Restoring Fertility to the Land
The Reenchantment of the World
The Way of Druid Magic
One of the classic purposes for magical ritual is to bring fertility to the land, and this is even more necessary today than it once was. Once the basic work of cleaning and healing has been done, the restoration of natural fertility forms a second vital step, and magic can accomplish this at a level of subtlety and power no other human action can manage.
In ancient times, when wild ecosystems thrived in balance with their surroundings and human beings were still struggling to master the subtle magic of agriculture, most such rituals aimed at bringing fertility to the fields and gardens on which human life depended. Nowadays, by contrast, it is difficult to find any place on the Earth's surface that has not been affected by human mismanagement, and magical workings to restore fertility are needed just as much in the wilderness as in places harmed by industrial agriculture or ecologically ignorant landscaping.
In magical terms, fertility comes into being from the fusion of the solar and telluric currents. When land becomes barren, the contact between the two currents has become blocked and needs to be reestablished. The traditions of Druid magic offer several different ways to restore the free flow of the two currents.
Perhaps the simplest and most inconspicuous way to do this draws on the ritual work you have already learned. The Inner Grail working, like any magical working, sets up momentum in the nwyfre in the place where it is performed. Since it draws on the solar and telluric currents and creates the lunar current from them, it fosters the fusion of the currents in nature. When circumstances don't allow you to do ritual work openly, simply sit or stand in the area you intend to affect and do the simplest version of the complete Inner Grail exercise given in chapter 7, including the Three Cauldrons, the Dragon Currents, and the World Tree. Repeat this as often as you can, concentrating on the idea that this working brings fertility to the land.
Another simple and effective way to restore fertility to an area is to plant a tree, and water and tend the sapling until it can grow by itself. Trees have important magical and energetic properties over and above their contributions to the material side of an ecosystem. The vertical line of the trunk becomes a channel through which solar and telluric currents flow and interact. The Druidry Handbook includes information on planting trees and a simple ritual for blessing a newly planted tree, and these can be valuable resources for any effort to restore fertility to a place where it has become blocked.
Where circumstances permit, however, a stronger magic with deep roots in Druid tradition can be put to use. This begins with setting up a standing stone in the affected area to serve as a channel for the two currents and a vessel for the creation of the lunar current. The stone need not be large—I have seen good results come from a stone only 18 inches tall—but it should be no more than half as wide as it is tall, and needs to be natural stone; concrete or other artificial substances are worse than useless. A third of the stone's length should be underground, and two thirds above, as shown in Figure 8-1.
Figure 8-1 The Standing Stone
Once the stone is in place, it will begin forming a connection between the solar and telluric currents all by itself. You can make this process work more swiftly and powerfully with magical ritual. The following ritual shows one way this can be done, using the formula of the Inner Grail working. Experiment with it, learn its lessons, and then devise your own rituals for the same purpose.
A Standing Stone Working
This working is best done between Imbolc and Alban Heruin, to take advantage of the rising strength of the solar current. For best results, schedule it on a morning between dawn and noon, on a day when the Moon is waxing. As with any working, you should meditate on your intention and cast an Ogham reading beforehand to be sure your plans are appropriate, and scrying is also a valuable tool for this work.
Set up the space for an ordinary grove ritual, with the four cauldrons of the elements placed around the stone as though on an altar, and a chair in the north. Open the grove in the usual way, using the cauldrons in place of your wand. When you purify the space with the four elements and bring each cauldron back to the center, purify the stone as well by making a circle around it with each element. When you cast the Sphere of Protection, ask the four material elements to help you bring fertility to the land, and banish everything that hinders fertility there.
When you reach the invocations of the three forms of spirit, the distinctive phase of this ritual begins. When you invoke Spirit Below, trace the orange circle over the stone and say words like these: “By the bright heart of the Earth Mother, and in the great name Ced, I invoke Spirit Below, its gods, its spirits, and its powers. May a ray of the telluric current ascend into this stone now and always.” Imagine the telluric current rising up from the depths of the Earth into the stone, filling it with silvery light that ripples like water. Concentrate on this for several minutes at least. Then say, “I thank Spirit Below for its gifts.”
Go on to the invocation of Spirit Above, trace the purple circle in the air above the stone, and say words like these: “By the Sun in its glory, the father of light, and in the great name Celi, I invoke Spirit Above, its gods, its spirits, and its powers. May a ray of the solar current descend into this stone now and always.” Imagine the solar current descending from the sky into the stone, filling it with golden sunlight. Concentrate on this for several minutes at least. Then say, “I thank Spirit Above for its gifts.”
Go on to the invocation of Spirit Within. Say words like these: “By the six powers here invoked and here present, and in the grand word Awen, I invoke Spirit Within. May the lunar current be born in this stone now and always.” Imagine the silver and gold nwyfre within the stone fusing into pure white radiance and radiating outward into the ground. Concentrate on this for several minutes at least.
When you finish this stage, turn your attention to the heavens high above you. Imagine a ray of light streaming straight down from above the stone, passing through it and descending down to the center of the Earth. This brings the solar current through the stone to heal any imbalances in the nwyfre of the land. Concentrate on this image for several minutes at least.
Next, turn your attention to the earth below your feet. Reach deep into the Earth with your imagination, and picture the heart of the Earth ablaze with light. From that deep source of light, imagine two currents of nwyfre rising up, one red and one white, like twin serpents or dragons. The red one is to your right, the white one to your left. The two currents cross just below the stone, then again at the midpoint of the stone, and finally unite just above the stone in a blaze of pure light. Again, concentrate on this image for several minutes at least.
Next, imagine a point of light in the heart of the stone, where the two dragon currents cross. Imagine it as a seed. Let the seed of light sprout, sending a slender stem of light upward and a root of light downward. Watch it grow into a sapling, and then into a tree, putting out branches and leaves of light above the stone and roots of light below. Feel sunlight and wind on the leaves, soil and water around the roots, the firmness of the trunk connecting them. Spend as much time as you need to make the image of the tree as clear and solid as possible.
Next, imagine the leaves drawing in air, sunlight, and the nwyfre of the solar current, and sending them down through the trunk all the way to the deepest root. Imagine the roots drawing in water, nutrients from the soil, and the nwyfre of the telluric current, and sending them through the trunk all the way to the highest leaf. This is the most important phase of the working, and you should concentrate on it for several minutes at least, with as much intensity as you can.
Finally, turn your attention back to the stone. Imagine a sphere of light expanding outward from the stone until it encloses the entire area you wish to bless with fertility. Perform the Circulation of Light as you usually do. Take your seat in the grove and meditate on the image of the Tree of Light. When you are ready, close the grove in the ordinary way.
This working may be repeated once a year to increase its effect, preferably on the same date you originally performed it. Repeated annual workings set up a rhythm in the nwyfre that can yield spectacular results.