Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 10, 2014

Trek to Petra!

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Stephanie and I met a really inspiring man the other day, called Peter Finnigan. He’s organizing a nine day sponsored trek in the desert to reach Petra in Jordan. This blog post is here to encourage you to join Peter and friends in this incredible adventure. Why? Let Peter explain: “In early 2013 I was diagnosed with throat cancer which required surgery and an intense course of radiotherapy. The level of care that my family and I received from everybody involved in my treatment was quite simply outstanding and played a major role in my recovery. The three organisations that treated me have joined forces to create The Sussex Macmillan Cancer Support Centre, which will open in 2015. The new centre will offer an exceptional level of care and support to cancer patients and their families so that no one in Sussex has to face cancer alone.

This partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, Sussex Cancer Fund and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and has only been made possible through public support. This amazing trek is designed to raise crucial funds for the running of the centre in its first twelve months and I hope that it will become an annual event. Please join me in Jordan in October 2014. It will be hard, it will be hot and it will be an opportunity for all of us to give something back.
Come on, sign up – it’s going to be one big adventure!

The iconic image of Jordan is of the great city of Petra set amid the endless dunes of the desert. The reality is far richer. While half the country is indeed covered by desert, the other half sits on the Fertile Crescent that stretches from the Nile Delta and down towards the Persian Gulf.
We will spend 9 days trekking a desert route, crossed by the nomadic Bedouin people and their livestock for generations. We will be trekking over dry wadis, open sandy desert and rocky desert known as ‘hamada’, but also encountering hot springs, roman remains, crusader castles, neolithic houses and green valleys fed by streams, before reaching the incredible city of Petra.
The scenery will blow you away: by day the mesmerising shapes of the sandstone walls of the canyons and gorges come alive with the changing light, glowing reds and orange, and at night we camp in Bedouin tents and have dinner by candlelight whilst the incredible clarity of the desert sky provides an unrivalled view of the stars.

To book your place or to learn more about the trek please contact info@360-expeditions.com

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 7, 2014

Human Beings are Not Born

A beautifully made short clip in which Stephen Jenkinson conveys his ideas. I love the way he challenges my ways of thinking: listen to how he suggests that ‘human beings are not born’ and that we must ‘kill off childhood.’ Powerful ideas that will resonate with anyone who recognizes the results of there being no initiation rites into adulthood. And listen to his closing remarks about true love being prepared to witness death – even perhaps of… (won’t spoil the punchline!)

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 6, 2014

Integrative Tarot – The Deep Exploration Method

Druidcraft
Guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving

Philip recently suggested I try out a way of working with the Tarot that he and Stephanie have developed. They shared this recently on a webinar hosted by Linda Marson, creator of Global Spiritual Studies, and I was able to watch the recording and so work with the method. I have always been a great fan of their The Druidcraft Tarot.  My own pack is now well weathered and worn from use.  Given my love of these cards, I was excited to try out this new way of using them.

They call this particular approach The Deep Exploration Method, and digging deep is precisely what it does. It’s a method that is perfect for enabling a deeper understanding of more major and significant problems and challenges. Because of this, it also requires  a more measured pace, taking time to free-associate with the images, writing down thoughts, make personal connections through this process, allowing yourself to really ponder and open to the cards you have chosen. For me, what makes this a spread that delves the depths is the inclusion of ‘shadow’ and ‘unconscious’ cards, ones that reveal our buried feelings and motivations. When these are placed along-side cards we have consciously chosen, the revelations can be surprising.
I should here mention a little about the sequence of this method. It requires the dividing of the cards into three piles of court cards, pips and Major Arcana. The reader then picks cards from the Major Arcana pile, some chosen by looking at the images, these are seen as  ‘conscious’ cards reflecting our known understanding of the problem. Others are chosen without seeing the cards -  ‘unconscious’ cards that will give insight into the hidden, unseen aspects of the problem.  The reader is then encouraged to take some time free-associating with the images, letting the mind explore it and make personal connections, writing these down and pondering them.
There is then a break from looking at a spread, to working on your Court Card personality. Stephanie and Philip take you through a test and then recommend, for folks like me, working on this further by finding your Myers Briggs Type Indicator with a free personality test on-line. The test had me as the Princess of Cups, which on reflection (no pun intended) seemed very apt. But what I found fascinating was the suggestion that I acknowledge my shadow court card – for the delicate, sensitive and passive Princess of Cups, this is the dynamic and active King of Wands.  Thinking about the qualities of this card as an unexpressed part of myself was immediately useful in understanding the way I had been dealing with the particular problem I was seeking clarity about.
The Court cards are the ‘Whos’ or vessel through which the energies of the Majors, or ‘Whys’ of the situation move. With these cards laid out, the reading continues with more Majors selected. This for me felt like removing layers and venturing deeper into the issue.
When ready, a Sum Card is worked out, to guide you towards an integration of and understanding of how to work with these energies, once again with free-association and journaling.
Finally, the reader turns to the pile of Pip cards, to get insights into how the energies of the major arcana cards picked are manifesting in the reader’s life.
I spent a good two hours working through this method, allowing myself the time to really explore my thoughts and feelings, make connections,  whilst also exploring these in relation to the traditional Tarot meanings of the cards. The problem I was working with is a deeply painful one, one that has left me feeling a little overwhelmed, hurt, struggling to find my equilibrium, one that has invoked a good deal of fear and insecurity in me, which in turn, was paralysing my ability to find insights and a more positive way of dealing with where I found myself. The beauty of this method was that the headless chicken in my head was immediately stilled by the act of pondering, by stilling myself and allowing those connections to come through the images. It was my commitment to take that time, to open fully to each card, to write and contemplate, that gave my inner voice, my soul voice, the room to breathe and speak. Fear and emotional pain can act like an internal white noise that blocks that wise inner voice – this method felt like tuning a dial on a radio and getting a strong, clear signal.
The use of the unconscious cards was particularly enlightening, I felt like I was welcoming my blind-side into the light and seeing it as an ally to be worked with.
The beauty of Philip and Stephanie’s Integrative approach to Tarot is that it goes way beyond divination in its traditional sense. They blend a knowledge of traditional Tarot Lore with Transpersonal and Jungian psychology and Druid and Wiccan esoteric wisdom that moves the focus of a reading away from fortune-telling, acknowledging that the real power of Tarot comes when it is used as a tool for deep and profound transformation – one that links us to the innate wisdom of our souls. They have a querent-centred approach that recognises that the answers we need lie in our deep selves; that even as the questions in us arise, the soul knows what we need to do and given the opportunity to speak will provide us with the insight that we need.
I found The Deep Exploration Method extremely helpful and enlightening and really recommend it for problems that seem insurmountable or ones that bring with them a sense of stasis and stalemate – several times throughout the process I felt the fog clear and realisations dawn that amongst the inner chaos I hadn’t hoped to discover. I think if you give it the time and attention it deserves, it will work its magic!
If you are interested in viewing the webinars and learning more, see details here: www.globalspiritualstudies.com

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 5, 2014

Can You Combine Druidry & Christianity?

Barcombe Mills East Sussex. Photo: Mark Kingston

Barcombe Mills East Sussex. Photo: Mark Kingston

In 1989 I gave a talk at the first Christians & Druids conference, held at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire. You can read it here. Twenty-five years later, at Imbolc, I found myself at another Christians & Druids (and Pagans) meeting, this time convened at the Ammerdown Centre, near Radstock in Somerset.

Philip Shallcrass, of the British Druid Order, has posted Part One of a great three part detailed account of this event here – thank you Philip!

The event was organised by the Ammerdown Centre with funding and support from the Church of England, and brought together Druids and Pagans in dialogue with Christian priests and laity. I learned a huge amount from the presentations and informal conversations. I met Pagans who happily married their beliefs with Christianity, such as OBOD member and author Annie Heppenstall whose books you can read about here, and heard the extraordinary story of The Forest Church from four of its members. Read more about this in the essay below, which is based on the talk I gave at the meeting, elaborated after that stimulating weekend of discussion!

DRUIDRY & CHRISTIANITY – CAN THESE TWO STREAMS OF SPIRITUAL TRADITION INFORM EACH OTHER AND EVEN PERHAPS BE COMBINED IN ONE PATH OR PRACTICE?

There are at least three reasons why the topic addressed in this article will yield no fruit – according to the skeptics. First, syncretism – the combining of traditions – is a bad idea. Second, the theologies of the two paths are too at variance. Christianity, for example, requires the centrality of the figure of Christ, whereas in Druidry he holds little or no significance. Thirdly, Christianity has proved such an oppressive and destructive force, no good will come from Druids going to bed with the Devil. (Or conversely, if you are a Christian, Paganism has been ‘diabolical’ and modern Pagans refuse the saving grace of Christ, and therefore any attempt at meeting is doomed to failure).
If I believed these arguments, this article would end here, but I don’t – and hence this essay, and my motive for attending various ‘Christians & Druids/Pagans’ conferences over the years… Read more

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 4, 2014

Emptying the Bath While the Taps are Running

George Monbiot is always a sage and sane voice in journalism. After the recent extraordinarily wet weather and severe flooding in the UK, he wrote an article on the problems of farming practices that increase soil erosion, which in turn, leave the land vulnerable to excess water that struggles to drain away. Given the severity of the problem, it is amazing that this issue hasn’t really been raised or discussed in the mainstream media, and, it would seem, the agricultural policies of this government might well be exacerbating the problem. Here is the article and link where you can also view a short video of George discussing whether the connection between climate change and increased flooding are being fully addressed by our current environment secretary, Owen Paterson

It has the force of a parable. Along the road from High Ham to Burrowbridge, which skirts Lake Paterson (formerly known as the Somerset Levels), you can see field after field of harvested maize. In some places the crop lines run straight down the hill and into the water. When it rains, the water and soil flash off into the lake. Seldom are cause and effect so visible.

That’s what I saw on Tuesday. On Friday, I travelled to the source of the Thames. Within 300 metres of the stone that marked it were ploughed fields, overhanging the catchment, left bare through the winter and compacted by heavy machinery. Muddy water sluiced down the roads. A few score miles downstream it will reappear in people’s living rooms. You can see the same thing happening across the Thames watershed: 184 miles of idiocy, perfectly calibrated to cause disaster.

Two realities, perennially denied or ignored by members of this government, now seep under their doors. In September the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, assured us that climate change “is something we can adapt to over time and we are very good as a race at adapting“. If two months of severe weather almost sends the country into meltdown, who knows what four degrees of global warming will do?

The second issue, once it trickles into national consciousness, is just as politically potent: the government’s bonfire of regulations.

Almost as soon as it took office, this government appointed a task force to investigate farming rules. Its chairman was the former director general of the National Farmers’ Union. Who could have guessed that he would recommend “an entirely new approach to and culture of regulation … Government must trust industry”? The task force’s demands, embraced by Paterson, now look as stupid as Gordon Brown’s speech to an audience of bankers in 2004: “In budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers.”

Six weeks before the floods arrived, a scientific journal called Soil Use and Management published a paper warning that disaster was brewing. Surface water run-off in south-west England, where the Somerset Levels are situated, was reaching a critical point. Thanks to a wholesale change in the way the land is cultivated, at 38% of the sites the researchers investigated, the water – instead of percolating into the ground – is now pouring off the fields.

Farmers have been ploughing land that was previously untilled and switching from spring to winter sowing, leaving the soil bare during the rainy season. Worst of all is the shift towards growing maize, whose cultivated area in this country has risen from 1,400 hectares to 160,000 since 1970.

In three quarters of the maize fields in the south-west, the soil structure has broken down to the extent that they now contribute to flooding. In many of these fields, soil, fertilisers and pesticides are sloshing away with the water. And nothing of substance, the paper warned, is being done to stop it. Dated: December 2013.

Maize is being grown in Britain not to feed people, but to feed livestock and, increasingly, the biofuel business. This false solution to climate change will make the impacts of climate change much worse, by reducing the land’s capacity to hold water. To read more click here

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 3, 2014

What I Believe

HicksvilleFrontCover-120pxWe met a delightful guy, Dylan Horrocks, at a recent gathering of OBOD members and friends on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. He is one of the country’s foremost cartoonists and he gave Stephanie and I a copy of his comic novel Hicksville. I’d never read a comic novel before – this was fantastic!

Dylan started a blog called ‘Year of Belief’ in which he states his beliefs and then invites you and I to contribute ours (we can do this anonymously or with a pen-name if we prefer). It makes fascinating reading. Dylan is an atheist – but with yearnings! He writes:

“I like Animism and Paganism. Those traditions seem much more meaningful to me than monotheist religions – perhaps partly because it’s easier for me to enter into dialogue with them without feeling obliged to embrace a whole lot of baggage. In fact, the baggage they do carry these days (New Age Hippie associations) appeal to me, as someone who grew up in the 1970s. Hippie mysticism has always had a stronger pull on my imagination than any monotheist religions.

I would like to believe that the universe is, in some sense, alive and aware. I would like to believe in magic: in some kind of super-natural reality beyond the one I currently believe is the only reality.

I would like to believe in all kinds of things, actually. And at various times, I’ve tried. But as I said before, I never get very far. In fact, I sometimes describe myself as a “reluctant atheist,” because I think it would be lovely to see the universe as a magical, caring spiritual presence – or at least to be able to enjoy a rich spiritual life. But I don’t see how I can.” Read more

And read the latest contributor’s post:

“I believe in a lot of things, none of them absolutely. It might be easier to start with what I don’t believe in. I have no faith or trust in certainty, in purity, in ultimate ends (teleology), or in the value of coercive power.

I am a skeptic, but the deepest and most powerful part of my skepticism is auto-skepticism: I am skeptical of my own skepticism and try never to let it get in the way of investing things with meaning.

I am a practicing occultist, but do not ascribe to any particular school of occult philosophy. Any model can be used to create meaning – but no model is “true.” What matters is what a model, theory, or principle can be used for, what assumptions, implications, and general baggage it brings with it, and how it interconnects with other things one values.”  Great stuff – read more here!

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 2, 2014

Guy Fawkes & John Dee

The oldest public library in the English-speaking world is Chetham’s in Manchester – founded in 1653. They have featured some of their John Dee collection on their website this week which you can see here.

What a beautiful signature the old wizard had! (click to enlarge)

image_dee_letter_520And here is a picture of an imagined meeting between Dee, Kelley and Guy Fawkes. Chetham’s website says:

‘In 1841 the novelist Harrison Ainsworth published the novel Guy Fawkes, or The Gunpowder Treason: An Historical Romance, in which Dee, Fawkes and Humphrey Chetham are described meeting in the warden’s room (now the Library Reading Room). There is no evidence for this encounter but it is possible that the young Humphrey Chetham knew John Dee. Dee borrowed money from Humphrey’s older brother Edmund who was master of the Grammar School from 1597 to 1602.’

'Doctor Dee in conjunction with his seer, Edward Kelley, exhibiting his magical skill to Guy Fawkes.'

‘Doctor Dee in conjunction with his seer, Edward Kelley, exhibiting his magical skill to Guy Fawkes.’

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 1, 2014

Year of the Horse

Good stuff reblogged from The Woolshed Wellington New Zealand’s website:

PICT13052c3ba6383171d2d3611d4261We officially entered the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, on 31st January at 10.38am. As a point of balance approaches with Autumn Equinox this month, here are a few interesting thoughts from Dr. Catherine Wilkins from her weekly Fractology newsletter:

A horse’s strength is its speed.  Also its sociability, especially with other horses.  We are beginning to pick up speed!  So what happens when we pick up speed?  Anything not properly secured tends to fall off.  In other words, anything that is holding us back has been coming up for us to release.
It will become increasingly difficult to hold onto these ‘negative anchors’ as the year progresses. We can all make it much easier for ourselves by letting go now.

So why don’t we do it?  Because we know the more we let go the faster we will begin to move and speed can be scary.  Things can whip by so fast and we can feel out of control.  I think that’s the point.  I think we’re meant to be out of control.  As the evolution of the collective consciousness moves forward we are being encouraged to open to yin energies, to bring in enough yin to balance our yang.  Yang loves to be in control, but yin knows that balance is far more important and that control, more often than not, pulls us out of balance.  The most appropriate control is self-control and this is where the two come together.  When we exercise self-control we are always in balance.  So the intention is:
I exist at the balance point of Heaven and Earth.  All things dance to the rhythm of my creation.
Life lived with the Universe as our dance partner is joyous and exciting, surprising and adventurous.  But remember, we have to allow the Universe to lead because we don’t always remember the steps.

Thank you Catherine!

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 26, 2014

Integrative Tarot Training with the DruidCraft Tarot

SOITTLOGO copyThe DruidCraft Tarot was first published ten years ago, and now it is in various formats – a deck with the book, a deck with a smaller version of the book, and in apps for Apples and Androids. Over the years, we’ve developed a particular approach to using it, which we’ve called Integrative Tarot – combining insights from DruidCraft, Psychology and traditional Tarot lore. Over the last few years, we have started a small Peripatetic school and begun teaching the method in Britain, France,  Italy, Germany, and Barbados. Here’s The School of Integrative Tarot’s logo:

Stephanie and I have just finished giving two webinars using the Integrative approach. It was the first time we had used this technology and I was a little sceptical. Can it really be interactive? In reality, is it more clumsy than effective? Well I’m delighted to say it’s a GREAT medium! Why? Because you can present material on the screen, talk and be seen on the little video panel, and answer participants’ questions as each one types them in. This is perfect for teaching the Tarot because it is such a visual medium, and each participant gets a set of the slides by email afterwards as well as unlimited access to recordings of the webinar. This means weeks or months later they can refresh their memories and do some re-learning. You’ve missed the live event, but you can watch the recordings and receive the slides if you like – either via instant downloads or via DVD mailed to you.

Here’s what some participants said:

Fab class! I found it really insightful, and the techniques genuinely useful and very meaningful….Christine

I loved the webinar today and was able to work deeply and profoundly
with a recent situation…Maggie

What a wonderful session!  Thank you so much for arranging it.  I really hope there are
more opportunities like this in the pipeline!…Caitlin

Just listened to the presentation. It was awesome! Thanks for putting this together…Nancy

Have a look here for more details: globalspiritualstudies.com

 

 

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 25, 2014

Grail Alchemy

I recently had the pleasure of reading andgrail-alchemy endorsing Mara Freeman’s wonderful new book Grail Alchemy – Initiation in the Celtic Mystery Tradition:

Mara’s book encourages the reader to take up the quest in search of this most enigmatic symbol of spiritual healing and integration. Her richly detailed text documenting the Grail’s mythic and cultural history is harmoniously balanced with a series of beautiful and powerful meditations and rituals that enable the seeker to open to the Grail’s deeper Mysteries. Mara marries these elements with depth and wisdom, offering an experience of the Grail as a living, transformative presence at the heart of Self and Creation. A wonderfully inspiring book.

Mara’s book is out now and is well worth a read. For more information see here.

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 20, 2014

Don Quixote and Gollum

photoDSCF1627Visiting New Zealand and Australia for the recent OBOD gatherings meant catching up with old friends – like the fisherman I met again in Wellington and Don Quixote up in the Bina Burra National Park near Brisbane in Australia. Don Quixote was none other than OBOD member and gifted story-teller Michael Vlasto.

Up in the rainforest, Michael entertained us with his stories, we played music and sang together, we held ceremonies amongst ancient antarctic beeches, and saw Paddymelons (mini kangaroos only a foot tall) and two funnel-web spiders: 15 year-old Morticia, and her daughter Wednesday. And we enacted a beautiful ritual to connect with members around the world who are planting anniversary groves of trees to mark the 50th year of the Order. More on that ‘Golden Grove’ project later! Meanwhile do have a look at Michael talking about the value of the Bardic arts of storytelling and drama:

 

Michael: A Passion for Drama from Baby Girl Films on Vimeo.

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 19, 2014

Robin Hood Tax Petition

St.George's Day 2010. Photo Garry Knight

St.George’s Day 2010. Photo Garry Knight

With decisions on a European Financial Transaction Tax just weeks away, it’s never been more important to be one in a million. Please sign the Robin Hood Tax petition and spread the word that a small tax on the banks could make the world of difference to the poor and the planet…Sign here

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 18, 2014

The Druid Remembrance Ritual

This year sees the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World World. Druid Geoff Boswell felt there was a need to honour the lives of those that were killed in that dreadful war and is organising a Druid Remembrance Ritual at the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire) Saturday 5th July 2014 at noon. He is putting the call out for Druids to be involved in this event and has set up a website for those who wish to know more and take part. Here Geoff writes a little about the project and its aims:

I am organising a Druid Remembrance Ritual at the National Memorial Arboretum (Staffordshire) in July and am looking for attendees, and I hoped you and any of your contacts would consider joining us on the day? You will be more than welcome, druid or not. I would certainly love it if someone could bring red and white spring waters from Glastonbury on the day! Same applies to any natural elements from any other part of the country.
 
There is a fledgling website (not yet completed) here 
 
I will be arranging the ritual so that all the presiding priests really do is introduce and link things. I am inviting individuals, groves, groups, organisations not only to attend but also to offer to do selected parts of the gorsedd. There will be a page about it on the website, but for instance a grove, or group, or organisation could offer 4 to 5 people to:
  • Make the call for peace in their own words and manner or
  • Open the quarters in their own words and manner or
  • Close the quarters in their own words and manner
There will be slots for individual contributions such as readings, music, leading the awen; vow of peace; address on ancestors; address on peace etc but there is interest already. Definitely looking for a bugler or similar ‘horn’ instrumentalist to play the Last Post! The RBL banner will be there and will be dipped appropriately. 

Why the Druid Remembrance Ritual?

I am not certain what I think of war.

Oh, I have views on it, but they fluctuate. I am at heart a pacifist. As a boy with (as I only knew later in life) Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome the chances of me winning a school fight were remote. I bruise easily and cut nearly as easily. I never picked fights anyway but that doesn’t stop you getting on the other side of them.  So, instinctively, I became a pacifist.

Politically I find I don’t agree with war mongering, from Thatcher and the Falkland’s through to Blair and Iraq , Afghanistan , and now our eyes are again on the Middle East. But it’s easy to be once removed, either by decision making or being in a different country.  Economically I’d close down most military spending as there are better things to spend the nation’s money on.

But what if we were to be invaded? Don’t I want protection, from a local police officer through a secret service, up to trained military personnel, all who would protect my body, my family, my communities, my rights, my humanity and my Britishness?
 
What happens if, regardless of what I and others think, we end up in an armed conflict? Not the stereotypical ‘both sides press a red button then we wait two minutes for the bang’ type.  The type with guns, tanks, bayonets, artillery, blood, guts, death at your bare hands? Do I want protecting from them? In the heat of battle and with the fear of injury and the stink of death I would probably cry out for it, but I don’t know.
 
I am of a generation who can remember elders saying things along the lines of “I fought in a war for the likes of you” when we did something hippyish, avant-garde, non-conformist, radical or just plain unconventional. This type of comment could have been aimed at long haired wierdos (me) or even shaven headed skins (not me). This simplistic response from people who came back from Word War 2 hides layers of complexity however.
 
They did, indeed, fight for the likes of me. That is for future generations, and for those generations to express themselves as they see fit. Freedom of speech and activity is sustained because of their efforts. We live the lives we lead now, with the advances we take advantage of and the luxuries we enjoy because we fought to keep the British land free of (in that instance) Hitler and the Nazi’s. Would we express Druidry at all today? Would Hitler have invaded even if we hadn’t jumped into the conflict at all?
 
Put me back then and I wouldn’t have volunteered. I would have fought shy of conscription. I might have become a contentious observer. I don’t honestly know. How can I? Does that diminish the cost of the lives of the men and women who did die in WWII? I would not want it to.
 
There is a saying which I will paraphrase that says “the cost of even one life is an affront to God”. I believe that, but I also understand that lives are lost regardless. It is this idea that is central to my thoughts now. I do not BLAME anyone. I do not celebrate war. However, I do commemorate the fallen.
 
Next year (2014), as is patently obvious by simple mathematics, it will be 100 years from the start of the Great War. This was the war to end all wars. But it didn’t  It got relabelled WWI because it didn’t. And we had WW2, Suez , Egypt / Palestine , Falklands, Desert Storm, Vietnam , El Salvador/Honduras, Iraq, Afghanistan – the list goes on.
 
1914 – This was a watershed. It was liminal point in both history and technology, where we commenced (whether you agree with the reasons behind Britain ’s involvement in the Great War or not) to fight the first modern battle with ancient ideas and inappropriate technology. This was a main reason for the dramatic and exorbitant loss of life.
 
It was a war that heralded a greater revulsion or opposition to such conflict, which had not been seen in the UK before through our ‘proud’ military past and our Empire forging. But it did not stop the endless killing for 4 years.
 
To me, and my limited thinking, those who lost their lives in that conflict are those who first ‘fought in a war for the likes of me’ whether they knew it or not. I honour their commitment and sacrifice. Druidry has taught me that that there is always a journey and a sacrifice. Isn’t that a description of monumental events like the Great War? Moreover it is signally true for all those who left these shores never to return  alive. It is true for those who survived and who were left behind.
 
I would envisage Orders, and Groves , and organisations and bodies, and networks and all manner of pagans, individuals, and collectives to be there, with banners and flags.  I want us, yes, to say ‘never again’ but to realistically and pragmatically look back to those who died with thanks if we can manage it, but with sorrow if we cannot. I see this opportunity as a point where modern druids can evidence their own growing maturity and publicly show the nation what and who we are.
A druid ritual will be devised to be enacted on the day. There will be requirements for people to take part, from calling for peace, through the calling of the quarters, the casting of the sacred space, readings, music and poetry and much more. 

There will be two presiders, a priest and priestess, to be announced in due course [currently Emma Restall Orr & Geoff Boswell].

We are hoping that Druid Orders, groves, groups, individuals and other organisations will attend and would ask your help in achieving this. I hope for a united druid event in the spirit that the Druid Forum was originally set up for by the BDO and OBOD way back when. Interfaith cooperation and attendance is also earnestly sought. We’d like flags and banners and all sorts of colour and spectacle there. I had thought of approaching the media as this is an occasion for druidry to show it has matured and can take its place with vigour, respect and responsibility in the modern age. It is not an occasion to celebrate warfare. We honour the fallen. We had hoped to help raise a modest sum for the Peace Pledge Union (White Poppies), and maybe Animal Aid (Purple Poppies).

A ritual will need to be written and devised, with participants approached or nominated, with contributions suggested, commissioned and accepted, so any thoughts or ideas would be welcome. 

We would like:

An order/grove/group of 4 to 6 people to call peace,
An order/grove/group of 4 people to open and another to close the quarters,
A ‘bugler’ or similar for the last post
Readers, speakers and contributors (and their contributions)
Musicians and Singers (and their contributions)
Dancers(and their contributions)

We are specifically asking you for your personal and ‘professional’ support as this will be a first for modern druidry, certainly in the UK, and we have the opportunity to represent ourselves to the wider world. I most certainly wish for OBOD, the BDO, the Pagan Federation, and The Druid Network to be represented at the event, along with one and all. 

We hope to see as many druids – and others – as we can get there, carrying those banners and flags, all with the intent of honouring the fallen of the Great War. If you have any offers for the eisteddfod section then please contact us.  If you fancy taking one of the roles mentioned above then again please contact us. 

We will have a collection on the day for the Peace Pledge Union (white poppies).
 
We can be contacted through druidsofalbion@btinternet.com or through the website 
Yours in peace
 
Geoff Boswell
Steward of The Druid Forum
Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 17, 2014

Fracking – Radioactive Water Manchester Ship Canal

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 13, 2014

Stone Circles in the Land of the First Light

What a start to the Order’s 50th anniversary year – We built one stone circle and planned another one! Tomorrow – Valentine’s Day – is the anniversary of when we started the Order again in its latest incarnation – February 14th 1988 – 26 years ago. But it was 50 years ago – in 1964 – that Ross Nichols founded the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids. I first met him the year before, in 1963, and little could any of us have imagined how things would turn out half a century later, with members now all over the world, and the training programme published in seven languages.

This Golden Anniversary began in the ‘Land of the First Light’ – New Zealand. As everyone in the northern hemisphere slept through the last night of the old year, 2014 had already begun in the South Pacific. We were there to celebrate with members and friends – first with some workshops at the amazing Prana New Year festival in the Coromandel, then on Waiheke Island, then at the Grove of the Summer Stars annual camp in Pukerua Bay, just outside Wellington.

On Waiheke island Fiona wanted help from the Auckland OBOD group – The Dragon Fire Grove – and everyone was soon on their knees, making calculations and heaving stones (well we did have the help of a digger). Although the stones weren’t gigantic what a change there was in the feel of the place once all the stones had been put into position! With an almost 360 degree panoramic view of the ocean from the circle, it radiated a fantastic atmosphere of peace and stability.

And then it was down to Wellington for the Annual camp – as ever, another great bunch of friends, old and new, and wonderful workshops and laughter. The novelist Juliet Marillier was with us and gave a fantastic workshop. Peta Joyce interviewed her for Druidcast – and you can hear that interview in the next show – due out in a week’s time. And we all planned a stone circle up on the ‘Tor’ at the Woolshed, with help from one of the founders of the ‘Stonehenge Aotearoa‘ project – astronomy professor Richard Hall. I’ll never forget standing outside looking up at the Southern stars with Richard’s powerful laser pen seeming to reach right up to the constellations as he told us the classical and Maori stories associated with them.

Stephanie and I were in New Zealand for a month and then we went to the Annual Assembly in Australia. The day after we got home we attended a Druids, Pagans & Christians conference in the West of England. Each of these events was so rich and inspiring. I’ll try to blog about them over the coming days and weeks (once I get back from Austria and the DruidCraft Tarot webinar – maybe see you there!)
In the meanwhile, here are two photos from Waiheke.

photo

Druid men are fashion conscious and pride themselves on their style

photo

A Welsh stonemason and pixie who lives on the island

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 13, 2014

The Druid Underground Film Festival

Check out the website of the Druid Underground Film Festival! Here is a little information on this year’s event:

DRUID UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

New York, New York – USA  - April 25 to 26, 2014

 The 7th Annual Druid Underground Film Festival (DUFF), a multifaceted celebration of film, music, and the magic of the unknown. With a strong emphasis on outrageous, personal, and truly independent works of cinema, DUFF provides a powerful platform for unorthodox stories that might not otherwise find the audiences they deserve. 

Year after year, moviegoers with eclectic tastes and unique perspectives make their way to DUFF for an unforgettable party that champions independent film. This year’s program will be presented bi-coastally both at the historical HM 157 in Los Angeles as well as Manhattan’s Anthology Film Archives, an international center for the preservation, study, and exhibition of experimental and avant-garde film and video. 

Previous winners of DUFF span a broad gamut of exciting underground cinema, including Damon Packard’s SKATEBANG, Jason Eisener’s Treevenge, Rodney Ascher’s Visions of Terror, and more. Winning filmmakers are eligible for Jury Awards, including the coveted Palm D’ruid; gain access to DUFF’s Underground Film Forum program, a collaboration and talent recruitment symposium; and enjoy media coverage from outlets including LA Weekly, The Guardian, Vice, LAist, and countless others.

MISSION AND OBJECTIVE
  - DUFF is a traveling powerhouse of the most provocative and bizarre films on Earth.

MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Feature-length and short-form films are welcomed and celebrated at DUFF in venues throughout Los Angeles and Manhattan. The festival proudly offers a wide variety of ways for talented cineastes to network and collaborate. 



Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 11, 2014

Ushti Baba – Exhilirating and Fun!

Here’s a band to book for your next celebration! Exhilirating stuff!

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 7, 2014

A Call to Arms for Consumerism!

A wonderful clip from the 1989 film ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’ with Richard E.Grant of ‘Withnail and I’ fame.

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 6, 2014

Pandora’s Dilemma

The Order’s patroness Dwina Murphy-Gibb has a new novel out! 


Pandora’s Dilemma
by Dwina Elizabeth Gibb, now available from Mythwood Books!


When adorable, unspoilt Pandora Winchester comes out at the ball, she little suspects how her young life will soon be changed forever. What is the secret locked away in the library, guarded by the phantom Grey Lady and her druid harp? Who is the Duke of Ardboyne and what are his real intentions? He alone holds the key to the mystery of her true birth but first Pandora will have to evade the sadistic clutches of her detestable cousin Cedric. With her reputation compromised by her trespass onto the forbidden estate at Harefield Hall, how will Pandora regain her innocence and enter into her inheritance? The cross she finds in the woods is a clue, but its significance veils an even greater mystery than she could ever guess.

PANDORA’S DILEMMA is the first of the Regency Dilemmas series by Dwina Elizabeth Gibb. It weaves together a fabulous blend of romance and mystery. Here is a wonderfully dashing yet circumspect view of the Regency period, heady with love yet concealing startling secrets and revelations. Dwina has published several previous novels, including a two-volume epic about the life of the Irish hero, Cormac mac Art. 
PANDORA’S DILEMMA is available now on Amazon Kindle for £3.99/$6.40* and coming soon on Kobo and the iBooks store for iPad and iPhone.

PD_cover_small

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | February 4, 2014

Sonnet to Orpheus

snowdrops 3A tree ascended there. Oh pure transcendence!
Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear!
And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence
a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.

Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright
unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests;
and it was not from any dullness, not
from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves,

but from just listening. Bellow, roar, shriek
seemed small inside their hearts. And where there had been
at most a makeshift hut to receive the music,

a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing,
with an entryway that shuddered in the wind-
you built a temple deep inside their hearing.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

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