July 22, 2005
For our High Day
Socials we try to gear the food towards the
theme of that particular High Day. For the
Summer Solstice this year we took a little
departure from our usual High Day Social and
celebrated "The Druids of Summer." This all
started when the AD sent out the
announcement for the service and got on a
baseball kick. And it just went downhill
from there. The menu was peanuts (in the
shell), Cracker Jack, all beef hotdogs in
whole wheat buns, potato salad, Curve Ball
Ale, lemon- and limeade, and It's It
chocolate covered oatmeal cookie ice cream
treats (The AD threatens to make them using
bannocks and goat's milk ice cream).
For fun Grove
members worked on the song "Take Me Out to
the Grove Site."
"Take me out to the
Take me out to the Oaks.
Bring me my sickle and waters-of-life,
Or a can of Budweiser and swiss army knife.
And it's root, root, root for the Dru-ids
For it's one, two,
three ways of day and one of night!"
As you can see
there was one line we were having trouble
June 18, 2005
After much work
using maul, hammer, and chisel and many
trips hauling stones, we're come to the
conclusion that we won't be able to
completely take down the altar at the old
Grove site; it is just too well cemented in.
However most of it is gone so it is unusable
as an altar, which was of great concern. We
were afraid that if anyone used it to burn
anything or light candles, we would be
blamed by the group who oversees the
property now. We will be using the stones to
build the altar at the new Grove site.
Speaking of which, the leveling of the new
Grove site is now finished. It overlooks a
canyon of redwoods and live oaks. We learned
in the process to go with the feeling of the
site to determine which direction the altar
should face rather than imposing a
preconceived structure upon it or even using
the same directional set up of the old Grove
site. Work can begin on planting the sacred
trees, building the altar, and digging the
shaft for the new Toll Uaigh.
Now that we have a
new site, I as AD started to put a lot of
thought in how to make the new site a sacred
space. I based what I came up with 1) on
what I observed at the shamanic journey
circle I attend once a month where the
leader essentially takes a classroom and
makes it into sacred space and the feel of
the room totally changes; and 2) during the
meditation at the last service (creating
sacred space was my topic) it came to me
that it is a three (!) part process: naming
the space sacred, setting it up as sacred,
and using it as a sacred space. I will also
be putting small pieces of obsidian into the
earth at the Grove site to help it heal
after all that excavating, to ground the
moved dirt, and as a way of thanking the
site for letting us do the work on it to
make it a Grove. There's that old Celtic
concept of reciprocation again.
A month ago the AD took a class in
braintanning buckskin at the recreated Miwok
village, Kule Loklo, on the Point Reyes
Peninsula. This coincided well with our
rogue Druid Julie Ann's bearskin tanning
article later in this issue. Between having
to physically scrape the wet slimy stinky
hide through several steps to remove first
the flesh, then the hair then the membrane,
and finally the grain, mixing a vat of
cooked deer brains with egg yolks and mixing
the deer hides in the warm liquid with my
hands, this is not something I will want to
do very often. Not being used to working
with such I had to go to my "happy place"
several times to get through the class. At
least I've got a half a hide to show for it!
(See photo below. The AD is on bottom row,
far left. We are all smiling so much because
it was two full grueling days of grueling
and we were very proud of our work).
I am tempted,
however, to try hair-on tanning, with a
white tail deer hide Julie Ann so
courteously will provide all the way from
Minnesota, if I want to try it. Tempted, not
definitely, is the operative word here.
May 1, 2005
After what has
seemed like a long arduous year, Poison Oak
Grove feels like it is coming back to life.
The Arch Druid visited her mentor's grave up
at Mount Shasta the second weekend in April.
She brought a stone from the old altar and
one from the new land to add to the rocks
that encircle (it│Ň actually in the shape of
a rectangle) the grave itself
The new grove site
is done! Our retired fireman finished it in
time for Beltaine so we will be able to have
a service. A little more excavating might
need to be done along the back wall to round
out the shape a bit, but we'll have to see
how the wall faired after some short but
steady rain over the past couple of days.
The next phases consist of determining where
the altar and toll should go, finishing up
the deconstruction of the old altar, using
the stones from the old altar to build the
new one, and planting the grove's eight
Some of you may
remember my laments at not being able to
write the lead article for nearly the past
two years and instead republishing ones from
the first publication cycle of A Druid
Missal-Any, and that the Missal-Any has been
coming out later and later. A large part was
due to the energy drain after my mother
died. Another part has been due to the
enormous and daunting shoes IÍ┬e had to fill
by assuming the role of editor for this rag.
I've spent more time agonizing over writing
than actually doing it, thinking I can't do
this, IÍ¬ not good enough, I donÍ╔ know
enough to do this, etc. A few weeks ago one
of the members of the monthly shamanic
journey circle suggested a book titled
Psychic Power and Soul Consciousness by
Korra Deaver, Ph.D., when I told her of my
interest in psychic development. The book
described the First Occult Law: Energy
follows thought, in other words if you think
something, you'll send out the energy and
manifest it. I was creating my own
not-able-to-write demons instead of
overcoming them! If I could do this negative
thought process then I could do a positive
one as well! As a result here you have the
first original lead article in a year. May
there be many more where that came from, and
a Missal-Any on time!
September 22, 2004
One night while eating dinner there was a slow crrrr-aaa-ccckkkk and crash! I said out loud, "What the hell was that?" My first thought was oh no, fire! (we had two fires in Canyon about a month ago, one very close to the house and were ready to evacuate), but then reason kicked in and I realized that's the sound of a tree falling in the woods! It didn't sound like it hit any buildings and we went out to investigate. A huge live oak tree had fallen across the path to the house and down the little glen almost to the deck of the people who live below. Other neighbors were coming out to see too and check to see if anything was damaged. Apparently it was heard from quite a distance as other residents of the town were asking about it at the post office.
I saw at this as an "opportunity" rather than an inconvenience. It was a well-timed gift. We will not want for fire wood this winter, even if the neighbors take some, which is important as a wood burning stove is our heat source. And no one or creature was hurt and nothing was damaged. Cernunnos was looking out for us! A neighbor told be that it was Celtic folklore that oak trees are known for protecting people and not falling on them. If any one knows more about this please let us know.
August 2, 2004
Eris continues to reign at the home of a Druid Missal-Any. In preparation for library shelves to be built, all the boxes of books were moved outside, including the box that has the Chronicles and the Lughnasadh liturgy in it. I emailed the liturgy document to myself at work, but it wouldn't print out on two printers. The printer at home needs the software to be reinstalled after the electrician turned off the power without telling me while the computer was on (this is why the Missal-Any is especially late this issue...), and PC Doctor had to come out to fix it. The printer paper is still in a box somewhere... Thanks to one of our members a last minute call is insuring we will have our Lughnasadh scripts!
Today was the last day in the cabin. I had moved out most of the contents the previous two weekends. All that was left was a low table made of burl wood, a few tools, and an unfinished self-portrait of Emmon. These items proved to be amongst the most challenging. The burl seemed to be almost as heavy as The Dagda's club, and I'm surprised I was able to move it at all, much less able to bring it home. The portrait was almost too big to fit in the car and rode up close to the ceiling of the car. I am still having a hard time grasping losing the cabin and why. It is much too simplistic to say, "it was time to move on." Alexandra Kennedy says you need not end a relationship because a person dies. Perhaps it was time for me to have my own "cabin," one that someone could not take away, as the house is like a bigger version of it, and it is mine and not a rental. Keeping the cabin forever wasn't realistic (the Muir Heritage Land Trust was thinking about tearing it down at one point), having this house isn't quite so.
On the way home from the cabin there was a small stand by the local pear orchard. A sign asked for people to pick pears for the Contra Costa Food Bank and I stopped and did so. I received some pears in return for the work and it reminded me of the concept of reciprocation so prevalent in ancient Celtic society. I will be offering one of the pears as a "first fruit" of the harvest at the Lughnasadh service, as well as some of the wild plums and blackberries that grow along the path up to the house.