Beginnings, beginnings, how to get started?

Although I am now with the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN), a contemplative Druid monastic Order, I had been working on my own, developing a Druid monastic practice, for some years prior to that. I became a novice with the OSN in 2010 and took my full vows in 2012, but I had been studying monastic practice, mostly Christian monastic practice, since the 1990’s.

I looked at various Christian monastic Orders, mainly the Benedictines, Cistercians, and Carthusians, looking at their daily timetables and forms of prayer, as well as other aspects of their lives. I noticed that often their prayer times did seem to be linked to events like Dawn and Dusk, Midday, and Midnight, and I realised that these daily events are also relevant to Druid practice.

The Dawn, Dusk, Midday, and Midnight, structure then became the framework to build on. But what should I be doing at those times? I didn’t have a set of Druid ‘psalms’ to use, and the Triads weren’t a suitable substitute for the psalms, so I had a framework but wondered what to put on it.

At this point, around 1995, I was studying the course run by the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD). I was in the Ovate Grade and one of the practical exercises suggested was something called ‘In the Eye of the Sun’. From what I remember, it suggested sitting facing the relevant direction at the relevant time of day, (Midnight – North; Dawn-East; Midday-South; Dusk-West) and simply keeping the attention on a focus such as one’s breath. If the attention wandered, then just notice this and bring it back to the focus. I don’t think the expectation was that people should do four meditations a day, rather to pick one which was convenient and persevere with that. However, for me, the four meditation times each day was a perfect structure to develop my Druid monastic practice on. So, perhaps appropriately, my monastic practice grew from silence. I was on my way!

My prayer times, which I called ‘Observances’ at that time, did develop further to use spoken prayers and invocations of various sorts.

More to follow.

9 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. I’m so glad you’ve started a blog, Julie! It sounds like you had been planning to for quite some time! I look forward to reading more.

    As I mentioned on the Pagan & Polytheist Monasticism discussion group, I am planning to conduct a series of interviews with members of existing polytheist monastic orders, and I would love to interview you. I think it’s important that the early monastic orders talk about their experiences and keep good records of their practices, for the sake of future polytheist monastics who are called to this path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s fine with me. I’d be happy to do an interview. I do keep records and also do journaling. Hopefully it may be helpful to others walking a similar path.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How’s it going? It has been a while since your previous post. I’m sure I speak for several when I say that we are interested to see where your journey takes you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike, Thanks for the nudge and the interest! I’m hoping to get the next post up in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been laid low with a few seasonal ailments over the last few weeks but I’m coming out of those now, thank goodness, so I should be up and going again in the next few days.


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