Ascension Day Ceremony (Live Streaming) 21 May 2020: Your invitation

ASCENSION DAY 2020

Welcome. The following is an outline of a planned live streaming Ascension Day Ceremony online, and you’re invited. It’s inclusive! Yes, open to all.

It will take place this Thursday, 21 May 2020 at 8.15 (UK Time) on my FaceBook site.

You can printout the order of ceremony below and join in the liturgy during the Ceremony, or, as you watch the Ceremony, just let it be a form of meditation and let it ‘sink in’ deeply. The Ceremony will be recorded.

The live streaming Ceremony will appear on my FaceBook site [do click here].

Please check now if you’ve got full access to my Facebook site, and, if so, you’ll see some other, previous, videos recorded there. If you don’t see previous video or if you can’t gain full access then press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can. Once I’ve responded do then try my FaceBook site again to see if you can gain access then, in readiness for the live streaming video. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

I haven’t found a way to put a docx link here to simplify things so you can print out only the Order of the Ceremony – but I’m still working on it. Meanwhile, it maybe best to just print out the following so you can participate, but erase this paragraph and the five above this, before doing so.

 

ASCENSION DAY CEREMONY: ORDER OF CEREMONY

Thursday, 21 May 2020, at 8.15pm (UK time)
Via Facebook video

GRACE GROVE, LONDON

 

For this ceremony you may need:
• A candle
• Safety matches

ASCENSION DAY CEREMONY
Dunstan Rite

 

Intention And Preface

Our intention, at this time, is to come close, and together, to explore and celebrate the Mystery of the Ascension. The Book tells us that the Christ lead his closest believers to the Mount of Olives, gave them instructions, blessed them and departed.

And so, as we light this candle our inclusive Ceremony begins.

 

Light the Ascension Day candle. Music may be played.

 

Reading

The Ascension of Jesus
When he [the Christ] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:50-54, The Book)

 

Calling The Quarters

Calling the Quarters, as we turn in sequence to face the four cardinal compass points, helps us to become fully present so we can deeply connect to the world around us, and create safe and sacred space for us all.

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the wind.

All: We welcome you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the flame

All: We welcome you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the tides.

All: We welcome you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the land.

All: We welcome you

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with your power.

All: We welcome you

 

Call For Peace

The call for peace is an affirmation that there is peace amongst us, now; and that peace is offered to the world though not all embrace this, today, but one day will do so.

Is there peace in the East?
All: There is peace in the East.

Is there peace in the South?
All: There is peace in the South.

Is there peace in the West?
All: There is peace in the West.

Is there peace in the North?
All: There is peace in the North.

Throughout the entire land there is peace.

 

The Ancestors Present

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1 pt, The Book)

 

A Poem. One Person’s View: In A Cloud

In a cloud.
A cloud?
A bit dramatic wasn’t it, Jesus? A bit over the top!
Hands raised.
Floating heavenwards ……
And I’ll lay odds that
future artists
will dress you in shining white,
and paint the sky deep blue –
to ‘match’ your eyes.
OK – so there were some precedents:
Elijah and his chariots
and that fiery cloudy pillar thing that moved around the wilderness; but those were the old ways –
you aren’t like that.
Is this really what you want us to remember about you, Jesus? That you disappeared in a cloud
and that you now live somewhere above the skies,
way beyond our reach?
What about your stories, your friendship; your tears, your pain, your laughter?
What about the way you believed in us, trusted us,
sent us out to teach and heal?
I’m not sure that you being alive somewhere where we cannot see you, talk with you, laugh and cry with you,
is going to be much help to us, Jesus.
Please, can’t you find a way of living with us,
close enough somehow for us to know that you’re near?
You said something once about a Spirit,
a holy Spirit from God,
who would come to us.
Does that mean you’re coming back to us?

And if you are –
no dramatics this time, please Jesus. Just come back to us quietly …
No more clouds!

© Ruth Burgess from Fire and Bread, published by Wild Goose Publications. Used with permission.

 

Poem/Prayer: In Others

Help us to see.
‘Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?’ (Acts 1:10–11a)
We look for you,
straining our eyes
into the far country,
but our vision is disrupted by the least, the lost,
the littlest, the last among us.
We race after you, trying to catch up, and turning the corner find only
a homeless family
in our path.
We wander the streets, yearning to find you, calling your name,
but it is only
a single mother who turns and wearily smiles,
a street person
who whispers ‘hello’,
a little girl who pirouettes and takes our hand.
Gone …
But you are still here, Lord. Help us to see.

© Tomas M Shuman from Fire and Bread, published by Wild Goose Publications. Used with permission.

 

The Ascension Explained

The Source of All, full of wisdom and grace, in the Christ at the time of the His Ascension also raised up humanity, and this is what some know as the hypostatic union. The most basic explanation for the hypostatic union is that the Christ is both God and man. He is both perfectly and fully divine, and perfectly and fully human.

C S Lewis wrote: ‘God did not dress up in a human body and then discard this at death, returning to some preferable spiritual state. God’s hypostatic union to creation is permanent. Christ retains his full, created, creaturely humanity in the resurrection. [In the Ascension]. Including his body.

The Ascension proclaims and celebrates [the fact that the] Christ takes this creation [up] into the full presence of God.

The metaphorical language of “up” must never allow for an escapist spirituality. If we do not find God in our everyday life of work, sport, friends, food, music, nature, bodies,… we do not find God at all.’

 

Additional words of explanation may be used here

 

Ancient Reflection On The Ascension

The following is an ancient poem written by Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon who lived during the eighth century. His name means ‘kin of the wolf’, and it is thought he may be Cynewulf of Lindisfarne (who died around AD780). And so from more then 1200 years ago we read his poem, his message to us:

Music may be played

Then suddenly was a loud voice heard
upon the breeze. A throng of heavenly angels,
a shining squadron, heralds of glory flocked
crowding down. Our King departed
through the temple roof where they looked,
those who still remained in the trace of their beloved
in that place of assembly, his chosen thanes. (491-97)

They saw their Lord mount up to the heights,
the God-Child from the ground. Their minds were sad,
hot about the heart, thoughts mourning
for they would never again be allowed
to see their loved lord any longer under the skies.
The heralds hove up a song, of the kindred above,
praising that noble one, celebrating
the Origin of Life, rejoicing in the light
which illuminated the head of the Savior. (498-505)

They saw two all-bright angels beautifully
agleam with adornments about that First-Child,
the Glory of Kings. They called down from the heights
with wrought words across the multitude of men
with a bright voice: “What are you waiting for,
people of Galilee in a circle? You may clearly
see the True Lord travelling into the skies—
the Owner of Victories will ascend upwards from here
to his new home, the Start of Nobility,
with his company of angels, the Origin
of Humanity, to the homeland of his Father.” (506-16)

The Ascension (Christ II)
Christ II (aka The Ascension) by Cynewulf

 

Prayer For Those In Need

Great Comforter of All, we pray for all people who are in trouble and fear today:

For those who are sad because someone they have loved has died

For those who are anxious because they are unwell, stressed or in pain

For those who are lonely because someone they love is not there for them.

For those for whom work is exhausting or emotionally draining.

For those who are struggling with finances or are facing the prospect of unemployment

Surround those in need with your wisdom, your spirit, your healing and your life-giving peace.

 

Prayer For Ourselves

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through our soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May our gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May our thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may we be about who to become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May our sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May our mind stay clear of all it names.

And, may our prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.

(John O’Donohue, adapted)

 

Prayer For Creation

God of creation, who loves all that is made and all that has evolved,
open our eyes,
that your love might be reflected in our care for the planet.
Through the One who walked this earth and calls us by name.

 

The Ascension: Significance

The Ascension, then, is the moment in history where the Christ in all his physical, bodily humanity, returns to the presence of God. It is the beginning of the reversal of any separation, real or perceived, as our representative of humankind is bodily dwelling again with God. The Christ and His glorious return to heaven paves the way for a reborn humanity, of which we are members, and this is only the beginning. That is why Ascension Day is significant, and more so that it is a ‘gift’ that is beyond the keeping of any one tribe or people, beyond the bounds of any one religion. It is, in every age, for all. It makes earth a truly Eucharistic planet.

 

Closing Words

What do you mean by saying,
“He ascended to heaven”?

That Christ,
while his disciples watched,
was lifted up from the earth to heaven
and will be there for our good
until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.
But isn’t Christ with us
until the end of the world
as he promised us?

Christ is truly human and truly God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;
but in his divinity, majesty grace, and Spirit
he is not absent from us for a moment.

 

Closing The Quarters

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we thank you for your presence with us today..

All: We thank you.

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

 

Final Blessing

Music may be played.

May you who believe in the Ascended One, also in heart and mind there ascend, and with the Christ continually dwell

And the grace of the Triune God, be upon you and remain forever with you and those whom you love. Amen.

 

The Ascension Day candle is extinguished.

 

TableTalk Invite About Life, The Universe & Everything: 15 May 2020: Live Streaming

TABLE TALK MAY 2020

Here’s your opportunity to pull up a chair, grab a coffee and indulge in Table Talk – the kind of chat we all like after a good meal, as we relax and stretch out, and spend time in good company. You are invited, you can participate.

In the comfort of your own home you can listen, comment, or even email questions to Tadhg about life’s big issues, as he does a live-stream broadcast on FaceBook, this Friday evening.

 what is liminality, and why is it useful?  Where is the soul? what’s the difference between a dragon and a wyvern? what makes good ritual? what’s the difference between ritual and ceremony? what is life’s purpose? what’s a latter-day celt/druid look like? who am I? What is a ‘thin place’?  Is the Universe alive? What’s the difference between the imagination and the imaginal?

You can participate by viewing, but if you want to email a question before Friday, please do so. His email is: tadhgjonathan@googlemail.com  If you need a topic prompt, do check out his blog (here) to get an idea of things he’s covered in the past, and especially check (here) to read printed versions of ‘physical’ table talks in the past)

Now, the broadcast will take place on Tadhg’s Facebook page.

If you check that page (see below) and see only a brief outline and no previous recorded broadcasts then you will need to ‘friend’ him from that page to view the broadcast, he will accept and then you’re ready to view and participate this Friday. If you can see previous recorded broadcasts on that page then you’re already a friend and are ready to go! Do check here. Any ‘challenges’ please email Tadhg, and he’ll do his best to assist.

The live broadcast will be at 7.30pm (UK Time), Friday, 15 May 2020 on FaceBook, and will be recorded if you can’t make it at that time.

I look forward to seeing you there. Blessings, Tadhg

 

Arianrhod: Full Moon Poem. And Your Full Moon Ceremony Invite

full moon ceremony may 2020

The moon by many ancient tribes and faiths of yesterday personified the moon, and for many this continues today –  latter-day Celts and Druids, and others, as well as writers, poets, and romantics. In Wales she was, and is. known as Arianrhod (meaning silver wheel).

And, with the next full moon this Thursday, 7 May 2020, below is a poem to celebrate the event.

There will also be a Full Moon Ceremony ‘broadcasted at 7.30pm (UK time) this Thursday,  ‘on my Facebook site, here, and you’re invited! That link will take you to my FaceBook site, and if you can see many previous recorded broadcasts then you know you’re set for the Full Moon Ceremony. If you only see a brief outline and little or no recorded broadcasts you will probably need to press the ‘friends’ link button (from my Facebook site. I’ll accept the next time I’m online and then you should be able to view and/or participate at home, ready for the upcoming Ceremony. A printable ceremony outline will appear within a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the poem about the moon, penned by me a few years ago.

Arianrhod in all her splendour, moves by an invisible hand
and wanders companionless, like a silver wheel in the sky. She ascends.
This full moon’s lucid beam dominates the now darkened canopy, and
there, in her smiling face, we find sweet, unbridled understanding.
She befriends.

Her ‘lesser light’ moves across the sky above the city, grey.
Oh, robed in splendour, her surge of silver-light fills every window pane
and skips across rooftops, trees, streams, fairy fires, and silent railway,
and falls unbeknown on those who sleep now, and refreshment regain.
A blessing.

Arianrhod, spill your beauty on a thousand Earthly races,
on happy flowers that bloom in a myriad of hues,
on laughing, smiling, sad and all up-looked faces,
who, in wilding spaces, drink your wine of sweet, bless’d fallen dew.
A gracious infilling.

And paled now is her light,
as onward she moves lower in the sky. For the sun, opportune.
But, for now, dear Arianrhod reigns with love. She is mistress of the night.
A timely witness sent by the Truth who is beyond the Moon.
A glorious remembrance.

 

Bright blessings to you and yours during these difficult, ‘lockdown’ days, Tadhg

[Note: The moon photo, above, is copyrighted by Pennie Ley, and used with kind permission. Gratitude to Pennie [Link]]

 

Beltane 2020: Your Online Invitation & Order Of Ceremony. Sunday, 3 May

beltane 2020

Welcome.

The following is an outline of this Sunday’s online, video of the Beltane ceremony. And, you’re invited; and at home during lockdown you can participate and join in the liturgy as it happens, or just let in ‘sink’ deep, from your own home, either ‘live’ or as a recording. If you belong to a grove and would normally celebrate this time with them, please (if there is a ‘clash’ of times) give them priority so that everything is done with respect.

The video broadcast will appear on my Facebook site (see here). Please check that now if you’re in doubt about connecting later. If it doesn’t work, if you can’t gain access to my general Facebook site please subscribe/follow, and then try the link again to see if you can gain access then, in readiness for Sunday. [Note: if you can’t gain  full access ie you can’t see previous videos Gf any kind on my facebook site then press the friendship link on my Facebook site, and I’ll accept as soon as I can] then If you still can’t get access to my Facebook page(s), or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

I haven’t found a way to put a docx link here to simplify things so please feel free to print out  the Order of the Ceremony for your own use. Meanwhile, it maybe best to just print out the following liturgy so you can participate, but erase this paragraph and the three above this, before doing so.

BELTANE 2020
Order Of Ceremony

Sunday, 3 May 2020, at 7.30pm (UK time)
Via Facebook video

GRACE GROVE, LONDON

For this ceremony you may need:

• A candle
• Safety matches
• Writing paper (if solo, at home)
• Pen or pencil (if solo, at home)

A CEREMONY FOR BELTANE
Kebius Rite

Intention And Preface
Today our intention is to celebrate the cross quarter day of Beltane – a Gaelic word meaning ‘bright fire’. Beltane is half way between the past spring equinox and the upcoming summer solstice. It is a ‘fire festival; the beginning of summer.

Some may have memories of dancing around the maypole; of seeing someone dressed as the May Queen and even as Lord of the May; of bringing wild flowers into the home; or of making daisy chains; or of lighting a bonfire. Some, may have memories of seeing someone dressed as Jack In The Green, a man covered in a wicker frame and foliage and who represented nature and The Green Man.

So, let our ceremony of the celebration of Beltane, the ‘bright fire’, begin.

Light the Beltane candle

On Rising

Blessed are you Source of All.
In your verdant welcome you spring from the earth,
and your loveliness heartens us and renews us.

The Source of All is Spirit, and those who worship the Source of All must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24, The Book, paraphrase)

Calling The Quarters
Calling the Quarters, as we turn in sequence to face the four cardinal compass points, helps us to become fully present so we can deeply connect to the world around us, and create safe and sacred space for us all, as community.

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the wind.

All: We welcome you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the flame

All: We welcome you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the tides.

All: We welcome you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the land.

All: We welcome you

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with your power.

All: We welcome you.

Call For Peace
The call for peace is an affirmation that there is peace amongst us, our community, now; and that peace is offered to the world though not all embrace this today, but one day will do so.

Is there peace in the East?
All: There is peace in the East.

Is there peace in the South?
All: There is peace in the South.

Is there peace in the West?
All: There is peace in the West.

Is there peace in the North?
All: There is peace in the North.

Throughout the entire land there is peace.

The Ancestors Are Present With Us
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1 pt, The Book)

Praise And Gratitude
Some of the following praises may be used:

Praise to you Gentle Breeze of the Spirit,
for you blow where you will.
I hear the sound of you but
know not where you come from
or where you go.
Let us be aware of your presence
as you breathe across our lives this day
though we can never grasp you.(Tess Ward)

Praise to you, Oh Supplier of air.
The wind rises as a mighty tempest and powers weather systems
and, yet as a gentle breeze, it moves leaves along the path.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Provider of fire.
The fire scorches the earth, from which new life emerges
and, yet as small and humble flame it gives heat and light to all.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Bringer of water.
The great seas maintain the planet’s life-equilibrium
and, yet in our homes it provides our daily, individual and essential needs.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Giver of earth.
The earth provides vast fields for the seed, from which nourishment grows,
and, yet it is a reminder of the great circle of life, and death, and new life.
Ebb and flow.
(Tadhg Jonathan)

O most noble greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendour upon the wheel of the Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn.
You glow like the incandescence of the sun.
(Hildegard of Bingen, English version by Jerry Dybdal and Matthew Fox)

Most High, all powerful, Source of All,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.
Praised be you, though all your creatures,
through Brother Sun,
through Sister Moon and the stars,
through Brother Wind,
through Sister Water
through Brother Fire,
through Sister Mother Earth.
(Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Sun, except/adapted)

Praise to you Maker of the Summerland,
who sends the sunshine, bringing ease and light.
Praise for the outside days with doors and windows open,
neighbours’ music, children playing…
when the birds sing out the pleasure of ordinary all through the day.
For loving all under the sun, praise to you.
(Tess Ward, except)

The Work: Beltane (adapted for home/distant participation)
The Great Circle moves on, and as the Earth turns around the Sun so we celebrate Beltane. It is a day when farm animals would have been be released into the fields, and was the time associated with the fecundity of nature, of fertility, growth and maturity, and Of new ideas.

Do take a few minutes to think deeply, silently of all that we have to be thankful for at this time of Beltane, and for all that we wish to bring to fruition – these can be our wishes and dreams, our goals or projects, or a prayer for ourselves and others, for nature etc. If at home, solo, you might like to write your thoughts on paper. Music can be played here for two to three minutes.


Various Prayers of Request

Some of the following prayers may be used:

Life-force of God, you make the sap to rise,
the swelling of bud to burst the sheath.
May we let the fruits of your Spirit grow in us this day.
Spirit of love abide in our ears as we listen to stories different to our own.
Spirit of joy beam in our eyes as we meet the gaze of another.
Spirit of peace breathe through our attitude.
Spirit of kindness blow through the words we speak.
Spirit of patience breeze across our frustration before we say or act.
Spirit of faithfulness guard us when we’re tempted to stray.
Spirit of generosity spill over in all we think or do or say.
Spirit of gentleness be fragrant in all our dealings with the world.
Spirit of self-control do no limit, but channel the abundance of your fruits
as we partake in your transforming ways blowing through this day/time.
(Tess Ward, adapted)

Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving,
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see,
our lips to praise,
and our hands to share.
May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread
and our footsteps be worthy of following
for they lead to You.
(Unknown)

Earth teach us freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach us regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach us to forget ourselves
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach us to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.
(Ute prayer, adapted)

In our waking, be blessing us,
in our journeying, be keeping us,
in our working, be helping us,
in our sleeping, be watching us,
in our living, be guiding us,
in our dying, be receiving us.
(Unknown)

Creator of All, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.
Help us to become instruments of a new creation,
Founded on the covenant of your love.
(The Cry of the Earth, adapted).

Relevant Words
Some of the following sentences may be used here:

We too can begin a new life, one that brings satisfaction and enrichment, whether this is by singing, dancing, running through the waves, walking barefoot on the grass… Perhaps your dreams are greater than this, or perhaps more conservative, but whatever they are, Beltane is a wonderful time for expressing who you truly are. (Carole Carlton)

Ah! my heart is weary waiting, Waiting for the May: Waiting for the pleasant rambles, where the fragrant hawthorn brambles, with the woodbine alternating, scent the dewy way; Ah! my heart is weary waiting, waiting for the May. (Denise Florence McCarthy)

If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe… (Evelyn Waugh)

Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. (Van Morrison)

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (John Steinbeck)

We are all part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew of the meadow, the body heat of the pony and humankind – all belong to the same family.
(Chief Seattle, 1786-1866, Attributed, adapted)


Closing The Quarters

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we thank you for your presence with us today.

All: We thank you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we thank you for your presence with us today..

All: We thank you.

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we thank you for your presence with us today..

All: We thank you.

Final Blessing

As we close the ceremony the work here is finished, and yet it still goes on in our mind, body and spirit, as we revel in nature’s bounty and the One behind It All.

One of the final blessings may be used:

May the blessing of the red sun as it sinks below the horizon be yours.
May the blessing of orange, the colour of flame and hearth be yours.
May the blessing of the wild, green earth and all life be yours.
May the blessing of the blue sea and wind which calls forth waves upon it be yours.
May the blessing of indigo, the twilight colour of change and coolness be yours.
May the blessing of violet, the colour of majesty and might be yours.
And may all the colourful blessings of the God + Of The Rainbow be upon you and yours, now and always
(Tadhg Jonathan, The Rainbow Blessing)

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak to mind your life.
(John O’Donohue)

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
deep peace of the flowing air to you,
deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
deep peace of the shining stars to you,
deep peace of the Son of peace + to you (and yours), forever.
(Unknown. Early Scottish)

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Old Celtic Traveller’s blessing)

Extinguish the Beltane candle

Copyright © 2020 Tadhg Jonathan Gardner. All rights reserved. Email: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com

The Time Of Presence, Or A Permissible Walk In London: A Poem

THE TIME OF PRESENCE

It’s dark, it’s half past ten, right now
and around me shadows grow.
The city lampposts, try to cast their light.
Beaming radiant hope far into the night.
And, eight million people wonder what’s going on,
But no one knows.
This is the time of lockdown.

And yet we’re not alone, my friend
this is far from being the end.
In these strange days that we find ourselves in.
Elementals from above, descend,
and invisibly move amongst us,
so unknown, so quietly.
This is the time of new beginnings.

And so I walk fast, on and on,
past peopled houses in the night.
With our new time of self-isolation,
sweeping all across the nation.
There is one message we must never forget,
Forget, never.
This is the time, we’re together.

 

[With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel]

 

 

Energy Is Precious: An A-Z Of Energy: Introduction

ENERGY IS PRECIOUS 2

As children, then, and as adults now the imaginal is important to each one of us. When asleep our imagination, our imaginal dream state runs rampant, forming pictures to inform us about our psyche (our inner self or soul) or of other matters prompted by our psyche.

But, even when awake that part of the mind is still active, sometimes showing itself in those daydreams we might have, in our power-naps, too, or in our daily life as it ‘runs in the background’ of our mind. Our imaginal faculties can be a great asset. Imagination is a facet of the mind along with reason, emotions, and the will, and by using our imagination we can understand, explore and even make commitments of intentionality.

’Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ Albert Einstein.

What follows is an A to Z on the theme of energy, and though not in order, it will, I hope, encourage you to go deeper into this fascinating and rewarding subject.

I am moving through a much-beloved forest near Capel Curig, the sun is setting, and the temperature is dropping. Weather forecasters might say a cold front is closing in. A dendrologist, concerned with trees would describe the situation entirely differently – not wrong, but they would use different words and ideas to convey what they were interested in. A person interested in fungus would have other appropriate words and ideas, and wouldn’t be looking skyward, but closer to the earth! A theologian would have his/her own set of words and perspective. I’m not a meteorologist, nor a dendrologist, nor a mycologist, and so I write as me, Tadhg, and share with you one man’s perception, this time on energy.

I am moving through a much-beloved forest near Capel Curig, the sun is setting, and the temperature is dropping. But, for all purposes I could be in inner London or elsewhere – I could be where you are.

‘Live out of your imagination, not your history.’ Stephen R Covey

In rural or urban areas my perception, words and ideas are different as I’m concerned with energy! I use knowledge, yes, but in this place, at this time I will endeavour to allow my ‘gut instinct’, my intuition, my imaginal senses, my imagination to take me further in my exploration of this forest, and deeper into this adventure.

As children, I and my friends loved sci-fi programs on our old black and white televisions. And so, playfully, then, we called those two arched trees, ‘Drws i fyd arall’ (pronounced ‘droo zi fid arrah’). It means ‘door to another world’. How about that for an imagination, for a glimpse into the imaginal realm? And we would run back and forth through the arch, laughing, and giggling and let our imaginations run riot. [For more information about that, do click here]. Although it is the imaginal realm, that continual domain of the imagination, please don’t dismiss it as just imagination as many adults would, and regard it as unreal. It is real.

As I move between trees, now, turning this way and that, the temperature seems to change as I encounter energy eddies. If you’ve ever filled a bath with hot water and then cold (or vice versa) you will know that you have to ‘swish’ the water around to mix it. And, the really clever ones amongst you will have plunged their hands into the part of the bath where the cold water is, and ‘swish’ from there. Bath users of yesteryear will tell you that hot and cold water doesn’t see to mix by itself, not without some physical agitation. Energy eddies are like energy ‘hot’ spots in a bath, that seem to linger.

‘If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.’ Nikola Tesla

Ofcourse these energy eddies could be negative energy or positive energy. By momentarily loitering I might be able to detect a faint echo of dread or joy that seems so faint that some effort is required to be objective enough to detect it. How many times have you felt energised when someone has walked into a room? How many times has a feeling of unease come upon you when you’ve been in the presence of others? Or, perhaps, when someone has said something, their words may have been eloquent but deep inside of you ‘alarm bells’ ring? This is energy awareness or energy attunement.  Words have power, and negative energy has been detected.

However, in this forest at twilight I want to press on, and I don’t want to stop, and so walk on deeper into the forest.

In many cases small energy eddies will dissipate in time, whether they are negative or positive energy. Like a piece of hot coal falling from the hearth which loses heat quickly when separated from other hot coals, so small amounts of energy in energy eddies will dissipate and become undetectable. Energy isn’t lost, though, it is just spread over a wider area or changed. Energy can be transformed.

Larger energy eddies may last some time before dissipation. Some, are so large they seem to be self-perpetuating – just as many hot coals in a hearth may last longer together – so larger energy eddies may last months, or years or much longer. The greater these energy eddies the easier to detect.

‘The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’ W B Yeats

Could it be that the elementals that the ancients spoke of, the dryads (tree spirits), the Cailleach (see here for an article on the Cailleach); gnomes, or undines, or sylphs and salamanders (the last four relating to the elements of earth, water, air and fire), are localised energy patterns that communicate with us using our imaginal faculties, and have a character, a personality, having taken on an energy form?

Some of these energy forms may be cosmic forms, and even today many have encounters angels or similar eg the Watchers, just as the ancients did. (See here for my encounter with the Green Angel).

Some of these maybe be localised forms, that is localised in a particular place, such as in a forest or part of it, and then they may be known as genii loci. A boggart, for instance, (see here for a bestiary article), in English folklore would fit this description as it was said to inhabit fields, marches, and some households. If you have one of these in your house you probably don’t need to worry – they are more mischievous than harmful.

And so, now in the middle of the forest, I pause. Feeling physically tired, having spent a fair amount of  personal physical energy in trudging through the soft earth to get to this point, I sit on a fallen log to recuperate. But, what other about forms of personal energy?

As I sit on a fallen log and gaze at the two bowed silver birch trees that featured in my childhood games with friends – the twin trees we called drws I fyd arall (see here about a recent encounter there) the place almost buzzes with energy, and I meditate deeply, day dream. Meditation, (night) dreams an day dreams are part of the imaginal ‘tool kit’ that takes us deep.

‘You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just weather.’ Pema Chodron

We know about physical energy depletion, and the need for rest and sleep, for nutritious food and exercise, but what of psychical energy – the energy of our inner being? As I sit on this log it seems that they are several different types. A few thoughts amble in and our of my mind. There is the energy we have that gives us life. This is given when we’re born and taken, or changed, when we leave this form on earth. Some believe that we each have a determined number of breaths and then we expire here. Others, notably the ancient Romans believed that Atropos, one of the three Fates, but the cloth of life to determine our death here. That fate was Clotho, and so a working name for that energy, which we have no control over, as it resides with the Source of All could be called clothic energy?

Another form of psychical energy could be the inner influx of energy we sometimes feel, or an inner depletion depending on where we have been or who we have encountered. Some negative energy or negative-energied-people can cause energy depletion. But, of what kind of energy? Not clothic energy as that is given by That Which Is Larger Than Us, and over which we (nor anyone else) has control. Perhaps, (and it’s a working name) there is an operating energy at work in us which can increase or decrease, as we are empowered or exhausted? It is this energy we use when we work psychically, that is when working in any way other than physical work. In that sense there nothing ‘spooky’ about the word psyche, psychic or psychically.

How is that operating energy depleted? Perhaps it needs ‘topping up’ occasionally even when at rest, perhaps it is depleted when we encounter others, and especially interact or advise or minister to them? When we take time to drew alongside someone who is upset or in distressing circumstances, or when we move through a local of negative energy, all these can ‘energy deplete‘ us.

‘There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.’ Aldous Huxley

As I continue to sit on the log, my mind turns to how we renew that energy, just to complete the cycle of thoughts running through mind. Each person has their own way, but rest and forest-walking might assist. Prayer and ritual may work, too! Deep thinking, meditation, day-dreaming, and deliberately meditating in such a way as to use liminality to encounter and/or draw operating energy are some vital ways. Liminality is a useful ‘tool’ and can be used in several ways – it’s the ‘threshold between ‘here’ and ‘there’.

Linked with visualisation one can enter the imaginal realm and picture, for instance, a power station and draw energy that way, or imagine walking under an energetic waterfall to re-energise, or encounter ones guardian angel or power animal etc.

‘You can offer your vibration on purpose. That’s what visualisation is. That’s what imagination is: projecting thought energy on purpose.’ Abraham-Hicks

All these are visual representations of something else – the psyche uses pictures and symbols to communicate and that’s why dreams are so visual and confusing at times, because they are representational – and all are intentional ‘pictures’ that have a beneficial effect of energy renewal.

I remember as I sit on this log of an encounter some fours years ago. Then, having woken up in the early hours of the morning and unable to get back to sleep, I walked to this very spot. And, there the following words came to me. The Voice spoke to me, inwardly:

Slowly, unhurriedly, powerfully, the Voice said:
“As above, so below,
there are things you should know.”

And so, I mention,
with your hands at your side, walk humbly,
take seven half-steps forward, it’s a journey of intention.”

“And now, raise your hands in simple ‘surrender’,
and point both to Heaven, that domain of awesome splendour.”

“Widen your arms, and so scoop, and harvest
pure energy, pure ‘gold’, and be prepared to be feel blessed.”

“Draw in that power, by folding your arms like an ‘x’ on your chest,
and feel its benefits, its warmth; you’re at peace, at one, ‘at home’, at rest.”

“Then stretch forth your arms, and mould with your hands
as if a ball, that ‘globe-like’ power-blessing from the ouranic meadowlands.”

“With one foot leading, and with knees part bent,
sway back and forth, in preparation for that ‘goodness’ to be sent.”

“In your mind, name the loved-one, the recipient, the friend,
and in your heart, see them, imagine them, to that end.”

“‘Push’ with your hands, that power-blessing from you to them,
and sigh the sound of the ages, the ‘so be it’, the ‘amen’.”

“And then, your hands drop to your side,
power has gone out; but there is no lack,
for the power-blessing that went forth, also comes back,
in another way and at another time, and so you, too, are blessed.”

The words still resonate with me today, and are as meaningful as ever. The abovementioned is a ‘tool’ that is both a prayer and liturgy, which you might consider using. In the words above is the idea of a circling ritual, the caim, of energy emanation and a receiving it back – energy reciprocity. And therefore a reminder to send out good words, good deeds and good energy to receive such back. We get back what we send out! And also, a hint that all our energy, and our operating energy which we need to ‘top up’ comes from the Source of All, hence the reference to ouranic (heavely) meadowlands.

Ofcourse, there’s more to be said, and this is still an article of introduction. What about energy and ailments, energy and trauma? What about using other visualisation to tap into that energy to heal? How can visualisation assist us to encounter energy in the form of angels and power animals? And can the latter, by encountering them in that imaginal realm give us a daily word? What about energy residuality, energy attachment, psychic pollution, energetic self-light, ritual and energy, energetic oneness (Indira’s web’, or energy awareness ‘tools’?  Perhaps more articles are needed, and even workshops on energy, liminality, encounters, power animals, angels, guardian spirits, genii loci, and the aforementioned.

‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.’ William Blake.

 

Alban Arthan/Winter Solstice: Liturgies & Resources For You

20191216 ALBAN ARTHAN WINTER SOLSTICE LITURGIES AND RESOURCES

Yes, the winter solstice draws ever closer and occurs on Sunday, 22 December. In Welsh Druidic and Celtic tradition the name of this season’s festival is ‘Alban Arthan’, Welsh for ‘Light of Winter’. I love the winter!

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

(Edith Sitwell)

Below, there  are a couple of resources, liturgies – one more inclusive, and the second, perhaps, more ‘Christian’ (but both, hopefully, can be adapted for your group or personal use). They are liturgies (or, enacted poems) of gratitude to the Winter Solstice-Giver.

‘Words are containers for power. You choose what kind of power they carry.’ Joyce Meyer

I love liturgy. Not only can words cause us to pause and think deeper, but the words of liturgy can have an even more beneficial effect.

Words have power.

With a word all that is visible and invisible was created and is sustained. With a word we make life-long promises to each other. Through the words of liturgy we can be ‘transported’ to, and dwell within the realm of the liminal, that ‘gap’ between Here and the Other, that ‘ thin place’, a place of power and potential, where things happen, and where we can be changed.

‘The magic of words is that they have power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear, they make things happen.’ Frederick Buechner

Liturgy can have a greater and more far-reaching positive effect that we can possibly imagine as your thoughts, intentionality and energy affect the web of connectedness. So, use your words wisely, but do use them – and the following resources may be of use to you.

In each case below that ‘starting point’, the way you are facing (and I know individuals and groups have their own preferences and so ‘starting points’ can be changed if you so wish, but the initial ‘starting point’ is used, below, so that the final cardinal point you face is east, the direction of the rising sun. Clever, huh?).

Liturgy #1 For the Winter Solstice Sunrise

Standing. Recite, facing south:
In this time when it is darkest,
we offer gratitude for all that was and is,
and for all that is about to be born in secret.

Recite, facing west:
In this season of expectation
we draw near in unity and peace for all,
to offer praise and worship to the Spirit of all.

Recite, facing north:
At this intersection of time and space
when Heaven touches Earth,
we look forward in anticipation and hope
to the year ahead.

Recite, facing east (as the sun rises):
Yea, Source of All, we greet you,
born this happy morning.
Sun of Righteousness, who brings the day and gives light,
and who testifies to birth, new birth and re-birth in our hearts.

I/We welcome you.

You might also like to consider the following

Liturgy #2 For the Winter Solstice Sunrise

For this you will need five Candles (Advent-style with candle-holders or tea lights). The candles can be lit five days before Alban Arthan or Christmas day, or sequentially on the day of the Solstice, that is at one event, sequentially lit.

The following may be recited as the first candle is lit:

All: We walked in darkness, but you showed us the light. We pray for those (individuals and nations) that walk in darkness, that they, too, may see the light that shines in the darkness, and rises (like the wind) in the east. (Based on Isaiah 9.2)

The following may be recited as the second candle is lit:

All: The light shines in the darkness, still. And the darkness did not comprehend it. We give thanks for the light continues to shine and guides us on the right path as the sun that shines in the noonday, the southern sky. (Based on John 1:5)

The following may be recited as the third candle is lit:

All: You are the light of all that is, and indwell all of creation, so that we, too,  let our light shine. We seek ways to live out that light in our life, in service to all as water flows through the land to the western sea. (Based on Matthew 5:14)

The following may be recited as the fourth candle is lit:

All: There will be no night there, because Your light will illumine us. We praise you for that great promise of light as we stand firm with our feet on the earth, looking to the north. (Based on Revelation 22:5)

The following may be recited as the fifth candle is lit:

All: Light from Light Eternal, Spirit incarnated this happy morning, we greet you. (Based on a carol, based on ancient sacred text)

You might like to personalise the liturgy and add peoples names, or the names of countries or towns or places in need. There is a need for the light of wisdom to be established in the world, to bring up the plight of humankind’s damage to nature and the climate, to ponder injustice etc.

Wishing you and yours the abundant love of The Friend at the time of this wonderful season, Tadhg,

‘Your words become your world.’ Nadeem Kazi

 

The Night Of Long Shadows: 2. More Thoughts

20191207 THE NIGHT OF LONG SHADOWS 2 MORE THOUGHTS

At the time when the world seems to come alive, at Christmas time, when the glare of neon fills the shops, ‘tumbles’ of out the tv in the shape of even more ‘over the top’ tv adverts, and store music seems altogether louder, this time of the year can make some people, the bereaved, those celebrating anniversaries or Christmas alone, feel even more lonely.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

[Rumi]

I’m not convinced, and it’s a personal thought, that many of those people want to be continually despondent, and they do acknowledge the gaiety of the season around them, it’s just that they may need some acknowledgement of their deep feelings and need for someone to hold space for them, and the ‘Night Of Long Shadows’ service may be the vehicle to assist them. See here for the #1, earlier article.

I had hoped to organise such an event this year, but the response has been somewhat low (and there are a number of understandable reasons for that) and many churches already had their programs arranged.

Relevant to you? Read on.

Nevertheless the following may be of use to you in planning a group event, or an event for yourself – you can still benefit, I believe, from the article, even if it’s to offer one-to-one comfort to a bereaved person. You might be just the person the Universe, ‘That Which Is Bigger Than Us’, The Source uses tomorrow?

So, what follows are thoughts about the shape of such a service, a plan with suggestions, that can be downsized and adapted if it is for a ‘solitary’ event with one person, or ‘up-scaled’ and adapted should there be a dozen or more people attending. Notes are included as to the rationale behind suggestions.

‘And when the stream that overflows has passed,
A consciousness remains upon the silent shore of memory;
Images and precious thoughts that shall not be
And cannot be destroyed.’

[William Wordsworth]

The following, then is an idea:

The Welcome

The environment might be one of subdued lighting. A few candles could be lit to welcome people, and project an other-worldly setting for a sacred-space, liminal encounter. Welcoming and being made comfortable is all-important.

If it’s for a group, then the celebrant would remember their two key roles. Firstly, to explain at the beginning and as the service progresses what is about to happen, to put people at ease, and so there are no unwelcome surprises. Secondly, to be sympathetic to those attending and to encourage them in their grief to participate and so benefit. They are, ofcourse, our primary concern, and some maybe want to just sit and watch – but they too are benefiting.

The atmosphere and tone of voice by the celebrant should reflect the occasion – one of a welcoming tone to draw alongside the bereaved person(s) and yet celebrating the life of those who have passed-on, but without any ‘over-solemnity’. Be natural, be understanding, be yourself.

Going Deep

In such an event we move from ‘clock time’ into ‘sacred-space’ time. Liminality ushers us into an altered state. This may sound jarring to some, but it just means we acknowledge that we have gone, and are going deeper into the real meaning of things – and similar happenings occur when we witness a christening, a wedding or major event. It’s a ‘magical’ time. We move out of the mundane, into the sacred.

‘Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints in the snow…’

[Mary Elizabeth Frye]

Music, particularly background music can assist us, to ensure our souls to ‘fly’, and move us into that liminal state where things happen. Music takes us deep(er). For me, I love Taize chants which have profound words and amazing harmonies (but if you didn’t want words sung or specifically Christian words sung, then Taize instrumentals are amazing (and a long sample of that can be found here).

The nature of this service is to ensure the group know what to expect, and to know what is expected of them, but to keep them in the ‘moment’, and so some forethought of what happens next and how to announce i,t and introduce it are important. Here, ‘unhurried’ is my favourite word.

At the very end of the event, musicwise, as it is Christmas time, as people file out, perhaps a seasonal song could be played. A moving ending such as ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ by Enya (see here) is a wonderful finale. For those wanting an instrumental version only, the Piano Guys have a wonderful version [here].

Tributes

It could be that some might want to share anecdotes about their loved-ones. They should be encouraged. No one should feel coerced or forced. Gentle invitations to share can be given, and accepted, even if some get tongue-tied, tearful or use words that we might feel inappropriate. The bereaved person needs to be heard – this is their time – and all are accepted.

‘I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when [the] day is done.’

[Helen Lowrie Marshall]

At some point early on some might like to display photograph copies of their loved-ones on an altar or table for the duration of the service. They would need some advanced noticed to bring copied photographs, and copies are best for fear of original, old, memorable photographs getting damaged or lost.

Also, if pebbles and chalk is available, some might like to write their loved-ones name on a pebble at some time during the event, and place it on the altar or table. The memorial stones or pebbles are a wonderfully profound idea. Or messages or loved-ones names could be written on post-it notes and displayed.

Honesty

Getting the balance just right is important. Feelings with be raw in some people, and need to be expressed – and yet the event should not be without hope.

Several things spring to mind. Interspersed throughout the event comforting readings can be made, and read out by pre-arrangement, so ensuring that you have a few people who can assist you is important. Such readings could be from sacred text or uplifting poems, the kind used throughout this article.

Silences will abound, and these can be cathartic, so never be in a hurry to fill them with words or music. Yet, be sensitive, and do move the event on if it feels right.

Comforting

By prearrangement it might be best, to have several people primed and able to sit alongside, or move to those who become tearful.

Comforting words, could be used:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’ John 14:1-3

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:28-30

One of my favourite uplifting poems (and it can be adapted) is by Henry Van Dyke, entitled ‘I am standing by the seashore’.

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
“There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, “There, she is gone!”
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout;
“Here she comes!”

Other comforting words can be found in the writings of Seneca, ‘In the presence of death’; ‘No man is an island’ by John Donne; ‘The unknown shore’ by Elizabeth Clarke Hardy etc

Conclusion

Ofcourse, the abovementioned is but an outline, and will need adapting for a larger group or for yourself, if you want to celebrate the life of a loved-one at this time, in a solitary manner. Adaption and sensitivity is important.

Perhaps the final corporate act would be closing music, as mentioned earlier, proceeded by an announcement to those that wish to stay, to stay for refreshments and conversation, are encouraged to do so. As regards the latter it would be good to have several mature and sensitive people on hand to draw alongside those taking up the offer of refreshments, and to engage in polite conversation. For some attending, even that, may be too much. But some may welcome it. Additionally, it might be good to have other people available that could go deeper still, only if requested, and then comforting words and prayer can be offered.

Even then, it is imperative for those on hand to know their role is to hold space, to draw alongside the bereaved person, and that listening is absolutely necessary. Many of those who are bereaved will appreciate you and others listening to them. Our role is not to ‘fix’ people, but to be there for them.

‘Grieve for me, for I would grieve for you.
Then brush away the sorrows and the tears.
Life is not over, but begins anew,
with courage you must greet the coming years…’

[Navaho prayer]

 

Celtic Advent: Even More Cosmic Thoughts At The Magic Cafe

20191114 EVEN MORE COSMIC THOUGHTS AT THE MAGIC CAFE CELTIC ADVENT

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.’ Helen Keller

Ever since the clocks went back an hour there has been an increasing expectation of the event. The nights draw in, the temperature drops, and parts of the UK have even had a dusting of snow.

Anticipation just hangs in the air as autumn gives way to winter, or is my ‘inner child’ even more overactive than usual? As I sit in the Magic Café in Fulham, London I read and drink coffee, and talk to friends that come and go. There’s much talk about politics and the impending election, which way to vote, should one vote tactically, and what of the future. There is a sense that the very soul of the nation is at stake for generations to come.

‘Pause. Listen for the whispers of your Soul. Soul quietly flows through every part of you.’ Nancy Lankston

And yet, without minimising such day to day concerns about politics, for in many cases it is within the mundane that myth, magic and miracles take place, there is more.

Yes, the Celtic Advent is here.

Celtic Advent is always 15 November to 24 December, Christmas Eve, and it was a time of fasting and preparation that mirrored Lent which was celebrated in the lead up to Easter. But, I’d like to suggest something a bit different.

Whether you are a Christian, Celt, Druid or of some other belief, or a blend of two or more, this is a good time to prepare in the lead up to Christmas or the Winter Solstice.

Advent for many, is a time of pondering the cosmic significance of darkness, a turning of the great Circle and the seasons change, a time of personal preparation, a time to go deeper, a time of expectation.

It is at this time of the year that nature seemingly dies. Death is something the ancients didn’t fear, and this time of the year for them would be a time of remembrance and storytelling as regards the ancestors. What about us?

‘Praise to you Keeper of those I love and can no longer see.
I have entrusted to you the care that was mine once to give,
the embrace that was mine once to feel,
the story that was mine once to share.
Praise you for the love that I can never be separated from.
For even with the last fallen leaf and the flowers gone,
those I have loved are not under the earth,
they are here in my heart, they are here.’

Tess Ward, The Celtic Wheel Of The Year

And then, the season moves on and culminates in a time of joyful commemoration as Light wonderfully enters the world at the time of the Winter Solstice and/or Christmas.

As the days grow darker, it’s Light that we look forward to.

‘Counsellor of my soul, you quicken my soul’s progress this Winter day by the strength of your example. I look forward to your light to help me discover the track of the day’s question’. Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional.

There are some who will set themselves, at this time, the task of reading more sacred text, or of attending an extra service, of spending a little bit more than usual, of adding an extra home ritual or prayer to their list or prayers – and all of these are wholesome, good and proper for you, if you feel ‘called’ to do one or more of them.

You might like to consider reading a page a day of a book you read some time ago, or use the links below once a day to set your day up with an uplifting word or thought for the Celtic Advent.

In the busyness of life, maybe the last thing we need is to be more ‘busy, busy’. Oh, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype from the tv, the newspapers and radio, but once we’re aware of being ‘pulled along’ by the increasing flow of the pace of life at this time of the year, we’re in with a chance of doing something about it. So, perhaps it maybe best to use this time to slow, reflect and take on board on a thought for the day (see below)?

‘Be aware of the ancestral teachers, the grandparents and elders of the spiritual traditions, whose footsteps have kept the pathways open.’ Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional.

And, so in this cafe, having just packed away the Halloween decorations ten days or so ago, they’re now unpacking boxes of Christmas decorations. And, as I sit here pondering the darkness, as I look through the cafe window onto a cold, dark blue sky’d city street, I look forward, in anticipation and expectation to Light entering the world, and what that means personally for me, for you, and others.

‘These special holidays give rise to various liturgical calendars that suggest we should mark our days not only with the cycles of the moon and seasons, but also with occasions to tell our children the stories of our faith community’s past so that this past will have a future, and so that our ancient way and its practices will be rediscovered and renewed every year.’ Brian McLaren

To paraphrase some, this Celtic Advent was created for you and your benefit, and not the other way around.

My encouragement is for you to celebrate the start of the Celtic Advent with a meal – and yes, some will know that in ancient times it was a time of fasting, and if you’re called to do that, then do it, but also to take the time to ponder upon the themes of darkness and Light. So far as possible, slip beyond the rational (not into irrationality, but towards the arational, beyond rationality) for a while.

As regards, the celebration I’m thinking of an Celtic Advent celebration some time into the season and maybe couple it with a ‘telling place’ experience: a time of imagination and story, perhaps at the Magic Cafe one evening. Time to reflect. Time to go deeper. Time to encounter the imaginal and be transformed. Time for community. You’re invited. Are you free? Details soon.

If you’re interested on taking on one ‘extra’ thing, such as a thought for each day, for this season, here’s some links that you might like to dip into daily during this season:

BBC Radio 4 Thought For The Day: Here

A Forty Day Pilgrimage through the Advent Season with Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Saints: Here

Celtic advent calendar: Here

Contemporary and Ancient Celtic Blessings: Here

Meanwhile, many blessings of the Celtic Advent to you and to those whom you love. Tadhg.

 

The Elements: In Praise Of Fire

20190906 THE ELEMENTS IN PRAISE OF FIRE

Sitting by that hearth as a child I was mesmerised by the ‘ghostly’ flickers of orange, red and yellow as flames danced around the lumps of coal.

Occasionally a plume of blue or purple, ignited coal-gas, would prevail for few seconds and catch my attention. The coal would splutter, and shift, and settle as lumps of coal would disintegrate. The fire would hiss and crackle, and emit heat – so much so that, that, as I usually sat too close to the fire, one side of my face would be red for a while and hot, and the other seemingly cold. But, they were wonderful childhood memories of the hearth and of fire.

It is no wonder that the ancients and some today believe fire to be alive. The mythical and elemental salamander, often depicted as a typical salamander in shape, is elemental fire.

What follows, then, is research and words of liturgy (usually indented, below, that you might like to use and/or adapt) on the fascinating subject of the element of life-giving fire, that I hope with enthral you and inspire.

‘The most tangible of all visible mysteries – fire’. (Leigh Hunt)

Since the beginning of humankind fire has held many in awe, and much myth surrounding its ‘finding’ abound in many cultures. Remember Prometheus in Greek mythology who stole fire from the gods and gives it to humankind? Or the story of dragons, flying serpent-like creatures in many Celtic tales who gifted mankind with fire and with speech.

As regards fire, the rekindling of  fire in ancient times was problematic, and it was probably because of that that Abraham carried live coals with him when offering a sacrifice (Genesis 22.6, The Book). Others, especially travelling tribes would have done the same. In those times, sometimes, children were made to ‘pass through the fire’ as a sign of dedication (and not sacrifice) by some tribes.

In the beginning, some fourteen billion years ago, there was nothing. Then, about 13.8 billion years ago, the universe erupted into being and the temperature of it, for a brief moment,  was an astounding one billion degrees Celsius (though, it you still work in Fahrenheit then it was 1.8 billion degrees). Fortunately, it cooled down, and as we know from science energy is never lost or destroyed, but is changed, transformed, and so that energy is still around to day.

‘Fires from the beginning of time empower you right now – this instant. What you are thinking and feeling…is possible only through the cosmic fire. (‘The Universe Is A Green Dragon’, Brian Swimme)

The energy of the cosmos, from the Big Bang, continues. Not just in each star that we can see and not see, not only within the molten core of our home planet, but it is within each one of us, within everything that exists.

But fire is not always destructive and negative. In some cases, it is used as a purifying process or to signify truth, sometimes it is used to herald a theophany, and sometimes to talk about love and burning desire.

‘To love is to burn, to be on fire.’ (Jane Austen)

And, to ancient and latter-day Chinese people and those who practice Qi Gong, yang is the fire within and also the positive energy that circulates around the body, with its ‘chief’ organ being the heart.

It is no wonder that many cultures revere or hold a special place for fire in their community or home. Indeed, in many Celtic or Druidic ritual, fire is one of the main elements:  many face the southern compass point  in ritual to commemorate not just the season of summer, but also fire.

Blessed be you Light of Life,
Source of the sacred flame within each of us,
Light which the darkness cannot put out.
I rise up with you this day/I rest with you this night.

(The Celtic Wheel Of The Year. Tess Ward

The Carmina Gadelica – a compendium of prayers, hymns, charms, incantations, blessings, literary-folkloric poems and songs, proverbs etc gathered in the Gaelic-speaking regions of Scotland between 1860 and 1909, and recorded by Alexander Carmichael Gaelic-– speaks of smooring the fire in the hearth.

Many translate smooring as smothering the fire before one goes to bed, but it really means subduing the fire when rekindling the fire was a challenge (but, please, do safely smother any fire you light at the end of each day or as necessary). Smooring in that older sense meant that embers could easily be kept and rekindled the following day, and according to Carmicheal the following prayer would be used when smooring (or maybe used by us as we smother a fire or candle flame after (ritual) usage.

I am smooring the fire
as the Son of Mary would smoor;
Blessed be the house,
blessed be the fire,
blessed be the people all.

(Carmina Gadelica, compiled by Alexander Carmichael)

Or

I will smoor the hearth
as Mary would smoor;
The encompassment  (encircling) of Bride (Bridget) and of Mary,
on the fire and on the floor,
and on the household all.

(Carmina Gadelica, compiled by Alexander Carmichael)

And so, that childhood memory of the hearth returns to me. Happy days. Ofcourse, the circle has turned many time since then. Endless smooring and rekindling has taken place, and those around the hearth in my childhood, then, save one, have ‘gone ahead’ and been transformed. But, the memories and good times, and their words and example remain. The words of our Elders and loved-ones, though they may not be physically present, can positively  burn within our hearts and rekindle kindly action within us, even today.

That ancient and noble fire of love and truth, of light and encouragement continues on, in you and I.

‘Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames’. (Rumi)