In my introduction to Contemplative Druidry (1) I describe “a wholly unexpected and not at all dramatic epiphany … triggered simply by noticing and contemplating a wild rose”. Although the experience lasted for only a few moments, “for some weeks I woke up every day with a sense of joy and connection”. It was a shift in my spiritual centre of gravity.

This happened on a midsummer morning in 2007, just outside the Scottish Border town of Melrose on the bank of the Tweed. It is a place loaded with religious and mythic reference – Melrose Abbey with its Green Man carvings and the heart of Robert the Bruce; the Eildon Hills, those hollow hills where the Queen of Efland took True Thomas, making it clear to him that she was not the Queen of heaven.

I had chosen to walk away from those, and towards a riverside path. My…

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A quote from a book about war..

From All Quiet on the Western Front:

From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour
into us-mostly from the earth. To no man does the
earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses
himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he
buries his face in her from the fear of death by
shell fire, then she is his only friend, his brother,
his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in
her silence and her security; she shelters him and
releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten
seconds of life; receives him again and often for ever.

Earth with thy folds, and hollows, and holes, into
which a man may fling himself and crouch down. In the
spasm of terror, under the hailing of annihilation,
in the bellowing death of the explosions, O Earth,
thou grantest us the great resisting surge of new-won
life. Our being, almost utterly carried away by the
fury of the storm, streams back through our hands
from thee, and we, thy redeemed ones, bury ourselves
in thee, and through the long minutes in a mute agony
of hope bite into thee with our lips!


If prayer is awkward

Druid Life

Some Pagans find prayer an easy and natural part of their practice. I’m the other sort. I spend a lot of my time writing about things I find difficult, because I find it makes for more fertile explorations. It’s not the easiest sales pitch in the world though! I can’t solve all your problems, there won’t be an easy five minute solution, but if you’re uneasy too, and uncertain, and wondering, then wander with me and maybe something will happen.

Here’s a snippet from When A Pagan Prays.

What is prayer? Prayer is something that people do as a manifestation of religion or as part of a spiritual practice. Beyond that, it is remarkably difficult to pin down, being a term for a vast array of activities. Prayer crops up in religions across the globe, but what exactly it is, and how it works, depends a lot on who is doing it in what context, and why…

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