Posts Tagged ‘Druidry’

 

Visitors from the Mediterranean and the Alps

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Twice a year the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids holds a big gathering at Glastonbury. Over the last few years we’ve started to have more members arriving from abroad – contingents from Italy, Portugal, Germany and beyond. Reading the following post on the BBC website shows a nice continuity of this practice:

Chemical tests on teeth from an ancient burial near Stonehenge indicate that the person in the grave grew up around the Mediterranean Sea. The bones belong to a teenager who died 3,550 years ago and was buried with a distinctive amber necklace.
“The position of his burial, the fact he’s near Stonehenge, and the necklace all suggest he’s of significant status” Said Professor Jane Evans British Geological Survey. The conclusions come from analysis of different forms of the elements oxygen and strontium in his tooth enamel.
Analysis on a previous skeleton found near Stonehenge showed that that person was also a migrant to the area….Tests carried out several years ago on another burial known as the “Amesbury Archer” show that he was raised in a colder climate than that found in Britain.
Analysis of the strontium and oxygen isotopes in his teeth showed that his most likely childhood origin was in the Alpine foothills of Germany… The Amesbury Archer was discovered around 5km from Stonehenge. His is a rich Copper Age or early Bronze Age burial, and contains some of the earliest gold and copper objects found in Britain. He lived about 4,300 years ago, some 800 years earlier than the Boscombe Down boy. The archer arrived at a time when metallurgy was becoming established in Britain; he was a metal worker, which meant he possessed rare skills.
“We see the beginning of the Bronze Age as a period of great mobility across Europe. People, ideas, objects are all moving very fast for a century or two,” said Dr Fitzpatrick. “At the time when the boy with the amber necklace was buried, there are really no new technologies coming in [to Britain]… We need to turn to look at why groups of people – because this is a youngster – are making long journeys.”He speculated: “They may be travelling within family groups… They may be coming to visit Stonehenge because it was an incredibly famous and important place, as it is today. But we don’t know the answer.” Other people who visited Stonehenge from afar were the Boscombe Bowmen, individuals from a collective Bronze Age grave. Isotope analysis suggests these people could have come from Wales or Brittany, if not further afield.

Read full article

The Way of Awen

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Kevan book coverCome and celebrate the launch of The Way of Awen: journey of a bard, the new book from Kevan Manwaring (author of The Bardic Handbook) about living creatively. Published by O Books

Friday, 25 June 2010
18:00 – 20:00
Live Arts Cafe, Chapel Arts Centre
Lower Borough Walls
Bath, United Kingdom

6pm Live music from the simply divine Saravian

Arrive early for a complimentary drink & vegetarian buffet

7pm Author talk about the journey of the book &
reading (hear a selection of The Taliesin Soliloquies)
followed by Q&A

Afterwards, a chance to hear a solo performance by the legendary Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band), who will be performing songs and stories from his awesome repertoire in the main hall from 8pm

Entrance to book launch is free (downstairs – side entrance)
Entrance to Robin Williamson concert £13 on door, but concessions available on purchase of the book.

For directions www.chapelarts.org

RSVP

PS can’t make this one? Come to the Glastonbury launch on 12th June, Cat & Cauldron, High Street, 5.30pm

The Three Functions of Druidry

Friday, January 15th, 2010

We’ve started a new section on The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids website. In the ‘Books & Resources’ section we are posting up articles sent in by members about Druidry and related subjects. Already the collection has some really interesting material. Here’s an example from Adam Brough, who lives in a magical eco-spiritual centre in Spain, which originally appeared in his blog ‘A Grove of Quotes’:

The Three Functions of Druidry

“In ancient times, the Druids were members of a professional class in which their society’s religious and spiritual life was embodied. They were the philosophers, scientists, theologians, and intellectuals of their culture, and the holders of the philosophical, scientific, and religious knowledge of their age. The nearest modern equivalent, then, would be professors in universities or colleges, medical doctors, lawyers and judges, school teachers and so on. One could say that such people are the real “Druids” of our time. The ancient Druids brought all of these practices together into a single structure, unified by religious commitment. If you imagine what it would be like if your doctor, lawyer or teacher was also a priest, and the hospital, law court, and college was also a temple, then you have an idea what Druidry was like for ancient Celtic people.” Brendan Cathbad Myers, The Mysteries of Druidry

How can I claim to be a Druid when they and their traditions are effectively extinct? We’re only left with fragments of folklore, second hand myths written by Christian monks, vague archeology and biased reports by Romans and Greeks. What comes after those are fanciful theories and imaginative speculation. We are left with a ragged patchwork that’s 5% fact and 95% fiction (not actual figures). Some modern Druids can be seen to be attempting to faithfully reconstruct the tradition and culture of what ancient Druids were, some are guided by whatever fantasies takes their fancy, whilst others consciously embrace Druidry as a viable spiritual path, whether fact or fiction. Put me in the third category.

I’m not interested in the fact or fiction of what Druids were, I’m more interested in what Druidry can do in the world today. I’m not adverse to a fictional image of Druidry if it helps my purpose. In this context I’ll introduce my theory, which isn’t a description of what Druids were, but is an image, a symbol that can inspire the role of Druidry in today’s world. I’m a myth maker, and myths are symbols that help inform our attitude towards and behavior within the world. And Druidry, as I envision it, can be a useful tool to direct human attitude and behavior towards a healthy relationship with each other, with the living Earth and with the expression of our souls.

My theory starts with fragmented tribes violently competing with one another and making humans and nature suffer. Does that sound familiar? From this, individuals specialised in spirituality, education and politics from many different tribes, speaking different languages, practicing different religions with different pantheons, came together to create a system that would help organize and guide the balance between the various tribes and the natural world within which they exist. Through their spiritual, educational and political expertise they built a system to do just that. A system that was not limited to a single region, tribe, culture, language, pantheon, religion or nation; but one that transcended the boundaries of human identity to create a common understanding to work together.

My interest in Druidry is mainly about what their function and role was within society and how that image can inspire the role of Druidry today. In my mind I have an image of a triangle, made up of three functions which are, if you haven’t guessed by now, spirituality, education and politics. A sort of triangular spectrum not too dissimilar to the chart of soil types; sand, sediment and clay, one at each point, and in between some substances somewhere in between, with the centre being a mixture of all three. They were not three separate functions, taken up by specialised individuals, but rather a holistic system where they complemented one another and were familiar to all Druids. For Druidry to be a viable movement in today’s world, there needs to be an image of Druid roles today that are not confined solely to the spiritual like many of today’s Neo-Druid groups.

This is the first post of a series. I will take each of the “functions” and put into detail how a modern Druid might approach them and work with them, and in true Druidic fashion each one will be accompanied by a triad of quotes. There will also be a last section, after the three functions, describing a very important aspect of modern Druid tradition which is the context for, not just Druidry, but the whole of human existence.

Education

“The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole.” Krishnamurti

“Only the development of his inner powers can offset the dangers inherent in man’s losing control of the tremendous natural forces at his disposal and becoming the victim of his own achievements.” Roberto Assagioli

“I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think.” Anne Sullivan

Druids were educators. They had schools that taught many things; history, genealogy, stories, laws, lore and other things. They were living breathing archives that could be called upon by tribal chiefs and kings, or the common people of the tribes. They must have had complex mnemonic systems to catalogue everything into their memory, since their tradition was an oral one and it was forbidden to write anything down. One such system is their alphabet, the Ogham, that was used to list things and their attributes. The most well known is the tree alphabet, but there was plenty of others for birds, animals, herbs etc. This system, or one like it, must have been used to remember extensive information.

Druids today don’t have to be living breathing archives, we have books and computers for that sort of thing, and it is not forbidden to write anything down. A shame in some ways, as writing things down (like I am now) has the tendency to abstract information, removing it from living experience. And we can see that in the book-based education of today, it emphasises a lot on intellectual knowledge; what to think than on how to think. I don’t say that we should ban books (I love them too much!) but that they are not the be all and end all of education, and that education should be directed towards living experience. For me, a Druid education is an integrated one, based on developing a holistic intelligence, not just an intellectual one. And also it is about self-development and discovery and not for a student to conform their knowledge to a school’s syllabus. Another thing to remember is that education doesn’t just take place in a classroom, all aspects of our life educate us in different ways; from the media we get our information from, the books we read, the films we watch, the toys we have as children, the relationships we’re involved with, the careers we choose. All of these things are symbols of the educational and psychological structure we build up inside us.

Holistic intelligence I think of as something that includes many aspects of the human being. As I said, intelligence is measured mainly by intellect, as the so-called “Intelligence Quotient” or IQ reflects. It’s tests are all about how well the intellectual, thinking side, of humans work. The “I” of IQ is more appropriately seen as Intellect because intelligence can also be seen as emotional intelligence, physical intelligence, social intelligence, ethical intelligence and spiritual intelligence. We could also talk about creative or imaginative intelligence as Druids were also the artists, poets and musicians of their peoples, and also health intelligence, since Druids could also specialise in healing, as doctors of their time. But knowing how to be healthy and stay healthy is a fairly basic skill for all people, not just something for professionals. Education should be about the development of the whole human being, not just the intellect. In the same way that we should have a “healthy and balanced diet” to stay physically healthy, we should also have a healthy and balanced education, in order to develop a healthy intelligence, a holistic intelligence.

Politics

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius

“Politics has less to do with where you live than where your heart is.” Margaret Cho

“The new vision senses the Earth as a complex system, Gaia, and recognizes that our globalized social world is reliant on the natural world: when there’s trouble in nature, there’s trouble in society.”  Susan Canney

The Druids were lawmakers, counsellors to kings, guardians of sovereignty, peacemakers, and probably warmakers too. They would resolve differences between tribes and probably even resolve differences with people within a tribe. For this they had to be very aware of the social balance of things and used their knowledge to guide this balance. Some were probably corrupt, following their own selfish schemes or that of their tribe and some may even have had a noble idea about a common good for all people. I like the common good idea, but realistically human nature is what it is and has the habit of doing all sorts of things, even within such positions of power and responsibility. Despite this not too rosy image of human nature, in the image of a Druid we have a figure that is powerful in social and political fields of activity, and that is what I lean on here.

For me, my political work as a Druid isn’t about walking into warzones or gang fights to resolve the conflicts there. It isn’t about me signing petitions, lobbying new legislation, attending a political march in protest about some issue, social work, standing for election or “making my vote count.” Politics, at its root, is about how humans relate to each other, it’s about our relationships. Political discord stems from the social ills we have, so all political work fundamentally starts here. It’s about the relationship between offspring and parents, men and women, young and old etc. Before we heroically face the problems of the world, we should heroically face our own personal problems, and from that foundation all other problems of the world; economical, ecological, national, international etc can be legitimately dealt without skipping personal problems; an essential experience if we are to tackle anything else. Before we take our issues to Monarchs, Prime Ministers or Presidents we should face and resolve the issues we have with our parents, children and all our relationships.

Spirituality

“It [spirituality] is the province of our responsive and creative imagination – not just a fiction-factory but a vitally necessary place where we work out the interpretative patterns we need for our life-world as a whole, structures and visions to provide some usable order in the chaotic world of our experience.” Mary Midgley

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” Anais Nin

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung

I left spirituality until last because it’s too easy for modern Druids to focus on the spiritual aspect of Druidry at the expense of the political and educational aspects of it. Druids were priests, magicians, seers, prophets, diviners, mediators with the deities, shamans, guardians of sacred knowledge, sacred places and shrines and a whole range of spiritual and religious functions in their society. They were the mythologers and mythographers of their time, governing the images, stories and symbols that would guide, and even legitimise, the lifestyle and culture of their peoples. They also encoded their peoples’ experience into myths to preserve the wisdom of the past for future generations, locking their history and worldview into symbolic form.

Symbols speak to us at deep levels; they evoke and invoke energies within us, energies that give us a connection between our personal life and the rest of the cosmos. Spirituality gives meaning and ethics to guide us in life, guiding our attitude and behaviour, but it also goes deeper than that. Psychospiritual development can take place, through the normal psychological development stages, but also a spiritual development where an individual is open to their creative potential beyond initial psychological programming. When therapy stops or is not necessary, and the psyche is in a healthy and balanced state, development doesn’t stop there, it carries on. The psyche is not a static machine, to be repaired, adjusted and kept running smoothly, it is a growing organic thing that constantly changes, and spirituality is something that helps us cope and direct that change, and allows the soul’s own Dharma or spiritual “blueprint” to unfold and evolve according to its own inner pattern.

Each person’s inner pattern and life journey is extremely personal and individual. I live and work with people, our own paths in life run parallel but they do not merge. Working together, growing together, but never growing into each other. My life journey can only ever be mine, shareable with no other being, but it is a thread in the fabric of evolution; of human evolution, of the living Earth’s evolution and of the whole cosmos’ evolution, with its beginning and end residing there; emerging from and finally merging back into nature. And here we take a step into a fundamental aspect of modern Druid practice and belief; its connection to the natural world and the focus it can create in humanity on ecological and environmental issues.

Gaian Druids

“We do not live on the Earth, we are a part of how the Earth lives.” David Richo

“You go to Nature for an experience of the sacred… to re-establish your contact with the core of things…The final test is whether your experience of the sacred in Nature enables you to cope more effectively with the problems of humanity.” Will Unsoeld

“Paradoxically, turning attention to the inner life can make us acutely aware of the beauty and fragility of the earth. Since our collective habits of behaviour appear to be leading toward annihilation, recognition of our capacity for conscious evolution has become an increasingly compelling necessity. Spiritual awareness of our relationship to the whole earth can no longer be considered the prerogative of a few introverted individuals. Although it may take a leap of faith to believe that a radical shift in human consciousness is possible, this global mind change may be necessary to shift our collective trajectory from self-destruction to self-renewal.” Frances Vaughan

I have spoken of three functions of ancient Druidry and have put them into a relevant form for modern times, but what I have not really gone into detail about is Druidry as a nature-based spirituality. We could say, maybe, that Druids were ecologists and environmentalists. But considering the times they were living in, everyone in their cultures had to have some basic ecological knowledge of some sort, so it could not be seen as a druidic “function” but a basic fact of life for everyone. Today, whether we are into Druidry or not, this is something we should all have, we should all be familiar with ecological knowledge, of the fact that we are part of an ecological system and that it is the very basis for our existence. Locked away in our cities we are disconnected from where our food comes from, where our oxygen comes from, where our water, gas and electric come from, even where out money comes from! We are so familiar with a world which is so human dominated we forget just how embedded we are in the living systems of the Earth, how much we depend upon them and how much we affect them.

It’s important for our eco-starved species to once again gain an ecological perspective that pervades every aspect of our activites on, or more appropriately as part of, the Earth. Humanity and every aspect of its evolution should find a way to evolve with the Earth’s evolution and also creatively contribute to it. The development of a holistic intelligence is one that can only grow as a part of nature, the work of politics and relationships also includes our relationship with nature and the journey of the spiritual life is a part of nature not apart from it. Nature is such a fundamental part of Druidry that each of the functions I have described can be better understood if we put the suffix “eco” on each; ecoeducation, ecopolitics and ecospirituality. In such a way we recognise that ecology isn’t just one of many subjects but the entire context of our lives. An important resource for modern Druidry’s worldview can be found in the scientific developments of the Gaia Hypothesis and Earth Systems Science and the implications they have for every aspect of our lives.

Such a fundamental part of human life is ecology that I’m reluctant about treating this as a separate subject, because our various activities, like spirituality, education and politics, do not stand apart from nature, but can only exist because of nature. Each of the functions of Druidry can be envisaged as pillars of Druidry; The Three Pillars of Druidry. Or better yet, trees; The Three Trees of Druidry. The fourth “pillar” or “tree” is nature, but it does not stand separately, it itself is the Three Trees and also the sky above them and the earth below them. The “function” of ecology or environmentalism, must be so fundamental to the other three functions that it pervades them, their growth and their evolution, as it should with the whole of human existence. Leaving this subject last and apparently separated from the others signifies the human psyche’s split from nature. Something that a nature-based path like Druidry can facilitate in this modern world is the healing of the human consciousness in relation to nature.

Adam Brough

Blood and Mistletoe

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Ronald Hutton’s latest book, ‘Blood & Mistletoe’, is reviewed here by Penny Billington, editor of The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids monthly journal ‘Touchstone’ and of the ‘Gwion Dubh’ druid detective books. Details here.

Essential reading for druids and scholars

This long-awaited book is, quite simply, a tour de force. Interpretations of Druidry through the ages, treated to scrupulous scholarly dissection, in a masterly fashion. The first chapter, the raw material, should be required reading for all who have ever given credence to the impeccability of original sources…but given their suspect nature, how has Ronald Hutton extracted the truth from any, and given coherence to this book?

From Caesar, a truly machiavellian author, onwards, a succession of agenda-laden activists, scholars and authors have fashioned an image of druids for the popular imagination to suit the political and cultural points they are making. By examining all these written sources in the context of the social, economic, political standpoint of the various authors, a magnificent tapestry is gradually woven of English history and the men who have affected it, with always the misty figure of the druid just glimpsed to colour the narrative. This book is fascinating. It is huge. It is really beyond the scope of a short review to convey the breadth and sweep of the narrative.

In the end analysis, all that can be held onto is that the word `druid’ has, at significant times in our history, rung with such resonance that men have annexed it, with all its associations, to manipulate or to stir others to their causes. And so through the chapters we run – through the ages, and the gamut of emotional responses to the term druid; from disgust and vilification for a blood-soaked and savage priesthood to awe and wonder at the disseminators of the mystical wisdom of nature, pausing in admiration for them as radical freedom fighters along the way.

The scope is given in the tantalising chapter headings: The raw material; The Druids take shape; the Druids take over; the Druids take flesh; Iolo Morganwg; Interlude: a pair of Williams; the Apogee of the English Druids; Iolo’s children; The Downfall of the Druids; Druidic afterglow; The Universal Bond; Druids and archaeologists; Conclusion. And, along the way, the Hutton style ensures that the reader is engaged and intrigued by his obvious delight in the minutia of his source material and vivid descriptive capacity.

Which poet vilified the druids for, amongst other things, halitosis? Which seminal figure was characterised by `truculent radicalism?’ Whose companions `strenuously ruminated’? What place does unlikely Dudley hold in Druidry’s history, and which Order opened a `Druid school’ before being ridiculed with an expose of a ritual involving sulphur and groans to signify hell and an arch druid with a battle axe threatening death to the candidate? Which poet beloved of modern druids actually associated our spiritual forefathers with `howling, wailing, chaos, weeping, torture and bloodshed’? These examples are not intended to tease, but to give a sense in a short review of the journey of adventure one embarks upon with this book.

The matter is dense, the scholarship impeccable, but the effect of Hutton’s light touch and engaging style is to draw the reader through a series of druidically-inspired tableaux exposing the manners and mores of bygone times. But be warned; it is best enjoyed in short bursts. This is not English ale, but a fine liqueur, to be savoured and enjoyed, with a respect for the artistry that went into its composition and made it so palatable to the reader.

The truth about the druids, as Prof Hutton regularly points out, will never be known. That they have been the raw material of every social and political dreamer since the advent of written history is the basis of this book. `In the last analysis… this book is about neither archaeology nor druidry, but about the British, and the way in which they have seen themselves, their island, their species and their world.’
And a great book it makes.

Penny Billington

A New Documentary on the Druids

Friday, June 12th, 2009

The Holistic TV Channel has just produced a new documentary on the Druids which they hope will be screened on television. Meanwhile its trailer is up on Youtube, and I’ll paste it in here. Lots of friends are in here: Robald Hutton, Emma Restall Orr, Afric, Celtic Chris, and more and the music is by Damh the Bard. My only caution would be to note for those who are more contemplative and less attracted to ritual that Druidry doesn’t necessarily involve being robed and engaging in group ceremonies. Some Druids prefer attuning to Nature and the Great Mystery by themselves or in simple group celebrations that don’t necessarily involve ritual or robes.

As soon as I hear when it will be broadcast from Holistic TV I’ll let you know!

Solve et Coagula: Reflections on the Spiritual Path

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

A spiritual way needs to both hold and guide you, and open and free you. Sometimes these can appear to be contradictory functions, but when they work there is a dance between the two processes that helps you to reach your goals: in Druid terms the illuminations of wisdom, creativity and love.
When either dynamic moves to its extreme, it challenges you to identify your boundaries and claim your power. In other words, when a spiritual way seems to be confining you, restricting you, the gift hidden in this experience lies in the opportunity it offers to identify what you really need and to move towards this, rather than being submissive or ‘obedient’.
But here’s the subtlety that needs to be appreciated: some limitation is necessary. Restriction serves its purpose in the scheme of things, and so you must be attentive to not being reactive, and simply acting out ‘the rebel’. Instead of prematurely rejecting the limitations of a system, idea, practice, doctrine or group, it is worth exploring the way in which the perceived constriction may actually be a valuable part of your journey.
Likewise the sense of ‘lostness’, of lack of boundaries, of yearning for definition and guidance, brings its own gifts of an opening-out-to-the-new, of transformation in the face of the Mystery, of Not-Knowing,
Again, rather than acting out of fear, and going for premature ‘containment’ by following external prescriptions, it is helpful (when one can) to allow the process to occur. Like the movement of the tides, after a while one’s psyche will naturally be drawn back to the other pole and will find containment and direction.
In this way we can both follow traditional spiritual paths and be open to the Spirit, can learn from the ideas and practices of teachers and teachings and can be empowered individuals who follow their own star too.

Nagpur Diary 3 – Sacred Places: Reclaiming Ancient Traditions in the British Isles

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The Conference in Nagpur that I recently attended was designed to forge links and explore the connections between the ancient wisdom traditions that are found all over the world. I gave a talk there based on the material that follows and on research into the links between Druidism and Jainism and other Indian religions (more on that later!)

Sacred Places: Reclaiming Ancient Traditions  in the British Isles

Dear delegates and esteemed elders, I imagine it will come as no surprise to you to know that whereas in India the inhabitants are privileged to be living in a land where ancient traditions have been followed in an unbroken chain of practice since time immemorial, no such situation exists in the British Isles. We have enriched our museums and our culture with treasures from every corner of the Earth in a way that has been both helpful and unhelpful, but just as we colonised much of the planet in the past, so our own indigenous spirituality was superceded by a religious colonialism that very effectively disconnected us from our spiritual roots and heritage.
The use of the term ‘roots’ when discussing such a subject is apposite, since roots are anchored in soil, and spiritual traditions are mysteriously linked in the same way to the living earth beneath our feet. When Christianity arrived here instructions were given to take over the holy sites. (more…)

The Value of Spiritual Practice

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Cultivating the Mystery and returning Constantly to our Source

The spiritual, emotional, psychological goals we seek – of love, peace, trust, wisdom and so on – need time and the space to ‘arrive’ in our lives. It is in the silence, the gaps, the waiting, the ‘not knowing’, the reverence for the ‘Other’, that we have a chance to connect ourselves to something more than our wandering minds and anxious hearts.

Of course they’re not really ‘arriving’ – they are always there, we just need to still ourselves enough to become conscious of them, which is why spiritual practice is important.

Here the time-honoured methods shared by most paths offer ways we can do this: by meditating, taking retreats, observing sacred times and honouring sacred places. By taking advantage of these we can build the spiritual practice best suited to our needs, our temperament, and our circumstances. And in following this practice we can cultivate the Mystery and return constantly to our Source.

A hope at the present time in the story of Humanity is that more and more people are discovering this – and this is what is meant by the Great Awakening that we are witnessing. Finding a safe harbour involves not so much altering our physical circumstances as finding our spiritual home – and the spiritual practice best suited to anchor us in our sense of the Source, the Great Mystery at the heart of Creation.

Some, particularly those who are keen to actively fight against injustices in the world, might think this approach is selfish: “Oh great! Your solution to world problems is navel-gazing!” But to take this position would be to fail to understand the lesson of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Stephen Covey uses this idea as one of the cornerstones of his highly pragmatic and ethical approach to living effectively, as set out in his books, such as ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’. In Aesop’s story a farmer becomes fabulously wealthy because one of his geese lays eggs made of solid gold. After a while the farmer becomes greedy and kills the goose to get the eggs out of her, rather than waiting for them to be laid. Covey suggests we need to take care of the goose (ourselves) to ensure that it continues to lay golden eggs, rather than killing it through greed or neglect.

If we nourish our needs – and particularly our spiritual needs – we will be more effective activists, and less likely to suffer burn-out. Nowadays it is so easy to feel swamped by too much information – without care it is easy to get pulled from your anchored centre by becoming preoccupied with the details of the changing world. Every day depressing and upsetting news can be heard on the radio or television. For your own sanity you need to balance the effect of this information with a turning inward to draw strength and calm, otherwise you are likely to feel destabilised – pushed off-centre – and your ability to be of help to others will be diminished. To function effectively in this world long draughts from the still pool of Segais are needed – from the source of what are known in the Druid tradition as Awen and Nwyfre (inspiration and life-force).