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" The world is mud-luscious

and puddle-wonderful "

e.e.cummings

One Tree – Many Branches

March 28th, 2013

Tree%20of%20Life%20Painting

The first One Tree Gathering in this country was organized by OBOD in October 2010 and took place at the Balaji Hindu Temple in Birmingham where our contribution included a Samhuinn ceremony. The event was designed to bring people together from various spiritualities to celebrate their differences and find common ground within the Dharmic tradition which we share. This year the Cornovii Grove will host the second One Tree Gathering onthe 19th May – Unity in Diversity – One Tree – Many Branches. At the request of our Hindu friends it will be held within the beautiful space of Whitlenge Gardens near Kidderminster. The theme will be ‘Nature as Teacher’.

The day will consist of:-
• Ceremony – both Druid and Hindu
• Talks on how we each practise our spirituality in daily life, followed by discussion
• Meditation
• Journeying
• Vegetarian food ( included)
• Evening Eisteddfod – please bring your instruments and inspiration

Places will be limited so apply now for tickets to this wonderful opportunity to share our path with fellow travelers.
More information and tickets (£18) from: Briar, 162 Broughton Rd, Banbury Oxon OX16 9QQ. Tel.No: 01295 264914 or carolnoo@aol.com

The Fabulous Whitlenge Gardens

The Fabulous Whitlenge Gardens

The Bullied and Beautiful

March 27th, 2013

The Ted website – found here – is a treasure trove of truly inspirational lectures and talks. I have posted a few here previously and here is another by poet Shane Koyczan, along with a short biog from the website and his wonderful poem about what it means to be bullied and how we heal and transcend the hurt and damage:

Shane Koyczan is a poet, author and musician. He performed at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, where an audience of more than 1 billion people worldwide heard his piece “We Are More.” He has also published three books: Stickboy, Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty and Visiting Hours, selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists.

In 2012, Koyczan released a  full-length album with his band Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long. The album includes the viral hit “To This Day,” which highlights the anguish of anyone who grew up feeling different or just a little bit alone. To bring visual life to this image-rich poem, Koyczan invited artists from around the world to contribute 20-second segments of animation to the project. Posted on YouTube on Feb. 19, 2013, by the close of the month the video had been viewed 6 million times.

http://www.ted.com/talks/shane_koyczan_to_this_day_for_the_bullied_and_beautiful.html

Tree Spirit Experience

March 25th, 2013

GSE_No_App_900p_NOtext_WEBOur friend Jack Gescheidt writes: After a decade of making TreeSpirit photos, for the first time I’m hosting a 3.5-day trip: among giant sequoias, the largest ancient trees on earth in the Sierra Nevada mountains of CA.  Each participant will get his/her own unique TreeSpirit photo starring him/herself, and receive a large fine art print for their home.

It’s part adventure, part art-making, part workshop, all fun, and all about trees and people being and feeling connected to each other.

More info/details here: TreeSpiritProject.com

Sounds like a great idea! If I was this guy I’d hate to slip half way up and go sliding down! Ouch!

Jack’s talking about a similar trip in the UK. Watch out for news!

Pagans & Pilgrims: Episode 3 – Trees & Mountains

March 22nd, 2013
The view from within the Yew Gateway at Knowlton, Dorset

The view from within the Yew Gateway at Knowlton, Dorset

The third episode in the Pagans & Pilgrims TV series currently running on BBC 4 was broadcast last night and I watched with some trepidation because I was asked to take part in this one and was interviewed by the presenter Ifor ap Glyn one windy day this January – but had never seen the result.

We drove through awful weather to get to Knowlton, and after a briefing over a pub lunch we set off for the site, which I’d never visited. I learned something new that day: you know those wonderful aerial shots you get in films like this? I thought they were taken from a helicopter, but most times (and in this series) they use a drone: essentially a model aeroplane with a camera in it that is operated from the ground. How clever!

The interview you see was done in virtually one take. The sun was setting, the rain had stopped, and we were all freezing and wanted to go home. After we had walked to the two magnificent gateway yews which from a distance looked quite young, and had been filmed as we looked at them, I remembered the  Ancient Yew Group (started by an OBOD member and friends). Nick, the author of Britain’s Holiest Places, looked the trees up on the website via his phone and we discovered that they are truly old, dating back to the 7th century, or perhaps even earlier since their girths (reaching 23 ft) suggest an even greater age. Both are female, and there used to be a third that was damaged by fire and removed.

At the close of this episode Ifor sums up the theme of the programme well: “Nature belongs to no-one – it is nondenominational. Trees and mountains are beyond dogma. They inspire within us  feelings that are mystical, difficult to explain, but maybe then that’s the point, because nature is so much greater than we are, and it’s in places like this that many of us feel that we come closest to the Divine.”

The episode is up on the BBC iplayer here for the next month and there are 3 more episiodes to go.

The Wild and Soulful Earth

March 21st, 2013

glade

We stand at a junction in history. The old human story is collapsing – revealing itself for its own myopic nature – and the institutions that once held and reinforced it are collapsing with it. The new story that is emerging is the one which calls us into creative kinship with the presence of the world. The druids of old practiced in their Neimheadh, their forest-shrines. Returning to the neimheadh can be a profound metaphor for our return to the life-affirming story that we are now being called to surrender to. It is perhaps no accident that enfolded within this word is another word: neimhe. Heaven. Whether there are actual etymological roots between the two, or if it is just another note within the life-dream to startle us awake, ultimately does not matter. It is an invitation to sit in presence with a very simple fact: heaven has never been far; it is waiting patiently for our return to the wild and soulful earth.

Jason Kirkey

Plant for the Planet

March 20th, 2013

Many thanks to Gabriella for sending in the link to this great project for children, starting by the nine year old Felix Finkbeiner. Here is a short paragraph from their website and a video of Felix talking about how the project begun:

The Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative was founded in January 2007. It has its origin in a school presentation about the climate crisis of the – back then – 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner. Inspired by Wangari Maathai, who planted 30 million trees in africa, Felix developed at the end of his presentation the vision that children could plant one million trees in each country of the world to create a CO2 balance therewith. During the following years Plant-for-the-Planet developed to a worldwide move: At present approx. 100,000 children all over the world pursue this goal. They understand themselves as an initiative of world citizens which campaign for climate justice in the sense of total reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases and an homogeneous distribution of those emissions among all humans.

 

Check out Plant for the Planet’s website here

Equinox 2013

March 19th, 2013
photo

Winter Solstice 2012 on Firle Beacon, Sussex Photo Lynne Ridden

 

Today it is the Autumn Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. Tomorrow the Spring Equinox in the North. Here is a photo taken on Firle Beacon in Sussex at our Winter Solstice celebration. At a magical moment a few people broke away from the circle of about 40 to worship the sun more directly!

Happy Equinox!

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
It has inner light, even from a distance –
and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave..
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Druid Oracle App

March 18th, 2013

DruidMenuHawkUntil I got an iphone and was initiated into the arcane science of the App I had no idea why friends were so enthusiastic about these ‘silly little things’ as I embarrassingly thought of them. Once initiated, of course, I became an enthusiastic convert – and in that spirit of enthusiasm I want to tell you about an app for ipads and smartphones that has been made of the Druid Animal and Plant Oracles combined. It really is quite extraordinary.

For a start, it offers the entire contents of both books and all the card illustrations. It also offers all the spreads given in both books and can combine cards from both decks or give readings from one specified deck. It has a journal so you can keep track of your consultations. It even speaks to you! (and you can turn the voice off if you want). And when you want to shuffle the cards it offers riffling, washing or cutting as options – amazing to watch!

To get it, go to the App Store and search for ‘Druid Oracle’.

Pagans & Pilgrims Tonight

March 14th, 2013

Episode 2 of Pagans & Pilgrims is on BBC 4 tonight 8.30pm. As mentioned in a previous post, this series was designed and made to be called ‘Britain’s Holiest Places’ and looks mainly at Christian sites. Only after it was made did the Beeb change the title. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much about Paganism… although of course it’s always there, just beneath the surface…

From the BBC page on the series:

what was really happening in Britain’s spiritual landscape over the last two thousand years?

Many of the answers will be found in our BBC Four TV series, Pagans and Pilgrims: Britain’s Holiest Places, where we had to choose 36 of them, each drawn from a selection of 500 around the UK, included in a book by Nick Mayhew Smith on the same subject.

Ifor ap Glyn - Lady's Well, Holystone, Northumberland
Full immersion in Northumberland’s Lady’s Well meant the beginning of a new life

The series explores the historical relationship between Christianity and the older beliefs that existed before its arrival. Rather than destroying the old symbols of paganism, Christianity simply subsumed them, and the previously pagan landscape was overwritten with a new Christian narrative.

From crumbling ruins and towering mountain hideaways, to sacred caves and ancient shrines, some of which predate Christianity, we explore the myths and legends running through Britain’s spiritual history, and ask what these historical sites tells us about who we are today.

Many of the places we visited were in the grand surroundings of some incredible cathedrals, but the one that stood out most for us couldn’t be more different – the Welsh Christian shrine at Pennant Melangell.

Set amid the dramatic North Wales countryside near the Snowdonia National Park, a small farming valley was in the 6th Century home to Melangell, a princess who became a hermit after an unwanted marriage proposal.

Legend has it that one day the local lord came through with his hunting pack, driving the wildlife before him.

Some hares sought refuge under Melangell’s cloak, and when the huntsmen raised their horns to their lips to call the dogs in for the kill, no sound emerged. The lord was so moved that he placed the valley and all its wildlife under Melangell’s care and it became a place of Christian sanctuary.

In the 12th century a shrine to St Melangell, containing her body was erected. Like many other shrines, it was destroyed during the reformation, but she was so popular her bones were secretly reinterred to save them from the reformers’ zeal. During restoration of the church in the late 20th Century they were rediscovered and placed back in the rebuilt shrine.

On the day we visited in October, we were preoccupied with the difficulties of the day’s filming. And it was only afterwards that we began reflecting on how calm and moving a place it was.

Read more and see pictures of Pennant Melangell