Not only gaining valuable insights into questions related to my research in process, but I also had the pleasure of meeting some people whose work I have read, known, and discussed outside the conference but never met in person. Likewise, I believe I now have a new group of colleagues, without whose support and engagement I would not be able to sustain the academic work I have started doing in the area of Pagan Studies.
Continuing my Black Mountain Druid Order (BMDO) Dedicant Path (DP), I am still looking at Awen, specifically the Celebration of Awen here in my second week.
While I am not going to do an intense study of the Wheel of the Year right now, I have been thinking more about the change in seasons and how the circularity of it repeats each year while we in turn get older and benefit from more experiences. The regular 12-month calendar that we follow does not seem to account for the change in seasons and as such somehow separates us from our natural world. Those of us living in an urban environment are already somewhat distanced, so following the druid (pagan) wheel of the year provides an opportunity to be present to the changes that happen in the natural world, along with traditional human and agrarian activities that follow it.
The part of the year that most resonates with me is Yule, due in part no doubt to how much Christmas is hyped and celebrated in our culture. The light in the darkness and turning point in the seasonal weather follows a tradition familiar since child, and perhaps that is a useful way to adopt and adapt to what may appear new to many of us.
That the darkness is met with trees that are still green and fragrant, along with a fire that has a feel of safety and new life, makes the period of Yule even more significant. As I recounted how I celebrated Yule a few weeks ago, it is still alive within me, something that helps me to get through what otherwise could be a dark and difficult time of the year.
I saw this video and think it presents a nice introduction to paganism. While my own path is more inspired by druidry, this depiction of modern earth-based religions is gentle enough to be approachable to those new to many of these concepts.