Green Offerings

celtic spirituality dance shamanism story

Let me be straight, I’ll be (eventually) teaching about the Sidhe.

At first I wasn’t too happy about it. Thats not true, at first I was happy to have a teaching path forward, that felt good and right. It came to me quite suddenly, at dinner with family and friends. I just knew beyond any doubt that I would be teaching about/with the Sidhe. I’d had the dream invitation to work with them over a year ago, now I had a clear sense of direction.

Then I started to drink my own kool-aide and in short time I found myself in the midst the compelte demise of my technology…actually thats not true either. Yes I drank my own silliness only to be firmly confronted with my own fear and ignorance, and a hefty repair bill. Hurumph … typical.

I’ve been following the breadcrumbs provided by the spirits, journeying, reading and re-reading, spending time with the land – listening. Thats when I started getting ideas. After three years of dusted straw-brown-scrub-leftovers and fading oak leaves, the green renaissance we’re experiencing is incredibly intoxicating. We are totally submerged in the green of life, it penetrates my spirit, feeds me deeply.  I had new ideas about how to bring this glory out to the greater world of the internet. So I spent a good deal of that day taking pictures and videos – saying intelligent sounding things to nobody in particular.

On my way home I stopped in at small place I know to be of the Sidhe – tumble down trees, strong vibrant growth, and of course a doorway. I don’t document these places with a camera, at least I’m not that dense. Standing in that presence , I was immediately embarrassed that I had no offering of gratitude to leave, sadly not an unusual gaffe for me. Then I remembered a spirit at a sacred place who asked me to make an offering of a poem. Could I still remember that poem and recite it now?

Not the Place I Stop for the Sidhe (I’m not THAT bumbling) But So Beautiful

I stepped back, and struggled a bit to remember Wendell Berry’s Peace of Wild Things, returned to the spot and recited, not too poorly (though I’m sure Berry would have spit up his whiskey if he heard me tell it). Stumble though I did, it was more than my usual offerings, more than food or sputtering out a few phrases. It was a moment of genuine partnership – sharing a prayer between us. Immediately I felt my state of mind change, creating a tangible connection with that place, letting myself be taken in by the presence there. I felt for a moment, that I belonged there, that I was with the Sidhe. When I continued on my way, I knew I had made a genuine offering, and somehow, that I’d been changed by this spontaneous, wonderfully authentic experience.

It can be hard to understand the powerful place poetry and metaphor held in the lives of many of our ancestors. Our days are so occupied by the shroud of materialism, the terminally grating speed of our ways, something as seemingly ephemeral as a poem may look trite to many. Still, its not uncommon to hear someone say “that song saved my life.” Even today the power of poetry, set to music or not, reaches so many.

Metaphor has great power to transform us, changing our path in life, setting us down a new road. Omens alight into our lives, bumping us in a new way. A truth transmitted through metaphor sticks like few things do. It can also transmit power, power to heal, power to remake us, power to embody a new way of being in the world. Perhaps making the offering of a poem is extending some part of your own soul, exposing yourself, investing yourself in change.  In that moment it allowed me to be of a place, not just from a place.

I made my poetry offering after spending time out on Hummingbird Island, practicing movement, and just listening. That was when I began recording sights and sounds of the Slough on my phone, working on that latest, greatest get-me-out-of-my-day-job-now project. Apparently the spirits did not appreciate my departure from my primary work of deep listening: shortly after returning home my phone would no longer charge. I had to admit, I deserved it. My time on the island was less focused, I was much less present. I didn’t know how serious it was until a few days of attempting to resurrect the charging port only resulted in my growing older.


{Sniff…whimper} they killed the phone {whimper…please no}. Ok, take a deep breath, I can deal with this. No more ‘uber-spiritual selfie sessions’. Lesson learned. Drop $100 on a new battery and charger, tail between legs, good story to tell – time to move on. A few days pass …


Next my hard drive crashes, instantly becoming toast –  ouch! Apparently lesson has not been learned. When I restored from backup on the new slick drive ($350), I got a reset – two weeks back. Seems all that data was bullshit as far as the spirits were concerned. I’m sure they’re right. Especially that groovey footage I took on Hummingbird Island slickly outlining how cool I am – all gone. Thanks. 🙂

When I was making my rounds that fateful day, I was being shown that my work with the Sidhe is always happening. Its really about a quality of presence and relationship to life that never ends. Everything has to fit within that connection. I strayed far out of the bounds of that lesson. I was hoping, just a little space right now, just let me squeeze this little bit of “me-ness” and then I’ll get back to what really matters.

There’s a time to step outside of your process to witness it and share it with others, and there’s a time to step into it, go deeper. That time is now, and now, and now, and now…

Where is the warrior and who is this pissed off old guy I’m becoming?

Truth is I’ve been wandering lately, and not in the good way. I’m more and more a tired old Dad these days. Supporting a young family while my wife is in grad school is deeply draining. When she comes home I want nothing more than to lean on her. It doesn’t matter that many struggling children have been leaning on her all day, it doesn’t matter that she had two classes after that and just wants to rest, write her next paper and crash. Working, feeding people, chauffeuring, being the parent-on-duty 24/7 is seriously draining, coaxing forth my inner asshole.

I was beginning to see a downward spiral of total curmudgeonly-ness on the horizon. I needed some help. I turned first to Frank MacEowen’s “Celtic Way of Seeing”, drawn to his work on sovereignty – especially the work in the North with the theme of the Warrior. I realized that, though I’d been immersed in years of martial arts training as a young person, I’ve received very little actual training in being a warrior. Lots of talk yes – but truly showing up with your spirit, only a few special teachers tried to convey that. In fact, I’ve been totally hiding from my warrior for some time, and that has been creating a lot of problems.

Three medicines.

The truth is I’ve been 1/2 in and 1/2 out of my process. Taking selfies when I need to be listening, receiving whats being offered. It comes from being 1/2 on board with the spirits, its comes from waiting to be rescued rather than finding my own way through the thicket. Calling forth the warrior, showing up with everything I have, grey prickly warts and all, is the first medicine.

Next it wast time to check in with my teacher. First thing she sat me down. Yes – thats just what she did: “come over here, sit down, slow down and just listen.”  She didn’t say “stop, shut-up, sit down, stop thinking” but I think thats what she meant. I was miraculously able to do this – perhaps I had learned something! She helped me to focus, saying over and over again “prayer & poetry, prayer & poetry…” Thats what they’ve been saying, I haven’t been trusting it, haven’t been true to what I need to do. The warrior wandered.

Tom Cowan encouraged me once to trust my process, I’ve been realizing more and more how important that is, in a way it might be the whole ball of wax. Getting to a place of complete trust means opening to the direction your soul is taking you in. The warrior lives from their truth, the warrior abides in trust. Trust is the second medicine.

Body helps.

Yesterday I received some deep tissue work from a talented healer I’ve turned to over the years, Carol Agneessens. For years our littlest one edged out exercise (except for lifting her!) Too much sitting then getting up to farm, or weed, or haul sand or lift a three year old squashed my lower back pretty good. After a few months of swimming and running it was clear I needed more help. Carol was able to connect my head and my spine again, ZAP! It was that electrifying, like a switch had been turned on. Our Serpent Spines are so key to consciousness. Reaching out to a healer, one who brought me back into the vitality and power of my own body, thats the third medicine.

Right where I’m supposed to be.

Isn’t this what its supposed to be like? When you commit to something, really commit yourself, stuff comes up. The wheels start falling off, your ass falls off if you’re not careful. Once you push through that first wave of re-adjustment, you pick up the pieces, screw things back on that still fit, and get back in your groove.

Today was the day after my body work, I ran out to the island feeling more centered than I had in almost a year. Once at the slough (without phone or even glasses) I took off my shoes and did my work. The spirits encouraged me to journey as I danced at the slough, resulting in a verse:

Reaching out to the Shining Ones

who travel on the water

The Otter people come to see

who dances, breathes and moves with the water.


The best teachers realize that they are condemned to a life of being a student as well. Will I be teaching about the Sidhe, yes it seems so. I had a delirious vision of The Good People dancing on Hummingbird island today. Do I know how soon until I teach? Nope. Thats OK – right now I’m listening, trying not to encourage the spirits to kill my car or completely destroy my ability to participate in the modern world. I’m still cooking you see, and thats a really good thing.

Wishing you and yours green, beautiful offerings.

%d bloggers like this: