Bunadh an Obair

Alan Lee's depiction of Merlin

I think I have posted here in my head twice as often as I have actually posted real entries. I have begun thinking of this as a kind of journal with the thought of my friends here reading these entries and expressing their opinions spurring me to continue – even though each day brings the realization that perhaps these entries are not as gripping for you as I had thought. They are, nevertheless, the hight of achievement for me as I have never before made this much headway in becoming honest with myself regarding what I sincerely believe ‘i mo chuisle mo chridhe’.

I have noticed that the greatest bar to this project of mine manifests as moments when I hear a sudden, harsh voice in my head say ‘wake up and get real!’ Then I collapse into a kind of self-conscious prison of imagined respectability: ‘what of your reputation?’ ‘What if your students, parents, employers, <fill in the blank> found out?’ I used to think that what I truly believed I would not hesitate to confess, but now I find that my truest, most intimate beliefs bring about such vulnerability that I am reluctant to entrust them to many people that I know. Of course, as with anything, the more I do this, the more I am emboldened and the more things are beginning to happen. It is slow relief, but sweet.

As time passes, I think that I will slowly move away from using this ‘journal’ (I still balk at the overly-cute word ‘blog’ – it sounds like a stuffed-up frog) as a means to work through points of my belief and instead to record the steps I take on this new path of mine – whatever it is. I know that at some point in the future I will abandon this journal to begin work on a proper MS one. My first such journal I began in graduate school (a friend of mine used to jokingly refer to it as a ‘Grail-diary’ a la the Jones’es) but it disappeared on the West Coast of Scotland near Oban.

And what path am I walking? Well, certainly my own, but taking my lead from Pictsie-Hazel’s post on druid orders (“ADF and OBOD, and other Groups”) in her own tribe of ‘Beyond Bards, Bardcraft, Bardry …’, I did some poking around the web and asked a few people a key question or two regarding some of them. What I found astounded me. I had no idea that there was such a vast proliferation of groups claiming druidry as their practice.

Now, before you anticipate me by too much, I am not racing off for a robe and sickle, but I am very much intrigued by the idea that these orders, like the Free-Masons whom I have always respected, are initiatory .i. advancing a method … almost a style of spirituality … rather than a religious ‘package’ . After looking through a number of their web pages, the one that resonated most strongly in my mind was the Ancient Order of Druids in America. Perhaps my sympathy with the reconstructionists has gotten the better of me, but I think that it was the harmony between the Order’s structured training and that of the Gaelic filid and Baird. Perhaps I simply saw reflected what I have been doing on my own. Whatever the reason, I have made a decision to begin guiding my personal habits toward those outlined in the training program – with some modification as I have long intended on seeing how much of the training in filidecht from the Bardic Tracts I could ingest.

What follows here is an outline, organized as per the Ancient Order, of what my cursus:

Earth Path: I spend as much time as I can already in the woods and this will simply intensify what I already do. I run the trails here and have been training lately to increase the intensity and decrease the impact of my runs as a form of physical meditation (as in parkour). Even today there were things that … well, that is for another entry. My family is very much committed to “living Green” and I will enjoy finding greater ways to do so. I look forward to drawing up a bibliography of local flora fauna and ecology (something I have been planning but never following through with).

Sun Path: I already observe the solstices and equinoctes, though I hold the “Alban’s” in a certain amount of skepticism. My hobby of calendrical studies has further drawn me toward observing the medieval Gaelic agricultural calendar, including the four “cross quarter days”. This will give me a chance to consolidate my academic understanding into a practical application.

Moon Path: I have already undertaken this path in several ways (see ‘running’ above) … more on that later.

I must draw this entry to a close, but let it suffice that I have been working on these spirals for some time: I play several instruments (banjo, guitar, whistle, bodhran, voice), my academic focus is Classical Gaelic poetry, I am trained as a first responder (though my license has long lapsed) with a great interest in herbalism, have studied the occult for years (with the barest practical application), regularly use the Tarot, am trained in I Ching (though I have not used it for more than ten years) and am beginning work scrying. In short, I have already begun each of these spirals and now I have a vision with which to organize their pursuit.

I am pleased with this. It is only fitting that this should all converge on this equinox.

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