Hail! — Part 2

[Part 1 | Part 2 ]

Woodenbreath makes a valuable point in his recent comment: “Why I didn’t write anything down, was because I’ve been caught in a deep feeling, like a meditation”. Me too. That in fact was my first experience, a signal that alerted me to things in words that became part of this two-part reflection.

You’ll obviously experience the video in Part 1 in different ways, depending on your previous life experience — and that itself is a valuable guide and reminder. In so much of human experience, “There’s no OSFA” — no ‘one size fits all’. Half of living is finding out and learning how — and how much — we need to adapt what we encounter to our own lives and circumstances. And another third is learning who to ignore and who to listen to for guidance. ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’, said the wise Galilean, who might be expected to know what he was talking about. I’ve never encountered the sacred in the abstract, only in forms I can recognize, accept, work with. If it exists, it’s probably already embodied in my life.

rhododendrons, front lawn

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Here are some of my notes and responses to the video in part 1. No real order here, because.

A single voice begins the music.

Sometimes I sing alone because I am alone. But mysteriously, the sound of a solitary so often echoes and resounds and draws others. In a paradox of the sacred, the more inward-focused I am, at times, the stronger the outward call I make to others who resonate with me. Others join the solo voice in community. Sometimes I hear those already singing with me, if I listen. And they may not always be human. If we’re Druids, the chances rise to very high that many of the voices will be other-kin.

The elements

Air, and song, inspiration. The pauses, silences and rhythms that make up music, especially music of the voice. The drone in the background, the awen always singing to us. The earth beneath the feet of the pilgrim walking, the stones she caresses so intimately, the body itself, in postures of reverence. Water, the surf against the shore, the springs and rivers, the hand dipping into the water, the mist. Fire, the human spirit, the sun glimpsed through the mist at the end, the red of the scarf or shawl on the pilgrim’s shoulders that wants to carry symbolic weight, if we let it. Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath and fire my spirit. The old chant still, deep in us.


An ancient practice, most apt and fit for our practice today. Many of us have a favorite walk. Pilgrimage. An annual or every-decade reunion. Pilgrimage. A daily practice. Pilgrimage. Coffee or tea each morning or afternoon or evening at a longed-for hour. A small pilgrimage of calm and centering.


I loved the physical intimacy of touch in this video. Again and again the imagery is of grounding. Literal groundedness, feet touching the earth. Seeking out grounding, touching the stones. Bowing before the holy to touch the earth. Groundedness in chant and devotion and song. Groundedness in color, in taking in all the hues of our worlds. Acknowledgement of our own bodies, made of heavy, earthed substance.


We’re beings that can perceive color, so it’s little surprise that colors evoke so much for us. How can we use color as part of sacramental experience? Many churches deploy color and changes of color as part of their liturgical year. Some Druids do the same.

A holy mountain

Every culture has one or more. “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help”, goes a prayer from the Jewish Bible. A good contemplation seed. In form, the holy mountain is often a kind of altar. Most of us have one of those, concealed as something else. A corner of the nightstand, or of the desk, part or all of a shelf, a cupboard, a backyard statue or rock or stone circle. If I don’t have one, and I feel the call to start one, it’s easy to begin right now.


Children know this practice instinctively, as soon as school is done or summer starts, as soon as the car door opens at the beach or grassy park. Only connect, writes E . M. Forster. The pilgrim in the video walks barefoot.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,/ And every common bush afire with God,/ But only he who sees takes off his shoes … Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Another contemplation seed. Or reverse a truth to test it, stretch it: Only those who take off their shoes may see


The praying hands of the vocalist partway through. The postures and gestures we make all our days. The prostration before the boulder. The raised arms to the air, the sun, the bird. The arms outstretched at the closing.

Altars and the Bardic Arts

What altar do I currently worship at? (Everybody has at least one.) Can I discern its shape? Do I worship there consciously or unconsciously? Is this a good altar for me? The bard has words, voice, chant, song, music, inspiration to explore other altars, to feel their shape, sample and savour them. The shape of the altar is the shape of your own consciousness, says one of the Wise. The bards carry us with them on their journeys, so that we may choose, if we wish, to begin to explore on our own.

Veil, clothing, fog

What do I veil, and how? What was veiled that has now become clearer to me? Which veils do I respect, and which do I need to part and pass through?

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Posted 30 June 2021 by adruidway in Druidry, spiritual practice

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