Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekly Reflection - Animal Divine Companion

In an attempt to reinvigorate my spiritual practices in 2018, I am working on incorporating a weekly divination from one of the many sources that I have at home. My goal is to make this an ongoing series with the thought that each week I would ask "what do we need to know for the week ahead", the big picture. Maybe something I say will resonate with someone else out there.

I don't know if any of you found space for compassion last week. I thought I was doing ok, checking in with myself all the way until Friday. Man, did I get a spiritual body check that day on compassion!

This week I was feeling drawn to our animal friends (perhaps due to said body check), so I pulled out my Animal Divine Companion tarot cards. I sat with them awhile, focusing on the week ahead and what we need to know.

I drew the Giraffe, or the seven of pentacles. On this card there is a giraffe planted firmly on the ground under a tree where all but the green leaves at the top are gone. From their grounded position, the giraffe reaches gracefully to the top to eat of the lush foliage.

Pushing past the known of ourselves or situation, we look past our own boundaries, possibly things those we have self imposed, to think outside of the box. When doing so we stay grounded in our core and potentially find ways we may have never considered. Persevere to grow beyond.

That is it for tonight. Hopefully this resonates with you and I will be back next week with another post.

Many blessings to you all, Laura, the Barefoot Druid /|\

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekly Reflection - Goddess Oracle

So I've been trying to think of a way to reinvigorate my spiritual practices in 2018. One simple way I am contemplating is to incorporate a weekly divination from one of the many sources that I have at home. My goal is to make this an ongoing series with the thought that each week I would ask "what do we need to know for the week ahead", the big picture. I thought that if I started sharing it might help me be accountable and that others might find the words that have been shared useful in their daily life. Plus it makes me use the tools I already have to help hone my personal spiritual practices. A win-win!

This week I've chosen to pull a card from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and illustrated by Hrana Janto, which I've been using for over 10 years. If you have never seen this deck, I suggest checking it out. The images are beautiful and the cards really speaks to me. The goddesses come across through the cards and it is genuinely one of my favorite decks to use.

So for the question of what we needed to know or think about for the week ahead I drew the card for Kuan Yin, compassion. She is so powerful, it is said, that to mention her name will ease suffering and hardship. I have found when she speaks to me, it's usually that I'm not being compassionate with myself.

So when I see this card, I think about the state of our world. Are we being mindful of compassion for/with ourselves? How about compassion for other humans on Earth for our present journey. Maybe check-in with your self-talk during this week: are you being kind and compassionate to yourself? When we are kind and compassionate within, we allow ourselves to be open to doing so with others. When we start feeling more irritable with life or apathetic, check in with self and allow yourself to feel what you need (sometimes it sucks!). Look to open your heart to yourself. Then and only then look beyond.

That is it for tonight. Hopefully this resonates with you and I will be back next week with another post.

Many blessings to you all,
Laura, the Barefoot Druid /|\

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What if God was one of us? A view from an Earth based spiritual path

My sister recently asked me to share a short reflection on this question, a Pagan viewpoint of God, for a service where the theme centered around the 90s song "What if God was one of us." I thought this is a perfect time to share with all of you, one of many new posts coming in the future. ~ Laura

We are all made of star stuff. Does that sound familiar? “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” Carl Sagan asserted this on an episode of Cosmos back in the 1980s. While I didn't have the chance to watch the original series, I've heard the words repeated over the years and have resonated to it. It means that we are all connected to each other from the same source. Even bigger than any individual, all of the bits and pieces of the universe, the pieces of the earth, and all that is seen and unseen is connected in some way or another to each other. Who is to say that we then also don't share a soul or spirit, life essence if you will. As a Unitarian Universalist, a Druid, and a human on a spiritual journey, all of this affects how I perceive God. Call it God, Spirit, or The Divine, I believe there is something out there bigger than each of us, bigger than all of us.

In my case this is many somethings. I was told I could only have 5 minutes (anyone know a UU or a Pagan that can summarize the sole essence of their personal theology in that time?)  so my reflection question of the day is how do I see God as one of us? I choose to reflect on two of the somethings that make up my personal theology, Animism and Polytheism.

Animism is one of the ways I see Spirit,God, or The Divine as part our world. It describes some of the oldest religious and spiritual practices, according to those that decide such things. The commonly accepted definition of animism is that objects, places, and creatures all possess distinctive spiritual qualities. To me it means that everything has a spirit or an aspect of the divine inside of it. Each of us in the human family, our siblings in the rest of the tree of life, such as mammals and birds, and even each piece of our Mother Earth, rock and shrub, has a piece of the divine in it. After looking back over the years to my childhood and my craving for time outside on our grandparents farm - just ask my mom - I have always been this way. I call these aspects nature spirits or land spirits or tree spirits. When I say I'm a tree hugger, in some ways I’m being literal. Mother Earth is to me as divine and alive as God is to those of the Christian path. She is literally one of us and in each of us, just as we are a part of Her. There is no separation of divinity as being outside of us. Spirit is one of us, walking beside us, under us, with us. “As above, so below, as within, so without” is  a quote from the Hermetic texts that sums it up in a lot fewer words.

As my spiritual journey continues, I see not one singular God but many deities, along with the aforementioned natural spirits. For me this means gods and goddesses are a part of those forces that I look to for strength, guidance, reverence, and I respect Them. As a growing Polytheist, I acknowledge that there are many gods and goddesses, both seen and unseen, with names some so old Their names have long been forgotten. Just because I don’t have a relationship with a deity doesn’t mean they have any less power or that I don’t “believe” in them.  Having spent the first 20 or so years of my life as a Catholic with God, a father god, I have leaned more towards the goddesses having a primary presence in my current spiritual practices. But unlike the Catholic tradition, where God is celestial, lofty, and resides outside of us, these other deities seem human in many respects.  These other deities have made mistakes and triumphs alike. The stories, or mythos, of these events have been passed down over time. I have no doubt They have walked among us and tested us, even if we didn’t know. I’ve had experiences on my spiritual path that I can not explain in any comprehensible way that have led me to this belief and on this path. For me, God is one of many who maybe at anytime walking among us.

As a Unitarian Universalist Druid, all of this affects how I see God. I do see God as one of us, in all of us and those inhabiting our world with us. It’s why during my spiritual practices I pay my respects to the nature spirits, the shining ones (or god/desses), and my ancestors. Spirit is one of us. The divine is not outside of our human understanding. God (if you will) is one of us.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Back at it again: From Seeking a Path to The Barefoot Druid

Hello world.
After a few years break, I'm at a place where I want to write again about my spiritual journey... well, really my spiritual practice now... and other musings around Paganism, Druidry, my Avalonian path, Unitarian Universalism, Polytheism, or other interests of mine. Things like history, geography, pop culture, music, or books I'm reading might make their way into my musings. Maybe a poem or two might sneak in, it's a recent interest of mine.
From seeking a path to what has now become my spiritual journey and practice has been the result of several years of exploring, reading, questioning, and experiencing, to which I hope to share pieces as well over time. As appropriate of course, as we all know some things must be experienced. My goal in sharing is threefold: to share some of my experiences so others on a Pagan path know they are not alone, to commit to writing and practicing on a more regular basis, and to grow on my path by communicating with others out here on the interwebs. You can also follow me on Facebook.
So I hope to see you back again soon as I start to share more. Blessings on your own journeys until then.
Laura, the Barefoot Druid /|\
(aka Galena)

Friday, February 24, 2012

D is for Divine

What is the divine?  One of the things that has drawn me to the study and search of my Pagan self is the way Pagans view the divine.  During my upbringing in the Roman Catholic church, it was my understanding that God was outside of us.  That there was this mysterious force that was outside of the everyday that we had to go to church to worship and show your devotion.  It’s not that you couldn’t pray at home and God wouldn’t hear you, that’s not what I mean.  And maybe as a young person this wasn’t the correct understanding, but that is what I got.  As I got older and tried to revive my Catholicism by finding a new church or group, I still felt this ultimate disconnect with what we were supposed to be worshiping as divine.  So this lead to me reading and discovering all of these various religions that exist and what eventually drew me to the Pagan path.  There seems to be an overwhelming appreciation of the divine in everything.

One article I came across recently I think says it most beautifully.  “In its most simple form, this spiritualized veneration of nature is a form of pantheism - the belief that all things are divine, and the divine is in, and one with, all things. It is also monistic (monism is the belief that everything ultimately is united in one all-encompassing divine reality). Within this approach, worshiping nature and worshiping the divine are identical acts.” That being in tune with the world and nature is the same as worshiping the divine.  This thought I think is one that I read over and over.  There are also other Pagan views of the divine, this article also discusses those, but this one statement is the one that resonates with me.

There are other articles that state similar thoughts, this one titled "Neo-Paganism - The Divine In All Creation" that was originally published in 1994, states "the Divine is in all creation and everything has Divinity within. (...) the common thread within the multicolored tapestry of modern Neo-Paganism, is a reverence for Nature's ever-returning cycles, a spirit of community among individual diversity, and a search for personal truth, found not within another's revelation, but engraved on the spirit of the individual."  This is my other draw to the divine as interpreted by many Pagans, that we can all have our own interpretation of the divine.

If we were to ever meet in person, one of my "talking points" about religion is that all the arguments that seem to happen are often over a label, what do you call that thing that you hold divine/believe/etc.  This statement from the Pagan viewpoint, that the belief that all things are divine, meant I didn't necessarily have to label what I was feeling, when I get caught up in nature, when I enjoy a good book, when I meet fantastic new people, and that I could appreciate the divine in all things.  So I guess the conclusion I would like you to have a thought that the divine is what you make of it, that as a Pagan we are responsible for our own search and source of divinity in our lives, what we hold sacred, and what we are searching for.

Image from here