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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Three Cranes Grove is hosting an Earth-Along to honor Earth Day this year. It’s three days of individual practice that we all do “together” (in our separate ways) to honor the Earth Mother.

Earth Along - Day 1

You can find a full liturgy of offering to the Earth Mother at the Three Cranes Blog today as well.

I was planning on doing some garden work, and some meditation with my plants, as I tend my bit of earth and remember that I am the Druid of this Place… except that it just started pouring, and I am absolutely slammed at work. Perhaps tonight’s walk can be specifically dedicated to the Earth Mother (assuming it is not still pouring rain), and I’ll say hello to the trees I’ve planted in our neighborhood over the last few years. (My neighborhood does a tree planting day in February every year, to replace trees in the common area who have died or been damaged.)

I encourage you to find your feet on the Earth sometime today if you can do nothing else.

Hail to you, Hertha, Mother Earth
We ask that you support and surround us
For this rite, as you do for all rites,
For this day, as you do for all days.

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(Sorry this is so late in posting. I hadn’t re-emailed my document to myself last week, so you’re going to get two of these this week. I’ve been writing them at home in my course document and then posting them when I remember to do so!)

This week was really boring, ritual wise. Did my daily practice 4 weekdays in a row and then left for vacation, where I promptly forgot all about anything to do with daily practices in the flurry of seeing my friends. This is an annual trip to Seattle that I make with 40 friends from my gaming group, and it’s a TON of stuff crammed into three days, so I’m lucky to get any sleep, let alone free time to do daily practice. I did, however, make time to say hello to the amazing trees that I encountered. Old growth forest just isn’t something you run into in Texas, so the huge conifers were fun and new. I love being around them whenever I visit. I waved hello at Mt.s Raineir, St. Helens, and Hood on my flight as well. Also, I got to see otters!

Normally I’d feel bad for taking a “break” from my Druidry, but to be honest, it was a refreshing change of pace to just let it be something I “am” rather than something I “do”, even if just for a weekend. We’ll see if I can get back into the swing of regular practice next week.

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Recently, alongside all my scholarly reading, I’ve been indulging in a bit of what I’ll call “brain candy” reading. Fun, fast fiction reads that I can sit back, eat some popcorn, and just devour for the sheer pleasure and entertainment of reading. Some of that has been at the behest of friends who are authors (being a beta reader is a LOT of fun, you get to watch good stories turn into published novels), but the rest of the time I’ve been making my way through Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles – so far I’ve read Hounded and most of Hexed.

They’re especially fun, as Urban Fantasy goes, since Druids don’t usually feature much in those stories, and this one is focused on one Druid (Atticus O’Sullivan, but that’s not his real name). Specifically, he’s the last Druid still remaining, and the books chronicle his many adventures and misadventures with creatures, witches, demons, faeries, Gods and Goddesses, a talking dog who wants to be Ghengis Khan, and his team of lawyers (who happen to be a vampire and a werewolf). It’s silly, snort-with-laughter fun, but at the same time there have been a few poignant moments that really resonated with me as a “modern day” Druid.

First, his connection with the Earth is amazingly powerful. It’s where he gets all his magic and power, and he clearly returns that favor with love and care. I am inspired by him to be a better herbalist, and spend more time with my connection to the Earth Mother.

Second, his relationship with his Gods and Goddesses is based on the same rules of hospitality and worship. He keeps the old ways, and they keep him. Hearne’s portrayals of the Tuatha de Dannan are really something else, and especially the Goddesses are powerful forces of action and change and movement in the novels. They’re also clearly acting out of their own interests, and are not above pulling a fast one on their favorite Druid if they think they can get something out of him.

But third, I was reading last night, and he said something offhand while trying to get away with yet another one of his shenanigans that really stuck with me. I don’t have the full quote, but when his lawyer was arguing about his ability to climb up into his neighbor’s tree, he turned to him to reassure him with the words “That tree loves me.” He then went on to talk about how he spends time tending and talking to it, and making sure it’s well cared for and loved back, and how it would keep him safe.

And I thought to myself… do the trees in my yard love me? Have I really taken the time to get to know those trees on the level that they’d say they cared for me, as much as I profess to care for them?

Of course, I hold no illusions that I’ll ever be an Iron Druid out of a fantasy novel, weilding powerful Irish magic and living for thousands of years, battling witches and evil fae and demons and all that. (Though, admittedly, I’d sign up for the 12 years of memorization and the ritual tattoos for the privelege, but that’s what wish fulfillment fantasy novels are all about, right?)

But I have trees I can care for, and a garden full of vegetables and herbs, and a piece of land to tend.

And maybe, just maybe, my trees will love me back.

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One of the things about living in the south (Zone 9) is that things that normally happen in late spring happen a whole lot earlier on the calendar here. Traditionally, Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April (April 26 in 2013). In most of Texas though, and especially down here in the swamp, if you plant a tree that late, it will fry in the summer sun.

So around here we had Arbor Day instead of Groundhog Day. The city’s tree care organization came to our neighborhood last Saturday, and for February 2nd, I went and helped a group of volunteers plant about 100 trees. It felt like the perfect celebration of Imbolc, in a way, since the “first stirrings of spring” here mean the first inklings of how warm it’s going to get!

Planting the trees now ensures that they’ll have plenty of time to get over transplant shock before it gets hot, and the community association will still need to water them periodically over the summer to help them withstand the heat. These are native trees though, so once they get established they will live a long time. The ones we were planting were mostly to replace trees that had been lost in the severe droughts the last few summers.

A pagan friend and I went as a tree-planting-team, and we had a lot of fun. It was 75 degrees and brightly sunny, and really a perfect way for me to celebrate the coming of spring. I said a little blessing for each tree as we planted it, and I’ve also said a general blessing for all of the trees. Together, she and I put six new trees in the ground – a live oak and five pines. They were large and healthy (all taller than I am), and should be off to a good start. I hope that they will thrive in their new homes, and continue to bring shade and beauty to the community spaces in my neighborhood, as well as provide homes for all of the birds that live in the green areas (and the myriad squirrels).

I love that acorns and pine cones are so frequently thought of as symbols of trees, and that there are varieties of oak and pine trees that live in all kinds of diverse places, so I can enjoy these symbols as both part of ADF’s shared mythos and part of my own, local, personal Druidry.

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