Archive for March, 2009

 

Druids and Their Magic

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Druids and Their Magic: the Evidence and Its Problems
18 June 2009 (Thursday)
A lecture by Dr Mark Williams (Cambridge)
Treadwell’s Bookshop. 7.15 for 7.30 start

Druids appear frequently in the rich saga literature of Early Ireland, engaged in a variety of eerie magical practices: clairvoyance, psychometry, cloud-divination, shape-shifting, and going into prophetic trances wrapped in the dripping hides of freshly-slaughtered bulls. And yet these actions, superficially so powerfully redolent of the pagan past, occur within literary texts which are products of a profoundly Christian, Bible-saturated medieval culture. How did early Irish monk-litterateurs envision the magic of their one-time rivals, the druids, and why on earth was imagining pagan magic of any interest for these ‘saints and acholars’? Mark Williams of the University of Cambridge attempts to provide some answers.
Seats are reserved by payment in advance, phone 0207 240 8906. Treadwell’s Bookshop, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden London WC2E 7PB http://www.treadwells-london.com/lectures.asp.

Guerilla Gardening

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

In a world in which it is so easy to feel disempowered, here is an activity to inspire anyone concerned with the environment: Guerilla Gardening in which you take the law into your own hands to create beauty! In the first 2 min clip Richard Reynolds, author of ‘Guerilla Gardening’, explains the concept. In the second he  shows you how to make ‘seed bombs’ for areas hard to reach, and in the third clip you see him with his granny who has extended the concept to become a Guerilla litter-picker as well as a Guerilla Gardener. Together they sneak out at night to improve an unsightly area in her neighbourhood.

A Poem for the Spring

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The same stream of life that runs through the world
runs through my veins night and day in rhythmic measure.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust
of the earth into numberless waves of flowers.

Rabindranath Tagore

Some Dry Kiwi Humour

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

In researching the theme of nakedness in spirituality, from the Naked Awareness of Dzogchen Buddhism to the traditions of full immersion within Judaism, I have come across a piece of extraordinarily recherche humour, that will be most appreciated I suspect by priests, ex-priests and those very familiar with church services. It’s reminiscent of the Flight of the Conchords. The chap you see (The Naked Liturgist) is genuine – his website is devoted to Christian ecumenicism.

Heart & Soul in Lewes

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Heart & Soul

Would the worship of the Goddess make the world a better place?

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Argiope – Donne nel Sacro presents

An Afternoon with Brendan Myers: Civilization and the Goddess

Many people think that the restoration of the worship of the Goddess would make the world a better place, particularly regarding its environment, which for many Pagans embodies the health and well-being of Goddess as Earth.  However, the Goddess is associated with many more aspects of life than the Earth and its ecology.  Various European mythologies reveal for example Goddess associations with art, music, justice, love, labor, and community, just to name but a few.  Given all these associations, then, what exactly does the Goddess value and what does She have to teach us?  And what does our response to Her teachings say about who we are?  What would people be if Goddess worship became a major cultural force?  Would the world really be a better place?

Brendan Myers, PhD, will talk about the Mórrigan as well as goddesses from other pantheons to consider these questions in an afternoon forum on 9 May 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at the Associazione D.A.M.E.S, viale Monza 142, in Milan, Italy, to promote his book, A Pagan Testament.  A question-and-answer session and reception will follow Dr. Myers’ talk.

Please register by 30 April in advance to attend this event by sending an e-mail (argiopedonnenelsacro@gmail.com); for more questions, call Maurizia +39 339 46 98 693).  This event will be presented in English and translated simultaneously into Italian.  Entry for non-Argiope members by 30 April, €25 and after 30 April, €30; entry for Argiope members €20 before 30 April and €25 after 30 April.

Brendan Myers teaches philosophy at various Canadian universities.  He is the author of Dangerous Religion and The Other Side of Virtue, among others, and won the 2008 Mt. Haemus award for research in Druidry from the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD).  Dr. Myers lectures widely in North America and Europe on philosophical issues and ethics, including the Goddess, Druidry, and Pagan community.  He currently resides in Ontario. For more information about Dr. Myers, visit northwestpass.livejournal.com.

Argiope – Donne nel Sacro is dedicated to helping women explore the Divine Feminine within themselves and the world around them, among other things by helping women to network, collaborate, and communicate with each other. Argiope is a non-profit, non-denominational organization in Milan and Rome, Italy.  For more information visit www.argiope.it (in Italian only).

Dorset in April

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Soul Companions flyer

An invitation to immerse yourself in new ideas in beautiful surroundings, with good food and good company! I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and meeting new friends too. I haven’t heard Bob Stewart speak for ages but I remember him being immensely inspiring (WHOOPS! Just heard from the organisers that Bob can’t make it to the weekend). I met Corban Arthen at the Soul Companions event last year and he is such a warm and uplifting person to be with. Leo Rutherford is from down the road here and is a great inspiration. Michael Dunning and Patrick Gamble will be new to me, but I’ve heard great things about their work. And Karen Sawyer is the bright soul who has put this all together, and who created the book ‘Soul Companions’. If you have the chance, do come along!

Spring Equinox

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

What a beautiful Spring Equinox it has been! Blossom everywhere. Just in our small region of East Sussex I know of three celebrations this weekend: Peter Owen Jones, vicar of Firle, who presented the recent BBC series ‘Around the World in 80 Faiths’ invited his congregation and friends to greet the dawn on Firle Beacon to the accompaniment of bagpipes and prayers. Down on the tump or Mount at Lewes at the same time a group of Druids and friends welcomed the equinox with blasts on the replica Sussex dord and with music from Dirk Campbell, who wrote in the email reminder note for the event: ‘I will bring along and perform on an ancient Egyptian double-pipe, newly-reconstructed from drawings and descriptions by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson in his book The Life and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, first published in 1830. There are strong connections between Druidry and Ancient Egypt, including veneration of the creative power of the Sun. At this point in the year the Sun’s influence is strongly felt, as he moves into his power and the world of growing things opens up in response. The season when things are experienced freshly and immediately, the year’s early days vivid as a child’.

And across the valley on Sunday the Anderida Druid Gorsedd held their equinox ceremony beneath the gaze of the Long Man, resorting to ‘The Giant’s Rest’ afterwards, voted ‘The Most Druid-Friendly Pub in Sussex.’ If these celebrations are happening in just one corner of the country, imagine how it must be throughout the land!

Here is a photograph of equinox sunlight falling on  the backstone of the chamber inside Cairn T at Loughcrew in Ireland. See Newgrange.com

Spring Equinox

Thank you for having me

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I have just heard a touching story about a friend who recently died that I thought I’d share with you. After two days in the hospice having lain there completely silent, when the nurse came to check on him he just opened his eyes and said “Thank you for having me. I think I’ll be going now.” He then closed his eyes and off he went…

The Age of Stupid

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Stephanie and I and Jim, our friend who lives in the garden here, and is the author of Nine Miles – a powerful book about the Road Protest movement, went to a ‘multiple green Premiere’ of a film called The Age of Stupid the other day. It was launched simultaneously in Leicester Square in a solar-powered tent, and in cinemas around the country. There were live links between the venues and the hub in Leicester square and it was a wonderful example of the way a low budget film, made by the director of McLibel, can lift off due to the power of community.

It was a gripping film, but it was tough to watch. Last year we watched What a Way to Go – another low budget film, made in the US, and conveying the same message, that Jared Diamond put in a nutshell in ‘Collapse’, who starts his book with a question he asked himself: “What were they thinking when they cut the last tree down on Easter Island?”

How do we counteract the despair these films generate – the sense that we are all just too stupid to save ourselves from environmental catastrophe? What a Way to Go was helpful, since it took me to a metaphysical point of contemplation about the situation (I say me because I’m not sure it had that effect on everyone). Age of Stupid offers something more concrete – 9 months leading up to the Copenhagen conference on the environment. There is a plan that can help to ensure humanity’s survival, but it all depends on everyone agreeing to it. The film is urging us to do all we can to make sure the politicians agree to it. Or are we living in the Age of Stupid?

Fellow druid and author John Michael Greer devotes his blog (and several books) to this theme and his insights and range of knowledge is impressive. His blog is here.

Here is a clip from the film: