contemplativeinquiry

This blog is about contemplative inquiry

Month: March, 2015

FUINN II: THE POETRY OF PRACTICE

I’m a Pagan Druid, happily placed in a tradition that values poetry and seership over dogma and system building. I experience my practice as a sort of poetry. In this poetry of practice, I am held in a compelling myth of origin, an ever-now origin, and I have found a new way of working with it.

My new collection of Fuinn (Ceile De chants in Scottish Gaelic) includes a very simple one which goes A Hu Thi (ah – hoo – hee) repeated over and over again. The Ceile De interpretation, a Celtic Christian one, is that this chant “represents the three stages of the unfolding of creation … A– the Great Mystery draws in its breath … Hu – that breath is breathed out, and creation is born from out of the Mystery … God becomes matter … Thi – the Divine nature, beingness and intention acts within the field of intention … Some Ceile De would say that this final stage represents Christ Consciousness.”

It’s a bit different for me. I’ve been working with this Fonn daily for a couple of weeks now.  I don’t chant. I use slow deep breathing with a silent awareness of the sounds. I find that for me, the A sets up a sense of latency, a subtle pulse and vibration on the brink of becoming. I feel it in the quality of my inbreath, as a kinaesthetic song. Hu the outbreath feels more vigorous and intentional; there’s a real sense of movement, expressed as exhalation – the breath moves out from my body, through my nostrils. Thi breathed in feels like the delighted expression of a new reality, one that I share in, distinct yet inseparable as a sentient being. This generally brings up feelings exhileration, gratitude and joy. It leads me on to the use of another Fonn as a contemplative and devotional prayer, which I wrote myself using my collection of Fuinn as a model.

A Brighde, A Brighde, solus an domhain; A Brighde, A Brigdhe, Brighde mo chridhe

A Vree-jah, A Vree-jah, solus an dowan; A Vree-jah, A Vree-jah, Bree-jah mo cree

Brighde, Brighde, light of the world; Brighde, Brighde, Brighde my heart

Brighde is the breath, the practice and the Fuinn. When writing my Fonn I wanted to build a felt sense of Brighde as cosmic birther, initiator into being, with a seat in my heart.  Her name evokes power and the prayer invokes relationship – identified as She is with primal generativity and the deep powers of life and land, and also One who inspires skill and accomplishment in those She supports and fosters. Through my experience of relationship and connection, deep levels of feeling and intuition are satisfied, in some way met. I feel empowered, with a sense of having more resources available to me. Why would this be? I don’t really know. What I do know is the value of practice as poetry, and the magic it holds.

The Ceile De can be found on http://www.ceilede.co.uk

LONDON, ANYBODYS BARN, DRUID CAMP

Elaine and I returned from London last week feeling pleased about our half-day introduction to Contemplative Druidry there. We were lucky (and grateful) for the colleagueship of Julie Bond and to be working with a supportive group. As people with different backgrounds and experiences, who generally didn’t know each other well, we worked together in an attentive and accepting atmosphere and were readily able to deepen into stillness. I for one was moved by this alone, as well as feeling confirmed in the belief that contemplative approaches have a role to play in Druidry and Paganism more widely.

Contemplative Druidry as we champion it doesn’t have a set of traditional teachings with which leaders nourish (or poison) their nestlings. We do talk about the book ‘Contemplative Druidry’ and the bones of what we do in our home group in Gloucestershire. But this is just to share the diverse perspectives of people who’ve been developing relevant ideas and practices in recent years. We describe our history and our practices not to impose them, but to seed possibilities, offer frameworks and then co-create new experiences with new people. I think that we managed this, in a promising way, in London.

I’ve recognised (or re-recognised) my personal preference for working in small, defined and intentional groups – however fleeting their life may be. It doesn’t take much to set the note for a small motivated group – culture-setting though the provision of some background, introductory sharing and a little lean ritual to provide definition and a safe container. In this work, I like an alternation between silence and speech. The process of deepening is supported by sharing and reflection. These define the context for our silence and stillness, as we gently move between narrative expression and simple being. Such a movement allows a group to co-create a collective moment in which all individuals can have a stake without surrendering their own existing understandings.  And for this I think that a small group (up to about a dozen or so) is best. Much beyond that, and the event has to be run a bit differently – tilting towards a more managerial approach or risking a relative loss of definition, or both.

We have two further ventures in the fairly near future. The first is our April retreat at Anybody’s Barn near Malvern. We have decided to reduce the numbers of available places both for the reasons above and to make the accommodation more spacious for those who attend. We already have enough bookings to go ahead, and at the time of writing have room for just 3 more people. I look forward to seeing how our way of working develops over a two day and two night period, and also to working with two other companions from our Gloucestershire home group (JJ Middleway and Karen Webb) as well as Elaine.

The second is Druid Camp 2015, which itself has a contemplative theme overall this year, including a dedicated working space co-ordinated by Nimue Brown, another member of the Gloucestershire group and also part of Contemplative Druid Events. Within this larger Druid Camp programme, Druid Contemplative Events will have a two hour session. Offering our session inside a bigger event (probably about 300 people) will be an opportunity to look at where ‘Contemplative Druidry’ may be going in the wider world (now that the meme is out there), and how our own approach fits in. Because the larger community will have already been created, we’ll be able to work with a larger than usual group in our session.

I see the Contemplative Druid Events journey as a continuous inquiry – a cycle of development, action and reflection followed by re-development, action, reflection … and so on, hoping thereby to improve Contemplative Druid Events’ ability to provide introductory sessions, workshops and retreats. These are still early days.

See http://contemplativedruidevents.tumblr.com for retreat information and http://anybodysbarn.co.uk/ for retreat accommodation. For Druid Camp information see www.druidcamp.org.uk and www.facebook.com/groups/druidcamp/

POEM: ABSOLUTE ZERO IN THE BRAIN

Penfield the great doctor did a lobotomy

on his own sister and recorded

pages of clinical observations

on her lack of initiative afterward.

Dullness, he wrote, is superseded

by euphoria at times. Slight hemi-

paresis with aphasia. The rebellious sister

died from the head down into the pages

of medical journals and Penfield founded

a new specialty. Intellectuals

sneer at moviegoers who confuse

Dr. Frankenstein with his monster.

They think Frankenstein is the monster.

Isn’t he?

From Marge Piercy, Stone, Paper, Knife London: Pandora Press, 1983

Wheel of the Year Blog

An place to read and share stories about the celtic seasonal festivals

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

anima monday

Exploring our connection to the wider world

Atheopaganism

An Earth-honoring religious path rooted in science

Grounded Space Focusing

Become more grounded and spacious with yourself and others, through your own body’s wisdom

The Earthbound Report

Good lives on our one planet

innerwoven

Life from the inside out.

John Halstead

The Allergic Pagan; HumanisticPaganism.com; Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Paganism; A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment; Earthseed

Stroud Radical Reading Group

Stroud Radical Reading Group meets once a month. Here you can find details of sessions, links, and further information

The Hopeless Vendetta

News for the residents of Hopeless, Maine.

barbed and wired

not a safe space - especially for the guilty

Daniel Scharpenburg

Dharma Teacher

Down the Forest Path

A Journey Through Nature, its Magic and Mystery

Druid Life

Pagan reflections from a Druid author - life, community, inspiration, health, hope, and radical change

What Comes, Is Called

The work and world of Ki Longfellow

Her Eternal Flame

Contemplative Brighidine Mysticism

Druid Monastic

The Musings of a Contemplative Monastic Druid

Sophia's Children

Living and Leading the Transformation.

sylvain grandcerf

Une voie druidique francophone as Gaeilge

ravenspriest

A great WordPress.com site