Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Avalon moot

On Saturday was a Celtic Moon moot long anticipated. Ever since Priestess Breaca started walking the Avalonian path we have watched in wonder as this new spiritual direction took hold of her in a very creative and positive way and last night she gave a talk with a little more insight to what she has learned in the past few months.

Breaca's passion for Avalon has been infectious but that is not hard with such a mysterious and magical place that is Glastonbury, thought to be the physical reality of the Isle of Avalon.
Through Arthurian legends Avalon is known as a sacred place, where Arthur was taken to be healed so that he will one day return to lead the people of Britain once more.
Glastonbury is a melting pot of culture and religious belief. Here the Christians pilgrimage to see the sacred thorn and the pagans come to worship the Goddess in the landscape.
My own experiences of Glastonbury cemented my belief in my path.
I first went to Glastonbury in 2009 when I was not sure where my spirituality lay. Once surrounded by the wonder that is Glastonbury, sitting next to the Chalice well and reflecting on own my beliefs I decided that I couldn't be anything but pagan. It is part of me even if I found it hard to define. Since that first trip I have been a further 4 times for various reasons and I have loved each trip.

Back in 2009 in the Chalice Well garden

In Breaca's talk she gave an overview about Glastonbury and it's sacred landscape in relation to Avalon and how it has become this amazing spiritual centre for many many faiths.
She talked about the different traditions of the Avalon path and about the Goddess aspects and how they relate to Avalon. The Avalonian path is very female centred but that is not to say that the God is ignored.
After her presentation we moved into the altar space, which was decorated beautifully with images of the Lady of Avalon and the Nine Morgans which Breaca made from clay.

We sat in a circle and were all presented with a candle and our own Lady of Avalon sculpture.

My little Lady of Avalon on my Altar.

In the circle we then went on an Avalon Immrama Journeying Meditation, lead by Breaca and I found it very very moving.
The last few weeks have been full of turmoil, sadness and disappointment but at the same time overwhelming clarification. The meditation made me put these things in to perspective and I realised that I had to learn from them otherwise what was the point.
After the Immrama we each lit our little candles with a flame from Avalon and sent love, light and healing to those who need it most. Our candles are now part of a large network of Avalon candles that are used every month as a light for peace.

This moot was a long moot. I didn't get home until 2am but it was worth it for the knowledge I have gained and the strength I received from being with my Celtic Moon sisters.
The Avalon path is something I would like to look into further and many of the things Breaca talked about last night rang true with how I feel about things, especially when it comes to the Maiden, Mother, Crone aspect of the Goddess. Technically I am no longer a maiden (as much as I like to think I am) but I am yet a mother, so where do I fit?
Breaca wrote a blog post about the nine Morgans which you can read here:
Where do you fit? Are you Maiden, lover, mother or crones?
Lover here. ;)

I would highly recommend reading Breaca's blog to learn more about the Avalon path or wait to read her book which will be a fascinating read when it is published.

Links: Main author of the Pristess of Avalon Goddess Temple in Glastonbury

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Celtic moon pagan project: Shamanism

In my last blog post I mentioned that Celtic Moon circle members have been asked to undertake a personal project and I have chosen Shamanism.

Why Shamanism?

I don't want to be a shaman, someone who heals others by retriving their lost souls from the otherworld (one definition) but I want to know about shamanic practices which have always fascinated me yet at the same time scared me too. I have never used drugs to induce spiritual visions or wish to but I can not help be curious about it.

So what am I hoping to achieve during this project?
Discovering what being a shaman means, in history and in modern day society.
Shamans in different cultures- Africa, Sami, Native America and other First Nation countries.
Celtic Shamanism- Druidry?
Riding the Shaman's horse - power of drumming.
Power animals
Shamanism in art

What shamanism means to me.
As a teenager I had an interest in Native American culture. At school I learnt about different tribes and their beliefs. This was a catalyst for me to look at Native American art and I fell in love with the animal carvings of the Coast Salish tribes.
Anyone who knew me at school knew I loved whales and dolphins and so the stylised killer whales of Salish art captured my imagination.

A project at secondary school where I made a totem pole.

After this time I began looking at paganism and witchcraft but the draw of the spiritual path of the Native Americans did not leave me.

Little coincidences started happening. When I met my boyfriend he was dressed as a 'Native American Indian'. I had a psychic reading in which I was told I had a spirit guide of a maiden Native American (doesn't everyone?) I liked listening to music inspired by the chants and drums of the tribes. However it was not until I birthed my own shamanic drum when I decided that I would look deeper into shamanism.
I started to attended open drum circles and on hearing the beats of the drums could go on journeys far better than any meditation I have tried (which frankly I am rubbish at as my mind is way too busy.)

When my priestess Breaca set us the pagan project to do from now until November I immediately knew what I wanted to study. Having studied the Bardic grade of Druidry and feeling that the next step of the course, the Ovate grade sound much more like what I wanted to learn to begin with; tree lore, sharp shifting, earth mysteries, etc, I concluded that Druidry is a Celtic Shamanism and my next step should be to look at Shamanism on a much wider scale.

My patron Goddess Elen to me is much more shamanistic in nature than most Goddess I have come across. The reindeer herders of the Sami people also have shamans and although Elen is not mentioned in their culture there are many aspects of their beliefs that ring true with how I feel about Elen.

There is something about shamanism, how it has been portrayed in film, books and games which does make me reluctant on how far I should go with my studying. Most of the practices I am interested in are very difficult to do as someone who house shares with other and already find my collection of antlers 'a bit weird'. How are they going to react when I tell them I am going to fast for three days, lick a mushroom and go on a vision quest?

This journey can't be all consuming as much as I would love it too be as I have commitments in the mundane that must be kept in order for me to survive and to keep a healthy relationship with friends, family and my partner.
So my studying will involve reading, taking part in drumming circles, performing ritual and other forms of exploration which won't see me jumping on a plane to find a mentor halfway across the world and call myself Orca Moon.... Mores the pity.

My beloved drum.