An Un-Official Publication of the Reformed Druidsd
Fall Equinox Y.R. 40
(September 21st, 2002)
Volume 18, Number 6
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Fall Equinox Essay
all Equinox, a minor High Day in the Druid calendar. The days are getting short again and the harvest is in full swing. This is the time of Cernunnos, and the other Deities of night, of the Season of Sleep, and the Otherworld. The Celts, as far as we know, did not have a specific lunar deity. (I often get asked for the name of a Moon Goddess.) in researching this I have come across the interesting information on the origins of the Goddess Sirona. Her name comes from the same Indo-European root as "star," although She was later associated with the source of the river Seine, a spring where a shrine to Her was located.
As the Celts moved out of the Halstatt homeland in Austria and across Europe, the re-named rivers and springs for their Goddesses, perhaps merging them with local protective Earth Goddesses. A major shrine to Sirona, located at a spring in Hochscheid has been both traced in Roman reports and verified archeologically. This shrine was associated with healing, and Sirona is shown here on plaques and in votive statues along with a young male figure. This is probably Lugh, whom the Romans equated with Apollo after they took over the site in the second century AD. When Christians later took over the shrine, the dedicated it to a "Saint Sabine," another euhemerism of a Pagan Goddess into a Christian Pious. In late Celtic times the sanctuary was a Nemeton built around a spring whose waters were directed into a pool. In the pool have been found small votive statues of the Goddess and of the Divine Couple, presumably Sirona and Lugh, and also coins and precious offerings. It is described by the excavators as an unusually rich shrine for one so far in the country.
Sirona is portrayed here, as elsewhere, in statues and wall reliefs, holding a serpent, and a bowl of eggs, probably serpent's eggs. The motif of the Serpent's Egg appears in Irish literature and in folklore about the Druid in the British Isles. Possession of these magical eggs was said to bestow divine wisdom, eloquence, and protection against spells and disease. This last quality may be a dim echo of the healing powers of Sirona and of Her ancient association with night and dreams. People seeking cures for chronic illnesses often made pilgrimages in order to sleep within the sanctuary of a healing Deity in hope of receiving a Divine Dream in which the cause and cure of their illness would be made known to them by the Goddess of the shrine. Dio Cassius wrote of a pilgrimage made by the Emperor Caracalla to the shrines of the Celts as well as to Greek and Roman temples in search of a cure.
Farther west in Gaul, Sirona takes on a more diurnal and agrarian image, and is portrayed holding an ear of grain and a bowl. The concepts of healing and of regeneration were always closely associated in Celtic culture, according to Prof. Miranda Green, archeologist and British expert on the Celts. The ear of wheat symbolized the power of growth and rebirth, truth to its name "spica" from the root for hope. Green calls Sirona "polyandrous," but evidence simple shows Her working in conjunction with several different male Deities: Lugh, Bormo, Grannus, and several other as yet unidentified male figures. She is always associated with the serpent itself as an image of healing and wisdom in the Ancient World, and a symbol associated with the milky Way in several early astronomies.
Night, rest, and healing are the domain of Sirona. The nights will be getting longer now, taking precedence over the day. But as one devotee of Sirona, in spirit if not in name, put it, "I hold the darkness to be good no less than the light." Now begins the harvest of the benefits of the "good and covering dark." Between now and Samhain, try to visit some place in the deep country where you can see the Milky Way and the dark sky the way the Druids of Sirona saw it before artificial lights and smog lowered our vision. Anywhere you are, though, a few of the bright stars and planets are always visible, even in the city. If you can't sleep go out and look at the stars.
A meditative experiment for the radical and the brave: From now 'til Samhain, avoid all night time electronic media. Know darkness and stars.
Reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any, Fall Equinox 1987.
Carleton Grove, News from Minnesota
Presidents at Carleton have certainly influenced the RDNA, and most have attended services since the first one, mentioned in the Druid Chronicles EC 1:2. In those days when Nason was President of Carleton, a decree went out from the Administration that all Sundays must be accounted for. Each went to their place of worship in order that their credit might be established on their record.
Well, Stephen Lewis (1987-2002) steps down after overseeing an unusually busy period of building construction on Carleton that gave us the ungainly monstrosity of a recreation center near the Hill of Three Oaks, and also the simple beauty of the labyrinth on Stewsie Island and the stone circle of Irony. He was a quirky humorous type who enjoyed student pranks (mine among them), starred in one of my Druidic movies, and attended one of my services.
The 10th president is Robert A. Odin, who comes from the presidency of Kenyon College in Ohio; a school similar to Carleton, with a largely student population in a small rural town. He is described as a Huck Finn and known as a great booster of endowments and protector of neighboring environmentally sensitive areas. His academic specialty is Middle Eastern religions and languages (reading ancient Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Ugaritic, Phoenician and Syriac). Interestingly, he graduated from Vermillion high school in South Dakota. in 1965, the same year that RDNA founder, Norman Nelson, founded the first missionary grove. Is there some kind of deep concurrence here? His passion is fly fishing and daily six mile jogs in the Arboretum.
Also in news: A ghost was spotted in a nearby abandoned barn on Campus, with a predilection for pickles and sardines. The Carleton Calendar for 2002/3 has two large monthly photos, one for the Labyrinth on Stewsie Island and one for the Stone Circle of Irony in the Upper Arb. Mike Scharding is currently also trying to coordinate the 2003 reunion activities with current grove members; who are currently eyeing the Campus requirements to register marriages (including Druidical ones?) and refuse to house married ones.
Akita Grove, News from Japan
Things are good here, I have a child growing, so good. Pat say no computer during time to stop radiation and live the simplest life. It is okay, but boring it isn't? Summer is very hot and all festivals are finished. Yeah! Now the quiet time of winter is come. I will read much this winter.
Pat has a new story for the Missal-Any! Maybe I sent it last month? It makes him a busy man, and I like it so. He has new job in roasted-chicken van. He drives around cooking chicken on stick.
The Lunasa Party was a big picnic at the BEACH! Quite fun. Mountain life is
different. We will have special ceremony in the town for Sept 11 (your Sept
12th), and my father will be of help for planting tree. We will grow from
Shikoku Grove, News from Japan
Ikari graciously made a translation of the Order of Worship into Japanese
for the upcoming second edition of A Reformed Druid Anthology. A few
concepts were difficult to convey, such as the appropriate level of
politeness and antiquity to the language.
Digitalis Grove, News from DC
After a hard summer's typing, I've gotten a lot of the material for the second edition of A Reformed Druid Anthology prepared. Primary changes are an additional 15 letters to the apocrypha, a three-fold growth in the liturgical section (quite astonishing) based on recent unearthings in the archives, numerous corrections to the customs section, two new Green Books, and a few new interviews. I am currently trying to engage David Fisher in a discussion on many unanswered questions.
A third-order vigil for Brother Wolf from New York was rather strange due to the unusually still air both at night and morning. The winds were absent, but a chorus of insects responded. Quite odd. As is my own custom, I also stayed up all night tending my own fire, and went out for a walk in the dark, dark woods of Green Belt National Park near DC. Although only two miles by two miles, I soon became quite lost, and had to spiral my way through the forest to eventually find a way out. Nature is nicest when you have a known path back home, I suppose, and I was shamefully pleased to find a service road after a few hours of searching. For such a young Druid, I found Wolf, to be unexpectedly confident in his foundations, probably due to so much ADF training, but still very inquisitive.
I am moving to a nearby apartment this month and have restarted Grad School studies, and hope to graduate next spring. After that, who knows? I will probably still continue to do a Japanese related job, but with more community involvement, such as tourism or cultural guide? That will be up to the fates.
Brother Eric in the grove, despite his own studies, has taken up the Bardic banner and will run the contest, send in all works to him at email@example.com
Hemlock Splinters Grove, News from New York
The leaves here are beginning to change. Wild turkeys fight trespassing
bulls for possession of the berm, the honey bees under the kitchen table are
making delicious smells, and the temperature drops into the forties some
nights. Irony has started nursing school, necessitating a return to the
nylon strung harp as the fingernails required for playing wires are not
permitted in clinical settings. Full moon fires remain popular, drawing the
occasional guest up from the cities (Syracuse and Oswego) and a poorly
defined get together is planned for the equinox. Anyone in the area on
Sunday September 22nd is welcome.
Ancient Circle Grove MOCC, News from New York
Here is the Northeast we see and feel the first stirrings of autumn. The air is expectant with possibility and it is now that Ancient Circle reawakens. We are currently reorganizing and shall resume our regular activities at Mabon. A harvest pot luck shall be hosted and as always, promises to be a culinary delight for all. This is a family event and the widening of our circle during the festivals enriches us all. Ritual will be celebrated and welcomes all who desire to fellowship with us.
A special rite will be held on September 11, 2002.
Ancient Circle remains sister grove to Oaken Circle Grove in Kentucky. Our hearts and souls are one with our sisters and brothers there. Over the past year, we have midwifed Ancient Whispers Grove, an independent grove in upstate New York. (Not an easy birth!)
Our lending library has grown and is now in excess of 175 books, ranging in topics from animal totems to Zen. A schedule of informal study, practical instruction and ritual will be forthcoming.
Dravidia Grove, News from Maryland
All is well here in Maryland, the grove got some much needed rain, and we could still use some more. Have not had much chance to do to much, this is the peak season for work. It is amazing, but we seem to have an ant problem in Maryland. The resilience of them is overwhelming. I spent an hour the other day watching a group go about their daily activities. Very industrious. Wish some humans were also. (B.E.G.)
My cat has also taken to annoying my wife. I think she is just waiting until it is big enough to make two slippers out of it instead of just one... lol.
Cat-In-The-Corner Grove: News from Colorado
The namesake cat passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly, on August 4; this Fall's ritual will include a memorial to her. She will be greatly missed, yet her life and contributions will be remembered and celebrated. Fall is a time to remember that seasons turn, and there is an ending to every beginning. However, there is also a new beginning to each ending - a new cat (kitten) has joined, although she is yet too young to contribute anything (then again, perhaps she will fulfill that "cat in the corner" story and actually be tied in the corner, to keep her out of trouble!).
Other than that, a suitable Grovesite is still being sought; we make do right now with whatever place seems suitable and reasonably private at the time.
The computer, which had been dead for over a month, has been
resurrected--perhaps the Grove may now get back into the "loop" so to speak.
Eurisko Grove, News from Virginia
Greetings from Eurisko in Virginia. we have good news and bad news. The good
news is we had a new member join us. This brings the head counts for humans
in the grove up to four. the bad news, is our friend and grove member
recently lost her unborn baby. In honor of Mabon, we are trying to organize
a group trip to a local corn maze for family and friends.
Swamp Grove, News from Florida
Hark the Heralds, Glorious new e-mail and fast internet connection for the Swamp Grove. We have moved our shrine and circle area about five miles or so, new land and better location (much drier, can actually circle outside all year now) for first time since our inception in the early 90s. Will try to put together a new website and take pictures of the new grove soon.
Oaken Circle Grove, News from Kentucky
From the center of the circle, we spiral out to greet those who seek a deeper communion with nature, the ancestors and the Divine. Oaken Circle Grove provides an enriching and nurturing environment to all those who journey upon the path of the elder ways.
With roots that stretch into the philosophy of Reformed Druidic Wicca, we embrace and accept into our circle all traditions of earth-based spirituality. This rich blend has nourished our spirits and expanded our experiences. We value each member as a vital and unique gift, borne of the Great Mother. We celebrate the diversity of our membership and it is that diversity which brings unity and a greater sense of belonging. Each member is treated with dignity, honour and given the respect due them. We share our vision, goals, projects and common purpose, to enhance cooperation and foster tolerance within the community at large. We teach by example and we live fully and joyfully each day.
We welcome all who desire to share the journey with us and we walk together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.
Our grove had to postpone our Lughnasadh celebration until the weekend of the 31st due to a grove member with health issues. Our grove is getting much exposure on groups like the Kentucky pagan network and the Kentucky pagan forum. We will keep you up to date on our grove happenings.
Oaken Circle Grove
MOCC-- Muskogee/Mother Grove
Muskogee, OK has been sweltering hot lately. While re-starting the rites in Muskogee has been slow going due to scheduling problems, two new local students have appeared, and renewed interest among former members has also helped the slow revival. The Archdruid is currently teaching them Neopagan Cosmology 101: this is the way the metaphysical world is generally comprised, or so we think, or some of us at least. Pay no attention to the obvious b.s., and take everything with a grain if salt. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, that sort of stuff.
The traditional Three Protections over Muskogee will be renewed this Autumn.
They are placed over Civitan Park, the Muskogee Public Library, and Union
Agency Hill (Honor Heights Park). We will be attempting to co-opt the
assistance of a Runemaster in casting a protection over the Arkansas River
that runs North and East of the city.
Amon Sul Grove, News from Kentucky
Gandalf and Goldberry recently attended an Adult Weekend Retreat at Crystal Crow's Nest near Beattyville, Kentucky (also referred to as an Awesome Witch Retreat). My first opportunity to party naked in a couple of years. Tending a white hot fire requires special care when swinging in the breeze. We are also planning on attending the Summerland festival in Yellow Springs, Ohio that is being sponsored by our ADF brothers and sisters in that area (Amergin, Senior Druid of the Sixth Night Grove, is an old and dear friend of many years).
I was out of town on business for two weeks during the end of July and we had some drought relief during that time (Rented a floating cabin on Herrington lake and went fishing in the evenings. Co-workers stayed in local hotels in a dry county and really appreciated the cookout that I had for them that included plenty of ice cold beer. Still in the broom closet at work so I was unable to explain to them the primary reason why I was at the lake while they were in hotel rooms). The weeds had taken over close to half of the garden by the time I got back and I was pulling them in the ninety degree heat. We have more tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini than we can eat and the tomato harvest may still do well enough to do some canning if we get more rain (we're still over two inches below normal). The hop vines are crawling all over the back deck and I'm past due on starting a new batch of beer.
Repairing the termite damage to the log house on the abandoned farm that we own in the Daniel Boone National Forest is progressing well. We now have a floor again and the Fourth of July weekend was the first time in three years that we didn't have to tent camp. The Labor Day weekend project will be to install a new back door to seal the cabin part off from the rooms that were added later. Still debating on whether to dub the property the House of Bombadil or Imladris. The Forest Service map shows the house and two barns with the title Goochland (not sure but I think it's an Anglicization of Guteland which is German for "good land."
Gandalf, Amon Sul Scribe
News from the East Coast Members of Amon Sul Grove
Greetings! This is BrightMirage, a new member of the Amon Sul Grove and the official coordinator of the East Coast branch. I suppose that would be me, my cat (Leo), my two snakes (Karma and Onyx), and two guinea pigs (Panda and Rygel).
News in the life of BrightMirage: I was offered and gladly accepted an internship for August at the wildlife bird rescue center I have volunteered/worked/interned at over the last few years. (I was an intern last year but injuries and such prevented me from finishing my "term"). This year has been wonderful so far...there are many diverse species of birds that we are working hard to rehabilitate, and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to release them back into the wild. It makes the long hours and such worthwhile.
The East Coast Branch of Amon Sul now has a new "grove"...inside the apartment! I recently purchased a little bamboo plant (the thick kind that you see in Chinese paintings) which resides in a little ceramic pot with three frogs as the legs of the base. Great calming energy and serenity comes from the tiny bamboo, and it brings me back to my roots as well (no pun intended, really!).
brightest blessings, -BrightMirage
St. Louis Grove, News from Missouri
The St. Louis Grove has a new e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org was
Mojo grove is taking sabbatical for an unspecified length of time.
Cattle Grove, News from Texas
Just wanted to chime in and let everyone know how I'm doing. Just to let you know why I've been silent lately is because I've been jammed into a military school in the wonderful (HA!) city of Harlingen, TX. I have no internet access here save my i705(palm pilot with wireless modem) and all that is really good for is email and AIM. Out of 400 kids I'm the only pagan here, about 97% of the campus is Christian although I did find a handful of people who weren't really practicing and very skeptical of Christianity and they are asking me for information and are thinking of going druid, as they say here...Hoorah! I'm building an altar stone from a large river rock I found on a hike and lugged back and at work decorating it with a sigil using a knife I smuggled back from the mess hall. Anyways, I'm missing the contact with others who share my beliefs so it'd be great if any of you wanna chat my email is email@example.com and my aim name is evilsmi1ey.
Well, that's about all I have to say right now.
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove
News from Oregon
Thou art God:
As we approach Mabon, the Order of the Mithril Star finds that it has grown some more. We have 24 new members since Midsummer, and the Order has a new Grove: Cylch Tylwyth Grove in Westmoreland TN. The Order has seen growth this year on both national and international fronts. We currently have solitary members in eight countries, and Groves or Proto-Groves in Washington, Oregon, Tennessee and California.
Our Cybernest email list has 60 members, and our current Druidcraft 101 course (taught three times a year via email) has an enrollment of 65. The current class ends on September 21, and a new class will begin the next day, September 22. To enroll send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment is open until October 5th. The class takes approximately 16 weeks. We will soon be offering a more advanced course - Druidcraft 201.
Ceridwen Druid Seren-Ddaear /|\ 6th Order, Clerk of OMS-RDNA, has started a new "Astrology for Pagans" course over email. The course has 93 students (from 10 different countries and 33 states). The Beginning level started on August 1st, and it will segue into Intermediate and Advanced levels throughout the winter.
On March 1st, a new Beginning cycle will start again. If you are interested, please send a blank email to: email@example.com
This summer we inducted two "honorary members" into OMS, and bestowed upon them the 3rd Order. One is famed filk musician/songwriter Leslie Fish, author of our "official hymn," Sequoia Sempervirons. She has graciously accepted our adoption of her song, and has given her permission to use it on our website. You can hear an mp3, and read the words of this filk song, at http://www.mithrilstar.org/song.htm .
The other new honorary member is Church of All Worlds founder and Pagan sculptor, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart.
Planning for our Druid Monastery in So. Oregon has progressed. Pledges are beginning to roll in for purchase and development of the land, located 6 miles north of Grants Pass OR on 20 acres surrounded by some 850 (plus or minus) acres of BLM land. The vision statement says it all:
"Imladris is a vision for a poly-fideletous-friendly, Pagan, intentional community located in Southern Oregon. The members of Imladris will share a love and reverence for the Earth and for each other.
Egalitarianism will be our greatest ideal. Every member of Imladris will have equal status with every other member. There will be no gurus or cult personalities among us. The community will gather on a monthly basis to discuss business matters, and decisions will be made by consensus. The execution of the business of the community will be performed by a committee of three who serve as clerk, treasurer and secretary for a term of office a year and a day. The same committee of three may not serve more than three periods in a row. Each member will share equally in the work of maintaining the community property, though some members may be more adept at some tasks than others. Members who have specialized skills will be expected to share those skills with the community, should those skills be applicable to the maintenance of the community property.
Each member will be expected to work either inside a community owned business or at a job outside the community, unless they are sick or disabled. As the community grows it is possible that some full time jobs could develop on the property, and those individuals would be compensated as if they worked outside. Every member will donate at least 75% of their income to the community, if earned outside. The community will pay for all utilities, phone, cable, Internet service, food or whatever. A member's long distance bill, and expenses for an individual's vehicle will be their own. The community will attempt to procure a group health care, dental, etc., plan for all the members. Perhaps even a special group auto insurance rate if possible, or a small fleet of vehicles, rather than members owning their own.
Imladris will serve the greater Pagan community as well. The main business of the commune will be to operate a clothing optional resort/convention center where individuals and or groups can stay on the property for conventions, workshops or the like. It would be expected that these types of gatherings would happen during the summer months mostly on weekends. The remainder of the time the commune's guest facilities would be open for use by any Pagan who wishes, much like a motel. There will be a swimming pool, hot tubs and an exercise facility for the use of both guests and residents. Dominating the property will be a 60-foot geodesic dome. This will be the central indoor meeting place, conference facility and all-purpose room. It will be equipped with a kitchen, and guests will be able to get meals there if they choose not to cook for themselves. Available facilities will include: a 50-space campground with a shower house; 10 adjacent RV spaces; five yurts; and two guest rooms in the main office building. It has been determined that if the commune has no more than 13 residents, than they could derive their entire living from running the resort aspect of the community, if open six months per year and averaging a 50 percent occupancy. Residents would have to work only four hours per day four days per week on average (more if there were a big convention using the facilities).
Seven residences (36 ft. geodesic domes) would be spread across the back, non-public side of the property. Hot tubs and ritual space would be in easy walking distance for all. Each residence will house up to five people. Some of these groups we expect will constitute group marriages, or nests.
Imladris will be a community of people who love and care for one another Everyone will leave their feelings of jealousy, racism, classism, sexism, homo-phobia and other societal sicknesses behind.
Children of members will be considered the children of all, though an individual child's parents will have primary responsibility. All members wil l share equally the burden of raising and educating them. The community may eventually have its own school system. It is expected that the community will share in the cost of sending its children to college or trade school.
The spiritual life of the community will be based on those principles and ideals laid out by the Order of The Mithril Star.
Politics shall not be an issue within the community, though from time to time the community may decide (by consensus) to back a particular cause or whatnot. Membership in a particular Party will not be a consideration for membership in the community. Members will be expected to exercise their right to vote and to be informed about what they are voting on, but no one will be allowed to question or ridicule an individual's political orientation.
Membership in Imladris will be open to anyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, income, class or prior religious affiliation. Candidates will be nominated by members, and will be granted trial membership by a unanimous vote. Trial Membership will be granted for a period of a year and a day, at the end of which the member will be given the opportunity to decide if the community is their cup of tea. Naturally they may leave anytime they wish prior to the end of the period. It is encouraged that candidates spend a week or so with us to get to know us before making any commitment.
Imladris will also be host to the international headquarters, or mother
grove of the Order of the Mithril Star. Residents of the community are
expected to be members of the mother grove and participate in the rituals
and organizational activity of the Order. More information on Imladris and
the OMS-RDNA can be found on our website: www.mithrilstar.org
Druid Heart Spirited Grove, News from California
Greetings, all is well. I hope you have been doing well. What a fun filled weekend we just had. The Sacramento. Bardic Grove came out for John Winger's initiation into the Awenydd level at our Nemeton. It was wonderful! We had about twenty five Druids and Pagans camping out and what a feast we had after the ritual, more food than we knew what to do with. My dad participated with us again and this is becoming a regular thing. Then of all things, my brother Joe finally makes it out and I think his spark of interest is coming back to him so he maybe trying to make it out for more rituals!
In the ritual the seeker has to spend about 45 minutes in the dark room (our new lodge out back), blindfolded, with his wrists tied. Then he is given the cup of death by his guide, the hound of Anwyn, my son Jimmy was the hound. He spends this time in rapport with his deity of choice while we set up and do the first half of our ritual, then he is led out to three gates where he is prompted by the hound to answer question given by the beholder/keeper of that gate, eventually after being turned down at each gate he is told that he may go through the little gate, which is, he had to crawl through my legs into the Nemeton--almost knocked me over, he was a tall one, had everyone rolling with laughter, then he took his oath, tied the ribbon to the world tree, and received his torc of initiation and an Awen necklace. It went great anyhow, everyone's presence added to the energy.
Anyway, this is what I've been doing lately besides working at East West and
preparing for the ritual. I finally built the sweat lodge journey house out
Duir de Danu Grove, News from California
Duir De Danu Grove (the San Jose area) is holding Celtic night on the second Saturday of each month until such time as we can find a suitable site for rituals, and through the coming Season of Sleep. We have regular hairpulls on a variety of Celtic and Druidic topics. As soon as the sticks can be obtained, we hope to have an Ogham few making session.
Bring a snack and/or beverage to share. Tegwedd's phone number is: 408-257-3864. Leave a message as she screens her calls.
Co-ArchDruid and Chronicler of the Duir De Danu Grove
Poison Oak Grove, News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
Since the Bride-og from Oimelc did not sprout this past year, I bought a Scottish Carlin corn dollie at the Santa Barbara Heart of the Forest Renaissance Faire this August to substitute as the ceremonial last sheaf of wheat for Lughnasadh. This last sheaf, or the person last to harvest his field of grain, was often called the Cailleach or Carlin or old woman. I presented the Carlin at the Lughnasadh service and it is now hanging in a place of prominence until Oimelc when the Cailleach, the Old Hag of Winter, is reborn into Bride, Dawn Maiden.
Last Fall at the Orinda grove site the acorn crop was pretty sparse with
nary an acorn to be found, perhaps in anticipation of this year's lack of
rain: why send out acorns if they won't be able to sprout? Perhaps the trees
did this also as a measure to save their water resources for their own
survival. Are trees able to tell when there is going to be drought months in
advance and prepare themselves? This Fall's crop is already better. I will
take special notice of the weather this coming Season of Sleep to see if
there is more rain and whether the trees can indeed predict the rainfall of
the following year.
Sunrise @ 6:45 a.m., Sunset @ 6:00 p.m.
Sunday and Monday, September 22 and 23, 2002
Members of the University community and the general public are invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Prof. Judith Young of the U.Mass. Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise and set over the tall standing stones in the U.Mass. Sunwheel for the upcoming Autumnal Equinox. Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 6:45 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 6:00 p.m. The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both Sunday and Monday September 22 and 23, 2002. 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 DRESS VERY WARMLY; a $3 donation is requested. Sunwheel T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase to help cover the cost of future stone paths at the site.
The exact instant of equinox is 12:55 a.m. EDT on Sept. 23. The sunset closest to this is Sunday Sept. 22, while the sunrise closest is Monday Sept. 23. On the equinox, any observer located on the Earth's equator will see the Sun pass directly overhead at local noon and that person will cast no shadow at noon. For all observers on Earth (excluding the N and S poles), the Sun on the equinox is up for 12 hours and down for 12 hours, illuminating all latitudes! (At the N and S poles, the Sun would encircle the horizon for 24 hours, either very slowly rising or very slowly setting for the entire day). From the Sunwheel here in Amherst, the equinox Sun will be seen to rise and set through the stone portals in the East and West, a beautiful sight as we experienced last year. This year, the sky will be particularly beautiful as the Moon, just past full, rises and sets opposite the Sun.
The U.Mass. Sunwheel is located south of Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. It can be easily reached from the center of Amherst, following Amity St. to the west, on the right hand side of the road about 1/4 mile after crossing University Drive. ALL VISITORS SHOULD WEAR WARM CLOTHING, SUITABLE FOR STANDING STILL ON WET OR SOGGY GROUND. 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 U.Mass. Sunwheel, check out the web site at http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/index2.html or call Judy Young at 413-545-4311. To arrange a Sunwheel visit for your class or group, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
By Alex Strongbow, a Druid Lost in the Woods
This came to our member She of the Storm late one night as she was trying to sleep. It is a belated Solstice song, but it would work for other Druid High Days such as this upcoming Fall Equinox as well.
(Adapted from the popular Christian song "Shine Jesus Shine")
By Pat Haneke, Akita Grove
I do this (almost) every day, and it is my incremental regimen, beginning with a cup of steaming coffee. Not too much at any time, but like a snowball rolling down the hill (or Milo of Crotona carrying a calf up the stairs everyday) it strengthens your wits and brings you into a greater communion with the world of Nature and profusion of ideas around you. Most of it is stuff we do everyday, but taken one step further in Awareness. It becomes rather difficult to continue finding new examples after a hundred days, and it thus would be an excellent journal activity during the 180 days in the Time of Sleep between Samhain and Beltane. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Every day, when possible:
In this paper I intend to demonstrate that the great sociological theories of Schleiermacher, Marx, Durkheim and others are applicable to the study of the Reformed Druids of North America. I believe that these theories can shed useful light on even a movement as peculiar as the RDNA and that the Druids themselves hold some valuable contributions for the general study of religion. I intend to demonstrate that while they do not call themselves a religion, and perhaps ought not to do so on philosophic grounds, the Reformed Druids share enough of the qualities of a religious movement to be usefully studied as such. I will discuss the sources and methodological problems involved in this kind of study, give an introduction to the Reformed Druids, and a brief sketching of their origins and belief. Next I will address the question of religious applicability, and finally delve into the examination of the sociological theories of Schleiermacher, Marx, and Durkheim as they relate to the Reformed Druids.
It must always be remembered that in matters of religious belief each individual can express only his or her conception of what a religion is or teaches. This is especially true of Reformed Druidism. The Druidic path is an intensely individualistic one and each Druid can only speak for sure of what he or she has found. To a certain extent this also holds for describing the movement as a whole. The way in which I see Reformed Druidism is only one amongst the many views that can be taken of it. Anyone wanting to take a serious look at the subject should be careful to view it through more than one lens.
Which brings me to a certain methodological problem with this study. Most- if not all- of the scholarly work that has been done regarding the Reformed Druids of North America at Carleton has been done by one man--Michael Scharding. Archdruid of the Carleton Grove from the spring of 1993 to that of 1994 he cosponsored the most recent revival of the Druids at Carleton (1995-6) and remains an influential- albeit absent- friend at the time of this writing. Michael Scharding majored in History as an undergraduate and in 1994 undertook the wonderfully self-referential endeavor of researching the history of the Reformed Druids for his Senior Integrative Exercise. In 1996 he revised this paper into a rather longer one, "A General History of Reformed Druidism in America," and published it along with nearly all the collected writings of Reformed Druids past in "A Reformed Druid Anthology," of which he was also the associate editor.
|"As a result of this research," he writes, "I've probably collected and read more Reformed Druid material and talked with more Druids from the different factions than any other Reformed Druid (except possibly Isaac Bonewits.) This means that I'm either an 'expert' or I am now more irreparably confused in my Druidism than ever as a result." (ARDA p.331)|
Daniel Hansen's American Druidism is a wonderful field guide to the various Druid groups of the Americas, and provides a fine history of the RDNA, but, as Mr. Scharding has commented, "it would not be a good book to compare my opinions against as I had a great deal to do with getting [it] published." (ARDA p.16) Margot Alder also talks about the RDNA in what many consider the definitive work on the Neo-Pagan movement, Drawing Down the Moon, but says very little that Scharding does not. (ARDA pp.299-300)
Isaac Bonewits also mentions the RDNA at Carleton in Real Magic but discusses them primarily in terms of one of their rituals, which he uses as an example to illustrate his theories on magic working. In short, beyond a few oral interviews performed by the College archivist and others and the preserved writings of past and present Druids there is little written work to study.
To date, Michael Scharding represents the most influential academic voice in the study of Reformed Druidism. Except by performing new, original research it is nearly impossible not to be influenced by his perspective on the movement. As mentioned above, any adequate study of religion ought to view it through more than one lens. Luckily most of the progenitors of the movement are still alive and much of its history has been recorded and stored so the possibility of original studies remains. I write this merely t o make the reader aware of Scharding's influence. The study of Reformed Druidism is both indebted to and dominated by him, and, while I have drawn extensively on my own observations, interviews, research, and experience as Archdruid over the past three years, this paper is no exception. People who wish a clearer look at the movement are encouraged to explore it for themselves.
Finally let me make one technical note. Wherever I refer to "Druids" in this paper I mean the Reformed Druids of North America at Carleton College, past and present. I do not intend to discuss the Paleo-Druids of the Old World, nor the Meso-Druids of Brittany revived in 1717, nor most of the other Neo-Druid groups in America except as they directly relate to our understanding of the RDNA. If you want an overview of them, read Hansen. With that caveat, let us begin.
"Religions that combine humor, play, and seriousness are a rare species," Margot Adler wrote.
|"As a result of this research," "Once you embark on a journey of change in perception, even when you start this journey as 'play,' you can end up in waters far different from those you may have originally intended to enter."|
Reformed Druidism represents the embodiment of this sentiment. Created partially as a joke, partially as a reaction against authority, it nonetheless blossomed and grew far beyond the hopes and desires of its founders, becoming both sillier than they had intended, and far more serious than they had ever imagined.
Reformed Druidism began at Carleton as a humorous response to the ruling that all students attend a set number of religious services each term. The early flavor of the movement was always one of serious tongue-in-cheek, a combination of the intentionally profound with the pointlessly silly. The early Liturgy, for instance, was written in a playful pseudo-King James style both to provide a semblance of legitimacy and to tease the traditional profundity of holy writings. At the same time it contains some incredibly meaningful passages. Deborah Frangquist, one of the early formative members of the RDNA, recalls one of them nearly thirty years later.
O Lord, forgive these three sins, which are due to our human limitations:
Thou art everywhere, but we worship Thee here;
Thou art without form, but we worship Thee in these forms;
Thou hast no need of prayers and sacrifices, but we offer unto Thee these, our prayers and sacrifices. *
"I still find that one of the most profound spiritual statements I have ever heard," she recalls. "It informs my understanding of what I as a believing Christian am doing in Christian liturgy, including the Eucharist. Every time I ended out on the Hill somewhere saying that prayer, I was moved anew by it, and I don't think I was alone in that." The Druids at Carleton today continue to exhibit this characteristic blend of the meaningful and the frivolous. Their celebration of Beltane--the first of May--in 1998 included both a pair of weddings as serious and beautiful as the nuptial pairs could ask and an extended bout of 'doughnut fishing,' a spontaneous game where people chased a doughnut suspended on the end of a string, trying to catch it in their mouths while being tickled.
It is, I believe, this persistence of humor and spontaneity, respect and seriousness that has kept Reformed Druidism alive at Carleton for the last thirty-five years and enabled it to spread as far as it has. Were it to lose either of these qualities the movement would be finished. It would become either the useless ghost of a religion or a sacrilegious joke. With them it becomes something both meaningful and liberating, a way of searching and of exploring life in the company of others and oneself that is not exactly one thing or another. Neither a religion by its own definition nor a philosophy by anyone else's, Reformed Druidism represents a unique and valuable creation of the human mind, and a fascinating confusion to the study of religion.
To be continued in the Samhain issue.
*- This triad first appears in the Order of Common Worship as the invocation and again in nearly all the early liturgy. The Druids at Carleton have currently fallen out of the habit of actually using the old liturgy, but they still read through it for a good laugh and ponder it's many truths. See A Reformed Druid Anthology, Part Three, Liturgy of the Druids. Deborah Frangquist in an interview with Eric Hilleman, Carleton Archivist, October 31, 1993;pp. 450 of A Reformed Druid Anthology.
By Miroslav Provod
In materials on megalithic culture I have mentioned that people in primeval ages already known and played energy of watercourses. I have reached a finding at study of history that people of further cultures made use of that energy all the time until our era. This ensued on appreciation of barrows and mounds from the energy standpoint. Barrows are given to a connection with burial rituals though in many cases residues of dead were not founded there. The Czech archeologist Zdenek Merinsky has mentioned in his publication "The Czech Countries Since the Arrival of Slavs until the Great Moravia" that in the whole Slavonic area appeared below barrows largely firing tombs without typical urns. Better told only with sporadic residues of burned human bones scattered in earthwork, so he has supposed another sense for the barrows too. The construction of mounds was very time-consuming business and the nesting of burial residues to the arranged mounds could be pious as well as practical. The energy function of mounds can be derived from technical literature where all technologic procedures by their constructions were described. The intensified care was paid to a separation of mass from subsoil. It was very functional disposal against energy losses and can be easy experimental proved.
Martin Brennan in The Stones of Time has mentioned how are inset layers of grass and brown loam by layers of slate and flint. The layers of organic and inorganic materials take turns. The plenary part of this material is by the present excavations withdrawn and it is surprising to what kind of rate can be in the course of renovated work fully replaced.
Kurt W. Mark writes in Der erste Amerikaner: "On the open space where they wanted to build a barrow they first cut all trees and shrubs. They removed loose soil and a layer recumbent below usually covered by stony soil. On this clay flooring they scattered then one or more inches a high level of sand or diminutive grit."
Magdalena Beranova in Slovane: "Volcanoes--they were antique barrows of Nowgorod Slavs. They were cyclical but had abrupt walls. Inside or outside there was a circle from rocks, above all from boulders, and up was a straight plateau. In the course of construction were first lighted piles and cinders was unfolded to the place where the barrow should be located. Up to the cinders they scattered a layer of mold to which they buried either in urns or in sockets. The next layer about 20 cm was again the cinders shuffled by scurf, whereupon was piled on another part of rampart up to the high 1,5 - 3 m and this operation was repeated. The each part of rampart was covered by a sward."
Zdenek Merinsky has mentioned, "Before own filling of barrow was the terrain intended for its creation compared, leveled and was removed all growth. In the course of researches on such modified areas for an own mound are often entrapped traces of fireplaces probably combined with purgative function when the fire was called to burn all harmful effects and also material and spiritual elements. In any case but these ceremonies did not cohere with own cremation that proceeded at another place. In a lot of cases and at many localities in so modified area we find the construction of square or oblong from limbs, logs or scantlings from various species. Till this time explored residues of these wooden formations indicates that they were not constructions to all intents and purposes and a reason of their building-up is sought in the sphere symbolic joint with burial ceremonies." From the energy standpoint was the wood used like insulating material for separation of rampart mass from subsoil.
In Celtic habitations as well as outside were constructed tetragonal mounds long in sides rounded 50 as much as 200 meters. The similar tetragonal mound 70 x 35 meters was constructed in the embattled habitation Zavist. At its periphery was built up a triangular mainly earthen mound in the width of ground 10 meters and 9 meters high. About 20,000 tons of earth and stones were needed for the construction of this mound. In other cases were earthen mounds smaller or the area was marked by the other way. Near village Makotrasy on sixty hectares big development from Younger Stone Age archeologists uncovered a square with sides around 300 meters formed by moat and initially also by palisade. Roundels originated around from the identical period were discovered in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Austria and Bavaria. There are known about sixty. These circular surfaces were demarcated by only one or more moats. The greatest roundel was found in Bohemia near Kutna Hora. It is put together out three round moats per average 90, 115 and 250 meters. The moat in average 90 meters probably encloses the energy space, two others designate energy zones. Alike designate places for what it is impossible to find reasons are situated also at other places.
Out of the standpoint from a conception of mounds it was places with a concentration of energy components--it was a surface intersected by more energy zones. The mold or the rock of surface received from them the energy and created an isolated P-charge. If the energy value of P-charge was sufficient it was enough to mark its energy space by pales or by a ditch. The ritual place was prepared for transferring the energy to people coming together. People felt there fine and gladly listened to suggestions of their spiritual leaders.
In another case when the energy value of P-charge in the concentration place of energy components was not optimal and had to be increased, it was resolved by mass enlargement of energy place--by the construction of mound. The identical result could be reached at apposition of mass to one pile. In this case would be but necessary for the meeting of people to mark more the energy space in which happen to transition of energy. The pile of earth in the center of meeting-place would be in the way as well as in the center of cathedral. The different materiality of mounds reflects about various starting energy values of the place with concentrated energy. Places like this are many and in following era there were built labyrinths too.
Long ago there were built in the USA more than 100,000 mounds of various sizes and forms. Wisconsin mounds are of great dimensions, ramparts are built up in a form of animals and archeologists gave them the name Effigy Mounds. These mounds had probably the same function like Celts areas bounded by ramparts. With notation by energy places with symbols of animals we can meet also on the plateau Nazca.
The order of Cistercians built their monasteries in central and top parts of watercourses, where quicker running water gains larger energy values and so creates effective conditions for the transition of energy to another matter. The whole area was situated to the energy space of watercourse. Below grounds of the church was installed a water piping where was enabled to manipulate with the energy value of church by the regulated flow of water. The same regulating equipment already had some megalithic constructions. In central and northern Europe were built more than thousand of Cistercian monasteries. The Cistercians also began to build gothic cathedrals that could seat more people. Cathedrals were built in towns with heavy concentration of inhabitants and at places with fewer folks were built churches. Near cathedrals and churches was not required to regulate the energy value by water running through, they were built at energy places and amassing of energy also ensured towers - they operated like menhirs (the known effect "charge flux"). The increased energy value of churches also bears to the reality that people did not stay there the whole day and manses were placed in the vicinity. The mass energy of church was dimensioned so that during the divine service a man drew such amount of energy what prospered to his fitness. A longer stay in a strong energy environment could call up an opposite effect.
People of megalithic culture, Etruscans, Celts, Slavs and people of the Middle Ages as well as other cultures on other continents built the energy constructions that prospered to theirs fitness. In the 21st century our advanced civilization builds up resembling constructions too but has no idea of their effect to organisms. They are mainly dumps of ground from large constructions, piles of material from abandoned mines, tips, some large buildings, energy systems etc. Energy components of natural and civilized sources what are interactive, in a large apposition of material could induce a harmful overstrain which negative influences the human health.
The description of energy in English you can find at http://www.pribram.cz/centrum in Czech in my book Nezname Energie- (Unknown Energies) that has been published in Czech Republic by publishing house Dialog.
Miroslav Provod, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to detail of a burial mound
By Sam Peeples, Free-roaming Druid
I have a soft spot in my heart for the Oak tree, both because of its Celtic associations and its general usefulness to society. I had a tree house as a young boy, cradled in those mighty boughs, and could clamper easily up the branches. Many wars were fought from that platform, and many days spent reading comic books and just sleeping in the breeze while leaves rustled overhead. With that in mind, we finally come around to do the most famous of the Celtic trees. There was so much information on the internet, it was hard to narrow down the information that I thought was appropriate. Does one really need to know what color is associated with the oak? Any way, here we go.
Although slow in growth, some species of oak will reach 150' in height, 13 feet in girth and 46' in circumference (some grew much larger) and 800 years of age. There are about 80 species and hybridization is quite common, with the offspring of new species quickly adapting to new climatic conditions by interbreeding with local variants. In America, the most prominent are the White Oak (Eastern), Swamp Oak (Southern), and Burr Oak (Central). Species have adapted to Oak Savannah, Pine Forests, Appalachian mountains, and Southern flood plain forest. The English Common Oak and Sessile Oak are rather similar to their American cousins, except they have this annoying accent and dry sense of humors. It is often a dominant canopy tree, which craves sunlight, and is useful in land reclamation on disturbed sites. It prefers elevations under 2,000 feet, but will be found as a scrub tree until 4,500 feet in altitude. It is resistant to fire, as long as there is little shade during recovery, with heavy damage in growing season killing only 60% of the trees if less that 66% of circumference is charred (and dormant season casualties are only 20%) due to underground reproductive centers. Acorns do not survive fire at all. Nicks or scratches or stumps (under 16 inches) have been known to sprout, and sprout best when cut in dormant season.
Oak leaves are amongst the most easily identified leaves for school children; followed by maple, dandelions and (surprisingly) marijuana. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Society for Creative Anachronism lists the oak leaves and acorns as the most common heraldic plant device. Leaves emerge in Mid-March to May depending on climate. The yellow staminate flowers grow at the ends of branches. In August at the height of the summer when most other trees are wilting from the heat, the oak produces a new leaf called "Lammas shoots" thus adding new color and freshness to the tree. These new leafy shoots are golden-pink when young, turning from pale to dark green as they harden. In autumn the oak tree is at its most majestic as its leaves change color again turning from dark green to various shades of yellow, orange, russet and a pale golden brown. The leaves sometime stay on the tree until the following spring or until the new buds forming for the next year push them off.
Acorns ripen 120 days after pollination and crops tend to have peaks during their four to ten year cycles during moderately breezy summers (usually traveling less than 200 meters from the base), and begin bearing acorns usually between 50-200 years of age, but as early as 20 years. Acorns grow quickly in late July, and fall to the ground in September. Acorns do not have a dormancy period, germinating soon after falling, thus they don't store well, and last less than a year, 90% going stale after six months. A 70' tall oak may produce as many as 23,000 in a good year, but 10,000 is reasonable on a big tree or as many as 200,000 per acre, depending on April temperatures and early rains. I personally, have never attempted to count a tree's entire crop. Seeds are often dispersed the farthest by blue jays and other birds, although squirrels are often unwitting assistants. The acorns are a choice food for many species including deer, mice, squirrels, bears, boar, blue jay, pheasant, grouse, and rabbits. The leaves may be eaten in winter by deer and porcupine feed on the bark.
Graves suggest that Oak Cults came to Britain by the Baltics somewhere between 1600 and 1400 BC. This places these people about 500 years before the Celts came to the Islands. Pliny mentions the Gaulish oak sanctuaries in 1st Cent CE, Strabo describes Galatian congregations in "Drunemetons", 2nd Cent Maximus says the Celts worshipped Zeus (Taranis?) in the oak, and "Dryads" were "those who delight in the oaks." Irish holy sites with "Derry" or "dara" in them are associated with oaks, such as Brigit's holy cell at Kildare. Many of these sites in the British Isles were approached with dread and reverence by local farmers until WWII. See the OBOD site for extensive discussion of some of these sites and their mythological connections. The second site of the original grove of the RDNA was the Hill of Three Oaks, a place now found on the Carleton Map, and a haven of kit-flying and Frisbee games. Modern Druids seem to prefer Oak Groves, although Hazel and Rowan are also popular.
| The rapid oak tree,
Before him heaven and earth quake;
In every land his name is mine.
--Taliesin, The Battle of the Trees
"That every man might keep his own possessions,
Our fathers used, in reverent processions,
With zealous prayers, and with praiseful cheere,
To walk their parish limits once a year;
And well-known marks (which sacrilegious hands
Now cut or breake) so bordered out their lands,
That every one distinctly knew his owne,
And brawles now rife were then unknowne."
'Dearest, bury me
Under that holy oke, or Gospel Tree;
Where, though thou see'st not, thou may'st think upon
Me, when you yearly go'st Procession.'
"If the Oak's before the Ash,
Then you'll only get a splash;
If the Ash before the Oak,
Then you may expect a soak."
"Turn your clokes,
For fairy folks,
Are in old oakes."
|"It was believed that a sprig of the Mistletoe cut by a Hay on Allhallowmas eve, with a new dirk, and after surrounding the tree three times sunwise and pronouncing a certain spell, was a sure charm against the glamour or witchery, and an infallible guard in the day of battle. A spray, gathered in the same manner, was placed in the cradle of infants, and thought to defend them from being changed for elf-bairns by the Fairies."|
These are from THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COUNTRY LIVING by Carla Emery, available at Amazon.com
Select plump, round, sweet acorns. Shell and brown in oven. Grind in a coffee mill and use as ordinary coffee. Or hull 1/2 c. small sweet acorns. Add 1/2 c. cracked wheat. Mix. Roast in your oven. Pound in a mortar. Boil with water to get your coffee. Add honey, molasses, or brown sugar to sweeten.
Spread the acorn paste on a baking sheet and bake at a low temperature until thoroughly dry. If it has caked, grind again, and you have your acorn flour. You can substitute acorn meal for cornmeal in any recipe, or use part acorn meal and part cornmeal, or 2/3 acorn meal and 1/3 oatmeal.
http://druidry.org/obod/text/trees/oak.html Full of good lore and stories
hometown.aol.com/birchfire/page18.html Common Associations
http://www.celticattic.com/olde_world/myths/oak_lore.htm Chock full of lore
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/ Everything you wanted to know (and more) about every species of tree in the U.S.
http://www.british-trees.com/guide/commonoak.htm What you wanted to know about British trees
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oakcom01.html Botanical Lore and greater details on British oaks.
http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/trees.htm Good local lore of groves across Europe
http://www.traditionmagazine.com/2%20King%20of%20the%20Wood.htm excellent British angle on the Oak's symbolic power on British imagination.
http://www.controverscial.com/Oak.htm Extremely long and interesting, more so than my article. Music takes a long time to download it.
By Eric Powers
I cordially invite the reader to pass the winter doldrums away by writing poetry, stories, songs and chants. You need not submit, but I strongly urge you to pay off the karma of avoiding those forest walks, because you're afraid of freezing your tootsies off in the cold.
Last year we had 15 competitors, and despite Mairi's departure, I hope that everyone will surmount their shy ways and share their thoughts. Due to a resounding lack of competitors for judgeship, I humbly volunteer to oversee the contest. I will be as impartial as necessary.
Send them directly to me, Eric Powers, at email@example.com I am a grad student in Washington D.C., and well known as a writer of odd articles, and a member of Mike's grove, (but that won't help him if he continues to send in tripe.)
1. Poems, songs, chants, short stories are accepted. About two or three will be published at www.rdna.info/bard2.html every two weeks starting November 1st until May 1st (inclusive). You might have to wait a while.
2. We are not responsible for lost compositions or your local weather.
3. We do not recompense the author, and the top three selections (chosen at then end by me and a dart board) will only receive slim praise and a metaphoric warm pat-on-the-back.
4. The words must be your own, but paraphrasing and spoofing is fine.
5. You may borrow pre-existing tunes (i.e. "filk" them) or send original music files with a simple tune (no vocals, perhaps, to save space) plunking out the melody.
6. All submissions are assumed to be without copyright and internet published as Book of Songs and Poetry without profit to anyone, unless the poster indicates otherwise.
7. Overtly racist, sexist, genderist, and other nasty stuff will be nixed, but if you're clever enough to do so subvertly, congratulations.
8. No bribes under $1000 will be accepted. We must have our principles.
9. Non-seasonal topics are accepted (you can write summer poems for December) and this is no preferred bias for humor or depressive tones.
10. There is no #10.
Update on Sudden Oak Death Disease in California
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Posted on Thu, Sep. 05, 2002
Oak Disease Snares Redwoods, Firs
Finding marks the first time fungus has attacked conifers, raising concern about how far and fast the disease can spread
By Mike Taugher
BERKELEY - A deadly plant disease that has killed tens of thousands of oaks along the Northern California coast is now infecting the youngest of two more of California's signature trees--coastal redwoods and Douglas firs.
The findings mark the first time the fungus that causes sudden oak death has been discovered in conifers, adding to scientific uncertainty over how far the disease will ultimately spread and how dramatically it might alter the landscape of California's coastal woods and forests.
"We're at the point where every single woody species in these forests can be considered a potential host," said David Rizzo, a UC Davis plant pathologist who is one of two leading researchers on sudden oak death.
Rizzo, speaking at a news conference Wednesday to announce the latest findings, cautioned there is no reason to believe that the fungus is capable of killing mature redwoods or Douglas firs.
Still, the discovery of sudden oak death in redwood and Douglas fir saplings adds to a burgeoning list that now includes 17 potential carriers of the disease, including three kinds of oak, rhododendron, manzanita, bigleaf maples and buckeye.
Scientists said it is highly unusual for a plant disease to infect such a wide variety of plants, and they now say that the closest comparable plant epidemic occurred in western Australia. There, a relative of the sudden oak death fungus traveled through root zones to wipe out eucalyptus and other trees so aggressively that entire forests were converted to grasslands and scrub.
Sudden oak death is unlikely to be that dramatic, but scientists said it will be years before they can predict how the disease affects the landscape.
"It's very difficult to say what trajectory this is going to take," Rizzo said.
Gov. Gray Davis, saying the discovery "significantly raises the stakes," asked President Bush for $10 million in federal aid to help fight the plant disease.
Wednesday's announcement also triggers an immediate expansion of a federal quarantine that restricts movement of material from host plants from the area infected by sudden oak death, which now includes 12 counties.
Those counties account for 95 percent of the redwood harvested in California and 42 percent of the timber produced for California's $3 billion timber industry.
Under the new quarantine requirements, timber companies are required to remove bark from redwood and Douglas fir logs before they can ship them out of the state. As it turns out, however, that will have little effect because most redwood and Douglas fir logs already are taken to local mills where their bark is removed.
But the quarantine also prohibits the movement of redwood bark chips across state lines. That could be a problem for the nursery industry and mills where redwood bark cannot be taken to wood-burning power plants.
"Most of them have the ability to move their bark to a cogeneration plant," said Donn Zea, president of the California Forest Products Commission. "There are some who don't, and it will be a greater problem for them."
Different plants have different levels of susceptibility to the disease, scientists said. In tanoaks, the disease has killed up to 90 percent of the trees in areas hardest hit by sudden oak death. Around 40 percent or 50 percent of coast live oaks have been killed in the hardest hit areas.
Meanwhile, bay laurel appears to be the Typhoid Mary of the disease, hosting high concentrations of the fungus and carrying it to other plants without dying itself.
Although scientists have been unable to kill redwood saplings with the fungus in laboratory experiments, they have found redwood shoots and saplings to be infected in several parks and forests between Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties.
On the other hand, Douglas fir trees appear more susceptible to the disease, but scientists have found infected Douglas fir trees only in a single site near Santa Rosa.
"It appears to affect Douglas firs more, but what the long-term implications are we don't know," Rizzo said.
Rizzo and Matteo Garbelotto, a UC Berkeley plant pathologist, said they expect the sudden oak death to become more common along the Northern California coast.
"Humboldt County should be the most incredible place (for the disease, because of its cool, moist conditions) and yet it's incredibly rare, suggesting it (could be) just a matter of time," Rizzo said.
The scientists said they have also detected additional samples of DNA this year from the sudden oak death fungus in the Sierra foothills, but they have been unable to grow laboratory cultures to prove that the disease has actually taken hold in plants there.
The Orange County Register
September 14, 2002
Spitting incident could cost Copeland the Libertarian vote. The party's executive committee will meet Saturday to discuss pulling support for the gubernatorial candidate.
By John Howard
SACRAMENTO-Libertarian candidate for governor Gary Copeland of Orange County faces the wrath of his own party for spitting on a KABC radio talk show host during a heated discussion about immigrants' rights.
Copeland, confirming witnesses' accounts of the incident, said he spat on host Brian Whitman after Whitman switched off Copeland's microphone. Copeland was recounting past abuses of immigrants and suggested that Whitman supported such treatment when the host turned off the mike.
Copeland got up to leave, heard several on-air comments from Whitman, then turned and spit on him. The incident occurred Sunday evening at the KABC studios in Los Angeles.
"Since I could not say what I believed, I thought I would show what I believed," Copeland said Wednesday.
The 15-member executive committee of the California Libertarian Party plans to meet Saturday in Fremont to decide whether to rescind the party's formal support of Copeland, who lives in Trabuco Canyon. He won the party's nomination in the March primary election against a write-in candidate and was endorsed at the party's convention. The party has about 98,000 registered members in California, including 9,300 in Orange County.
Party chairman Aaron Starr said: "We were mortified when we first heard of this. It takes 10 votes of the executive committee, and we have the votes."
"Libertarians have their principles, and one of them is that you don't initiate force or advocate it. The party has to take a stand on this," Starr said.
But Copeland said the party's withdrawal of support means little." They don' t provide funding," said Copeland, 46. "I'm the candidate whatever they do."
Copeland, who owns a bio-information company, angered some Libertarian leaders earlier this year when he discussed his belief of the Druid religion in an interview with OC Weekly and had his photo taken in his Druid robes for the newspaper.
From the Read Ireland Book Review, August 24, 2002
This book is an essential companion for all those interested in Ireland's history, mythology and folklore. Ireland possesses such a vast number of ancient sites that most of them remain unknown and all but forgotten except by those who live nearby. This book offers directions to some 800 sited on the entire island of Ireland. Here are simple wells and stones that are still regarded as places of pilgrimage to the local people. Here also are sites of national importance, holy mountains, lakes and rivers created by giants and protected by fairies; ancient churches, round towers, high crosses and beautiful cathedrals built on sites held sacred for thousands of years. The author has explored these sites and reveals their secrets in historical and archaeological detail, the legends and folklore as well as the current information on earth energies relating to the sacred nature of these sites.
The Fall Equinox will occur on September 22 at 9:56 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, when once again the day equals the night. At the Equinox the Sun rises due East and sets due West. Wake up early this day and mark where the Sun comes up. At sunset go outside and mark where the Sun sets.
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