Month: February 2012

The end of the physical White Cat, but the return of the metaphysical

I’m being interviewed in Aontacht, Druidic Dawn’s magazine, in the next issue and have been awash in blissful busy-ness answering the questions about music, my Druidic path…. Answering questions is such a valuable experience, since it forces you to clarify and articulate matters of the heart and spirit that you would otherwise just leave in an amorphous, half-considered mass.

This is why that question-centered memes are so popular in blogging. They’re writing prompts, of course. But more importantly — if you take them seriously, that is — they’re thought prompts. And we all need thought prompts because thoughts, like any well-used vehicle, tend to run ruts in the same tracks, over and over. We may feel our reasons, justifications and belief structures in our hearts, but we truly don’t know them until we articulate them with words. Speech organizes mind.

And so.

One of the realizations that hovered just beyond my tongue, that I had difficulty putting to speech, was the simple fact that the physical manifestation of White Cat Grove has ended. Simply put, the amount of work it took — writing the rituals, leading them, cleaning the house, cooking a meal, playing the hostess, transporting my fellow priestess, and then returning to clean — was starting to wear on me like water on a stone. There is a lot of work involved in running groups, whether for two or twenty, and not too many ready hands. Druidic groves are less appealing to the masses than Wiccan circles for a variety of reasons. And in this age of social networking, we’re less inclined to invest ourselves in groups; they come and go, like Facebook invitations, something you can attend or not on a whim.

Right now, I’d rather use the time — when it’s not used for my family connections and my home life — to focus on my own spiritual path, my music, my writing. The metaphysical version of White Cat — the wordpress blog — remains intact; it’s a part of my spiritual work, my clarification of inner thoughts and truths. I won’t rule out returning to a physical grove of people, either — but there needs to be more people interested in it and, importantly, willing to share the work.

Today, I am looking forward to some solitary spiritual pursuits: working on my article on Boann for the next Henge Happenings, and celebrating a Mistletoe Rite by myself. And I feel more calm in my heart, knowing that this is the right choice.

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Nin: The Weaver’s Beam

Note: Another Ogham-inspired poem

(Did you hear? Did you know?
Can I tell you, tell you?)

Ash — the weaver’s beam
and ash — the spear’s shaft
ash — the hearth’s leavings
and ash, the burnt home

the weights pulling wool
taut as wizened hands
move between spaces —
words keep the rhythm

(Can I tell you, tell you?
Did you know? Did you hear?)

words the weft and words
the woof and words the
shuttle that binds them —
ash — the weaver’s beam

we beat our words, tweed
pulling together the threads
with each shared blow as
we sing the old songs

(Did you know? Did you hear?
Can I tell you, tell you?)

And words the weapon
the wreckage, the wound
blade pressed to the back
and ash — the spear’s shaft

we beat them, tearing
asunder the flesh
in strands, in sinew
and sing out our hate

(Can I tell you, tell you?
Did you hear? Did you know?)

the weights pulling wool —
The work makes hands wise.
Silence, we shuttle.
We speak more than words.

Ash — the hearth’s leavings
and ash, the burnt home
and ash, the spear’s shaft
ash — the weaver’s beam

Hearth and heart

I celebrated Imbolc last weekend, with the blessing of her mantle left out overnight, the burning of the old greens, the playing of the harp, the making of bannock, the offering of  songs and mead. Celebrating myself this year was a choice — choosing to spend time with a small group of loved ones, in this case the Kindreds and the Gods of the Season, Brighid and her father the Dagda.

And quite frankly, it’s sweet to celebrate on a solitary (human) basis, to weave yourself  back into the pattern without the distraction of travel or being a hostess. It’s good to celebrate with others, as well; it’s all a matter of where you’re at spiritually at a given moment in time. Neither is inherently better than the other.

At any rate, I do make an Imbolc offering to the larger community: “Hearth and heart,” a chant I recorded on my album Oisin (and which I traditionally perform during Imbolc, accompanied by harp). The lyrics:

Lady Brigid
Lady of the hearth
Lady of the heart
Healer of the soul
     Lady of the heart
     Healer of the soul

Some years ago, I submitted it to Witchvox’s Bardic Circle. While the link is no longer active, you can read about its creation here. You also can hear the song in the embedded player on the Kwannon site.

Enjoy, and feel free to use the chant for your own purposes!