About

Pagancon2010

Talking at the Pagan Federation Conference Edinburgh 2010. Photo by Vicki Brady

English people are uptight. There’s no getting away from this. The hardest thing for us to do is loosen up, express ourselves directly, and have fun. We still think we have to run an empire…the collective psyche lags behind real events by centuries.

If you’ve had this upbringing and you’re interested in spirituality then you’re likely to have a double dose of this characteristic. And if you lead a spiritual group and write serious books then forget loosening up…

This was the quandary I found myself in until I discovered the arcane art of blogging. Just as the spiritual path can be characterised as the ongoing attempt to both remember yourself and forget yourself, so blogging can be seen as a challenge to both be more personal, more open, more sharing of the riches of a life and at the same time to take yourself less seriously, to let go of the concern about what other people might think about you, and to reveal rather than conceal your curiosity and amazement at the often crazy world you find yourself in.

I spend much of my days writing ‘serious’ material that must fit into particular structures: books, articles, and workshop schedules. So to balance this, I am using this blog as a play-space: a place to relax and have fun – to share some of the strange, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious material that comes my way. And it’s also a place to share ideas…

The main focus of the blog is spirituality in its widest sense, and I believe one of the most important tasks for us today is to infuse our spiritual questing with humour and joy. Without humour we lose our humility, without joy a spiritual path becomes dry with the dead hand of piousness.

For me, a spirituality needs the glorious world of Nature and the joy of laughter in plentiful supply. If these qualities appeal to you, I hope some of this blog will be interesting and entertaining for you!

If you’ve flown in from a google search and want to know who this writer is, have a look here.

With very best wishes,

Philip Carr-Gomm

P.S. The banner on this blog features a photo of a local sacred site – The Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex. This great chalk figure evokes three central ideas for me: the idea of our need for balance – and in the context of this blog this involves balancing serious, and thought-provoking material with humorous and entertaining material. The other idea is that of ‘Gateways’ which is central to a spiritual path. Each tradition will speak about this in different ways – as an example, in the Jain tradition the 24 great teachers are known as Tirthankaras, which means ‘Ford-makers’ – suggesting they help create a bridge/ford/gateway between this and the Otherworld, between normal consciousness and a spiritualised consciousness. The founder of the Baha’i religion was known as ‘the Bab’ which means ‘gate’. In Druidry, natural features or deliberately placed stones or trees form magical gateways that can help us access other realities, and here in the Sussex landscape is a figure who seems to be creating a gateway for us, reminding us of Novalis’ statement that ‘Visible and invisible, two worlds meet in man.’ I write about this in some detail in The Druid Way.

The third idea this image evokes is that it is important now for us to become aware of our local sacred sites, rather than falling into the ‘spiritual consumerist’ trap of flying off to sacred sites around the world regularly. Last year I finished researching a book called Sacred Places, to be published by Quercus/Borders in May 08 in the USA and August 08 in the UK. I discovered that spiritual tourism is now a huge industry, and that we need to address the issues this involves. I’ve created a website on this at www.sacredplaces.info

Responses

  1. Hi Philip,
    I have tagged you to list seven random and weird things about yourself, see here:
    http://constantstateofflux.wordpress.com/2008/02/16/7/
    looking forward to reading the results!
    THx

  2. I was brought to your site by an email about the Extraordinary Woman you’ve featured.
    I really appreciate what I’ve read so far, and will continue to dip in as able. :)

  3. Great RaeVynn. I hope you enjoy the posts and the comments too!

    • Hi Philip,
      I was brought to your website by my father, Henri. He still lives in Alsacia, Petit Ballon, and he has recently sent me his conclusions on his genealogic work, where I found about who you really are ! It’s a real and joyous surprise to me and I really deeply enjoy what I’ve read and listen to so far (not much…), and will continue to dip in as able…. It’s a sort of a revelation, I couldn’t imagine such a new (but ancient…) world that near to me !!!….
      It’ll give me a good and nice way to go back to practice my english…
      but I ‘m glad to see that your books are traduced in french too, it’s a lot easier for me, of course….
      love from south west france

  4. Uptight indeed. I run laughter workshops and my friend Madan Kataria, founder of laughter yoga, stopped coming here because he said he found the brits the ‘toughest nut to crack.’
    Spiritual = serious in many people’s minds. Shame really, so much insight comes from lightness and playfulness, goofing around even. People often pay lip-service to the role of the trickster gods and the cosmic fool, and still resist accessing that side of themselves. Such closed-off-ness is a loss to us all, most of all YOU.
    What about the idea that the primordial sound of the universe is the chuckle of the great creative spirit?

  5. Hi Philip,

    I’m reading your book at the mo (The Druid way) and I’m enrolled on the Bardic course with the OBOD.

    After watching the documentary on Prince Charles tonight on the BBC, it was wonderful to see:
    he plants and loves trees;
    he campaigns through his charities for farmers to produce non GM foods and adopt a more organic method in their approach to farming;
    he loves gardening and loves his plot;
    he believes in the power of humanity;
    he says, in a quite admirable way, that he campaigns for Nature because who else will;
    he believes in regeneration and investment in the natural world;
    he is a philosopher, a man on an epistemological path to make change;
    he campaigns for action against global warming and the felling of the rain forest;
    he argues against large carbon footprints we create;
    he is a a patron of the Arts;
    he has a love of music, Art and dance,
    has a wish for peace and the beautiful earth we live in;
    he strives to tell the truth of how we as a collective are destroying the planet;
    he loves the animal kingdom;
    and he tells a great story and captures an audience through his tales, his philosophy and wisdom.

    … and I just wondered if the future Head of the Church of England is indeed…

    a ‘Druid’ (in the making or already made).

    When I was asked what Druidry meant to me…
    Well many of the things that the Future Head of the Church of England was passionate about in changing this world.. were many of the things I thought Druidry meant to me.

    A thought!

    BB

    A

  6. Hi Joe & Antoinn,

    Yes the idea that the ‘Big Bang’ was a great roar of laughter is a fabulous one!
    And yes I agree with the idea that Prince Charles is a Druid in all but name. I believe he really is a very wise and dedicated person. ‘By their works shall you know them’ clearly applies in his case!

  7. Hi Philip
    Just to say I enjoy the eclectic nature of the blog and feel it feeds a need for more open and earthed type of pagan spirituality.I sometimes feel that the emphasis on the spiritual life with the basics of a contempletive,compassionate root is lost among some pagan groups and it is lovely to see such an inclusive mix here. Bless you and your work.

  8. Thanks Steve,
    It’s nice to know – it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking ‘No I can’t put that in – it’s too flippant!’ and then ‘Whoops I can’t put this in – it’s too solemn and high-falutin’ But of course life is a wonderful mix of the silly and the sublime, and so my philosophy is if I find something interesting, funny, just plain weird or really profound and heart-warming in it goes!

  9. Philip –

    I just wanted to drop a quick note to say hello, and wish you all the best for this new year. My wife and I so enjoyed meeting you briefly at the Ashram in Glastonbury after the Winter Gathering. It was a moment of synchronicity we shall not forget!

    I’ve written a bit about our honeymoon, as well as posted a new link on my site to a video that I think you’ll enjoy.

    From the peace of the grove,

    West

  10. The Celtic civilization has a lot to offer and I find many parallells in it with our Hindu culture and beliefs.

    I believe that Naure, Music and poetry are three creations which are above the boundaries of religion and race and through which you can experience the divine.

  11. Philip, I wanted to tell you how beautiful I think your book The Druid Animal Oracle is. I desperately want to get in touch with illustrator Bill Worthington to get permission from him to use one of his illustrations in a book our press is producing. Do you have his e-mail address? Or some way to get in touch with him? I would so much appreciate it.

  12. Déithe dhuit!

    I am writing here because I can’t seem to figure out how to contact you directly, so forgive me if this is not the place.

    I often use your “Druid Animal Oracle” as a way of communicating with deity (usually Brighid), as it seems to function well as such. I usually use it to see if my offerings are sufficient to deity and what they would communicate to me (I’m a Gaelic Polytheist). And I have been getting the bear card quite often recently, and then I drew the cat and found mention of Brighid in the cat pages describing her as “daughter of the bear”, but I am having trouble finding this elsewhere. I was wondering, would you be willing to point out the source of this title for me? And maybe email it to me? I would like to go into it a bit further and see if there is any stronger of a connection between Brighid and the bear.

    Go raibh maith agat!

    Mise,
    Brandon

  13. Dear Brother Philip,

    I am glad I am to see your blog page and your very relevant discussions on sacred places. Due to my year ending travels, could not mail you yet. v sorry! pl send me your e-mail id. Now just this short note!

    from Kerala, South India (on tour)

  14. Hi Philip,
    I’ve read most of your books and have them on the shelf. I’ve enjoyed every one of them… and look here, more stuff to read from you.

    Thank you so much for your contribution to the Celtic culture. You’ve been an inspiration to me on my journey to do the same.

    I’d like to formally invite you to the Celtic Friends Network. It is a free social network for people with Celtic interests. We even have a group for the OBOD there.

    The address is:
    http://www.celticfriendsnetwork.com

    Peace be the journey,
    Shane Clark

  15. Hi Philip,

    I love what you said about blogging as a way of creating a balance (an “Ausgleich”, I think, in German?) between the serious and the playful. I really appreciate how accessible you have made Druidry to someone like me who doesn’t really know much about it intellectually but who nonetheless feels a resonance somewhere deep within.

    Although I was born in Namibia and now live in Cape Town, South Africa, I’ve always felt a strong tug towards the ‘old’ ‘Celtic’ ‘religions’, and during my first ever visit to Ireland last year when we went to some of the sacred sites (actually, pretty much throughout the island), it felt like I had come home. When I watched your video clips and started listening to the DruidCasts on the OBOD website, many of the things spoken about also struck a chord within me.

    I’m trying to work up the courage to do the Bardic course (I’m amazed and thrilled that there IS in fact such a structured home study course!). I’m curious to hear whether there are any OBOD groves or seed groups in my part of the world, as I haven’t managed to find any. I gathered from the DruidCast interview with Pamela Meekings-Stewart that there are some in Australia and New Zealand, but no others in the Southern Hemisphere, and none in Africa. Is that correct?

    I also heard Pamela speaking about the ways in which they had to adapt the rituals to take into account that the sun travels a different path across the sky, and that different constellations are visible from here (even the moon looks different! :-) I love that!). She also spoke about the need to call on different animals and plants and to incorporate elements of some of the Maori legends into their Druidic practice. So I’m curious whether and how the course OBOD offers would ‘work’ for me here in South Africa?

    Any advice would be deeply appreciated.

  16. Hi Reggie,
    It feels curious replying to your post in this public way, but actually I think it’s good because the questions you ask are bound to be ones that others must be thinking too.
    We have some members in South Africa (and in other African countries) and I have been invited to come your way some time to give talks and workshops. I would love to do that since I spent my childhood soaking up stories of the country: my mother lived there until she was 13 and I’m descended from Dick King, who was such an interesting figure in SA history.
    I think the course would work for you because it is written in a way that recognises that Druidry is not simply a ‘Celtic spirituality’, but a spirituality of the Earth Herself, and now we need to go beyond ethnic and geographical boundaries to sense ourselves as citizens of One Earth.
    My experience of working with Druidry in New Zealand (I’ve spent over 2 years there on and off) is that it can indeed work in the southern hemisphere, but it does need adaptation, which in itself helps to heal some of the complicated rifts we experience in our own sense of identity, origins and affiliations.
    I hope this helps!
    Many blessings,
    Philip

  17. Hi Philip

    I really appreciate your reply, and hope it will also help others in a similar situation. I am delighted to hear there are OBOD members in South Africa – and that you have a connection to our country! AND I hope that you will indeed visit our fair shores soon. :-)

    Thank you for the taking the time to explain things so clearly.

    Wishing you a long life of joyful spirituality
    Reggie.

  18. Dear Phillip,

    I just looked with interest at your posting of photographs from the Old Straight track you inherited from your Grandfather. How interesting that he knew him. I wonder did he relay stories to you of their relationship. Was your grandfather part of the club? I learned of Alfred Watkins through beloved John Michell, who was a longtime family friend and whom I miss deeply.

    The book you are writing is a subject of great interest to me. I grew up on the Kentish coast and very much felt the spirit of the land in the air, especially the pagan aspect. Many stories…

    I would like to send you a link where you can read the magazine I edit and write for: http://www.avantoure.com

    (The link will allow you to read the magazine, the above is just the website.)

    The main feature of our next issue will be John Neal’s recollection of the wonderful friendship and collaboration he had with John Michell and it will shed light upon their discoveries in metrology and John’s greatest discovery in this area, a profound and under-acknowledged gift to the world.

    Thank you for your excellent site.

    Enchantment,

    Suzanne Bella Trimble

  19. Hi Philip

    I thought I’d let you know that I have mentioned your lovely book on my blog again today at http://www.badwitch.co.uk and I have also linked to your website. I was inspired by The Book of English Magic to visit Lewes and go on a Grail quest – as it suggests.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful idea. I have written about my experiences on my blog.

    The Bad Witch
    http://www.badwitch.co.uk

  20. Hello Philip,
    I’ve just finished reading “The Druid’s Way” and found it an extraordinarily vital and refreshing read. It’s a book with tremendous largesse of spirit and that’s something I find very helpful.

    I was brought up in a Catholic milieu but have always felt an affinity towards British spiritual traditions. It’s difficult to get that across to people sometimes but I found your book of great assistance in this respect. It posits a wide spiritual universe and that for me is the key thing.

    You quote Rene Guenon and I know that’s something he wrote about a lot – that the world’s a big place and that the Divine will appear in different guises in different times and contexts. One’s perception of the sacred will be different, for instance, in the deserts of Arabia than the hills and valleys of Wales.

    I’ve been called a dilletante for this view, but for me the crucial thing these days is to reach beyond the narrow perspectives of individual creeds and embrace the deeper way which lies behind them all.

    That’s the challenge for the 21st century in my view. It’ll take imagination, verve and daring but what’s the point in doing anything else!

    Anyway, I’ve signed up for the Introductory course (have been feeling more of a rapport with the land lately so it’s all come at a good time) and we’ll see how it goes.

    Thanks again for the book. I hope to be reading more by you soon.

    All the very best,
    John Fitzgerald
    Manchester

  21. HI Phillip, are you really a muggletonian? I’m currently researching the sect and have come to a dead end in 1979 with phillip noakes death.

    Unusual surname BTW, any connection to the Carr-Gomm who was the elephant man’s doctor’s boss????

    Please get back to me on maffism@yahoo.co.uk

  22. Now that I’ve ‘found’ this–am wondering what to do with it. Another dot connected or just a signpost on a bad day after a long period of bad days? Hm..druids…The PREMIER minds of another time…knowing about the convergences of time/space/energy/place.
    Well, greetings and shanti om from another part of the ‘world’.

  23. Hi Philip – just to let you known that I live up in Cumbria with its many stone circles and sacred spaces. Check out my Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/john.hetherington as well as my progressive Spirituality Blog. I’m becoming more and more part of the spirituality scene from a progressive, open Christian standpoint – and know Mark well I feel – from on line links. Its just too far to get down to your joint April happening – and it would be great to get you both up to Cumbria! I have with others recently launced an “Open Faith and Spirituality” Network for Cumbria – which we hope will be link across all the connections up here. John

  24. Please tell me you’re working on your first novel?

  25. Dear Ben,

    How very nice of you to say that! Mum’s the word!

  26. INVITATION to the WaldWelt-Festival 2010

  27. Thank you Andreas – the festival looks wunderbar!

  28. I have only been haunting these parts since around November of last year, so this post is new to me. Considering what I have seen so far, it is surprising for me to learn that you have had a difficult time loosening up and having fun, so the first thing I want to do is offer encouragement: You’re doing great!

    I think I can understand the temptation to be chronically serious when one has an empire to run. I also think I will humbly suggest that perhaps a bit of humour could be just the thing to help run an empire smoothly. I once knew someone that was an expert at tossing in an outrageous statement here and there and making the mundane manageable. Not only were all of the necessary tasks completed quite effectively and on schedule, in a fun and light-hearted way, but often humour was just the thing to get a stuck project moving again.

    And as for not saying things directly, well, speaking as someone who has, perhaps, once or twice, personified the ‘loud mouthed fool’ archetype (if such a thing exists), I can tell you this foolishness is only attractive until we realize that we have burned an important bridge. So I will just say that there are always two sides to this mighty banana peel and sometimes the best plan to eat the fruit is not always the most obvious or the best practiced one… though sometimes it is… (That was fun)

  29. Thank you Carrie-Lynn! Specially the banana bit…:)

    • Your welcome.

      Have you ever noticed that however we peel the banana, we always assume the fruit?

  30. I just came across your website by a work related google search, and am delighted to find instead a spiritual inspiration I couldn’t find before :) this seems very fascinating and i’ll continue reading!

  31. Hi there,
    Just to let you know that there is a review of the rather lovely Book of English Magic at http://www.booksquawk.com
    Regards,
    Hereward

  32. Dear Philip,
    I’ve been following your blog now for a while and I always find it inspirational.

    I’m writing to ask is it may be possible to gain your support for a problem that seems to be surfacing in my home land of Cornwall http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-11507363
    A cultural heritage is a threat. As the respected leader of the OBOD, I thought maybe you could lend a supportive word. If not, no problem. :)
    Blessed be.
    Philippa

    • Hi Philippa – Thank you. I’ve put a post up about it now! Blessings, Philip

  33. Hi Philip,

    I was cruising your site for druid-related blogs and noticed that a few of your Blogroll links are now redundant. Just thought I’d mention it. Oh, and is this an appropriate time to mention my own little Hedge Druid blog? ['www.hedgedruid.com]

    Shameful plug!

    I tried to give and take at the same time there.
    Cheers,
    Gwas.

  34. The Goddess is alive, Magic is in the air….on the airwaves, along with snowflakes! Greetings from a small island off the pacific northwest coast. It is our Thanksgiving Day….it is looking like another iced in day and most likely I will be making popcorn for myself and the village crow families. Given this week of cold and ice, I have had lots of time to discover, explore and read read read your whole site. I listened to Coast to Coast last weekend, have put in a request for your new book for our library. Am so glad it was Ian that interviewed you…his questions more thoughtful and intelligent than George’s. And for me, it was a re-awakening…..to my conscious druidic self. About the time friends stopped by the other day with their new Beagle dog named “Merlin”…I put together, really registered the previous week’s events via those airwaves. Beginning with our PBS presentation of Nova on Stonehenge, then to the 3rd and last presentation of Islands of Britain with “doc martin”..and on to the interview, a corporate media prime time slot no less, of Prince Charles. I knew he was an avid gardener but had no notion of the extent of his passion for and practice of sustainability. I didn’t think Brian Williams was particularly enthusiastic….But The Prince of Wales!?! And bless that prince’s royal heart, he knew his peas and carrots. Al Gore didn’t even have that exposure to the masses.
    Now that is alot of all manner of things BRIT…for 1 week in the US and for one who rarely indulges in television. Little Merlin Beagle tipped me off………opened computer yesterday and there was video for your songbird, Susan Boyle.
    thanks be to this sharing and giving time, turkey dinner or not….we are surely entering yet another period of quickening.
    I am so grateful for your seemingly bottomless well of a website….
    from way across the pond and the next whole continent……my best to you,
    Jacquelyn
    PS…I loved the man with ski poles coming down that mountain. finding this spot in which to leave comment, I see that my question is answered as to what this is. Many others too.

  35. Hello dear Sir,

    I have a simple question. I have been using the DruidCraft Tarot for a little while now and have found the accompanying manual increasingly helpful in my “spiritual understanding” of things. I would really like to read a book (or hopefully more) which goes more in depth into wisdom presented here. And I was hoping you could offer a recommendation.

    Thank you kindly!

    Lilith

  36. Is it just seriousness? Or a national tendency to over-egg the pudding; towards over-achievement? To resonate with one of our collective names: Great Britain? We do weighty matters with great weightiness, yes, but we also do light matters with great lightness (this is the nation that produced Monty Python, after all), we do music with great music … and when it comes to spirituality, we seem to feel we have to be ‘great’ at that too.

    Competitive, over-achieving ‘spirituality’! There’s a lot of it about. Spirit, however, has no mass, so if we’re getting weighty about it, then clearly we’ve stepped out of the realm of spirit into the realm of matter where things like that matter. Out of being into doing. (A lot of the time, of course, we’ve got our heads up our own backsides deep in the do-do. It’s one way to see ourselves, but it’s a bit dark in there for much in the way of illumination.)

    Since we’re all spiritual beings, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, being ‘spiritual’ is as profoundly ordinary as being ‘bodied’. Could our struggles to be light, humorous, playful, and joyful about it (or anything) be simply reflecting one of the paradoxes inherent in the nature of our being; spirit in material form?

    (Great blog, by the way! Was taught by a druid briefly nearly 20 years ago now: a brilliant and slightly Zen experience I remember with gratitude and a big smile.)

    • Hi Wendy – couldn’t agree more! Nice you had a Zen Druid experience! :)

  37. Hello Phillip,
    In the wake of the recent Oscars, I had been looking at various interviews of Colin
    Firth both past and present.
    I came across an interview from June 2010: http://www.newstatesman.com/film/2010/06/interview-feel-immigration
    where he mentioned an organisation calledBrightside: http://www.brightwide.com/home
    As often happens the “other side” of celebrities are revealed, and in this case a laudable example. The film Kings speech was superb, but a look into the person
    revealed so much more.

    Very Best
    Mick
    Sylvan Grove

  38. Yes indeed! What a great project Brightwide is! Thanks Mick!

  39. Hi Philip,
    I wonder if any OBOD members or blog readers would be interested in this:
    http://stnectansglen.ning.com/
    It’s such a beautiful sacred site and it needs our support.
    Blessed be
    Philippa :)

  40. Dear Philip,

    Reading your blog is a regular joy – almost as regular as you post new ones :-)

    Other sites you and maybe others might find interesting are: http://tomkenyon.com/transition-states-of-consciousness and http://telosinfo.org/Channelings_from_Denise_Laberge.html

    To me it’s very uplifting to read spiritual information that increasingly becomes more practical and hey – a lot of druid elements are interwoven in it.

    Maybe see you at Dryade camp in Holland,
    blessings,
    Saskia

    • That’s nice to know Saskia! I will check those pages. Sadly I cannot be in Holland for the camp – I have to be in France. But it sounds like it will be a wonderful camp and Peter tells me it is full now!

  41. Hi Philip – just thought your readers might like to link up with my Blog. My journey out of traditional Christianity has been long, via evangelical then liberal then ‘progressive’ to the discovery of the broad spectrum of “new spiritualities” – the mix of blogs on my site reflects this journey and encompasses the rediscovery of spirit in nature and all life.
    I hope people find it stimulating.
    John

    • Hi John – yes happy to do this – I’ll put your blog on the list of recommended blogs!

  42. Hi Philip,

    I was so pleasantly suprised to see you posted our photo information at the Angel Oak on your site. Thank you! Samantha Siegel and I started this movement to save the oak and her forest several years ago and have had great success but it is still a battle.

    I thought you might like to see the links to some of the local coverage:

    http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/may/15/nudity-at-oak-draws-police/

    There is also a video taken during the shoot on http://www.charleston.net (our local newspaper).

    I live on Johns Island a couple of miles from the Angel Oak but will be visiting England for the first time in June. The timing is perfect as we will be at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. I would love to meet you or anyone you would suggest to speak with on the connection between the Angel Oak and the Druids.

    I look forward to hearing from you!
    Lorna Hattler

  43. I would like to know your opinion about the Kabbalah at the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci – See: ordemdosfantasmas.blogspot.com

  44. Hey Philip,

    Did you see ‘your’ Lewes solar power station being mentioned on the positive news website?

    It’s this link: http://positivenews.org.uk/2011/economics_innovation/new_economics/4335/uk%E2%80%99s-first-community-owned-solar-power-station-gets-green-light/.

    Blessings,
    Saskia

  45. Dear Philip,

    I just listened to an episode of the Aussie podcast called Mysterious Universe that I thought you might find interesting in light of your own forays into the healing benefits of sound. (Love your meditations by the way!) It is episode 610, done with a fellow called Daniel Coates who is a dream sounding practitioner. He sounded amazing! I have no idea how to link an iTunes podcast to here, but anyway it’s free and i think you would find it really interesting.

  46. Many thanks Bronzewing! I’ll try to listen to it!

  47. i love your photos. They are truly spiritual

  48. hi philip happy new year to you ,i am a practicing wiccan in and around the new forest , a friend of mine who was born in matlock has asked about the ancient significance of the wishing stone at matlock moor and also a group of stones on a path between matlock station and rowsley these in particular as a child gave her a feeling of sanctuary safeness and she described a sort of of with the faeries type feeling from the larger stone which she had when she was around nine or ten and didnt think about it much just felt strange to her. now at 43 and entering into her third year of practice with our group would like to go back and read the stones or feel the stones in the correct manner ,she has told me there may have been a spiral pattern with holes and a hollow or tho i realise this could be just natural. As i wish for her to get the best starting point for her visit and i have seen you at witchfest several times i wondered if you ould give her a lead into how to plan her visit within herself , i find her story very intereting and will plan to escort her to record her experience. many thanks martyn

    • hi Martyn – we’re in touch but perhaps someone reading this blog can help too?

  49. [...] nudity as a protest tactic and breastfeeding protests in Spain called “tetadas” see Philip Carr-Gomm’s book A Brief History of Nakedness (2010). Share this:FacebookEmailTwitterPrintLike this:LikeBe the [...]

  50. Philip – “The Druid Plant Oracle” literally caught me as I was leaving a bookstore, whispered I should buy it, and I’ve been entranced with it ever since (four days ago). The paintings are remarkable, the wisdom profound, and the beauty all together quite unique. Thanks: I really needed the inspiration I’m getting from the cards and readings…I’m quite familiar with other forms of tarot cards, but your is a new delight. And: since I’m just now exploring Druidry (altho been working in wholistic healing for many years), it helps me go further into this healing way…wish you were giving talks and workshops here in Northern California – you’d be very, very welcome here…and the Mendocino coast, where I live, looks a lot like many of the pictures on your cards…full of spiritual beings, fairies and elementals.
    Would love to hear if you ever do come this way.
    Thanks for your amazing and important work.
    Gail Raborn
    Mendocino, CA.
    USA

  51. Hi,

    you are so right with what you say. I opened my blog after I published my first novel in 2010. As a newbie author I was really serious about that! I wanted the people to come to my blog and notice all the serious information I wanted to offer to other new authors who every of his/her own is struggling with the challenges of being a poor artist. Surely you know that every year 95.000 books are published and only two percent of the authors can live from their authorship.
    At the same time I wanted to become a new Jane K. Rowling! Yeah ^^. So I presented my book…but nobody came – and why? Because my site was too serious! So the effect was: In 2 years I didn’t get so much visitors..I became very depressive…yes I wanted to close the damned blog, because nobody seemed to recognize my serious aim to inform the people about how to get rich…and of my brilliant work in which I didn’t believe…because…I’m a poor artist too.
    The third aspect was that I’m going a spiritual way – and simultaneously was afraid of being called a crazy mystic by people who don’t believe in all that kind of things I’m writing about.

    Now I’m thinking: You are not to be afraid of your ideas and what you are. How do you want to sell your books if you do so? I put some information about healing plants onto my site and then something about the nature people I’m in contact with. There aren’t still more people who buy my first novel, but that’s okay. For me it is nice to see that there is a feedback as they come and read the information…
    Can you imaginge how marvelous that feels?

    Wish You a nice and not so serious day… and don’t forget: not only the English are up-tighted!

    Alina

    • Ha! Good to hear how you feel Alina! Keep going and don’t worry too much about the result or what people will think of you! Thoreau suggested we all have a ‘flow’ or ‘undersong’ as he called it, that just wants to express itself. All we need to do is ‘get out of the way’ of this river trying to flow through us. A blog is a nice way to help release that flow…

  52. Hi,

    the river is for my the mass oft people, the abstract thing I call society containig all those things which are good and those which are not good (suposedly). My parents once gave me that package and I transported it further with me. I was so anxious of what others may say about me that I totally forgott to be myself…
    So keep shining ;)

    Alina

  53. Philip,
    I am impressed by your blog and books. As a Dutch teacher of philosophy i have a passion for druidism. Why don’t we teach this at schools in the Netherlands?

  54. Hi Harry – Thank you for your kind words. funnily enough some of this has entered the school curriculum in the UK. We have prepared material for teachers on this here:
    http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/resources/teachers-resources

  55. I agree Philip that us Brits are far too serious, doesn’t bother me, I know not to fall for it, and anyway my surname is ‘English’ so I’m supposed to represent all-things-english to people from other countries.

    I went to an American school in Switzerland. That was helpful as I then learned about other cultures and how we are perceived by them.

    When I became a full-on Pagan and my life seemed much more ‘full’ and ‘happy’..and as an O-Books author and Astrologer I write from a fun place.
    In fact my titles are funny, the first one being ‘How to Survive a Pisces’ http://www.maryenglish.com/

    I had a few Pisces people complaining to me about that, until they realised I’m a Pisces myself and the title is tongue-in-cheek!

    I live inches away from Glastonbury and Wiltshire which is crammed with ancient sites, stone circles, white horses, long barrows…it feels like the ‘home’ for paganism…(and me).

    I think the problem is, people equate seriousness with ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’, but even the Dalai Lama has a sense of humour!

    Maybe it’s better to have gentle humour…I think that does exist in the UK, we just have to work a little harder to find it:)
    In Peace
    Mary xx

    • Hi Mary – Glad you agree! Your book sounds fun! Do keep in touch – we have gatherings twice a year in Glastonbury, which you might like. If interested do email me c/o office@druidry.org Blessings, Philip xx

  56. As a Hindu I am already pagan but struggle to keep from integrating and loosing my paganess. in the UK, plus an education in colonial Kenya in an English(white) only school did a lot of damage (mental) as I now look back. Currently exploring the Tantric tradition and is it liberating!!. New to your blog look forward to reading more, I believe as more people turn away from religion we pagans can and need to fill the gap to keep a happy functional society.

    • Hi Jayeshji!
      Yes I agree. And the new statistics makes interesting reading from the 2011 census with over 50,000 designating themselves as Pagans.

  57. HI Philip
    As the cult of Christianity is on the wane and science or nature studies have replaced it we pagans can and must reassert ourselves. As you know the seven days of the week is a pagan rite for the worship of a heavenly body on a set day so SUNday MOONday SATURNday we need to go back to these and that which science cannot deny.

  58. Is there anything planned for Summer Solstice Fri 21st? I don’t really want to go to Stonehenge as I’ve heard horror stories of crime and alcohol/drug abuse (use isn’t so bad). Is there anything happening in Lewes? or at the Long Man of Wilmington? Please let me know!

  59. Hi – as a newby – now enrolled on the OBOD Course, I am hoping to find amongst several Unitarian friends in Kendal, that are well “up for it” to get a summer solstice event underway – basically up early (of course) to the Grove (not a ‘formal’ OBOD one) on the south end of Scout scar. It is a secluded spacefocussing on a small labyrinth.

    I’m hoping anyone locally in South Lakeland in Cumbria & Lancashire would be Ok with a solstice celebration – even though not a formal OBOD gathering. If you want fuller details of where to park, then walk up to the “grove” I will send the on. Please Email me at john.hetherington@btinternet.com.
    I hope some of our OBOD friends will want to join us for the sunrise

    John

  60. Hi Philip – we had a great celebration based around the Living the Wheel of the Year – at the Solstice. I have been communing with the wonderful grove, which a year ago had a simple labyrinth I created in it (5 circuit). For the Solstice I cast the circle around the Labyrinth and used the ideas and words in the Wheel booklet. There were 5 of us (I hoped for more) but it was powerful, looking out from the Grove in 4 directions at the gateways.

    The fire was a Candle on the stones at the centre (of the Labyrinth), with candles placed at each cardinal point on the circle. The West, North, East and South points were identified by laid stones. I had read the Living the Wheel over recent days, and been up several times, readying myself. It is a wonderful feeling to be in these energetic and magical spaces near where we live at Kendal. I hope many such celebrations of Alban Hefin have taken place today.

  61. Here is something you will like Philip.
    Trees have been doing maths much longer than humankind it would seem!
    http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/latest/17715306/square-roots-scientists-say-plants-are-good-at-math/

    • Thanks Steve – fascinating! I’ll post it on blog! :)

  62. The beginning of your text made me smile :) I really like the way you write ehehe

  63. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

    • Hi Haley,
      It’s a free WordPress template with my photo that I put in banner. Thank you for the compliment! :)

  64. Hello fellow walker of the old paths,

    I was hoping you might be so kind as to share a link to a fundraiser my Grove is hosting with your readership.

    We are raising funds through fundraise.com to purchase a very special woodland area that is in danger of falling victim to “development.” We hope to be able to raise enough funds to purchase the property and allow for the creation therein of a Nemeton open to any and all who would come in peace.

    This is the shortlink
    http://fndr.se/k4bM

    Thank you so very much for your consideration and help,
    mhórdhúshlán fhear leighis aka Thomas Carter
    Head Druid

  65. You should read the essay on prostitution “A She-Savior” by the well-known Russian author Mikhail Armalinsky.
    http://www.mipco.com/english/SheSavior.html

    The main idea of the essay “A She-Savior” is that the legalization of prostitution must be based on a return of its divine, sacred character, so that prostitution will be considered the most honorable profession, the one closest to God, the holiest.


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