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" The songs of our ancestors

are also the songs of our children "

The Druid Way

Happy New Year

December 30th, 2007

   Keeping Quiet  by Pablo Neruda

And now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth
let’s not speak in any language,
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines,
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas,
wars with fire,
victory with no survivors, would put on
clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
(Life is what it is about,
I want no truck with death.)

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing, perhaps a
huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve,
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Invincible Summer

December 28th, 2007
In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.
Albert Camus

Blogging as a Funereal Experience

December 27th, 2007

I once attended the funeral of the old Pendragon of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, Vera Chapman, who died when she was in her nineties. She was a remarkable woman – one of the first to matriculate from Oxford once they realised the world order would not be threatened by women gaining degrees. She was a druid, a freemason, a member of the Kibbo Kift, supported the monetary reforms of the Social Credit movement and in her later years was a successful author. She wrote an Arthurian trilogy from a feminine perspective, one of which was turned into an awful Disney adaptation.

Her funeral was in a church by London zoo. A choir of women sang beautifully in the service, and afterwards we all went to a wake in the upstairs room of a pub by Primrose Hill – one of the most magical spots in London, where the Druid Revival was begun in England with Iolo Morganwg’s 1792 Eisteddfod. Anyone who has seen ‘101 Dalmatians’ will remember it – it was the small rounded hill that overlooks London with lamp-posts leading to the summit. From there the dogs sent out their barking message to alert all dogs to the dalmatians’ kidnapping.

The elves’ funeral lament from Lord of the Rings was sung at the wake by a young opera singer – to commemorate Vera’s founding of the Tolkien Society – another of her achievements.

One of the interesting experiences at this event was to notice the different groups of Vera’s friends meeting each other for the first time – and meeting members of her family. To us all it was a surprise to encounter such a diverse range of people that included literary agents, publishers, druids, Tolkien fans, women freemasons.

And I’ve come to realise that a blog can act rather like such a wake, in which relatives get to meet the weird and wonderful friends one has made over the years. Or, put another way, where one’s friends can get to meet the weird and wonderful relatives. Blogging gives one the chance to bring together the diverse interests and enthusiasms of one’s life in a way that could surprise those who knew only one facet of that life.

But why wait until you’ve died?

Some people like to compartmentalise their lives, so that their working life is kept separate from their family lives, for example. But for me, and I’m sure many people, the thought of bringing together the diverse strands of one’s life is appealing.

Some people find knitting or weaving enjoyable and creative. I’ve realised that I do too, but instead of knitting jumpers I’m knitting this blog.

Naming this world as holy on Christmas Day

December 25th, 2007

“Now, in our time, three rivers of awareness are flowing together. They are anguish for our world, scientific breakthroughs, and rediscovered ancestral teachings. From the confluence of these three rivers we drink. We awaken to what we once knew: we are alive in a living Earth, source of all we are and all we can achieve. Despite our conditioning by the industrial society of the last two centuries, we want to name, once again, this world as holy. ” Joanna Macy, Buddhist teacher, shaman and deep ecologist

Lewes Tump on Solstice Morning

December 23rd, 2007


About a dozen of us gathered on the Lewes Tump at 7.30 yesterday morning to watch the Winter Solstice sunrise.

Dirk Campbell played a Bulgarian melody on his eastern European bagpipes as we danced (or in my case shuffled) in a circle.

The sky was a blaze of red until at about 8.15 the sun rose to the west of Firle Beacon.

Breakfast at Bill’s – the best cafe in Lewes! (Not quite true – the best cafe is LaPorte’s…but it was closed. The owner was worshipping the sun too).

Photo: Tarquin Gotch.

A Poem for the Solstice

December 21st, 2007

Being involved with the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids means we are in touch with a host of very gifted people all over the world – and in particular poets. Every poem Sarah Fuhro from Boston writes inspires me. She just sent this one for the  Solstice tonight:

Row the Boat

When you row a boat,
a rowboat,   a dory,
you row backwards,
and,   so you must,
in this contrary style,
keep observing,
over your shoulder,
where you’re going.

And let’s say,
you want to get
you,   and your boat
out to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse
pulls   you home,
calls you home.

Well, you must,
face away from home.
in order to get there,
with your oars
swinging around,
your neck stiff
and the sweet light
of the battered moon rise
to the front of you.

Old Moon’s in concert with
the revolving   eye
of the light house tower,
which lies behind you,
but is the future.

Now focus on the Moon
as you row strong away.
So long, Moon Lady,
send me to the beacon,
send me home again.

Sarah Fuhro 

Something Deeply Serious

December 19th, 2007

I feel after the last post I should write something profound and deeply serious lest readers should think I am hopelessly superficial – interested only in hugging lions and dextrous kangaroos.

After such light relief we need some depth! Now what was that idea I had walking our dog Tizzie on the Downs just now?…

Ah – all thought gone in the bright early morning sun, frost under foot…


December 17th, 2007

In an earlier post I pasted a heart-warming clip of a lion who kisses and hugs his keeper.

This is equally heart-warming in its own way too!

Invaluable Web Resources

December 16th, 2007

Big Picture TV streams video clips of leading experts, thinkers and activists in environmental and social sustainability. Watch hundreds of clips of world leaders, thinkers, scientists, journalists, economists, businessmen, designers and politicians.

Conscious Media Network also has fascinating material – 4 interviews posted per month going back to June 2005.

Invaluable resources that disprove Doris Lessing’s pronouncement on the value of the internet.