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" One touch of nature

makes all the world kin "

William Shakespeare

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 – www.stoneseeker.net

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.

White House in Freudian Slip

January 9th, 2021

Stephanie once gave me a birthday card which showed Sigmund Freud in a dress, and it read: ‘Feeling hip in my Freudian slip’. This refers to Freud’s theory that jokes and slips of the pen or tongue reveal thoughts or feelings that are lurking just below the threshold of consciousness.

After the appalling attack on the Capitol in Washington last week, the White House issued a statement that tried to dial back on their deranged leader’s incitements and lies. See if you can spot the Freudian slip: “MS. MCENANY: I am here to deliver this message on behalf of the entire White House. Let me be clear: The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way. We condemn it — the President and this administration — in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable, and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The third sentence was presumably meant to be taken as: “We  — the President and this administration — condemn it in the strongest possible terms.” But by writing it in the way they did they have either deliberately or inadvertently conveyed the idea that they condemn the President and his administration, and even that they “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”. Whatever the grammatical reality, replace the dashes with commas in the original statement, and read it out loud: “We condemn it, the President and this administration, in the strongest possible terms.” Good for you, White House press department!

Thank heavens Twitter has finally taken the step of removing the megaphone from the unwell man. (Just to be clear: I am using ‘unwell’ as an adjective to prevent myself from ranting, and in the light of the overwhelming evidence that the man is indeed very unwell mentally. For detail on this, note: “American mental health professionals have long warned us Trump exhibits signs of clinical insanity and we haven’t listened. In September 2017, a mere eight months after Trump took the office of president of the United States, 60,000 mental health professionals decided to rebel against convention to sign a petition crafted by Dr. John Gartner, Ph.D., stating that:

“We, the undersigned mental health professionals, believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’”   From Harvard Psychologist: Trump Has ‘Serious’ Mental Health Problem.

Bush Regeneration after Fires at Mt Hyland

January 7th, 2021

A fantastic initiative by members of OBOD and friends. Do support it if you can! The world needs forests and wild landscapes – they are part of our life support systems. Motherland Mt Hyland is a 968 acre conservation property near Dorrigo in NSW Australia. The devastating bush fires on the east coast of Australia in 2019 burnt large sections of the property, including rain forest areas that usually don’t burn. Friends of Mt Hyland – a not-for-profit organisation that works to protect the land and help it flourish – have set up a fundraising page to acquire equipment to aid them in regenerating the land and protecting an environement that is home to many endangered species. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. You can visit the funding page and learn more here: Fundraiser by Friends of Mt Hyland Inc : Bush regeneration after fires (gofundme.com)

Immrama: a Soul Voyage to Start the Year

January 5th, 2021

Peregrini

I am the map you strive so hard to read.

I am the staff conveniently found

near the dangerous crossing.

I am your boots and

the dust on your boots.

I am the high breeze bringing

ice air from the mountain.

I am the castle keep of your destination.

 

I am the coracle upon the fearsome wave.

I am the dragon rising from the deep.

I am the petrel wheeling.

I am your tiny knife,

your one drop left of sweetwater

against a terrible thirst.

I am your sextant

as I am your star.

 

I am the dawn in this unfamiliar place.

I am the glory paths you see

from sun through clouds to streets below.

I am the coming rain.

I am the night without dreams

in a strange bed.

 

Pilgrim,

when you return to tell your story,

all your tales shall be of me.

 

Even in your loneliness and fear,

even as you stop to wipe your brow,

I preen in all my dangerous beauty

before your eyes.

You are my adventure

Through Myself.

RoMa Johnson

CELEBRATE THIS VERY SPECIAL SOLSTICE COMING UP SOON

December 18th, 2020

2020 has been such a difficult year, but a new cycle is beginning with the solstice on Monday. Learn more about why this time is so significant, and celebrate what promises to be a very special turning point as we enter the New Year, with the following events:

SATURDAY 19 DEC – Honour the approach of the solstice with the Order’s online Mistletoe Ritual and Meditation – on the OBOD Facebook and Youtube channels at 7pm GMT.
Then enjoy a house concert with Damh the Bard at 8pm GMT on his Facebook channel.
SUNDAY 20 DEC – Listen to episode 165 of Druidcast – the Order’s podcast – released Sunday, which includes an interview with John Matthews, author of The Winter Solstice, and many other fantastic books.
MONDAY 21 DEC – On the day of the solstice itself, join in a brief twenty-minute discussion and meditation to celebrate this festival on Tea with a Druid on the OBOD Facebook and Youtube channels at 8pm GMT or participate in a longer thirty-minute celebration at 9pm GMT when Philip Carr-Gomm will lead a meditation ritual on behalf of The Synthesis Institute. This will be on Zoom, and you need to register here.

In addition, from Sunday 20th to Tuesday 22nd, there will be live streaming of the Winter Solstice at Newgrange in Ireland here.