The Moon’s Sunbeams, or, Reflections on the Solar Eclipse

The Druid's Garden

In the druid tradition, we recognize that the solar currents, those currents of energy coming from the sun, are extremely powerful. And so, when the sun in the noon-day sky suddenly darkens, ancient peoples saw it as an incredibly bad omen. Dragons eating the sun, battles bewteen the gods, portents of other evil and pestilence across the land accompanied a solar eclipse. Given some of the extremely shocking and difficult events and the rise of hatred in the US of the months and weeks leading up to this eclipse, one could approach it with some trepidation. I wanted to share a bit of a druid’s perspective on the eclipse today.

Forest eclipse pattern Forest eclipse pattern

The Solar Current’s Power

In his new book Secret of the Temple, John Michael Greer describes how temples were designed with particular features to channel the energy of the sun down and radiate it out…

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Cats of Estonia 

The Purrfect Job

I was just looking at the photos for my trip to Estonia and I noticed there are actually quite a few of cats I met there! So I decided to do a bit of a summary…

Some random cat I noticed at the window…just chilling out.

img_6838

I was invited to be a panelist for the Arvamusfestival – Opinion Festival (I know, it’s crazy, don’t ask me why I got invited as I have no idea…) so we spent one night at Paides. At the apartment we stayed in, the host’s cat kept coming up to ask for food. He/she literally just sat at the table with us at breakfast time…

Another of their cats was just screaming ‘HELLO!!!!’ to us from the back garden…

And then came to check us out while we were leaving…

Say hi to Joseph. The naming might have been a joke on Joseph Stalin but…

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Ecoregional Druidry: A Druid’s Wheel of the Year

Very nice 🙂

The Druid's Garden

In the 1990’s, now Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, Gordon Cooper, developed the idea of “wildcrafting your own druidry”; this practice is defined as rooted one’s druid practice in one’s local ecology, history, legends and magic.  In today’s age of adapting and drawing upon many different traditions in the quest for spiritual wholeness, we sometimes forget that all knowledge, regardless of how ancient it is (like the Celtic Tree Alphabet and divination system, the Ogham) was originally developed in a local culture and ecosystem.  Thus, too, I believe our spiritual practice reflect our own local ecologies and ways of understanding.  I’m going to expand on some of Gordon’s ideas here and talk about my own work with « local druidry » or « ecoregional druidry » and how to put some of this into practice to create a « druid’s wheel of the year » that is specific to…

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The early bird…

Amanda Barnes Textile Artist

catches the worm apparently. I’m not overly fond of worms, the fact that they will just merrily wiggle on their way when you’ve accidentally chopped one in half, disturbs me. By the way, I’m talking about gardening, I’m not some strange serial killer with a penchant for worms…although I think my Halloween vampire mouse might like worms….

Anyway, the Crafter’s life is all about being early to the party. Basically if you aren’t, you miss out. Real crafts take time. I can’t knock out a hexagonal candle in 10 minutes as they seemed to suggest on ‘Craft it Yourself’ recently. Even an accomplished candle maker would struggle with that sort of nonsense. My mice and birds take time. They don’t take days like my embroidered birds but they still take time. So when the sun is beating down and you’ve got all the windows open, we ‘The Crafterarti’ as I…

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Cat theme arts and crafts – Saaremaa Kunstistuudio, Saaremaa, Estonia

cute 🙂

The Purrfect Job

More on my trip to Estonia!

Between giving lectures and meetings, I took a few days off to the island Saaremaa. I ran into this art studio / gallery place with a lot of cat theme arts and crafts, I thought I would share with you guys.

Here it is, the SaaremaaKunstistuudio…

I noticed immediately the cute cats on the window walking pass…

I went inside and noticed other unusual cat items immediately…

Apparently, there was an exhibition of an illustrator Liisi Lukk. I suspect she is a cat lover as there are quite many cat theme artwork in her collection.

Aren’t they amazing?

I always find it refreshing to be on the Continent where cats have a more prominent position in people’s heart. There is still a long way to go for cat lovers in Ireland…

If you ever visit Saaremaa, check this place out!

Liisi Lukk –…

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Rhododendrons and Bees

rambling ratz

How can something so beautiful be so controversial?Photo of rhododendron flowers

The rhododendron is not native to the UK, it was introduced by the Victorians and has proved very popular due to its stunning blooms. However, where it has found its way into woodlands it outgrows the native plants and blocks their light. It is considered an invasive species and pulled up where it is considered a nuisance.

Photo of rhododendronAnother alarming thing about them, for those of us that have chosen to plant one in the garden, is that they are possibly toxic to bees. As you can see from the photos, bees are attracted to them. Yet there is some debate as to whether or not the nectar, which produces grayanotoxin, is harmful to bees. There seems to be anecdotal evidence that honey made entirely from rhododendron pollen causes « Mad Honey Disease » in humans, the symptoms are similar to being intoxicated.

I am…

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Tesso – The Iron Rat

百物語怪談会 Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai

Mizuki_Shigeru_Tesso_Iron_Rat

Translated and Sourced from Mizuki Shigeru’s Mujyara, Kaii Yokai Densho Database, Japanese Wikipedia, and Other Sources

In Japanese folklore, if you make a promise you had better keep it—even if you are the Emperor of Japan. Otherwise, the person you betrayed might hold it against you and transform into a giant rat with iron claws and teeth and kill your first-born son. That is the story of the Emperor Shirakawa, his son Prince Taruhito, and the Abbot of Miidera temple Raigo—better known as Tesso, the Iron Rat; or more simply as Raigo the Rat.

What Does Tesso Mean?

The kanji for Tesso is about as straight-forward as you can get. 鉄 (te; iron) +鼠 (sso; rat). The name Tesso was given to this yokai by artist Toriyama Sekien in his yokai collection Gazu Hyakki Yako (画図百鬼夜行; The Illustrated Night Parade of a Hundred Demons,), although the character is much older.

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