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  • in reply to: Month 2 Week 1: The Ogham #4768
    Dave Riddell

      Thank you, Sencha!

      in reply to: Month 1 week 4 telluric energies #4717
      Dave Riddell

        Do some places feel more “right” to you than others?

        There are certainly natural places where I feel more comfortable, more at ease, yes. While I do enjoy wandering in the dark woods, I’m definitely drawn to areas with open canopy or big sky, like a forest clearing, hilltops, or shorelines. I’m acutely aware, too, of liminal spaces—the transitions from one place to another.

        How does the energy of each place manifest itself?

        Areas that are more closed in do feel a little claustrophobic and busy. I’m neurodivergent so I suspect this discomfort is related to overstimulation to some degree. I’m definitely more at peace in open spaces. However, I’ve noticed that a change in light can affect my experience greatly: thick forests become joyous in the golden hours; beaches and shorelines become eerie and imposing in the fading light.

        How can you sense it with your body? With your mind? With your spirit?

        Discomfort can manifest as feeling crowded, hypersensitive, experiencing an anticipation of unwanted touch, and a busy headspace. Comfort is the opposite: a feeling of openness, joy, wonder and awe, a desire to welcome and a feeling of reciprocation of being welcomed.

        in reply to: Month 1, Week 3, The Four Pillars #4701
        Dave Riddell

          In what ways do you show reverence for nature? For your Ancestors?

          I have a daily ritual whereby I welcome and thank the Earth and the cosmos for its gifts and celebrate our connections. Living on an island I am blessed with easy access to woodland and the coast and try and get out in nature as much as I can. I have my favourite spots where I sit and read or meditate and I’m always looking for new trails to hike with my family. I celebrate the high days and cross-quarter days and have a lovely little ritual (adapted from Ár nDraíocht Féin) I perform occasionally to welcome and thank my ancestors, wherever I may be.

          In what ways do you show respect for diversity and individuality? Are there any challenges you face in this area?

          I am an active member of the EDI committee where I work and contribute in particular to working groups on neurodiversity and gender. While this work can be rewarding, it can also be exhausting and emotionally difficult. I struggle with the slow (or no) progress at times. As someone who grew up in Northern Ireland during the “Troubles” and who experienced abuse as a child, I have difficulties around issues of trust and authority but have much empathy for those with similar challenges.

          In what ways do you serve your Grove (assuming you have one)? Your community? The world at large?

          I find teaching to be a reciprocal practice, if done attentively and selflessly. I was a community dharma teacher for some time and work professionally as a science instructor, teaching both at universities and colleges and running field courses with community groups. While my primary focus is ocean science it’s impossible to not discuss issues like changing ocean health or climate, for example, without also discussing how the impacts are not experienced equally in society and the different systemic barriers that exist preventing people and communities from taking action. So a science class can become an opportunity to share our stories and experiences around racism, classism, imperialism, and capitalism, learning from each other in the process.

          In what ways do you seek spiritual and personal growth?

          The two primary ways for me are meditation and divination—mostly tarot but also runes. I’m currently learning the tree ogham.

          in reply to: Month 1, Week 2 #4698
          Dave Riddell

            My birth tree is the ash. The ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is not native to Vancouver Island; in fact, there are no Fraxinus species present in British Columbia. The Oregon ash (F. latifolia) is a species whose geographical distribution brings it the closest to BC, but it doesn’t quite make it, stopping short of Seattle, WA. The sitka mountain-ash and western mountain-ash do occur in BC as introduced species, but are ashes in common name only, both belonging to the genus Sorbus (S. sitchensis and S. scopulina, respectively).

            In Celtic lore, the ash is a tree of divine feminine energy and is the consort of the male energy of the oak. In coastal regions of Vancouver Island, the garry oak (Quercus garryana) is our, threatened, native oak and is most commonly found associated with arbutus (Arbutus menziesii). For this reason, I have chosen the arbutus as my substitute for ash for my local bioregion.

            The twisted form and irregular branching nature of the arbutus are qualities I most connect with as they reflect my own path(s) through life, both personally and professionally. Born into a Christian family, my own spiritual seeking led me for many years through the rich teachings of the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism, then to pantheism, and eventually to Druidry and reconnecting with the old ways and to Ireland, where I was born.

            In addition, the exfoliating bark of the arbutus suggests a slow revealing of its inner mysteries, unmissable in the red-orange colour of the smooth trunk underneath.

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