Shapeshifting and the Arts of Transformation
Having journeyed a full year reweaving our connection to Nature and our ancestors, rooting ourselves in the land we dwell in, year two is dual in nature.
We move into realms of myth and transformation. We divehead-long into “Cerridwen’s cauldron”, so to speak. This is a year of working with energy, the unseen as we learn to build bridges between us, our ancestors, and the spirits of nature. This is a year of deep intuitive exploration, learning the arts of transformation and “shapeshifting” – essential tools for priests of Nature. Embracing our mortality straight-on, we work deeply with death and dying in practical and ritual sense.
The use of ritual and trance is heavily emphasized in year two. Where year one was about finding our selves, working to understand edges and boundaries, year two is about crafting flexible boundaries, so that we may change and shift them as needed. Exploring potentiality, possibility and prophecy, year two is about letting go into the darkness, seeking inspiration without limits.
To quote James Lawer (an original founder of the College), “At one level, it is true that we are all blended and a continuum into each other. That is a function of the dark, to reveal our blended edges. But even human nature wants a sense of self separate from others, in order to create its awareness. And so a function of the light is to reveal our edges. Druids must have both. Therefore, we must live with both and develop an ethics that acknowledges and accounts for both-at-the-same-time.”
This is the work of year two, bringing into balance our needs for grounded focused presence and our need for letting go of the self, and finding our place in the moment where edges disappear. We learn to shift as needed based on the relationship of the moment.
Year two also focuses on developing teachers (if one chooses this role). The goal isn’t simply to provide experiences for the apprentice to do their own work. We are dedicated to true equality. We train apprentices, not students. Therefore we teach people how to facilitate these same practices and sacred rites for their own students and apprentices. Service is the key word. While we work to learn how to be in community, we may think of that as listening. Once we find our place, we begin to speak back, adding our voice, what we might think of as our prayer. During the year, each apprentice will have direct one-on-one mentoring to support the work they are doing in their own community.
Year two is very much about service, leadership, and responsibility. Having journeyed through light and dark, through myth and metaphor, rooted firmly in the Earth, supported by our ancestors and having crafted true intimate connection with the gods, we are able to take on the role of priest, as druid, whatever the appropriate name for our work. At the center of all of this is walking with the wisdom of Nature, fed by Nature, taught by Nature, healed by Nature. Having done this work, we have the skills and potential to lead others into a sacred relationship with the same.
Dates for Maine course:
Year two studies include:
The Awakened Life; Ritual Trance Induction, Crafting Sacred Ritual; Healing; Prophecy and the Seer; Defining what is meant by Applied Inspiration in Service; Ethical Leadership; Bridge-building as Peacework; Preparations for Declaring your “Chair”.