Time to review…
1. Performance of a regular series of experiences and practices designed to increase your awareness and knowledge of the natural world, and to decrease the negative impact of your own life on the living Earth
I’ve been fulfilling this by my weekly walks and by making a change a month to lessen my impact on the environment. This month’s change is that all of my produce, dairy, eggs and meat will come from local, organic sources. I’m not going 100% because there are some things, like soy sauce or coffee, that I am not willing to give up that aren’t local. I’m defining “local” as, broadly, from Lancaster County in the west, to Bucks County in the north, out to the Jersey shore to the east, and south to northern Maryland. This is a huge piece of territory with lots of good farmland, and between the farmer’s market and my CSA and Reading Terminal, it shouldn’t be too hard.
I started out well with this one, and then crashed due to the cholesterol thing I mentioned earlier. I still managed to get all my produce locally this month, but that’s not much of an accomplishment at this time of year.
2. Participation in a regular series of seasonal Druid celebrations, including at least the two solstices and two equinoxes, which are traditional in the AODA There are none of these this month, but we’ll need to plan for Llyn Hydd Lughnasa this month.
Lughnasa was a blast. The ritual felt very deep and solemn, and after that it immediately got silly, with games and a picnic and all. We seem to be coming together as a working group better and better each time. I was bragging to a friend about the awesomeness of my Grove the other day. I said, “It’s amazing – everybody’s sane.” We’re quirky – we’re pagan, that pretty much comes with the territory – but we’re all intelligent, sensible, functional people. Not a drama queen in the lot. This makes me very happy.
3. Practice of a regular series of spiritual exercises including daily meditation. We’ve been doing some fun stuff in the AODA inner grove, and I’d like to do more of that work, and get more involved as per JMG’s instructions (sorry if that’s vague but this is not public stuff.) There’s also an Avalonian middle-pillar type meditation that I like and would like to have by heart, so I will need to practice that too.
I practiced some of this but not as much as I had intended. I don’t get nearly as intense about my meditation practices in the summertime, and this was some intense stuff.
1. Study and practice the AODA Solitary Grove opening and closing ceremony. You should plan on performing this ceremony at least once a month for at least the minimum period of two years you spend preparing for the Second Degree initiation. If at all possible, commit the ceremony to memory. Explore its uses as a framework for other ceremonies and spiritual practices. I have the ceremony committed to memory already. This month, I’m going to practice it in the Inner Grove. woot.
Yes, and it was interesting, but as I said, I didn’t get as intense about it all as I wanted.
3. Familiarize yourself with traditions of seasonal ritual, and design an original set of ceremonies for a yearly cycle of Druid holy days, drawing symbolism and themes from any appropriate source; the ecology and natural history of the area in which you live are particularly recommended. I feel I am so way ahead of this one. I have written or helped to write many seasonal ceremonies. This month, as I said, I will work along with my Grove-mates on our Lughnasa ritual. I think we should play games. Horseshoes, anyone?
see above. Our rituals are a collaborative affair, but I did write a big chunk of this one.
All my Air Path work these days is with Avalon – so I suppose this goes under
2. Study the legends of King Arthur and the knights and ladies of the Round Table. Again, choose a topic of interest to you from among this material and write a paper on the topic.
and a little under
1. Study the ancient Celtic Druids and the mythology and traditions of at least one Celtic people. Choose a topic of interest to you from among this material and write a paper on the topic.
The paper writing isn’t going on yet, but the studying sure is. So, the goal for this month is More Avalon. I’ve ordered the Matthews’ book, Ladies of the Lake, on women in Arthurian legend – it should come soon, and reading that is the goal for this month.
I love the Matthews. Ladies of the Lake exemplified what I like about their books – well-researched but not pedantic, easy to read but not fluffy, spiritually-oriented but not preachy. I got out of that book exactly what I wanted: information and lore about women in Arthurian legend.
Fiber art – complete the two projects I’m currently working on, practice more spinning, and maybe start another project – I have an idea for a crocheted Awen-themed scarf, based on an idea posted on the AODA craft list but executed completely differently – if it works I’ll post a picture and a pattern.
I haven’t started the scarf yet, but I did finish those two projects – a hat and a small bag.
Divination – keep studying the Ogham. The ogham for July is coll, hazel. One of my fellow AODA students, Tully, posted an intriguing concept of using finger ogham as meditation mudras – this is something I want to try.
I am not studying as much as I would like – again, I think it’s a summer thing. I did read up and meditate on Coll, but not ro the extent that I had wanted to.
Healing – it’s summer and the herbs are just rolling in – I want to put up some herbal oils and do some foraging this month.
I am going to have more elderberry cough syrup than I know what to do with. Anyone want some?
Music – more tinwhistle!
I need to work on this more – I didn’t practice nearly enough this month.
So, all in all, it was kind of an uneven month for me. I did some of what I wanted to do, but too much of it was kind of half-assed. I honestly think August will be the same way, regardless of my good intentions. I just get all sluggish in the heat.