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" The songs of our ancestors

are also the songs of our children "

The Druid Way

The Ripple Effect in Action!

April 25th, 2017

‘On the bank of the Ganges’ by John Gleich (1879-?)

Awash as we are with negative news, here’s some great positive news. A while back New Zealand made the enlightened move of giving full legal rights to a river. Now India has followed suit:

NEW DELHI (AP) — A court in northern India has granted the same legal rights as a human to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, considered sacred by nearly a billion Indians.

Uttarakhand state’s High Court ruled Monday that the two rivers be accorded the status of living human entities, meaning that if anyone harms or pollutes either river, the law would view it as no different from harming a person.

The judges cited the example of New Zealand’s Whanganui River, revered by the indigenous Maori people. The Whanganui was declared a living entity with full legal rights by the New Zealand government last week.  Read full Associated Press article here.

The Ganges at Rishikesh

Druid Magic and Healing in Sweden

April 24th, 2017

Lake at Rödjorna

It is always such a pleasure to spend time with OBOD members around the world in workshops, retreats and gatherings. Stephanie and I are delighted to be visiting Sweden for the first time for such an event being held at the beautiful Rödjorna Retreat in Tiveden National Park. 

We will be giving a two day workshop on Druid Magic and Healing on 16-18 June 2017,
exploring the myths, sacred animals and plants used in Druidry that can help in our healing and spiritual development. We will work with the Druid Animal and Plant Oracles, with music and meditation, to deepen our experience of the gift of being alive in the world today. Participants will learn how Druids work with the subtle powers of Nature to effect change and healing in their lives.

The Woods at Rödjorna

Druidry is a spiritual way and practice that speaks to three of our greatest yearnings: to be fully creative in our lives, to commune deeply with the world of Nature, and to gain access to a source of profound wisdom. Each of these yearnings comes from a different aspect of the Soul, and we can personify these as the Singer, the Shaman and the Sage. In Druidry, Bardic teachings help to nurture the singer, the artist or storyteller within us – the creative self; Ovate teachings help to foster the shaman, the lover of Nature, the healer within us; while the Druid teachings help to develop our inner wisdom – the Sage who dwells within each of us. In this workshop we will explore the many ways in which Druidry can help develop these three aspects of ourselves.

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Natasja at obodisverige@gmail.com. For further details of location, times and cost, visit the OBOD in Sweden WebsiteSpaces are limited, so book now to secure your place. We look forward to sharing time with you!

Spiral at Rödjorna


			

The One Tree Gathering Cultural Exchange Project

April 19th, 2017

Many Druids blend their path with other spiritual influences. Many of those who practice Druidry have an interest in the Dharmic religions of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. As a consequence of this, OBOD set up The One Tree Gatheringa yearly event that explores the links between these paths and gives people an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences in a spirit of celebration and fellowship.This year’s event will take place on the 19-20 August, two fantastic days of talks, workshops, music and food at Beaumanor Hall, Leicester with its amazing Yew Grove.

As well as the yearly event, the organisers of The One Tree Gathering have come up with a fabulous idea. They thought it would be great to set up a ‘cultural exchange’ project whereby young Druids – from 18 to 30 years old – would spend a weekend around a festival time in a Hindu home to learn more and experience at close hand the practices and beliefs around that particular festival. These young Druids would be offered the invaluable chance of living with a Hindu family for a day or two over a weekend, fed on authentic Indian food and to join in with the festival celebrations. So, firstly, we are looking for some young OBOD volunteers who would be interested in being involved in this wonderful project. Also, on OBOD’s side of the cultural exchange, we are looking for homes that would welcome a young Hindu to stay at the time of a Druid festival, so that they too can join in and compare. All volunteers would need to already be attending OBOD Grove ceremonies.

If you are a young Druid and would love to take part, or if you are a Druid home who would be willing to open your doors for this fabulous exchange project, please contact Keith Southall at keith.southall@creativelandscapes.co.uk.

One Tree Gathering 2013

Free Webinar with Pamela Meekings-Stewart

April 17th, 2017

PHOTO: MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ 060317
Pamela Meekings-Stewart. Feature about being a Druid. Photographed at her Pukerua Bay home.

A great piece on what it means to be a druid in New Zealand from Stuff.co.nz:

Pamela Meekings-Stewart is mildly amused by the two most common questions she is asked about being a druid – does she worship in the nude? And does she sacrifice babies. You read that right. Babies, sacrifice.

While the latter is ludicrous, the former is true for some druids – some do come to their groves ‘skyclad’ in warmer climes.

But mostly, her grove of 40 druids who meet on her 52 hectare property on the Kapiti Coast are clothed and not looking to sacrifice a fly.

From a young age Meekings-Stewart was often found talking with flowers and plants. The writing was on the wall even then. In druidry there is an utter connectedness with nature, she says. Stones are not dead objects, they simply move more slowly. Trees communicate with a vibration that connects us with them.

She identifies with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, which traces its origins back to 1717. Her grove meet regularly amongst a circle of Te Kouka trees where they acknowledge summer and winter solstice, two equinox and four quarter planting festivals.

They meet to celebrate, well, life.

Druidry is not a religion. It’s not even a faith, she says….   Read more here

GLOBAL SPIRITUAL STUDIES IS OFFERING A FREE WEBINAR WITH PAMELA ON 19 APRIL 2017. Details here.

Sand and Foam

April 15th, 2017

Marc Adamus

I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain
Forever.

Once I filled my hand with mist.
Then I opened it and lo, the mist was a worm.
And I closed and opened my hand again, and behold there was a bird.
And again I closed and opened my hand, and in its hollow stood a man with a sad face, turned upward.
And again I closed my hand, and when I opened it there was naught but mist.
But I heard a song of exceeding sweetness.

It was but yesterday I thought myself a fragment quivering without rhythm in the sphere of life.
Now I know that I am the sphere, and all life in rhythmic fragments moves within me…

Kahlil Gibran ~ extract from ‘Sand and Foam’

 

Image by Marc Adamus

Marc Adamus

TreeSpirit Project: We Are Trees

April 12th, 2017

I have long been a fan of Jack Gescheidt‘s stunning TreeSpirit Project. Jack takes the most beautiful and moving photographic images of naked humans with trees as a way of not only highlighting our deep connection to them but also as a form of activism – to promote awareness of how vital it is to protect them; he describes his images as ‘a celebration of our interdependence with nature’. Jack has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a large coffee table hard back of his TreeSpirit images. Here Jack talks about TreeSpirit, how it came into being and the reason for the book:

TreeSpirit is my environmental Fine Art project featuring photographs of humans, nude and vulnerable, in harmony with trees. A photographer for 25 years, I began TreeSpirit in 2005, inspired by one giant live oak tree in Marin County, CA, that moved me to tears at a painful turning point in my life. The people in the ongoing collection of photographs come to the trees from all walks of life; none are paid models.

TreeSpirit began simply with a dramatic turn of events in my own life, including a heart break and subsequent breakdown.  This re-awakened my own childhood love for seeking comfort, happiness, and meaning in nature and especially around trees. From this feeling came the first tree photographs with just a few people.  People loved the photos and wanted to be in them.  And so it grew.

I LEARNED THE PHOTOGRAPHS COULD SAVE TREES & FORESTS by becoming events to draw attention to threatened trees or forests.

This led to TreeSpirit’s mission to raise awareness of the crucial role trees play in all our lives. Whether or not you’re especially drawn to them, trees, globally, are indispensable to the planet’s health. They support life on Earth, creating oxygen, sequestering carbon in our era of human-caused climate change, filter fresh water, cool the planet and are home to 70% of Earth’s land animals.  And so much more.  They are our precious ecological allies.

Trees are physiological and psychological soothers of our brains and nervous systems.  They are inspiration for our souls, and have been for as long as we humans have existed.  But humanity, as a collective, too often take trees for granted, and treats them as lifeless objects to be destroyed or exploited for profit.

THE BOOK: Over 120 photographs, made over 12 years, filling over 175 pages, with many 2-page spreads. The goal is a lush, image-driven celebration of the inspiring beauty of trees and forests, with ordinary, extraordinary people who care about them. The book’s emphasis is imagery, to stir the senses and touch the hearts of tree and nature lovers, to remind us all that we used to play in and around trees as children, before we became busy adults.

TreeSpirit HAS AN ENVIRONMENTAL MISSION.  TreeSpirit’s fans and participants feel, as I do, that trees are precious, inspiring, and deserve more protection and care.  They are undervalued in modern societies yet critically important in our era of anthropogenic climate change.  World forests must be preserved — and expanded.  We desperately need more trees and forests to keep doing all that they constantly do for us, ecologically and spiritually.  It is in their evolutionary design to sustain and nourish us humans and the plant and animal kingdoms.

To support the Kickstarter campaign click hereTo see more of Jack’s fabulous images and to learn more about the project click here

And finally Jack in his own words…

Cures From Your Kitchen Cupboards

April 10th, 2017

Melanie Cardwell

My friend Melanie Cardwell is a talented Master Herbalist and Life Coach. She is passionate about helping people to better health and well-being and has created a fantastic Kitchen Medicine online course. Melanie says that the course is ‘full of information and practical exercises to empower you to take charge of your health naturally. It includes recipes, videos and a wealth of useful knowledge. By the end of the course you will have made a whole range of herbal remedies and feel confident about how to get healthy and stay that way with common foods, herbs and spices from your own kitchen.’

For a limited time only, Melanie is giving away the first module of her course for free. To register click here and do please check out Melanie’s website for further information about her talks, workshops, therapies and courses.

Neonic Pesticides in US Drinking Water

April 8th, 2017

An article from the BBC website that we should all be concerned about…

Small traces of the world’s most widely used insecticides have been detected in tap water for the first time.

Samples taken by scientists in the US state of Iowa showed that levels of neonicotinoid chemicals remained constant despite treatment.

However drinking water treated using a different method of filtration showed big reductions in neonic levels.

Scientists say they cannot draw any conclusions relating to human health but argue that further study is needed.

Rapid uptake

The use of neonicotinoids has increased rapidly since their introduction in the early 1990s.

These systemic chemicals were seen as an advance because they are usually applied as a seed coating and are lethal to insects but not to other species.

corn

In the US, sales of seeds pre-treated with neonics tripled from 2004 to 2014.

However concerns over their environmental impacts have also grown and they have been consistently associated with causing harm to bees. So great has the worry been, that there has been a moratorium on their use on flowering crops in the European Union since 2013.

A study in 2015 from the US Geological Survey (USGS) found that neonics were widespread in water samples collected from 48 different rivers and streams in the US.

This new study from the USGS and the University of Iowa, looked at tap water that was treated in two different filtration systems.

Samples from the University of Iowa treatment plant barely removed any of the three main neonic chemicals, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

Water taken from the Iowa City treatment facility removed 100%, 94% and 85% respectively, of these substances… to read the entire article click here

Voices of the Ancestors

April 6th, 2017

Marietjie Henning

OBOD members Gail Nyoka and Sara Corry are involved in a wonderful story gathering project entitled Voices of the Ancestors. Sara is co-director of Healthy Villages,Inc which is a non-profit organisation that supports initiatives that seek to provide ‘good health for residents of under-served villages in West Africa by developing and carrying out comprehensive sustainability plans that include adequate access to healthcare services, sanitation, nutritious food, and employment opportunities.’

Gail and Sara, along with ​Godfried Agbezudor, will take a 21 day trip in November through Ghana and Togo, visiting villages, listening to and gathering stories from the Ewe and Fon tribes. The aims of the project are:

  • ​Revitalization of storytelling in the villages
  • Younger generations learn the stories and improve literacy in their native language
  • Increased cultural pride both in the region and amongst those of African ancestry in the diaspora community
  • Heightened awareness and knowledge of this fascinating cultural group throughout the world
  • A future writing project using the stories will develop a culturally based ecological focus for use in schools

Gail shares her thoughts about the project,

Far, far away is Africa. When I first heard of it, they called it the Dark Continent. What was in that darkness? Danger, I imagined. Wild beasts and wild, dark people.  That is what they told me, a lifetime ago.

A light has shone on that continent. From the shadows, I’ve caught glimpses of a land of wide rivers, wider savannas, tall forests, ancient cities and civilizations built on gold.

There are stories to be learned of this cradle of human life. There are stories of the land and the stars and of how life began, and how life has been lived.

So many stories, they slip through the fingers of time. I would catch them if I could. I would take one little fragment of that continent and cup it in the palm of my hand. And with my gaze, I would map the soul of Africa. I would ask for the African earth to sing to me.  I would ask that the ancestors I have never known would breathe through the dance of the wind. I would know Africa like ribbons of light, streaming through the darkness, illuminating the passing of its stories, and I would hold them to me, hold them to the eyes of the outer world, and to the babies yet to be born, waiting in the loud darkness of the womb.

Voices of the Ancestors: Environmental Education Through Storytelling

A journey to the Volta region of Ghana, and into western Togo is planned for November 2017. In partnership with Healthy Villages Inc., I will be recording the stories of the elders in remote villages in the region. On my return, I will transcribe the stories for publication, along with profiles of the storytellers of the Ewe and Fon peoples of the area. The Voices of the Ancestors project will preserve stories in danger of dying. The words of an elderly woman speak loudly: “I haven’t told these stories in a long time! … But I’m going to practice telling my grandchildren the stories I can remember.”

This project will capture stories of the land and its people. It is a project for current generations and those yet to be born.

To learn more and support this fabulous project visit click here.