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Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Over the past three years we have been studying some of the myths and stories of the Celtic Lands.

The first work we did was on the Mabinogi……….the well-known collection of stories from Wales. The Mabinogi are a series of teaching tales aimed at aristocratic young men. The tales guide them through life lessons on how to deal with women, honour and above all, relationship with Nature, the Otherworld, its inhabitants and lore. A subject of many a blog from me has been aspects of Sovereignty, and the Mabinogi is packed with challenges where the young nobleman learns how to deal with living on the sacred Land.

We followed that course with one on Taliesin, the master magician, and more recently a course called Celtic Source, looking at the myth and stories of the Celtic Lands and from whence they arose.

Interestingly, as part of a discussion on the Celtic Source course …… we touched on something that has always fascinated me. From a detached viewpoint it was noticed in the modern-day spiritual scene there seemed to be two camps. One camp looks to refining personal energy as a means to move forward in spiritual growth. Seeking that which is beyond as a means of redemption, echoing many religions.

The other camp finding that gaining greater contact with the planet and nature aids spiritual growth. The latter, having a self-labelled, broadly pagan approach, the former looking to attention on the subtle energies of the body and to the subtle layers of being beyond the body.

So, where did the ‘it has to be better somewhere else’ come from? It brought memories of reading ‘Be Here, Now’ by Ram Dass in the 1970s and not totally ‘getting it’ then, but totally on it now.

The ‘better somewhere else’ simply looks outside or beyond what is in the Now.

The counterpoint indicates we have all we need ‘Now’, but we just don’t realise it. There is no ‘somewhere else’ better. Pining for ‘elsewhere’ just gets you further from ‘being here, now’.

Looking back to the roots of myths and stories of the Celtic lands, they were told to those who were not the workers but the next layers up. The workers knew how to have a good relationship with the Land, the cycles of Nature and the input of the liminal energies around them. They could not function in their daily lives without this innate knowledge.

The more gentrified had lost that link and the stories were for them. True, storytellers would have regaled both worker and overlords with the stories, but the land workers knew what the storyteller was on about. The workers did not have to be reminded, but probably smugly listened to the antics of the young warriors in the stories, messing up and being punished for it.

Where did these land workers get their innate knowledge from? One thought emerged that in the very distant past, the liminal energies of the Land taught them, much like it is believed that plants taught people (actually plants still do teach) how to use them for healing. The Land energies still do teach too, if you are open to listen.

However, as is apparent from these old myths and stories, if the Land is ignored and contact with it is lost, trouble follows fast. The past shows what needs to be heeded. Ignore it and the suffering will be repeated.

In 2019 our leaders who have no idea what ‘living in the real world’ is like. They know nothing of being poor, homeless, having to work 24/7 and still not having enough to keep food on the plate and a roof over the head. So not much different from the noble young men in the Mabinogi and other tales……..

Our leaders are ungrounded with their heads full of ideas that are not practical and in fact damaging to the wider populace.

Without being grounded, respectful of the Land and Nature…. those who lead are going to always fuck it up………. and here we are today…. Those with little or no connection with the Land and Nature are in charge and are destroying the planet.

Without being grounded, people will not be in touch with who they really are.

Without being grounded, people will not be able to learn from the Land and Nature. They might think they are, but will be unable to put what they have learned into practice.

Without being grounded, people will experience high levels of stress on every level (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and be less able to adapt to changes in environment.

We have no bards or poets today whose job it was to train the young noblemen and to cunningly persuade their Lords to ‘do the right thing’. The media (modern equivalent of bards and poets?) have sold out to the leadership and use their influence to coerce the minions about the achievements of their leaders. A complete 180 degrees turnaround on the ancient role.

The latest batch of leaders have even consigned the wisdom of and respect for the womenfolk to pointless gossip or to tasks as handmaids.

The phrase “we want our sovereignty back” rings hollow, when real sovereignty is about having a good relationship and working hand-in-hand with the Land and Nature.

Real sovereignty is recognising what women have to offer, having a good relationship and working hand-in-hand with women.

When the ‘peasants’ revolt against the craziness of today they risk being labelled as terrorists.

These ‘terrorists’ are simply being ‘here, now’, mindful of Nature ……………

They want to be financially wealthy and secure, and are destroying Nature (e.g fracking) for short term financial gain.

They pay lip-service to caring for the environment and put pressure and responsibility onto the ‘peasants’ do their bit. In reality, those in leadership could demand scrubbers on cement factory chimneys, which would cut down carbon emissions hugely in one simple move.

Which begs the question of why are the leaders doing what they are doing?

I also sense that those in charge are afraid….they are scared…… scared of the things they are consigning swathes of the population to……. lack of money, loss of status…… they are scared of things they cannot control………they are scared of the power of Nature.

The planet with a quick shiver could kill us all, ants that we are, on her surface.

River2Mind you, we are doing a pretty good job of destroying ourselves……

 

 

 

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It has been a long while since I blogged as a lot has gone on, with deep shifts of energy and identification of patterns that have taken a while to surface and understand.

I have never been an ‘Earth Mother’ type as I am blessed with an independent, rebellious streak. Nevertheless, from time to time I have taken younger women under my wing to support them through times of transition and transformation, with eventual success.

This was until a year ago.

There came a time, at the point of transformation, the person chose to stay as they were. After they had put so much effort into working on themselves this came as a shock to me and caused me a lot of soul-searching, re-assessment and self-examination.

Had I failed?

Eventually the realisation came that it had been my job to create the opportunity for them to change and whether they did or not was nothing to do with me. I had done my job and kept my side of any karmic bargain.

It was compounded by other issues dear to my heart. The liminal beings of the Land were involved as were the energy flows within the Land.

I was guided by the energies of the Land, to help them make some delicate adjustments to how energy flowed in several places. This I did with a few trusted friends, but I was still emotionally troubled. I always support people in their freedom to make their own choices, but never had I come across someone wanting to stop growing.

Then I realised I had that same choice when I was in my early 30s. Stay where I was, conform, be safe or choose to break out of the apparently cosy place that my life had become. To me that was no choice, being the rebel so I chose to break free. The cost was considerable at the time, but I would do the same again. However, I can really appreciate that this would not be for everyone.

Events last year forced me to step back and let go…and then let go some more.

This I did and got stuck back into my work with the Land. I got to know this area where I now live, quite intimately, in a geographical sense, over a period of three months. Gradually this brought a deeper connection within myself too.

In meditation one evening, a new dragon companion presented itself. it seemed I had passed some sort of test……. but a skeleton dragon! WTF!!!
I had to let go of any preconceived thoughts about how it flies and just chuckle at the absurdity of the whole thing. Terry Pratchett would have had a field-day.

skeldrag

It was also made clear to me as a local cauldron-holder, that I needed to hold energies at every level…….for the Land, its liminal occupants, but also for the human occupants.

I had done a few things to try to help gather the disparate human energies of the valley in the last three years. Recently, an opportunity presented itself to do some very practical, mundane work for the local community. I threw ‘my hat into the ring’ without any idea if I was the type of person with skills that was being looked for. I told myself I was too old, for a start. Well, upshot was I found myself ‘walking my talk’, and doing a ‘real job’ for the first time in thirty years.

Of course, it is the ultimate “bringing spiritual practice into the material world” – so what more could I ask?

ogyenmenlasmall.jpg

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“Stand to face the light of the atomic blast of Pluto through the New Moon in Capricorn on New Year’s Day 2014.

To the ‘mud peoples’ and those who came from the stars as protectors of this planet…… now the time has come to shield each other and protect the Earth from those whose blind greed and callous disregard would seek to subjugate and destroy.

Know who you are…. Know each other. Create lines of communication and energy between you like a web of light and dark to balance and hold both personal and collective energies.

Remember that idealism without a dose of realism is an empty dream.

Seek out where you can make a difference without becoming a victim or a rescuer as these two both require someone to blame………remember too that people are just people, being human!

Time your actions carefully to make the maximum use of the energy and resources available.

Fix your own back yard. It is always easier to see the faults in someone else’s, judge what the resolution would be and fret when nothing appears to be done.

Above all, don’t sit idly by when your neighbourhood and its people are under threat or being manipulated. Even a tiny step, a wise world or a small, but appropriate action, can be the start of something big!”

GreyDragon

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Whilst visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum in London recently we came across this lovely sculpture of St Margaret and a Dragon:
Far from the dragon being at all scary, this one looked more like a pet.
StMargaretsmall
St Margaret is recorded as being a patron saint of childbirth, pregnant women, kidney disease and wronged people. The childbirth and pregnancy angle is initially very surprising as she was venerated for her virginity. However, one of the stories goes that on her refusal to marry she was tortured. It was also said that she was tempted by or eaten by a dragon. When the dragon swallowed her she fought back and killed it with her crucifix – hence her sometimes being referred to as ‘St Margaret, the Dragon Slayer’. Here, the assumption being that the dragon was a representation of Satan. It is thought that this is where her patronage of childbirth came from – as she herself was safely delivered from the innards of the dragon.
In the Roman Catholic Church her feast day used to be the 20th July, but in the fifth century it was first suggested that decided that her story was ‘apocryphal’ (of doubtful authenticity) and only in 1969 was the date was withdrawn from the calendar. In the Eastern Orthodox Church her feast day is the 17th July. St Margaret is still recognised as one of the saints that spoke to Joan of Arc and indeed there are many churches that bear the name ‘St Margaret’ – including Westminster Abbey.
Delving a bit further, here are some of the lines that give reference to St Margaret, taken from a mediaeval poem:
“Holye mayde Margarete loked her besyde.
There sche sawe a lothelye dragon in a corner glyde,
Brennynge as the blake fyre. His mouthe he gaped wyde.
That mayde wexed alle greene as the gresse in someres tyde.” (lines 179-182)
“Holy maid Margaret looked her beside.
There she saw a loathly dragon in a corner glide.
Burning as the black fire. His mouth he gaped wide.
That maid waxed all green as the grass in summer time.”

 

The final line is very interesting as ‘waxed all green as the grass in summer time’ was a well-known, subtle way of referring to promiscuity.
So what do we have here? Is this a description of seduction? Is this yet another tale of deriding women for being women? This does seem to sit easily with some religious traditions that make it clear that if a woman is raped, she is the one to be punished. Similarly, with a situation of sex outside of marriage when the woman is blamed and vilified, yet the man walks ‘free’.
Is the ‘dragon’ also another way of referring to woman’s sexuality, women’s ability to give birth and women’s power?

Not as far-fetched as one might think and there is a religious commentary on the story of St Margaret and the dragon that says:

“Surely this is because giving birth is not unlike a dragon splitting open to reveal a saint!”

Ouch!

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