“Gifts of Awen”

My latest musical composition, which I now sing as part of my daily devotions:

I have not yet added back up instrumentals, as I typically sing this while walking the land, after morning prayers. With that in mind, this one might forever remain a simple vocal tune. I will consider adding layers at a later date.

If you like the song, and would like to download a copy of the sheet music for your personal, private, non-commercial use, you may do so here:

“Gifts of Awen” by Larisa Ananda White

Enjoy!

First Rains Dance

Darned inconvenient when the First Rains arrive in the very wee hours of the morning, when singing and dancing loudly out-of-doors will get you reported for disturbing the peace. So, we waited for first light, and tried to sing quietly, and muffle our laughter and squeaks of joy, as we danced in celebration of the healing power of Gwyar…

Today, we dance
The Return of the Rains,
Quenching the fires,
Cleansing the panes.
We dance for the hope
Blessed Simurgh has brought,
With the flow of clear water
Her magic has wrought.

Praise Simurgh, Spirit of Transformation,
Breaker, re-maker of all creation,
Bringer of Holy Wisdom and growth,
Endings, beginnings, despair, and hope!

Crocheted Lace Druid Robes, part 2

After roughly 650 hours of work on my Druid robes, following sweetly whispered messages of Awen, pacing myself diligently, to ensure that every stitch be a prayer, I have finally completed the main body of my robe. The process was slow, as I visualized,
designed,
stitched,
fit,
frogged,
redesigned,
restitched,
re-fit,
unraveled,
redesigned,
and restitched
the crocheted lace
on my way to completion.

Closeup inspections better show off the details:

Waistband of tribanns:

And three shots showing the lower panel of lace images that represent my personal cosmology and theology:

I am now working on a set of seasonal stoles that will drape over the shoulders, and include variously colored leaves, flowers, and other symbols appropriate to my seasonal celebrations. Stay tuned!

A Druid Trinity – Musings on Theology

For nearly a quarter of a century, I had worshipped Mother Earth and Father Sky as the dual source of all things.

This particular duality appears in belief systems the world over, by some name or another. It is easily visualized. It makes the universe seem nice and predictable and orderly. It is the basis of the AODA’s Spirit-Above/Spirit-Below magical framework. It appears in the GCC communion ceremony. It appears in the ADF ritual framework of the Two Powers. It appears in the Taoist yin-yang symbolism. In pagan traditions of all kinds. In Native American folklore. In the Ancient Greek pairing of Ouranos and Gaia.

But in recent meditations upon theology, I came to realize that this pairing is incomplete.

If Father Sky (or similar) evokes concepts of law and light, inspiration, and the instigating power predictable cycles, and if Mother Earth (or similar) evokes concepts of the power of physical manifestation and tangible, living reality, responsive to those Heavenly powers, then one might easily explain seasons, the typical cycles of life and death, the behaviors of most living things on the planet, striving to thrive. But there is no possible way that those two Powers/Deities, alone, could cause or explain: the sudden appearance, in random locations, of pairs of particle/anti-particle and the energy bursts associated with them; the formation of supercontinent Rodinia in the precise location necessary to create snowball Earth, and cause the mass extinction of earliest life; the meteor strike that caused the mass extinctions which ended the age of dinosaurs; or any of the other sudden, unpredictable, catastrophic Changes – which are not part of any orderly pattern or cycle of change, but a fundamental rewriting of the rules.

Druid philosophy suggests an alternative framework, in the triad of Land/Sea/Sky or Calas/Gwyar/Nwyfre: there must be a third, primal Power of Nature, not the one of Heavenly Spirit of Inspiration, nor the one of Earthly Power of Manifestation, but one of Fundamental Change – change not merely of situations or physical realities, but of entire rule-sets defining the cycles of situations or physical realities.

In ancient Persian mythology, that which predated Zoroastrianism, there is a personification of this force, known as the ancient bird, Simurgh (text borrowed from Wikipedia):

Iranian legends consider the bird so old that it had seen the destruction of the world three times over. The Simurgh learned so much by living so long that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all the ages. In one legend, the Simurgh was said to live 1,700 years before plunging itself into flames (much like the phoenix).

The Simurgh […] represented the union between the Earth and the Sky, serving as mediator and messenger between the two. The Simurgh roosted in Gaokerena, the Hōm (Avestan: Haoma) Tree of Life, which stands in the middle of the world sea (Vourukasha). The plant is potent medicine and is called all-healing, and the seeds of all plants are deposited on it. When the Simurgh took flight, the leaves of the tree of life shook, making all the seeds of every plant fall out. These seeds floated around the world on the winds of Vayu-Vata and the rains of Tishtrya, in cosmology taking root to become every type of plant that ever lived and curing all the illnesses of mankind.

Depending upon the story, Simurgh is sometimes described as having feathers of all birds, or scales of a fish and wings, or the head of a lion and wings.

There are similar bird/dragon/serpentine powerful, magical change-agents occurring in early myths, the world around: Firebird, Phoenix, Chinese Dragon, Thunderbird, Geruda. Interestingly, many of these creatures had early myths treat them as beneficial or at least neutral, divine powers of nature. But later mythological interpretations either recast them as evil, or as omens of disaster, to be conquered by heroes.

But it seemed to me that rather than thinking of conquering or escaping a divine Power of Change, one would do better to learn to understand, and live with that Power.

Having no other name for it, I have adopted the name Simurgh, and it now holds a prominent place in my personal theology, and has inspired a complete rewriting and restructuring of my personal devotions, and ritual framework.

Daily Devotions

(Pause at the edge of the ritual space to quiet the mind, ground the body, and open the spirit to the presence of Divinity. Open the altar cabinet doors OR step out into the garden, at dawn.)

I enter the Sacred Grove with reverence.
I enter the Sacred Grove in peace.

(Visualize the Sacred Grove, materializing.)

(Salute the East.)

Peace and greetings to the East,
Birthplace of the rushing winds,
Where the golden eagle soars at dawn,
With gifts of vision, scent, and song.

(Salute the South.)

Peace and greetings to the South,
Pathway of our brilliant sun,
Whose soothing warmth and plays of light
Encourage us and bring delight.

(Salute the West.)

Peace and greetings to the West,
Wellspring of the mighty Sea,
Whose fog banks and rain clouds, rivers, and tides
Cleanse and refresh us, and nourish all life.

(Salute the North.)

Peace and greetings to the North,
Homeland of the ancient trees,
And patient, radiant Shasta Mountain,
Teaching us to simply be.

May there be peace within the Grove;
May there be peace throughout the World.

(Light the gold candle OR greet Dyéus in gesture.)

Praise Dyéus, Father of Law and Light,
Source of inspiration and sight,
Lord of the shining celestial sphere,
Master of Life and Spirit, here!

(Light the green candle OR greet Matria in gesture.)

Praise Matria, Mother of manifest Earth,
Churning power of heat and birth,
Builder of landscapes, shaper of seas,
Keeper of hearths, and all makers, and Sidhe!

(Light the blue candle OR greet Simurgh in gesture.)

Praise Simurgh, Spirit of Transformation,
Breaker, Re-maker of all creation,
Bringer of Holy Wisdom and growth,
Healing, diversity, awe, and hope!

In the union of these Three
Powers of Divinity,
Are born the Kindred, we jewels of life,
Who fill the world with blessings bright.

(Light the white hearth-candle OR bring hands to heart.)

Awen!

(Visualize a stream of golden energy emanating from the Heavens — filling my body with light, shimmering, starshine, as if my body were turning into a body of sunlight.)

Awen!

(Visualize a stream of green energy emanating from deep within the Earth — filling my body with earthy weight and stability, as if my body were becoming a mountain.)

Awen!

(Visualize a swirling stream of blue energy emanating from the vast, roiling Seas — filling my body with a sense of the immanent power of change.)

(Allow the three energies to mix within me, creating a shining ball of white light, which expands to fill the Sacred Grove.)

(Open hands to the wider world, allowing that energy to radiate outwards, showering blessings upon all Beings in the Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.)

Grant us, O Holy Ones, thy protection;
and in protection, healing;
and in healing, strength;
and in strength, understanding;
and in understanding, wisdom;
and in wisdom, justice;
and in justice, the love of it;
and in that love, the love of all existences;
and in the love of all existences,
the power to heal, and bless your world,
that all may find comfort and peace in my presence.

Deep within the still center of my being, may I find peace;
Here, within the quiet of the Grove, may I share peace;
Gently, within the greater circle of all life, may I radiate peace.

Awen! Awen! Awen!

Sing: “Gifts of Awen”

(Morning nature divination & meditations.)

Dyéus, Father of Inspiration;
Matria, Mother of all Creation;
Simurgh, Spirit of Transformation;
Spirits of Nature, one and all:

Thank you for your steady presence, and guidance in my life.

I depart the Sacred Grove with gratitude;
I depart the Sacred Grove, in peace.

(Allow the Sacred Grove visualization to dissipate. If at altar, snuff the candles and close the altar cabinet doors. Depart the ritual space, slowly, returning to the normal course of the day.)