New Year

New year
slips over the old.

Often the changing
of year results in events,
that like tectonic plates
grinding across each other
precipitate upheavals,
bring havoc,
cause devastation
in its wake and reckoning.

New year
slips over the old.

Other times,
far fewer,
events occur as fog
gliding over hills,
softly altering perceptions,
enveloping all around
stillness, quietude, whispers,
differences so slight
in attitude and action
that change hardly
registers at all.

The new year
slips over the old.

What comes as the
midnight heralds sound
the fireworks explode
in cascades
of light and wonder,
will be the slow
inexorable dawning
of another day
with the sun rising
and people shaking off
the bonds of sleep
to greet unknowns
the imponderability
of future becoming
present with each
step forward
and breath taken.

New year
slips over the old.

What each one of us is granted is the opportunity to start again. To make amends. To heal breaches. To reach out. To live. To love. To become what is the best of us, of each and every one of us, when we allow the old ways, the old patterns, the old thoughts processes to slip under away, under the shadow of the old year. In this way we are able to wake to the clear bright light of our tomorrows.

Music for the Holidays

Very belatedly I’m listening this evening to two of my favourite holiday CDs. Because of the upheaval in the house I’ve not had the chance to do so before now.

The first one is Celtic Christmas II, a collection put out be Windham Hill in 1996, and which I have listened to for the past twenty years now. This music takes me through two turbulent decades of my life beginning with the year I graduated from seminary and my mother died, encompassed my dream job as worship administrator at Trinity Church in Boston, through a marriage and two divorces, eight moves, one emigration, and, finally now, to my settlement in the UK.

I can see all the events that are part of this process without closing my eyes. Music powerfully evocative in this regard. Some of the music of Enya does the same for me, taking me over the same years, though not in the contexts of holidays.

The power of sound to tug the heartstrings, amazes and humbles me. The way melody can harness emotion and then release it in floods of tears or gentle sobbing, leaves me weak. Love. Loss. Pain. Joy. Emptiness. Fear. Hope. Yearning. All these emotions follow the tracks of this CD and the one that I will play after.

The second one is Celtic Solstice by Paul Winter and Friends. It came out in 1999 and was recorded on the longest night at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City, where I was baptised. It is still available and has some lovely tracks on it. This CD evokes different emotions connected with the place it was recorded, different memories and a longer history encompassing the first 45 years or so of my life and then tucks it into the Pagan context in which I now frame my spiritual practice and path as a Druid, which I have travelled for past 18 years.

Again, the images of my experience dance in front of me and envelop my awareness when I hear this music, so different from the first.

I tend to settle into a deep place of reflection between the Winter Solstice and January first. I review what I have done, and not done, achieved and not quite gotten done or not done to the best of my ability. I give thanks for the gifts I have received. I mourn the losses and rejoice in the births of new experiences. I review and then let go where appropriate. I take the lessons and release that which no longer serves.

This year has seen my second divorce. It has also seen me settled not only in the UK, but with a wonderful new partner and a new life with him. In the Autumn I managed to reconnect with my brother after trying for nine years, after my settlement paperwork came through. We aren’t close really, but at least I know he’s out there. Recently, it has seen as well my reunion and reconciliation with a friend whom I thought was gone forever after seven long and arduous years for both of us. The stories of which are unfolding in emails between us and bringing us tears of joy and sorrow for each other. And because we are separated by an ocean the deep yearning we each have to see each other and hear each other’s voices, and to one more hold each other in the embrace of forgiveness and love, which never parted from either of us as it turns out. The former can be done by technology, the latter will have to await her visit within the next several years.

So, the music I am listening to touches me on many levels and across and through so many layers of my life and my living. I listen and remember. It is an exercise in anamnesis. In unforgetting. In opening my heart to joy and sorrow. Opening my soul to its past. Letting the notes of the instruments wash over me and the words sung take me back gently, so that I can move into the future more whole and with a measure of contentment.

Epona’s Daughter

I did not get to spend
Epona’s day in quiet contemplation,
though I held the early dawn
honouring Her gifts
with my waking intentions.

In honouring Her, however,
I honour too my Spirit Horse,
a faithful companion
for many years
on many journeys
through many struggles.

She appears to me
a dappled gray mare,
with charcoal mane and tail
and a gentle disposition,
patient and brave,
inspiring confidence
and sharing her courage
as we travel through
portal door gate
into Otherworld
together.

Are you Epona’s foal,
the gray daughter
of the white mother,
and the dark father
of deepest night?

She possesses the wisdom,
knowing and certainty
to take me between worlds,
in her company
I willingly move from
the familiar here to there
engage the mystery
seek the answers
acknowledge the powers
beyond the strictly
mortal experience.

Today I honour Epona,
and in so doing
honour she on whose
back I travel beyond
my body and safe return.

Ride Far

Ride far.
Soar high.
Dive deep.
Follow when I lead.

The time is now
of great necessity,
you must range
beyond what you know,
but which I can show you.
Thus it is needful to be prepared,
dust off the shoes of your soul,
pack the scrip of your mind,
hold the vision of your heart close.

Ride far.
Soar high.
Dive deep.
Follow when I lead.

The night is long,
the day longer
each enough and no more,
frightening the denial,
fearful the waiting,
fretful the preparation,
I come for you now this moment.
Hear my song
echo in the darkness of your restraint.
Sense my presence
beside in the shadow of your reluctance.
Know my demand
felt in the gloom of your reticence.

Ride far.
Soar high.
Dive deep.
Follow when I lead.

Unlatch the door,
open the gate,
expose the portal,
make safe the space,
engage the energy
claim the place,
for the time has come,
you are no longer
able or allowed
to hide to dither to evade,
I require that you do
what you know you must.

Ride far.
Soar high.
Dive deep.
Follow when I lead.

You will not be alone,
you know you never had been.
You are well companioned.
You can go where
I take you for I and others
will be ever by your side
surrounding and upholding you.
Come.
Go.
Leave.
Return.

Ride far.
Soar high.
Dive deep.
Follow when I lead.

Remember

Remember, remember, remember:
the call goes out,
these words
this image
that idea,
an insistent mantra
as eyes close,
as body relaxes,
as spirit wanders,
with the coming of sleep.
The mind is adamant
must sleep now
and body follows,
or is it reversed
the body is adamant
and the mind must follow?
Ideas, words, images
in retreat
but sleepily repeat,
say again and over again,
to fix for morning recall
do not forget hold fast
the call goes out:
Remember, remember, remember.

Emerge

Emerge from the fog.
Merge with the mist.
Appear in dream.
Disappear at dawn.

Elusive,
secretive,
unsure
if the call has been heard,
if the presence will be heeded,
if the images can be held.

Waking from the wandering of sleep,
rising from the repose of night,
aware of the new day
away drift the words
given as the lights went out.

The head goes down,
the eyelids close,
the body refuses
to respond to the
desire, need, demand
to record the words,
capture the idea,
harness the images
before they drift away
slip beyond the gate of memory,
lost to the dark
of restless sleep,
fretful waking.

Cauldron Keeper

You bide by the cauldron,
insistent the feast
must be prepared,
and be ready to share.

You brook no excuses,
accept no lame reason,
the cauldron might be empty,
or contents ignored

You bide by the cauldron,
insistent the feast
must be prepared,
and be ready to share.

You remain vigilant,
missing no opportunity
to challenge and rebuke
under-worked ideas ill-formed.

You bide by the cauldron,
insistent the feast
must be prepared,
and be ready to share.

You demand absolutely,
that through the struggle
beauty eventually develops
as order from chaos.

You bide by the cauldron,
insistent the feast
must be prepared,
and be ready to share.

You relent only,
in the mystery of creation,
when words emerge patterned,
and ready to share.