Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Damn the Bard!

Damn the Bard!

Damn the Bard, Damn him I say!
Storytelling and singing for all of the day!
With song in his heart and wisdom on his lips,
He engages my mind and emotions he strips!
With tales of myth he teaches wisdom so fine,
His lessons we learn, those stories do shine!
With voice so fair, and talent so rare,
He takes me to places as though I was there!
With riddles so hard and knowledge so deep,
He keeps me entertained, then sings me to sleep,
With footsteps so light and pace so strong,
He journeys the land, putting foot not wrong!
With smile on his face and humour in his eye,
He's welcomed all over with a hearty cry!
So, Damn the Bard, Damn him I say,
Cos I'd love to be doing it the very same way!

Suzanne Read
19th November 2010

Just a quick post, I wrote this and posted it to Damh the Bard's blog, he responded! Take a look at his blog to see what he wrote! My creative side seems to have come forth in abundance recently, poems aplenty all posted on Deviant Art, if you want to see them, then Im listed as RavenSummerisle, take a look and let me know what you think!

Dark Dreams

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sleeping Dragons and Other bits n bobs!

Sleeping Dragons

Under the ground in hollow hill,
Sleeps the Dragons, living still,
Heartbeats so very very slow,
So their presence few will know!

Mighty race once so strong and proud,
Flew the winds and roared so loud!
Now they lie oh so stiff,
Oft mistaken for a cliff!

Around them now slopes have grown,
Horns mistaken for standing stone,
Nostril seen as a cave,
But dont go in, unless your brave!

Past deeds now reduced to Myths,
In the forgetfullness of times mists,
Once again they could return,
What upheaval that would churn!

Awareness locked in endless dream,
Yet nothing be quite as it seem!
Neath the lonely autumn sky,
Sleeps the dragons, who know why!

Suzanne Read 18th November 2010

Greetings all, dont worry, I havent abandoned the blog, just been called to put my efforts into my writings of late, so I've been posting some of my poetry on Deviant Art, see my profile for the full set of recent works!

Ill post a quick one today, as mundane life is intruding atm, we've a new cooker being delivered and a guy to speak to about our mortgage, its possible we can reduce the cost a bit, so its worth looking at now we are no longer on a fixed rate!

Ill post another couple of poems below here for you to look at, all feedback gratefully received, and if you dont feel this is the place for them, then let me know and I wont post them in future!

I was a Warrior, Once Before

by ~RavenSummerisle

Once before, so very long ago,
I was Warrior, didnt you know?
With shield and sword in my hands,
I went forth to fight in distant Lands!

With trusted brothers by my side,
From no danger ever we shied!
Fighting for what we knew was right,
Fighting for justice with all our Might!

Yet for all the good we ever did,
We may as well have run and hid!
Who's to say whats right or wrong?
Who will remain to sing our Song?

Gone now are my Brothers of Fate,
Gone now in those Wars of Hate!
Battles hard won and battles sadly lost,
For what reason did we pay such a cost?

Friends taken from us before their time,
Bodies broken, left in blood and slime!
Pain, misery and regret were our lot,
But we gave as good as we got!

Time has stripped the strength from my arm,
Time has wracked me with such bloody harm!
Old am I now, my skills have all gone,
Where once they had so brightly shone!

Yet I revel still in memories of what was done,
Of those victories we once won!
What I wouldnt give to feel once more,
The thrill of battle on distant shore!

Suzanne Read
15th November 2010

 This was suggested to me by a poetry monody competition I saw, once I got the first line it seemed to flow with ease from my fingers onto the screen, I hope you liked it!

Facing the Abyss

by ~RavenSummerisle

From yourself you cannot hide,
All the self hate you keep inside,
In agony, alone you must reside,
Knowing in none you can confide!

In the stifling darkness all alone,
Truth, Love and Beauty are not known,
For no sin, yet must you atone,
Face for the world, made of stone!

Life half lived, filled with fear,
No-one else can come near,
No light shines for you to steer,
No-one else be welcome here!

Nothing seems right, all is wrong,
As its been for, Oh, so long,
Feelings inside so very strong,
Different from the milling throng,

Why Me? In agony you cry,
Fit in? You try and try,
Yet with a deeply resigned sigh,
Perhaps its time for me to die!

Shinning blade held against your wrist,
Been here before, too often to list!
Knife held steady in tensioned fist,
You see the picture, you get the gist!

Face the abysss, stand and pray,
Find the strength, then turn away,
Exist once more, if only for today,
There has to be another way!

A path forward becons me,
One small chance lets me see,
A way I can truly become me!
Now, finally, I can be free!

Suzanne Read 16th November 2010
Facing the Abyss recounts the loneliness and horror of having to deal with personal issues that drove me close to suicide in my 20's, dealing with an issue that I'd had as far as I could remember, but none could ever know of, only by coming face to face with the metaphorical abyss could I find the strength to put the knife down and seek help, finding the true reality of who I am and finding a life of happiness, love and things I'd never dreampt possible. I offer it here to try and help those who feel there is no way forwards, that death is their only recourse, I've faced that option, and found it didnt solve anything, strength will come to you when you need it, you can go on!
Ok, thats it for today, will be posting a bit more metaphysical posts in the near future!

Dark Dreams

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Shadowy Worlds Half Seen

Shadowy Worlds Half Seen

In Shadowy Worlds only Half Seen,
Abide those who before have once Been,
All they were and all they Mean,
Are still aware in waking Dream!

With passion and lifeforce they once Shined,
The Ancestors, legion in rank, deeply Lined,
Make contact, share with your Mind,
Wisdom once more for you to Find!

All their hopes and all their Thought,
All they were can still be Sought,
Their presence still can Forth be Brought,
Once more to speak, for us to be Taught! 

Aware again of visions from unseen Cast,
Listen hard to the Legions so Vast,
Learn well the lessons from the Past,
Take the wisdom thats meant to Last!
Suzanne Read 13th November 2010

Greetings and welcome once more Seeker! I'm inspired today to look at the existance of the Other Realms, the Ancestors, and the very nature of Balance and Responsibility that exists. A big topic, one that the time of year naturally brings to mind (with Samhain and Remembrance Day and their focus on those who have journeyed from this mortal coil) and a topic that truly can only be understood by the individual when trusting to their own individual worldview and their own Personl Truth. None but yourself can choose what and how you believe in regards to anything, and your own experiences will obviously bring forth your own unique viewpoint, so all I can do here is share my worldview, and some of those experiences that have brought me to my own understandings. I hope they are of some use for you!

If we look to Newtonian physics we find the laws of conservation of momentum, and Einstein points us to the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transformed into another state of existance, these all point to the fact that anything that exists must continue to exist in some form when physical life ends. Granted our bodies decompose, we return to the elements that we are made of and become a one with the mundane world around us, but personally I think there is something more to life, our intellect, our thoughts, our very essence and spirit I believe is separate to our physical existance, certain memories and experiences I can remember that I have never experienced in this lifetime point me towards concluding that I have existed before, not as I am now, but as another being, living and learning lessons, some of which I am able to access, some of which I am fated to relearn, but as one who is Witch I do believe I have been recalled to life by the Old Ones, reborn once more to play my part, to do that which They require of me in Their names!

Our bodies are grounded in the mundane, their flesh resident in the world of the mundane, of physics, chemistry, biology, of the 5 physical senses, a product of evolution as much as the shaping hands of the Old Ones, yet our spirits are something more! Our minds, our awareness, our very spirit has the ability to ponder and work within and without the fabric of the mundane natural world around us. Our imagination is boundless, confined only by the limits you put upon it, this ability to transgress the finite and touch the infinite, allowing ourselves to truly become all that our potential suggests is one of our greatest strengths, allowing us to perceive more than absolutes to work in the face of infinity and find our way forwards! As much as our intellect allows us to process the All around us to make sense of it, there is also more that we are capable of, we are capable of abstract thought, belief in concepts that cannot be proven to exist or physically seen, yet we know exist. In the same way that we cannot focus our eyes to a level to allow us to directly observe an atom, yet we can see experiments that prove they make up the fabric of our mundane reality, so it is with the 'realms' in which we reside, we can physically perceive the mundane realm of reality around us quite easily, yet other realms exist that we can become aware of, sometimes by accident, sometimes by deliberate choice!

Science itself is still finding what it believes, string theory, general relativity, multiverse theory, all are plausible, yet we still have no absolute theory of everything, no set of rules that works on all levels of the mundane, yet the universe works without one, minds much superior to my own spend countless hours on finding an understanding of the universe on a physical level, yet most of it is still a mystery to us all!

The first realm beyond the mundane that we can show exists is that of the mind, the seat of our spirit within the physical body, its science is psychology, it exists, it allows our awareness to be and to travel within and without the body, yet cut open a skull and disect the brain and you cannot point to one thing that can show the physical existance of the spirit or intellect in physical existance, it is more ethereal. The firing of pathways in your brain, the electrical activity that forms your conscious thought and allows you to remember, the feelings that make us human, all this still cannot be fully explained by science, yet we know it exists, we have personal experience of it!

It then follows that for anyone who has an open mind, no matter how skeptical they are as an individual, that there must be the possibilities of other realms of existance. Most people will profess a disbelief and some will ridicule those who have a belief (or more). Many who would reject out of hand anything other than physical reality do believe in an afterlife, but what else is a belief in an afterlife other than a belief in another plane of existance?

Take any person, even one with no belief in other realms, and who is unaware on many levels, put them into an environment where they are subject to the influences of Other Realms, and although they may profess that they felt nothing, look to their heartrate, their breathing and let the truth of it actually come forth! Imagine putting them into a darkened haunted house at night, or taking them for a walk in a graveyard at night, their senses will be heightened, they may experience fear, or the feeling that they are not alone, all of which could be explained as nothing more than fear of the unknown. But there we have our clue, they have possibly acknowledged that its the 'unknown' that causes their breath to catch, their eyes to widen in fear, but another name for that 'unknown' could be a touch from the Otherworld, the merest hint of breath from another realm of existance!

Christianity tells us there are 3 realms (if we simplify things a bit for the sake of brevity), the physical world, and then Heaven above and Hell below, yet is this a Truth? Is this all there is, or is it something else, possibly a construct in order to use a carrot and stick to convert and subjugate native peoples to their religion? Only your own worldview can answer this for yourself, but I know what I believe!

As Witch I am somewhat aware of Other Realms, Other Worlds that surround me, a part of who I am is that my awareness is present in more than one reality at a time, though my focus may stray from one to another when I will it. My own personal experiences have proven to me (beyond doubt) that Other Realms, Other Worlds exist, exactly how many, where they lie in relation to one another, whether you can journey (physically or mentally) to them and what rules apply when you are there I will leave to the individual to decide for themselves, I have my own experiences of some of them, that tell me they are real for me, but only you can make your own journeys to experience them and garner whether their 'Truth' becomes a part of your own!

I will however talk about 3 of the Realms I have had the most experience with, the Astral Realm, the Otherworld and the Ancestral Realm. Some consider them to be the same, but for me they are 3 separate realms, akin to each other, but different in how I perceive them and interract with them.

For me the Astral Realm is a place I can journey to through meditation, guided visualization and through pure thought processes, it is a place where I can interract not only with those who reside their, but also a place that I can experience contact with others of the mundane world who have also journeyed their. Constructs can be made and left, and will still be there when you return, places claimed and used, and magick exists in all its forms, the mundane laws of physics can be suspended, if you know how and will it to be. I have journeyed here to a friends Astral home, and recounted the experience, including descriptions of what he had changed recently and left there for me to see, and had them confirmed when I next spoke with him!

The Otherworld is another thing, it shares similar facets with the Astral, but generally is inhabited by those not of our mundane world, it is a place that some of our Beloved Dead and Ancestors also visit, a place you can interract with them and with other inhabitants, those of the Shadow World, the Fae (not fairies, but the Aelfkind, not the benevolent 'fluffy' otherkin of fantasy literature, but the tricksters, the fierce and proud inhabitants worthy of respect and honour in their own right! The Otherworld is all around us, a shadowy reflection of where we are, our perceptions are heightened here, it can be journeyed through without moving in our mundane world, and magic again is rife here!

The Ancestral Realm is a shadowy place for most, some see it as the Summerlands, some as the Elysian fields, some as heaven, it is a place that those who we have loved have journeyed to, to rest, recouperate and reflect before they move further on (either to rebirth or to another level of existance, or simply to be absorbed back into the All). It is not a place ot journey to easily, normally those who reside here will meet us halfway, coming when the veil is thin to the Otherworld in order to communicate with us, as happened at the Goddess Hall Samhain Rite a few weeks ago for myself! It is a place where we do not belong until we are called to pass over, it is where those who now reside their make their choices and decide what they need to experience next, it is a place we should honour and respect and leave alone, it is not for us........ yet!

Having said that though, for me personally I feel we do need to acknowledge and pay repect and honour to 'Those Who Came Before', the legion upon legion of our Ancestors, both those of blood (from who we physically descended) and those of Spirit (who shaped our world, the knowledge and wisdom within it and our own personal beliefs) and Whom now inhabit those shadowy worlds half seen and often unperceived by most. I may light a candle in their names, or choose to include them in our Rites, not just at Samhain (when it is traditional to do so), but whenever I can!

Without our Ancestors, then we would not exist, without their passion, their sacrifices, their triumphs and failures, their will and intent, then we would simply not be here, either as human beings or as Pagans in the modern world! Yet many folks rarely think upon them, rarely honour them and rarely seek the wisdom of ages past, either within their workings or within modern life! As has been said many times by many people, 'If we do not learn from the mistakes of the Past, we are fated to repeat them!' (Look at the Easter Islands and the deforestation and environmental calamity that the islanders brought upon themselves, yet as a species we do not seem to have listened to the lesson and seem intent on repeating their mistakes, but perhaps this time on a global scale?)

Now when I speak of the Ancestors, I am not just talking of the nameless and faceless multitudes from distant past, those from prehistory (whom are those I usually visualise) but also those of a more modern era, those who have died in all walks of life, those whose contributions were small compared with others, but wove with the all to create the rich tapestry that is the world we inhabit. I include those on all sides of all the wars ever fought, I honour their sacrifice and beliefs, the fervour and honour they showed in their beliefs and commitments and the price they paid for it, I honour those they left behind to suffer grief, and those who whatever the circumstance tried their best and did right as they saw it. No-one ever truly starts out as an evil person, we are all victims of Fate, doing our utmost to be the best we can, yet things do go wrong, folks learn behaviours (or fail to learn lessons well enough) that brings their worldview out of alignment with what we perceive as right or wrong, yet who are we (without their experience set) to judge them?

Some of those who came before do show signs of madness, and perpetrate abhorrent crimes upon their fellow humanity, yet are they truly the monsters we deem them to be? Look at the Thurd Reich and all that was done in its name, countless crimes, a true holocaust, yet without it would the world we now live in exist? Could it be (from a very basic point of view) that the Gods saw the need to shake us out of the class ridden hierarchical society we lived in, saw a need to shock us beyond belief to bring a new awareness and compassion to humanity? Have we truly heard and heeded its lessons, accepted the price that countless millions paid in blood, suffering, death and torment in order to teach us these lessons? With all the evils that man still commits against man today, I think not!

From a spiritual viewpoint I include within the Ancestors all those who sought to truly follow their beliefs (whether I agree or disagree with them) and did their utmost to follow their beliefs and share their worldview, but only when it was done out of a sense of wonder, awe and love, something not all religions can truly claim.

Far too many things have been done in religions name that we can look back upon and abhor, some were done in the belief that they were doing right, but many more were carried out not for spiritual progress but for the sake of gaining power over their fellow man! This type of abuse of religion, the misuse if Deity in order to gain ascendancy over another is a false truth and one that I abhor! The use of carrot and stick to convert native peoples all over the world to another religious belief system and remove their indigenous beliefs is one of the biggest crimes of history for me, and one I cannot forgive most of the main religions for perpetrating in their God's names (I will admit some of them felt, believed and thought they were doing right, within their own worldview, but if they had been truly enlightened then would their behaviours have been different?) They have not only destroyed the faith of peoples all over the world, removing the belief and focus of energy that sustains the Gods, but also destroyed countless generations worth of local wisdom and experience, things that once lost are hard to reclaim, especially as without the sustenance of our belief the Older Gods slip further away from us, deeper into the mists of time and become harder to reconnect with, not only as the knowledge of them fades, but as their focus becomes disipated and their identity becomes somewhat lost.

I also include within my Ancestors all those whose work has now been discredited, think of Margaret Murray, she did what she could using what was available to bring back some interest in Pagan beliefs and the Divine Feminine, her intent and belief I believe were true, for her worldview, yet other scholars took delight in shooting her ideas and theories down. Perhaps at that time they were not yet ready for a Reconstructionalist viewpoint.

In fact, although we individually can honour those Ancestors that are our direct kin (in both blood and spirit), those who inhabited the Land we occupy before us, in order to truly grow as a species, we should allow our net of influence to go wider, accepting all those who have ever lived in this world, accepting their truth, their honour, their beauty and their failures, their depravity, their mistakes and the horror of their actions! Only by all upon the planet accepting them all as our forebears, by accepting that we also have a responsibility to learn from their actions, can we as a species learn from the past and grow to fulfill our potential! If we believe that anothers actions have no effect upon us as individuals, allowing others to commit atrocity without our sanction, then we are pacitly giving our permission for them to continue!

We should be aware of the world around us, active in our observation and active in using our voices and energy to share our observations and effect change wherever we can! Without our actions, then the world will remain out of balance, those who have will keep it and remain comfortable, those who have not will live their lives in poverty and fear! Thise who are safe will stay that way, those in peril will have to fight to protect themselves and to remove the threat, and as always when it comes to conflict, those who are stronger will dominate the weaker, both physically and economically. As the world approaches an energy and resource crisis as the population outstrips the planets ability to support us, then things can only descend into darkness as we loose our balance! Only if we begin to act now, finding other ways to live that reduce our impact upon the planet, that live with the Land instead of raping it for our harvests, respecting the Land and all those who live in it, can we possibly find a way forwards, one that will allow us to respect and honour each other and for all to continue living, finding a balance that prevents others from gaining power over us!

This brings me onto my final point, we are all damaged by being out of balance, in the mundane and in our spiritual lives, the mundane is not something I can talk about for your own individual circumstance, but the religious / spiritual side of life is one I can comment on, if only in general terms!

For the past 2000 years or so, since the start of the prevalence of the Patriarchal religions, we have become something less on a spiritual level than we once were, with the rediscovery of the Divine Feminine we have a chance to regains some of what we lost, honouring the duality of Deity as much as we honour the duality of the sexes, we are one species, but two (or more?) genders, we need to be as balanced in our mundane as we do in our spiritual, and vice versa! The Samhain Rite we attended at the Goddess Hall in Glastonbury a few weeks ago brought a vivid and deep experience our way, a connection to the Goddess that made me even think of looking to complete their Priestess Training at some point in the future, but on reflection and having searched my own soul I find that although I admire what it is that they are doing, for me personally it is not a Path I can take. The reasoning, simple, they are (at least it appeared to me) solely Goddess focussed, I admit that in the current world it is probably something that is desperately needed, for some to be so focussed that they begin to redress the balance in favour of the Goddess, returning the world itself to a balance of sorts, but for me I have to find that balance for and within myself, I could not choose to be solely focussed on one side or the other, I have to follow both the aspects of our natures, honouring both the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, the Lord and Lady, the Goddess and God, as the messages I received said,

'I am the Mother, from whom all that exists flows, for without Me there is nothing, Fear me for I am the destroyer, Love Me for I am the provider, I nourish and nurture, I bring change and growth but also death and decay! Worship Me in all My Glory and Might, Cower before My awesome power, Take comfort in My dark embrace, Draw Power from Me when you have a need, but never ignore Me!'

'I am the Horned One, I plant the seed from which all grows, for without me the Mother is barren and life cannot exist! I am the Hunter, the protector and the Horned One of the Forests and green places, I am He who is cut down so that all life may continue!'

Without both aspects we are nothing, without both sides of our nature being equally honoured we run the risk of repeating past mistakes, swapping a Patriarchal society and religious focus to one of Matriarchical and Feminine focus, no bad thing in itself, but allowing the swing in polarity to go too far would I feel be as disastrous as it has been for the past 2000 years! We need to find that balance, to honour both sides and to work with both!

Thanks for reading, I hope something within caused you to pause for thought or stimulated some process within!

Dark Dreams

Friday, 12 November 2010


DreamLand by Robert Carol

When midnight mists are creeping,
And all the land is sleeping,
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away.

Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,
From out the vanished ages,
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away.

The blaze of noonday splendour,
The twilight soft and tender,
May charm the eye: yet they shall die,
Shall die and pass away.

But here, in Dreamland's centre,
No spoiler's hand may enter,
These visions fair, this radiance rare,
Shall never pass away.

I see the shadows falling,
The forms of old recalling;
Around me tread the mighty dead,
And slowly pass away. 

Greetings Seeker, only a short post today, and I will spare you my poetry and instead share the above by Robert Carol that I came across today! The words spoke to me on many levels, but I need time to dwell upon them before I can put my thoughts together and do the topic of other realms and alternate realities true justice, I may return to it shortly, or perhaps a bit further into the future!

This weekend is my 1 in 4 off from work, so I will have time to tidy the house, visit the allotment and put things in order, sort out some of the homebrew (needs finnings adding and possibly some to bottle), fetch Bear over for some more discussions and work on the new Earthshrine group that we are called to form, possibly investigate a site close by for Ritual use, then cook a nice meal for Lee (who is working), Bear and myself! Rest assurred I will share the outcomes of discussions and visits with you!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Sacred Rite, a delve into the first outdoor circle I cast many moons ago!

 Sacred Rite

Dead of darkest Night in silent Wood,
Heeding the calling that stirs in my blood!
Sacred space swept, circle cast clear,
Soon we start, soon You will be here!

Heart and Intent aligned as One,
Now this Rite truly has Begun!
With Badger, Owl, Fox and Hare,
This Sacred night we do now share!

Calling Dark Mother to claim mine by Right!
As Daughter of Moon and Child of the Night!
Horned One approaches, feel him near!
God and Goddess, You are Here!

Calling You Forth with all of my Might,
Witch, Lord and Lady joined on this Night!
Connection shared with all around,
Honouring You on this Sacred Ground!

Listen hard, hear wind in the trees,
Owl's hoot, wonder what She sees?
Movement seen from corner of eye,
What is it now that we do spy?

Distant Voices half heard in Mist,
You know what I mean, You get the gist!
Working together past and future are seen,
With sight sharply clear and oh so keen!

Deeper workings now to do,
Intent aligned, us and You!
Yet all too soon tis time to end,
Energy sent, others to mend!

Libations given, circle released,
This Rite has now totally Ceased!
Clear the area before we Go,
What has occured here, none will know!

Suzanne Read 10th November 2010

Greetings once more Seeker, welcome and thanks for returning!

I'm conscious that I seem to have been focussing the blog on ecological issues recently, with 2 of the last 3 posts being about our wish to live a more ecologically sound livestyle and animal rights, so todays poem and post are a return to more spiritual matters.

I found myself driving to work this morning with numerous rhymes firing around my head, a vision of a Rite in darkened woods late at night (somewhere we've been so many times, somewhere that calls to your soul), it felt as if I was being 'told' to write about past experiences and those yet to come, as if I was being called to try and share the heightened awareness, that deep connection and the tingle of excitement that comes from holding a Rite in the woods at night!

I recall the first time we were asked to carry out a Rite in the woods at night, this was the first Circle Casting done with the given techniques whilst training with a Family Group, previously we'd done our own Rites in our own Sacred Space (a loft conversion in the old house, that we'd decorated and made special by our focus and the energy we shared in making it) and out of doors in daylight, but being told we had to go out at night, alone into the woods to cast a circle (and just experience the feeling of being there, all alone in the night) was something that caused a little concern, how would we feel, were we to be safe, and what sort of connection would we be able to find!

I shall share here some of what ocurred, written at the time as a part of the reports I had to complete for the Families training, which was back almost 10 years ago, I hope it is of some interest and use to you!

"Dark Moon, and finally I felt ready to go out and do my first circle, after having not felt the time was quite right for the past two weeks I finally found it right to go on the Dark Moon, surely not a coincidence? The night was cold, low cloud, windy at the house when we left and not as dark as we’d have liked (due to all the light pollution from Manchester and the works the other side of the Canal). We both wrapped up warm, packed a few bits n pieces in my rucksack and at 930pm headed off to the park that borders the Ship Canal, deciding once we had got there to use two separate bits of the ‘Beach’ area, Lee in the lee, myself on the headland. When I got up there it was to notice just off the corner of the beach a wonderfully sheltered spot underneath a tree. I made my way down to it to find the tree was directly to north at the edge of my circle area, and the canal to West, again right at the edge of my Circle area, perfect correspondances and representations in themselves! The woods felt peaceful, purposeful and more ‘alive’ at night than they did during the day, though whether this was due to my own senses being heightened by the darkness or something else I am not as yet sure!

There was a branch of the tree descending right to the left (west) of the center of my circle, which made a handy place to put my rucksack and supplies whilst I set everything up. I started by sweeping the area free deosil of any impurities, visualising it cleaning the area, (as although it was out of doors and therefore I felt shouldn’t need cleansing it was obviously an area that kids had played in recently). I then placed my crystal ball to north, just in front of the tree, my feather and incense to the East, the lit lantern to the South, and my chalice to West. In the center were myself, my wand (found late last week, it was a small branch I took from a tree Lee showed me, that I took to try and identify the tree, which was Hawthorn, and measured surprisingly (though maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at anything coincidental anymore! Lol!) exactly an Elle! and a small cake to share later.

I relaxed and spent some time just getting in touch with the surroundings, then taking my spare water I marked the boundary of the circle I was casting. I stood relaxed for a moment or two, and asked the Mother and Dark Father to witness my rite. I was relaxed, aware of every movement around me, the tree’s creaking gently in the wind, and felt somewhat connected to my surroundings.

I started at North, and with my wand traced the outline of my circle widdershins, chanting the Chalm of Making (Druidic, spoken in Welsh / Gaelic and has a rhyme that builds power for myself ‘Amal Nathras, Uthas Bethod, Dochyell Gyenveh’ – ok, I know it’s a bit theatrical, but it seemed to work for me!) I walked the circle edge chanting stronger with each repetition, a total of three times around, as this is what felt comfortable to me.

Next I stood facing North, and invited the Elementals, ‘To those who reside in the North, come forth and witness my Rite, lend me your presence and power’, backing this up with the suggested visualisation, and seeing the tree above and to the North of me in it’s stark beauty. I felt the cold and sure ground beneath me, and a sense of timeless ageless surety, firm, grounding, relentless, stability.

Then I moved to West, and invited the Elementals, ‘To those who reside in the West, come forth and witness my Rite, lend me your presence and power’, again visualising as suggested, and looking to the dark and still waters of the canal to my West. I felt fluidity, emotions coursing through me, a sense of being able to flow and change shape as required by experience and situation.

Next South, ‘To those who reside in the South, come forth and witness my Rite, lend me your presence and power’, Visualising the Sun as I stood facing that way, and conscious of the flickering candle light. I felt warmth, the feeling of protection one gets when in a Father’s arms, the warm glow of friendship and also more, the passion of uncontrollable lust, the heat of the furnace.

Finally East, ‘To those who reside in the East, come forth and witness my Rite, lend me your presence and power’, visualising the wind on my face as I looked to the East, which although it was a windy night wasn’t noticeable inside my circle! I could hear the trees being moved by the wind, creaking and branches squeaking as they rubbed together, but it was not something I could physically feel within the circle itself! I felt a cool moist breeze, the sense of a crisp morning in the mountains, inspiration and intuition, but also ordered thoughts, logic.

Then I stood in the center of my circle, eyes shut and visualised the circle coming above and around me, and my heart glowing as the diamond at it’s center, this felt true and good, as though it was more than any other circle I had done before!

After this I sat for a while on the tree branch, facing East, closed my eyes and meditated, in my eyes at first I could see purple / blue spots, but then I became aware of flickering to my right, and began to sense more of my surroundings, it was as though I could ‘see’ with my eyes shut! I stayed there for a few minutes, and then heard the metal gate at the edge of the woods bang violently, so opened my eyes and looked that way for a few minutes. It was soon after this I saw a light shine upon the grass, it appeared to come from the headland to my North, and was shining downwards onto the grass, though on telling Lee of this he says he didn’t hear the gate bang at all, and that he shone his light in the direction I saw the flash, though as he was below me and the land after rising up to a lip from where he was then fell away towards me, I am pretty sure the light source wasn’t him, as it would have had to shine through solid ground or be reflected 180 degrees for it to appear as I saw it! After I was fairly certain that I was still alone I sat on the floor in the middle of the circle, facing West, and closed my eyes to meditate once more. This time I seemed to float off somewhere else, time seemed to stand still and I have no visual clues to where I was, except it felt different, fuzzy, confusing and almost misty. When I opened my eyes and looked to the South (my left) it was to see mist surrounding the tops of the trees, and seemingly thick in between the branches, but to the West, North and East there was no hint of mist at all! It was almost a shock, it certainly surprised me, and Lee agreed it was strange too! Later when we left I noticed there was no mist anywhere else but around these trees.

After this I blessed the cake and water, ate a little and left an offering to the Old Ones, thanked the Guardians for their presence, ‘To those who reside in the East / South / West / North, stay if you will, depart if you must, thankyou for your protection this dark night’. I then took my wand and walked the Circle boundary deosil, saying ‘This circle is open, but unbroken!’

After this we both met up again, and walked home. Reflecting on the whole experience, it was more powerful and had more connection than I have felt before, and there were some parts that certainly made me feel and think more than I had before. Negatives, well, the area we were in was a little too bright for my liking, we are going to have to look further afield to find somewhere darker, and I think more preparation would be certainly useful next time!

In total we were out for 2 hours, it was 1130pm when we got home, yet it had felt like no more than a few minutes since we had left, time I know runs differently within Circle, and this night was certainly no exception! It was cold out, but neither of us felt it, both being extremely warm when we got home!"

Re-reading it again now it surprises me at how far I have come on from this point, the dark woods at night now hold no fear for me, be they familiar ones I am working or unfamiliar ones that I do not yet know, the connection I now feel has no need of Tools, nor for complex Rites, everything has been pared back to the absolute minimum I need, nothing within and without the circle tend to surprise me any longer, its not that I have become jaded, but more I can feel my connection and know when I am safe!

I may well choose in the future to share some of the other writing from some of the Rites we have done, possibly the first Full Moon Rite we did with that Family, although certain of the Family Rites that we attended I cannot post about, they are 'sub rosa', oathbound and cannot be discussed except with those that were present and only then if we are alone!

I hope you found the poem inspiring, and the writing of some interest! Return soon for more of my musings and some more poor attempts at poetry!
Dark Dreams

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Have you seen the film Earthlings?

 Lost a balance, then cruelty be sure to happen!

 Nature be red in tooth and claw,
This we know, of this we're sure!
Playing their part, Hunter and Prey,
In darkest hour and on brightest day!

Herne, Cernunnos, Cern and Pan,
Woodland Gods, half beast half man!
Bringing meaning and something more,
To those needed deaths, something pure!

Playing their part the dead doth go,
Their blood taken so others may grow!
Horned One comes to take them home,
Where once more they may roam!

Returning once more to the Spirit,
A part again of the world and all in it!
Birth, life and death all play their part,
As its always been from the very start!

Yet today something is very wrong,
One species has grown far too strong!
Mankind is king of all they survey,
This is all for us, so some say!

Lost a balance, lost our way,
Cruelty happens every day!
Far from the eyes of us most,
Far removed from Sunday Roast!

Harm is done in our name,
And we must all share the blame!
Cheap goods come from questionable sources,
Yet there are other resources!

Only alone can we play our part,
Choosing things with unburdened heart!
Buy from those you can trust,
But only buy if you must!

Reduce your burden on the planet,
You can if you try, come on now damnit!
Other species are also here,
They too should live without fear!

There is nought that can taken for granted,
Not meat on plate or seed you've planted!
Chemicals use now out of control,
Are we signing our death roll?

Permaculture shows a new way to live,
Harvesting what crops willingly give!
Living in harmony day by day,
Surely this is a better way!

If we change the way we live,
Take what is given and freely give!
Respect all life in myriad form,
Treat it well should be the norm!

Pagan world views these may well be,
But this is how it doth feel to me!
The world itself needs none to save,
Its Man who will end up in his grave!

Its time for us to make our choices,
Tis time for us to raise our voices!
Its time for us all to be heard,
Tis time for You to spread the Word!

Suzanne Read
9th November 2010

Surfing the net yesterday evening I came across Damh the Bard's Blog, and reading a post brought me to watch a film for free on the net, not something I usually do, but Earthlings is something the like of which I have never seen before! Beautifully shot, narrated with empathy and feeling, covering a difficult subject in a non-judgemental yet sympathetic way, horrific and thought provoking, its something that all should watch, but I warn you, it is disturbing, visceral and portrays our stewardship of the world and all those Earthlings in it in a way that shames me.

As a person who consideres themselves both Pagan and one who takes personal responsibility for their actions, I feel as though I honour Nature, paying homage to the Gods and Goddesses of the forest, doing my bit to protect the wild and reducing my impact upon the planet (growing as much of our food as is possible, keeping bees, recycling and reusing, etc), plus having an interest in ecological issues and nature, yet after watching this film I have to admit, there is more I can and will do!

I'm not saying I will turn vegetarian (I tried it for a month or so once, it wasnt for me at the time), but I will pay more attention to how the food we buy is produced, how the animals are treated and what respect is shown them as they are killed. I will also pay homage to the life that was given in order to feed me, paying respect and using it fully! I know I can live without meat, but a part of my own Truth is that I take responsibility for the death, something I have done in the past to remove a pest (rabbits on the allotment) in a humane way and to use the animal fully once it returned home with us! This may not be for all, nor should it be, but for me it was an important part of acknowledging who I am and my place in the world.

I will also look closer at what clothing and other goods I buy, cheap leather is something I will look at deeply, if I am not happy with how its been produced, then it will no longer be for me! Other goods we normally buy are from sustainable sources whenever possible, but now I think I'd rather do without if its been produced in a way I cannot condone!

I am not saying that others should do the same, nor feel obliged in any way, its up to you to make your own choices, its up to you to use your voices! Yet if you do watch this film, then be prepared to have your eyes forced wider open, not all these practices happen everywhere, there are those who respect and humanely treat their livestock, and its towards these as enlightened consumers that we should turn, I know our Pagan pounds are hard earned, and wont go as far compared to the cheapest food from the supermarkets, but to my mind its a price we have to pay!

Dark Dreams

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A Gentle Touch from the Old Ones....

  The Gentle Touch

Walking along the Crooked Path,
With Knife and Cup, Stang and Staff,
Old Ones walking by my side,
Taking me along, far and wide!

Time to Learn, time to rest,
Trust the Old Gods, they know best!
Finding Knowledge along the way,
Hearing what the Old Ones say!

Heed Their Words, listen hard,
Wisdom found in words of Bard,
Simple things, nothing much,
Yet feel the tingle in gentle touch!

Feeling warm breath from a child,
Seeing beauty in the wild,
Gentle touch of the Mother,
Lying together with your lover,

Sensual meal by candlelight,
Shooting Stars in the Night!
Spending time in good company,
Sharing laughter, You and me!

Moonbeam glinting on the water,
Autmn colours, days become shorter,
A shaft of sunlight in the Mist,
A glimpse of Stag, you get the gist!

Wisdom comes not from a Book,
No matter how hard you care to look,
Knowledge holds dubious value,
Until you know whats true for You!

Only by Doing can we really Be,
Experience begats Wisdom, dont you see?
Live your life with open eyes,
Live beneath wide open Skies!

Take every chance you may get,
Dont live like some coddled pet!
Growth is seldom without strife,
Thats a part of every life!

Call of the Gods, getting Stronger,
You cannot ignore it for much longer!
Let yourself really feel it all,
Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall!

Be open to a sense of Awe,
Follow your heart, live your Lore!
Heed my words I ask of thee,
As you will it, so mote it be!

Suzanne Read
8th November 2010

Welcome once more Seeker, to my musings, my ramblings, I hope you find something that resonates for you!

Today, after writing the above Poem last night, my thoughts swing to how we each individually perceive our experiences, how they effect our 'worldview' and thus affect our 'personal reality' or as a friend put so well, our individual 'Truth'!

We all see and experience the world around us (seen and unseen) through our own individual eyes, our perceptions coloured by our own individual past experiences, filters laid in place by our beliefs and current 'worldview', our own personal take on reality, our own personal 'Truth'. For each one of us this personal Truth, this personal reality is perceived as an absolute, for us this IS our world, our own reality, created by our learnings, our experiences, the hurts and joys that have shaped us as individuals, it is how we understand the world around us, how we make sense of things on a daily basis. It has meaning truly only for ourselves, nothing exists in 'absolute reality' that does not enter our own personal 'Truth' without our own meanings and perceptions being assigned to it.

Yet for each of us, our personal 'Truth' is different, no two individuals can ever have had the same experience set, nor had it affect them in exactly the same way, we may find congruity amongst others who walk a similar Path, find shared experiences that resonate, touch others whose spirits are familiar to us and experience moments (or longer) of absolute true understanding, where empathically we understand exactly the mindset and personal reality of another, but these occurrances are the exception rather than the rule.

For most folks (especially those without an active spiritual path) their personal reality will be very mundane focussed, rooted in the hear and now, they will not feel the touch of those realms beyond the mundane, they will not hear the call of the Old Ones, not because they are unable to, but because they are not currently open minded in that aspect of their life (Im not making a judgement or criticism here, merely looking at how our 'worldview' affects our perceptions)

As children we are unaware of the existance of our own personal 'worldview', we take most things on face value, experiencing everything new with a sense of wonder and awe that as we grow up usually becomes jaded and blase, our experiences colouring our perception and our reality can quickly become so rooted in the mundane that life can become almost meaningless.

For those of us whom have found an active spiritual path (of whatever form) our personal take on reality can be radically different from the mainstream, so much so that others can perceive us as 'weird', 'naiive', 'deluded' or just 'different'! This can manifest itself in various ways, from the odd glance you get from another through to being held up as an objet of ridicule, yet allowing ourselves to become open to other influences, to perceive more than most yet do has its own rewards!
 Think back to when you first discovered your personal Path, think back to the sense of wonder and awe, the heartfelt joy you discovered in your connection to all that surrounds you, from those things gross and blatant through to the gentlest whispers, half heard in the night, for most they would have no meaning, but to those who live with an awakened and aware consciousness then we know that there is nothing we experience that does not have meaning on some level! Witchcraft, paganism, spirituality, call it what you will, is not all bangs and whistles, indeed most of the time it is not, yes, you will occassionally experience something transcendant, something that is overwhelming in its power, symbolism and personal meaning, but for most of the time its the smaller simple things we experience that tell us our feet are walking the Path they are meant to be! Im talking of being open to seeing the touch of the Goddess and God in all you experience, from the beauty of a single flower, the power of a storm, the simplicity of a lit candle, the majesty of  a stag in the woods, the touch of a moonbeam on your face, the kiss of the wind on bare skin, the smile of an eye, the smell of the woods on an autumn day, all simple things, yet things with meaning if we care to touch upon them!

I'm not advocating abandoning yourself to unlimited beliefs in every concept you are brought into touch with, nor abandoning your intellect or scepticism, but if you truly allow yourself to Be, grounded in your own personal reality, your individual Truth and in Realism, experiencing all that surrounds you with wide open eyes, then you will perceive much more than most!

Personally I find myself an open minded skeptic, I do not easily believe in things I have not experienced, yet my own experiences, the places and things I have touched, my connection to other realms and to the Old Ones teaches me that they do exist, even if others do not perceive them or believe in them. I try to live my life with wide open eyes, alowing myself to be open to all the influences (seen and unseen) that I come across, sometimes they resonate within and I find myself delving deeper, sometimes they leave me cold and I leave well alone, which is how it should be! Following your own Crooked Path is very much a personal journey, it has to have personal meaning for yourself, what others think or believe really should have no influence on yourself unless you find it also has personal meaning for you aswell!

Only by allowing ourselves to be open to what is around us, to feel and see what is really there (on all levels) and to 'Be' who and what we really are can we truly grow. Knowledge is fairly easy to gain, there are books aplenty on almost every aspect of our life and craft, yet book knowledge in itself does not make one wise. Only through personal experience can we commute knowledge into wisdom, without hands on experience, without knowing exactly how something works for us as individuals and what it means to us personally, then knowledge is nothing more than theory. Personal experience allows us to truly feel and assign true meaning to anything we have learnt, allows us to garner its truth and beauty and thus to integrate it into our personal Truth, making it a part of ourselves and our own personal wisdom.

For most of us this is something we acchieve for some of the time (myself included), for the rest of the time we are focussed on too many other things, work, family, mundane life all impact upon how much we can focus our intent, yet for some it is a state of being that they have acchieved, their focus is firm and their Path impacts every second of their day. They are able to see the hand of the Old Ones in everything around them, something the rest of us would love to do but have not yet attained!

In an ideal world, those of whom are attuned and awakened (at whatever level they perceive) would be eternally free to follow that which pulls us, having time and energy to do so at any moment, but in the current world we live, with its distractions and the way we are forced to live, conforming with societal norms in order to provide food and lodgings for ourselves and our loved ones, many of us find ourselves limited in what we can acchieve, yet yearn to do more, but even by spending nothing more than a few moments each day being totally aware, we can increase our sense of connection and our participation in the All around us! Lighting a candle and some incense, spending time reading something spiritual, meditating or even writing a journal or blog (and thus spending your energy on spiritual matters and really thinking and working through your thoughts and intent) are all good and simple ways to honour the Old Ones on a daily basis if you are unable to do more at any given point!

It is Our intent, our focus, our commitment that is of the utmost importance on our individual Paths, the Old Ones understand all that pulls upon us, the myriad distractions we are forced to deal with, in fact you could argue that sometimes They have placed them in your way to test your resolve and see whether you have the will and commitment to overcome them, sometimes on your own, and sometimes with a little prodding (or perhaps more than a little, the cosmic 4by2 comes to mind here)!

Sometimes life can seem to become derrailled, both on the mundane and spiritual levels, personal and familial disasters occur that seem to have nothing to do with our Paths but do take our focus away from where we wish it to be, but listen deeper, look harder, at some level there will be a reason, it may be a lesson you needed to learn, a change required in your direction, a trial you needed to face, a sabbatical you need to take, or perhaps it is time for you to be melted once again in the forge, annealled into something new and stronger (as Nietsche said 'What does not kill me, makes me stronger')

As I once wrote many moons ago............

'Always remember, no matter how far along the Path you travel, from the valleys of ignorance to the peaks of enlightenment, around the next corner will be another steep and rocky path for you to follow! Sometimes you may need to sit and rest by cool waters, other times you may slip down the path, loosing your footing, other times you will stride firmly onwards and upwards, but remember to always do so with an open heart and mind, for the day you close your mind, believing you know all you need to know is the day you may aswell fall upon your sword and remove to the Otherworld, for from that day forth you will be dead inside!'

 Todays post was suggested by the Poem I wrote early last night (Gentle Touch, featured at the top of the post), and then somewhat further inspired by a blog post made to Musings of a Pagan Angel just an hour or two after I had finished writing the poem, synchronicity, huh? The Blog post Mina Angel made talks about how each of us must find our own 'Truth', how each of our 'worldviews' is equally as valid as anyone elses, definitely worth a read!

Thanks for reading, I hope you found something of interest!

Dark Dreams

Monday, 8 November 2010

A return to the mundane........ feeling disconcerted!

Greetings once more Seeker, today you find me feeling disconnected / disconcerted / discontented, disorientated and feeling as though more than my Path needs to change within my life! For the past 2 weeks I've been on holiday, time to relax, time for a trip away to Glastonbury and to reconnect with the Old Ones, and time to plan with fellow walkers of the Crooked Path, friends all, fantastic times, optomism, drive and personal power were evident though every waking moment, yet today I returned to work, talk about a come down!

For the past 2 weeks I've been living fully aware as a Witch for every single moment (regaining a connection at a deeper level than I normally maintain), feeling a palpable connection and having the luxury of being able to focus completely on what was being brought forth, yet today I returned to the mundane world of work, finding my attention being pulled in too many ways all at the same time!

The day started with my morning commute, only 20 miles, and usually 20 mins, but today it was 45 mins (good job I set off with plenty of time) as the rain and roadworks slowed everyone down to a crawl!

Arriving at the branch to open up, running across the car park and standing in the cold, wet and windy weather whilst opening the shutters and doors left to chilled and wet, perhaps someone trying to tell me that I should be doing something else?

My team have done a good job in many ways during my absence, the store looks ok, the sales and KPI's have been excellent, yet there's plenty they havent managed to do, and one person in particular left a message that tells me he isnt happy at the staff levels, at the fact we're soo short staffed that the shoplifters are having a field day. Much as I want to agree with his suggestions, bulk up the shop floor coverage and have more staff, I also appreciate that we have set 'rota principles' we have to follow, and 'wage spend budgets' that have to be met, were we to follow our hearts and increase the coverage it would soon result in my being disciplined for overspending on the wages, a crazy situation, but one I cant do anything about!

 Walking in to the branch this morning to find it reasonably tidy was good, but then finding that none of the admin seems to have been done, and possibly 1 week of the wages overtime hasnt been authorised, plus a million and one other things that our head office wants doing still to do meant I was overwhelmed by the worklist in front of me! I found myself almost unable to decide what to attend to first, it took me some time to get my focus and plough into it, I know many will say, thats just the 'returning from holiday lurgy', but it felt like more than that to me.

Dont get me wrong, I usually enjoy my job, I've been with my current company for almost 23 years, rising to run my own branch in the last 5 years, but whereas I enjoy certain aspects of the job, the current demands of the bosses to par everything back to the bone and maximise profits (especially where staffing levels are concerned) just doesnt feel right to me. I am customer focussed, I dont believe folks should have to queue or have to search for someone to help them, yet this seems now to have become the norm within the company. My current branch is far better than my previous one, as its a smaller size, so easier to run on the current staff levels, but if you have 1 off (for holidays or due to sickness) then its almost impossible to do anything but serve customers and the very basics of keeping the shop running! We are constantly firefighting, not being proactive and business focussed, not driving it like we would if we had just a little more staff coverage!

Coming home was another nightmare, traffic queues for 6 miles, what should be a 20 minute journey took an hour and 35 minutes, ok, the time wasnt wasted, Damh the Bard CD playing (I listened to it twice almost) and time spent talking with several of the Gods (the traffic being Pan's practical joke perhaps? He definitely seemed to find it amusing anyhows! Lol!), but what a waste of energy, time and lifeforce!

If I'm honest to myself, my heart really isnt in my job anymore, whereas once it was a consumming passion, something I would look forwards to doing every day, working countless unpaid hours and going in on my day off, nowadays my enthusiasm has been tempered by the actions of those who care for nothing but the bottom line! Its become a job, nothing more and nothing less, I do what I have to, work the hours (and then some) and then look forwards to going home at the end of my shift, not something normal for me!

I know I still have my connection, my feet are place firmly on my Path (as they have been for the past 10 years plus), akin to riding 2 bareback horses, 1 foot on each of them, 1 foot in the mundane and 1 foot in the otherworld, the magical realm, able to equally focus my mind and intent, yet this no longer seems enough, I long to walk my Path full time, to do something that allows me to retain my connection first and foremost for all of my days, yet what to do?

Ideally we would both like our own smallholding, preferably one with a self build earth sheltered eco home (such as the one in the photo at the beginning of todays post), heated by wood harvested from our own trees, powered by solar, wind and water, food provided by our own fruit and veg and livestock, some income from selling excess produce and perhaps having a few yurts to let out as holiday venues and working part time to garner enough income to allow a reasonable standard of living, living sustainably with the planet rather than being the mass consumers that our way of life makes us! I know it would not be an easy life (nothing worthwhile ever is), plenty of discomfort, worry, hard graft and potential catastrophes, but it would be living in a way that would give a fabulous connection to the Land, that would allow us to live as Witch every waking moment!

We could (if we sold up) afford to buy 5 or 7 acres of agricultural land, which would be enough for us to live on and be almost totally self sufficient, but you cant build on agricultural land without planning permission, and it is highly unlikely to be granted, buying land with planning permission is way too expensive, so after buying the farm land we'd still need somewhere to live, which then means big mortgage or rent, which means 5 or 7 acres wouldnt be enough to pay for it, so at present we're stuck in a catch 22 situation!

Which means unless our circumstances change (perhaps the Gods will see fit to grant us that Lottery Jackpot win, Lol!), I'm stuck with having to continue with my job and continuing with a life split between the grind of the mundane and the joy of shared connection to the Old Ones!

Ah well, perhaps the Old Gods will decide whats for the best, perhaps the daily grind is something they find amusing or a necessary part of my Path, forcing me to split my focus, bringing me to know myself deeper through conflict within and without, testing my mettle and commitment by placing obstacles in my way, who knows, I dont, but perhaps they do!

I will end today with a poem I wrote, inspired partially by the dream of living an ecologically sound life in our own earthsheltered ecohome, on our own smallholding and partially by the craziness of the Uk's planning regulations (We want sustainable development, but not at the expense of bending the rules!)

Making a Stand?

Walking the path that calls to my soul,
Recalled again to play my Role,
Living a life rooted in the Old Ways,
Learning once more for all of my days!

Finding my way along the crooked path,
Sorting wisdom from chiff and chaff,
Living a life rooted in the Land,
Yet yearning for more, to make a stand!

The Land calls me forth to live a greener life,
Sustainable and self sufficient, with all its strife,
Earthen Sheltered I wish a home for me,
Yet without money its not to be!

Short-sighted rules of those who planned,
Keep us chained to a life that’s killing the Land!
Profitable decisions rule the day,
Yet in the long run its All who will pay!

Greenhouse Emissions out of control,
Melting Icecaps at the Pole!
The black gold is running out,
Civilisation is now at it's last shout!

Legacy of past riches squandered away,
For the price of a life lived at play!
Culture of Greed is how most now live,
For tomorrow not one thought most now give!

Yet there is still another way....
Living in harmony, day by day!
Reclaiming our connection with the Land,
Is it now time to make our Stand?

Land is owned by so very few,
But with it, most know not what to do!
Called forth, a new Vision we need to see!
One that’s fair and allows all to Be!

Communities once more come to the fore,
Building together, living within the Lore!
Regaining the connections that once were Ours,
Reclaiming again those once lost Powers!

Land enough to grow and farm,
Living a life with minimal harm!
Reclaiming the skills of times long gone past,
Building a future that’s bound to last!

Managing the Land through permaculture,
Safeguarding the Land for all our Future!
Sustainable building from local resources,
Allowing Nature to run her courses!

Technology yet still has its place,
But it needs a human face!
Not the God of corporate greed,
But as a tool, us to feed!

Learn well the lessons of the past,
Build things that are made to last and last!
Choose to work on a human scale,
Pass on the word with Your Tale!

If we choose to make a Stand,
We still can save the Land!
Its up to you to choose you're Fate!
Act Now, before its too late!

Suzanne Read
Samhain 2010
Thanks for reading!
Dark Dreams

Sunday, 7 November 2010

New Beginnings?

Greetings Seeker, and welcome once more to my rambling writing!
Possible name and formal logo of the new working group
New Beginnings

With the Years tentative new start,
Comes the chance to practice our Arte,
With staunch companions by our sides,
Endless possibilities, wide open skies!

 Heeding the Call from Old Ones voices,
Working together, with intent and choices!
By Badger, Fox, Owl and Hare,
Our intent we now Share!

A focus grounded in the past,
Foundations built to last and last,
Core of the group now comes together,
Lee and Sue, Bear and Heather!

Gatekeepers all, holding strong,
Protecting the Group from whats wrong!
Others too will be at out side,
From close and far, near and wide!

Working together with all our Might,
Through the days and in the Night!
Holding together a Sacred Trust,
Do as ye will, Do as ye Must!

Pay the Price if required,
Heed not, if weary or tired,
A sum now greater than its parts,
This is now where it all starts!

From small seed doth huge tree grow,
This be true and this we know!
Earth, Air, Fire and Water
Bind Us now as One!

Suzanne Read 7th November (Hekate's Day) 2010

Last night was fun, not only a chance to catch up with an old and dear friend, but once again synchronous thoughts, actions and intent become apparent! Unfortunately due to ill health in one of H's furbabies, (Fern the Cat, please send whatever you can to help her, she is diabetic and has problems, its not sure whether she will recover or move on as yet, but she, H and Andrew are in our thoughts), Andrew and Heather were unable to make it to the meetup and meal at ours, but Bear (Andru) was fetched over by us both, a welcome feast served and plenty of talk and drink flowed as the evening progressed!

Bear is a former HP of the Circle of the Moon Teaching Coven, (to which we once belonged) and counterpart to H (who was HPS of the same), and a dear and true friend, one of those friends who you can go years without seeing, (in truth its been 2 years since we last met up, at the Samhain Rite at Heathers after which we walked away from CotM) but when you get together tis as if no absence has occurred, you feel totally at ease with one another and immediately pick up where you left off!

Big hugs were the first order of business, then a chance to catch up on what we'd all been up to and how life has been treating us all! As could almost be predicted, Bear has found himself being 'told' that his 'group working' sabbatical (with H and us both) is over, that tis time for something new to come, he'd even talked with H about what was happening a few weeks ago, the pair of them had already tentatively spoken about a possible name and format for the group, being less hierarchical than CotM was, and possibly using multiple sites for Ritual, with a focus possibly being an old working area we were familiar with!

We ate well, Homemade Tomato soup, followed by Rissotto and Pumpkin Chilli, followed by Cheese and Biscuits, washed down with a bottle of our Elderflower Wine and Wilkins Cider, with a Damh the Bard album playing in the background! Good food, good company, good drinks and good music plus a topic that we were all passionate about set the foundations for a great (if late) night!

With H and Andrew not being present no real decisions could be made, but concepts, thoughts, focus, intent, Ritual format and locations, Deity and a Birthing Rite (for the new group) were all subjects that were discussed, the Muse was definitely with us as ideas and inspiration flowed thick and fast, our intents and thoughts were aligned and a strong base found for us all to move forwards with.
A possible name and basic logo for the group, no decision made as yet, as without consensus from the Core group, nothing can be decided, all must be in agreement, each will hold power of veto, in all aspects of the Group!
As part of our discussions we looked at where those who could be within the Group live, and where they normally work, and after plotting them on a map discovered it formed a flattened inverted pentacle, so a basic symbol for the group was then discussed, using the inverted pentacle, a stags head to represent the masculine energies (Herne, Pan and Cernunnos were the 3 Gods who immediately came forth, especially to Lee who was listening more rather than firing out the ideas and suggestions that Bear and I were doing, normal for him, looking to his connection to bring forth what is required by the Old Ones, but when he did speak it was with power and heeded by us all!). This would then be surmounted by 2 inward facing crescent moons, not only symbolising the feminine energies (forming a symbolic Yoni), but also forming the 'eye' symbol (inward crescents flanking the dark moon), or the hidden face of the Goddess symbol (Breagha, Hekate, Cerridwen and possibly Gaia were Goddesses that seemed to resonate) I know many consider an inverted pentacle to be some form of negative or evil symbol, whereas it is in actuality a symbol of 2nd degree, and as CotM was a teaching coven (or first degree if you prefer), then it makes sense that the newer group which is the next step onwards takes a symbol that is further along the Path, so it works on many levels!
A possible more formal Logo as produced by Bear
Although we all felt that the new group wouldnt be a hierarchical group, we did discuss the need for a Core group, Gatekeepers who hold the decisions and direction / focus of the group in their hands, all with equal power of Veto, all holding the energy of the group and able to work for the group, which it seems will start with the 4 of us, and then be built upon with others as we see fit and are guided by the Old Ones. Outside of this Core would be others who would belong to the group, both experienced and WIT's (Witches In Training), who would be then admitted to the Core group as their intent, commitment and experience levels reached the correct level. This wasnt discussed as any form of elitism, but more as a means to protect the group and ensure only those who fitted in and were committed to the group were able to make the major decision, although any of the Outer Circle could bring forth suggestions and requests which would then be considered. I normally dont like any form of hierarchy, nor any smack of elitism (been there in my youth and took a long time to get away from its taint, with the foul smell of egotistical behaviours tainting what was done and less honour than was required paid to the Old Ones!), but did feel that this was a necessary part of forming the new group, how it works and whether it is something thats needed going forwards only time will tell!
Another possible formal Logo, to be discussed with all present!

The use of possibly 5 working sites was something we also felt good, not only allowing us to remain unseen by those who could object (by working different areas at different times and not using any too frequently), but also allowing us to hold synchronous Rites if it was not possible to all meet up at one site. It also means that everyone will take their fair share of travelling and equally travel the distances involved (about 1/2 hour by car maximum)

We talked also of using music / singing / chanting / resonance within Ritual, something that I exoerienced in all its glory at the Goddess Hall Samhain Rite (and have experienced at other times when we were with CotM), which was well received by the 3 of us, hopefully this could be something of use without becoming too 'fluffy'! Guided meditations are something we all felt a definite pull towards, so inculsion in most of the Rites is a possiblity, although it will be left to the Ritual Leader of that Rite to decide (we felt having a different person lead each Rite would be a good idea, splitting the workload and making it as inclusive as possible for all present!) exactly what format and how each Rite will pan out, splitting the workload and allowing different styles and knowledge come forth!
Yet another possible formal logo, only time will tell which of Bear's designs (if any) meet with universal approval, or whether some tweaks will still need to be made!

The group will not be Wiccan in framework, although most of us have had some experience within Wicca / wicca, its not where our current paths lie, instead it will possibly be more Traditional Witchcraft based, quarters and elements will be used, but possibly in the older form of the animals, Badger, Owl, Fox and Hare, you may think slightly shamanistic or druidic in format, but it matters not. This is a new group, seeking to reclaim and reconstruct what was once lost, drawing on the influences, knowledge and practices of us all, using what works from the past and our own knowledge and experiences, discarding that which does not work or feel right to us all, which is how it should be!

We would probably be a very balanced working group, focussing neither solely on the Goddess or the God, nor on light or dark, but utilising all aspects as the need arises! We probably wont follow the wiccan tenet of the Rede, 'An it Harm None, Do as Ye Will', but more the 'Do as Ye Will, But Know what Ye Do!' type of guideline! There need be no hang ups that X,Y, Z isnt being used, or that the format is different, its the intent and focus of the group as a whole that matter to us all, as long as we honour the Old Ones, each other, ourselves and the Ancestors, then it is as it should be!

Ritual Libations (Cakes and Ale) were discussed, and we felt that it probably needed to be something personal, homemade food and drink in preference of bought items, the same with other ritual items, a nice part of being beekeepers is that honey, propolis and beeswax are something we can easily source!

A lot more needs to be discussed, and not least we need to get the 4 of us together and make some firm decisions, especially with H being draconic in nature ('Do not meddle lightly in the affairs of Dragons, for Ye are crunchy and taste good with Ketchup!'), but it does feel as though we've made a start, that some great ideas for a firm foundation are out there and who knows, with the Old Ones blessings they will come to fruition!

And as Bear did write..........
'The Raven calls, the Wolf approaches, The Dragon flies and the Bear lumbers on.'

Darkest Dreams