Archive for the shamanism Category

Earth Spirits, fact or fiction?

Posted in druid, paganism, shamanism, spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by cerrilee

For some reason I have been thinking lately of a video I saw a few years ago on You tube called the ‘Wild Horses of Newbury’ and as often happens with these things, a magical synchronicity happened and someone posted it up on Facebook yesterday. For those of you who have not seen this piece of footage it is a recording of  something that happened at the Newbury bypass protests some years ago as some wonderful old Oaks were being felled to make way for yet another road.

As the Oaks were being cut and felled by the chainsaws in front of  the protesters, an army of  police on horses and yellow jacketed “security”,  in dark sunglasses many of them, hired for the “safety” of all, a pair of dark horses came running out of the fields apparently from no where. They ran to the trees being felled, in and through all of the crowds of yellow jackets they ran. The horses were obviously distressed, running backwards and forwards around the scene to the surprise and bewilderment of the officials. Then one of the horses went up to the row of police horses and seemed to speak to one in particular, it pressed it’s face onto the police horse and they seemed to be speaking to each other, the policeman sat stunned on the back of his horse and no one was sure what to do. After a while the horses left going back to where ever they had come, leaving the protesters sure that the spirits of the trees and the land had spoken to all present that day. Even as I write this now I find it hard to fight back the emotion from watching this clip of film again. I was not at the road protest but I know  the sense of loss stays with many after all this time. I strongly recommend everyone to watch it, especially any of those who find it hard to see beyond the atheistic fog that hangs over paganism these days.

For me the above encounter serves to confirm the ideas I have always believed, that all things are connected and that all life has the ability to communicate across species, gender and culture, if we only have the ears to listen and the eyes to see. It was just like the bit in the movie Avatar when the whole of life gathers together in one final showdown with the humans to fight back their destruction, I wonder if the director had seen the Newbury horses on YouTube?

The Horse has been a symbol of Sovereignty for thousands of years. Kings regularly symbolically married a horse as part of his coronation ceremony. The great White Horse carved into the chalk hill at Uffington in Wiltshire attests to their influence on our forebears and even today many cultures have them as a powerful part of their shamanic traditions. Then there is the Oak, a symbol of strength and majesty, it has been revered as the Druids tree for so many years. The great oaks of our lands have been a bridge between the upper, middle and lower worlds for millennia, a place to gather for communities for problems to be solved, celebrations to enjoy and names to be carved to declare undying love and, Oh irony of ironies, they have been a symbol of protection in the form of house frames, doors and ships. So is it any wonder, as the horses ran through the dreadful scene of destruction, that all watching felt that the spirits of nature were trying to tell us all to look at what we do, that something truly otherworldly was going on in those moments.

Watching programs like the three part BBC series ‘How to Grow a Planet’ also helps – again science proving everything I have always felt, you will never look at plants the same way after that program! Plants communicate with each other sending danger signals to warn of predators, their breathing process is responsible for the air we breath, everything has sentience even the blades of grass under your feet.

Many years ago these ideas became something of a mini crisis, I became very freaked out even cutting up carrots after watching a ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ (Roald Dahl  stories on TV), where a man invents a machine that could hear plants. He set it up next to an Oak and then hit the tree with an axe, the machine picked up the scream, he was also by a field of wheat being cut…..well I tell you I was a total vegetarian at the time and began to have real problems eating anything at all, it is all alive and breathing! Obviously I have calmed down a bit since and now needless to say try to honour everything I eat. I think that what this may be teaching me is that I have, at times, watched too much TV!

But seriously, if a person should ever need reminding or indeed the understanding that everything that lives, no matter what form it may take, is full of soulful, sentient energy, watching the Horses of Newbury will do it every time.

blessed be

Quantum theory, new jargon for an ancient understanding?

Posted in cerri lee, shamanism, spirituality with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by cerrilee

This week I watched a program called “What the bleep do we know?” it has poked my “need to chew this over” button. It is full of scientists, psychologists and doctors of this and that working in various fields, but it is basically a new age film about how we all make our own lives and its all down to Quantum physics, as you would imagine it sets one thinking.

On the whole I would not disagree with much of the content as it is based on the one piece of information that has been a consistent part of my belief system for many years, that is that there is nothing solid, everything is vibrating energy. This means that anything, absolutely anything is possible even probable and that everything is connected. But, and for me it is a big but, there was a basic premise threaded through the whole film that rankled with me, that is the idea that our lives are only created moment to moment by the thoughts that we, as individuals, put out into the energetic potential. So if you think bad thoughts it means bad things will happen, i.e. you get ill, you grow old, your life gets messed up….etc it is all down to your way of thinking, they even subtly imply that you could live forever if you get your thoughts right and never, ever have to have a bad thing happen to you, ever.

Now while to a large degree it is true that a good state of mind alters health, mental well being and how you attract things into your life, I don’t see how it  can be stated that the individual is unaffected by all of the other individuals (and for me the individuals include everything that exists from a blade of grass to the cosmos) doing the same thing you are, isn’t that just a bit silly? And the idea that you can go through life and not ever have to deal with anything negative, really?

Surely it is how you deal with the negatives in your life that help you to grow as a person and help make better more informed choices for yourself and the world in which you live? Have they understood cause and effect, the chaos theory…..butterflies and tornados etc… properly?  To imagine that the individual is autonomous, living in a unique and moment by moment existence that they alone create, yet all is connected is a conflicting message to me.

But enough ranting about new age theories mixed with science and a bit of omnipresent being to keep the majority happy, if I truly believe that anything and everything is possible…I have to concede they have a chance of being right somewhere too!

Anyhow the more I hear about quantum theory and many other scientific theories around at the moment, it seems to me that they are just giving a new jargon to what the ancients were saying all along.  For instance the Anglo Saxons had a belief structure that they called the ‘Wyrd’, which put in a very tiny nutshell, is the understanding that all things are connected, past, present and future  all affect each other. The individual is part of the whole and how they behave reflects not only in their own present environment, family and tribe, but also affects their descendants lives and luck. It is like a great multidimensional tapestry being woven from everyone and everything’s threads, each individual part affecting the whole pattern, adding to the diversity and texture. There are aspects of fate within the concept, but not so fixed that our thoughts, actions and intentions can not affect outcomes, therefore we must presume a need for personal responsibility for said intentions, thoughts and actions.

If we look around the ancient texts we can find this is a familiar concept, the multidimensional universe was widely understood,  agreed on and happily accepted in various forms pan-culturally. This all makes perfect sense to me and if I have to fall into any line of  thinking it best suits my experience of the human existence so far, so Mr scientist nothing new to see here move along, next theory to prove the ancients correct again please!

I think that “The Bard’  (for all you ancient Britain scholars out there I mean Shakespeare not Taliesin this time) penned the most appropriate lines for this apparent world that we live in and I take leave to quote him as a finish to my odd and rambling rant……

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Going back to source

Posted in art, cerri lee, clothing, damh the bard, druid, druidism, druidry, pagan, pagan music, paganism, sculpture, shamanism, spirituality, Uncategorized, wicca, witchcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by cerrilee

Recently I have been pondering the magic of Art and it’s ancient mystical roots.

I have recently finished a piece of work called “Cernunnos” that for me speaks of the origins of the pagan Horned God and then, a couple of weeks ago, I watched a curious film called “The Cave of Dreams”  made in a recently discovered cave in France where cave paintings have been found, these paintings are believed to be the oldest found so far at around 35,000 years old.

I have been driven for a long time by the need to understand what Art is at it’s source and I have long wondered if it still can have the same mysticism and power in a culture that is swamped by banal and fatuous images.

Almost every culture has in some way or another over the millennia created animal-headed men that have come to represent Gods, they are very familiar to all whether you be Pagan, Christian or any other religion, and they seem to me to be both a natural and magical way to interact with those forces of nature. They are powerful images that conjure a primal response within us and for me that is the whole point of art, to illicit an emotional response. Even within modern Paganism today many find ourselves drawn to this primal image and connection.

In some of the earliest images it is hard to see whether it is a man wearing an animal mask or an animal behaving like a man, the boundary is blurred and I feel that was the point. In order to catch your pray you must first understand it, maybe even become it. So are the beautiful cave paintings art or magic or both?  Were the shamans of the tribes, as walkers between this world and the world of spirit, the ones who painted these images, or was every hunter a shaman/artist? Did each hunter believe that to capture the animal in the flesh he must first capture it’s spirit?  In the dark recesses of the ancient caves by flickering fire light and with the most basic of ingredients gleaned from the earth, did they sing, dance and drum to the spirits of the animals before the hunt? Did they bind the animals and hold their spirits to give any advantage to the hunters against the enormity of mammoth, lion or rhino. Maybe the shaman stayed in the cave until the hunt was done, holding that energy for the tribe doing battle with magical spear and arrow?

Then there are the many small sculptures of naked women with large breasts often called the “Venus” of where ever they were found, older still than the cave paintings in many cases, but one was found as a painting in the French cave with animals woven into the design to look like parts of her body. Did they call to a spirit of creation to aid them in the hunt also?

All of these dreams and notions keep me searching for ways to express the ineffable through art, inspired by the magic of the ancestors.

Finding “The Goddess”

Posted in art, cerri lee, damh the bard, druid, druidism, druidry, pagan, paganism, sculpture, shamanism, spirituality, wicca, witchcraft with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2008 by cerrilee

webrock.jpgWhat a journey this life is!

Lately I have found myself on a journey of self discovery and healing that is moving me to my very foundations, the universe seems to be conspiring to clear all of the detritus that has built up in my Psyche over the years, and one of the most profound parts of that journey has been a recent visit to Cyprus, the Homeland of my biological Father.

To set the scene a little I feel I need to give a snip of history to put the story into how important this is for me. I first found out about my biological Father when I was seventeen, some six years after the man I had believed to be my Father had died in a car crash. Not to make too long a story of it, I was a little surprised, not to mention curious! However, my Mother made it clear from what little she said, I would never be able to meet or find my biological father and, the Gods forbid I should discuss this with anyone, the last bit I think you can tell, I flagrantly ignored!

What she neglected to tell me at that point (it took another thirteen years for this bit) was, that I also had another Sister, a full sister from the elusive Cypriot! She is two years younger than me and had been adopted at birth, she had tracked us down as soon as she could and spent a year trying to pursued Mother to let her meet the rest of the family. I am happy to say that when Mother finally relented and allowed us to meet, there was an instant connection, it was as if my Sister had always been part of my life, and we have continued to be close.

Anyhow now you have a bit of history to put things in context, back to the point of the blog!

There is a place on Cyprus called “Aphrodite’s Sanctuary” and on the second day of our trip Damh and I decided to visit this place. We had been told of a stone there that had an amazing energy, so on what turned out to be the only bright sunny day we had in the week we were there we set of to find it. Having hired a little 4×4 and bought a map we set off. It was easy to find, we pulled into what seemed at first to be a slightly ramshackle site at the back of someones yard. We got out of the car and walked in to the newer looking part of the site, paid the grumpy lady behind the counter the few euros and went in.

The air was full of perfume and bird song as we walked through onto the site, the wind blew up the hillside off of the sea a mile or so away. We walked around the upper area discovering mosaics, old pathways, pomegranate trees and bits of the buildings that had lain around for centuries. We were virtually the only visitors there and we took our time and some photos, just soaking up the atmosphere which was pure peace. We then spent ages looking at the information boards full with information not only about the site but also the cult of Aphrodite. In those few relatively short paragraphs I learned so much and it awoke something deep within me.

I really had no idea quite how little I knew about this Goddess, to say that she has been generally underestimated is an understatement of epic proportion. This Goddess was know simply as “The Deity” for a long time and the age of the site is least Bronze Age possibly earlier, being used and rebuilt over thousands of years. She was and is an Earth Mother, the energy of her Sanctuary is beauty, peace and joy, and we hadn’t even found the stone yet!

We moved on from the info boards and on through a gateway set with simple murals made from small stones, into a courtyard with four or five large, old and beautiful trees, all of the buildings were newly restored medieval buildings, clean and elegant. We began to explore the open doorways that beckoned. Damh went into one whilst I explored another, we met in the courtyard and as I looked at his face I knew something had affected him, he said, “I will give you a minute alone in there”. Ok! I thought and walked up the cobbled ramp to a large doorway.

As I walked through the doorway from bright sunlight into the relative gloom of the vaulted room, a wave of energy washed over me that was so powerful that it took my breath away. I stood just inside the room and caught my breath and as my eyes adjusted, I saw “The Stone” sitting on a plinth placed in the center of the Eastern wall. The presence of this black piece of rock that was about three feet tall, almost conical but slightly flattened on three sides, was incredible. Either side of the rock there was information about it and how it was housed and the kinds of offerings that had been made to the embodiment of the “Deity” long before any anthropomorphic image, she was the very Earth itself and there was nothing to tell you that you could not touch “The Deity”, and so I did. I touched her smooth blackness and felt an acceptance the like I have never felt before, like all those people in ages passed, my ancestors, I touched the Goddess and she touched me.

In that place I felt the fragmented parts of my heart and soul begin to find a healing, maybe for the first time in my life, it was hard to leave that place and I will go back again, but it was getting on in the day and we had to leave at some point, so we traveled down the road a little further to the place that it is said to be the birth place of the Goddess, again it was a rock, or rather a large group on a mystical shore. There is a tunnel built to take you safely onto the beach under the busy road, it is long, thin and dark and feels like a birthing canal, and as you emerge blinking into the light the Rock formations are right in front of you, again breath taking! And to our surprise on all of the bushes along the beach there were tied white rags, offerings to the Goddess, just as at many sites have over here in Britain!

The Goddess is alive and even though she now has a supermarket, golf course and other modern day fripperies named after her, her power is still with us undiminished!

Finally I have made my Immrama to Cyprus after more than half a life time of being curious about the culture of my Father and physical aspects of being multicultural, in the genetic sense (there is another whole other story about the Irish part of my heritage), add to that a great deal of spiritual work on “The Ancestors”, personal ancestry, and connection to “The Land” with all of its cycles, myths and legends.

Many people on a spiritual path make connections with various Gods and Goddesses and I am no different, and needless to say that however you think about those connections, either because I wished to or because She called to me, I have felt a strong calling from Aphrodite. Many aspects of my life I have related to this Goddess and yet always found difficulty in relating to her stories, and now I know why. I have started to live as a whole person in a way that could not have been done without this soul quest, and I thank “The Deity” for her gift with all my heart.

blessed be

Cerri 🙂

Art and Magic

Posted in art, cerri lee, clothing, druid, druidism, druidry, pagan, paganism, sculpture, shamanism, spirituality, wicca, witchcraft with tags , , , , , , , on January 15, 2008 by cerrilee

It seems that the universe is working some kind of magic for me at the moment! So many things are coming into my awareness that are teaching me some very strong lessons about my art and the way I think about it. Not the least of which was a great discussion at the moot last night on Symbolism.
For so many years I have not valued my attempts to express myself and seen nothing but imperfection in the things I produced, always comparing myself to others and never matching up in my eyes. But with a fairly new perspective, I think that was because I was always trying to control the piece and never let it speak for itself.

Art, to me, is communication of ideas and feelings, so the fundamental drive of an artist from my point of view, is to convey that feeling or inspiration that often hits you from both inside and out. It hits your head, your heart and your gut all at once and you feel compelled to share that passion with anyone who will listen, you want them to feel the same fire in their heads. But every time you put pen/pencil to paper or model a lump of clay the language used can often feel limited, not up to the task of conveying all that verve and gusto. To me in the past it seemed in order to reach out and communicate the things that had moved me so strongly, I had to find a symbolic language that anyone could access.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that everyone has their own internal symbolic language built from their own natures and their cultural nurturing. So I spent my time thinking and thinking and thinking and rarely doing anything for fear that I would not be able to speak clearly enough or in a language that people would want to hear!

Blimey! I tell you that is not a fun place to be and all self inflicted! If I want to I can blame my insecurities on my unsupportive parent, who never even passed a comment on anything I did except possibly to point out a number of flaws, but I think that is too easy a get out. I have been a grown up for quite a long time now and had three great kids of my own, all of which have grown up as very creative individuals and I managed to encourage them, why couldn’t I do the same for myself?

I think that I have finally found my own plain and simple truth, my journey has been to find the courage to not control the reaction from others by trying to second guess what anyone might want to hear and manipulate the image to that end, but to put stuff from my heart out there and hope that something I produce may speak personally to another individual. In truth my ego hopes others will see the depth of feeling I have for my spirituality, the natural world and mythical realms through the mediums I choose.

For me the Magic of Art is in the doing of it. In the process of exploration and experimentation you learn your own inner language and the more you use it the greater your vocabulary becomes and so the more confident you are to speak it out loud.

Will it stick this time?

Posted in art, cerri lee, druid, druidism, druidry, pagan, paganism, sculpture, shamanism, spirituality, wicca, witchcraft on December 20, 2007 by cerrilee

My partner Damh the Bard is determined to get me into the technological age! So far he has meet with stubborn resistance to anything internet based as a form of communication for me.

How ever it has occurred to me that maybe putting finger to keyboard in a blog about my creative process would a good way for me to more fully understand it and even bring in new ways to express myself.

So just this short introductory post for today as it is the festive season and there is much to be organised for the ceremony up the Long Man Hill tomorrow for our Winter Solstice celebration.

May the rebirth of the light bring new strength and vision for the coming year.