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Posts Tagged ‘secret agent druid’

So for the last 20 or so months I’ve worked on the 9th floor of a building, in a cubicle on the east side near some big windows. Watching the sunrise was a large part of my morning, and I’ve taken quite a few pictures in my efforts to track the sun from south in the winter to north in the summer and back again. Right now the sun is rising almost directly behind downtown, and it’s quite the stunning site, especially from nine floors up with no other buildings to block the view.

Sadly, we have had a reorganization at my company, and that meant moving to the other side of the building. I actually face the windows (and the entrance to our quad-cube this time too, so no more having people sneak up on me because I face the wall), but these windows face west… directly into the next building. While I can see some reflected sunlight, it’s not quite the same.

Also the new inhabitants of the other side of the building have decided that they are (apparently) against all forms of natural light and have tightly closed all the blinds (only to turn on desk lamps to have more light).

As such, I’m calling this the end of my official sunrise exercise. Now that it’s late enough in the year, I’m no longer driving during the sunrise (it’s still dark when I get to work now), but with the new move, it’s just not looking like I’ll be able to watch my sunrises like I used to.

I’ll still be doing my morning devotional, with my morning cup of tea, but without the gorgeous views of the sun rising over Houston.

To be honest, I’m trying to keep a good spirit about this move. I moved from a spot where I could see natural light, and watch the sunrise, that was right next to both the kitchen and the women’s restroom, and very close to two printers. Now I’m on the other side of the building from the kitchen and the bathroom and the printers, and my view out the windows is straight into the windows of the next building. Many of my Secret Agent Druid practices are going to change because of this, which is a little sad.

I guess I just have to come up with new ones!

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Midsummer is coming up at the end of this week (or Litha, or the Summer Solstice, however you’d prefer).  Here are a few things you can do on the Summer Solstice/Midsummer to keep that Druidic spirit alive – without necessarily doing a formal ritual:

  • Get up before sunrise and go somewhere to watch the sun come up. Then, stay up until sunset and watch the sun go down. It’s the longest day of the year – so honor the WHOLE day. (Yes, that means getting up at the ass crack of dawn. It won’t hurt for one day.) If you can do this at your home, lighting incense to mark the passage of the sun is a nice touch.
  • Grill something! Especially since a lot of places frown on outdoor bonfires, a grill is a good substitute, and you can make incense offerings to the coals.
  • Eat fresh, local, seasonal produce. Depending on where you are, this will vary widely. Here in the Swamp, that means sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, and squash, but berries are on their way out of season here already, as it’s getting quite hot. We’re just starting to get good peaches here too, but they really need another month. Watermelons, however, are in their prime.
  • Charge water with the power of the sun – place water in a bowl (covered lightly to keep out flies – I use a white flour sack towel) and let it sit in the sunlight all day (you’ll have to move it). Then use this water in rituals where you need a little extra oomph – I like to use Sun Water in my well, since I’m not close to natural fresh water that’s acceptable to use in my Well without endangering my cats! (It’s all mucky brackish stuff around here)
  • Make a Sun Wreath (or bouquet) – gather as many sunny flowers as you can, fresh, dried or silk all work, and arrange them as decoration in your home. I like to keep a very brightly colored yellow and orange wreath on my front door during this season. This is also appropriate altar decor, especially if you’re doing a ritual to honor Sunna or Sol.
  • Cook with fresh, summery herbs – basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage are all thriving at this time of year. In some places parsley and cilantro are in season as well. Cooking with fresh, summery herbs always helps me connect to the season. I especially like making a salad with fresh basil and fresh ripe tomatoes, with a little olive oil and salt. Yum!
  • Make Sun Cookies! These are regular sugar cookies (of whatever recipe you like) cut out with a sun-shaped cookie cutter. Or just in big rounds with yellow frosting. These can be shared with the office for a special treat, and everyone will love you for bringing them sugar.
  • Wear sunny colors – on purpose and with purpose. Your wardrobe doesn’t have to be part of your special celebrations, but if (like me) you’ll be in a cubicle for most of the Solstice day, wearing something sunny – and getting outside at lunch for a few minutes – can help keep me in a good frame of mind.

Any and all of these things can be done without anyone looking twice at what you’re doing, but they all honor the strength of the sun at this time of year, and help keep you in the spirit of the Solstice. I’ll be doing a number of these, along with my actual celebrated Solstice ritual, and will probably spread them out over a few days to remember that this is as much a season as it is a specific date.

Blessed Midsummer!

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(note: this has nothing to do with the Lou Reed song, it just happens to be stuck in my head this morning, and seemed appropriate for the subject at hand.)

Get outside today and touch something.

It doesn’t have to be dramatic, and you don’t have to tell anyone you’re doing it. Just take 5 minutes, get outside, and engage your sense of touch in the natural world. Feel its wildness, or tameness, or both. Touch the bark of a tree – is it rough or smooth, warm from the sun or cool or cold? Touch the ground – is it warming in the early spring, or snow-covered, or frozen hard?

See if you can find the wild side, there in your neighborhood or backyard or courtyard. We often put nature into idyllic boxes, only seeing the tamed versions that surround us in cities and neighborhoods and parks, idealizing what is truly an often chaotic force, but the wild side is still there.

See if you can feel it, underneath the quiet exterior.

What is that like?

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I’m a Druid of the Office more than any other specific place, even though I try very hard to do daily devotions with my landbase. As such, I’ve tried a number of ways to make my little corner of this cubicle (which I share with other people) as Druid-friendly as possible. Plants have really helped warm up my space.

If you’re also an office-bound pagan, try getting a plant or terrarium for your desk (something that will tolerate low light, unless you have a window). Use it as a focus for 3 breath meditations when things get stressful and enjoy the extra oxygen!

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After yesterday’s post, I realized there was an opportunity for a good Secret Druid Tip buried in the tarot reading.

Divination tools on your smartphone!

They’re convenient, inconspicuous, and provide you with a ready tool for communicating with the Kindreds.

I have my smartphone with me all the time. If I’m ever in a situation where I have a pressing question, I can get a tarot reading from my Mystic Dreamer Tarot app, which has read surprisingly well for me, even though I can’t actually shuffle the cards myself! There are a number of different tarot deck apps, but I highly recommend this one.

For runes, I have less experience, but a quick search turned up an app called Runes by Netistry as well as The Runes: A Human Journey by PiSoft Consulting. (These are both for the iPhone; I don’t have an android device (yet) but I imagine similar apps are available there as well). I’m sure there are others, and most for a good deal less than a purchased set of runes – even travel sized ones. I couldn’t find an ogham app on the apple store, but hopefully one will come along soon (or perhaps a Druid will develop one?)

Do I still prefer real cards and sticks and runes? Yes, of course. But given that I can’t always have them with me, it’s really nice to have them on my phone as well.

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If you’re like me, one of your favorite parts of New Years is picking out (and writing in the important dates on) a new calendar. This is an easy place to bring Druidry into your home or office decor in a way that’s really unobtrusive to others, but blatantly obvious to you. Pick a calendar that reminds you of nature or the Kindreds, and use it as a focus to remain mindful and aware of those forces around you.

If you like the monthly, wall calendar kind (or the page-a-week organizer/desktop kind), take a moment and write in the Holy Days while you write in all your cousins’ birthdays. Full and new moons are other good things to add. If you like the page-a-day kind, the imagery will be daily, and you can use the moment where you tear off each page as a cue for a 9 breath meditation and reflection.

And remember, if possible, to get a calendar that’s made of recycled paper, and make sure you put the torn pages in the recycling bin!

Edit: I was asked how and where I got my dates for these calendars, and why sometimes they have different times or dates listed. Usually a difference in date is caused by timezones. I use the US Military Observatory’s data, which you can get here, for moon phases. Keep in mind that these times are UTC (Universal time), so you’ll have to subtract hours for your timezone – I’m in US Central, so that’s UTC-6.

For High Days, I use the typical calendar dates for planning my calendar each year (Samhain on Oct 31, Yule on Dec 21, Imbolc on Feb 1). I know there are more specific astronomical dates (the Solstice doesn’t always happen on the 21st), but since I can rarely celebrate ON the actual day, I figure as long as I get close it doesn’t matter.

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This isn’t much of a secret Druid tip, so much as just a good way to celebrate the Solstice in a way that pretty much anyone can understand. It’s also the latest you’ll be able to get up and see a sunrise, so if you’ve not done that in awhile, today’s a good day for it (or tomorrow morning). Make sure you get up 10-15 minutes before the actual sunrise, so you have a chance to make a cup of tea or coffee and find a good watching spot. (And hopefully it’s not still snowing where you are!) Take some deep breaths, honor the return of the sun, and be reminded of the beauty in the natural world at liminal times like sunrise. It’s a good time to be a Druid.

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