Ash Wednesday

secretsoftheserpent

I wanted to get this post out Wednesday, but have been super busy.  Sorry I couldn’t get it out until today.  Hope my readers enjoy.

What is Ash Wednesday?   Were the hell did this silly tradition come from?  We are told it is symbol of repentance to god.   Why do you need ashes for repentance?  The answer I get for that is it is to remember you came from dust and dust you will return.  Well, why not use dust?  This is yet another tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation and no one knows what it going on.  Time to enlighten.

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Gatekeeper, the God Portunus

Soul Dreamers

By Phoenix the Elder –When things drop in my lap, my soul tends to fly with them because they fulfill a personal need on my path to stay within awareness. That is the nature of walking a symbolic path, mostly because dreaming is my first language.

Today I wanted to share the God Portunus with you, who is an ancient Roman God and originally an Etruscan Deity who holds the keys of the gates of time. Later, the Roman Portunus was the old prophylactic deity of doorways, harbors and doors. His name is also written as Portumnus.

The Temple of Portunus is one of the most ancient in Rome, dating from the era of the Republic in the first century bce. The Temple is sometimes called the Temple of Fortuna Virilis (‘manly fortune’). He is a youthful god associated with water crossings and seaports. 

The symbols of this deity…

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Imbolc Symbolism for the North Eastern US: Reflections on the Landscape

The Druid's Garden

Imbolc was traditionally a Gaelic holiday celebrated in the holiday celebrating the first signs of spring. When I first started down the path of Druidry, I never felt very connected to Imbolc as a holiday because there seemed to be this huge disconnection between the holiday’s traditional roots and what I was seeing on my own landscape. Part of this is that the weather in the UK is much milder than where I’ve lived and I’m more likely to see at the Spring Equinox–or later–what might be first signs of spring at Imbolc. I thought it was funny when I’d see rituals where I should decorate my altar with snowdrops when they were still another 1-2 months away from coming forth!

Snowfall at our homestead Reflections on Imbolc

My own issue with Imbolc speaks to what I see as one of the major challenges we have in Druidry, here in North America and globally: …

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Cycles of Nature, Cycles of our Lives: Allowing for Fallow and Abundance in Spiritual Studies

The Druid's Garden

Preamble: Now that I’m the Grand Archdruid of AODA, starting in 2020, I will be doing one AODA Druidry-based post a month. A lot of my posts are already tied with AODA practices as it is my core spiritual practice, but I wasn’t always as explicit about it as I will be now! 🙂  All of these posts, while framed in the context of AODA druidry, will be applicable to many different kinds of nature-based spiritualities and druidries.

A beautiful cardinal flower in late summer

The Wheel of the Seasons offers us many lessons and one of the core principles in AODA is the principle of the Cycle and Season. In Western Pennsylvania, where I live, we have a growing season that runs from May to late October. That us, from Beltane to Samhain, during the light half of the year, we can grow vegetables, forage berries, and be…

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Awen, Bardic Arts, and the Ancestors

The Druid's Garden

The time between Samhain and Yule is always a time of deep reflection for me.  As a homesteader, this represents the end of the season– the first frost happened in the week I was drafting this post, making everything curl up and die. By the time late November comes around, any major outdoor projects are complete for the year. We anticipate, even embrace, the winter months when snow carpets the ground and all is frozen and still.  While in the light half of the year, I spend most of my spare time gardening, doing various permaculture projects, or just being outside in the summer. In the dark half of the year, this is when I turn to more inward-focused bardic arts, more intense practice of my magic and journeying,  and learning from books of all kinds.  So as we move into the dark half of the year, I’ll be spending…

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Samhain: Honoring Ancestors of Craft and Tradition | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Samhain, the season of the witch, is a time for us to honor the powers that underlie our Craft.  The hidden powers behinds the scenes, guiding our movements and our inspiration.  The Dead guide us; they are present when we weave our magic.  Those who have laid the foundations for our Great Arte, fertilizing our holy ground with their blood.  The Dead are always with us, but this is their time.  The mothers and fathers of our traditions, great witches, teachers, and keepers of lore make their presence known, returning to celebrate with us.  Hallowmas is the great twilight when the worlds of the living and the dead move as one.  The fires we light shine like beacons in the spirit world.  This is also the time to honor spirits of tradition, the collective familiar spirits called egregores that are the manifestation of us coming together.

Honor the Witch Within

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Sacred Tree Profile: Chestnut’s Magic, Medicine, Mythology and Meaning (Castanea dentata)

The Druid's Garden

Basket of abundant chestnuts!

Just a few weeks ago, I went and checked the local chestnut trees that are in a field near where I live.  Ever since I moved to the new homestead, I have been eagerly visiting these trees.  Last year, they dropped plenty of husks but with only shriveled nuts inside. This year, I was extraordinarily pleased to find that both trees had produced a bumper crop of the delicious nuts–some almost 2″ across, but most smaller, almost all worm-free, and delicious. I eagerly filled my basket with the nuts, stepping carefully around the extremely prickly husks.  I sat with each of the trees and we conversed as I harvested the nuts. I took home 25 lbs of nuts that day, and these nuts will sustain myself, my geese (who love them), and my friends and family for many a Samhain, Thanksgiving, and Yule feast!  Chestnut trees…

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Shoes

Many people take their shoes off to keep the negative energy from the day out of their house.

I don’t know if it’s still a practice, I’ve been married nearly 35 years, of tying tin cans to scare off evil spirits and shoes to the bumper of the transportation the newlyweds use to leave the wedding beginning their new life together.

secretsoftheserpent

We have lost what the shoe symbolizes in today’s world.  If you look up on the internet what the symbol of the shoe means, it will tell you that it represents authority and power, humility and servitude, our direction and focus in life, or our faith in god.  How you get faith in god from shoes is beyond me?  What I have found will make way more sense and will answer a few of questions.  One of those questions being, why would someone throw a shoe at President Bush?  

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Ancient Order of Druids in America

The Druid's Garden

Dear readers, I’m taking a pause from my regular article-style blog posts this week to share some big news and do a bit of reflection. Last week, as of the Fall Equinox, I became the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). I’ve been in leadership and service with the AODA since 2013, serving first as Trilithon journal editor for four years, then as Grand Pendragon, then as the Archdruid of Water for the last four years. And now, I’ve stepped up to lead the AODA, following Gordon Cooper, and before him, my friend and mentor, John Michael Greer. Because of this, I wanted to take a week to share my story of AODA and reflect on this path. I do this for a few reasons–first, I wanted to share the news. But also, I realize that a lot of people may find this reflection useful…

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The Ways of our Ancestors: Review of the Mountaincraft and Music Gathering

The Druid's Garden

Here, in the center of our camp, the sacred fire burns. This fire is tended for the four days we are together, never being allowed to go out. This is an ancestral fire, and all of us at the Mountaincraft gathering have the responsibility of feeding it. This is where we remember that learning primitive and earth skills is the work of our ancestors. This is where we gather for a quiet moment to commune with those ancestors, and will our bodies and hearts to remember. This is where, each morning, we gather as a group to hear about the day’s classes, call to the directions, hear a word of intention, and recieve a water blessing from Nancy Basket, a tribe elder. This is where, at each meal, some of us may find ourselves, talking with each other or engaging in quiet communion with the flame. This is where, each…

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