Grove Meeting – Thursday 13th September. Subject: The Magic of Fungi

This month’s meeting took place in a central Nottingham Pub, on the 13th of September. We were a little disappointed with the fact the food finished an hour early, and the space in the venue was not quite as private as we would have liked, but overall the meeting went very well. For this month’s meeting, Tea-Beard (formerly known as Cyber Dragon) gave a talk on the magic of Fungi. Present were Tea-Beard, Teller of Tales, Dumbeldore, Strider, Vineleaf (formerly known as Velvet), Danceswithweasels, Locksley, Greenfingers and a surprise new member.

After a haphazard start as some of us rushed off to find food elsewhere, the talk began with just how far back in our history, mushrooms have played a part in human society, despite the revulsion that some culture may have for fungi today. Preserved fungi have been found on discoveries of mummified remains, there are cave paintings depicting mushroom shaman, and there is early linguistic evidence to suggest that early man was well aware of the intoxicating properties of some mushroom.

Then, Tea-Beard began to talk about some specific mushrooms, both edible, and noted for healing properties. He noted how as Druids we study plant lore, yet the medicinal properties of mushrooms are so often over looked. Though he also pointed out that the British Druid Order have blogged about rituals with the changa fungus. He also shared with us his insights into the relationships between fungi, the Birch tree, and ritual fire.

Next, he turned his attention to psychedelic mushrooms, and the part they (may) have played in the development of religion. First, he discussed the cultures of ancient Mexico and Central America, the archaeological mushroom effigies, the references from the accounts of the Spanish conquistadors, and recorded mythology. As the talk moved on he talked about the researchers and scientists that played a part in the discovery of these mushrooms by western society, and recounted the story of Dona Maria Sabina, the Mexican Shaman who lead the first mushroom ceremony for a westerner.

After discussions of Mexico, and Peruvian tribes, Tea-Beard began discussion of the red and white Amanita Muscaria mushroom, and its role in the traditions of the peoples of the artic circle. In particular the theories around the origin of Santa Clause, along with some of the traditional uses and stories around these fungi. He also talked of how this mushroom may have been the origin of the visionary Indian Soma drink, as well as its possible identification as the narcotic component of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. And it did not stop there. It seems that this mushroom may also have played a part in the origin of Christianity, with it having been suggested Jesus is an analogy for this mushroom. In addition, Tea-Beard cited other research around the use of this fungi by Viking Berserkers, and how the much of Irish mythology may also contain many thinly vailed references. He particularly highlighted the story of Cu Chulainn, and this battle rages and wasting sickness as symbolic of the properties of the mushroom.

After this we discussed a little what all this might mean for modern Druids, and took the opportunity to ask Tea-Beard lots of questions. Over all, everyone seemed very happy with the talk.


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Grove meeting – Thursday 12th July 2018. Subject: The White Goddess by Robert Graves

 A meeting hosted by Vyvyan and Taleteller.

We all met on a warm summers evening to enjoy the hospitality at Vyvyan and Taletellers lovely home. Vyvyan had chosen the subject and has been studying the book for the last six months

In attendance: Vyvyan, Taleteller, Locksley, Danceswithweasels and Greenfingers.

As Locksley was late to arrive it was decided to have a bite to eat before the meeting started. After handfuls of popcorn, some tasty cheese and bread complimented with a variety of drinks we began the serious stuff, the meeting.

Serious stuff it was. Some of us had not read the book and kept an open mind as to what Vyvyan had discovered during her time with the study group over a six month period.

Her initial statement was “Fortunately I have read this book so you don’t have to” was that a warning? Oh dear I thought sounds ominous.

I have copied a review of the book as seen below and this does provide an outline description of what the reader should expect.

“The White Goddess is a key book for modern Pagans and Wiccans. Subtitled ‘A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth’, Robert Graves investigates the links between poetry, mythology and the worship of the Goddess. The White Goddess had a profound influence on Gerald Gardner, the modern reinventor of Paganism.

“The White Goddess was one of the first widely available books which uncompromisingly advocated a Goddess-centered spirituality. It builds on Frazier’s Golden Bough, but written from the point of view of a working poet struggling to reconcile the ancient crafts of poetry and mythology with the brutality of the twentieth century. Although it is a ‘difficult book’ it will also prove very rewarding. It does not provide details of ancient rituals or try to reinvent them for a modern context; rather it gives details on the profound links between ancient runic alphabets, mysterious (and previously unexplained) Druidic and Bardic poetry and the Celtic lunar year. It bears the same relation to more practical books about Wicca as a theoretical physics textbook does to a users’ manual for a computer. Reading the White Goddess will enhance your understanding of Wicca by giving you deep background on the craft.” by anonymous.

With Vyvyans input we discussed the various aspects and ideas, and if the concept was too difficult to understand or believe.

Was this a work of pure fantasy or are there hidden truths in the text. Are there codes embedded in this text and did the poets of old communicate by a secret language hidden in the verse? Are there answers hidden in this book? Many questions left looking for solutions. So does this book have hidden depths and complexities that could be rewarding to those that seek and find those answers. It certainly raises many ideas and theories for future debate.

Apparently this book has turned people’s lives around and possibly was the foundation of a lot of Pagan literature we now read today.

We discussed other matters before calling the meeting to an end and made our way back home and  it is with heartfelt thanks to Vyvan for sharing her personal views and results of her study.

In conclusion then this was not a book I was interested in before the meeting but my curious nature had been woken. My copy has been ordered and I am now eagerly waiting its arrival.

I do believe the other members are now also inspired.

So complex Yes it is, out of reach No.

Why not add it to your reading list if you have not already done so, you never know what you might find.

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Finding Druidry later in life.

Since my early years I have always had a Pagan approach to life. Trying different paths and philosophies and never settling down.

Along came marriage and children, overtime at work and little time for other things.

You have all probably been there or still are.

It was not until I reached the grand age of sixty two that I became interested in Druidry. A room full of books later I scraped enough money together to pay for the O.B.O.D Bardic course.

As I waited impatiently for the first instalment guess who came knocking, Mr Negativity himself. “What do you think you are doing” he said, “Don’t be silly, you will be dead before you get to the Druidry course” he said. “Why don’t you act your age and build a model railway or something” he said. “How are you going to remember everything at your age” he said and on it went.

By the time the first Gwers arrived I had lost all hope. Fortunately, I have a stubborn nature and determinedly dived in to the Gwers. My initial reaction was very positive, “I can cope with this, bite size chunks of information to be absorbed in your own time, that will do”.

I eventually discovered the Grove of the Corieltauvi and felt at home, all was wonderful until guess who? came knocking again. “You had better get a move on with these studies, you are not a spring chicken any more”. “You should do one Gwersi a week, stay on track, get it finished, you don’t know how long you have”. At first I reacted to this, ploughing through the Gwersi like there was no tomorrow.

Five weeks later something changed, a message from within or from without “Stop, what are you doing, this is madness, why the rush, what do you expect to achieve? Listen, it is about the journey and not the destination. Savour each day and practice what you have learnt so far, experience the wonder of life and the joy of being alive.

I do have a lot to be grateful for and Druidry has provided me with a new and wonderful approach to life. No fear of  becoming a couch potato and moaning about my lot. Avoiding the slow degeneration into non existence and obscurity.

So, if any of you feel that you may be too old to start again stop listening to Mr Negativity and listen to your heart, you will be surprised.

By the way I do not have a beard just long hair, does that qualify as a stereotype.



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Alban Hefin 2018

Ceremony took place on Sunday 24th June. 4th Waxing Gibbous Moon.

Attendees: Cyberdragon, Greenfingers, Locksley and Strider.

A most Merry Midsummer at the Hearth Grove indeed! The sun was still strong and bright in the evening and the Grove itself was basking in the glorious sunshine. What took us by surprise was the grass having been cut! We hadn’t expected that one, especially as the grass is normally long and overgrown.

A special shout out to Cyberdragon who had attempted his “Magic Fire” with a fire kit, a combustible fungus and dried grass…. with sweat beading down into his beard, he did not surrender. It was commented that matches must have been revolutionary when they first came out.

We began all the usual proceedings and I wanted to share my new concept of balance. With Alban Hefin meaning either ‘Light of Summer’ or ‘Light of the shore’ I thought it very appropriate and split the middle of the ceremony into two halves.

The Way of Fire

With the Midsummer sun having reached its apex, the fullness of summer being fully alive and well; the way of fire is of action and making things happen. With a goblet of mead (drinking in the light of the sun), we toasted of what we were proud of this year. With an offering of bread into the fire, we stated what we’d like to see happen, or what we’d like to achieve within the next six months. With stillness, we drew energy from the Earth and the stars. Wrapping it around ourselves and rode the effects of the Solstice. We all spoke honestly and everything was done with heartfelt manner.

The Way of Water

That which has been done, causes ripples which come back to us. For every action taken, there is consequence or reward, for both good and ill. The way of water is to let what we have done bring to us what it will. Water, of course being linked to the moon, along with intuition and dream. And so, cutting a doorway from the circle to a path to another goblet (this one of water), I invited everyone to look into the water’s surface and allow themselves to see any images that may come to mind. After that, with the same water, we anointed one another, blessing one person to the next. And finally, we ate of the bread and honey, sharing what we’d like to happen. Or, what made us happy.

I wanted the ceremony to be inclusive, theatric and most of all, sincere.

After the sharing of food and drink, along with conversations about spiritual calling, The Goddess and even football (!), we admired the moon from below before setting off in a glorious sunset. All we were missing was the horses and Stetson hats…..

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Grove Social: BBQ Time- June 2018 Meeting

Meeting took place Thursday 14th June 2018.


Attendees: Glamorgan, Greenfingers, Locksley, Strider, Tale-Teller, Tatterhood*, Vyvyan. Guests included the two Tony’s, wandering ducks and Joy the Cat.

*Tatterhood will now be referred to her real name, Anne, as requested.

Fun Stuff:

It’s not often we get together just for social purposes, but when we do, it’s great!

Thursday night’s meeting was blessed with not just one, but two of our distant members- both were in the GOC long before I joined.

Back at the AGM last November, we thought we hadn’t seen our Anne for a long time, so we put her location down for a picnic type thing in the summer. Fortunately she agreed to this and informed us that the new BBQ block needed baptizing. And so, to the her boat moorings we went. Which also allowed for another member to join us…..

We hadn’t been able to see Glamorgan for years! I had borrowed a book (Pagan Celtic Britain by Ann Ross) for what must have been 5 years now and I took this opportunity to return it! Glamorgan was there at the beginning of the Grove of the Corieltauvi and was even recounting this, back to the days of the Corieltauvi being a seed group. Glamorgan is a fount of knowledge and even told us what got her into Druidry: living as an Iron Age woman. The Iron Age is her speciality and she even performs talks on the time, lifestyle and diets of that era. I’m sorry to say I missed some of the actual conversation as I was cooking the BBQ. But there was a moment with strawberries and cream, Glamorgan and I got to exchange notes on theatrics.

Both Anne and Glamorgan have Narrowboats, and fortunately Glamorgan was available to join us as part of her boating time. Bringing her Tony (Lincolnshire born and bred) we were able to converse and share food. I hope we made him welcome enough.

Anne was a delight, making sure everyone was happy and had enough of something to drink. She amused Tale-Teller in the fact she always seemed surprised that the food was indeed cooking. Tatty had mentioned that she may be leaving the Grove due to neither being involved much and not able to get to the meetings. Having discussed this, I’m pleased to report that she is not leaving the Grove but is taking time out. It’s always been said in the GOC that for those who do leave or take time out that the gate is always open. We do not force anyone to do what they don’t want to. Her Dad (also a Tony) was moored in the same marina and provided the BBQ cutlery to cook with. I had made him a promise years ago to bring him some black pudding from the butcher’s and kept forgetting to do so. I think he was happy with the 2 x Bratwursts in brioch buns and bottle of citrus lager as compensation.

Joy the Cat came by, gracing all with her presence in the way cats do when there is the smell of food in the wind. Wandering ducks had a perusal of all these silly people as well.

The Serious Stuff:

We did talk shop and Greenfingers raised his concerns about the Grove’s population. Life happens and that’s fine. People move away and that’s fine also. However we’ve had more people leave the area than join and those who do contact him aren’t coming to meet us. What to do? One idea was the updating the website. A revamp perhaps? Another was perhaps getting ourselves out there into Druid camps and events, especially OBOD ones. Another idea discussed the possibility of inviting outsiders into our meetings and if they liked what we do invite them to join the Order. Either way, this is something to be discussed amongst us all.

If you are an OBOD member (or interested in Druidry) and live in the Lincolnshire/Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire area and do fancy coming along, you can contact Greenfingers via email on:

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Magic Pigs

Meeting took place on Thursday 12/04/18. 3rd Waning Crescent

Attendees: Danceswithweasels (welcome back!), Greenfingers, Locksley, Teller and Vyvyan (Darth Vyv). Big thank you to Teller and Vyvyan, for allowing us to use their place for hosting and for supplying bacon cobs after my talk. Especially when Teller is veggie. For those not familiar with East Midlands speak, “Cobs” are the local term for rounded bread rolls. Some other places call these “baps”, “rolls”, “buns”, or as my family in Sheffield call them “Bread-Cakes”. To any of the readers outside of the UK….. you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many arguments this causes…..

Anyway, Locksley, shut up and get on with the post!

Title Photo Credit goes to Greenfingers for allowing me to use his photograph.


In all honesty? I thought it would be a laugh. At the AGM, I was handing Green Fingers our actual Magic Pig (a little bag for which we use for the collection of subs for us to purchase anything The Grove needs). I realised then that I actually hadn’t taken a meeting in a long time and wanted to do a talk on something and Magic Pig seemed to be as good as any. That and it seems to be a creature associated with many gods and heroes within Celtic mythology. Why was this?

Our Porcine Friends

Starting at the beginning, I read out the description of Sow from the Druid Animal Oracle. To make it fair, I read out both upright and reversed meanings. So we see the Pig as being associated with abundance and plenty, nourishment and sustenance, renewal and creativity.


The Reverse of this gives us a warning against relying on our vanity and “Pig Ignorance” to take other people for their worth, not just, their looks. Danceswithweasels quite rightly corrected me this was Sow and not Pig. True, but I wanted to keep it as the positive aspect of the animal, for the time being. Especially when we have a lovely picture showing said sow pretty much smiling as her litter run around and eat Beech nuts.

My original deck just had a small box and a booklet with the brief descriptions. I now have a second identical deck with a larger box and a book that goes into more detail…. Even telling of the sow, Henwen being linked to Ceridwen. More on this later.

Pigs are evolved from the Boar, which still exist today, they are intelligent, omnivorous and can have litters of up to a dozen piglets. Like us, they can adapt to any environment, and affect the local environment. If there are too many wild pigs foraging, then the nutrition count in the local area drops. This has a detrimental effect on the plant lives and eco systems of said area. If the nutrient levels return, then pigs will increase in population. No wonder we started eating them!

Grave Offerings

Whilst Boar bones are a rarity at burial sites, it appears pig bones and even joints of roasted pork were buried with the chiefs and warrior elite.

Professor Ann Ross writes:

… as suggested by the evidence from graves, where the placing of joints of pork beside the elaborately equipped chieftains indicates that this was intended to be the food for the feast beyond the grave, is bourne out to a striking degree in the Irish Tales. Here pork is the proper food to be served at the feast and in the ritual of hospitality in the courts of kings, and in the dwellings of the gods.”

It would seem that if pork was the best meat for the ruling and warrior castes of Celtic society, then it was good enough for the gods and for giving to be eaten in the Otherworld when the person is reborn in that world. Bit chewy for a newborn…. a gift for the family on the Otherside perhaps?


From The Otherworld

According to Irish myth, Pigs were brought with the Tuatha Dé Danaan, both The Dagda and Brigid kept pigs and boars. Considering the Boar was around in Both Great Britain and Ireland at the time, it would be interesting to see when breeds of pigs were introduced. Even if the Tuatha Dé Danaan didn’t bring pigs with them, somebody did…..

In Welsh myth, It was Gwydion who told Math, Son of Mathonwy of these strange little creatures called “pigs” or “hobeu”. They were the property of Pryderi, son of Pwyll, who was given this gift of pigs by Arawn, the lord of Annwfn (a realm of the Otherworld). So in both Irish and Welsh myths, we see pigs as being the property of supernatural beings, therefore linked with the supernatural in themselves.

Indeed, pigs in Celtic mythology seem to have magical abilities of their own:

Henwen– (Ancient White One) a sow under the protection of the Powerful Swineherd (Pryderi?) goes into the sea. She then comes to land and is not only pregnant, but brings both wheat and a bee to Gwent. She then goes to Llonion in Pembroke where she brings grains of wheat and Barley.

Pursued by King Arthur, she is never obtained by the King or his men, but she gives birth to a wolf cub and an eagle and a kitten. Each of these is given to a Prince, bad luck befalls each person who raises them. There are two Triads describing this tale, one tells of Henwen, being protected by the Powerful Swineherd (and in typical classical Celtic fashion, is not very clear on this title as being one person or three!) and that King Arthur is unable to obtain even one of the pigs through force or guile. The other describes Arthur as being after Henwen in order to kill her for carrying the ‘Womb-Burden’. But nowhere does the tale link with Ceridwen, at all. Vyvyan pointed out that it was Robert Graves, who had linked Ceridwen with Henwen. Personally, I think her name has more of a connection to the moon than the pig. Especially when her name can translate as either “Crooked (bent) Woman”, “Crooked Fair/white” or even “Poem Blessed”.

Pig of Duis– In the ‘Sons of Tuirenn’, the Sons attack Cian, father of Lugh (who tries to escape in the shape of a pig) but they murder him. As a fine for this, Lugh, chief of the Tuatha Dé Danaan charges them with the task of finding the skin of the Pig of Duis described as:

The skin of the pig is that owned by Duis, King of Greece. In whatever stream that pig walked, the water turned into wine, and the wounded and the sick became well when they drank it.”

The skin is also said to be as thick as two oxen hides, perhaps this is also a reference to death and burial rites once associated with the graves of warriors and chiefs?

Cormac’s Glossary describes pigs (especially red ones) as included amongst the animals whose flesh (along with cats and dogs) could be used for a method of divination called the Himbas Forosnai. This practice involves the chewing of the meat of one of the animals, puts an incantation on it and offers it to the gods and leaves it on the threshold of the door. Calling spirits, the poet is supposed to gain knowledge to what they seek. If that doesn’t work he says incantations over his palms, calls his spirits to help him and puts the palms over his to fall into a trance in order to gain the visions he seeks. The idea was to gain glimpses of the future through dreams.

Regenerating Pigs

Other magical pigs include the ability to be regenerated whole the day after being slaughtered and eaten. The Dagda supposedly had pigs and fruits that when roasted never diminished.

Usually there were conditions:

Cormac and the Fairy Branch: Pig, When King Cormac MacArt foolishly traded his family for a magical stick, he goes in search of his family and finds himself in the Otherworld. Invited into a hall, before him stands a man with an axe, a log and a pig. The man cuts the pig into four pieces with the axe and places the log under a cauldron of water. The man explains he helped a farmer regain his cows and that the farmer had given the pig, the log and the axe as a reward. The man tells King Cormac, that if he cuts the pig with the axe, and speaks a truth over the log, then, it will cook the pig and he shall have both again the next day.

Pigs of Essach– were slaughtered every night and cooked, but as long as their bones were whole and not gnawed upon, they would be alive again the next day.

We’re Going On A Boar Hunt…

Boars were seen as more aggressive and warlike. Indeed their physicality is different from pigs they have tusks, spiky hair and are sleeker in their build. Pigs have more fat whereas boars are leaner.

Boars in Celtic myth were described as fearsome creatures with tall black/dusky/even purple bristles on their backs, some had up to nine tusks in their jaws. Often a trail of destruction followed them, killing 50 warriors and 50 hounds in their wake. All the more terrifying as if to paint why the creature had to be stopped. The boar hunt was seen as one of ultimate skill, in some cases it was the initiation rite for the new chief…. if the stories are anything to go by, boars fought back!

Certainly, the Hero’s Portion was the prime cut of pork served at the feast to be given to the best warrior. The chief would take the next best, cementing that pork was the food of the chief and warrior classes before anyone else could have some. It is fitting then that boar imagery featured regularly on Celtic coins, weapons, altars, armour and even cauldrons.

The Boar hunt can be epitomised in the story of Culhwch and Olwen: Culhwch is charged by the terrible giant Ysbaddaden Pencaw (with no intention of these being possible so Culhwch cannot marry his daughter, Olwen) with many tasks. One of these was to hunt the dread boar, Twrch Trwyth, in order to obtain the razor and shears behind the creatures ears. Twrch Trwyth was a badass! Culhwch had to leave Wales for Ireland with King Arthur and a lot of his men in order to find him. Twrch Trwyth was kept for a time by Brigid along with two oxen, even in this form he was still fierce and ill-tempered (and responsible for some kind of weird demonic noises). Culhwch, Arthur and the men chased him around Ireland, back to Britain and Wales and after a huge fight resulting in the death of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets and plenty of Arthur’s forces the boar runs off into the sea. Turns out that Twrch Trwyth was actually a Chief who was turned into a boar for his wickedness, the same with his sons, yet was regarded chief of the otherworld boars. This entertained Teller no end as he quipped “I’ll still be a king even when I’m a boar, fuck you!” or something to that effect.

Bizarrely enough Culhwch’s name may have been an indication as to what his destiny held…. Culhwch’s name translates as “Pig-Run”!

In the Welsh tales, Gwydion after telling Math he will return with the pigs, goes to Pryderi with a band of travelling bards. Approaching Pryderi, Gwydion asks him for the pigs only for to be refused the request as they cannot be given until they are double their number. Gwydion then convinces Pryderi to exchange the pigs for twelve magnificent black and white horses, twelve magnificent white-breasted hounds and twelve magnificent golden shields as an exchange. The problem being that Gwydion had conjured up this illusion, which will last only a day. Pryderi pursues but was by Gwydion in single combat…. only Gwydion had used his magic once again to deceive so he could deliver the coup-de-gras. In this tale, the boar hunt is twisted into an act of cunning and deceit rather than skill. Certainly, this is an act of dishonour, resulting in the death of part of the three-fold Powerful Swineherd.

Also, the hero Diarmaid was fatally linked to the Boar he kills…. only to kill himself in the process as their lives were bound. The boar was in fact Diarmaid’s illegitimate half-brother who was magically changed into a boar by Roc, the boy’s father. Roc had been having an affair with Diarmaid’s mother and was shocked to see the boy flee a pair of hounds by going through Diarmaid’s father’s legs. In a moment of harboured jealousy, Diarmaid’s father began to crush the boy. Roc, using a magic wand turned the boy into a young boar-piglet and uttered a curse that the boy would grow into a fearsome vengeful boar and that Diarmaid would hunt him…. only to be killed by one of the bristles on the boars back. Bit harsh, especially when Roc could have used the wand to have healed his son instead of transmogrifying him.

So, forget turning people into toads, kids! Turning people into boars is where it’s at and this leads very well into the next part….


Changing into other creatures is something that happened a lot in the old myths, the tale of Ceridwen and Gwion Bach, for e.g. has plenty of shape-shifting in it. In the tale: ‘The Sons of Tuirenn’, Cian shape-shifted into a pig, in order to escape his attack.

As we have seen, pigs and boars were a favourite creature to turn people into as punishment. Which implies an execution of sorts: their fate was to be killed in the hunt.

Twrch Trwyth was originally a king, but he and his sons were turned into boars for some unmentioned misdeeds. Despite being kept by Brigid, Herself, he still became the chief of the otherworld boars.

Gwydion, as punishment for both murdering Pyderi and for the rape of the maiden Goewin, was cursed into the form of a stag; along with his brother and accomplice, Gilfaethwy, a hind and they procreated. After that they were turned into a sow and a boar, repeating the cycle of bestial reproduction, taking turns on being male and female.


Speaking of shapeshifters, the wizard, Merlin, went mad for a time, the only creature he would talk to and with was a small piglet, to this pig, he shared his prophecy:

Listen, little pig,

Don’t sleep yet!

Rumours reach me

Of perjured chieftains,

And tight fisted farmers.

Soon, over the sea,

Shall come men in armour,

Two-faced men,

On armoured horses,

With destroying spears.

When that happens,

War will come,

Fields will be ploughed

But never reaped….


Listen, little pig,

Oh pig of Truth!

The Sybil has told me

A wondrous tale.

I predict a summer full of fury,

Treachery between brothers.

A pledge of peace will be required

From Gwynedd,

Seven hundred ships from Gynt

Blown in by the North wind.

In Aber Dyn they will confer.

Supposedly, this madness was brought on by grief, making Merlin live for a time in the woodlands where he would speak only to the animals he came across.

Why madness? The female pig can attack piglets in times of great stress, sometimes even eating them. According to Wikipedia, 50% of piglet deaths are caused by the mothering sow either attacking them or unintentionally crushing them. During these times of stress, perhaps people saw them as being mad…. another trait comparable to Humans.

In Conclusion

Both the Pig and the boar were seen in great esteem by our Celtic ancestors. They were respected for their fierce natures and strength. They were prized for their meat and fertility of litters. Neither was seen as a filthy, stupid animal The fact wild pigs and boars can have a negative effect on the land if they become too populous probably gave rise to descriptions of the destruction they supposedly brought with them. Hereby making an occasional cull of the species not only a necessity, but one to be seen as a test of strength, skill and courage.

As for the associations of the Otherworld, especially when the Boar was already native to Britain and Ireland, perhaps there is some truth in pigs being brought over, even if the memory had faded as to who this new breed came with. I think Anne Ross puts it best with her comment:

The favourite food of pigs is the acorn, and their passion for the fruit of this most venerated tree, the oak, must have increased their supernatural associations in the popular mind.”

Especially when we consider the oak as not only being revered, but was thought to represent the god Bilé, whose name means ‘Tree’, the consort of Danu. It was Bilé who brought the souls of the dead to Her.



DAVIES, SIONED, The Mabinogion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.

ELLIS, PETER BERRESFORD, The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends, Constable & Robinson Ltd, London, 2002 ed.

GOMM, PHILLIP & STEPHANIE, The Drud Animal Oracle Deck, Illustrated by Bill Worthington, Connections Book Publishing Ltd, London 2005 ed.

HAMILTON, CLAIRE, Tales of the Celtic Bards: Myth and Music, O Books, Ropley, 2003.

MATTHEWS, JOHN, The Little Book of Athurian Wisdom, Element Books Ltd, Dorset, 1997 ed.

MATTHEWS, JOHN & CAITLIN, Celtic Myth and Legend: A definitive source book of magic, vision and lore- compiled, edited and translated by the Matthews, BCA, 2004 ed

ROSS, ANNE, Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition, Cardinal, London, 1974 ed.

Internet Links:

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Grove Meeting – March 15th – Ceremony

The meeting was kindly hosted by Dumbledore at his humble abode. Strider was the MC for the evening. We all gathered to discuss the form of ceremony we currently use for celebration and ritual. Members present were: Dumbledore, Strider, Taleteller, Vyvyan, Locksley and Greenfingers.

Comparisons were made against the Grove ritual and that given by O.B.O.D in their publications. Vyvyan had done a wonderful job of highlighting the differences which we discussed at length. The ritual was broken down into three parts, start, middle and ending. These were discussed at length and comparisons made, also suggestions were given and some agreed and noted.

The conclusion was to remain with the Grove format with some minor alterations. The new order of ritual will be available soon to be transcribed by Taleteller and Vyvyan. It was also agreed that we all need to be on the same page so when you have the task to MC the ritual all members present know what happens next (Thats the theory anyway)

The subject of the Grove Handbook was raised and a decision was made to positively move forward with this and to include the revised ritual format. It was agreed to publish the handbook as a .pdf file to save printing costs.

The meeting was lively and enjoyable including  a story from Taleteller, light sarcasm from Strider and some lovely food provided by our host

We are looking forward to the next meeting in April. Pigs are the subject and I am sure Locksley will enlighten us. Hope to see you then

Greenfingers – Herald of the Grove.


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