Hey there good people … sorry it’s been so long since the last post. We’ve been totally absorbed in getting ready for this big move to the country, and it’s finally happening!
The boxes are (almost) packed, the moving truck is booked, the goodbye parties are over, and Thursday is the big day.
As part of this amazing adventure, our family is doing a blog called “Shalomstead”, which is the name of our new home. Come check it out!
And please pray for us as we move … we need all the help we can get!
Greetings Sophian friends!
I hope this note finds you well, and that you’ve enjoyed a good Christmas season! I’ve got some news I want to share with you.
In July of this year, we are going to be moving! After much deliberation, we’ve decided to take the plunge and head “back to the land” (yeah, you all knew we were just hippies in disguise, didn’t you?)
In the summer, we will be packing up and moving to an off the grid organic farm near Cochin (20 minutes north of the Battlefords). There, the Ternier – Burns family has graciously offered to take us on as greenhorn homesteaders, and show us the ropes of low-tech small-scale organic gardening, farming, woodscraft, animal husbandry, and seed-saving. We will be helping out with their CSA (community-shared agriculture) project, and living as simply as possible. There is no power on the farm apart from solar, and no running water … it is truly going to be an adventure!
We’re planning on going out for a trial year, leasing our house in Saskatoon, and then evaluating if we are crazy or not. If it goes well, we may very well relocate permanently.
We’re pretty excited about this move, but of course the negative side means saying goodbye to our life here in Saskatoon. We’ll be back and forth on a fairly regular basis, but still, a move like this means that relationships will morph and change.
One of the changes is that our Sophian grove will be drawing to a close. We will try to have at least one more full moon ceremony before we leave, to celebrate the community which has been built over the past few years. One thing I’ve learned over several decades of communal experimentation is that small groups have a life-cycle of their own, and that is OK! There is a time to call the circle, and a time to let it go.
That said, if there is anyone in the grove who is feeling called to take on leadership and continue the Sophian gatherings, please let me know!
I’m looking forward to connecting with you before we move, and please send prayers/good energy for us as we prepare for this major transition!
Peace and Blessings in Sophia,
Shawn, Janice, Christopher, Rowan, and Robin
Hey there all you druids and tree-lovers, here’s a beautiful video:
Be inspired by the tenacity and grace of these trees, and know that you have their strength in your own spirit.
This past weekend, I had the most amazing experience. Saskatoon hosted the fourth national gathering of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and I was privileged to take part and play a role in it. For those of you unfamiliar with the TRC, it is part of a large project to acknowledge for the historical record the massive cultural upheaval of the residential school system.
While the government of Canada initiated this system as part of its ongoing agenda of assimilation, the churches willingly took their part in running the schools. While there were many good people who served in the schools as teachers, nurses, and clergy, the overall effect of the schools was nightmarish and horribly wrong. Not only was there physical and sexual abuse, but there was also the deliberate attempt to decimate the language and culture of many First Nations by stealing their children and breaking them down. Empires throughout the world, and throughout history, have used this strategy. It is sickening and wrong, and it is to the shame of the churches that they ended up being such a key part of this system.
So part of my role, as an Anglican priest at the gathering, was to be available to hear the stories of the survivors, and to offer apology on behalf of the church. I was also privileged, on behalf of KAIROS (our ecumenical church social and ecological justice group) to be part of an “Expression of Reconciliation”, placing a small symbol into the “Bentwood Box” (which reminded me so much of the Ark of the Covenant!)
All in all, it was an exhausting but utterly uplifting experience for me. I went in somewhat skeptical, knowing the depth and force of racism and apathy in our dominant society. But I was so moved by the courage and the resilience of the survivors of the schools. I was honoured to be present there among them.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is not and end, but a beginning of this process of national healing. I have faith that the work accomplished in the spirit world through this event will echo out into our nation and our churches, and especially thoughout Aboriginal communities, in ways beyond anything we can ask or imagine. It was truly a spiritual event.
For the TRC, thanks be to the Creator.
I just wanted to take a moment to thank the wonderful participants who came out to the Sophian Druidry workshop last weekend. For me, it was truly a blessing to be able to share some of my own learnings about Sophia, and to hear from others about their own spiritual journeys with the Earth and with the Spirit.
We were gifted with especially beautiful weather that afternoon as well, which made our outdoor spiritual exercises much more refreshing!
Thanks again to each person who came out, and blessings on each of you as you consider the place which Sophian spirituality might have in your life. I look forward to continuing our journey!
Well, I’m taking the plunge and offering a short course in Sophian Druidry, to be held here in Saskatoon at the Refinery. The course will go from 10am to 3pm on Saturday May 12. You can find further details and registration information at http://www.stjamesrefinery.org/sophian-druidry-1
A friend recently asked me what “Sophian druidry” is … and I told him “Yeah, it has been a bit of a challenge, combining Christianity with druidry. I think what it is really about is an Earth-friendly, woman-friendly form of Christianity, attentive to the Celtic roots of the 5th-8th Century (when druidry and Christianity were engaged with each other in Scotland Ireland and Wales). Certainly, I think a lot of contemporary pagan druids would not be happy with the way I’ve blended traditions, and nor would a number of conservative Christians. But I take heart from the number of people who seem to resonate with these ideas, and also from the fact that Saint Columba of Ireland once referred to Jesus Christ as ‘my chief Druid’.”
So if you’re in the Saskatoon area, feel free to come check out the workshop!