Coll—the ninth “few” or letter of the Ogam alphabet meaning divine creativity and enlightenment, often associated with the Hazel.
It seems as though it was just a moment ago that I sat down to write our Report for 2013. Here I am however, fondly ruminating on 2014, hearing the voices and the drumming, feeling the heat of the summer fires and the cool air of the winter ceremonies, remembering the past year, the year that the Spirit of Coll became known.
The intention of our Druid Retreat in 2014 was to evoke the Spirit of the Circle of Coll (the Spirit of Coll), to discover the true essence of our seed group and how we can recognize the Spirit of Coll in others. Although the retreat was not until August, our work towards this goal seemed to have started much earlier in the year and continued on through December as we all inadvertently explored the meaning of Coll and how it affects our own individual spirits. We began with a full schedule of outreach projects, partnering with old friends such as the House of Danu at Pantheacon and others such as Spirit Turtle Jam and the Grove of the Scarlet Oaks. We officiated a Druidic Ceremony of Healing and Fairy Spirit at the Interfaith Community Sanctuary as well as assisted the Order of the White Oak in staffing the Bards Tent at the Tacoma and Seattle Scottish Highland Games. We were definitely out and about! Community service seemed be our penchant, but was this really the Spirit of Coll? Was this work what we were meant to be doing?
We pressed on. We were asked to present a workshop and Lughnasadh ritual at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, kicking off our prison program and bringing the “outside” into an insulated group of OBOD men eager for a connection with others of like mind. We were asked to return in November to the annual “Pagan Feast” when all inmates who identified themselves as “Druid,” Wiccan,” or “Asatru” could celebrate the end of the year with each other and their families. It was a fulfilling endeavor, deepening the relationships between ourselves, the AHCC Chaplain, other prison ministers and of course, with the Druid men who are incarcerated there.
We offered public workshops such as the reprised Celtic Literary Reading of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini and continued our customary assemblies such as the Stone of the Month Club, Druid Socials and Quarterly Healing Ceremonies. As is our tradition, we provided public Solar Ceremonies and presided over our private Fire Rites. Again, we asked ourselves: Is this public outreach the true Spirit of Coll? Were we stretching ourselves in the most beneficial way as a seed group?
A through line developed with each ritual beginning at Alban Arthan 2013 as we were asked to visualize in the rite an internal vessel that we could access at each successive festival. At every ceremony of the turning Wheel, we provided our members as well as the public opportunities to nurture a kernel of potential in their own personal inner Grails. We each lovingly tended this seed with Earth, Water, Air and Fire. At Samhuinn we discovered, with the help of our own reflections and the wisdom of our Ancestors, the true substance of our seeds: ourselves, our own beauty, and our individual spirits. Is it possible that we were also on the precipice of standing face to face with the much sought after Spirit of Coll?
Samhuinn is often celebrated as the beginning of the New Year. It was at this spoke of the Wheel that we finally understood as a group the need for more retrospective path work, and the Circle of Coll Inreach committee was formed. The Dark Half of the Year seemed to provide the vastness conducive to private reflection and the backdrop for deeper spiritual explorations. A rich discussion ensued at a business meeting about members’ needs and an appetite for more privacy at our nonpublic events. Not surprisingly, a significant eagerness for more deeply-seated spiritual path working had surfaced during this conversation as well.
In the coming year, outreach will continue to be a part of the work that the Circle of Coll is known for. We will nourish our relationships with the House of Danu, the Interfaith Community Sanctuary, OLOTEAS, and Airway Heights Corrections Center. We will extend out to other local Druidic factions such as Clann na Mara Intire, The Order of the White Oak, and The Bards of Caer Pugetia. We will continue to hold space for the public during solar rituals, workshops and social events. We will stand heart to heart and hand in hand with our sisters and brothers, radiating peace throughout the greater circle of humankind. We will do this however, standing upon a newly forming foundation of inner knowledge and a greater sense of the Spirit of Coll.
We have much to do so that we may fully understand this Spirit. It starts with an exploration of our own hearts, our own commitments and a further dive into what was planted in our Inner Grails over a year ago. Once we begin to grasp the nature of our own individual spirits, then we may glimpse the enlightened face of Coll.
The Inreach Committee is already planning events and opportunities for inner explorations for our members. I look forward to participating in these endeavors with monumental anticipation. If you would like more information about the Circle of Coll and our membership, please visit our web site http://circleofcoll.org . Also, please feel free join the Circle of Coll Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/circleofcoll/ .
May you discover enlightenment and peace in the coming year.