Grove Social: BBQ Time- June 2018 Meeting

Meeting took place Thursday 14th June 2018.

Leicestershire.

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:

herald@groveofthecorieltauvi.org

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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.

Introduction

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.

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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….

Shape-Shifting

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.

Madness

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.

Sources:

Books:

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:

https://www.behindthename.com/name/ceridwen

https://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm-animals/pigs/

https://www.timelessmyths.com/arthurian/merlin.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceridwen

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig

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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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Alban Arthan December 17th 2017

20171029_215704-1307627470.jpgSnow blanketed the Hearth Grove as Danceswithweasels, Greenfingers, Vyvyan, Strider and Taleteller arrived for Alban Arthan. I (Taleteller) was running the ritual, my first time leading a ceremony for the Grove and I was pretty excited about it. Clouds obscured the sky and where the snow had receded the ground was muddy and littered with leaves – but we don’t do this sort of thing for the sense of comfort!

In a break from the usual, to really engage with the dark and cold of midwinter, we didn’t start the ritual with the fire burning. Instead, we carefully stacked some bundles of twigs, put a few logs on top of them, and left the pile there, awaiting the symbolic return of the light, anticipating the spark. This meant that we opened with just the quarter candles, and very beautiful they seemed, flickering in the night.

I’d devised the ritual to have three parts and ran it without a script, so things unfolded as they unfolded in the moment. Firstly a meditation and chant to connect with the energy of the Sun’s rebirth which culminated in Strider lighting the fire and the whole pit roaring into flame. Then the burning of a log – not a true Yule Log, as it hadn’t been charred a little in last year’s fire, but instead a log which had first been lit at our Beltane gathering, had sat beside the firepit drinking up the Summer sunshine until I’d picked it up at Alban Hefin with the intention of laying it on our pyre. It certainly felt appropriate to be remembering and looking forward to Summer as we gathered around the fire. Lastly, to honour the Earth as she slumbers in Winter, I spoke about the importance of rest, sleep, dreams, restoration – about the inspiration I find in the natural world in this season of hibernation and dormancy. We blessed a bowl of seeds with the Peace Prayer and passed them around the circle, speaking about the particular things that help us find rest and rejuvenation before eating some of the seeds and hoping these midwinter intentions would find root in us during 2018.

Before wrapping up the ritual, we took some time to think about those that hadn’t made it that night. To reflect on all the members of the Corieltauvi who have gathered in its two decades at one fire or another, and to think about all those who are yet to come. We retreated back up the cars to let the fire die out in the bowl and to share our feast. Plenty of Thermos flasks of hot liquid got passed around, one way or another, which was very welcome. The clouds had parted during the ritual, the whole panoply of stars looking down on us in frosted sparkles, and the air rapidly getting chillier. There was some shoving as car wheels span on the way out, but everyone departed in an orderly fashion.

All the best for this time of year and here’s to 2018,

Taleteller

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The Grove Annual General Meeting for 2018

In attendance: Greenfingers, Locksley, Strider, Dumbledore, Danceswithweasels, Taleteller, Vyvyan, Cyberdragon, Velvet and Silver Bear.

We decided to hold the meeting at a new location the Wilford Green Pub. It looked ideal in the write up, meals available, a private “free” room and central for all the members. I contacted them and booked the room for twelve people, job done.

On the night, I was the first to arrive and spoke to the barman. Gave him the booking details and received a blank look, Oh no, I thought, everyone’s making their way here. To cut a long story short, the original managers had problems and left, the barman was normally the chef and no meals were being served that night. Fortunately a barmaid was there on her night off and suggested that we order a chinese takeaway, they would supply the plates and cutlery and a copy of the take out menu. Panic over, we settled in a cosy little annexe for the meeting and waited for the food which was delivered an hour later. Everyone tucked in and seemed to enjoy their meals.

It was time to plan the events for 2018. I went through the dates one by one, a plethora of ideas were put forward, decisons were made and these are now available on a file uploaded to the Grove facebook page “grove events 2018”

Fortunately the evening was enjoyed by all even though we had a shaky start. We plan to use this venue again for future meetings and hopefully by then service will be resumed.

 

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Herald of a New Age

It’s been four weeks since the annual Samhuinn ceremony and four weeks of no Heraldic duties.

At Samhuinn, the Grove’s offices are left open for them to be taken by others who wish to take them on. With the exception of the Sword Bearer whom chooses to pass the sword on to the next person.

When I declared, as is done, the position of Herald being open again for another year, those in attendance were surprised when Greenfingers said ‘Yeah, alright. I’ll do it.’ He went on to explain that he’d thought about it and that he wanted to do it, also with him being retired he had the time to fulfil the role. After this, I realised I had the biggest grin on my face.

The GoC doesn’t have a chief and it doesn’t have a leader. This is why it has offices instead. The position of Herald is not to be taken lightly.

The Herald is responsible for the day to day running of the Grove. Keeping a calendar of the events ticking over, making sure those who run a ceremony or a meeting are able to do so, as well as informing attendees of anything to bring for those events. The Herald also makes sure that those who need lifts have them (or at least, have checked those people have already organised them).

The Herald is also the contact point for any new contacts or new potential members. Serving also as a screening process to see if the new potential is for us, and if we are the Grove for them.

The Herald also serves as treasurer and is keeper of the ‘Magic Pig, the fabric pot for contributions from members to pay for things the Grove may need: the website, any replacements for The Box, hosting a table at Pagan events etc. In the Grove’s past there was an office called ‘Keeper of the Magic Pig’, sad to say after the original pig and monies were stolen, this responsibility fell to the Herald thereafter.

As you can see, the role is not one of leading or supervising the Grove. It is event keeper, secretary, treasurer and occasional herder of cats (Cough-Druids-Cough).

Each Herald has approached the role in different ways, adding something of themselves to both the office and the Grove. I wasn’t in the Grove during Glamorgan and Luch Dorcha’s years as Herald.

Cthulhudruid had ended his time at my first Samhuinn with the Grove. I was struck with awe at that very first Alban Elfed ceremony, the first meeting had us making medicine pouches for ourselves (led by Tatterhood, I still have the bag), the second meeting was at a members house and I got absolutely wasted on mead and red wine! Just ask Ladymorgana! I cannot say what he was like as Herald, but with the headers of the GoC symbol attached to paperwork and knowing how deep he is, I can imagine him being methodical and giving all to the Grove.

Tatterhood was Herald before me and she added a lot of creativity to the flavour of meetings, with us painting, writing poetry discussing a lot about the concepts of Druidry. In the meetings, she was quick to make sure we didn’t get carried away on tangents. Tatty, wasn’t afraid to explore our psychic sides either and balanced this with making use of the Question Cards. It was a shame she had to step down, but the circumstances were totally understandable.

I was ‘Acting Herald’ up until Samhuinn in 2014. By this time we had our own Group on Facebook and I used that to my advantage, utilising the Events generator and using the public forum to keep people in the loop. I also gave the Grove a yearly Eisteddfod, wanting everyone to take part. Like the previous Heralds before me, I had to make snap decisions for last minute meeting and ceremony dilemmas, some of which weren’t popular but necessary.

Greenfingers has a tough road ahead and has already proven himself with this month’s meeting, turning it into an AGM and getting us to organise the next year. I look forward to what he brings.

The Succession of Heralds

1996 – 2000 RhuMaere- later known on here as ‘Glamorgan’ (Office held under the nebulous title of Grove mother)

2000 – 2005 Lorcha (the Hairy Herald) – aka Luch Dorcha – aka ‘Mr Fluffy’

2005 – 2010 Cthulhudruid

2010 – 2014 Tatterhood

2014 – 2017 Locksley

2017 – Present Greenfingers

If you would like to contact the Grove of the Corieltauvi directly, please email us at

herald@groveofthecorieltauvi.org

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Samhuinn 2017

Ceremony took place on Sunday 29th October 2017.

Attendees: Greenfingers, Locksley, Silverbear Strider, Teller, Vyvyan (now nicknamed ‘Darth Vyv’ due to her black coat with a thick black hood).

Embers of Samhuinn

I’d been so busy with projects this time last year that I lost touch with the seasons. This year, I could feel Samhuinn approaching and I have missed that feeling so much.

Traditionally, in the GoC, Samhuinn is given to our members of the Druid Grade to perform. Sadly, none were available, due to work, ill health, commitments and distance.

I’d managed for almost two years getting away with not doing a ceremony (the energy was spent on my other projects) and I felt the voice in my mind urge me to give it a shot. “Go on…. do it, you’ve got this…..” so, I asked the Druids if this was ok, and it was. I declared myself as MC and had a plan of how this was going to go.

I wanted everyone involved in some way, so instead of waiting for the night and asking who wants to do a quarter, I deliberately asked for 4 x quarter callers, 1 x person to make bread and 1 x Cailleach. The last was taken up by Darth Vyv who also made some very delicious gluten free bread for us too!

Darth Vyv, as sword bearer cast the circle and called the East. Did anyone else notice the circle had a golden light? Greenfingers called the South, his voice now confident when it used to tremble. Teller called the West with reverence and respect, Silverbear requested for calling North as it pushed her out of her comfort zone, she did it beautifully.

Honouring the Grove of the Corieltauvi’s traditions, we swore upon sword and stone and renewed our Grove allegiance. I swore in for those who had asked me to and Strider had sworn in for Dumbledore (Who had asked both of us, considering I had plenty already, it made sense for Strider to do it). We also observed the passing on of the Grove offices:

  • Box- Greenfingers was left with the responsibility.
  • Sword of Justice- held from last Samhuinn to this one by Darth Vyv, whom had declared as passing it on to Danceswithweasels the next time we see her.
  • Herald- I offered up the position of Herald, as is custom. I was both surprised and very pleased when Greenfingers piped up with ‘Alright, I’ll do it.’ He had thought long and hard about it and from now on, I am happy to declare the role as his. More on this another time.

In the GoC we pay respects to the Cailleach for presiding over the winter. Wanting a bit of theatrical flare I asked for one of the ladies attending to play the part of the Cailleach for us. Vyvyan stepped up to the mark and performed brilliantly. I knew that by the time she drew her black hood over her eyes, crouched before the altar and spoke in an commanding whispery voice that she had this. The Cailleach asked for three pieces of paper with writings from all attendees. The first was of what we had learned this year, the second was what we wanted to let go of. The Cailleach cast these into the fire, telling each of us to hold onto the last (what we wanted to gain) for reflection in a year’s time.

The Cailleach also asked us to take an ogham from her bag and to keep onto this and to return them to Vyvyan after the ceremony. Telling us that now is the time to remember and honour our ancestors, The Cailleach left and Vyvyan (Darth Vyv) returned once again. We shared bread, honey and salt with those we wished to remember. After the ceremony was done, we stayed and shared food, drink and caught up in the Hearth Grove. We also found out what each of our Oghams meant before giving them back.

For the Grove, for those who couldn’t be with us and for those we wished to remember, we were proud to say:

We swear, by peace and love to stand, heart to heart and hand in hand, mark O’ Spirit and hear us now, confirming this, our sacred vow…..“.

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