Delineating Sacred Space in Ritual

Delineating/Designating/Creating Sacred Space (preparing the nemeton)

P1000491 (1024x640)Not all Druids feel the need to delineate/create sacred space (otherwise known as preparing the nemeton) as described previously. Especially when working out of doors, some do not “cast a circle” as is popular in other traditions, feeling that there is no need as they are out there to connect and commune with the world around them, and that all is sacred, therefore we cannot “create” sacred space in any sense. This is why it is sometimes referred to as delineating sacred space, which in effect means to delineate the area that we are working in, to narrow the focus down to a specific point. However, this again can be too confining for some Druids, and so they forego the practice altogether. In Wicca, a circle is cast mostly to contain the energies raised within ritual, and some Druids today use a similar reason for their creation/delineation of ritual space. However, others see this as irrelevant to Druid practice, and so do not incorporate it at all.

In my practice, I delineate sacred space or prepare the nemeton when working with others, so that we are “all on the same page”. What this means is that we are working with the energies of a delineated space, to narrow the focus, so for example we would raise a boundary of energy around the entirety of the back garden, so that we can focus on what is happening in that area, as sometimes widening the focus can be too distracting, what with everything going on all around us at any given time. This way, we can really concentrate on using a smaller area, the microcosm of the macrocosm. However, when working alone I don’t feel the need, usually, to delineate the space as my personal nemeton is sufficient. Much of it depends on my mood, where I am and what feels most appropriate. When casting the circle or delineating sacred space, we can push out energy from our own bodies or expand our own nemeton, and say something similar to the following:

I now cast/create this sacred space, a nemeton of inspiration wherein to do my work.

If we wish, we can use a tool such as a staff, wand or a blade to direct the energy that we are pushing out of ourselves to delineate the sacred space. I use my sickle in this action.

We can then ask the spirits of place, and/or the realms of Land, Sea and Sky to overlay the nemeton:

Spirits of place, lend your energy to my nemeton, that it may be strong. Guide, guard and bless my work.  

May the Realm of the Land provide this nemeton with stability, may the Realm of the Sea provide it with love and may the Realm of the Sky provide it with inspiration. 

When overlaying it in this manner, you can create a space that has been encircled three times, defining a temple space and strengthening it with this triplicity, something which I’m sure our ancient Celtic ancestors would have appreciated.

We can then consecrate the space, should we feel the need. I carry incense and water, normally, to represent earth, air, fire and water. Sometimes I simply smudge the area with mugwort. If I have nothing to hand, for instance when I’m doing impromptu ritual out in the wilds, I might simply ask for a blessing on the space in lieu of consecration. You may say something like:

I now consecrate this area through the powers of earth, fire and air and water.

Or

I now consecrate this area through the powers of Land, Sea and Sky

Or

I ask a blessing on this sacred space, from the spirits of place, the gods and the ancestors.

When closing down the ritual, you then will take down the nemeton, if you have created one, in a similar fashion to that which you created it, but perhaps in reverse order. If you created it in a triple manner as in the example above, you might walk the circumference three times to take it down, drawing the energy back into yourself, or the tool with which you may have cast the circle, perhaps walking in the opposite direction to which you created the sacred space:

I now release this sacred space, the nemeton of inspiration wherein my work/ritual/celebration was done.  

I use my sickle to “cut” the circle and draw the energy back into the blade. Then, if it’s a triple cast circle, I also honour the spirits of place and the three realms for their part in the designation/delineation of sacred space.

Spirits of place, thank you for bringing your energies to my nemeton; I ask that it be released into the world for positive change and transformation. 

May the Realms of the Land, Sea and Sky release the energy of this circle, to flow throughout the worlds in respect and in harmony.

This is basically all there is to creating/designating/delineating sacred space. It is a simple and yet beautiful way to create a temple in which to work, one that leaves no trace behind except our songs and stories on the wind.

Non US Self-Publishing and Tax

Here is some tax information that I discovered when enquiring about printing a book through Amazon’s Create Space platform. As a US company, non-US authors will have to get around the 30% withholding tax issue. It can be tricky, if you don’t know quite where to go and how to do it. So, here’s the best way that I found, which takes around 15 – 20 minutes.

  1. Don’t bother with an ITIN (International Tax Identification Number). Go for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) instead.
  2. To get your EIN, call the IRS at +1 267 941 1099. Do not call the international number on the IRS website – this number is always engaged, and will just hang up on you. The number above is a direct line to the dedicated unit in Philadelphia that deals with foreign entities (that’s you) who need an EIN.
  3. Tell them you need an EIN, as you are an author who wants to publish on the American Amazon’s Create Space platform. Then, give them all your details, and they will then give you your EIN number. Keep this number safe!
  4. When you’ve gotten as far as you can on the Create Space site in uploading the files of your work, etc., you will need to fill in tax information through Create Space before you can continue any further. Go to that page, and tick the “I have a Foreign/Non US tax number” (currently the third option on the list).
  5. Continue with the forms, and you will get to an online version of the W8BEN. Fill in your details, and in the box marked “Foreign tax identifying number enter your own EIN like so:  EIN-12-3456789
  6. You will be asked to review all your details, and then submit the forms. Do so, and voila, hey presto, you’ve done it! You can now carry on with uploading files and creating that brilliant piece of work.

Note: Some countries have different tax treaties with the US, so for example the UK has 0% tax payable. Other countries may differ. The online form through Create Space (W-8BEN) will automatically go to the right country code on the form and show the appropriate percentage of tax for you.

The information in this blog post is correct as of the date published – it may change in the future.

We’re back in stock!

We’re back in stock at Amazon UK with my latest book, Dancing With Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space – but only 13 left already. First batch sold out in two days, get yours quick! More on the way, but it could take up to two weeks.  x

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Dancing With Nemetona now available!

My latest book, Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space, is now out – two weeks early!  Only 8 copies left on Amazon – grab yours now!

Pick up your copy HERE

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Dancing with Nemetona available for pre-order!

 

Books

dwn smallAvailable for pre-order!

Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space

Nemetona is an ancient goddess whose song is heard deep within the earth and also deep within the human soul. She is the Lady of Sanctuary, of Sacred Groves and Sacred Spaces.

She is present within the home, within our sacred groves, our rites and in all the spaces that we hold dear to our hearts. She also lies within, allowing us to feel at ease wherever we are in the world through her energy of holding, of transformation. She holds the stillness and quiet of a perfect day; she is the stillness at the end of it, when the blackbird sings to the dusk. She is the energy of sacred space, where we can stretch out our souls and truly come alive, to be who we wish to be, filled with the magic of potential.

Rediscover this ancient goddess and dance with a Druid to the songs of Nemetona. Learn how to reconnect with this goddess in ritual, songs, chants, meditation and more.

Ellen Evert Hopman, author of Priestess of the Forest says “This lovely volume teaches us how to re-sacralize our life. In a sad and violent world we need to remember to find the sacred within all things; our room, our hearth, our home, our altar, our garden, and our sacred Grove. By doing this, ultimately we will find the sacred within all creatures; animal, mineral, plant and human. This is the lesson of Nemetona, divine protectress of the sacred enclosure, so wonderfully expressed within this book.”

Philip Carr-Gomm, chosen chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids says “For those of us upon the Druid path, Nemetona is an intriguing goddess. Joanna’s book welcomes us into Nemetona’s sanctuary that we might know her more intimately. With a combination of helpful exercises and the gentle but compelling wisdom born of Joanna’s relationship with this goddess, we discover that the concept of the Grove and the experience of Sacred Space is more rich and complex than we imagined.”

New book coming out May 2014!

dwn smallMy latest book will be coming out in May 2014 with Moon Books Publishing, as part of their Pagan Portals series. This series is a set of introductory books, usually 25,000 words or less, on a topic that allows the reader to gain an foothold on a subject, and then inspire them to continue to find out more on their own personal journeys. This is the second book I have written for the series, the first being Zen Druidry (see my Books Page for how to buy).

Nemetona is an ancient goddess whose song has flowed from Europe into these isles, humming softly deep within the earth and also deep within the human soul. She is the Lady of Sanctuary, of sacred groves and sacred spaces. Not much has been recorded of her academically – we know of an altar in Bath that was dedicated to her by a Gallic artisan who felt her power and carved her elusive name for us to remember down through the ages.

She is present within the home, within our sacred groves and rites and in all the spaces that we hold dear to our hearts. She also lies within, allowing us to feel at ease wherever we are in the world, through her energy of holding, of transformation. She holds the stillness and quiet of a perfect day, she is the stillness at the end of it, when the blackbird sings to the dusk. She is Sanctuary, where we can stretch out our souls and truly come alive, to be who we wish to be, filled with the magic of potential.

Rediscover this ancient Goddess and dance with a Druid to the songs of Nemetona. Learn how to reconnect with this goddess of sanctuary in ritual, songs, chants, meditation and more.

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.