Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Sacred Druidess Box

Sacred Druidess Box

I’m a lover of nature, especially of trees. Perhaps this comes in part from my Welsh heritage. Wales, after all, was once a home of the Druids, practitioners of an ancient Celtic religion. What little information we have about these people indicates that they revered nature. The oak tree in particular seems to have played an important role in their rituals.

My home, Woodloft, is located in a mountainous setting surrounded by trees. I can enjoy them daily from every window. Perhaps it is this proximity to nature that brings out the Celt tucked away in my soul. It once inspired me to write the story “Caridwen” for my book, Layers. In “Caridwen” I envisioned what it might have been like to live close to nature in the Welsh countryside during the time of the Druids.

Here is an excerpt from Caridwen.

"Quietly, almost reverently, Bronwyn approached her grove. The morning mist still remaining on the trees and plants gave a dewy, ethereal appearance to this private sanctuary that she cherished. Aber-Glan. It had been so many years … and yet they seemed to disappear and she felt as though she had never left this place. The discordant cawing of the crows who made their home among the trees intruded on her silence only briefly as they swooped around the giant oaks who stood silently observing. Occasionally, a small gust of wind from some far off place swirled through the grove and teased the small chipmunks by ruffling their fur, or played with a dragonfly's wings, throwing it completely off course as it tried to make it's way to one of the water ponds. She could smell the moist earth, bringing back a flood of memories from her childhood. She wondered whether there could be anywhere on earth more captivating than her grove. There was calmness mixed with a sense of urgency in her demeanor this morning. She was on a mission. She was compelled by necessity and desire to talk to her trees."

Sacred Druidess Box with cards

My descriptions of Celtic Wales were heavily influenced by Douglas Monroe’s The 21 Lessons of Merlyn. In this book, the author reflects on the mysteries of trees and life during the time of Merlyn. I have been waiting anxiously for another book from Mr. Monroe, either a sequel or something completely new.

Book by Douglas Monroe

Of my many projects inspired by Merlyn, I called one the “Passages of Time -- A Druidess Apprenticeship.” For this, I made up a series of nature-oriented projects for my granddaughters, Marcy and Beth. We wandered around the Woodloft grounds, performing experiments and keeping a journal. I will give more detailed accounts of some of our experiments at a later time. Today, however, I want to tell more about a special game I created called "The Sacred Druidess."

Example of card, front and back

Another card, front and back

This game was inspired by both Merlyn and an old candy box I found at the flea market. It was a badly damaged wooden box with two drawers. The hinges were broken and the elaborate scrolled top was faded. (It’s hard to believe that candy used to come in such fancy containers.)

Intricate scrollwork on sides of box

I cleaned up the box, replaced its hinges, and created a mysterious-looking face for the top. For a latch, I used an old brass pin. Then, to fill the box, I made seventeen cards from a special clay, decorating the surface of each card with a sculpted face. On the back of each card, I wrote a saying that I have read or heard somewhere in the past and have found meaningful. One of my favorites is, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Another is, “Truth is timeless.” I also made a card that says, “Fear is the beginning of wisdom" and another that says, “Thoughts take form.” Still another says, “With roots firmly grounded, bend like a reed.” In addition to the box and the cards, I made one other item to use in the game – a clay jar that holds numbered tiles.

Hand sculpted clay jar with clay numbers

To play, I place all the cards in a line on the table with faces up. Next, I shake the jar, pull out a number and count over that number of cards in the line. Then I read the saying on the back of the card that corresponds to that number. During the rest of the day, I contemplate the saying and what it means to me at that point in my life.

Cards lined up for game

Sacred Druidess game

I realize this is just a game, but powerful illuminations have occurred to me because of it. I give Douglas Monroe credit for inspiring me in many ways.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment

If convenient, please leave a comment. I read every one and thoroughly enjoy hearing your thoughts.