Archives

The Littlest Druid learns about Samhain

Aisling sat at the edge of the turnip field, a pile of perfect turnips piled beside her. She only needed one more. Her teacher had sent her out here to select the nine turnips that would be carved into lanterns to represent the skulls of the people who had died in the village for the procession on Samhain.

Her teacher had told her that they used to use the skulls of people who had died. She was glad they had switched to turnips. She knew death was a part of life but she didn’t want to see the skull of her friend Beith that had died this year. She missed her so much. It still hurt to lose her.

It was an honor to be picked for this job. She had to find the biggest and most perfect turnips for the lanterns. This wasn’t easy because turnips grow underground and she had to choose hers before they started harvesting the field. She was supposed to pull the turnips that called out to her and those would be the right ones and she had one left to go. She wanted the absolute most perfect one for Beith.

She closed her eyes and reached her hands out trying to feel which one in the field was calling her. She felt a tug from the left and started to walk that in that direction. She kept her hand out and cautiously walked across the field. She closed her eyes and stood still and put her hands out again. It was close by, she could tell and someone put a turnip in her hand.

Aisling’s eyes flew up and a woman smiled at her.

“I think this is the one you need for Beith.” The woman said as she handed Aisling the turnip. It was a lovely one. Beautiful clear white and just an edging of purple around the top and it was clean with no soil clinging to it.

Aisling knew she had been alone in the field but it was the gloaming time and she was well aware anything could happen in the between times and for her it usually did.

Aisling studied the woman and was trying to figure out who she was when the woman said to her, “I’m Anann. I’m the one who came for Beith. She wanted you to know she is doing well but she still loves and misses you.”

Aisling felt a lump in her throat. She swallowed trying to keep it down. She didn’t want to cry in front of the goddess. Anann reached her hand out and smoothed Aisling’s hair which really didn’t help at all.

“She’s happy and safe and not in pain anymore?” Aisling finally got out.

“She is happy and safe and not in pain anymore. She and the priestess you helped have a message for you.”

“They do?” Ailsing wasn’t sure how that worked.

“They want you to know they are always around if you need them and that someday they will be back.” Anann told her.

“I so want to carry Beith’s lantern in the procession. Do you think that they will let me?” Aisling asked beginning to relax.

I don’t think the Chief Druid would have it any other way but you know you will be the youngest in the procession?”

Aisling nodded. She really wanted to honour her friend and not do anything wrong. Samhain was too important a time and she wanted Beith to be proud of her and know she still loved her.

Anann spoke and it was if she had heard Aisling’s thoughts. “She is proud of you all the time because you don’t give up and you’re always learning. Do you know what my job is?” asked the goddess.

Aisling thought and remembered, “To comfort the dying, and to make the fields fertile and to protect the cattle.”

Anann laughed, “Good! That’s some of it. I also teach the dying about their existence after they die and help them get ready to return. You know how your teacher told you that you are supposed to rejoice when people die because they are being born into the Otherworld?”

Aisling nodded again. She still didn’t feel like rejoicing that her best friend in the whole world was gone and it made her choke up again and start being angry. How was that something to rejoice about?

Anann looked at her. “The rejoicing part is the hardest, isn’t it? You still want and miss your friend. She still wants and misses you too but part of life is learning to let go and rejoicing when someone dies hurts. There is no way out of that but you need to know that that is you hurting and she doesn’t hurt any longer. No pain and no strife, she is at peace.”

Aisling was beginning to see the pain was about her. “Am I being selfish when I miss her so much?”

“No, you’re being human and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’d worry about you a lot if you didn’t.”

“You would?”

“Aisling, you are going to be a very good druid, maybe even a great druid and the best druids have felt all emotions and know that other people feel them too. They learn that everything isn’t about them. It’s about the all, everything and everyone that exists.”

Aisling was quiet for a bit. “Is it okay if I still miss her a lot?”

“Always, it will just hurt less and you will start to have more happy memories than sad ones.”

“Really?” Ailsing asked.

“Really, and it’s even all right if you cry during the procession and the ceremony. It shows you loved someone.”

Anann hugged Aisling, “Don’t you need to take these and go help carve them into lanterns?”

Aisling grabbed her sack and started stuffing the turnips into the bag she’d brought.

“Not so fast, you don’t want to bruise them.” laughed Anann and she helped Aisling put the turnips in more carefully.

“I’ll be watching tomorrow night with the rest of your dead. Be well, Aisling, you will be fine,” and Anann walked to the end of the field and was gone.

******

The next night Aisling lined up with the others. She was last in line with her lantern. She was very proud of the carving she had done. She thought she had captured Beith’s smile just right. They started the procession and Aisling started to weep. She missed her friend but it was going to be all right. She thought she got a glimpse of Anann, Beith, and the Priestess in the crowd but it was hard to see by the light of the turnip lanterns and she couldn’t be sure. When she got to the hall where they were going to have a feast and celebrate the lives of their dead, the Chief Druid caught her eye and winked.

“What was that about?”

This post references the events in this story:http://thelittlestdruid.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-littlest-druid-learns-about-loss/

and this one: http://thelittlestdruid.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/the-littlest-druid-learns-about-healing/

Oh Hecate

Hecate

Now is your time

You walk among us as the veil thins

Please be with your Priestesses

Wherever they may be

They are called to ease the loved ones

The ones that are choosing this time

To pass through the veil

Let them know what is needed

Be with their hearts

They are breaking

Be with the ones leaving

Ease open the curtain

Let them pass easily

Surrounded by those that love them

Let them know that love awaits them on the other side

Comfort those left behind.

Stand with them

Hold their broken hearts

Let them know that love lasts

And is not gone

It’s never gone

Only harder to see

Hecate

Be with us at this time

We turn our faces to the veil

It is not our time

Heal our hearts

Let us know peace

Let us know there is no end

Only endless beginnings

Be with us and to the hour of our passing

Be here now,

A Samhain blessing and journey

FB_IMG_1445277707137

This weekend was hard, it was beautiful, it was chaotic, it was terrifying, it was so painful and sometimes so loving it’s hard to describe.

Mary is gone now and off to whatever adventures we can’t follow on. She is no longer in pain but we are because she left a huge hole in our hearts.

She smiled at each of us before we sent her on her journey and I will treasure that smile for the rest of my life. I was honoured to spend time with her Friday just holding her hand and being with her. She was going in and out of being present but she knew I was there and that was enough.

Saturday we gathered the family and said our goodbyes. We decorated the altar and her bed. We covered her with her green cloak and the wings of Isis I brought along with BunniHoTep sitting on the end of the bed. It made her smile. We brought her favourite ritual tools and goddess images and the Brighid’s cross from the living room. She was surrounded with love and when we started the rite she was paying attention. Di, S, her step daughter, although I hate to call her step, she was her daughter and I did the rite that Caroline had written for us so beautifully. It was so hard to read it. I’m glad I wasn’t doing to alone. Denise had asked me to do it since she knew she couldn’t and I was supposed to do it alone originally since we had no idea that the others would come but they did.

It’s one thing to priestess for a stranger or someone you don’t know well but for someone you consider your sister, it’s sooo hard. Mary, Denise and I began the Grove together with Laura. We’ve taken every step along the path together from Grove creation to Companion to Bard and then to Druid and finally, Arch Druidess. Along the way we added our sister Diana who is now our Bard and we have Companions in the Grove but for the three of us, it was our dream and we created it together. You don’t get to create many dreams with people you love so much and I’m so lucky that we did.

It was a gift to do the rite and it was a gift to sing her way home to the Summerlands. Talking later after it was over we all saw the same thing but from different angles. I know I saw Laura and Lady Olivia reach out to her and take her hands and then she was gone. It took a small interval that felt like an eternity for her body to stop fighting to breathe but we all knew the instant she was gone and her body was no longer the Mary we loved but an empty vessel.

So on that holiest of days of the Druid calendar, Mary passed from our sight. We will be together again. We’ve all been together many times. We will play together and sing together. We will have ritual together and who knows maybe we will create other Groves together. But the love will always remain and the love will always bind us together. All we need to do is follow the ribbons of love that bind our hearts together. For only love remains.

FB_IMG_1446657995438

A Hallows prayer

A Hallows Prayer

I honour my ancestors

Both the ones I know about and those in the far past

I honour my ancestors

The warriors, the bards, the bakers, the wise women

I honour my ancestors

The pagan, the Christians, the earth lovers

I honour my ancestors

The writers, the artists, the explorers

I honour my ancestors

The farmers, the gardeners, the animal tenders

I honour my ancestors

The doctors, the healers, the herbalists

I honour my ancestors

The midwives, the nurses, the apothecaries

I honour my ancestors

Of moor and mountain

Of fjord and sea

Of meadow and fields

Of plains and plateaus

Of hills and vales

And valleys and glens

Of creek and brook

Of river and stream

Of fire and wind

I honour you.

I honour my ancestors

I am the sum of your lives

I am the sum of their loves

I am the end of my line.

I honour my ancestors

In memory, in blood, in the face I bear

I honour my ancestors

In the body I wear

I honour my ancestors

In the day

In the night

And in the between times.

I honour you.

What is remembered lives

What is remembered lives

Help me always to remember

What is remembered lives

Let me see their shining faces

What is remembered lives

Let me hear their loving voices

What is remembered lives

Let me hear their laughter

What is remembered lives

Let me catch their unique scent on the wind

What is remembered lives

Let me see their shadow pass by

What is remembered lives

Let me hear their footsteps

What is remembered lives

Let me feel their touch

What is remembered lives

Let them always be in my heart

What is remembered lives

Let them always be in my memory

What is remembered lives

Let me know that someday I will join their shades

What is remembered lives

What is remembered lives

What is remembered lives

Kat 2015

 

A prayer

Hallows winds blow ’round me
Hallows winds protect me
Hallows winds go with me
I take this journey out of love
Be with me as we do difficult things
We travel in love
Carrying with us the blessings
Of sisterhood
We are sending a sister
Into your arms, dear Brighid
Kind Hecate
Healing Quan Yin
Let us be her strength
Let her know she is loved
Let her be calm knowing
She is never alone
She is being born again
in the Summerland
May a new sun shine above her
May a new moon watch over her
May the new stars guide her
Let the loved ones who meet her
Know she was loved to the end
May they greet her with welcoming arms
May they teach her new ways
May she remember us
We will miss her
We have loved her
We have held her spirit
And it is beautiful
May she feel no pain
As she passes from us
May she be healed
In her new body
May she be blessed
Bless us as we hold the space
Bless us as we do hard things
Bless our tears
They are because she is loved
Bless our tears
We will miss her
Bless our tears
And let them cleanse us
Death is a passage
We can’t walk yet
It is not our test yet
So we watch for her
So we protect her
So we love her
Let the wings of Isis enfold her
Let the cloak of Brighid cover her
Let the ways of Elen guide her
So mote it be.

BunniHotep meets Baba Yaga

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was in her Temple dusting the altar because it was the Priestesses day off when she heard a strange booming noise. The noise was coming closer and closer and started to shake the Temple a small bit. BunniHoTep went running outside into the twilight to see the strangest sight.

There standing on 4 immense chicken legs was a small cabin. On the porch stood a gnarled old woman shading her eyes against the setting sun. She had come from the Northeast and was dressed for a much warmer climate.

She hailed BunniHoTep from her high perch in harsh sounding voice.. “You there! Can you help me?”

BunniHoTep looked dubiously at the woman and her cabin. She had a bad feeling about this but she decided she was probably safe if she stayed away from those big talons. “Yes, what do you need?”, said BunniHotep

“Have you seen a very large pestle? The woman asked.

“A pestle as in mortar and pestle?” Asked BunniHoTep. “ I haven’t seen anything like that around here. Where did you lose it?”

The house was turning this way and that as the woman stood on her porch leaning on a broom. “It somehow got away from me and I need it as a rudder for my flying mortar. My name is Baba Yaga and I’m the guardian spirit of the Waters of Life and Death and the nights this time of year are when I have the most work.” The old woman said. “This is harvest season and it’s my busiest time of year but I can’t fly without that blasted pestle.”

BunniHoTep said carefully, I don’t remember seeing a pestle but there is a new obelisk on the Avenue of the Gods. It came floating down the Nile the other day all by itself. Should we go look? By the way my name is BunniHoTep”

The woman stopped in thought, “Well, it does seem to have a mind of its own some days. I think it’s been hanging around the house too much.” The woman climbed down a ladder that had extended itself from the center of the floor of the cabin. “These old bones don’t get this far south in my travels usually.”

BunniHoTep looked at the woman. She was as wrinkled as the dried apples that came from the northern orchards and she was a lot fairer of face than most Egyptians. She also noticed that the cane the woman had produced was a very long thigh bone. BunniHoTep guided the woman to the Avenue of the Gods and sure enough the last and smallest new obelisk was the pestle. The pestle started to shake as Baba Yaga walked up to and she rapped it smartly when she walked up to it. “You know better than this! We need you at home right now.”

The pestle wrestled itself out of the ground and hopped along with the two goddesses as they walked back to the Temple.

“Where do you come from?” asked BunniHoTep curiously.

“I come from the deep forests of the north where it starts to get very cold this time of year. The souls will start to fly home soon and I need to be there to meet them. I want to thank you for helping me. Anytime you want a visit to the trees. Call for me and I will come but ask the cabin nicely and it will turn for you so the door will open. It gets very cranky when the hero types come and try to break in when all they need to do is ask nicely.” The woman climbed the ladder and the pestle followed her up and sheepishly went into the cabin. If a pestle could look sheepish it is certain this one did.

The house turned three times and walked away to the North. BunniHotep waved to the woman on the porch as long as she could see her. She hopped back into her Temple. That was surely one of the strangest encounters she had ever had she thought to herself. “I think its time for some tea and carrots.” And she hopped toward her awaiting tea.

Grief is a nasty black dog

The most powerful tool to help someone grieve, at least for me, is to just be there. Cry with me. Laugh with me if I have a seemingly inappropriate memory that makes me laugh. Listen to me. If it’s a group loss, hold each other.

For me, grief is a big black ugly dog and I’m sorry but I don’t like dogs. It follows your around. It sneaks up behind you and trips you when you turn around and you didn’t expect it to be there. It widdles on the carpet and you curse as you clean it up. It looks at you as if you have the answer and you don’t and it makes you feel helpless.

When you aren’t looking it bites and it hurts so much and you can try to figure out how to tell it to go away and it won’t. Eventually it may fade away across the moor but you will still hear it howl far away like some hound of the Baskervilles on dark nights when you really don’t want to be alone and it’s frightening.

Grief is cumulative over a life time and every time someone you love dies that damn dog gets bigger. Mine is currently the size of a big dumb Newfoundland and is trying to crawl in my lap again. I don’t want it. It isn’t cute at all. It slobbers.

I know Hecate has hounds but I’m a cat person. Cats are better at knowing when you need solace and when you need to be left alone.

But now the damn dog is back and I hate it.

Be with my heart

Hecate

Be with my heart

My heart is hurting at the thought of a coming loss

Be with my heart

It remembers too many past losses

Hecate

My family and friends have left me hehind

I wish them well

They stay in my heart and my memory

Be with my heart

Hecate

Be with my heart

When they appear in dreams

Be with my heart

When a scent on the wind reminds me

Hecate

Be with my heart

I hear a song they loved

Be with my heart

When the fall leaves remind me of your coming harvest

Hecate

Be with my heart

So tied with ribbons of the ones I have loved

Be with my heart

When I see they are behind me… waiting

Hecate

Be with my heart

My time is not now

Be with my heart

And remind me that time begins anew each morning

Hecate

Be with my heart

At yet another crossroads

Be with my heart

As it breaks yet again

Hecate

Be with my heart

Be with our hearts

Be with us now

As we face the dark

Be with my heart