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Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America

Beltane Y.R. 41
(April 28th, 2003)

Volume 19, Number 3




Beltane Essay
News of the Groves
Bard of the YearContest Winner Announced!
40th Anniversary RDNA Reunion News
ARDA 2 Update
The Epistle of Eric
The Soul of Juliana Spring
Celtic Kelp Customs
Insects Thrive on Modified Crops
Scottish Gaelic Immersion Weekend

 Beltaine, May Day, the beginning of the Season of Life, and best known of the Old Celtic High Days. Bonfires are still lit on hilltops in Scotland and Ireland to welcome Belenos, the returning Sun. Beltaine is historically when the cattle, which had been sheltered and stall fed, were now moved out to summer pastures in the hills and mountains. The cattle and other herd animals were driven between two fires made from sacred woods such as rowan, birch, or oak as an act of purification, protection against disease, and to insure their fertility for the coming year. This is a practice from Druidic times and may have its origin in cleansing the animals of parasites (dropping off from the heat) or harken back to when cattle, particularly bulls, were sacrificed at Beltaine.

Cattle were extremely important to early Celtic people. Animal husbandry was probably the dominant food producing activity during the Iron Age. The dairy cows provided the only fresh food during the winter months. There is some speculation which was the more important function of the cattle herds. One study of the bones from Dun Aillinne, Co. Kildare, shows by the analysis of bones found that the preponderance of animals over six months old were female and therefore milk-producers. If meat production were intended there would have been a greater number of young cattle present. Another study argues that cattle will not give milk unless calves are present and the presence of so many calf remains from Dun Aillinne is due to the rearing of drystock cattle for meat. Or it might have been a combination of the two with milking and harvesting the cattle for meat depending upon the season or historical development. We may never truly know.

Wealth was not measured in precious metal but in the number of cattle a person owned. Cattle fulfilled many purposes: they produced butter, milk cheese, provided meat, hide, horns, as well as strength for ploughing and pulling, proving them to be of extreme usefulness and value in an agricultural society. In early Irish hero-tales wealth was measured in cattle. The importance of the Celtic gentry was calculated not so much in terms of the size of their property as by the number of cattle they possessed.

 Stuart Piggott tells us how in his Ancient Europe: A Survey (Aldine Publishing Company, 1966) that "in the opening scene of the 'Cattle-Raid of Cooley' (Tain Bo Cuailnge), Ailill, chieftain of Cruachan, and Medb his wife, boast of their respective riches, and cause their possessions to be brought to them in reverse order of their value, beginning with cauldrons and other vessels, followed by their gold ornaments and their clothing, and then by flocks of sheep, their horses, their herds of pigs, and finally (and so most important) their cattle. The unit of all property (including bondswomen) was a cow." Cattle were the measuring stick of worth and of value, though were not the medium of exchange as money.

The story of the Tain revolves around two supernatural bulls, Donn Cuailnge (the Brown) bull of Ulster and Finnbennach (the White-horned) bull of Connacht. It focuses around a cattle raid by the people of Connacht against the people of Ulster led by Queen Medb of Connacht against CuChulainn, hero of Ulster. The two bulls also wage battle with Donn Cuailgne being victorious over Finnbennach, though dying soon after.

The importance of the bull, and especially white bulls, is evident especially in Druidic practice. In the famous mistletoe cutting ceremony Pliny in his Natural History XVI, 95, records:

"Having made preparation for sacrifice and a banquet beneath the trees, they bring thither two white bulls, whose horns are bound then for the first time. Clad in a white robe, the priest ascends the tree and cuts the mistletoe with a golden sickle, and it is received by others in a white cloak. Then they kill the victims (i.e. the cattle), praying that God will render this gift of his propitious to those to whom he has granted it."

The bull was also used in divination. The practice of tarbh feis (bull feast or bull dream) was used to obtain illumination and also performed to determine the rightful king. In Ireland again a white bull was killed and one man would eat of his flesh and drink of the broth in which the bull was cooked. He would then lay down to sleep wrapped in the bull's hide. Four Druids would chant a spell of truth over him and the sleeping man would obtain a vision of the new king in his dreams.

In Scotland a person might know the answer to an important question about the future by wrapping himself in the still warm hide of a freshly killed bull. He would then go into a trance wherein the answer would come to him in a vision.

The supernatural importance of the white cow is also not left unnoticed. The cow was the sacred animal to Bride and to her mother Bóann ("She who has white cows" as translated by Celtic scholar Anne Ross). Bóann was a goddess of sovereignty and as such was associated with cattle. Bride was protectoress of the flocks and harm would come to any that harmed her cattle. Bride was said to be fed from the milk of a white red-eared cow, which was her totem animal. In Celtic mythology white animals with red ears were considered supernatural or otherworldly. In artwork she was often shown to be accompanied by a cow.

Until at least the late 19th/early 20th century sending the cattle to summer pastures on Beltaine was still practiced. In Scotland it was known as "shieling" (àiridhean meaning the summer residences for herdsmen and cattle, also hills or pastures. E. Dwelly). Families of the crofter townland in Lewis in the Hebrides would gather the flocks, the cattle, horses, sheep, and goats together and spend the day driving them to the moorland. Small huts were set up for the women and small children who tended the herds. The men from the town would come up to visit and the young men would court the maidens. Andrew Carmichael who collected many of the incantations, prayers, and rites of the Scottish people in his Carmina Gadelica, recorded this driving incantation that was sung to the flocks for protection as they were lead to the summer pastures. It contains a mixture of both Christianity and pre-Christian-paganism.


Comhnadh Odhrain uidhir dhuibh,
Comhnadh Bhrighde Mhuime dhuibh,
Comhnadh Òighe Mhuire dhuibh
Am bugalach 's an cruadhlach,
Am bugalach 's an cruadhlach.

Cumail Chiarain dhuibhe dhuibh,
Cumail Bhrianain bhuidhe dhuibh,
Cumail Dhiarmaid dhuinne dhuibh
A' snodanadh nan cluanan,
A' snodanadh nan cluanan.

Tearmad Fhinn mhic Cumhail dhuibh,
Tearmad Charmaig chuimir dhuibh,
Tearmad Chuinn is Chumhaill dhuibh
O ghearrachu 's o ianlainn,
O ghearrachu 's o ianlainn.

Comaraig Chaluim Chille dhuibh,
Comaraig Mhaol Ma-Ruibhe dhuibh,
Comaraig Bhanachaig bhlighinn dhuibh
Dh'ur sireadh is dh'ur n-iarraidh,
Dh'ur sireadh is dh'ur n-iarraidh.

Cuartachadh Mhaol Odhrain dhuibh,
Cuartachadh Mhaol Òighe dhuibh,
Cuartachadh Mhaol Domhnaich dhuibh,
Dh'ur comhnadh is dh'ur cuallach,
Dh'ur comhnadh is dh'ur cuallach.

Sgiath righ na Féinne dhuibh,
Sgiath Righ na gréine dhuibh,
Sgiath Righ na reula dhuibh
An éigin is an cruaidhchas,
An éigin is an cruaidhchas.

Dinadh Righ na righ dhuibh,
Dinadh Ìosda Crisda dhuibh,
Dinadh Spiorad iocshlaint dhuibh
O dhiheirt is o dhuaireap,
O dhiheirt is o dhuaireap.


The protection of Odhran the dun be yours,
The protection of Brigit the Nurse be yours,
The protection of Mary the Virgin be yours
In marshes and in rocky ground,
In marshes and in rocky ground.

The keeping of Ciaran the swart be yours,
The keeping of Brianan the yellow be yours,
The keeping of Diarmaid the brown be yours
A-sauntering the meadows,
A-sauntering the meadows,

The safeguard of Fionn son of Cumhall be yours,
The safeguard of Cormac the shapely be yours,
The safeguard of Conn and of Cumhall be yours
From wolf and from bird-flock,
From wolf and from bird-flock.

The sanctuary of Colum Cille be yours,
The sanctuary of Maol Ruibhe be yours,
The sanctuary of the milking maid be yours
To seek you and search for you,
To seek you and search for you.

The encircling of Maol Odhrain be yours,
The encircling of Maol Òighe be yours,
The encircling of Maol Domhnaich be yours
To protect you and to herd you,
To protect you and to herd you.

The shield of the king of the Fiann be yours,
The shield of the King of the sun be yours,
The shield of the King of the stars be yours
In jeopardy and distress,
In jeopardy and distress.

The sheltering of the King of kings be yours,
The sheltering of the Jesus Christ be yours,
The sheltering of the Spirit of healing be yours
From evil deed and quarrel,
From evil dog and red dog [wolf].

 News of the Groves 

 Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota

The big news is, of course, the 40th Reunion on Beltane weekend from May 2nd to May 4th, which will be discussed in a later article in this magazine. Merri will be stepping down after four years as Archdruid, a record, and being succeeded by Corwin Troost '05 and Steve Crimmin '04. The next issue of the Missal-Any will have an extensive description about how the events were celebrated. and Corwin Troost '05 (

 Akita Grove: News from Japan

Pat and Nozomi's baby, Taiyo, is doing well and treating his parents to endless nightly vigils to improve their Druidry. As Pat says, "The first eighteen years are the hardest."

 Hemlock Splinters Grove: News from New York

Winter went out quietly last week, the temperature rose into the sixties, the trees began to bud- and we got hit with one of the worst ice storms in years. This must be why they call Nature a mother. Hemlock Splinters grove will celebrate Beltain on May 3rd with a May pole, bonfire, music fest and general revelry. Anyone in the area is welcome to attend, call 315-561-6387 for directions.

love, I.

 Digitalis Grove: News from DC

Eric is moving in June to Boston; Mike is graduating from his Master's program in May, and will be able to devote more attention to a new job search and pursuing Druidry.

 Dravidia Grove: News from Maryland

(The editor apologies for leaving out Dravidia Grove's News from the Spring Missal-Any, so this issue presents two season's sets of news.)

Hello all,

Well things are looking up here, the snow is melting and we are all getting ready for the first day of Spring. Also, have bought a rather decent telescope at a very good price and am enjoying a new found look at the heavens. Will take a while to get used to the telescope, but should be quite proficient by the next letter. All is well here, we have a lot of snow recently and now a lot of flooding due to the melting.

Hopefully we won’t experience the droughts we had last year...Have spent a lot of time classifying the text I have acquired and feel that I have only just barely gotten through the first 20 files. not bad for a star... but uh oh, I have more than 400 files... ... AHHHHHHHHHH...Well you all should know that research is time consuming so back to it.


Just spent two weeks in Indiana visiting the kids, and got through about five more files. Had some great views with the telescope, Jupiter seems to be the best. Not much else going here, the weather is just starting to break here in Maryland, and it is time to start the herb garden.


 Bamboo Grove: News from Delaware

Spring has been rather timid this year- after a glorious day in the sun, it snowed the next day! Nevertheless this is the time for growth and renewal and as I sit here writing, there as squirrels racing about my balcony (three stories up!),waving their tails sassily each other as one or the other claims victory as "king of the hill," er, balcony. The robins, blue jays, and cardinals have made their appearances, along with the crows who braved the winter weather with their everlasting good humor and raucous laughter.

The Arch-Druid made it through the winter just fine—there's a nice spot on my desk that lets him/her bask in the soft sunlight during the day. All the Muses seem to be thriving and indulging in the good life.

Blessings to all in this time of growth and renewal!


 Eurisko Grove, News from Virginia

we conducted a hiking ritual for ostara. our main harbinger of spring has been our turtle coming out of hibernation. the upcoming season of beltaine will be additionally hectic. we are moving from an apartment to a house. both jacquie & gwydion will be conduction workshops at the circle of the fold information area during the blue ridge pagan alliance beltaine festival in charlottesville va. gwydion will also be manning a both for PAAN (pagans against animal neglect) at the gathering of the tribes festival in isle of wight va. gwydion is continuing to offer informal classes on druidry thru the earth based religions group at langley air force base on alternate fridays. for ostara we also mulled white merlot with cloves, jasmine, rose & basil as a "waters-of-life" for the season. the tuatha de danann came from the north, and the clouds and mists that conceled them made it easy for them to land in ireland at beltain, the first day of may, unseen and unopposed by the firbolg.

 MOCC--Muskogee/Mother Grove, News from Oklahoma

Eggs and wild Onions were the order of the day for our Ostara celebration. It's said around here that the only thing that's REAL Indian food is wild onions and eggs, and with all the Cherokees here locally, the "natives" were all asking us where we got OUR onions. Oddly enough, Native foods are becoming more scarce. You see, there have been a lot of non-traditional harvestings in recent years, with people ripping up the plants in huge clumps, even by Natives with precious little time to live life and harvest at the same time. No more harvesting wild onions one by one, it seems, which is the old way I was taught. No more leaving at least one out of ten plants to reproduce, which is also the way I was taught. I guess old Indian folkways are disappearing because of the modern rush. But at the same time, I guess that the rapid disappearance of possum grapes and persimmons and such are also the victims of "rush" and "more for me." So now, the wild onions are getting fewer--something we actually noticed about five years ago around the railroad right-of-ways around here--and the Natives are asking us, in effect, "Where did the wild onions go?" Another possibility, that lives side by side with this one, is that the younger Natives are just not learning how to identify the plants. You can't make the same foods your grandma did if you don't know what those plants look like, not even if they're growing in your own back yard. When we drummed in Spring, I don't know if we were welcoming the change of seasons as much as drumming a dirge for the change of spirit.

 Oaken Circle Grove: News from KY

The Oaken Circle Grove would like to announce a name change we will now be called The Oaken Circle. We are currently planning our Beltaine gathering scheduled for May 3, as the warmer weather picks up so has our activities; also the interest in the circle has once again started to grow. We have had several new inquiries and met with a few potential circle members.

Our Ostara gathering was a success, we had old friends among us as well as new, the children colored eggs and had a wonderful time.

I guess that about wraps it up. If you are interested in our circle please go to

Have a Blessed Beltaine,


Oaken Circle

 Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng Y Budoedd Grove, News from Oregon

Order of the Mithril Star's next online Druidcraft 101 class begins June 21 and will last about 16 weeks. To enroll, send a blank email to enroll online at more details, visit

The next Druidcraft 202 course (A Walk Through the ARDA) will begin June 21. This will be a revised class that will encompass the NEW improved ARDA and will take approximately 40 weeks! (Not for the feeble!). Once again, Norm Nelson and Michael Scharding will be joining us to share their unique perspectives. To enroll, send a blank email to enroll online at more details, visit

OMS is organizing a "Rogue Valley Druid Summit" where the leaders of all the Druid groups represented in Southern Oregon can meet and share concerns, methodology and simply fellowship. RDNA, ADF, Henge of Keltria, Tuatha d' Brighid and Sisters of Avalon all have representation here.

Sister Ceridwen is deeply involved in her beginning and intermediate Astrology classes. For info on upcoming classes (held online) go to

OMS wishes to express our congratulations to the rest of RDNA on the celebration of 40 years of existence. Best wishes also to those making the pilgrimage to Carleton. May your journey be safe and may the Earth Mother grant you enlightenment and inspiration.

May you never thirst,

Ellis "Sybok" Arseneau, AD
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng Y Bydoedd Grove, OMS-RDNA

 Nemeton Awenyddion, Llwyn of the White Dragon, Hills of Cohasset, CA

Things have been very exciting and busy in our Grove and college. I just finished another Intro Seekers Class and will be doing the initiations for three new members on Calon Mai/Beltain, that will be part of our ritual. We are holding our annual Beltain campout from May 3rd-4th, ritual, potluck feast, Awenyddion ring, and late night ritual where one new initiate will be chosen by the gods for the all night divinatory quest to Gwynfyd Knowledge, bringing us all the message of the omen they've seen by the next morning, this will be done in a short but intense ritual where we will chant an invocatbarion for the calling of the new initiate to be reborn in Gwynfyd during the nights dream quest. We will chant while we pass around the bag of Welsh bannock cakes as the gods choose who gets the burnt one. This will be done in our stone ring Nemeton while the area remains charged after the seasonal ritual. If interested in attending please contact:

/|\ Our plans to buy clan land in Bangor pretty much dwindled down to nothing when the person who owns the land for sale flaked on us and changed her plans. I've had a strong feeling though that these Hills I live in now are keeping me here for something greater to happen, then some beautiful land came up for sale here just a few miles down the road--below snow level, and it looks like we have a good chance at manifesting it, and it would be enough for us to have a kindred village after all.


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

What is that sound the trees make when there is no wind, there is no rain, naught but the stillness, perhaps the gentlest of breezes? I walked up to the grove site and beyond to the Orinda Highlands one Saturday evening to do the Dusk Salutations. Coming back down the hill I heard I heard what sounded like rain. But wait, I had just seen the first visible star and wished upon it. The sky was clear. What was making that sound?

I sat down on the trail to listen and to see if anything would drip on me. Perhaps it was sap falling from the Live Oak trees (quercus agrifolia), like it does from the sweet gum tree (liquidambar styraciflua)? No, nothing was falling. The sound was louder beneath the trees than it was in clearings, so I know it wasn't insects crawling amongst the leaves. Is this the sound of trees talking?

Members of Poison Oak Grove, including Penny the dog, sitting on the curb watching the Second Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade march down Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley on Sunday, April 13.


Bard of the Year
Contest Winner


We had a very lively Season of Sleep with several songs this year, which Mike tells me will be collected and published in the Green Book Volume 6 this summer.

The winner was Bright Mirage's "I Am" in Bardic Salvo #3 on Nov. 28th, 2002. Perhaps Mike and Pat should get award for sheer output, but my very favorite submission was naturally Mirage's. Her work was a powerful example of the questing spirit common in the Reform, and should strike a chord on the heart strings of all the Druids. I am certain that she will make a capital poet someday, despite using only lower case.

As prize, everyone should call Bright Mirage, Bard of the Reform, XLI, until May 2004.

Well, you can stop pestering your inner Bard for the next six months, and just feed your soul on as much inspiration as can, and fatten that poet inside you for the long winter coming up next year. If anyone wishes to undertake the judging for the third Bardic Contest starting next Samhain 2003, then give me an email at

-Cheers, Eric

-I am-

By BrightMirage
Original Poem
Spring 1999

a whirlwind spirit
dancing thru the flames
leaping into the clouds
touching the crystal rain
reaching for the sun
striving to belong
as the eagle on the wind
as the porpoise in the sea
as the tiger in the forest
seeking a higher light
a ray of hope
a purpose and meaning
in the madness of life
seeking a peace
that will soothe the pain
that lurks in my soul
behind the bright smile
and pretty eyes
seeking to fill
the void in my soul
that aches for love
with a love that will
reach beyond
the limits of Time
seeking true wisdom
tried and true
something to guide me

in the confusion of
the multitude of answers for sale
in this world
seeking to believe
in something higher than myself
to trust and believe
with all of my heart ...

 40th Anniversary RDNA Reunion News

Extensive Info, Maps and Travel Details:

Meals Note: Meals are less than $10, I believe for non-students. Attend Druid Meals for the last-minute corrections in schedule, due to weather. To find the right table, look for some kind of Druid Sigil mark on a paper sign posted at the table. A few "older" looking diners talking with students is also another give-away.

If you're really afraid of missing something, tag along behind Mike or someone else, "your Druid-Buddy," for the remainder of the day. Druid Buddies available on request by writing to

June reunion final plans will be posted in the Missal-Any Solstice issue, but posted May 15th on the web site.

Thursday, May 1st

  • 7:00pm-ish to 10:30pm-ish Irish Pub Fun Dine or Drink with Druids and listen to Blues Music. Location: "The Contented Cow" Pub, next to Archer Hotel in an alley off of Division Street. Uncertain start due to arrivals from airport, be prepared to wait around. Wear a flower in your hair.
  • Friday, May 2nd:

  • 12pm-12:50pm Druid Lunch If you're already here, come by and meet us and hear the latest plans. Location: Dining and Language Facility (Next to Myers Hall) After feeding, members will go off to Archives or the Arb, as below:
  • From 1-5pm Archives Activity Exhibition of Druid Archival collection, Collection of historical matters (flyers, diary notes, poems, stories, articles, essays, photos etc.), Personal Interviews with Archivist, general browsing of materials. Location: Carleton Archival office on the Lowest Floor in Gould Library Tell us if you're interested in doing an interview (about 40min) or updating an old one. See Druid Archives site for the 1997 list of contents. We can have materials prepared for you reading, or just browse when you arrive. Call the archives for any specific questions: 1-507-646-4270.
  • Vaguely 1-5pm Beltane Preparations Steve-o and a few others may be out in the Arb preparing materials for bonfires, sweatlodge and maypole. If aren't interested in working with paper, and you're a tough burly Druid who likes getting dirty and hauling wood, then contact to make arrangements to help schlep stuff all afternoon. Location: Undetermined, but probably Druid's Den near the Hill of Three Oaks. Those who finish early can walk around in the Arb or take a nap, wake up in time for dinner!
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm Druid Dinner If you're already here, come by and meet us and catch up on the latest plans. Location: Dining and Language Facility (Next to Myers Hall)
  • Around 7pm to 1am? Kitchen Fun Cooking, chatting and other preparations for May Day. Music will ensue, so bring musical instruments or songs that you wish to share. If you can remember the tune, they'll give it a try. Interfering overseers are welcome.Location: Probably Watson Hall basement lounge/kitchen. Non-students, try to be *on-time*, since someone will have to open the door for you to the dorm.
  • Around 11pm-12:30am Sweatlodge If the weather's good and the wood plentiful, some members may wish to join a traditional Carleton Sweatlodge (est. 1985) with its uncertain cultural origins. Be balanced. Clothing during sweat is optional, but many members will likely be skyclad, so be prepared, keep a diet free of difficult-to-digest foods (like meat and alcohol) before the one or two sweat sessions. Location: Druid's Den in the Upper Arb near Hill of Three Oaks. Contact for more information on attending, or assisting preparations in the afternoon.
  • Saturday, May 3rd:

  • 6AM "Maying" If you can manage to wake up. Go out collect flowers on your own, bring a close friend, and wash your face in the morning dew. Location: Wherever you want, individual activity. Perhaps walking by the Cannon River or tracing the labyrinth on Stewsie Island might be nice thing to do?
  • Morning Arrival Most visitors will probably arrive in morning, proceed to the Monument Hill at your own pace.
  • Around 12:30PM 40th Anniversary Service Led by oldest willingest Third Order member in the group along with current ArchDruids, with readings by anyone who feels inspired. Location: There is a likely conflict with the raucous Spring Concert being held at the Hill of 3 Oaks on Saturday. Instead, a 10 minute bagpipe led-procession from Monument Hill at 12:30 to Hill of Three Oaks, to Druid's Den, to Stone Circle. Thus paralleling the procession of chosen Druidical main sites from 1960s to te present. Rained Out Location: Nourse Main Lounge or Skinner Chapel
  • Around 1PM Festivities Maypole dance, at least two marriages, more folk-dancing, a picnic (Bring own Food & Drink, enough for you and for a few others), silly games & contests, bring a 25' ribbon or string. Location: Stone Circle in Upper Arb Rained Out Location: Nourse Main Lounge or Skinner Chapel.
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm Dinner Location: Eat on your own, or go to Dining and Language Facility (by Myers) and catch up on the latest plans. RumorIt may be closed due to Spring Concert, but we'll have to see.
  • Around 8:15PM Sun-set viewing Quiet beautiful to watch. Location:Hill of Three Oaks. Moon will set at 10:48pm, so unless it is cloudy, it should be a dark night.
  • 8:23PM-2AM Bonfire Evening bonfire and Exchange of Stories between new and old timers. Letters are read from those who couldn't attend (send one to Location: Druid's Den near Hill of Three Oaks. Rained Out Location: Watson Hall basement lounge, again or Nourse Hall Lounge.
  • Around 10PM Vigilers Depart Some vigils may occur, perhaps, let us help arrange it if you need to use an official fire-pit. Vigilers will leave with the Third who will be overseeing their vigil. Location Depart from Druid's Den
  • Around 11:59PM Midnight tour of Arb by torch, for the brave, showing all the mysteries. Or perhaps we'll do it in the pitch dark. (Sounds exciting, huh?) Location: Depart from Hill of Three Oaks

  • Sunday, May 4th:

  • 6:00AM Sunrise Vigil Ordinations For people entering the Third or Higher orders. Location: Hill of 3 Oaks or nearby Monument Hill, Vigilers' choice.
  • Around 7:00AM Farewell Service Led by newest willingest Third Order members in the group. Location: Hill of 3 Oaks
  • 7:30AM Druid Breakfast Traditionally, vigilers pay for the breakfast of the Ordainer. (wink!) Location: Dining and Language Facility (next to Myers Hall)

  •  ARDA 2 Update
    By Mike, Digitalis Grove of DC

    Mike completed editing the Main volume of ARDA and the volume of the Green Books and has sent off the formatted version for page layout at the Drynemetum Press office in Northfield. Currently, the third volume of Magazines is being assembled. Anticipated web-page posting of the first two volumes is mid-May followed by mailing out before June. Magazine volume should be posted and mailed by the solstice. So be patient, they will be sent out when they are sent out. An e-mailing will be issued as soon as the books become accessible for free on-line, and the full details will be summarized in the Summer Solstice issue of the Druid Missal-Any.

    The Epistle of Eric

    By Eric Powers, Digitalis Grove

    Dear Mike,

    I apologize for not being able to attend the Reunions at the Mecca of Druidism, but please read this at a service, if you think it of suitable quality. I was inspired, this morning when I was taking out my liturgical ribbons for a service, and noticed that an application for employment was being yet again delayed. The rest followed naturally.

    On Beltane, the Reformed Druids have a custom of switching from white ribbons to red ribbons, for the six months until Samhain. My understanding of this custom goes back to the origins of the RDNA, which was a protest against the unreflecting organizational tendencies of religion, and the tendency of authorities to categorize and vaunt past practices over current experience, by the liberal use of red-tape. Since the 1700s, bureaucrats had the habit of tying up legal documents with red string and whenever they needed to reread them, they had to be cut open again; which they were reluctant to do. As a result many things were never examined again.

    In the Reform, it is the Third Order Druids who are most beset and bound by self-imposed restrictions, copious literature, and the encrustation of customs, many of them conflicting. If you notice, most Druids loosely hang their red ribbons around their neck, this symbolizes that they have not locked away the sources of their tradition, but keep them open to constant review. Indeed the constant questions by new Druids, keeps them on their toes, and their understanding timely. The ribbons are more than a decoration; they are a tool held in reserve. What you choose to bind, will be bound, for a while; and what you unbind, will be unbound, for a while; so speak with caution, but with a full heart. And don’t forget, even the newest of Druids will wield the colorful ribbon of Beltane’s maypole; wherein the beauty is in the motion of weaving and unweaving; not the unfocused ribbons in the beginning, nor the snug final pattern.

    During the Season of Life, we also add the whiskey to the Waters of Life, and should remember that alcohol too is a poison, but one that in moderation may stimulate, assist in the expression of joy, and build communion; yet used too much, and it often brings sickness, despair and discord. And the basis of those Waters, is simple water; the universal solvent and the supporting medium of life through our liturgical year.

     The hand that is always clenched, or always open and flat, is considered deformed, but a healthy hand is one that opens and closes when bidden. We understand that some rudimentary organization is necessary to function, but we leave the options open and flexible to the current needs, rather than building a structure that will outlast our purpose. We cannot always be celebrating and carrying out duties, for we must also have periods of inactivity and contemplation. The Earth is a good example, in which the forces of life themselves have a period of rest during the winter, coming out leaner and hungry. And so we have the Season of Sleep, in which groggy Druids do not partake of the grog, but rather pull up their settled thoughts for review and purification. This is the meaning of the white ribbon, that of cleansing, crystallizing and reinvigoration, whilst the white snow blankets the earth, storing waters that will melt and flood the streams and fields in the spring.

    These are my thoughts that I wanted to share. So I ask you on this 40th Anniversary to think about those ribbons when you put them on your necks, what do they mean to you? There are yet many more mysteries in them.

    Yours in the Mother,

    Eric Powers, O.D.A.L.
    February 10, 2003


    The Soul of Juliana Spring

    By Irony Sade
    Copyright November 2000

    Irony, author of A Sociological Look at the RDNA at Carleton College, published in previous issues of this newsletter, offers this short story based on his experiences with the RDNA. It too will be offered in serial format, over the course of six issues (you have been forewarned!). Appropriately the story opens at Beltaine.

    Chapter One

    It was the eve of Beltain when I first heard of Juliana Spring. The Maypole was being danced for the sixth or seventh time while the tall piper and the boy on the fiddle churned out complementary versions of Kati Barri's Wedding. A crowd of brightly colored folks was clustered around the long table bearing our potluck feast and there were flowers everywhere, for it was the festival of spring.

    I noticed the young man when he arrived, standing uncertainly on the edge of the clearing, too curious to pass by, too hesitant to join in the revels. He was short, sandy haired, and serious looking. I marked him as an undergraduate from the university nearby. A voluptuous lady with violets in her hair called to him to join us and eat. He came, smiling suddenly, and they were soon conversing freely. I smiled too, at the pleasure of a new face--then I forgot him, for it was time to crown the King and Queen of the May.

    The lad stayed on, late into the fire lit night, and sipped the honeyed wine as it was passed from hand to hand. People sang and told stories as the stars yawned back to life, and I watched the couples snuggle together for warmth, wondering idly how many would carry the festivities on into the privacy of the forest or bedroom. When my turn to speak came I rolled out the old yarn of the boy from Cork who fell in love with a harp he could not play. The longing tormented him so much that his mother offered her soul to the Druid if he would give her son the gift of music. The sandy haired lad watched me closely as I spoke, pitching my voice low to the slow crackle of the beech logs. It was an old and beautifully chilling tale that I told, not one entirely appropriate for Beltain. It may have snapped him out of the festive mood. He seemed distracted from then on, and kept peering at me through the flames as the night progressed. Eventually he rose for a mug of mead, and, upon returning, sat down to my left in the spot just vacated by a delightfully tipsy nymph.

    Silence stretched between us with the expectant air of impending conversation. At last he turned to me, head to one side.

    “Are you really a druid?” His voice was soft and low.

    The focus of the group had shifted to the far side of the circle. I considered the flames and reviewed the dozen-odd debates for a pair of slow breaths. There were too many ways to respond to that question, but it had been a day of laughter, and I was in no mood for an argument.

    “Yes,” I replied.

    The answer seemed to satisfy him. He too stared into the coals, rolling a warmed mug between his hands. Eyes always gravitate towards fire at night. I have always wondered why.

    “This is silly,” he remarked at length, still regarding the flames. “I am supposed to be a medical student. I don’t even know why I showed up tonight.” The lad hesitated, uncertain, and I took a sip of my own mead. Suddenly he was facing me.

    “Can you really sell your soul?”

    I glanced at him, startled.

    “What I mean,” he stammered, “is if someone wanted something they couldn’t have so badly that they were willing to sell their soul to get it, could you give it to them?”

    I continued peering. His shoulders squirmed.

    “Like that story you just told,” he trailed off. His eyes were still on me, embarrassed, but determined.

    “Are you serious?”

    He nodded, sucking his lip.

    I stared away into the stars between the swaying leaves. Laughter from the lingerers drifted through the night.

    “If someone you know, or you yourself, wanted something badly enough to sell their soul for it, then I would certainly be willing to talk to that person.”

    “It isn’t me,” he said quickly. “It’s my girlfriend. She…She would probably rather tell you herself.”

    “Do you want me to talk to her?”

    “Yes, I do.”


    “As soon as possible.”

    I considered this. “Could she meet me at the Bubble and Squeak for lunch on Tuesday?”

    “I’ll tell her,” said he, breathing heavily. “I can’t believe I’m doing this. My name is Sam, by the way.” He grinned. “I guess everyone knows who you are.” I forced a dry chuckle.

    “Pleased to meet you Sam. You should smile more often- you look old when you are serious.”

    Sam laughed and turned back to his wine. The cluster across the flames thundered their giggling way into a final chorus of The Rattlin’ Bog, and I stared off into the stars above the treetops. They winked back, which was all they ever did, leaving me to guess at the meaning.

    Chapter Two

    The Bubble and Squeak was a friendly little cafe not far from the university. It had been established by a widowed British matron who had cheerfully wedged her way in between the clothing stores and simply out baked the competition. She employed a small clan of students and mothers, kept university hours, and was willing to cook anything one cared to name. They really did serve bubble and squeak, if you could order it with a straight face.

    Juliana Spring found me at my table by the wall. She greeted me by name and I stood, surprised to find her so tall.

    “Miss Spring, hello.”

    “Sam told me all about you,” she began as we sat, and I grinned, imagining that conversation.

    “Are you hungry?”

    Her pale face shook slightly.

    “Not really.”

    Long fingers fidgeted with something at her neck as we sat, her eyes staring, jumping away when she saw me see them. I watched her hands and realized they held a crucifix.

    I leaned forward, speaking gently. “I do not bite.”

    Juliana started and blushed faintly.

    “It’s not that. I just don’t know how to begin a conversation like this. I feel like Faust!”

    “Faust sold his soul to the Devil,” I smiled. “I am just an ordinary man.”

    “Then how can you buy mine?”

    I looked away to the budding maples outside.

    “What did Sam tell you?”

    “That you were a druid, that people seemed to trust you. He told me about the story you shared on Saturday and said he thought you might be for real.” She was looking straight at me now, a question perched upon her eyebrows.

    “Have you slept since he told you?”

    Her dark hair rippled as she shook the head beneath it.

    “Then you should definitely have some food in you.”

    We ordered and she told me about herself. She was twenty, a sophomore at the university, and had loved dancing as a child. Her father delivered sermons at the Revivalists Center a few hours south and wanted her to become either a teacher or a nurse. She relaxed as we ate, and a bit of color emerged in her heart shaped face.

    “And what is it you want?” I asked when only her coffee was left. Juliana’s body straightened and she looked me in the eye.

    “I want to play the harp.” 

    I blinked.

    “Do you have one?”

    “My grandmother gave me one when I left for college,” she nodded. “Dad wasn’t going to let me keep it, but I told him I was dating a medical student and taking English classes.” Her eyes dropped. “He doesn’t know we’re living together.”

    “Have you got a teacher?”

    “No. People have shown me different things, and I have all sorts of books, but to hire a teacher you need money. My father will only help pay for what he sees on the tuition forms, and I’m working half time already to cover the rest. I practice all the time though…”

    “How much?”

    “Whenever I can. I have to pass my classes, or Dad will have me home, and I have to work to pay for them, but I still play a bit every day.”

    “Then what do you need me for?”

    “Because, you see. I don’t just want to play. I…I want to be the best in the world.”

    On the walk out front students passed in threes and twos, giggling or serious, free and careless. Discoursing passionately on things they would forget completely a few months hence. They had all their options open, these people outside; there was not an irrevocable commitment amongst them. None of them were ready to sell their souls.

    “Why?” I asked Juliana quietly.

    “It’s what I’ve always wanted.”

    “Since when? You are twenty.”

    “My whole adult life--since I was ten years old.”

    “Why?” I repeated softly. Her eyes were hazel and very clear.

    “When I was ten I heard a record of harp music at somebody’s birthday party, maybe in the adults room, I don’t know. I don’t even know what piece was playing, only that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. That night I started dreaming music. It was so lovely, and I knew it was harps. I thought I was listening in on Heaven. In the morning I could still remember some of it, but there is no way to describe music like that, and nothing I could do to reproduce it. I told my Dad, and he said it was a vision sent from God to urge me on to a good life. I told him I wanted to play like the angels I’d heard. He said that that was foolish arrogance and that I could be damned for even thinking such a thing.

    “I tried to stop wanting it, to do what he told me, but the dreams just kept coming. Sometimes it’s as if I don’t even sleep, but just lie awake listening all night long. In church sometimes I would forget to pay attention and just sit remembering the music, smiling. I told my father once when he asked what was so funny. He got so mad he hit me. He doesn’t understand.”

    “Do you still dream like that?”

    “All the time. It’s what keeps me sane, even if it is maddening. I used to think that all I needed was a harp and that then I could play like that. Then I got one at last and realized it was harder than I’d imagined. After six months I realized it would take my whole life to play the way I wanted to, even if I did nothing but practice. After a year and a half I figured even that wouldn’t be long enough. I finally decided it was impossible, and that God was just torturing me with the dreams. I nearly killed myself, it hurt so much. Sam is the only reason I didn’t. Then we heard about you, and I thought…I’m almost afraid to hope.”

    “Where was your mother in all this,” I asked when she fell silent.

    “She left.” Her face was masked. “When I was ten.”

    I digested that without expression.

    “What made you think of selling your soul?”

    “I thought of it a long time ago, actually, but I didn’t really believe it was possible. I also had no idea how to do it. It’s not exactly the sort of thing you advertise for.”

    My head was swimming. I glanced down at the tea in my hands. It was cold.

    “Even if you did, there would be no quick fix. You would still have to practice, live in the world, pay bills, deal with your father.”

    Juliana tossed her head impatiently.

    “I know…But I want this.”

    “It’s your soul, girl! Can’t you think of anything less drastic?”

    “I came to you for help, sir. Are you going to help me, or are you going to try and talk me out of it?”

    There was steel in those hazel eyes. I saw suddenly why it was Sam loved her.

    “I just want you to know what you are getting into. Otherwise there can be no bargain.”

    “I know what I am getting into.”

    “Are you certain?”

    She glared back defiantly. I swirled my cold tea.

    “You, Juliana Spring, want to sell your soul to me in exchange for the chance to play the music you hear in your dreams, here on earth, alive, and to be the best harpist in the world?”


    “Are you willing to do whatever I deem necessary to make that happen, however difficult or painful it happens to be, to live your life by my word so far as regards the playing of the harp?”

    “I am.”

    “And do you undertake this obligation freely, without mental reservations, and in full knowledge of the consequences?”

    She bit her lip.

    “I do.”

    “Then give me your hands and open your mind to me. Close your eyes when you are ready.”

    I leaned forward and took her long white hands in mine. I wondered suddenly if anyone was listening. Her eyes closed, and I spoke a very few, swift, syllabant words. Her hands clenched in mine. Her eyes flickered open. Juliana Spring shuddered.

    “Is that it?” She gasped.

    “That is it.”

    Juliana shifted her eyes cautiously about the cafe her gaze darting to the diners, the window, the sky, the trees outside, and me. There was a peculiar intensity to her study, as though she had never seen a world like this before. She flexed her long boned fingers, fascinated by their supple movement.

    “What happens now?” She asked me.

    “Go back to Sam and get some sleep. Tomorrow morning at ten meet me in the park behind campus, on the bench beneath the bur oaks. Bring your harp.” She nodded.

    “What about…What about my soul?”

    “Do not worry about it,” I smiled gently. “That is my concern now.” I stood, smiling down at her trembling eyes. There was a light in them that I had not observed before. I wondered what she was thinking.

    “Lunch is on me,” I said.


    Celtic Kelp Customs

    By Sam Peeples, Free-roaming Druid

    The Celtic lands are known for possessing 300 shades of green vegetation over rolling hills and mountains, but we forget that most Celts lived less than 3 miles from the barren rocky shores of sea. Only that they weren't so barren once you went below the water. There was plenty of seaweed, which is not actually a plant. And it has played an important role in the history of the Celts.

    Physical Description

    Kelp is actually a brown algae, the king of the algae world, producing the largest collective body of single-celled organisms; which is why it is often confusedly referred to as a plant. Its scientific name is Phaeophyta. There are about one hundred kelp species in the world and kelp can live for up to fourteen years. New blades of kelp are produced every year. These plants are simply phenomenal growers. Harvesting kelp is like cutting grass--it grows back VERY quickly. In the right conditions, these plants can grow up to 18 to 24 inches a day! Bull kelp can grow 10-20 meters in as little time as four months. It grows to the surface on a "stipe," and branches out into "fronds" and is buoyed by an air bladder shaped like a light bulb, called pneumatocysts, and may form very dense surface canopies than can stop up to 99% of the surface light from reaching the base (called a "holdfast".)

    During the spring and summer, new kelp blades grow towards the sunlight. The new blades are not occupied by colonists (snails, fish, etc.) yet. Later, when the blades become older, they will be literally covered with these animals. In late spring, microscopic larvae from the animals that inhabit kelp forests attach to the blades. In mid-summer, the turban snail population rises in the fronds. Small schools of fish and animals search for food in the Kelp forest. Through all of spring and summer, harbor seals and sea otters raise their young in the forests in California, and seals also hunt there in the Celtic lands also. In the fall, warm water from offshore flows into the forest. Kelp grows at a slower rate because nutrients in the water begin to be depleted. In the winter, seaweed weakens. Old blades decay and are torn from holdfasts and stipes. Storm waves tear away blades of the kelp, littering the ocean floor, where it decays, and becomes a source of food for bottom ocean dwellers; or it washes up on the shore to be collected by humans.

    To reproduce, adult kelp releases spores. The spores swim to the ocean bottom and grow into tiny male and female plants which are called gameotophytes. The male releases its sperm to fertilize the female's eggs and the embryos grow into kelp plants also known as sporophytes. The sporophytes grow into adult kelp plants and these in turn release more spores. The cycle is completed in one year. Kelp grows well on rocky bottoms. The plants need a lot of light and enough water motion to keep nutrients flowing around the plant. They usually grow in water 20-80 feet deep but some forests grow at depths as great as 130 feet--sometimes even deeper. Kelp competes with small animals and plants for space on the ocean floor. When the kelp becomes older and taller, it competes with other kelp plants for sunlight. The deeper the ocean bottom, the farther the kelp columns grow from eachother.

    In Gàidhlig it is known as "dúlamán", and I included a song at the end of this article by that name. In Scotland there are five types of Kelp. Oarweed and Tangleweed grows higher on the shore, and is left on the rocks during low tide; resembling fingers about two meters long. Cuvie grows closer to the low-tide line and is rarely uncovered, growing to three meters. Dabberlocks is a long narrow kelp, but much thinner. Sugar Kelp is found in bays and sea loch, away from the waves. The stipe is short with long fronds. Furbellows is rare and not described.

     Jellyfish float through the forest, and the thick canopy of the forest slows the flow of water. The most common inverterbrates found in Kelp are polychaetes, amphipods, lobsters, squids, octopi and ophiuroids. Outside the holdfasts; sponges, tunicates, anemones, cup corals and bryozoans are probably the most commonly occurring fixed animals within kelp forests. Birds associated with drift kelp, like phalaropes, feed on the associated plankton and larvae. The kelp wrack provides an important food source and habitat for kelp flies, maggots and small crustaceans on which several species of shore birds, starlings, common crows, black phoebes and warblers feed on it.

    Physical Uses

    In modern times, kelp is painfully associated with the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th Century when landlords and chiefs sold clan lands, introduced sheep grazing, and relocated villages to the shore-line into individual croft-homes. Kelp was one of the few high profit industries for the impoverished Highlanders. Whiskey production was only possible for those with sufficient capital. Kelp burning seems to have been introduced into some of the lowland parts of the Scottish coast early in the eighteenth century, but was not thoroughly established in the Highlands until about the year 1750. Kelp contain salts, potash, and chiefly soda, used in some of the manufactures, as soap, alum, glass, etc. It can be used as a substitute for barilla. The weeds are cut from the rocks with a hook, or collected on the shore, and then dried on the beach. They are afterwards burnt in a kiln or in long trenches, constantly stirred with an iron rake until they reach a gooey state; and when they cool, the ashes become condensed into a dark blue or whitish-colored rocky mass. The manufacture was carried on in the summer during June, July, and August.


    After several famines in the 18th Century and the collapse of the Kelp market following the Napoleonic Wars, many of the remaining clansmen emigrated to America or Australia. The potato blight in 1835 and 1845 also devastated the remaining populations. WWI, in some parts of the Islands and Highlands, afforded occupation to considerable numbers of Highlanders. Iodine was extracted until the 1930s. Kelp was later harvested as a source of potash for making gunpowder during World War I (Frey 1971, Tarpley 1992) but currently the emphasis is on the production of algin, which serves as an emulsifying and binding agent in food (ketchup, ice cream, lipstick, beer) and pharmaceutical products (such as coatings to prevent infections) and food for use in abalone farms, and sometimes by humans due to its high vitamin and mineral contents. Oarweed can be boiled and served with pepper, butter and vinegar. Sugar kelp is rather sweet.

    At first it was of little importance, but it gradually spread until it became universal over all the western islands and coasts, and the value of the article, from the causes above-mentioned, rose rapidly from about £1 per ton, when first introduced, to from £20 per ton about the beginning of the nineteenth century. While the great value of the article lasted, rents rose enormously, and the income of proprietors of kelp-shore rose in proportion. Throughout the kelp season, people spent the whole day occupied in its manufacture, and the wages they received, while it added to their scanty income, and increased their comfort, it was small recompense in proportion to the time and labor it required, and a pittance compared to the market prices received by those to whom the kelp belonged. Moreover, while the kelp-fever lasted, the cultivation of the ground and other agricultural matters seem to have been neglected and extravagant habits were developed by the proprietors. The consequence was that when the duties were taken off the articles, for which kelp was used as a substitute in the earlier part of the 19th century, the price of that article gradually diminished till it could fetch, about 1830-40, only from £2 to £4 a ton. With this fall in price, the incomes of the proprietors of kelp-shores also plummeted, landing many of them in ruin and bankruptcy, and leading many to sell their estates.

     The manufacture is still carried on in the West Highlands and Islands, and to a greater extent in Orkney, but although it once occupied a considerable number of hands, it is now of comparatively little importance, much more of the sea-weed being employed as manure, as shown in the Irish movie, "The Field" about a crofter struggling to gain possession of a small piece of land in the 1920s. He would walk down a steep cliff path every morning, several times, to carry back this natural fertilizer to produce "lazy beds", a typ of soil on top of rocky ground to eke out an existence. While at the industries' peak, however, the manufacture of this article undoubtedly increased to a very large extent the revenue of the West Highlands, and gave employment to and kept at home a considerable number of people who otherwise might have emigrated. Indeed, it was partly on account of the need of many hands for kelp-making, that proprietors did all they could to prevent the emigration of those removed from the smaller farms, and coerced them to settle on the coast. Kelp was definitely a mixed blessing for the Highlanders.

    Magical References

    There is remarkably few references available on the subject.

    Mythological References

    Kelpies are famous in the Highlands, and can be detected in human form because they are unable to keep their hair from appearing like seaweed, thus their name. They are sometimes called Each-Uisge (Ech-ooshk-ya, meaning "water horse") or Fuath (Foo-ah), and they are also part of northern Irish Fairy lore, suggesting their migration from Scotland. A Cornish Kelpie is called a Shoney, a name derived from the Norse name Sjofn, a Goddess of the Sea. In Iceland they are called Nickers, which are similar to the Nix, the water sprites of Germany. In the Shetland and Orkney Islands they are called Nuggies. Another name for the kelpie on the Isle of Man is the glashtyn. The glashtyn is described as a goblin which often rises out of the water and is similar in nature to the Manx brownie. Like all kelpies, the glashtyn appears as a horse--in this case, as a grey colt. It is often seen on the banks of lakes and appears only at night. In Ireland, a faerie known as the Phooka is also said to take the shape of a horse and induces children to mount him. He is then said to plunge with them over a precipice killing them. The Scottish kelpie is also attributed with similar feats. I wonder if there is a possible connection with the aquatic steeds of Manannan MacLir, Irish God of the oceans? Perhaps, the original story brought the heroes to the sub-aquatic kingdom of fairies. Another explanation, is that a lot of children slipped and fell off of cliffs or drowned while horsing around near the water; and somebody made up a story to pass the blame.

     These reputedly voracious faeries once densely populated the North Sea and all the lochs of Scotland. Deer and humans who wandered too close to the lochs, were their favorite meals. In northern Scotland there are stories of Kelpies who appear as friendly seahorses and allow passing humans to mount them so that they may be drowned. Kelpies have limited shape-shifting powers and can appear as handsome young men to lure young girls to them. They were probably the forerunners of our current belief in the Loch Ness monster. Kelpies may be captured by placing a bridle over their heads, though it was a difficult and dangerous task due to the beasts strong and willful nature. However, if a person managed to accomplish this task, the kelpie was forced to serve the one who bridled it. Other tricks to unmask one, were pouring boiled water on one, striking it with a holy item, or tricking it to walk over a cross-road. The general advice, don't accept rides from strange horses.

    Kelpie Story

    Loch Pytoulish is a beautiful little lake, partly in Kincardiue and partly in Rothiemurchus. It is 674 feet above the sea, the same height as Loch Dallas, behind Kinchirdy. Its environment is rich in memories of the past. To the west is the Callart, a rocky height, which till lately was densely covered with larch. It stands now cold and bare. At the east end, near the march, is Lag-nan-Cuimcanath, where Shaw of Rothiemurchus, the captain of the clan in the combat at the Inch of Perth, 1392, waylaid a party of Cummings and slew them. The lonely remains of their graves may still be seen in the hollow. There is an island in the loch, which sometimes appears when the water is low. It is evidently artificial, and probably was used as a place of defense. Perhaps it had a crannog (island fort) and it may have been connected with the Stone Fort on the hill above (Creag Chaisteal). On the east side of the loch there is a well-defined terrace, with the remains of hut-circles and cairns. It is about 30 feet higher than the lake, and makes, with the surface of the water, as striking a parallel as the famous Roads of Glenroy. This terrace, which many mistake for a road, and others at a higher level (700, 800, 900), may be traced for miles on both sides of the Spey. It was in Loch Pytoulish that Colonel Thornton killed the monster pike, of which he gives so glowing an account in his book. With such a setting, it is not surprising that the loch was said to have been of old one of the haunts of the Water Kelpie.

    Once upon a time, the Baron's heir and some other boys were playing by the loch side. One of them cried out with surprise, "Look, the pretty pony!" They went to see. It was a palfrey, gaily caparisoned, with saddle and bridle bright with silver and gems, feeding quietly in the meadow. The boys tried to get hold of it, but could not. They were allowed to come close, and then, with a toss of its head, it was off. Thus frolicking, they drew nearer and nearer to the loch. At last they caught it by the bridle, when, with a wild shriek, it rushed for the water. The lads struggled hard, but their hands were glued fast to the bridle, and they could not loose them. But the Baron's son, who had his right hand free, drew his dirk and gashed at his fingers until he gained release. He alone escaped; the other's perished in the waters.

    Kelp Burning Song

    Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
    Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach

    A'níon mhín ó, sin anall na fir shúirí
    A mháithair mhín ó, cuir na roithléan go dtí mé

    Tá ceann buí óir ar an dúlamán gaelach
    Tá dhá chluais mhaol ar an dúlamán gaelach

    Rachaimid go Doire leis an dúlamán gaelach
    Is ceannóimid bróga daora ar an dúlamán gaelach

    Bróga breaca dubha ar an dúlamán gaelach
    Tá bearéad agus triús ar an dúlamán gaelach

    Ó chuir mé scéala chuici, go gceannóinn cíor dí
    'Sé an scéal a chuir sí chugam, go raibh a ceann cíortha

    Góide a thug na tíre thú? arsa an dúlamán gaelach
    Ag súirí le do níon, arsa an dúlamán maorach

    Ó cha bhfaigheann tú mo 'níon, arsa an dúlamán gaelach
    Bheul, fuadóidh mé liom í, arsa an dúlamán maorach

    Dúlamán na binne buí, dúlamán Gaelach
    Dúlamán na farraige, 's é b'fhearr a bhí in Éirinn

    Beautiful yellow dúlamán, Irish dúlamán
    Beautiful yellow dúlamán, Irish dúlamán

    O gentle daughter, here come the wooing men
    O gentle mother, put the wheels in motion for me

    There is a yellow-gold head on the Irish seaweed
    There are two blunt ears on the Irish seaweed

    I would go to Dore with the Irish seaweed
    "I would buy expensive shoes," said the Irish seaweed

    The Irish seaweed has beautiful black shoes
    The Irish seaweed has a beret and trousers

    I spent time telling her the story that I would buy a comb for her
    The story she told back to me, that she is well-groomed

    "What are you doing here?" says the Irish seaweed
    "At courting with your daughter" says the stately seaweed

    "Oh where are you taking my daughter?" says the Irish seaweed
    "Well, I'd take her with me," says the stately seaweed

    Beautiful yellow dúlamán, Irish dúlamán
    Dúlamán from the sea, the best there is in Ireland

    Kelp Links

  •  California Kelp Lore
  • Kelpie Story
  • kelpie story.
  • Kelt and Highland Clearnances
  • site with Gaelic Dúlamán song.


    Insects Thrive on Genetically
    Modified 'Pest-Killing' Crops

    By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
    30 March 2003

    Genetically modified crops specially engineered to kill pests in fact nourish them, startling new research has revealed.

    The research--which has taken even the most ardent opponents of GM crops by surprise--radically undermines one of the key benefits claimed for them. And it suggests that they may be an even greater threat to organic farming than has been envisaged.

    It strikes at the heart of one of the main lines of current genetic engineering in agriculture: breeding crops that come equipped with their own pesticide.

    Biotech companies have added genes from a naturally occurring poison, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is widely used as a pesticide by organic farmers. The engineered crops have spread fast. The amount of land planted with them worldwide grew more than 25-fold--from four million acres in 1996 to well over 100 million acres (44.2m hectares) in 2000--and the global market is expected to be worth $25bn (£16bn) by 2010.

    Drawbacks have already emerged, with pests becoming resistant to the toxin. Environmentalists say that resistance develops all the faster because the insects are constantly exposed to it in the plants, rather than being subject to occasional spraying.

    But the new research--by scientists at Imperial College London and the Universidad Simon Rodrigues in Caracas, Venezuela--adds an alarming new twist, suggesting that pests can actually use the poison as a food and that the crops, rather than automatically controlling them, can actually help them to thrive.

    They fed resistant larvae of the diamondback moth--an increasingly troublesome pest in the southern US and in the tropics--on normal cabbage leaves and ones that had been treated with a Bt toxin. The larvae eating the treated leaves grew much faster and bigger – with a 56 per cent higher growth rate.

    They found that the larvae "are able to digest and utilize" the toxin and may be using it as a "supplementary food", adding that the presence of the poison "could have modified the nutritional balance in plants" for them.

    And they conclude: "Bt transgenic crops could therefore have unanticipated nutritionally favourable effects, increasing the fitness of resistant populations."

    Pete Riley, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said last night: "This is just another example of the unexpected harmful effects of GM crops.

    "If Friends of the Earth had come up with the suggestion that crops engineered to kill pests could make them bigger and healthier instead, we would have been laughed out of court.

    "It destroys the industryss entire case that insect-resistant GM crops can have anything to do with sustainable farming."

    Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, said it showed that GM crops posed an even "worse threat to organic farming than had previously been imagined." Breeding resistance to the Bt insecticide sometimes used by organic farmers was bad enough, but problems would become even greater if pests treated it as "a high-protein diet."

    © 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    There is a reason why fruits and vegetables developed the way they did. It is one thing to tend them while they are growing, but to mess with them genetically? The end result seems to be worse off than the original plant. It reminds me of various pills doctors of Western medicine prescribe that have side effects that require even more drugs to treat those. There must be a better way.Perhaps the organic farmers had it right in the first place, spray occasionally with an environmentally safe pesticide. Get the genetic engineers out of it. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

    -Stacey Weinberger, Missal-Any Editor.



    The Second ACGA:
    An Comunn Gaidhealach - America
    7th Annual Scottish Gaelic
    Immersion Weekend

    June 6 - 9, 2003
    University of Colorado at Boulder

    Failte gu Boulder! (Welcome to Boulder!)

    An Comunn Gaidhealach - America (ACGA) hosts the 7th Annual Immersion Weekend in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, June 6 - 9, 2003. The long weekend will feature some of the best Gaelic teachers available in North America. The University of Colorado at Boulder campus will be the setting for an inspirational and fun weekend of learning and sharing Scottish Gaelic.

    The Immersion Weekend is an exceptional opportunity for learners and speakers of Scottish Gaelic to come together to celebrate the heritage and strive to learn the language and the culture of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Classes will meet the needs of those who are just beginning their Gaelic study as well as others who are intermediate students or those approaching fluency. In four different levels of classes our internationally noted teachers will cover material for all levels of learners. The weekend will also provide extended opportunities for more proficient students and native speakers to gather and enjoy Gaelic conversation.

    Extracurricular activities will include a social mixer to welcome everyone on Friday night, a Saturday night ceilidh and a Sunday evening outing to a popular restaurant for a "Celtic Gathering."

    The campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder is located within walking distance of many shops, restaurants, art galleries and spots of cultural interest as well as walking and hiking trails.

    Luchd Teagaisg (The Teachers)

    Muriel Fisher is a native of Skye and currently lives in Arizona where she teaches Gaelic through her Tucson Gaelic Institute and at the University of Arizona. She is also a feature correspondent with BBC Alba and writes for Fios: The North Lewis Weekly. Muriel also teaches during the summers at Sabhal Mor Ostaig. This is Muriel's third year as a teacher at the Immersion Weekend.

    Donnie McDonald is a native Gaelic speaker from the village of Skigersta on the Isle of Lewis. His inspiration comes from the Gaelic speaking community in which he was raised and his mother, a Gaelic school teacher. He has worked with learners and study groups for years. Donnie is a fine Gaelic singer and a member of the folk duo "Men of Worth." He currently lives in California.

    Richard Hill is one of the founding and guiding members of Slighe nan Gaidheal, a flourishing Gaelic community in Seattle. He has been immersing himself in Gaelic since he was a child and has studied in Scotland and Nova Scotia. Rich enjoys teaching Gaelic classes and workshops and sharing Gaelic folklore. He is well known for his beautiful Gaelic songs. He is an inspiration to other Gaelic learners.

    Jamie MacDonald teaches Gaelic in the Celtic Department at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. A native of North Carolina, he grew up steeped in Scottish culture. Jamie obtained his Ph. D in Scottish Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 1993. He is a lover of Gaelic singing and collecting Gaelic songs. Jamie has taught at numerous Immersion Weekends, workshops and seminars.

    Cisean (Fees)

    The Immersion Weekend will begin on Friday afternoon, June 6, 2003 and extend through early afternoon on Monday, June 9, 2003. The fee for the weekend of classes, workshops, special activities, coffee breaks and learning materials is $125 for ACGA members ($140 for non-members). Early registration is encouraged to avoid a late fee (accessed after May 19th).

    Cuid Oidhche (Rooms and Meals)

    Room and meals will be available at the University of Colorado at Boulder Conference Center. For those staying at the Conference Center, separate registration is required to reserve your room and meals. The Conference Center reservation form must be returned (by fax or post) to the Office of Conference Services. The charges for the weekend for food and lodging (Friday afternoon/dinner through Monday afternoon/lunch, excluding Sunday dinner) are: Single room - $251.70 plus tax Double room - $160.05 plus tax per person These fees do not need to be paid until check-in on Friday, June 6.

    A printable version of the registration form is available on the ACGA website.

    For local attendees who wish to take advantage of the meals at the Conference Center the charge is $75 for three meals a day beginning with Friday night dinner through Monday lunch, excluding Sunday night dinner. That fee will be collected at registration on Friday afternoon. Sorry, no partial meal plan is available.

    Clar-Uine (Schedule)

    Registration on Friday afternoon will be followed by dinner and a welcome mixer. Classes and workshops are scheduled during the day on Saturday and Sunday and in the morning on Monday. The ACGA Annual Meeting will be on Sunday afternoon. Everyone is encouraged to attend the meeting to learn more about ACGA and the many volunteer opportunities available to ACGA members.

    Siubhal (Travel)

    Travel information and other details will be provided upon receipt of registration and fees.

    Order your tutor CD and booklet of Basic Gaelic Phrases for Beginners...only $10!! (see below)


    Ainm (Name)____________________________________________
    Seoladh (Address)__________________________________________
    Fon (Phone)____________________________________________
    E-meil (E-mail)____________________________________________
    Ainm Gaidhlig (Gaelic Name)_______________________________________

    Language Level

    _______ New Beginner
    _______ Experienced Beginner
    _______ Intermediate (Basic Conversation)
    _______ Progressed (Conversational)
    _______ Advanced


    Weekend Fees - ACGA member $125 ___________
    Weekend Fees - Non - members $140 ___________
    ACGA membership: New Members $35 ___________
    ACGA Membership: Renewing $25 ___________
    Late Fee - After May 19th $25 ___________
    Tutor CD and Booklet $10 ___________
    Additional Donation - TAX DEDUCTIBLE!! ___________
    TOTAL ENCLOSED ___________
    ($25 is non-refundable in the event of cancellation)
    Please make checks payable to ACGA and mail to:

    ACGA Immersion Weekend
    c/o Rudy Ramsey, Registrar
    7644 E. Lakecliff Way
    Parker, CO 80134-5933


    Astronomical Beltaine will occur when the Sun is at 15 degrees of Taurus on Monday, May 5, 2003 3:11 p.m., P.D.T. or alternately when the Sun is half way between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice at a declination of 16 degrees, 18 minutes at 12:03 p.m., P.D.T., also on May 5. Practice an old Druid custom by rising before dawn and collecting the dew of Beltaine morning. Washing your face in it or sprinkling it upon others will ensure health and happiness on those the water touches.

      A Druid Missal-Any

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

        The Missal-Any
        c/o Weinberger
        P.O. Box 5003
        Elmwood Station
        Berkeley, CA 94705


    This is the end of the Beltane 2003 Issue

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    All original authors contributing to A Druid Missal-Any have and maintain their own copyrights. The published pieces are here with the permission of the original author.

    A Druid Missal-Any is an RDNA publication that began in 1983 by Emmon Bodfish and ran until 1991. This newsletter was re-established by his student Samhain 2000, Day 1 of Geamhradh Year 38