What Are Sacred Places?
As Druids, we find all space in Nature to be sacred. Sometimes we are called to specific locations for certain reasons – ancient places that have accumulated a lot of energy through repeated ritual, natural vistas, a garden we have helped nurture, or a patch of Earth we cleaned and helped to heal. Many of us go to these places for solitary rituals and meditation. They become our spiritual homes.
What About Group Ritual?
|The stone circle at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Autumn of 2012. Photo by Weretoad, 2012|
Northern Rivers offers open rituals for those interested in Druidism. It can be difficult to find places that are both large enough and welcoming to alternative religious gatherings, but we have been blessed with the hospitality of the Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center in Adams, NY. We have access to their stone circle with fire pit. This environment, constructed with love and mindfulness towards natural energy, is a magical place for Druidic ritual. Nearby is their blessing tree, or clootie tree. Just as with clootie trees in Ireland, visitors may tie a ribbon around a branch in the hope that their wish may come true. We often honor the blessing tree during ritual, seeing it as a representation of the World Tree in Druidic cosmology.
|Our Winter Solstice altar in the stone circle. Photo by Weretoad, 2012.|
The Kripalu Yoga Center has welcomed us to use their indoor facilities as well. We have access to a kitchen, a bathroom, and a room for potlucks. We are able to use their folding tables and chairs, which is very helpful! And don’t forget the heat and toilet paper!
|All set up for a delicious potluck meal! Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012|
Because we rely on the Yoga Center for their hospitality, and because Druids believe strongly in reciprocity (a gift calls for a gift), we make sure to collect donations for the Yoga Center at each High Day celebration. Although the spiritual experience and the ritual are free, the space is not. If you visit the beautiful grounds of the Kripalu Yoga Center for our rituals, we humbly ask for a donation (suggested $5). Please visit their website, linked above, to learn more about their very positive mission. Kripalu offers many spiritual opportunities throughout the year – drumming, healing sessions, yoga classes, workshops, lectures – and maintains a publicly accessible nature trail and labyrinth for you to visit. Your donation to this non-profit organization helps to make all of this possible.