Stephanie and I are just back from a week organised by OBOD France in Burgundy, and I’d like to share with you some of the magical moments we spent together.
The gathering was organised for members and friends of the Order, and over 40 people came together, most of whom were members of OBOD. But we were also able to welcome members from a number of other Druid groups in Belgium and France. In addition, there were four of us from England (two already living in France) one member from Holland, one originally from Bulgaria, and her friend from Russia. When I first arrived at the little cluster of wooden chalets on a hillside in the Charolais region, I wondered how we would spend our time, but the organisers had done their planning, and each day was different.
We were surrounded by the most splendid panorama of rich rolling countryside, a heated swimming pool provided an opportunity for relaxation, and of course the many meals that we had together offered fertile ground for sharing and discussion. But it’s when synchronicity happens that you know magic is afoot, and on a gloriously sunny day we set off to visit a sacred site: Dun (which many will recognise as a Celtic word). After visiting the historic church at its summit, we went looking for the sacred spring that was supposedly somewhere on the side of the hill, but we couldn’t find it until a woman with clear eyes, along with her lively son, offered to show us the way, and as we stood around the spring, she proceeded to tell us the story of how it was presided over in the past by the Druidess Joanna. We excitedly told her that we were Druids ourselves, and invited her to visit us the following day. What are the chances of such an event happening at random?
The next day we discovered the local farmer had written a novel about Joanna of the Sacred Spring – La Dernière Druidesse: Légendaire Montagne de Dun (The Last Druidess: The Legendary Mountain of Dun) – and we invited him to visit us. He arrived with a box of his books, and to his surprise and delight found himself selling the entire lot in minutes.
Our evenings were filled with music. We were blessed to have the well-known Breton Druid harpist Myrddhin and his partner Elisa with us, and their recently born baby Diana, which meant that the participants ranged from a few months old to eighty-four years old. It was particularly heart-warming to see young people in the gathering too, and during our time together we heard talks, held the most glorious Beltane ritual on the hillside, and made another visit, this time to Bibract – the town where Julius Caesar wrote his famous De Bello Gallico.
During the days, we had workshops on the three cauldrons, with exercises developed by Hélène, on shamanic constellations with Sabine and Annick, on the ‘Inner Tree’ with Dianann and Finn, on ‘Primordial Sounds and Colour’ with François, on ‘Vitalising the Cauldron of the Uterus’ with Fabienne, and on the astrology of Beltane with Myrddhin. Bran Du gave a talk on Druidry, as did I, and we also enjoyed an illustrated talk on Goddesses by Guy Lefrançois, and a comparison of the Golden Verses of Pythagoras with Druid teachings, given by Roger and Raphaël. You can imagine what a rich feast this all provided!
Johann from the Netherlands joined us with great enthusiasm, having cycled all the way, and it was lovely to see these threads of friendship and connection between members from different parts of France and the world, and different Druid groups, being formed.
I had thought at the beginning of our stay that a week was too long for such an event, but in fact we needed a week to be together, to gradually melt away our inhibitions, until on the final night we danced till two in the morning as Hélène and Matthieu, Bran Du, Cédric, Julien, Marine, Fabrice, Sabine, Finn and Pascal played with all their hearts.
The next day it took a long time for everyone to go their separate ways. Nobody wanted to leave, and we ended the afternoon at Philippe Greffet’s beautiful vineyard in Pouilly Fuissé, La Source des Fées (The Fairies’ Spring) tasting different wines, basking in the sun. What magic, what beauty, what deep bonds of love, friendship and connection!