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Keltria Journal

Issue 33 - Imbolc/Spring 1997

From Within the Standing Stones

by Tony Taylor -- Editor-in-Chief

Chief Dan Evehema is quoted as saying the Hopi are, "instructed to hold this world in balance with the land and the many universes..." Last February, as part of an Imbolc festival, the Druids of Britain highlighted the spiritual element of protecting the landůconfirming the land as sacred. Druids do hold the land sacred. Establishing a spiritual relationship with the Land is an important aspect of many, if not most, religions. The nature of that relationship, the dynamic involving human beings, the Gods, and spirits of the landůprovides one of the most fascinating discussion areas in Neopagan Druidism. In Philip Shallcrass's article, "Saxon Druidry or Native American?", he stresses the importance of relating to the ancient spirits of a land. The spirits may be old, having inhabited the land which we currently occupy since long before measured time. Be it Saxon (in England) or Native American (in America), the spirits of the ancients need to be recognized and honored. Do we, as Druids, establish a relationship with, for example, the "Thunder Beings?"

Did our forebears bring our Gods with them when they crossed the great waters? When I call upon Brigid or Aonghus Og, I know they are with me. On the other hand, when I stroll beside the creek and encounter dryads and water nymphs, the question arises as to how long have they been here. In the last issue of Keltria, Caillean's prose suggests that Lugh made the voyage across the waters to be with us in North America. By bringing our Gods with us, we brought our spiritual relationship to the land, that is, a vocabulary and visual images by which we relate to the Divine. Are the universes of the Celt and Hopi separate and different? If so, do both realities occupy the same space at the same time or is the reality that the Celt and the Hopi perceive due to their own unique cultural context. With the Mórrígán with us, do we, as Druids, need to establish a relationship with the "Thunder-Beings"?

Could it be that the Spirits are the same? Do different people at different times call the same spirit by a different name? The Native American may encounter the Manateu; I may encounter the Faerie. Our names and relationships may be different yet the spirit may be the same. When the Hopi look upon the painted desert, they may see a land filled by the brush strokes of the Great Spirit. I may see Magh Ildathach, the Irish Celtic "Plain of Many Colors." It is possible that I already have a relationship with the "Thunder Beings"ůI just call them the Tuatha dé Danaan.

The Spirits encountered in this land may be those of the Native American, they may be those we brought with us or, perhaps, may be our interpretation of either or both. In any event, as we discuss the spiritual relationship of Druid to the Land, we must always remember our similarities to the Hopi. We both honor our ancestors, pray to Deity, and revere the Land. We confirm that the land is sacred and it is our obligation to protect it and hold it in balance. Our language and approaches may differ, but the intention is the same. We respect Mother Earth.

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This material was first published in Keltria: Journal of Druidism and Celtic Magic. For a copy of the issue that this article ran in, send $3.95 to Keltria Journal, P.O. Box 1060 Anoka, MN 55303-1060 and request the issue identified at the top of the page. For other subscription and ordering information, see our Order Form.

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