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Last year, to celebrate Litha (Summer Solstice), I ordered the OBOD Bardic Course. I’m now about a third of my way through it, and I attended the Anderida Open Ritual to celebrate the festival. That group has become my stronghold. I get so much from holding hands on that hill as I do sitting in the pub listening to the debates of various paths, discussions of bringing up children in the faith and feeling the connection of each human who hugs me. Also, I got the oracle card of “Earth Dragon” back at Beltain (this will become relevant later).

The main thing I’ve come to know though, is this:

These people are my Sangha.
For me, Druidry is home.


Buddhism

This year, to celebrate Litha, I’ve stepped up a notch, mixing my Druid practise with Buddhism: I’m attending a talk by His Holiness The Dalai Lama about nonviolence and universal responsibility.

I wrote some notes, scribbled on the back of an envelope I can barely read, but these points were made by him:

– Peace is the basis of harmony. Non-violent, compassionate culture is helpful for peace.

– Everyone has Buddha-nature so it does not matter what nationality the original Buddha was (i.e. Tibetan or Indian)

– We can all be Buddhas

– Respect and love are important, and we must keep these practises going in the Sangha (spiritual community).

– We should not content ourselves with daily prayer or daily mantra, but study. There are three areas of study: Science (of emotion and of mind), Philosophy and Religion.

A Second Sangha

On Friday, I went to the Brighton Buddhist Centre, for the Young Person’s Sangha night, with a theme of Meeting the Dragon of Re-birth.

The dragon can exist in three states: earth, sea and sky. They fly in the air, walk on the land or swim in the sea. They can access the highest realms in the clouds or rest in deep caves underground. Their large eyes allow them clear sight, and thus vision. A symbol of wisdom, and in the eastern world, a protector of an important thing.

We discussed moments of re-birth, and I thought of those I’d experienced as moments of grace thanks to a difficult experience before it.  We were also asked about our connection to the Buddha, and although I didn’t say anything because I don’t feel I have one, I thought about sakura; the cherry blossom which is my symbol of eternal perfection yet potential forever, and of peace and love – that I guess I could define as my idea of enlightenment/of dreams fulfilled.

There was also a statue present in the room which called to me; who I later discovered to be Avaloktesvara, a bodhisattva.

Back to Druidry

During mindfulness of breathing meditation, I performed the Light Body Exercise from the OBOD course, and by the end, I had an odd experience. I was sitting at the base of a tree, and as I explored the branches above me, realised I WAS the tree. I had minimal roots, if any; but I was connected to the grass and my branches felt strong; not over balancing despite reaching far away from my body.

Six months ago, I made 13 resolutions. These included these four:

–          Create a sacred space; to meditate, to place items, to practise ritual (Space, Legacy, Practise)

–          Practise Paganism more often – prayer, meditation, ritual and OBOD study (Practise, Legacy, Space, Spirit)

–          Re-connect with that love of energy; reading about it and sensing it, e.g. Reiki (Compassion, Practise, Legacy, Space)

–          Get outside at least once a fortnight – connect to the land and meditate there, within my grove (Space, Spirit, Land, Practise)

For some reason, I find the tree feeling resonates with all of them, despite not having thought much about these resolutions since I made them. I have an altar now, and I study paganism more than I did last year. However, it seems leaving the house to sit in a room with an open sky above it (ceiling window as it were, four stories up), surrounded by plants and other humans; and sharing the meditation space they created – I found something I’d like to explore more.

 

Have you had any spiritual breakthroughs or moments of grace lately?

– Rose –

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