An Un-Official Publication of the Reformed Druids
Spring Equinox Y.R. 40
(March 20th, 2002)
Volume 19, Number 2
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Spring Equinox, the beginning of Spring, one of the four minor High Days in the Druid tradition. The Sun crosses the celestial equator, from the Southern Declination to the Northern, and the day and night are of equal length. This is the time of renewal, the beginning of preparations for the summer to come. The holiday is older than Druidism; stones in the megaliths mark this sunrise. Plowing and planting begin. It is the season of egg gathering. The giving of painted eggs as gifts and offerings predates Christianity, or the introduction of chickens, originally a wild Indian pheasant, to European barnyards.
The Leechbook records this chat of English (Brythonic really) farmers in the spring rites circa 950 A.D. The Christian church had not yet begun its campaign in earnest to expunge old pagan ways or else re-name and "Christianize" them as it would over the next five hundred years.
Be fruitful in
The God's embrace
Filled with food
For the use of man.
The emphasis of this season is balance, as day and night now stand balanced. Time to make recompense for old mistakes and receive the reward of our winter's patience. The tree is the Birch, Bridee's tree, the tree of Spring and Dawn, at the East point of the circle.
--Emmon Bodfish, reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any, Spring Equinox 1985.
Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota
Carleton will be out of session (as usual) for the Equinox, however we’ve been having fun with non traditional holidays.
A few weeks ago we celebrated for the first time ever the 'Ancient' holiday of Mwfydnfud (Mwa-fid-na-fud), or Mess With Forces You Do Not Fully Understand Day. We decided that, in the tradition of Reformed Druidism, we should try out knew and exciting rituals, divinations, etc. without fully understanding them. Born at the same time was the new slogan of the Carleton Grove: Reformed Druids of North America, Messing with forces we don’t fully understand since 1963.
We are also in the planning stages of another exciting event. Last fall, due to certain complications, only one of the two people needed for the traditional marriage at Beltain was randomly selected by the marriage bread. So, we are planning on having a Marriage Quest, complete with Witches, Information and Misinformation Faeries and much much more coming straight out of our favorite fairy tales.
Plans are being set for the May 40th Reunion (the first of two; see announcement later in this issue) at www.geocities.com/mikerdna/anniversary.html. Students are interested in "Druid Buddy for a Day" with the old-timers. With Merri’s pending graduation after four years as Arch-Druid, there are now at least two new Arch-Druids at Carleton with Steve Crimmin '04 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Corwin Troost '05 ( email@example.com ).
Akita Grove: News from Japan
Joy of joys. A new baby boy was born to Nozomi Kibou and Pat Haneke on February 8th 2003 and his name is Taiyo Kibou. There's an interesting story to this birth. During an icy snow storm, Nozomi's rather remote and inaccessible mountain shrine was snowed in and she didn't feel like skiing down the hill in her condition. Then the electrical power was interrupted for almost five days, in the midst of which labor began, of course. Little Taiyo (which means "Sun") is believed to have been conceived during the 2002 Beltane festivities according to plan, and an Oimelc birth had been keenly desired, but babies will be born when they want to. Pat at least had the presence of mind to at least use the blessed candles from the Candlemas, so possibly the home-birth was a bit easy than expected, finishing in less than 10 hours, with no complications. Nozomi's sister and cousin assisted in the delivery, while Pat used the firewood to heat up water in the old bath-house. Nozomi's father and brother were away on business. Nozomi is apparently not releasing the movie rights, and visited the hospital a few days later for a check-up. Fortunately, Taiyo doesn't resemble his father too much, and is reported to be "Is cute as a button, but a little like a fat monkey." In this issue, they have included a copy of the Baby Blessing they used at a Service soon afterwards.
Acorn Protogrove: News from Ontario, Canada
This is a message to announce the formation of a Protogrove.
We are the Acorn (proto)Grove, Order of Druid Minor.
Located in Newmarket Onatrio, Canada.
We are mixed collection of faiths and paths, however we agree on two points;
1. The Basic Tenets of the RDNA
2. St. Francis of Assisi was a cool guy.
Arch-Druid (pro tem) Ric Knight
Preceptor (pro tem) Roswell
Server (pro tem) Sculley
Honorable Mention (pro tem) Kodiac
Other members: three interested parties that request anonymity
Our first ceremony was scheduled Feb 16th (Full Moon and all)
Our website is http://groups.msn.com/OrderofDruidsMinor/
Any questions can be directed to me firstname.lastname@example.org
Ric Knight o.d.m.
Bamboo Grove: News from Delaware
This time of tentative growth coincides with my own time of personal growth in many areas, and I find that very encouraging...to finally be learning how to merge with the energy of the seasons. Winter still has a firm grip on the East Coast, but one day--despite the cold and snow--I noticed a huge flock of cheeky American Robins cheerfully flitting around a holly tree on my way to the parking lot. Everyone's still ready to hunker down for the next snowstorm, but winter seems to be loosening her grip ever so slowly--the air is softening and there is a gentler energy unfurling. The birds are singing more insistently and coaxing Spring into coming.
The Hidden Wood Proto-Grove, News from Pennsylvania
If you would like to post on the RDNA site I have a web page at (http://www.angelfire.com/realm3/hidden_wood) on Druids.
There are a few of us interested in Druidry, so I guess you could call it a protogrove. We are located in Blair Co. Pennsylvania and would like to be linked with the RDNA.
Our protogrove is called "The Hidden Wood Grove."
Hemlock Splinters Grove:News from New York
Hemlock Splinters is still frozen over. No birds come to the feeders out back, but wild turkeys chase falling tufts of Sumac and Marsh-berry across the frozen ponds. The cats have discovered- and not yet murdered- a family of white footed mice living in the floor boards. The days are longer at last again, and thoughts turn back to spring time. Our emissaries to Ecuador and Quebec returned safely after various delays and accidents, bringing tales of dog-sleds and Jungle birds. No specific activities this moon, but we hope soon to shake off this season of sleep.
Dravidia Grove: News from Maryland
Well things are looking up here, the snow is melting and we are all getting ready for the first day of Spring. Also, have bought a rather decent telescope at a very good price and am enjoying a new found look at the heavens. Will take a while to get used to the telescope, but should be quite proficient by the next letter. All is well here, we have a lot of snow recently and now a lot of flooding due to the melting. Hopefully we won't experience the droughts we had last year...Have spent a lot of time classifying the text I have acquired and feel that I have only just barely gotten through the first 20 files. not bad for a start... but uh oh, I have more that 400 files. AHHHHHHHHHH...Well you all should know that research is time consuming so back to it.
Digitalis Grove: News from DC
Mike is going bonkers with preparations to graduate from his Masters in International Affairs in May, organizing two 40th Anniversary Reunions, and releasing ARDA 2. Eric is similarly tied up in his Graduate studies, and can no longer attend services either. Things may return to usual this summer. Paul may be transferring from Tampa Grove to our grove this summer.
Golden Apple Proto-Grove, News from North Carolina
Just an update, we're the Golden Apple Grove in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, an Erisian RDNA grove, affiliated with the Olot Votccac Waps Discordian cabal, of which I am Episkopos.
Also, would anyone be interested in sigils or other druid art made out of
stained glass? I'm booked solid right now, while still in high school, but I
have done chaos stars, spirals of birds, Celtic knots, etc. I do either in
stone for a table top or garden or free hanging.
Tampa Grove #3: News from Florida
Sorry it's been so long; things here have been nothing short of insane trying to get out of the black hole of graduate school. Relocating next week to DC, will be working in Silver Springs MD and I hope to get together with the Digitalis Grove once I get settled in.
Oaken Circle Grove: News from KY
The Oaken Circle Grove is working on a gathering. The winter in Kentucky has been a bit harder on us than usual so it has made gatherings more difficult. We are hoping to get back into things very soon. When we have a bit more news to report we will certainly do that. Hopefully we will have more planned for Beltaine.
Grove of the Barn Owl, News from Michigan
Merry meet from Cadillac MI. I am Celtrin the Mook, resident flunky and miss spellar of words, of the new protogrove of the Barn Owl.
Our Tenets are: Do no harm.
Our Goral-Thingie is "keep yer head down and yer mouth shut."
Our three members come with no knowledge of anything. No secrets of the dark, and no money. Politically we fit no demographics. Spiritually kinda Zen Pantheists with Taoist leanings and a loose Christian underpinning.
I trust you find us acceptable, and if not we'll just go have some soup at the Bob Evans.
Cattle Grove, News from Texas
As most (or at least some) of you know I've been trapped away in a military academy for this school year but I've been freed for a week due to spring break. While mentally damaging, the school has yet to kill my spiritual side regardless of the forced religious sessions (which I tend to skip) and the rigorous physical training every morning. Through all this I've been accepted to A&M Commerce and plan to attend next fall (sweet freedom) which will thankfully give me full religious freedom, although I might end up with a few raised eyebrows. Anyways May 25th I will be fully free and completely happy. This was just to inform all you what's happening now with me.
Walk with a smile,
Poison Oak Grove, News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
The remaining months of this Season of Sleep have been quite active. Members Stacey and Oriana attended PantheaCon Presidents Day weekend and were particularly impressed by the Introduction to Shamanism talk. The instructor spoke of "core shamanism, a term coined by Michael Harner meaning the near universal methods of shamanism without a specific cultural perspective. The class ended with a shamanic journey. I was skeptical and hesitant, torn between the angst of not doing it "right" and experiencing "nothing." The greatest helps the instructor gave, which seems to be to be the key to journeying, is giving oneself a goal even if it is merely to find out where one is at this point in life, and visualization of the place one goes to enter the particular World. My journey was surprising insightful and helped me over an heretofore unknown block.
Much work was done around the grove site and environs. Three more steps were added to the path up to the Grove proper and I think that work of just over three years is done. Douglas irises were planted in the meadow below the cabin and main house.
In my recent reading of Walden I wondered why Thoreau isn't a greater influence on the Druid community. The concept of simplicity, approaching nature as close as possible, taking as little as possible from the environment are concepts that are not new but go back to the Mad Sweeney tradition, but they are ones Thoreau tried to achieve in the more mid 19th century, and so influential still that Thoreau is said to be the father of the Voluntary Simplicity movement. These are things in my opinion a druid needs to consider if he or she is to honor the Earth Mother. You don't need to live in a small cabin in the woods to accomplish this or even own a house with a compost heap out back. Recycling, buying recycled products, eating organic and less-processed foods, walking, bicycling, or carpooling are easy-to-do activities one can incorporate in the his or her lifestyle to lessen the impact on the environment.
Another one for the Bumbling Druid file: the weekend of March 8th I drove to
the Los Angeles area to visit my ailing mother. I left my staff there which
I use to do the daily Salutations to the Sun (see A Druid Missal-Any Oimelc
1989) and didn't realize until after arriving home. I rented a car for a 24
hour road trip the following weekend to retrieve it, braving torrential
rains. It is said that forgetting an item means not wanting to leave or it
could have meant a lack of focus and full of distraction. Whatever the
reason it will not be a lesson soon forgotten. A staff is more than a tool;
it is a friend and reservoir of spiritual energy.
The Hassidic Druids of North America are back!
The Hassidic Druids of North America (1974-1978) were an intriguing Jewish-pagan-alternative lifestyle offshoot of the Schismatic Druids of North America (founded by Isaac Bonewits), which were an offshoot of the New Reformed Druids of North America, and the group is being revived.
Carey Oxler, inspired by Isaac's suggestion at the ADF 2002 Autumn Gathering, went through the HDNA archived literature in A Reformed Druid Anthology http://www.student.carleton.edu/orgs/druids/ARDA/ARDA-05.pdf, grabbed the ball and started running. They have a yahoogroups.com email list called hasidic_druids. There they will be discussing the Mishmash and have a Hairpull every week. Other topics of relevance may be discussed, including additions to the Considdur, Druish holidays and rites of passage, Druish humor, and recipes. Check them out for interesting perspective and lively debate.
By Patrick Haneke, Akita Grove, Japan
March 1, 2003
To be inserted into a standard Order of Common Worship by the RDNA. Use this in the normal service's invocation.
O Lord, forgive us these three errors of parenthood that are due to human limitations.
Thy child has no end of needs, yet we have only these resources and time.
Thy child's path is uncertain, yet we seek to guide them.
Thy child's choices will be their own, yet we seek to assist them.
O Lord, forgive us these errors of parenthood that are due to our human limitations.
O Mother, you have blessed us with this child, yet we further ask your peace and comfort in the years to come. Nurture us, as we nurture this babe.
Continue as usual.
Insert this next bit into an RDNA service after the waters are consecrated. If the sacrifice is accepted, then use Waters of Life, if not, use Waters of Sleep for the blessing. With previously blessed waters:
AD: I call upon the parents or guardians of this child to step forward to make their pledges of support.
Father: I am your father, dear child. Your protector, teacher and advisor.
Mother: I am your mother, dear child. Your protector, teacher and advisor too.
Father: You will reside at our home and that of our relatives until you reach maturity, learning from both sides of your parents relatives.
Mother: Aye, and we will teach of the ways of the Gods, not only our own, but of those of other faiths you will likely encounter.
Father: We seek to assist, but not too interfere, in your life's journeys.
Mother: You are dearly beloved by us and many you do not know yet.
Father: You will grow strong and brave.
Mother: You will grow wise and caring.
Father: You will live close to the Earth.
Mother: You will understand the ways of water.
Father: And when the wind speaks, you will understand.
Mother: You are blessed indeed, as we are by your choice to join us.
Father: We name you ( ), which means ( ). This is the name people will call you as an individual. Your last name will be ( ) which means ( ).
Mother: But your true name will only be known by you when you hear it called by Fate.
Father: Grow in moderation of all virtues.
Mother: Tarry not long in vices.
Father: There is much more we wish to say, but these are our first promises to you.
Mother: And we wish to spend many years with you adding to them.
AD: Let all bear the baby, as we will all be enmeshed in his future.
Baby's blanket is held taunt by all participating relatives. Baby is asperged with the Waters by the AD who walks around, sprinkling from all four directions, also dousing the parents and participants for good measure too.
AD: By the power of Dalon Ap Landu, all the Gods of this Land, and those who will direct this child's course, I bless this child. May it live a full, long life blessed with success, love, and accomplishment.
AD: And blessed be all of you by the love that you bear for this babe and for each other. Band together to be a stout palisade in times of defense, a horn of plenty in his time of need, stern teacher in his time of learning, and grateful recipient in his time of production.
The baby is returned to the parents. Baby is returned to the parents and waters are shared by the congregants in that normal part of the service.
The second article goes into more detail of the three Worlds of the Celtic cosmology Rhiannon mentions in her first one. The Missal-Any welcomes any comments and discussion regarding these two articles as well as any contained within its pages.
Druid Ritual Differences
By Rhiannon Ysgawen, Nemeton Awenyddion Grove
I'm writing this article on ritual differences to dispel any misunderstanding that people may have learned about Druidry. The traditions as practiced by most Druid Groves today will validate the information I wrote here. I do not speak for all Druid Groves, but the larger Druid organizations do agree with this information. I will compare Druidry with Wicca to try to dispel any ignorance anyone may have about the Wiccan practice being Celtic. Comparing Druid craft and Wicca is not meant to be a put down to the Wiccan path. We do have similarities. Both honor the Mother Earth. There are distinct differences though and that must be taken into account by anyone exploring Pagan religions.
Druid ritual is generally open to the public. In Druid ritual, participants stay in the present by staying on the earthly plane. The Wiccan and others often do astral travel during ritual, and sometimes they relocate their magic circles to another realm.
Druids remain on this middle Earth plane during ritual. The "Between the Worlds" that Druids refer to is the Earthly plane, or Middleworld, the Underworldly sea being below, and the Otherworldly Sky, above. Instead of transporting ourselves to deity, as many other Pagans do, Druids open the veil between the worlds with the helping hands of the voyager Manawyddan or Manannan, inviting the deity into our sacred space to be with us in the here and now.
Druid rituals are inclusive and open for non members and non-Druids to participate during ritual, as long as they are respectful and keep the harmony laws required to participate.
Druids do not cast magic circles or protective barriers around our ritual sites. Instead we build and create Nemetons or sacred space, which have their own place in nature. The four quarters are usually not called in or invoked as they are in many Wiccan circles. We call the Celtic Triads of land, sea, and sky, that is not the same as the quarters of earth, air, fire, and water. The reason it is that most Pagans cast a circle at the beginning of their ritual to ensure protection from invading entities when journeying or transporting space is done during ritual. The circle that is cast creates a containment field for holding the energy that is manifested during their ritual. The circle that gets cast must be undone at the end of the rite. This works well for certain types of magical workings that are part of the practices in Wicca. In Druid craft, sacred space is marked by stones, or wood, and can be psychically seen as a small fence that can be stepped over but, any negative entities definitely know not to enter the sacred ground.
In Druidry every aspect of nature and the universe, visible and invisible, is respected and revered as a necessary part of the whole. All is seen as equal in Druid ritual. All of Earth's nature and the universe is sacred space. We are not concerned that unfriendly entities not banished from our Nemeton will invade our space and try to take possession. Through the three world invocations, Druids bring deity into our Nemeton while staying in Middleworld. The centering and grounding that most Pagans do with the four corner invocations is done to help participants establish their place. Centering and grounding is something that Druids do during the world tree invocations in ritual and the tree meditation. In Druid ritual, the sacred fiery center within the Grove and within each of us is directly connected with the Otherworld. After many rituals the divine spirit of the Groves sacred fire grows, so does ours. When this Otherworldly fire grows stronger, it strengthens our connection with the illumination of the Otherworld.
Druidry is polytheistic, meaning we have many gods and goddesses. We also have Nature Spirits that exist in nature. We also honor our ancestors. The Wiccan are dualistic believing that all the gods and goddesses are different faces of their lord and lady. Even though the order of the Awen in Druid perception flows through our gods and goddesses, the deities each have their own gifts, seasonal connections, and lore. The Awen embraces every aspect of light and dark, masculine and feminine, life and death, all depending on one another, walking hand in hand always. All is as valuable, all is holy and necessary to wholeness. This perception is unifying and non dualistic, it is all and one. The energy of the circle moves in both directions simultaneously, pro and con.
There seem to be many Wiccan teachers and book writers who are teaching their students that there is such a thing as Celtic Wicca. Wicca is not Celtic. While some Wiccans may call on some of the Celtic deities, they also use practices and call on deities that come from many other different cultures' traditions. Many of these other practices come from works such as Aradia gospel of the witches, Crowley, the Key of Solomon, Masonic rituals, Carmina Gadelica, and other cultures' traditions. All of these listed works are part of the training that Gerald Gardner learned from, and with which he formed the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca back in the early 1900s. Gardnerian Wicca is where most of today's Wiccan practices come from. While there may be many Wiccan practitioners who believe that Wicca is as old as Druidry, or that its practices date way back before Gardner, it may but only for a few decades. From the lineage of Gardner's training anyone could see that his practices were put together from different sources and traditions and he found a way to mix these traditions to make a new one.
Gaelic traditionalists say that the practice of borrowing practices other traditions is disrespectful to that tradition and cultures' ancestors, and dishonorable to the modern day traditionalists who work very hard learning and preserving the ways of their traditions. The cultural pantheon of deities a Druid chooses to work with usually will come from a deep heart felt moment or realization that they've lived another life, or many lives in that culture. They may also have ancestry from that culture. The traditional Gaelic, views a person's dedication to their family, cultural and spiritual, as an oath of utmost importance. This is also where immense value is placed on the honoring of the ancestors in Druidry. In the Celtic World Tree, the ancestors have an entire world of existence that is honored and respected in Druidry. To stick with one culture's tradition and honor their ancestry is quite uncommon in the Wiccan practice because of the eclecticism of the Wiccan way. Druidry today tries to keep and practice from the traditional Gaelic ways. Because there are many Wiccans that borrow concepts, icons, and sacred relics from other traditions, it causes much friction to exist between the other traditions and Wicca. This can manifest itself in such things as the Lakota Declaration of War. Which was created by Lakota traditionals against those who steal words from their spiritual leaders.
Spiritual differences exist between all practices whether they are rooted in a tradition or not. I am just drawing on factual information from the research I've done on both Wicca and Druidry. This does not reflect all of Druidry or Wicca, but most. If you really want to find out if these statements are true, then please do some of your own research to find out.
By Rhiannon Ysgawen, Nemeton Awenyddion Grove
The World Tree holds the structure for the Druid cosmology. A cosmology is a belief structure that explains our soul's existence and its connection to the universe or it can be an explanation of a cosmology heard of in a story that explains the origin of creation. In Cymru and Celtic Druid cosmology there is a map of a universal flowing spirit in the World Tree: It is in a vision of a tree, where there are three worlds that exist together within. There is a surrounding circle that symbolizes the Boundless spirit. The Boundless spirit in Celtic cosmology means that all that exists within is of one spirit. Most of our religious and ritual practices today are based on the cosmology.
Written works of how the ancient Cymru Druids practiced ritual is only available through the Gwyddoniad Druid order, an order that survived with enough remaining knowledge to rebuild the entirety of its practices. Because our orders written knowledge is only available to members and seekers, most Druid scholarly researchers of today have to put a considerable amount of effort into discovering the ways of the ancients. What they have to work with for creating Druid rituals is in the tree cosmology or the way the ancient Druids perceived order in the universe and their discovery of it. The only resources that have been left for scholars to ponder are from a few various accounts made by Julius Caesar or Pliny, Cormac's Glossary and the old lore mythology, archeological findings, scholarly research, Celtic stone circles and carvings. Most of the old lore was written or recorded by Christian monks. Some scholars and historians speculate that a number of the ancient Druids may have entered the Christian monasteries in disguise to preserve their lore and art. During the process of recording it Christian elements were added probably for safety precautions. These old stories were originally told in an oral tradition, and though changed by time, today they still carry some of their original meanings which reflect the way the people of that time thought and their ways of life.
There are no facts left for us that tell if the Celts had a belief system that had lore concerning how they believed life's creation occurred. Considering a lot of the Cymru lore tells us about a cosmology that has not a beginning nor an end it would be very difficult to find a story relating to the beginning of the creation of life. The tree cosmology is present in practically every story Cymru, Irish, Scottish alike.
Drawn from the old Cymru Mabinogion lore, the order that the Cymru Derwydds perceived the cosmos or universe was very well established. The cycle of evolution in this cosmology is wholistic and spiritual. Even the Ancestors of the Cymru were considered by the Celtic Cymru as more highly evolved beings. The Ancestors are the Shining Ones to the Cymru order. The Ancestors were beings who chose to come to Abred/Earth from Gwynfyd/Otherworld to have mortal lives so they could help humanity. Even in the older stories of the parents and Ancestors of the gods and goddesses, the cosmology of the three worlds was well-established. This knowledge is also present in the Gwyddoniad books that were passed along to us through the Awenechen, Cymru Gwyddon families.
In reading and studying the old Cymru mythologies you will find continual reference to Anwyn the Underworld, and Gwynfyd the Otherworld. In fact, most of the old lore revolves around Abred the middle-earth and the relationships that happened between the gods and goddesses from Gwynfyd and Anwyn with humanity. In Cymru lore, the old Prydyn (pre-Celtic) tribes are the families of Cymru gods and goddesses.
The World Tree was also common amongst the Mayans, Egyptians, Orientals, Aztecs, Native Americans-sundance, as well as E. Indian Hindus-triloka. It has been a well documented fact that many of the old ruins of pyramids and ancient temples were built in a way that showed a strong belief in a connection to the other worlds. Such as, the pyramid that has steps going up its sides. When the sun is in its setting position in the evening and shines on the sides of that pyramid, it casts a shadow on the ground, and as the sun goes down, the shadow moves with the setting of the sun, like a serpent entering into the underworld. The whole concept of these ancient places of power being energy vortexes also depicts the connection between the Worlds, as it is in our cosmology and the way energy works in geomancy (earth dowsing), these energy vortexes are places where the energy of our earth opens up a union thus merging the earth and sky creating a tunnel between the Worlds, a connection through the earth (see my geomancy works.) It can be assumed by the fact that the cultures we know of who have an affinity with this cosmology also have in their practices shamanic studies where the shamanic seeker will venture on spiritual journeys to the Underworld and Upperworld to learn from the spirit guides who live there. What the shaman is really doing, is through the inner awakening and energizing they also become energy vortexes that are open to contact with spirit guides. The guides are called, and they come to assist the shaman on their journey outwards to the world of their choice.
In Cymru, a shaman is called an Awenyddion which is plural because once the Awenydd Seeker has made contact with their Gwynfyd guides and anchored them within they are then more than one separate being, they are at one with the Boundless, and they are many.
Since my order focuses primarily on the Cymru I will tell you that by religious and cultural comparative studies I've done, there is a parallel between the Cymru and Irish concepts of cosmology. The terms used here are Cymraeg, but they do have a counterpart in Irish as well. Although I have mostly researched Cymru and Irish, there are probably counterparts in Scottish and in other Celtic languages as well. In the end of this article I will give some examples of the names in Irish, then by your own studies hopefully you will be able to find their counterparts in what ever native culture you desire.
The understanding of the World Tree cosmology unfolds in all directions. When you do the tree meditation the roots are first developed, then the trunk, and then the branches. The three worlds of existence are contained in the worlds tree. Abred the middle earth is divided up into eight points with a ninth point at the center (see spiritual evolution.) The center symbolizes the core spirit, in the Cymru Gwyddoniad the core is called Nwyfre or fire-center. The outer circle that surrounds the three worlds is the unity of all spirits and is the faceless, it is called Boundless. When all realms are in harmonious balance the three Worlds connect straight down through their centers with the energy of Nwyfre. Nwyfre is a bright energy that runs through the centers of the Worlds. When it flows clearly then we have a scepter of light that goes straight down and up through the center of the Worlds in the Tree. The scepter runs energy through and between the three Worlds, and this energy exists in the outer circle that surrounds the whole cosmology as well.
In the Tree cosmology, the otherworld is Gwynfyd and is more above Earth and is of a higher dimension. It is the canopy of branches and leaves on the tree. Access to Gwynfyd is usually located through portals on Abred (Earth) in areas where there is concentrated energy, such as leylines and power spots, sacred hills, stone circles and the like. Anwyn the underworld is farther away from this world than Gwynfyd, and is usually located through the sea, or places that reach deep water, sacred wells, or springs. The World Tree roots are in Anwyn along with the past, our Ancestors, our minds. The trunk exists on Abred--Earth the Middleworld, it is our nature and earthly relations, our physical bodies, our energy being here and now. Abred the Middleworld is not only the center in the World Tree, it is also this present moment. Druids remain on Abred (Middleworld) during ritual. The "Between the Worlds" that Druids refer to is the whole earthly plane, or Abred, Anwyn being below, and Gwynfyd being above. Instead of creating floating energy spheres to do ritual in, as many other Pagans do, Druids ground our Nemetons/sacred space into the whole of Earth. Then we open a door between the Worlds. This creates a pathway for the spirits to cross over into our Nemeton to a tunnel that connects the three Worlds. This sends energy and spirit up and down through the center of our Nemeton. The World Tree branches reach into Gwynfyd, the World of spirit and deity, and into the future. The roots dig deep into Anwyn and touch the cauldron of rebirth, our past, our Ancestors, the trunk is where we are in Abred; the Middleworld.
In wholistic perception we are each a holograph of the cosmology's entirety. These three worlds are our divine connection to being open to Gwynfyd knowledge, guidance, and inspiration when they are in balance and alignment (refer to cauldrons of existence.) It is from within that our truer form will emerge. To know the truer form of our innermost selves allows one to see the truer form of what is without.
Within our physical bodies there are places that have direct connection to these three Worlds. They are the cauldrons of existence, they are energy centers. Our belly is connected with Anwyn, our heart is connected with Abred, and crown when it is open, is connected with Gwynfyd. They are similar to the chakras of Hinduism but when we see them within us, we see three cauldrons. Each of these three cauldrons represents the three Worlds from the cosmology. These energy centers also carry the energy of the three worlds within us when they are clear and open.
From the Linguistics Comparative View
Underworld, Annwyn (Cymraeg)
Middleworld, Abred (Cymraeg)
Upperworld, Gwynfyd (Cymraeg)
In Irish, each world is divided into quarters, so for each world there is four names. The names for the Irish Underworld are this:
Tir Nan Og, West quarter, means: Land of Youth
Tir Na mBeo, South quarter, means: Land of Life
Tir Na mBan, East quarter, means: Land of Women
Tir Fo Thuinn, North quarter, means: Land under Waves
For the Middleworld Earth, there are four symbols but one name and that name is Bith or Mide, and means: middle.
The Otherworld in Irish is as the Underworld is with its four quarter naming and it is this:
Sen Magh, West quarter, means: Old Plain
Magh Ionganaidh, South quarter, means: Plain of Wonder
Magh Mell, East quarter, means: Plain of Delight
Magh Findargat, North quarter, means: Plain of White Silver
Then there is a general name in Irish for the Upperworld called Magh Mor, meaning Big Plain. Although there are some cosmological differences between these two there is still the connecting factor that the Underworld is associated with water and the sea, the Middleworld is earth, and the Upperworld is connected with the sky. Thus we also have the triad of sea, land, and sky which is prominent in Celtic lore and is our remembering of the alignment of all three to connect earth power and spirit into oneness.
By Dan T. Felber
"Hey, what's that" a small Gaulish warrior asks, pointing up at the sky.
"The sky is falling! Come on, Asterix!" shouts his much larger and sort of dopey friend and comrade in arms, trying to pull him back behind one of the local cottages. A small teapot thumps to the ground in front of them.
"The sky's not falling, Obelix." the little lad states. "What is this?"...
"Some sort of Roman weapon?"
Celtophiles around the world are probably familiar with our heroes here. As a matter of fact - chances are that if you were a kid growing up in Continental Europe, Comic Books about the inhabitants of this charming little Celtic Oppidum somewhere in ancient Gaul were a staple of your MiniMe Library before you've even heard of a fellow named "Mickey Mouse."
Despite modern popular stereotypes and common misconceptions about "Celtic Culture" being predominant or even native to the British Isles and a few other isolated places, the cultural dawn of a people commonly called "The Celts" is by far not a matter of the modern "Seven Nations" territories and their history alone.
In fact, this Celtic cultural dawn is nowadays recognized by the academic community as occurring in roughly 1800 BCE; the time around which cultural evidence and artifacts start to emerge anywhere from the Eastern Continent to the Alps to the Isles; clues which are distinctively different from those of their predecessors called the "Bell Beaker people" for their bell-shaped pottery drinking vessels.
What does this mean to any fellowship which studies "The Druids"
Well first, we discover a considerable time gap between earliest accounts of this culture by physical evidence, then mention by classical authors and finally the monastic manuscripts we know so well; mostly the ones from medieval (and sometimes a tad older) Ireland and Wales.
This gap spans already eleven Centuries if we consider as framework only the low end of an estimate. This would be the first mention of the term "Druid" (by Greek historian Timaeus in the 4th or 5th century BCE, as some say) and the now lost original manuscripts said to have been from the 7th Century (and transcribed around 1000CE to 1200CE.)
On the optimistic high end, we would find a time span of three Millennia (!) for the era of ancient Druids, provided it is safe to assume the culture had not ever been an agnostic one, which in turn means there was always a certain spiritual concept to which representatives of this culture adhered to and the belief that Irish spirituals in the 12th Century CE were still "Druids by definition" is a reasonable one.
Looking at chronological events at the time of the incursions into Gallia by the Romans, we'd also have to realize the tremendous impact these historical events had on "The Ways" of Druids and also on the ways they chose to organize as a reaction to these events.
All known evidence from the Continent suggests, that Celtic spirituals of any kind and by any name preferred rather loose-knit ties to their counterparts from different tribes over any centralized approach, until Roman invasion began shortly before the beginning of our "Common Era." The resulting dire threats to the physical body as well as the one of knowledge would have been more than good reason for anybody to reconsider their traditional ways and quick!
Around this time, Caesar tells us of many young men coming to them for education, if not in the hope of becoming a Druid themselves. They were learned men, studying the physical skies and conceptual heavens, debating about life and the universe, observers of Nature. They knew the Greek alphabet and used it for bookkeeping yet not for recording their teachings and beliefs. They felt that if something was so important to the life of the tribe, it should be kept in the mind, not on wax tables or papyrus. Caesar goes on to conjecture that probably they also did not want their teachings to become widely known for a fear of misinterpretation.
As a result, we first hear of yearly gatherings in the Carnute forests and the exchange of single disciples from one tribe to another, while later accounts speak of semi-official "Druid Schools" which had been established in the relative security of island lands off the Continental coast; possibly designed to counteract already devastating invasions such as the ones into Gallia Narbonensis and thus rendering further Roman intrusion a task difficult to accomplish.
Druids are sometimes said to have been (and are still said to be...) a stubbornly traditional and quirky breed of intellectuals. It comes as no surprise that some of them would have favored a flight to the Isles over a loss of life and also the teachings as a whole, even if it meant sacrificing their formerly federalist approach and personal freedom.
Others understandably went with the example Nature sets for all of us with each passing day, "Going with the flow" so to speak, willing to risk the loss of a branch not able to maintain its natural growth anymore off the whole, fair and integral tree of sacred wisdom. Their own motto was not survival at any price but unconditional acceptance of the cycles of life.
Clash of the Paths
Based on these occurrences of human history and spiritual evolution, we are now - in this new Millennium, facing two considerably different schools of thought where our approach to studies of "The Druid Way" is concerned. Indeed, these two major approaches are not only quite different depending on the respective locales in which they evolved but sometimes outright contradictive of each other.
The first one is an approach distinctively "insular;" associated with historical references to a Celtic religious caste in recorded history; be it only ideological or organized, be it solitary or recognizable in Groves or congregations by any other name. This mindset draws for the better part upon the ideals and techniques outlined in the earliest Insular scripts, traditional customs still "intact" in the communities of the modern Seven Nations and other local evidence. The Insular path emphasizes studies of "the ways of old";largely identified with qualities and ideals described in the ancient literature and it is, for this reason, polytheistic in nature.
The second one is an approach I personally call "continental" (although there is more to be said about this distinction). This approach to Druidry is rooted in extremely local reference points such as flora, fauna and weather conditions. It is meant to be supported to the best possible extent by any scientific evidence about the locale as well as surviving markers of social behaviour and (folk)lore, all with an emphasis on experience in the here and now, a path rather solitary by default and in tune with the concept of Nature-Spirituality as we also know it from other indigenous sources all around the globe. The continental path is pantheistic/animistic in nature.
Winding down in a feeble attempt to conclude...
I would like to take advantage of this opportunity and issue to you, dear reader, a simple call to unity in this place. What is important and dearly needed these days is a mutual sense of tolerance and understanding towards each other, whatever the chosen approach might be. Let there be Druids!
Maybe the time has come for us to accomplish what no one tribal assembly of the past; misleadingly called "Celtic Culture" (for implied unity), was truly able to do: Forget our local differences, pull together for our common cause and thus help provide support, nourishment and healthy growth for this living creature we call Draoicht, Druidry or The Druid Way as well as support, nourishment and healthy growth for our communities which we serve.
One is the tree of knowledge,
One is the fertile soil on which it stands,
yet they are both one and the same, after all.
By Mike, Digitalis Grove of DC
As most of the readers may know, the original 500 page A Reformed Druid Anthology was first published in 1996 as a portable selection of useful archival documents from the Druid Archives on matters of liturgy, epistles, historical texts, trivia and interviews. ARDA 2 will be about twice as big. It is not a bible or holy scriptures, but merely some interesting things that Mike Scharding has collected from members of various Reformed Druidic movements have written down.
What was a monstrous project has turned into a behemoth, and yet it is still on schedule for publication in May, in time for the 40th Anniversary. Printed copies won't be available until after the reunion, although on-line copies will be ready by Reunion. CD versions available on request to email@example.com for $5. No new submissions are being taken anymore for this edition, but feel free to add to ARDA 3, by sending it in now or over the next few years.
It will be free for download from that time, and you can bind your own copy. And yet some of you might wish to own a physically printed copy to lug about with you (a full set will weigh 10 pounds, about like a cat). There will be a print-on-demand version in the near-future this year with a commercial service for the main volume, but you may wish to reserve a copy of the first-print series. There will probably not be a second printing, since things are in the works for ARDA 3 possibly out between 2008 and 2013. The main book is estimated to be over 800 pages (the original was 500). There will also be a separate book for the Green Books at 400 pages and a summer-release of a volume of 25 years of RDNA magazines at 300 pages, but these two will not be offered on print-on-demand, and will only be available for on-line viewing, and an unofficial first printing, due to copy-right concerns.
Price is a bit uncertain, and is estimated that it will cost $30 the for main book, $15 for each side volume of Meditations and the Magazines; and shipping costs of $5 for main book, $3 for each of the two side books, including shipping boxes. If it's more than that, Mike will swallow the cost, and if it's less than that, he will write a check for the difference and include it with your order when he mails it out mid-May after the Reunion. You can also order copies for a friend, a library, a university, or an enemy. Please write instructions clearly for a complicated order, or live with Mike's interpretation of your order. (Limit four copies of each book per person.) Checks must arrive at Mike Scharding, Embassy of Japan, 2520 Mass Ave NW, Washington DC 20008 before April 15th (Taxes anyone?) and be payable to Mike Scharding. If it's in his mailbox after April 15th he will return the check to you. I'm reasonably trustworthy. So don't delay, order today!
CONTENTS INFORMATION FOR ARDA 2
To give you an idea of the contents go to http://www.student.carleton.edu/orgs/Druids/ARDA/ and see what the first volume of ARDA was like in 1996 and click on Part Zero (see Table of Contents) and use it to compare with the following list.
Part Zero: Introduction
Enlarged detailed table of contents
Revamped optional study program.
Part One: Druid Chronicles
Part Two: Apocrypha (three times bigger)
Part Three: Liturgy (three times bigger)
Part Four: Trivia and Customs (20% bigger)
Part Five: Mish-Mash of Hasidic Druids
Part Six: The Green Books (Separately Published, four times bigger)
Part Seven: Miscellaneous Research (two times bigger)
Part Eight: General History (20% bigger)
Part Nine: Latter Day Reformed Druids (Same size)
Part Ten: Interviews (20% bigger)
Part Eleven: (A Separate Volume in the Summer)
for National Geographic News
February 7, 2003
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0207_030207_scotforest.html For the first time in 2,000 years, Scots pine, alder, birch, hazel, holly, and mountain ash are set to reclaim a large swath of the Scottish Highlands. Using government funds, a private landowner plans to plant 2.5 million trees over the next five years to create the largest native woodland in Scotland. The effort marks a nationwide move to restore the country's lost woodland.
The ancient Caledonian Forest once covered the Scottish Highlands. Home to bears, beavers, and wolves, its destruction began before the Bronze Age. The forest began to fall to the scythe of climate change and the activities of primitive tribes from pre-Roman times. Subsequent terror campaigns launched by marauding Vikings burned down large areas of forest. Later, farmers and fuel gatherers cleared away most of what remained.
But today a new forest, called Baile Mor, is being planted on more than 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of mountainous terrain near the north Atlantic fishing port of Gairloch. The land is owned by John MacKenzie. His ancestors have lived on the property since 1494.
Vestiges of the ancient forest still grow on islands in Loch Maree, a freshwater lake that runs along the new forest's western edge. Remnant pine trees found there are now providing the seeds of recovery. Foresters are using helicopters to airlift seedlings to the wild hills of Baile Mor.
Largest Woodland Grant
Last year MacKenzie secured U.S. $3.2 million from the Forestry Commission, a U.K. government agency responsible for forestry throughout Britain. The sum marks the biggest woodland grant ever awarded in Scotland. Work is already well underway with 2.5 million native trees due to be planted in the next five years.
"It's a positive, practical use for a large piece of land that frankly was almost totally useless," said MacKenzie.
"The forest should become a great amenity for visitors and local folk. It will be wide open for all and sundry to come along and enjoy it. There may even be some economic benefit to the estate in terms of guided wildlife walks and other tourism-related activities."
Although one local politician has criticized the size of the grant, saying the money would be better spent on public services, MacKenzie claims the surrounding community has given the plan a universal thumbs-up.
"As well as giving people more things to do, the forest will boost tourism which is enormously important to Gairloch," he said. "We don't have ferris wheels or piers with flashing lights. People come to the area because of its natural beauty and wonderful wildlife."
As the forest matures, conservationists hope to see threatened Highland animals re-colonizing the area.
"It will provide a greater range of prey species for golden eagles," said Kenny Nelson, South West Ross officer for Scottish Natural Heritage, a government conservation agency. "We also expect pine martens and wildcats to move in. Birds now confined mainly to the east, like black grouse, crested tits, and crossbills are others that should find suitable habitat here."
Habitat for native species has already been aided by the addition of 75,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of woodlands over the past 15 years in Scotland. Biologists say the forest cover provides wildlife a habitat corridor to use for westward migration.
A Growing Trend
The Forestry Commission pledges to recreate another 75,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of Caledonian pinewood by 2005.
This year, a new Scottish forestry plan seeks to provide more incentives for private landowners to plant Scots pine and broadleaf trees over commercial, non-native species such as Sitka spruce. Unlike the current program, a higher rate of payment will go to landowners who create woodland of ecological and recreational value.
Baile Mor Forest represents a growing trend in Scotland. In 1503, the nation's woodland was utterly destroyed according to historical records. By 1900, woodlands covered just five percent of the country. Today the figure is 17 percent and rising. The target, say government planners, is 25 percent by 2050.
The success of these regeneration schemes isn't guaranteed, however. While human activity had a major impact in the Highlands throughout history, the Caledonian Forest's demise was hastened by climate change.
Climatic conditions like the "Little Ice Age," which occurred between 1320 and 1750, brought low summer temperatures, high rainfall, and ferocious winds to the Scottish Highlands. These conditions encouraged the formation of peaty moorland at the expense of trees.
But for now, at least, the new pinewoods are doing well. An earlier 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) project on the Gairloch Estate is already bearing fruit after just five years.
This winter, young mountain ash trees are weighed down with scarlet berries while Scots pine saplings flourish alongside their ancestors' gnarled remains. John MacKenzie's ancestors might not believe their eyes as a ghost of the old forest springs back to life.
February 11, 2003
From the NewScientist.com news service
Stonehenge, one of England's best-known prehistoric landmarks, may have been built by nobleman hailing from modern day Switzerland or Germany, according to a new analysis of a nearby burial site.
The remains of a wealthy and powerful man were discovered five kilometers from the ancient stone circle in May 2002. Known as the Amesbury Archer, this man was buried with the oldest gold and copper artefacts ever discovered in Britain, dating from as far back as 2470 BC.
Although there is no direct link between the man and Stonehenge, he is thought to have lived at the time the landmark was erected, about 2300 BC. This, along with the proximity of his burial site and his enormous wealth, has led archaeologists to speculate that he played a role in the stone circle's construction.
Analysis of his tooth enamel now shows that he grew up not in England, but in central Europe, most probably the Swiss or German Alps. Lighter oxygen isotopes in the tooth enamel indicate that the teeth were formed in a colder climate than Britain.
"It is fascinating to think that someone from abroad, probably modern-day Switzerland, could have played an important part in the construction of the site," says Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology, the company that excavated the Amesbury Archer and performed the latest analysis.
Mike Pitts, of English Heritage's Stonehenge Project, says the discovery will also help archaeologists understand the spread of people and Early Bronze Age technology across Europe.
"It's hugely important," he told New Scientist. "On one level it's a spectacular find. It's also getting to the heart of where we all come from and the long cultural history of Europe." Pitts says hundreds more remains may now be subjected to the same analysis.
The Amesbury Archer was buried along with a younger man. A shared foot bone deformity indicates that the men were related, and were perhaps father and son. The oxygen isotope analysis of the younger man's tooth enamel indicates that he was raised in Britain.
Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday March 16, 2003
Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of two embalmed humans, providing the first proof that ancient Britons made mummies of their kings and queens. The bodies--a man and a woman--predate the pharaoh Tutankhamen, who was mummified and buried 3,200 years ago.
The discovery at Cladh Hallan, a remote Bronze Age site in South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, makes the couple--a man and a woman--the oldest mummies found anywhere in Europe. It is believed the male is around 3,500 years old, the female a couple of centuries younger.
'These are the only prehistoric mummies found in this country,' said project leader Dr Mike Parker Pearson, of Sheffield University. 'We have some from historic times--the body of Edward I was wrapped in cloth. But we have never found an example of the kind of thing that went on in ancient Egypt till now.'
Unlike their Egyptian counterparts, however, the Cladh Hallan mummies had to survive, after embalming, in extremely wet conditions. Hebridean weather in the Bronze Age was as grim as it is today. As a result, the couple's wrappings long ago disintegrated. Yet Dr Pearson and his team are convinced the pair must have been swathed in bandages.
'We found them with their knees around the chests and their thighs and calves absolutely parallel. There is no way that could have been done unless they had been very tightly bandaged or tied up with cords or straps of leather,' added Pearson. 'Over the millennia, the cloth disintegrated.'
The team found evidence that the people of South Uist went to extraordinary pains to preserve the bodies of the Cladh Hallan couple. Although the pair were found buried in the foundations of two Bronze Age dwellings called roundhouses, they had not been put in the earth immediately after death.
The state of their bodies indicates they had been kept above ground for several hundred years--at least 500 years, in the case of the male mummy. 'Something must have been done to preserve their flesh before it was wrapped up,' said Pearson.
'We narrowed this down to four options: the pair were left out to dry in the wind; they were slowly dried over a peat fire; they were pickled in salt, or they were dipped in a peat bog for a while.
'To find out which, we studied mineral deposits on their bones which showed that both bodies had been immersed in peaty water for a considerable time--possibly a year before they were bandaged up.'
After that, it appears the couple were put on display or kept in a sacred, warm, dry place--otherwise they would have disintegrated. Just why this couple, who had lived a couple of centuries apart, were venerated in this rather grisly way is still a mystery, however.
'It could be a form of ancestor worship, or the local people could have preserved them because they were great leaders or shamans whose powers they hoped to tap into after death,' said Pearson.
Bronze Age funereal customs in South Uist changed for some reason around 3,000 years ago. The couple were taken from their place of display and buried in the foundations of one of the roundhouses.
'There is something touching about still taking such care about people who
had died centuries earlier,' said Pearson. 'It indicates a considerable
continuity to the local culture.'
Witness the Vernal Equinox Sunrise and Sunset at the UMASS Sunwheel
Members of the University community and the general public are invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Prof. Judith Young of the U.Mass. Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise and set over the tall standing stones in the U.Mass. Sunwheel for the upcoming Vernal Equinox. Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 5:45 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 5:00 p.m. The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both Thursday and Friday, March 20 and 21, 2003. For those interested in learning about the sky, there will be a program which will include the cause of the seasons, the Sun's path in the sky, the phases of the Moon, and the story of building the Sunwheel. Bring your questions, your curiosity, and DRESS VERY WARMLY, including waterproof footwear. A $3 donation is requested to help cover the cost of future stonework at the site; Sunwheel T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase.
The exact instant of equinox is 8:00 p.m. EST on March 20. On the equinox, any observer located on the Earth's equator will see the Sun pass directly overhead at local noon and that person will cast no shadow at noon. For all observers on Earth (excluding the N and S poles), the Sun on the equinox is up for 12 hours and down for 12 hours, illuminating all latitudes on Earth! One visitor to the Sunwheel suggested we celebrate International Unity Day on the equinox, to acknowledge our common experience of the Sun on that day. From the Sunwheel here in Amherst, the equinox Sun will be seen to rise and set through the stone portals in the East and West, a very beautiful sight as we experienced the last 2 years. This year, the Moon is 2 days past full on the equinox, so observers at sunrise will see the gibbous Moon setting as the Sun is rising.
The U.Mass. Sunwheel is located south of Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. It can be easily reached from the center of Amherst, following Amity St. to the west, on the right hand side of the road about 1/4 mile after crossing University Drive. ALL VISITORS SHOULD WEAR WARM CLOTHING, SUITABLE FOR STANDING STILL ON FROZEN OR SOGGY GROUND. In the event of rain, the events will be cancelled, and visitors are encouraged to visit the Sunwheel on their own.
The Second Annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade
Sunday April 13th, 2003
12 pm-4 pm
Upper Telegraph Ave.
We welcome you to the Second annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade! Our inaugural parade was so successful and we had so much fun, that we are just going to have to keep it up! Our theme this year will be "Ancient Voices," in which we celebrate the many ancient spiritual beliefs that will be acknowledged and honored at this year's parade.
With this event, we bring together brothers and sisters of ALL indigenous, Earth-based, and nature centered polytheistic beliefs in pride and celebration, as well as those who support arts, music, ceremony, theater and dance within the Interfaith Pagan Community. In doing so, we unite in our message to the world that we must live together in love and tolerance, as opposed to fear and misunderstanding, as voices in the great choir of Spirit.
This year's parade is not to be missed! We are excited to announce that we will be kicking off Earth Week in Berkeley, which will begin a week of activities that bring focus and awareness to the preservation of our precious, divine home; Mother Earth. We will be joined by artists, musicians, craftspeople, community leaders, and many eclectic and ancient spiritual traditions from around the West Coast. We also wish to welcome floats to this yearfs parade, and are eager to see divine creativity in action. It will no doubt be a day of fun, understanding, and education for all.
We encourage diversity, tolerance, safety, and respect for all participants and audience members. This is a family-friendly event, and children are encouraged to participate!
For more info, contact www.paganparade.org or (510) 845-9032.
40th Anniversary RDNA Reunion News
Plans for the two Reunions are going well, with a few Founders and a large contingent of California Druids already making reservations for the May Reunion. It is strongly recommend that people traveling long distance make plane and hotel reservations soon. (The Country Inn Motel, aka the Druid Inn, is proving to be the most popular).
More details, maps, contacts and instructions are at http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/anniversary.html but below is the current plan. Final plan and rain-date alternatives will be posted April 15th. Check the web site every week or so until then.
Friday May 2nd
Saturday May 3rd
Sunday May 4th
The 5th Annual Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song, Language and Harp Week
The 5th Annual Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song, Language and Harp Week will be held on July 6 to 11, 2003 at Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina. Catherine-Ann MacPhee (Gaelic song), Dr. Jamie MacDonald (Gaelic language) and Debbie Brewin-Wilson (Scottish harp) will share their love of Scottish Gaelic through song, language and harp instruction with additional workshops of cultural interest. Classes will be held Monday - Friday prior to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Cost is approximately $375 per person for the week of instruction, lodging and meals. For more information contact Jana Blue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Equinox occurs this year on March 20, PST, at 5:04 p.m. The Sun rises
due East and sets due West. Get up early (sunrise is at 6:13 a.m. PST.) and
note where the Sun rises. From today on the Sun will rise gradually farther
south each day along the horizon until the Summer Solstice when it will rise
the most northern position all year. After the Solstice it will gradually
make its return southward crossing the Celestial Equator again at the Fall
Equinox when it will rise due east once again.
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