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

Ogham stones

Earlier this year I saw an online lecture by an Irish archeologist Michael Gibbons who specialises in Irish pilgrimage traditions.

His talk is mainly about pilgrimage sites in Ireland but especially at the beginning there are several references to, and photographs of, ogham stones.  There are also many references to the pre-christian traditions and an explanation of how the Irish persisted in ‘the old ways’ during the first wave of Christianity. When Oliver Cromwell took over England and Roman Catholicism was banned the Irish had their old traditions that they quickly returned to.
Ogham Stone, Kilmalkedar Church, Ireland

Ogham Stone, Kilmalkedar Church, Ireland

Michael also explains that Ireland has better archeological pickings due to the ongoing Irish believe in ‘the Fary folk’. This meant that any ancient sites were understood to be sacred and not to be tampered with. Unlike many countries where old sites were destroyed in the name of progress.
This link to the lecture is from his sister’s website. She takes tours to New Grange so if you follow this link to the lecture you might like to also look at her website to learn more about New Grange a prehistoric ritual site and passage tomb in the Boyne valley near Dublin, Ireland that is 500 years older than the oldest Egyptian pyramids.
Additional links to pictures of Ogham stones:
-Linda

Comfrey

Roots of any medicinal plants are usually harvested in Autumn when, just like humans, plants turns inwards for the winter. Leaves of various plants are picked at different times of year when their active constituents are at their highest.

Comfrey is one of my favourite herbs to put in ointments or healing oils. Comfrey contains allantoin which is a substance known to promote new skin cell growth. At the end of this article are a couple of websites that will help you understand the benefits of using comfrey for bruising, pulled muscles, inflammation and even broken bones. They will also explain the potential dangers of using comfrey internally. Some say the leaves (but not the root) are safe internally, however the leaves contain the same potentially dangerous alkaloids that are in the root, even though in lesser concentrations. Comfrey preparations for internal use are banned in New Zealand (as in the US).

Comfrey

Comfrey in my garden in early May. The leaves are starting to die down a bit but there are some new leaves appearing still. The flower heads have seeded and died back.

If you grow comfrey May is the time to pick it. You can use the leaves and/or the root for external preparations. Obviously only harvest the root if you have plenty of plants or know how to divide roots and still keep the plant alive.

To use the leaves, pick them in the afternoon after all the dew has evaporated.  Leave to wilt for 12 hours. The less moisture the better or your oil may go mouldy.

Place 2 cups of chopped comfrey leaves into a large jar and cover with 4 cups of olive oil. Leave in a warm place for 2 – 3 weeks. This makes an infused oil that can be rubbed on dry skin and on sprains or strains. It can also be used to counter skin inflammations like eczema. Do not use on infected wounds.

Any medicinal plant extraction is best begun at a new moon and then bottled at the full moon. So for the comfrey if you pick and chop the leaves at the new moon you will have had it sitting in the oil for 2 weeks by the full moon. A few days either side is okay.

You could also pick the comfrey leaves and leave them to dry until needed. Pick and dry on flat non absorbent surface (like an oven tray) until crunchy dry. Bottle in air tight bottles. In the Middle Ages ‘comfrey baths’ were often used for dry or inflamed skin and for aching muscles. The dried leaves would be ideal for comfrey baths over winter.

In general it is uncommon for a herbalist to use one herb alone so once you have a comfrey oil extract it can be combined into an ointment with other herbs that you have extracted, or you can extract several herbs with complimentary properties into one oil. If you are just beginning to use herbs I suggest you do single herb extracts and use them regularly for a while until you fully understand how they work for you. Remember that we are all different and will respond more or less or not at all to various herbs. Just as our bodies differ as to which foods or smells we respond to.

WellnessMama has a great comfrey leaf herb profile, and Mountain Rose blog has a list of oils that you might like to try infusing and a short description of their uses. Richard Whelan’s website is also a great New Zealand website to check out uses of herbs and also any safety concerns.

 

-Linda

Herbs in your Lawn: Yarrow

Yarrow (1)

Some legends say that Achilles – that hero of Greek myth – was dipped in water containing yarrow juice when he was a baby – and that was the source of his immortality. Unfortunately his mother was holding him by the heel so it was left untreated; a fatal mistake! He also made great use of the herb to help cure the wounds of his fellow soldiers.

This story explains why the scientific name of yarrow is Achillea. Yarrow’s scientific name was given to it because in Greek mythology Achilles used  yarrow to heal. Every time we see yarrow growing we can remember it’s legendary power to heal wounds. There is more information here, or here, on the link between yarrow and Achilles.

Yarrow (2)

The full scientific or binomial name for Yarrow is Achillea millefolium. In Latin, mile is a thousand, and folium are leaves (think of foliage). The leaves are very distinctive. They are soft, fernlike and finely divided.

Yarrow has been used by many cultures for thousands of years. Evidence has been found in the teeth of a 50,000 year old person from Spain.

Yarrow is important in Chinese culture and medicine. The stems of the flowers are trimmed, dried and used with the I Ching.

Traditionally it is used to stop bleeding – both internally and externally. It is also used to control infections() and reduce fever. It is good for for many other things too! There is a much deeper explanation, and some warnings against excessive use, here.

As  a gardener, I love it for the small flowers that attract the predatory wasps, lady birds and hoverflies that help control pests in my garden. Bees like it too! The common variety has white flowers, but pink and red varieties are also cultivated and can be bought from garden centres.

I regularly add leaves and/or flowers to herbal tea mixes for their beneficial effects.

Yarrow is also used as a component to pasture mixes on farms. It does not have the dry matter production that plantain or ryegrass has – but it does have help keep livestock healthy! Here is some information from Massey University.

One of the old names for yarrow is ground hops. It was one of the herbs used to flavour beer before hops were commonly used. Grut, or gruit, was the name of the beer, and is reputed to have euphoric and aphrodisiac effects!

The story of the introduction of hops into beer, and the exclusion of other herbs is fascinating! One version is that the church wanted to introduce hops into beer, because they reduced male “performance” and tended to make people sleepy, and therefore less likely to sin. This was much preferable to the to the effects of the herbs in traditional gruit!

Here is  quote about Linneaus contained in the link above: “Linneaus called the plant galentara, ‘causing madness’, and this plant ‘which the people of Lima sometimes use in their ale stirs up the blood and makes one lose one’s balance.’. . . Yarrow is in no way innocent when mixed with ale.”

So how did the old witches of Europe use it? One description I have heard of is to boil it up and eat it as a green vegetable before visualisation and other journey work. One of the blogs linked to above very clearly warns against eating boiled yarrow because of the possibility of  “dangerous hallucinations”!

A quick check of the internet shows a range of magical uses in spells and its use as a tea before divination. And its use in love spells. I can’t help but wonder if there is a link to the supposed aphrodisiac effects of gruit?

So yes – yarrow is an amazing herb that deserves more attention, instead of trying to eradicate it from our lawns!

 

– Richard

The end is nigh

A colleague asked me yesterday: Is pollution an ethical issue?

My gut response; my intellectual, spiritual and emotional responses are yes, yes, a thousand times: YES!

Our Earth is sacred, an expression of The Divine Something that some call God.  Human beings are natural organisms that evolved on this Earth – we are part of this sacred biosphere. We are reliant on her for our sustenance.

And we are desecrating our own house. We are desecrating this Earth by our actions. It is estimated that 30 – 50% of all different species will be extinct by mid century.

One of the primary causes is pollution. One example is ocean acidification caused by CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. The CO2 dissolves in water to make weak carbonic acid. This threatens all shellfish, corals and other organisms that use calcium carbonate as part of their exoskeleton. Even weak acids will dissolve calcium carbonate.

Is it ethical to let all these organisms die? This is starting to happen now, and will continue unless we reduce CO2 pollution into our air. Or to draw on a Maori perspective – reduce the pollution of the realm of Tawhiri Matea.

I could continue to write for another six months, and still not compile a full list of the ways we are polluting Gaia, and and causing extreme distress to many; human and other.

How can this not be an ethical issue? Surely the sixth mass extinction is an apocalyptic and still partly preventable event? An event worse that the extinction of the dinosaurs! The events we have set in motion are unstoppable. Much damage has already been done: Forests cleared, water fouled, air polluted and soil contaminated. But there is much that can be done to help, to heal, Earth.

How can inaction be an ethical response? All over Earth there are thousands, millions, responding to this great ethical issue of our time. I could write for another six months and still not list properly all of the wonderful work being done.

Permaculturists, inspired and guided by the ethics of Care for Earth, Care for People and Fair Share for All, are a good example.

The end of society as we know it is nigh. And this is not only because of present and looming environmental disaster.

Technology! Buckminster Fuller presents a strong argument that the only thing that actually truly changes human society is technological change. In the broad sweep of history, religions and civilisations come and go. But once a technology has been developed its effects continue.

“We live in a time where the old gods are dying and new gods are being born. A time where Kali dances destruction and gives birth to the new. It is a time of grief. Of rending clothes and wailing. The old is going and we don’t know what will replace it.”

Caitlin and John Matthews – The Western Way

Technological change is happening exponentially. For approximately the last hundred years the computational power of our society has doubled about every two years. There is more computing power in one of our smartphones than President Clinton had available to him as President of the United States.

3D printers are now making prosthetic limbs at a cost that is about one thirtieth of the usual cost. With this technology the marginal cost of manufacturing new items approaches zero. This could destroy economies, such as China, that are reliant on manufacturing. Literally, hundreds of millions could be out of work. By the same token, life changing and enhancing technologies are becoming affordable for all. Maybe we need to redefine employment?

Solar power is another example. It is estimated, using the current, observed, exponential growth rate of solar panel usage, that there will be enough electricity produced in 25 years to supply all human energy needs. This will mean that the marginal cost of units of energy, produced using printed solar panels, will approach zero. This means that OPEC will no longer have much economic influence and oil is a sunset industry. What will this mean for the Middle East?

This will be a transition from a capitalist society based on scarcity value, to a society where energy abundance is the norm. This was the vision Buckminster Fuller wrote about in “Critical Path”.

What will be the ethics that guide us on this transition? Can we make this transition – or have we damaged our environment so much that social breakdown is inevitable? Is this not an impending apocalypse? A lifting of the veil on something new?

The end IS nigh, and we don’t know what will be next! And I find this profoundly uncomfortable, but also incredibly exciting!

– Richard

Acknowledgements

In addition to the work of permaculturists, I also want to acknowledge Dark Mountain Project and Salim Ismail as primary influences on this piece of writing.


Suggested links

The Dark Mountain Project

Video: Salam Ismail on exponential growth

Salim Ismail – Website

Wired.com: Climate Change means one world’s death is another’s birth

The Western Way: A Practical Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition – The Native Tradition by John and Caitlin Matthews

3D printed limbs

Enabling the future – 3D printed prosthetics

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller – Website

The Critical Path, by Buckminster Fuller

Biodiversity and Endangered Species

Endangered Species International: The five worst mass extinctions

Center for Biological Diversity: The extinction crisis (the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals)

 

 

 

Herbs in your lawn: Plantain

Plantain : Yarrow : Dandelion : Self Heal and others

Plantain

For me, part of being a Druid is to become more aware of the things around us. The plants we walk past everyday – the herbs beneath our feet…

Many of these plants have been eaten and used by our ancestors for thousands of years. Over the next few months we will discuss some of these wonderful plants.

In New Zealand there are two common varieties

Plantago major – which has roundish leaves and is a little less common.

Plantago lanceolata – which has long leaves with parallel veins.

Both varieties are equally useful for nutrition and health. The ancient Saxon name was ‘waybread’, because it grows everywhere and it is so good!

There would be few sown lawns in New Zealand that do not have P. lanceolata growing in them. Kikuyu is probably the only grass that is sometimes used as lawn that can outcompete it!

I use it in two ways: as an ingredient in herbal teas, and as a wound dressing.

Taken internally, it can be added to salads, herbal teas or cooked as part of a bunch of greens. It helps the functioning of our kidneys and urinary tract. It has also been used for respiratory problems – coughs, colds and bronchitis. Here is another  link with more information.

Even our farmers are being converted to the benefits of this great plant! It is high in minerals, and I have even been told that cows eating it have less nitrogen in their urine!

When I was researching this blog – I even found this bit of “interesting” research into breast cancer in mice. Most of the mice that were injected with plantain juice got did not get cancer (18%) – and most that were not injected did get cancer (93%). Now I am not recommending we inject plantain juice – but here is a link to a plantain smoothie recipe 🙂

As a wound dressing I have applied it to grazes (road rash) and cuts. I put a piece of the leaf, topside down, onto the wound, and hold it in place with a plaster or bandage. The wound has always healed perfectly. (Disclaimer time: this is a recount of my personal experience – not a recommendation, and any use that is made of the herb is totally the reader’s responsibility. )

The leaves are described as having antibacterial, antifungal and antihistamine qualities. Plantain was one of the nine herbs Woden used. Woden has been said to use its help against snake bite – in this 10th Century charm recorded in Malcolm Cameron’s book Anglo-Saxon Medicine:

A snake came crawling, it bit a man.

Then Woden took nine glory-twigs,

Smote the serpent so that it flew into nine parts.

There apple brought this pass against poison,

That she nevermore would enter her house.

My preferred way of using this herb is to go out to the garden (or lawn) and pick a leaf or two to put in an herbal tea – it is almost tasteless and makes a healthy addition.

Before I finish, I should also mention the fibre psyllium is in the seed and husks. This is sometimes sold as metamucil – and is used as a laxative and can help irritable bowel syndrome. The psyllium that is available commercially comes from other plantain species, such as Plantago psyllium, but the plants we have here in New Zealand also contain this water soluble fibre in the seeds and husks.

Several websites contain cautions against nursing mothers using plantain – especially the seeds and husks because of the psyllium.

So next time you walk over a piece of lawn – look for this wonderful herb!

– Richard

Seasons out of time: the traveling Druid

Ogham Stone, Kilmalkedar Church, Ireland

Ogham Stone, Kilmalkedar Church, Ireland

Oftentimes travel is a time to enjoy new experiences, and to immerse yourself in the newness of another place to explore. But when you travel regularly for work, or to see family members, travel can mean being out of your routine and out of sync with how you live your life at home. Travel can become a chore, and when this happens you may find being in another place leaves you feeling out of place and disconnected from your spiritual self. I’m a Druid no matter where I am, but sometimes than connection is a bit hard when you’re tired from travel, possibly facing jet lag, you’re in the wrong season, or you’re in an unfamiliar city. Below are some things I use to connect with my druidry while on the road, to bridge the gap between ‘home’ and ‘here’.

Carrying on habits and creating a familiar space

A lot of my practice while traveling is focused on creating a little spot of calm or focus, or a means to carry on habits I have in my home life. For those of you who have little daily rituals, you may want to think about how you could bring these in to your travel life.  If you don’t have a daily ritual, but you find yourself disconnected when you travel, maybe introducing this to your practice will help you to adjust to traveling.

For example, you could say a small blessing for the day when you make you morning coffee or tea? For me, when I started traveling more often I created a habit of stopping before I leave the house and doing the “three breaths” we’re taught in OBOD’s bardic grade, and as part of ritual. I didn’t want anything too long, or I’d skip it if I was running late. I also wanted something I could do anywhere. I hit on this as a nice way to settle before heading out the door.

Another habit that may help when traveling is to find a way to make a space “yours” when you’re in other people’s houses or in hotels. This can bring a sense of familiarity if you’re on the road, in a different place each day. This could be a small photo frame or piece of fabric you use to create a mini altar for the space. Or you could bring some slippers or a robe that you use at home. Perhaps the blend of tea or coffee you have in the mornings. You could also think about using scents to bring a sense of familiarity to the space: a few drops of essential oil in your hotel room, or a travel candle that you light to bless the room.

Embracing the spirit of place

In Druidry we embrace the spirits of place. I think this is one of the most exciting parts of travel, and it often features in travel guides: experiencing meditation in East Asia, visiting mosques in the Middle East, and visiting the landmarks that are both spiritual sites and geological landmarks like Ayers Rock in Australia or Stonehenge in the UK. But the spirits of place can also be found in the everyday. I try to walk around in the places I visit. It’s good exercise, and you get to see so much more, like the architecture of the homes, the plants in the gardens, the birdsong, and the street stalls. And sometimes you spot funny little differences that help you learn about living in a different environment: Why are there colourful shrines on every corner in Thailand? Why does everyone have bedding hanging over the balcony in Japan? What can this tell me about living here? Or even if we look locally, you can see a different between the way the hills of the Kapiti Coast and upper South Island look compared to those of the central North Island or Taranaki. You can tell the summer comes later the further south you go, because the pohutukawa begin to flower at slightly
different times.

So while on the one hand, I try to retain some of the practices and create the space I have at home, I also try to embrace the difference and get a feel for the place. Sometimes I find things I like so much, the became part of my practice or space at home.

Tech support

I like to travel light. As in, so light you would think I was away for a weekend, not a week. I like to be able to move around airports and bus stations without rushing. But I also want some home comforts. Technology can be a life-saver if you want to have books and audio at your fingertips, but don’t want to carry paperbacks, meditation cds, your gwersu, your cards, notebooks, or whatever else you use in your practice. For me, a lot of my druidic travel habits are supported by my gadgets: a laptop, kindle, and a phone.

The laptop is for work and travel planning, and so I can keep in touch with my community back home. I try not to spend all my time on social media, as I find that it either makes travel feel like a competition of “how amazing is my life right now?”, or can be frustrating when you see how much you’re missing out on back home. But an email or two sharing photos and impressions, or blogging, can be great for sharing your experiences.

The e-reader is for fiction books and brain food: I have hundreds of books on here, covering anything that I may feel like reading. Light fiction for when I’ve had a hard day, books about spirituality to ponder on the train, murder mysteries to take my mind off queuing… I can always find something to pass a few minutes waiting for the bus, or an hour in the immigration queue. If you’re a reader, you can imagine how much easier it is to find calm when faced with delays if you have a book in your hand!

The phone is a general music player/navigator/email checker/app guru. It does many things, but two things I really rely on it for are for music and apps. Much like books, I carry a variety of audio on my phone. When all the change of being in a new place gets to be too much, I find playing the same music I play at home can be grounding. When I want to mediate, I can use the CDs I have of guided meditation. When I want to listen to my gwersu, they’re there in audio format. I also have podcasts of DruidCast, or other shows, to listen to on long journeys so I can stare out the window while “reading”. And my mobile apps cover a lot of things I may want to carry, but don’t have room for. For example, I have the app versions of the Druidcraft Tarot deck and Druid Animal and Plant Oracles. This saves me carrying around a deck thinking that I may want to use it (and sometimes, never taking it out of the bag). I have even used the Plant Oracle to identify trees while in Britain when we didn’t have a plant book with us! I also have a fantastic app called Buddhify, which has a large amount of short mindfulness exercises based around activities like traveling or walking. It’s been fantastic for finding a little spot of calm in the five minutes it takes to walk to the shops, or the ten minutes before the family arrives for the holidays. If you include exercise as part of your daily routine, you can even get apps for yoga, pilates, or strength training. Apps are a great way to take resources with you for when you want to try something new, but you don’t want to end up with a stack of cards or books that you never took out of the bag.

I’m sure some of you will spot that the e-reader and laptop could easily be replaced by a tablet, or all three things can be done with a phone, but I do like having my books separate from my emails, or I get distracted while reading!

Some of the things I’ve mentioned, like mobile apps, podcasts, and audio CDs for guided mediation will be featured in depth on this blog in later posts.

How do you stay in touch with your druidry when you travel? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks, or ways to find peace in transit.

– Nicola

Druid Robes

“People ask me why I wear robes and cloaks for ceremonies, but you never hear anyone asking the Orsedd why they wear robes in the Eisteddfod. It’s a part of their role in a way, like a clergyman or anyone that’s part of an Order. I only wear my robes for ceremonies. But it’s no different to when people spend an hour, an hour and a half, preparing to go out to a nightclub. It’s the same for us when we prepare to go and meet the gods and our ancestors – we like to look the part.”

– Kristoffer Hughes

Do you wear robes for ritual? Robes are one of the most obvious representations of Druids in public ritual, but not everybody wears them.

As someone who chooses not to wear robes, I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about them. Why don’t I wear them? Am I weird for not wearing them? Am I missing out on the purpose of robes? Do I just have an objection to wearing white outdoors? (Something to think about in Wellington…)

For many, wearing robes (or some form of ritual wear) is a means to get their mind into ritual space. Over time, wearing this item during ritual creates an energy that in and of itself is a ritual tool.

On the other hand, I recall one of the full moon women spoke in our circle once of the deliberate choice to turn up in jeans and a top that night. For her, turning up for ritual in her day clothes that night was her making a statement that her spiritual life and her daily life weren’t separate.

When I was pondering Druids and their Robes, I cam across a couple of blog posts that provided useful perspectives:

The Druid Robe: Damh the Bard
As always, something from our Pendragon. Damh talks about the concept of how over time, and with regular use, magical items can absorb the memories of ritual and magic. In the comments, others talk of how ritual dress can have the same effect as putting on your “work clothes” in preparing you for what you’re about to do.

Robes: Nimue Brown
In contrast, Nimue talks about the conflict when you are expected to dress in a particular way, and the association she feels with robes and authority.

Druids and their robes: John Beckett
In this article, the origin of Druids wearing white robes is discussed. My favourite part, though, is the pictures of different ritual wear!

What I do like, though, is that nobody has ever made me feel like I shouldn’t be at the ritual because I wasn’t in a robe. The conversation has been in my head, a challenge between “why should I?” and “if everyone else does, why don’t I?”. In the end, my relationship with ritual dress is a bit of each of the two views I stated above. I appreciate that ritual wear can help you get your mind into ritual space, to mark the transition from the mundane to the spiritual. But for me, robes aren’t comfortable and Wellington is cold. And I’m a Druid whether I’m in white, black, or whatever jeans were clean that day. So unless I find a particular item of clothing that speaks to me, I choose to go with my comfortable daywear.

– Nicola