A Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America


Fall Equinox, Year 42
(September 23rd, 2004)

Volume 20, Number 6





Fall Equinox Essay
News of the Groves
A Passing...
Robert Larson's Memorial Ritual
Thoughts on Becoming an Elder
Taranis Tracts
Interview with David Fisher
Seasons of Food - Figs
About Nwyfre
Spell of the Day: Ethics and Issues
NEWS: Libertarian Activist Gary Copeland Passes Away
NEWS: U.K. Prosecutors Drop Case Against Druid
EVENTS: Autumn Sunrise at Sunwheel
EVENTS: Magical Isles with Mara Freeman
EVENTS: New Celtic Music CD!





big o quinox approaches! This is the time sacred to Cernunnos, the Hunter God. The cult of the horned god, the shaman-god dressed in the horns and hide of a hoofed prey-animal, is one of the most ancient themes running through Indo-European-Siberian group of cultures. Cave paintings in France and Spain dating from the Paleolithic show these figures, and he is seen again on the Gundestrup cauldron, crafted by the Eastern European Celts under Druid auspices and direction, he wears the antlers of the stag. It would be rash to think of all the horned Eurasian gods as Cernunnos, each tribe probably had their own name for him, but the theme seems universal among those cultures which lived through the last Ice Age in Europe and Euro-asia north of the Caucus. In the Pre-Indo-European Balkans he is associated with the goat, in Siberia with the reindeer, in England with the Red Deer, and in the Mediterranean and Ireland with the bull. (Here is another element linking Erin to Spain and the Mediterranean world as opposed to the rest of the British Isles or Gaul.)

Everywhere Cernunnos is associated with a horned and hoofed, food producing species. He may be the Being commemorated in the "horn-dances" carried out in a number of English villages up through the nineteenth century, and now exclusively in Abbots Bromley. Whether this is a local survival from Druidic or even Pre-Celtic times, or is a rite brought with them by the Anglo-Saxon invaders in the service of their cognate deity, Hern the Hunter, is not known.

Originally Cernunnos seems to have been a hunter's god, and later to have become associated with flocks and herds as "Master of the Animals." Still later he is appealed to for prosperity and fertility in general. This was the stage of the tradition seen in the Grecian Pan cult, and in that of European "Robin Goodfellow," later distorted and debased by Christian missionaries into their "devil" cults and images. There is no devil in the Celtic Pantheon. A cosmic "bad guy" is a theological invention of a set of Middle Eastern religions including Zoroastrianism, Persian, Sumerian and Semitic as well as Christianity. Devil inventing and worshipping as we see it now is a Christian spin-off, and usually a rebellion against that same faith. It has nothing to do with the older, indigenous religions and God-figures of Europe. Cernunnos was an extremely popular figure among the farming peoples of Celtic Europe, and the Romans, newly Christianized themselves, seeing that they could not co-opt his worship, or euphemize him into a "saint," as they did a number of the other Druidic deities, debased him into a demon, i.e. the god of a rival, competing theocracy. Margaret Murray first enunciated this theory in the 1920s. Her work then fell into disrepute in the '40s and '50s, but has since been revived and vindicated. Her book, The God of the Witches, Oxford University Press, 1970, is worth reading if you can find it. G. Rachel Levy also sheds some light on the Mediterranean versions of his worship in her book The Gate of Horn, Farber and Farber, 1948. (This book is now published as Religious Conceptions of the Stone Age and Their Influence Upon European Thought, New York: Harper, 1963.)

The Gaelic word "Faighe" that came to be translated "prophet," originally meant "seer" and was the name of one class of Druids, solitary forest-dwelling mystics, who may have originally been connected with the worship of Cernunnos in his role as the shaman-god. "Fiagh," the Gaelic root word for "deer," is suggestive in this regard. The old "seer" whom Finn encountered beside the sacred pool was probably one such. They are associated with the Hazel, as Cernunnos may have been as Bride is associated with the Birch and Lugh with the Apple tree.

The Horned-god had a second sacred time beginning around the Winter Solstice with the tradition of the Flying Shaman. Mystic and inter-world journeyer, he descends into the Land of the Ancestors, (the sun, sinking to its nadir?) to bring back new souls, of game animals and kine and humans that new animals and Infants may be born and increase and prosperity be assured. This journey, "dedicated to the continual flow and renewal of life,*" was still being undertaken by Finn-Ugric and Siberian tribal shamans into this century. It is well documented and the beliefs behind it recorded by A. A. Popov, the Russian anthropologist in his numerous books and articles.

Cernunnos' rituals and, from the evidence of offerings left secretly at cave shrines, his worship, continued long after nominal Christianization of Europe. The Highland Calluinn (Hazel-tree) Ritual is an example of one such rite, still in practice in the nineteen century. The Protestant cleric who recorded it seems to have had no inkling of its meaning, but he writes that the people of the west Highlands, in the middle of the seventeenth century, were "little more than heathens, having been neglected by the Roman Church." According to Dwelly, of Dwelly's Gaelic-English Dictionary fame, it is an old west Highland belief that old Calluinn night, when the winds blow from the West, is the night of the fecundation of the trees. The West is the direction of the Celtic Other World, and of the dead. One wonders if this post-Solstice celebration marks the successful return of the shaman, (as well as the sun) from the Land of the Dead with his sack of new souls and spiritual gifts from the Ancestors. (See the Yule Druid Missal-Any for 1986 for the "Santa" Claus-Cernunnos-Flying shaman connection.)

*Quote from the R.D.N.A New and Full Moon Day Service

By Emmon Bodfish, reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any Fall, Equinox 1989.





News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory

Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota

It's the summer and Carleton has been quiet. However the tree and flowers are beautiful and inspiring here, worthy of just finding time and sitting outside contemplating, or just doing the work one might've done inside. The weather has been a little strange, some of August was surprisingly cool. The Carleton grove will have started up by the time this appears, though as I right it is still two weeks away.


Sylvagaia/Elder Grove: News from France

Hi folks

I feel it's time for me to move on and I just want to say good bye and thanks. Seems the most decent thing to do. I haven't talked a lot lately. The computer's been broke for about three months, but I've enjoyed the time when we did talk. Thanks Stacey and Mike, you're very kind people. Brightest blessings to you.

Please consider the Sylvagaia Proto Grove as missing in action. It never really got into action anyway, coward that it is.... Nobody's fault.

Life is very tough and complicated at the moment and we've got to work extremely hard to get things going again. Sometimes we feel a bit depressed. It's not easy seeing your crops blown away by the beautiful but often uncaring hands of nature. When the Mother has a scratch, the continents shake. Farming is weird business.

I've learned a lot from Reformed Druidism and will keep many of your insights and humour close to me, as I will stumble on, figuring out my own strange and personal form of earth spirituality.

See you somewhere


Awen Proto-Grove: News from Calgary

Greetings everyone!

Awen Grove is a small grove that is starting out in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We have been in existence for just under a year, but all oak trees start out as little nuts, so we should be ok...

Our focus is on the Path of Service: Service to the Gods, Service to the Community and Service to the Self

We have done a few public rituals, our first being Samhain 2003, and we are beginning to make ourselves known to the general community for local community service through volunteer efforts and event planning.

All of us are looking forward to interacting more with other folks within the RDNA!

Athelia Nihtscada, Senior Druid of Awen Grove


Aelven Star Grove: News from Pennsylvania

Greetings from Aelvenstar Grove!

After an 'interesting' summer, I am continuing Ogham studies and have been gathering sticks for magick and divination. I made a really neat wand last year, and am just about to put finishing touches on my staff.

Other news....A website is in the works and is coming along slowly but surely. Will keep you posted

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire runs August 1 through October 24, 2004 and we are organizing an outing for any and all who would like to join our small group for the outing. Please email me if interested:

aelvenstargrove@yahoo.com Peace and blessings in the Mother,

Arch Druidess Aelvenstar Grove


Digitalis Digitalis Grove: News from D.C.

Robert Larson's death deeply affected me, as his influence in founding the Berkeley Grove and publishing of the Druid Chronicles (Evolved) led to the re-emergence of my Carleton Grove and inspired me to publish ARDA. I'm in the process of trying to get the Order of Danu (10th) established this year for departed Druids, and conferring with the Patriarch of Sirona to resume the filling of the Higher Orders. I'll tell you later how it works out. Right now, I'm preparing for the approach of hurricane Ivan and the arrival of a second dog in my home.


Creeks-Called-Rivers Grove: News from West Virginia

Creeks-Called-Rivers Grove has dried up and blown down the road to West Virginia. We're having another go here in WV as Little Mountains Grove. So far there have been no fatalities, so i'd say that's good.



Missionary Order of the Celtic Cross - Muskogee/Mother Grove Oklahoma

The editor extends her apologies for the belated posting of the Muskogee/Mother Grove news. Partially due to moving and partially because she didn't think anyone would actually send anything there, she had not checked her p o. box. Here is the Muskogee/Mother Grove news from Beltaine 2004.

It's been a while since I wrote an update about what's going on with the grove. Honestly we've been having activity, but nothing exactly what Ifd call newsworthy. But now, some threads of activity are weaving themselves together in an identifiable fashion. For instance, the thread of activity that dates back to the late summer of '03. August to be exact. It was about a dream. I dreamed that I was standing beside Salt Creek (a tributary to the Arkansas River below Brushy Mountain, just outside Muskogee) and there came seven thin, sick head of cattle out of the creek. I awoke. I knew this dream. It was the second half of Pharaoh's first dream, signifying seven years of famine. Why the Old Ones were using biblical imagery to communicate the point, I do not know, but I'd learned from dreaming prophetic dreams and 'seeing" things not to ignore dreams such as this.

Making a common sense review, and a moral inventory of the ramifications of both not sharing the dream and sharing it, I decided to write about the vision-ream. The first time I broke the news of the dream was in the MOCC Free Voice (Sept. '03) making reference to a 2002 dream that probably dealt with the sacking of museums and libraries of Baghdad. I admitted that there were those who would wag their heads and label me a doomsayer, but I had to share the dream and what I had felt that it had revealed. I wrote: "if we are to hold out against this turbulent season, we must hold fast to our principles, our customs, and our traditions. We must learn to cooperate and to build together. Our teachings are the foundation of hope, and our traditions are the very blueprint of stability. Let us also use vision to be overcomers. I am not a doomsayer, and I believe that we can weather the coming season and come out smelling more or less like a rose." I anticipated a backlash of persons making mention of the Archdruid going insane. Oddly, there was a consensus that hard times did appear on the horizon, and they also seemed extended and difficult.

Not being the good, little, obedient clergy person, I found myself where I've been several times before. I was endangering future non-profit status as a church for my local grove by commenting on political and economic topics... perhaps because I am a Druid and Druidism has historically overstepped polite boundaries a number of times, perhaps because there's a higher law than a tax code. In October's issue I revisited the seven years of hard times between 2003-2012, this time urging the use of wisdom. "We ought always to seek out wisdom. Not only in facing the future, but, in confronting the our own mistakes and our own shadows. We are slightly less than perfect, though we are hardly ever confronted with this fact... we have our shortcomings. We have our shadow selves. It is unavoidable... Wisdom, like the taproot of the oak, runs deep to reach precious water. So when we put wisdom to use, it goes deep within and all around us to search out life giving and life affirming answers. Not just metaphysically, but readily put to use to meet most every need."

November covered sacrifice. December covered cooperation. "Traditions change. Wisdom is oft unheeded and under-appreciated. Sacrifice often seems wasted. But no one can deny the worth of cooperation.

"I am often held at awe at the sheer raw power of cooperation. That power arises from the fact that when you have two people agreeing on one thing, the power of consensual reality meets the magick of faerie sight. This concept is lost on no one. In the Bible, it manifestly states that 'where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.' The meeting place of mind, spirit and body is the place where the divine can intervene. It is where concept takes on the power of force. Cooperation is where things get done. It is the wellspring of all accomplishment.

"Cooperation is the antithesis of self-serving pride. One cannot succeed in cooperation when the do not compromise one with the other, because that is the very nature of cooperation. More than one agree upon an idea, both come to a mutually beneficial agreement as to how to accomplish the end, and they compromise on self-sufficiency by developing independence. That is cooperation.

"I freely admit, in a religion such as Druidism, so individualistic that to mention cooperation seems to some to be a dirty word, it is almost an alien invasion. After all, doesn't cooperation mean that we must give up some of our freedom? Well, Druids have their role historically being involved in Order and working together, too. Be fair about it. In the MOCC Order of Ascension and Ordination (specifically in the Ritual of the Staff) all the MOCC clergy are charged 'to together bear both responsibility, co-workers upon the common land.' Cooperation gets that dirt underneath the fingernails.

"Working together toward a common goal. For us, we must look at cooperative economics, cooperative ventures, and cooperative effort. No one is left behind in our way of thinking. This is the very basis of what we teach socially: that we are part of a World Tribe that we form a Tuath—a tribe—with strong ties as long as we honor those ties and do not walk away from them. With all the talents we have been gifted with, there is no such thing as a 'weak link' in our chain. Everyone has their contribution to make; everyone has their unique place within the circle."

And with Yule, I closed the secular calendar year and began ny annual sabbatical. It's a bit of tradition that I observe between Yule and Ostara, and it helps to refresh the spirit, sol I take it without fail, unrepentant of my doing so.

I dreamed again. I was in a coracle, one of those little Irish boats of wickerwork with watertight skins over it, looking for all the world like a flipped over turtle shell floating in the water. All around me were bundles of tinder, and I know the flaming arrows soon would be coming down. I was going out on the Western Sea, but couldnft see my own destination.

There were three cases before me, three bundles in midnight blue velvet. All of a sudden, the coverings were removed. Revealed were three items, all in heavily wrought silver of fine craftsmanship, fashioned to depict grapevines, fruit and knot work all woven together. The first item is a drum, the second a harp, and the third a chalice.

One must assume that, being upon the Path, staying in one spot can be a bad thing. One either tends and appreciates this spot, or one steps again onto the Path and appreciate the ever-changing lessons that are both the love and the spice of life. To quote Julia Child, "Life itself is the proper binge." And in appreciation of life, I took the lesson of the year-king and after 19 years of tending to the MOCC—Muskogee/Mother Grove (9 years unofficially, 10 years officially), this humble Druid stepped down from the Archdruidic Chair.

You know the trick where the magician pulls the tablecloth off the table and all the place settings remain undisturbed? Yeah, it's kind of like that. Eyebrows raised, there was some resignation to the fact, but for a while nothing happened. Then some voices came out to the fore noticing something, or rather a lack of something.

"Tom, anything going on with the College this weekend?" Even though the official name of the group is the MOCC these days, members of the M/M Grove still use the shortened form of the old name, "The College." "Nope," I respond. Interesting thing about the word "nope." It does not mean "no" as many people assume. Otherwise, you could say "I have nope money in my pocket." You can, however, say with complete assurance that other people will understand you (at least in the Old South) that ever-famous quadruple negative: "Nope, y'all, I ain't got none nohows." "Nope" takes on the connotation of an observance akin to the Maine "a-yup," except that it means the exact opposite. It smacks of a commentary that not only is a negative response to a question, but also effectively communicates disinterest or negates the preceding comment or question with one fell swoop.

So, one by one, I watched first this one, then that one, come up and view the mantle of office. They take note of what it means, reflect on what being an Archdruid would mean to them. "Tom, anything going on with the College this weekend?" "Nope," I respond, "still waiting on someone to step up to the bat. I can't do it when I'm gone." They look at me. "I don't have enough experience," they say. "Experience is the best teacher," I say, "It's the only way to learn.'

At Ostara it was time for the blessing of the fields. With the time of the rite nearing, no one had truly stepped to the fore, and it was becoming obvious that the post of Archdruid was about to become a communally held post, mostly so that people could get their feet wet in a leadership role. Br. Shadowdancer (Mark) was the first to start calling around and organizing. In just a few days, a rite was thrown together. Nothing fancy, but a wholly legitimate rite with seven people in attendance. At ritual's closing, we held hands. Together we seven set forth the Faith. "With these words, we bless the fields..."


Rowan-Oak Grove: News from Tulsa, OK

Rowan-Oak Grove has weathered the rainiest summer in my memory, and a very trying several months resulting from actions of people within the grove and others outside belonging to another druid organization bringing the issue to our attention. the situation has finally been brought to a sense of closure and although it very nearly caused our demise as a grove we have emerged stronger though with a smaller congregation. arch-druid valens of the Circle of Cybele, one of the groves in the rowan-oak family is in texas at the moment, and we have not heard from sis jokers wild arch druidess of our texas grove in a month or so but they were having problems of their own. TBRSC our wagner grove has reported that all is well for them and has shown strong support of our actions through out our own troubles. while waiting for the rain to quit so my roof can be fixed we called a temporary halt to classes being held at my home during inclement weather. Mabon is our next scheduled rite and classes are tentatively being held at the park near my home. there have been several births and deaths within our congregation including the loss of sis white tigress' two cats, one to a brutal killing by persons unknown, and the arch-druidess own beloved familiar adonis the perfect kitty. however a new kitty has come to live in our hearts for the arch-druidess was given a large grey tortishell tabby named Hercules for his strength and very talkative. the grove puter recently got sick and had to have windowsxp reinstalled and we have been troubleshooting for almost a week tracking down drivers and glitches in programming. but at least the puter is working reasonably well. it is scheduled for a new hard drive and a fresh install of programs so the current hd can be reformatted and used to buid another tower. Our online grove is growing again and recently added a new member who is considering joining the main offline grove with his entire family.. well i guess that about sums up the news for the Rowan-Oak Grove family may Mabon bring all druids throughout the world a fresh sense of renewal and a harvesting of the lessons learned throughout the summer with a new perspective.

healing, light, and peace to you all

M.S. White Raven arch-druidess
Rowan-Oak Grove
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Drink of Socrates Dravidia Grove: News from Indiana

All is well here in Southern Indiana, we have had a very rainy season, and it has not been a good Summer due to it... Have taken time to download more files for my database, and have spent the time reading some of my books that i just acquired...


Rogue River Rogue River Protogrove: News from Oregon

Our group celebrated Fall Equinox over the Labor Day holiday by camping in Oregon's Rogue River National Forest.

Looking ahead to Samhain, a new member and Priestess of Ana is creating for our group a very special ritual honoring Ana, Welsh Goddess of the Realms of the Dead. Please email us for details as we will hold this gathering in October on the banks of Big Butte Creek, which is at the heart of the Rogue Valley's watershed.

The first weekend in October we're also looking forward to a visit by the intrepid Gordon Cooper, Druid scholar and member of one of the few surviving Woodcraft organizations. Gordon had planned to attend a Cthulhu Mythos convention in Portland, OR instead, but the rugose tentacles will have to ooze ichor without him. (For background on Woodcraft and Earthcraft, please see: www.Earthcrafters.org )

Fall blessings, Aigeann


145 216 Sunset Proto-Grove: News from California

Things have been going well here personally, spiritually etc. I am in the middle of some legal stuff that is going to drone on for a few more months. Hopefully it will be resolved by Yule so I can spend my week off baking and concentrating on my family unit, gingerbread, apple cider, and evening logs in the fireplaceû]s I like to do.

Have been having intense talks with a friend about the nature of humankind. I always am so disapointed in the human race's (as a whole. Think politics and general international consensus on foreign aide etc.) unwillingness to see beyond themselves and their current situations to the future. She thinks I am naive to expect it of others because she does not think that empath, caring, and foresight are necessarily basic human traits (outside of the family and close friendship unit.) for the mass population. This has led to some interesting discussions. I am thankful to have an outlet for 'intellectual conversation'. the kids donÖÉ do to well with that- at least at the same level, and being a business major not too many of my classmates are very into deeper intellect either. (thus the nic-name at school- 'Tree-Hugger'.)

I am still looking forward to those wonderful cool months and long 'crunchy' evening walks in the leaves whenever I can squeeze one in. I hope everyone is doing well!



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

One night while eating dinner there was a slow crrrr-aaa-ccckkkk and crash! I said out loud, "What the hell was that?" My first thought was oh no, fire! (we had two fires in Canyon about a month ago, one very close to the house and were ready to evacuate), but then reason kicked in and I realized that's the sound of a tree falling in the woods! It didn't sound like it hit any buildings and we went out to investigate. A huge live oak tree had fallen across the path to the house and down the little glen almost to the deck of the people who live below. Other neighbors were coming out to see too and check to see if anything was damaged. Apparently it was heard from quite a distance as other residents of the town were asking about it at the post office.

I saw at this as an "opportunity" rather than an inconvenience. It was a well-timed gift. We will not want for fire wood this winter, even if the neighbors take some, which is important as a wood burning stove is our heat source. And no one or creature was hurt and nothing was damaged. Cernunnos was looking out for us! A neighbor told be that it was Celtic folklore that oak trees are known for protecting people and not falling on them. If any one knows more about this please let us know.


A Passing...

It was Bob Larson who brought the RDNA to California from Carleton. He founded the Berkeley Grove in 1968, which later spawned Live Oak Grove, Hazelnut Grove, Birch Grove, Duir De Danu Grove, Tuatha De Danu Grove, Baccharis Grove, and Poison Oak Grove. The traditions most of us in the California Groves follow can be traced back to Bob. He made Druidism come alive with his interest and vitality. He is responsible, along with Isaac Bonewits, for the Druid Chronicles (Evolved), a revision of the Druid Chronicles made in 1976.

I had the pleasure to meet Bob on a couple of occasions, one of them before my Third Order ordination where he and the AD asked me to cover my ears so they could discuss the mystery of mysteries of the Order. He came to our Beltaine service in 2002 and gifted the grove with a bottle of fine Irish whisky.

Bob was a subscriber to A Druid Missal-Any and had wanted to write an article on Dalon Ap Landu. His brother sent me the Epistle he had been working on, which Mike will include in ARDA 2.

Bob passed away on Lughnasadh, 6 August.


Obituary for Robert George Larson

By Lawrence T. Larson

Robert (Bob) Larson was born in Waukegan, Illinois to Lawrence and Margaret Larson on August 31st, 1943. He passed away in Oakland, CA on August 6, 2004. Bob was a graduate of Waukegan Township High School and advanced his education at Carleton College from 1961 to 1965. At that time, so typical of the 1960s, Bob became a free spirit, grew his hair long, bought a guitar and headed west. Arriving in Oakland, he first worked as a longshoreman and for the last 25+ years, as a printer.

Bob loved to play guitar, mandolin and banjo, and for several years, participated in Renaissance Fairs. He collected and read books with a passion and had a particular interest in all things Celtic/Irish.

Bob never married. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, and older brother Donald. He is survived and was loved by his two older brothers, Richard and Lawrence; two nephews, Lawrence and Eric; three nieces Jacqueline, Christina and Kathleen; one grandnephew and four grandnieces. We will him Godspeed and a hearty welcome into God's Kingdom. Funeral arrangements are by the Neptune Society of Oakland. He will be interred with his parents in Warren Cemetery in Gurnee, Illinois.

Editor's note: Bob's brother Lawrence requests if anyone has any memories of Bob that they would like to share that he would appreciate receiving them. Please send them to A Druid Missal-Any, address at the end of this newsletter, or to poppinjay@earthlink.net and I will forward them on to him.


Robert Larson's Memorial Ritual

By Stephen Abbott, Hazelnut Grove,
Transcribed with notes by Tegwedd Shadow Dancer,
Duir de Danu Grove

Editor's note: Stephen and Bob were longtime friends since the early days of the RDNA in California in the 1970s. It was with them that the "Celtic Think Tank" was born: they and other druids would gather at the print shop where Bob worked to talk, share ideas, tell awful druish puns, and basically spend time with good friends. Stephen considered Bob to be one of his mentors. Stephen did this memorial ritual for Bob after finding out about his passing into the arms of the Earth Mother and has submitted it for publication in A Druid Missal-Any

I set up the ritual in phases, trying to give it some form of structure.

Phase 1: I performed a ritual bath to cleanse myself mentally, psychically, and physically. The bath was also helping me become more alert and awake. Now I was ready to perform the rite.

Phase 2: I set aside a ritual space in one of the vacant rooms. In this room, I already had some of my wooden furniture. I placed my two spears, my two staves, and my altar in the room. I set up my Tibetan shaman's drum, my three sickles, and a bronze candlestick with a single black candle. The candle, of course, was new. I placed the Druid books from Michael Scharding on one of the wooden shelves on the right side of the room. I then placed my Stonehenge pieces on either side of the Druid books. On the Altar, I placed my magickal teddy bear, which I identified to a degree with Terlach as a big teddy bear. For those who did not know him, he was a very large and tall man with long dark hair. [He was also a very gentle sweet man. te]

I placed my divination board on the floor in front of my altar. On the altar I placed my wizard's head, which bore an uncanny resemblance to Robert. Tegwedd called him Terlach, but I always just called him Robert. [I called him Terlach because that was his Druid name te] I wore my ritual robe which Tegwedd had made for me years earlier. This robe has the symbol [if you can, Mike, insert the Druid sigil here. I have no way of doing so here. te] the shield and two spears on the front and back. I also wore my Druid ribbons. I placed my two tap lights on either side of my divination board.

Phase 3: The Ritual: The ritual itself was quite simple. I started it out by ritually lighting the black candle. In this ritual, the black candle represented death and the dark realm. Next, I called upon the four quarter and the four elements, plus Spirit in the Sacred Center. Then I called upon the Earth Mother and Dalon ap Landu to join the rite. Afterwards, I sang the "Earth Mother" song. Badly, I'm afraid, since I was a little rusty. As we all know, our gods and goddesses have a sense of humor. Next I consecrated and shared the Waters of Life. I transformed the Waters of Sleep into the Waters of Life [because of certain metabolic peculiarities, Stephen cannot have alcohol. te] Because of the move, I did not have access to any true Waters of Life. I used the wooden chalice which had been used in my rituals for the Hazelnut MotherGrove. Next I got rather personal and simply talked to Robert as if he were in the room with me. I related to him my memories of him and the many rituals that he and I had participated in together. I related to him about going to his apartment to play war games. Robert had been an avid war game player. I told him that I still had all the games he had given me such as Winter War, Soldiers, and The Franco-Prussian War. All of these games had been published by SPI (Simulations Publications Inc.). I related to him the time when he had given Gaelic classes to members of the Grove. I told him I still possessed the Gaelic handouts he had given to us after every class. I had put those handouts together and put them into a Druid notebook. I related to him all the funny things that had happened when he and I were together. I told him I would miss him and how bad I had felt when I lost contact with him after moving to Sacramento now some 10 years ago. [has it really been 10 years? te]

Phase 4: I sang the "Lady's Bransle" and "The Lughnasadh Song", after which I had a period of silence. I commented afterwards about his passing on Lughnasadh and that he would return from the otherworld with many stories and tales about his adventures there.

Fisher, Frangquist & Nelson, 1964 Phase 5: I called on the Earth Mother and Dalon ap Landu to bless his path to the otherworld and to guide and protect him while he resided there. Then there was another moment of silence. I performed a divination with cards from the following Tarot decks.

1. Was the "Celtic Tarot," which oddly enough is an Italian deck.
2. "Tarot of the Druids"
3. "The Faery Wicca Tarot"

The first card was from the Druid Tarot. It was the King of Swords. (upright) I felt Robert's presence strongly in this card. Like Robert, the King of Swords depicts a king of great intellect and in this deck he is none other than King Arthur in middle age. The card depicts a man of great intellect and wisdom, which fits Robert to a T. This card gave to the reading the element of Air and the quarter of the east. A card of pure intellect and wisdom. The next card came from the Faery Wicca deck. The card was the four of Fire. The card's title was Lord of Completion. This seems appropriate as well. It is also known as the Lord of Perfected Work. This seemed to fit. Robert always tried to do his best and make things look good. This card brings to the reading the element of Fire and the quarter of the south. The next card came from the Italian "Celtic" deck. The 6 of Cups. This card's title is the "Lady of Pleasure." Robert loved to have a good time. He seemed to love being alive. This card gave the reading the element of Water and the quarter of the west. The last card was from the Italian Druid deck. The 9 of Pentacles. The card's title is the "Lady of Material Gain." Robert was concerned about money and all things earthy when I knew him. He wasn't rich, but I believed he lived comfortably. That card gave the reading the element of earth and the quarter of the north. That completed the Tarot layout. All the four elements were represented. The next card would be the Ogham card from "The Celtic Oracle." This card was the Spindle OIR. This is one of the vowel sounds after the basic 20. This Ogham card relates to the concepts of lighting and beauty. I read the passage assigned to this card.

I ended this phase by saying my final goodbyes to my friend and fellow Druid Robert. I thanked the Earth Mother and Dalon ap Landu for attending the rite. I then drew the Druid sigil three times and spoke the words "Peace, Peace" and "Peace." I then returned the waters to the Mother by pouring them into the fish pond in the back yard. This concluded the Druid sendoff of AD Robert Larson. May he stay in our memories forever. May his passing not be in vain and may the Earth guide and protect his spirit till he returns to this world again.

Stephen Warren McCauley Abbott
AD Hazelnut MotherGrove (in abeyance)



Thoughts on Becoming an Elder

I was listening to Ashley Mac Isaac's version of The Mull of Kintyre on the way home from work a couple of weeks ago. It was the song I had been listening to while driving back from the pre-adoption meeting of my youngest cat who had gone missing the night before; somehow I felt playing it might help him come back. I was crying as the words evoked a time past, and my thoughts couldn't help but turn to Bob Larson, whose passing I just received news of just the day before.

I had not been in the Berkeley Grove when Bob was AD, but have heard tales of him playing the recorder as members were arriving or how he could command a service, his presence, his sense of humor. I did have the opportunity to meet him three times, one of which he came to our Beltaine service, where I did get to the privilege of hearing his sonorous voice sing the Earth Mother chant...I have regrets on not getting to know him better. His was a wealth of knowledge never to be tapped. I do know he was working on an article about Dalon ap Landu, Lord of each and every Grove invoked in every RDNA service, but it will never see the light of day. This is the second passing of an elder in the RDNA (Emmon Bodfish in 1999), and it made me realize this will be starting to happen as the first generation of RDNA Druids get older. Very sobering. The next generation of Druids are becoming the elders, my generation!

But wait, I'm not old enough yet, I don't know enough yet, I'm not wise, I'm still learning! How could I be an elder? But the signs are there. Both parents are dead, there is no "big person" to go to for even the mundane world questions. My role models were dying off. With the death of my mentor Emmon five years ago I was not having much success of finding a new teacher with whom I was as sympathetic and who knew what I needed to know to continue on the path of my personal training as a Druid that he had set me upon and that had the potential of becoming as comfortable as a pair of brown loafers. Ironically it wasn't until after Emmon died that I "received the calling" to Third Order. I was on my own, with just a letter from him from the early 90s when I inquired about attaining Thirds, what his requirements were, etc, but I hadn't been ready then and merely played with my studies. After he died I was finally ready but my teacher, mentor, and friend was gone. I was left to muddle my way on my own. In the meantime I become the mover and shaker of my Grove, begin study of Scottish Gaelic, start reading books on Celtic history, cultural/anthropological Shamanism, maintain the old grove site, start publishing the Missal-Any again, become a moderator of the RDNA email list, and am dragged kicking and screaming to the office of Arch Druid of my Grove. I start getting inquiries from people wanting to be ordained.

But wait, I'm becoming the person I would want as a mentor (ignoring the foibles of course). The various people I thought could possibly become teachers are treating me as an equal and value my opinion and sometimes even, gasp, look to me for advice. Is this taken to be a sign? Is it time to assume the mantel of elder now? Is it time to become my own role model as someone suggested? Is it ok? I know I will never know enough or be wise enough to my satisfaction, and there is always that nagging doubt that someone will find out those truths and point and laugh. Still, this coat does feel kind of comfy now as I sit by the fire on a cold fall night, stirring the embers a bit, and look out at the stars.


Mike with favorite shirt and tie on Thursday, Sept 16th 2004

Taranis Tracts



Greetings to my brothers and sisters of the Reform,

I bear good news and hope you are well.

This morning after a long and difficult vigil in the midst of the tornados, lightning and howling winds of Ivan that pummeled my grove of D.C. with heavy rains, but fortunately left none harmed, I have now fully assumed the mantle and responsibilities of the Patriarchy of the Order of Taranis at eight A.M. on the eighteenth of September, 2004. The storm is over and the Council of Taranis was established and convened at eighth street SE of Washington DC at a Starbucks coffee house. I hope to cautiously reign with wisdom, humility and compassion over its functions for as long as I am able.

The following ground rules for the Council were established. When I pass on or step down, the Council is encouraged to continue to meet without me, on their own, until a new Patriarch is established by the Order of Sirona to replace me. Each full member has an equal vote, and voting shall be by a 2/3 majority of all those who reply to the council's business after a reasonable effort has been made to reach them, and the Patriarch must be definitely be informed of the vote before and afterwards to be official. Proposals unfinished after three months have elapsed from the date announced are voided. Votes must be made in person to the Patriarch or sent by phone, fax, e-mail or other electrical means. No members can be expelled from or barred from participating in the Order, except with both the assent of the Patriarch and the 2/3 majority vote of the council, and it is hard to think that such a situation should ever happen.

From Druid Missal-Any in the 1980s The first order of business, over a triple-shot Java-chip frappacino, at our full council was to establish the ordination liturgy to bring in more members in the future. A slightly modified version of Nozomi Kibou's unofficial service was unanimously adopted and was arranged so that any priest/ess wishing to enter the Order could perform it themselves, after being invited, by any member of Taranis, to join the council's exploration of the mysteries of the weather. The full text of the ordination will be published later in ARDA 2 this fall. The symbol of the Order is decreed to be a black and yellow ribbon bound together in three knots (and worn as a maniple over either hand) to remind us that Druidry is not only about speaking with thunder, not only of speaking with the whisper of winds, and not to hesitate to choose which option when the course is certain enough. The other symbol of the Order is an umbrella or golf-club to be carried as is comfortable, preferably a yellow and/or black one.

The second order of business, conducted at nine A.M., was to unanimously elect Irony Sade to assume upon himself the Patriarchy of the Order of Llyr, the Ninth Order in accordance with the power invested in our Council by Reformed tradition. Nine cheers were cried out in celebration. The council here now bids that Brother Irony forthwith quickly devise and adopt an appropriate ceremony, become consecrated and convene the Council of Llyr. We chose Irony for he has shown great wisdom of the land and also from the extensive experience he has from his travels by and on the many oceans and seas of the world. He is skilled in the ways of boating, fishing and swimming; and he will know whom to call and join his Order. The Council and Patriarch wish him great success in his endeavors.

The third order of business, conducted at ten A.M. was to induct David Fisher as an honorary member of our Council, with no voting privileges or responsibilities, but with freedom to address the council with his wisdom and bear its symbols. If he should later choose to fully become a member of the council, that request is granted at such time it is made.

The fourth order of business, conducted at ten thirty A.M. was to invite Samuel Adams, the Druid of Saint Olaf College to join the Order's Council at his convenience. We await you.

With that concluded, the Council of Taranis wished to you, my brothers and sisters, fair winds and pleasant weather, then called a recess and finished its business in good humor.

I hereby verify that all this is true, and submit this to you by the power of electricity.

Yours in the Mother, Michael James Anthony Ulhail Scharding, ODAL, Gr., Be.
Patriarch of Taranis
Day 49 of Foghamhar, Year XLII of the Reform


* * * * *



Peace be unto all humanity, and in particular, unto our brothers and sisters in the Reform.

At 2100 hours UTC on this date, every patriarch or priest consecrated to Sirona being present, the Patriarch declared the Council of Sirona to be in session.

After reverent waiting, the Council turned its attention to expressions of hope, from some of those of the Reform, for consecration of a Patriarch of Taranis. The Council decided, in one voice, that the time of waiting has been fulfilled, and directed the Patriarch of Sirona to inform Michael Scharding, he of that name who was ArchDruid of the Mother Grove, that he is declared Patriarch-Elect of Taranis, and bid him cause a ceremony to be conducted, consecrating him to that Spirit's service. The Council and Patriarch convey to him best wishes for a crackling and spirit charged conduct of his vocation.

Peace be unto all humanity, and in particular, unto the Patriarch of Taranis and his whole Order.

I, G. R. Zempel, only Patriarch of Sirona, have set my hand to this on behalf of the Council of Sirona.

-- G. R. "Gary" Zempel


Nelson, Fisher & Frangquist on the Hill of Three Oaks, 1964

Interview with David Fisher

By Stephen Crimmins,
Archdruid Emiritus of Carleton Grove

I recently had the privilege of transcribing an interview of the man who is generally known as the primary founder of Reformed Druidism, David Fisher. I was given the ability thanks to Michael (Mec) Scharding, who conducted the interview, as well as to Eric Hilleman for lending me transcribing equipment. The first thing that came into my mind was: how did Scharding manage to get an interview with Fisher who, I had thought, was too embarrassed of Druidism to give an interview. The key, Scharding insisted, was following up on his original call, nothing more. My image of David Fisher has been changing for some time since I was introduced to the contents of the International Druid Archives last year. Listening to the interview has changed my opinion further. This article is an attempt to distill some of what I have learned about our heretofore legendary founder, as well as to share some of the gems of the interview. For those who want to read the complete transcript, it will be published in the oral history section of ARDA II. If you can't wait that long, you can probably pester myself or Scharding.

Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon paints a picture of Fisher similar to the one that I had until recently. According to it "In 1964 the [religion requirement] regulation was abolished but, much to the surprise-and it is said, horror-of the original founders, the RDNA continued to hold services and spread its organization far beyond the college campus. One of the founders, David Fisher, who wrote many of the original rituals, is now an Episcopal priest and teacher of theology at a Christian college in the South, having apparently washed his hands of the RDNA." I know, moreover, that this opinion is fairly wide spread among those people I've talked to but I have recently come to realize that this is not exactly true.

Upper left Fisher, Upper right Cherniack, Lower left Nelson, Lower right Frangquist It is, of course, widely known that there were actually three founders: Norman Nelson, Howard Cherniack, as well as David Fisher. However, for some reason, Fisher has gotten most of the blame. For instance, Joan Carruth's "Epistle to the Myopians" asks "May the Earth-Mother keep David the Fisher in Her sight and bless him, for this is all his fault." But, since he was accompanied by two other founders why is he held above the others? Certainly, while Cherniack forgot about Druidism, Nelson has continued to be active to the present day.

The idea of Fisher as primary founder has precedents from the earliest days. He was the first person credited in the Druid Chronicles (Reformed) as preaching the word of Reformed Druidism, most likely because he was the first Arch Druid. However, Fisher is also often credited with bringing in the majority of the customs of the Druids. In so far as Fisher was the Arch Druid he may have had a special burden to come up with liturgical material. According to the Druid Chronicles and other sources Fisher claimed that he had been made a Druid in high school. However, Fisher has refuted this, saying that he "never claimed any special consecration by a Druid in England." If that is true Fisher was never under the burden of creating material by himself as a "pre-existing" ritual.

Regardless, it seems clear that much of the creation of the Reformed Druids was shared. As he notes in the interview, "we sort of dreamed a piece up here and a piece up there, improvising as we went along the way people, I suppose, sometimes do." This is not to say, either, that Fisher was not the creator of much of the material. For instance he suggested that he "must've dreamed" the sigil up, though he doesn¡¯t remember much about his inspiration for and ideas about it except that the idea of "closing the circle" was important. The meditations were also his addition to the services. On the other hand many other parts of the Druids were the creation of some of the other founders and early members. Fisher credits the higher orders to a suggestion by Nelson and notes that the tenets are the only lasting contribution of Cherniack. Fisher credits the liturgy as something that "I and Norman Nelson wrought in 1963 on Saturdays," though he does not indicate whether the work was equal or not. Indeed the balance of the initial work will probably be left an open to question for the future because, as Fisher points out, "I didn't take notes at the time because, obviously, I didn't think I was founding something for thirty, forty years..."

However, in the period after the founding, Fisher, of the three founders, did have a tendency to be a guiding force. Among his early letters are responses to early council proposals, not only accepting some and rejecting others, but also requesting changes in parts, as well sending his own proposals to the council. This occurred despite feeling that Druidism did not meet a need for him and, moreover, that he was being drawn by his increasing Christianity away from Druidism. However, a partial answer could be found in a later letter in which Fisher explained his desire for the proposals as trying to combat over complicated organization that his own actions had inspired. Hence he felt responsible, as a founder, to at least guide what he had started. However, in that type of action it is easy to see Fisher in a parental role that is missing from the later actions of either of the other two founders. This guidance indicates both that Fisher saw himself more as a founder and probably has led others to feel that he had a special role among the founders.

Fisher's interview indicates another 'founder' who was more important as a source of meaning in rituals: David Frangquist. According to Fisher, Franquist "essentially took what had been a protest against religion requirement and an occasional exercise in pantheistic speculation and turned it into, if not a religion, something like a religion." Moreover, Frangquist was the first leader of the group for whom the Druids "served a [spiritual] need." We know that Frangquist's search for material was apparently more extensive than Fisher's. While it would be difficult to say how much he added it is possible to mention a few notable contributions. Frangquist published the Druid Chronicles (Reformed). While at least some of the material was the writings of other druids, the more serious material in the books of Customs and Meditations is certainly Frangquist's. He is also responsible for the collection of the Green Book of Meditations which was intended to be a guide to later Arch Druids. While Fisher can be seen as creating the Druids, Frangquist created a groundwork for its continuation and is probably most responsible that it is still around. Frangquist has also continued to be a leader in the Druids. When the Carleton Grove faltered in the 1980's Frangquist came to stir up interest. Of course, all of this is not to say that Frangquist is the founder of Druidism instead of Fisher. Fisher indicates that Frangquist "refounded" the Reformed Druids; that is to say that while Fisher along with Nelson and Cherniack started the Druids and gave it much of its outward form, Frangquist was the prime mover in imbuing the movement with meaning. Both individuals were important in the creation of what Druidism is, but in different ways.

It is also claimed that, having started something that blossomed into something he hadn't expected, Fisher "washed his hands" of Reformed Druidism. What is true is that, after a point, Fisher stopped providing the guidance that he initially offered and has stopped initiating contact with Druids; The latest letter from Fisher to a Druid in the International Druid Archives has been dated to 13 April 1970. In his interview Fisher says that he has replied to letters sent to him more recently, though none of the replies have made their way to the Archives. However, his letters have stopped being instructions and aid for a wide audience of Druids

Fisher as Freshman in 1961. Fisher has expressed concern for the Druids; he particularly expressed worry about people who approach the Druids as something that it is not. Perhaps, he has even wished from time to time that he never started the Druids so that people could not be hurt by it. But having such concerns does not mean that he feels that, on the whole, the Druids are not worthwhile. Indeed, at the end of the interview he wished that the Druids would continue to be around as an aid to those for whom it was suitable.

But if Fisher has not washed his hands of Druidism, why do many people believe he did? Before answering that I will examine why Fisher's early guidance and more active role have faded. This is given a fairly clear answer in the interview. Fisher admits that "I've not maintained an active tie with Druidism because sometimes the leadership has seemed very strange to me." Though Fisher may have felt responsible to some degree early on as the nature of the Reform has changed his desire to guide those led by a different spirit of the Reform has dissipated.

There are, however, good reasons why Fisher has been seen as a recluse. For my own belief I would point to the research of Scharding who only managed to speak to Fisher after ten years and multiple attempts. A certain feeling came from him to me and, I would think, to others that Fisher didn't want to talk. Admittedly Scharding may have had been helped along in his belief. After telling Robert Larson that he had been unable to contact Fisher during an interview Larson's response is 'that figures,' followed by an explanation of why Larson isn¡¯t surprised. That may have been enough to turn a string of unsuccessful attempts to contact Fisher into a belief that Fisher couldn't be contacted.

However, the quotation from Margot Adler is of an earlier date and probably arises from the period when Neopagans began to use the vehicle of Reformed Druidism. Certainly Fisher became much more silent as his creation turned towards this new religious category and his Christianity may have convinced others that he was more opposed to the new path of Reformed Druidism than he actually was. In specific, I would point to Isaac Bonewits as the origin for the belief, especially since he was the primary source for the Reformed Druid material in Drawing Down The Moon. I cannot help but feel that when Bonewits wrote that "many of the older members of the RDNA disapprove of Neopagan Druidism, considering it a dangerous step backwards" he was thinking of David Fisher. Bonewits had a vision of Reformed Druidism not as becoming a neopagan vehicle but as already being one, a point which was denied by many of the founders. While there may be other reasons that Bonewits and others saw Fisher as being repulsed by his creation, Bonewits held this belief and was instrumental in its spread.

Archivist speaks. I hope that I have been able to convince people of two things. The first is that while Fisher is most famous as the founder of Druidism there were others who might take more credit especially in the creation of the meaning and continuation of Druidism. Secondly, that Fisher has not repented of his creation. He still takes an interest in the Druids even if he doesn't actively seek them out. His actions and inactions in the past may have led to other views, but those may now be cleared away. I, at least, have come to a new respect for Fisher and for the importance of other founders as well as for who Fisher is today. I would like to end with a few quotes from the interview which I felt to be interesting.

* (On how the Druids were started) One night Norman Nelson, Howard Cherniack, and myself were having one drink too many and were trying to figure out what we could do to deal with this (religious) requirement.
* (An analogy for Reformed Druidism) Well, I suppose, given people's need for alternative spiritualities, the Druids are like a template on a word processor that can be filled in with a number of contents.
* (On some of the sources of Reformed Druidism) I must admit we were all readers of science fiction or science fantasy
* (On the Druid Chronicles (Reformed)) I thought it was pretty fun.


Seasons of Food,
Fall Equinox 2004 - Figs

By Oriana Lewallen, Sunset Proto-Grove

As the harvest of fresh figs enter into the farmers market this time of year, they also seem to eek their way into appetizers, salads and dessert menus at a variety of restaurants. These sweet and versatile fruits have perked my interest at this time, the beginning of fall, and so I thought I would learn a bit more about them.

Figs, as it turns out, are one of the oldest foods in recorded history. It is "believed to be indigenous to western Asia, but was distributed by humans throughout the Mediterranean [region.].... Evidence of fig cultivation has been found in excavations of Neolithic sites as early as 5,000 BC." (Hellenic LLC)

Figs are mentioned in Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the Christian bible. The prophet Mohammed and Homer both made mention of the good attributes of figs and these sweet fruits were said to be the favorite food of Cleopatra. In fact, it is speculated that Cleopatra's last serving of figs hid in their midst the famous asp, which has been blamed as the cause of her death. Figs are also useful as an herbal remedy, "The milky juice of the freshly-broken stalk of a Fig has been found to remove warts on the body." (Grieve) In Roman mythology the creation of figs was attributed to the god Bacchus, and images of Bacchus were shown with a garland of fig leaves about his head.

It is unclear whether figs were first introduced to the Celts during the original Celtic tribal migration into Europe and Mediterranea or whether the Romans brought figs to the Celts. It has been noted that, "By the end of the Roman Empire, fifth century, fig culture was well distributed. It stretched from Africa, Portugal, France, [the] Channel Islands, and the southern part of England." (FAB) Due to climate, it is unlikely that figs were cultivated widely in England until later, as the trees cannot adjust to cold weather climates. It is very likely however, that dried figs were brought to the Celts regularly along the established trade routes. These days, "in Scotland and many parts of England a south wall is indispensable for their successful cultivation out of doors." (Grieve)

There are literally hundreds of varieties of figs, and the Calimyrna fig; grown in California's San Joaquin Valley requires "a most unusual type of pollination in order to have the fruit mature." (Valley Fig Growers) A tiny wasp called the Blastophaga enters the inverted blossom and pollinates the female flowers. The tiny wasp then exits the fig to pollinate others

Some interesting fig facts as prepared by the California Fig Board (website):

* Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are drupes, or the real fruit. Figs are the only fruit to fully ripen and semi-dry on the tree.
* For many years the fig has been used as a coffee substitute. The fruit contains a proteolytic enzyme that is considered an aid to digestion and is used by the pharmaceutical industry.
* And, because of its high alkalinity it has been mentioned as being beneficial to persons wishing to quit smoking.
* Figs contain a natural humectant¡ªa chemical that will extend freshness and moistness in baked products.
* California produced over 30 million pounds of dried figs in 1997. All dried figs harvested in the United States are grown in California's Central Valley.


Recipe for Figs

Dessert: Baked Figs with Honey
Serves 4

Ripe yet Firm Figs
4T Wild Honey
1T Olive Oil
Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Snip of points of figs, and brush with olive oil. Arrange figs in small baking pan. (to avoid sticking you can either place each fig on its own individual fig leaf to bake, or simply grease the pan.) Immediately lower oven temperature to 400 degrees Bake until they puff up, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. After cooling split each fig in half lengthwise, and drizzle with 1 T of honey. For an added treat top off with a small scoop of vanilla or French vanilla ice cream and/or chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.

**End note: Another way I have had baked figs prepared recently as a salad and appetizer is to quarter them, without piercing the bottom, put a generous amount of gorgonzola cheese in the center, and wrap them in a very thin slice (or two) of prosciutto. (Enough to hold them together) the baking process appeared to be much the same as what I have presented above, maybe a minute or two longer. However, this is rich... so be sure to have a good glass of vino on hand. Enjoy!

Works cited:
Hellenic Communications Service, LLC; http://www.helleniccomserve.com/figs.html
California Fig Board; http://www.californiafigs.com
California Fresh Fig Growers Association;
History of the Celts: http://www.du.nw.schule.de/stgym/Irland/Celts/Timetable.htm
Fig Advisory Board; http://www.meccagold.com/history.htm
Botanical.com ; A Modern Herbal- Fig; Grieve;
Valley Fig Growers; http://www.valleyfig.com/index.htm
Dessert; Baked Figs with Honey- Figs Recipe created by Oriana after consulting a meal at Don Giovanni's, Napa, CA and a book on Italian cooking, "Food & Wine's Quick Italian cooking from scratch"... this recipe is conglomeration and variance from the two sources with the addition of vanilla ice cream being all



About Nwyfre

By: Rhiannon Hawk, Nemeton Aweyddion

Editor's note: in the Lughnasadh 2004 issue of A Druid Missal-Any Sister Rhiannon wrote an article, Geasa: The Ethics in the Teaching Way of Nwyfre and A Clear Path to Rid Unhealthy Energetic Debris. We have had many inquiries asking what Nwyfre is. Sister Rhiannon explains:

The name Nwyfre could be translated as the spark that ignites the inner flame to burst forth from the Nemeton, to open the center world (Earth) to become a scepter of light that brings all the Triads together in the Here and Now. Nwyfre is not comparable to Dalon Ap Landu, that seems to me to be more comparable to what we would call Cariad Wen or the Nine Fold One. Nwyfre opens the Nemeton so the Nine Fold One can be present fully in the Nemeton.


Spell of the Day: Ethics and Issues

By El Byrd

I cringed inwardly when I see "spell for the day." Why? because there seems to be too much spell work emphasis and no building of framework for spellwork. I think that the framework is sadly missing in today's majick practice.

My great-gram was a witch. When she worked with one of the kids, she was very emphatic that spells were a last resort. Use only in emergency, Use only when all avenues are exhausted but never, NEVER use as a first attempt to solve a problem.

She taught this way so that we would look for both mundane solutions and majickal ones. And sadly, I don't see that kind of emphasis today. There seems to be too much emphasis on casting spells and doing majick; with little emphasis on mundane solutions.

Now as I move through majick circles, I see a lot of cringing when I mention ethics in majick. I have wondered about it many a time and I have come to the conclusion that many majick users today want to take the easy way out of a problem. In taking the easy way, they have no reason to work a problem from a mundane stance. But as many more practiced majick users know, the easy way can turn into the hardest way of all and have the highest cost in the long term.

When I see a spell, I wonder first and foremost if I will ever really use that spell. My thinking being that if I need a spell, I can make a spell. Second, I wonder if it is better to use the spell written by someone with a particular event or person is the best way for me to go, I am not trying to affect the other person or event but MY person or event.

I won't argue that spells are cool and neat but I will argue if they are making life better or worse when used with little regard for mundane solutions. I would urge any and all who would want to use majick to first look for a mundane solution.

Devise a framework of when you will or will not use majick. This framework is called ethics. Ethics don't just apply to work or school but to all things in life and they are not connected to religion. I would hope that all majick users would have a personal ethic system but I know this is not always done.

Ethics in majick is no more than a series of if-then questions or statements. If this mundane way doesn't work to protect my car, then I will ward my vehicle. If talking to a person about my issues with them does not work, then I will talk to someone to help me talk to them. If that does not work, then I will write them a letter explaining my issues. And last if those did not work, then I might cast a spell to bring understanding to them of my issues.

So I encourage everyone to build that frame work and use those spells like and expensive spice, sparingly.





Libertarian Activist Gary Copeland Passes Away

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of druid and long-time Libertarian Activist Gary Copeland. He passed away on Monday, August 2, 2004. He is survived by his wife Kelley O'Neill, and three children, Lake, Willow and Ciera.

Gary had been active in the Libertarian Party for over 20 years. He was an outspoken Druid, in fact, he was the first Druid to run for State Office. He has been a candidate for Governor of California, Orange County Supervisor, and other offices. He had been active with voter outreach and with NORML. Anyone who knew Gary knows that he was a generous, spiritual, enthusiastic activist.


U.K. Prosecutors Drop Case Against Druid

August 3, 2004 PORTSMOUTH, England --Prosecutors dropped charges Tuesday against a man who explained that he carried a sword into a shop because he is a druid.

At a brief appearance in court last month, Merlin Michael Williams, 26, said previous cases heard by the court had allowed druids the right to carry ceremonial swords, which are used to cast spells and create circles of safety.

Williams, of Westbourne, southern England, was arrested July 9 after carrying his weapon while shopping at a store in Portsmouth. The sword was confiscated as evidence. The Crown Prosecution Service said the matter had been considered and"it was deemed not to be in the public interest to continue with the case." Williams, who wore his green and blue druid's robes at last month's court appearance, said his sword, which he calls Talisen, had been returned. "I am just happy to have got my sword back so I can continue with my duties as sword-bearer," he said. "I can understand how the misunderstanding happened with the police but it was all a bit heavy-handed and they should have listened to my explanation." Williams is a member of Insular Order of the Druids, which was founded in 1993 at Stonehenge and is one of at least eight self-styled druid groups in Britain.

C. The New York Times 2004




SUNRISE 6:45 a.m. & SUNSET 6:00 p.m.
SEPT. 22 & 23, 2004

You are invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Dr. Judith Young of the U.Mass. Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise and set over the tall standing stones in the U.Mass. Sunwheel for the upcoming Autumnal Equinox. Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 6:45 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 6:00 p.m. The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both Wednesday and Thursday September 22 and 23, 2004.

For those interested in learning about the sky, there will be a presentation which will include the cause of the seasons, the Sun's path in the sky, the phases of the Moon, and the story of building the Sunwheel. Bring your questions, your curiosity, and DRESS WARMLY; a $3 donation is requested to help cover the cost of future stone work at the site. Sunwheel T-shirts & sweatshirts will also be available for purchase.

The exact instant of equinox is 12:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday Sept. 22. On the equinox, any observer located on the Earth's equator will see the Sun pass directly overhead at local noon and that person will cast no shadow at noon. For all observers on Earth (excluding the N and S poles), the Sun on the equinox is up for 12 hours and down for 12 hours, illuminating all latitudes! (At the N and S poles, the Sun encircles the horizon for 24 hours, either very slowly rising or very slowly setting for the entire day). From the Sunwheel here in Amherst, the equinox Sun will be seen to rise and set through East and West stone portals.

The U.Mass. Sunwheel is located south of Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road. It can be easily reached from the center of Amherst, following Amity St. to the west. The Sunwheel is on the right hand side of the road about 1/4 mile after crossing University Drive. ALL VISITORS SHOULD WEAR WARM CLOTHING, SUITABLE FOR STANDING STILL ON WET OR SOGGY GROUND. In the event of rain, the events will be cancelled, and visitors are encouraged to visit the Sunwheel on their own.

For more information on the U.Mass. Sunwheel, see http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel


The Magical Isles with Mara Freeman

December 4, 2004

An exhilarating tour of the ancient sites of the British Isles and Ireland! Explore standing stones, stone circles, henges, hill-forts, burial mounds and many hidden wonders of the Celtic lands that are still, despite extensive archeological research, places of enduring mystery. As we take a journey through slide images around Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, we will visit haunted caves, hills of vision, islands of pilgrimage and the holy shrines of Celtic saints. You will learn the ancient spiritual, symbolic and mythological importance of each place in the landscape why springs and wells are places of healing; holy hills the centers of geo-mythic energies; and bottomless lakes the abode of legendary beasts. Along the way, you will learn about curious folk customs and rituals, including the lore of faeries, witches and ghosts, and hear many fascinating myths and legends, including Arthurian tales, and legends of dragons, giants, and the Sleepers within the Earth.

10AM-5PM, $117, through UCSC Extension, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA. http://www.ucsc-extension.edu. Use code EDP 042W26 to enroll. Call University of Santa Cruz Extension, (831) 427-6600 to register.

For more information, please see Mara's website - The Chalice Center for the Celtic Spirit http://www.celticspirit.org


New Celtic Music CD!


Irony and Omen Sade have just released their first recording, a CD of Celtic harp and flute music titled Rising Sea.

If you would like a copy or more information about Rising Sea please email or write. They are $14 each, which includes shipping and handling. Questions should come to irony@starmind.org. Orders may be sent to:

Irony Sade
Living Pan Productions
3830 State St. Road
Skaneateles, NY 13152

Thank you all for your support and interest in our music!

Hemlock Splinters Grove



A Druid Missal-Any

Fall Equinox will occur on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 at 8:30 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time.


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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