The Golden Seed out now!

50 Druids were selected to contribute to Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD) 50th anniversary celebration book, The Golden Seed, and I was honoured and delighted to be one of them. Order your copy now of this wonderful book, with fabulous illustrations and also a DVD of the 50th Anniversary event in Glastonbury with photos and music by Damh the Bard! Pre-ordered copies are in the mail as of today – yay!

Golden Seed

Gypsy Dreams at the Wild Warrior Beltane Picnic Festival

Here’s some highlights of our performance to a packed out crowd at Hadleigh Country Park this weekend – thank you all so much, you were brilliant! (Note the little man who danced the whole way through behind us – adorable!)

Dancing with Spriggan Mist

What a busy weekend we’ve had! Saturday night we were invited to dance with the lovely pagan rock band, Spriggan Mist at the Steamboat in Ipswich for their Myths and Legends Tour.  This is the opening number, which we hadn’t heard before, and danced improv to – we love it when it all comes together! I love my belly sisters…

Heaven, hell and Jeremy Clarkson

We are our deeds. It’s a popular heathen saying, and the title of a well-written heathen book by Eric Wodening. What we say, what we do is a reflection of our own self. How we behave is what defines us.

Our society is full of examples, however, of bad behaviour being rewarded, or being applauded. In Britain, famous television presenter Jeremy Clarkson was fired from the popular television show, Top Gear, because he had punched a producer in the face when he found out that there was no hot food available on set. No charges have been made against Clarkson’s assault, and indeed, he is making light of the whole situation, thereby condoning violence. In a recent spin-off live show in Belfast it opened with a video of him throwing a left-hook, as if it were right to punch a colleague in the face. Everyone cheered. When it was rumoured that comedian Sue Perkins would possibly replace Clarkson on the show, she had to leave Twitter because of all the death threats that she was receiving. Violence breeds violence.

What we think, what we say, what we do defines our self. When we live in a world that no longer seems to care about personal responsibility, about compassion, about just being nice to other people, it is even more important that we take up the reins and provide an example of how to be in the world in good, honourable relationship.

We are blessed with foresight. We can think about the outcomes of our actions. We have memories of the past to consider when making our actions. And yet some people still behave badly, willfully, out of spite and their own demons, or out of ignorance that there is a choice.

This is what it all comes down to: we always have a choice. We can choose to behave badly, remaining stuck in our bad habits, remaining trapped in our attachments, allowing our emotions to run riot over ourselves and others. Or we can choose to take up personal responsibility, to think about things that we have done and things that we are going to do, and how they will affect others. It’s not fun being mean to other people. It makes our hearts small. It tightens and constricts them until we become mere shadows of ourselves. We may hide behind comedy, delusions or the lies that we have told ourselves over and over again to justify our behaviour. Ultimately, however, we know on a deep level when we are doing things that are wrong, and we can choose to continue or not.

Take responsibility for your actions. Shrugging off bad behaviour doesn’t make it right, and you will eventually have to face it at some point in your life. Clarkson knows that what he did was wrong, which is why he’s making fun of it rather than face up to the fact that he was wrong. It’s all about saving face, about personal egos, illusions and delusions. How many other people do you know who are like that?

If nothing at all, these people remind us of who we do not wish to be. We can still have compassion for them, seeing that they suffer from their own demons. However, that does not mean condoning their behaviour. We can speak out against it, and still hope that they find peace in their own lives.

There is a Zen story about a samurai who asks a monk about heaven and hell:

Hakuin, the fiery and intensely dynamic Zen master, was once visited by a samurai warrior.

“I want to know about heaven and hell,” said the samurai. “Do they really exist?” he asked Hakuin.
Hakuin looked at the soldier and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am a samurai,” announced the proud warrior.

“Ha!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What makes you think you can understand such insightful things? You are merely a callous, brutish soldier! Go away and do not waste my time with your foolish questions,” Hakuin said, waving his hand to drive away the samurai.

The enraged samurai couldn’t take Hakuin’s insults. He drew his sword, readied for the kill, when Hakuin calmly retorted, “This is hell.”

The soldier was taken aback. His face softened. Humbled by the wisdom of Hakuin, he put away his sword and bowed before the Zen Master.

“And this is heaven,” Hakuin stated, just as calmly.

May all beings find peace.

New book on its way!

Well, it would appear that I’ve written another book, which took me by surprise lol!

I’ve collated selected bits of my personal writings into a little book which will be called The Stillness Within: A collection of writings on Zen, meditation and compassion.  This book will be published soon, and all royalties from the sale of this book will be going to charity.

More info to come!

Words to live by…

I came across this quote from Lao Tzu, and it just said everything about living an honourable life  so simply and eloquently. This is my mantra. Peace and big love to you all!

watch your thoughts lao tzu

P.S. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported me, my work and this blog over the years, and welcome to all the new folk who have subscribed!  Your support really means so much to me, and the incredible reception that my latest book, The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid has been totally unexpected and a joyous surprise. Thank you, thank you, thank you. x

Not as I was before

joannavanderhoeven:

Sharing the inspiration… here is Aurora’s beautiful journey into Transformation…

Originally posted on Gray Bear in the Middle:

I just discovered something I recorded in the autumn near Samhain last year. I feel it is not an accident that it has surfaced once more. As I re-read these words I feel the press of them upon my soul and the weight of them at the centre of my being, my creative core. I shiver reading these words, this message. It is a message for me, but I feel it is also a wider message and may have meaning for others. For myself, I rediscovered them on a retreat day, a day with no interactions except with the cats and the gods, and with my blog as I post these words. I have removed the name since that is for me alone.

My name is ———, and I live beyond your perception, most of the time, unless I choose to reveal myself to you. I watch the portals you…

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