I had a bit of a brain parrot melt down earlier but feel better now... like I said, I'm getting there. That said I had a productive chat about things with Scoob and I understand things a bit better now. I mean it still stings a lot but it hurts less.... look at me adulting all over the place woo! I guess I just need to stop placing so much of my self worth into someone else? I don't know, I feel like it's something I've always unintentionally done, felt I've needed someone by my side to prove to myself that I am loveable? That I need someone else to reaffirm that I am worth love and am loveable? Does that make sense? It's complete bullshit and I need to learn to love myself, I don't think I am going to be able to do it on my own and I am hoping eventual therapy when I get it will help me but yeah. That's where I am with that. Talking of therapy I had a CBT assessment over the phone with Time to Talk this morning and they basically decided that their service can't help me and I am being referred on to the proper mental health services, this is good because it's what I wanted and it's where I need to be but I don't know what the wait is on that, I've got to hold on till then. That said ( TW: talk of Self harm avoidance coping methods )
I'm not happy about Hannibal being cancelled.... what the fuck is that shit about? As I was in the middle of my meltdown when I heard it burnt my fuse and I punched the floor pretty hard. In hindsight that was stupid but tbh the floor will cope and I needed to direct my frustration somewhere. Yeah, I am overly upset about the fact it's been pulled. I hope someone else picks it up, I don't follow a lot of TV but Hannibal has me utterly hooked and it's one of the most intruiging and beautifully shot pieces of television I've seen in a long time. ;___;
Anyway the main purpose of this entry is to, of course, update you all on my raising as a Swordbearer yesterday. I can truthfully say that it was one of the biggest moments of my life, a true honour and everything that happened that day was a true sign that I had taken a step onto the right path. I was really worried that the trains would be all messed up because the last couple of Sundays when I've had ceremonies there have been bus replacements and all kinds of nusiance delays that have caused me to be late. It's not really a massively big deal if I am a bit late because we never start dead on 2pm anyway but I hate being late regardless. I've found that it's quicker and easier for me to get the train to Cosham instead of Fratton now, I used to have to get a taxi to the grove from Fratton which could be very expensive because ceremonies are always on Sundays but from Cosham it's a straight ten minute walk and about the same cost on the train as it would be to Fratton. The trains played nice, the weather was absolutely lovely and warm and I was actually the first one to the grove on that day which is a first and was nice as it gave me time to collect myself and attune to the energies there and gather my thoughts and intent towards the ceremony and raising. There was a huge turn out of new and old faces, more people then I have seen turn up for a ceremony for a very long time and it was really wonderful. I was raised immediately after calling for peace in the quarters, being nervous I messed up and called North when I meant West but I laughed it off and corrected myself and everyone in the circle was laughing with me not at me I knew, the sun's energy really bought out so much happiness and positivity that day.
I was called into the circle to kneel in front of Steve and Mel, the Archdruid and Archdruidess and give my vows. I have included my copy which I intend to frame so you can see what that entails, I tried to memorise it and did adapt it a little but I am glad I had the prompt in front of me regardless because I was muddling over my words a lot from nerves. The raising itself was a little like being knighted in the traditional sense, it's probably the best way to describe it for those that haven't ever seen it happen and reminded me a lot of when I was raised as a gatekeeper and then raised again as a full member of the Genesis Order back at the Summer Solstice of 2011 at our private ceremony at Stonehenge. I kneel, offer my service and once Mel and Steve accept Steve touches my right shoulder, head and left shoulder with his athame and then bids me to stand after offering the hilt of the sword in service. The sword I carry in these photos was actually lent to me by Mel's partner B for the purpose of the ceremony and I am continuing to borrow it until the sword that I am having made for me has been forged. It was surprisingly light despite how big it looks, I admit I was a bit worried about raising it to the air for the first time when calling for peace but I did manage it. It was just everyone was so tightly packed in and I was nervous I might accidently hurt someone so I was very conscious the whole time but I will improve in time, I know I am right for the role, I've never felt more at peace within the grove then I have now in this role. From the moment I lifted the sword I just felt such purpose and just completely at peace with myself, to be named guardian and protecter of the Order like that is just such an incredible honour to be trusted with and I've had the approval of some very high up and well respected guardians and swordbearers from other Orders that has really meant the world to me. Steve has also rewritten the ceremonies so I have a lot more to say and they are more spiritually orientated rather than informative, so they have a more personal feel and it really made a difference. Before when James, and briefly B, were swordbearers they didn't do much except for call for peace and witness the odd raising but this time I actually witnessed and oversaw Hannah getting raised as a trainee guardian and Gatekeeper (my old role) and had a large opening speech to give. I felt very involved and empowered and really felt people felt comfortable with my overseeing the energy while we celebrated. :)( Some pictures )
I know a few of you, in particular ganimede
, have been interested to know what being a Swordbearer actually entails. Well it's a difficult but very rewarding path. There are many branches within the practice of Druidry that you can take if you choose; the path of the bard which are the songwriters, story tellers and poets of the Order - the keeper of our history and lore and the ones who keep our traditions alive through their crafts. Then there are the ovates - the healers, self explanitory but important and versed in spiritual healing as well as the physical sides of healing. They will often be interested in plant lore and herbal healing. There are the Priests and Priestesses, in charge of training others, handing out the bread and mead and taking a lead role alongside the Arches in conducting the ceremony, honouring the Gods and Goddesses and passing round mead and bread, taking the measure and raising new initiates etc. Then there are the Guardians and warriors - my path. You start out as the gatekeeper, the guardians of the gateway into the circle and it's pretty much what it says on the tin. You may have seen photos of myself and Kimberly doing this in the past at Stonehenge where we create an arch with our staffs. We are creating a magical gateway into the circle once it's cast that is closed when we cross our staffs keeping the circle protected and the energy within free from ill intent both of physical and magical form. It is the first step onto the path of becoming a Guardian. It's taken me six years to prove my worth as a Swordbearer because it is a whole other level of responsibility although a lot of what I do is the same as the Gatekeeper. Not only am I responsible for protecting the energy of the Circle and it's participants while we celebrate but I also have the power to challenge anyone I believe comes to the Circle with ill intent and prevent them from attending. Other swordbearers cannot bring their swords into the Circle without my permission and people must speak to me first if they wish to prematurely break the circle to leave or to cross it while we are celebrating. This is very important because the circle must remain closed while we are practising to keep focus and intent or the ceremony may be disrupted. I over see raisings and am basically the warrior aspect of the circle, I keep us safe. That does not mean I go around stabbing and threatening people who might cause ill intent and I will never raise my sword in anger, but it does mean that I am the first port of call if anyone wishes to enter the circle once the ceremony has begun.
I may also be called upon in times of need, say if there was unrest between other Orders and guidance and protection was needed. I am to keep the peace and walk a path of honour and truth. I feel very, very priviledged to be chosen finally. I put my name forward two years ago but the position was offered to B, I was not ready then but I am definitely ready now. Odin has put me on this path and I had so many signs yesterday that I was on the right path. Not only did I find the crow feather right in the middle of the grove (crows, ravens and magpies are important spiritually to me as you know) but my totem magpies were all around during the ceremony and as I walked back from a long stint at the pub after the ceremony with James my other totem the red fox appeared. A beautiful young fox, very healthy with a lovely brush tail crossed bare feet from me as I approached the bridge that leads away from the Grove over the A27. He or she stopped to stare at me, having just caught a rat for a meal, swished it's ears back and forth and looked me directly in the eye then loped away. I had bare seconds and so there are no photos because I just wanted to take in the moment and the message but it was truly a blessing and a beautiful moment. I feel so blessed.
Everything else so far, for the most part, this year has been utter rubbish.... so I see this as the first seed in my crop of good karma that I feel is well deserved. These are the things I need to focus on and fan the flames of progress and intent towards.... these things must be my focus. I only hope I can prove my Order right in their faith in me. <3