Meeting took place on Tuesday 12th Sept 2015.
The time of the New Moon is often seen as a time of new beginnings. As Luna is in her dark aspect, some see this as a time of introspection; a time of learning the lessons of the previous month. The flip side of the coin is that the Moon begins its cycle once again, and so the New Moon comes to mean the beginning of a new month… a new project or a new start.
Fitting then, that it was the night of the New Moon, when we of the GOC met at Cymro’s gorgeous home.
Originally going to be a talk on Arthurian Myth and Legend, Cymro was inspired by Kristopher Hughes’ article in Touchstone on the subject of death.
Realising it isn’t something we, as a Grove, don’t often talk about, he thought it might be an idea to do so. Being October and the start of the chill of Autumn, the subject did seem more than fitting.
This post will be less of a chronicle about what we did and more of a question for the Grove itself.
Cymro, concerned about us not having a set framework to use when one of us dies, led the discussion with describing what he wants when he goes: He wants to be buried in a ‘pod’ ( like a modern form of shroud) in a woodland internment. We discussed about other people’s funerals and how one schoolgirl dying of cancer wanted no one to wear black, so when her time came, all of her family and friends turned up in as much colour as possible.
We touched on the cycles of being, as written by Iolo Morganwg:
- Abred: The Realm of necessity, the physical world.
- Gwynvyd: The Realm of Spirit.
- Ceugant: Divinity, the source and destination of all life.
On the discussion of Gwynvyd, we discussed about the world of spirit. From Greenfinger’s point of view any information from any spirit should be questioned as to what is actually the source. Is it a spirit? Is it the collective consciousness? And what of people who go looking for spirits and bothering said entities. Do they even want to BE bothered?
We also touched upon reincarnation. The Druids of old were said to believe in the soul being reborn in the next world. This was compared with the processional version of reincarnation that is practiced by the Buddhists and Hindu peoples. But if that was true, why don’t we remember? Why do we not remember our past lives and stop repeating the mistakes from previous life times? Unless of course, you go with the idea that energy is only transformed, never destroyed. The corpse rots and the acids break down into the soil and feed bacteria until our physical decomposition has fed the life cycle. And if the ‘Soul Energy’ does go into another body, then it does so renewed. And if it’s host has a similar resonance to the previous one, then maybe that’s how it can remember. I digress.
An interesting theme in Druidry and in Paganism: Death is often over looked. Or at worst, a brief mention of the so-called ‘Summerlands’ comes up and that’s it. But there are Pagans and Celebrants out there who do ask the tough questions and want to provide service for this. And quite rightly so.
Bearing that in mind, Cymro’s question and proposal is this: ‘Does the Grove need a Soul Midwife?’
So that when one of us eventually pops our clogs we know what our fellow Grove member wants for their funeral? This Midwife would also need to be the go-between to help the deceased’s family understanding the wishes of the Druid in question; possibly even help them in their grief as well as our own. This won’t be an easy task, but it might actually help us to prepare when the time comes.