Awakening the Two Currents
The Grove of the Druids
The Practice of Druid Magic
A final dimension of work that can be done within the sacred space established by the grove ritual focuses on these currents. The solar, telluric, and lunar currents are much more than mere theoretical factors in Druid magic. Magical workings can summon the first two and create the third. Your body, the portal of Spirit Within, provides the context where this work takes place first; once you have accomplished it within your body, the same dance of nwyfre can then be set in motion in wider circles around you until it encompasses the whole world.
These workings—the active workings for Spirit Below, Above, and Within—are at least potentially much more intensive than any of the earlier rituals in this book, and so require more careful preparation. Before you start planning, cast an Ogham reading to make sure you are ready, just as you would if you were performing any other ritual working. If you get an unfavorable reading, keep working with the practices covered in earlier sections of this book for at least two weeks before you try again. This is a serious step, and it should not be rushed.
Once your Ogham sticks or cards tell you that you are ready to proceed, schedule your invocation of the telluric current at least a week in the future. It should be performed at the time of Dewaint, between midnight and 3:00 AM, when the telluric current is strongest. Choose a night when you can perform the ritual during this time without any risk of interruption. Schedule your invocation of the solar current at least a week later, during the time of Nawn, between noon and 3:00 PM—this is the time when the solar current is strongest.
Before you perform the ritual to invoke the telluric current, spend a week on meditations on Spirit Below. During these meditations, explore what myth and legend have to say about the underworld and the presence of spirits below us, and try to grasp what those mythic symbols are trying to communicate. Why are the spirits of the dead associated with below, and not some other direction? You don't have to come up with an answer. The important thing is that you grapple with the questions.
When the night of the working arrives, prepare the space for an ordinary grove ceremony. Before you begin, purify your body by washing in cold water. If you can bathe in a river or stream, this is best, but an ordinary tub will do, or even a sink and a washcloth. Once you have washed, put on your ritual garments, light the candle and incense, and begin the grove ceremony shortly after midnight. Perform the grove ceremony in the usual way. When you do the Sphere of Protection, ask each of the elements to help you make contact with the telluric current, and banish all obstacles to that contact from yourself and the grove. When you finish opening the grove, take your seat in the north, relax your body, and spend a few minutes doing color breathing with orange, the color of Spirit Below.
At this point turn your attention to the land beneath your feet. Imagine currents of energy flowing up from the center of the Earth, channeled through veins of metal in the rocks, surging up through the roots of trees, bringing vitality to all living things. Feel yourself as part of the biosphere, one small manifestation of the life force of the planet.
Rise to your feet and go to the north of the altar, facing south. Trace the heather pentagram over the altar, starting from the bottom point and going clockwise, as shown in Figure 5-3. As you do this, imagine the pentagram as though your fingers were drawing it in the air. There are at least three ways to handle this imagery. You can see the lines of the pentagram drawn in orange light, like the elemental emblems in the Sphere of Protection. You can also draw on Ogham symbolism and see them as five straight heather boughs interwoven in the form of a pentagram.
Finally, you can take the Ogham symbolism one step further and include the Ogham trees pointed out by the other four points of the pentagram. Look at the picture of the heather pentagram on the dolmen arch in Figure 2-5. The bottom point touches U for Ur, the heather, but the other points have trees of their own: Huath the hawthorn, Ngetal the reed, Luis the rowan, and Tinne the holly, in order clockwise around the pentagram. To include all of these, imagine a straight heather bough extending from the bottom point to the upper left point, a hawthorn branch going from there to the right, a reed straight across from right to left, a rowan bough going from the left hand point to the upper right point, and a branch of holly slanting down from the upper right point to the bottom point. Of course, you need to know what all five of these look like! This is the strongest form of the heather pentagram, because each of the Ogham trees of this pentagram also belongs to the telluric current, and their symbolism helps bring it through in a more complete form.
Figure 5-3 Tracing the Heather Pentagram
Once you have traced the pentagram, imagine the current of life force from within the Earth surging up into the grove like cool water from a spring. Feel its invigorating and vitalizing power. Breathe it into yourself with each inbreath until every cell of your body is singing with the sheer joy of being alive. Concentrate on this as intently as possible for as long as you can.
When you are ready to close, trace the heather pentagram in reverse, starting from the bottom point and going counterclockwise. Imagine your fingers erasing the imagery you established when you drew the invoking form, whether that took the form of orange light, heather branches, or the five Ogham trees of the pentagram. Then sit down again in the north, relax your body, and pay attention to your breath for a few moments before closing.
After you have completed this ritual, prepare for the corresponding solar ritual. Devote the week before the solar current invocation to intensive daily meditations, taking the concept of Spirit descending from above as your theme. In these meditations, explore why it is that so many spiritual traditions think of the spiritual as above the material, why heaven is in the sky and mystics talk of the higher self and higher levels of being. Why above, and not below, ahead, beside, beyond, or in some other direction? You need not come up with an answer to these questions; what matters is that you wrestle with them, so that the symbolism of the ritual finds resonances in your own inner life.
Begin the ritual after purifying yourself with cold water and dressing in your ritual garments. Perform the grove ceremony in the ordinary way. In the Sphere of Protection, ask the elements to help you contact the solar current, and banish all obstacles to that contact from yourself and the grove. When you finish the opening, sit in the north, relax your body, and do purple color breathing to attune with Spirit Above.
At this point turn your attention to the Sun high above you, pouring down its rays on the Earth. Imagine light descending from the Sun through the vast reaches of outer space to your grove. Picture the planets in their orbits receiving the Sun's light and passing it on again. Sense all of space filled with the radiance and influence of the Sun.
Rise to your feet and go to the north of the altar, facing south. Trace the oak pentagram above the altar with the first two fingers of your right hand, starting with the top point and going clockwise, as shown in Figure 5-4. As with the heather pentagram, you can imagine the lines of the oak pentagram as pure purple light, as five branches of oak interwoven into a pentagram, or as branches of the five Ogham trees marked by the points of the pentagram. These are Duir the oak, Eadha the aspen, Nuin the ash, Gort the ivy, and Onn the gorse respectively, going clockwise around the pentagram from the top point. This last is the strongest form, but any of the three may be used with good effect.
Figure 5-4 Tracing the Oak Pentagram
Once you trace and imagine the pentagram, picture in your mind's eye a beam of light descending from the Sun to your grove. Feel its warmth and the clarity it gives to your mind and imagination. As you breathe in each breath, imagine yourself drawing the light into your body until every cell is blazing with solar light. Concentrate on this as intently as possible.
When you are ready to close, trace the oak pentagram in reverse, starting from the top point and going counterclockwise. Imagine your fingers erasing the imagery you established when you drew the invoking form, whether that took the form of purple light, oak branches, or the five Ogham trees of the pentagram. Then sit down again in the north, relax your body, and pay attention to your breath for a few moments before you perform the closing.
Once you have done each of these ceremonies once, wait for at least a month before doing either one again. They can catalyze powerful changes in yourself and your life, and it's wise to let those changes run their course before bringing more of either current to bear on yourself. In the meantime, continue your basic practices and, if divination favors it, plan and perform a working or two for practical purposes, using the rituals given earlier in this chapter. Once you have established contact with the solar and telluric currents, the results of even simple magical workings may surprise you.