Samsara is the first film by director and cinematographer Ron Fricke (Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka) in nearly 20 years. Following in the footsteps of his earlier work, it will be completely devoid of dialogue and text, relying solely on compelling visuals shot on 70mm film.
Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, Samsara transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, Samsara subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
I am ridiculously excited to see this film. It opens in the U.S. on August 24th in a few cities and then has a larger release on September 7th so check release dates. Do yourself a favor and watch the trailer below full-screen.
Beautiful. Powerful. Moving. Watch full screen with volume up if you can. The clip’s info states: This is a non-commercial attempt from http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/ to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/). Content credit: The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME http://www.homethemovie.org/. The music was by Armand Amar. Thank you too Greenpeace and http://timescapes.org/
Polina Gerdjikova, a correspondent from Bulgaria, who is an artist and poet, sent me a photo of her painting ‘Summer Solstice’ and a verse she had written for that time. I’m sorry they are late in going up, but they are beautiful and inspiring and here they are! Today it is gloriously hot and sunny in Sussex and Polina’s painting reminds me of Bulgarian villages visited in such bright sunshine.
The Day of Enyo (the Summer Solstice) by Polina Gerdjikova
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.
Happy Alban Hefin! Happy Summer solstice – in Bulgarian: The day of Enyo (Janus), The One Who opens doors!
I recently contributed a Foreword to OBOD member Luke Eastwood’s excellent book The Druid’s Primer. Journalist and author Geoff Ward has reviewed it on Suite 101 and has given permission to post it here.
Geoff Ward is a British journalist, author, media consultant and musician who lives in the south-west of Ireland, and he has a Masters degree and a BA (Hons) degree in English literature. A former newspaper editor, he has been writing for UK newspapers and magazines for four decades. Since 2004, he has managed the website which he created as an appreciation of the best-selling British author Colin Wilson (www.colinwilsonworld.co.uk) and, in 2009, Geoff launched his own world mysteries website (www.mysteriousplanet.net). Geoff is the author of Spirals: the Pattern of Existence, an exploration of the prevalence and significance of the spiral form and pattern in nature and human culture, published by Green Magic in 2006 and which has an introduction written by Colin Wilson. His Facebook page is here.
THE DRUID’S PRIMER – Review by Geoff Ward
The immense wealth of Druidic knowledge and wisdom found in authentic ancient sources and Celtic mythology is distilled into one user-friendly volume
Use of the definite article in the title of The Druid’s Primer indicates the author’s hoped-for primacy in the field, and Luke Eastwood has every right to expect such reward for his worthy endeavour.
A Druid himself, being co-founder of the Irish Druid Network, he has written an indispensable handbook for both those already in the orders and those considering joining, as well as anyone else interested in the subject.
Inspired by the medieval Irish Scholar’s Primer, the book is the product of 15 years’ research and examination of the role of the Druid in today’s world, and has the special quality of an Irish perspective which adds to its uniqueness. It also has the endorsement of a foreword by Philip Carr-Gomm. chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids in the UK.
Eastwood believes that the world’s problems result from ‘a fractured model of existence that denigrates an often unconscious but vital and potent part of ourselves’. He sees modern Druidry as a method by which we can reconnect to these essential but neglected aspects, freed from the dominance of the ego, and re-establish equilibrium with the planet we have ‘thrown into turmoil’.
Holistic System Based on the Indigenous Practices of Europe
One can easily agree with Eastwood that Druidry is perhaps the most obvious choice for someone looking for a holistic system based on or linked to the indigenous practices of Europe. Certainly, the ethos of modern-day Druidism embraces a laudable brand of eco-spirituality and a literary munificence, too, which is expressed through the bardic tradition.
Eastwood covers all the ground with chapters on gods and goddesses, myth and legend, elemental forces, cosmology, inspiration, Celtic shamanism, animism and animal worship, divination, Ogham, medicine and healing, justice and wisdom. Importantly, he discusses the cycles of the Sun, Moon and Earth and the seasonal festivals that celebrate them in order to foster connection with the land and give thanks to nature, as well as the significance of the Druid’s ‘tools of the trade’: crane bag, rods, wands and staffs, magical branch, grail, sword and so on.
Knowledge Could Have Been Handed Down by the Megalithic Culture
But what of where Druidic knowledge came from, a question which remains of central importance today? Eastwood refers to the possibility that the Druids preceded the Celts, that Aedd Mawr set up the first Druid order in Britain prior to 1,000BCE, and agrees that knowledge of astronomy and architecture could have been handed down by the megalithic culture which built Stonehenge and Avebury, and in Ireland, Newgrange and Knowth.
The Welsh bards knew the Druids as naddred, or adders, which was probably an allusion to the supposed ‘rebirth’ of an initiate into the orders, making an allegorical reference to the serpent which sheds its skin. But there is a deeper significance here.
It is not discussed by Eastwood, but meticulous research by the Golden Age Project reveals that it was at the beginning of the third millennium BCE that ‘missionaries from Sidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean arrived in Britain and Ireland and founded the Druidic system of social administration based on the divine laws of the Anannage, or Shining Ones.
Group of Sages Who Came To Form the Pantheon of the Old Irish
The term ‘serpent’, meaning a wise man or woman, was associated with these arrivals, providing direct links back to the Shining Ones, led by Anu, who created what we refer to as the Biblical Garden of Eden at Kharsag in southern Lebanon from about 9,500BCE.
A group of sages who arrived in Ireland came to form the pantheon of the indigenous Old Irish as well as the early Celtic invaders. It was said that all who were adepts in Druidical and magical arts were the descendants of ‘the people of the god Anu’, the Tuatha De Danaan. In southern Ireland, there is still the saying, ‘as wise as the Tuatha De Danaan’. In England, Glastonbury became a leading Druid college and centre before the birth of Jesus.
One always regrets having to say it, but The Druid’s Primer appears not to have been proofread as there are many grammatical and typographical errors, some quite glaring, which detract somewhat from an otherwise edifying reading experience.
Eastwood, Luke, The Druid’s Primer. Moon Books, 2012. UK £15.99 / US $26.95. ISBN 978-1-84694-764-3.
The OBOD UK Lughnasadh camp is cancelled due to the extreme weather conditions. It’s just too wet to hold a camp on the field! Official announcement: Regretfully, the Trustees have made the decision to cancel Lughnasadh Camp this year due to the extraordinarily wet weather and water-logged ground conditions. This is the UK OBOD Camp which was due to be held from 27th July to 5th August.
I apologise for the short notice given, especially to those of you who have pre-booked flights.
The Bookings Trustee will contact you regarding refund of fees.
The Trustees will be setting another date for the AGM and notice of this will be given in due course.
Madelaine Thorley (Site trustee OBOD Camps)
When I was writing Sacred Places, I discovered the extraordinary story of the Kogi through the work of Alan Ereira. Now, twenty years after his work, there comes Aluna. This is what its website says:
ALUNA is a film made by and with the KOGI, a genuine lost civilization hidden on an isolated triangular pyramid mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, nearly five miles high, on the Colombian-Caribbean coast. The Kogi say that without thought, nothing could exist. This is a problem, because we are not just plundering the world, we are dumbing it down, destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence. The Kogi believe that they live in order to care for the world and keep its natural order functioning, but they recognized some years ago that this task was being made impossible by our mining and deforestation. In 1990 they emerged to work with Alan Ereira, making a 90-minute film for BBC1 in which they dramatically warned of our need to change course. Then they withdrew again.The first film had a stunning global impact, and is now probably the most celebrated film ever made about a tribal people. It was repeated on BBC2 immediately after its first showing, and then in many other countries – some 30 times in the US last year, not bad for a 20-year-old documentary!
It helped shape the Rio Conference, it led to the King of Spain visiting the Kogi and to a complete transformation of the Colombian attitude to these people. Today, each new Colombian President has to visit the mountain and seek their blessing.
But now the Kogi have summoned Alan Ereira back to say that we did not actually listen to what they said. We are incapable of being changed by being spoken to. They now understand that we learn through our eyes, not our ears. In the face of the approaching apocalypse, they have asked Ereira to make a film with them which will take the audience on a perilous journey into the mysteries of their sacred places to change our understanding of reality.
This is not a work of fiction. ARE YOU READY TO BE CHANGED?
Sculpture of Taliesin at the Order of Sancta Sophia, Pennal, Wales. Photo David Iona.
The Order’s 2012 Mt Haemus lecture has just been published. It has been written and researched by Kris Hughes. In this paper he explores the way the Welsh Taliesin material may contain keys to help us in our inner transformation, and he discusses a way in which the forts in the Spoils of Annwn can be associated with the endocrinal system, forming a ‘Western’ or local understanding of the chakra system. This relates his paper nicely to the lecture for 2011, in which the herbalist Julian Barker discusses the relationship between the endocrinal system and the seasonal cycle.
In looking for an image to illustrate Kris’ paper I discovered this photo of a sculpture from the garden of the Order of Sancta Sophia in Wales. What is that Order? Here’s a quote from another blog about it:
A Welsh chum of mine, the Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth, was never happy with a Holy Trinity of “two he’s and an it“.
Forty years ago he founded the Order of Sancta Sophia which sees God as the Divine Feminine. Believers from all over the world visit first his website and then make pilgrimages to the Church of Wales’ St Peter ad Vincula at Pennal, near Aberdovey, where he is rector. ap Iorwerth told me: “People are fed up with traditional religious structures. The church is dying because most people live outside the old religious commitments. Less than eight per cent of people in Wales go to church or chapel on Sundays so there has got to be something wrong.
“I still function as a traditional Anglican priest for those who see me in that role, but I promote the ancient Celtic church as well. It was gentler and more tolerant. They are more in touch with the feminine and more akin to the Eastern Church. Praise and thanksgiving rather than doom, gloom and hell fire.
“The Wisdom of God, always feminine, can bring people together. She is almost like a Divine Consort. Pennal is where Christ and Sophia dance together.”They dance in greatly altered surroundings. Next to the altar is a sanctuary dedicated to all religions with an icon of the Divine Wisdom from the Byzantine church. A barn has been converted into an Ashram. There are sacred trees in the churchyard and a slate picnic table which doubles as an altar. Nearby is a barbecue and a bonfire site where, on all major feast days, fires are lit as they would have been in pre-Christian times to celebrate Midsummer (Feast of St John the Baptist) and the Celtic New Year (All Hallows’ Eve).
Kristoffer Hughes, author of Natural Druidry, is a writer, teacher, workshop leader and Head of the Anglesey Druid Order. He is an Ovate of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids. He is a native Welsh speaker, born to a Welsh family in the mountains of Snowdonia in 1971. He is a keen student of Celtic literature and teacher of the Celtic mystery tradition, and a reader at the National Library of Wales. He lives on the Island of Anglesey. In his Mount Haemus research Kristoffer explores and interprets material from the legendary Welsh manuscript ‘The Book of Taliesin’ and presents an analysis of the magical transformations and mysteries it conveys.
A huge area of land that was in an area between Northern Scotland, Denmark and the Channel Islands, and which turned into the North Sea thousands of years ago, is now believed to have been home to tens of thousands of people before it disappeared underwater between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Scientists are calling it ‘Doggerland’. Some people might call it ‘Atlantis’.
On the BBC website, Dr Bates, a geophysicist, said “Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the UK coastline of today.
“We have speculated for years on the lost land’s existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but it’s only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.
“When the data was first being processed, I thought it unlikely to give us any useful information, however as more area was covered it revealed a vast and complex landscape.
“We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.”
The BBC article continues: ‘Findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a convoluted coastline. As the sea rose the hills would have become an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record (such as pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna) the researchers could tell what kind of vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there. Using this information, they were able to build up a model of the “carrying capacity” of the land and work out roughly how many humans could have lived there. The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.’