Many ancient peoples, and druids in particular, believed that Nature – the landscape and the animals that inhabited it - were packed with meaning and messages.  Today, as in long ago times, animals can be spirit guides, bringing us inspiration, direction and assistance.  Sometimes, when you least expect it, Nature brings you a message like a gift . . . 

This past weekend, I wrote.  All weekend.  That’s it.  Two days of writing, writing, writing.  My characters talked to me, I typed what they said.  When I had to stop writing in order to go to the bathroom or eat something or feed the cats, it was really annoying.  It may sound strange to some, but having to do nothing but write was nirvana.  Absolute bliss. 

Late on the second day, my body started to cramp, forcing me to get up and move.  I grudgingly changed out of my I’m-at-home-alone-writing-so-it-doesn’t-matter-what-I-look-like clothes, put on some shoes and walked down to the lake. 

It’s springtime now in Ireland.  The sky was blue for a change and daffodils have popped up everywhere like big yellow smiles.  I took a deep breath and thanked my body for forcing me to get out of the house. 

As soon as I walked out the door, a blackbird sang to me from the pear tree at the far edge of my garden.  It didn’t just sing.  It flew down in front of me and landed close, gazing at me with its yellow-rimmed eye, pointing its bright yellow beak in the air as it cocked its head to study me.  The Irish name for a blackbird is Druid Dhubh (Black Druid).  In druid oracle teachings, the blackbird symbolizes a call from the soul, a possible message from the OtherWorld regarding hidden potential. 
I walked on, past a field of sheep and their new lambs that bounced around on pogo-stick legs.  At a neighbour’s farm, the dogs ran out with friendly barks to greet me and request tummy-rubs.  From the druid perspective, dogs symbolize loyalty and protection, but in the ancient tradition, they were also the Guardian of the Mysteries. 

Hearing the commotion, several cats also came out, hanging back until the dogs had calmed down.  One of the cats chirped at me and jumped up on a rock wall, waiting for me to come pet her.  In the druid view, the message a cat brings is that of detachment – watching, observing and then deciding what to do.  They also remind us to appreciate sensual pleasures.  
Past the farm, as I walked between blackberry hedges, two wild geese flew overhead, calling back and forth to each other.  Geese mate for life and fly extraordinarily high.  To a druid of old, they would have represented partnership and productive power.  They’re also a very territorial bird and, if they had been on the ground, hissing at and chasing me, that could be taken as a reflection of my own possessiveness.  In that case, it might have been a sign not to over-protect. 

When I reached the huge lough, two swans were out some distance, dredging up slimy green stuff to eat.  Long ago, a bard’s ceremonial cloak would have been made from swan skin and feathers.  Because of that, I took heart!  For me, on this day, the swans could easily be a sign that I should carry on telling my story, as a bard must always tell tales.  However, the primary message a swan brings is that of love and the possibility that love may be about to enter one’s life. 
Walking around the curve of the lake, I came to a long, sloping hill where the Connemara ponies (horses) were grazing.  I love to talk to the horses.  They always come running to greet me and cluster close around to sniff me.  The horse is symbolic of travel, either a physical or spiritual journey, usually across land.  Horses also symbolize journeying into the next world or another lifetime (which happens to be what I was writing about). 
When I came back home, it was nearly dark.  I almost stepped on a spotted frog in my back garden.  I squatted down and gently touched its sensitive skin.  It hopped once and then stayed put for a while.  Frogs are a most complicated creature from a druid perspective.  They live half on land and half in water, combining the powers of both elements.  They are associated with rain and water spirits, especially, and therefore with healing and purification.  Frog spawn was considered a cure for inflammatory diseases, including rheumatism.  Long ago, in the British Isles, if you had an eye problem, one possible cure was to find someone willing to lick the eye of a frog and then lick your eye.  Yeah.  Count me out. 
Sometime later, I went back to writing, and was very glad to have taken the break and the long walk.  Most importantly, I was grateful to all the creatures who shared their grace of spirit with me.  I’ve been a vegetarian since college (i.e., a really long time), because of my great love for animals.  On days like this, I wonder if they might feel that love.  I hope they do. 


Druids of old were, without a doubt, talented ancient astronomers.  They created calendars based on the planets and stars in the night sky and their predictions of planetary movements were startlingly accurate.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Read Pliny’s accounts.  A couple thousand years ago, if you wanted to know when to plant your cabbage crop (when the moon was in the fertile sign of Pieces, of course) or the best time to undertake a dangerous journey across water, you’d consult your friendly, local druid, who would, in turn, consult the sky. 

Current sky conditions reveal some amazing possibilities . . .
Tonight is the dark of the moon, when great things can happen!  Yesterday, the sun moved in to Pieces, the ultimate water sign and purveyor of emotions.  Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, when people all over Ireland will be eating pancakes to celebrate the last day of pleasure before the self-imposed austerity of Lent (according to the Christian calendar).  Tomorrow is also the new Ash Moon, sometimes called, ‘the moon of waters,’ because of its emotional significance.  Not surprisingly, the Ash Tree usually grows near water.  Since our bodies are between 60% and 70% water, we ‘feel’ a lot this moon (month).  And, very soon, we should start feeling the energy of the approaching Grand Earth Trine. 

What do all those things have in common?  Emotions.  Even more important, the strongest emotion of them all:  Love. 

We are at a sort of crossroads, surrounded by Love energy!  But it’s not an escapism-type, woo-woo love.  The approaching Grand Trine involving the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, will force us to face our emotions and be honest with ourselves.  THEN, falling in love with yourself, with the Earth, with someone else, with all of creation, will be as easy as . . . falling.  Back in the 15th Century, when they were deciding on a date for Valentine’s Day, they would’ve been more accurate to push it forward a week, because the Ash Moon of waters nearly always falls the week after Valentine’s. 
If there were any ancient druids around now, they’d probably be telling us to be open to love and romance.  Tonight, especially, is an excellent time to be still and receptive to the energy of unconditional universal love.  This is a healing energy, a warmth, a connection that unites all living creatures. 

A good meditation to try is to close your eyes and imagine yourself as a river.  You are flowing over hills, into valleys, down cliffs and across rolling land, finally reaching a giant ocean of oneness and bliss. 

If we all do that together tonight, magic will ensue! 


Tomorrow night is the full Rowan Moon, the perfect time for astral travel and projection, as well as divination.  You want to know what’s going to happen in your future?  Meditate tomorrow night!  It is also a night when you may encounter those individuals most adept at astral travel, who can actually assist with divination:  Elementals, Earth spirits and Elves.  So you might want to keep your third eye open. 

The elves I’m referring to are NOT the old Christian-reworked version of elves.  Nor am I referring to the ancient Scandinavian elves (alfar), who were the dead, believed to be still alive in their burial mounds.  There was also a paradise called Alfaheimr (Elf-land) inhabited by bright female spirits who made the sun.  These female spirits could be beautiful or hideous, representing birth or death.  Christianity opposed this ancient female-centered theology and referred to elf-feasts as demonic sabbats with ‘cloven-hooved dancers.’ 

Then, of course, there’s Santa Claus, referred to in the Night Before Christmas, as a ‘right jolly old elf.’  Personally, I find it hard to think of a large, furry man with a weight problem as an ‘elf.’ Likewise, when walking through the forest, I find it difficult to imagine there are Lord of the Rings-type hobbits or gnomes who live deep down in the radon-gas filled, rock-congested Irish soil. 

In Ireland, elves include the ever-popular Leprechaun, the Clurichaun (or night-dwelling Leprechaun), the Grogoch (a hair-covered creature who migrated to Ulster from Scotland), Brownies (who often dwell inside) and Hobgoblins (spirits of the ‘hob’ – a range where food is cooked).  In a forest near my home, there are quite a few caves and large, gaping holes under old trees, where elves are said to live. 
While all of that is interesting to me, it does not encompass my idea of the creature called ‘Elf.’  It seems more accurate to think of elves as elemental energy that we perceive in different forms, depending on our personal experience and beliefs.  Creatures formed by molecules that are somehow less dense than our own.  Beings that, by their very nature, are inclined to feats which we might consider impossible.  

I’d be interested to know your idea of an ‘elf.’  Have you ‘seen’ or experienced them?  Do any of the older versions of ‘elves’ ring true for you?  
If you feel so inclined, I hope you enjoy dancing with the elves tomorrow night, whether you see them or not.  Just acknowledging their presence might enhance your evening and bring a little magic into your life. 

Until next week . . . 
Slán agus Beannaigh
(be safe & blessed)