August Meeting 2015 -Pub Social

Meeting took place on Tuesday 11th August.

The Gate Hangs Well, is our usual haunt when it comes to social nights in the pub.  Saying that, we’ve only had two this year and this was the second.

So sets the scene for Tuesday’s invasion of this respectable drinking house that doth serveth delicious pie.  So as me and Danceswithweasels arrived to discover, to our horror, that the usual table in the back had been replaced by a much higher one.  Only giants would have felt comfortable eating and drinking at it.  AND pie night had been moved to a Monday!

Worry not, dear readers, pie of the day was served and we claimed a good table at the very front of the GHW, so we could expose our talks to the world.

There wasn’t really a set theme, conversation went from the GOC’s attendance to this year’s Pagan Pride to Transgender centrefolds being given their own cells in prison.

We even went into discussion about which seasonal quarter was next (Alban Elfed, of course!) and how the present , Druidic and Pagan celebrations have only been put together fairly recently (it has only been since Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols put the Pagan year together that we celebrate all eight festivals).  That thread had us all, more or less agreeing that as long as we didn’t try to pass off our traditions as from ancient times and acknowledge that we are creating our own traditions in the here and now, then we are in fact witnessing the declaration of our customs to pass on.
This also went into my love/hate views on Iolo Morganwg, which I shan’t go into (one day, sure).

Then, we started talking about King Arthur….

Few things have ever got us ALL going but discussion of the ‘Once and Future King’ proved to be a most interesting debate.  Dumbledore dislikes the notion of the romantic court versions of Arthur.  I don’t blame him, they are quite foppish in the Monmouth and Mallory versions.  Cymro holds the opinion that Merlin is an gestalt of different Druids (like Robin Hood) and Arthur a  link to the past of the Britons and heritage.  I’ll be honest in saying that my mind has become hazy on who said what (I was on my fourth pint by this point), so if any fellow GOC members want to share, they can do so.

All in all a good night of catching up and sharing thoughts.

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A Traveller’s Tale

This wonderful tale was written for me by our own Cymro Ap Arthan inspired by the recent drumming meditation I shared for our July meeting (blog link here)

Thanks Cymro, I’m honoured, beautiful words. :) Sharing for those who were present that night and for others to enjoy too.

Standing on the edge of the woodland watching the long meadow grass of summer sway with the breeze
Gold, whites variegated greens, rolling as if it’s a swelling sea
Walking towards the hearts centre of the grove through knee high verdure the woodland floor
Dressed in robes of natural hues, brown and green knee high boots protecting her from the evening dew

Drum and rattle beater held in elegant hands, tool of a shaman held lightly but tightly gripped
Forcing herself through sea of seeded grass towards the heart of the grove
Thoughts focused on rhythm and beat, bringing all together with every beat on the drum
Stopping now at the centre of the heartwood talking softly she guides
Breathing synchronised within their body, mind and heart, one beat, two beats, three beats four, the rhythm goes to the companions who are faithful to this grove
Asking for guidance from ‘Ellen’ to allow an open door asking for Awen to allow a path of peace.

Inviting the spirit world into their night helping the group to enter the outerland by sitting in a circle of the world
She guides the company to imagine a favoured tree to fold themselves into the trunk being a part of nature once more, then down through the roots we were steered
through the earth below moving until they came to closed door, by entering the journey would begin
Push our guide shouts enter to the realm beyond awaiting were the spirit guides from a lion to a lamb
They will protect and guide you was her story now to ensure you can leave this Avalon when the time has come

Now the drum beat rises as the rattle sings the beat of the groves consciousness now we walk our spiritual woodland
Looking into the forest searching through the trees happiness only achievable with the support of our guide
They sense the animals of the glade Reindeer, Stag, Wolves, Wrens, Owls and Birds roaming free and safe
They only touch them momentary when the guide asks for safe passage to return, return now to their tree and back from this awakening dawn
Now bringing the meditation to an end bringing the ceremony to its close she brought a touch with eternity she stops with a final flourish on her beloved drum.

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Lughnasadh 2015

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The Fires of Lughnasadh

What a beautiful evening last night!
We were blessed with a gorgeous open sky and setting sun.
Even the fire caught on quickly (which might have had something to do with the combustible magic of the firelighter…) and gave good strong flames.

I got to meet Lynx Lady, a friend of Briseilid and OBOD member, she got to witness the chaos of our organisational skills and contributed greatly by giving us wood to burn (you can come again, Lady!)

Dumbledore, came last down the hill complete with purple robes and a toy lion hat (oh yes he did!).  Once all was prepared, he was our MC for the night.  Unusually, for him, he had a script… And it was based on the actual OBOD ceremony!  This wasn’t a bad thing, it just meant things were done in a slightly different order than to what how we do them.  The major difference was that Dumbledore took out the Taliesin aspect and focused more on Lugh, which made more sense, to be fair.

It was Vyvyan’s first time of calling a quarter in the Grove and she did it well indeed!

Some beautiful passages were read and even a declaration of “…We shall not be singing ‘John Barleycorn’… Tis a silly song!” To reinforce the edict of our website.

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Offerings of the first harvest

Cymro kindly agreed to share what remained of a bottle of mead, which we all partook a draught.

Whilst sharing thoughts, Briseilid reminded us of the Chinese concept of a fifth season that starts now, which is more of an end of Summer and not yet Autumn.  Also pointing out how much of our weather this year has been unusual.
Greenfingers shared that, for him, it didn’t seem like the beginning of harvest as things were still in their growing phases.

During the picnic, as the sky grew darker, I could just about see a glow through the trees, so I went back about halfway to the Hearth Grove and saw the most delightful Full Moon.  Or should I say Blue Moon? Either way I called everyone over and we got to enjoy Lady Luna’s majesty

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Merry Lughnasadh!

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Midnight Stones

Originally posted on A Druid in the aeon of the child:

My cover for the SONG (Spirit Of the Northern Gathering) newsletter back in the mists of time, reworked in black biro on cheap crappy copy paper.

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Wildwood Drum Meditation – July meeting

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Red Deer Stag drum and rattle beater

After a dry day and a fine evening forecast, we stuck with plan A to hold our drum meditation at our beautiful Hearth Grove yesterday; thinking our wet weather indoor plan B wasn’t needed. Yet the rain gods still smiled on us. But we’re a hardy bunch and gathered beneath the glorious tree canopy to enjoy an evening of drum meditation and chat.

It was lovely to welcome ‘Lynx Lady’ to our Grove for the first time, who had travelled from deepest Derby to the Charnwood Forest.

We were relatively few in number, but that made the drum circle all the more intimate as I and my Red Deer Stag drum led a guided drum meditation to meet the Guardian of the Wildwood accompanied by our animal companions and other wild creatures of the forest, to spend time immersed in the energy of the ancient forest and receive a token from the Wildwood to mark our journey.

For some, it was the first time they’d meditated/journeyed to the beat of a drum/rattle and they felt it carried them deeper and helped to maintain their focus in the journey. Cymro Ap Arthan also commented how the drum beat and rattle (I used a rattle drum beater) sounded as if they came from different directions in the Grove. It was an immersive, surround sound experience.

With an opportunity to share what had transpired in the journeys if folk wished, we talked about how the Guardian of the Wildwood appeared differently to us, how we felt in the Forest and the animals which had chosen to accompany us. For some, the animal companions were already familiar, but others had new to them animal travelling companions, with Fox, Bear and Lynx making themselves known for the first time. That is how ‘Lynx Lady’ has come by her Grove name.

We’d had tentative plans to share a wider drum/instrument circle after the meditation, but everyone felt so chilled after the meditation that we decided just to relax, eat, drink and chat under the trees, soaking up the Grove atmosphere as darkness descended. We had our usual, wide ranging discussions from the esoteric to the more mundane, including the different nature of our various drums, the calm, Zen like quality of many Druids, how OBOD compares to other Druid orders and much more.

It was a wonderful evening of great company in our magical Grove, accompanied by the gentle sound of rain through the tree canopy – bliss. :)

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The Magickal process and Creativity.

Originally posted on A Druid in the aeon of the child:

In Druidry we place a lot of emphasis on the creative arts and being creative; especially the “traditional arts” of poetry and music. Throughout the centuries the skills of the ‘Bard’ as poet, storyteller and musician have been the mainstay of communal gatherings and entertainment. In many ways they still are, although their scope and media, like their audiences, has altered drastically. We also have a high appreciation the ‘visual arts’ of painting, drawing, and sculpture. All of these art forms are socially important. They bring us together as a society, record our histories and reflect our hopes and our dreams. They are part of the fabric of who we, as a people, are. It is of no wonder then that they, and their artists, are held in such high social esteem. However, these ‘traditional arts’ are not the only ways to be creative or to think about creativity.

Over…

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Double Whammy- Alban Heruin 2015 and June Meeting

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Can you see the Awen in the sky?

It’s been a month of rescheduling, but we’re a tenacious bunch and we did our Solstice Ceremony on Tuesday the 23rd of June instead of the 21st.

And the weather that eveing was gorgeous! We could even see the setting sun through the trees just as the ceremony was coming to its close.

Strider was our MC for the evening and had even set the fire bowl so we could honour the sun with a fire.   As he was reading out the beautiful words about the height of Summer, the light and dark nights; and of Pan. I sought to revive the fire that had begun to dwindle.  And revive it I did… Although I had set fire to a lock of my own hair in the process! No injuries sustained, I promised myself that next time, I’ll tie it back.

It was the first ceremony to incorporate a CD player, as Strider played us ‘Sunset Hypnos’ by Leafblade to help us contemplate the Solstice.

After that, we were invited to approach the fire and share something, if anything, that inspired us to speak.  Dumbledore came forward and spoke of how we as a Grove are playful and joyous in what we do, ‘mystic fools’ as the Sufi would say.  Although his version was much more eloquent.  We then sauntered back to the car park where we shared food and conversation about The Illuminati and Freemasonry… And how modern depictions of film and internet are completely wrong.

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The good Narrow Boat 'Ragamuffin'

June Meeting (took place on Tuesday 16th 2015)

It was a pleasure to see our Tatty Ayn once again! She reflected the marina around her in being calm and serene.  It was really good to sit outside and be surrounded by such a peaceful spot.  There was even a lovely sunset, too!

It was Vyvyan’s first time there and her first encounter with the Question Cards…. All three of which related to Druidry.

Q1: Is Druidry: a journey; a way station; a destination? -Dumbledore.
A: The answers laid more towards a journey.  Druidry isn’t something that you aim to master, it’s something you seek to understand.  And in this interpretation, the journey and learning never really ends.  I can see how someone would see it as a destination of sorts “I want to be a Druid, so I shall complete all three grades until I am there…” But that’s not the point.  For only one of us would I even say it’s a possible way station, but even then I’m using the term ‘Way Station’ very loosely.

Q2: Druidry- is it for life or just ceremonies and camps?
Is Druidry what you do or what you are? Where does the line blur?- Luch Dorcha and Cthulhudruid.

A: There are those who, undeniably, for them do see Druidry as something for camps and ceremonies.  The performance aspect of the ceremonies and the social networking of the camps is where their Druidry is.  For some, it’s when the Gwers is opened, for others it is merely a name given to something done and is a part of life anyway.  Can I honestly say, hand on heart I’m a Druid every day? Maybe not, but I can say I am a Bard most days.
Ideally, Druidry should be part of who we are, but lives are complicated things and sometimes it’s what we do.  The answers here depend on how we lead our lives.

Q3- Does a Pagan/Druid community exist?
How do we as Druids fit into the Pagan community?- Luch Dorcha and Cthulhudruid.

A: There are indeed Pagan and Druid communities that exist.  Depending on the Pagan and Druid, it is how much they put into it that results are seen or not.  An active Pagan or Druid community will become noticed by the public, the GOC for example, has been asked to speak at a conference and been approached by people who are wanting to know what Druidry is from the website and blog page alone!
In an area with no visible Pagan community? Look around! Go on the internet and search for local based groups or national sites (like OBOD or the Pagan Federation).  Or go into your local Crystal shop, they usually have posters or contacts for local Pagan groups.  Or even better, start your own! The last does come with its own problems however, basically, don’t make yourself a target to be laughed at or stalked (no, I’m not joking).  Depending on the Druidry group in the area, you might be welcome as an outsider, or you might be turned away because you are not a member of the Order.  What you have to remember is that Druidry is a Mystery Tradition as well as an Earth-based philosophy and spirituality.  Some Craft based Pagans are like this as well.  It’s nothing to feel disheartened about, there are somethings that shouldn’t be revealed to someone who came to their first meeting only to discover that the secret of magic isn’t what they thought.  How do Druids fit into the Pagan community? It depends on the area, the location and who is involved with what.  At present in the East Midlands, I’d say Druids are growing in the Pagan communities, some help organise festivals, some go into Outreach programs for prisoners, others protest against Fracking.  I’d even go so far to say that Druids in the East Midlands (not just counting the GOC) keep themselves busy with outreach and environmental issues whilst Pagans celebrate who they are, make themselves visible for people to come to moots and get involved.  Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but what would happen if they actively joined forces?

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Sunset at Leicester Marina

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