Samhain 1: Introduction Of The Festival, The First Day Of Winter

Samhain (pronounced ‘so-uhn’) is  a wonderful festival ‘oozing’ with ancient Gaelic tradition and ‘magic’. Something you can participate in, wherever you are. It marks the end of the third harvest and the end of autumn, and it marks the advance of the season of winter. It is the start of the dark period, winter and the underworld, when our thoughts go to those whom we love who have passed-on.

‘Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us.’ (Ezra Taft Benson)

It’s when, in rural communities, surplus cattle were culled, and their meat stored for the depths of winter.

It starts on the evening, at dusk, on Saturday, 31 October, but don’t forget that we’ll have a Facebook live-streaming event, a ceremony to celebrate the event, called Them Night Of Long Shadows, to honour the ancestors. More details about this will follow in a few days.

But, here’s some suggestions to whet your appetite, and to start thinking of Samhain. Samhain is a cross quarter day, indeed it’s the first of the year as it starts the Druid and ancient Celtic new year. It is a moon festival (as opposed to sun festivals, such as the solstices and equinoxes when time is measured by the sun’s elevation etc)

Winter advances: 
Since ancient times this time was seen as a feast of the dead, and the modern idea of Hallow’een ‘sits alongside’ it. Hallowe’en? The name comes from ‘all hallows eve’. When Christianity arrived in Celtic countries, and the church discouraged fortune-telling, and magic etc, a day of celebration of all the Saints of the Church was instituted on 1 November. 

The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me.’ (Loreena McKennitt, ‘All Souls Night’
)

Many of our hallowe’en traditions, such as bobbing for apples which were originally part of the foretelling of the future, and the baking cakes containing “lucky tokens” also originated at this time, and survive to this day. In addition, and an import from America, it is a time for children (or all ages) to visit door-to-door dressed as something with a ‘deathly’ theme to it, to ‘trick or treat’.

A time to take stock
Samhain, then, was a time when farmers would take stock of their animals – which would live, and which would be killed, and a time to finally gather in (any) residual harvest; a time when local and tradition rituals would be enacted eg bonfires, and embers of these would be taken home as a form of protection; young men would run around the villages boundary with torches, again, for the villagers’ protection, as that night, many believed that the veil between this world and the world of the dead was ‘thin’, and something might (or did) come through for a while. It’s a time for the imagination to run riot, and for stories to be told.

‘Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes’. (Loreena McKennitt, ‘All Souls Night’
)

Whether you believe this factually, ‘romantically’ or not at all, the stories of that night, retold around a bonfire, perhaps, intrigued men and women, and (no doubt) frightened (hopefully in a ‘nice’ sense) many a child. Even today, the tv ‘lights up’, innocently, with many horror movies at this time of year to keep adults ‘mesmerised’. It is a ‘thin place’, this time.

Taking stock? A ‘thinning’ of the veil between here and the other, ensures that this night, the evening of 31 October, is a feast, a celebration, a time of deep thought, a reflecting of the life of those that have gone before us.

Even in its simplest form – depending on your theology – it is a time to think about the ancestors, how they contributed to make us the person/people we are today, and to give thanks. A time to remember the ancestors in different, honouring ways. For me, reflection, thinking about the ancestors and the giving of gratitude to the Source of All predominates at this time.

Do something
Others will indulge in ritual, and though each may have a different way to acknowledge this feast, I enjoy the variety, enthusiasm and intentionality that my Christian, Celtic Christian, co-Druids, Wiccan and other friends put into this festival. I have my own way, my own ritual to mark this time, and it may be that you do, too.

My advice to you is: Do it! Be honest to yourself, be sincere and intentional, be joyful about it, but in some way (large of small, complicated or simple) observe the time, and make it something good, and wholesome, and memorable.

Enjoy the feast
A bonfire might be out of the question, but how about lighting a candle, at least for 10-20 minutes and thinking of your ancestors in a joyful and honouring way? They’re home. You might now be able to run around then edge of a village, but how about an evening walk, a silent walk of gratitude? Elementals? Here’s your opportunity to find our more about them – an evening when their activity is said to increase – and you can find a lot about them on the internet, but don’t make it only ‘book-learning’. Why not go for a county walk, or a walk in the park, or alongside a riverbank, and meditate in some way, to ‘day dream’ and reflect? And, then perhaps, later, treat yourself to a meal, a glass of wine, a warm coffee as you gaze at the cold night sky, and yes, even watch a good, scary movie?

Ofcourse, you might like a ritual of some sort or recite relevant poetry, or sing a song, and here’s a poem/song I penned some time ago. If you join the Facebook live-streaming event you might even hear me sing it.

Song/Poem

The Circle is turning,
autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
I’m listening to the winter’s sacred rest.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The hope of spring, ye-et to come.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.


If you’re ‘brave’ enough to sing it, there’s a delightful melody (the tune of Fear a Bhata (The Boatman), a traditional Gaelic piece of music to accompany you)), but if you want to hear me sing it, just join me for that Live-streaming Night of Long Shadows Ceremony – details soon.

Or, you might like to read (and recite) Rabbie Burns’ poem ‘Hallowe’en’, part of which is:

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove, to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;

And, finally, you might like to recite the following traditional Scottish prayer:

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us


However you celebrate it, do make it something spectacular and memorable. More about Samhain will appear here, as we think about The Long Of Night Shadows event, denials how to view it, and to print out a liturgy if you wish to participate.

Acceptance: In Days When Hope Is Needed (Liturgy/Poem)

We can look around at creation and marvel, and stare in awe from the nearest and smallest seed or snowflake, wonder at the majesty of water (a lake, the sea etc, especially as we’re in the season of autumn and it’s corresponding element is water), and gaze at the furthest, brightest and most mysterious star we can see in the sky, and feel so small.

What is the Maker of All like? Who created all that we can see, and indeed all that we cannot see (now that we know the the majority of the universe is some form of invisible energy)?

This is not about the Creator’s physical appearance, but His and Her character and benevolence (but both pronouns do an ‘injustice’ to the One – such is the limit of our language. However, to use ‘it’ is worse, as that’s impersonal and my understanding, experience and theology accepts the Universe as entirely personal, and not a ‘thing’).

Our ancestors, those ancient Celts, Druids, Pagans, early Hebrews and Christians, and tribespeople (then and now) would not have ‘suffered’ from that notion of a/the dichotomous god/God, nor with the separation between the spiritual and the mundane, but would have been so closer to nature to realise that connectedness in their daily lives. We, because of the current zeitgeist of materialism‘, might need a little coaxing and encouragement – hence (this) liturgy and poetry.

When we look around and we’ll feel separated – a modern, and sadly all-too-common feeling – it is good to be reminded that we are not separated. When we feel lonely, it’s good to know again that we’re never alone. And, when, in this time when many rant that the Universe is unfriendly and conditional, it is good to ‘feel’ the opposite, to see the Truth – that the Universe is on our side and wholly benevolent.

The following was penned recently – written as liturgy (which can be added to, and incorporated to liturgy already written elsewhere by Tadhg) to underline the Universe’s unconditional love for each of us, or it could be read as poetry that we can recite and take to heart at any time. But, it underscores our status in creation, and hopefully, gives us heart in a time in which many are in need of (inclusive) hope, love and acceptance.

Liturgy of Acceptance

On the day we looked up, the face of the Mighty Three looked down,
and had compassion. 
The Great Spirit saw us and replied,
and love, unconditionally was poured out in abundance.

On the day we cried out, the Voice from Above spoke.
Sublime whispers could be heard, promises of care and protection were made, which said,
’I will not leave you as orphans, but will come to you’.

On the day we remained silent, unable to speak, and felt lonely,
the Mysterious One came, visited us, and we saw an outstretched arm,
an invitation to each of us to take hold,
and dance in that Eternal Dance of the Divine.

The Source of All, the Prodigal One, the Universe, The Friend is our friend, indeed.

In Praise Of Water (Revisited): Poem/Liturgy

2020816 IN PRASIE OF WATER REVISITED

‘Water, water everywhere…’. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

From the beginning of this month we moved, ritually, into the season of autumn (from a northern hemisphere viewpoint).  Lughnasadh (1 August, though some opinions may differ by a few days) was the first day of the season.

That date was also the festival of the first harvest (wheat, barley etc), and half way through this season is Alban Elfed or Autumn Equinox (22 September) which is the time of the second harvest (soft fruits etc), culminating in Samhain (31 October), which is the third harvest of the season (of berries and nuts).

But, there’s more.

For the season of autumn the compass, cardinal point is west; and the predominating element is water; and water is the theme of this short article.

’We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea, and you don’t believe in miracles?’.  Anonymous

In our groves, faith groups or solo rituals and practices, it is good to be reminded, especially in this water-orientated  season, of this precious liquid. It is a necessity for life, is the object of our gratitude for it, and the source of our sheer wonderment that it occurs on this planet, and in such abundance – this is surely the ‘blue planet’.

Water is sacred.

It can teach us about Life and it can teach us about life (note the capital L and lower case use of the letter – to denote Life in all its mystery, and life in the ‘small things’ of our daily life), or is there no real division?

‘Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.’ Lao Tzu

In our rituals we might spend some time pouring some water from a jug into a bowl, and meditating of the wonder of water. Or, we might pour water into a cup, at some point during our ceremonies, to sip ad savour cold water, and meditate upon it. Or we might pour some out onto the garden (or window box or potted plant) as a libation – a sacred ‘thank offering’ to the Great Water Giver.

’A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.’ – Lucy Larcom

Whatever you do, be encouraged to do one, or more things, water orientated in this ‘water’ season. If you’re fortunate to have rain (in these exceptionally hot and dry days), wrap up safely, grab a raincoat and/or umbrella and go for a walk – all the time appreciating the cool rain, and maybe, purposely getting wet to enjoy the moment. Even more reason to give gratitude.

’All water is holy water.’ Rajiv Joseph

In our liturgy – the spoken parts of our ceremonies – you might find the following poem (or is it a prayer of gratitude) penned by me a few years ago, useful, as part of the ritual.

But, there’s (even) more.

In our very being, the ‘exterior’ composed mainly of water, and in our spirit and soul, as well as our bodies, we are intrinsically connected to water, in actuality as well as a metaphor, of life in all its sacredness.

Water.

The vast oceans, that which sustains life on Earth,
which move at the behest of the moon,
the rolling tides that contains a myriad of sea-life, from plankton to the behemoth,
that which quenches the world’s need,
and from which all nourishment is assured,
acknowledgement is given.

From clouds you pour out rain upon the Earth, and enrich it.
Mighty lakes appear from which  ancient forests of growing trees are fed,
and daily bread is produced for our table.
An abundance for many,
and a veritable gift from the Great Water-Giver.
Bountiful.

It soothes and it heals.
For when an angel’s wing sweeps
across the surface of the Pool,
then healing takes place, and there is restoration.
Health-giving.

It’s cleansing power, daily, washes the body,
and restores vitality.
A clean start. A refreshing start. A new start.
All is washed away.
And, in it celebration commences,
in appreciation, in sport, in swimming and in children’s’ play.
Joyfulness.

It quenches the soul, it nurtures the spirit;
and from those who are aware,
springs of sanctifying water flow,
and outward pour,
to friends, to enemies,
to those near, and to those far away.
To all.

Water.
Whether we have much, or little,
may the words, “Come, all. Drink. Share”, be on our lips.
Praise to the Great Water-Giver.

Note: Apologies for the wrong symbol for water used in the ‘header’ photo. The triangle should, infact, be pointing down to represent water in the four classical symbols. Pointing up represents air. Mea culpa!

 

 

The Ever-changing Moon: A Moon Phase Poem/Liturgy

20200714 MOON PHASE POEM LITURGY

The moon is more than an usually large rock circling the world, more than just an object to be scientifically studied, it connects us all. And, it represents our ‘inner world’, those hidden emotions that are locked away, our desires, even our shadow-self of fears and worries. And, as it encircles the Earth, its feminine energy also represents our dreams and ambitions.

Here’s some words written in awe of the ever-changing moon. You can recite them, view them; and use them as uplifting words, a poem, or even as a liturgy for you to incorporate into any full moon or new moon ceremony you might have.

Here are those words written with the methodical and ever-changing phases of the moon in mind:

The Moon in its endless circling around the Earth,
reminds us of the Moon-Maker’s loving dance around each one of us;
It announces the changing seasons of time, and
declares to all the never-ending cycle of nature.

Maker of the New Moon, the invisible one in the sky,
plant new seeds of intention in dark places, to grow as in the womb.

Maker of the waxing crescent moon, the growing sliver of light,
may you give each one of us fresh energy to think and to do.

Maker of the half Moon, that hangs in the sky,
give us an eye for detail to overcome challenges and to grow.

Maker of the waxing gibbous moon, the three quarters lit Moon,
may we have patience  to wait, and patience to refine.

Maker of the Full Moon, we honour you, the One Behind It All.
Renew us by the Moon’s light,
bless us by the Moon’s power,
and, rekindle in us a desire to respect You, nature and one another.
May we grow and blossom into our full status.

Maker of the waning gibbous moon, the lessening three-quarters circle of light,
give us the ability to discern what to keep, what to grow, and what to harvest.

Maker of the lessening half moon, that slowly diminishes,
may we have the courage to forgive, and the ability to be transformed.

Maker of the waning crescent, that decreasing sliver of light  in the sky,
enable us to surrender, to rest, and consider new ways to ‘be’ and to do.

The Moon in its endless circling around the Earth,
reminds us of the Moon-Maker’s loving dance around each one of us;
It announces the changing seasons of time, and
declares to all the never-ending cycle of nature.

Moonemclature (sp): A Poem About Full Moon Names

MOONEMCLATURE

As you now, I like to use the ancient and tribal names for the moon, relating to the month in which the full moon appears, in liturgy – especially the Full Moon ceremonies. It tells us a lot about how the ancient Celts, Druids, Jews, Christians, Pagans and others regarded and revered the moon, and the One Behind It All; and it connects us to the past, so that there is a very real link, a spiritual continuity as we look up to gaze in awe at the rolling sphere(s).

For instance, to some, the August full moon was/is known as the Sturgeon Moon because of the fish in the Great Lakes fished by the Algonquin tribes, to others it’s known as the Barley Moon, and to others, such as then Anglo-Saxons of old, the Grain Moon.

Here’s a poem for the full moon for each month of the year.

JANUARY
The night air is still, Quiet Moon,
and frost on the ground is strewn.
Sounds are muted and all is at rest,
Warmed we are, and so truly blessed.
We remember you in our praise tonight,
this betwixt, magical time of twilight.

FEBRUARY
Moon of Ice, we greet you well,
your smile charms us like a subtle spell.
And, as upward we crane our necks to look,
you write love-letters on our heart’s invisible book.
As you look down upon us and see
in us a reflection of the Immutable Three.

MARCH
Open our hearts, our intellect and mind,
and search our ways, so that in you we find,
the reason for the smile on your face.
It is the ‘Moon of Winds’ Creator’s grace.
And, in gratitude and awe,
we cry out, insatiably, for more.

APRIL
We welcome you Growing Moon,
whose face is carved like a sublime, ancient rune,
to remind us to look above and beyond,
to revere your light in that ancient pond,
to honour with all, and with our soul,
honour you, the One Behind It All.

MAY
The Bright Moon is May’s delight,
look kindly on Earth’s children tonight.
May we be blessed forever to be,
One with you, Eternal Three.
That divisions here on Earth, may cease,
as we celebrate this night as your timely feast.

JUNE
We honour you, Moon of Mead,
and lift up our heads, lift up our need,
that in you, you will supply,
our humble requests, hear our plaintive cry.
That we might be blessed in your light,
and revel in oneness this summer’s night.

JULY
We celebrate midsummer, Oh Moon of Corn,
that from darkness, you are now full-born.
Around us mirth and joy is heard,
You light the world by the Creator’s word.
Teach us to listen and observe
to nature’s wisdom, to love all, and all to serve.

AUGUST
Welcome Barley Moon, a beaming light
o’er the golden grain at night.
Reflecting sun, giving food for our table,
you hang there in a sky, in a sea the colour of sable.
Your light now full, this month in size you grew.
Dear bright moon, we welcome you.

SEPTEMBER
Welcome Singing Moon, of mirth and merriment,
of lovers’ poems, and words of lament.
At the close of day, upward many look and think,
and celebrate your beauty in song and drink.
And then in silence and awe,
we contemplate your beneficial, wholesome, tidal law.

OCTOBER
Welcome Harvest Moon, new light reborn,
keeping watch over the cultivated corn.
As the temperatures fall and air begins to chill,
as owl noises can be heard from dale and hill,
so may we, in wonderment, pause and be still.

NOVEMBER
Ah, Moon of Snow, we welcome you,
yellow light in a sea of blue.
Created by the One Behind It All,
Arianrhod, by your name we call,
you, once again, to be,
and seek you, from incumbrance us free.

DECEMBER
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky,
your love, your power, your face forever shy.
In awe we gaze upward, and and question, ‘why?’
Why should the Moon-Maker gift us,
with your smile so beauteous?
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky.

Ofcourse, there’s more. The above-mentioned poem can be used as liturgy by you in your solo Full Moon ceremonies, and perhaps you might like to use the particular part of the poem that relates to the month that your specific Full Moon ceremony covers. Indeed, within a couple of weeks a new Full Moon liturgy (Modwenna Rite) will appear on my blog, including this liturgy and more, ready for out next, inclusive, ‘open’, global, Full Moon ‘broadcast’ via FaceBook.

Finally, apologies for the misspelling of ‘nomenclature’ in the title of this article. It was deliberate. It so sounded like a (part) Moon spoonerism, that I couldn’t help but misspell it to describe the theme, moon names, moon nomenclature, of this article.

The moon header photograph is copyrighted: All rights reserved, 2020, Pennie Ley (see here). Used  with permission. Many thanks Pennie.

Ah, The Kindly Face (Lunar Poem) & Your ‘Full Moon Ceremony’ Invitation

ah the kindly face

There’s a full moon this coming weekend. In anticipation of that, below is a poem that will be part of the middle section of a Full Moon Ceremony and in addition to the liturgy , and here’s your invitation to that Ceremony.

FULL MOON CEREMONY
Tadhg’s FaceBook Page / Live-Streaming

And, you’re invited from the comfort of your own home!

Friday, 3 July 2020 At 8pm (UK Time)

To view that FaceBook livestreaming ceremony you will need to ‘friend’ Tadhg, and details/links about that, and an outline of the liturgy (printable) are highlighted after the poem. I hope to see you there. (Oh, to participate even more, why not have a candle and matches ready for the event).

Ah, the poem  with the upcoming full moon in mind:

 

Ah, The Kindly Face (Poem)

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the Earth was split, rent asunder,
and its twin was created, yes, the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

The crown of the moon is Oceanus Frigoris, a place ancient and old.
A reminder that it is, indeed, the Sea of Cold,
and, best seen in winter.

One eye is Oceanus Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, or peace,
where in July  nineteen sixty-nine humankind first set foot on the moon in Apollo eleven.
A fact to remember, in awe, as we gaze, upward, into the heaven[s].

The other eye is Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rain.
It is the larger of the two, so no need for eye-strain.
But, on the day when it pours, and you choose to stay indoors,
it may be the Moon to whom you should complain.

For, the moon controls the tides, and does impact upon our weather
and part of the mouth on that face, Oceanus Procellarum, is the Sea of storms.
And, as you and I look upward, together
we now know.

But, there’s more, and no reason to quibble,
for that mouth
seems to dribble
into Mare Humorum, the Sea of Moisture,
to the south.

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the earth was split, rent asunder,
and the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

And, as we look up, and wisdom seek,
May we be a star in the (soon) waning Moon
May we be a staff to the weak.1

Ah, the kindly face.

 

Note 1: May we be a star in the waning Moon. May we be a staff to the weak. Quoted from the Carmina Gadelica (slightly adapted).

 

LiveStreaming & Liturgy Notes for the Full Moon Ceremony

Live-Streaming Video: To view this  streaming videos, you need to be a FaceBook friend of Tadhg’s as that it where the ‘broadcast’ can/will be seen. So: If you’re already a friend, or you’re been able to see many of my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not on my  FaceBook friend’s list or are not sure, do check here. If don’t see many previous videos there, or if you can’t gain full access to read that  Facebook webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend. To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site – that link above. I’ll accept as soon as I can, and, when I do, please try the link again  to see if you can gain access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

Liturgy: The first part and last part of the Full Moon Ceremony liturgy will more or less remain the same, and so there will be some continuity. The middle section will change in many parts, with the inclusion of today’s poem, different music and other words, so there will be some good surprises. Do print off the previous liturgy which can be found here. With or without the printed liturgy you are warmly invited, and encouraged to watch/participate at home as much as you wish to. Hope to see you there!

 

Header photo is copyrighted, all rights reserved, 2020, Pennie Ley (see here). Used  with permission. Many thanks Pennie

 

 

Experiencing ‘Thin places’ As The Ancients Did

20200617 EXPERIENCING THIN PLACES

Have you ever experienced a ‘thin place’? Here’s a brief outline of what a ‘thin place’ is,  how you can experience them, and a poem about them.

What Is A Thin Place

Have you ever travelled some distance to an ancient site, and almost heard the cry of the ancestors call out to you over the millennia from that place? You might have been walking in a forest, witnessed a flash of sunlight break through the forest canopy, and felt a deep stirring within?

Perhaps, you were in a rush, walking through a city street, and you stopped to cross the road and someone with a baby in a push chair stopped beside you and the baby smiled at you, and you felt a ‘warmth’ from somewhere else move in your core. These are all examples of  ‘thin places’.

Druids and ancient Celts held the view, and latter-day ones, and others, still hold the view, that there exist places, times and events where the separation between here and the Other, that veil, that threshold to the spiritual realm, can be unusually ‘thin’ and can be touched, encountered, felt, experienced. These, they called them ‘thin places, and they still exist today, and you can experience them, too.

‘There is an indefinable, mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen power that makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses. It transcends the senses.’ Mahatma Gandhi

In one sense, the ancient Druids and Celts never ‘suffered’ with dualism as we do, and so it seems odd to speak of here and the Other. Perhaps, a way forward is to understand that that Oneness always exists. But, with our minds focussed on the busyness of the day, we need some encouragement and opportunity to have that awareness revealed to us. Like a muscle, such awareness grows over time, so that we can be more easily aware of ‘thin places’, and enjoy them.

So, a ‘thin place’ or caol áit (a Celtic/Gaelic word, pronounced ‘kweel awtch’) is a time, place or event where we are aware of the closeness of the Other.

Throughout the United Kingdom there are places described as holy or sacred by others – not just religious buildings, but, more than likely old oak or yew trees (some hundreds of years old), streams or valleys, standing stones and many other notable places which have been (and still, are) visited by celts (ancient and latter-day) and other spiritual pilgrims, such as fellow-Druid friends, and Wiccan friends etc. But, other places, such as forests, even city streets could be a ‘thin place’ as well as an ancient site in the country where you live. Geographically, though they abound in Wales and the other three countries of the UK, but, they are worldwide, there may be one or more’ thin places’ near you. They may not occur in just ancient places or places of grandeur.  Your local park? Your kitchen? Your backyard? Who knows?

‘The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience’.
Emily Dickinson

There could be times when ‘thin places’ occur – long-lived over the centuries or fleeting. You might experience a ‘thin place’ in an area on day, and when you go back to replicate the experience – nothing. The moment has gone. But, who knows what other times of opportunity (kairos, rather than chronos), will present themselves to you in the future, if aware. To be sure, sometimes ‘thin places’ will feel powerful and ‘electric’, and at other times may hardly be noticeable and almost ‘shy’. But, wherever you find one, revel in that moment, that encounter with the Other’. They always convey deep meaning.

‘I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
And nothing
happens! Nothing…Silence…Waves…

–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?’

― Juan Ramón Jiménez

And, then there are meaningful events where you might encounter a ‘thin places’. These might be  at various events, such as at the birth of a baby, at the passing on of a loved one, or at the announcement of some amazing or traumatic event, an impending storm, when we view beauty, for example. All of these can be the ‘judder’ that we experience in life that speaks of, and points to That Which Is Bigger Than Us, through the encounter of a ’thin place’. At times like that it catches our breath, time seems to stand still and we’re ‘catapulted’ into a higher reality.

How To Increase Awareness

‘Thin Places, as described above cannot be manufactured, but who knows how many we pass because we’re unaware? So, how do you increase your opportunity of finding  them? Well,

  • you could do some local research of ancient sites and ruins, especially ones marked in some way by those of yesteryear, or look for forest paths that take you to quiet areas, and
  •  you could hone your alertness. You might notice that there’s a strange feeling of quietness in a place, like the feeling of an approaching thunderstorm;  or you get a skin or inward sensation that is beyond description, then it may be a ‘thin place’, and
  •  be aware. You might pause in an area where such an occurrence is likely. Yes, use your senses eg sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, but don’t forget that sixth sense ie intuition, and if needed, do check out the likelihood of a ‘thin place’ by meditating, by half closing your eyes and seeing with the ‘inward eyes’ of the imaginal.
  •  ‘open the door’. It might be beneficial to conduct a ritual in the open, and especially where you feel a ‘thin place’ may exist. If there isn’t a ‘thin place’ there, then you have still conducted a beneficial ritual. If you notice, however, that the ritual becomes very easy to do, ‘races along’ as though turbo charged, or you feel or notice the input of the ‘invisible others’ than you have ‘found’ a ‘thin place’. This could manifest itself as a feel, an event of synchronicity, or in nature, perhaps, by the inquisitiveness of an animal that approaches and stops to look on,  Ofcourse, it could be that the ‘invisible others’ have found you, and in your honest desire to look for to a ‘thin place’ they have brought it to you!

So, have you experienced a ‘thin place’ – a place, time, or event where the gap between here and the Other has been unusually ‘thin’?

Poem

Here’s a poem I wrote some time ago about ‘thin places’:

Atop a high mountain or in the dark valley below,
in the corner of your room, or in the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre,
may you find a ‘thin place’.
A place, or time, or event so unique, so full of wonder, so sublime.

A place where Heaven and earth collide,
and the diaphanous veil of separation is unusually thin.
A time where you can almost feel angelic wings beat against your cheeks,
and see the Divine smile shining through.
An event where your heartbeat quickens,
and you experience the mystery of the Other in the mundane.

A ‘thin place’ is a threshold, a limen, a holy bridge,
a door to the Throne Room, slightly opened.
It is a moment in time and space,
in which we can dwell, and dance, and move, if aware.

A ‘thin place’ is an encouragement, a sacred invitation to draw near,
to approach barefoot, in humility, in reverence and awe.
It is both seen and unseen.
Invisible we see you!

May you, in the wilderness of the countryside or the city,
find a ‘thin place’, and be blessed.

Drws I Fyd Arall (Revisited) & Your Invitation To Three Live-Streaming Broadcasts

LIVE THREE

Below is an article I wrote some time ago: The Voice. Since the dawn of time humankind has heard that inner voice. Many tribes of old, the Ancients, Druids, Celts,  and Ancient texts  all testify to the Voice in the desert or wilderness places, or atop high mountains. The Voice I wrote about spoke of a ritual. And so, ritual features in one of the live streaming videos to be broadcast this week. But, there’s more…

Three Facebook Live Streaming Video Events: And You’re Invited:
– Monday, 8 June 2020: The Alphabet Of Ritual
– Wednesday, 10 June 2020: Things That Go Bump In The Night: Energy, Elementals & More
– Friday, 12 June 2020: Tadhg’s Table Talk

All events take place at 8pm (UK Time). Monday & Wednesday events are seminar-style so do have pen and paper to hand. They will last about 50 minutes. Time for comments and questions, too. Friday is like the after-dinner experience of a chat with friends over coffee and will probably last about 90 minutes, so do have a cup of coffee ready. It’s participatory! It’s free! It’s inclusive! All welcome.

Important: To view and/or participate in any of these live streaming events you will need to be a FaceBook friend. If you’re not, or are not sure, please see ‘To View….’ at the end of this article. The broadcasts will be recorded.

Article: Drws I Fyd Arall (Revisited): The Voice
One night, several years ago, I woke up from a shallow sleep and went for a walk to this place, and this is what I wrote:

A warm feeling enveloped me. Palpable. And not only an external feeling, but internal too, pervading my whole being. And then, as has happened albeit infrequently in this place in the past, I heard the Voice once again. Some will say that it’s only imagination, but I can only say, to me, it was and is, more, oh much more. From an interrupted, shallow sleep I awoke early, and walked into the night, as if called by a Voice deep within. An elemental? An ancestor? My imagination? The Bat kohl?

The air was cold and damp,
the darkness seemed to envelope me,
the trees ‘closed in’, and all was quiet.

Nothing stirred.
Nothing at all.
And with some trepidation,
into a forest clearing I slowly strode.

A fallen tree provided a seat,
and I sat, and waited.

The air felt ‘electric’ as though something would happen,
like a ‘silent storm’ approaching.

And I waited. And shivered.
Waited. And got damp.
Waited.

And then from within, or without,
almost undetectable, a quiet, loving, voice was heard.
The Voice.

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

“Human words are powerful, they are a door,
your actions are effective, they are pure metaphor.”

“And so I speak of humanity’s cosmic task,
To be revealed, evidenced, enjoyed, without any mask.”

“And so, don’t just sit, but take heed and do,
these are worded-actions-prayers for many, and for you.”

“And so, again I say, as above, so below,
remember these things; they are things you should know.”

“Through prayer, does that which is unseen, unmanifest,
reveal itself and take form in the blessed.”

“And so, I mention,
with your hands at your side, walk humbly,
take seven half-steps forward, its 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.”

Having done everything as directed,
I stood there in awe.
The air was cold and yet I felt warm,
the night so dark but in my mind’s eye it seemed to glow.

The Voice had gone.
The Voice? An angel? The Deity? The Awen?
You decide.

I do believe The Voice speaks wisdom to us all. I don’t think we need to go to special places – though sometimes that seems to be something that we, as humans, need to do that to prompt us, to jog our memories or put us in the right frame of mind of openness. But, I do believe The Voice speaks still, perhaps in the city. Can you hear it?

The idea of ritual will be one of our evening broadcasts this week by Tadhg.

To view…
To view any of the three live streaming videos, you need to be a friend of mine on Facebook. So, first:  If you’ve been able to see my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via Facebook then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not a current FaceBook friend do check here. If don’t see previous videos there or if you can’t gain full access to that webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend

To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can, and then do try the link above again to see if you can gain access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

 

 

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]]

 

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]