Nature Awareness Update 25th October & Mental Discipline Weeks 25 – 27

25 10 2013

We’ve had a lot of rain recently so I haven’t been able to get out much. Today I went out mid afternoon and it was cloudy but dry. There were a few blue patches in the sky and it was very windy but mild. There are a lot of leaves on the floor now and the Horse Chestnut trees have almost lost all their leaves. Many White Poplar leaves are yellow now too. There are still some blackberries around but they are very small. I noticed some a small holly plant which was probably hidden by all the growth of other plants that have now died back (although I didn’t notice it in the spring). There are also some new nettles around. I heard a few birds singing and saw seagulls and crows circling as the flew up in the wind. There was also a Magpie. Most of the insects, including the spiders are gone now but there were a few Pondskaters and a bee. In the lake there were only 7 swans – I don’t know where the other two have gone.

Mental Discipline

5th October – 11th October

6th October – I did 10 minutes of the Two Powers Meditation at my altar. It went well but visualisation still needs improving.
9th October – I did 10 minutes of the Two Powers Meditation at my altar. It went ok but I slumped so my back hurt and visualisation was very difficult. I prayed to the kindred giving them an offering of incense as well as lighting a candle and praying to Brighid.

12th October – 18th October

17th October – I did 10 minutes of the  Two Powers Meditation at my altar. It went ok but I slumped a lot again as I don’t think I was sitting correctly and found visualisation difficult.  I gave an offering of incense to the kindred and lit a candle to honour Brighid. I’ve decided to try some Buddhist style meditation again rather than Two Powers for a while.

19th October – 25th October

25th October – I meditated for 20 minutes in my nature spot. The time went fast and I felt calm. I enjoyed the wind blowing around me and against me as I sat there still. I changed my routine a little from chanting 1 up to 10 alone to doing that and then counting back down from 10 – 1. I did slouch a lot which i think was because I wasn’t sitting right and my paper I write notes on flew away half way through so I had to sort that out and begin again. My breath slowed when I was meditating but I sometimes felt more tense when it did. I have done some research on mantra meditation and might try some of that this week too.

For more exciting news – I am going to stay at a Buddhist Monastery next weekend so should hopefully be able to reboot my meditation practice and sort out issues I have.





Nature Awareness Update 4th October & Mental Discipline Week 23 + 24

4 10 2013

I went out to the spot in nature early this afternoon. The sky was cloudy although there were a few blue spots. It was very warm and windy. There are still lots of blackberries out but most flowers have died off now. The floor was covered with leaves, and many leaves on the trees have turned yellow (except the horse chestnuts which turn orange or brown), however there are still many green leaves on the trees. The horse chestnut has some large buds appearing on it and the few chestnuts that are left have turned brown. There are still lots of spider webs around and I also saw a few bees and the red dragon fly again. Pond weed is covering the small pond now and is also in the larger pond however there were still quite a few pond skaters in there. There were very few birds in the nature reserve, however on the lake there were seagulls, a heron, 8 swans, 5 coots, some ducks and 6 moorhens. There were also three different types of mushrooms on the grass nearby. It seemed a lot quieter today with a clear sense that things are winding down. There is a lot less activity than there was a month ago. Next week I want to try an experiment by opening myself up to messages from  the Earth Mother and local spirits.

Mental Discipline

21st September – 27th September

21st September – I did 20 minutes meditation at my normal place in nature. I got interrupted twice and my mind kept wandering. i was also distracted by the birds singing. My legs are still a problem as I’m not sure what to do with them when I’m there. But I found my sense of hearing improved and I became more aware of what was going on around me. I felt calm afterwards. Overall I didn’t think it was too good of a session.

25th September – I did the two powers meditation for 10 minutes at home in front of my altar. It went well and the visualisation was a little easier. I also lit a candle and prayed to Brigid.

28th September – 4th October

4th October – I meditated for 20 minutes in the nature spot. My mind kept wandering a lot but I seem to have solved my leg issue by simply keeping my feet flat on the floor. I also seem to breathe faster when my mind wanders and slower once I return to focusing on my breath again. I felt quite calm after.





Nature Awareness Update 25th September & Mental Discipline Week 22

25 09 2013

I went out to my usual nature spot on Sunday as it was the Autumn Equinox. It was 3pm and it was cloudy, but warm with a little wind. There are still lots of blackberries out and some aren’t yet ripe. There were a few bees and wasps as well as spiders in large webs. I also saw two red dragon fly’s, lots of pond skaters and a butterfly. Many leaves on the trees have changed colour to red, yellows and browns now however on some trees most leaves are still green. There were a pair of small birds in a tree and some magpies and sea gulls around. One of the swans is missing but I saw a young adult moorhen too. I’m not sure what happened to the others.

Mental Discipline

14th September  – 20th September

20th September – I did a 10 minute Two Powers meditation in front of my altar. It went well but I felt a bit tense and visualisation is still difficult.





Dedicant Path Week 22 – Fourth High Holy Day Explanation – Harvest Home

20 09 2013
English: Autumn fruits - hedgerow crab-apples

Autumn fruits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Autumnal Equinox, also called Harvest Home, Mabon or Alban Elfed is a time of transition and change, a time of honouring the changing seasons and a time of reflection and thanksgiving. It is also a time of balance. The Autumn Equinox is the midpoint between the summer and winter solstices, when the day and night is of equal length and light and dark are balanced. It marks the beginning of the dark half of the year for the northern hemisphere, when nights are longer than days.

By the time of the Autumnal Equinox, the earth around us is showing the signs of the journey into winter – with later dawns and earlier sunsets, the weather is cooler and the leaves on the trees are turning wonderful colours. The animals are busy preparing for winter – squirrels collecting nuts and acorns while birds prepare to migrate to warmer climates. Most of the grain harvest has been gathered in and its now time to harvest the fruits – apples, blackberries, grapes, squashes and nuts, to preserve them for winter.

Historian Ronald Hutton writes that the end of the harvest was often celebrated in the medieval times with a harvest feast or supper and ceremonies involving the last sheaf of corn. It often involved a lot of drinking. According to Bede, September was called haleg-monath (holy month) and Hutton says “it can be surmised that this was derived from religious ceremonies following the harvest.”

I am not aware of any evidence or mythology to suggest that this day was celebrated by the Druids in ancient Gaelic cultures. However, there are a few ancient Irish temples which line up with the sun at the spring and autumn equinox which suggests they might have considered the day sacred. It is also very close to the time of Michaelmas which may have absorbed previous festivities in ancient Irish culture at this time, for example – picking carrots on the eve before, an emphasis on giving to charity and the beginning of the apple harvest and hunting season.

In modern times, Druids honour the Green Man of the forest by offering cider libations to trees. It is also good to celebrate this time by visiting an orchard to pick apples, making jams and cider or eating a meal of autumnal fruits and vegetables. ADF suggests that this is the time of the harvest, of reaping and gathering in. For Norse reconstructionists, it is the time to honour Thor and Sif as gods of the weather and harvest. Meanwhile Neo-pagans celebrate it as a day of balance, when the night and day are equal and nature is declining.

For me, this is a time to give thanks for the abundance of nature. It is a time to party and celebrate with all the wonderful food that is around. It’s one of my favourite times of the year because its so beautiful at this time as the leaves are turning. I love to decorate my altar with fruits, vegetables, nuts and leaves, as well as making leaf garlands to hang around the house. I will be celebrating by making cider, drinking lots, honouring An Dagda (as he is the god of the earth and abundance in ancient Irish culture, as well as the one who turns the seasons) and making an Ogham set.

Hutton, Ronald. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Cunnigham, Scott. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Minnestota: Llewellyn Publications, 2003