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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "

Coleridge

Psychic Pets and Pet Psychics

November 18th, 2019

In this 100th edition of Tea with a Druid I talk about the time I spent today with animal psychic Susie Shiner. Her website is here. And I talk about the Stag from The Druid Animal Oracle. We then have a meditation to sense a majestic stag in our sacred grove. Unfortunately the broadband went down and that section was missed out. Here I’ve fused both broadcasts together… you just need to bear in mind there was a few minutes gap in between!

At the end of the broadcast I mentioned Rupert Sheldrake’s experiment. In the video below you can learn about it and the rather hopeless attempt of a skeptic to debunk it. More info on this here.

Winter Stories Writers’ Retreat

October 18th, 2019

Many of you will remember RoMa Johnson from Tea with a Druid 93. RoMa is holding a wonderful Writer’s Retreat on the Isle of Lewis, very near to the magical Calanais Stones! Don’t miss out on an inspiring Bardic experience – details below!

Have you always wanted to write?
Are you a hidden writer wishing for community and feedback?
Do you want to be inspired and encouraged?
Treat yourself to

WINTER STORIES WRITERS’ RETREAT

Tutored Workshop with RoMa Johnson
~~Time to Write
~~Time to Share with Other Writers
~~Suitable for all levels and genres
~~Beautiful inspiring location

Friday, 6 December – Tuesday, 10 December, 2019
Doune Braes Hotel, near Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

All Inclusive: 4 Nights Hotel Accommodation and Meals
Workshop and Coaching Tuition
Price: £375
£100 deposit required by 1 November

To register contact: Eileen MacDonald
hebrides@doune-braes.co.uk
+44 (0)1851-63252
(To learn more about the hotel: www.doune-braes.co.uk)

There’s always so much work to do – or is there?

October 14th, 2019

There’s always work to do on yourself and in the world – ways to improve, to heal, to change. But one of the gifts a spiritual approach to life can give us is the recognition, and hopefully the experience, that at the deepest level, all is well – you are ok – there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, because you’ve already arrived. When this idea works for us, there can be a fantastic sense of relief: the constant striving for improvement and transformation ceases for a while. It’s like sensing all your muscles relaxing deeply when you didn’t even know you were that tense. After bathing in that ‘Heaven Within’, at some time you switch to feeling that something needs ameliorating: the state of the world, the state of your emotions, or perhaps just the state of your hair. Whatever it is, your focus changes and here we go again: our life of moving and thinking and doing in the world. This is normal. The art of learning how to live well, as far as I see it, is to encourage that sense of sinking down into a state of okayness, of ‘good-enoughness’, of not needing to get something, whether an idea, a feeling or an object, and to do this as often as feels helpful to us. This is the value of meditation because it can get us to that state of awareness.

Reading the Coffee Grounds

September 30th, 2019

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

I have been asked to contribute to a book that explores Britain’s relationship to Europe that will be published at Samhain, with all profits going to refugee charities. It will be called ‘A Love Letter to Europe’ and published by Hodder & Co. Here is my contribution:

Love seems to work best when we cannot fully understand what is going on – that delicious sense of mystery, of irrationality. My falling in love with Sofia was like that – drawn to the shabby chic of the buildings, the complete lack of ‘customer care’, the simplicity of the food, the warmth of the people once you gained their trust. And from that first visit in 1974 the love grew, and I would go every spring, when the cherry blossom filled the streets, and Mt Vitosha shone white with snow on the horizon. And I would go with my friends on the ski lift up on to the mountain and look down on the city, or I would sit in the crypt of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral bathing in the golden glow of its icons.

It was all impossibly ‘Other’ – so near to Europe and yet so different: the Iron Curtain, the sullen policemen, the stories of life under the dictator Todor Zhivkov. Drawn to this strangeness, flirting with learning the language, even with eventually living there, I got closer to a world of people yearning for Western freedoms, but also often loyal to their Russian friends who had saved them from 600 years of Turkish domination.

The darkness of this world that I had been enjoying as a visitor, amused and intrigued by its otherness, reared its head brutally when a friend was suddenly arrested in the summer of 1981. Months later, the doorbell of his apartment rang, and his wife and daughter were handed his clothes by a soldier. On the top of this neatly folded pile was one bullet, the one that had been used to execute him as a ‘traitor’.

At that time it seemed impossible that the regime in Bulgaria would ever change. But it did, in 1989, and since 2007 it has been a member of the European Union – not freed of all its problems, but freed of the repression of a regime that killed its detractors.

The Bulgarians have a long tradition of mysticism. It was here that the Bogomils, precursors of the Cathars, challenged the theology of Constantinople. It is in its southern mountains that the ancient city of Perperikon, the ‘Machu Picchu of Europe’, lays claim to being the legendary Oracle of Dionysus. And still today the Bulgarians’ passion for the mystical can be found in their love of another kind of oracle: reading the coffee grounds.

And so, when I drink a Turkish coffee on the streets of Sofia, and eat a banitsa – a national delicacy, a sort of croissant made with feta – I can look up at the cherry blossom and further on to the snow on Mt Vitosha, and still enjoy the uniqueness, the otherness of this place. But I can also do something I couldn’t do before: I can enjoy the feeling that the people here are at last free, and are part of the wider community that is Europe today. And I can look down into the coffee grounds in my empty cup and try to divine the future of my own divided country, caught as it is between dreams of past greatness and the fear of irrevocable loss.

Philip Carr-Gomm

The house of ‘Brother Boris’ on Boulevard Vitosha, where I used to stay in Sofia.

Wild Women Autumn Gathering – ‘Touching the Earth’

September 28th, 2019

There is still time to book your place on the fabulous Wild Women Retreat Autumn Gathering! Details below:

This November, join the Wild Women Retreats sisterhood and deep-feminine activist Rooh Star to get earthy. In the evening of the year, energy returns to the hidden places – where it continues to nourish and transform from the depths. At this time we choose to honour the ground, our planet, and the cycles that sustain us.

Through songs, soil, celebration, and ceremony we will share a day of connection with spirit, self and community.

Tickets are £50 per person and include welcome refreshments, and a percentage of ticket sales is donated to the Bursary Fund. To get yours, contact us at info@wildwomenretreats.co.uk  www.wildwomenretreats.co.uk

We are thrilled to welcome ‘The Hobbit Priestess’ Rooh Star as our special guest. Rooh says…

“To my wild women sisters , a little about myself………I’m a hedge dweller, living on the wild edges, living in community , in (mostly) self built Hobbity homes. I’ve turned aside from the well worn path and found my own way, a way blessed by nettles and silvery mugwort, ancient oak trees and blooming hawthorns. This path has taken me wandering through England with a handcart, dedicating myself to Love and the Earth, tickling riot cops with feather dusters, starting an off grid community, defying a judge and getting sent to Holloway prison, building a turf roof roundhouse and living in a cider barrel. All the while I’ve been unpicking the bad spell of patriarchy that winds through my body, patching back together the pieces of my tattered heart and remembering how to love myself and my woman’s body.
At present I’m living in a small low impact community in South Devon, dreaming of more travelling adventures and learning how to pull a wagon with my handsome moustached pony Winston. Along my way I’ve been writing songs , for pleasure , for medicine and for remembering. I’m excited to be sharing some of these songs with you, along with tales from my journey.’

Feel-Good Films

September 27th, 2019

As the weather changes to Autumn and the news is often gloomy, every so often Steph & I need to watch a feel-good movie that doesn’t tax the nerves. Last night we really enjoyed This Beautiful Fantastic. Sure you could criticise it for being about privileged people and perhaps for romanticising being OCD, but the colour, the humour and the magical elements in it make it a very pleasing film to watch. And we’re looking forward to seeing Blinded by the Light when it comes out soon. Here are the trailers for them: