Thursday, 25 February 2016

February 28 Druid Walk - North East Wetlands - Rotary Mattamy Greenway

This coming Sunday, February 28 is our next Druid Walk at the Interpretive Wetlands - Rotary Mattamy Greenway.

We will meet at 10:30 am.  Park on Laguna Way NE, near 7217 Laguna Way NE, between Anaheim Cres NE and Anaheim Cir NE and we will walk along the green space path to the the wetlands.  Dress for the weather and bring some drinking water, and maybe your camera too!

North Access to Wetlands & Greenway 1. Drive east on 32nd Ave NE 2. Left turn at Catalina Blvd NE 3. Right turn on Laguna Way NE Access to the Greenway is at the playground just after Anaheim Crescent NE; turn right on pathway intersection to access the Wetlands.

Google Map Directions here.

If you want to join us, please send an email to before Sunday so we will know to wait for you.    

Early Spring Blessings,

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


I’ve been thinking about the concept of Ancestors of late and thought I would share some of my musings.  I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of ancestors. Most people refer to ancestors within the context of genetic lineage. I think the idea can be expanded greatly.

In my case, for example, my ancestors are Irish and English. But the ancestors who came to the New World arrived in the 1790s and the1680s. This neither makes me Irish nor English. I am now a Canadian. That being said, am I a new chapter in an old story? Or, am I a whole new story?

If one expands the idea of ancestor back through time, the direct lineage we have in our recorded history is rather shallow and rather selective. How, for example, do we incorporate our pre-human ancestors? So, I think the idea of ancestry is, in fact, the passage of information and wisdom from one generation to the next. It is far more than just a few generations. It is quite literally, all living things on the earth that are, will be or have been.

Quantum physics considers that time is a reference point. It is a point of view. In our present physical manifestation we perceive time in a forward linear fashion. This is a result of entropy or what is called the “arrow of time”. But, in fact, the true nature of time is not very well understood and how we perceive time, is not its full nature. There are proofs that we can perceive non-linear time and there is nothing in quantum physics that states we cannot perceive time in a non-linear fashion.

So, if we expand our idea of ancestors within the context of non-linear time, I think the idea of liminal spaces/edges and the interconnections of all minded things becomes the world of our ancestors. It is from this place that we can gain knowledge and wisdom equally valid as the spoken and written word.

Near where I live there exists the Badlands of Alberta, Canada in which the town of Drumheller is located along with the Royal Tyrrell Museum. When you enter this desert-like valley, you descend in elevation to the floor of the valley through which the Red Deer river flows. The fascinating part of the descent is that you are literally moving through millions of years of time. The floor of the valley is the same geological land upon which dinosaurs walked during the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. As a result of the power of natural erosion and weathering, this land where no human originally walked is exposed. Amongst the scatterings of fossilized forest remnants, and dino bones, one can also find fully articulated skeletons of ice age bison, too. Layers upon layers of time exposed as lines in the earth. It is interesting to note that our First Nations Peoples (Aboriginal) included this place in their myths. European settlers once mined coal from this valley. Today, this land is surrounded by agriculture; mostly wheat. In this place, time and a variety of cultural stories intersect in a very unique and non-linear fashion. The song of this land is, however, mostly pre-human. To walk on the same land as dinosaurs, now reduced to stone memories of a world long gone, invokes deep thoughts of the wyrd of humanity.


Finger taps to clock tick


On leather wood and wool

Old eyes gaze then settle

On photographs and dried roses

Near a blackened mirror

Once reflecting the grace of bright eyes and smiles

78 discs in yellowed sleeves

A phonograph with rusty needle

Whispers memories of instrument and song

While silent walls of chipped plaster

And splintered wood

Vibrate only to street noise

When cane hanging sometimes bounces

And calendars shift to reveal dark paper

Choking weed strewn garden

Broken leaning fencepost

Fallen white wash boards

Weary flowers blossom

Scent pounding on a closed window

Hollow hallway echoes cold

Dust on leather, wood and wool

Grey stone crucifix, perch for birds

Near fresh turned soil

Green to brown then green

A monument to memory revealing
Cuardaitheoir /|\

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Chinook Sky and Glenbow Ranch Park

I was fortunate enough to be invited to go on a little hike at the new Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park which is just northwest of Calgary, before you get to Cochrane.  This is a great place, with amazing views of the Rocky Mountains and the Bow River.   There is plenty of open grassland, with cows, wooded ravines, and even the Canadian Pacific Railway running through.

Today, however,  the best feature was the Element Air; a  Chinook Arch.  Calgarians are familiar with the warm Chinook winds that occasionally blow in from the west.  Today was  a perfect example of a Chinook, and the clear open views in the park made it easy to see as well as feel the effect.

We could not just feel the air,  but we could see it too.

The park entrance and parking lot are up on the top,  just off of Highway 1a.  The stunning view of the  Rocky Mountains is the first thing you see,  or maybe it is the clouds, and the Chinook Arch.  Your eyes are drawn up and out.  There is something magical about that far away scene that seems so close you could reach out and touch it.   The photos below really do such a poor job of showing it.  You must just go there and see it for yourself!

There are many trails and paths, and we chose to go to the right so we could watch the sky view ahead of us.  We followed the path down a steep hill, but not all the way to the river.

A train could be heard in the distance, and predictably came along.   Just past the railway tracks is the Bow River.  The evergreens shown below are on the other side of the river.

There are plenty of trees in the ravines and coulees, but only grass and brush up on the flats.  Most of the snow was gone, with  only some remaining in the shaded areas. This green moss really stood out from the background of brown.

The winding path was hilly and beautiful, with many perfect picnic places, small groves of trees and quiet spots.  This will be a great place to come again in the summer.

I was so taken by the sky that my camera is filled with images of it.  A few of the better ones follow here by way of an attempt to share the Chinook Arch with everyone.

And always some trees.

Chinook Blessings to all,
/ | \

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Liminal Spaces

Posted for Cuardaitheoir:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

In this, my first ever blog post, I would like to examine the idea of liminal places.  I have been deeply exploring this concept as a means to understand my own various experiences of liminal places.  I include the Otherworld and the In Between as manifestations of liminal places.  So, I admit my bias in accepting such “places” or experiences exist.  How does one, however, describe the concept and personal experiences of liminal places?

Language, be it mathematics or words, is a very constraining tool to symbolically describe or relate deeply personal experiences of the Liminal to others.  Poetic words and mathematical equations, however beautiful and elegant, are simply human constructs of various precisions and hierarchies of meaning.  They are a way of understanding our perception of the universe; they are not proof that we actually know the universe.  The 17th century philosophical inclination to ascribe metaphysical understanding of the concept of knowing God and hence God’s creation is a false heuristic.  Sacred geomancy and numerology subscribe to such a notion. Regardless of neither the beauty of words nor the precision of an equation, these tools are human constructs.  If we believe they provide us with the keys to unlocking the nature and meaning of the universe, we are deluding ourselves however much comfort such a delusion provides.  Recognizing the limitations of words, I will do my best to explore aspects of my understanding of Liminal.

What is a Liminal Place?  I have used this phrase, and I have heard others use the words Liminal Place to describe a concept which is, more often than not, considered metaphysical or certainly not of the physical world.  Loosely described, it seems to be understood as a “place” which is in-between our physical world and an “other world”.  But what is this Other World?  Is it a magical place?   A spiritual place?  Is it a physical place at all or merely an idea to bridge the physical world to a metaphysical world?  In these last 2 sentences, the words I used to try and describe a liminal place are loaded with many overt and subtle meanings.  Whole books can be written on the meaning of these words, but for the purpose of this blog, please accept the definition of the Other World as the other side of a liminal place.  So is a Liminal Place a gateway, a door or some kind of passage point between our physical world and the Other World?  And if so, what are its characteristics?  How and why do we think such places exist?

I have referred to the liminal concept as a place.  Examples of liminal places I have heard or read about include the line between sea and sky, water and land, and tree branches between land and sky. Other descriptions are not of physical places.  An example of a nonphysical place would be the mist. Frank MacEowen from his book entitled, the Mist-Filled Path” wrote that, “Where the moist chill meets warmth the luminescence of mist is born. The mist is the threshold, the guardian of the in-between where vision is received.  Within the mist of liminal time and space we are able to plant the seeds of a new life”.  Regardless of the descriptors used, it is clear that liminal represents an edge between 2 entities; however these entities are described. 

Characterizing the concept of liminal as existing as an edge in time and space is quite interesting as it seems, for some persons, to denote a dualistic construct. In the large body of Christian theology, there exist the ideas of a heaven and a hell.  In between heaven and hell was purgatory.  It was a place where one could neither rest in the light of god, but neither were you in hell.  It was a place where redemption was probable if one could learn and redeem themselves to the grace of God.  Like purgatory, liminal places are considered sources of knowledge and inspiration, but are not necessarily the entrance to the Otherworld.  I wonder if in some modern Pagan thinking, theological Christian dualism remains present but under the guise of a neo-Pagan construct? 

Animism and polytheism are not bound to mind and matter dualism.  Animism makes no distinctions between a here and a there and, therefore, requires no concept of dualism within the liminal.  It does not subscribe to Cartesian dualism.  I agree with Brendan Myers when he wrote the following within his book, The Earth, the Gods and the Soul, “Animism… reject the dualism that declares a fundamental distinction between mind, soul, spirit, and matter, body, physicality. Instead, such an animism finds mindedness in every part of nature, including the wholeness of everything”.  Is the concept of liminal truly a Pagan concept?  Yes, but not when it is perceived as a place in-between 2 places, but as an edge amongst many edges.

When expressed as an edge, the concept of liminal can be accepted as a deeply rooted in Paganism.  What, however, is an edge? Within animistic constructs, an edge is a boundary of consciousness amongst many boundaries of consciousness.  An animistic universe is a Minded universe.   When Minded is self-reflective, it is conscious.  In her book, “Living with Honour”, Emma Restall-Orr states, “Nature exists as many layers of integrated consciousness, providing a web through which we can experience that intrinsic connection.” Furthermore, she writes, “While consciousness does not need a physical reflection or manifestation, nothing in nature can exit without a song of consciousness, without the life energy of intention.” Edges are the intersection points of consciousness, whatever their forms.  If one were to pause and reflect on this subject, one might think such a concept was rather “flakey” at best or insane at worst.  On the contrary, quantum science agrees and has concluded with the ancient Pagan understanding of a conscious universe!

Consciousness is the logic of nature.  Although the language of Quantum Theory differs greatly from the language of animism, remarkably their paths arrive at the same centre of the forest. In his book, “The Non-Local Universe”, physicist Menas Kofatos and philosopher and historian of science, Robert Nadeau, write, “…however, it seems clear that our real or actual self I not imprisoned in our minds. It is implicitly part of the larger whole of biological life. Derives its existences from embedded relations to this whole, ad constructs its reality based on evolved mechanisms that exist in all human brains.  This suggests that any sense of the “otherness” of selves and world is an illusion that disguises the actual relation that is between the part that is our self and the whole that is biological reality.  In our view a proper definition of this whole must not only include the evolution of the larger undissectible whole of the cosmos and the unbroken evolution of all life forms from the first self-replication molecule that was the ancestor of DNA”. 

Moving away from quantum theory and philosophy, how does this help us understand our Druid Path and personal experiences? We can trust that knowledge and wisdom can be gleaned from liminal places.  Liminal places are intersections of interconnected consciousness.  They are nature.  We are liminal edges amongst other liminal spaces.    The interpretation and understanding of our own experiences carry as much meaning as other forms of learning.  We need to open and allow ourselves to explore these Edges of Consciousness and trust that they are a legitimate a source of inspiration and knowing.  

Enfold between sea and sky
Water well and dragon fire
Brighid’s 3
And Maidens 9
Ceridwen knows reality lies
Somewhere between Mephisto’s glare
And the Cheshire cat’s fading smile.

Cuardaitheoir /|\

Monday, 1 February 2016

Imbolc Blessings from Chinook Hills Grove

We met Sunday afternoon inside a beautiful home for our Imboc Celebration, Ritual and Feast. This marks a full year of our group getting together for the 8 Celebrations, and what a good time we had!

We honoured the season and Brigid by making Brigid's Crosses to use in the rite.  It is much too early for the first green shoots to appear here, in Calgary,  however, some sprouting Paper White bulbs stood in for Snow Drops.  We have learned that there is a variety of Snow Drops that can possibly be grown here... something for next year!

After the ritual and the fabulous feast, everyone left with a tea light candle from the ceremony to light at home, as well as a green ribbon to hang  outside tonight as Brigid's mantle. 

Some plans were made for Alban Elier  and an upcoming drum making workshop. Thank you to everyone for the delicious pot luck and good cheer!

Blessings of the Season