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An Un-Official Publication of the Reformed Druids

Beltane, Year 42
(May 1st, 2004)

Volume 20, Number 3


CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:

Beltane Essay
News of the Groves
ARDA 2 Update
Beltane Jokes
The Difference Between Wicca and Druidism
News: Sudden Oak Death Update
News: Cell Phones Alter National Park Landscape
Activities:Interfaith Pagan Pride Paraade
Activities: Ancient Ways Festival
Activities: Modesto Pagan Pride Day
Book Review: The Cut-Throat Celts
Book Review: Legendary Ireland
Calendar



eltaine, one of the greatest, and, now-a-days, best known, of the Old Celtic High Days, it marks the beginning of Samhradh, summer, and the "Season of Life." Historically, it signaled the moving of the herds out to summer pastures in the mountains. Great fires were build to welcome back the Sun, and the cattle were driven through the flames for purification before starting on their way to the high meadows. The Druid caste, priests and priestesses, presided over these rites at which all the clans gathered together at the ritual sites such as Tara and Carnutes for celebration, planning, and deliberation. Quarrels were settled and justice meted out. This was another Druid function, that of magistrate, with a specialized sub-group of the priestly class acting as judges. Sacrifices were offered to Belenos and on the Continent, to Gaulish and Galatian analogs of this Indo-European Sky God. Another opinion holds that this derivation of Beltaine from the name of a sun god, Beal, is problematical, and that Beltaine was, like Samhain, a festival of all the Gods and Goddesses.

For the New Reformed Druids of North America, it is the beginning of the Season of Life and the end of the Season of Sleep. The first spirits of the year will be added to the Chalice of Waters that is shared at each service, and the Third Order members will change their ceremonial ribbons, worn over the fronts of their robes, from white to red ribbons. The Earth Mother wakes from her winter sleep, and chants and praises are addressed to her.

Live Oak Grove plans to inaugurate the shaft grave, a Toll-Uaigh, we have dug this winter at Larry Press's (Archdruid) instigation, with an offering of some of the new Waters of Life from the first chalice of the new season. Shaft graves were build in Ancient Gaul, and perhaps elsewhere in Druidic lands. Offerings presumably to the Earth Mother, were put into these deep shafts at different times over a long period. Some of the "Tolls" were twelve meters deep, and offerings might include a whole tree. We plan to offer a piece of the sacrifice at each service which will be put into the shaft after the rest of the sacrifice has been placed in the altar fire.

--Emmon Bodfish, Reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any, Beltaine 1983



News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory

Galatia Grove: News from Turkey

We, The Grove of Galatia assembled accept the following principles as self evident: 1. The object of the search for religious truth, which is a universal and a never-ending search, may be found through the Earth Mother, which is Nature; but this is one way, yea, one way among many. 2. And great is the importance, which is of a spiritual importance, of Nature, which is the Earth Mother; for it is one of the objects of Creation, and with it we do live, yea, even as we do struggle through life are we come face to face with it.

The Grove Constitution will be fowarded to you within one or two days by the Secretary Rev. Ozturk Kosemen . At present the Grove has two Joint Archdruids elected by the membership Rev M. Graham MacKenzie-Rolls and Rev John Roderick Clay. Our High Priestess is the Rev Ayshe Dikman. Our Chief Bard and Secretary is Rev Ozturk Kosemen. Our Annalist is Deniz Ozguhan. The total membership as of this date is 25. We have 3 Ordained Druids, 2 Ordained Bards and 10 Ovates.

We wish to apply to be recognised as a Proto-Grove or Grove of the RDNA. The Grove is located in Izmit Turkey and is associated with Kocaeli University.


Acorn Grove: News from Ontario

Hello from the, until recently, frosty north. It is Beltane and our last snowfall was just 4 weeks ago. Time for rebirth, renewal, and lots and lots of yard work... Especially when three of the faihful are rather large dogs (Scully, Roswell, Kodiac).

The Acorn Proto-grove has fallen of the RDNA radar screen of late largely due to the fault of the Arch-Druid (pro tem) to read all his email completely and respond to Stacey's call for News... Impeachment proceedings will begin shortly.

The group has had a slow down of activity of the Druish spirituality sort, but a rapid increase of the daily secular sort, One (Bella) moved to a faraway town, One (Ric) went financially bankrupt, One (Jim) is currently getting a divorce, but curiously Two of them are doing musical comedies (Tim & Ric). Perhaps seeking solace from day to day lives in the limelight of the theatre. Both have secured roles in the Aurora Opera Company's productions of "My Fair Lady" and "Hello Dolly". Neither of them is Dolly.

Of an interesting spiritual note the Dali Lama is coming to town (Toronto) and one of our cohorts (Jen) actually managed to get tickets to go hear him speak. Expect a healthy dose of Tibetan Buddhism to be added to our Zen-Franciscan dialogs in the future.

Plans for he Second Annual Grove Wilderness camp are underway, however, seeing that we are traditional Druids of the Reform, each of us has three or four opinions on where it is we should go. Last year we went to Awenda Provincial Park, this year a private cottage (Trina's) has been offered but plans are still uncertain.

Cheers
Ric Knight odm


Bamboo Grove: News from Delaware

Greetings! The Bamboo Grove has been a bustling place as of late. I recently won a contract bid to work on the Piping Plover Conservation Project; it's a 5 month contract and I will be working for DNREC (the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control). I am extremely excited to be able to put my degree to good use...finally! What's more, this type of work is in sync with my passion and purpose in life, to take an active role in protecting my wild brothers and sisters.

In other news, we have lost some beloved members and gained some new. Spud the mouse passed on after putting up a good fight...his spunk and spirit will truly be missed. The Arch-Druid has been transplanted and will hopefully enjoy being able to stretch its cramped roots. My fiance and I have set up an aquarium, home now to a varied group of crabs--Fiddlers, Rusty, and Reds--as well as crayfish, guppies, and plecos. Our little condo is feeling more like home!

May you all have a wonderful Spring!

brightest blessings,
BrightMirage (Maryann)


Digitalis Grove: News from D.C.

I took time from my intensive Job Search to go down to the National Mall to enjoy the beautiful weather. Hachi, Norwey and I attended the opening ceremony of the WWII memorial in Washington DC on April 29th and ceremonially dropped a thimble ful of whiskey in the fountain to bless the new site, and pray for the ecological damage to be quickly healed in the area.

In other news, I have been spending a great deal of time reflecting on the role of outreach to the community in a ministerial manner. As the RDNA doesn't have a great deal of public affairs practice or interfaith experience, I've been working with a number of on-line pagan-clergy conferences, talking with elder RDNA priests and writing little essays to clarify my personal thoughts on the likely issues. These might reach the precipitation point by Summer Solstice issue of the Druid Missal-Any.


Dravidia Grove: News from Maryland

Hello all,

Just getting settled in right now, not too much going on here except look for work and I got a chance to go see Thunder Over Louisville which is a big fireworks display they do here every year. It is pretty cool, it even includes an Air Show.... Well all that about covers it.

Dolanimus


Nemeton Awenyddion: News from Cohasset, California

Things are finally coming back to life here as the warm sun continues to bless nearly everyday with beauty and the Spring life returns full force. Getting ready for a lively Beltain celebration/campout doing all the stuff, maypole, ritual, bardic circle, camping, etc. There's more information in our Grove's website if you wish to find out more about our campouts.

Rhiannon


Duir De Danu Grove: News from California

The Hunt is On

And the two, the Co-Arch-Druid and the Preceptor, did hunt for a suitable place for ritual. They rode their fire-chariot on the roads, their only weapon a map showing the parks. But the parks were elusive. Yea they did flee from the people's gaze. Nowhere was there a grove suitable for ritual. But the two hunters pluck up their courage and continue to hunt, ever more determined to find a place for the Grove to meet.

Tegwedd ShadowDancer
Chronicler and Co-ArchDruid of Duir de Danu Grove NRDNA


Poison Oak Grove, News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"

There are a couple of sayings that are fitting for this past year: that which does not kill you makes you stronger, and the deities give you no more than what you can handle. Well, I'm pretty well thrashed physically and mentally and am at the "done" phase, so enough now, for a little while, ok Whichever Deity is Deciding to Test Me?

I negotiated with the new tenant of the main house last week to pay him a small monthly so I can continue to use his water for the grove site, and when it's hot he'll leave the driplines on for a few days. I'm also getting access to the neighbor's barn across the street for grove maintenance supplies. One of the neighbor's will be helping bring the firewood Emmon left me to the new house. How odd that with the timing I have a place to keep it now. Also odd is a sense of being "taken care of," with the acquisition of the house, the chandelier, the drapes, and now the firewood.

In the carpool on the way to work one day this week the radio played strains of "Here comes the Sun, It's all right, it's all right," bringing me out of my reverie of worry as a reminder that Beltaine was coming, the celebration of the return of the sun god Belenos, of the Season of Life, of Summer. It's been a year of travails, and distractions: the death of a parent, the loss of family, the death of a pet, of a good friend, the loss of the cabin by the grove site. The music was a reminder of the Here and Now, of the Bigger Picture, of the Balance that is so easy to forget. Oh Beal, forgive this one due to her own mortal limitations!

On this Beltaine day, whether you celebrate it on the First or astronomically on the Fourth, take some time to go outside, breath in the fresh air, skip around a tree if you don't have a May Pole, take a swig of whiskey, the waters-of-life, and celebrate the waking of the Earth Mother!


A Reformed Druid Anthology 2 Update

Well, with the return of the sun's strength since Yule, we were able to get the massive 850 page Green Book volume of the Anthology done in March by the staff of the East Coast office of the Drynemetum Press. Unfortunately due to some problems in the West Coast office, the Magazine Collection (2nd Volume of ARDA 2) is now 4 weeks behind our previous optimistic projections. Therefore, only 25% of the files are now available on the ARDA 2 website, but glacial progress should speed up with the warming temperatures, and more fortunate luck.

I have revised my estimate for the magazine volume to be 750 pages and it should be done in 6 weeks by the Summer Solstice, if we're lucky. By July, if things continue as they are now. We appreciate your continued patience also in the release of the Main Volume which is similiar straits, but you can be assured that once it is in my hands from our associate in the Central Office, it will go fly to the presses within a week!

The website address is http:/www.geocities.com/mikerdna/arda.html



Beltane Jokes

Q: Which brand of clothing would the Cerne Abbas Giant like to wear?
A: Tommy Hilfigur

Q: Which brand of yogurt do Druids love the most?
A: De Dannon


The Difference Between Wicca and Druidism

Because this is an on going topic of question in the pagan community, as people try to find and understand their niche, A Druid Missal-Any offers yet another perspective on the difference between Wicca and Druidism, this time submitted by Founder and Patriarch of the Fifth Order Norm Nelson.

One group says, "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wiccaed this way comes."

The other group says, "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wickered this way comes."


NEWS

Sudden Oak Death Update

Feds Order Inspections of Calif. Nurseries

Fri Mar 26, 2004
By MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - The federal government Friday barred California nurseries from shipping 59 plant species out of state until they can be declared free of a disease that has killed thousands of oaks in California and Oregon.

Beginning Monday, nurseries that want to ship plants that can act as hosts of the fungus-like blight, called "sudden oak death," must undergo inspections before products can leave California, the U.S. Agriculture Department said. The list includes species and subspecies of popular garden plants such as rhododendron, azaleas and camellias.

Similar restrictions have been in place in 12 Northern California counties since 2001.

One industry representative said the decision will delay shipments, but could reopen markets that recently closed to California nurseries.

"A number of states have blockaded California plants from entering. If this causes those states to accept shipments, there are some great benefits that come along with this action," said Tom O'Brien, a lobbyist for the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers.

The announcement came as another setback for California's $2.35 billion nursery industry, which is also threatened by an invasion of imported red fire ants and other disease-carrying pests.

Nursery plants are the state's third-largest agricultural commodity, behind dairy products and grapes.

In recent weeks, 10 states have restricted the sale of certain host plants, and Florida has banned the import and sale of all nursery plants from California.

The blight, which is related to the type of organism believed to have caused the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century, does not necessarily kill the shrubs it infects.

No cure has been found for the disease, first spotted in 1995, and it is unclear how it spreads.

On the Net:
http://www.suddenoakdeath.org


Cell Phones Alter National Park Landscape

Monday, April 12, 2004, 2:05 p.m.
By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

When Sean Morrissey scaled California's 14,491-foot Mount Whitney for the first time a few years ago, he couldn't wait to take in the view. A woman who made the climb at the same time couldn't wait to dial her cell phone.

"This one woman was making call after call," said Morrissey, who is from Los Gatos, Calif. "It seemed very out-of-place. It seemed out-of-place to go through all that effort to make an outbound call."

Cell phones have long been virtually unavoidable on city streets and in shopping malls. But they now are showing up in some of the very places people go to get away from it all: national parks.

For park managers, this is a challenge. Officials with the National Park Service say they want to meet the needs of visitors and provide for their safety. But they also must protect the park and the visitor experience. And there is no set policy on how to strike this balance.

To some degree, the Park Service is complicit in the problem: At least 15 National Park Service sites have allowed telecommunications companies to put up cell towers within their boundaries. Yellowstone has five. (Also, many towers are situated just outside national parks, enabling park visitors to place calls even from some backcountry areas.)

Some conservationists complain that cell phone technology is ruining nature; not only by scarring the landscape with cell towers (one tower in particular, near Yellowstone's Old Faithful, has been criticized as an eyesore), but also by contributing to the death of solitude.

"It's possible you could come to a trail in Yellowstone and see someone yakking on the phone to their stockbroker," said Dennis McKinney, development director at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Jeffrey Hunter was jolted from his sleep at 6 a.m. by a fellow hiker who used his phone while at a shelter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to remind his wife to bring sodas when she met him later.

"He woke everybody up in the entire shelter," said Hunter, of Chattanooga, Tenn., who was hiking the Appalachian Trail. "I was incredulous that someone would wake people up for a couple Diet Cokes."

And guide Neil Courtis recalled a private tour he led in Yellowstone National Park last fall that included a business-minded father from New York who was desperately trying to get a cell phone signal so that he could make calls or check his messages.

"When you're trying to give a tour, that's kind of annoying," Courtis said. "It kind of ruined the tour" for the others.

Lane Baker, Yellowstone's deputy chief ranger, said many people expect to be able to use cell phones and that Park Service officials cannot dictate how tourists use them.

"You can't control what they do at Old Faithful like you can't control what they do in downtown New York," she said.

And Baker said cell phones in the park have a definite positive side, making a difference in the way officials receive and respond to emergency calls. "I wouldn't want to do my job without one," Baker said.

Last July, a desperate cell phone call from 13,000 feet on the Grand Teton in Wyoming alerted rescuers that lightning had struck a party of 13 climbers near the summit.

Rangers flew in by helicopter and were able to pluck the most badly injured from the mountain before dark. One climber was killed by the lightning; the others survived.

But on the other side of the equation, Yosemite spokesman Deb Schweizer said the park also has gotten calls from hikers who are simply pooped and want a lift out. They get a polite refusal.

"Just because you're tired doesn't mean we're going to send someone out," she said.

Editor's note: In these times of easy and mindless convenience it is important as Druids to remain mindful and respectful of others who are out to enjoy Nature as well. If you must bring that cell phone while hiking, during grove services, or otherwise spending time in the great outdoors put it on vibrate!


ACTIVITIES

3rd Annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade and Celebration

May 15, 2004, Berkeley, CA

We are pleased to announce our third Annual Parade and Celebration from 10:00am-5:00pm at the Civic Center Park on MLK between Center and Allston Way. This year our theme is "Divine Feminine", and we have expanded the celebration to include vendors, crafts, and food (positioned nearby). We are also exited to announce that we will be featuring an "Author's Circle," in which you can meet and converse with the Pagan community's leading published Authors. We are continuing to encourage the participation of floats and costumed participants this year, and will offer special awards for both Best Float and Best Costume, so don't miss your chance to show us how creative you can be. Camera Shy? Bring a mask, or come down and cheer the community on...we would definitely love that.

Information: 510-496-6051, paganparade@earthlink.net or visit http://www.paganparade.org .


Ancient Ways Festival

June 2 thru 6
Harbin Hot Springs, Middletown, CA

Ancient Ways hosts an eclectic pan pagan gathering of magical folk. Weekend includes workshops, rituals, camping in a clothing optional environment. Cost (before April 15): $70, 1-night; $105, 2-nights; $135, 3-nights; $160, 4-nights.

Information: 510-653-3244, festival@ancientways.com or visit www.ancientways.com


Modesto Pagan Pride Day Harvest Fest

September 11; Modesto, CA

The 2004 Harvest Fest will be held at the American Legion Hall. We plan on offering 20 to 30 craft vendors, covens, and non-profit booths in addition to 4 to 5 authors and speakers. Bands, mythic dancers, entertainment and more will grace our entertainment stage on the deck. We will also be featuring an art show, discussion panels, and a 9/11 memorial. We are planning a second memorial ritual in respect to 9/11. We will also be having a large Memorial Banner that we hope to get 100's of Pagan signatures on before we send it to New York and Washington DC.Cost: Free, with a canned food donation. Details TBA as plans progress.

Information: 209-549-1727, wprayers@whisperedprayers.com or visit http://www.aupagans.com/Modesto/PPD.html.


BOOK REVIEWS

The Cut-Throat Celts by Terry Deary

Published by Scholastic Ltd. 1997 About $7.

By Michael, Digitalis Grove

This is a 130 page heavily illustrated little paperback that is chock-full of "incriminating" material about the ancient Celts, delightfully presented in a humorous manner to thrill and shock the young teenager, but still readable enough for an adult. Dr. Terry Deary has written about 16 of these books in the "Horrible Histories" series, to encourage younger British readers to find the "juicy, insane, raw & bleeding" aspects of what is often a rather dry subject. Other enticing titles are "Rotten Romans", "Smashing Saxons", "Bloody Scotland" and simply "Ireland". He apparently has a big fan club, rare for a historian, a group he often execrates with typical British slang. He has apparently widely consulted and combed through the existing archeological and historical texts on the ancient Celts (covering mostly 700BCE-700CE, especially on Gaul), with often a surprising knack for remembering the stranger aspects and stories. The errors are surprisingly few for someone who is not an acknowledged Celtic specialist, although he glaringly confused Ogham and Nordic runes in one chapter. Naturally, there is much on the religious aspects of the Druids, and he is not mean spirited, but the sacrifice jokes do get a bit old after the first few chapters, and rarely goes beyond solid historical details of Celtic spirituality. However, even if you think you've read it all, read this and get a few chuckles about it; and leave it where your child can run across it. See Amazon for the author, or go to www.terry-deary.com for a full list of his titles.


Legendary Ireland: A Journey Through the Celtic
Places and Myths by Eithne Massey

(Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 19.00 UK; 240 pages.)

From the Read Ireland Book News

This book is a vivid and original journey through the Celtic places and myths of ancient Ireland. Woven into the Irish landscape are tales of love and betrayal, greed and courage, passion and revenge, featuring the famous personalities of Celtic lore, such as CuChulainn and Queen Maeve, Diarmuid and Grainne, the Children of Lir, Oisin and Fionn. The book also reveals some of the less well-known but equally captivating stories, including 'The Hag of Beara', and 'Li Ban, the Mermaid of Lough Neagh'. The author has re-visited all twenty-eight sites and explores their history, archaeology and folklore. All of these magical and mythical places open windows to a heroic yet very human world. Illustrated with atmospheric photographs and elegant engravings, full colour throughout.

Read Ireland
342 North Circular Road
Dublin 7, Ireland. Telephone and facsimile number: +353-1-830-2997.
http://www.readireland.com


A Druid Missal-Any

Beltane, the beginning of the Season of Life, as 15 degrees of Taurus, will occur on May 4, 2004 at 21:04 PDT or conversely as 16 degrees 18 minutes decl. May 4 at 17:56 PDT. Poison Oak Grove's social observance of Beltaine has not been decided yet.

A Druid Missal-Any is published eight times a year. Post mail subscriptions are $8.00 and email subscriptions are free. Or write an article or send us a cartoon and receive a year's post mail subscription free. Write to:

      A Druid Missal-Any
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      Canyon, CA 94516

Please note the new mailing address!

E-Mail: poppinjay@earthlink.net


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