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Georgia O’Keefe, Body-Painting & Time-Sensitive Information for Naturists

August 28th, 2016
Alfred Stieglitz photograph of O'Keeffe with sketchpad and watercolors, 1918

Alfred Stieglitz photograph of O’Keeffe with sketchpad and watercolors, 1918

Stephanie and I saw the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition in London a few days ago. Some of her paintings seem to be illuminated from within and the dark, often brooding, photographs by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, are a fantastic complement to the stark beauty and simplicity of her paintings. Well worth visiting – the gallery wasn’t that crowded and we didn’t book in advance.

In the morning I went to an exhibition which has been extended until 4th September due to popular demand. It features the work of the Neo-Naturists, which I mention in  A Brief History of Nakedness. As this article in AnOther puts it, the Neo-Naturists, who included in their number the wonderful Grayson Perry, were: “Anarchic, nude and vitally, vibrantly fun, 1980s performance group the Neo Naturists were a glorious tits-out reprise to Thatcherite Britain, to stiff upper lips and to art world po-faces.” The exhibition is on at the Studio Voltaire, just off Clapham High Street, and if you want to catch just a feeling of freedom in this world that seems to be becoming increasingly un-free, then it’s worth the trek. Read more about them in this article, to enjoy their wonderfully surreal antics, glimpsed here in Christine Binnie’s memories:

“Certainly the trio embraced bohemian ideals from early on. For Christine, a visit to Germany in the late 1970s was the initial spark of inspiration. “The German punks were all sunbathing nude around the lake, whereas in Britain the punks were very pale, wore black and stayed indoors.” The Binnie sisters had been brought up by their artistic parents to believe in “being natural”. Freedom of expression was encouraged at home, with crafts and organic food a part of everyday life. “We’re all quite outdoorsy,” says Christine. The sisters’ childhood also involved membership of the Girl Guides, and their early love of camping subsequently found its way into one of their Neo-Naturist performances featuring a nude cooking ritual with a Calor-gas camping stove.”  BBC Culture

from a Sacred Body Art workshop at http://www.wildwaysontheborle.co.uk

from a Sacred Body Art workshop at http://www.wildwaysontheborle.co.uk

Body-painting was a major feature of their art – and it’s nice to see this tradition continued in Druid circles, with body-painting workshops being held at Wildways in Shropshire, home to many OBOD & BDO events. Here’s a description from the website:

Sacred Body Art – Transforming Bodies, Changing Lives – Ever wanted to try a new skin?  Explore your relationship with the natural world?  Seek an untapped, untamed song? Dance a dream into being?  Seek a tribal understanding of colour and vibration? Take a shamanic journey? How would it feel to wear another skin? What animals, colours, shapes, gods or goddesses might the world of spirit weave for you?
Find out more here.

At a talk for the Wellcome Foundation in London a few years back, I suggested that the medical world should explore the psychological and physiological benefits of naturism. Millions are spent on drugs to relieve stress. Would it not make sense to investigate claims, made from the late 19th century onwards that naturism as a recreational activity offers health benefits? Well, perhaps a step forward is being taken, as next week, at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Cardiff, there will be a symposium on the benefits of naturism that will include contributions from two academic psychologists and a female Anglican priest. Sounds fascinating. The programme is here.

Perhaps it’s the warm weather that is bringing out the interest in nakedness. I’ve been asked to host the BBC’s website iWonder page on naturism…should be out soon!

Wild Women’s Winter Gathering

August 25th, 2016

Wild Women's Winter gathering

A message from Wild Women Retreats:

Join us for the Wild Women’s Winter Gathering

10am til Late Evening | Saturday 18 February 2017 | @ The Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury, Somerset | £50 per person

After the amazing success of the last two Wild Women’s Summer Retreats, in 2017 we are offering a Wild Women’s Winter Gathering in the heart of the sacred Isle of Avalon in Glastonbury.

The Gathering will be a full day of wonderful, magical, wild delights and a chance for women to connect, re-connect and find out more about us.  It will include Wild Women’s ritual, sacred singing, workshops, a marketplace and the usual brand of mayhem and fun. There will also be a bar available  in the evening.

The ticket price does not include meals or accommodation. There will be a break between 5pm and 8pm for women to eat and socialise.
 
VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Why not take part in the market? Stalls will cost £20 each with a £10 discount on the ticket price. Please reserve your stall with your ticket booking.

To book: Contact Natalie at info@wildwomenretreats.co.uk 

Information, including how to pay, travel and accommodation recommendations, will be sent to those who book.

A percentage of ticket sales will go towards an affordability fund for the Wild Women’s Retreats.    

One Tree Gathering

August 24th, 2016

14125022_1145909412134213_288707675157499162_oThe photos of the One Tree Gathering held last weekend are in! They are fabulous and convey much of the sense of laughter, shared experience and deep feeling we had there. You can see all 264 of them here: https://www.facebook.com/ICCSC/

Or you can see a selection of 25 of them in the photo gallery at the foot of the page here:http://www.druidry.org/events-projects/one-tree-project

We had such an incredible time – deep, funny, relaxed, sometimes scholarly, creative, warm… It really achieved what it set out to do – forge deep sacred bonds between the Dharmic & Druid community and between the individuals that make up these communities. I think you can capture that spirit in these photos from the gallery. Click on them to enlarge:

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Druidry = Felt Experience + Understanding – Mount Haemus News

August 23rd, 2016

31RF40j5PXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Druidry is an experiential path – helping us to grow by deepening our connection to Nature, the Elements, Story, the Ancestors. But it’s also a path of learning and scholarship, because we need understanding as well as felt experience. That’s why the Druid’s Prayer begins: “Grant, O God/dess Understanding…”

To foster scholarship, the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids has a scholarship programme that awards a new scholar every year, who in return provides a paper of relevance to contemporary Druidry. It is called ‘The Mount Haemus Award’. Here is an update on its activities

  1. The Mount Haemus paper for 2016 has been submitted and is now published: ‘Tree Lore is Wisdom’.  In this excellent and comprehensive paper, author Mike Darton – lexicographer, encyclopaedist, classicist, religious historian, and musicologist – traces the history of ogam in the Druid tradition, starting with the alphabet itself and its apparent origins. Read it here.
  2. The Mount Haemus scholarship for 2017 has been awarded to Jonathan Woolley. His paper is entitled: The Elementary Forms of Druidic Life: Towards a Moral Ecology of Land, Sea, and Sky, and you can read about it here.
  3. The Mount Haemus Lectures Volume 2 – which has all the lectures from 2008 to 2016 with a brief introduction by Philip Carr-Gomm is available in paperback from Amazon UK and USA. And soon from the OBOD Store and on kindle ebook. Copies will be on sale at the Gathering on 3rd September.
  4. The opportunity to book a place on one of OBOD’s fantastic gatherings – the Mount Haemus Day on September 3rd – will close at noon this Friday. The next gathering will be in 4 years time! There are a few places left – for details and to book click here.

I can hardly keep up…

August 22nd, 2016
John Ahearn & Cait Branigan with image of Srt.Brigit at the Eigse Gathering 2016

John Ahearn & Cait Branigan with image of St.Brigit at the Eigse Gathering 2016

I can hardly keep up with all the exciting things that are happening in the world of Druidry at the moment. No sooner were we back from the magnificent Eigse Gathering in Ireland (listen to my interview with Celtic monk John Ahearn here – episode 113) than we were at the Hindu-Celtic wedding of Chris & Sushi and then at the One Tree Gathering in Leicester – look at the incredible yew grove we met in!

And we are now gearing up for the Mt Haemus Gathering on 3rd

The One Tree Gathering Beaumanor Hall, Leicester 2016

The One Tree Gathering Beaumanor Hall, Leicester 2016

September. There are 7 tickets left, so if you want to come it’s not too late, but booking is closing for this event this coming Friday 26th September. For info and to book go here.

And the Mount Haemus paper for 2016 has now been published. Entitled ‘Tree Lore is Wisdom’ by Mike Darton, you can find it here.

Hate Amazon? Love Amazon?

August 19th, 2016

Amazon is really good to work with as an author – responsive, helpful, and far more generous than traditional publishers. The books are ‘printed on demand’ so this is environmentally leaner, whereas trad publishers produce stock that they then warehouse. BUT I know many people don’t like their almost-monopoly, and I’m glad that my new book is also available through other channels. You can buy The Prophecies as an ebook in Nook (Barnes & Noble) ibook (Apple) and Kobo versions – or from the independent supplier Smashwords.

They all offer sneak previews of the first two chapters before you buy too!
If you’re interested, there are links to all these alternative suppliers here: The Prophecies.

Or to see that preview straight away on Barnes & Noble go here!

The Incantation of Amergin – Lisa Gerard & Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin

August 18th, 2016

Just back from staying at the beautiful Huntington Castle in Ireland – the only stately home with a temple to the Goddess! And before that we were at the Celtic Spirituality gathering at Eigse further north. We had an inspiring time with wonderful people, and I managed to record a brief conversation with a Celtic monk, John Ahearne, which you will find in the next episode of Druidcast – due out tomorrow.

Dr Rhona Fogarty in Dublin has been working on a comparison between Hindu and Old Irish texts for the One Tree Gathering this weekend, and when writing to me about this, she mentioned some music that I’ll share with you here.

The Song of Amergin is well-known to students of Druid lore and has been evocatively and beautifully rendered in two recordings over the last few years – by Lisa Gerard and Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin. They are both powerful and reveal the beauty too of the Irish language:

For information on the Song, and its wording, see this blog post.

From the album Songs of the Scribe – the seventh studio album of Irish singer Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, who is also Traditional Singer in Residence at the Seamus Heaney Centre For Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast. Released on 3 December 2011, the album features old and newly written translations by Ní Uallacháin, Ciaran Carson and Seamus Heaney and harp accompaniment by Helen Davies. Recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, Songs of the Scribe was inspired by the manuscripts held in the library of St. Gallen. Pádraigín visited the library to research the manuscripts, carried to safety from Viking attack by St. Gall and others from Bangor, County Down to Europe over a number of centuries.

The Prophecies – A New Book

August 17th, 2016

CarrGomm_Prophecies_final6I’ve spent the last five years working on a novel, The Prophecies, and it’s finally out! I feel as if I’ve been pregnant for years, waddling around with a huge stomach. (Stephanie would say that’s true, but it has nothing to do with the creative process).

Anyway, it’s out and I’ve been really knocked out by the feedback it has received from readers and reviewers of advance copies. Here are some of their comments:

‘Masterfully combines elements of the transcendent with historical fact and throws in a romance for good measure… A hauntingly beautiful story…’
Rated Five Stars ***** San Francisco Book Review

‘An extraordinary work of the compassionate imagination.’
Lindsay Clarke, author The Chymical Wedding

‘Mysterious. Magical. Erotic. An incredible story.’
Mark Townsend, author The Gospel of Falling Down

‘Fascinating and completely engrossing.’
Barbara Erskine, Sunday Times Bestselling author

‘A vivid portrayal of war, friendship and our deepest desires.
Compelling writing and research. Superb.’
Dr Brian Bates, author The Way of Wyrd

‘A powerful romance, on many levels – part political thriller, part esoteric journey, and part moving love story. I couldn’t put it down and came away both informed and satisfied.’
William Ayot, author Re-enchanting the Forest

You can read more about it here!