Crocuses, lilac, so many things growing right now. The air feels amazing. In the kitchen, wiping things down, preparing food, the sun had set and the wind chimes were clinking and singing away.
It sounds different in Spring. As things being to grow, increase – little flowers full of new ideas and new possibilities. Brand new leaves and buds. It is only February I realize but things are awakening all over.
One thing that was kind of cool was that I learned about Anaximenes, a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from the 6th century BC. He felt that Air was the primordial element. Even went on to say he considered it to be God. Rarified it became Fire, condensated it successively became Water and Earth. There are many online sources available for further reading on it.
Another thing I found was THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES by Manly P. Hall published 1928. There were some interesting tables, including this one here on page 156:
Although not ancient, this material does refer to older alchemical thought. Quite a few things finally clicked for me as to why Air belongs in the East and why the progression of Air->Fire->Water->Earth — there is a lot more to the Circle and the Elements than one might think. As it says in the Emerald Tablet – “2) That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.” ~ Jabir ibn Hayyan translation reflects what our work is, or at least what we would HOPE it is.
To sum it up, the various things I found made me realize that I CAN understand and work with the elements as they are in standard practice. It was really hard for me before to work with them that way when I could not find solid connections other than ‘Oh, well water lies to the west of us’. Our work, although in Temple or Sacred Circle is being done on another plane, if we are assuming that we are just working right here in our neighbourhood, then the work to bring ourselves up to Wholeness and Fullness and to therefore improve the state of the universal collective soul is going to be a lot harder on an esoteric level.
So, there was some growth for me. I was able to think outside the box I had been thinking in and that was pretty great. It felt good to see our practice from a new angle.
My Druid studies in the OBOD are still going well. I’ve made it fully through the first 12 Gwersi and am 1/4 way through the Bardic Grade materials. I will say that one thing I really enjoy about OBOD that was not available in Wicca was a base set of guidelines that wasn’t bickered over. Very loose yet still ‘formal’ framework that allows the person to learn the foundation and really add to it in many ways to make it their own while still being part of a larger whole. It is not secretive, but it is still sacred. There is reverence and honour. It’s quite lovely. Rather than having many different people teach many different things there are things that all students can look at, discuss and work through from all over the world. Wicca often has very few covens in an area and so often a student is left with the choice of being taught by someone who they dont get along with/who doesn’t know what they are talking about/who could be an ass or not learning at all except through various websites and random info. The OBOD has such a huge network and so many sources of info it makes for a more even learning across the board.
We don’t wave athames at and threaten the lesser beings, the elementals, to do our bidding (something we no longer do in our Eclectic Coven but is part of most traditional Wiccan groups). Instead we ask for the blessings of and strengths of various animals and the positive aspects of the element itself. It is a different energy. We aren’t ‘bending’ the world to accommodate us but instead are working to strengthen our self to be more present in the world. Nature plays a bigger role than in Traditional Wicca and the way it is put together allows someone of any Religious path to find a way to make it their own.
Wicca is considered a religion – though personally it seemed more like a ‘practice’ that surrounded the use of magic than an actual spiritual path designed to elevate a person and help them in spiritual growth. This isn’t the same for all covens, I realize but it this is true for many. Because it is considered a religion, members are not encouraged to blend paths together. Wicca/Christian, Wicca/Judaism, Wicca/Atheism. Our own coven is much more like Druidry in that although it CAN be considered one’s religion, it does not have to and can co-exist with other paths as well. OBOD members are not only Wiccan and/or Pagan but also Christian, Buddhist, Atheists etc. Myself I am also a Gnostic in the esoteric-contemporary sense and I find that both Wicca and Druidry work well with this.
Druidry has actually helped add a new layer of reverence for nature to our Wiccan practice and has really benefited the depth and meaning. Being Eclectic we are not bound to one manner of practice only, but we DO utilize all the basic Wiccan ritual parts and it is more formal, more structured than the Druid basic ritual. I find I do need BOTH. Wicca puts a lot of emphasis on the Deities and the esoteric aspects of the elements, connecting to them on a higher plane. Druidry is very earth based and connects to your own self, here and now. And the world around us. And both work with my feelings of Sacred Feminine/Earth and Divine Masculine/Spirit that are part of my Gnostic path.
So, I guess really this is turning out to be a time of growth. I used to be quite sure that I had to choose ONE thing. It has become apparent that who I am has different aspects that relate to different things, and as long as my paths don’t cause emotional conflict that can not be worked through via meditation and growth, then there is no problem with it. To be able to see ‘another side’ to find ways to use various paths that bring me closer to Home, this has been a really amazing year of growth so far and I’m quite pleased.
Yes the snow can still fall and it can still freeze, but I am on my way forward and will plow through it.