Yule Triad

The three greatest gifts of a California Yule morning:

a gentle, greening rain;
one perfect orange, plucked from a glistening tree;
the brilliant rays of the returning Sun, illuminating all
of the first rosy blossoms of blueberry.

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!

A Coast Range Planting Poem

Having grown tired of all the delightful ditties pertaining to farming schedules that have nothing whatsoever to do with my microclimate, I decided to begin to compose my own. Here is the first:

Seeds we planted Groundhog’s Day
Bring Salad Fairies, early May;
At end of June, we plant again
For Harvest Feast, come winter rain.

Lesson from a Hedge Rose

In the Coast Range Mountains of California, our Flower Season — our warm explosion of new green growth, with native wildflowers rioting on the hills and blankets of native flowers covering the shrubs and trees, has long since passed. The new generation of brush rabbits have already grown, and taken up their gardening duties of mowing the lawn and pruning up the garden hedges.

Hedge roses, not being native California plants, and living in the irrigated portion of our gardens, are one of the few sources of flowering beauty that we typically can enjoy during the festival of Beltane, when Druids elsewhere in the world are reveling in their own, native Flower Seasons. But this year, they are certainly taking their dear, sweet time about it!

So, during my morning meditations today, I asked the roses: what are you waiting for?

Answer:

Others will always desire the pleasure of my flowers and foliage, for food, or shelter, or spiritual sustenance. But I cannot be always giving, and never receiving. I need time to rest, to gather resources, to build up my strength, so that I may continue to offer my unique gifts to the world, in brief seasons of glorious productivity. Besides, my beauty is well worth the wait.

I feel as if there is some wisdom in that, for me, as well. I always come back stronger, happier, and more vitally able to give of myself, after retreating from the busy world of work and family, for a time, to rest and to reflect.

Time to schedule another nature retreat!

Rituals for the Vernal Equinox

Here in the central Coast Range Mountains of California, where I live, the Wheel of the Year is quite different from most other places in which Druidry is typically practiced. In order for my personal practice of Druidry to authentically connect with the land, sea, and sky with which I live, it was necessary to rewrite the Wheel of the Year and develop a completely new set of seasonal rituals, which honored our local spirits of place, and the wisdom embodied by the natural seasons and cycles, found here.

The following activities are those which I perform on the day of the Vernal Equinox (or thereabouts), typically at a beautiful coastal location, where we can wade in the warmish-waters of the Pacific Ocean, and enjoy tide-pooling and a picnic on the beach, before the icy upwelling of Summer spoils all the fun.


FLOWER SEASON READ-ALOUD

I/We come to the Sacred Grove today, to celebrate the Vernal Equinox, a time of balance between darkness and light that is shared by all living beings on Earth. It is also a time of dramatic change in weather, all over the world. This shared experience, of perfect balance coupled with rapid change serves to unite all beings of planet Earth, despite our many differences.

Here in the Coast Range mountains of Northern California, spring is the Season of Flowers. As the sun continues its journey northward, toward its summer home, the surface waters of the ocean warm up, and the land warms up, and the green hills come alive with color, as the wildflower season reaches its peak. Skies turn sunny and clear, and blue, as the rainy season begins to fade.

At this moment in time, we in the Coast Range Mountains of California celebrate the unbridled beauty of spring, the explosion of wildflowers blooming on the hills, and the myriad trees and bushes simply dripping with flowers – promising bountiful future harvests: pink-flowering currants, blueberry and manzanita berries, plums and apples, lemon, lime, and orange blossoms, and the wild lilacs, all purple, blue, and white, buzzing with the delighted symphony of thousands of pollenating, nectar-sipping bees.

This is the time to acknowledge and celebrate the unbidden blessings that bring joy to our lives, and as is right and proper in Nature’s gift economy, to share those blessings with others who cross our paths.


FLOWER SEASON – SONG

Sing “Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers”
(a traditional, 13th Century Beltane carol):


FLOWER SEASON – ACTIVITIES

Weave flower garlands and crowns, and distribute them to random passers-by, spreading the unbidden blessings, and joy of the season.

Have each person in attendance describe an unbidden blessing in their life, for which they are grateful for, today.

Host a spring picnic on the beach, complete with wading, rock-scrambling, tide-pooling, and sand-castle building or beach-art activities.

And, even if (as it did this year) the beach excursion gets rained out, you can still celebrate, at home, and get outside a bit, between the raindrops, for sharing smiles…