Double Whammy: June meeting & Alban Heruin 2016

Meeting took place on Tuesday 14th June 2016

Due to a great administritive cock-up by yours truly, we had to relocate our meeting to a pub, the White Lion in Beeston, Notts.   This gave us a good chance to socialise and even have some friendly debate (worship of deities and how, 10 mins on politics and then normal conversation resumed) as well as catching up and chilling out.

The White Lion has Brazilian owners and food, so when there was confusion over whose dish had arrived (plus, the waiter did call it the name of what I ordered) so I ate it…… to discover it was in fact Danceswithweasels dinner!  I repaid her by letting her have my one instead, once it arrived.

Being a little drunk at the bar, I was delighted to discover they sold cigars! Damn my Tinnitus for making me thing I heard the barman say they were £13 each….. I was charged £30! It was a bloody good cigar though.

Honorary Title: June meeting 2016: The Grove Herald Makes a Tit Out of Himself!

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Pure indulgence....

Midsummer Misadventures.
Ceremony held on Sunday 20th June
June has been a month of rearranging plans, Alban Heruin was no exception.  The original MC had to pull out for personal reasons and having volunteered to fill in, I had to move the GOC ceremony to the Sunday as I was leading the ceremony for another group on the Monday.  This meant only four of us could attend: One was recovering from an operation, one was coming home from Sweden (hope you had a good time, Tatterhood! X), one had come home to find her electronics had blown due to a fallen tree cutting powerlines, two were ill and a few were celebrating Father’s Day (quite right too!- I knew there was a reason we originally said Monday).

So, me, Cthulhudruid, Greenfingers and Teller endeavoured to make sure the Grove of the Corieltauvi were present for Midsummer…… As the rain fell.  No matter what the weather, our Grove is a beautiful and serene place and it was actually good just to be surrounded by the trees and long grass.

Having moved house that week, I had little time to think of an elaborate ceremony, so drawing inspiration from the Druid Animal Oracle, I went with the Bee (reversed) card about knowing my place and celebrating the hard work.  I worked with good ole’ alcohol and tobacco: mead for the blessing of the Sun, and toasting achievements accomplished this year so far.  My cigar as a gift of peace and pure indulgence as well as sharing all our thoughts on the Solstice and what it meant for us individually.

Our soggy boots were badges of honour, we trampled the grass to make our circle, the small fire spat in the rain and flared at the mead (for there was mead and it was good) then died out as the ceremony reached its end.  There was fellowship in our small company and the blessing of rain was all around us.  Sunshine? Pah! Blue skies? Don’t make me laugh! You can keep your dry solstice celebrations and shove them up your chakras! We embrace nature in all of her forms……

….though I did enjoy an nice warm drink once I was tucked up in my warm, dry duvet that night.

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Oak and Ash – The living legend.

Duir and Nuinn combined

As you all will have seen by now the centre piece of the Corieltauvi Grove Symbol is the Ogham fidha Duir and Nuinn, or Oak and Ash. Their symbolic use within our Grove Sigil can be found in this article: Symbol of the Grove
Which is also somewhere in the Grove blog

However, little did I know until tonight, whilst discussing Solstice plans with a friend, that there is a living embodiment of the combined Duir/Nuinn characters in a conjoined tree near Earl Shilton in Leicestershire (approx 15 miles from where I live). The Oak and Ash have been growing together for the best part of 200 years and essentially have formed into a single tree.

You can read the full story and the folk tales here:
http://earlshilton.org.uk/oa/oak-ash.html

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Poetry Please! – Grove May Meeting

art changes everything

Poetry Please!

May’s meeting was hosted by Taleteller & Vyvyan.

Looking forward to “Inspired Language for Poetry and Storytelling” I along with 2 other hardy souls set forth to find Taleteller and Vyvyan ‘s abode.  A warm welcome awaited and after the now usual greetings and joviality we made a determined start.

Taleteller led us through a number of word games which were very effective at leading us to look and many everyday objects in a completely different way, and soon radiators became ‘Fire mazes’, and pictures as Windows on a parallel universe.  We pushed the boundaries a little further and became small animals describing objects around us in similar circum-abstract ways.  Things were really hotting up now and this is the point we moved to the surreal with Dumbledore painting a picture of writing poetry while under strange chemically induced states of mind!  This led to a further discussion asking ‘What is poetry?’, to which I still have no idea.

Taleteller manfully pulled us back on track and we worked with our new found ability applied to folk tales and similar stories of legend.  A break was well earned and we retired to sample some delicious Frittata, bread and cheese, washed down with equally lovely refreshments.  Further unscripted discussion took in circuitously the demise of night clubs, what today’s youth get up to, and the beauty of books.  Unusually Dr Who and aliens were not mentioned!

We returned to work with the energy and determination of coiled springs.  Producing at the conclusion a set of individual Haiku.

All in all a wonderful and enlightening evening in the best traditions of the grove.  Many thanks to both hosts for a memorable meeting.

Signed, the under assistant deputy in waiting to our beloved Herald who was away sunning himself.

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Beltane 2016

Ceremony performed on Sunday 1st May.

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The Grove Hearth... Before we got to it.

The one thing about the lighter months is that we actually get to see the Grove in the last hours of daylight.  The grass was long and even the bluebells were out, all heralding the promise of summer.  Even Briseilid’s missing watch was found in the earth.

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Corieltauvi bluebells of wrath. Fear them!

The rain from earlier made it difficult for the flames to take, but with great persistence and team effort, it caught and our fire was ready for the ceremony.

Greenfingers had volunteered for his first leading of a ceremony and a grand job he did of it too!

Taking it directly from the OBOD sources, we went old school and had the union of the Goddess and the Green Man.  There was no ritual hanky panky however (we ain’t that kinda Grove!) but any deity based bowowchikkawow was purely symbolic in the poetry read by the representative.  For the Goddess, we had Briseilid and for the Green Man, we had Strider (complete in camouflage).  And together they led a dance between the two fires to purify ourselves and celebrate Spring going into Summer.  I even used my old Morris dance stepping to be part of the dance.
After the dance, words were given on the conceiving of the Mabon as the child within and how we should nurture this being within us all.
There were even gifts of tulips and Hawthorne and yes, the fire was leapt too!

Well done Greenfingers for a stirling celebration of bringing in the May!

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A circle not of our design.

All pics by locklsey.

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Beer! March meeting 2016

Beer

Meeting took place on Tuesday 12th March, 2016.

“The gods gave us alcohol so we can cope with our mortality”- Danceswithweasels on talking about Gilgamesh in his search for immortality.

We’d been trying for years to get Danceswithweasels to do a talk for the GOTC and she’s managed to get out of it so far, that is, until we pinned her down during the January AGM and got her to talk about the cultural significance of beer…. It was her idea, we just wanted to hear it.

Mixing her talk with storytelling, it made for an interesting session.  Where we learned that yeast (important for the fermentation process) wasn’t just treated as an ingredient, but as a creature in its own right.  Almost like a pet if you will.

The talk began with humankind and bees, because of honey being a natural source of sugar- the food of yeast.  Danceswithweasels went on to explain that mead was originally made with heather honey, which often came with a ‘fog’ that had psychotropic side effects.    No wonder the Scandinavians wrote about the ‘Mead of Inspiration’!
Also, Heather mead often came as thick and gelatinous and choc filled with protein, so much so that the Germanic people had a saying that a mead drinker could become just as strong as a meat eater….. That kicks Guinness’ arse right away!

The yeast was treated with respect and it was a custom of the Norse to give a portion of yeast on a stick to a newlywed couple so that each house hold could craft their own ales.  In fact, German law today still prohibits the transference of yeast out of the country as they take their yeast brewing very seriously…… That never stopped a certain Mr. Carlsburg from smuggling some out mind you.

Danceswithweasels gave us the stories of how Odin stole the Mead of Inspiration, and by doing so accidentally gave it to Humankind.  There was also the Finnish poem saga of the quest for certain ingredients to be be given to the ‘virgin with the dainty hands’.  This took some doing as it was a very long poem that often repeated itself with mnemonic devices; think of it as the Beowulf of the brewing instruction world and all the main characters were women and woodland creatures!

It appears that cultures the world over have discovered how to make alcohol in it’s myriad of forms, some including saliva to help the fermentation process.  And in almost every culture the making of the alcohol, in all its aspects, was seen as a reverential act.

And yes….. There were samples! Which Mr and Mrs Chutney enjoyed for allowing us to use their home for the meeting.  I might have enjoyed one, or two…. Alright more than several!

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Alban Eilir 2016

Near Space photography - 20km above ground / real photo

Near Space photography – 20km above ground / real photo

 

Ceremony took place on Sunday 20th March 2016

It’s not often we have more than one Druid (full Druid Grade, that is) attending our ceremonies.  So it was a welcome occasion to have Cthulhudruid back with in fold.  Teller (formerly Telleroftales) had only ever met Luch Dorca before, now he knows the stories are true!

There was also a ‘Welcome Back’ for Greenfingers after his operation earlier this year.

Strider had agreed to lead the ceremony this year and did so with his usual enthusiasm and gravitas. He took inspiration from the OBOD ceremony at Glastonbury Tor in 2014.  After his reading about the Equinox and the shift from darkness to light, we were led to create a spiral of energy whilst chanting:

Power of the Sun
Power of the Moon
Power of the Day
Power of the Night
Power of the Dark
Power of the Light

He also asked for the blessings of light (this was done with flash powder thrown into the Fire) along with blessings of the Earth in gifts of an Arthurian flavour:

Trefoil, Parsley and Celandine-  these were the gifts of Ygerne, Mother of Arthur.  In this ceremony she was also presented as Goddess of Spring.

A rounded clear quartz stone- the gift of Merlin and of insight.

The sword of justice- the gift of the Lady of the Lake, the guardian of the mysteries.

These three were placed upon our altar and we were invited to ask our own blessings of them.

With the circle all wound up and the box repacked, we held our picnic with friendly banter (the Cthulhudruid & Luch Dorca show, an entertaining display of sarcasm and repartee) and mead being passed around.

What was left of the fire was scattered around on the ground in order to cool, it was unfortunate that our newest initiate had chosen an hour later to sit on the ground….. In the ashes! Hereby earning her the name of Ashes….. Well I couldn’t go around calling her Ash-butt like I originally said on the night, could I?

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A Typical Druid? pt2: “With a rebel yell”*

Druid in the Aeon of the Child

Because we are unable to define a “typical Druid” by looking at the confusing modern use of ‘Druid’ as a title, or by looking at the vast array of beliefs and practices that come under the umbrella term of ‘Druid’. Perhaps we can gain a clearer picture by looking at the kind of people who walked the Druid path in the pre-Roman , early Druid renaissance, and in our modern eras.

From the few contemporary historical account that we have, and from the surviving myths and folktales, we can surmise that in pre-Roman Britain the Druids were a select social caste with a special place within their society. This is extremely significant in a highly structured, labour intensive, tribal dynamic where everyone must fulfil a vital role to ensure the survival and prosperity of the overall clan. For someone to become a Druid was to separate that person from “core”…

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