The sacredness of Water

water

I’ve posted prayers to all the elements on this blog, to Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I use these prayers in my spiritual practice to connect with the elements in a personal way. I have a deep abiding respect and love of the sacred elements of the Earth, and I gain a lot from communing with them on a regular basis. Water, however, has a special meaning for me. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been drawn to Water. I love the look, the feel, the sound, and the movement of Water, and years ago, I realized a special aspect of that element that brings home the true sacredness of it. It puts us in communion with every bit of life on Earth that ever has been or ever will be.

forestDruid’s love nature and all life. We respect, honor, and revere the natural world and all it encompasses. Plants, animals, the sacred elements, the sky, and the land make up our pantheon of beloved beings. But sometimes we’re drawn to one being in particular, whether an ancestor, an animal, a god/goddess, or an element. We might never know what draws us, but for me, it started in a college geology class.

earth systemsLessons about our world
In college I learned things about our planet and its systems that impacted how I see it and relate to it. It was enlightening and gave me a whole new perspective on how amazing, intricate, and complicated our home is. One system responds to another exactly the same way a body’s systems respond to each other. It’s amazing when you get a basic feel for the workings of the planet, and I can easily see how people believe (including myself) that the planet is a living conscious being. I would encourage anyone whose spirituality is based on nature to either read about geology or watch some good documentaries. The more we as practitioners learn about the planet and how it works, the more we can appreciate it as a living being worthy of our respect and reverence.

BesseggenWater of Life
For most scientists, the Earth’s system, being a closed system, has all the resources that it ever has or ever will have. If we think about it, it makes sense. Since this planet formed some 4.5 billion years ago, very little has been deposited on the planet aside from the occasional meteorite or asteroid, and very little goes off the planet. The origin of Earth’s water is still hotly debated, but we feel we understand that once it was here, that was it. No more, no less, just what’s here. And that is the fact that led me to realize just how sacred Water is.

Water is the one element we know of that is required by all life. Without Water there is no life. Even the belief that Air is necessary for life fell by the wayside in 2010 when scientists found a molecular life form that did not require Air to live. But Water still reins as the element absolutely necessary for life, at least life as we know it.

water-of-lifeThe memory of Water
If Earth’s water is the only water it’s ever had or ever will have, and all life on Earth needs water to survive, then the water we have now, that comes out of the faucet, out of the sky, or out of us is the same water that’s been through all living things since living things emerged. Not only that, but that same water has been through every cloud in the sky, every river, ocean, stream, underground aquifer, and sea mist. It’s cycled not only through us, but through our entire environment and back again. Every tree and plant, every animal and bug, every fog and rain cloud has touched us through the element of Water. It truly amazes me that the water I drink daily is the same water my blessed ancestors drank, that the dinosaurs drank, that the Dali Lama drinks, and throughout the ages to come, that my descendants and all the descendants of this Earth will drink.

tree of lifeEchoes and seeds of life
Water literally connects us with the past, the present, and the future. It fills our beings with the echoes of life. It endows us with the seeds of life. It connects us with the Earth itself and every living thing on it. What in our world can be more deserving of reverence that that? For me, it places Water and all it embodies toward the top of the sacred list. Every time I drink a glass of water, I envision myself being energized with life itself. I feel my ancestors. I feel the planet. I feel the sky and oceans. It brings me into contact with everything I love.

Water is one of the most important things on this Earth. It should be respected and cared for as such. We can gain so much from fully understanding the impact of Water on us as individuals and as a collective. I hope we all become aware of Water’s gifts and use them wisely.

Bright blessings in the peace of the grove.

A Druid’s Daily Affirmation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Blue Ridge Parkway, NC.

As a practicing Druid, I find myself constantly learning new lessons and integrating them into daily life. I’ve transformed slowly from a mall-addicted materialist who placed all her value in what she owned into a true tree-hugging hippie completely devoid of commercialism. Needless to say I’ve learned a lot, but with the lessons and integration comes the inevitable tendency to slip into old patterns and habits. I don’t beat myself up over it, but I’ve found this daily affirmation helpful in my journey. I wrote it, and it reminds me of my responsibility to myself and to my chosen spiritual path.

tree meDaily Affirmation
I am a being of light, a daughter of the Earth and Sky,
One with the Universe.
I am a creature of intellect and biology.
I feel, but I also choose.
I am instinctive but also wise.
I can sense, but I also decide.
I have control over my actions with help of the Sacred Elements and Blessed Ancestors.
I continue to choose who I am
and will not lose the work I’ve done.

Daily affirmations are a great way to remind ourselves of what’s important to us, whether the focus is spiritual, family, or inner growth. They can be short with only a few words or long and poetic as long as they contain the essence of an idea.

People have been using affirmations for a very long time, and they can become a true motivating force in life. Even when we don’t really believe an affirmation, studies show that after about 30 days of repeating them, acceptance begins. The longer we say them, the more solid they grow in our lives. I think that’s important in today’s materialistic culture.

If there’s something in your life you’d like to see happen, try a daily affirmation that you create yourself. You’d be surprised at how powerful it can be.

Bright blessings in the peace of the grove.

In times of stress, say a prayer

prayer

It’s one of the most overlooked spiritual tools we have. Prayer. We know it’s there, of course, but how often do we utilize this highly effective practice outside of our regular rituals and ceremonies? Probably not enough. When I get stressed out or frustrated with something, I rarely take a moment to say a simple prayer. And it only takes a moment. It doesn’t even need words. It can be as simple as visualizing the stress releasing from the body and drifting up to the heavens to bother us no more.

Letting it go
spirit praySome people pray to Gods and/or Goddesses, some to the Universal or Great Spirit, and some to the elements or ancestors. Regardless of where the focus is, it’s always helpful to call on a little outside help to get through tough days when we need it. It’s a way to let go and give it to the universe.

I find prayers to the elements especially helpful. Each element has its own strengths, strengths we can call on when our own are slipping away. For instance, Earth has a great deal of stability to draw from, Air has freedom, Fire is active and moving, and Water is tranquil and serene. A short prayer to any of the elements is helpful at times when we may need extra of these virtues.

element-rosearyPrayer beads
Prayer beads can be a great tool for focusing concentration and intent during prayer. I use my elements rosary often, especially when I have a little extra time. It allows me to connect and draw from all the elements in times of need. You can also find or make single element prayer beads, or beads made for a specific God or Goddess or for ancestor prayer.

Worry stones can be used in the same way. They can be etched with a specific symbol or element and used to focus prayers. Worry stones have been used for centuries to alleviate stress and anxiety by self-soothing. And really, that’s what prayer is all about. Soothing ourselves in times of need and getting that little extra help from our spiritual beliefs during rough times.

Whether you believe in Gods/Goddesses, a Great or Universal Spirit, or the power of the ancestors, prayer is a simple and effective way to deal with stress and anxiety. It’s a powerful tool for anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment or walking a spiritual path. And it’s always there for us, no matter how developed our spirituality is or is not. I’m going to take a moment for quick prayer myself.

Blessings and light.

Quick Share – Prayer to the element earth

earth

This is the last of the prayers to the elements, but certainly not the least. I love this prayer especially because of the grounding effect it has. I feel so stable after reciting this prayer that I’ve added it to my elements rosary and use it whenever I feel the need for stability. It also comes from the website legionofpagans, as do all the element prayers I’ve shared.

ELEMENT – Earth

O Great Spirit of Earth, from which all life springs
Upon whom we rejoice and dance and sing!
From the North ye hail with your pulse of Life
You bring Strength and Security in our times of Strife
You are our Foundation and our Home from which all life grows
You nurture and ground us as your deep life force flows
With your beautiful greens and rich, deep browns
Your vibrant tapestry of life around us abounds
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your comforting Stability
May I stay grounded upon my path this day
May I walk in your footsteps as I go my way
May we care for you and only take what we need
Let us not be driven by want and greed
May we cherish and honor the place of our birth
Our Blessed, Beautiful Mother Earth!

I hope you’ve found these prayers helpful. They are an integral part of my practice and a very important method of sharing love of the earth and all things in it.

Happy praying, everyone. 🙂

Quick Share – A prayer to the element fire

fire

This is the prayer to the element fire from legionofpagans.com. It makes up the third prayer of the prayers to the elements, and it’s one I use regularly.

ELEMENT – Fire

O Great Element of Fire! that Cleanses and Purifies
Ye that flickers and dances from Earth to Sky
Ye brings warmth and security with thy sacred Flame
From the South ye comes as I call thy name
Passion and Strength are born of thee
The flame of Life burns deep within me
By Candle, and Hearth and Blessed Bonfire
Work my will, By my Desire!
May you Light my path this very day
As I walk my life upon my way
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your Strength, Passion and Vitality
That I may share with those I know
And your flame will burn and ever grow

I hope you enjoy these prayers as much as I do. They are an important part of my regular celebration ceremonies, and I hope others will benefit from them as well.

Happy praying! 🙂

A ceremony for renewal

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Over the weekend I performed a ceremony for recommitting myself to my spirituality and Ovate studies through OBOD. It was a way for me to create in the physical world the intention of my heart. It was a ceremony for spiritual renewal, and it was wonderfully soul cleansing. I even felt better physically, as if I had gained strength and sturdiness with my feet firmly on the ground.

I won’t go into detail about the ceremony itself. It was a basic celebration ceremony using prayers and techniques I learned in the Bardic course. But the messages I received I would absolutely like to share. Please understand these are messages I received for me personally, and they have no special bearing on any other person or spiritual practice. 🙂

love yourself

The most important message I received is one I think everybody could benefit from. That is to love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, to stray a bit, and to not be perfect. I think this one in particular came to me because I felt bad for not keeping up my spiritual practice every day. I never turned my back on it completely, but it certainly wasn’t the priority it had once been.

I needed to receive that message. It allowed me to let go of the guilt. After letting that go, I was able to more fully appreciate the ceremony itself and be more open to it’s other messages.

labarinthAnother thing I took away from the ceremony is that spiritual development is seldom a straight path. It’s more like the neolithic labyrinths etched into the ground with such care. They are never straight and narrow, sure in their course and meaning. They meander, they curve, they zigzag, and they take you on a journey that can lead to some very unexpected places. That’s what I realized my own spiritual journey has been like. It’s a very freeing message. To me, it means I don’t have to worry about my own plans or expectations. I can let the universe send me where it wants me to go. I can be completely open to new ideas and new thoughts instead of concentrating on the ones I expect to gain. I like that.

spiritual selfThe last big message I received was that the spiritual self as it relates to the spiritual realm is kind of like a blank slate. We can develop our spiritual selves in ways we may not be able to develop ourselves in the physical world. This doesn’t mean fantasy or daydreams. This has to do with our inner selves, our souls, our divine beings that can be taken in directions we choose. It’s important to be open to what the universe is telling us and where it guides us, but we can also choose our purpose. If we have a strong calling toward the shamanic or healing or teaching, these are things we should explore. Our spiritual selves may have important contributions to make in a certain area.

These were the most important messages I received through my renewal ceremony, and I thank the spirits, the elements, and the ancestors for their presence, their guidance, and their blessings. If you are interested in trying your own renewal/re-commitment ceremony, check out the Internet for some ideas. It’s a very empowering experience.

Love and light to all.

Quick Share – A prayer to the element air

air

Another prayer in my collection of prayers to the elements. This one also comes from legionofpagans.com and is to the element air. It’s one of my favorites and never gets left out of a ceremony. I also include it in my rosary to the elements. Here it is.

ELEMENT – AIR

O Great Element of Air, Of the Winds and the Breeze
Ye that carries the Birds and rustles the Trees
Bringer of Life! From the East ye hail
Where the sailor waits and sets his sail
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your Strength and Prosperity
Ye that fans the Blessed Fire
Work my will, by my Desire!
Upon my path this very day
Aid me as I walk our way
Blow away all negativity
All doubt, and worry away from me
Mind be open, bright and clear
Free from lifes stresses and fears
This I humbly ask of thee
As thy winds blow and caress me

Happy praying! 🙂

Yoga – A great way to find balance

yoga_beach-sunset

Trying to lead a life that includes a healthy amount of spirituality can be challenging. I constantly feel pulled out of balance by a legion of daily tasks, business concerns, household chores, and family responsibilities. It’s hard to just sit and be, to find that place of peacefulness that lets me get in touch with my inner self. Yet, I know it’s vital to disconnect daily, even if just for a short while.

Thankfully, I found a practice that allows me to do just that. It’s yoga. Practicing in the morning gets me calm and centered for the day ahead. Practicing at night brings a peaceful sense of accomplishment from the day and settles me down to sleep. Either way, I get a much needed disconnection from the daily grind and the opportunity to appreciate myself as a being of light and love. Throw in a short meditation afterward, and it becomes a complete practice of physical and spiritual renewal.

peaceful-yoga1One thing I find really important about my yoga practice is to make sure I’m not disturbed. I turn my cell phone off, I close the door, and I make sure there are no videos or TV playing. Removing distractions allows me to look deep inside myself. It’s easier to find and connect with my authentic self, the person I was meant to be before life altered it all.

After removing distractions, the next most important thing for me is to set the mood. Meditation music and incense is a must. I may also light candles. These are the things that soothe and calm me. I find myself utterly carried away and deeply relaxed when the mood is right. The last thing I do is clear my mind. If problems or distractions crop up in my head, I imaging a cool breeze blowing them away like autumn leaves, and they bother me no more.

meditationOnce the postures are finished, I end with a short meditation of about five minutes. This is where the real spiritual benefit comes in. Yoga helps get me to the place where I can settle down and let things go. It’s one of the best ways to strengthen my spirituality. When my mind is calm, I believe it is assimilating everything I do with my core being. My body and mind get a chance to connect in a way it otherwise can’t. This is what makes it so valuable to me as a spiritual practice. It’s one thing to intellectually learn Druidry. It’s another to let it sink into your soul. I believe that’s what yoga and meditation do for me.

Yoga is a perfect accompaniment to any spiritual practice because it helps us find balance, calms our being, and allows us to get in touch with our deepest pure self. It takes no investment other than time and is best accomplished alone or with an intimate partner. I really love my yoga practice and couldn’t get along without. Give it try  if you ever feel inclined. You may be surprised at the results.

Quick Share – Prayer to the element water

water

As a practicing Druid I try to demonstrate my love and respect not only for all life and our mother earth, but also the beautiful elements that share our home. They are like brothers and sisters to me, and there is nothing more satisfying than to offer up a prayer to them and exchange positive energy and love.

Here is a beautiful prayer to water from the website legionofpagans.com.

O Great Element of Water, of the tide and the seas
Of the babbling brook, the gentle rains that ride the breeze
Bringer of Life! From the West you cleanse and sustain me
In the Storms You bring me your Strength and Fluidity
Your flowing essence and vitality
This I humbly pray as I honor you in my life today
Through Waterfall, River and Sea
May you charge, and empower me!
Wash away all stress and woe
Let my thoughts like rivers flow
Let confusion fade away
So I may focus upon my day

This is the prayer I have on my water prayer card. It’s an effective way for me to invite the element water into my rituals and connect with him/her.

Happy praying! 🙂