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Posts Tagged ‘Crane’

This week Yngvi and I finally got to meet up with three members of the local protogrove. They were all very friendly, and I think we’ll get on just fine. They are okay with us continuing our study group as is, and at least one of them would like to join up with us, since she wants to work on her DP.

Also the local Grove Organizer and I have the same birthday (March 2) and two other people (Yngvi and another lady) also have March birthdays, so we’re thinking of doing a Druid Birthday Bash of some sort, to celebrate.

My “radar” is still in good working order – I walked into the coffee shop and immediately picked out the people I was going to be chatting with (as did Yngvi, who I made do the first introductions, because I am kinda shy). Dunno what led me to go “those ladies. Those are the ladies from the PG”, but I did – and apparently they picked me out as soon as I walked in as well. Hooray for good intuition and “radar”.

I don’t know yet if we’ll be joining them for rituals regularly or not. They do rituals on the official “day” of the high day (so Beltane is always on May 1), which means weeknight rituals, and that’s tough for me. They aren’t far away, so it may work, but I’ll have to rearrange my whole weekly schedule to make it fit, and depending on the week, it may just not be possible. Plus, the study group will still be having high day rituals as we work our way through the different hearth cultures, and that may conflict with the PG rituals. My primary loyalty right now is to the study group, and since I’m leading that, I can have the rituals at our regular meeting time, so the high day is on the closest Friday to the actual official “day”. (We did Imbolc on Jan 31, for example.)

The PG is primarily Irish Celtic (they call themselves the Houston Celtic Druids in some online forums), but they weren’t phased by Yngvi and my Germanic/Scandinavian/Anglo-Saxon hearths. In fact, they seemed interested and curious, which I took to be a good sign. As well, my dreams about herons and cranes have continued – and I found out yesterday that one of the locals is a member of the Order of the Crane in ADF. I am not sure I’ll bring it up with her until I know her a little bit better, but it was interesting to hear that she’s involved there.

All in all it was a good first meeting. Yngvi and I will continue to lead the study group, now possibly with some new members from the PG, and we’ll see where things go as that progresses. Now that I have some faces and personalities to put with names, I’m more comfortable going to a ritual at someone’s private home, so that hurdle is out of the way as well.

ADF serves both communities and solitary pagans. I’ve spent most of my ADF time as a solitary, but that seems to be rapidly changing. It brings up a lot of my fears about being “out” as a pagan (I really don’t want a potential employer to be able to google me and find out my religion, among other things), but for now I can still fly under the radar, since leading a study group doesn’t require my name to be on any of the websites anywhere. I know I am somewhat gun-shy of joining up with a new pagan group, especially with how quickly my involvement in previous groups ended, but hopefully this will be good for me and my spiritual development.

I’m also taking suggestions for a name for our study group. Right now we’re calling ourselves the “Clear Lake Druidic Study Group”, which works, but isn’t very creative. There are four of us so far, but we may be growing. We’re primarily split between the Norse/AS and the Hellenic hearth cultures so far, but that may change as the newer folks start doing their own rituals at home and creating a devotional practice. Any suggestions are welcome!

 

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Lately I’ve been running into waterbirds all over the place. There have been herons and egrets when I go on my walks near the waterway, I’ve seen cranes and herons in my meditations (especially at my mental grove), and I’ve been dreaming of cranes and flying.

Not sure exactly what to make of it all. Obviously there’s a trend.

Waterbirds like herons and cranes are liminal birds – they exist on land, sea, and sky, and thus cross the ways between the three worlds. They are associated with watchfulness, balance, and wisdom. They can be messengers, or just representatives of higher states of consciousness. They are usually solitary birds and can be symbols of independence as well.

Of course, all that is very interesting, but I’m not sure exactly what it means for me to keep encountering them. Usually when I have  a string of similar encounters, it means something is trying to get my attention, but in this case I’m not sure exactly what that might be.

I did some extended meditations on the subject this week, and found that my brain was very scattered when I tried to focus on them. I could return to the breath and be centered again, but every time I tried to look directly at or through a crane/heron/egret, I’d end up with a flood of images in my mind, from standing (one foot on land, one foot in the water), to flying, to hunting, kind of like I was getting all of the experiences of a heron in my mind all at the same time. It was a little disconcerting, since I was trying to focus or get a good look at what I was seeing in my meditation, and it just ended up all over the place.

Maybe that’s the message – that I’m too scattered right now? I can’t put my finger on any explanation that feels satisfactory.

Maybe I just have cranes on the brain.

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I did sitting meditation every day this week, as part of a re-set of my mindfulness practice and in an attempt to help with some mental health issues. I did 15-30 minute meditations, usually starting with 10 minutes seated and then moving to lying on my back on the floor. I’ve found I definitely have better luck meditating lying down than I do sitting up, at least when it comes to getting to that state of calm half-awareness.  I think partially this would be alleviated by sitting on a cushion instead of on the floor itself, so we’ll see if that helps this coming week.

I usually end my meditations with the Two Powers, which I’ve found feels very different lying down than it does standing up in ritual. Not sure that one is “better”, but I feel more grounded when I’m lying down for sure.

I continue to light incense to Freyr several times a week, and have started including a short prayer to him in my morning devotionals (beyond just saying “good morning”, as He asked).

I have also continued to see the Crane in my mental grove at night before I go to bed. In that light, I’ve downloaded some of the materials for the Order of the Crane and will be reading through them to see if this path is for me. I’d also like to do some focused meditations with Garanus in mind – he is not a Nature Spirit that I’ve worked with much in the past, though I have worked with and talked to local great blue herons and green herons in my area. The one major conversation I had was about the state of the waterway behind where I live, so it was not a devotional relationship like the Order is.

One noteworthy meditation this week had a little visitor. I was lying on the floor, in a sort of half-trance state, moving between my  breath and my mental grove, when something MOVED on my ARM. I looked down, and there was a tiny green anole lizard on my arm, apparently having let himself in through the open window. (I’m not sure how, there’s a screen) It definitely ended the meditation, as I then chased him around the room for 10 minutes before catching him and putting him outside.

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I’ve finished 20 weeks of documented meditation! Yay!

I went back to check though, and my first documentation was on November 5, and I don’t want to lose credit for this because I did “20 weeks” instead of “5 calendar months”, so I’m going to do another two weeks just to make sure. Since I’m doing a lot of meditation right now, that’s not too hard, I just have to remember to write it all down every Monday.

This week I did several sitting meditations (some were very short, so I’m not sure how to count the little 3-5 minute ones, versus the usual 15-30 minute ones). I included one meditation that included the Two Powers, and combined that with Embrace the Tiger, Return to the Mountain moving meditation – I really do wonder if they serve the same purpose. I’ll definitely be writing about that practice as part of my Two Powers/Grounding and Centering essay, since it helps me so much to balance the powers around me, and involves drawing in energy and balancing it within my body.  (I’ve also discovered that there’s enough room in the larger bathroom stall to do this moving meditation at work, which is useful, since I am both very stressed and extremely visible at work. I share a cubicle with three other people, and it opens across from the break room, so it’s a high traffic area.)

I’ve returned to a focus on my mindfulness practice, since I’m struggling with some mental health cycling, so I’m trying to do at least 15 minutes of sitting meditation daily. This, when combined with more trance-like visualization meditation (like the Two Powers, or visiting my Mental Grove) has been really powerful for me, and will probably be the one practice that I continue doing with solid regularity after I finish my “requirement” for the DP.

This week also included my Ostara celebration, and the devotional aspects of that ritual went very well. I’ll have a full write-up tomorrow.

Also, of note this week, when I was sitting in my Mental Grove, I was visited by the Crane. I’m not sure if this is “just” because I’ve been reading about the Order of the Crane (and considering joining it), or because there are bigger subconscious forces at work. I’ll be seeing if I can nurture that relationship. Usually in my Mental Grove I see animals and spirits that I have relationships with, or who are symbolic of the Gods, so this would fit into that pattern if the Crane is seeking me out as well as I am seeking to see if that path will be right for me.

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I’ll be doing my Yule ritual today – an ADF style ritual honoring Sulis, modified slightly from the ritual found in the Crane Breviary. I’ve been enjoying looking through the rituals there, and this one seemed to fit the kind of ritual I want to have. I need to look more into the Order of the Crane – it seems like a good balance of inner and outer workings, and like it might provide more of a community than the DP is currently. While I appreciate everything that the DP has to offer, I’ve not felt that it’s brought me much into connection with other Druids, and that’s something I’d really like to have. Plus I just think the Crane symbolism is really rather spiffy.

Husband unit and I will be opening our gifts this evening as well, since we’ll be celebrating multiple times. It always seems like we end up with our own celebration on or just before the actual Solstice, and then various family celebrations happen around their holiday of Christmas. Still, multiple chances to give (and get) presents is OK with me!

I’m not really ready for the holiday season to be “over” though, and I intend to keep the greenery out in the house for awhile, even if I take down the tree. Though the light will begin to be stronger again, it’s still going to be winter for awhile, and I really enjoy the look and smell of evergreens. Most of mine this year are in baskets with florist’s foam, so they’re staying healthy and fragrant.

If you’re one of the people in the path of the winter storm, I hope you have a beautiful, snowy Yule and that the blizzard conditions don’t cause you or your loved ones any harm. Here in the swamp, we’re going to have a slightly cooler, very windy day, but no real effects from the storm front. It would be nice to have snow for the Solstice, but that is extremely rare around here (as is snow any other time during the winter). Still, the cooler day will be nice for having a fire in the fireplace, and maybe it’ll feel a little more like winter today.

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