Coll—the ninth “few” or letter of the Ogam alphabet meaning divine creativity and enlightenment, often associated with the Hazel.
This past year has been life-changing for all of us in the Circle of Coll as we, like Taliesin, shifted from one form to another at a steady pace of transmutation. In writing this, Winter’s chill is in the air and we ponder all that has occurred, recalling the Awen, the smiles, the voices, the songs, the drumming and the shaking of rattles. We fondly remember how we all, at some point during this last year, reached inside ourselves as well as outward to embrace the Spirit of Coll.
Our newly formed Inreach Committee offered a transformative cauldron of renewal, beginning with a workshop entitled The Alchemy of Self Transformation; Invoking the Power of Celtic Deities. In a series of six monthly sessions, we examined the seven alchemical operations and how they influenced our own personal spiritual journeys through discussion, readings and by creating altars that invoked the blessings and assistance of various Celtic Deities. The outcomes of this work allowed us to see how we can embrace powerful and deeply transformative aspects of ourselves as we shared meals and sacred conversations.
The topic of alchemy coalesced nicely with the theme of our Druid Retreat in August that we called The Spirit of Coll in Us. We gathered in Duvall, Washington and were transformed among the trees where we listened intently to the wisdom of the Ancients. We journeyed across the gateway into the Otherworld, communing with the Elements and their awe-inspiring powers in our search for inner knowledge. We welcomed the magic and mystery that is in each of us and in all of us. We explored the foundation of what makes us Druids and what binds us together as a Circle as we called each other to recognize the Spirit of Coll within.
The Spirit of Coll invited us to open ourselves and to look deeply into each other’s inner cauldron at this event. We began by gathering leaves, seeds and flowers as we wrote poetry of love and awakening inspired by these sacred natural elements. We affectionately sought the Spirit of Coll in each other, and in return were given a cherished glimpse of the loving hearts, deep souls and vast spirits of our Circle brothers and sisters.
Our retreat was also during the Green Corn Moon and this called for a ritual to offer our wishes for the coming harvest.
The retreat concluded as we shared the mysteries of what we recognized as the Spirit of Coll in each other.
Another offering from the Inreach Committee invited us to share knowledge and wisdom connecting sacred spirit threads in a workshop entitled Circle of Indigenous Ways; Hearing Mother Earth’s Heartbeat. During this transformative gathering among the Cedars, we listened to and connected with the rhythms of the Earth by drumming and journeying together in the tradition of local Indigenous pathways.
Our prison ministry continues to evolve as we paid our annual visit to Airway Heights Correctional Center, providing workshops and ritual facilitation. We also opened written communication channels between the Druid inmates of AHCC and the Circle of Coll by establishing a pen pal program where we can offer support and connection to the Druid community through the mail.
Our service to the incarcerated has expanded considerably as we began a partnership with Our Lady of the Earth and Sky Church (OLOTEAS) to provide monthly ministry to the Pagan community of the Monroe Correctional Complex (Twin Rivers Unit). Each month members of the Circle of Coll and OLOTEAS provide rituals and workshops to this extremely enthusiastic, intelligent and highly sensitive group of men.
Of course, the main thrust of the Circle of Coll in the community is fueled by our rigorous outreach programs which kept us all extremely busy in 2015. These included our highly successful and well attended Druid Social Pub nights, our public meditations, interfaith work, discussions, and solar rituals. (Check out our past events on http://www.meetup.com/druid-232/.) Our ambit extended across the state of Washington from the Seattle/Tacoma area to the eastern sweeps of Spokane. As a result, we received multiple requests for membership this past year which were offered to two candidates, both from outside the local Seattle area.
As mentioned above, 2015 was a year of shifts, turns and transformations for all of us individually as well as collectively in the Circle of Coll while we strive for excellence in providing experiential, educational, and support services to our members and the community. We are most definitely growing together, learning about what it is to be a Druid and what it is to be a part of a Druid group. We are problem solvers, we are learners, we are teachers, we are sisters and we are brothers. We are all the Spirit of Coll, each one of us and all of us together, inspired in the shade of the Hazel and in the light of the Awen.
If you would like more information about the Circle of Coll and our membership, please visit our website http://circleofcoll.org . Also, please feel free join the Circle of Coll Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/circleofcoll/.
Blessings of Awen, enlightenment and peace in the coming year.
Gail Colfax & Moss Magill