Magical Druid Summer Camp
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I have survived three days of the Magical Druid Summer Camp (MDSC) and am feeling pretty good about it. Having four kids from 9-11, and two who are 12 and 13, is proving a little trying. The younger ones are remarkably undisciplined and they all vary in the degree of their interest and commitment to studying magic. The Magic of Believing by Ted Andrews is fulfilling my expectations as a very good textbook. The kids particularly like the meditations. Some of the material is too abstract and some assumes a little too much knowledge (or vocabulary at any rate) for the ten year olds. It is intended for teenagers and there definitely is a quantum leap that occurs around twelve.
Ten year old girls are still very prone to screaming and running wildly about and ten year old boys prone to chasing the ten year old girls. I had the inflatable swimming pool out today because it was near eighty degrees, so it was a little hard to prevent them getting soaked and going wild during their lunch break.
True to my principles, I give them an hour and a half for lunch. I find that the one-our lunch break typical in the corporate office world is uncivilized and the half hour they get at public school positively barbarous. So, they have a nice long break in between the two parts of the day’s learning. I have also let them go to the forest that is six blocks from our house. It has many paths and is frequented by teenagers and young boys with firecrackers and bicycles and shovels to build jumps. Adults walk their dogs there. The wood is not old but has a few very large cottonwood trees, some elms, oaks, and aspen. And plenty of mosquitoes today.
Yesterday I had the students go to the woods and distribute colored glass “jewels” as and exercise in random acts of kindness. When I was there today, I did not notice any of them, so either someone found them or they have been covered by cottonwood fluff. We were practicing wishing as a form of magical act yesterday and part of that process is the act of giving and receiving; that is, being open to receiving favors and invitations, and making an effort to give things away so that the universe will comply in giving to us.
Today, I sent them to the forest with tree books to identify trees and bring back samples of their leaves. I rode my bike down after about half an hour to see how they were doing and they were getting poison ivy and mosquito bites and the younger ones were more concerned with the boys and their illegal fire crackers than with the task at hand. So, I helped them out and showed them some trees and took them to a nearby park that adjoins the forest where I could show them some excellent old oaks and maples. If I had more time, I would teach them how to talk to the trees, but there is just a bit of tree work for Friday’s lesson, so perhaps we’ll get there yet.
Today we did fragrances with essential oils, the magical meanings of colors, and just a bit about herbalism. I did not think they could absorb the complexity of herbology, so I merely wanted to show them some of the books to get an impression of the art and science of herbs that lies out there waiting for them if they choose. My cousin Torin is perhaps the one in the class most seriously interested in the lessons and certainly is applying himself well. My grand-nephew Caleb is interested and shows some talent, but is undisciplined and sometimes disruptive. My other grand-nephew, Senna, though named for an herb, shows only slight interest in the whole business of magic. He likes to draw and I know he has a good imagination, but he seems to lack enthusiasm. Hard to read him, though. I find it very interesting to observe all the different personalities and the dynamics of the girls and boys and the different ages. Part of my ulterior motive for teaching this summer camp was to gain this insight for my book, which is about magical school. I am quite convinced that there is good reason to start them at twelve!
This week’s Owl has no pretense of a topic at all. I’ve had a busy May with several boughts of illness, numerous appointments with healers of various sorts, and am still pretty well off, but in much the same place. The only very concrete advice from the gastroenerologiest (Tummy Doctor) was to lose 30 lbs., so I am working on that. On the 31st I had my birthday. 748 years. No wonder I feel old. I shaved off my beard again due to a rash from the chin strap of my VPAP machine and a m now growing it back. That always gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.
My dear mum gave me a check for my birthday and I ran off gleefully to a used books store and bought books on British archaeology and history, including an odd little study of English public schools in the period before they were reformed in the mid-19th century. Quite interesting and good background reading for Emily Glass. For the past week, I have been poring over maps and discovering the location of Celydon College in Yorkshire. i’ve also been using the computer-generated maps of a chap online to flood the world and see how the new coastlines go.
This last bit has an interesting effect on Yorkshire as the Humber essentially fills up the plain south of York until the great old city becomes a seaport. An inland sea (possibly not very deep) connects York to parts south all the way to Cambridge, which is also a seaport. I seem to have had a premonition of this when I was outlining subsequent books in the series and made the center of one of them a yacht race between Celydon and Cambridge. I am not trying to make this all scientifically accurate or anything of that sort, so it doesn’t really matter how accurate these projections are.
I’ve also been spending time editing my Wandlore book and organizing my study, my wood shed, and my wand shop. The manuscript is about half done and I am impatient to finish it, but this does not apparently prevent me from procrastinating. This, largely, because there are other things (like making wands) that I must do, and other things (like working on Emily Glass) that I would rather do.
On the second Monday of May (the 19th IIRC), I delivered a presentation on British Druid orders to my masonic lodge. I was feeling ill and left immediately afterwards to collapse, so did not get a whole lot of feedback. Pretty obscure stuff to most masons, I imagine. But some have subsequently thanked me and expressed interest, even interest in taking courses at Avalon Center. So, that is good. I had long hoped that explaining druidry to masons would pique some interest, but when the time came, I felt so rotten that it felt to me that the presentation was disjointed and incomplete.
But it was a good try and I will try again to work at giving the talk at other venues. Part of the difficulty was that I was giving some of the same material I presented in my talk on the oghams so I felt as if a lot was being left out. I talked for 40 minutes, which was still too long, but better than the 90 minutes I apparently talked when I gave the ogham presentation in Duluth. Ugh! Can’t make a good impression, I’m afraid. I still can’t believe I actually was talking that long.
So, there you go. I’m off to Storables to pick up my customized unit for my closet and then see if I can install it!