Wednesday, 20 February 2013

In Servitude....


So a blog post by the lovely Joanna The Belly Dancing Druid has had me musing....Pagan Monasticism.

Something a few, openly admit to striving toward and others have no interest in. Its something that crops up in conversation often with my nearest and dearest girls.

In principle the idea does sound wonderful. A scheduled life or with other like minded spiritual folk, a life in servitude of your chosen God or Goddess, daily ritual, prayer, chants etc Time spent working and living on the land. I've often joked about living in a hut in the woods devoted to Elen......but then in all honesty would I do it nowadays???

I think in days gone by, for our ancestors, that kinda of life was very achievable. A wise wo/man was a highly revered part of the community. The herbalist who healed the sick, midwife that birthed new life and also birthed souls into the next. A shaman, a spiritual guide, someone to turn to in life's ups and downs. A celebrant and see-r over life's rites of passages. A daily life spent devoted to their Path, living on the all spaces and forms.....edges of society, edges of sanity, edges of hunger, edges of material wealth. But cash wasn't the currency then. Community, self sufficiency, energy exchanges of a different nature. Of payment in respect, maybe a coin here or there, but actually it'll of been whatever the family could have afforded. A meal on the table, a chicken, some veg, whatever they specialised in I suppose.

My life now, as a Devotee/Priestess of Elen, is also a life of a Mother, a Partner, an Artist and Workshop Facilitator. Combining, more often juggling, all the areas of my life is no easy task, but I'm not entirely sure I could give it all up for a devoted life of servitude to Elen either. Not in the traditional Monastic sense. I certainly wouldn't walk away from my partner and children and my man is my grounding ;o) My best friend is a yogi disciple of the Satyanada Yoga Tradition, a Karma Sannyasa (I have linked that into an article which will describe better than I can). It makes a lot of sense to me, I want to achieve the best I can for myself, my man and my kids, but I also want to be in Servitude to Elen and be the best I can be in that too. To be fair, I think trying to achieve the life of a nun, monk, ashram life in our western society is tough! Really tough! But that doesn't mean my spirituality and daily practise doesn't strive to have that monastic devotion.

In reality I think the only way we can do it is, to do the best we can. Live our daily life in Honor of our chosen 'god' be that deity, land, planet, life. Incorporate prayer, chant, song, dance, drumming into your daily life. Be it small gestures of lighting candles and incense, eating wholefoods, using Eco friendly products, journal-ling.

Some of these tools I share on my Elen Retreats, suggestions of daily devotions. I'm hoping this year, along with Suzi, to give folk a deep sense of the work I've been led to do with The Temple of Elen. A sacred space to retreat to, even if only for a short period of time. Many things are on the brew at the mo with my work devoted to Elen....magic really is happening and it blows me away. The community is something really special and I'm blessed to have met these wonderful folk that hold the Antlered ways so close to their hearts!

And thanks again Joanna for making the musing juices flow........ 


  1. Fab blog Sam!
    As you say the longing for the monastic life, or in my case, the ashram life is often, I find, a case of feeling that the grass is always greener. Having spent a short time in the ashram I realised that our thoughts and feelings dont change just because our location does! The distractions, irritations are just different! For me as a Yogini and as a pagan, Karma sannyasa is the answer, its just about changing our attitude to life, seeing every part of life - the good, bad, ugly , mundane and extraordinary as part of our spirituality as part of our life and all as opportunites to practice and evolve spiritually. We can offer up anything and everything we do as an offering to the Divine and then truly begin to live a life of dedication
    PS of course this is a constant work of progress for me as I am sure it would be in the ashram or forest dwelling too xx

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      Its given me a lot to think about...small ways to better our devotions. Plus I agree its a work in progress, but I think that's how it should be too don't you? It'd be boring and uneventful if we didn't strive for more or be better lol xx

  2. Great post Sam! Been thinking about it non-stop since I blogged it two days ago - funny how a seemingly off-hand, tiny little blog piece has sparked so much awen! Think I will delve even deeper today, and do a Part Two... :)

  3. I am grateful that we can explore ways to practice our devotions in our daily lives and that we can discuss it openly on fora like this. Thanks for the prompt Sam. I think the idea of retreating to a monastery (country house/yurt in the woods... whatever) is achievable and even desirable as a place of profound reflection for us all. For myself not sure whether that would be my daily life but something I would plan for a couple of times a year. Having a daily practice is however a work in progress and different things/actions keeps the connection fresh and appropriate. I am also grateful that I can experiment for myself and not follow a prescribed route.. All good x x x