A Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America
Fall Equinox, Year 43
(September 28th, 2005)
Volume 21, Number 6
|CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
Fall Equinox Essay: Acorns
all Equinox, a minor High Day in the Druid calendar. The harvest is in full swing with just six weeks left to gather in all the crops before Samhain Eve. Non-cultivated crops as well as cultivated ones are for the picking; around the Poison Oak Grove site wild blackberries, wild cherry plums, and acorns have been plentiful this year, though the squirrels got to the plums before the humans ever could.
The oak was not only a symbol of worship for the ancient Celts, but it also provided timber for their dwellings and wood for their fire, and acorns for their own sustenance as well as their livestock. According to Peter Berresford Ellis in his book The Druids (Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1994) the origins of Druid caste had its roots in the food gathering age prior to 4000 B.C. when primitive hunter-gatherers saw the oak as a symbol of plenty, collecting acorns as a means of food that was also easy to store for difficult times. The classical writers Hesiod, Pausanias, and Galen all speak of the Celts using acorns as food. According to Pliny the acorn was ground and baked into bread. Strabo also speaks of acorn bread as a staple diet of the Iberian Celts. They were an important feed for the raising of pigs, which was a staple meat for the Celts.
In Paul Friedrich's Proto-Indo-European Trees he cites that, "In addition to its economic role, the acorn was part of the oak complex of the pan-Celtic Druids, who ate acorns 'in order to acquire powers of divination'" (Henri Hubert. 1932. Les Celts depuis l'époque de la Tène et la civilization celtique. Paris: La Renaissance du Livre, p. 280), and so proved to have a ritual use.
Acorns are not edible raw. They need to be prepared in such a way to remove the tannin or tannic acid, the same ingredient that flavors tea, which causes the acorns to taste bitter. Like most nuts acorns are a good source of B vitamins and protein. They contain 5% fat and an average of 68% carbohydrate.
To prepare the acorns to make acorn meal, gather acorns, in the Fall of course, that are not cracked, rotten, bitten, or otherwise holey. Pop the cap off, crack open the shells using a nutcracker or a hammer, or if you are feeling Paleolithic using a rock, and remove the acorn meat. The tannic acid must now be leeched out of the meal before it can be eaten. Boil the shelled acorns for two hours, changing the water several times until it is clear and no longer yellow. The meal is then dried in a slow oven about 300 degrees and ground rather coarsely using a mortar and pestle (if you have a stone set you would emulating our Stone Age ancestors!) or nut mill. The acorn meal can be used to make porridge or to substitute in a recipe that calls for nuts.
To make acorn flour take dry raw shelled acorns and grind them. Mix the meal with boiling water and press out the liquid through a fine mesh bag like a jelly bag. This process is repeated several times like the one above until the water runs clear. The meal is then spread thinly on shallow baking pans and dried in the sun or in a slow oven. The meal will become partly caked in this process so it must be reground, this time using the finest plate on the food chopper or food processor, or hand grist mill set very closely. Both the meal and the flour can be stored in sealed glass jars. They are very dark in color and have sweet nutlike flavor. Here is a recipe for acorn bread to try with the acorn flour:
Sift together dry ingredients:
1 cup acorn flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons salad oil
Add these to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to moisten everything.
Pour into a greased pan and bake in a 400' degree oven for 30 minutes. Please
write in a let us know how your porridge or bread turns out. We at the
Missal-Any will be trying it too.
News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory
Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota
Here at Carleton we're... plotting our eventual return to Carleton, actually. Our grove has taken a healthy and scattered vacation, and will be back to regular meetings in September, with all the changes that recent Archdruids leaving Northfield brings, possibly including increased wreckage of havoc as Ian and I ascend to the shared Archdruidcy and there is no one to say "no." So, all in all, there is little news to report as yet, but we'll be back to the production of actual news soon.
Sylvagaia/Elder Grove: News from France
Salutations to the Disciples of the Earth-Mother,
Three things that happened to the Elder Protogrove:
- Its Druids, witches and shamans moved elsewhere
- Some trees went with the humans
- Some other trees decided to stay put.
Three entities that moved:
- Three humans moved up North
- Three types of trees moved with them
- Three types of animal moved as well
Three words from the trees that stayed:
- Seed out Coll, Luis and Eadha, and bring our wisdom into the world
- Go forth human friends and bring forth the Peace of the Earth Mother
- Progress animal friends and be happy in a world with less cars, less wasps and more bones.
As is traditional (but not obligatory, since we are Reformed after all), and as a wise Druid once said: "A Druid is a Druid, even without a Grove," Upon which answered an unwise Druid in an accidental state of clearness: "Yet a Grove is a Grove, even if no Druid be present." Elder Grove is in retirement from Druidic presence, yet continues to be full of trees. After some time of non Druidic occupation and care the Grove will close. But this only in the Ordinary World. Inside the Green World a Grove is a Grove is a Grove.
The Elder Grove's former humans moved North and are currently founding Linden Grove in a place called Neidin.
Conclusion: Three things a Dru should never do:
- Move without three trees, two fellows and three animals
- Say: "Three things"
- Pretend to speak Gaelic
Go mbeannai an Mhathair sibh go leir.
willemhartman at yahoo.com
Felidae Grove: News from Delaware
Namaste and Greetings from the Felidae Grove!
Now is a time for reflection, time to ponder over the events of the past few seasons. So much has happened! In fact, this Grove was formerly the Bamboo Grove, but most of the members have since passed on (they were of the furry and scaley variety). This Grove was born as a new entity, distinct and unique in and of its own right. Right now, it consists of two humans and two felines.
There have been many endings this past year, as well as new growth in every facet of life. This Grove now has an artist and a Reiki student who also works for Fish and Wildlife in a saltwater marsh...and of course two felines who make sure everything is kept properly eccentric and eclectic at all times!
We wish the best to all other Groves as we slowly come into our own and learn how to solidfy our plans for world domination (just kidding!!!). We give thanks for all the blessings that we have received during the past few seasons, even though they were sprinkled in amongst pain and uncertainty at times. Now is the time to finish up old projects and plan ahead for new ones. Brightest Blessings to you all!
Maryann (aka BrightMirage)
Ancient Circle Grove: News from Greenwich, New York
We serve Washington, Warren and Saratoga Counties in New York, as well as south-western Vermont. In addition to observance of the eight Sabbats, we also host an informal weekly get-together on Wednesday evenings at our home. We welcome new members of all ages and will have activities/instruction for children as needed.
We are a very 'family' oriented Grove with a deep and abiding interest in re-kindling the old ways. We are striving to build a physical Tribe as an Intentional Community and will provide information on that to any who are interested.
Grove Leadership: Priest: Daffyd Priestess: Inion anDagda
Digitalis Grove: News from D.C.
In early August, I made an enormous cross-country drive to MN from DC (1500 miles one-way), encompassing the shores of Lake Michigan. What an enormous country! Unfortunately, I was unable to go to Carleton (although I may go for Samhain), but Brother Stephen drove up from the Twin Cities. Together we hammered out story line for our murder mystery "The Maple Mystery", with the ample advice of my two parents (detective mavens). I sadly bid Stephen farewell, as he goes to the University of Washington for Graduate studies in Celtic history, while studying Old Irish, Latin and Anglo-Saxon (three dead languages! I'm jealous!).
Despite enormous obstacles of distance and time, I made it back to DC in time to catch Ellen (from VA) and Tony (from Kansas) at Fort Meade, MD. Ellen was most generous with Appalachian delicacies, and I wish I had had more time to discuss matters of Druidism with her; but we were able to ordain the two to the Second Order, with the first clear-ribbons I've bestowed on anyone.
Not long after this, I had to attend my first jury duty for a double count of robbery with the DC Superior Court. Being the lucky, upstanding fellow I am, I was chosen from a pool of 58 people for four days of extremely soul-twisting deliberation and debate with 11 other strangers. I was certainly in touch with my inner Brehon, and learned a great deal about the rules of evidence, and how people differ in their evaluation of evidence. The jury was hung, but left on good terms, in part due to my insistence of respect for diverging opinions. The case will be held again this year with a new jury, and from the post-court discussions with the two lawyers and judge, we learned enough extra information to assure us that a conviction will be possible.
Finally, during the intriguing month of blistering hot August, I attended the
Little League World Series in Williamsport VA, and afterwards had the honor of
meeting a new local Druid, Azeem from the University of Maryland. It was
refreshing to see his exuberance, fresh inquiries and enthusiasm for Druidism.
We talked for an hour under the mulberry trees of Rock Creek Park eating curry
rice, and then held a simple service and ordained him into the First Order.
Dogwood Proto-Grove: News from the Shenandoah Valley, VA
I am pleased to announce the formation of the Dogwood Protogrove in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Dogwood Protogrove is pleased to have nine Members and among them are one first order and two second orders.
The First Order and the two Second Orders were pleased to receive their orders from Mike Scharding on Lughnasadh, August 7, 2005. The ceremony was very moving and was witnessed by the First Order's daughter, Robyn. Robyn was quite quiet and enthralled with the ceremony and this led to her being extremely well behaved for a two-year old. The conversation and fellowship after was welcoming and Dogwood Proto-Grove members look forward to visiting with Mike in the DC area again sometime in the near future.
Our contact information is:
Email: Druidfromtexas at yahoo.com
Palm Grove: News from Florida
Well, Lughnasadh was a great success this year. We had an historical celebration of the day in the Sacred Hills area of a special park close by to all of us. There was music, Feasting, Swordplay, and exhibitions of skill, and other athletic games. A ritual and meditation time as well. Although it was very hot enjoyment was had by all.
Mabon is in the works now for the 17th as some will be away during the 25th weekend.
I have hooked up with a saxon druid in the area and we are planning a set of classes for the druid curious in the area. It should be pretty good, combining the saxon (or british) views with the gaelic celtic views.
There has been little time to work on the cyber grove but it is being reworked and many parts are up, including the chat room and the msg board. Stop by and post a msg or get together with a friend in the chat room. http://palmgrove.bravehost.com
We in the palm grove hope you all had a great Lughnasadh as well, and have a wonderful Mabon.
Nine Oaks & Mystic Well Grove: News from Nevada
In the name of the Earth Mother, we give good greetings to the free people and groves, we give good tidings and are glad to stand amongst you. The Nine Oaks & Mystic Well Protogrove is newly formed, in the Las Vegas, Nevada valley, and to the rest this is our brief greetings!
To start, the three of us being of varied experiences in the Pagan, neo-Pagan communities has come to learn that simplicity is a good course of action, and the preservation of a tradition in a raw form, and its evolution by the Grove members present can be an awe inspiring thing. All hail the Earth Mother for her magnificent all consuming presence! The God of the groves Dalon ap Landu we do believe has called us to service, to Nature and to our people and folk, as we have known Him by many names, but it has been Dalon ap Landu, by that name, that has called us, and to this the three of us are in agreement! Just below if a form of office that the three of us would 'share' but a form of offices and order we would prefer the RDNA way! The three below are between the ages of 45 and 56, and have no other Druidic affiliations with any other orgs.
Our proto-grove email is:
NineOaksnMysticWell@gmail.com Our personal emails are:
Starfire, Server (email@example.com)
Brid, Bardess and Preceptor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finegas, ArdhDruidh pro tem ( ShadowDragon999@gmail.com)
We welcome all contacts, and will have more on the Grove growth, and our own
writings, etc by Samhain.
Grove of the Order of the Mists: News from Arizona
Greetings to all from the Grove of the Order of the Mists in Northern Arizona, a newly founded Proto-Grove here in the RDNA.
I am Tully Reill (aka Myrddyn Emrys), currently residing in Winslow Arizona. My family, close friends, and I have been following a Druid Path for over fifteen years now, mainly with self-instruction and a LOT of reading and research.
Well, I (I should say we, as this has been discussed with my family) feel it's time to make the step. The Good God of the Grove has shown us that our paths are at a point of converging with this wonderful group, the RDNA.
Right now, we are just a small group, myself, my wife Anna, our two sons (both full grown) Michael and Robert, Michael's fianc$B!&(BFelicity, and our good friend David. We've practiced quite a long time now mainly as a family, and feel it was time to get more in contact and involved with other Druids.
Anxious to hear from any other Druids in the Northern Arizona area. Until I set up an e-mail address specifically for the Grove, please contact us at email@example.com . I will be setting up a website for our grove in the near future as well and will provide our dear Chronicler, Stacey, with the updated information for the next issue.
Until we speak again, may the Blessings of the Earth Mother be with you and may the Good God of the Grove watch over you. Blessed Alban Elved to all as well.
Tully (aka Myrddyn Emrys)
Rogue River Grove: News from Oregon
As some of you know I went to Thailand in connection with our government's efforts in helping them rebuild and replant after the tsunami.
I don't think I have ever felt as alone as I did when going through Immigration in Bangkok airport. Of anywhere you'd think they'd have a bi-lingo representative but nooOOoo. Upon reflection I think going through that department was less about visas and passports and more about giving newcomers like me a crash course in pigeon-English (so much so I had to make a conscious effort to speak normally around other Americans) to prepare us newbies for "what comes next."
"What comes next" was being face to face with Bangkok. 1. In baggage claim I learned there is no such thing as personal space in Thailand-in other words people on foot or in carts will run right over the top of you. 2. The heat and humidity of the land 3. Thai men aggressively competing for business giving taxi rides, currency exchange, etc. 4. The smell. 5. Traffic in Thailand.
Riding on the roads of Thailand is mind boggling. You see, stop lights and stop signs are rarer than spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest. Parking spaces, speed limits, cross walks, passing lanes, turn lanes, bike lanes, carpool lanes do NOT exist. In fact it seemed to me that the Thai are vague on the whole concept of "traffic lanes" in general. Driving is a matter of "point it and punch it" with double/triple parking as the norm. No wonder foreign driver's licenses are so hard and expensive to get. If you need to get around something, you simply drive around it by passing on the right, left or even by two wheels and sometimes all four wheels on whatever serves as the sidewalk. YIKES. I believe Thailand is a vast untapped resource for future Nascar and Hollywood stunt drivers. (Bugging eyes out.) However, someone in our group had spent a lot of time in England and said that the British feel about traffic in America like I feel about traffic in Thailand. Shrug.
Some of you from our group gave offerings to take over and those items were made either to a tsunami battered ordained fir tree (I didn't know fir trees lived in Thailand...!) or into the Adaman Sea at Phuket. For those who aren't aware, Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist and the monks ordain their old growth to protect them from being cut down. By the way, they don't even follow the same calendar as we do--the year over there is 2548.
I spent some of my time loading and unloading trucks (small old Ford Couriers. I've never saw a semi the whole time I was over there) and I know at least one load was medical supplies for some new clinics built in case of future disasters. I also planted a fair number of locust and palm trees.
I have also learned that salmon-pink tile in bathrooms is universal globally. (Snicker.)
Personally, I found it amazing to see water buffalo grazing under palm trees everywhere just like one would see domestic cattle grazing under Douglas firs in our area. (Chuckle.) After a few days I became somewhat desensitized to the assault on my senses as well as learned to peacefully co-exist with the swarming colonies in the bathroom and started to feel okay about Thailand in general but I certainly do not wish to move there permanently. I don't mean that to be a put down but instead how their culture is so alien to me. Not that one is better or worse - just profoundly different. I remember the words of a man who had been involved with dropping of the bomb who told me years ago that there are many ancient and proud cultures in the world that Americans need to learn to be respectful of pause and I now realize the depth of his words.
For those interested, we will be holding a free, family oriented Fall Equinox ritual on Saturday, October 1. It will be held at Willow Lake Resort in Oregon. Several of us will be either tent camping or staying in one of the log cabins that weekend and anyone interested is welcome to join us. Our proto-grove has some extra camping gear including tents, so let us know if there is something you need to borrow.
Please feel free to contact us for more information:
Aigeann at earthlink.net
Sierra Madrone Protogrove: News from California
We at the Sierra Madrone Grove have been busy as usual. We had a beautiful Lughnassadh campout and Ritual up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains overlooking a lake. We will be holding our Fall Equinox Ritual along the Bear River this year. We have also started druidry classes once a month and we have a ceremonial magick class starting soon.
Sean mac Dhomhnuill
Sierra Madrone Grove
Sunset Protogrove: News from California
Will celebrate Equinox with a wonderful roasted fowl feast, cornbread, fruit and more--will give grove trees a much needed drink as well. There have been many small wildfires in our area recently, a longer rainy season than normal last winter has made for longer seasonal grasses--which of course are a dry golden color by this point in the season. It is fun to watch it wave in the wind, but it is scary as well, saw a large (50 year old at least) live oak go up in flames last week, the wind so strong the firefighters, helpless to save it.
Much other hustling and bustling as we enter the final preparation phase for
a trip to Europe next month.
Poison Oak Grove: News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
We finally got the rest of the altar stones from the old grove site. We couldn't get them all out without breaking them up into small pieces so we left about the bottom quarter of the altar. All that is left from the days of druid use are the base stones and the remnants of a dog and a Celtic knot a grove member and I made in the mid 80s from left-over cement we used to repair the altar. The Grove site itself is now over grown. The path up to the site looked unused as opposed the last time when it looked like it had been swept. This is all well and good; there is now nothing there to attract attention.
There was a pile of stones between the house and the cabin that was now mostly covered by leaves that we got as well. They were sitting on a now rotted board, which let me to think that they maybe were leftover from the building of the old altar and maybe Emmon had put them on the board to keep them from sinking into the dirt. We can use these stones to build the base of the new altar. In any case everything is out of there. Now we can start moving forward on the new Grove site in earnest.
Found in a fortune cookie:
The face of nature reflects all of life's ups and downs.
Ritual for the First Order Ordination of the Hazelnut MotherGrove (Online)
The Hazelnut MotherGrove has reached another milestone in its 34 year history. After a nearly 10 year long hiatus the Grove has popped up online! I got AD Stephen W. McCaully Abbott hooked up to Yahoo Instant Messenger, and he did the rest.
The enclosed attachment is the first piece of liturgy we have created in our new status.
All rites revealed.
In the Mother,
Tegwedd ShadowDancer Co-AD and Chronicler of the Hazelnut MotherGrove Online Branch
Stephen W. McCaully Abbott AD and chief frog of the Hazelnut MotherGrove Online Branch
Ritual Script for Ordination to the 1st Order
CoAD: Who is it who deems it his/her will to be ordained a Reformed Druid of the First Order?
Candidate: It is I, (name) [Note: This can be either the person's given name or a name s/he is taking as a Druid.]
CoAD: I have three questions to ask of you: Do you believe that Nature is good?
CoAD: The second question is like onto the first: Do you believe that Nature is very good?
CoAD: The third question is like onto the first two: Do you believe that Nature is very, very good?
CoAD: Good. That takes care of the first tenet. The second tenet is that the quest for spiritual truth is the duty and responsibility of every Druid. Do you accept this tenet?
Candidate: I do.
CoAD: The third tenet is the quest for balance in all things. Do you accept this tenet?
Candidate: I do.
CoAD: Then under the auspices of the Hazelnut MotherGrove Online do I seal you to the east wind:
AD: I call upon Camulos and Arianrhod to witness this act. Sirona, I call upon you to shed your waters of light upon this person.
CoAD: I draw the sigil of the Druids with the Waters-of-Life upon your forehead.
CoAD: I seal you to the west wind.
AD: I call upon Cerridwen and Manannan MacLlyr to witness this act. Sineand, let flow your Waters of Wisdom upon this person.
CoAD: I draw the Druid sigil with the Waters-of-Life upon your forehead. I seal you to the north wind.
AD: I call upon Danu and Dagda to witness this act. Cailleach, let your waters of transformation flow upon this person.
CoAD: I draw the Druid sigil with the Waters-of-Life upon your forehead. I seal you to the south wind.
AD: I call upon Bridgit and Lugh to witness this act. Shannon, let your waters of inspiration flow upon this person.
CoAD: I draw the Druid sigil with the Waters-of-Life upon your forehead. I seal you to the sacred center.
AD: I call upon Tethra and Tailltiu to witness this act. Sequana, let your waters of healing flow upon this person.
CoAD: I draw the Druid sigil with the Waters-of-Life upon your forehead. By the powers vested in me as CoArchDruid of Hazelnut MotherGrove of the NRDNA, I hereby welcome you as a First Order Druid and brother/sister.
All (led by the AD) Ah wey!
AD: By the powers vested in me as AD of the Hazelnut MotherGrove online I
welcome you to this Grove. I embrace you and draw the druid sigil on your
forehead to seal you to the service of the Earth Mother Danu the ever changing
Allmother. May you always be blessed by her healing powers.
Part Three of Four: Welsh and Irish Triads
By Daniel Hansen, Olympia Grove WA
The concept of three or the trinity seems more or less universal among the Indo-European cultures, though nowhere is it more prominent than in Celtic culture. The Celts zest for triple groupings united with the need for mnemonic devices produced a pattern of versification to order learned traditions, precepts, and lore in both Ireland and Wales. In most instances a reference to the triads implies the great Trioedd Ynys Prydain (Triads of the Isle of Britain) brought together in the 12th century and preserved in manuscripts from the 13th and 14th centuries. Perhaps because of the Welsh triadic verse form englyn, known since the 9th century, the volume of Welsh Triads is much greater than that of the Irish. Collections of Triads from different manuscripts deal different manuscripts deal with subjects as diverse as native learning, poetry, law, and medicine. The pervasiveness of both triadic form and the knowledge recorded in verses can be seen in frequent citations found in the four branches of the Mabinogi. Diogenes Laerius (c. 2nd or 3rd century B.C.E.) mentions that the Druids taught in the form of triads.
In both the Welsh and Irish myths the gods came in threes, triune gods and goddesses. Three and three times three permeate Celtic philosophy and art. As was customary in most schools of the Mysteries, Druidic teaching was divided into two distinct sections. The simpler, a moral code was taught to all the people, while the deeper esoteric doctrine was only given to initiated priests. Hilary, who became Bishop of Poitiers about 350 C.E., is regarded as the first native Celt to become an outstanding force in the Christian movement. Significantly, his greatest work was De Trinitate, defining the concept of the Holy Trinity, which is so integral to Christian belief today. As a Celt, Hilary was imbued with the mystical tradition of his people and therefore the Trinity in Christian tradition probably owes its origin more to Celtic concepts than to the Judaic-Greco background of that religion. A complete circle of Druidic training required the candidate to master mathematics, geometry, medicine, jurisprudence, poetry, oratory, natural philosophy, and astronomy. The later two subjects required in depth study. Much of the teachings were committed to memory. The religious subject material was memorized in its entirety.
The Druidic precepts (perhaps some 20,000 in number) were all in spoken verse, as it was forbidden to write them down. Consequently, the novice spent a considerable length of time in a state of probation.
Owing to this system of learning we have only the meager evidence of the ancient authors, some fragments of Irish and Welsh literature and folk memory. Some scholars believe what has been found written, to be the oldest literature in the oldest living language in Europe. Unfortunately, only a small portion has been translated and published in English so far. A most important source of our present day knowledge of the Druids is the Celtic Triads. In them, all national events were recorded and their accuracy has never been questioned. In the following verses, we find the spiritual character of Druidic teachings.
Part of the Druidic doctrine of the Trinity or Triplism, is expressed in these verses known as the Triads. The moral philosophy of the Druids expresses a kind of practical wisdom to give plain guidance in daily living. Here are numerous examples of the Triads, which have survived, from various printed collections.
Section One : A Long Mixture of Gaelic Triads
The Following Batch of Triads Very Closely Matched those found by Iain MacAnTsaoir in his A COMPILATION OF TRIADS - The Traditional Laws, Customs, and Wisdoms of The Pre-Christian Celtic People Of What Is Now Known As Scotland, Wales, And Ireland. However, Daniel's appears to be of a different translation origin. I believe that both Daniel and Ian used similar source materials, but Iain also retranslated many of his selections with a more neo-pagan interpretation, and included several categories that Daniel did not. Daniel's post-medieval sources generally chose to use the term "God", but you can use "Shining Ones" or "the Gods". Likewise, the translation uses terms "sin" "man" and other terms that you can put in your own substitutes
Triads on Miscellaneous Matters
Three possessions we value most: our money, our time, and our conscience.
Three sins not acknowledged: fear of an enemy, torment of love, and a jealous man's evil suspicion of his wife.
Three things by nature cause their possessor to err: youth, prosperity, and ignorance.
Three things resemble each other: a bright sword which rusts from long staying in the scabbard, bright water which stinks from long standing, and wisdom which is dead from long disuse.
Three things not easy to check: the stream of a cataract, an arrow from a bow, and a rash tongue.
Three things hard to catch: a stag on the mountain, a fox in the wood, and the coin of a miserly niggard.
There are three things very like the other: an old blind horse playing the harp with its hooves, a pig in a silk dress, and a merciless man prating, about godliness.
Three things fierce in their nature: a doctor, a jealous man, and a doorkeeper.
Three things as good as the best: bread and milk against hunger, a white coat against the cold, and a yeoman's son in a breach.
Three things which are not hidden: a straw in the shoe, an awl in the bag, and a harlot in crowd.
Three sweet things in the world: power, prosperity, and sin.
Three strong things of the world: a lord, a fool, and the void.
There are three things which move together as quickly the one as the other: lightning, man's thought, and the help of God.
Three things not loved without each one his companion: day without night, idleness without hunger, and wisdom without reverence.
There are three whose full reward can never be given to them: parents, a good teacher, and God.
There are three things a man is: what he thinks he is, what others think he is, and what he is.
The three things God alone can do: endure the eternities of infinity.; participate of all things without changing, renew everything without annihilating it.
Three glories of a gathering: a comely mate, a good horse, and a swift hound.
Three things which constitute a healer: a complete cure, leaving no blemish behind, and a painless examination.
Three slender things that best support the world: the slender stream of milk from the cows dug into the pail; the slender blade of green corn upon the ground; the slender thread over the hand of a skilled woman.
Three keys that unlock thoughts: drunkenness; trustfulness; love.
Three sounds of increase: the lowing of a cow in milk; the din of a smithy; the swish of a plow.
Three unbreathing things paid for only with breathing things: An apple tree, a hazel bush, a sacred grove.
Three nurses of dignity: a fine figure, a good memory, piety.
Three nurses of high spirits: pride, wooing, drunkenness
Triads on Excellence
Three things three things by which excellence is established: Taking all things in moderation with nothing in excess; abidance to oaths; and acceptance of responsibility.
It is easier to determine the truth when these three prime evidences are existent: physical items which tell a story; trustworthy witnesses which tell their story; and concurrence with known truths. .
There are three things excellent among worldly affairs: hating folly, loving virtue, and endeavoring constantly to learn.
Three beautiful beings of the world: the godly, the skillful, and the temperate.
Three tendencies for a man's life: hope, love, and joy.
Three things excellent for a man: valor, learning, and discretion.
Three things are becoming a man: knowledge, good deeds, and gentleness.
Three things, which strengthen a man to stand against the whole world: seeing the quality and beauty of truth, seeing beneath the cloak of falsehood, and seeing to what ends truth and falsehood come.
Three things it is everyone's duty to do: listen humbly, answer discreetly, and judge kindly.
Three things a man should keep always before him: his worldly duty, his conscience, and the laws of God.
Three sureties of happiness for a man: good habits, amiability, and forbearance.
Three manifestations of humanity: affectionate bounty, a loving manner, and praiseworthy knowledge.
Three things without which there can be nothing good: truth, peace, and generosity.
Three godly deeds in a man: to forgive the wrong done him, to amend everything he can, and to refrain from injustice.
Three joys of the happy: abstinence, peace, and constancy.
Three antagonists of goodness: pride passion, and covetousness.
Three things that cannot be mixed with evil: conformity to law, know ledge, and love.
Three things must wait long before they are attained: honesty from covetousness, wisdom from pride, and wealth from sloth.
Three things hard to obtain: cold fire, dry water, and lawful covetousness.
Triads on Conscientious People
There are three kingdoms of the happy man: the world's good word, a cheerful conscience, and firm hope of the world to come.
In three things a man is like God: justice, knowledge, and mercy.
Three things lovable in a man: peace, wisdom, and kindness.
Three chief virtues of a man: diligence, sincerity, and humility.
Three things show the true man: a silence mouth, an incurious eye, and a fearless face.
Three champions of the high road to heaven: a patient poor man, a reflective wise man, and a tolerant reformer.
Three men who are loved by God: the strong just man, the brave merciful man, and the man generous without regret.
Three things rewarded by God: forgiving an enemy and a transgression; generosity of judgment and act; and cleaving to what is just, come what may come.
There are three things to be commended in a man: wisdom in his talks, justice in his actions, and excess in nothing.
Triads on Good Living
The three foundations of happiness: suffering from contentment; a hope that it will come; and a belief that it will be.
There are three things which the happy will gain: prosperity, honor, and ease of conscience.
Three things which the humble will gain: plenty, joy, and the love of their neighbors.
Three things which the sincere will gain: favor, respect, and prosperity.
Three things which the patient will gain: love, peace, and succor.
Three things which the merciful will gain: favor, love, and God's mercy.
Three things with the godly will gain: worldly sufficiency, peace of conscience, and heavenly joy.
Three things which the industrious will gain: precedence, wealth, and praise from the wise.
Three things which the law-abiding will gain: health, success, and honor.
Three things which the careful man will gains: respect, plenty, and contentment.
Three things which the generous heart will gain: joy from his profit, felicity in giving, and infinite profit in the end.
Three things which the early riser will gain: health wealth, and holiness.
Triads on Wrong Doing
There are three companions of the devil: pride, envy, and rapine.
Three first born children of the devil: pride, envy, and untruth.
Three things hateful to God and man: a warlike look, a deceitful tongue, and a mischievous spirit. Three roots of evil: covetousness, falsehood, and pride. Three joys of the wicked: gluttony, fighting, and fickleness.
Three things that end ill: falsehood, envy, and guile.
Three bad tendencies in a man: pride without generosity, covetousness without justice, and anger without mercy.
Three chief evil qualities of man: sloth, deceit, and pride.
Three things pleasant to see: an unhappy man becoming happy, a miser becoming generous, and sinner becoming a saint.
Three chief things that deceive man: fair words, desire of gain, and ignorance.
Three things it is no worse to lose than to gain: wealth, youth, and love of the world.
Triads of Weakness and Things to Avoid
There are three things, counsel, loss, and shame; and he who has not the first will get the other two.
Three nourishment$BCT(B of arrogance: recklessness, wealth, and excess.
Three things which attack the weakest: enemies, wealth. and pride.
Three things better forsaken by him who loves them: sport, carousal, and strife.
Three things of which only the happy and wise beware: adultery, drunkenness, and vanity.
Three things whose deficiency is not worse than their excess: festivity, wealth, and pleasure.
Three things which fellow sloth: evil deeds, evil report, and an evil end.
Three things odious in a man: ignorance, bad deeds, and perversity.
Three things unseemly for a man: to think himself wise, to think another foolish, and to think his appearance what he desires.
Three chief corruptions of the world: sloth, pride, and extravagance.
Three things which afflict the world: envy, anger, and covetousness.
Three strange things in the world: loving war more than peace, loving excess more than sufficiency, and loving falsehood more than truth.
Triads Regarding the Wayward Ones
There are three men accursed: he who breaks with God's commands unrepentant, he who knows nothing of God and does not seek to learn, and he who knows much and does not show his knowledge to any other.
Three kinds of devilish men: the traitor, the conspirator, and the slanderer.
Three men hateful to God and man: the liar, the wrangler, and the miserly niggard.
Three kinds of men worthless to him who is just and honest: the drunkard, the perjurer and the traitor.
Three kinds of men without fear of God: the traitor, the ravisher, and the miser.
Three chief attributes of a man in the devil: a harsh countenance, a proud spirit, and insatiable covetousness.
Three marks of a thief: an inquisitive tongue, a curious eye, and a fearful face.
Three things needful I to a. sinner: to acknowledge his sins, to seek goodness, and to beware of being enticed to evil.
Three men easy to do without: he who does no benefit to any, he who brings no joy to any, and he who keeps not peace with any.
From three men keep yourself: the joyless, the mocker, and he who laughs at evil.
Three men who are best when farthest off: the fulsome flatterer, the continuous slanderer, and the lying talebearer.
Three things which gain daily and seek continually: the sea, a drunkard, and a miser.
Triads on the Rewards of Wickedness
There are three things the wicked will gain: poverty, bad report, and evil conscience.
Three things which insincere will gain: evil life, evil report, and evil end.
Three things which the quarrelsome will gain: strife, shame, and neglect in his necessity.
Three things which the cruel man obtains: torturous consciousness, dispraise of the wise. and the wrath of God
Three things which a wicked man gains: hatred, strife, and sorrow.
Three things that the negligent will gain: shame, loss, and derision.
Three things that the miser obtains through his wealth: pain in gathering, care in keeping, and fear of losing.
Three things which the sluggard will gain: shame, misery, and disease.
Triads on Wealth and Poverty
There are three things a man will gain from acquiring great wealth: hate between him and man, hate between him and himself, and hate between him and God.
Three things that are the portion of the wealthy: more and more covetousness, more care, and less and less pleasure.
Three things which can come from just wealth: worldly abundance, brotherly charity, and national goodness; and from these the favor of God.
Three ways leading to poverty: sport, gluttony, and harlotry.
Three things better than riches: health, freedom, and discretion.
Three things a man will obtain from poverty: health, learning, and God's protection.
Three things which profit a man: poverty, sickness, and children; for by possessing them he gains knowledge of much truth that cannot be without them.
Three things as good to lose as to gain: extreme prosperity, extreme praise, and extreme dignity.
Three earthly losses which bring gain to the soul: loss of a friend, loss of health, and loss of riches.
Triads on Miscellaneous Matters
Three littles which do much harm: a little bad disposition, a little injustice, and a little negligence.
Three things, little of which shows much wisdom: little pride, little covetousness, and little gossip.
Three things to be commended in a woman: her face virtuous, her discourse discreet, and her ways kind.
Three things make a woman wanton: beauty in her form, folly in her head, and pride in her heart.
Three ungodly contentions: war for war, law for law, and reproach for reproach.
Three godly contentions: prudence for imprudence, favor for disfavor, and love for hatred.
In three things a man will be like the devil: putting a snare in the way, frightening a little child, and laughing at evil.
There are three falsehoods: falsehood of speech, falsehood in silence, and falsehood in demeanor: for each one of these will make another believe what he ought not.
Three gains which will turn to loss in the end: gaining fame from a harmful act, gaining wealth from injustice, and gaining the upper hand in an evil strife.
Three losses which will bring gain in the end: loss of what is more than life's needs, loss of bodily health, and loss of what one prizes most and above all.
Triads on Supports and Banes of Society
There are three foundations of law and custom: order, justice, and peace.
Three things which come from peace: increase of possessions, improvement of manners, and enlargement of knowledge.
There are three things which lay waste the world: a king without counsel, a judge without conscience, and a son without reverence.
Three monstrous things in the world: a youth without civility, a woman without modesty, and a man without a conscience.
Three things which war against peace: a bad wife, bad soil, and bad over-lord.
Three things which turn a husband's world upside-down: a wife's dominance, a daughter's immodesty and son's ignorance.
To Be Continued
What Do Druids Eat?
By Daniel C. Henklein aka Dru Clifford
Reprinted with Permission
1) Take old-fashioned (Scottish or Irish) steel-cut oats and cook them to taste, al dente or softer as you prefer. I was used to cooking these in quantity formerly, but less so now as I keep myself lean (and kindly). Set aside.
2) Shell hazelnuts in quantity. Crush thoroughly with a rolling pin. Add to oats. Set mixture aside in tubs in refrigerator if you have prepared in quantity. I like to use A LOT of hazelnuts, say 40% nuts, 60% oats by volume. But then, I have high triglycerides.
A more moderate approach might be to use less nuts, merely as a flavor and texture enhancer.
3) Slice apples (any kind), stream or stew lightly with honey, sugar, and optional cinnamon. Set aside in tubs in refrigerator.
4) When ready to eat on rushed mornings, take the oat-nut mixture and heat in milk or water. Add butter or a little hazelnut oil. Put a dollop of the cooked sliced apples in the middle.
A bowl of this in the morning to power you through until 2:00 in the afternoon. Forget lunch. Here you have wisdom (hazelnut), strength (oat), and immortality (apple) in a breakfast cereal, and that's something not even Madison Avenue can claim.
You may want to experiment with roasting the hazelnuts before crushing them. The flavor will be a little different. I like the recipe just fine with raw nuts.
So that's my contribution.
Hazelnut-stuffed (and crusted?) salmon ala Taliesin would probably be a
reasonable suggestion to the subject question also. I plan to experiment this
The Druidic Cross Tarot Layout
as a Revision 25 Years Later.
By ArchDruid Stephen W. Abbott, Hazelnut Grove
Originally in our Pentalpha Journal, Vol. 3 No. 2, Summer 1980
This Tarot Layout was the second of a series of Layouts which was published 25 years ago. The first of these appeared in Gnostica News, issue number 45, and was called the Pentacle Layout. The present article should be considered as only a bare outline of the Druidic Cross Layout. It was to have been developed in conjunction with The Celtic Pagan Tarot Deck a set of designs which has yet to be published because I have not been able to find and artist for it yet. This deck will depict Celtic divinities As Archetypes.
The Pentacle Layout was designed to be used for questions dealing with deeply personal and spiritual matters. As most of you are aware, the pentacle symbolizes the Microcosm--mini-universe--personal frame of reference which extends from within us all as individuals. The Druidic Cross Layout is a logical progression from this: it represents five manifested, exteriorized spheres of being which emanate from the microcosm of the Self.
These five circles correspond to the five traditional elements: fire, air, earth, water, and Spirit. And, as in our Druid Tradition--they also represent the five directions: North, South, East, West, and the Sacred Center, The relationships of Element to Direction are those of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn System, familiar to most Students of Occultism. Fire is South, Air is East, Water is West, Earth is North, and Spirit Or Akasha is the Sacred Center.
In my Layout, each circle is given a letter. The center circle is Letter A, and is considered to be the first sphere of influence--the realm of Spirit. Letter B, the second circle, represents Earth; Letter C, the third circle, is Fire. Letters D and E are Water and Air respectively. This completes the basic circle of the elements. Much can be inferred from this pattern about the nature of energy-flow being shown.
In addition to the Elements, certain ancient Celtic deities hold sway over the Five Circles. These can be invoked as guides by the diviner , or their spheres of influence seen as centers of the body in a psychic sense, or simply studied in terms of how their Energies influence a manifestation. The object is to develop a personal relationship with the elemental divinities of the Celtic pantheon. to get close to them, and to listen for their prophetic voices as did the ancient Bards. This guidance from the Gods and Goddesses is the essence of Divination itself.
This list given of Celtic divinities is not intended to be complete, however it is a suggestion, an outline, of what might be possible. Many other implicit concepts will present themselves to the serious student.
The deities for the Five Circles of Being are the following:
For Circle A the place of the Sacred Center and the element of Spirit we
have. Tailltiu and Tethra.
For Circle B in the place of the North the element of Earth we Have Danu and the Dagda.
For Circle C the place of the South the element of Fire we have Bridgit and Lugh.
For Circle D the place of the West and the element of Water we have Ceridwen and Mannann Mac Lir.
For Circle E in the palace of the East the element of Air we have Rhiannon and Camelos.
This completes the deities of the Five Circles
Each of the Five Circles has a colour assigned to it:
For Circle A the colour is Indigo the colour of Spirit.
For Circle B the colour is Brown the colour of Earth.
For Circle C the colour is Red the colour of Fire.
For Circle D the colour is Silver or Grey the colour of Water.
For Circle E the colour is Blue like Sky Blue.
There are five Arch-Druids for the Circles of Being. These five Arch- Druids are elemental guardians for the five Circles of Being. They are depicted in human form dressed in coloured robes of the element.
The Arch-Druid for the A Circle of Being is wearing an Indigo robe Sacred
The Arch-Druid for the B Circle of Being is wearing a Brown robe Sacred to the Earth element.
The Arch-Druid for the C Circle of Being is wearing a Red robe sacred to the Fire element.
The Arch-Druid for the D Circle of Being is wearing a Silver or Gray robe sacred to the element of Water.
The Arch-Druid of the E Circle of Being is wearing a blue or Sky-Blue robe sacred to the element of Air.
The final set of corresponding images for the outer circles is the four magickal Treasures of Celtic Tradition.
In the Sacred Center we have the symbol of the Goddess: the circle with two
spears or staves going through it. She is the triple goddess in many systems
the Mother, the Daughter and the Crone-Hag.
The Magickal Treasure for the B Circle of being is The Stone Lia Fail the Stone of Destiny. This stone would scream for a just ruler when he or she sat on it.
The Magickal Treasure for the C Circle of being is the Spear of Lugh. This spear was a soul-stealer and blood sucker, but it was a formable battle weapon.
The Magickal Treasure for the D Circle was the Cauldron of Inspiration. Cooking within was a magickal draught to allow Bards to experience the Awen.
The Magickal Treasure for the E Circle of Being is the Sword of Nuada known as Fragarach the Answerer. It could answer any question but beware not to ask more than one question. For it would cut you to the bone for being greedy. Fragarach could cut through any mail.
Some ideas for this layout came from an excellent book by Virginia Moore entitled the Unicorn. In it is given some material from unpublished diaries of W.B. Yeats, written at the time when he was still a member in good standing of the Hermetic Order Of the Golden Dawn. (After his death, it is believed that most of his magickal diaries were burnt by his fanatical Christian widow, who considered magick in all its forms to be of the Christian Devil. A similar fate befell the diaries of Sir Richard Burton, much to our loss).
Other ideas come from a multitude of books of Celtic mythology; and still others come from personal experience. A complete bibliography will accompany the Celtic Pagan Ogham Tarot when it is finished. This layout was especially designed for students of the Tarot and other divination systems who desired to explore the influence of divinities of the ancient Gaels in their lives, and to communicate with them. It can Bring more scope and dimension, however, to anyone seriously interested in Paganism and Magick.
I would like to give a more detailed look at a Circle of Being, The Circle is Circle A. At Ancient Telltown was held the annual celebration of Lughnasadh, for here Lug the Lord ff Fire and Lord of the Dawn, sought out and wedded the land of Erin (Ireland). Watching over this sacred spot was Tailltiu, or Telta, Goddess of the Sacred Center. She had a Dun (stronghold) at this location. In some myths it is Tailltiu that Lugh of the Long Arm weds. It all depends on which myths you study. A great battle for the control of Erin-Ireland was once fought in the vast mythic past. In Celtic religion the center of a particular province was considered the most magickal and sacred place in that province. All of the most important Druidic and magickal rites were performed and Celebrated at the Sacred Center Point. It is appropriate for Tailltiu the Goddess of Protection, who watched over Erin, to be honored here. Beneath the Sea the Fomoire whose king was Tethra, plotted to take Erin by force and bring her under the sea to His realm. After years of preparation, a great battle was fought at Telltown in which the Fomoire were defeated. Tethra even though he is depicted as being kind of shady Has still been important in my personal Magickal work and thus I honor him in the Sacred Center.
The Gods and Goddesses do not guard their own treasures, but assign the task to their priest and priestesses. In this case the priest and priestesses are the Druids. Their worship is of the deities of Nature and the ways of Nature. This particular Guardian is called the Druid of the Sacred Center, the Druid of the Mystic Center, the Keeper of the Mysteries of the Spirit. The Druid guardian wears a Robe the colour of Indigo, the elemental colour of Spirit. This Druidic guardian is to be called upon when you will to perform a reading which deals with weighty subjects or deeply spiritual Matters. Being a priest or priestess the Druidic guardian can contact the deity forms of this (the spirit) plane of awareness if the question is dire enough. The Magickal Treasure of this Sacred Center Circle is the symbol of the Triple Goddess the Mother, the Daughter the Crone or Hag. The Circle of Spirit with two spears or staves crossing it. The circle is a symbol for the concept of "peace," for only with peace of mind and the calm feelings which it brings can anything be done successfully of a spiritual nature. Fifteen years ago one of my fellow Druids Dave Nelson by name made a Divination board of the Druidic Cross Layout which we later discovered quite by accident that it could also be used as a flat altar top or outside placed on a large flat stone. For the same purpose. It has been used as a Divination board and a flat altar piece ever since. I welcome all comments about this work. Sorry if it is a little too long.
AD Stephen W. Abbott
Peace, Peace, Peace.
A.k.a. "The Dave Fisher Code"
Fiction written by B. N. Tavern
For the Public Domain, 2004 CE
Part Four of Eight
In photos, "Matt" is the blonde played by Ian Hill
"Sean" is dark played by a fellow called Raven,
Filmed by Stephen Crimmins
On-site at Carleton College
(Place mouse over pictures for secret messages.)
In Our Previous Episodes
Two poor undergraduate juniors, Matt (a cricket and football star) and Sean (a philosophy major), are spending winter vacation under-employed at Carleton College in rural Northfield MN. Desperate for money, they follow up on a mysterious ad in a newspaper that implies a great treasure was hidden at Carleton for the future rightful spiritual heir of David Fisher, the founder of Reformed Druidism. Following a tip from the campus Chaplain, Sean infiltrates the local Masons, while Matt goes ga-ga with the Druids. From the various clues they discover, they decide that only possible solution to the mystery is to check the original written materials by David Fisher, which are stored at the Druid Archive Collection. They meet the mysterious secretary, Dylan, and access is denied. With amazing ingenuity and great personal risk, they steal some documents from the Archives and discover a lengthy poem holding a cryptic blueprint to the treasure. A harrowing climb in the Lower Arboretum and a series of clues lead their search to the foreboding St. Olaf College across the town on small forest-girt mountain, where Matt and Sean seek for a circumspect ill-rumored group known only as "DENMAD", who holds the next key on their journey. The previous three episodes can be read in their entirety at http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/treasure.html or in earlier issues of the Missal-Any.
Now let's join our protagonists as they visit the ivory towers.
Chapter Thirteen: The Castles of Stone
New Year's Day came and went unnoticed by the two men and they made plans for their trip to St. Olaf. They devised false identities, bleached their hair, got out some clean pressed shirts and black ties, and shaved cleanly. They hardly recognized themselves in the dormitory lounge's mirror. Olaf started up January classes a few earlier than Carleton, so they decided it was good to get this part over with quickly, as class-loads at Carleton would soon inhibit their investigations.
They unplugged Sean's Pontiac from the engine-block heater in the tiny student parking lot and slip & slided over to St. Olaf, up a steep twisting road of the small mountain, past Bavarian-style off-campus wooden cottages, pressing into the woods, and then up by large fortress-like buildings that towered above and around them, like a German fairy tale. Most Carls didn't have cars, so they were amazed at the sheer number of parking lots ringing the campus. They reminded him of the elaborate stacked rice paddies hewn from the side of Japanese mountains.
Matt got out and looked around at the muffled and well-insulated tall students; the Oles. It had the creepy clean feel of the 1950s on the campus, naivete was thick in the air, and he could not the slightest whiff of cynicism. Women in heavy dresses walked demurely in their boyfriends' sports jackets, giggling, with actual perms and bobbed hair-dos.
"Oh my, it's like the Stepford Wives here Sean, I'm afraid of getting roped into a Tupperware party," Matt edged back to the car and whispered, "Let's go back to the 21st century."
"No, much more like 'Village of the Damned.' We're going to go through with this all the way," Sean continued in a Sam Spade imitation, "And by the way, remember my name is Bjorn Jorgellsson, and yours is Sven Eigerdor. Stay in character, and we'll get home safe." He pulled out a slip of paper that Sarah had given him. "We're looking for Jared Hargorson in Thorsson Hall. He's the contact that our friend, Sarah, found for us."
"Hey, Bjorn," Matt said carefully stroking his own new curly platinum locks, "You know this one? What's the best way to drown a blond?"
"Ja, I've heard that one. Put a scratch-and-sniff sticker on the bottom of a swimming pool. Let's go." Sean walked by, and Matt stalled behind him, disappointed. With the aid of a map, they navigated the spiraling streets that encircled the plateau on the hilltop, and came to a dorm on the edge of a forest, with yet another amazing sledding hill that plummeted down to the plains below, with a few trees here and there in the middle, heavily padded with straw, showing the signs of several impacts on lower branches, even ten-feet up the tree. They soon confronted the dormitory's prim chaperone at the entrance, registered in a book with an old quill pen, and went to room 332 and knocked.
The door opened and a 6'8" blond giant opened the door and greeted them, there were four more tall students, male and female inside, striking uni-sexist in an ABBA sort of way, the room speaking in low voices. "Welcome, Lena said we might have visitors, you are Bjorn and Sven?" Sean and Matt nodded. "Ja, why don't we go to the lounge to talk, we can pour up some coffee there and we can work on your application." The Aryan archetypes filed out of the room in lockstep and sat in unison on the couches, men on the left, women on the right.
"How shall we begin?" Jared asked, arching his fingers into a steeple.
Sean explained that Matt and he were transfer students from St. Augustus College up north and wanted to be in a good Christian group, to have strong community with the faithful.
"Ja. That's good." Jared said, and there was a soft chorus echo from the group. "But we should be honest with you, we hate you." The others nodded, "Very much."
"What? You've just met us. You hardly know us," sputtered Sean, fearing things were not going to be easy.
"Oh, sorry," reassured Jared, "But we hate everybody."
"I don't understand. Christianity is based on love. Isn't that kind of prejudiced?"
Jared smiled and tugged on his lapels, "No, it's easy, St. Hubert says everyone is a sinner, so although we love the sinner, we really hate the sin in everyone, and we hate everyone equally, so that's not prejudice." Sean glanced warily at Jared and the coffee-slurping Oles with that look we reserve only for babbling mendicants on streets warning that fluoridated water is a tool to control our minds.
"All of them?" Sean asked politely.
"Yes, even the repenters, right Sister Olga?" Jared asked as if inviting her to recite the Baltimore Catechism, for she began to recite something by memory.
"Yes, Brother Jared, 'For repenters, although forgiven by God, will sin again, and may be lying to us about repenting, therefore their possible sins should be hated either preemptively, or just in case of prevarication.' " She smiled pleasantly and sat down and began to knit again on some socks with a passion.
"Indeed, Sister Olga." Jared turned to Sean. "Now, Bjorn, you must understand that although we hate all these people, it is not for us to hurt anyone, unless God tells us to do that, rather we simply choose to remind them frequently that they are damned and doomed to writhe and burn in the fiery pits of hell, and to say so as pleasantly and frequently as possible."
"You even hate each other?" Sean asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course, we also hate each other, just a little less equally," Jared said pointing at one man who was whittling a duck out of a block of willow wood, "You Brother Aric, you're a sinner and I hate you a lot, you'll be a crispy hotdog for Lucifer if you don't watch out!"
Aric smiled and returned, "I hate you too, you big sinner! Mephistopheles will use your head as a toothbrush!"
"I see... That is... quite reasonable, Brother Jared," Sean said embracing the tenuous logic for himself. "We would also like to share this good news to others who don't know how to hate themselves properly, and I already hate Brother Sven here deeply."
"That's joyous news, Hallelujah!" The other Denmads rose in a wave wriggling their fingers in the air then snapped three times. "Like our founder, St. Hubert told us, 'Baptize all who join you again, so that you can be sure, just in case.' So we should baptize you presently, Sister Helga, go prepare the robes and cut a hole in the lake, we shall have a celebration today."
"Hail Jesus!" Matt cried, unaware of the dire implications of those instructions.
"Excuse the excitement of Brother Sven here, Brother Jared," Sean said, pushing Matt back into his chair. "But, it's still January, shouldn't we wait on outdoor baptism until spring?"
"Jesus will come like a thief in the night, for we know not when he will arrive. Better do it today, just to be sure. We don't want the devil to get you tonight, do we?" Jared smiled.
"Tonight? What's tonight?" Sean asked, as Olga and Aric grabbed their hands and pulled them back to Jared's room.
"Why, we're going to hang you from a tree!" Jared crowed and everyone cheered.
Chapter Fourteen: Baptism by Ice
Sean and Matt were soon bedecked in long white robes with big purple crosses on their chests and a heart mark on the back with three bloody nails embedded in it. They were led out to a windswept, snow-flurried lake on the plain below Thorrson Hall, as snow-heavy clouds rolled in from the west over a pale, pathetic afternoon sun. A dozen pale-faced Denmads were garbed in identical attire at the edge of the lake, while two were vigorously pulling up and down on an ice saw. An eight-foot by eight-foot block of ice, two feet deep, was dislodged and pulled out of the lake by picks and hooks, glistened for a moment, and soon refroze to the snow in a minute or two.
Sean didn't like the looks of this, but he was greatly outnumbered and this would be over quick, he hoped. Matt was already chattering from the persistent stroking of the wind on his flimsy robe. The congregation formed a circle around the square hole in the ice.
"Oh Lord, we thank thee for bringing us a new hateful recruit to bolster our numbers, to do thy work." Jared motioned towards Sean and Matt. They approached the edge, and Jared stepped into the waist-deep water without any discernable reaction, and Sean and Matt tried likewise. The cold water immediately found its way through their garments and stung their skin as they heaved in a raspy breath from total shock.
"We will baptize you fully in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, who warms our hearts." Jared said and grabbed their shoulders and plunged them deep below the frigid waters, and intoned, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," and was interrupted by Helga.
"Brother Jared, shouldn't that be the Holy Spirit?" She asked in a perplexed state, pulling out a small booklet. Jared looked confused, while Sean and Matt began to struggle a little, after being under for about 10 seconds.
"Good question, Sister Helga. Let's consult the St. Hubert's Book of the Blessed, I think you should refer to page 26, the full text should be in there," Jared hinted. Meanwhile, Sean and Matt were not enjoying the view of the muddy lake floor and had begun to panic. Sean couldn't feel his arms, and swung them by rote memory to where he thought Jared's hands might be, clawing at them without mercy.
"Oh yes, Jared, you were right the first time, it's the Holy Ghost," Helga said, "Just wanted to be sure, of course."
"Of course, Sister Helga," Jared glowed, and just as the crazed struggles of Sean and Matt had begun to loosen and slip away, he pulled the two out of the water, just as they were about to heave in a lung-full of nitrous farmland water. The two sputtered while Jared crowed, "Looks like the devil put up a good fight with you two. You must have had a lot of sins. Now you must choose a Christian name."
"Ack," sputtered Sean, "I'll stick with Bjorn."
"Fine, you are Bjorn again!" and all the Denmads stretched their arms in the air and wiggled their fingers, snapping them sporadically. "And you, Brother Sven?"
"How about Anencephalous, he's an obscure second-century Christian, not too bright, but very devout?" Matt asked.
"Excellent choice. Rise Brothers Anencephalous and Bjorn to the First Degree!" More cheers and snapping ensued, as the two stumbled onto the snow banks, and Sean whispered to Matt whose hands were blue and clenched, "I'm not going swimming during winter again!" They were wrapped in blankets and then hurried off back up to Thorsson Hall where Brother Jared offered to help their numb fingers undress to take a hot shower in the dorm bathroom.
"No, that's fine, we'll manage fine," Sean dismissed them.
"Of course, you do not want to besmirch our eyes with the filth of your rotting mortal shell, we fully understand," then they departed. One or two of the females looked a bit disappointed at Matt through the closing door.
Sean locked the door and staggered into the shower fully dressed, and cranked the lukewarm water, which seemed boiling hot in comparison to the lake. Matt went into another stall and began to warm up and yelled, "Brother Bjorn, I actually feel like 10 degrees right now," he shouted over the shower stall. "What's next?"
"I don't know, Anencephalous... why did you pick that name?"
"Brain was frozen, and that's what my history report last term was about."
"What happened to him?"
"Oh, let's say he lost his head in a difficult situation," Matt smiled, "He's the patron saint for people with headaches, apparently he never had one again."
"You're dying and have visions, and you think of a history paper?"
"Yeah," Matt muttered, "but it's a good thing they left, they'd have found out that only our heads were bleached, eh?" He chuckled behind the shower curtain.
"I still haven't figured out the connection with Fisher yet; why did he hook up with all these nutballs? Keep you eyes open for any clues or links." Sean hissed.
They didn't have long to wait, for there was a polite knock and Sean opened the door and found a pile of white shirts, white pants and white socks outside and pulled them in, and they changed, putting them over their thermal underwear. A small congregation took them to the dining hall where Sean and Matt had white fish, potatoes, cream of mushroom soup and some milk. Afterwards, they were left alone in the lounge for a while, by which time their fingers had stopped tingling and had regained full movement. Sean kept reminding himself, that these kooks were not normal Christians, but that things couldn't get any worse, or could they? Naturally, it was already becoming quite dark outside at 5 o'clock.
"Come. The trees await." Sean and Matt looked at each other, and grabbed their coats and followed the Denmad crowd of Oles, who bore large flaming pine torches, as they paraded deep into the woods of the hillside, until they came to a clearing with a large tree, lit by a ring of torches planted around its base.
Jared, stomped twice, poised himself dramatically with a stiff arm before him and bellowed to Sean and Matt, who stood only two feet away, "Behold, the Tree of Suffering!"
Chapter Fifteen: The Tree of Suffering
Sean and Matt looked at each other, "Do we really have to suffer?"
"Of course you do, you wouldn't want our Lord to suffer by himself, would you?" Jared said methodically, "In order to understand his ways, we must emulate his ways. You're lucky this is January, our summer ascetics are much worse with the real nails, but the tree is too frozen now for those, you'll have to settle for ropes. You still do want to join us, do you not?"
"Of course we do!" Matt enthused, before Sean could slap him.
"Then, bind them to the tree!" Several strong arms grabbed and lifted Sean and Matt and wrapped them face-first against the eight-foot-girthed trunk, so that their feet dangled below, kicking the tree, about two feet off the ground.
"Um, Brother Jared? Who taught you this marvelous system of torture?" Sean asked in obvious discomfort, as the ropes settled entirely the wrong way in his crotch.
"I told you before, Brother Bjorn. St. Hubert of the church of San Bernardino of California. He came here in 1964 and taught of the three ways of day and one of night, giving us the Book of the Blessed and the Book of the Tree Vigil, and told us that righteous Hate will frighten the weak to our faith. This tree vigil is the way of night, is it not? See how much you are learning already!"
"I see, so was St. Hubert an Olaf student too?" Sean asked grimacing.
"No, our records say he came from 'another place', that is all they say, he came and we were enlightened. But his place of origin is not important, for his message is true, and surely comes from God. Now, we must leave you, and not trouble your meditation vigil with such trifling matters." Returning to invocatory speech, "Know His suffering, on the cross, the Tree of Life, and we shall return after the agony is beyond your mortal tolerance to finish things." And then he added privately, "I so envy you guys."
With Jared's theatrical gesture of pointing to the exit with two palms and a bow, the crowd of Denmad processed out of the grove, snapping their fingers inside their mittens. The last departing Ole snuffed the torches placed around the trees with a snowball in her hand. Their bobbing torches receded into the forest, leaving the two in near darkness, except for some pinpoint icy stars in the clear frosty sky. Sean thought he saw just a touch of a dancing blue aurora borealis towards the north.
"You know Bjorn," Matt said to Sean, turning his face from the tree and spitting out some bark and trying to smile, "I never figured you to be a tree-hugger type."
"Shut up," groused Sean, "I'm deep in wedgie country now, a place I will be glad to introduce you to later, and snow is falling off the upper branches down my neck." He shook vigorously, but hardly moved, except to slip further into discomfort, and causing more snow to fall on his head and shoulders.
Matt noted, "I'm glad that Nordic Club isn't a Greek Fraternity, we'd probably have to do some kind of gladiator combat with lions! I wonder what a Celtic Fraternity would do?"
"That's obvious, drink whiskey and argue a lot to nice rousing music, just like the RDNA. I don't know how a group like Denmad can last 40 years, built only on hate, Matt."
"Having an enemy is a good unifier of a group, a good dictator can always find someone to persecute," Matt sagely observed. "I'm sure they lose a lot of members, just like the Druids do, but in this case, these escapees get over their anger and wise up. There are always more fools to replace the smart ones who leave."
"It's really hard in moments like this, ouch, to realize that all Christians aren't quite as screwed-up as these guys. Did Fisher really plan all this?" Sean griped bitterly.
"I'm sure the Denmads changed over time, just like the Druids did. Did you hear that part about St. Hubert?" Matt insisted. "I think David Fisher's middle initial is 'H' and his interview mentioned he was born in San Bernardino."
Sean forgot his pain, "What? Are you saying that David Hubert Fisher wasn't brainwashed by this group into going to the seminary?"
"Yeah, I think it's entirely possible that Fisher actually founded this group too. Robert Larson, the California Druid missionary from Carleton, he says Fisher failed to start some other secret groups before setting up the Druids." He paused to shift uncomfortably, "Perhaps he also made a few groups AFTER the Druids also. After all, he was creative and turning more Christian by 1964."
That kind of makes sense. It really does at this point, thought Sean. "I think I understand what you're implying, ouch, perhaps Fisher set up Denmad here at St. Olaf to protect a key to the riddle, ouch, because, no right-minded Druid at Carleton would ever join these nutballs! And vice-a-versa. Neither side would, ouch, have all the keys to the puzzle, but would perpetuate the clues for the future heir."
Matt croaked, "That makes sense, Bjorn, ouch, but although I really dig being with this tree, I don't see yet what the key to the puzzle is."
Sean, sadly groaned, "Me either, we're really in a bind aren't we?" he morosely chuckled.
Matt chuckled, "Hey, that's the spirit, that's a good one. Keep it up! We'll need humor trying to figure out what to do next. You know I'm at the end of my rope!"
Anything to avoid the pain, Sean complied, "I'm entwined to agree with you, what-the-hell-is-your-name?"
Matt snorted, "Heh, heh, Anencephalous." Matt heard a soft kerplump landing in the snow from Sean's side.
"I think, oh damn!, my boot fell off!" Sean cursed a few unprintable words and said out of a pressed face, "What the hell is it about my left foot all the time?!" He wiggled his freezing toes to keep the circulation going. "By the way, I don't know who this John the Baptist fellow is, but I want his head on a silver platter, for starting that baptizing tradition."
"It's taken out of context. Baptism sounds like fun in the desert, eh? Too bad the tradition spread north." That brought Matt to a serious mode of thinking. "Sean, I've been thinking that I need to talk to you, are you busy?"
"Not sure, I'm all tied up, now, ow!" He chuckled painfully, getting a bit delirious, "Oh, okay, go ahead, I'm not going anywhere."
"You know, I'm thinking that stealing that document may have cursed us," then anticipating Sean's rebuff, "No, I really do."
"Okay, let's agree that we'll stop stealing documents, starting tomorrow." Sean sighed heavily, "It's situations like this that makes me dislike religions and fraternities. Sometimes, I really think most religions are just like mental viruses, that self-replicate themselves in viscous circles of illogic' once you swallow and accept some tasty sweet bit of fluff, and are all too easily transmitted to other sane people by those already infected. Why am I doing this?!"
"Well, that's a reasonable thought, but maybe it is our fault for starting our search in the winter, you know, Fisher clearly set up a Time of Sleep from Halloween to May Day when Druids were supposed to refrain from activity in the Arb, cause it's too damn cold. All this would have been easier in the spring, you know, but NO, you had to impose your schedule over the natural timetable of Nature, that's why we're here freezing our butts off with this tree!" Matt was huffing now.
"Um, Matt, calm down," Sean was worried, he hadn't seen Matt get this worked up since Willis, but Matt didn't seem quite done yet. Must be a Druid thing, he smirked.
"And another thing!" Matt wiggled in anger, futilely trying to gesture, "About this infiltration business, I'm getting a little ticked off by your attitude towards the Masons and Druids." He paused. "I mean, you've taken a lot of oaths, just like me in the Druids, and yet you are still more concerned about money. Wouldn't they be upset you revealing those entrusted secrets so easily to a friend, even me?"
"This is all about money, Matt, that's why we're doing this." Sean reminded him in clear slow words. "Besides, those are mostly silly secrets, from days when they were persecuted by the Catholic Church and Inquisition. They're cute, but not important, really anymore in this age."
"Can the anthropologist studying the tribe in the Amazon so completely distance himself from the festivals and wisdom of the people he is studying? Is none of it sinking in, or is it like rain pouring off a cold stone? I just don't know about you, Sean."
"Hey, Matt," he considered, "you, know, I like to pretend I'm above all this stuff, but the Masonry is reasonably well integrated, and they do put a lot of effort into helping out folks, after realizing how limited we are by ourselves. I got that. It's cool. It's just I can't accept the drama of it all, I'm too grounded... In reality, I think, to let myself go, you know to immerse myself in it without reservation."
Matt seemed glad to break through a little, and spoke softer, "Yeah, I know you do, I just wished you acted like it more. You're a bit too rough on the edges for those around you. "
"Heh, it looks like you're getting good at reading the edges of rocks and people now, aren't you?" Sean chuckled.
"Ha, just a little, seriously, you just have to pay attention and be aware of what's in front of you, like, now, there's this big tree in front of me, and I've been tied to it for a few hours, yelling at my friend. If we survive the night, we'll have great stories to tell our grandchildren."
Sean grimaced, "If I can't readjust myself, I ain't going to have grandchildren." They both chuckled and grew quiet.
"So what are you going to do if we get rich, Matt?"
"Raise lots of kids, volunteer overseas, and have good times with my friends?"
"And if we don't find the treasure?"
"Same thing, I think. You have to make a plan with your life that doesn't revolve around money. Money may make those things happen a little faster or easier, but you can't rely or put your hopes on it being there." Matt said, "How about you, Sean?"
"I don't know, I could avoid doing crappy jobs that I don't like, I suppose. I'm not vain enough to think I can buy love or respect. I guess I'd use it to help others, you know, less fortunate folk."
"That's nice, Gandhi, now come on with the truth!" Matt said half-seriously.
"After I get a huge screen TV, a couple cars and a few summer homes, of course!"
Matt chuckled, "Yeah, there's the Sean, I mean Bjorn, I know!"
They passed another hour or two occasionally trading jokes, then got tired, and just listened to the raw overpowering silence of a breezeless midwinter night and the unmoving tree next to them, punctuated by the grating of twisting ropes as they futilely reshuffled their position in search of comfort and keep their circulation moving. Pain became commonplace, and they no longer paid it much attention as their head swayed, filled with a cloying endorphin haze as time became meaningless.
Matt began to drift dangerously toward sleep, but at that time, a dim light in the forest caught their eye, and it bobbed behind the pine branches, getting larger and larger. It was Brother Gestalt, a short strawberry-blond 5'10", who they had met at dinner, he was bearing a large book and a knife at his waist. Sean was really worried when Gestalt planted the torch in the snow, held the book up in his left hand, and unsheathed the knife, raised it high and incanted, "You have completed the Second Degree of Suffering, and it has been decided that it is I who will release you from these mortal coils," Sean couldn't see what Gestalt was doing behind his back, but he clenched his teeth awaiting the falling blow that must come.
Chapter Sixteen: Up the Hill Without a Paddle
Sean and Matt tensed, eyes resolvedly shut for the inevitably end. I'm too good-looking to die young, Matt whispered in a open-destination prayer. Instead, the knife sliced easily through the ropes and Sean fell sloppily, like a sack of squished tomatoes on the snow, limbs numb and unusable from both the cold and the ropes. Matt soon followed. Gestalt sheathed the blade and held the book over his head, its inlaid jewels glinting in the torchlight. Sean struggled to an upright sitting position rubbing his wrist with his mittens.
"No, you must not speak, but you must read this Book of the Tree Vigil, for it lays clear the key to your path." Gestalt reverently handed the book over to Matt with a bow from the waist. "In a moment you will open it, and on the first page you will see the face of the devil who afflicts you. On the second page, only the purest of heart will be able to read the secret slogan of our most holy order. Go ahead and try. After the book has been read," Gestalt pulled open his backpack and a half-dozen paddles riddled with cross-shaped holes fell on the snow, "you will go through the Paddy-Whack Gauntlet and then must subjugate the Goat of the Evil One to complete the Ceremony of the Third Degree of Denmad at dawn soon!"
Sean looked at Matt with distaste at that prospect and then perused the ornately-bordered sturdy cover and was startled, elbowing Matt in the ribs to take a look. Matt opened the heavy leather-bound book with thin wooden pages held by iron rings. There were only two pages, the first had a light-weight flexible mirror on in, that reflected his visage back at him. Deep, man, real deep. Matt smiled and turned to the next plywood page, which was absolutely blank, but chipped on the edges in an odd way...
Gestalt continued on automatic with half-rolled-back eyes in joy, "Yes, of course you are impure and do not know the answer, for this is the way of humility, for none of can know all the secrets..."
Matt blurted rhetorically, "Hateful are their ways, from the morning to noon, and in the late evening, their sins would make you swoon."
Gestalt's jaw dropped and he jabbered, "You can see those words?"
"Sure, can't you?" Matt proffered the book to Gestalt who leaned closer squinting at the wavy grain of the wood, then with a quick, 360 degree reverse spin, Matt slammed the heavy book into Gestalt's head, who staggered backwards with a indignant squawk and fell down dazed and sprawled awkwardly. Sean stared in amazement at Matt.
"Have you lost your mind?" Sean gasped, "We agreed not to steal sacred documents anymore!"
"No, let's get outta here, Sean!" Matt grinned apologetically, "Besides, it's not 'tomorrow morning', yet!"
"You really thumped that Bible-thumper. Kind of ironic, eh?" Sean sneered.
"He'll be okay, but the rest of them will come soon." Matt turned, pulled on Sean's arm heading to the trail in the deep snow. Sean stumbled behind him, as they raced left and right and left at various forks in the trail. After a while, Matt didn't seem to know where to go, and re-emerged in the clearing with the Tree of Suffering, but Gestalt was gone. In Gestalt's place, there was some blood left on the deep imprint from his body. Matt stopped while Sean heaved for breath beside him.
"Matt,... You're lost?... Aren't you?" he wheezed.
"There they are!" cried some voices about 400 yards away in various directions.
"Well we're found now. We'll never outrun them in this snow, we're up a creek without a paddle." Matt muttered, winded.
"That's it!" Sean beamed and grabbed four whacking paddles in the snow and pulled out something from his pocket.
"Duct tape?" Matt queried.
"Yep." Sean murmured as he quickly lashed the paddles to his feet, "You, a Druid, should understand it. Duct tape is like the Force, it has a dark side and a light side, and it binds the universe together!" Sean then motioned to Matt and similarly attached some make-shift snowshoes onto his feet too. "Let's go, on the other path this time." Stumbling a little at first, they soon were running high on top of the snow's crusty surface, four times faster than before. Their dark forms were easily seen against the white snow from a great distance, and they heard the raging voices of the Denmads following behind, barely keeping pace. They rounded one corner and saw Jared in a clearing before them, blocking their trail on cross-country skis, tossing something up and down in his hand with great relish.
"We meet again, Anencephalous and Bjorn. You are backsliders!" Jared yelled, and laughed. "I have heard what you did to Gestalt, and we are most displeased."
"What's that you got there?" Sean asked nervously.
Casually, Jared replied, "A hand grenade."
Sean's jaw dropped, "Where the hell did you get that?!"
"'Seek and you shall find.' My roommate told me that buying a grenade from my brother's army buddies was rather silly from a personal protection perspective, but it does so come in handy, and they are cheaper by the dozen." He smiled and dangled it by the pull-ring, "And they're made in America!"
Sean turned to Matt, "I don't like this, Matt."
"Au contraire, mon frere!" Jared chuckled, "I think you're going to like this. Let's just say you'll 'go to pieces over it'.... Aye, it should do the Job well, for; 'By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they come to an end!'"
Matt smiled and muttered to Sean, "Job 4:9" Matt was stamping his left foot oddly.
"So you do know your Bible well!"
"Just because I'm a Druid, doesn't mean I don't know the Bible. I've read quite a few Good Books," Matt raised a mitten to begin a lecture, "I think that quote was taken out of context..."
Jared cut him off, "Druid, eh? Well, then I feel less compunction for using this!" and Jared pulled the pin and flung it right at the two men. A rump-whacking paddle was suddenly in Matt's hand, he twisted and thwacked the grenade with a mighty crack, splitting the paddle in two with a perfect cricket-bat swing. The blow sent the grenade rebounding towards the incredulous Jared who turned and slipped as he dove for the cover of the trees. Snow and several bushes flew out of the ground, showering the area with dirt, bark, ski-shards and perhaps, yes?, a little blood?
When the shockwave ended, Sean cried, "Bloody good shot, old chap!"
Matt, a bit deafened, yelled back at Sean, "We should check and see if he's okay."
With acid in his voice, Sean gritted, "Tell you what, Matt. Let's allow the rampaging mob check on him, and we'll mail him a get-well card tomorrow!"
Waving the broken paddle, Matt dejectedly stated, "Sean, go on without me, my paddle is busted."
"No way, give me your foot, Matt." Sean bound Matt's left foot onto his right foot, grabbed his high shoulder, and said, "Damn this deja vu, again! You said Druids like to work in threes, right? Well, start running! Outer, inner, outer, inner, out, in, out, in!" The two started to build a rhythm and were soon only slightly slower than the furious slipping and faltering approach of the pursuing mob, which was mired by the deep snow. Yet the frenzied mob did slowly gain on them, and when the mob was less than 150 feet away, Matt and Sean reached the edge of a precipitous slope, shining icily in the moonlight. They barely halted in time at the sudden edge, staring down at the near vertical cliff-like slope, that plummeted into heavy forest below.
Sean kicked off the paddles. "Snowshoes are worthless here, Matt! Should we jump or fight?"
"Neither, Sean." Matt opened up the enormous book and placed it firmly at the edge of the chasm and sat down on it, holding the edges of the two covers. "Hop on!"
"So, we're choosing suicide! There's a reason Masons go only to 33 degrees, because 88 degrees is too steep!"
"No, we're just doing more backsliding!" Matt smiled triumphantly, "You forget that I've never lost the luge yet in the Carleton Olympics?"
Sean looked doubtful, then turning at the irate torch-swinging posse bearing down at them, yelling "Hate! Hate!", Sean quickly climbed onto Matt's lap.
Grabbing Sean tightly, "Well, you should know, I've never attempted such a slope with my clothes on before...!"
"GO!" Sean yelled, and pushed the snow, and like a lead balloon, they plummeted down the slope, escaping just out of reach of a few Denmads that threw themselves at the two men as they disappeared over the edge. The wind suddenly drove icy needles into their face as they clung to their make-shift toboggan, veering towards some vicious stumps.
Matt tightened his grip on Sean and bellowed, "Don't move, Sean, let me steer!" Trees on the slope whizzed by, perilously close, slapping their faces with low branches, but Matt deftly shifted his weight left and right, shooting off showers of ice crystals, occasionally getting a face-full of pine needles, turning around once or twice, and sliding backwards towards certain death more than one time.
While going backwards, Sean saw a few Denmads jump over the cliff, only to spin haplessly on their backs and painfully wrap around some trees halfway down. The rest wisely chose not to follow.
Matt merely yee-hawed all the way; screaming in delight! Eventually after another 20 harrowing seconds, the slope began to level off, and they slowed down to mere maniac speed. Three minutes later they slowed to the point where, Matt thrust out his boots and brought it to a halt. Sean staggered to his feet, swaying from the adrenaline rush.
When he collected himself, Sean said, "Okay, let's work our way towards the lights of Northfield... we'll get my car later... They are probably...looking for us now." Sean began to bush-whack through the trees in the general direction of downtown lights, branches whipping his face, ears hearing shouts behind in the forest, sometimes close, sometimes far. They eventually broke through the tree cover and stumbled onto a small neighborhood of apartment buildings and followed the slight declination until it came to the Cannon River, crossed the bridge to the Carleton side of the town, and safety.
Chapter Seventeen: Code of the Druids
They soon reached Sean's dormitory and flicked on the light in his room.
"Okay, Matt, explain yourself, I think we were getting really close to figuring it out, why did you blow our cover?"
Matt looked sheepish but then remembered his reason, and pulled out the battered book. "Look at the book's cover again, you saw something in the pattern didn't you?"
Sean looked at the remnants of the book, "Dang it that ride down the slope has really messed it up."
"Yeah, but we'll still have to return it later, but they sure won't be happy. But you can still read it, right Sean?"
"Yes, I thought it was the Masonic Alphabet, but how did you know what I was thinking, and how did you know their secret slogan?" He asked with disbelief and slightly narrowed eyes.
Matt posed and polished his nails, "The scratches on the edge of the blank wooden page were just another Ogham inscription from Fisher with the slogan I read out. But it also said," Matt pointed to the scratch marks, one letter at a time, "YOUR KEY IS WRITTEN ON THE COVER. YOU NEED SEARCH FOR CLUES NO FURTHER." He handed the book to Sean, who made an apologetic face, and asked Sean, "So, Mr. Mason, they say 'you can't judge a book by its cover', but we need your opinion on this cover, or we're really stuck."
Sean leaned close and scratched his head, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. He began carefully transcribing the strange angular symbols from the cover, and tidied them up. What could it possibly mean?
Sean held out the sketching of the code, "Here's the message from the book's cover. What do you think?"
Matt shrugged, "I don't know, it's all Greek to me."
After a short while Sean nodded, "Well, it's not Greek, you were right earlier; this is a Masonic Code, perhaps the same one I played with back as a kid under a different name, from a popular cryptography book for kids. I didn't have many friends, back then, and couldn't crack the social code of school, so I doodled often with these kinds of spy games. I had no idea then that the Masons were once using it, but a fellow Mason last week mentioned a code at one of our get-together meetings, something about involving squares." He finished sketching something, "It's quite clever, but actually very simple."
"Are you sure you should be telling me this secret, Sean?" Matt asked with an arched eyebrow.
"Yeah, that's old-time stuff, no one cares about anymore, modern Masons use 64-bit encryption software now. Please, notice the four glass jewels in the corners on the cover, and how the message's coded squares and angles run along the edge between the jewels." Sean traced the pathway. "Knowing Fisher it's probably another quartet of verse, so we have four lines of text." He pulled out a magnifying glass, and Matt leaned over. "Notice the blue inset jewel in the upper left corner has an "X" on it, the other three are yellow, the upper right has a "#" on it, the lower left has a "#" with a dot in each square and the lower right has another "X" with a dot between each angle."
"Okay, I see that, but how does that help?" Matt said.
"Well there's a total of 26 spaces between those lines, one for each letter of the Roman alphabet to be inserted in a pre-determined order. Now the question is in what order are the Xs and #s to be arranged? For example # #* X X* or X#* #X*? Notice that one of these jewels is not like the others, three yellow and one blue, perhaps in that there's a clue."
Matt snapped his fingers, "You remember back at Olaf he said, 'Three ways of day and one of night?' That is also invoked in the Druid liturgy when consecrating the whiskey, and Fisher came up with that wording. There are three yellow jewels and one blue gem, so I'd say that seems a good connection."
Sean nodded, "That's probably the underlying meaning, but we still don't know which part of the day (i.e. jewel) to start with for cracking the code."
"Well, Druids always go clockwise, or "sun-wise", and according to the Druid calendar systems at Carleton, night always proceeds day (Book of Customs), kind of like the Jewish holidays, so I'm guess it is X # X* #*, midnight-dawn-midday-dusk, which seems logical since 'X marks the spot' to begin, right? The philosophical implication is that we begin in a period of darkness and proceed towards the light."
"That's good, that actually follows some Masonic initiatory patterns too. Matt, let's try that order then," Sean stuttered, quite impressed, "Now once arrange the keys in the proper order, you simply plug in the alphabet letters left to right, top to bottom, in this direction."
"So," Sean continued, "when you do that, the code looks like this." He showed Matt the key.
"Now, let's look at the little squares and angles starting with the blue jewel in the upper left corner and spiral around the book cover, and I think I can detect some unintended spacing still in here;" Sean scribbled furiously but soon looked upset." He held up the decoded text to Matt, frowning, "Well, it almost works."
|MN TJE CEGMNNMNG FRPI TJE DJAQEH YE BMB
CWT YJEN PF FREE YMHH, TPGP TJERE MS NP TRPWCHE
FRPM TJE DRUQT WQ TP TJE JEAZENS UPW IWST NPY RMSE ANB TRAZEH
ANB GRAC TJEMR SUICPH MF TJMS QWVVHE UPW YPWHB WNRAZEH
"I don't know, but it still looks like gibberish to me, Sean." Matt sighed and pulled his hair.
"Some of the words like TJE is probably THE and FREE is okay. TJERE is THERE, so I think we're probably really close to cracking this code. The problem is why didn't Fisher use the correct Masonic decoding pattern?"
"Perhaps he just forgot? Not everyone has a perfect memory," Matt pointed out, "You said that he didn't have a very extensive Masonic background, so maybe he invented a different order/pattern to plug in the alphabet rather than left to right, top to bottom?"
"Oh great, so which way is it?" He launched his pencil over his shoulder, "I'd rather not spend fifty hours playing trying to play "re-arrange the letters" to get them in the right order." He scribbled some more, "Maybe it has something to do with the liturgy, like North-South-East-West, or he was a reporter at KARL, so maybe it's NEWS, North-East-West-South, like a lightning bolt? No, that can work with X and X* but doesn't work with the nine spaces of # and #*. No, it just doesn't seem consistent with Masonry or Druidry. I'm at a total dead-end here."
Matt frowned, "Wouldn't he keep it simple? You told me those Masons believe in the principle 'As above in the heavens, so below on earth,' namely that the actions of geometry reflect celestial events and vice-a-versa, so maybe the clue to arranging the jewels reflects the alphabetizing order, that would be most consistent wouldn't it? Besides Druids don't think in a linear fashion like Masons, because Nature abhors straight lines, preferring gentle curves...and in most labyrinthine matters, the path eventually curves to the center. That's my guess how he might have thought."
Sean snapped the other pencil he was chewing on. Something was clicking, but he couldn't figure out what. Maybe. No. Could it be? "Like perhaps another clockwise motion? That would be consistent in pattern with the order of the Xs and #s." Sean didn't look or wait for Matt's half-hearted shrug, but resumed scribbling on the notepad. "That's it Matt, if you do a spiral insertion of the alphabet, it works in this manner:"
"Which produces a key like this:"
Sean smugly turned, "Now, Matt, you said, Druids like to ask each other questions and let them find their own answers, right? Well, then, I'll allow you put it together and see what the puzzle says."
Matt began to plug the letters into the list of symbols again. Matt smiled as the message began to appear one letter at a time.
"Oh, Sean! It does work, and it's quite deep in implications for reflection. Let's go to there and find the object he is referring to, but let's do it Wednesday, I need to get my text books tonight and tomorrow is the first day of winter trimester classes."
"Yeah, and besides," Sean added, "Our roommates will come back, and would get suspicious if we leave all that gear lying about our rooms!"
Matt smiled nodding, opening a flask of whiskey, "You know, it's almost as if we're in a mystical dialogue across the barrier of time with this guy, Fisher, in some sort of way. Oh, and this Fisher guy is certainly not an infallible founder, did you notice he spelt 'their' wrong? "
END OF PART FOUR OF EIGHT
Tune in next issue at Samhain, for the further adventures of Sean and Matt.
The Second World Congress on Matriarchal Studies
SOCIETIES OF PEACE
Matriarchal societies past and present.
Matriarchal spirituality. Matriarchal policy.
Sept. 29 - Oct. 2, 2005
Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
Presented by the Center for the Study of the Gift Economy, USA and the International Academie HAGIA, Germany; co sponsored by the Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies, Texas State University
Contrary to the common prejudice which sees matriarchies as women's rule" these societies have real gender-egalitarian, consensus-based and peaceful traditions. Their cultural genius can give the guidelines for a better future. Please come to this groundbreaking congress which will bring together speakers from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America with a special invitation to indigenous women and men from matriarchal societies worldwide.
The speakers include:
Yvette Abrahams, Khoekhoe, South Africa
Jeanette Armstrong, Syilx,Okanagan, Canada
Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen, Germany
Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, Italy/USA
Susan Gail Carter, USA
Wilhelmina J. Donkoh, Akan, Ghana, West Africa
Max Dashu, USA
Kurt Derungs, Switzerland
Please register now at www.second-congress-matriarchal-studies.com or call (512) 444-1672
Co sponsored by: Texas State University at San Marcos, Center for
Multicultural and Gender Studies and by California Institute for Integral
Studies Women's Spirituality Program, Indigenous Women's Network, Institute for
Archaeomythology, Reformed Church of the Goddess International, and Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom
Beach Clean Up Day
Here is fun activity and opportunity for Druids to get outside in Nature and to do something to care for the Earth Mother.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization working to preserve our oceans, waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education. It is organizing a Beach Clean Up Day in conjuction with the San Francisco Zoo on October 2nd at Ocean Beach. Meet 10 a.m. at the Sloat Avenue entrance to the beach.
Gloves and bags will be provided. No reservation needed.
EarthSpirit and Tamelin Productions invite you to attend Twilight Covening 2005 - October 7-10 in the Berkshire hills of northern Connecticut.
Twilight Covening is a focused three-day ritual event for those whose spirituality centers around the earth and her natural cycles. Intense work in small groups with specific spiritual practices like drumming, chanting, trance-dance, journeying, healing and visual arts intertwine with large group ritual to create a profound experience for participants.
Join us for this beautiful weekend in the Berkshires to make a ritual transition from summer to winter and to deepen your personal practice-learning from highly experienced and respected teachers from around New England.
Find out more! Check out our web site,
or call for a brochure: 413-238-4240
P.O. Box 340
Williamsburg. MA 01096
A Celtic Christmas
Fairfield Performing Arts Center presents A Celtic Christmas with MEN OF WORTH Featuring Celtic harpist Maureen Brennan, the Uileann pipes and fiddle of Kevin Harr, Irish whistles of Geraldine Murray and the Murray Irish Dancers.
Sunday December 18- 7:00pm
1035 Texas Street,
Box Office 707-428-7664
Coursework and Employment
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE
August 8, 2005
Contact: Public Information Officer, Cherry Hill Seminary firstname.lastname@example.org 802-234-6420
Pagan Seminary Offers 10 Compelling Fall Courses
Cherry Hill Seminary, a professional Pagan ministry program, proudly announces its Fall 2005 course offerings. Basing its philosophy on sacred connections and community building, Cherry Hill Seminary$BCT(B thought-provoking courses serve the rapidly growing Pagan community.
* Rites of Passage: Includes include ritual design, and counseling
specific to each type of rite and field work.
* Media and Public Relations How to be interviewed by the media, get the media coverage you want and what to do when you get unsolicited or unwanted media coverage.
* Call of the Dark Mother: A survey course in death, dying and grieving to better prepare Pagans who hear the call to this sacred work, and also those who encounter it as part of their overall priest/esshood.
* Introduction to Interfaith: Designed to replace the cycle of religious superiority, intolerance and ignorance, interfaith work bridges communities with positive, nurturing and unifying resources.
* Group Leadership Dynamics: Designed to assist group leaders to understand the stages of group development, the dynamics of member interactions and what makes a group succeed or fail. Prerequisite for Community Building. New Public Ministry course
* Survey of Counseling Theories: An exploration of twelve current theories of therapy, and focus on their application to pastoral counseling in the context of alternative religions.
* Sacred Layers: Uncovering Stories in our Families and our Relationships: Marriage, Relationship and Family Counseling: Students will experiment with a series of lenses and structures to expand perceptions in societal, social and personal contexts, and examine the ethics, thea/ology, theory and practice of interactions with individuals, groups and systems. New Pastoral Counseling course.
* Survey of Chaplaincies: Explore the issues faced by Pagan clergy who minister to the religious needs of our people within non-Pagan institutional settings, such as college campuses, hospitals, military bases and prisons. Each of these situations presents specific spiritual challenges. Working with non-Pagan colleagues and administrators, complying with institutional procedures and other requirements.
* Children in Contemporary Paganism: Survey course exploring various issues of Pagan parenting and education, the ways in which children are incorporated into Pagan communities across traditions, and how this next generation is shaping (or re-shaping) Paganism.
* Religion & the Law: An overview of our legal structure: First Amendment protections; freedom of speech and assembly; discrimination in housing, employment and in child custody conflicts; counseling conscientious objectors; finding the law you need online; free public access, right to television.
Students in online classes should have a basic understanding of their computers and online use. Please check the tech needs page for suggested hardware, software, and capabilities before you register.
This press release made available by Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS), a professional Pagan ministry program, fostering a vibrant flow of information about and for the broad Pagan community. For more information please see the Cherry Hill Seminary website at http://www.cherryhillseminary.org
The Cherry Hill Seminary
307 Christian Hill Road
Bethel, VT 05032
Online Graduate Study Program
in Celtic Studies at the University of Wales
The University of Wales, Lampeter will be offering a new postgraduate online MA in Celtic Studies from October 2005 onwards. Students from around the world will be able to study online either full-time (one-year) or part-time (2-4 years) under the guidance of an experienced tutor without attending a campus. Residential courses will become available at a later date if there is sufficient demand but the principal idea is to give students an opportunity to broaden their knowledge of Celtic Studies before taking the plunge possibly into independent research (MPhil or PhD). Further details will become available at www.e-addysg.com (the home address of the Department of Welsh at the University of Wales, Lampeter and which also has a link to a free Welsh-English dictionary) or those interested could simply send an e-mail to the Head of Department, Dr Jane Cartwright (email@example.com).
The Department of Welsh at Lampeter would like to publicise this unique postgraduate course more widely in North America and would greatly appreciate any contact details for institutions and/or individuals who would be interested in Celtic Studies.
Thank you for your time.
Owen Thomas, Lecturer
Department of Welsh, University of Wales
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Center for Celtic Studies
http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/celtic/index.html The Center for Celtic Studies provides interdisciplinary, international educational opportunities for UWM students. Our program includes on- campus instruction by UWM and visiting international faculty, as well as study-abroad options in Ireland, Great Britain, and Europe. We provide a wide range of course and research topics relating to cultures-both historical and modern--that share Celtic influence: the early Continental Celts and the Breton, Cornish, Galician, Irish, Manx, Scots, and Welsh peoples.
Students can concentrate their studies on the Celtic languages, both spoken and written, or they may choose to investigate the broader themes of the Celtic world, such as art, archaeology, literature, history, folklore, music and myth.
The Celtic world offers a dynamic forum for the combined study of language,
culture, politics, education, and the arts. The Center for Celtic Studies
provides enrichment to both UWM students and the community at large through the
Certificate Program and the Center's many activities and resources.
Volunteer Public Information Specialist Position
Unique opportunity for the right Pagan who is committed to CHS's mission of providing professional Pagan ministry education.
Compiles and maintains contact lists for:
Pagan magazines and newsletters
Secular media (religion reporters, etc.)
Interfaith groups and publications
Any other groups that seem relevant to the Seminary$B%1(Bs mission
Writes and distributes press releases to appropriate venues. Writes and submits articles to appropriate media regarding Cherry Hill Seminary, its programs, students and activities. Responds to inquiries from journalists - may give interviews, arrange interviews with other seminary members, or make whatever other arrangements are appropriate. Develops, and updates as necessary, a Seminary press packet. May design brochures, flyers, advertisements and other publicity materials as assigned by the Seminary.
Facilitates public outreach efforts of other Cherry Hill staff by acting as consultant, coach, resource person, etc. Places advertisements as appropriate
Maintains supplies of publicity materials and distributes them to assigned representatives of the Seminary for disbursement at festivals, workshops, meetings and outreach events. As designated spokesperson, communicates news and viewpoints of the Cherry Hill Seminary during newsworthy and/or critical situations and issues. Consults with Cherry Hill Seminary's Legal Advisor when appropriate to maintain proper alignment with the views, and legal position of the Seminary. Performs other communication duties as directed by the Seminary or assigned representative.
Expected Education and Knowledge:
College level course work in Media Communications, including Media and the Law, BA or MA degree desirable but not required. Excellent communication and writing skills and the ability to work and relate well with all levels of individuals. Working knowledge of graphics and layout programs and a solid knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. Experience in public speaking and the ability to communicate clearly, simply and with confidence in difficult circumstances.
Send application to Macha at
cherryhillseminary.org . Please put "PIO search" in subject line.
|A Druid Missal-Any|
Fall Equinox, when the Night equals the Day and as it says in the RDNA service for this season "Balanced now are we!" This year the Fall Equinox will occur on September 22nd 3:24 p.m. PST.
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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