Planning Ahead- January Meeting 2017

Meeting took place Tuesday 10th January 2017. 

Members present: Locksley, Silver Bear (Lynx Lady was only a temporary name until one more suited came up.  And here it is), Cyberdragon, Velvet, Danceswithweasels, Teller and Vyvyan.

2016 was a busy year for the GOC members.  If we weren’t at the meetings or ceremonies, it’s because we were travelling to other countries, performing theatre, moving house, being ill and feeling the sadness at the loss of loved ones who had passed away. 

On the plus side all meetings and ceremonies were attended, though no set pattern was seen- if we could make it, it would. And I thanked Cyberdragon for his contribution to fire making and bringing his garden candle sticks, giving any Grove ceremony some wonderful atmosphere. 

We discussed the following points: 

  • Grove numbers- everyone’s happy, in fact Teller joked about mass conversions to Druidry…. Okaaaaay.
  • GOC turned 20 years old.   20. Years.  And we totally missed out on celebrating it!  So we discussed the idea of doing something special for this year being its 21st.
  • There is a movement against Fracking in Sherwood forest, how do the members of the Grove feel about getting involved? It’s not something for all members and this is something to be discussed before March. 
  • Do we make the meetings more social, rather than have a set agenda? Cyberdragon enjoys the debates we do have when we do get together in a pub, which is nice in small doses.  He did raise the point that to make all the meetings in a pub would be more costly.  It was agreed that we should keep a variety of events, talks and visualisation meditations.
  • I raised the question of should I be creating events on the FB page as soon as we confirmed them so organising is done in advance?- this was met with part approval and part amusement, we know trying to organise these things is one thing, whether circumstance allows us to carry out is another. 

Proposals: 

  • Organising the calendar we keep the Eisteddfod, Drumming meditations and BBQ/Picnic at Tatterhoods, as fixtures.  Agreed. 
  • I suggested this year we keep ceremonies on the nearest Sunday to the event, unless the MC wanted another date.  Agreed-we tend to do this anyway. 
  • What do we do about Midsummer?  Members are usually with families for Father’s day on the Sunday, so possibly have the ceremony bang on Wednesday 21st June (depending on availability of members).  To be confirmed. 
  • Teller and Vyvyan – How about a trilogy of Meditations? One exploring shamanic styles and the other two exploring Eastern and Western styles.  Agreed, if we split them up. 
  • Greenfingers (via conversation with apologies) was very impressed by the personal touch to Briseilid’s Bear ceremony for Alban Arthan as it wasn’t just another OBOD ceremony.  More personal ceremonies to be encouraged.  Agreed. 
  • Strider and Dumbledore (via notes passed on) wondered if we could have actual discussions about Druidry.  Understanding that the journies with the Gwers is a personal experience, why not discuss the things we have all come across?  Have sessions on the meaning of Awen, the Abred (and which version is correct seeming that the first Gwers we meet this concept says there are three rings, yet a more in depth article in a later Gwers discusses only two of these rings!) Or the history of OBOD, etc.  Cyberdragon raised another point here saying that perhaps the reason we don’t tend to lead a talk is because we don’t feel we have the authority to back it up.  So the idea was accepted, especially if we all learned a bit and brought back what we found.  Agreed as long as we have a facilitator for the session. 

The Calendar

Still under construction at the moment. 

A.O.B 

Cyberdragon- Why not make more contact with other Druid groups? 

Teller- Concerned with the long term health with the roles in the Grove, raised the issue of me doing too much. 

Vyvyan- To assist me in writing the blog. 

Thorsson, Briseilid, Greenfingers and Silver Bear all offered to host meetings in their homes should we require them. 


    Posted in Meetings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Alban Arthan 2017

    The candles stood proud, their flames never wavering.  The fire burned bright and strong, the stars above us patterned the sky.  The circle was cast, blessed with water and fire, peace was given and I was just about to call upon the blessings of the Great Bear to the North….  A bright light in the sky caught my attention, an orange ball travelling across to the trees.  A plane would have made noise and flickered, carrying on through the gap in the trees, it did not. 

    And so, we began our ceremony, led by Briseilid.  Strider, Greenfingers, Cyberdragon and Lynx Lady and myself all took part in the Bear themed celebration of the Midwinter Solstice. 

    Briseilid, gave us a song, joined in by Lynx Lady who also knew the same song- it reminded me of an Native American song I once heard in a Mother Earth lodge…. I digress.   This song was used to summon the spirit of bear, indeed, Britain used to have bears and so the essence of Bear was called so we could give respect and honour. 

    Briseilid gave another song that was comprised of all the names that the Finnish people like to give Bear without calling it bear, for example: Furry Friend, Old Man Of The Mountain, for when they celebrate it’s spirit (and yes they still have bears, but do not fear them). 

    Because in OBOD the cardinal direction of North is associated with the element of Earth and represented by Bear, we entered the circle through the North.  North was also where I was asked to cut a gateway leading from the circle to which there was a path leading to a second altar, dedicated to Bear. 

    Briseilid gave us instructions of what to do should we wish to partake (which, of course, we all did!) and to take care of stepping through the brambles on the path. Each of us was greeted with the altar, there was a pot for holding all the paper we wrote on for wanting to release something from our lives, there were also oatcakes, honey and mead.  We were invited to light a tealight and bring it back into the circle, the idea we returned with the gift of light. 

    When sharing thoughts on the season, I was delighted to hear I was not the only one who saw the ball of light go to the trees, Lynx Lady saw it too! 

    Briseilid led a heartfelt and original ceremony, one that left Greenfingers with the comment that we should do more like it.  

    Bear Altar, photo by Locksley2010.

    Posted in Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Arabian Nights- December Meeting 2016

    This month’s meeting was written up by our very own Vyvyan: 

    Meeting took place Tuesday 13 December 2016 
    We wrapped up the year with conversation and a curry at Kayal, in Nottingham. There were a lot of dosas, lentil doughnuts, dumplings, and tasty curry! Strider, Locksley, Danceswithweasels, Teller and Vyvyan attended. Thoughts were with the rest of the Grove members, as several people were obliged to miss the meal.
    Conversation ranged widely, as it often does, though we had to hold ourselves back from pre-empting the January planning meeting. Teller in particular was keen to start planning the next year’s activities now! Locksley raised the question of whether we should have more pub meals, but the group felt that meeting in people’s homes for discussion on particular topics was still interesting, valuable, and just good fun. 
    Strider even proposed that we might have a meeting in the next year — to discuss Druidry! Shock, heavens. Though the suggestion of a Grove game of Diplomacy was even more divisive… particularly given how keen Teller and Strider were to assure us that they both made wonderful allies…. 
    Best wishes to all in the Grove, as the Solstice and the turning of the year approaches.
    Thank you very much,Vyvyan! Although what Teller didn’t realise is the Grove standard of “If you suggest it, you run it”. πŸ˜‰   – On the serious side, some of our members are going through trying times right now and as Vyvyan pointed out: our thoughts are with them. Locksley. 

    Posted in Meetings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Ghost stories- November meeting 2016

    As the days grow shorter and the shadows grow longer, it is the season for gathering round and telling tales and making our hairs stand on end…… 

    At least, it very nearly wasn’t because it wasn’t until I looked at the notes on my mobile phone after the Samhuinn celebrations that I realised I had forgotten I was hosting it! 

    Only a few of us gathered at my house, but we enjoyed mead, gin, as well as other non-alcoholic beverages. Wanting to be a good host, I had even prepared jacket potatoes and a home made Quorn (gluten free, y’see!) chilli. 

    We gathered into my living room and began a night of blood chilling terror.  Well, a themed night, anyway. 

    I began with a real ghost story of an apparition I had seen in my student house in my second year of Uni.  It involved a woman I thought to be my then girlfriend going to the bathroom, when she was in fact in my housemate’s car waiting for me! 

    Teller was next with a song about the worms devouring your dead corpse in its wooden box.  Yes, it was morbid, but it was also funny!  It had no real title, but it was dubbed ‘The Hearse Song’.  Apparently The Pogues have done a version of it. 

    Vyvyan read a poem from Tennyson called ‘Channel Firing’.  A teasingly melancholic piece about God who may or may not sound the trumpets heralding the Apocalypse, also the near futitlity of sending most of his creation to the fire anyway. 

    Danceswithweasels read her favourite ghost story from ‘Haunted Derby‘ involving a painting of Jesus Christ that would supposedly change its face or its eyes would follow people around the room.  It would supposedly fall down whenever there was a disaster in the world and would always fill the room with the smell of violets.  The painting was taken down, taken to one of the grown up children’s house.  Phenomenon would happen there so they took it back.  If anything we felt sorry for the poor painting trying to communicate with its owners! 

    Danceswithweasels also told us of the catacombs and tunnels underneath the Guildhall Theatre, of which I took great interest as I had recently finished a production there and didn’t even know about them! She went on to explain that where the theatre stands now used to be part of the gaols, and apparently there are remnants of the prisoners still around….

    We touched briefly on folklore and how it always seems to be influenced by the fancies, Horror and Science fiction of the time: photographs of “fairies” during the time of the British “Folk custom revival.  Flying saucers during the 1950s and 1960s, abductions by small bodies aliens with big black eyes after the movie ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, the Chupacabra craze which hit the late 1990s and early 2000s; more recently the supposed cases of ‘Slenderman’ and the alledged ‘Black Eyed Children’ cases of a couple of years ago. 

    It seems that we, as a culture, are strangely fascinated by the world of death and the unknown.  Even though our society chooses to ignore it, it permeates into our media as a plot device.  But try as modern society might, we keep going back to it. 

    Something that is so final and happens to us all, yet it appears the dead don’t always stay quiet.

    London Horror Festival pumpkin, photo by Locksley2010

    Posted in Meetings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Samhain and our 20th Anniversary

    Samhain, by its very nature, is a bittersweet time; more than ever for me this year.

    It was wonderful to gather and celebrate the Groves 20th anniversary. At last Samhain I’d planned to make a big thing of this anniversary because 20 years is no mean feat. But, unfortunately, many varied and accumulative external factors have severely limited my participation with grove activities this year (which I find immensely frustrating) so sadly all of my grand plans, by necessity, fell by the wayside. 

    To see so many people gathered (and represented) in the grove was truly wonderful. From the humble beginnings of four nervous newbies standing on a muddy hillock on the outskirts of Leicester, Dawali fireworks lighting up the skies around us. To last nights gathering of a large spiritual family in the private woods of our Hearth Grove, has been a long, difficult, chaotic, twisty and yet ultimately joyous and fulfilling path. 

    Over the years many people have gathered at our Hearth. Some briefly, some for years and some have never left. Each one has contributed something unique, and between us we have built something enduring and special. A spiritual family, a magical tribe held together by deep bonds of friendship, trust and respect.

    Last night as we gathered to celebrate Samhain, thanks to my grove brothers and sisters, I was able to stand in a powerful and safe sacred space. Where I had the time, the freedom and the trust to commune, set down some burdens, breathe and gather strength. Thank you all for making that possible and for helping to build and sustain our beautiful grove.
    /|\

    Posted in Other | 1 Comment

    Samhuinn 2016

    ​Ceremony took place on Sunday 30th 2016. 

    It was a surprisingly warm evening once we had gathered.  As we prepared ourselves, I was taken aback by the almost ethereal beauty of the Hearth Grove, the fire pit ablaze whilst being surrounded on the four corners by the tall outdoor candle holders.  Each proudly containing a coloured jar for their respective cardinal direction.  I was immediately reminded of OBOD’s symbol for sacred geometry, a symbol that is part of our Grove insignia. 

    After the usual ceremonial gubbinz had been performed, there was a lovely surprise for Lynx-Lady and Cyberdragon, as they were welcomed officially into the Grove fellowship.  Although Greenfingers’ suggestion of using last year’s radishes had met with refusal.  Lol.  

    A note on the gubbinz- as well as calling on the quarters, Briseilid, called upon the ancestors.  An act I felt highly appropriate for the evening. 

    Swearing upon stone and sword, we reaffirmed, or for our newest fellows, they affirmed alliegience to the GOC.  Proxys swore for those who could not attend. 

    Luch Dorca was MC and had asked us to bring 3 things: 

    1- a written note of something we wish to let go of, something of our selves to be rid of. 

    2- a token or written note of something we wish as a project to accomplish. 

    3- a written note for someone we wish to remember whom had passed on.  Did we have a question for them? 

    He kicked off proceedings with reading a customised version of Shakespeare, which you can see below. 

    The GOC has always had a reverence at Samhuinn for the Cailleach, and sitting by the fire, cowled in a black hood and cloak was She…. In the body of Luch Dorca.  His voice became high and thin, and I’ve heard him laugh before…. He doesn’t laugh like that. 

    Come closer…. Come closer…. Come closer my mortals,”  

    She beckoned. 

    My voice cannot reach far.” 

    And so we gathered around this high, giggling, whispery voice.  She referred to us as ‘My Mortals’ throughout the visitation. It appears we were claimed. I found myself wanting to call her ‘Grandmother Cailleach’ (as in ‘Grandmother’ for a title of respect, not because she was a sweet old lady, I very much doubt that is the case), Vyvyan told me later that she wanted to call her ‘Lady’.  We did neither.  That might have been a bit too familiar. 

    The Cailleach (which one?  For there are many) said we had done well to come and that ‘This Mortal’ (her host) had instructed us with the three items given above.  It turned out the Cailleach had her own interpretations on these.  I shall do them in the order as given previously: 

    1- She asked us to take out our notes and gave us a choice:  throw them into the fire where we can be rid of them.  Or…. Keep onto them, work with them for “Not every weakness is a weakness and not every strength is a strength”.  Some were burned and some were kept.  She told us “This mortal wishes his to be kept.” None of us questioned the affirmation. 

    2- We were asked to put these notes or tokens onto the altar.  Once we told her this was done.  She asked me directly “Locksley, are they all paper?” She used my Blog name! I answered they were not as some were tokens.  Thanks to Danceswithweasels, I was reminded of the ring she had placed, having not mentioned it as I was still surprised.  She blessed all items and requested I burned the notes.  The tokens were to be put into the altar box and when we return to the Grove, we are to remember our projects.  I’m guessing this was to see how they come on as the year goes by. 

    3- She asked us to take out our notes, and read them.  Take in every word and tell the departed those words using our minds.  I will admit, that not having a letter for the deceased, I spoke to them from my heart.  Ergo I cannot actually remember if the letters were kept or burned.  She did ask if we had any last words for her to deliver, two of us did. 

    And Luch Dorca returned. 

    Our annual passing of roles was carried out, the Sword of Justice was passed on to Vyvyan who observed ‘I’ll need to get a belt’ with which to carry it.  

    Greenfingers remains keeper of both the Box and the fire-pit. 

    I remain Herald.  A duty I am happy to continue.

    A spooky night?  Not really, an interesting night? Very! 

    Luch Dorca’s poem: 

    Samhain 2016
    Now is the winter of our sweet content

    Made glorious summer by this sun of thought;

    May all the clouds that hung about our heads

    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

    Let our brows be bound with blissful wreaths;

    Our bruised minds calmed in unruffled thoughts;

    Our consternations changed to happy times,

    Our dreadful news to delightful tidings.
    Grim-visaged life doth test our fragile front;

    And now, instead of chasing filthy coin

    To fill our souls with frightful inadequacy. 

    We stand here in a grove at night

    To see our path bathed in light.
    Double, double toil and trouble

    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

    To the grove we Druids come

    Two by two and one by one.

    To bless the land then go away.

    Again to come another day.

    What do we do when we are gone,

    Two by two and one by one.

    It’s here we stand and we shall say,

    What we will do the other days.
    Plots will we lay, inductions profound,

    In this holy place on sacred ground

    To set our minds to Earth and air

    In league with fire, water and aether

    And if our task be as true and just

    As modern world be subtle, false and treacherous,

    This night we start with great strides

    Forth, to gain what we hold most dear,

    And give us hope this coming year. 

    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here

    the Calliach comes.

    Photo by Locksley2010


    I had forgotten to mention the Grove of the Corieltauvi also had it’s 20th Samhuinn! 

    Posted in Ceremonies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    October Meeting 2016- Drumming meditation journey

    Meeting took place on Tuesday 11th October 2016. 

    Arriving at Thorsson’s house, I tried to be good, I really did.  As he was hosting, Thorsson offered drinks and I had never seen him lost for words before.  I mean, there were words: “Well, I wasn’t expecting that.” In response to my request of a cup of tea.  The logic being we were going on a spiritual journey and I thought I’d save the alcohol until afterwards. After showing me his collection of mead, our Heathen member had fully convinced me a glass of Dark mead (soft, sweet and tasty) was definitely the way to go forward….. This was followed by a glass of Loki (soft, sweet and green!).  As any follower of this blog will account, I am not the Grove drunk, but I do enjoy the odd tipple and feel guilty if I decline any offers! 

    There was a handful of us last night, myself and Thorsson of course, Danceswithweasels, Briseilid (leading the drumming), Cyberdragon, Teller & Vyvyan and Strider.  After catching up and managing to stop devouring Thorsson’s German ginger biscuits, we were finally able to calm ourselves down and found places to sit, relax, or even lie down.  The rhythm of the drum was soothing and helped to keep pace of the journey which started in a familiar place. A portal led us to a long avenue of trees where we met someone, who gave us a gift.  After roaming miles and miles we came to a boundary, that had another portal which took us to a totally different place.  Here we met a being who had a message for us, and we in turn gave a gift to for their message.  Behind us, the portal brought us back to the living room where we entered our bodies once again. 

    All this Briseilid did with her drum and her voice helped shape the nature of our journey as well as what happened in it, but each of us had different experiences or found things that did/did not work/worked in an unexpected way. The beat did not offend me and I found it easy to go along with.

    Perhaps it was the mead, perhaps it was the drumbeat, but I went deep and was the last to come out.  Yet I emerged feeling relaxed, calm if not a little floaty, probably because I felt reluctant to come back into my body again.    

    As we ate and drank, I won the crown for the most tumbleweed moments in one night, but we joked and compared notes and shared with what we felt comfortable to do so.  Teller played some of his didgeridoo and Thorsson showed us the delights of an indoor Northern Lights display. 

    Photo by travelyukon.com 

    Posted in Meetings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments