Poem: For Nathalan (January 8)

I’m a member of AODA, a Druid revival society headed up by John Michael Greer, an author who’s taught me much. one of the things I’m supposed to be doing as part of my apprenticeship program is cultivating certain talents that have to do with the spirit of the Druidic Revival, from the late 1600s up to the present day.  This is always something difficult for me.  While I love Celtic artwork, and I’ve been known to draw knot work patterns at times, I don’t really have a deep relationship with the Celtic gods; and while I know my Arthur myths, I don’t know the traditions all that deeply. So,I’ve dug out a book of Celtic Saints I’ve had since my Seminary days, and I’m going to try to use it as the basis of some devotional work here, and poetry. We’ll see what comes of it.

Today is Saint Nathalan’s day.  It’s a name kind of close to the name of the Ogham character NGetal, which has to do with November, and healing, and broom (a kind of reed), green gass color, and geese.  I don’t know if he has anything to do with the Ogham character, but he was born in Scotland near the start of the seventh century, and devoted his life to God by keeping a garden.  Why his feast is thus in January, I don’t know.

Green growing things surround you and your cell,
Humble Nathalan, gardener divine:
By thy hand, Scotland’s soil served God well,
and other monks saw your blooms as a sign
of angelic gifts in dirt-stained fingers.
Holy are your hands, that make lettuce grow,
And bring out turnips when hunger lingers.
Your carrots shine brighter than jewels glow
on chalice where wine becomes holy blood.
Saint Nathalan help my garden prosper:
Protect it from all nefarious weeds,
Bring me fair showers, not eroding flood,
And friendly insects at prime and vesper,
to bring good harvest from quality seeds.

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