Sunday, May 30, 2010

Alexei Kondratiev RIP

Alexei Kondratiev 1949 – 2010

Word has come to us that noted Celtic scholar, linguist, and author Alexei Kondratiev passed away last night due to an apparent heart attack. His writings on Celtic religion and spirituality, which included the ground-breaking book “The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual”, were highly influential on both Celtic-oriented Druidic groups and the nascent Celtic Reconstructionist movement. He was a passionate defender of Celtic language and culture, and regularly advocated that Pagan religions that drew from Celtic culture should immerse themselves in the living Celtic languages and communities.

In addition to his insightful writings, Kondratiev was fluent in all six extant Celtic languages, and conducted classes on the Irish language at the Irish Arts Center in New York since 1985. Kondratiev was also an officer in the Celtic League American Branch, a board member of the now-dormant group Imbas (which hosts many of his online writings), and co-led the Protean Mnemosynides Coven with his partner Len Rosenberg (Black Lotus). He even wrote a comic-book about a Druid that immersed the character within Celtic culture. His wide-ranging and influential participation in the modern Pagan movement can not be adequately measured, but suffice to say he had a huge impact on many individuals, myself included.

“The battle is not over yet. The six Celtic languages are still alive, if not well. In them are stored, as on a disk, several millennia of a people’s unique experience, waiting to be given a new dynamic expression by that generation who will dare to break the colonial shackles of fear and self-doubt. Now more than ever do we need the devil-may-care valour of the Celtic warrior. Now more than ever do we need the druidic clarity of vision, the bardic ability to draw resources from the unlimited potential of the Otherworld. We must, as they did, have the imagination to give flesh to life-giving myth, and the will to work its pattern into our existence. Time is indeed short. Everyone of us who has felt the beauty of the Celtic world-vision must act, each in our individual ways, now, before it is too late. Gwnewch rywbeth!! Do something!!”

All honor to Alexei Kondratiev, may his journey to the Otherworld reunite him with his ancestors, and provide him communion with his gods. My deepest condolences to his partner, Len, his family, friends, and co-religionists.

“For those of us who speak only English, the treasure-trove of the Celtic consciousness is still behind a locked door. But the key to unlock the door is there, within our grasp. Anyone of us can, at any moment, decide to fit the key to the lock and be on the other side.”

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Is it Tuesday yet? I am so excited to be doing this spiritual journey that O fee; I can't wait until the first of the month. But I made a commitment to START on the first of June. I just wish the days would go faster.

I think all of this excitement is really going to help me stay focused on my spiritual journey. I just hope that I stay excited throughout its entirety. I do have the bad habit of half-assing everything I do, but, like my college education, this is important to me. It is something I need to do to find balance in myself. I know not everyone needs Deity to feel whole, like my husband, but I do.

Not-so-patiently waiting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Year and a Day

Next month marks my 24th birthday as well as my 10-year anniversary in following my religious path. To commemorate this anniversary, I've decided to reattempt my year-and-a-day training. For those who are reading who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, I'll fill you in. In Wicca, before we dedicate ourselves to our spiritual path, we go through a study and exploration process that has been labeled as year-and-a-day training. It is usually seen as the time you focus inward and study to see if this is the right religion for you. Most people suggest it should take about a year (and a day), hence the term, to fully understand your religious path. The actual time people spend will vary. The first time I did this was a little over 10 years ago, and it took me almost 2 years to complete. This time I am dedicating 53 weeks of my time.

As I mentioned before, this is not my first attempt. This isn't even my second. Almost 2 years ago I tried to reattempt my training, but quit around the 20th week because of some emotional issues. Then I had become a member of Magicka School and had enrolled in their free beginner courses. I had the elders at the school erase my previous grades so I could re-do their Wicca and Tarot classes. I'm thinking of doing my quizzes on the days of the full moon and using the time in between for study and reflection.

Day One begins Tuesday, June 1, which is also the start date for my English Comp 1 class at school. :) I have no idea how I'm going to fit this in my already busy schedule, but I will, somehow. I want to find balance in home, school, and spirituality. This is something I feel I need to do.