Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

And now for some jokes…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Mr Bean as Jesus. Or perhaps Jesus as Mr Bean?

Mr Bean as Jesus. Or perhaps Jesus as Mr Bean?

My two favourites from the Top Ten jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe
“Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That’s not a miracle. That’s tapas” Mark Nelson
“They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for…” Grace The Child
The jokes come from a shortlist compiled by a panel of judges, who saw an average of 60 shows each at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The shortlisted gags were then put to 2,000 people, with no reference to the comedians who told them, who then voted for the jokes they found the funniest. The judges also released a list of jokes which just missed out on the shortlist. A selection:

“I never lie on my CV…because it creases it.”  Jenny Collier
“If you don’t know what introspection is you need to take a long, hard look at yourself” Ian Smith
“I usually meet my girlfriend at 12:59 because I like that one-to-one time”  Tom Ward
“Whenever I get to Edinburgh, I’m reminded of the definition of a gentleman. It’s someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn’t” Gyles Brandreth
See more on the BBC site

On the Acceptance of Death – Alan Watts

Monday, August 24th, 2015

With the beautiful music of Max Richter from his Blue Notebooks album:

Life is a Dance

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

A Guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving…

life is a danceI wrote a piece here recently called Back Down to Earth about the importance of grounding and of my love of the Chakra system; of how the Root Chakra teaches us to feel ourselves as embodied beings. As important as it is to feel ourselves steady as a rock, it is equally important not to allow our beings to become set in stone. We need to be rooted but we also need to experience flexibility and motion, physically in the movement of our bodies but also in our emotional, mental and spiritual expression.

The Root Chakra is ruled by the element of earth, it has weight and density. The Sacral Chakra however, is ruled by water; it teaches us about the value of flow. When this chakra is functioning healthily, we can move through life with ease and grace, riding the currents, adapting our course without resistance, embracing the changes with faith and optimism. We feel our emotions moving through and out of us, thereby, never overwhelming us as they might if we held them tightly within us. When water becomes trapped, it can become stagnant and deadly to us; it is the same with our emotions – if we repress, suppress, or become rigidly fixated and stuck, our emotions can cause us a great deal of pain and even illness. Just as our bodies need flexibility for ease of movement, so do our minds and emotions. Stiffening on any level limits our experience and increases tension within our beings; to stay flexible we have to keep moving. Being flexible and open allows for an exchange between us and the world that can shift us out of our stasis; there is a circuit set up between us and other which challenges and exposes us to new ideas and ways to be. It is the place of relationship and union, a place where we allow the connection with life to transform us.

Going with the flow demands a certain level of trust in life and self. Our fears can cause us to stiffen and resist just at the point life is asking us to relax and surrender to the rush. It is no accident to me that the sacral chakra is also the place of our child-like joy and the seat of sensual pleasure. There have been many times in my life when I have frozen myself out with the fear of ‘what if’ rather than trusting in the direction my life is taking me. When you start to engage with your adaptability in the face of change, it is a real joy and a confidence boost, and makes the transient nature of life more of an adventure than a struggle. We are reminded to draw upon our child-like innocence and excitement about life, where each day is a new adventure and we feel ourselves at home in the dance of the day to day.

lovely_dolphinsThis chakra is also the place of our creativity. We need that circuit of exchange with the world to feed our creative spark. We cannot hold on to our creations, they must be shared with the world; once again that circulating current between within and without must be honoured. If we hold onto our creativity, if we don’t express it because of fear or lack of confidence, then we often find that it starts to wither. Little can survive in stagnancy; we can’t thrive in a stranglehold.

If you feel stuck, if you are joyless and feel resistance straining within you, try one simple technique – move! Move your body: get up and dance; go for a walk, a run, a swim. Move your emotions: share an intimate moment with someone you love; make love: listen to music that moves you, or watch a movie that stirs you. Move you mind: read a book; have a discussion. Move your Spirit: perform a ritual, chant, pray, speak of all that you are grateful for today.

We are not designed to stay still. Even in our moments of deep meditation, huge shifts are bubbling away in our deepest core; our cells constantly dying and being reborn.

Make a promise to yourself to approach your life with trust, ease and grace. Life is a dance.

 

Fourth One Tree Gathering

Monday, August 17th, 2015
The Fourth One Tree Gathering, Whit Lenge Gardens, Worcs 16 Aug 2015

The Fourth One Tree Gathering, Whit Lenge Gardens, Worcs 16 Aug 2015

IMG_9412

Briar’s banner for the One Tree Gathering

Just back from the Fourth One Tree Gathering, bringing together members of the Druid and Dharmic communities. We shared Druid and Hindu rituals, listened to talks, participated in workshops, and heard the beautiful music of Fabrice and Andrea – members of the new CelticVedic band. IMG_9420

As Long As We Have Books

Friday, August 14th, 2015
Book Igloo

Book Igloo

The power of a book lies in its power to turn a solitary act into a shared vision. As long as we have books, we are not alone. ~ Laura Bush

Book Sculpture 'The Book of Life' by David Kracov

Book Sculpture ‘The Book of Life’ by David Kracov

Light – A Metaphor of the Spirit.

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

 Like a Labris we are staying in the middle of the Time,

At the center of the Fluid Light,

And like the Sun today experience and realize

The kingdoms of the Red Mother and the White

– two faces of the Oneness.

Polina Gerdjikova   

I am sharing here some of Bulgarian artist Polina Gerdjikova’s recent exhibition Light – A Metaphor of the Spirit. The exhibition celebrates UNESCO’s International Year of Light 2015. Here Polina talks a little about the inspiration for the exhibition, illustrated with  some of her lovely paintings:

Polina

The Geometry of Light : The Tree-Priest Before Belintash, Tatul, Sveshtari by PolinaGerdjikova

As the image of the One Single Consciousness, the ‘Light’ connects modern theories of physics and philosophy with symbols of ancient archaeological monuments, all our sacred heritage is illuminated by it – because in the spiritual space of Bulgaria, the different religions are just different languages ​​of Light and its interpretations through the centuries.

The paintings of my exhibition at ” The Mission” gallery reflect these views. The Light and its emblems in the world of form present as a metaphor of the spiritual experience, aspects of civilization from ancient times right up to the present day.

In many of my works The Light is a symbol of faith, materialized in cult/sacred sites on our lands. Some of them have been declared World heritage sites from UNESCO – the Madara Horseman, the Rila Monastery, The Tomb of Sveshtari, the Old Nessebar, The Ancient Roman theater in Plovdiv, the Red Church in Perushtitsa.

Orpheus -The Healer with Light

Orpheus – The Healer with Light by Polina Gerdjikova

The basis of other of my paintings is a sign that in mathematics is called a clothoid, and in semiotics – torsel (spiral ornament). A swirling fluid S is a symbol of the most defining characteristic of the world we live in – from the macrocosm to the microcosm, from the gravitational to quantum interactions. In modern science it is accepted that matter exists in two major forms: matter and field (in particular light). On the other hand modern art historians and researchers believe that these two forms were understood by Neolithic people and identified as The Great MotherOne, but with two manifestations: Light and Matter. They both are expressed by two mirror-inverted S signs, used alone, linked by a meander or covering the entire surface. These images present themselves in many examples of civilization in Bulgarian lands – on ritual gold and pottery dishes, on the altars of sanctuaries, on menhirs and even on traditional Bulgarian costumes.

History knows many examples of how in the states of Enlightenment,the human psyche perceived the Universe as a living stream of Light, in which everything is connected to everything else – a light world which is a living organism. It is believed that such an experience reflects the Neolithic worldview.

Chromlech in the Rhodopa Mountain

Chromlech in the Rhodopa Mountain by Polina Gerdjikova

We can all here-now embrace both the enlightened states of the our ancestors and the insights of the modern scientists to share the Light. ~ Polina Gerdjikova

 

CelticVedic Band launches at Lughnasadh

Monday, August 10th, 2015

CelticVedicWe had one of the best Lughnasadhs ever at the last White Horse camp to be held at Westmill Farm in Wiltshire – completing a cycle of 21 years of OBOD then White Horse camps held in that beautiful part of the world.
In wonderful synchronicity a band that the record producer, musician and DJ known as Youth has helped put together, played their very first gig at the camp. Called CelticVedic, their music celebrates a fusion of Indian and Celtic music in an upbeat dance style that you just can’t help jumping to whatever your age, or however tired you might feel!

An enormous yellow full moon rose behind the stage, bizarrely an illuminated drone flew above us like a UFO, and the band played its dazzling new work.

This photo shows only three band members, there were more – but I was too busy dancing to take pictures! CelticVedic express in music what the Order’s One Tree Project is all about. See here.

Two of the band members will be playing at our next One Tree Gathering this Saturday in the Midlands.

From our camp CelticVedic went on to play at the Ozora festival in Hungary – photo below:image2

Requiem for Arctic Ice

Friday, August 7th, 2015

An incredible seven million people have signed a petition to ask Shell to stop drilling in the Arctic. And now they are playing a new requiem outside Shell’s headquarters in London – A Requiem for Arctic Ice. The music is poignant. Have a listen here on this clip. And you can read about the project and add your signature here.

Is Paganism inherently political?

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

To what extent is Paganism inherently political? Is it possible to exclude politics from the Sacred Grove?  OBOD members are hosting an academic seminar in Cambridge to explore these issue:

Generation Hex – the Politics of Contemporary Paganism

Convenors: Jonathan Woolley, University of Cambridge; Kavita Maya, SOAS, University of London; Elizabeth Cruse, Druid Elder and Activist.

Venue: Seminar Room, Division of Social Anthropology, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF.
Date: 10th September 2015.

Themes: Paganism and Nature Spirituality; Goddess Spirituality and Feminism; Theology and Thealogy; Cultural Appropriation; Feminist Theory; Gender and Sexuality; Ecopolitics and Environmentalism; Activism; Politics and Religion.

Disciplines: Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Gender and Religion, Study of Religions, Social Anthropology, Intellectual and Political History, Gender Studies, Queer Studies.

Call for Papers: Contemporary Paganisms have had a conflicted relationship with modernity throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Pagan ideologies are interwoven with the political, from the feminist eco-anarchism of Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, to the conservative racial essentialism of Stephen McNallen. How these representations translate into ethical/political commitments is open to question.

This workshop aims to explore the political discourses of contemporary Pagan religions, whether Witchcraft, Druidry or Goddess spirituality. Questions we offer for consideration include: Is 21st century Paganism oriented towards social change? Is it possible to speak of a unified, coherent Pagan political project? Is there a single moral framework within Pagan thought, or are the ethical implications of different traditions conflicting and contradictory? What challenge might the politics of feminism, postcolonialism, or queer theory represent for Pagan beliefs and practices? How does Paganism respond to global capitalism? And what would a Pagan politics that meets these challenges look, sound, and feel like?

In addressing these questions, this workshop will unite community engagement with an interdisciplinary academic approach, bringing together scholars from social anthropology, critical theory, history, cultural studies and the study of religions into dialogue with activists and authors within the Pagan community.

Convened by a new community of pagan scholars, Generation Hex will seek to examine these issues in the course of a day-long workshop.

Lunch and refreshments provided.

Format:
The one-day workshop will include the presentation of at least four papers (solicited via an open Call for Papers) given by academics who have expertise in the themes mentioned above. Each paper will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the topics raised in the paper by both academics and community activists.

Lunch will be served in the Division’s common room, and will be provided as part of the workshop.

Access:
We hope to provide an accessible and welcoming space for all participants. Information on the accessibility of Division’s buildings is available here; please also contact the conveners directly with any requests for information or assistance.

Workshop Aims:
        To provide critical insights into the present political agency of Britain’s pagan community, informing broader academic debates about the relationship between the political and the spiritual.
        To create an opportunity for junior academics with a background in Pagan Studies to present their work, and receive feedback from their peers and contributors.
        To promote dialogue between Pagan activists and scholars.
        To create a forum for in-depth discussions regarding the future of British Pagan communities, including established figures, future leaders, and academics.

Outputs
        A special edition of a suitable journal (such as The Pomegranate).

INFORMATION FOR SUBMISSIONS

Please submit one abstract of no more than 150 words by 25th August 2015. The talk itself should be no more than 20 minutes. Your talk will be grouped with other, similar papers, and the discussed in a plenary after all the papers in your session have been presented.  Please submit proposals to Liz Cruse at the email below.

Contact Details:
To book a place, and to submit proposals for papers please email genhex15@gmail.com. Places are limited, so please do register with us if you would like to attend.

Talks & Workshops in October

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

houdini-pictureI’m giving some talks and workshops on both sides of the Pond in October. They are all in rather nostalgic settings.

In London, I’m giving a talk on a Friday evening, 9 October, and then a day workshop the next day at the College of Psychic Studies. You can find details here. I don’t think I’ll use the ‘Spirit trumpet’ shown in use here at a séance – examples can been seen at the College – but you never know!

Then in the US, on 17-18 October, I’m giving a two day workshop on ‘Druid Magic & Healing’ in the wonderfully atmospheric village of East Aurora in Upstate New York. This was where the spiritual writer and Arts & Crafts entrepreneur Elbert Hubbard started a ‘New Age’ community whose buildings can still be visited. The workshop is almost full, but you can find details on it here. And do have a look at this clip about Hubbard and East Aurora. It’s near the spiritualist village of Lily Dale too, which we’ll be visiting, so rather fittingly as we move towards Samhain, Stephanie and I will be in two places in the UK & USA associated with communication with the Otherworld.