I found my Grove today.
Today, I tried my hand at visualization practice for the first time in what felt like eons. So much has happened in my personal life that I had almost given up on Druidry, but something called to me today, as it always seems to. Today I had the energy, and I felt drawn to sit in my bedroom and just try to close my eyes for a few minutes with the sunset starting to shine in through my window. I decided to set an intention to visualize my Sacred Grove, to start to find that magical place that I could return to whenever I wanted, to heal, to rest.
After setting my intention, I tried my hardest to imagine what my ideal Grove would look like. Images filled my mind's eye of trees, perfect and orderly and green; laid out in a circle. In the middle, a clearing of soft grass, with enough room for a fire pit in the middle. I could feel for a fleeting moment the soft verdant grass, still moist from an early morning frost. It smelled cold, and I felt my nose instinctively twitch to adjust for the weather. However, something was still off. No matter how hard I would try to build on that image, nothing seemed to work; it was like I was stuck.
Suddenly, I felt something click. I felt myself rocking softly, like on a kayak. I could see the edge of the small islet in the middle of the vast lake, a world away from civilization, yet right at home, in a solitary fortress built with tall white pines, oaks, and maple trees, surrounded by a healing azure landscape, with a tall colorful forest of yellows, oranges, browns and reds surrounding the vast lake as fall starts to take over the landscape.
I got out of my kayak, and walked up the hill on the side of the islet to find my grove, touched only since I had been there by whatever creatures inhabit this lake and the surrounding forest. I smelled a light air of smoke, and felt the amber glow of a campfire, lighting up the night sky, cacophonous and colorful, the pastel peach and orange sunset adding more color to the fall landscape. Leaves falling all around. I felt a connection there. I felt connected to myself, to nature, and to the spirit world. It was in that moment that I experienced Awen for the first time.
While writing in my journal afterwards, I realized that trying to envision a perfect grove was the reason for my frustrations. I can't improve or build on something that I already think is perfect! I realized that my grove is where I have always felt at home: deep in the woods in New England. As the ideal green grass withered and was replaced with dirt, the leaves and needles all fell off the trees and made the ground crunchy and welcoming, I couldn't help but smile. To finally have an experience was something that my skeptical brain wasn't fully expecting, and all I can say is that I cannot wait to study more.
Awen means “Divine Inspiration.” It is what made the Bards of ancient times sing and write, what made them call and serenade out to the spirits, and gather others to celebrate alongside them. I finally understand what that means, and it only makes me want to deepen this connection.
Until I return there again,