An Un-Official Publication of the Reformed Druids
Oimelc Y.R. 40
(January 30th, 2002)
Volume 19, Number 1
CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
(Reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any, Oimelc 1985.)
imelc, the festival of Bride,* Bridgit, Bredes, the daughter of Dagda, and Celtic goddess of fire and the hearth. She is also patroness of poetry and the source of creative inspiration, which the Gaels regard as a supersensual form of fire. Always one of the most popular deities, the fifth and sixth century Christianizers of Ireland were unable to eradicate her worship, and instead adopted or rather co-opted her into their own pantheon as St. Bridgit. She was not, however, a Christian. Modern evidence suggests that she was of ancient Indo-European origin, cognate with Agni, god of fire in the Vedic tradition, and with hearth goddesses all over Europe. The masculinizing of goddesses was a frequent occurrence in the East and Middle East as nomadic pastoralists settled down and became agricultural and urbanized.
Bridgit is also associated with the Sun, which in Celtic countries is feminine, "na Ghreine," and which is carried in a chariot and served by a young male deity, son of the Sky God, usually Lugh or an Apollo-like figure. This may be a similar pattern to the one for Danu, the Earth Goddess, whose statue was annually transported through the countryside in a ceremonial wagon attended by a young, possibly virgin male priest. Traces of this ritual come from all over pagan Europe, according to Prof. P.V. Glob, but the best descriptions come from Scandinavia, where the ceremony persisted into Medieval times.
On Oimelc, statues of Bride were carried through the streets to her temple, where a perpetual flame burned on her altar. This continued in Ireland under Celtic Christianity, with only the name being changed to "Saint." There and in Scotland, the tradition is still repeated when the dawn shows pink colors, it is because Bride, the Sun-Maiden, hangs her cloak on the beams of the morning sun. In Bara and the isles, up until the last century, she was addressed at dawn as just that, the Sun-Maiden, and even the thin layer of Christianity, laid on in Ireland, was ignored here.
In the oldest Indo-European traditions, the Moon is masculine and may be associated with Cernunnos, the hunt and forest magic. (Prof. James Duran, after Gimbutas, 1982.) The feminine moon goddesses, usually connected with water symbolism, are thought to be of Pre-Indo-European origin.
Bride was one of the most popular deities, and most often worshipped and appealed to by the common people, judging from the statements of early Christianizers and from the large number of charms, spells, and songs to her that persisted into Medieval and some into modern times. An old fire charm for kindling a damp hearth, and in Scotland it's always damp, goes: "To Bride, Ruler of Fire, give me/us this little bit of perfect fire, now." Highly effective, I use it daily.
Remember also that matches were invented by a Scotsman, a Gael. The word "match" comes (some think) from "Maide" meaning "little stick." The fire sticks used to kindle fresh fire for the sacrifice are spoken of in the Vedic tradition as the Parents of Agni; Birch bark, in the primitive tinder-kit, was known as "Bridget's wood." The line from Bride, early Indo-European fire-goddess, through Agni, who is Bridget in her Asiatic male guise, leads, according to the entomological dictionary, to our word ignite and ignition, via Latin. So to keep all this relevant, when you put your foot down on the accelerator these cold mornings and turn the key, invoke Bride, Goddess of fire:
"Ah, Bhride, Banreigh na Teintean, thoir dhomh an beagan teintean lan."
*Pronounced Bridee or Breej
Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota
The ground has accumulated an unusually low amount of snow this winter, although temperatures have been cold.
Hearing more frequent requests from Carleton Druids about the
upcoming Reunion in May, and they are ecstatically planning on having
a Druid story-telling campfire, in which all the old-timers can tell their
stories of past years.
Akita Grove: News from Japan
Nozomi is doing quite well and has broadened her understanding of Druidry
and motherhood, being about 30 weeks into her current project. Mike stopped
by the Grove on his way around Japan, despite the steep mountain hike to get
to her home. All seems well, and the delivery should be in early February.
Silent Grove: News from Canada
Mike "Scout" Nadjiwon passed away on December 14th.
A whispering wind, the silent bell So little time, and so much to tell
Please post under Fallen Leaves since this spirit shared so much with us
all, and influenced people far beyond his physical presence.
B.C. Grove: News from British Columbia
I live in a bit of paradise commonly referred to as Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. I read through some (not all....zzzzzzz) of the RDNA Anthology and am a firm believer in what this original group "stands for." Like many others who are drawn by the name "druid" I come from a Celtic background (you know...the romantic draw of all things Irish...even though it has been three generations since one of my relatives even touched Irish soil) but by personal definition of what it means to be a "druid" transcends all association with heritage, religious persuasion and political or social ideology. I would like to do my own small part to keep this foundation of universality alive and well.
What I am initially considering is perhaps a personal web page to spark some local interest. There MUST be like-minded individuals here...it is impossible to avoid being touched by the Earth-Mother here...we live surrounded by the ocean, cradled by mountains and inspired by ancient forests. Since I am quite a distance away from the nearest RDNA grove and I do not have the means to travel, perhaps you could give me some advise on how to proceed.
I would be proud to "solidify" my association with this original group and work to preserve what is, to me, a very important aspect of what the term will come to mean.
[MIKE: Well, usually a grove is organized for a purpose bigger than one's self, what is it that you wish to do or become?]
Well I'm not even going to attempt the "become" part...I have absolutely no concept of "becoming" anything at all. But as for what I want to "do"...here I have some vague ideas.
I want to offer (? not that they are mine in any way to "offer," but you know what I mean) the concept of the basic tenants of RDNA, to those who live within a close enough proximity to me that there may be, at some point, a chance to meet and gather for the purpose of sharing what we have in common and learning from our differences.
I would like to be able to "associate" under the umbrella of the RDNA so that it is clear to all that this is what we "stand for" and nothing more.
Damn, do you have any idea how difficult this is? You are really making me think here.
Beyond that very basic desire to connect, I have no real "vision." Now if you had asked me what I do NOT want to do I could have given you a much longer and clearer list.
Bamboo Grove: News from Delaware
There's finally time to stop and breathe, but now that I've got some extra time, I find myself wondering what to do with it! It seems that now is a time for resting and waiting for the spring. I'm not a patient person by nature, so all this waiting can drive me up the wall! But despite my frustration and restlessness I'm slowly learning that this seemingly empty time provides space for more inward contemplation, reading, journaling, etc. Time for nurturing the soul.
In other news, the Muses are growing fat and are, presumably, reasonably content. Everyone seems to be thriving, so all is good.
Blessings to you and yours,
Hemlock Splinters Grove:News from New York
Hemlock Splinters is buried under many feet of snow. The full moon shines beautifully down, but the air is zero degrees and falling. The shapes water makes at these temperatures never cease to fascinate, but we have spent far too little time enjoying them. Most of our energy is consumed by shoveling, hauling fire wood, and trying to keep warm. There are no official activities planned until things warm back up.
Ancient Circle Grove: News from NY
I am sorry to report that due to waning interest and discord among members as to spiritual direction, Ancient Circle Grove has disbanded.
May the Gods continue to Bless you,
Dravidia Grove: News from Maryland
Well it is Winter time again here at the grove, and we spend a lot of time researching. I have been busy like a beaver gathering new info and my file collection has grown enormously. I now have close to 300 files in both pfd and text document on various subjects of Wicca, Paganism, Druids, and the occult. If anyone is interested in receiving a particular file. Please email me at email@example.com, and I will see if I have one in that category, since I will be till Spring sorting them all out...
Have a good Winter all.
Digitalis Grove: News from DC
Eric and Mike are knee-deep in preparations to graduate in May and we've both been playing at being Bardic, so that has delayed our writing of articles for this season's Missal-Any. Our apologies to our loyal readers (if there are any.)
Mike is making the final arrangements this week for the second of the RDNA reunions at Carleton this year (i.e. the summer June event) with the Alumni office at Carleton. www.rdna.info/anniversary.html
Mike will be assisting OMS member Pendderwydd in running an email centered
class over the ARDA is about to begin. Our Druidcraft 202: "A Walk Through
the ARDA" class begins Sunday Feb 2. Having compiled this Frankenstein, I
feel compelled to assist people trying to navigate this graveyard of
shipwrecks. To join the class, send a blank email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can subscribe on the web at
Eurisko Grove: News from Virginia
Gwydion is trying to organize a team for the Polar Plunge. This is a charity
event for Special Olympics in Virginia beach VA. In which people raise money
to jump into the Atlantic in February. We had cancel our planed sunrise
vigil for Yule due to a severe stomach virus that has been running rampant.
We conducted our Yule ritual honoring Saturn and Mithras on X-Mas eve. Our
gift exchange was held in front of the warm glow of a video taped yule log.
Our unofficial protege program will be coming under review and the revised
version to start right after Imbolc. We have two grove projects planned for
Imbolc: eggnog and cheese making. Both recipes courtesy of members of the
RDNAtalk list. We also plan on wassailing our new alberta dwarf spruce soon.
Oaken Circle Grove MOCC: News from KY
As of the moment the grove does not have a lot going on , the winter months seem to slow things down a bit. We did have great success with our adoption of a family in need this holiday season, the family consisted of a mom and two children. We hope to do this again next year. We are currently trying to pull together a gathering for Imbolc , we will keep you posted on how it goes. Here is a recap on some of the things our grove has planned for the future. We are working on becoming incorporated as a religious organization and one day plan to go for tax exempt status. We have a grove pantry/care items that we put in a donation to every meeting and have on hand if a grove member or someone they know need it. We also have a grove lending library . We are planning to in the spring have our shared knowledge classes, such as basic medicinal herbs. Each grove member will teach a class on something they are proficient at. That wraps it up. Have a blessed Imbolc.
White Rabbit Grove: News from Wisconsin
Thanks for naming my grove, which I finally discover after my netless year. My new email is email@example.com, and there is no website, and I am a grove of one. Unlike other RDNA groves, even the house pets here don't compost, at least not conscientiously. My nuclear family are in the Native American church, though they don't go to meetings. That about the horrible warm weather applies again to the present Yule--way too hot, almost like Oslo for goodness sake. This is supposed to be the Midwest!!
Amusing to think this grove resembles "a few," at least from a distance.
Maybe I am putting out satellites like the mighty aspen. Any how my ministry
at present is confined to the household, my helpline (608)226-0052, and
alt.religion.druid. Must repeat thanks for getting me to acknowledge my
Kitsap Pennisular Grove: News from Washington
Greetings from the wet western side of Puget Sound.
The Kitsap Peninsula grove regrets to say that it never did create a gathering, and is closed for lack of membership. Solitary member Butterflye continues to study the ARDA and spend as much time with Nature as possible. Contact is being made with a potential Seattle area grove. Butterflye is no longer affiliated in any way with the Order of the Mithril Star. I remain, as always, a member of the RDNA, and happy to be so.
Blessed Oimelc to all, in Brighid's Service
~~ Butterflye ~~
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng Y Bydoedd Grove, Mother Grove of the OMS-RDNA, News from Southern Oregon
Greetings in the Mother:
Our latest Druidcraft 101 class will be under way on February 2nd. Imbolc will also be the launch day for our new Druidcraft 202 class, based upon A Reformed Druid Anthology.
Ceridwen's Astropagan 201 (intermediate level) class is well underway now, having begun on January 2. Her beginners' class, Astropagan 101 will be offered again beginning March 1, and it already has 60 pending students.
All classes are available over email via Yahoo Groups. See http://www.mithrilstar.org/courses.htm for further details.
The last quarter of 2002 saw a loss for us as far as Groves established under our wing are concerned. With the moving of Angie Druid Fulmer to Israel, we lost the fledgling Circle of the Beavers proto-grove in Corvallis, OR. Cylch Sequoia Sempervirons Grove (Hiouchi, CA) broke up due to internal strife. And two other proto-groves, one based in the Seattle area and the other in Tennessee left the OMS outright (although I understand they retain standing in the RDNA). On the other hand, the Mother Grove of OMS has gained one new member, and a new proto-grove is forming in Talent OR.
My father was a farmer, and like all farmers he experienced crop losses and failures from time to time. However, he was in tune with nature, and like any Druid, he realized that these things go in cycles, and the next crop he planted would be bigger and healthier than the one he lost.
Membership wise we are now at 91 (down from 173). Of those, 42 are active, 49 are inactive. 69 are 1st Order, 14 are 2nd, 5 are 3rd, 1 is a 5th and 2 are 7ths.
The Mother Grove will hold its monthly "Pagan Movie Night" (for members of Southern Oregon Pagan Network) on February 1st. This month we will be (appropriately enough) showing "Groundhog Day," with Bill Murray. In March, we plan to show "The Sorceress and the Friar" (the English version, not the French sub-titled one), which is about 12th Century France and a "Forest Witch" who gives the Friar a run for his money!
The Mother Grove is also sponsoring a LIVE version of Druidcraft 101 beginning mid-February at Sybok and Ceridwen's cabin in the Cascade foothills. The Talent (OR) proto-grove will be doing the same thing down in their end of the Rogue Valley.
Plans for Imladris (see http://www.mithrilstar.org/imladris) are progressing, despite our having decided that the present location of the Mother Grove has too few acres to properly do what we want. A couple of realtors are already working to find a suitable space for us in the Rogue Valley. Waiting is.
Despite our losses in the last quarter of 2002, we are predicting a strong 2003. We believe we will double in size by this time next year, and hopefully spawn at least three new Groves. Imladris will be well on the way to becoming a reality. Like in the above farming analogy, we expect that weeds will be present in our fields, but weeding is always a part of good cultivation. Farther ahead, we are dedicated to seeing OMS-RDNA Groves at our future colonies on the Moon and Mars! We will be around, preserving the RDNA far into the future. After all, if a growing percentage of the Earths population chooses to live their lives as Druids and Gods, we feel that it can only help to bring balance and a return to the reverence that Nature deserves!
And so must it be!
Nemeton Awenyddion, News from California
Things have been going great! The land (36 acres) we plan on buying as a clan land has been dowsed and the shape and resources on the land have great Nwyfre (land energy) ley lines and such. There are two ponds, a marsh, three natural springs that come out of very large stones in the hillside, a few meadows, and lots of oak trees with lots of mistletoe. The last month we've been making all the preparations for the down payment and the move, and checking out alternative housing projects such as cordwood houses to geodesic domes, we will have to build them this next summer and this will require us to camp out on the land when doing so.
Winter Solstice/Alban Gwyddion went great, and then on our usual night for our mistletoe rites I went through an induction ceremony for my tri-level Derwydd masters in the order of clan Y AwenEchen because I turned in all my petitions and theory work for all three masters in the elder advanced training, they all passed with high scores which, after viewed by all the other elders and accepted by them I will be the second dean of the main college in nearly twenty years. For Imbolc/Canol Gaoaf we might have a special treat if I can contact the goat lady and get some fresh milk, we will probably be making goat cheese and doing the usual celebrations and rituals.
On Feb. 15, Sat. at the San Jose PantheaCon there is going to be a Druid Healing ritual done by many but mostly by Michael Gorman from the OBOD Sacramento Grove of the Oak, R. J. Stewart, Anne Brid, and me. We have worked really hard to fit this ritual into a Wiccan atmosphere so everyone there will hopefully understand and find connection while we are keeping the difference between the two practices of Druidry and Wicca distinguishable, but similar and connected at the same time. It was a difficult task for some of us more traditionals.
I'm hoping to see some of you there, and hopefully to meet some of you from the area that I have not met before. I will be doing the Druid of Language part, repeating all of the blessing to the Triads and sacred fifths in Irish Gaelic after they are said in English.
Poison Oak Grove, News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
The Season of Sleep, with its days of late sunrise and early, is a time of introspection and renewal. Much consideration has been given as your editor's mother has been seriously ill and requiring surgery. The dreaded mortality of one's parent(s) is sobering as it makes you reflect on assuming the place of matriarch or patriarch of the family. I am pleased to say that the surgery (knock wood) went well and my mother is recuperating in skilled rehabilitation care. If these are to be her last days the center is a pleasant with caring and conscientious staff.
After a leave of absence and a wee lad later new member Oriana attended her first grove service. As there was just the two of us she performed the role of Server and did so admirably. Her reaction to the Meditation was noticing how much noisier the road, wind, birds, and trees got; hearing them more, this is another step on the road to awareness.
I attended a corn dolly class given by master wheat-weaver Morgyn Owens-Celli. This is an ancient art going back centuries that were part of village harvest celebrations. The last sheaf of wheat, called "the neck" or Cailleach would be cut down and fashioned into a corn dolly and hung in a place of prominence in the house or barn. On Oimelc Eve in Scotland and Ireland a Bride-og was plaited and dressed in white cloth and carried to each household by a group of young girls going door to door, beckoning to "Let Bride come in!" Small presents were given to Bride and Oimelc bannocks were baked. After the procession there was a celebration with feasting and dancing. I hope to join the local wheat weavers guild and weave the Bride-og myself for next Oimelc.
For my birthday I decided to celebrate by hiking new ground: the Point Reyes National Seashore. Famous last words were that I wanted new memories to replace unpleasant ones I had from an earlier time in a nearby area. That was made by getting lost in the woods. A friend and I got a late start. After exploring the recreated Miwok village we took pictures from a wooden bridge and along the hike. The trail went up and up, over and under fallen logs, through washed out paths, mud, and rocks that laid exposed from the recent torrential storms. Undaunted by the coming dark and a little too determined to not turn back we hiked till after the sun went down. It was then I finally realized that the trail was not going to head back down and end "just over that ridge" where we began anytime soon. We started heading back but by that time it was too late; we reached a spot past some fallen trees where we couldn't find the trail any more. There was no moon and it was overcast with dense tree canopy. After trying to find where the trail started up again twice we found a log to sit on and talked a long time. I was so embarrassed as a druid to have gotten us into this mess. I should have known better and turned around before it got dark...We were prepared to spend the night in the woods overnight, but I felt I owed it to us to get us out. I would have never been able to live it down and was ready to turn in my druid badge. With renewed determination I decided to try again. Because visibility was nil I had to feel for the trail with my feet. Success at last. The fallen trees and muddy areas on the trees became familiar marker. It was a harrowing experience and I was actually scared.
After we got back to the meadow where we started we saw two white
shapes walking a long with the little one running over one of the Miwok
Indian mounds. We think they were deer. It was odd because the local
mule deer are brown and don't show up well at night, not white in any
case! In Celtic mythology animals from the otherworld are white with
red ears. Interesting messengers! Perhaps it was an ordeal or
initiation of some sort?
By Larry Press, Poison Oak Grove
This article sprang from queries to the Grove mathematician on how to calculate the major Druid High Days. The Druids were the mathematicians and astronomers of their day and would have been able to determine when the major and minor High Days would fall. Poison Oak Grove tries to maintain such practices of the ancient Druids.
The principle is simple. I don't have my calendar here with me, so I can ONLY explain the principle and give artificial examples, but it should be enough to give you the idea.
The astrohoogical calendar doesn't give the times of the cross-quarters because those events are of no interest to most astrohooligers. it does, however, give the Sun's positions at various dates and times; we can use that information to estimate the date and time the Sun will be in the position that interests us.
Suppose for example, that the Sun is at 14 degrees of the sign at noon PST on the 6th of November, and at 16 degrees of the sign at noon PST on the 7th of November. Then the position of interest (15 degrees) is halfway between the two given positions, so the Sun should reach that position halfway between the two given times (in this case, Midnight of the 6th-to-7th).
That's the basic principle. In practice, things are a bit trickier because:
2. The times are given the calendar in hours, minutes, and seconds, and we need to convert them to hours-and-fractional-hours
3. We use the degrees + fraction and hours + fraction values to compute the date-time of the cross-quarter, but that gives us a value in hours + fraction, so we need to convert that back to hours and minutes.
However, if all you're doing is confirming my calculations, you don't need to worry about all the tricky arithmetic. Do this instead:
2. Then find the EARLIEST day and time at which the Sun is MORE THAN 15 degrees of the sign. Make note of that date and time, and convert it to Pacific Daylight Time, as well. As before, note the position, and convert it roughly to degrees + fraction.
3. How far apart are the two positions? I.e. subtract the smaller from the larger, to get a separation (in degrees + fraction). How far along that distance is 15-degree position? Once again, you can be rough here. Is it about 1/3 of the way? 1/4? 3/4? If you just get it to the nearest 1/4 or so, that may be enough to confirm or reject my more detailed calculation.
4. So, if 15 degrees at some fraction of the way between the first and second positions (e.g. 2/3 of the way), then the Sun should reach 15 degrees roughly that fraction between the two given times (e.g. 2/3 of the way between the first and second times).
5. Now compare the date-times I gave you (in my e-mail message) to date-times of the first and second positions from the calendar tables (i.e. steps 1 and 2 above). Is the date-time I gave you BETWEEN those two date-times? If not, then one of us has made a big mistake. Is the date-time I gave roughly the same (say, within 1/2 day or so) as the rough calculation you arrived at in step 4 above?
In the exercise above, I calculated the date-time the Sun reached 15 degrees of the sign, but the same techniques work to estimate when the Sun reaches 16 degrees 18 minutes declination.
I believe you have a copy of the same Jim Maynard's Pocket Astrologer 2002 that I have. (We bought them while visiting Stephen last year.)
2. Note that at Noon GMT on the 7th of November, the Sun is 14 degrees 54 minutes of Scorpio, while at Noon GMT on the 8th it is at 15 degrees 54 minutes.
3. The difference between the two POSITIONS is exactly 1 degree; the difference between the two TIMES is exactly 24 hours.
4. The position we're looking for is 15 degrees of Scorpio; this is 6 minutes past the FIRST position (i.e. 14 deg 54 min + 6 min = 14 deg 60 min, that is 15 deg). But the two positions are 1 degree apart (see step 3 above); 6 minutes is 1/10th of the way between those two positions.
5. So we know that the cross-quarter position is 1/10th of the way between the Sun's position at Noon GMT on the 7th and Noon GMT on the 8th. That means that it should reach that position after about 1/10 of the TIME between Noon GMT of the 7th and Noon GMT of the 8th. The time difference is 25 hours, and 1/10th of that difference is 2.4 hours i.e. 2 hours and 24 minutes. Thus the Sun should reach 15 degrees Scorpio at about 2:24 GMT on the 7th of November--which is very close to the time I calculated, using my program to do the interpolation.
6. The final step is to convert the GMT time to PDT. Page 21 of Jim Maynard's calendar gives the time corrections: to convert from GMT to PST, subtract 8 hours; to convert from GMT to PDT, subtract 7 hours.
The Druids: figures of romance and mystery. Mention of them evokes images of cloaked figures performing obscure rites in the oaken groves of Gaul. The name Druid, at least according to some sources, means "Oak Priest" and the magnificent Oak was indeed the chief of the trees revered by the ancient Celtic Priests. In ancient Gaul, the Oak was indeed the most impressive of trees. Known for the strength of its boughs, and its sheer beauty it was also the source of the sacred mistletoe.
So what if the Druids had lived in California? Specifically, the northern coast I believe that our own Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirons) would have become the tree revered most by the Celtic priesthood. The poor oak pales in comparison to these magnificent trees, which grow to an average height of 300 feet. The redwood is also the source of the mysterious burl, which gives many of these trees distinctive personalities. From a distance, the formation of burls can make faces appear on the trees, evoking thoughts of the Ents, Tolkien's race of trees.
Redwoods grow in two ways. The first is with seed, and their seeds are among the smallest of any plant known, hundreds of which can be found in the redwoods own pinecones, which average around the size of a jellybean. The second way they grow is by shooting new trees from their root systems, which spread out hundreds of feet around the typical redwood, just a few feet deep in the ground. Typically, these offshoots form "fairy rings" around their mother. As they grow, and the mother tree dies off, the ring is all that is left. I can picture the Druids using these natural rings as the centers for their rites.
The Redwood is illustrative of magickal practice too. Its taproot, which extends into the earth from the center of the tree grounds it, like the familiar grounding meditation many of us do before ritual, to connect ourselves with the Earth Mother. The tree then shoots high into the sky, higher than any other tree, also like the familiar centering meditation, which affirms our connection to the cosmos.
Water brethren may find the Redwood a friend too, since it gives off ten times its own weight in moisture every day. The Redwood also needs a lot of water, which is why it thrives only from the Big Sur area to a few miles into Oregon, and only within a thirty-mile stretch from the coast. They like all the rain and fog we get here. They are true water-kin.
Water was sacred to the Druid as well. Most of their main groves had a spring or stream running near or through them, and water deities played an important role in much of Celtic mythology.
My own wand came from a Redwood, a rather famous one. The Garberville Giant was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest tree. When it stood, it rose some 375 feet into the air. Alas, about ten years ago it toppled. Residents in nearby Garberville thought an earthquake had hit, and the sound of the impact was heard thirty miles away. I visited the fallen giant, located in a grove off the famous "Avenue of The Giants" in 1994. It was in the early morning, and I was guided to the top of the tree. There on the ground, like it was placed there, was my wand, a twig from the top branches of the giant. It is exactly the length of the inside of my elbow to the tip of my middle finger.
I remember feeling quite enchanted during our visit, and, although at the time we were the only humans around, I felt the eyes of other entities watching us. I know there were fairies in that grove, and my walks in other Redwood groves have confirmed for me the presence of fairy folk.
I go for hikes in the redwoods as often as I can, stopping at each fairy ring, admiring each old growth tree. I feel the wonder and the majesty of the giants and affirm my connection to the cosmos through them. It's well worth it to take the docent led nature walks through the "tourist groves" at any of the big Redwood State and National Parks. The docents are well versed in Redwood lore and you'll leave with a much greater appreciation of the Sequoia than you had before.
Now I must admit that I am quite prejudiced here. I was raised in Illinois
and have only lived here on the "left coast" for a little over ten years. I
have yet to visit the cousins of our local coastal redwoods, the Giant
Sequoias (Sequoia Giganiticus) that grow only in the Kings Canyon area of
Sequoia National Park. They don't grow as tall as ours do, but they get much
bigger around. I may change my tune once I have communed with them (but I
By Anna Dryw, Nemeton Awenyddion
Double Tree Inn in San Jose, CA
February 14 - 17, 2003
Join the largest indoor gathering of tribes and traditions in the country for a four-day extravaganza of workshops, rituals, events, networking and fun.
Presentations, rituals and panels from a wide variety of guests including: Robert Anton Wilson, Diana Paxson, R.J. Stewart, Raven Grimassi, Lon Du Quette, Mary Greer, Z Budapest , Mara Freeman, Chicago Steve Barkeley aka Stefn Thorsman, Darryl Cherney, Amber K., Donald Kraig, and Fakir Musafar.
Musical performances, ritual theater , Variety Show, and a Masque Ball: Gaia 's Voice, Pombagira, Reclaiming, Bast ritual, Magical Acts Theatre , Broceliande, Gaia's Consort, Pandemonaeon.
Workshops, scholarly papers, author readings and slideshows by special guests and local favorites
Over 60 vendor booths featuring pagan, magical and earth oriented products.
Convention Programming starts on Friday afternoon 3:30pm , with presentations beginning at 9 am and ending with the last slot starting at 11pm on Sat. and Sun. Monday will start at 9 am and end in the late afternoon with Iron Priest with "Something Wiccan This Way Comes!"
Friday evening will feature a Variety Show, having the Costume Contest (there are rumors of hall costume prizes) on Friday night as well as our regularly featured Pombagira ritual.
Our regular Saturday night event will now be a Masque Ball with a DJ, the theme is Voodoo Carnival. And Monday will feature our regular event, slightly tweaked for your enjoyment: Iron Priest.
Admission fee: $50.00 (till Sept 15), $60 (till Jan 15) and $70 at the door (includes all events for the entire conference) $30 for a full day, $15 for evenings only
Hotel Info: Reserve rooms through Double Tree Reservations at (800) 547-8010 (Calif.) by January 15, 2002 or (408) 453-4000 to get the special hotel group rate for PantheaCon, $89 single/double, $99 triple/ quad Parking is free for hotel guests with validations for conference goers. The hotel has agreed to run four daily shuttles for pick ups at the light rail station, times to be determined. .
Don't forget that you can sign up to work the Con as a volunteer! email firstname.lastname@example.org or see http://www.ancientways.com/html/gofer.html for more details.
The Second Annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade
The Second Annual Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade will take place on Upper Telegraph Ave. on April 13th. Join us in this day of music, art, theater, ceremony, and dance, as the Interfaith Pagan Community and friends celebrate the spirit of Mother Earth. Our inaugural parade was so successful and we had so much fun, that we are just going to have to keep it up. With this parade, we bring together brothers and sisters of ALL indigenous, Earth-based, and nature centered polytheistic beliefs in pride and celebration, as well as those who support arts, music, ceremony, theater and dance within the Interfaith Pagan Community. In doing so, we unite in our message to the world that we must live together in love and tolerance, as opposed to fear and misunderstanding, as voices in the great choir of Spirit.
This year's parade is not to be missed! We are excited to announce that we will be kicking off Earth Week in Berkeley, which will begin a week of activities that bring focus and awareness to the preservation of our precious, divine home; Mother Earth. We will be joined by artists, musicians, craftspeople, community leaders, and many eclectic and ancient spiritual traditions from around the West Coast. We also wish to welcome floats to this year's parade, and are eager to see divine creativity in action. It will no doubt be a day of fun, understanding, and education for all.
We encourage diversity, tolerance, safety, and respect for all participants and audience members. This is a family-friendly event, and children are encouraged to participate. More details to be announced as plans progress. Information: email@example.com, or visit http://www.paganparade.org/.
From the Read Ireland Book Review:
Teach Me Irish
by Dafydd Gareth Stephens
(Software and Audio CD; 30.00 Euro / 40.00 USD / 20.00 UK; Sain Cyf.)
Do you want to learn Irish but don't have the time or motivation for evening classes? Then this is the method for you! The whole method is based on a natural learning process--you practice simple grammar and vocabulary tasks several times until the software decides that you have learned the tasks well enough to proceed to the next level. In this way you'll move from the basics right up to intricate structures at your own pace in exactly the same way a child learns the language--seeing, hearing and responding over a length of time. Within three months, a typical user could acquire enough language skills to participate in conversation and read a variety of books. With this produce, you can acquire a vocabulary of over 3,000 words--allowing you to participate fully in the rich oral and written traditions in Irish. (Computer System Requirements: Windows PC, Pentium Processor, minimum 100MHz, 16MB of RAM, 7MB of available hard disk space).
To order books from Read Ireland send an email to their order department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to include your mailing address and credit card details.
Astronomical Oimelc, when the Sun is half-way between the Winter Solstice
and the Spring Equinox, will occur on Monday, Feb 3, 2003 at 10:06 p.m.
Pacific Standard Time when the Sun will reach 15 degrees of Aquarius, or
alternatively when the Sun reaches 16 degrees 18 minutes declination on
Tuesday, Feb 4 at 1:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
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