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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "



November 30th, 2012

Just been told about Louie Schwartzberg’s films – quite stunning! The following is best watched HD on a big screen, then have a look at his site here.

Fracking Will Begin beneath UK Parliament 1 December

November 23rd, 2012

Gorilla Resources announce huge shale gas find in Westminster, London.

Mr Mark Driller, CEO of ‘Gorilla Resources’ today announced the find of 5,200,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000, 000,000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 trillion cubic metres of gas lying directly under a large neo-gothic building alongside the Thames in Westminster, London.

“This will bring huge benefits to us …er…..I mean the area” announced Mr Driller, as he moved quickly to quell any suggestions that the development might spoil the look of the area or cause any inconvenience to residents. “There’s a veritable goldmine of gas down there and we can’t let trivial considerations like the presence of a huge polluting eyesore in the middle of the capital, or major disruption to the seat of government get in the way of us getting very rich indeed……er……I mean exploiting this valuable resource for the nation. The fact is that lots of the people in that odd medieval looking building have been happy to inflict this kind of thing on other people around the country so its only poetic justice that now its arriving right on their doorstep……”

Drilling to begin Saturday 1st December, 2012

This date will be appropriate, said Mr Driller, because this is the Saturday midway through the UN  Climate Talks, (taking place this year in Qatar, an oil-rich sultanate somewhere in the desert) – and we’re helping to make sure such Talks won’t be necessary in future by scuppering any chance of moving to genuine renewable sources of energy and thereby ensuring the catastrophic destabilisation of global cimate, so that any Talks held with the aim of preventing that will be a waste of time. We will be erecting our rig in Parliament Square, or Old Palace Yard. Do come along so we can bullshit you how safe it all is………………

 Meanwhile ………

Beyond Parody, Royal Dutch Hell and Koch Loony Right Resources announce the discovery of vast reserves of tar sand oil in the region of Grosvenor Square, London.

Unfortunately exploitation of this valuable resource will require the demolition of Mayfair. Well, hey, it makes a change from destroying pristine forest and displacing indigenous people…….    Mining is set to start on

Saturday 1st December:  (For a serious considered view See Jim Hindle’s blogpost here)

Comes the Dawn

November 22nd, 2012


After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents not promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats

With your head up and your eyes open,

With the grace of a woman/man

Not the grace of a child.

And you learn to build your roads on today

Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

And futures have a way of falling down in midflight.

After a while you learn that even

Sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden

And decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure

And you really are strong

And you really do have worth

And you learn and you learn . . .

With every goodbye you learn.

Veronica Shorffstall

A Feast

November 21st, 2012

The latest Druidcast is out and once again it is truly a feast: it opens with Nico from the Netherlands singing about his experiences at an OBOD Glastonbury event. Some great guitar work combines with crazy lyrics and a touching story of healing for Nico’s energy body. There is then an excerpt from a discussion John Michael Greer and I had at the East Coast Gathering in September. We range across a number of subjects and the audience joins in as we explore the issue of whether Druidry is authentic, whether it is a religion, and why it can’t come out of the closet…Below is a photo taken while we were having this talk.

This is followed by a beautiful rendition of the Druid’s Peace Prayer by French druid Helene Bessoles, and a track from Damh the Bard’s new album Antlered Crown and Standing Stone. The track is fantastic – beguiling and stomping – I can’t wait to hear it live! Listen to it all here

Philip Carr-Gomm and John Michael Greer in conversation at the OBOD East Coast Gathering September 2012. Photo John Beckett

A Gift for Christmas

November 20th, 2012

Here is a reminder of a wonderful book by Mark Townsend. I have written a piece for it and am very pleased to have contributed to Mark’s thought-provoking work. Many regulars to this Blog will know Mark as a Christian priest with a strong affinity for Druidry. In ‘Jesus Through Pagan Eyes’ he shares his own progressive understanding of Christ but also draws upon a selection of Pagan writers to explore the subject from the perspective of modern Earth Spirituality. Here is some more information to whet your appetite…

As we approach Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the most famous man ever to live, perhaps it’s time for a new spin on a very old story. Perhaps it’s time to look one again at this timeless tale, but through a completely different set of eyes!

JESUS THROUGH PAGAN EYES is for anyone (Christian, Pagan, Agnostic or Other) who is open to insights that will shock, disturb and challenge many, and excite, delight and comfort many more.

It’s time to reclaim the ‘divine’ baby who was (understandably) thrown out with the church’s dirty bath water.

·        Preface by bestselling international novelist Barbara Erskine

·        Foreword by the world’s leading radical theologian Dr. Matthew Fox

·        Spellbinding essays and interviews from the most respected figures of the world’s Earth-Centred Traditions.


Mark Townsend is a priest whose understanding of God made it impossible for him to live inside traditional religious boundaries.  In this book he tells us why in a compelling and provocative way and in the process draws his readers into fascinating new images. This volume will make a major contribution to freeing Christianity to live in the world that is emerging.

Bishop John Shelby Spong

There are knowledge transmitters–and then there are “knowledge makers” who have the courage, skill, and experience to put things together in new and revelatory ways.  Knowledge makers re-configure our minds, our eyes, and our ears to receive bigger and better things.  Mark Townsend is doing just that.  We were not ready for Jesus, so some will not be ready for his followers either.  Please don’t be afraid!

Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M.

For those of us who have discovered our spirituality outside churches, there remains the question of how to see and relate to Jesus, the man at the center of the religion that has dominated western culture and so infiltrated our sensibilities. Mark Townsend takes on the task of exploring this question as a fellow seeker, as a Christian enriched by Paganism, creating bridges and inviting us to co-create meaning from what has always been true and essential in the stories of Jesus and our own deep knowing.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

This is a quite remarkable work, which reveals the figure of Jesus from most unusual and fascinating perspectives, likely to have value to convinced Christians, pagans and agnostics alike.

Prof. Ronald Hutton

Mark’s book Jesus Through Pagan Eyes is full of mystery and mysticism, with revelations that will mesmerize the readers. I love how he peels back the Christian layers to remind us Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. Whether Pagan, Jewish, Christian or other you will be amazed and inspired by this book. 

Uri Geller

See here for what Amazon readers are saying. The book is consistently no 1 (paperback) and no 2 (Kindle edition) on the Amazon best sellers ranking within Paganism.


Available in Kindle too. 

Mt Haemus Day 2012

November 16th, 2012

In September we held a gathering in Salisbury. Here is the text of the introduction I gave to that day, followed by an 11 minute film that gives a good feeling for how the day unfolded.

Welcome everyone to the third Mount Haemus Conference of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids.

Druids find groups of three auspicious, so welcome to this auspicious occasion.

Now, in 2012, as at our last meeting in 2008, we find ourselves in the splendid surroundings of the Salisbury Medieval Hall, which was built in the first half of the 13th century when the construction of the cathedral itself commenced. When we last met here, The Medieval Hall and the Cathedral were celebrating their 750th anniversary.

We are in ancient surroundings, concerning ourselves apparently with an ancient subject – the Druids. But one of the characteristics of Druidry today is that it is extremely contemporary – it is a modern phenomenon.

The Mount Haemus project, for example, began in the 21st century: the first award was given in the year 2000. But it is a project rooted in the 17th & 18th century Druid Revival, when Druidism became a subject of fascination for many scholars. And if we follow these roots we find that they do not simply end in that period. Instead they extend back in time to the days of the ancient Druids, those ‘natural philosophers’, as the classical writers called them.

And so as we sit here today in this hall we are participating in an expression of that extraordinary lineage and tradition.

I say extraordinary because, as anyone who has studied the Druids a little will know, the field is filled with much fantasy, and both good and poor scholarship.

This is why we began the Mount Haemus Project – to encourage good scholarship and research – and today we are delighted to welcome four Mt Haemus scholars who will present their papers to us.

The classical writers’ description of the Druids as ‘natural philosophers’ provides us with a clue as to one of the great characteristics of Druidry today, which is that Druids love both the world of scholarship and of Nature, of the wild. We relish an earthy experiential approach to the spiritual as well as revelling in the world of books and the intellect.

And Druids love the arts too, and we will be making full use of the Bardic arts today to refresh us, and keep our minds alert and senses satisfied. Interspersed between our four presentations we will have food and music, and be surrounded by the beauty of this wonderful hall, and with an exhibition too of Ross Nichols’ artwork.

Ross Nichols, or Nuinn as he is called in the Order, as well as being the principal of a college, a historian and poet, was a water-colourist too and here we have framed and gathered all of his watercolours that we have been able to gather. In addition, on the table, you will find an album displaying material from the archives – photographs, drawings and letters.

And now, before we hear the first of our speakers, let’s begin with a brief meditation…

There is hope yet! The Good Giraffe & the Poorest President

November 15th, 2012

Two news stories from the BBC have cheered me up today. They both suggest that not all is lost and that there are some great people in the world:

Armstrong the Good Giraffe: A man who dresses up as a giraffe and carries out random acts of kindness towards people across Scotland has said he does it to feel good. Twice a week Armstrong Baillie, 32, dons a furry suit his mother made him, before travelling to different places to do good deeds. Read more.

The world’s ‘poorest’ president: It’s a common grumble that politicians’ lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president – who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.

President Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife’s farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo. The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers.

This austere lifestyle – and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (£7,500), to charity – has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.

“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more,” he says.

“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself,” he says.

“I may appear to be an eccentric old man… But this is a free choice.”

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year: “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty.

“But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left?

“Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet.”

Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”.

Excerpted from the BBC article here.

Read his Rio summit speech here.