Wildsong


I've always taken a harsher line with myself than I have with others - I think most of us do - and my spirituality doesn't escape this fate. I've never believed that one religion or institutionalised spirituality or philosophy is going to be The Right One, more that they're all (at least in origin) different expressions of the same thing. However, I did used to think that I personally needed to align myself with a single school and devote myself to it. I've dabbled in a few. From a brief - like, two-weeks-when-I-was-17 brief - investigation of Catholicism while exploring my Hanlon Irish roots, to flitting back and forth on Buddhism and various other belief systems, I kept looking for The One. Eventually, some years ago, I realised that I needed to go to the source. To simply connect with the spirit that infuses and inspires them all. No middle wo/man required.

Since I was a child I've believed that everything is 'alive' in some way. From toys to shopping trolleys, I've had meaningful conversations with them all (I still always say thank you to my trolley when I park it back in the bay). So animism is kind of where I am and where I've always been.

At this time last year that had led me - in a backwards step - to studying shamanic practice in the belief that I'd found The Thing that truly was a method for connecting with the source. I was a few modules in. Enjoying it. And then not. There was the feeling I was in the wrong place again because I couldn't buy in 100%. My extracurricular reading had included Emma Restall Orr's Living Druidry - still a favourite - and I remember sending an email to a group of friends, saying,'Oh feck. I'm a sodding druid.'

Because this:



Which, to me, screams Non-Historical Re-enactment Society . I know. #harsh #buthonest. So I wasn't happy about this revelation. The upshot was I emailed my tutor and asked if I could take a break (I could, did, am) and then I got ill. 

I physically hit bottom, then mentally and emotionally. Spiritually I just numbed out everything but my personal experience on a daily basis. I stuck with what worked and healed and what has always worked and healed me is the earth...nature. And slowly but surely that led me back to Druidry. Minus the outfits.

Druidry as it is now is not the ancient religion of these isles because we don't really know what that was. It's believed that teachings were passed down verbally so very little remains of the Celtic animism/shamanism that came before Christianity. However, modern, neopagan Druidry is probably as close as we're ever going to get. 

The thing is, I've softened on myself and no longer feel I have to devote myself to a particular 'club' and its rules. These days I weave together my own, ever-evolving, tapestry of beliefs. Most of it does align with Druidry - as an Anglo-Celt it just feels right to me - and Shamanism but not all. I love a bit of Hinduism. Shinto too. I know the truth of Mitakuye Oyasin. It is all animist. 

I attempted to explain it to Evie and I said, 'If you think of the life force that creates and animates everything as music, then every single thing in the universe(s) is a different song. I have a song, so do you. So does that stone, that tree, the wood in our kitchen table, that horse, that postman, our home, this place.' That's as close as I've ever come to really explaining how life feels to me.

I think our sacred task, our path to spiritual fulfilment, is to learn our song and to sing it out loud. And when we do, those whose songs harmonise with our own will hear and join in, creating an even more powerful melody. An even more powerful expression of the 'music'. The beauty!

Learning how to do this: to tune into my song, learn it and sing it, to share it. That's why I'm here. That's my purpose. I think it's a purpose for all of us. So that's what this blog is about now. Finding and singing my own wildsong and sharing the ways I find to do that. Hoods optional.





13 comments:

  1. Getting to grips with my own spirituality and quite what I do believe in, or not as the case may be, frequently turns my brain to blancmange or makes my head explode as I can't quite get my head round it. Your explanation to Evie has just made an awful lot of sense of some of that blancmange. Thank you.

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    1. You're welcome. She's a great sounding board. Especially if puddings are involved : )

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  2. Thank you for your meaningful posts...your journey is both beautiful and encouraging.

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  3. Life force as music...beautiful. While wandering on the path in search of my 'word of the year' this phrase kept rising up. "Remember your song". Listening, listening.

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    1. Oh how lovely, Peggy. I hope we all remember our song this year. x

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  4. I am so glad I found this post Jo. I have been in exactly the same place as you. At the moment I am studying the bardic grade with OBOD. I am of the 'minus hoods' brigade. The first photo of your post fills me with *heart* the second fills me with *dread* So, after going through organised religion, shamanism, witchcraft et al. I came to the conclusion that I just could not put a label on my spirituality, (I told a Christian recently that I am not religious, but boy, am I spiritual) so decided to opt for the least dogmatic of the lot - druidry but I do not call myself a bard, ovate or druid, that would pigeon hole my spirituality too much, and I would never really want to be part of the ceremonies like they do in the picture, instead I am quite content to flow with the natural world, listen to wonderful Celtic and Welsh stories, catch some of that Awen for my creative work and live my own myth in my very own way ;-) x

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    1. Ah, a fellow traveller : ) Lovely to hear from you and I'm glad I found your blog. How are you finding the OBOD studies? It interests me too. x

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    2. I am finding them rather stimulating actually. I am only into the 6th week of a year long study, (I have had the materials for a year already) so I am not into anything thats too deep at the moment, but I like the very open approach and any suggestions for 'practises' are to be interpreted and entered into entirely at your own discretion, if at all, which is very liberating. You can incorporate anything from any other faith, shamanism, wicca, christianity etc. and I think a lot of the stuff from other disciplines ties into druidry anyway. I have also been studying with a Rpmami Gypsy and I find that I am able to meld the two practises together as they overlap in some very interesting ways. Philip Carr-Gomm is just a wonderful soul whom I think has steered the OBOD ship with great sensitivity and grace and tries to stay free of dogma, which I think he has succeeded in doing, because he himself comes from a white robe, Golden Dawn type practise, I am sure you are aware.

      Already I have noticed a difference in my creative work, as the course starts with a great emphasis on making a safe space for you to retreat to and gather your energy (in visualisation) and from that practise I have been able to resolve some blockages in my life and therefore let more energy in, which surprisingly has been channeled into my work and my enthusiasm and productivity has really increased. I think that many may see this course as one that takes place in the spiritual world, it certainly does, but I think also it has a real impact on one's physical life too, as a direct result of working in that spiritual realm through visualisation, myth reading and immersion in nature esp. trees.

      I did a lot of research before I took the plunge and read a few accounts on the net about why the course didn't work for some individuals, but I am not sure that there is much to fault, rather that maybe the person was not quite ready, expected something different or didn't get along with the tutor but I think that coming from the place you do, the course would be perfect for you ;-)

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  5. I love this post - think I told you that I studied Celtic lore and art in earnest in my 20's, (even had a celtic tree of life tattooed on my bum), and then promptly lost interest in it all.

    I am a very spiritual person, despite having converted to Judaism so that we all would be 'one thing'. By the way, that failed on all counts as the husband, (who grew up Jew), is almost agnostic, and the kid wants traditional ritual (i.e.: Christmas and Easter).

    That's all ok because it proves that you can't 'make' anyone 'be' anything, (nor would I want to), and the ritual/family centric aspects of Judaism are now integrated into my life and I like that. (I also like my Hebrew name).

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  6. Beautiful. <3

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  7. Love this post. I've realised that my spirituality is really about noticing every day and in the actions I take. Rituals and exercises take me away from the spiritual, so I have allowed myself to let go of the need to do them.

    I think some of it certainly for me has been about wanting a sense of belonging, when in fact if I try to 'align' myself to a certain way, I feel even less like I belong.

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  8. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post. Spiritually, I've long resonated with Druidism, but have puddled along on my own, because for one, I'm not much of a joiner, (and often find the politics in groups makes my teeth itch), and also because of that "Non-Historical Re-enactment Society" element.

    And yes, to soften towards ourselves - this has been a big one for me. I'm now much easier on myself about not doing and participating in things that just don't reflect my nature at all. Done with the "should".

    But this:
    "I think our sacred task, our path to spiritual fulfilment, is to learn our song and to sing it out loud. And when we do, those whose songs harmonise with our own will hear and join in, creating an even more powerful melody. An even more powerful expression of the 'music'. The beauty!"

    Beautiful. Just perfect.

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Thank you, I love it when we talk.