Getting to Tara
The journey starts days before you get there and stays with you for long after you have left. First you need to deal with the real-world practicalities of scheduling, calendaring, organising and preparing yourself for the journey. How will you get there? Do you have the right winter boots for the weather? Will it rain? And then it begins, the slow, gradual disconnect from the 'real world' worries and stresses to the journey of disconnecting from this world and connecting to the otherworld.

First it happens when you're looking over the next month or week, and you see that space you have created for 'Full Moon Ceremony on Tara', and you take a moment to think about it and enjoy it. Then, as you dress in layers in your warm safe home, preparing for the long journey to Tara, knowing that until you leave the city you're going to be over-dressed and once you hit the country, you could probably use a few more layers�

And whether you are getting a bus, a lift or are driving yourself, there is this space between when you leave your home and start traveling. And as the time passes, the familiarity of this route becomes part of the ceremony. The conversations you may have, the anticipation for the night ahead, the utter joy of doing something so liberating and being one of the lucky few who do, it starts to hit. It wells up inside you like a joy, a pure and happy joy and you can't wait to meet the old familiar faces who share this joy, and to meet the new faces and to bring them into this circle in whatever capacity they feel comfortable.

And then, you approach Tara. For those who know Tara well, they know that once you are in Tara valley, you are in the heart of it. With Skryne on one side, and Tara on the other. You leave the main road to go up the incline to Tara hill to arrive in the car park. You never know who's going to be there, and thats part of it. There could be children, druids from the other side of the world, a whole grove or group, there could be lone strangers, and they would have all made their own journey or pilgrimage to Tara. They are brave to face the unknown and bring joy to their hearts and my happiness to meet them and to share the experience with them is renewed every time.

And then, we carry the firebox and the sacred wood and wrap up in blankets against the wind, and walk to the gravel patch beside the de-consecrated church and near the so called banqueting hall. And we stand, at this high point, with this view and this freedom and we take a deep breath. And people join the group slowly, and naturally the circle forms. And the quiet hush occurs as the fire is lit, sometimes more easily than other times. And you might be very lucky and see the full moon, high and bright and strong in the sky, traveling over the trees shining brightly down upon us. And you can't help but be overwhelmed with happiness.

And then we create this sacred space for our open, free and simple ceremony. No tricks or theatrics, just simple pure honest connection to the land, to the sky, to the earth, to ourselves. We call in our ancestors, our teachers, our guides and we call upon the stars and the earth and upon ourselves and we send love and energy to protect Tara and the many miles around Tara. And every time it is different. Every time, someone might bring something different to the circle, a song or a poem or a story, and every time the weather changes it, it might stop raining for the two hours or, the moon will shine so brightly on the untouched snow that it might be like performing the ceremony with a light on! Every time, there is something new and exciting and renewing, and we never know what it's going to be.

And as the ceremony ends, and as people break into smaller groups to chat and share and connect, we being the sacred tradition of clearing up the firebox to make sure there is no dirt on the land and that all the staffs and blankets are collected, we being to close the night by saying goodbye for now to the familiar faces and thanking the new faces for coming.

At this point, I often take a moment to take in the surrounding counties, the horizon, and admire Tara in all her beauty. The world is a fast changing place and many things happen that are out of our control, but this feeling of utter connection to spirit and to land is something that cannot be taken from us. It is our freedom, it is our right, and I feel it stronger than ever when I stand on Tara, after ceremony, and I just breath in fresh air and smile. It's simple really, when you are lucky enough to know how.

Jessica Imbolg 2011
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