I am happy to announce the new and the forthcoming in one post. My poetry book, Unfurled, from my store and on Amazon and my long-in-the making text-book of sorts, will be available early next year. What I have never done really, is introduce myself, not only as the Druid author/bard but as the person behind the writing …so here goes!
As a small child, Nature was my friend; my means of understanding the natural laws of life and a constant solace in a world that otherwise at times, seemed bleak. I’m not saying I was unhappy all the time, but rather somewhat different as I was blessed (or cursed) to see, sense what most could not, and from a very early age too.
I could ‘see,’ read a gravestone by touch to tell the story of the person interred there …hold an old book and ‘know’ who had held it, perhaps loved or hated it. I could see/read the energies of Nature, swirling in a coloured dance around everything.
My Grandmother called me Fae and a spiritualist friend of hers wanted to take me to train my gifts. My Mother said I was too young and scoffed at the notion that I might indeed be different, psychic, clairvoyant and empathetic, call it what you will but for me simply different was enough but that differentness is what brought me to where I am today.
It is possible however to unlock these ‘other senses’ …to let go the fear and superstitions designed to keep us ignorant and controlled, to discover what it’s like to be attuned to the cycles of life both Lunar and Solar. Symbols and guidelines become as clear as the face you see each day in the mirror …when you know how and where to look.
‘Fate,’ per se, was not always kind to my family but again I could see, when everyone was bemoaning their personal and mutual experiences they didn’t actually take responsibility for what had happened.
Life led me by my senses, not in a hedonistic way but in the way that Nature called to me, a constant companion. If I were smart, I would always have listened to her promptings without reserve; for the times I did not, life would generally fall apart and so I learned through that beautiful irony known as hindsight.
From the beginning, I connected to Her, at times one with Her. I would question everything told to me that did not resonate within, right down to my spirit and so my questioning of formal religion started early. I thought about things deeply and fully, my child’s brain straining to take in all the information around me and to understand how it all worked. I remember being maybe seven or eight, wondering why people thought of God as being a large, old man on a throne who waved a big stick at everyone and said in a sonorous voice, “Thou shalt not” and “Thou shalt.” It would at times make me giggle at the thought because I would then picture an ageing Santa, rolls of jelly fat quaking as he roared, and shook that big stick. Why did people believe that source would ‘smite or smote’ those who disobeyed and why was he, presumably, so far away? He obviously didn’t listen to human prayers and pleadings either, for if he did then he wasn’t very nice when he allowed famine, wars (all in his name) and painful illnesses.
My family was by no means churchly people and so there came a time when I would ask the question, why not, wondering why other kids went to Sunday school …and the reply came from my quietly wise, father, ‘Well darling, all you need do is sit under a tree and listen.’ I will always thank him for those words of wisdom, because they gave me the foundation in understanding who and what I am.
Many years later, when a book fell on my head from a shelf in my bookshop, by the author, Starhawk, which I did not remember ordering, the realisation came to me after devouring it in one sitting, who I am.
Yes, it was that simple and through the years snippets of information fed to me as a child, when I asked relevant questions on the subject, came back to me. All the little rituals and superstitions from both my grandmothers hit home. It doesn’t matter that they were closeted in their beliefs, because that was just the way it was back then …but that two women from such different origins, had the same foundations in their belief system.
It led me on a search all my life and, when life was tough, relationships hard, growing up angst, heartbreak and happiness, nothing really deterred me. Every religion, philosophy, cult and culture led me deeper into the understanding that the same thread ran through each of them, and with that came the knowledge that all of them had been twisted, possibly out of all recognition. They were fabricated, mostly to control others …and so my catch phrase became, what was before that?
This question took me back further, to the very origins of today’s religions and further yet to the Old Ways. The Christian traditions themselves came from a need man had to control the worship of others; even to the point of the Greenman image that still graces the oldest churches in the UK. It was this image that was one of the means used to bring the Pagan folk into the buildings prescribed as needed, to worship in …which brings me back to my father’s words, “If you need to find source, sit under a tree.”
Wicca was born from the assembled information traced through the Celtic Mystery Traditions, for they are the keepers of the wisdom that would otherwise have been lost and which include Stregga, the Italian Tradition. I am a member of an English, Druid order, despite the fact I live in Australia and thus, live the cycles in reverse to my original birthplace.
Many brilliant identities have written reference books to help in any quest for historical knowledge, I am writing this next book in an attempt to help/guide those seeking a stronger rapport with the planet Herself and hopefully, going beyond the somewhat hierarchical systems that have been born in the last 60 plus years to find a more spontaneous way to be.
…and so I come full circle, just as Her cycles do, to the first Primordial and elemental ways of Nature, within which, we can see and understand all we need to know about ourselves, if we have the eyes and ears …in fact all the senses to see. By see I do not necessarily refer to the physical eyes either, although that form of sight is a gift indeed, but rather I will use the term see to also mean, sense, in whatever way the reader may perceive things in a different way to those prescribed as normal.
Her ways are cyclic and we need all our senses to survive in what can be harsh conditions. It can be daunting if, unprepared as so many are, for the breathtaking force, when we are out of tune with Her, and the amazing bliss engendered, when we are in harmony with the Seasons of Lunar and Solar change.
Science has methods of discovery that are in fact proving the existence of a driving force that lives behind and within all things, but that is a tale for another time.
Without the curative discovered, from Nature via herbal remedies, which are now synthesised by science, we would most likely, have disappeared as a species centuries ago, but then I guess that too would just have been the way of Nature. Science has us, mainly, enfolded in a safe world, where everything is insured, protected by security devices, preventative medicines and procedures. When it’s hot, we can flick a switch, likewise when it’s cold.
In cities the stars are rarely seen, due to light pollution or smog; machines take us everywhere and the demand for the latest gadgets holds many captive to their keyboards, just as I can be self-publishing my books in a world of electronic data.
It is more the norm for communication forums and social media activities to be held in cyberspace, than in physical gatherings and most people would rather email or text messages than pick up the phone to speak in person. Children have to be pried (or bribed) outside into the fresh air and as a result, we can see why the epidemic levels of Vitamin D deficiency have come about, (in fact not only in children).
Australia has a harsh climate in the first place and so we need to address, more than ever the warming globe we live on and what we can be doing ourselves and not waiting for the mysterious ‘they’ to do it for us.
My methods, those that I would attempt to share with you here, are intense and yet they are the simplest to achieve in any life situation; it is connection …with all life, with the cycles of Nature and with the force behind it all …Primordial Goddess.
No matter how we try to control Her however, She will always break free. Imagine if, just for 5 years, no maintenance was done to roadways or railway lines. I’m sure you’ve all seen the small, so-called weeds, breaking through solid concrete with slender stems in their bid to grow. Imagine then in 10 years or 20, how our carefully constructed cities would blur around the edges as Nature took back her territories …for it is all Hers not ours …it is by Her Grace we walk this Planet and I believe it was meant to be as Her caretakers or caregivers, would perhaps be more appropriate.
Our lives are full and busy with doing but whether we pay attention, or not Nature is there, everywhere, even when we think we have Her under control …simply being.
It smells heavenly as the rain storms impregnate the soil and the somewhat, sticky burst of occasional warmth, release the crude essential oils from the eucalypts in the surrounding forest …wild fennel adds an exotic pungency to the mix as lichens free their earthy, moss fragrance, along with their spores, to the air.
Everything lifts their faces skywards as the mists and rains of spring turn the paddocks green and wild dandelion, nod their golden heads as they cast off their puff balls, strewn …to be taken where they will…
I can see that winter yielded to spring as the hedgerows change their coats from grey to green and flowering elders begin to splash the landscape with white to nature’s, still wintry palette …the mornings are cool and tiny spiders are making their webs from grass stem to stem across the ground …droplets of shining rain cover each thread with silver and my thoughts begin to drift towards the next season of growth …Ostara approaches rapidly.
Heart of the wild lands… Spirits of old
what do you teach us, so gentle yet bold
Whom do you call on as this new spring breaks
Who will hear you… who will awake
Will we stay sleeping or will we wake up
to dance in your meadows… to drink from your cup
Will we remember… as time speeds by
…remember the greening… and fly
Seed sewing time …fresh green shoots and bitter greens such as dandelion and sorrel, flourish along the edges of dirt tracks and through the fields …and the wicking beds and greenhouse begin to fill with ripening garlic, onions, spinach, nasturtium and coriander. We yearn for warmer days and spring-summer fragrances and the garden days are just begun. It’s always best to stay in the moment as the wheel turns on towards Ostara, Spring Equinox …as we begin the season of abundance and the last bonfires are lit to celebrate our personal winter’s end …how fast the wheel spins on. Yes, best to be present in the moment for you are the maker of your own Magicks.
…blessings from Beyond the Gate …Penny