A Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America
Samhain, Year 42
(October 30th, 2004)
Volume 20, Number 7
|CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
amhain , Celtic New Year, the Day Between the Worlds, the Druid year starts on Samhain, The sun is half way between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice. Samhain marks the end of the harvest season. All fruit and grain not gathered in by Samhain Eve must be left in the fields to feed the birds and wild animals, the flocks of Cernnunos, and its vegetable life essence, its "spirit" becomes the property of "The Little People," the Sidhi, and feeds them. (Is our word, "fairy," derived from "fear an sidhi," meaning in proto-Gaelic "a person of the Sidhi," one of the little people?) Sidhi is pronounced in Gaelic as English "shee." A Banshee, the spirit that gives prophecies and mourns for the dead, means literally "a woman of the Sidhi." Another folk tradition,. probably from old Druid times, holds that "Pukas," mischievous spirits, will come out on Samhain night and steal the nourishing essence of any food crops left in the fields, or, if it is not to their liking, will despoil it. Their mythic descendents swarm out in the form of hordes of trick-or-treaters and disguised, costumed revelers.
This is the night when the Other World, the world of the dead, the future souls, and of the ancestors, comes the closest to our world and "dimension hopping" is the easiest. It is time to honor dead ancestors, and remember old friends. This was "the day of the dead" long before the Christian era. The dead were thought by the ancient Celts to have a wider and truer perspective on things than we mortals do, and to be able to advise their descendents and friends, They know all history, are aware of all forces and causes, and can intuit the future better than we. Pay your respects at graves or memorials, ask questions of departed friends, ancestors, or mentors. Leave out food offerings for them at your Samhain Eve celebrations and vigils. Get out old photographs. Review the past, this pre-Samhain week, and pay old debts, spiritual or emotional. Find lost belongings, make amends. Then celebrate.
By Emmon Bodfish, reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any, Samhain 1989
News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory
Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota
Here at Carleton, the leaves have been brilliant since late August, and have been spectacular in the past few weeks. We initiated several to the joys of walking the Arb on Autumnal Full Moons, and Ian Hill was ordained 3rd order (congratulations). Our weather has been nice, but we are afflicted with the yearly plague of stinging beetles.
Akita Grove: News from Japan
Pat says things are going well in Japan, despite the recent hurricanes, and
requests that Mike do something to ameliorate their severity. Mike sent him a
pinwheel in response to brighten his mood. Pat says he has thrown the gauntlet
down this year, and is fully determined to defeat Mike in the Bardic arts in
this winter's contest.
Awen Proto-Grove: News from Calgary
It is a time of unions here at Awen Grove! Aspen and Athelia got married on September 18th and things are just starting to settle down now. As the wedding plans die down, new ones are starting as two of our grove members plan to be handfasted in November!
The weather is starting to turn to winter as we expect 15 cm of snow on October 16 and still more the next day! This is Calgary, however, and we could have +20 degree Celsius weather by the middle of November... who knows?
We wish everyone a wonderful Samhain season. Stay warm!
Athelia Nihtscada /|\
Senior Druid, Awen Grove
Digitalis Grove: News from D.C.
As you'll see in this issue, with the help of Stephen Crimmins at Carleton, I've completed assembling and printing the Main Volume of ARDA 2. The files should be up at http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/arda.html and the physical books should be in the mail. Stacey and I are at work with typo-checking and tweaking the illustration and layout of the final Magazine Volume of ARDA 2, by Oimelc. Stephen and I also putting out two commemorative volumes of mid-1970s RDNA materials this winter. After that I promise not to print any more books, but I am releasing a Druid movie DVD called "Gatorr" this winter, and judging a Bardic Contest too.
I've ordained Joss Badger in Texas this month, and he has in turn ordained
Lydia from Oklahoma City, so the RDNA now has a southwestern presence. I heard
about the ordination of Ian Hill and Will Reckner at Carleton, so I am now
feeling easier about the continuation of Druidism there.
Eurisko Grove: News from Indiana
In our grove at this time of year, we ritually celebrate the fall of the green man & the return of the horned god. this is similar to the wiccan oak king/holly king battle. but it seems more fitting to us to have this battle that causes the seasons to change to occur on the equinoxes a time when both are in balance for a moment then one gains the upper hand.
the reverse happens at the spring equinox. cernunnos and his creatures are associated with the winter solstice yet cannot just appear there. like all things cyclical there needs to be an ascent, climax decent of power, energy & symbolism.
for us ivy is the link that is associated with both. we even try to spend part of the season of mabon looking for unintended images of them in such as robin hood or a wild herdsman.
we closed with the a final appearance of the green man in a secluded wood, in which we hope to meet a presence that we could only call herne, the lord of the forest.
not sure how, if at all, this fits in with most druid's interpretation of the season, or in interpretation of previous RDNA established materials, but wanted to try to share it with you all anyway.
an rdna proto-grove
Hemlock Splinters Grove: News from New York
Grove activity at Hemlock Splinters has been hampered by the purchase of a
home many miles from our grove site. Bonfires continue, but not on the scale
they once did. Irony and Omen have just published _Rising Sea_ a collection of
mostly Celtic harp and flute music, available from the grove (firstname.lastname@example.org),
or at CDBaby.com.
Irony has also returned to full-time student status at the school for
Environmental Science and Forestry, where he is quietly trying to create
photosynthetic humans. Anyone with ideas in this regard is encouraged to write.
Aelven Star Grove: News from Pennsylvania
Oh dear! Time has a way of flying by! It's that time of the year, Samhain...my favorite holiday.
Aelvenstar Grove is meeting for ritual and fellowship this Samhain. Please email email@example.com for info.
What else is new? In addition to ogham and magick study and practice, I am currently studying hypnotherapy and hope to pass my exams and receive certification soon.
Oh, I would like to mention Meetup (www.meetup.com) You can sign up and meet with fellow druids in your local areas, some whom possibly may be interested in joining the RDNA.
Wishing you all a very blessed Samhain,
Palm Grove: News from Florida
Well 3 hurricanes right over the place has knocked down much of the storage buildings, power outs and all. it was very interesting. 2 of the 5 Sacred Palms perished in the onslaught but 3 remain, though a bit more worn for their trouble.
We mourn the passing of our valued member: Winston Pugnacious who was only 3 years old and still playful. sadly, the heat of the day and perhaps a snake took him down while out on his chain. ( the cutest pug you ever saw).
All in all it has been a very hard year here in the grove.
On a brighter note:
The Website is up at http://palmgrove.bravehost.com/ The Site is designed to be a free and open meeting place for druids and druid curious from all walks and followings. Available is a chatroom, a forum area, a free classifieds area, a free links page and more. stop on by and tell a friend.
I am learning about Celtic Runes and charms now and I am prepairing to start making my own sets of rune stones, and amulets. Keep an eye on the website for them.
High Druid At Palm Groves, Florida
Missionary Order of the Celtic Cross - Muskogee/Mother Grove Oklahoma
The MOCC--M/M Grove disbanded sometime after Beltane. It's hard to say when, but a new AD was not forthcoming, and I knew my time in Muskogee was short. Mark Harris (Shadowdancer) tried to get it together for a while, as did a couple other persons, but, in the end, it was not to be. But walking down the streets, the trees whisper and stand witness to what was. The big question was what to do with the various items that belonged communally to the MOCC here in Muskogee. We did consider whether to give them to the Tulsa group or send them off to some sort of Pagan collection somewhere, but it seemed more of a tradition to give them to a up and coming Pagan group here in Muskogee (we found 2, one in Muskogee that is being started by a cousin of mine, Shannon Smith, and on in Ft. Gibson that is run by Vikki Valenzuela). The two of them have close ties to what was the MOCC--Muskogee/Mother Grove. Smith's group will be using the MOCC's rites as a template until they can get their ritual cycles up and going (a great-grandchild of the RDNA?) and the group run by Ms. Valenzuela is co-founded by an old MOCC member, Myk Rose. While the MOCC--M/M Grove fell, there is a considerable legacy that it has left behind here in the Pagan community.
As Samhain nears (locally, we give it the very improper pronunciation sa-MAIN) the cold weather is beginning to arrive just a little early. These rains and changing of the leaves usually come around just as the costumes are being put on kids and pumpkins are being carved. Now, it's happening in mid-October. I'm preparing for a move to Austin, where I'm pretty sure I'll become involved in the Druid community once again. Here in Muskogee, though, there's a feeling that the Grove is no longer quite human. The trees keep whispering, and I'm sure the pecans, elms and oaks are disputing amongst themselves. The black walnuts are in a convocation of their own, I'm sure and the mulberry is just to easily distracted to be of any help in this great meeting of theirs. Both Oak and Pine vie for the Archdruidic Chair, I'm told, and Pecan is preparing the tables for Cakes and Ale...
This declare above all:
Thomas Lee Harris, Jr.
(mka Br. Myrddin A Maeglin)
Former Archdruid, MOCC--Muskogee/Mother Grove
Rowan-Oak Grove: News from Tulsa, OK
We are gearing up for the Samhain convocation and costume party we hold every year. We will be voting on new board members, ratification of the current by-laws or modification there of and other issues which came up earlier this year. the Tulsa grove has had several people move out of town in the last few months which necessitated the replacement on the board of directors at least as an alternate.
the wagner grove has been going through similar problems and i haven't heard from our gray angels grove in texas in a few months, and no response to emails so i must assume sis joker's wild is offline and will contact me when she can.
my ministers license is now registered downtown so i'm officially able to do marriages etc.........
finally done with the remodeling to the apartment so bad weather will not keep us from meeting.
i guess that is about it for now stay safe and well everybody.
healing light and peace
m.s. white raven arch-druidess
rowan-oak grove mocc tag
Rose Rock Grove: News from Oklahoma
Samhain is almost here, and with my third order vigil still creaking my bones, I'm happy to announce that our grove is up to official grove status. Our Druid-on-the-go hasn't actually begun his journey, but we hope to hear from him soon. Plans for the upcoming holiday include writing to those who have left, for those of us with loved ones or ancestors still on our minds, finding representations of those ancestors we plan to honour, (whether objects they owned, pictures, or just something from or representing a particular country, depends on the individual) and figuring out what we're going to cook. There will be a sugar cookie baking party, some of which will be eaten at the party, some to be reserved for Samhain, and some to go to the Campfire USA Pumpkin Patch booth. Samhain ceremony to take place in my back yard, followed by divination and horror movie watching in the living room. Not to mention passing out candy to trick or treaters.
Current plans for November: A quilting bee for the Eric "Groo" Jones memorial quilt, a culling of closets, drawers, and pantries for clothes and canned goods to donate to one (or more, depending on amount) of the local shelters. Also coats to be culled for the Share the Warmth program. That's all we have going right now.
Lydia "Mouse" Van de Grift
Dravidia Grove: News from Indiana
Not much new here, am getting ready for Samhain.. Have been invited to participate in an online experience, sounds different... Will also celebrate with the usual candle lighting and food placement.. Maybe even a few spirit conjurings... Have a good Samhain
^v^ ^v^ ^v^ ^v^
/|\ Dolanimus /|\
Cattle Grove: News from Texas
Yes, yes, I know it has been quite a while since there has been any news from Texas but there is a reason (a reason, not an excuse!). Everyone that was part of the Cattle Protogrove seemingly went their separate ways. I stopping going to A&M Commerce for financial reasons as did 2 of the other members, and one stayed there. So the protogrove has been hibernating for a while, waiting for the right moment to come back and that time appears to be now. It has moved back to Dallas, TX so hopefully we will actually find some more members (there are several of us talking and really all we need to do is find some initiative and meet somewhere). Also, I was recently ordained 3rd order by Mike (thanks Mike!) so hopefully we can turn what was once Cattle Protogrove into Cattle Grove!
Anyways we will keep the updates coming!
Rogue River Protogrove: News from Oregon
It was exciting for all of us to take part in an official ritual in connection with taking the Waters of Life. Mr. Abbott also led us in an elaborate reading of the future of RDNA in northern California and Oregon. We plan to report the details in the Winter Solstice Missal-Any.
Additionally, the Rogue River Protogrove looks forward to hosting a fund raiser for Mr. Abbott next Spring which will consist of a slide show of the history of the Hazelnut Grove and some of RDNA's influential members of the past. We will post the details as soon as they are finalized.
A great time was had by all!!!
Sierra Madrone Grove: News from California
We at the Sierra Madrone Grove held a beautiful Ritual along the Bear River to mark the Autumn Equinox. We spent the day walking in the forest and had a nice picnic with the kids. We did the opening Rituals at both the North Valley Pagan Pride and the Sacramento Pagan Pride. We had a booth at both and our Grove Diviner/Seer Stephen Abbott performed his trademark divination for crowds to see.
Sean mac Dhomhnuill
Sierra Madrone Grove
Nemeton Awenyddion: News from California
Nemeton Awenyddion is going through some very interesting changes, as the seasons change, so does the Grove. With local members moving or going through major life changes it seems that they would want to be more involved in the Nemeton space and worship/meditations to help them to gain more clarity and balance. This Samhain will be a quiet one for us this year and I will be making a venture out to visit dear Sister Stacey towards the end of Oct. to make up for that. Our online classes just started booming again and going full force but without any more local inquiries for membership. I've also decided to undertake, after being asked for the last ten years by Lakota family, to participate in Sundance ceremony this next year so I'll be preparing to be a singer for that as well.
Yours In The Mother,
Rhiannon Hawk Ard Gwyddon/Druid of Nemeton Awenyddion
and of Proto-Grove Druid Heart Spirit
Sunset Proto-Grove: News from California
Long Crunch leaf walks are in store. In the past week the weather has changed, and we are enjoying brisk evenings and mornings. Our elm out back has decided to begin dropping its share of leaves, and makes me wish Id called the trimmer earlier. (every tree needs its haircut.)
We really enjoy celebrating Samhain in style at our home, as we have a birthday the day before. This year we will have about 20, 11 and 12 year old girls carving pumpkins in our garage, eating spider cupcakes, and watching scary movies through the night. With that kind of crowd we ought to have a bonfire... but then Id have to get a permit.
Don't forget to feed the brownies b'fore you go to sleep, else they'll come and play tricks on you!
"Woooooshh went the wind...& out went the light, & five little pumpkins rolllled out of siiight...."
Happy Samhain to all!
Poison Oak Grove, News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
When I first moved into the new house I drank distilled water because the water came directly from a spring that wasn't the best to drink from. After starting to feel poorly, low energy, easily out of breath, tired all the time, bad nails, I found out that distilled water leaches minerals out of your body. Though I see an herbalist it wasn't getting better. At our last service two weeks ago I asked Diancecht, Physician to the Gods and his daughter Airmid, Herbalist for assistance in find out how to treat this malady. The very next week in conversation with another RDNA member, the Druidess from Texas, when I told her of the symptoms, she looked them up and said it was a vitamin B deficiency, easily treated by B-complex. After just a few days of taking the vitamins I felt so much better. I've been a member of the RDNA for 20 years now and it always amazes me when the deities come through. This is a religion that works!
On October 23 was the first Northern California Druid Moot in Cupertino. A good time was had by all. Bonds were forged and re-established. Because of the friendships made at the Moot it looks like Duir De Danu Grove will be able to have a grove site on which to meet again!
This promises to be the first of many on-going moots that will happen in
Northern California. We will be changing geographic locations to accommodate the
various pockets of RDNA members in the area.
The Llyr Tract
By Irony Sade, Pending Patriarch of Llyr, 9th Order
REFORMED DRUIDS OF NORTH AMERICA
To the COUNCIL OF DALON AP LANDU
I am humbled and honored to be nominated for the patriarchy of the Order of Llyr. Having lived beside, sailed on, and all but drowned in the sea perhaps I can attempt to begin to understand its mysteries.
As one of the younger druids I have watched this discussion of the higher orders quietly, hardly feeling that it was my place to speak. Their utility beyond the funerary is unclear to me, though in the course of time that may change. As I understand it, nomination to the order of Llyr conveys no power, but three responsibilities: To seek to understand the sea; to offer membership to those druids who do the same; and to nominate someone to the Order of Danu.
If Llyr is one of the most obscure deities - just as the sea is an largely unknown realm, even to those who sail upon it, then Danu, as the patron of the Other world, is even more mysterious. It does seem that only those who have died might understand her.
I like the notion that those druids who have died are offered membership in her order by Danu herself. This argues in favor of Mr. Crimmins's idea that the patriarch should be a dead druid, possibly the first third order who died in the Reform. At the same time, it seems reasonable that there be one living member of the Tenth, to look after Death's business on earth, so to speak, or to speak for the dead, if you prefer. What his or her role would be, I do not know. Catholicism aside, people die without help. Would the role of the Danu's priest be to acknowledge the dead, to set them on their path to the Other world, to remind the rest of us that our path does not end here, or something else?
I would appreciate the input of the more senior druids as to potential nominees for the order of Danu. Some of you I will be contacting directly. Everyone else in the counsel, specifically those whom I have not met, is invited to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in the Mother,
Pending Patriarch of Llyr
ARDA 2 Main Volume Completed!
By Mike Scharding
Yes, its about 15 months late. My apologies to all the inconveniences it has caused you.
As you remember, the massive 846 page Green Books volume came out in March 2004, and the Main Volume is done and will be mailed out promptly on Thursday Oct 28th, so you should be looking for this monster a little after Halloween. The 820 page Magazine Volume will be out sometime before Oimelc 2005 with 26 years of NRDNA newsletters and magazines since 1977; although we have gone double over-budget already due to poor estimation on size and binding costs; a subject covered in a plaintive letter accompanying the books.
The Main Volume is also a real hefty beauty, what we call "Minnesota Size." It is expertly hand-sewn with a hard-back spine in a lovely shade of shocking orange covers, weighing over three pounds and 883 pages and a few thousand articles. By the time you read this Samhain issue, the on-line files will be securely hosted at Carleton's server in both .pdf and .doc format. Thus, the rest of you can freely download your own copies to your computer and just print out the sections that you like; double-side them and bind them with either a super-stapler or take them down to Kinko's copier shop and spiral bind them (usually in two 440 page halves, splitting Parts 0-4 and 5-10 for $8 each.) The website address is http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/arda.html
What can I say, but there's something for everyone in here. It is too large to be easily carried out in the field, and it is really meant to be a reference tool, and semi-portable abridged copy of the plentiful Druid Archives stored at Carleton College. Here are some highlights in the Main Volume (marked with asterisk in the 20 page Table of Contents).
Part Zero: Expanded Study Program from 12 to 20 steps; with an online study group this winter (see next article).
Part One: Druid Chronicles, with few changes.
Part Two: Apocrypha. Expanded from 25 to 100 letters, adding debates regarding Codex Affair, Smiley's draft-dodging, Tom Cross Affair, and most recent internet shenanigans.
Part Three: Liturgies. Expanded from about 30 to about 120 services and liturgical articles. More of Isaac's late 70s services, comparisonal studies of ADF, Keltria, and OMS services, on-line service, new orders, French, German, and Japanese Orders of Worship, seasonal festival activities, various divination methods, meditational techniques, and new funeral and wedding services.
Part Four: Trivia and Customs. Doubled in size to include more calendrical articles, graphic diagrams of the family of Druid groups in America, on-line propaganda samples, constitutional variations, organizational structuring of ADF, Keltria, and OMS, and standard correspondence formats.
Part Five: The Druish Books of the Hassidic Druids has few changes.
Part Seven: Druid Miscellaneous has relocated most of its contents to the Green Books volume, and has new essays on the RDNA by Irony Sade and Stephen Crimmins.
Part Eight: General History of RDNA has been updated slightly.
Part Nine: Books of Latter Day Druids has added the "Dead Lakes Scrolls" of recent historical accounts of Carleton and Akita Grove.
Part Ten: Oral Histories has added interviews of Isaac Bonewits, Alice Cascorbi '88, Mike Scharding '04, Irony Sade '99, Merri Beth Weber '03; and as a special treat, David Fisher '65 Founder of Reformed Druidism.
I hope you enjoy it, and I'm taking in submissions of liturgies, epistles,
articles, poems, essays, etc for ARDA 3 to be published in 2013, so hurry up and
mail them to
2004-2005 Wintry ARDA 2
Study Session Begins
Well, you've finally got the enormous files or books of the Main Volume. You're welcome to flip through it by yourself, but you might want a little company if you are going to seriously plow through its entire unfamiliar contents. For this purpose, I've established a free on-line conference at yahoogroups.com called "Reformed_Druid_Texts" that you can join by clicking this button and registering or e-mailing me at email@example.com.
The RDT conference will last from Nov 1st 2004 to May 1st 2005 and will closely follow the Study Guide's 20 step program to wend our way more-or-less chronologically through 40 years of baffling materials. There will be about 30 people or so in the class, and jump in whenever you want, but realistically join up before Nov 15th. I reasonably expect about one serious posting of a few paragraphs per lesson from participants. People who satisfactually complete the rigorous regimen will get a spiffy shiny certificate of a "Deanship of Druid Textology" (D.D.T.) to go on their wall.
Click to join Reformed_Druid_Texts
Druid Chronicles (Evolved) 30th Anniversary Reprint
To honor Robert Larson's passing this August, Stephen Crimmins and I are releasing a new edition of the RDNA literature that Larson and Bonewits assembled in 1976. It was a work of beauty, and disseminated Reformed Druidism to a wider audience and DC(E) kind of put us on the map, so to speak, as the most over-published Druid group in America; a tradition that has continued. We're trying to faithfully replicate much of the art and layout (minus Celtic border designs) and reprinting the contents of DC(E) word for word, correcting typos, although the pagination will differ slightly. It will be about 250 pages long. If you'd like to write a small nostalgic memo for its introductory section, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
DC(E), 2nd Edition, will be released on-line this winter, for free downloads
and print outs, but if you'd rather order a commemorative hard-back edition, you
should send $50 by
paypal.com to Mike using my address
as the destination account; and then send me another e-mail with your proper
physical mailing address. Deadline for those special orders is Dec 1st 2004.
Reformed Druidic Movie DVD Released
If you wish to give a loved one something that hurts more than a lump of coal for the Yuletime exchange of presents, consider a copy of the worst Druidic movie ever made at Carleton College in 1996; with a cast drawn mostly from the Carleton Druids itself. "Gatorr the Fighting Rabbit" is a two-hour barbarian spoof filmed amidst the lush forests and fields where the RDNA was founded. Although not officially made as a Druid project, it is nonetheless permeated with the humor, spirit and sites of that Grove in the early 90s.
Gatorr is the ponderous saga of a young pacifistic barbarian, in a post-apocalyptic Uzbekistan, whose tribe is ruthlessly slaughtered by bandits. Young Gatorr staggers off to the mountain-bound Lepus monastery to train in the fighting style of the rabbit, gains very little wisdom, and then wanders chaotically about in search of his sister, fighting monsters, meeting strange friends, communing with nature, being barbarically bored, breaking into castles and attempting to wreak vengeance for his family. The usual stuff of the genre. Did I mention the long walking scenes, and peppy soundtrack?
Gatorr is being distributed free with all ARDA 2 book orders, but if you'd
also like to buy a copy for your own, send $10 by
paypal.com to my account, which is called "email@example.com."
After that, send me an e-mail to that address with your own mailing address
before December 1st, and I'll guarantee the DVD will be in your stocking before
2004-2005 Wintry Bardic Contest Begins!
Just because the Time of Sleep is approaching after Halloween, means that your creative urges have to go dormant! Last year's 3rd Annual contest fizzled out, but we’re ready to try yet again.
The RDNA will have our 4th Annual Wintry Bardic Contest from Nov 1st to May
1st, on this conference. Anytime during that period, submit to me your poems,
songs, SHORT epic sagas, free-verse, or SHORT stories to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org I will host them this year as the judge [That way, I'll
have a better chance of winning, no?]
0. Anyone can play and enter, even your friends.
1. You can spoof an existing song/poem or be an entirely original creation, but the words have to be your own or a collaboration. If spoofing, please list the source of the music or original lyrics.
2. Subject may be anything vaguely "Druidic," what ever that means. Quality is not a big concern for me either. Have fun. Maximum of 20 entries per person, meaning you Pat.
3. Humor, anger, vexing, angst-drawn, serious, thoughtful, weird, drama-queenish is all perfectly acceptable; but naughty words may be tsk-tsk'ed and finger-waggled.
4. Poetry will be collected throughout the winter. Spurts of poetry will be issued forth regularly every two weeks between November 1st and May 1st (about 13 mailings).
5. Bribes must be at least $500, to be acknowledged.
6. Winner will be announced May 1st, 2005 and will bear the honor of "Bard of the Reform" from May 2005 to May 2006.
7. Entries will be posted on RDNAtalk and at http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/bard4.html and sent by e-mail.
8. Submission of an entry is considered to be accepting their reprint in the Green Books of ARDA 3 in 2013. Unless you tell me that they are copyrighted, I will assume they are for the public domain. I will label them either way according to your choice.
To see previous bardic contest entries go to:
http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/bard.html 2001-2002 Winter
http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/bard2.html 2002-2003 Winter
Yours in the Mother,
Mike the Fool
Mystery of The Dragon: a Ritual Meditation
By MaDagda, Duir De Danu Grove
Here lies the Mystery of The Dragon. The Mystery of the Dragon is comprised of two ritual meditations, which are to be held for the feasts of Samhain and Beltaine. These meditations, predominately the same meditation, but worded to fit each feast is based loosely on Arthurian Druidism and parts of the whole are based on the movie "Excalibur," produced by John Boorman and the book "Dancing with Dragons," written by D. J. Conway.
These meditations were primarily written for inclusion in Druidic ritual, however, they may be used within a Wiccan circle. If done within a Wiccan Circle, it would be ideal to include deities of Celtic origin.
Ritual preparation, concluding the ritual, and other ritual activity outside of these meditations should be done according to personal taste and tradition.
For the Feast of Samhain
Everyone holds hands around the ritual area. The participants are to close their eyes and take several deep breaths and as they breathe they are to think of The Dragon.
Leader: I would like you now to begin thinking about The Dragon. The ancient one who has existed before the dawn of time. The one who is everywhere and is everything. It's body is the Earth itself. Its forked tongue strikes upon the land like lightning. It's breath is the mist that casts shrouds and veils the land. Its scales glisten upon the waves of the sea. And Its Spirit lies in the wisdom of the cycle of awakening and sleep.
We are here to seek The Dragon so that we may learn from It, to seek Its wisdom, and to feel Its power and strength. But, to encounter The Dragon we must enter Its mouth and descend into the Dragon's heart.
The Mouth of The Dragon
Leader: You now find yourself standing before the mouth of a cave. You notice that along its edges, on both top and bottom are large, vertical rock formations that appear as if they were teeth. You now walk into the cavern into the cavern which is dimly lit and head down a narrow passage that ends at the top of a stairway.
The Spiral Staircase
Leader: You descend the stairs and soon discover that the stairway is a spiraling staircase. You travel downwards, spiraling deep into the Earth. After a while it seems that you will never stop, yet you continue onward.
The Cavern of the Tap Root Forest
Leader: Soon you descend into a cavern filled with tap roots that plunge from the ceiling and then bore down into the floor. It is as if a forest of these tap roots lay all about you in all directions. The air is thick with the rich, loamy scent of the Earth. You take note of the varying sizes of these roots; some are as big as tree trunks while others are as thin as wire. You also notice that this cavern is alive with tiny creatures; insects, spiders, reptiles, and other such animals who have shunned the light of the sun and live in eternal darkness. After taking some time here, you now proceed your descent of the Spiral Staircase, going deeper into the Earth.
The Well of Hidden Flowing Waters
After some time, you begin to hear a faint sound of flowing water, and as you descend the staircase, it becomes louder and louder. You soon come to a landing beside an underground river and the waters roar as they flow from a waterfall at the end of the cave. The air is moist and cool. You feel refreshed standing along the shore of this river. If you wish, you may drink of the waters. As you drink in the waters, you find them to be cool and refreshing, giving you renewed strength and vitality. When you have finished, you continue down the Spiral Staircase.
The Vault of Hidden Gems
After going deeper down the Spiral Staircase, you end now in a cave filled and glowing with every sort of gem known. The room is brightly lit and it seems as if the gems themselves are the source of light in this chamber. You see before you giant diamonds, clusters of rubies and emeralds, long spires of quartz, gems of all shapes and size. As you look around you see to one wall an exit which is ringed about with giant points of amethyst, arranged as if they were teeth within a gaping mouth. You walk towards this exit and find yourself again before a spiraling staircase. You now step down the staircase, once again going deeper, deeper, and deeper within the Earth.
The Heart of the Dragon
Leader: After what has seemed to be forever, the stairs now end in a brightly lit, circular chamber. You notice the entire room; the walls, the floor, and the ceiling are made of crystal as if this room was cut out from once giant crystal. As you enter the chamber you are filled with wonder and bursting with the urge to ask about what you see.
Note: If there are enough people, assign someone to play the Voice of the Seeker.
Voice of the Seeker: What is this place?
Leader: here you enter the Heart of the Dragon. Here all things are possible and all things meet their opposites.
Voice of the Seeker: The future?
Leader: And the past.
Leader: And oblivion.
Leader: And emptiness.
Here within the Heart of The Dragon fear meets courage, weakness meets strength, wasting away meets health, hate meets love, and folly meets wisdom.
Within the Heart of The Dragon you may change that which you will to change. Now take some time to think of that which you will to change within your life and as you do so, I shall awaken The Dragon so that we may ask for Its blessings and to aid us with Its power.
Awakening The Dragon
Here the Leader repeats the Charm of Making x9
Anail Nathrock Uthvoss Bethudd Dochiel Dienve
Leader: We, who are assembled here within the Heart of The Dragon, call You forth. Awaken and arise O' Ancient One! Mighty One, who is everywhere and everything, aid us with Your power and strength. Guide us with Your wisdom! Great Serpent, ancient before the dawn of time, AWAKEN AND ARISE!
Note: The leader will let out a roar at this point signaling the presence of the Dragon.
Leader: Behold and feel The Dragon within you. Feel It move through you, out of you, and then back into you. Feel yourselves joined together in this circle enclosed and linked together by the power of The Dragon. Feel the Power of the Dragon. Feel Its strength and Its wisdom.
Know that aided by The Dragon, you may change that which you will to change and it shall come to pass. Know that you are planting seeds of change within the Dragon's Heart, allowing them to nurture and germinate until the time of awakening when they shall burst forth full of life and promise.
Know also that you may call upon The Dragon whenever you have need. For the power, the strength, and the wisdom of the Dragon are yours. Here lies the Mystery of The Dragon. We are all part of The Dragon, therefore, we are The Dragon.
Now breathe deep. Breathe in the Essence of The Dragon. Feel it in your feet and ankles. From your ankles to your knees, to your thighs, and up into your hips. Bring the power of the Dragon from your hips to the your stomach and now up to your heart. From your heart, bring the Essence of the Dragon up to your shoulders and then down your arms.
Feel the power of The Dragon move about the circle as it moves to the person next to you and then back into you. Feel it leave and enter you at the same moment. Feel yourselves joined within this circle by the power of The Dragon. Savor this moment. Remember it always, for we are all one, bound by the Essence of The Dragon, because we are The Dragon.
Now bring the Essence of The Dragon up from your shoulders to your throat and then to your forehead. From your forehead, bring the Essence of The Dragon rise to the top of your head and form either the wings or horns of The Dragon there.
Now, let go. Release the wings or horns of The Dragon and watch them fly within the circle and then out of it, soaring into the universe, breathing deeply as you do so.
Ascending the Spiral Staircase
Leader: It is now time to depart, yet before we leave, take a moment to thank The Dragon as It returns to Its rest. (pause) When you are ready, go to the spiral staircase and begin to climb up to the Mouth of The Dragon. Soon you reach the Vault of Hidden Gems. You continue on and reach the Well of Hidden Flowing Waters. If you wish, you may stop and drink of the waters, feeling them invigorate you to the core of your being. When you have finished, you continue your spiraling ascent and reach the Cavern of the Tap Root Forest. You breath in the cool, rich, earthy smell of the cavern, feeling yourself becoming grounded. You continue onwards and upwards and climb quickly, spiraling out of the Earth and soon come to the cave which leads to the Mouth of The Dragon. You follow the passageway down, coming to the Mouth of The Dragon, where you step into the warm, shining sun.
Now take a few deep breaths, and be here, in this place from whence you began
your journey. Be here at this present time. When you are ready, open your eyes.
Should you feel the need, you may return a portion of The Dragon's power to the
Random Acts of Druidry
By Gwyddion Realm, Eurisko Grove
was driving home from the Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday night trying to figure out what to do with all the harvest decorations from our table. I didn't want to throw them away. Then it occurred to me. Why don't I make a harvest altar? Not only that, why don't I put it in one of the special places I like to stop when I go out for a walk. I have a special place by the water - a place where the water, earth, and sky all meet.
Imagine the sense of curiosity, wonderment, and possibly even magic when a passerby happens to come across it. If they're in the know on these things themselves, they may be even more happily surprised. I wonder if ancient Druids left altars like this in the forests. I wonder what would happen if more people started to leave such altars in places like city parks or down nature trails. What if people started doing this for every solstice, equinox, and other Pagan holidays?
Guidelines for a Nature Altar:
1. Use it to celebrate solstices, equinoxes, and other Pagan holidays.
2. Position the altar somewhere off the beaten path. Place it somewhere that is semi-public, but not heavily trafficked. You don't want it somewhere where it will be trampled or desecrated.
3. Make sure it's all natural and biodegradable. We don't want to litter the
earth. Use plants, stones, and other items of the season:
Fall/Harvest - pumpkins, gourds, autumn leaves, and acorns.
Winter/Yule - evergreens, pine, holly, pinecones, and mistletoe.
Spring - Ivy, flowers, and so on.
Summer - Oak branches, apples, and other plants, fruits, and flowers of the season.
4. Pass it on. Suggest to your friends and others that they do the same.
Seasons of Food,
By Oriana Lewallen, Sunset Proto-Grove
There are only a few fruits that I can call 'icons' of the fall season. These are the fruits that seem to be the last ones offered at the vegetable stand down the road before the winter season comes, and they take down their hand-painted OPEN signs. The other thing that creates a fall food icon for me is the smells that conjure images I can relate to, as summer becomes fall. Who can deny that when they think of fall they think of the smell of pumpkin pie spices, or my personal favorite apple cider mulling on the stove with cloves, oranges and cinnamon? These smells invite me to, slip on a chunky warm sweater, go for a brisk mitten and scarf laden walk in the crunchy fall foliage, light a log in the fireplace and afterward cuddle down for a long read, with a steaming cup. They also invite me to make and enjoy warm leisurely meals with my family, and to share the fruits of the harvest with my friends.
There are a thousand plus varieties of apples grown in the United States currently. (4cs.com) Apples are varied in size, flavor, shape and color and each person seems to have their own distinct variety as a favorite. (My personal favorites are the Jonagold and the Gala varieties.) Everyone seems to know the Granny Smith and the Red Delicious; here are some lesser-known varieties to try. Of course this is just a basic list-
Arkansas Black Baldwin Criterion Doctor Matthews Gold Coast Honey Crisp Idared Lady Moyers Prize Northern Spy Snow Apple Sweet Emma
(A master list of apple varieties can be found at www.bighorsecreekfarm)
The Apple goes back as far as written history allows and farther. Though no one knows for sure who cultivated the apple originally, the remnants of apple seeds have been found in Southern England during excavations, and have been attributed to the Neolithic era. It is assumed that the crab apple was a common part of the human diet at this time. (Originally the wild apple tree, malus pumila var mitris, produced a large quantity of small sour, mostly seed and core fruits.
Though in mythology there are many instances where apples are named, it was not until later that the variety of fruit we know today was named an 'apple'. Until this point in time, many fruits were classified as 'apples' including, "melons, avocados, cashews, cherimoyas, dates, eggplants, lemons, oranges, peaches, pineapples, pine nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, quinces, and tomatoes (vegparadise)...
The Health benefits of the Apple are great. Many nutrients and vitamins are present in the Apple. These cause the Apple to be one of great benefit to the consumer. Apples are high in fiber and contain pectin both of which aids in digestion and digestive tract health but also aids in reducing blood sugar and high cholesterol. Apples contain antioxidants that aid the immune system, and reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. A grated apple, due to high water content, if served to a patient can greatly reduce their fever. "Steamed apples sweetened with honey are beneficial for a dry cough and may help to remove mucous from the lungs. (vegparadise)" Eating apples cleans your teeth, and gives you a dose of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin C. If these aren't enough reasons to believe the adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." I don't know what is.
Some Samhain apple traditions are:
Bobbing for Apples- Unmarried people would attempt to take a bite out of an apple bobbing in a pail of water. The first person to do so was believed to be the next to marry.
Peeling Apples- Attempting to produce a long unbroken apple peel was said to estimate the number of years you had to live. The longer the peel, the longer your life expectancy.
Peeling an apple and throwing the peel over one's shoulder was supposed to reveal the initial of one's future spouse.
Snap apple is a game where a coin is inserted into an apple by pushing it in as far as possible. The apple is dangled from a string. The arms are tied behind the back and people bite at the apple. The first person that succeeds at biting into the coin inside the apple, wins.
1/2 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 C mayonnaise
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine the red and green cabbage, apples, and carrots.
2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the cabbage mixture; toss well.
3. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
*Recipe found at Ivillage.com - tried and tasted by the Lewallen family... yummy!
Internet Archaeology:Apple Seeds in Neolithic England-
Samhain Apple Customs:
Apple Slaw recipe:
Job Opening: Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Wales Bangor
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY AND WELSH HISTORY Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology Salary: Lecturer Grade A: £23,643 - £27,116 p.a. Closing Date: 12-11-2004 Post Description: Applications are invited for the above post. The successful candidate will be a specialist in Prehistoric Archaeology with the ability to make an important contribution to the research profile of the Department. Research interests in any aspect of prehistoric archaeology are welcome, including landscape archaeology and the prehistoric archaeology of Britain and Ireland. The successful candidate will be required to play a significant role in the teaching of prehistoric archaeology and the principles and techniques of archaeology, including theory, and to take part in administrative duties in the Department.
The post will commence in January 2005.
Application forms and further particulars should be obtained by contacting:
University of Wales,
Tel: (01248) 382926 / 388132
Please quote reference number 04-4/66 when applying.
For informal discussions concerning this position, candidates are encouraged to contact:
Email: Dr Raimund Karl
or Dr Nancy Edwards
The Mysteries of Avalon
November 12-13 - Ben Lomond
Mara Freeman presents The Mysteries of Avalon at the Amity Center. This weekend we will explore the beauty, wisdom and power of Avalon, which will take us through many magical paths in the Forest, including:
The Faery Realm of Morgen le Fay, the Nine Sisters, the Dark Goddess and Mysteries of the Cauldron and the Chalice of Healing;
The "wild wisdom" of Merlin: originally known as Myrddin, Welsh bard, prophet, magician and archetypal Guardian of Britain.
The Mysteries of Glastonbury: the small town in southwest England, where Avalon meets our own world; the hidden secrets of Glastonbury Tor, the Chalice Well, and the ancient Abbey with its legends of Joseph of Arimathea and King Arthur.
The Wasteland—the myth and its meaning for us today in our current planetary crisis—and how we can redeem it through reconnecting with the Goddess of the Sacred Land who guards the Grail.
To set sail for this magical isle, we will go by the "three arts" of the
Western inner tradition: ritual, meditation and the Vision Journey. This
experiential work will enable us to discover how "Avalon of the Heart" can open
us to wisdom and healing for our lives and our Earth today. Information:
Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Art
From Read Ireland Book News - Issue 286
Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Art: Geometric Aspects by Derek Hull
Trade Paperback; 40.00 Euro / 48.00 USD / 25.00 UK; 250 pages, with colour
and black-and-white illustrations throughout
Much of early medieval Celtic and Anglo-Saxon art is based on the display of motifs keys, interlacing, spiral and zoomorphic in well-defined panels in simple and complex arrays. A study of the arrangements of the panels and the fine details of the motifs indicates that the artists relied on geometric methods and principles first used by Egyptians and Greeks. Some of the works are incredibly intricate and challenge us to unravel the way they were created. This book reflects the authors life-long interest in interpreting the exciting and exotic patterns revealed by scientific studies using light and electron microscopes. His interest in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon art started with a casual observation of an interlacing pattern on an early medieval stone cross set in a churchyard. There followed many years of exploration of art in metal, stone and vellum from all parts of Ireland and the British Isles. This book reveals new and intriguing facets of these works that add to our appreciation of the beauty of the art and the skills of the artists.
To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review send an email to the order department at: email@example.com
Please be sure to include your mailing address and credit card details. You can of course also post your order to:
Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3, Ireland.
Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-830-2997.
Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: http://www.readireland.com
All Prices and Rates are in Euro (US Dollar and UK Sterling prices are
guidelines based on current exchange rates.) Euro prices on books reviewed above
are firm. Post + package is charged at cost.
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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