Thursday, 22 November 2012

A review of 'A Druid's Tale', by Cat Treadwell

A Druid's Tale

Despite the author’s recommendation that A Druid’s Tale be “consumed slowly … in small bites”, I initially swallowed it whole! Purely because I found it to be such an addictive read. However, the book is so incredibly rich in content that it’s impossible to digest in one sitting. Each page is so full of tasty morsels that it needs to be read through several times and reflected upon in order to assimilate the words into your bloodstream.

Cat Treadwell is a Druid Priest and, by dint of that fact, she is well qualified to write about Druidry and explain exactly what it is. Thankfully, she does not do that. Instead, she shares with us her own lived experiences: real experiences that paint infinitely more colourful and detailed illustrations than any academically driven text could.

Very aware of the absolute folly of trying to impress her readers, Cat keeps it real from the very first page to the last as she describes her fears, her agonies and some of her epiphanies, all explained and related to her Druidic beliefs and practice. I felt myself connecting with her, even journeying with her as I made my own way through her story. And connection, she demonstrates, is at the very heart of her practice. True connection is a communion with otherness: to other living beings, to the inanimate, to the forces of nature, to our ancestors and to the whole of creation.

Guided by Awen, Cat lays out her pages in this gem of a book in a way that both informs & inspires the reader. I read her chapter on ‘Public Ritual’ and learned about responsibility and honour. I read about ‘Dark Mythology’ and emerged bathed in the light of the beauty of darkness. And I read of Celebration, after which I promised myself a whole new and more honest way of being with others as I mark not just certain dates in the calendar but each day as an opportunity to give of myself to others whilst rejoicing in the never-ending wonders of this spinning planet.

Yet as I completed my first read of A Druid’s Tale, I felt to ‘know’ nothing more about Druidry as a concept. I had learned about Cat and how she interprets her role and lives her life as a Druid Priest … but I didn’t understand the term ‘Druidry’ any more than I did before. I sat, reflected … and then it struck me. Druidry is not one ‘thing’ that can be neatly categorised and boxed. Nor should it ever be. Druidry, it seems to me after reading Cat’s book, is a certain way of being and becoming and learning how to discover and accept your True Self. It is a way of ‘being with’ the world in what Martin Buber describes as an ‘I-Thou’ relationship: blissfully unaware of one’s ego’s restraints and bound together in the glory of the other, be it a person, a creature, a rock, a star or a goddess.

After these insights and still stirred by the author’s passions and honesty, I gazed out of my window at the rain-lashed moors on the horizon and listened to the howling wind as it grabbed at piles of leaves and flung them around the garden. ‘Perhaps this is druidry,’ I thought as the unpredictable chaos of a gale-blown afternoon suddenly filled me with energy and the most reassuring feeling that I was not alone.

Product details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Moon Books; 1st edition (29 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780991134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780991139
You can order a copy of A Druid's Tale here

Monday, 20 August 2012

'Phases of the Moon' ~ Louise Hastings' first published collection of poetry

This is so exciting! I am so pleased to announce that Phases of the Moon, the very first collection of poems from the most lovely & extremely talented poet Louise Hastings, is available to buy now from & 

Louise is a rapidly emerging poet who I & a multitude of others have been following on Twitter & her blog for quite some time. It is such a privilege & a pleasure, therefore, to offer you my review of Louise's stunning collection of poems:

‘What name defines me?’ asks Louise Hastings in her poem called, simply, Poet. Well, after having savoured the delights of her first collection she is clearly a very talented poet who has the ability to hold the reader in the simple truths and beauty of her words. So many times I found myself stepping out at the end of a poem with a sense of its wholeness fixed firmly within me. That is her writing style. Her poems tend to capture you and hold you in the lilt and sway of her basic, uncomplicated rhythms.

Phases of the Moon is a glorious concoction of poems that paint the richest pictures of an Awakening, ‘away from the grey and mechanic into the poetic and extraordinary’. In her opening poem, Shadow Dancing, Louise likens her soul to ‘a blown fuse’ as, through the process of writing, she begins to accept the frightening shadows that have haunted her for so long as spaces of potential discovery, ‘where there is life, death and love’. Striving desperately to throw off years of shackled emotions, her plea is heart wrenching and obvious in her poem Monday as she craves the ‘twisted love and yearning’ of life as opposed to one that merely ‘drips water along the windowpane’.

Her troubled childhood features strongly in many of her poems. In the poem Phases of the Moon she finds herself ‘walking the asphalt lights with jagged shards of memories’, a child cruelly deprived of ‘amber flight’. Similarly, in Inner Child we find her ‘cloaked in moth wings and dust’ as she ‘trips down present-day halls, corridors that smell of emptiness’.

Yet, far from being confessionals, these beautifully crafted poems shine softly like petals in sunlight: each one an epiphany that carries with it emerging hope as Louise, herself, becomes ‘a little poem that could’. Love, too, touches her like ‘a silken tendril along my skin’ as, freed now from the trammels of her past, she finds herself ‘embraced by the scent of warmer rain’.

Whilst certain themes do emerge from this collection, each poem is always glazed with a degree of purposeful ambiguity. Louise has perfected the technique of wrapping her poems in intrigue as her words take us towards familiar destinations via unfamiliar pathways. Step into any of her poems and there is always something new under the sun for us to discover.

Louise’s very first poetry collection, having touched just about every emotion it is possible to feel, leaves me thrumming with an inner contentment as her words linger like the aftertaste of strong chocolate. And the way in which she dips her poems into the universe and all its mysteries, for me, automatically draws out comparisons with the poetry of Mary Oliver.

It is so hard to choose a favourite poem from so many gems but I will leave you with the final lines of Seeing Zebras, a poem of time, mindfulness and liminal space, where:

‘In my underlying consciousness
lies linear time,
full of yesterday and tomorrow,
flowing through heart and lungs,
through endless breath
where love is earth’s glow off its edge.’

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Summer Lightning 

Deep In the day’s shadows
my blue-eyed boy dawdles
where dreams and stars blend
in glorious paradox.
Here, in his sea-soft space
galleons dip and rise
on the swell of an edgeless ocean.

Oh darling boy, time is so fast
and childhood such a skittish thing.
One day you will throw it out
like busted shoes
as you wake and smell the elegance
the algorithms
inside life’s iron cage.
And will you fly, I wonder?
Or will you sing?
The angels present at your birth
were rather coy, if I recall.

Nudged by the moon’s slow spin
you rise from your rocking boat
and I adopt a stolid air
as if my love for you
were rather ordinary.
How difficult it is, at times,
to bear the shock of summer lightning
arcing between our ribs.

When you are stubbled and long-boned
and I am kicking air –
unwrap this poem
on a bellrung Sunday during rain,
feel the beat of my devotion
pounding in the slack of its creases.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Picture courtesy of Rowan Pendragon

A poem to celebrate the Spring Equinox


Here, within the chorion, Life twitches
as the rushlight flimmers
beneath Winter’s melting egg.
Small fingers, stained with alluvium
unwrap like fiddleheads.
Eyelids begin to flutter, brushed lightly
by saffron tinted shadows.
Outside, She sits and rubs a cluster
of mallow green stones
shining them with spittle and oil.
When the Spring rains fall
she will fill her lungs with petrichor,
kneel in rich crumbles of humus
and, under a bone-white moon,
slide her arms deeply
into squelches of moistened soil
drawing out the new life
slicked and dripping with amnion.
This is the moment when we feel
the earth dancing inside our selves;
when the untouchable stars flicker
and whisper about infinitude.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Severe weather warning

After days of faltering orange
down comes the drear
quick as a fit
rinsing cattle, turbines, whole villages
in bloodless pastels.
Only the red fox
eyes grinning, tongue-flopped
as he lollops by
makes reference to the copper rods
welded to my knuckles.
Days, cold and ceaseless, shiver
like small dogs,
gods mumble in an arbitrary way –
Bring down the rains again, I hear them say.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A cherished award

I feel very privileged to announce that I have just been awarded the Liebster Blog award from one of my favourite bloggers, the very talented poet Louise Hastings at Sincere thanks Louise ~ it is a wonderful gesture & I truly appreciate it.

The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany (Liebster means “favourite” or “dearest” in German) In accepting this award, the recipient agrees to:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks for the award and let them know.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people in the Blogsphere.
5. And, lastly – have fun and spread the karma!

OK ~ so here goes for my five nominations in no particular order:

Abigail Baker - @The_Linnet A rapidly emerging poet whose poetry is loaded with insight and emotion. Each & every time I read one of Abi’s poems I am captivated by the subtle messages that unfold … always wrapped in the most beautiful language

Will Senior - @WilSenior Will’s blog is a sensitive combination of his personal experiences of and insights into the psychotherapeutic process. And if you search hard enough you will also discover some real poetic gems hiding among his postings, not to mention his stunning photography

Julie Swindel - @Membrane7 Julie’s blog is a rich mixture of her wonderful artwork and the life experiences that have influenced it. I hope she won’t mind me saying that, owing to her work/study commitments & hectic family life, she struggles to find time to post but … when she does post they are absolutely intriguing & exploding with colour

Shan Ellis - @Awdures Anyone who knows Shan will be aware that she always ‘tells it as it is!’ Her poetry reflects her forthright approach and her poems tremble with power and emotion. My immediate reaction after reading one of Shan’s poems is always: ‘WOW!’

Heidi David - @HeidiDavid Writing as her alter ego, Madame Paradox, Heidi has produced an absolutely memorable blog full of the most amusing & captivating posts.  She is the author of an as yet unpublished novel - The Flying Jewel - which, if justice is done, will have pride of place on my bookshelves one day soon

I could, of course, have nominated forever but was restricted to just five people. To everyone who visits my blog & to all my friends & followers on twitter: I really do love you all.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


I wish
I could smear violet
or indigo
across your lips
without someone
rigged as a poet
brandishing rags
that reek of pear drops
scrubbing my daubery
from your face
whilst screaming
certain shades of purple
are taboo.
Plump for synonyms
or succedanea
like mulberry, murrey
and other ersatz
woads of register
they howl
blind to the fact
that every livid tint
fingered on your face
is scraped
from melting stars
leaving soft
iron embolisms
occluding the lumen
of my dreams.