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A Druid Missal-Any

An Un-Official Publication of the Reformed Druids

Summer Solstice Y.R. 39
(June 21st, 2002)

Volume 18, Number 4

Summer Solstice


Solstice Essay
News of the Groves
Summer Solstice Activities
The Creation of a Druid's Nemeton
The Ash Tree
Druidess: An Overview
The Most Famous Reformed Druids
The Aristocratic Warrior as Old as Stonehenge
Resources: Book Signing, Review & Cartoon
Missal-Any Notes

Big Mmidsummer , Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, one of the minor High Day of the Reformed Druid calendar, is associated with the goddess Danu. There has been much discussion in the scholarly community on whether Danu and Anu are cognates of one another or separate goddesses entirely.

Anu and Danu were both fertility goddesses and Mother Goddesses in early Irish mythology. Anu is described in Cormac's Glossary (Sanas Cormaic ,10th century) as the mother of the Irish gods, and in the Coir Anmann (Fitness of Names) as the goddess of prosperity to whom the province of Munster owed its wealth and fertility. Danu is associated with the divine race of people, the Tuatha De Danann, the People of the Goddess Danu, who are recorded in the Leabhar Gebhála (Book of Invasions) having arrived in a cloud from the North, invading Ireland, and defeating the Fir Bolgs and later the Fomorians.

Danu Anu is identified with the earth and fertility of Ireland. She gives her name to the two rounded hills in County Kerry, called Chich Anann or the Paps of Anu. In Ireland today she is still talked about from Cork up into South County Tipp people and is considered the earth goddess of Ireland. A distinction is made between her and Danu. Anu is considered to be pre Tuatha and possibly the Sheela na Gig.

Anu also identified with Aine, another goddess associated the land. Her cult was localized to County Limerick, Munster, where she was still worshipped up until the 19th century. She was said to live in the hill Cnoc Aine. On St. John's Eve, Midsummer's Eve, the local people carried torches of hay and straw around the hill that were then taken to the fields to bless cattle (another instance of fire being used to insure the health and fertility of the flocks for the coming year).

Danu, according to MacKillop, is the speculative name for the mother goddess of the Continental Celts, based on the evidence of place names, for example the Danube river (die Donau). He writes that "a prosthetic D-changes Ana, Anu to Dana, Danu; some commentators advise that these forms are later scholarly inventions, while others point out that the name Dana has discrete associations and parallels." But if you look at the types of places Danu is associated with, a pattern begins to form. Derivations of her name being rivers show strong evidence that she is a river goddess, as opposed to Anu who is a land goddess. Rivers all over the Indo-Europeans lands were named for her: the Danube in Austria (the Greek author Herodotus commented on the Keltoi residing in the area of the Danube valley in the fifth century B.C.), the Don in southwest Russia (where an inscription referring to an attack on the kingdom of Bosporos and a scattering of La Tene objects across the southern steppes in indicates that some Celts might have reached), Dneipr in the Ukraine (where the Celts settled around 300 BC), Dniestr in Moldavia, and even the Don and Dee in Scotland are all cognates of her name.

Other linguistic evidence exists showing Danu's position as a Pan-Indo-European river Goddess. Her name is Sanskrit and in India's Rig-Veda signifies "stream" and "the waters of heaven."

News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory



Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota

We had a full week for Beltane! There was a sweatlodge on Friday, tea on Sunday, and Beltain on Wednesday! First off, there was a sweatlodge Friday night in the Small Grove. For those who don't know, the sweatlodge is a tool for physical and spiritual cleansing as well as an excellent place for reflection and meditation. There was some cooking over in Greenhouse during the day on Friday (Thanks Liz!). There's was so much that needed to be done outside--chopping wood, carrying rocks, bringing water and setting up the lodge, for starters.

Our rules are simple: 1) Try to eat as little as possible. Many people fast for the day and eat in the evening after the lodge has ended. 2) Don't consume any meat, dairy products, caffeine, or alcohol for at least 24 hours before the sweat. 3) Drink water, and lots of it! 4) Drink more water! (I'm not kidding!) 5) Be in the Small Grove on Friday at 8. That about covers it.

ow, on to the tea. This was Sunday at 3 in Nourse Main Lounge, and we made dreamcatchers. Craft-oriented-types displayed their creativity and make something useful at the same time. For those of you lacking the craft-gene, don't worry! Making dreamcatchers is so simple, a blind monkey could do it one-handed!

BELTAIN! Wednesday, May 1st was Beltain, the biggest event of the Druid year. We marked it by celebrating Spring with music, dancing, singing, storytelling, food, masks, plays, tarot readings, fishing for people, tree-climbing, Druid weddings, donut trees, revelry, merriment, general frolicking, and much more! Festivities were at the Stone Circle in the upper arboretum. The celebration lasted all day. Weddings and a ritual began at 6pm.

Carleton is now officially on summer break.

Akita Grove: News from Northern Japan

Pat is back from his trip! is interesting. It's about water, wells and healing. Please enjoy.

I've finished the trans-Japan hike from the Sea of Japan beach to the beautiful Matsu-jima islands near Sendai

No matter where you go in Japan, you're hardly going to find a virgin forest. Not just because virginity is a short-lived state in nature, which loves to proliferate at the slightest chance, but because men have been molding this island for so many hundreds of generations. Where tourists see forested mountain sides and winding rivers, the locals see carefully planted rows of Cedars, tended "wild plants", stocks of deer and bear, carefully engineered irrigation systems, and channeled river flowage. The absence of concrete is not necessarily an absence of the hand of man.

There is a spine on mountains running north-south through the center of Japan, so any east-west crossing involves a lot of steep hikes. In particular, I loved the panoramic vista of a reaching the break in a range;

      Mountain pass at night
      Moonlit, chilly, very quiet.
      Roads slope down both ways.
I'll write more when I feel inspired in a writing way and review my notes.

Foxglove produces digitalis used in medicine to treat heart patients Digitalis Grove: News from DC, formerly Monument Grove

Eric is doing well, but can't write an article for this issue, too busy. He says that he'll write something about Irish cleaning habits for Lughnasadh. No news from Mairi and Sine in the Pacific Ocean someplace.

No big change in my personal life, but I'm glad to see the RDNA Talk Circle conference is assisting other Druids to get in contact with each-other, freeing up my hands to do more research and work on ARDA II.

Well, actually, I am just having a good time in DC with all the memorial Day events and getting ready for this summer. I'll be in Northfield MN, at Carleton College from June 21 to July 7, finishing the editing of the epic sci-fi series, "Drake's 17" filmed mostly with Druid recruits back in 1996. I also hope to meet several old time folk-dancing Druids, who should be there for the Carleton Reunion. It will be a good time to start planning the 40th anniversary for RDNA in 2003. By the way, keep your eye for a possible credit for me in Austin Powers III this summer; I helped them research Japanese navy outfits for one seen in their trip through time.

I'm thinking about assisting ex-Carleton professor, now Senator Paul Wellstone, in his campaign for a third term this fall. As a side-light, check out Celtic Clothing at

World in your garden Life Garden Grove: News from Long Island, New York

Hello there. I have started a new grove and would like to inform you of our existence. Here is my information

We don't have any leaders because we are all equals but here is a list of members and their roles in our grove:

Andy "Silent Dragon of Spring" Costantino : Bard, musician, artist Kimberly Salinas : lover of all living creatures, writer, poet ZuZu : she just kind of sits around and looks for love as most dogs do.

Here are our tenants (taken from the Native American 10 commandments. We discarded a few like that do not pertain)


Our website is still under construction but a temp shall be up and running within a few days at: ? Our contact information is this e-mail address:

Swamp Grove: News from Florida

Greetings from the sunny south. All is well with the Swamp Grove, our rainy season is just starting and the fruit trees around the grove are doing just fine. This will be the first year that our banana trees should produce, loads of wild grapes, papaya and citrus are getting ready for the coming season, there are certainly worse places to be than south Florida in spring. Our rituals are very laid back and unorthodox because of the odd growing season down here, we figure that it is more important to worship nature than to worry about when we do it.

a beautiful grove emblem Oaken Circle Grove: News from Kentucky

Our grove is continuing to grow, we recently met with two more ladies and if they decide to join the grove ,our grove will be up to 12 adult members. We are currently working on the youth grove and setting up our classes. We are also planning a paganing for one of our grove couple's daughter on the summer solstice, she is going on three months old. We have a lovely new born ritual that was forwarded to us by our dear friend in New York, Inion_an_Daghdha!!! Thank you Inion!!!!!!

The very same couple is also currently planning a handfasting that will take place in mid July, we want to congratulate them and offer them our best wishes as well!!!!!!!!! Also I would like to mention our Beltane celebration was a great success and there are a few pictures of our festivities on the webpage We have added some new things to our site, it is constantly under construction. Please check it out and sign our guest books with your thoughts.

Thank you,
Sherry of the Oaken Circle Grove

Get along little Druid Cattle Grove: News from Texas

Hey, I just want to announce the opening of the Cattle Grove in Dallas Tx, at appx. 7pm (about 45 min from now) people should start arriving and the opening ceremonies will begin. And as of now we have a rough web page up at so check it out, and if you live in the Dallas area by chance, email me and we can work something out =)


Well things are off to a semi smooth start and the grove is doing great!. We have a semi-permanent altar set up along several other things. We have a solid group of 10 that come to the meetings (which are whenever we feel like having them) which consist of 4 druids, 4 pagans, and 2 wiccans. For summer we are going to be...well doing what we feel like. *shrug*

      As you walk down the path of life,
      stop and roll around in the grass.

Mojo Grove: News from Down There

Mojo protogrove is now down to one human member, but holds steady with four canine members. We will hold a Summer Solstice ritual at astronomical solstice instead of calendar solstice unless the two coincide. It is up for debate at this time whether to go to the mountains or to the sea. There is also a possibility that we may be able to have a combined ceremony with nearby American Indian tribal members who will be observing Summer Solstice in their own time honored way.

Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove
News from Grants Pass, Oregon

has had a year of both transformation and growth. Sadly, we had a member relocate to another part of the Pacific Northwest and we have few candidates to replace him, making our numbers a small, but compatible, three.

On the positive side, our Grove is also the Mother Grove of the Order of the Mithril Star. The Order has seen growth this year on both national and international fronts. We currently have solitary members in seven countries, and Groves or ProtoGroves in Washington, Oregon and California. Our Cybernest email list has 65 members, and our current Druidcraft 101 course (taught three times a year via email) has an enrollment of 80.

We will soon be offering a more advanced course--Druidcraft 201. Also, our Clerk, Ceridwen, will be offering an online Astrology for Beginners course as well.

The Order of the Mithril Star was founded in 1996 by Elrond Pendderwydd and the late Adam Walks Between Worlds. The OMS tradition is an eclectic assemblage of various western magickal traditions, including Faery Wicca, Thelema, Discordianism, Hedonism, the Church of All Worlds Tradition, and Celtic spirituality and shamanism. Unlike traditional Druids, OMS Druids revere the Coastal Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirons) rather than the Oak. The email Druidcraft 101 course has been taught more or less continuously since 1997 with an average enrollment of 75, with an average of 20 finishing the course. It is estimated that there are approximately 150 members +/- worldwide.

In July of 2001, the Order joined the Reformed Druids of North America, becoming the only multi-Grove body within the Reform. Since then we have adapted some RDNA traditions to our use, and ?Druidified? (or ?reformicated?) some of our own traditions to ?sort of conform? with RDNA practice.

More information on the OMS-RDNA can be found on our website:

Druid Heart Spirited Grove : News from California

Well, things have been very busy here. Calon Mai/Beltain campout was a success! Only about half the people showed up who said they'd be here but this didn't hinder our fun at all. The ritual went great and our Gwyddoniad kindred brought song and dance to share during our ritual's devotionals. We actually got all the food cooked before it got dark out, we ate a wonderful feast and played music. We also had a guest from a Celtic band called "The Pub Scouts." Her name is Jewel and she brought her mandolin, she and I played quite a few songs for everyone with her on mandolin and I on Celtic harp.

A lot of major changes are taking place in the order of our Grove. We have combined forces with a Welsh Gwyddoniad order called Nemeton Gwynfyd, we have become one. Three of Nemeton Gwynfyd's members/elders will be tying their ribbon of dedication to our Nemeton's tree on the next sixth night of the new moon ritual, and this last weekend I was gifted a torc of elder membership into their order by their High Priestess. We have thus in our new kindredship with the Gwyddoniad named our Nemeton, Nemeton Awenyddion, which means: sacred grove of oracles/seers.

For Alban Hefin/summer solstice we will have our regular gathering and mistletoe gathering ritual on June 22nd. I have made special arrangements with some neighbors of mine who have a beautiful pond on their land surrounded by oak trees, one of which has a large bunch of mistletoe hanging within reach from the ground. This is where we will be doing our mistletoe gathering ritual. Then we will head back to Nemeton Awenyddion for our ritual and feast.

We are also planning on having a campout for Gwyl Ifan/Lughnasadh. There is an online flyer at:

Another big happening at Druid Heart Spirit Grove is that we have our plans and proposal together for non-profit status. Our plans are for buying a large piece of land for Nemeton Awenyddion, Cottage Industries, a nature preserve, and classes and nature walks we will offer to local schools. A Gwyddoniad Druid retreat center will also be our major aim in our plans, with building another stone circle Nemeton, a Celtic sweat lodge, and small tree cabins for our campouts and retreats. Our organization will be accepting board members from Druid Groves, as Groves, not individuals. I will let you all know when more progress is made. Rhiannon Hawk

Duir de Danu Grove: News from California

We are having Celtic Nights, the second Saturday of the month. One of the projects we've been talking about doing is making Ogham fews for divination.

Baccharis Grove: News from California

Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"

The Season of Life began in full force as May proved to be a very busy month for us.

We had the distinct pleasure and privilege of having Brother Bob Larson come to our Beltaine service.

In the middle of the month we drove to Mt. Shasta to bring Emmon's headstone to his grave at the Buddhist Abbey. We held a small service also attended by a few of the monks and buried some items of importance to us and to Emmon under the headstone (at his funeral we put some things in his casket in typical early Celtic fashion that he might need in the Other-world or next life), and each said a few words. I read the Zen Master Ryokan poem, "To My Teacher" and a dirge from the Carmina Gadelica in the original Gaidhlig.

I decided to stay longer at the "philosophical hermitage" and attended an introductory meditation lesson given by one of the monks and two sitting and one walking meditations. The half-hour sitting meditations seemed daunting at first, but I compared them to my Third Order vigil, and didn't look at them in terms of minutes ticking by but as a block of time. The sitting still and clear head practice is much the same as my daily Salutations to the Three Ways of day and One of Night so it was familiar and I found I could achieve that state. After the meditation there was a dharma talk given by one of the senior monks which seemed very appropriate for this Druid's training.

Monday morning I awoke to snow!! It was snowing! The white was very striking on the bright green of the oak, pine, and redwood trees. Snow is very unusual for Shasta at this time of year and it was like a blessing.

I visited Sister Rhiannon of the Druid Heart Spirit Grove on the way home. Her Grove site sits in the middle of a forest and has standing stones. It is truly wonderful.

Rather than consigning the Grove Birches that died last year to the firewood pile, I thought what more fitting a tribute than to make Ogham staves out of them. A friend with a serious wood-working shop graciously agreed to cut the wood to my specifications (based on the measurements of my index finger). They turned out beautifully. The next step is to purchase a wood-carving set to carve the lines. After Gaidhlig class this past Tuesday I got into a discussion with a fellow student at the Irish music session we go to afterwards about the tree alphabet that the Oghams are based on. Each Ogham begins with a letter of one of the trees sacred to the ancient Druids. It suddenly made sense! By each Ogham beginning with the first letter of one of the trees, probably common in Ireland and the Celtic lands at the time, the trees were probably a way of memorizing the alphabet! Look up, see a tree, it stands for this letter. We know that the Druids committed their learning to memory rather than writing it down. This seemingly little exercise filled in another piece of the puzzle to understanding and learning what the Druids did.

Summer Solstice Activities

By Alex Strongbow, ex-Carleton Grove

It is not a major holiday, but here are some activities to surround the holiday.

Short and simple, the list looks like this:

  • Pic-nics, beach parties, and fireworks A bonfire from thailand
  • Bonfire (It's always a good time)
  • Fire-Fly searching, bug collecting (and release?)
  • College or family reunions
  • Charging magical tools
  • Hardest work on a long-term project or making a journey
  • Eating a super-big sundae
  • Hauling rocks and attuning your megalithic calendar
  • Baseball, soccer, hurley, outdoor games.
  • Searching for St. John's Wort
  • Backyard volcano building (see site)
  • Other Links

  • Kids activities that teach.
  •,1120,22-4200,00.html megalithic family fun!
  • family projects.
  • interesting base for studies
  • Create a sun flag for your grove for Solstices and Equinoxes? Look at sun flags from other nations for inspiration at

  • a line of stones

    The Creation of a Druid's Nemeton

    This is an article by Rhiannon Hawk Fugatt, of the Druid Heart Spirit Grove/Nemeton Awenyddion, on how she set up her Grove site. While Sister Rhiannon uses Welsh deities, the deities invoked can be adapted to the Celtic pantheon of your affinity and their attributes and roles.

    Nemeton means "Sacred Space." The Druids of old and Druids of today prefer our sacred space outdoors in a place where we feel or sense Nature Spirit activity. Many Nemetons are located in a grove of trees. Natural places can add a lot to a ritual, especially if you can find a spot that exists along a ley-line or high energy center along the Earth's magnetic grid. Our Druid Grove's Nemeton is in the middle of a forest of silver-firs, oaks, pines, cedars, and dogwoods, twenty to thirty feet behind our home. Before we created the standing stones Nemeton I searched the property by spending time in different locations attuning to Earth's energy there and paid special care of natural vibrational frequencies.

    The circle of our Grove is about twenty-five feet across, and around the edges stand twelve stones in the eight directions of the wheel of the year. We spent considerable time creating this sacred space, but it is nothing compared to the hard work that went into the ancient's creation of Stonehenge or other ancient sacred places. These stone monuments, or circles, express the way Druids perceive the universe and we connect with the universe in this circle that has no beginning and no end. These standing stones will stay here to remind future people of our existence and sacred connection with the land.

    forest circle I found most of the stones in our stone circle by digging them out of the ground near the Nemeton's location. Some of them were very large, weighing up to two thousand pounds. For the larger and heaviest stones we used a come-along, a hand operated wench for pulling them. The largest stone that now stands in the East was the heaviest. I dug it out of the hard clay soil just fifteen feet away from the nemeton in the ground. After three days of cranking the come-along we finally had him close enough to the East so we started to prepare his spot in the Grove, next we stood him up and lodged him into the dig out. Now I'm sure it would have taken a lot less time if we had a tractor to move it, but we decided to do it by hand. The rest of the stones in our nemeton weighed less than a thousand pounds. I moved them by my self with a refrigerator dolly.

    If you were to put as much effort into your sacred space, it might be good to get a work party together to help. While not all of us are blessed to have land, sometimes it is necessary to seek out Pagan friendly land owners. Druids who live in cities can create sacred space in your homes but, please be sure you have a fire source such as a candle, for that is where the spirits dance.

    The Nemeton is circular, but Druids stand or sit in a horse shoe pattern during ritual. The opening in the horseshoe is where the spirits enter our Nemeton that is in the South. The South is also where we have our altar. The altar is used to create an open doorway for the kindred spirits to enter during ritual. The reason for the altar's location being in the South is that the South side of any clearing has the most sun through out the day. The alter I created in our Nemeton is a trithilian--three standing stones in close proximity capped with a flat sandstone. The altar is a bridge between the worlds. The lay out of the ritual tools on our altar are symbol. How they are placed on top of the altar stone reflects how we relate those symbols with our own inner spirit, and our connection with the world tree cosmology. On our alter we place the symbols of Land, Sea, and Sky, and of the balance between the moon and sun. During ritual we do not step behind the altar out of our deep respect for the Shining Ones or good spirits who may be passing through the opening into the Grove.

    A Grove is what Druids call their act of gathering for rituals, magic and meditation. We are the Druid's Grove. We join with others and do the tree meditation at the beginning of our ritual to feel that the peace within trees, also exists within us, and to experience the interconnectedness of our roots growing together. The rituals take place in the Nemeton.

    8220;hazy field of dreams These rituals are celebrated during the solstices, the equinoxes, the four fire festivals, and the healing rites we do every month. The Nemeton has a fire pit dug out of its center. Before all rituals we prepare for the spirit fire by placing oak twigs and logs in a cone shape. Oak represents durability and strength and is associated with the Welsh sun god Llew. We light the spirit fire in ritual during the moment the god and goddess who preside over the ritual are arriving. When we are in the Nemeton all is quiet except for the sounds of nature, the four winds in the trees, and our voices raised in song. We keep a peace around us that allows our senses to awaken and our minds to be open for contact with the invisible world. The invisible world exists all through out this middle earthly plane.

    When we had finished building our stone circle I did a ritual to welcome the new stones. This is done by consecrating the stones with offerings that have been blessed by the spirits. First we invite a patron god and matron goddess from the Welsh pantheon into our Nemeton. We call on the goddess Brúd. She brings with her the flame of inspiration and the creation of fiery spirit energy that dances in the center fire. We call on the god Manawyddan, he is the voyager who sails on the ocean, and over the land. He goes between our world and the other worlds and assists us to lift the veils between the worlds. I invoke Brú and Manawyddan into two white candles. These represent the brightness of the god and goddess and reminds us to keep alive our own inner spark of the divine. The invocation is done with songs and poetry. Then we take the candles and we light the center fire to connect the spirits and us with the Celtic world tree.

    The center fire of our Nemeton represents the center of the world tree and the center of the world tree is the Middleworld or Earth. We invite the god and goddess of the rite to dance there in the spirit fires. Then we call the Celtic triad spirits to bless us with their presence. The triad spirits are our Ancestors of the sea, the Nature Spirits of the earth, and the Shining Ones of the sky. The triad spirits we invite into the Grove each have an earthen bowl that contains an element that is attributed to the realm they come from. A bowl of water is placed to the left on the alter for the Underworld and the Ancestors. A bowl of earth for the Middleworld and the Nature Spirits is placed in the center. The Shining Ones have a feather and an incense bowl on the right side. We invoke these spirits with poetic verse to imbue their spirit into the water, the earth, and the incense.

    Three bowls by Mendos The poetry we use is written by our Grove's Bard. Then we take the two candles around to each stone and pour a small amount of melted wax onto the ground in front of each stone. This is done to awaken each stone to the spirits of the god and goddess we have invoked into the candles, that their energy may vibrate from the Earth that is within the newly created Nemeton. A Druid then takes each bowl starting with the water of the Ancestors, and pours a small amount on top of each stone while invoking the energy of the Ancestor's realm of the Underworld to pulsate through all of the stones in the circle. The Underworld is more distant from our world than the Otherworld, and is usually found through water. The world tree's roots are in the Underworld, so are the past, our ancestors, and our minds. This the Druid says during invocation to each stone while pouring the waters, "May the vibrations of the Underworld, through this stone, pulsate with the luminous light of the Anwyn." The name for the Underworld in the Welsh lore is Anwyn. Then the Druid goes to each new stone member repeating this same process then returns the bowl to the alter giving thanks by words of prayer.

    The same process is done to awaken the stones to the energetic activity of Nature Spirits, who's world comes next on the way up the world tree. Nature spirits are part of the creative energy flow in nature, they exist in plants, streams, mountains, trees, animals, and in this Middleworld earthly plane. They can be any size. They work together in a synchronized harmonious flow to keep balance present in the Nemeton. The trunk of the world tree exists on Earth. It is the Middleworld, it is our nature and earthly relations, our physical body's connection to Earth. The spirit fire in the center of our Nemeton is the very center of the world tree and is also in the trunk. To synchronize the stones with nature's energy a Druid takes the bowl of Earth and walks towards the first stone to the right of the altar and says,

        "May the rhythmic vibrations of our Earth Mother pulsate with you, and through you, as it does in us. Help us amplify the healing powers of Abred in our Nemeton. Make this a place that will awaken our ability to be more attentive to the forces of Abred."

    Abred is the Welsh name for this Middleworld. The Druid then pours a small amount of earth from the bowl over the stone, and repeats the same process with the other stones. The bowl then gets returned to the alter.

    roots and branches Next, we bring to the circle of stones the presence of the Otherworld. We do this by asking assistance from the Shining Ones who have come to us from the Otherworld. In The world tree cosmology, the Otherworld and the Underworld are not the same. The Otherworld is above and more celestial. It is the canopy of branches and leaves on the world tree. Access to the Otherworld is usually through portals on Middleworld (Earth) in areas where there is energy concentrated, such as ley-lines and power spots, sacred hills, stone circles and the like. The Shining Ones that live in the Otherworld are the gods and goddesses from old Celtic lore and legends. We honor them in our rituals with offerings of herbs, songs, and prayers. To merge the light energy of the Shining Ones with the stones, an active Druid takes the bowl of incense and feather and approaches the stone starting with the one to the right of the alter. Sain is the Gaelic term we use for wafting the smoke. The Druid starts to Sain the stone while saying,

        "Oh Shining Ones, hear our prayers and accept our offerings. For today with your help, we consecrate our new stone members to make them wholly in the realms of Anwyn, Abred, and Gwynvyd at the edges of our Nemeton!

        May the higher frequencies of Gwynvyd illuminate through you, within and without, let the messages of the Gods and Goddesses speak through you to us clearly, that we may hear the truth and feel their hearts nobility brought to this Nemeton."

    The Welsh name for the Otherworld is Gwynvyd. When the Druid returns the bowl of Gwynvyd to the altar all raise their hands to the South, above the altar and say,

        "Let the powers of Land, Sea, and Sky live within and on the edge of this Nemeton. Let the spirit fire and world tree connect the stones to the center of our Nemeton."

    To end this rite a Druid approaches the fire and takes some ashes from the spirit fire and first enters the South saying,

        "Voices from the ocean of the four winds! Come! Rush through the stones and spiral into the center of the world tree."
    The Druid then sprinkles some ash on the ground in front of the stone, and on the stone, and does this for each of the stones in every direction. The Druid does this while chanting,

        "Let the spirit fire and world tree connect the stone people to the center of our Nemeton. By the blessing of all spirits, dance together our ancestors, our nature spirits, and the Shining Ones, we welcome these new stone members into our Nemeton."

    All say, "Gadael hi bhod!" Rituals are always followed by a song of peace, and a fellowship feast.

    different parts The Ash Tree
    By Sam Peeples, free-roaming Druid

    One of the easier trees to spot, this sturdy and reliable tree naturally features prominently in Celtic Lore and in the customs of various Indo-European peoples. Modern pagans are well familiar with the phase "by oak, ash, and thorn," which is used as a blessing during ritual or to affirm a charge of power in spellcraft.

    There are about fifty species of the genus Fraxinus, and cultivation has produced and perpetuated a large number of varieties. The Common Ash and the Privet are the only representatives in England and Ireland of the Olive family Oleaceae, of which is the furthest northern species. It is the fourth most common tree in the British isles, and traces of pollen date back 7000 years. Other species include White Ash--fraxinus americana; European Ash--fraxinus excelsior (Including British Isles); Flowering Ash--fraxinus ornus. Rowan (or "Mountain Ash") is from a different family. The ash tree is known by several folk names: Nion, Asktroed, Jasen Bell, and Freixo. The word 'ash' derives from the Icelandic aske which means "great fire blaze," or from the Anglo-Saxon word Asech a poetic word for spear, while the botanical name Fraxinus means "great fire-light" due to its high flammability.

    It grows 40' to 70' tall (some as great as 40meters) with a potential canopy of 20' to 50' in width. Unless cut back, it will have a long straight trunk. They take 45 years to mature, with a life span of 200 years, and longer if coppiced every 12 to 20 years. It likes rich, well-drain soil, with ample moisture, like the olive family. It is often found near limestone, but is adaptable to a wide range of pH. It can tolerate salt. Extreme cold and winter contraction can damage rapidly growing young trees.

    Leaf: Opposite, pinnately compound, seven to 11 sessile, serrated leaflets, total leaf 10 to 14 inches long, dark green above, lighter below with tufts of brown hair. Normally very late coming into leaf, it can then be one of the earliest to loose its leaves.

        If the oak come out before the ash
        There's sure to be a splash
        If the ash be out before the oak
        Why, then you're sure to get a soak.

    Feathery foliage allows many shrubs and plants to grow beneath it. Yellow in the fall. A wind pollinated species, the ash is generally a bisexual tree but you do get male and female trees but these can change sex! Some ash trees have flowers with both male and female parts, some have only male or only female flowers, and some produce separate male and female flowers on different branches. Some branches which produce only female flowers one year may produce all male flowers the following year. The fruit of the ash are the ash-keys: an oblong seed chamber with long strap wings. The keys hang from branches in little bunches and turn from green to brown. The seeds, or keys, stay on the trees through the winter, and only fall in spring. They can be carried quite long distances by the wind, and spring up quickly in almost any type of soil

    Physical Uses of the Wood

    winter and summer

  • Laboratory tests show that ash has the greatest "impact strength" of all native hardwoods in the Isles. It will also bear more weight than any other tree when used for joists. It grows very quickly and has great elasticity. The wood is best used for interior purposes, works well, is subject to insect damages, polishes well, shrinks little in seasoning, and is excellent for steam-bending.
  • The Anglo-Saxons used the fine-grained and springy Ash wood for making spears, shields, baskets, baseball bats, tool handles, arrow shafts, cricket bats, hop poles, hockey sticks, snooker cues, hurley ( "The clash of the ash") and Shillelaghs. Before the development of light alloys ash wood was used for the construction of carts, boat frames, furniture (such as thrones), joists, carriages, coaches, wagons, , aircraft wings. It dents easily, but rarely warps with age, but achieves a smooth polish and molding to the hands with usage.
  • It rots easily when wet, so it should be kept away from the ground
  • The longs burn well, even when freshly cut, but gives no smoke and its ashes are good for potash. It also makes good charcoal. There is a traditional poem various woods and the ash is considered good for royalty;
    "...but ash new, or ash old is fit for Queen with crown of gold"

    Herbal and Magical Uses (consult a doctor or herbalist, of course)

    Nordic Customs

    yggdrasil Ash is well known to be sacred to Odin since the Ash is often known as the Yggdrassil (or the "Ash Yggdrassil") amongst the Scandinavian nations. In Norse mythology, the Yggdrassil supports the Universe, has three main branches and is believed to have sprung from the beginning of time out of primordial slime and ashes. The world tree extends throughout all the worlds from the gods home in Asgard, the mortal realms of Midgard, to the dark underworld of Nifelheim. The sacred waters of the Well of the Wyrd were used by the Norns to water its branches, and the Norns were associated with fate. Any site of great significance within the Norse cosmology usually is placed by a root of the tree. The leaves fed Odin's goat, Heidrun, which supplied the mead for the gods. The leaves also fed four stags (Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathor) whose horns' dew fed the rivers of the world.

    Odin is especially associated with the spear, for which the ash was often chosen, as he owns the mythological Gungnir. The Northern races often employed cremation of the dead, for which Ash is unrivaled. Men were created from Ash by the Norse gods ash and the first woman from rowan. Odin hung himself from Yggdrassil to obtain the runes, of which it is the 26th (Anglo-Saxon version) and resembles a barbed spear.

    ansuzAnsuz rune and the Nuinn OghamNuinn

    The rune-poem says "The ash is precious to men and very tall. Firm on its base it keeps its place securely though many men attack it." Northumbrian runes refer to "Gar" meaning spear. Some Norse used the Nidding Pole to pester foes; which was a 9 foot ash pole, surmounted by a horse skull facing an enemy's home.

    odin hanging from the tree, perhaps the origin of the hanging man in the tarot deck?

  • Red ash buds were eaten at midsummer to protect from enchantment,
  • Ash divination wand was cut at mid-summer to attract.
  • One version of the Yule log was a bundle of ash faggots burned at the midwinter solstice and the wassail bowl was carved from ash wood.
  • In Northern England, it was once believed that if a woman placed an Ash leaf in her left shoe, then she would be fortunate enough to immediately meet her future spouse
  • Locally there were traditions associated with the ash. In Yorkshire it was said to be a sign of disaster if the ash did not produce keys in a year.
  • Another old belief, recorded at least in the nineteenth century, was recorded in Lincolnshire and Frankish law codes. In the north of England, until the 19th century, the ash used to be known as esh and men believed that if they freshly cut an "esh-plant," no thicker than their thumb, they had the right to beat their wife with it. (Some customs are best forgotten.)
  • The Ash tree gave warriors silent warnings about war. To die under an Ash tree while in battle, was a guarantee to be selected by Odin to go to Valhalla.
  • Also in German forests Christian folk, in previous centuries, feared "demons" in the trees. They told tales of the Askafroa (Eschenfrau) who was the wife of Ash and did much damage. So people would sacrifice to her on Ash Wednesday (despite this being a Christian festival in origin).

    Greek Customs

    The Greek goddess Nemesis carried an ash branch as the symbol the divine instrument of the justice of the gods, the scourge. In iconology she is also depicted with an eight-spoke wheel symbolic of the solar year. The wheel is also a symbol of the Fates who dispensed her justice under and through the ash tree, metering out happiness or misery and ensuring that fortune was shared and not cosseted by the few. If anyone hoarded the favors she had given or didn't sacrifice some or part of it to the gods, or didn't try to alleviate the poverty and misery of fellow man. Nemesis would step in and withdraw what was given dispensing justice through humiliation with a scourge made of ash.

    In later Greek myths Nemesis was identified as Andrasteia, daughter of the sea god Oceanus and goddess of the "rain making ash tree." In this aspect her scourge was used for ritual flogging to bring fruitfulness and productivity to the trees and crops. This association with Oceanus the god of the sea through his daughter Andrasteia, connects the ash tree with thunderstorms, which waters the earth and fertilizes the land. The ash tree is said to attract lightening. As well as the ash branch, wheel and scourge Nemesis also carried an apple branch as a reward for heroes.

    Celtic Customs

    leaf closeup

  • Wood being taken without touching the ground, would cleave to the element of air, flying straight and true. One of the most famous spears in Celtic mythology was the Spear of Lugh, one of the four treasures brought to Ireland by the Tuatha De Danann from the city of Gorias. This was a spear of power and direction which would not miss its target. So keen was it that it was kept hooded when not in use.
  • In Ancient Wales and Ireland, oars were made of this wood. Ash protects against drowning and oars and coracle slats were often made of ash.
  • Gwydion, the Celtic equivalent of this Norse God, was known to choose the thick, strong twigs of the Ash for his wands and was renowned for his magical abilities.
  • The staff of the good god and chief of the Tuatha De Danann, the Dagda, is believed to be made of ash wood.
  • The Staff planted by Fintan the Ancient was an ash.
  • Of old, a staff of ash was hung over doorframes to ward off malign influences, or ash leaves were scattered in the four directions to protect a house or area, or a garter made from its green bark was worn as protection against sorcerers and physic attacks.
  • Of old, a staff of ash was hung over doorframes to ward off malign influences, or ash leaves were scattered in the four directions to protect a house or area, or a garter made from its green bark was worn as protection against sorcerers and physic attacks.
  • Carve a piece of ash wood into the shape of a solar cross (an equal-armed cross) and carry it with you when traveling across sea or water for protection against drowning. Healing wands are also carved out of ash wood and healing poppets can be carved from its roots.
  • It is the second most common tree found near Holy Wells in Ireland, the first being Hazel. The Ash was often the selected tree for Maypoles.
  • Ash is one of the trees were protected by Brehon Law of Ireland. Cutting down one of these trees was a fine of one cow. These Trees are Oak, Hazel, Apple, Holly, Yew, Ash and Pine. The Ash was a sacred chieftain tree, believed to "court the flash" since it was prone to be struck by lightning. The ash tree has a particular affinity with lightning, which it attracts. Under an ash tree is not the place to be during an electrical storm.

    There were several famous ashes:

  • Tree of Creevna-Ireland-emigrants to America carried pieces of this ash tree before they left. This tree was considered a charm against drowning.
  • Tree of Uisnech. Standing upon the mythological fifth province of Ireland, it was the centre point of Ireland, performing in wood what the Umbilicus Hiberniae; the centre stone of Ireland did as it also lay upon the Hill of Uisnech.
  • Tree of Totu, Dathi, and Uisnech-Ireland-these Ash trees were some of the five magic trees cut down in 655 AD as a sign of Christianity conquest over paganism. The other two were an oak and an elm.

    Generic Lore

  • In folklore it was believed that the fairies could be seen and conversed with by mortals wherever the three trees grew together.
  • As a cure for rickets the baby was passed widdershins through a cleft made in an ash sapling. The tree was then tied-up and sealed with clay, and afterwards a bond grew between the child and the tree, any later damage to the tree also happened in the health of the child and vice versa, therefore the ash tree could never be cut down as this would result in the disease. If you want your newborn child to be a good singer bury its first nail parings under an ash tree.
  • The ceremonial Yule log is often made of Ash--this huge log is kindled each Yule with a piece from last years fire and allowed to smolder for 12 days before it is ceremonially put out.
  • Ash is often used for making both mundane and magical tools-it's said that tools with handles of Ash are more productive than tools with handles of other wood.
  • The flowering Ash has sap that contains a sugary exudate called "manna," which can be used as a laxative.
  • The leaves have diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative properties and are employed in modern herbal medicine for their laxative action, especially in the treatment of gouty and rheumatic complaints proving a useful substitute for Sienna, having a less griping effect. The infusion of the leaves (1 oz to the pint of water) may be given in frequent doses during any 24-hour period. The distilled water of the leaves can be taken every morning and was considered good for dropsy and obesity, and a decoction of the leaves in white wine had the reputation of dissolving stones and curing jaundice. The leaves should be gathered in June, well dried and powdered and kept in well-corked bottles
  • Ash leaves and the tender tops can be used in the spring to make a fasting tea that is a diuretic and can be used as a help for weight loss. Put fresh ash leaves under your pillow to stimulate psychic dreams.
  • Scatter some ash leaves in a bowl of water and place it under a bed over night to prevent and heal illness. The next morning the water and leaves should be discarded outside on open ground then repeat the procedure each evening until well. Leaves can also be sewn into small sachets and worn as health or protection charms. To gain the love of the opposite sex, carry some loose ash leaves in your pockets.
  • Ash bark is known as a liver and spleen cleanser and can make the immune system stronger
  • The ash was said traditionally to combat viper bites and boiled leaves were given to afflicted animals and laid on as a poultice. Ash keys
  • Ash talismans can be worn as protective amulets. Ash is known to keep away serpents and to protect against their bite. If there are no snakes to be found, Ash can be used instead to keep away nasty people who are bitchy, quick to criticize, impatient, or psychic vampires.
  • Ash can be used in medicine pouches or can be used in magick for wart remover: the wart is stuck with a pin that has first been thrust into an Ash, while these words are said: "Ashen tree, Ashen tree, pray these warts off of me." The pins are then stuck back in the tree and left.
  • "Beware the ash, it courts a flash, beware the oak, it courts a stroke" says the old rhyme, meaning that these two trees, above all others, attract lightening.

    Songs about Ash Trees

    "The Ash Tree" is a poem, that was given a Welsh melody, and has become extremely well known in American folklore with dozens of versions. I've always found it a bit creepy, seeing the images of the dead in the branches. But, in a way, I've found that it is a pleasant Druidical song. The second song uses the same music and is a whimsical parody poking fun at those factious Celts.

    The Ash Grove

    By John Oxenford

    The ash grove, how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking,
    The wind [harp] through it playing has language for me.
    Whenever the light through its branches is breaking
    A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
    The friends of my childhood again are before me,
    Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
    With soft whispers laden its leaves rustle o'er me,
    The ash grove, the ash grove again [alone] is my home.

    My laughter is over, my step loses lightness,
    Old countryside measures steal soft on my ear;
    I only remember the past and its brightness,
    The dear ones I mourn [long] for again gather here.
    From out of the shadows their loving looks greet me
    And wistfully searching the leafy green dome,
    I find other faces fond bending to greet me,
    The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

    My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness
    No dream of my future my spirit can cheer;
    I only can brood on the past and its brightness,
    The dead I have mourned are again living here.
    From ev'ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
    I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome,
    And others are there looking downward to greet me;
    The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

    Scottish Cattle Wrangling

    Welsh History 101

    by Heather Rose Jones

    If ever you wander out by the Welsh border
    Come stop by and see me and all of my kin
    I'm Morgan ap Daffyd ap Gwion ap Hywell
    Ap Ifor ap Madoc ap Rhodri ap Gwyn
    We'll feast you on mutton and harp for your pleasure
    And give you a place to sleep out of the cold
    Or maybe we'll meet you out on the dark roadway
    And rob you of horses and weapons and gold

    My neighbor from England has come across raiding
    Slain six of my kinsmen and burned down my hall
    It cannot be borne this offense and injustice
    I've only killed four of his, last I recall
    I'll send for my neighbors, Llewellyn and Owain
    We'll cut him down as for the border he rides
    But yesterday Owain stole three of my cattle
    And first I'll retake them and three more besides

    We need a strong prince to direct our resistance
    Heroic, impartial, of noble degree
    My brother's wife's fourth cousin's foster-son, Gruffydd
    Is best for the job as I'm sure you'll agree
    What matter that Rhys is the old prince's nephew
    He's exiled to Ireland and will not return
    I know this for every time boats he is building
    I send my spies money to see that they burn

    Last evening my brother and I were at war
    Over two feet of land on a boundary we share
    But early this morning, I hear he's been murdered
    I'll not rest until I avenge him, I swear
    Yes, we are just plain folk who mind our own business
    Honest and loyal and full of good cheer
    So if you should wander out by the Welsh border
    Come stop by and meet all the friendly folk here

    Further Links

  • Interesting little encyclopedia article
  • Weapon handles
  • Fun page on history of wood
  • Making Tool Handles

    General Ash Lore use of Ash for more on "ash people"

  • Additional notes by Mike Scharding, Digitalis Grove:

    It is widely known that Ash was the preferred wood for making spears and the handles of weapons and tools. As such, the name is associated with war and craftsmanship. It is also a popular name in Anglophonic regions. In America, Ash is not in the top 50 for men, but Ashley is the top ten for women with such varieties as"

    ASHLEE: English (Modern) Strictly feminine variant of ASHLEY
    ASHLEIGH: English (Modern) Strictly feminine variant of ASHLEY
    ASHLEY: English From a surname which was originally derived from a place name which meant "ash tree clearing" (Old English).
    ASHLIE: English (Modern) Strictly feminine variant of ASHLEY
    ASHLING: Irish Anglicized form of AISLING
    ASHLYN: English Combination of ASHLEY and the popular name suffix -lyn

    For me, the hero in society is someone who puts aside personal considerations to undertake a dangerous mission for the benefit of the community to which he belongs. A hero is different from a mere adventurer. When a society has a warrior band, certain rules of etiquettes, honor codes and initiations develop to regulate their deployment and support them in trying times. This is seen in the Code of Bushido for Samurai, Code of Chivalry, Navy Seals boot camp indoctrination, and children playing Aliens vs. Astronauts in their backyard.

    Ash Ketchum The first hero is Ash Ketchum of Pokemon fame (Satoshi in Japanese) who is the caretaker of Pika-chu, the high-voltage rodent. As many of you unfortunate parents know, Ash has a geas to collect as many pocket monsters as possible, and train them to fight in bloodless combat. This is the child's "General fantasy" in which they stand back and let armies fight their war at a safe distance. The inventor of Pokemon wished to share the wonder of his own childhood explorations of various insects & wildlife in the suburbs of Tokyo, before the rapid growth of concrete and buildings isolated millions of sub-urban children from Nature in the 1960s both in America and Japan.

    However, Ash's wilderness adventures, with his fellow band of poke-masters, have antecedents in most literatures of a young warrior (Ash is between 10 & 12) leaving home and experiencing strange adventures which teach him wisdom, restraint, courage, etc. CuChulainn was only eight when he left and was apprenticed to a blacksmith, after killing and taking the role of the guardian dog. Finn (see Hazel article a few issues back) studied at a young age with various teachers and ate the Salmon of knowledge. Finn was later accompanied by heroic falcons, dogs and other magical critters, not unlike the young Ash.

    Ash,by Bruce Campbell, Hail the King! The second hero is Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, of the wild and wacky cult-favorite Evil Dead, Evil-Dead 2, and Army of Darkness that had moderate success in the 80s. Ash is a man cursed with hideously bad luck, and a penchant for returning to dangerous places, when he should know better. We also saw incidents of the Red Branch literature king and warriors knowing what to avoid in Ireland, and yet being harmless to avoid fulfilling their fate. The Evil Dead series revolves around Ash maintaining the boundaries (quite violently) between the world of the living and the dead, which has parallels with several Celtic heroes journeying into the fantastic Other-world of the faeries and sidhe-mounds. Ash amateurishly summons and banishes demons, travels in time, practices alchemy, divination, necromancy, and a host of other magics, with rather disastrously amusing results. We witness the transformation from unimposing shopping clerk into a confident, untiring, sarcastic one-liner spitting, full-scale, zombie-busting warrior with one hand replaced by a chainsaw (any parallels with Nuada's Silver Hand and the fight with the Fomorians?) Although humor is strangely lacking in many Celtic sagas (except for grim irony), there is a most delicious mix of cynicism, sarcasm, spoofery and dark humor heavily poured over the second and third films of this series. Not for those with weak stomachs, but neither is being a hero; whose role is often forced upon them.

    Further Links

  • on Fionn and CuChulainn
  • scholastic essay on Heroes, Evil-Dead movies and feminism.
  • The cool factor.
  • The Evil Dead computer game.

  • .

    Classic Druidess Druidess: An Overview

    By Daniel Hansen, Msc.D., Olympia Grove

    The question is often asked, where there female Druids? This article, the first part of a series by Brother Daniel, hopes to shed some light and give us some answers and evidence.

    In our modern world of non-racist, non-sexist egalitarian society, and in particular the neo-Druid movement, we often attribute these modern values on our views or interpretation of history. Now after saying that, I'd like to address the subject of Druidesses. In all neo-Druid branches, men and women play roles of equal importance. A group can be lead by a Druid who is either a man or woman, and it doesn't make the slightest difference which. In ancient times or in the time of the paleo-Druids, there was a clear division of duties between men and women in all aspects of Celtic society. It is true that in Celtic society, women had a great deal of flexibility and social latitude not shared by women of other cultures of the period, but it was still a more or less male dominated society.

    All of the early references to the Druids indicated that they were men. It wasn't until around the third century CE that Druidesses are first mentioned. However, there is evidence that a female priesthood existed side-by-side with the Druids and in some cases long before the paleo-Druids. Keep in mind that the question of the existence of the Druidess is a highly controversial topic, one with experts arguing for and against the existence of Druidesses.

    After reading over a considerable amount on information on the subject, I have come to the conclusion that there was indeed a Celtic female priesthood of some kind and from our modern perspective, they were in all probability what we call Druidesses.

    What are the facts to support such a wild claim?

    Actually there is quite a bit, some of it is highly questionable and therefore subject to various interpretations by various authorities. I think it is best to examine the evidence piece by piece rather than throw it all out at once in order to sort things out. I'll start from a rather simplistic overview then I will go into greater detail on each subject.

    In the beginning, most experts speculate, the concept of the Divine was that of the Magna Matre or the Great Mother. It is easy to understand how early mankind perceived of God as a woman. In the cycle of the year, particularly in the spring, the Earth literally burst into life. The Earth Mother could be seen in the contour of the land where mountains were her breasts and caves as her womb. This is called dinnshenchas, "The lore of prominent places." It is not surprising that in Europe we should find cave paintings of magical significance, which seemed to ask for abundant animals to hunt and food to eat deep in these caves. Other relics from the past to confirm in the belief in the Earth Mother are the so-called "Venus" figurines. These are small clay or stone models of pregnant women with large breasts and buttocks. What their actual function was is still a mystery to us today, but their relevance as a cult object is obvious.

    Is this early reverence for an Earth Mother evidence for a female priesthood? The obvious answer is..."no." We have to look at other early evidence. In some of the more primitive peoples who survived into the era of recorded history, such as the Picts in Scotland, we find a strong tradition of matrilinear succession, that is where your lineage or heritage is traced through your mother rather than through your father. Matrilinear succession is traced to a period before connection between mating and birth were recognized. This is after all a more reliable system than that of patrilinear succession, after all you always know who your mother is while a father can never really be absolutely sure he is the father.

    Paleolithic to Neolithic man knew that women could work great magic in their bodies such as the producing of life. Thus women were assumed to be able to use the magic of their bodies for other purposes. Through time it is highly possible that women became clan or tribal leaders of magical rites and the priestesses of the early Earth Mother religion.

    Fantasy Druidess Into the hands of the most powerful women magic-welders were kept the rites of fertility, both plant and animal, as well as the possession of much of the primitive tribal lore. These women must have been regarded as magicians par excellence in the times before the Indo-European invasions. Were these women Druidesses? No, but they can be considered their predecessors.

    The Indo-European invasions which swept across Europe were patriarchal in nature with their Sky Father God worship and their male priesthood. It took hundreds of years for the invasions to "sweep" across Europe until it finally reached Ireland around 350 BCE. After conquering a people, the invaders attempted to either oust the local goddess by killing her or they used her for their own purposes. By the latter, the local Goddess was made into the mother, sister, spouse, or daughter of their male God. How is this possible? Keep in mind that the Celtic gods and goddesses were never believed to be inviolable. These local goddesses never really conflicted with the Celtic nature-gods and so the two worships could exist side-by-side.

    There is a practical side to this limited toleration of the conquered religions. The conqueror assumed his gods were stronger, but it couldn't be denied the conquered people and their gods were on their home ground. The local gods might have some unguessed powers to do evil such as making the land barren and useless to the conquerors. Over time, the conquering people had taken over the land, the people, and the gods. In primitive societies where the church and state were very close (in some cases one and the same), it was important to break the religion as well as the government of the conquered people. If the old religion were left intact it would be a rallying point for revolt. The strategies for the take over are simple, yet effective. The first step is to adopt as much of the native religion and practices into the new religion as possible. The second step is where it is impossible to incorporate any major part of the native religion, such as a god or ritual, then that god or ritual must be stigmatized as evil. These two tactics tend to force the native religion "underground" and become what the Romans called a mystery cult or religion. On the surface it seems that one Pagan tradition stretches out the hand of welcome to another Pagan tradition and even admits them into their pantheon.

    Graven Druidess Taking into account the conservative nature of primitive people and their resistance to change or new ideas, there are always pockets of resistance with the ancient Earth Mother cult, it can be seen in the persistence of the Celtic Matres which survived well into the Roman period. The Matre or Mother Goddess was usually found in threes and they had fertility symbols such as fruit, flowers, a cornucopia, or an infant. This fertility cult was served by a powerful female priesthood, who possessed the tribal lore, what we would call "folk wisdom." The Celts regarded the number three to be magical and powerful so they gave their deities the attributes or characteristics, such as three heads, or like the Matre, three sisters. It is possible that this is a literary attempt to explain the Celtic Pagan idea of a single god or goddess shown in triple form in order to emphasize their divine powers.

    In other places of Europe, such as the isle of Sena and Loire off the coast of Armoria (France), conservation left these ancient rituals, site, and their priestesses in tact. Wondrous powers were attributed to these women such as shape changing into animals, raising storms and tempests by songs, curing all diseases, and predicting the future. Were these women Druidesses? If they weren't, then they were as close as you can come without being one. The powers listed are almost identical to powers attributed to the Druids by the Greek and Roman historians. Our prime source of the Druids is Caesar. He speaks of priestesses among the Germans, but he makes no mention of a female Druid caste. Of course we cannot assume that Caesar gives us a full account of the Celtic religion and this must be set against his silence on the subject. It is possible that the Druidesses may have been a very specialized priestess who had some particular purpose, such as diviners. This could explain why they were over looked.

    We also know that women were definitely set apart as the priestesses of the Moon Goddess. Everywhere that the Moon was worshiped as a Goddess, it was served almost exclusively by women, although in many areas men also played a part in the Moon Goddess service, but in a very different capacity Women were in charge of the magical practices intended to encourage the fertilizing power of the Moon Goddess.

    The first woman to be called Druidesses are found in the third century of the Common Era. However the term used for them is not Druidess, but Dryads, which means "Nymph of the woods." one train of thought is that Druidism and Dryadism were two phases of the same religion. Dryadism was restricted to females in the early matriarchal stage, but it was later opened up to males as well. It then outlasted the male phase and reverted back to a female cult. Some experts say that these women were not actually Druidesses at all, but that they were wise-women in the same genre of being soothsayers who read palms or tea leaves to divine the future for a price. If these Dryads were indeed the descendants of the Druidic tradition, then by third century CE Druidism was in a sad state of retreat.

    The Druidess by Redon In Ireland up to the fifth and sixth centuries C.E. there were still Druids who were both male and female, because in the literature that have survived there are references of Ban-Drui or Bean-Draoi female Druids. We know this from the chronicles of early Christian missionaries who came to Ireland to spread the new faith. It is well documented that the Christian Church attacked the Druids for their Paganism, but especially for the Druids propensity to include sacred women to their ranks. The Christians used the same tactics to takeover Druidism that the Indo-Europeans used on the pre-Indo-Europeans, specifically adaptation and stigmatization. In Ireland the power of women was reaffirmed by St. Patrick's prayer asking for protection from "women, smiths, and Druids."

    In Ireland, one of the best examples of the survival of women s power is found in the secluded sisterhood of Druidesses in the cloister-like enclosure of Cill-Dara (Kildare) also known as the "Church of the Sacred Oak" where the goddess Brighidh or Brigid was worshipped. This sisterhood managed to survive a thousand years under a thin veil of Christian trappings before it was finally crushed under the religious persecutions in the Protestant Reformation. It is recorded that the women of around 450 C.E. had organized games or their own at the fairs. They kept a special place or section at the public assemblies and they even had special enclosures reserved for them which men were not allowed in.

    So much for the simplistic overview, now it is time to look at each of these aspects of the Druidesses in some detail. The following sections are intended to highlight the various functions and duties of Druidesses at the various stages in history. These are not intended as absolute statements, but my presentation of a wide spectrum of related and interrelated subjects which set the groundwork for the rise of Druidesses, their reign as it were, and their various survivals.


    Druids at night In these sections of the various phases and aspects of the Druidess, I hope to have shown the remarkable durability and longevity of this often neglected side of Druidism. Their lineage. which extends far beyond recorded history back to the dawn of religious thought and the rise of the cult of the Earth Mother and the Moon Goddess. These early female shaman eventually evolved as their society evolved and they changed as their culture changed.

    Whether they acted alone as the village wise-woman or they clustered together in a secluded sanctuary, they had an amazing conservation of their traditions, knowledge, and belief system. Many of these institutions, to varying degrees, exist today as either folklore, bits of "sage advise," or in our veneration for the Earth Mother.

    While these sections may have shown the existence of Druidesses in the distant past, what does all this have to offer Druids and Druidesses today? The neo-Druid movement by and large does not have an unbroken link to the past. Druids today, male and female, are products or recreations or anachronism. What I am aiming at in this series of articles was as far as the Druidesses were concerned to show what I call "Arrival-Survival-Revival." In my articles I have shown the "Arrival" of the Druidess from her origins with the Matre, Moon worship, and Corn-Spirit cults. I have shown their "Survival" after the Roman and Christian persecution began with the references Dryads and witches. The neo-Druid movement, as was the Meso-Druidic movement, is in part of the "Revival" stage. In the neo-Druid movement women play a key role in the evolution of modern Druidic thought, but with the revival it is important that we not forget the ancient roots of the Druidess, even if the term no longer applies to our modern concept of Druidism.

    Chariots of the Druids?

    The Most Famous
    Reformed Druids

    By Mike, Digitalis Grove

    I'm sure you've heard these jokes:

    "I'm a Reformed Druid, I worship bushes, except the elected kind."
    "I'm a Reformed Druid; Pacific Chapter, I only worship Douglas Firs"
    "I'm a Reformed Druid; I don't hug trees and sacrifice virgins, I sacrifice trees and hug virgins..."
    "I'm a Reformed Zen Druid; I worship trees AND bushes that aren't there."

    Who started this infamous series of jokes? Apparently a very famous Reformed Druid is at the origin. Strangely enough, it isn't Isaac Bonewits, but a man who never actually existed. For most Americans, Captain Jonathan S. Tuttle, is the most recognized Reformed Druid that they will likely know.

    Background on Tuttle

    On January 14th, 1973 the 15th episode of the first season of M*A*S*H was written by Bruce Shelly, David Ketchum and directed by William Wiard and was simply titled "Tuttle". The episode opens with Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper McIntyre stealing camp supplies to give to Sister Teresa and her nearby orphanage during the Korean War. They say the goods are delivered on orders from Capt. Jonathan S. Tuttle. Of course, Capt. Tuttle doesn't exist; he was Hawkeye's imaginary friend as a kid. Tuttle always took the rap for Hawkeye's misdeeds. He's described as "George Washington, with John Wayne's agent," "Mister Humility," "an inspiration to us all," and one who "brings out the best in me." Col. Blake wants Tuttle to be "officer of the day", so Hawkeye cleverly creates a personnel file,

    Hawkeye: "Religion..."
    Trapper: "Athiest?"
    Hawkeye: "I don't believe in Athiesm. Let's make him a Druid."
    Radar: "What's that?"
    Hawkeye: "They worship trees."
    Radar: "Ah, tree surgeon."
    Hawkeye: "Druid, Reformed. They're allowed to pray at bushes."

    Other Purported Vitals:

     Last known picture of John Tuttle Full Name: Captain Jonathan S. Tuttle
    Serial number: 39729966.
    Born: Battle Creek, MI in 1924.
    Religion: Druid, Reformed.
    Medical school: Berlinisches Politechnicum.
    Parents: Harry & Frieda Tuttle
    Height: 6'4"
    Weight: 195lbs
    Hair Color: Auburn
    Eye Color: Hazel

    Tuttle soon gives all 14 months of neglected back pay to the orphanage. When Tuttle was going to be decorated for this gesture by Gen. Clayton, Hawkeye runs into camp saying how Tuttle was volunteering to do field surgery and jumped out of a helicopter without his parachute. "No sacrifice was too great." Of course, Trapper's new imaginary friend, Captain Murdoch, obtained the fake dog tags and parachute! Hawkeye even delivers a eulogy for Tuttle:

    "We can all be comforted that he's not really gone.
    There's a little Tuttle left in all of us.
    You might say, that all of us made up Tuttle.
    Our grief will pass, and it's already hard to remember exactly
    How Johnny looked, how he talked, his little laugh.
    Thankfully, he's left behind a memorial.
    I've been informed by Radar, he's named Sister Teresa's orphanage
    As the sole beneficiary of his GI insurance.
    How typical. We salute you, Captain Tuttle.
    Humanitarian and healer.
    Good luck, Doctor, in that big waiting room in the sky..."

    What an amazing fellow Druid! But the mystery doesn't end there. Perhaps a cover-up is involved since he didn't apparently die. At an official air force base, I found:

    Captain Tuttle
    Assistant Professor of Political Science, Surgeon
    HQ USAFA/DFPS - M4 2354 Fairchild Dr.
    USAF Academy, Colorado 80840-6258
    (719) 333-2270

    Captain Tuttle is a bit of a mystery man, often seen only late at night by a few lucky souls. His degree area is scholarly, and his teaching talents are legendary. His degree is from the Berlinisches Politechnicum. His studies focused on urban legends and 1970s TV shows. He is 6'3", 195 lbs, born in Battle Creek, Michigan. He is the best darn OD we have ever had. On 24 August 2000, there was a sighting of the elusive Capt Tuttle, however, after analysis of the photographic evidence it was determined the sighting was a mere false alarm.

    This evidence is available at It's comforting to know that you can't keep a good Druid down, right?

    More about those Tuttles

    This episode is interesting, because it shows how a story can take a life of its own. Most people acknowledge that the myths that surround most heroes are ficitious, but that does nothing to cease inspiring us. Tuttle is a model for us all. I noted his 20 years of schooling, international experience, medical knowledge, and love of home-made liquor.

    An interesting point is that nearly all of the major characters in M*A*S*H have Celtic or Border names: Pierce (York.), McIntryre (Scot), Maj Burns (Scot), Maj Houlihan (Irish), Col. Blake (Welsh), Corporal Riley (Scot), Father Mulcahy (Irish); with Klinger (Lebanese) as the exception. Is there some kind of implied rejection of the Anglo-American desire for exporting war being symbolized by a Celtic crew trying to clean up the mess of the aftermath? For me, Pierce and McIntryre are two crafty Druids trapped in the madness of war, trying to remain free by using wit, humor and satire to escape the insanity and dismality imposed by the dull uptight Burns and other various commanding buffoonish officers. For more on M*A*S*H characters see: TV tapes are available at

    De Niro in movie, Brazil Interestingly, the mythical rebellious Reformer, "Tuttle", also appears in the 1985 movie "Brazil" (by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python). Brazil is born out of doom-based fiction such as George Orwell's 1984; Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"; and Franz Kafka's "The Trial", chronicling a story where a reluctant bureaucrat is dragged into a web of conspiracy in a society of automatons. A printing error for the arrest of Archibald Tuttle, leads to the mistaken imprisonment of Mr. Buttle. Ironically, as Sam goes about his business to clear Buttle's name, he aids and is aided by Archibald "Harry" Tuttle (played by Robert De Niro), A renegade heating engineer who is sought after by the Ministry of Information for "Freelance Subversion." Tuttle allies with Sam after fixing Sam's heating system. Tuttle is bent on destroying the bureaucratic state. When asked his motives:

    "Why? I came into this game for the action, the excitement. Go anywhere, travel light, get in, get out, wherever there's trouble, a man alone. Now they've got the whole country sectioned off - can't make a move without a form."

    Indeed, this Tuttle is described as:

    Tuttle is a far cry from the slick, self-assured conspirator imagined by polite society; he is simply a human being seeking liberation from paperwork and social regulations. In his denial of society, Tuttle proves that humanity is not entirely lost. Tuttle provides one of the rare occurrences of true humanity in Brazil's dispassionate society, proclaiming, "We're all in it together," when in fact the majority of society seems to believe that every man must fend for himself.

    Origin and Further News on Tuttle

    So where did they learn about "Reformed Druidism" for the M*A*S*H script? Now, Isaac Bonewits was born in 1949 in Royal Oak, Michigan; so is there a connection with Battle Creek Michigan? Bruce Shelly, the prolific writer, lived in California. (,+Bruce ). Unfortunately, I've been unable to make contact with him, and he's at least in his late 60's, so perhaps wefll never know. Perhaps a relative or friend of his was a neo-pagan? Most likely, Shelley heard of Isaac's infamous "Degree in Magic" from UC Berkeley in a 1971 newspaper article and remembered it for the episode 15 months later. Interestingly enough, the Charles E. Tuttle Publishing house has been releasing a line of "linking East & West spirituality" since the 50s, winning Publisher of the Year in 1971, with many titles on Celtic Monasticism, Japan and of course, Korea. Perhaps we have a blending of two figures? Unfortunately, Mr. Shelley did not know that the RDNA was founded in 1963, so Tuttle actually predates the RDNA (being 1951 when he died), unless of course, Tuttle is related to David Fisher...

    So to wrap it up. Tuttle is still out there on "Nick at Night" and various re-run channels doing his best to present a noble image of the self-sacrificing hero, that we all hope is in us too. Bring him up in a conversation or utilize him in your daily deeds.

    The Aristocratic Warrior as Old as Stonehenge


    The richest Early Bronze Age burial in Britain has been found by astonished archaeologists.

    The grave of a mature man was found near Amesbury, Wiltshire and contains far more objects than any other burial of this date, about 2,300 BC.

    He has been identified as an archer on the basis of stone arrow heads and stone wristguards that protected the arm from the recoil of the bow. There were also stone tool kits for butchering carcasses, and for making more arrowheads if needed.

    According to Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology, what makes the find unique is the quantity and quality of the finds. 'As well as the archery equipment, the man had three copper knives and a pair of gold earrings. We think that the earrings were wrapped around the ear rather than hanging from the ear lobe. These are some of the earliest kinds of metal object found in Britain. They were very rare and the metals they were made from may have been imported. The fact that so many valuable objects have been found together is unique. This association is the most important thing about the find'.

    The grave was found in the course of excavations on behalf of Bloor Homes and Persimmon Homes South Coast. Ron Hatchett, Strategic Land Director of Bloor Homes said 'we have worked closely with the archaeologists and have altered our plans to protect known archaeological sites'. Paul Bedford Senior Land and Planning Manager for the Persimmon region added 'it is impossible to predict a unique and exciting find like this.'

    The area around Stonehenge is famous for its rich Bronze Age burials. Andrew Lawson, Chief Executive of Wessex Archaeology, points out that this burial is several hundred years earlier than any of them. 'It raises the question of who this archer was and why his mourners buried so many valuable things with him?'

    [Click on the picture for close-up of grave-items.]


    Witness the Summer Solstice 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 University of Massachusetts Dept. of Astronomy to watch the sunrise and sunset over the tall standing stones in the UMass Sunwheel for the upcoming SUMMER SOLSTICE. Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 5:00 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 7:30 p.m. The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both and Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, 2002.

    How the sun appears to cross the sky On the summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year, the Sun will be seen to rise and set at its most northerly location, over the tallest stones in the Sunwheel. The sky will be particularly beautiful each evening, since the almost-full Moon will rise a few hours before sunset. For those interested in learning about the sky, there will be a presentation 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 be prepared for cool temperatures when the Sun is down. A $3 donation is requested to help with the cost of stone pathworks and exhibit expansion which are planned for the Sunwheel. Sunwheel T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase.

    The UMass Sunwheel is located south of Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road and across from the maze. The Sunwheel 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. In the event of rain, the events will be cancelled, and visitors are encouraged to visit the Sunwheel on their own.

    For more information on the UMass Sunwheel, check out the web site at or call 413-545-4311. To arrange a Sunwheel visit for your class or group, call or e-mail

    Book Signing

    Ellen Evert Hopman's A Druid Herbal Ellen Evert Hopman, M.Ed., herbalist, Druid Priestess, and author of Tree Medicine--Tree Magic (Phoenix publishers, Custer, WA), A Druid's Herbal For the Sacred Earth Year (Inner Traditions/Destiny Books, Rochester, VT), Being A Pagan (with Lawrence Bond) (Inner Traditions/Destiny Books, Rochester, VT), and Walking The World In Wonder - A Children's Herbal (Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT), will be giving a book signing and talk Saturday June 22 at 2 pm, Kingdom of the Wizard Book and Gift Shop, 275 New State Highway (Rt. 44)Raynham, MA 02767 (near Taunton).

    Call for details (508) 822-0111.

    Book Review:

    From the Read Ireland Book Review--Issue 202

    Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland by George Petrie and edited by David Cooper (Hardback; 60.00 Euro / 50.00 USD / 40.00 UK; Cork University Press, 280 pages).

    This book is a revised edition of the classic work, featuring a new biographical essay on Petrie. Melodies are returned to the form that Petrie originally notated them and are cross-referenced with other major collections. First published in 1855, this book is widely regarded as one of the most important nineteenth-century collections of traditional Irish music. It contains nearly two hundred melodies collected by Petrie as well as song texts in Irish and English and detailed notes by Petrie about their sources.

        Read Ireland@Phibsboro Bookshop,
        342 North Circular Road, Phibsboro, Dublin 7, Ireland
        Mon-Fri 10-5 and Sat 12-5
        Tel: +353-1-830-9828
        Fax: +353-1-830-2997

    Calle Berre's Kids

    Introducing a new feature to A Druid Missal-Any, a cartoon called Calle Berre's Kids, drawn by Anna Dryw. It is a spoof on Celtic myths and other like topics.

    Anna is a member of Druid Heart Spirit Grove and has been a Gwyddon Elder since the early 1980's and leader of her Order Trefn Gwyddoniad. Currently she is the High Priestess of the College of the Silvering Wheel in Oroville California. She is also the Uchel Gwyddon (High Gwyddon) of the Druidic Priesthood School maintained by the Order and as such, the Ard Druid (same as Arch Druid)at the local Nemeton, Gwynvyd. They are listed on the RDNA links page, but the info is a little dated and is in the process of being updated.

    Calle Berre's Kid #1, Brigit


    Summer Solstice, when the Sun enters Cancer, will occur on June 21, at 6:24 a.m. PDT. Solstice services will be held on Saturday, June. 22 at Solar Noon. Please call for carpool arrangements (510) 654-6896. For the social observance of the Solstice we will be going immediately after the service to AD's house. Regular Druid services will be held at Solar Noon on July 7 and 21. Please call the above number to confirm.

    A Druid Missal-Any

    The Missal-Any is published eight times a year. Post mail subscriptions are $6.00 and online subscriptions are free, but might not include everything that is in the post mail edition. Or write an article or send us a cartoon and receive a year's subscription free.

        The Missal-Any
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