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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

Is Boris a Druid? The Elephant in the Room

February 23rd, 2021

Ok we’ve got to talk about the elephant in the room. It’s just getting too obvious to ignore now that someone (Boris? His girlfriend? Someone behind the scenes?) is tuning into the Wheel of the Year and picking auspicious dates for key events. Here in the UK it has just been announced that we come out of lockdown on the Summer Solstice.

As Adam Malone writes in his post here:

“Does anyone else think that perhaps, maybe… somewhere… in today’s top UK governmental advisory boards there’s some folk of magical, pagan or hermetic discernment? Aligning and guiding these important moments in the UK governments ‘battle’ against Coronavirus, and in particular, their announcements about it to the public? Why else would these events sync quite neatly with a number of 2020’s most important pagan ritual dates?”

Have a look at Adam’s post which lists all the key dates!

The Cycle of the Year: Within & Without

February 23rd, 2021

The two books mentioned: ‘Living with Nature’ by Steven Field, and ‘Environmental Arts Therapy and the Tree of Life’ by Ian Siddons Heginworth.

The Long Person of Wilmington

February 9th, 2021

Credits for the video shown in this Tea: posted by Almostmarvellous. Music credit: Namaste by Audionautix:

An Imbolc Meditation

February 2nd, 2021

6 weeks ago was the winter solstice, in 7 weeks’ time it will be the Spring Equinox. The beauty of the 8fold year is that it transcends religions and culture – it’s a cycle rooted in the realities and wonders of the changing seasons, and our relationship with these changes. We can clothe it in religious or spiritual imagery if we like – with Christian or pagan imagery and associations – but the celebration of these times reaches out to those of all faiths and none.

It offers a structure that supports our experience of life as we travel through time: hand-holds every 6 weeks or so to act as moments when we stop in the headlong rush and renew in our awareness our relationship with the Earth and the natural world. Rather than having just Christmas and the summer holidays as markers for our year, we have a rhythm that is steadier and more frequent, based on our primal experience of light and dark, that affects not only our thoughts and feelings, but also our physiology. As we come to the time of Imbolc, our bodies in the northern hemisphere are reaching a time – 5th February to be exact – when, as we switch from winter mode, we may experience disruption in our sleep or digestion, or susceptibility to infection, aches and pains, and changes in how hot and cold we feel. And this is due to our endocrine and metabolic systems responding to the changing levels of light as we move towards the Spring. If you notice dips in your health at certain times in the year, finding yourself getting autumn or spring colds for example, this could be due to what are known as ‘mid-points’: days during the year at roughly the mid-point between the solstices and equinoxes, when our health becomes more delicate as the seasons change. Rather extraordinarily, these mid-points correlate with the Celtic fire festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain, occurring as they do around the 5th of Feb, May, August and November. So here is a phenomenon that links our physiology with these ancient festival times. You can find out more about this here:

So we are at a point in our journey through the year when we are particularly sensitive, vulnerable even, and yet – at the same time – we are starting to emerge out of the cocoon of winter sleep to start opening our petals, our hearts and souls, in the gradually strengthening light of the sun: so a time of vulnerability, sensitivity and a growing strength at the same time. For this reason, the old Celtic attribution of this time to Brighid, the Goddess of Healing, poetry, smithcraft and midwifery is very appropriate. Brighid, who seamlessly morphed into the Christian figure of Saint Brighid, is evoked at this time to offer us healing, to inspire us with poetry, and to help us give birth to ourselves and to new dreams and projects at this time of year.

To tune into the energy of this time, think of childbirth – a moment of both tremendous vulnerability and yet incredible strength as new life bursts forth into the world. This is the feeling to capture: of sensitivity, of the magic of birth – whether of a child or a song – and yet of great inner strength – of fire, of the forge. Remember Brighid is the Goddess of the holy well and the forge!

The Celtic festival of Imbolc (pronounced Imolc Irish, and Imbolc in Scot’s Gaelic) falls around February 1st and the Christian version of this is Candlemas (2nd Feb), when many Christians bring their candles to their local church, where they are blessed and then used for the rest of the year. We have the evidence for the Christian co-opting of pre-Christian customs from a papal bull that ordained: “since the people cannot be stopped parading in the streets with their candles, let them come into our churches so that our priests may bless them.”

So if you are Christian, you can sense this as a celebration of St Brighid and Candlemas, if you are a Pagan you can sense this as a time to honour the Goddess Brighid, and if you have no particular affiliation, you can sense this as a poetic and spiritual recognition of this special time of the year.

In our meditation, I’m using the beautiful words of a meditation written by Maria Ede-Weaving, followed by a poem of hers. You can find the meditation wording here, and the poem here.

Imbolc and Lughnasadh Blessings!

February 1st, 2021

Blessings of the Season! Wishing all those in the Northern Hemisphere Imbolc inspiration and hope, and all those in the Southern Hemisphere a bountiful and blessed harvest. Here is a beautiful poem by OBOD member Vanessa Fielding…

In Bride’s Wood
This hazel wand
            once scattered gold
follow her trail
The deer have passed before you
through the holy wood
rising at dawn from hollow beds, to browse
the secret sacrament of bark and bud
gentle mystics sipping the soft wind
dipping in silence to the greening earth
Kneel then
before the twisted alder rood 
black against crimson light, amongst
the frail stemmed snowdrop flowers
opening pale wings of green and white
to scent the morning woods
with fragile life

~ Vanessa Fielding

Happy Imbolc!

February 1st, 2021

Saint Bride being transported by angels to Bethlehem to attend Christ’s birth. Artist: John Duncan

Penny Billington, Druid author and editor of the Order’s magazine Touchstone, is now producing a great newsletter, filled with beautiful imagery, like the painting above, and stimulating text. Have a look here to subscribe. Here’s a glimpse of its content, that is very fitting for today. Happy Imbolc to all!

And we welcome Bride: the maiden whose coming begins to green the earth. As the Cailleach of winter retreats. we think about why Bride might appear to us this way.

The year starts with a youthful presiding Deity who matures through the seasons; that is a simple association.

But what I especially love about the seasonal God/desses is their perfect personifications of the weather we experience. Think of a young maiden – any young maiden. We call them teenagers, these days. Finding her place in the world, what behaviour might she exhibit? She blows hot and cold in her opinions, likes and dislikes: she might be bold one moment, shy the next – her temperament is changeable and she presents different faces, depending on her mood. This is a description of typical UK February weather to me – it blows warm and freezing, mild and harsh, often in the space of one day. February/Imbolc’s bright sunshine shows us the promise and potential of spring-to-come, then freezes us with retrograde temperatures:
February cannot be taken for granted… but it is surprising to notice how often a rare mild, sunny day falls on Bride’s feast day. And one UK constant is that February rain will fill the ditches…

‘February fill-syke, whether it be black [rain] or white [snow].’

From Penny Billington’s email newsletter to subscribers on her site Living Druidry.

The Traditional Festivals of Britain 
with Ronald Hutton 

January 19th, 2021
This promises to be a fascinating event!

A Catalyst Club Zoom Special
Thurs Jan 28th, 7.30pm-9pm
£6 suggested donation

The inimitable professor Ronald Hutton is the author of sixteen books on subjects ranging from ancient and modern paganism in Britain to Siberian shamanism and Medieval history. For this Catalyst Club special he’ll be taking us on a fascinating and enlightening journey around the wheel of the year, looking at the traditional festivals of Britain and Ireland – those observed from the dawn of history to the present – and the customs and moods which have characterised them.
What are the true roots of Christmas, Easter and our winter and summer solstice rituals? Why do we light bonfires in November, eat chocolate bunnies in spring and go carol-singing at Yuletime?
What influence have Christianity and modernity had on our major ancient festivals? Can we still honour these festivals during lockdown?
Ronald Hutton is the senior Professor of History in the University of Bristol, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales, and the British Academy. He is the historian on the board of trustees which runs English Heritage, and chair of the Blue Plaques panel which awards commemorative plaques to historic buildings.

This event will take the form of a one-hour lecture with plenty of time for audience Q&A at the end.
Dr. Bramwell x
TICKETS HERE – Zoom link to be sent on the day

Excalibur and your Dreams

January 19th, 2021

The beautiful book referred to: Sensing the Earth – Messages from the Wisdom Keepers Edited by Peter Knight and Sue Wallace –

Here is the edited text from the Wikipedia article on the River Brue:

The River Brue originates in the parish of Brewham in Somerset, England, and reaches the sea some 31 miles west at Burnham-on-Sea. It originally took a different route from Glastonbury to the sea, but this was changed by Glastonbury Abbey in the twelfth century. The river provides an important drainage route for water from a low-lying area which is prone to flooding which man has tried to manage through rhynes, canals, artificial rivers and sluices for centuries.

The River originates in hills close to the border with Dorset. It descends quickly in a narrow valley to a point just beyond Bruton where it is joined by the River Pitt. Here it takes a meandering route through a broad, flat-bottomed valley between Castle Cary and Alhampton. It passes Glastonbury, where it acts as a natural boundary with nearby village of Street, before flowing in a largely artificial channel across the Somerset Levels and into the River Parrett at Burnham-on-Sea.

The area is known to have been occupied since the Neolithic when people exploited the reedswamps for their natural resources and started to construct wooden trackways such as the Sweet Track. The Sweet Track, named after the peat digger who discovered it in 1970 is the world’s oldest timber trackway, built in the early 4th millennium BC.

Near the Brue is the best-preserved prehistoric village in the UK – Glastonbury Lake Village – once inhabited by about 200 people living in 14 roundhouses, and built on an artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, rubble and clay. In the Romano-British period, the Brue formed a lake just south of the hilly ground on which Glastonbury stands. According to legend this lake is one of the locations suggested by Arthurian legend as the home of the Lady of the Lake. Pomparles Bridge stood at the western end of this lake, guarding Glastonbury from the south, and it is suggested that it was here that Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur into the waters after King Arthur fell at the Battle of Camlann.