth and sharing her own and other women’s life experiences and struggles, she helps you to notice things like; the inner judgement and victim voices we might have, the old stories and beliefs we hold about ourselves and our situations that are no longer true, the ways we might focus on pleasing others, being overly busy, looking after others to the detriment of ourselves or getting caught up in distractions, over controlling or hiding and giving away our power. If these are some things you struggle with, this book may well help you on your way. She assists in transforming these patterns and habits by teaching tools and ways to cleanse your being, reclaim your truth, challenge your thinking and old agreements, let go what no longer serves, mend your heart, ignite creativity and passion, and listen to your intuition and find wisdom and strength in your inner being.

This might seem like a tall order but I have found Goddess Warrior Training delivers with compassion and humour too.   Reading this book is not a passive journey but one that requires your inner Warrior Goddess to step forward! Certainly this beautiful book has helped me enormously and I highly recommend it.

– Sara

 

Homemade

workshopDuring our annual camp, where we band together and share workshops,  I provided a workshop on creating our own home made cleaning products and skin products that we would be using during our camp. Instead of giving out notes I promised to put them up on our blog with links for everyone. A little later than promised but just in time for spring cleaning here they are:


 

Washing Powder

1 cup of Baking Soda
1 cup of Washing Soda Ash
1/2 cup of Borax (Optional)
Essential Oil – Lemon or Lavender would be nice.

Add Baking Soda to a bowl. Add a 1-2 drops of the Essential oil of your choice and mix in. Once mixed, add the Washing Soda and Borax if you are choosing to use. Mix up, or shake up once put into a container of choice. Use a full scoop for a full load.

Borax acts as colour brightener. All 3 ingredients can be found for cheap at Binn Inn. I have also used Trade Me and Moore Wilson’s to find them. If you wanted to you could also make your own soda ash from baking soda. I have not tried this so I can’t say how useful it is.

Washing Soda Ash is used to help removed stains, without leaving stains. It also works as a natural fabric softener. When doing this recipe make sure you use Soda Ash not Washing Soda Crystals. They are a similar thing but I found that when using the crystals, it hardened with the baking soda over time making it unusable.


 

Orange Vinegar Cleaner

Orange Peels (or lemon or grapefruit)
White Vinegar
A jar
A spray bottle

Save your peels and put into a jar. Fill with the vinegar. Put into a cupboard and leave for a couple of months. When you feel it looks ready drain the vinegar into a spray bottle. You can then use as a spray and whip. You can also use it mixed with a little bit of baking soda to create a cleaning scrub.


 

Dish Washing Tablets

1 1/2 cups of Washing Soda Ash
1/2 cup of Borax
1/4 cup of Citric Acid
Orange Vinegar Cleaner
Silicon moulds

Mix the powders into a bowl and spray with the Orange Vinegar spray until it is like damp sand and it starts to hold shape. The Citric Acid and Vinegar create a chemical reaction so the mixture will fizzle a little and become a little warm. Once the mixture is holding its shape, press into the moulds and put into a dry warm place to dry for about a week. Use as you would a normal Dish Washing Tablet. If mould is bigger than a normal washing tablet you may want to half them.


 

Hand Sanitizer 

2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum
250 mls Distilled Water
1/2-3/4 cup of Vodka (40%)
15 drops of Citricidal C
150 drops of Essential Oil

This recipe makes 750 mls of Hand Sanitizer.

  1. Add Xanthan Gum and Distilled Water to a bowl and whisk until it looks like snot. We used an electric whisk to make this easier and faster.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. The Essential Oil’s we used were Lemongrass, Star Anise and Thyme. All of these oils have anti-bacterial properties. You may need to add a little bit more water to make it a thinner texture.
  3. Put into a squirt bottle. I get my bottles from Arthur Holmes. I know that other members of our Grove also use this site so maybe give a shout out on our Facebook page when placing a order as others might want to order with you, sharing the shipping cost.

 


 

Shaving Foam

We didn’t make this. But you can add Castle Soap to the Hand Sanitizer above then you can create a shaving foam.


 

All of the above recipes I learnt to make when I did a course with Donna from Cottage Hill Herbs. She is a wonderful lady and her website has lots of awesome recipes and she sells a lot of ingredients used in them. Donna also needs help as the local council is wanting to put large sewage drains through her farm which would ruin her business. You can find the petition here. She does amazing work and it would be a huge loss to the community if she was to close down.

– Mary

Spring Equinox 2016

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Last week our Grove celebrated Alban Eilir/Spring Equinox. As a Grove we have done public ritual before at Stonehenge Aotearoa, and we don’t exactly make a secret of our Grove’s existence, with only 4 of our 8 seasonal festivals being open to Grove members only. This year we decided to do some community outreach, by getting an article in the local paper inviting people to the ceremony.

Putting ourselves out there like this was scary. You never know how the public may react. One of the reasons we felt it was important to make ourselves known more in the community was because many of us feel like some of the ideas we see for the future of our Grove involves being a part of the local wider community.

The outcome was that we had around 45 people turn up for our ritual. One family had come because of the newspaper article, and they looked like they were very excited to have found us. Everyone was able to find a car park due to us opening up the paddock to parking, which was great for those of us who have been struggling with our small car park as our Grove has grown.

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The rain held off enough for us to hold the ritual outside in the herb garden, which has been beautifully tended to by one of our new members during the last 2 months. Not only were the plants calling to us about their spring growth, they were laughing with joy from the gentle touch of calm, knowledgable attention.

A couple of years ago we introduced sunflower seeds to our Spring ritual. We hand out the seeds for everyone to mediate on things they would like to grow in the coming months before planting them in some soil. We grow these at Woolshed, harvesting the seeds at the end of the season to use for the next years ritual. Part of the reason behind this is that the seeds we are using carry a whakapapa which we are building on as we continue to strengthen and build our community.

After our ritual we had the eisteddfod inside after the ritual. Many people shared poems, songs and stories. Our first offering was a rendition of a Jethro Tull song from one of our new visitors. Our Grove Storyteller told a tale of Pani-tinaku and how she and her husband, Rongo-manui came into possession of kumara seeds and growing them to feed their people. Kumara planting is an important aspect in this part of the year in the Maori tradition.

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Our bellies full from feasting it was time for the annual tor toss. This is proceeded by a tale about the cultural and historic reasons for why we climb to the top of the tor and throw eggs off to see who can get their egg the furtherest. Our tor toss always involves accusations of cheating, near misses for the judges having egg on their face,and lots and lots of laughter. We even have a prize giving!

Alban Eilir is one of my favourite festivals. Thanks everyone who made it such a delight this year, and I look forward to getting to know any of our new visitors should they return.

– Mary