Friday, July 27, 2012

Praise Offerings

the bird

“Praise Offerings”
The term that is used in ADF Druid ritual to refer to the collective offerings of the group.
why we make Praise Offerings, how they are made, when they are made, and who they are made to
Praise offerings are an expressive Art meant to charm.
there should be sensitivities shown about respect, and a clear intent to avoid offending.
A Peace Making Promise.
A recognition, or honoring action, elevating, raising up
Praise is a particularly strong and ancient  use of word magic.
It is clearly not cursing.
It is about good feeling.
Our collective ability to create and build upon that.
Our desire to want to share, to help and do good.

Begin to own and understand the power to praise.
Maybe our most under-utilized magic ability.
It doesn't take a lot from us, yet it has a big  effect.
Sincerity and truth are important aspects to consider .
It is offered, free to be accepted, or not!

We are doing it all the time.
Not as much as we unconsciously complain.
We thoughtlessly curse as a social bonding mechanism. Our challenge is the development of special Time to exercise our ability to carefully Bless.

Beginning with the things we take for granted.
There are echoes of Class Order in the traditions of praise.
Patrons and people.
If you show proper gratitude and respect things are good.
When we are cruel and overlooking our Help,
Inhospitable in our actions, we lie to our selves.

     -from my response to Peter(with the little guitar) in NYC

I Believe in the ability to apply sincere appreciation and caring to change things, The effects of kind word and caring touch it is clearly  related to growth and health in our living companions, but is true of our material things as well.
People and Pets and Places
What doesn’t benefit from  special care and recognition?
There is power in praise, and special qualities of the delivery mechanism of the offering.

Praise Offerings in ADF ritual are not performances that are to be applauded by the assembled folk .
We are witnessing or participating in a expression of appreciation for another audience.
An appeal is made for them to accept these offerings as sacrifice,
Our Gift, Our sharing message. A language of caring.
The praise offering segment of an ADF grove ritual is close to being the potluck or open stage aspect of our group practice.
It is most often meant to be praise for that specific season or holiday.
Other ADF groves refer to the Deities of the Occasion as the chief recipients of the praise.
Meaning all praise should be addressed to them. To draw attention away from the honored guests at their own party is rude.
This is a problem when a group of people have been investing in the planning of a holiday ritual with an expectation of outcome. Often this is Their Opportunity to perform for Their Gods in Their way.
Sacred showing off is a big part of what “this” is all about.
It happens at Grove rituals, and in a long distance ramped up way at Festivals.
Some groups of folks have been looking forward for an opportunity to shine!
Contra-eclectic scape–goats are not to blame, it is in the nature of the gathered group to turn out different than imagined.
A ritual is a repeated  thing, a habit, an exercise to stretch and build.
I have led over a hundred ADF rituals,
The spirits that come and attend these rituals have not necessarily  Identified themselves as Druids or Pagans.
My holidays are attended by a few fairly regular folks, their family,and friends, It is common to have people new to group ,
I think of the people as Members of the Grove when I think they get it, when they got my back, and they step forward on the holidays..
The focus of ADF ritual practice often shifts away from Grove as holiday community celebration to study program stage time.
I don’t feel  it is a necessary experience for many .
The contest, the audiences, the pride and faith on trying to deliver on the promises of Our Meritocracy as a brand religion.
A balance must be struck between the desires of seasonal ritual construction committees and the Old Fans who drop in to return for the same good stuff they’ve come to expect .
ADF offers people access to group worship.
We encourage people .
Trying our best to oversee sacrifice that is true and not wasted.
Hoping to moderate the offerings in a gentle way that does not offend.
Not afraid to play it safe  and take our time.

It is strangely awkward to accept responsibility for our encouragement of another.
It is easy to seek the popular comfort of compliments and flattery.
Trapped by our inability to offer anything other than praise, the leader of an ADF ritual is in a socially awkward place between the worlds.
There is an Ancient tradition of praise poetry, that we are an outgrowth  of.
Vocational specialists, praising Masters for taking care of them…..
The Satirist, as the flip side of the coin of the Praise Poet, was the Poet who used  the power of words to put down and insult often involving shame and embarrassment. Both aspects of the Poet were popular among  the common folk but both were employed by the lordly class.Their work is about a worldly patron, not a struggle with an otherworldly muse. Likewise the fool is out of place without a court to function in. 
Nobility and Sovereignty are not necessarily associated with the prosperity of Place and People but often are clearly for sale. Today is an Age of Belittling, divide and conquer, an attempt to pick apart the fabric of society.  The atomization of Humanity by words that make us feel less worth or valued, less related to one another.
Social Engineering built upon the put down.
There are few great Patrons taking care of our real Poets and limited cultural communities supporting our true work.  Big money is lying to people about Everything-especially Life, Earth, and Humanity.  It is hard to earn a living from simple and honest encouraging and praising.
It isn’t inspired mystic spontaneous magic  from the ritual leader or clergy that is counted on as the power of the  group ritual.
It is the power of belonging, feeling involved and engaged. It will be a more effective ritual if  All are comfortable and feel safe with their level of participation.
We are encouraging  Authentic individual spiritual expression and empowerment.
It is tricky, in a cynical age, to try to keep it real.
Often that real is the good enough of the special combination of people, places and events,
Offerings are released, let go of, to be accepted or rejected…… they must move on.
This point in ritual is a reflection of the offerings of the Gathered folk as facilitated by the Grove Holiday.
This is made explicit in the final prayer of sacrifice .
The Omens determine if and how the offerings bundled and turned sacrifice have been accepted.
Some times things are not accepted, it is not a failure in the ritual or our spiritual purpose, it may be a fact of the nature of Offering,
Valuing the ability to chose.
Free Will.
To say what you mean.
I don’t know that it is ever appropriate to comment on perceived events in sacred time without effecting things in weirder ways.We make a point of not applauding or cheering between praise.  It is not good form to talk about ritual at the feasting after,
.It moves on in our forgotten memory somewhere else, to pop up again transformed, a reply, a response to wishes, prayers,and kind intentions.
We trust in that.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

“Is this about High Tide?”

Yesterday I was asked this question by a very famous person.

My Mother likes to remind me of how we got right up close to see him sing and tell stories when I was a Kid.

I found being an educator on the river to be the closest thing to  being My Druid self.

I’ve been lucky to have been a part of the Tide Line program for many years now, part of an organization  best known for its boat and mission as well as it’s Founder.

They also pull off this Nation’s oldest and largest environmental music festival, that became part of my family camp out tradition last year.

My first returning to festival environs since the pagan fests of the nineties.

My family was part of over a thousand volunteers at a festival attended by thousands more.

We were with education doing our Art on a stick.

Last year was our first year camping and working at the event, we were mentioned by name in the program.

Things turned a bit weird after the festival.

I had developed a project for the festival tent we were part of that included a  number of fish flags, kites, and puppet like things for display.

The largest and most note worthy a giant sturgeon.


It took days to build and was partially made with a roll of my dead father’s French watercolor paper.

holding fish  sucker mouth

It is Big and delicate, I was happily to see it survive the weekend and weather.

I was prepared to let my director off the hook for inspiring me to make this monster, but he wanted to take it back to keep at the education center that we are based out of.

I had painted a wall and ceiling mural at this place, I even pulled my Kid in on the project.

 heron 1   heron 2heron 3   heron 4     heron 5heron 6

heron 7

EMEC mural 09 014

catfisheagle ceilingfish ceilingKingfishermural detailstriped bass

the bathroom door

I thought I was to be paid from some of the big money that was raised by the big birthday concert for the founder in the big Apple.

The building and grounds are not owned by the group to which I belong.

After the festival my Giant Sturgeon ends up there.

My director finds out he can’t pay me what was agreed to.

I retrieve my precious from this place before the hurricane hits last summer and floods the place.

No hard feelings.

The place on the river was not destroyed by the hurricane or flooding, like we suggested to the classes of kids who showed up there this season, but it was torn down in the wake of the disaster.

This season I came to a special relationship with the place of  Esopus Meadows.

I asked my director if I could wade out before a program and let go of my Dad’s ashes.


Yesterday I’m in the Empire State’s first capital for River Day, and a ground breaking for a new building, A winter  dock for the boat/ education center in partnership with the Museum I began Volunteering  at this year.

I am  needed as a volunteer for the Museum and am given a White t-shirt with the Museum logo to wear-as the crew of the boat and it’s org are wearing branded  shirts.

I watch the entertainers from under a tent tying knots and applying temporary tattoos.

I know the performers and the executive directors, I don’t see my director, or recognize the Mayor .

I was listening to the speeches when I am surprised to see the Founder’s Iconic presence, he has his wife and banjo with him.

He gets his picture with his hand on the shovel, and goes back to play a few songs and tell a few stories,

His voice has not been strong, his wife ill.

Yet here he was about thirty feet in front of me with a few dozen people singing and playing.  I have been close to him, but never got to talk to him myself.

The Museum’s volunteer director asked me to help her move a photo booth from a docked barge that acts as floating museum.

With hand truck we go up the ramp from the dock to the barge. It is decided the booth is not to be moved, as we prepare to go down the ramp the Executive Director is pulling up the front of the Founder’s wife's wheel chair to come aboard.

I stand aside as the Executive Director and the Founder’s wife's aide get up the ramp and onto the barge, behind them the Founder comes up, looking directly at me, glancing somewhere beyond the hand rail, then back to me. He looks me in the eye and says, “Is this about high tide? “


I answer “you know….I don’t know” 



Friday, July 20, 2012

Instinct , Intuition, Imagination

    •   People are embarrassed by involuntary loss of physical control

    • a sneeze or fart

    • to stumble or fall

    • We commonly curse not being in command of the situation.

    • There are social considerations and cultural  responses

    • Most are about politely ignoring or offering

    • This is not about reason and rational explanations

    • It is about how we have been culturally  manufactured to feel shame at the loss of self mastery.

    • It has been going on for generations

    • It is part of our being and nature

    • It is in our bones,and runs in the family

    • knowledge of the mysteries of our inner workings is dispensed to us privately,

    • Publicly we are exposed to a sophisticated coordinated media that makes a direct appeal to  reflex reaction that  runs deep somewhere in our unaware pre decider self.

    • We are not being told to follow our hearts,

    • but follow the leader

    • We have been fed a value system that is commercial  not natural.

    • Conditioned not to look at inner beauty,and personal gifts

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

soul searching

Soul searching

I think that sentient beings are not the only things that have feelings,or a individual and unique personal spiritual essence or soul.

self awareness may be an overrated life value system .

flattering our ego  as the brainy and more soul worthy,

I suspect that the soul is deeper than awareness

perhaps below instinct or behind our dream.

Everything's got soul!

some more than others

at the bottom of our being is a truth that is genuine.

we are just passing through this world.

we are shape shifters

here for now

worlds of spirits

soul as cell. environment as body

making peace and being witness

to the souls that aren’t recognized as real, by priests and scholars.

the attraction of the bee to the blossom,or the bird to the berry.

flower power and the spreading seed,

part of an animate Earth with a soul of its own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

anticipated return , empathy for entropy

to care

  • The Soul of Solstice.
  • Transmigration of souls.
  • metamorphosis.
  • the Larvae (ghost ) leaves behind the terrestrial Pupa shell’
  • Transformed,
  • Emergent  flying,
  • It joins others in a new home in the sky.
  • A Soul is more than breath on a mirror.
  • The Wake and the certainty  of passage
  • the Butterfly as soul.
  • Dreamer