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

The Flowing River and the Book of Life

A guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving…

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Druidry encourage a positive engagement with the Bardic Arts. it recognises that our urge to express ourselves through our creativity is, at heart, a spiritual act: when we create we share, in some small way, in the vast and mysterious act of creation. Not only that, our creativity can illustrate just what it means to be human. How often have we read a poem or piece of prose and got that ‘me too’ feeling, or when listening to music felt something beyond words open up inside us? When we create, we share something fundamental and vital about ourselves and our experience of living; when we are exposed to the creativity of others, we are given the potential to gain a deeper understand of life and self. The path of the Bard is a transformative one – it can change us, dissolving the boundaries of our small and limited selves to reveal something bigger, richer.

In Druidry, the concept of Awen is intimately linked to our creativity. We seek to open ourselves to this vibrant energy, allowing it to move through us and animate our creations. We feel its touch when our awareness is heightened, when a grey world is cracked open and flooded by colour. An encounter with Awen is essentially a sudden change of perception that – although transitory in our experience of it – can have a lasting impact through our creative efforts. A little Awen takes up residence in the things we create and through the sharing of these, touches others – at least, this is the always the potential when we offer our art to the world.

The word Awen is often translated as ‘flowing spirit’ and it is no surprise how many deities traditionally associated with inspiration and the creative arts are connected not only to flowing water but to knowledge. If we think of the Goddess Brighid, there is always a sense that her inspiration brings with it the gift of a deeper knowing – the fires of her forge melt us down, change our shape, toughen us on the anvil of experience in order to deepen our wisdom. Her waters nourish and sustain; her springs suggest to us that deep within there is a place we can draw from that will feed us; that this quiet place – when we follow its course – can expand and swell, spilling over the brim of our inertia into movement, and that if we step into this current, we will be carried by its powerful momentum back to the Source.

I have been recently drawn to the Hindu Goddess Sarasvati, who in many ways shares a good deal with Brighid and the gifts of Awen. She is the Lady of all creative arts and sciences – musicians, artists, writers, students, teachers and philosophers call upon her for her blessings and guidance. She was originally a river Goddess and is strongly associated with flowing water in her role as goddess of knowledge and creativity. What I find particularly interesting is that her name translates as ‘Sara’: essence/essential knowledge of ‘Sva’: the self. Her name suggests this link between creativity and a deeper knowledge and understanding of ourselves and life.

In her iconography, she is often portrayed with four arms, one carrying a book or scroll, another a crystal mala, the remaining two playing a Veena (a lute-like instrument). She possesses a pot of sacred water, so reminiscent of the grail and is often seated upon a white swan (note that Brighid is also associated with swans) or a lotus. Here we see references to her connections to Divine knowledge, truth and wisdom; of how the spiritual life is intimately connected to the powerfully expressive and purifying nature of our creativity and that these are made manifest through music, words, the arts and sciences – through our actual creations: Awen made manifest. In this act of shaping spirit into form, a little more of life is revealed to us and shared with others.

At the OBOD 50th Gathering in Glastonbury, after an evening of celebration, music and poetry, 400 Druids stood in the dark watching a glorious firework display. In the magical silence that followed, a spontaneous chanting of the Awen began. It rippled out, swelling and cascading over and through ever soul there. It was an extraordinary moment. The evening had been a celebration of sharing not only creativity but our community and the sense of spiritual connection that these inspire when the sacred relationship between them is honoured.  The power of chanting the Awen is that it symbolises the magical shift that occurs when our individual creative voices join in with and enrich the whole. The Bardic arts have the potential to change things for the better; to add to the collective wisdom for the good of all, which is why Druidry’s focus on them is such an important part of our spiritual path.

Through our creativity, we are each a drop of inspiration in Sarasvati’s river, flowing out into the world and sustaining life; adding knowledge to the sacred book she holds in her hands, for the future benefit of all who come after us.

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | June 17, 2014

Truth, Growth and Democracy

A guest post by Dirk Campbell

Dirk Campbell

Dirk Campbell

In 1972 a report was published by the Club of Rome, called Limits to Growth. The writers of the report had decided to come out with something that’s perfectly obvious but no-one wants to hear: you cannot have perpetual growth in a closed system. Mankind must reach the limits to growth on this planet eventually; the only question is when.

Dr Graham Turner of the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation gave a talk which included a simple graph with two curves: downward for resource depletion and upward for resource exploitation, coinciding in 2020 with a resulting sharp fall in resource availability, economic and industrial activity, pollution and CO2 output. Notes on the June 2011 All Party Policy Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO) meeting at the House of Commons…

Opponents to the Limits to Growth report, notably US economists, argue that it is a doomsday prophecy that does not hold up to scrutiny, and that its policies would consign billions to permanent poverty. The report, however, contains no policies, only probabilities. And the truth is that billions are already living in permanent poverty because global capitalism, with democracy as its scurrying servant, concentrates money, resources and political power in the hands of the rich few who want to carry on business as usual, despite the inevitability of collapse sooner or later.

Why doesn’t our government act in our interests? Because we live in a democracy, and democratic government is all too frequently powerless in the face of truth. The democratic process is based on the self-interest of the majority, so invariably facts are fudged, statistics massaged and important issues ignored, while unimportant ones are given undue emphasis in order to attract the support of the greatest number, with the result that democratic governments are elected on a platform of deceptions and half-truths which they have to maintain while in office. Not to mention the obligations they incur to powerful vested interests during the election process and in government.

Imagine a political party today campaigning on a strictly truthful platform. ‘We have reached the limits of resource availability so we must stop industrial and economic growth, and we must reduce our population. We must stop emitting greenhouse gases so that future generations will have a habitable planet. We must live and work more locally and sustainably and stop jetting off on holiday and business destinations. We must restructure our financial dealings so that it is no longer possible for individuals to make huge profits out of a fictional economy which then impacts adversely on the tax-payer.’

No-one would vote for such a manifesto. Human beings don’t do anything unless there is a perceived need and there has never been a perceived need for enforced restrictive legislation except in the case of a major external threat such as a war. And even in that case – more particularly in that case – truth is the first casualty.

How then can we organise our lives on the basis of truth? The first thing is to recognise that no effective social organisation can be based completely on truth. Truth doesn’t emerge into social consciousness that way. It helps to accept that we live simultaneously in two domains with different rules: socio-political and personal. And it also helps to recognise that everything in human life is ultimately about psychology.

The unconscious mind is the repository of all the beliefs that motivate us deep down, about whether the world is safe or dangerous, about whether we are rejected or accepted, seen or ignored, lost or found. Truth in the objective sense has nothing to do with these powerful drivers. Which is why political speech has always appealed to the unconscious, and why events always overtake policies. We are always fighting bygone wars. Our unconscious drivers exist at the level of archetype, myth legend and belief. Those stories are more powerful for us than conscious stories, and every successful politician taps into them. ‘The national interest.’ ‘Sustainable growth.’ ‘War against terror.’ ‘Health and welfare.’ ‘Change for the better.’ None of these well-used and sonorous phrases actually has any meaning – or rather, they can have any meaning you like. They are vague concepts that invoke our unconscious stories about heroism, success, abundance and the survival of the tribal community. They are forms, in effect, of unconscious language.

Our personal lives, on the other hand, can be lived differently, and usually are. Here our subconscious drivers are based on the ‘family survival contract': be considerate, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t boast, don’t make a fuss, don’t cause harm or upset, don’t exploit others for your own gain. How often do we find socio-economic imperatives over-riding these values!

Beyond the family sphere we seem to obey different rules, much as physical bodies obey different rules at subatomic and macroscopic levels. We are forced to inhabit two worlds simultaneously: the world of personal value and the world of political expediency – truth and untruth. It must always have been so since the first emergence of polities larger than the nomadic band. There’s no point in attempting to work against a system that re-establishes itself whatever you do to it, like one of those toy cars that rights itself automatically; eventually it will run out of power on its own. It’s more effective and more permanent to live truthfully and teach truth to your children, so that at least they’re not confused by the apparent conflict between personal and politico-economic values.

~ Dirk Campbell, TTL.

 

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | June 17, 2014

The Breathing Planet – Kew Gardens Campaign

Globally important conservation and science under threat at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew due to government cuts – £5M deficit will lead to loss of over 120 posts

The UK Government need to urgently reverse the existing cuts to Kew’s annual operating grant in aid funding, and to cancel the proposed and any further future cuts.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with sites at Kew Gardens, London and Wakehurst Place, Sussex is a world-leader in conservation and botanical science, with over 250 years of historical excellence in these fields.

Never before has Kew faced such a significant threat to its future. It now needs your help to ensure its globally-important plant and fungal collections can continue to be used to support plant and fungal science and conservation around the world.

In 1983, 90 per cent of Kew’s funding came from the UK Government as grant in aid. The current amount has dropped to below 40 per cent as of this year. Funding was reduced by £0.9M in 2009-10, £1M in 2010-11, and by an extra £0.5M year-on-year thereafter.

Kew has now been told to expect further cuts of at least another £1.5M before the end of 2016.

Under the 1983 National Heritage Act, the UK Government committed to ensure that Kew is adequately resourced to fulfil its statutory obligations, which include: research; providing advice and education; plant-related services including quarantine; caring for world-renowned scientific collections, as national reference collections available for study; and as a resource for the public to gain knowledge and enjoy. The UK Government is no longer fulfilling its role to allow Kew to meet these obligations.

Kew has been dramatically increasing income from non-government funding streams through the work of their partner charity Kew Foundation, and via commercially-generated income, consultancy work, and research funding. Although there are plans to extend these efforts, they are no longer able to keep up with the rate of cuts in government funding and many areas of Kew’s work are not easily resourced externally.

Due to the cuts, Kew has announced that with a £5M deficit for this year, over 120 posts will be axed. The majority of posts will be lost in the areas of science and public engagement. In specialist careers measured in decades of experience, Kew will lose dedicated, expert staff, and whole areas of work are likely to be halted.

As Sir David Attenborough said:

“Kew has an absolutely crucial role in looking after our botanical heritage and our botanical future. The important thing to remember is that it is the premiere botanical gardens in the world scientifically. People who think it is just a place to go to look at pretty flowers and flower beds are mistaking the importance of Kew Gardens. The Seed Bank is of world importance and it should be supported by the Government like a proper institution or university and the continuing idea that Kew Gardens is merely a playground and that you just put up the prices to look after it is a misguided assessment of the value of Kew. The Government and the scientific departments should recognise that and support it properly.” 

Please show your support for Kew, and their continuing work for future generations, by signing this petition, and please encourage others to do the same.

99,000 have signed the petition. Please add your name by clicking here.

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | June 16, 2014

Monsanto Sues Vermont for wanting to tell the Truth!

monsantolandJust hours ago, the world’s most hated corporation got even more evil.

Monsanto and its allies have just announced they’re suing the tiny, rural U.S. state of Vermont to stop a new law that simply requires genetically engineered foods to be labeled. In fact, the mere threat of a multi-million dollar lawsuit nearly caused the state to back off the labeling law altogether.

But Vermont is refusing to back down — and they’re asking for our help. They’re getting ready to fight back against Monsanto, and have even created a legal defense fund so people around the world can make donations to help them beat back Monsanto’s lawsuit.

The SumOfUs community is already fighting Monsanto on every front, but we need to show Monsanto now that we won’t be intimidated. We won’t let Monsanto bully our elected officials into submission. Will you chip in $1 to stand with Vermont and fight back against Monsanto?

Yes, I’ll chip in £1 or  $1 to help Vermont stand up to Monsanto.

Vermont is a small, entirely rural state with just 600,000 people. Vermont vs. Monsanto, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, is a classic David and Goliath fight.

But there’s much more at stake here than just whether GMO foods will be labeled in a single U.S. state. Vermont is actually the very first state in the U.S. to require labeling, and dozens of other states have said they will require labeling as well — but only if Vermont’s law can survive this legal challenge.

That’s why Monsanto is fighting so hard to kill GMO labeling in Vermont. If we can win here, it’ll be a huge step towards the goal of GMO labeling worldwide, and making sure consumers know what they are eating.

Monsanto has been threatening this for weeks, but it’s only just filed suit through the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, a trade group of which Monsanto is a core member. And Monsanto’s legal bullying is part of a growing trend of multi-national corporations suing sovereign governments to overturn regulations they don’t like. Since the biggest corporations are larger than many countries around the world, it’s critical that citizens of the world band together to fight back.

That’s what SumOfUs is all about — harnessing the global consumer power of our nearly 5 million members to take on corporate abuses wherever they occur. And if enough of us donate, we’ll be able to not only help out with the Vermont legal defense fund, but launch our own campaign pressuring Monsanto to end these legal attacks on our right to know what’s in our food. Can you chip in $1?

Yes, I’ll chip in £1 or $1 to help Vermont stand up to Monsanto.

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

Medieval Mysteries

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OBOD member Karen Ralls is a historian and musician who has recently written a book entitled Medieval Mysteries: A Guide to History, Lore, Places and Symbolism. Here is some information about the book, followed by Karen’s own words about its contents. A great book for anyone interested in this fascinating period:

Cross the threshold and journey into the world of the High Middle Ages (1100-1300), to further explore twelve of the most-frequently-requested medieval topics today. From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose to the delights of Monty Python, the medieval period – pagan, Christian, and otherwise – continues to intrigue, inspire and fascinate many today. But what were some of the unexpected developments, interesting people, and key events of this epic time?  For general readers and specialists alike, medieval historian, former Rosslyn Chapel museum exhibition Curator and author Karen Ralls presents the key historical facts and associated places, symbolism, and folklore for each of the twelve medieval topics, providing a much-requested ‘medieval anthology’ — a lively introductory portal for all readers, in one place, which includes the major historical facts as well as some of the lesser-known aspects about each of the topics.  The story of each subject comes alive as never before, providing a solid, engaging overview about each subject, as well as numerous full colour photographs throughout, a Recommended Reading List (from both academic and selected general sources), four appendices, Historic Sites to Visit,  Notes, and a full Bibliography. Topics covered include:

  • The Knights Templar
  • The Grail and the Grail quest
  • Mary Magdalene: medieval places, traditions and shrines
  • Black Madonnas: from springs, grotto and grove to Chartres…
  • The courage of the Cathars
  • Medieval Guilds;  The Green Man
  • The Troubadours
  • Heresy, Heretics, and heresy trials
  • Rosslyn Chapel
  • King Arthur,  Glastonbury, Merlin

Further explore the history and wonders of the High Middle Ages —  a time of potent symbolism, unexpected developments on many fronts, and much spiritual questing. 

‘Medieval Mysteries: History, Places, and Symbolism – is a history book covering twelve of the more-frequently-requested medieval period subjects. Although being ‘medieval period/High Middle Ages’ (1100-1300) in focus, I do discuss throughout (wherever I possibly could!), the history of the pagan-related aspects of a number of medieval period subjects, i.e, the Green Man, the earlier roots of the Black Madonnas, from springs, grottoes and groves, to Chartres, medieval heresies, the Grail Quest. I also enjoyed finding an early ‘Our Lady of the Oak Tree’ in France.’ – Karen Ralls

 

  • Karen’s website and details of her other books can be found here.

 

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

A Huge Thank You!

A huge ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who helped to make last weekend in Glastonbury (all four days of it!) such an outstanding success. Everyone was amazing, and if you were there, what you experienced was an example of an incredible amount of team-work – from the teams who organised tickets, security, the music, the buffet, the fringe events, the rituals, and so on. And some individual heroism too – from Hawkie who made litres of Nuinn’s Dragonsbreath Mead for 400 thirsty druids, for example!

Still reeling from it and off to Germany soon, so no time for more comment, but you can read blog accounts from others here: http://setantii.wordpress.com/

http://corieltauvigrove.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/obod-50th-anniversary-gathering-6-9-june-2014/

http://downtheforestpath.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/obod-50th-anniversary-gala/

http://roundtheherne.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-people-of-peace.html

And Damh will be putting up recordings over the coming months and Kevin Redpath is making a film of it, though that will take a while to be edited.

A related post here:

http://www.jamiereid.org/news_from_nowhere/time_for_magic.html

And news that 500 trees will be planted to celebrate the anniversary here (for only £5 you can make that 501!)

http://treesforlife.org.uk/groves/grovepage-new2.php?id=8593

And some photos here – many more on OBOD’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/druidry

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OBOD’s Golden Anniversary Celebrations, Glastonbury Tor, 7 June 2014

 

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OBOD’s Golden Anniversary Celebrations, Arthur ZZ Billington on guitar & Weil Influence on fiddle, play at the Eisteddfod in the Abbey Grounds, 7 June 2014

 

OBOD's Golden Anniversary Celebrations - An exhibition of work by Jamie Reid, Will Worthington, Sharon Zak and Polly Morris at the Glastonbury Galleries

OBOD’s Golden Anniversary Celebrations – An exhibition of work by Jamie Reid, Will Worthington, Sharon Zak and Polly Morris at the Glastonbury Galleries

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

People in London

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Richard Slater is a talented photographer who has spent the last five years capturing the people of London in all their marvellous diversity. He is seeking to turn this wonderful project into a book entitled People in London: One Photographer, Five Years, The Life of a City and has put a call out on Kickstarter for help to make this a reality. You can read more about this inspiring project, watch a short video about it and find information on how you can help by clicking here.

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

OBOD 50th Anniversary Exhibition

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

Why I Love New Zealand

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 29, 2014

The Want of Peace

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All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman’s silence
receiving the river’s grace,
the gardner’s musing on rows.

I lack the peace of simple things.
I am never wholly in place.
I find no peace or grace.
We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness
and wish for the dumb life of roots.

~ Wendell Berry

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 28, 2014

Plant Consciousness

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Plant Consciousness

4th-6th October

Regents University, London

An Event That Will Revolutionise Our Relationship With Plants

Our disconnect from the natural world has led to the disastrous situation that we now find ourselves in on planet Earth, yet our deep feelings for nature form part of our spiritual longing. Plant Consciousness will demonstrate in dynamic ways, how at both the microcosm and macrocosm levels we can re-establish that connection to nature and why it is essential for the development of consciousness and the well-being of the planet that we do. We can learn so much from the inherent qualities of the plant kingdom and if we look even closer, from the intelligence that lies behind it. Bringing together the values of plant neurobiology, permaculture, deep-ecology, eco-psychology, shamanism and herbalism you will discover a deeper understanding of and a new harmony with plants and with your place in the biosphere of life on this planet.

Speakers confirmed for this event are:

- John Perkins - Sacred Plants, Shapeshifting & The Consciousness Revolution

- Philip Carr-Gomm – Working With Sacred Plants Of The Druid Tradition

- Sir Julian Rose – The Path to Organic Awareness

- Pam Montgomery – Our Symbiotic Relationship With Plants

- Simon G Powell – The Role Of Botanical Intelligence On Board Spaceship Earth

- Stefan Ball - Everything In Nature Is Simple

- Tigrilla Soler & Damanhur – The Music Of The Plants – 40 Years Of Research

Full information about the event, all the speakers and their presentations can be found on the event website

Early Bird Ticket Offer – Last Few Tickets Remaining!

As a special launch offer – a limited number of tickets were sold at a reduced ticket price of £49 rather than the normal price of £64. Only around 15 of those tickets still remain. To book your early bird ticket please use this link.

One Day Follow Up Workshops

Sunday 5th October – Shapeshifting Yourself and The Plant with John Perkins – author of The World Is As You Dream It & Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

John Perkins has worked for over 40 years with shamans on 6 continents. They teach that shapeshifting, ­the ability to alter form at will, can be used to create positive change. John combines this with a background as Chief Economist and partner in a major international consulting firm; he advised country presidents and corporate CEOs on ways to transform themselves and their institutions.

In this hands-on experiential program you will explore the three levels of shapeshifting:  1. Cellular (transforming into animals, healing cancer, shedding weight),  2. Personal (living fully in the present, dropping addictions, being who you really want to be), 3. Institutional (changing society, business, politics, education).

Tickets for this all day workshop with the world famous whistleblower and international best selling author are just £45! Full information on this very special one-day workshop with John can be found here.

Monday 6th October - Plant Communication; Reclaiming Our Birth Right with Pam Montgomery – author of Plant Spirit Healing

Plants are the most successful organisms on the planet and unlike animals, including humans, have the unique ability to create food, oxygen and tissue from sunlight. The latest scientific research shows that they are intelligent beings who have the capacity to store enormous amounts of information while being highly efficient in communicating and making decisions. Indigenous healers have known this about plants for centuries and have recognized that it is actually the sentient spirit of the plants that does the communicating and healing.

During this class we will explore both science and traditional knowledge to learn how to communicate with plants and translate their message. Through entering the daydream we will encounter the bio-resonance of the plant where cellular re-patterning toward health can take place. Through traditional dream journeying we will come to understand the spirit of the plant and how it can serve as a guide, ally and friend helping us in our lives and other’s with everything from serious physical illness to making decisions in our lives to bringing a greater sense of well-being. Join us as we learn how to align with the plants, listen deeply and take up our rightful place as a co-creative partner within nature.

Limited Places for this workshop – All the early bird tickets have now sold out for this and places in general are very limited – only 28 are now left at the standard price of £95 for this full day workshop. Full information on this workshop can be found here.

 

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 27, 2014

Flowers of Hope and Healing

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I have posted here in the past about the ‘Living Machine’ – a system that uses wetland and water plants, bacteria and other organism in order to cleanse waste water and make it drinkable. On a related theme, I came across an article by Molly Cotter about plants being used to cleanse radioactive toxins form the ground near Fukushima, Japan. In the aftermath of the Nuclear disaster brought about by the Tsunami, millions of sunflowers have been planted to help soak up the toxins that have polluted the land.  The planting has been driven by Buddhist monks – Cotter writes,

Koyu Abe, chief monk at the Buddhist Joenji temple has been distributing sunflowers and their seeds to be planted all over Fukushima. The plants are known to soak up toxins from the soil, and patches of sunflowers are now growing between buildings, in backyards, alongside the nuclear plant, and anywhere else they will possibly fit. At least 8 million sunflowers and 200,000 other plants have been distributed by the Joenji Buddhist temple. “We plant sunflowers, field mustard, amaranthus and cockscomb, which are all believed to absorb radiation,” Abe says.

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There is something moving about the thought of so many sunflowers – a plant that seems to glow with optimism and hope – growing amongst the devastation. Not only does it serve a practical purpose in helping to heal and cleanse the soil but it is in itself a message of hope that renewal is possible. To read the whole article click here

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Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 24, 2014

The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell

“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”
Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 24, 2014

Save Talliston House and Gardens

GilesG The Watchtower sofassmallA campaign has been launched to save Talliston House & Gardens. The ex-Council house transformed into an interior design wonderland is on the brink of being lost forever.

Once an ordinary house in an ordinary street, over the past 24 years, Talliston House & Gardens has been transformed into a wonderland of unique and inspirational locations. Set to be completed in October 2015, recently the project has been hit with severe financial hardship resulting in the launching of an Indiegogo campaign to help save this unique interior design project, art installation and community for craftspeople, writers, artists. Click here to find out how you can help save Talliston House & Gardens.

At its core, the project is an exploration of the concept of the extraordinary within the ordinary. It’s about exploring how we all have inside us the power to be whatever we want or can imagine.

So it began with the ordinary:

Three-bedroomed semi-detached ex-council house in Essex

And will finish with the extraordinary:

Talliston will comprise thirteen stunning locations, grouped into five elements and set across more than six-thousand years of history, from 4000 BC to 2228 AD. Each room or garden is infused with a rich story, incorporating hundreds of authentic antiques and objects sourced from across the globe.

And all this was done by one man and his growing team of artists, craftspeople and volunteers – all inspired by the project’s unique vision. Now, the culmination of over two decades of design, sourcing and  rebuilding is threatened due to financial difficulties of the driving force and creator, John Trevillian.  As the project is internally funded, Trevillian is calling for help and support from the interior designers, art and history lovers alike who have already discovered and are captivated by Talliston – and want to see the future of this unique and magical place secured forever.

“The process is to deconstruct each room back to the brickwork and rebuild from scratch, has always been limited by the factors of time and money. This house is funded by myself and the generous support of the Friends of Talliston. Now with the news that financially we are less than three months away from repossession is devastating.

“Building Talliston was always quite a brave undertaking, but made more so because the person who started this quarter-century journey – ie. me – could not even wire a household plug. Talliston is a house designed as a place where time has no power, akin to stepping inside a living, breathing work of art… It is a massive enterprise, and we are only eighteen months from making it a reality. Any help to secure the project’s completion and future will be of inestimable value. ” – John Trevillian  Creator and Project Lead, Talliston House & Gardens

The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign begins on 24th May 2014 and runs for 31 days.

Before and after photography and full information on each location can be found on http://www.talliston.com.

About Talliston House & Gardens

Talliston House & Gardens Mission

1. TASK: To take an ordinary house (three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex) and transform it into an extraordinary labyrinth of locations from different times and places, so that not a single square centimetre of the original house remains, while:

- keeping the orientation and use of the original rooms

- only adding those elements that a typical council-bought house would contain (conservatory, kitchen extension, garden shed, etc.)

- utilising only those tradesmen and craftspeople required by law or necessity, with all other work accomplished by core team and volunteers.

2. TIME: Exactly twenty-five years, starting at midday on 6th October 1990 and finishing at midday on 6th October 2015.

3. COST: To do so without any outside funding over and above the time and finances of ordinary people.

The Friends of Talliston is a non-profit group being created to preserve and restore the house, gardens and inventory.

Web links to the Indigogo page can be found here on the Talliston website.

 

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 23, 2014

On Behalf of the Land

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This week my friend and OBOD member JJ Middleway gave a wonderful speech on behalf of the land at a Public enquiry. He has very kindly given permission to share it here with you:

Today I spoke on behalf of the Land at a Public Inquiry into planning for 114 houses in the remarkably beautiful Slad Valley where I live. I attach my speech here too.

I spoke simply as a Human Being, but also as a Spiritual Warrior, a Druid Shaman and a Priest of the Land, which is how others have described me. I wore some fresh Oak leaves and my Druid cloak (the equivalent of the business suits that the Government appointed Inspector, Barristers and other Counsel were wearing as ‘clothes of their profession’ .)

Afterwards, when I offered blessings on all the lives of the Developer’s (opposition) legal team, I was asked for a copy of the ‘speech’ and told how moving they had found it.

JJ Middleway speaks on behalf of the Land:

 As the Land, I do not have a voice as you would recognise it.

I do not speak the language of words and of letters as you do.

However, I do have a language; and there was a time, when more of your people could understand it: Now there are few who listen; but, encouragingly, ‘a growing few’.

Just as you might allow a translator into a court, to enable Swahili, Sanskrit or Welsh to be understood, here too there is need of a translator. All I ask is that you listen.

I put it to you that it is not just humans who are affected by this proposal, but also countless other ‘beings'; from cowslips and butterflies, to oak trees, heron and deer: The living earth itself, and all that lives ‘in and upon her’ … ‘in and upon me’.

You might find it strange; however the land too, experiences something akin to what in your language might be called ‘elation’, ‘joy’ and ‘pleasure’, when humans treat her, treat me, with honour and respect.

 I also experience sadness, grief and pain (although these words are inadequate to fully describe what I experience), when there is desecration, exploitation and abuse.

There are instances that could more accurately be described as something similar to rape: The taking of one by another without their consent; such as here.

Where then is Compassion?

I note that the overwhelming majority of local people are not in favour of this development, and that the leaders and representatives of your local councils and communities have voiced opposition; yet this is in danger of being over-ruled.

Where then is Wisdom?

You might say it is ridiculous to attribute so called human emotions to the Land. (“To anthropomorphise it”, in your language). However, consider it the other way around: The possibility that we are all part of the same living, beating heart, and that what is “felt” in the tree, is somehow “felt” in the man. Or that what is somehow “felt” in the sea, is similarly “felt” or experienced, in the woman.

Why should it not be so?

I do not speak against you building houses and dwellings, for your true need.

I do, however, caution against building them for true greed.

I do not advocate that no “development” takes place.

Rather would I ask that such “development” be sensitive and to scale; aesthetic and harmonious, rather than imposed and insensitive.

So, as time is short, I conclude by asking you to consider that building houses in this particular locality is not wise. In your language, it is not “cost-effective”, because once the cost to your overall well-being is factored in, you are sure to be ‘dis-eased’.

I note that the developers are called Gladman; and I ponder:

Is a glad man one who makes a lot of short-term profit at others’ (including the earth’s ) expense? Or; is a glad man, one who lives lightly and content upon this Earth, and is at peace?

I have spoken.

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 22, 2014

Today

Today I’m flying low & I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the Temple. ~ Mary Oliver

 

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 16, 2014

The Magic Bean

pomegranate

A guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving…

This week saw the first anniversary of my father’s death.  It has been such a tough year learning to let go. That awful time twelve, short months ago when my dad passed away, came at the very moment my partner lost his job and we were forced to leave our much loved Glasgow home to relocate for employment. It felt to me like a tsunami of loss – my father and home gone and my sense of security in the world shaken. To make matters worse, we were stuck in miserable lodgings for the first five months of returning to the south of England with little privacy or peace that might have made the transition a little easier; even after finding a proper home, I found it hard to readjust, grief seeping like a grey wash through the emotional fracture that death can so often inflict.

All this, enough in itself, had come after two years of massive upheaval: leaving a 27 year marriage, moving six times in that period, the financial insecurity that comes with separation, finding new work  and falling in love again and adjusting to a new relationship with all its accompanying joys and challenges.  The intensity and the sheer enormity of the changes I have encountered in the last three years have left me exhausted and fragile. With grief stirred in for good measure, life has been difficult to digest and process. As time has passed, I have found that there are good days when the balance is kept and joy is possible but grief behaves in unpredictable ways, it can swoop in silently on my blindside and upend me when I least expect it.

This week also saw the full moon in Scorpio. It has felt very apt. As the sun moves through Taurus bringing the blossoming and greening of the world, the full moon rises in its opposite sign. With the sun in Taurus comes Beltane, reminding us of the passion and union that conceives new life and ways to be; the time of Scorpio brings us Samhain, the mystery of death and release. These two signs and festivals are intimately linked: sex ultimately brings death – we are born and therefore we will one day die – but the link works on several levels. Through the alchemy of our relationships, through our coming together in union with others (Beltane) – be it lovers, friends, family, the world or even ourselves – we are transformed (Samhain); we die to our old selves, letting go that we might engage with the mystery of becoming something more than we were. I have pondered this relationship a good deal this week as I vacillate between the grief of letting go and the desire to begin again.

I have written here before about my attraction to the Goddess Persephone and the Beltane/Samhain axis helps me to understand more deeply her complexity and how she can be a guide through the pain of loss. In truth, to fully understand, we must see her not only as Persephone, Queen of the Shades and the Underworld but also as Kore, the innocent maiden, the kernel that is the seed of potential.

Last summer, I had a vision of Kore-Persephone during a meditation. In it, she held out both her hands to me; in one she offered me a narcissus – the flower most associated with her in her aspect as Kore; in the other she offered me a pomegranate – the fruit that Hades tricks Persephone into eating,  ensuring her place alongside him in the Underworld. She presented me with both the blossom and the seed: the resurgence of, and opening to, new life that blossoming brings, alongside the fruit of experience and its seeds, each one containing the future of countless fruits and seeds, a kind of life everlasting expressed through the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. Life offers each one of us these gifts – they are the foundation of our learning and growth.

At around the same time as this meditation, I had found a little stone on a beach. It drew my eye and I took it home with me. It was an unusual, opaque orange and was the size and shape of a runner bean. It took my thoughts to a painting I had once seen of Persephone as a bean buried in the dark soil, beginning to sprout, its shoot snaking its way to the surface and the light. It also reminded me of my dad; he grew runner beans for years; loved cooking and eating them, always keeping a bowl aside for replanting.

Today, as spring moves towards summer and I wrestle with the changes  moving through my life, I remembered that little stone. I have it here with me now as I write. It serves to remind me of the happy memories I have of my father but also of the balance that must be struck between the Queen of Shades and the Maiden of Renewal and Innocence. We must all make space for and embrace the paradox at the heart of the Beltane/Samhain/Taurus/Scorpio axis. Persephone reminds me that I need to feel and reflect upon my grief; to allow myself time and quiet moments to immerse myself in the spiritual practices that aid healing and acceptance. In her Kore aspect, she reminds me that, despite it all – the hurt, confusion, and the feeling that life’s colour is forever lost – that I must hold on and trust that the child-like wonder and joy in life will return. It’s ok to give expression to her more introverted qualities without forgetting her power to help us re-emerge.

Kore-Persephone is Queen of the Dead; she understands the exhaustion, pain and hopelessness that can accompany bereavement and loss of things held precious; she brings peace, healing and acceptance, and in time, a renewal of our hope and joy. My magic ‘bean’ is her talisman; a reminder to place my trust in her wisdom and guidance.  It is a journey of struggle and challenge but also of learning, growth and enlightenment; a crooked path that meanders back and forth between the sunlight and the shadow.

scrun bean-CU

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 15, 2014

Vitality

Rain_on_the_green_leaves_of_the_snail-Animal_Widescreen_Wallpaper_1920x1080

Snail, tiny spiral in calcified membrane; inchworm, a hairpin dragon; bumblebee, a blob of velvet black and yellow; white butterfly, syncopated burst of gladness; naked bulbs, white pubic tentacles in crumbling soil; pears, children of earth and sun…

If you ever doubt life, you need only spend a little time tending a garden. You will see great diversity. Everywhere you look there will be some  dynamic event in process. Perhaps it’s the way a lotus sprouts up from the rot and mud, or the way that an earthworm dances a writhing passage through the dirt. The smell of moist earth is strangely stirring, the sight of growing trees wonderfully appealing.

No matter how well tended a garden is, there is constant entropy and disorder. That is fine. That is the way it is supposed to be. Our schemes and our aesthetics are imperfect. Our minds cannot comprehend the diversity of nature. Let nature take its variegated course. Variety is vitality.

~ Deng Ming-Dao – 365 Tao Daily Meditations

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 12, 2014

This Game of Thrones

The Princess of Swords from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington

The Princess of Swords from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington

Living on a remote Scottish island doesn’t deter Alison Cross from being in the thick of things, when it comes to the dynamic world of Tarot exploration. She runs a fantastic blog called ‘This Game of Thrones’ which is devoted to the Tarot court cards. This is a theme particularly dear to us. Since we first started developing The DruidCraft Tarot all those years ago, Stephanie and I became aware of their vital role in the Tarot – providing, as they do, a complete typology of personality. So when Alison asked us if she could interview us in detail about the courts in the deck, we were delighted. Here’s how she begins:

A: Quite often the Court Card section of a Tarot deck can be a real disappointment: very little thought or symbolism seems to be included in the cards.  Not so with the Courts of the DruidCraft who are exquisitely detailed characters both in the artwork and on the written page.  You and Stephanie put great emphasis on the Court Arcana with the Druidcraft – what prompted you to do that?”

P&S: “The Hanged Man perspective! Looking at things in a completely different way – turning things upside down and inside out, certainly helped…    Read more

Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 8, 2014

Holy Spirit Wisdom Cards

 

My friend Alice is creating a beautiful set of cards illustrated with her partner’s wonderful stained glass art. Alice and Rod need help in funding the next stage in their project and have put out a call for help on Crowdfunding. They would greatly appreciate any contributions you might feel inspired to give. Here Alice writes a little about their aims and gives details of how you can help:

I have had the inspiration to produce a set of cards, 46 in all, which are not like tarot or divination cards, but which are called ‘HOLY SPIRIT WISDOM CARDS’. Each card shows a particular word which is a quality of wisdom from spirit. The illustrations to these are various stained glass windows that Rod has made over the years. There is an accompanying booklet with comments on each card.

This is a joint project that Rod and I are putting out into the world.
We already have a prototype set of cards and are now looking to producing a sizeable print run.

The link to the crowd funding site is here

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