Tag Archives: spiritual

Temple Newsletter #46

Welcome fellow seekers to our new, monthly format edition of the Temple Of the Standing Stones newsletter. I am Cianaodh Óg, High Priest of this temple, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition and very much just another ordinary guy trying to figure it all out. Sometimes, we have entries from the tribe here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know!

If you missed our last newsletter you can still see it on our website at: Temple Newsletter #45.

Spirit Of the Sycamore Elders Hotline
Spirit Of the Sycamore Elders Hotline

Happy Gregorian New Year!

As we enter this new cycle of the standard calendar our temple and tradition are undergoing growth and changes which we hope will help us better serve our communities. One thing we are doing differently now is our newsletter will henceforth (fancy word) be published on a monthly timetable rather than weekly. We feel we will be better able to put out a more robust newsletter with timely information and interesting articles if we are not constantly pushing for a weekly deadline. Also, we are hoping to place more focus on content for the Spirit Of the Sycamore YouTube channel which will give us the ability to show and tell you more about ourselves and what we are all about. Please be sure and subscribe to our channel to keep up with our exciting new offerings. 🙂

Nothing is solid yet but talks are underway for Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition to be holding Sabbat rituals in various locations throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth area. There is a possibility of Imbolc in Garland and Litha in Fort Worth but, still, nothing is firm yet so for now, just chalk it up to the rumor mill. 😉

While this newsletter is rather sparse we do plan to roll out some new sections and content in future editions such as an herb of the month, stone of the month or a bit of lore, history and divination. As always, we are happy to include submissions from the tribe so if you have anything of your own creation which you would like to have featured in the next newsletter please do let us know. Have some ideas for content sections you would like to see added? By all means, let us know that too. We’re here to serve. 🙂

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Clergy Business Day – Saturday, January 9th

Our clergy will be taking this day to work on new ritual material and other items for the months ahead to better serve our community. Please feel free to attend our next public gathering on the 16th. 🙂

Temple Day – Electuaries – Saturday, January 16th, 3PM til 11PM

Our temple days are days of crafts, lessons, board games, music and general communing with our tribe. Sometimes we watch a movie together, other times we play board games, sometimes we have impromptu music jam sessions, poetry reading or story telling. The point is to have an opportunity to get to know one another and build the bonds of spiritual family. Won’t you come join in with us?

This Temple Day will be held at Cianaodh’s home in Arlington, Texas. The address will be given upon request to those who plan to attend. The focal point at this Temple Day gathering will be electuaries. If you would like to participate feel free to bring some natural, raw, honey and herbs you would like to infuse your electuary with. Not sure what we’re talking about? Check out this fine article:

http://pixiespocket.com/2012/01/lets-talk-about-what-is-an-electuary.html

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Craft Items (Varies per event, feel free to inquire)
Your favorite game that you might like to share with the tribe
Instrument For Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Dinner
Cash or Wishlist Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

RSVP on MeetUp – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/events/227487996/

Wolf Moon Esbat – Saturday, January 23rd

Our apologies, but Esbats are open to Initiated Clergy, Spouses and Candidates ONLY as these are the times we do our personal magickal workings and hold temple business meetings. Please feel free to attend our next open event though!

Temple Day – Musical Experimentation – Saturday, January 30th, 3PM til 11PM

Our temple days are days of crafts, lessons, board games, music and general communing with our tribe. Sometimes we watch a movie together, other times we play board games, sometimes we have impromptu music jam sessions, poetry reading or story telling. The point is to have an opportunity to get to know one another and build the bonds of spiritual family. Won’t you come join in with us?

This Temple Day will be held at Cianaodh’s home in Arlington, Texas. The address will be given upon request to those who plan to attend. The focal point at this Temple Day gathering will be Musical Experimentation – Please Bring Instruments, Voices and/or Ideas that you would like to share or just some appreciative ears to listen, hands to clap and feet to tap or dance. 🙂

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Instrument For Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Dinner
Cash or Wishlist Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

RSVP on MeetUp – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/

You can always check our upcoming events on the Temple Calendar at the website: http://templeofthestones.org/calendar/

If you would like to help support our efforts please consider chipping in through our Meetup Group: http://templeofthestones.org/chip-in/

May the kindred bless and keep you,

Cianaodh Óg

Temple Newsletter #44

Welcome fellow seekers to this edition of the weekly newsletter of Temple Of the Standing Stones. I am Cianaodh Óg, High Priest of this temple, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition and very much just another ordinary guy trying to figure it all out. Sometimes, we have entries from the tribe here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know!

If you missed last week’s newsletter you can still see it on our website at: Temple Newsletter #43.

New Oak Moon!
New Oak Moon!

A relationship with the kindred

We, of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition, speak often of the gods, our ancestors and spirits of nature and/or place which we collectively call The Kindred. It is a phrase which I first happened upon while studying Druidry with Ár nDraíocht Féin several years ago. I like the way they use the term because it encompasses a wide variety of ideas about who and what we may be seeking to commune with when we say a prayer, hold a ritual or do some magickal working. We all have our own ideas of what the divine may encompass but we can all pretty much tell when we have had a spiritual experience. You feel that you have connected with something beyond yourself and in that connection there is joy, calm and a sense of purpose. We may all come away from that with different ideas and interpretations of what it all means but we can all pretty much agree that we’ve had an experience. That connection is what we are seeking to achieve for ourselves and those who join us at our public rituals. It is our craft as clergy to facilitate that bridge between our realm and the realm of the kindred whether they reside within us or outside of us or both. Ritual is simply a series of steps we go through to set up sacred space, cleanse ourselves of worldly woes as we enter the space and commune with our kindred. We will be setting up sacred space tonight. Won’t you join us?

With that, I would like to share with you one of my favorite songs by Tuatha Dea which fits this concept. It’s a track called Mishiamagu. The simplest explanation for the meaning of “Mishiamagu” is that it is a Cherokee expression of thanks to the universe for allowing us to be together.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

TODAY!New Oak Moon – Saturday, December 12th, 5PM til 10PM

It is the new moon beginning the cycle we call the Oak Moon. A time to honor the majesty and power of the mighty oak tree. The Celtic meaning of the oak tree deals with symbolic themes of durability, purity and constancy. With Yule soon arriving and the winter cycle upon us, our ancestors’ durability was tested at this time to weather the cold months ahead until Spring arrives. We will have games, music and social time as well as a fine ritual to share with all. This event will be hosted at Cianaodh’s home in Arlington, Texas. Gathering in at 5PM for social time, ritual to begin at 7PM. Address will be given upon request to those who are attending.

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Instrument For After Ritual Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Feast After Ritual
Food Donations for North Texas Food Bank or Sponsored Families In Need
Cash or Wishlist Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

RSVP On Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/events/227067081/

Yuletide! – Saturday, December 19th, 5PM til 10PM

Come ring in this Yule with Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition at Cianaodh’s home in Arlington, TX. The address will be provided privately to any who request it upon RSVPing to attend. If you need any info please email templehp@templeofthestones.org. Take part in our ritual and burning of the Yule log then enjoy a fine potluck dinner. We will be doing a white elephant gift exchange with a $20 maximum value so please bring along a wrapped gift if you would like to participate in the fun and games with us. Most anything will do as there will be a couple of rounds of trading or “stealing” so everyone has an opportunity to end up with a gift they are happy with.

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Instrument For After Ritual Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Feast After Ritual
Food Donations for North Texas Food Bank or Sponsored Families In Need
Cash or Wishlist Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

RSVP On Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/events/227185764/

NEW EVENTS NEXT GREGORIAN YEAR!

You can always check our upcoming events on the Temple Calendar at the website: http://templeofthestones.org/calendar/

If you would like to help support our efforts please consider chipping in through our Meetup Group: http://templeofthestones.org/chip-in/

May the kindred bless and keep you,

Cianaodh Óg – HP of Temple Of the Standing Stones – Arlington, Texas and an Elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition.

Skyclad Workings

Working skyclad (nude) has a long and distinguished, albeit controversial at times, history within paganism. Both among modern adherents as well as culturally among some (but not all) of the ancient practitioners of esoterica. Gerald Gardner, considered by many to be the father of modern Wicca was a long time naturalist as were many of the first adherents to the modern pagan movement. Some believe that when we are skyclad the energies of magickal workings are less muddled and it is easier to focus and channel them. Also, it is felt by many, as is stated in The Charge Of The Goddess by Doreen Valiente, it is a sign of our freedom to be naked in our rites.

Whatever the reasons some pagans choose to go skyclad the practice has historical significance within pagan culture. Within our temple we practice traditional Wiccan initiation rites for those who choose to enter the clergy training program in which the initiate is, for a time, skyclad within the circle and presented to the kindred and the four elements before receiving the five fold kiss and being adorned in their new ritual robes. It is essentially a birthing ceremony. The initiate is stripping away the trappings of their former life and being born anew into this tradition. Coming before his or her new brothers and sisters as well as the gods, nature spirits and ancestors as naked as the day they were born into this world. Truly in perfect love and perfect trust. We consider our skin to be our first set of ritual robes bestowed upon us by the gods themselves and in situations where our second robe, the ritual robes of our tradition, are not available, skyclad is always a viable option in formal ritual when not in a gathering with the uninitiated. In other words, other initiated members of the tradition or their spouses are the only people present at the ritual. At this time, Full Moon (Esbat) rituals and Initiations are the only rituals which we hold skyclad. Our Sabbats and New Moons are robed events. Therefore, of the 52 weeks per year that we hold regular events, only 12 of them are skyclad (our blue moons are public, non-skyclad events.)

It is a sign of comfort, respect, enlightenment and freedom to be skyclad in ritual however it is not for everyone and other than it being required during initiation into the tradition and certain other rituals no one should feel pressured or goaded into being skyclad if they do not wish to otherwise. There are certain ground rules which should always be observed. A person who is skyclad is not inviting touching, invasion of their personal space or sexual advances of any kind unless they expressly give permission for such. You treat a skyclad person exactly in the same fashion as you would treat a clothed person, with dignity and respect. There is a notion perpetuated by the modern western society’s puritan roots that the only time for nudity is for sex or bathing. But this is not true.

There is a long history of spiritual nudity in the world and in our tradition we teach that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience. As such, our bodies are the first set of ritual robes we receive and they are bestowed upon us by the Lord and Lady, The Kindred, The Ancestors, however you prefer to view the divine, themselves.

I was once at a work weekend for the grounds of a large Pagan festival space in Texas and one morning while sitting around the fire having coffee and preparing for the work day, a middle aged woman came out of her tent and started working to prepare breakfast for the other volunteer workers there. She was wearing a sarong around her waist and her breasts were unadorned. As many in our community she was on the heavy side and given her age her boobs sagged somewhat but I thought she was majestic in her confidence and lack of concern for what others thought. We were away from the mundane world where body image is enforced by advertising and stereotypes that only the youthful and those with perfect bodies should ever dare to show themselves. After getting some things started cooking she wandered off to find the flushies. Then one of the guys around the campfire ruined the magickal moment by commenting that he loved (whatever her name was) but the sight of her in the morning was scary. Ugh! Such negative commentary and enforcement of mainstream ideals are, in my opinion, foreign to a Pagan culture and have no place in our gatherings. If I witness such at our gatherings I will likely ask the offending party to excuse themselves from our presence.

See Skyclad Embracement