The Druid Retreat for Spiritual Work and Healing, Part II: What to do During Your Druid Retreat

I have to give this a try.

The Druid's Garden

Interplay of light and darkness on the landscape of Western PA Interplay of light and darkness on the landscape of Western PA

Following the path of the sun and the moon we can learn much about the work of a druid retreat in our lives. The daylight is where we typically live–it is bright, it is loud, people are about, lots of activity is taking place. The daylight offers us a particular way of seeing the world, of interacting in it, and while everything is bright and illuminated, it is so bright that we see only what is there. We scurry about, we live our busy lives, the sun blazes down upon us.

Retreat allows us to transition out of that sunlight for a bit and have respite. As the retreat grows near, the sun begins to set, and things begin transitioning. You set your goals for the retreat; you pack your bags, and you do some initial spiritual work. Then…

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Robin Herne

I have to include this in my to read list.

Druid Life

I first started reading Robin Herne’s work along time a go in Pagan Dawn magazine. I’ve got all his books, and I think he’s brilliant. Robin is a very knowledgeable Druid, with a lot of historical insights. He’s also a fantastic story teller, running an annual Pookas Pageant that tells stories with a polytheistic flavour to raise money for good causes.

What Robin isn’t, is a self-publicist. He’s always doing exciting things, but he doesn’t pour much effort into telling people how fabulous he is. This is part of what makes him fabulous, of course, but it also means he’s nothing like as a famous or as well read as he deserves to be. Sadly in the Pagan community we are too often persuaded to take most interest in the people who are best at pushing themselves forwards, often at the expense of really interesting folk who have no inclination…

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Imbolc 2016

This Imbolc has been very special as it is the first one that I celebrate as a Brighidine Flametender with the Clann Bhride – Children of Brighid who I joined at the Summer Solstice in 2015.

Imbolc is the point on the Celtic Wheel of the Year where the passing of Winter is marked, even though there may still be wintry weather ahead. We celebrate Imbolc on the 1st /2nd of August in South Africa. In the Celtic calendar, the seasons are delineated by changes in light and by now the lengthening days are clearly noticeable. For our rural ancestors whose lives depended on crops and the birth of the animals, any sign of the return of spring must have been eagerly awaited.

The source of the increasing light and heat is Brighid. On Imbolc, she moves across the land, bringing the promise of renewal and the return of joy. The name Imbolc means “in the belly” and another popular name for this Celtic Fire Festival is Oilmec which means ” ewe’s milk”. The dangerous part of winter, when sheep might die, has passed. The tribe has survived another year.

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My Imbolc altar: Brighid’s cross, Brighid doll in her bed, milk and rusks as offerings and candles to be blessed for flametending cills for the next 12 months.

I lit the centre candle at sunset 17:39 SAST to start my 24 hour flametending cill with Clann Bhride. Four times a year at the Celtic Fire Festivals, we all join in and light our candles at sunset rather than the individual shifts.

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As part of my Imbolc ritual and my devotion to Brighid, I did the “Nineteen flames for Brighid” prayer litany from Lunaea Weatherstone’s book “Tending Brigid’s Flame” which is very appropriate in our troubled times. It is very important to remember that Brighid always holds the twentieth flame, which is eternal.

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Imbolc is a powerful time to make protective and strengthening talismans. One traditional one is the brat Brhide, also called Brighid’s cloak. This is a length of cloth which is left outside overnight on  on Imbolc Eve for Brighid to bless as she passes by. It can be used for healing and used each year to be blessed again. I knitted mine from hand spun wool I bought on the Isle of Iona a couple of years ago.

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I had planned to crochet an altar cloth featuring a Brighid’s cross since the beginning of the year, but only finished it on the eve of Imbolc. My favourite colours representing her are greens, pinks and white. I converted a cross stitch pattern I found on http://www.pinterest.com into a fillet crochet pattern.

Sources: Clann Bhride – http://clannbhride.wordpress.com/

Lunaea Weatherstone – Tending Brigid’s Flame ISBN978-0-7387-4089-8

http://www.lunaea.com/flame/