Excerpt from new book, Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space

Here’s a little taster from my upcoming book, Dancing With Nemetona, published with Moon Books, available this spring…

Lady of Ritual

magic circleRitual – the word rolls off the tongue. It evokes images of moonlight and standing stones, or incense and flower filled temple rooms, women and men gathered under the stars or the light of day to celebrate an aspect of life, death and rebirth.

Ritual is as simple or complex as we allow it to be.  We can follow a set liturgy, or we can create our own path.  Within paganism, both are equally acceptable.  As paganism is, technically, a newly rebirthed religion the question of authenticity with regards to validity is moot – someone, somewhere along the line, whether it was 60 years ago, 600 years ago or 60,000 years ago made it up at some point.  That has no bearing on its validity.

When we create ritual, we are taking a moment, taking time out, to celebrate or honour a specific moment in time. It may be as simple as saying a prayer of thanks at sunrise or sunset, or it may be a full blown affair held within a stone circle, with 20 or more participants, having rehearsed their roles and re-enacting a mythic drama.  Whatever ritual you choose to perform, establishing a relationship with Nemetona can be a rich and rewarding experience to lend to these sacred acts.

Nemetona is Lady of the Sacred Grove, where it is believed that ritual occurred in past history.  The ritual itself is just as important as the setting.  It must speak to us, must sing to our soul, otherwise, what is the point?

As the Lady of Holding, of guarding and watching over our sacred space, our created sanctuaries, Nemetona is also a lady of ritual, integral to it if we so desire.  She moves in circles and in cycles, and therefore when we hold a ritual circle, we can invoke her easily within that sacred place.  She is all that is within the sacred circle, and also all that is without.  Like a vase, the vase is not only the boundaries of its own edges, but also the emptiness within that allows it to be a vase.

We can call upon Nemetona in ritual, to protect our sacred circle, to bless it, or simply to witness what it is that we are doing within that space (or all three).  She can be called upon before a ritual to help define its intent and purpose.  She is the Lady of Holding, and within her embrace we are free to be and do as we wish.  Within the sacred ritual circle, she enables change and growth, safety and security where we might otherwise not feel it to be.

Within the ritual circle is a space where we can grow, where we can make associations and develop our spirituality to its true potential.  Within the sacred circle, we overlay it with our associations in ritual such as the elements, our spirit guides, ancestors, gods and goddesses and more.  By finding out where these “fit” in the sacred ritual circle, held within the arms of Nemetona we come to truly understand ourselves, and the greater world at large.

New book contract accepted! Dancing With Nemetona

Have just accepted my third book contract with Moon Books, another in their Pagan Portals series, entitled Dancing With Nemetona – A Druid’s exploration of sanctuary and sacred space.  This work will focus on sanctuary and sacred spaces, exploring the Goddess of the Sacred Grove, Nemetona.  Check out the Moon Books website here, and see their latest releases… www.moon-books.net

Here’s a little taster…

It had been a long and challenging day at work. I drive home, the windows open and the radio off, fully immersing myself in the act of driving, leaving behind what happened at work and becoming entirely aware of the present moment.  I feel the sandy roads beneath the wheels, the smell of the newly ploughed fields lifting my heart and filling my nostrils with that sweet earthy scent.  The village finally comes into view, the 30 mile an hour speed restriction delineating the edges of this space that I call home, and I slow down, driving under the speed limit through the little street past the village shop and post office, turning into my road.   

The tires crunch the rocks in my driveway, and I park the car, switching off the engine.  I take a deep breath, and look at my home, smiling.  Mindfully, I open the car door and grab my handbag, closing the door shut behind me and walking towards the front door, focusing on each and every step that brings me closer to Her.  I take my keys out and with intent, turn the key in the lock and enter the porch, softly closing the door behind me.  I take off my shoes and hang up my coat and then open the main door to the house. 

My soul opens of its own accord, my own nemeton relaxing and expanding so that it merges with the physical space of the house itself, with Her.  I place my hand on the door lintel and whisper a prayer, “Thank you My Lady for this sacred place, this haven of four walls and for providing me with a home.  I am truly honoured.”  I feel the acceptance and smile, entering the home fully, saying hello to the cats and dropping my keys in the bowl.   

Our homes are often places of comfort and rest, if we feel inspired by Her to make them so and if we are attuned with Her energy.  We must first have some sort of idea of who we are, in order to express ourselves and Her in our homes in order to create a sense of calm, well-being and a nurturing environment.  We cannot simply emulate what we think looks nice in a book or a magazine, but we must feel it in our body, in our blood and in our mind that this is a reflection of what our vision of hearth and home is for us.

It will be different for each person.  Everyone has different views on aesthetics, décor, and arrangement.  Everyone has different budgets and limitations.  Everyone has different energies and inspirations and abilities to make these things manifest.  What we must try to do is to do is to create that sense of welcoming when we walk in the door, to connect with Nemetona in our homes and to honour her for all that she provides.