Druid Meditation Blanket

UntitledThe project began when I read an article by John Michael Greer where he mentioned the arts of our ancestors are falling into disuse. I felt inspired to learn to knit and with the help of a magazine and DVD, YouTube and lots of patience I began to create my Druid meditation blanket one square at a time.

It was autumn and as the days got shorter and the nights grew longer I meditated while knitting. Here are some of my reflections:

My first square is light green, a gentle Ovate colour, which seems to sing of the leaves. During the time knitting the square I have sat in my deck chair, under the verandah, watching autumn changes. The last of the white butterflies, the cool wind, the dryness, and the changing leaves. I feel myself readying for the indoors and the winter soups and the fireside meditations. I think of mastering knitting, a craft handed to me by my mum. I connect with my roots, the women before me, my ancestors.

Aren’t the wobbly bits
At the edge of a piece
Of craft work
Personality coming
Through?

I have just listened to ‘Remain in Light’ by the Talking Heads while knitting the light purple square. I noticed the multi-layered African influenced drumbeats, the harmony singing and the experimental nature of the music. The light purple wool quickly formed into rows, knitting is quicker than purl. I checked the DVD and I’m doing purl correctly. There are only white sweet pea flowers and a pastel pink one left on the fence by the house. I’m waiting for rain. Drought was declared yesterday.

My white square reminds me of my Druid robe, the clear white shining stars, the cleanliness of soap, my tai chi gears, sheets flapping in the breeze, and the white clouds drifting overhead. My knitted blanket is going to be magic – like a magic carpet. Each square is a focus for my life as it is while I am creating it. It is a meditation woven in wool.

I can find myself in the strands of wool,
Jumbly, twinkly, spaghetti-like joy
Created by knots on a stick
A community of interdependent loops
Patched together from experience.

Yesterday I knitted a pink fluffy square. I thought of my home and all the comforts I have. It is a place for healing and rejuvenation. I sat on the sofa as the wind buffeted the land. The rain pelted down and I felt the comfort of being inside protected from the elements. I celebrated the feeling of the flow of water.

Magic carpet
Patchwork rug
Druid blankie
Afghan throw
Knitted blanket
Druid journey
Woven strands

~ Dawn

Advertisements

Hail To Autumn

At our Autumn Equinox ceremony in March we honour the power and radiance of Autumn and acknowledge the approaching Winter. This year Pamela spoke for Autumn and, at the appointed time in the Working, cast off her cloak to reveal a costume of russets, red, oranges and yellows and unrolling a parchment scroll and walking the circle, spoke thus:

I am Autumn
I am the release as the end draws near
I am the last breath.

I protest my leaving!
And my breath shall not be a whisper or a cry
But a shout made exultant by the power in me.

I rebel against my fading!
In these last moments you will see and feel my brilliance
And as I rebel will you view me in fear and admiration.

I am no spectator, I am the spectacle.
You do not touch me, I touch you.
In awe will you stand back as I begin my throes.
Only the daring will approach me as I embrace the Earth
And share my brief spasms of Ecstasy
For the generosity and fullness of my Relaxation.

All of my animals, too, regret my passing
For they must face the starkness of the time that approaches
The bear eats ravenously for fat, the squirrels store
All Nature quivers as my strength leaves.

I deny my passing!
Even as I go to Earth shall I give form to the future
And my seed shall rise again in another body.

And so I allow the old to fall away
And in my last, withdrawing sigh
I feel the energy of new creation . . .
For I am Birth, Death and Genesis

Then Tom stepped into the circle, head and body completely covered by his cloak to speak for Winter thus:

I speak for Winter at Autumn Equinox

As you enjoy the warmth of the sun on this Autumn day
Know you that I am coming!

Notice how the evenings and nights are cooler,
The days getting shorter.

Soon there will be frosts and the South Wind will howl in
With rain and snow.

I speak for Winter and I am coming fast . . .

 

An Ode to Balance

Balance, a precious state, not to be found easily, or handed out as a gift, no, balance flows, balance is born of wise choice and actions, it is dynamic, it moves through our whole lives in many forms. The wisdom of our ancestors to be balanced with the excitement of our anticipation, the masculine and the feminine inside us all, emotion and intellect, creation and accomplishment, hearts love for ourselves and for others.

Often we are very aware of the balance we seek as we find ourselves swinging past it frequently in one direction or another, never quite managing to settle before the spot moves on with life’s flow.

At Alben Elfed, the Grove of the Summer Stars celebrated the balance of light and dark once more, committing ourselves to balance, to be blessed with it’s gifts in our own lives and with us, the lives of all around us.

 

An Ode to Balance

I search for balance, often with a frown
An illusive state, is it ‘verb’ or ‘noun’
‘Equilibrium’ or ‘stability’
‘Justice’, perhaps ‘impartiality’
So many meanings ‘balance’ has for me

But to know that my soul has stabilized
Is to be in a place so dearly prized
Where all my emotions and senses strive
Passions, temperance, together contrive
for that ‘Balance,’ that makes my spirit thrive

~ Les

 

Book Review: Earth Tree – An Anthology of Poems

dawns-book-photo

EARTH TREE – An Anthology of Poems
by Dawn McKenzie

Copies are available from Dawn McKenzie
Email: Leafspr8@xtra.co.nz
$NZ20 + postage

Natures riches, blended knowingly with elemental cycles, with spiritual beliefs, set within the magical land that is Aotearoa, this poetry captures it all. Readers are transported by the imagery created, born of Dawn’s life experience and deep understanding of the connection between all life forces. Delightful drawings of the branches and leaves the trees featured are sprinkled throughout the text, enriching the verse still further. ‘Earth Tree’ is a must have collection of poetry for both those who understand well our dependence and empathy with our planet and also for those who desire to discover it.

“She knows the cycles
Daybreak to sundown,
The seasons –
Beltane’s buds to winter bareness.
She knows the creative cycles,
The birds in her branches
Nest, fly,
and make their homes in her boughs.”

~Les

Sometimes a Wild God

 

‘Sometimes a Wild God’ is a poem by Tom Hirons. Many within our Grove have fallen in love with this poem and it has been read at more than one eisteddfod in the last couple of years. You can buy the poem in a book form with illustrations by Rima Staines here.

 

Sometimes a Wild God

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.