Working Magic in the Grove
The Grove of the Druids
The Practice of Druid Magic
What you can do between the opening and closing halves of the grove ceremony is limited only by your imagination and your understanding of magic. To begin with, practice the two halves of the ceremony until you can do both from memory. Until you can get by without a written copy of the ceremony, its deeper dimensions are out of reach, and taking the step to serious magical practice should be postponed.
Once you can do the grove opening and closing smoothly from memory, you can begin working magic within the sacred space established by the grove ceremony. The magical techniques you've already learned provide the basic toolkit for this work.
To begin with, the method for doing practical work with the Sphere of Protection ritual gains a good deal of magical force when done in an open grove. Simply change the invocations and banishings of the Sphere ritual in the opening ceremony as needed to suit your intention. This is a simple but complete form of ritual working, and, with practice, it can easily have effects as potent as much more complex ceremonies.
For example, if your intention is to use magic to develop your abilities as an artist, you would do the usual preliminaries of meditating on the intention and casting an Ogham reading to be sure the working is appropriate. You might then begin with the grove opening, proclaiming peace to the four quarters, purifying the grove with the four material elements, and invoking the gods with the Druid Prayer, and beginning the Sphere of Protection with your usual Elemental Cross. When you invoke in the east, though, use words that call on the powers of air to help you develop your artistic abilities, and when you banish, banish all obstacles to the free expression of your artistic vision.
Proceed to the other six elements and express your intention in the same way. Do the Circulation of Light as usual, and then take your seat in the grove. Spend several minutes concentrating on your intention, not as something you want to achieve in your future, but as though you have it at that moment; feel creative power flowing through you, trembling at your fingertips, demanding to be expressed. Begin the closing ritual while this feeling is still strong in you, and close in the usual way. As soon as possible after finishing, take some practical step toward the fulfillment of your intention—for example, you might get out your art supplies and start work on a new drawing, painting, or sculpture.
When you have done several workings of this sort and know your way around the method, the next step is to integrate the simple magical workings introduced in chapter 4. The active workings for air, water, fire, and earth can all be used in this way. Start with anything you need—a glass of water, the material for a magical fire, or a stone—at the center of the altar. Perform the opening half of the grove ritual as usual, putting your intention into the invocations and banishings of the Sphere of Protection ritual, as in the first method described.
Take your seat in the grove and concentrate on your intention. Imagine the nwyfre charged with your intention as colored light filling the grove, using the color symbolism that was presented in Table 4-1. At this point, go on to the active working you have chosen: breathe the color into your body, concentrate it in the water or the stone, or light the magical fire and gaze into the flames. When you have finished, spend some time concentrating on your intention as something completed, and then proceed to the closing half of the ceremony.
If you decide to use this second method with the same intention as the first, for example, after meditating on your intention and casting an Ogham reading to be sure the working is appropriate, you would make the usual preparations for a grove ritual, and you might place a glass or goblet halffull of pure water in the middle of the altar. You would open in the same way, and use similar words in the Sphere of Protection.
As you finish opening the grove, though, you might imagine the nwyfre summoned by the Sphere of Protection as purple light filling the entire space. Take your seat in the grove, and pay attention to the nwyfre you have summoned, then imagine it moving inward to the center of the grove and flowing into the water. Using your imagination, press the purple light inward, into the water, until it has been completely absorbed and the water is practically fizzing with nwyfre. Rise and take up the glass in both hands, clear your mind completely, and then drink the water.
Return to your seat in the grove, sit down, and spend some time concentrating on your intention, not as something you hope to achieve but as though you have already achieved it. When you are ready, begin the closing half of the grove ceremony, and close in the usual way. As before, take some practical step toward the fulfillment of your intention as soon as possible after you finish the working.