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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.

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 

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:

Or you can see a selection of 25 of them in the photo gallery at the foot of the page here:

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!

‘The Saint of Sussex’ – H.T. Hamblin

August 10th, 2016
Henry Hamblin, 'The Saint of Sussex' and author of 'The Practical Mystic'

Henry Hamblin, ‘The Saint of Sussex’ and author of ‘The Way of the Practical Mystic’

I guess we all need heroines and heroes to act as role models for us. When I was growing up, it wasn’t pop stars or actors for me – it was the Buddha and Chinese sages, and later Carl Jung. I’ve been interested in such figures ever since, and even after more than half a century of reading in this field (Good heavens – that long!), I am still delighted and excited when I discover a new one.

Yesterday I was invited to speak at Bosham House, a retreat centre in Sussex founded by a spiritual teacher I’d never heard of –  Henry Hamblin – the ‘Saint of Sussex.’ It looks beautiful – it’s near Chichester in West Sussex and has three retreat lodges where you can take a break for spiritual refreshment. The lodges have their own website here.

Hamblin seems a wonderful character. He wrote a series of lessons on spiritual development, and then when he received further illumination, dug a hole in the garden and burnt them all. He then wrote a new improved version, ‘The Way of the Practical Mystic’, which you can buy from the Hamblin Trust’s bookshop here.

To give you a sense of what Hamblin was like, here’s a film of Swami Ramdas and Mother Krishnabai from the Anandashram in Kerala, meeting Henry Hamblin during Swami Ramdas’ world tour in 1954. The commentary is given by Swami Satchidananda.