Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Bake Bread and Walk in Nature…

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Interesting Q&A from the 2014 Future Now Spiritual Ecology Conference with Satish Kumar, Peter Owen-Jones, Tim Freke, Chloe Goodchild and Joe Hoare.

Tarot through Druid Eyes

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

When you laugh a lot with someone it’s a good sign I reckon. When Stephanie and I met Linda Marson who runs Global Spiritual Studies in Australia we soon found ourselves in this position. Linda is indefatigable and full of good humour and energy. She skyped me the other day from Oz and here’s the result – an illustrated interview she’s titled ‘Tarot through Druid Eyes’ with an audio file part-way through. You can see it here


Got a Problem?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Re-blogged from Single Session

If you are struggling with a problem there’s a good chance that it won’t go away in a hurry, so you can afford to take a week off from worrying about it.

Starting now (or at some pre-appointed time in the next couple of days), do nothing whatsoever to solve the problem. This includes thinking about it. If it comes to mind – as it surely will – distract yourself by focussing on another topic or getting involved in a task.

Maybe coincidence, luck or fate will do the job for you and the problem will go away, or maybe it won’t, in which case all you get is a week off.

Footnote 1: This only works if you’ve been trying to fix a problem. If you’ve been ignoring it hoping it’ll go away, reverse the exercise and get on with it.

Footnote 2: If you are part of a couple and you both agree you have a problem, you could both agree to avoid discussing or thinking about it for a week. It might help to know that 68% of problems that couples argue about have no solution, according to John Gottmann. (author of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail)

Barry Winbolt

Radical Remission from Cancer

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

A number of friends have got cancer and are bravely facing the challenges this poses. One of them recommended a book which he felt even those who aren’t ill should read. I bought it and I have to say I agree with him – I’m finding it fascinating, humbling and hopeful. It’s called Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Kelly Turner, and in it she looks at many of the cases of people who have survived against the odds, and simply asked “What did you do?” Have a look at the project she has started to research and record these cases: The Radical Remission Project. And here she is explaining her book:

All the Joys of Being an Animist and a Pagan

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

NPG 6311; Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex studio of Hans Holbein the YoungerHere in the UK we’ve been spellbound by Mark Rylance’s performance as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. How does he do it? With often very little or nothing said, he conveys vulnerability, cunning, amusement, surprise – all in the same moment – simply with his presence, in his look.

In his interview on Desert Island Discs yesterday he talks about how acting requires revealing and concealing at the same time, and that’s exactly what is happening in Wolf Hall – he seems so open and yet so utterly inscrutable at the same time.

On Desert Island Discs Mark Rylance comes across as delightfully playful and yet deeply serious, and he talks about James Hillman’s work, about how he used the I Ching to decide whether to take a Spielberg part or a theatrical role, and how following its advice led to him finding his wife. And he finishes by saying how on the island he will experience “all the joys of being an animist and a pagan.”

You can hear it on the BBC iplayer here.

Pilgrimage to Orkney

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Maes Howe, Orkney, 1861

Maes Howe, Orkney, 1861












Did anyone see ‘Digging for Britain’ last night on BBC 4 TV? If you’re in the UK you can watch it here.

The programme featured the incredible site of the Ness of Brodgar on Orkney, which we’ll be visiting in July as part of Jamie George’s Sacred Scotland tour. The other day Linda Marson of Global Spiritual Studies interviewed me about the tour and about Orkney in particular.

Here’s the interview:


Valentine’s Day & the Refounding of the Order

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids was founded 50 years ago in 1964.

27 years ago – on February 14th 1988 – I was asked to revive the Order, which had gone into a kind of winter sleep. So today is an auspicious day, as well as a romantic one!

For the 50th Anniversary celebrations last year we asked an old friend, Kevin Redpath, to make a film for us, and now it’s almost ready for release – any day now. It’s 25 minutes long and we hope you will like it! Here’s a trailer Kevin has made for it:

HeForShe & Visions of the Goddess

Friday, February 13th, 2015
Déesse de la compassion Quan Thé Am à douze bras - Hanoï (Vietnam), bois peint laqué et doré. Don du général Léon de Beylié en 1890 au musée de Grenoble

Déesse de la compassion Quan Thé Am – Hanoï, Vietnam

A few posts back I wrote about the festival of Imbolc, devoted in Druidry to the Goddess, and gave a couple of links to relevant sites: to Joanna van der Hoeven’s essay on Women in Druidry and the Seaside Druid’s essay on what he means when he says he incorporates “Goddess Spirituality” into his practice.

It is wonderful to be living in an era where we can question received wisdom and the beliefs and behaviour we see around us.  In the social and political sphere a fantastic movement has had a big impact these last few months in terms of the support it has received worldwide: the HeForShe campaign. In the first few moments of Emma Watson’s speech you’ll hear about this:

In the face of the injustices and inequalities women are often subjected to, it is heartening to see this campaign gaining momentum. More about it here.

In the spiritual, magical, Wiccan, Druid and Pagan world, received wisdom is being questioned too. Gerald Gardner’s theology has exerted a strong influence in these approaches, but now people are starting to question this way of understanding Deity. They are asking direct questions about the ways we envision the god and goddess, and how we understand the concepts of polarity and deity. Have a look at Druid author Nimue Brown’s recent Patheos blog post. A few lines to give you an idea…”Turning away from God the Father towards a spirituality that also embraces Goddesses, should be empowering to women. But is ‘The Goddess’ as we encounter her in depictions really a feminist or even feminine representation?” Read more

And have a look at Maria Ede-Weaving’s reflections on Deity, archetypes and gender here.

A pagan of the good times, my lover’s the sunlight

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

How’s this for dancing? The Independent says: “Ukranian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin has performed his stunning visual interpretation of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and it’s so good, you have to see it to believe it. Directed by David LaChapelle, the atmospheric video sees the 25-year-old pirouette and sauté to the chart-topping anti-gay oppression anthem, against a beautiful backdrop of a studio amongst the trees.”

Somewhere in the lyrics you can catch “If I’m a pagan of the good times, my lover’s the sunlight”…

Are you Confusing Cause and Effect?

Friday, February 6th, 2015
Freud by his analytic couch c.1932

Freud by his analytic couch c.1932

It is natural to think that who we are is the result of what has happened to us, and to try to get to the bottom of what makes us tick, or why we feel the way we do. This project lies at the heart of the spiritual quest – epitomised in the injunction carved into the temple at Delphi: “Know Thyself’.

But is it then true to say that by knowing more about the past – or about the apparent cause of any difficulty we might be experiencing – that we will be more equipped to solve our problem? Most people would probably now think this is so, thanks to the popularity of psychotherapeutic ideas, ever since the time of Freud. The wisdom of trying to solve the problem of why we might be suffering by looking into our past is challenged here in this latest blog post from Barry Winbolt. Once you’ve read this, you might want to ask yourself “Has understanding my past contributed to solving my problems?” There is much food for thought here – and for disagreement! I would love to hear your opinions on this!

Have a look at Barry’s post first:

When faced with a problem it seems to be in our nature to explain what caused it. It is as though, in asking “Why?” the solution to the problem will magically reveal itself.

Conflating lines of thought like this is an example of what I call ‘dodgy thinking’. At best it confuses and distracts us, at worst it makes us feel worse.

When we get into a tight spot, say, with the way we are functioning psychologically, or in a relationship, many of us turn automatically to searching for an explanation. “It’s natural”, you might say “to want to understand the reason.”

It may be true that we have a natural inclination to search for meaning and understanding, but it’s false to assume that such understanding will light the way to solving a problem.

Shock! Horror! I’ve seen the reaction to this idea for years. Think about it though, it’s all to do with the difference between cause (why something happened), and effect (the impact of what happened).

The cause is always located in the past. Even if we could identify it and provide an explanation for our problem it doesn’t necessarily follow that we’d also know how to fix it.

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