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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

Save the Bees

April 27th, 2012

I received this email from Avaaz this morning. Do please sign this if you can. These petitions really do work, as we found out in England when the government scrapped its plans to sell of our forests when so many people petitioned.

Dear friends,

Pesticides are killing bees and threatening our food supply. In 24 hours, shareholders at the biggest chemical producer, Bayer, could vote to stop their toxic production. Massive public pressure has forced this debate at their Annual General Meeting, now let’s make sure they vote to stop the pesticides and save the bees. Sign the emergency petition:

Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But if Bayer stops selling one group of pesticides, we could save bees from extinction.

Four European countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. But Bayer, the largest producer of neonicotinoids, has lobbied hard to keep them on the market. Now, massive global pressure from Avaaz and others has forced them to consider the facts — and in 24 hours, Bayer shareholders will vote on a motion that could stop these toxic chemicals. Let’s all act now and shame the shareholders to stop killing bees.

The pressure is working, and this is our best chance to save the bees. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone — let’s reach half a million signers and deliver it directly to shareholders tomorrow in Germany!


Rites of Passage for the 21st Century

April 26th, 2012

At key points in our journey through life, we go through Rites of Passage, and for many of us, the ways of marking these within the established or institutional religions, no longer seem fitting.
No wonder there is an upsurge of people turning to lay celebrants, outside the established priesthoods, to craft inspiring and meaningful ceremonies for marriages, namings, funerals.
I was listening to Druidcast OBOD’s monthly podcast today and heard Damh interviewing Cat Treadwell, who acts as a Druid celebrant and whose book A Druid’s Tale has just been published by Moon Books. Cat talked about the way many people come to her for celebrancy work, and this reminded me of a new development in the Order’s work. With the launch of the new website at Imbolc, we have begun listing members who act as celebrants – and if you have a look at the page dedicated to this, you will see a range of different approaches to this task, with listings from the UK, USA, Australasia and Europe.

If you are a member of OBOD, and offer such services, and would like to be listed, send your details to celebrants@druidry.org

Killing Joke on Tour

April 24th, 2012

Druid friend Youth, from the band Killing Joke, sent an email from Zurich where they are on tour, telling me about the tour blog he is writing. In this excerpt, his blog gives you a good insight into what it’s like to be on tour.

It’s like being in a traveling zoo, locked up in widow less boxes all day and night then paraded out to perform for a couple of hours. The cure for me is to stay healthy and be as creative as possible, even though your physically and mentally exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong i love the gig’s but touring is always a bitter sweet experience for me, on the one hand you get to meet some amazing people and the rolling wagon of the tour bus , a nomadic tribe of adventurers , a family circus, and the band and crew bonding is all great .Sailing into the unknown like some majestic metallic pirate ship.Fearless Odysseys into the abyss.

if Europe was Lord  of the Rings, Prague would be Rivendell, the Fairy realm.Here they have fiercely  retained their ancient Celtic cultural roots, despite being surrounded within the heart of the Teutonic Saxon empire. There is a joie- de-vie here and lust for the sensual pleasures of life, poetry , drinking , music and great  food. and smoking in all the bars , yeah! .Even their president was a poet and you can still find hot mead and roasting chestnuts on the cobblestone streets in winter.There is a strong matriarchal culture and the women as well as being tall and strikingly beautiful ,in an otherworldly way.They  are very strong independent, confident and in command. Intoxicating.

See the blog here

Bee Gee Robin Gibb’s recovery ‘confounds’ doctors

April 22nd, 2012

From The BBC News website:

Doctors treating Bee Gees star Robin Gibb say they have been “confounded” by his recovery since waking from a coma.

The singer’s physician Dr Andrew Thillainayagam said he was conscious, lucid and talking to his loved ones, at The London Clinic in central London.

He said the “exhausted” star had shown “extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength”.

Read more

Wildest Dreams – Damh the Bard Goes Nuts!

April 22nd, 2012
Photograph of the Royal Albert Hall, South Ken...

The Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, London.

In our training course in Druidry, there is an exercise in which you jot down your ‘wildest dreams’.

Friend and colleague Damh the Bard recently decided to go for one of his wildest dreams… and I have to confess I feared for his sanity when he told me about it. “I want to play a gig in the Albert Hall!’ he said, and as I smiled and muttered something about “It’s rather a big venue isn’t it?” I made a mental note to look up megalomania in my psychology dictionary. “How will he cope with the disappointment, when he realizes this is impossible?” I worried, as I visualized him ‘coming to earth’ with a bang one day.

Well blow me down if Damh isn’t well on the way to achieving his wildest dream! This is an amazing example of what can happen when you live your passion, when you are dedicated to your art, and when you combine that with the power of the internet and social networking (and – it must be said – when you’re very good at what you do!). If everyone who has liked Damh’s Facebook page can bring one friend, it’ll be a sell-out!

Take a look at this blog post from Damh:

“Imagine the Royal Albert Hall heaving with your friends and people you’ve yet to meet, all gathering to celebrate together and be entertained. Even if I wasn’t playing I’d want to be there. To have come from the early 90′s newspaper slandering to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall would really show just how much our community has grown. So I ask you to tell your friends, talk about this at your moots, in your magazines, on your Facebook groups, in your podcasts. Share the Facebook page and let us see if together we can do this.” Read Damh’s blog post here.

There’s a special Facebook page for the event called

Pagan Music Concert at the Royal Albert Hall

Damh is planning to invite other bands and musicians to make it an amazing evening – so do support it if you can! Click ‘Pagan Music Concert’ above to support it!

A Date for Your Diary

April 18th, 2012

A camel braves the Zurich weather to herald Spring's arrival

Just back from a chilly Spring celebration in Zurich (see photo) to find an advance notice of the Mt Haemus Day event in my in-tray. I’ll post fuller details later, but in the meanwhile you might want to make a note in your diary:

Mt Haemus Conference: 29 Sept 2012

A day of Druidic scholarship and pleasant company, including  lunch, a rare display of Nuinn’s artwork and and musical interludes
the Medieval Hall, Salisbury
From 10 – 5 on 29 September 2012

With  four papers exploring:
What is a Bard? Dr Andy Letcher
Druidry and Transpersonal History: Dr Thomas Daffern
Entering Faerie: Dr James Warren Maertens
The Influence of the Solar Progression on Human Health: Julian Barker,  Medical Herbalist

More details soon!

Titanic Requiem

April 11th, 2012
Westminster Central Hall, the location of the ...

Westminster Central Hall

We were at a deeply moving event last night – the world premiere of the Titanic Requiem composed by Robin and R.J.Gibb. The audience gathered at Central Hall in Westminster – a historic venue which hosted the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946. Through its tall windows we could see the now shining white and illuminated Westminster Abbey, with Big Ben and the London Eye beyond.

I had no idea how Robin and his son RJ were going to approach a requiem, but from the moment it began, the event it was designed to commemorate sprang vividly into view: elements from the Tridentine Latin Mass combined with melodies reminiscent of sea shanties and sounds that conveyed the hustle and bustle of building such a huge vessel in the Belfast docks. Hard to sense how this could work on reading the programme – but it did and you were immediately ‘there’ at this great event that would end in such tragedy.

The combination of elements from a traditional requiem – with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a full choir (The RSVP Voices) – and more contemporary influences, worked extremely well, and we were led through The Immigrant Song and Maiden Voyage, to experience the beginning of the journey to America (New York Suite in C Major). After celebrating under the starry sky (Sub Astris) the tone changes as the ship moves into fog, and we hear the Kyrie (Kyrie Eleison means ‘Lord have mercy on us.”)

As the Titanic hits the iceberg we hear the SOS woven into the music. The distress call had only just been introduced in this form and the Titanic became the first ship to ever use it.

In perfect synchrony, once the ship has been hit and the tragedy begins, the scenario for the music is no longer predictable. Suddenly, for example, we are treated to a haunting piano solo (Reflections) as time seems to stand still and everyone on board becomes aware of what is happening. We then hear three songs – Daybreak, Christmas Day and Don’t Cry Alone – evoking the feelings of three passengers: a man on the ship singing of his love, a child in a lifeboat, and a husband taken by the sea reassuring his wife that she will never cry alone.

After this very human experience of connecting to the tragedy through individual stories (an element we can miss in a traditional requiem) we are back to the traditional format: a stunning finale with full orchestra and all voices that evokes the welcome of the angels to the souls of those who have drowned. They are led into Paradise and blessed.

There was such a powerful atmosphere in the Hall that there were two standing ovations – one after the orchestra and choir stood down as a recording of Don’t Cry Alone was played, with Robin Gibb singing. The other, at the end of the requiem.

The evening was poignant not only because it commemorated the centenary of that event, but because the performance had begun with Robin’s son RJ taking the stage to introduce the work, and to announce that his father could not be at the performance since he was in hospital.

You can hear samples of the work via this website (and on itunes etc) http://www.robingibb.com/titanicrequiem

Quote for Today

April 10th, 2012

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”

Anna Quindlen