A Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America
Vernal Equinox Y.R. 39
(March 15, 2001)
Volume 18, Number 2
|CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE:
quinox, the beginning of spring, which is marked by the Sun's crossing of the Celestial Equator, the first point of Aries. For a diurnal cycle, the day and night are of equal length. The emphasis of the holiday is on renewal, active preparation for the summer to come. The stones of some of the Megaliths mark this sunrise, by this point the plowing and seeding must be done. In numerous cultures these were sacred activities, from the Charming of the Plow in pagan Germany, a celebration which the Anglo-Saxons brought with them to England, to the ritual plowing of the first furrow in a special sacred field by the reigning Chinese Emperor. Our word for acre, 43,560 sq. ft. of land, comes from the Gaelic word "acadh" meaning a field.
Erec, Erec, Erec,
Mother of Earth
Hail to thee, Earth,
Mother of Men
Be fruitful in
Filled with food
For the use of men.
This was written down in the Leechbook circa 950 AD in England. It is the ancient Indo-European Earth Mother and Sky Father, despite five hundred years of Christian influence.
In England, Spring Equinox was celebrated as Lady Day, now fixed at March 25, to make it a dependable legal holiday while the Equinox shifts yearly between the 20th and the 22nd. Before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in England in 1752, this holiday was the beginning of the New Year, legal and fiscal. In the Gaelic world, the new season, Samhra, wouldn't begin until Bealtaine, but the New Year had commenced on Samhain on November 5th or 6th. Between Samhain and Bealtaine is the "Season of Sleep" and May Day begins the new "Season of Life."
In modern Reform Druidism there is no whiskey, or intoxicant, in the chalice at services all through this Season of Sleep, only distilled water, the Waters-of-Sleep. Only water is poured out in the Offerings to the trees. It is the season of the Pine and the Birch. The later, Bride's tree, begins her season at Equinox. It has been a time of rest and in-drawing, the re-couping of our energies. Now life starts to re-awaken and we begin preparations for the major celebration of the Druid year, Bealtaine, the full-blown Rose.
By Emmon Bodfish, reprinted from A Druid Missal-Any Spring Equinox, 1984.
News of the Groves
For the Full Grove Directory
Carleton Grove: News from Minnesota
So, we had a Druid Art Day! This Sunday at tea, we crammed all the druids, art supplies, and creativity we could find into Nourse main lounge until art came out! We used crayons, markers, construction paper, play dough, and anything else we could think of. Tea and conversation were provided.
Also, of note is that Carleton College has a new 55 year old president (#10), Dr. Robert A. Oden Jr. Unlike past presidents, his academic focus is Near Eastern Languages and Literatures with a Th. M. in Near-Eastern religions. He was president of Kenyon College in OH since 1995 and taught religion in Dartmouth from 1979-1989. He is definitely going to contribute to the religious scene of Carleton, "But is it good for the Druids?"
Akita Grove: News from Northern Japan
All is well here and we had great fun here. Of course, Naomi won the Great Cailleach Search (see the last Missal-Any, you try it too!), but she fought with Satoko to cross the goal. We celebrated the farmer new year in late January. We carried decorations all over the village.
We are having plans for a Equinox Egg festival, like Easter. Whoever finds the most will be the winner. Doing it in a forest makes more fun. The Shrine is very busy with students needing good luck for exams. After April, Pat (he is a fool) will walk across Japan (the short way from ocean to ocean).
Monument Grove: News from DC
Well, I was witness to two crimes within one hour. First somebody robbed a Popeye's Chicken story in front of my very eyes. I didn't realize it till after it was over. Then someone kicked in my front door for fun and ran away laughing. We've since had iron bars installed, ugly as they are.
Mairi is leaving after the Equinox to pursue a solitary path, and taking Sine with her of course. (How can you be solitary with some one else?) It's all in good friendship, and I expect her back on the winter Solstice for goodies.
My wife and I have begun a one year commitment to raising a seeing-eye puppy. His name is Earl and he's a Labrador Retriever, so he balances Mairi' s departure along with my new cat. We all four go out for nature walks daily.
The Encyclopedia of American Religions by Gordon Melton is updating their 1979 article on the Reform Druids provided by Isaac. The article became the template for further encyclopedias on American religious activities. I submitted an amended copy after having others make their comments and historical notes.
I also investigated the myth of the balancing of eggs on their ends during
the equinox. I found a wonderful site on the topic at www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/egg_spin.html
which I recommend you investigate.
Volcano Grove: News from Tonga
Dec 19, 2001. Rain. Thought we might be in for a hurricane last night. We had to seal all the windows of the town hall and to keep the water out. Now the wind has left for somewhere cooler and we retain only a solid perpendicular drizzle.
I can't recall if I mentioned my chickens. For the longest time, I held off adopting any, figuring I could have either them or a garden. With zero local vegetables, the latter was more important. One day, I came home to find two young hens hiding under my bed. I took the hind, tied them up and built a large cage to keep them in. One puzzling fact about chickens is that after a week or two in a new environment, they forget having lived anywhere else. Once these two were thoroughly brainwashed I let them roam free. First thing they did was devour my cabbages and tear up the onions. They haven't even produced any eggs yet! Still, they are adorable-and I can always eat them if they bug me too much.
Time flies like a hummingbird. Magically still while sucking life's nectar, then gone too fast to follow. My time approaches the latter phase. Twelve weeks till escape from paradise. With luck I will be home for Beltaine. Send nothing to Tonga after March 16. Till then, I remain your sunburnt emissary.
The following account is perfectly true and factual. The events happened last Friday. Makes you wonder just how thorough the missionaries were:
HARD CORE PAGANS IN TONGA
After being assured by the Doctors that there was nothing wrong with him, Siona Pko (false name) visited a good Christian card reader to diagnose ongoing pains in his abdomen. The reader examined his playing cards and announced that two of Siona's deceased in-laws were trying to take the family with them. Siona's wife had died just before his pains started, her brother only months before. Unless the spirits were stopped they would haul off the whole family. Siona returned to his island and tearfully related the story to the surviving relatives. "I know I'm going to die," he told them.
Two of Siona's good Weslyan cousins decided enough was enough. They stole into the graveyard in the early morning and dug up the bones of the two offenders. Carrying as many parts as they could, they snuck to the lava field, doused the bodies in kerosene and burned them in the night. The skulls they carried to the wharf and then threw them into the sea, which promptly spat them back out.
"We are Christians!" the local priest bellowed at Mass the next Sunday. "Stop doing this! Haven't I taught you anything?" Villagers were somewhat sympathetic, "Sure, we dig up our families graves.to clean and oil the bones sometimes." Said one woman who spoke to me on conditions of anonymity. "The Spirits occasionally make us sick then show up to complain about tree roots prying their ribs apart. Once we clean the grave they always leave us alone." Others were merely terrified of ghostly reprisals because the bones had not been completely destroyed. According to the police officer who recovered the ashes, the deceased were still alive and well and prevented his car from starting when he tried to leave for work. "Go away and let me do my job!" he cried. Under Tonga's very Christian law such acts carry a ten year sentence.
The local Druid when pressed for comment, smiled quietly behind his tea cup and simply asked if Siona Piko had recovered.
Fresh off the coconut wireless report
Irony Sade Reporting
P.S. Still digesting Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations." Very good. Definitely high class paganism.
Ice Floe Grove: News from Antarctica
Thanks so much for conveying the news from my lonely outpost. Fortunately for me, I'm soon going to Manaus and working on the Madiera River on April 1st (coincidence?).
Computers don't do well in water, so I'll be out of touches. I'll still write letters occasionally to Mike and Derrick, just like Brother Irony, and do my best to find Dalon Ap Landu hiding amongst the trees of the tropical jungle.
Wish me luck. Enjoy the summer folks.
White Rabbit Grove: News from Wisconsin
Having lost her internet connection, things have been dull lately in WI.
Katya says she sprained her ankle on the way to the woods, worsening the
boredom. She notes that there has been unusually little snow due to the high
temperatures. There are some worries about the water table.
Mojo Grove: News from Down There
Mojo protogrove has taken a recess due to unforeseen circumstances.
Oaken Circle Grove MOCC: News from KY
Greetings we are the Oaken Circle Grove from Northern Ky. area, our grove is coming along nicely we have five active members and three perspective members in our new grove which was established in Nov.2001. I would like to give special thanks to my husband Mike (Myrid) and my sister and brother-in-law Tara and Brandon for their support. I would also like to welcome Teresa (Oceanna) to our grove. We are still working on pulling our grove ideas together as well as a youth grove.
Our plans for Ostara right now are a get together for the grove and perspective grove members, we are going to do some egg coloring for the children and have them decorate our tree with Easter eggs, (we have one we have had up since Samhain and the decorations change to reflect the holiday).Some natural dyes that can be used are, beet juice for a pink or reddish color, boiled onion skins for a pale yellow, you can also use plum juice or grape juice to make a nice purple, I have heard you can use cooked spinach juice to make a green shade but have not tried that one yet. If any one is interested in learning more about us please go to our website at http://oaken_circle_grove.tripod.com/oakencirclegroveky/ We have many pages we hope you will enjoy and we have a guest book on our members art work page you can sign. Have a safe and Happy Ostara.
Silent Grove: News from Hamilton, Ontario
Just thought I'd update you on a new Grove that was started December 21, 2001. We had actually wanted to start the Grove in November of 2001, but decided that our annual celebrations should coincide with the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Our initial ceremonies included viewing the planet Jupiter in all its splendor, as well as a candlelight vigil for the protection of natural areas that are increasingly coming under attack in our area.
Our next meeting will be March 20th, 2002 and so far we are planning on working with local groups (after our own service which will commence at 2pm EST at a location not yet specified) in conjunction with Earth Day 2002 to hopefully give more understanding to the Druidic interpretation and role of nature, and of its importance within a historical context as well as today and into the future.
Our current group of four has a well-rounded cornucopia of skills and interests, and with alacrity we are all willing to learn more as we expand beyond our knowledge-base and flourish into a wisdom-based group (whatever that means). And, of course, we are always looking for others who wish to join us in their own spiritual journey.
My personal forte is outdoor survival training, Taoist tai-chi, and TM all culminating in a strong, unbreakable bond with nature. My wife's strength revolves in her training in the art of homeopathy, organic gardening as well as natural crafting (soaps, candles, incense etc.). Our other two members have interests in anthropology, geo-caching, divination, poetry and song-writing.
All quite a mouthful (and a delicious one at that)! Of course we all share a deep love of our Mother, and just as she gives, all of us in Silent Grove volunteer our services to charitable organizations (esp. those related to the preservation of the environment from ongoing degradation) when we have time. With warm and brotherly regards.
Emerald Grove: News from WA
Back in contact with the Washington Grove! Questions and answers from the second oldest Grove in the Reform.
1) How is your group organized?
Cyndie Sallee-Brown lead our Grove for about 17 years. When she left the area, she elevated me to third. My understanding is that we only elevate someone to third if they are leaving the area. In my case, I had to alter that. I have had problems with my health from time to time and needed a back up in case I couldn't lead a Grove. JoAnna Schoettler is the other third in our group.
2) What is your grove like, how big is it ?
Our Grove, now called the Emerald Grove instead of the Greenwood Grove, has any where from 26 to 55 people showing up an any given time. Usually, it is some where in between, maybe around 40. Since we use my house and back garden, invitation to the Grove is through a friend. As far as specialties, I certainly promote entertainment. My dance troupe has done ritual dances, sometimes people read poetry, share songs, that sort of thing. Otherwise, it is fairly basic because it is an open group. We get a lot of newbies that flow through here. I like to keep things simple.
3) Is it actively working with other local groups or isolated?
I have communication with Leon Reed's group and a group called CUPS that is connected with the Unitarians in our area. There is certainly a flow of people that come to our Grove as well as the other groups. I have shown up to some of these other rituals on occasion, but actively working with them? Not really.
4) Have you made any publications, poetry, songbooks, constitutionals?
Not since I have been Arch Druid. Cyndie created a song book with her ex-husband, Dwane Worthington, although I don't think she handed that out much. She also lead a Greenwood Grove choir and they did a few tapes. I was a part of a group called "Laughter and Love" which included Cyndie, Dwane and myself. We did a cassette of music that was pagan related. We used to do concerts a various pagan events in the Northwest area. That was back in 1984, I believe.
5) As the 2nd oldest grove in the Reform, what's been going on since the 70s in your grove? We really lost track of you in 1981 (we lost track of everyone, actually).
I can't even begin to cover what has happened, even since I first came to Cyndie's Grove in 1983. We continue to celebrate the seasons and my focus is to create community.
6) What happened to Cyndie Sallee, the Founder, after Tom Schuler and Dennis Merril left?
Cyndie lead the Grove up until 1997. She decided to move to Hawaii where she lives today. I took over at Lammas in 1997.
I'm still in wonderful spirits after a delightful Candlemas celebration that we had on Saturday evening. It has been a real trip seeing the how the flavor of the group changes as time goes on.
My dance troupe did a Candle dance that went over really well. We are starting a Grove dance troupe so that we might do more ritual dance prior to circle. In the past it was just women from my belly dance troupe that I have been a part of for years. About 12 people signed up and it will be interesting how this comes together.
These days we are drawing more poly folks into the fold, which adds a nice
zesty flavor to the group. We had 47 people show up for the ritual and my little
house was truly packed! There were a lot of new people this time, maybe about 10
or so. After ritual most people hung around and talked, danced, and hot tubbed.
My hot tub holds 10 people, and we have had up to 15 some nights. It's a
friendly group, what can I say?
Druid Heart Spirit Grove: News from California
We're going to be having a few new guests for Alban Eile (spring equinox) from a local group called NorCal Pagans. Some of the great people I met at a recent meeting are really interested in attending a Grove ritual, and I brought my harp, they loved it! We're planning on having rituals outside in the stone circle, with a Grove blessing for the new stones I've added over the last few months, one of them is four and a half feet tall, one foot wide and five inches thick, now stands in the North and casts a beautiful shadow! Recently, I've come across some interesting studies in my dowsing practices in the Nemeton site, I'd like to share.
I've been having a great time with my dad, and he's learning more about geomancy and we're practicing it together now. He's always known how to dowse with L-rods for water, he's now getting into dowsing for ley lines and came over last weekend to make himself a pendulum and dowse the stone circle. That's the main reason I'm writing is to tell you what happened from our testing the energy lines there.
Nine months ago after our Beltain rites I dowsed the stone circle. Every time I went towards the central fire pit the rods would start to open, but not all the way. Then as I walked around the circle when I got to the area between the altar and the fire pit they opened where the crossover pathway is for the spirits to enter. Two weeks ago I went out and did the same testing and got the same results, except that the rods flew wide open and hit the outside of my arm at the fire pit and altar pathway, and not only that but, as I walked around the circle, in front of the space of every stone the rods parted. My father's testing got the same results.
Now I've always known that the rituals create an energy pattern that follows
the shape of the ritual, and the rituals we do are shaped from the way the
energy flows in the Celtic world tree. I'm also aware that we create the pathway
for the spirits to cross over. Now looking at the energy patterns we 've found
present with dowsing, I also found a symbol that's been speculated about by the
Celtic scholars for years. The symbol was carved in stone in Scotland, Ireland,
Wales, Brython, and France, dates back to about 500 BC. It's a circle, with a
skeleton keyhole inside. The keyhole is in the center of the circle, with a
pathway where we call in the spirits, is the pathway coming off to the side of
the keyhole, that opens to the outside circle. Some of these symbols are carved
so that the opening in the keyhole points south, our altar also faces south!
Anyway I think that's more than a theory.
|Baccharis Grove: News from California
Publisher of "A Druid Missal-Any"
It has been an usually cold winter in the bay area. A dead mole was found at the edge of the Grove site, perhaps due to the weather (we buried it on a frond of fern, with a sprig of pine and sticky monkey flower to escort it to Apple Isle). In agricultural communities Oimelc marked the beginning of spring. As if ordained by the High Day the weather changed overnight at the Baccharis Grove site. On Oimelc proper when we held our service, in contrast to the previous day, the sun shone and the weather was warm. There was a definite change from the winter! I love it when marking the seasons of the year clicks. For the second year in a row we enacted the Scottish Bride-og ceremony and recited the Genealogy of Bride. This year's Bride-og was made from the wheat that sprang up from last year's Bride-og that we cut down at last Lughnasadh.
Nomadic Grove: News from Ontario
Our Grove is called the Nomadic Grove we are located in and around Roseneath Ontario Canada we are currently three sentient members strong with more interested. We are a new and developing Grove we are very committed to the Druid fundamentals with strong Christian undertones, our constitution basically reaffirms a blend of Druidism and Christianity.
Kitsap Pennisula Grove: News from Washington State
I am indeed attempting to put together a protogrove, but at present it consists of my family (me and my two teenage boys and 11-year-old daughter).
I've been an initiate of Order of the Mithril Star since its inception as a druid organization, and before that when it was still thinking of itself as Wiccan. Anyway, when a name is chosen, it will be something reflecting our Northwest location. For now let's call it Kitsap Peninsula Grove.
The town in Bremerton, WA
Protogrove July 2001
My email is email@example.com
Moved from Colorado in October, 2001
Why are We Called Reformed?
Reflections on Judaism and Calvinism
By Mairi Ceolmhor,O.D.A.L, D.C. Grove
Ogmios, and other gods interested in elegant speech, please guide my words to present my own personal views and reach the hearts of my readers; who will not mistake my views for those of the RDNA in general. What's in a name? Depends on the person, I guess. Many people take great pride and derive much support by the names and associations, which they adopt. Labels, much as we hate pigeonholing, provide a reference point for understanding someone. How about members of the Reformed Druids of North America? We've certainly spent a lot of time researching, defending, deprecating and defining the term "Druid," because in the RDNA, we call ourselves "Druids." It is natural to understand the background and implications of that term. But why are we also called "Reformed?" What are we referring to "Year XXII of the Reform" or when we speak of our movement as "The Reform?" Where exactly does the word "Reformed" come from?
The word "reform" first appears in surviving English literature as "reformen" in 1340, derived from French "reformer" or Latin "reformare" with a meaning of "make again" or "restoration." After 1440 it added the nuance, "to improve," and in 1563 "changed for the better" was added. Around 1663 it was used popularly to denote "improvement by removal of some abuse or wrong," due to its use in describing the 16th century religious movement of the "Reformation." "Reformatory Schools" began in 16th century to "reform" juvenile offenders (did the Founders belief they were in a prison-like school?). In days of Prohibition, it was also used to refer to drunkards who have given up the habit. Today, the Oxford English Dictionary describes it as:
1 a. to put or change into an improved form or condition.
1 b. to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses.
2. To put an end to evil by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action.
3. To subject hydrocarbons (gasoline) to cracking to produce new products. (And most Druids like hydrocarbons and they are "crackers")
Some members of the RDNA understand it in the "recasting" or "re-creation" or "re-constructing" modes with moderation. But, it is primarily under the religious and moral meaning that the term is now used in our general society. So in order to appreciate this term, I looked at two churches (I'm not sure if we really are a church) that use "Reformed" in their title; Reformed Judaism and Reformed Christianity (there's no Reformed Islam, I think.) Let's hypothesize how their traditions may (or may not) have affected our own self-identity in the early 60s. If nothing else, when discussing your "reform" during inter-faith dialogue, we should understand what their "reform" means.
We know that a movement, known as "Reformed Judaism", solidified around 1810, see www.ccarnet.org/platforms/principles.html It is described on several sites on the internet as:
|"Judaism marked by a liberal approach in
nonobservance of much legal tradition regarded as irrelevant to the
present and in shortening and simplification of traditional
We Reform Jews are heirs to a vast body of beliefs and practices embodied in TORAH and the other Jewish sacred writings. We differ from more ritually observant Jews because we recognize that our sacred heritage has evolved and adapted over the centuries and that it must continue to do so. And we also recognize that if Judaism were not capable of evolution, of REFORM, it could not survive.
Reform Judaism accepts and encourages pluralism. Judaism has never demanded uniformity of belief or practice. But we must never forget that whether we are Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, or Orthodox, we are all an essential part of K'lal Yisrael--the worldwide community of Jewry. http://rj.org/index.html
The vernacular language is used in most services. Judaism is adapted to contemporary conditions. The spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law, is observed. Revelation is seen as coming through the human spirit and nature, as well as sacred text. Traditional home rituals are not as highly valued as in other traditions of Judaism. www.interfaithcalendar.org/ReformedJudaism.htm
Reform Jewish services allow for women cantors, choirs, organs and pianos as well as other instruments, and "music" as well as chanting. Women are also allowed to read from and chant the Torah, as well as pray aloud. The worship service involves the congregation much more than Orthodox and Conservative counterparts. This allows for quite a bit of variety in worship, especially with regards to the musical language used in worship. http://simplechemistry.w00tcentral.com/Kyles/rejud.htm
Gosh, that sounds quite a bit like us! I believe, there were at least a few members with a Jewish background in the Founding Days of the Carleton Grove, such as Howard Cherniack and Deborah Frangquist. Throughout our history, some members have knowingly called ourselves "Drues," and cracked jokes like "That's funny, you don't look Druish" in Berkeley. We also had our very own Hassidic Druids of North America branch in St. Louis Missouri during the mid-70s (for more info see, ARDA part 5 at http://www.student.carleton.edu/orgs/Druids/ARDA/ARDA-05.pdf)
This belief seems also to niche in with the neo-old-testament style of the early Druid Chronicles of the 60s; e.g. rebuilding the altar, the psalm-like meditations of "David" Frangquist, lonely hermits seeking god in the wilderness, invocation of weather, prophetic ranting at authorities, and images of a persecuted people seeking release ("let my people go" by Cherniack). The prevalent "Cult of Carleton" has an apparent belief that Northfield is a special holy-land (let's see, that makes Israel in the Middle East and Carleton in the Mid-West.). That, plus an innate desire for academic excellence, love of dancing and song, self-deprecating humor, a world-wide Diaspora, a tendency to delve into anti-defamation and fight persecution, adaptation to various cultures, and inveterate kibitzing, plus being human beings is as far as the resemblance seems to extend.
Of course, there are points of difference. We look to the possibility of more than one divinity. Most of the Druids aren't obsessed with returning to Ireland. We don't have sacred scriptures, and don't read what few words we do have recorded. The ancient Celts were illiterate, and we proudly continue that tradition by not "liter"-ing indiscriminately. We also try to not blow our own horn, "sho far" as I can tell. Nor do we have no dietary customs, except to eat enough to live and limit whiskey during the winter season (which sounds backwards in practicality to me), although the vegetarians amongst us are rather noisy and self-righteous. (I'm a Texan; we worship cows best when they're inside our bellies and on our feet.) There is a definite lack of a sense of racial separatism (i.e. "us vs. the gentiles") among Druids (with the Celtophiles excepted), and we have no objections to marriage with members of other religions (in fact we seem to practice a bit of all of faiths) as long as they are civil. And, we don't require members to cut off pieces of their bodies (either gender), although the Orthodox Druids have this thing about lopping off the heads of their enemies. Finally, except for Brother Peter, most Druids don't seem to wear strange headgear.
We also know that many of the Founders were also members of the Protestant branch of Christianity, such as Fisher, Nelson, and David Frangquist, and so the term "Reform" must have had several inescapable meanings that were attractive to them (although the first image of Presbyterian-style Druidism is a bit comical at first). "Reformed" often indicates a Protestant church that is related to the Calvinist branch, as formed in various continental European countries. Calvinism had a "strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God and especially by the doctrine of predestination." At first, this seemed like a strong mismatch for the RDNA, so I further investigated a lengthy sermon at a "Reformed" site at http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/theology/full.asp?ID=625 This is when I discovered other meanings latent in the term. The lecture taught that;
|"This position commits us to a high view of Scripture. We receive it as the infallible and fully inspired Word of God. We will bow to no higher authority. Historically this has meant that we do not elevate church tradition to the level of Scripture - as the Roman Catholic Church has done. But neither do we canonize our own experience, no matter how spectacular or supernatural it may be. Church tradition and personal experience have no independent status and are always subservient to the teaching of the Bible." (My emphasis.)|
Again, much of that does not mesh well with most Reformed Druids' beliefs (or, at least the Druids I know). However, the revolt against the original Roman Church (the history of Catholicism is about warring factional beliefs) by a strong-willed minority of the oppressed is quite heroic (despite what many of them would later do to other minorities) and well paralleled by the early Grove at Carleton. The Founders of the RDNA revolted against the Deans of Men and Women for the imposition of mandatory religious attendance, but perhaps not to the extent of nailing 95 complaints onto their office doors (I'm sure they would have used thumb-tacks). The distrust of "experience" part written above doesn't jive that well with us either. Again, the RDNA apparently does not look highly upon its own literature. Attempts were made to stop publishing the 1976 Druid Chronicles (Evolved) and that 1996 A Reformed Druid Anthology, because the works were seen as encouraging dogmatism by providing too much material in a portable format that could encourage spiritual dependency on others' past experiences in written form (i.e. Bible hugging). Brother Mike, an assistant editor of ARDA, recommended the book as a doorstopper or paper-weight on a desk; rather than as a "brain-stopper" or "dead-weight on the soul." He is pleased to report that, "very few people have read it." Indeed, the RDNA seems to lean more toward the individual's experiences as having greater spiritual power, rather than asserting the institutionalized fossilized customs of past members. Reading further, I noted:
|Because God is sovereign, He is Lord of all of life. Hence, we seek to live all of life to the glory of God. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Lo, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (I Cor.10:31). This is a far-reaching command, which Reformed people have generally taken quite seriously.|
Hey, I'm not a Christian myself; but, change that deity to "Earth-Mother," remember that every sovereign has court officials, and add a flavor of Zennish "Everyday life as religion" with unexpected moments of enlightenment, and I can swallow that pretty well. A bit further:
|Hand in hand with this missions emphasis goes a concern for revival. Although this word has suffered abuse in recent years, there is nothing unreformed about revival! Again and again throughout the history of the church God has poured out His Spirit to bring times of refreshing.|
In my humble opinion, my own Reformed Druidism believes in the cycle of revivals of Nature and the pressing need for a continual discovery of Awareness and Wisdom through introspection and revelation from the gods. And Gods know!, how the Groves crash and need a good rejuvenating jolt every few years. The coming and going of members, or a change of focus, often breathes new life. So I can parallel with this thinking again. As for missionary activity, I am rather neutral. Make your presence findable and those who come will come. Don't be a public nuisance (unless it's necessary). That's my system. I'm not a missionary of Druidism or grove-oriented like Brothers Isaac, Larson, or Mike. I think a well-balanced RDNA Druid can enjoy fulfilling participation in any religion's congregation, without forming their own "Druid" grove. This is what I plan to do. It's called "Guerilla Druidism", but I'm not into aping those around me (that would "Gorilla Druidism," something I'm not bananas over). I'm definitely a "Solitary Druid," see my song in http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/bard.html (Bardic Salvo #5).
|"To the Reformers the Roman Catholic sacramental system seemed to be part of a transaction that was always going on between man and God. In it, people made sacrifices designed to appease and please God. They would attend the mass, bring offerings, show sorrow, do penance--which might involve self-punishment or compensatory good works--until God would be gracious. The leaders of the church, from priests through bishops and popes, mediated the transaction. The Reformers believed that such an arrangement could easily be misused as a political instrument for forcing rulers to comply with the church's wishes and as a personal instrument for keeping people in uncertainty or terror. It was this vision of Catholicism that helped inspire the Protestant leadership to rebel and to define justification in other terms."|
The RDNA doesn't fit in with this, as we definitely are into pleasing the Gods, sacrificing, and seeking their wishes. I think, if you're going to live somewhere, you should ask those in the neighborhood what the rules are (including Nature, the first resident) and follow them. The Brothers David (Fisher and Frangquist) say much on this subject of sacrifice
|For one man, the sacrifice of life is the offering up of himself to a god or gods. To another, it is an offering up of his mind to a search for truth. As a priest, I repeat the great Answer to calm men's hearts and minds, not as a magical formula of absolution; but some the Answer is an absolution, washing away the distractions of a week of worry, and reaffirming confidence in the idea of a purpose in life. Book of Faith, V.9. The Apocrypha. http://www.student.carleton.edu/orgs/Druids/ARDA/ARDA-02.pdf|
I feel, that if the Gods don't like us at all, then they shouldn't have made us (or we shouldn't have made them). We all have our good days and bad days, and any omniscient deity should realize that and take it into consideration on what to dish out to us. I also believe that a mother knows what her child needs, no matter whether it gurgles, coos, or grimaces; so we should remember that when the debate on "proper" ritual is brought up. Brother MaDagda and Sister Tegwedd claim that the "Reformed" refers to some ancient practices which we have "reformed," notably, our decision in 1963 to end the sacrifice of animals for religious purposes (including humans -and arguably--even politicians) or the offering of blood. Sister Tegwedd recommends getting consent from the plant sacrifice by some means. "The Book of Customs in the "Druid Chronicles (Reformed)" recommends several Celtic customs and practices, but does not require their mandatory obeisance. Now, I'm not a bible-stroking, verse-quoting, steely-tongued debater; but Cherniack once said
|"Have ye not forgotten that we are reformed, yea, we do even call ourselves by the name of Reformed, wherefore we must put behind us those things which do bring offense to our senses;"-Book of Latter Chronicles, Ch 5 V. 9|
The RDNA has been firmly silent on issues of an afterlife (and strangely reticent on a "before-life" by the way!). I think most people to concentrate on this existence, or basically to "get a life." Some members use the RDNA as a garnish or decoration attached to other religions that provide full-service after-life systems; other members treat the RDNA as the main-co urse and consider it to provide for all their needs. Call me a Humanist, but I think there are enough good reasons to be gentle, responsible and caring member of a community or have a religious life without an "afterlife bribe/threat." I believe that Confucius said, "How can a virtuous man understand the world of ghosts and spirits when he can't even program a VCR to stop blinking 12:00 on its clock?! Oy vey!" or thereabouts.
The Protestant "priesthood of believers" revived an ancient concept of a direct link to God(s) without the mediation of professional priests (who still have a role). Members of the RDNA appear to be very careful not to vaunt the offices of the three orders; and we certainly don't get paid well enough to make a living off it. I, personally, see them more as undertaking extra responsibilities rather than as an achievement of "perfection" or "completion" of Druid-ity. In other words, a life-long First Order might just as speedily reach enlightenment or Awareness as a high muckety-muck 9th Order Patriarch, without vigiling or drinking the Waters-of-Life every weekend. Surely the Earth-Mother knows her own, and all our fancy titles won 't bias her relationship with us. More than likely, according to the ARDA history, these orders were both an attempt to overthrow Fisher's control of the Carleton Grove, plus a carry-over from the Fraternal groups that David Fisher wanted to simulate at Carleton. Yet, I believe they still have proponents who've found a use for them. Going back to the "Reform Sermon"
|"In theory, Protestantism has stood throughout its history for a principle of protest that calls under judgment not only the beliefs and institutions of others but also one's own movements and causes. On those grounds, however, most students of Protestantism would recognize that the Protestant tradition has not been substantially more successful than have other faiths at remaining self-critical or at rising above institutional self-defensiveness."|
This last aspect seems the firmest legacy of Protestantism for the RDNA. I have heard, "Show me two Druids and I'll give you at least three opinions on any topic." Well, in my opinion we are a rather argumentative, critical bunch of curmudgeons, who take matters into our hands, and are fiercely suspicious of hierarchy and the institutionalization and fossilization of religion. (And some aren't.) Our name does have a potentially empowering meaning that could encourage activism and rebellion without demanding it. Yet, like the last part, we also sometimes slip into ruts, avoid hard choices, resist natural adaptations and don't seek to know or correct our errors. Remember the expression that, "It is easier to see smoke coming from a neighbour's kitchen window than to notice the burning roof on top of our own house?" At the end of the ritual, we have to go home, sweep our corners, air the linens, and wash the dishes like our other fellow mortals.
I would add one last shade to the word "Reform" as in OED's 1A definition; its first meaning. That is to change into a new form. As Nature breaks down and rebuilds all things (vegetable, animal, or mineral), there is no "eternal," only change and adaptation. Again, in my opinion and twelve years of experience, the RDNA's greatest power has been the power to take older diverse creeds, traditions, rules, and faiths and transform them into a product (perhaps even "improved") by using our humor, reflection and piercing inspection such that could meet the current needs of our grove members. As Brother MaDagda states, "As a Reformed Druid, I take what I can from our ancestor s of the Oaken Brotherhood and reshape, reform it to fit within this time, this age."
Until now, the usual response to "Why are you called Reformed?" has always
been (and Brother Mike just loves this joke), is "Because we also worship
bushes.except elected ones." I hope that this essay will help you to go beyond
that sort of reply in some way and start a good dialogue with other faiths.
Proudly call yourself Reformed Druids when the Celtophiles criticize you. We can stand up to them also. Perhaps you can console them that without a "Reformed Druid" you can't have an "Orthodox Druid"?
Things to Do for the Equinox
By Alex Strongbow, ex-Carleton Grove
Well, that's a really hard question. We know that most sowing in the fields would be done by now and it was time to change to spring clothes and spend more time outdoors. When it comes down to, we're talking about eggs and sunlight, right?
1. Break down, and enjoy the Easter egg decoration party. Especially the Ukrainian style wax and decoration. If you're an overachiever, go into Faberge.
2. Have half an omelet, sunny side up, of course.
3. Hide treasures in the forest or park. Tall grasses equal stepped-on eggs.
4 Be early for April Fool's Day.
5. Go out to the pub for Saint Patrick's Day and live it up.
6. Spend the whole day with a watch and see if day REALLY equals night.
7. Set up and synchronize your solar-calendar (that rock-henge in your back yard). A great site, for setting up your stones in a parking lot or a field is www.efn.org/~jack_v/AstronomicalCalendar.html. Strangely, the design looks like a basketball courts lines! Could there be a connection?!
8. Get your garden planted, if you haven't started. Try old-fashioned heirloom seeds at www.seedsavers.org or Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), 3076 North Winn Road, Decorah Iowa 52101, (319) 382-5990.
9. Make waffles.
10. Change your wardrobe to summer-style suits, sandals, and wear a flower. I've been thinking. Many religions have strange headgear or hair-styles, and we haven't since that weird bald-forehead style in the 450s AD, so let's go out for straw hats?!
The Hazel Tree
By Sam Peeples, free-roaming Druid
Greetings everyone, due to the thunderous applause (i.e. three people) on my birch article, I've been requested to write an article on the Hazel Tree. Its natural side topics of Salmon and Wells (in a Celtic context) will be discussed by Mike and Naomi. I can't attest to all the following information 's validity, but it will provide a good overview of its associations.
The European Hazel tree's scientific name is corylus avellana and America's Filbert tree is named corylus americana. (Witch Hazel, although externally resembling Hazel, is actually hamamelis virginiana, with exploding seed pods, but it is apparently native only to New England.) The genus' name Corylus comes from the Greek korys meaning helmet, a reference to the calyx covering the nut; avellana commemorating the small town of Avella in Italy where the nuts were famously cultivated. The English name for the tree and its nut is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word haesel knut, haesel meaning cap or hat, thus referring to the cap of leaves on the nut on the tree (or haesl possibly signified a baton of authority.) The Gaelic word for hazel is Coll, pronounced "cull," and it was popular in men's names. See also: German Haselnuss, French Noisette, Dutch Hazelnoot. Its nickname is "Lamb's Tail." There is often a resident spirit.
Hazel appears frequently in place names in the western Scotland, such as the Isle of Coll and Bar Calltuin in Appin, both in Argyll-shire where the tree and its place names are the most common. Perhaps even Caledonia (Hill of Hazels) is a derivative. In Gaelic, a hazel grove was calltuin, (modern Scots Gaelic calltainn) and various places called Calton are associated with entrances to the Otherworld, one being the famous Calton Hill between Leith and Edinburgh. It also appears in the name of Clan Colquhoun whose clan badge is the hazel. Tara, the chief seat of the kingship of Ireland was possibly built near a hazel wood, and the great monastery of Clonord was build over a sacred pagan place known as The Wood of the White Hazel: Ross-Finnchuill.
The Hazel has quite the reputation in European lore as a potent source of magical might (the other two being Oak and Hawthorne), probably due to its ability to coppice into dozen young trees. Hazel is considered a small deciduous tree, usually with multiple stems and a spreading habit of its roots. It is actually an enormous shrub that can grow into a tree (but is usually coppiced) that may reach a height of 20-60 feet. It is hardy, moderately shade-tolerant and grows best on heavy but well-drained soil. Hazel, rather like Alder, prefers to be near water but is very accommodating as long as it is not too dry. Its narrow-pointed, toothed leaves are about 5-12 cm and are alternating. As a tree, its maximum life span is about 60 years, but when coppiced back it can survive up to 600 years and still produce a good crop of poles. Their wood is white to reddish, tough and flexible
It is naturally an under-story plant, particularly in oak and ash woods. Hazel trees grow as a clump of slender trunks. When they do adopt a one-trunk-and-canopy tree shape, they readily respond to coppicing, practices which can actually extend and even double the lifespan of a hazel. Either way, people have put the young shoots or whips and the thin trunks to a variety of uses. The management of hazel coppice and "coppice with standards" is a precise and ancient craft. Traditionally, a coppice would be cut on a 7-15 year rotation and the woodland divided into the same number of sections as years in the rotation so one part of the wood was harvested every year.
The hazel would be identified in the late winter by its branchy, hairy twigs carrying greenish buds. The opening of the leaves in April are large and rounded, and double teeth on its edges. The bark of the hazel tree is very smooth, with shades of brown and grey. Male and female flowers grow on the same plant--the male catkins open as the first warm days of spring arrive into bunches of bright yellow, drooping "lamb tails;" female flowers on the same branches appear as tiny pink tufts on plump buds. The fertilized flowers develop into the well-known clusters of nuts, which turn brown in October.
I hate to imply that trees are only good when we can use them for some purpose. Trees have certain rights to unfettered existence as do all living creatures. That said, this is how you could utilize their bounty.
Practical Uses for the Tree's Wood
|ˇ The interior of the walls of many ancient
homes were "wattle and daub," using coppiced hazel branches, woven into a
lattice, and mud or clay daubed onto it. Some consider this the origin of
Celtic art interlacing. The Glastonbury Abbey is rumored to have been built
on a Druidic "hedge school" built of wattle. Daub is made of wet clay, dung,
chopped straw and lime powder. When this dried, a thin wall could last
hundreds of year if not dampened.
Other Links on Hazel Trees
http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/tfl.mythhazel.html. Lots of trivia on the
http://webpages.charter.net/orrin8/hazel.htm. A Robert Graves point of view.
http://www.dutchie.org/Tracy/saherb.html#hazel. Many associations.
http://www.treegifts.com. To order a tree.
http://druidry.org/obod/trees/hazel.html. Oodles of information on Hazel from OBOD.
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/. Useful information on all animals and plants.
http://www.growingnative.org.uk/hazel.htm. Growing a hazel tree.
http://www.2020site.org/trees/hazel.html. A nice summary of this page.
Magical and Medical Uses for the Hazel
The Hazel Nut Itself
In days gone by, hazelnuts would have provided a source of protein since Neolithic times in England (South Cadbury and Avebury digs), and they were often ground up and mixed with flour to be made into nourishing breads. Hazelnuts, of course, can be eaten, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and fatty acids. The Gaelic word for hazelnuts is cno, and wisdom is cnocach. From the hazelnut we find the phrase "in a nut shell," because all wisdom and knowledge was compacted and contained within the nut. There are many stories of salmon eating hazelnuts, who then gained one speckled spot per hazelnut. Eating of hazelnuts would bestow wisdom on the recipient (such as bears or humans) and would then bestow gray hairs or freckles. Cultivated hazelnuts, called filberts, take their name from St. Philibert's Day on August 20th, the date by which hazelnuts were supposed to start ripening. They should be sown immediately after gathering, to keep them moist.
"A Hazelnut I throw in the flame, to this nut I give my sweetheart's name, If blazes the nut, so may thy passion grow, For 'twas my nut that did so brightly glow."
Hazelnuts were carried as charms in pockets to ward off rheumatism, lumbago ("elfshot"), and toothache in some parts of England and Ireland
The Salmon of Knowledge
By Mike Scharding, D.C. Grove
The Salmon have been migrating from the Atlantic to the headwaters of British and Irish streams since the retreat of the glaciers of the Ice Age 20,000 years ago. In doing so, they have captured the imagination of many a Celt in the Islands and Continent with their ability to transcend boundaries and their heroic struggles.
The Salmon is a fish that has adapted to both fresh and salt water. They spawn in freshwater and as tiny fish enter the great ocean. The Salmon of the British isles travel to the area of Baffin Island and Greenland to grow up. After three or four years, they return in the spring to their native stream head. They stop eating for the duration of the trip, relying on body fat during the journey. They will brave dams and leap up over nine feet into the air to surmount any barriers in their quest, or die of exhaustion, and do not turn back. Strangely, the female always dies after spawning, but those returning for a second spawning are called a "celt."
Plentiful details on their ecology can be found on the internet, especially these two sites. Pacific Salmon details http://www.hitime.com/sdscptn.htm#Chinook Atlantic Salmon details http://www.asf.ca/Overall/atlsalm.html
Mythology of the Salmon
Of all the fish in Celtic legends, the Salmon is the mostly popular. There are reportedly many Pictish stones bearing Salmon inscriptions preceding the Gaelic take-over of Scotland. The oldest story is from the Book of Invasions (Leabhar Gabhala) which tells of successive waves of colonization of Ireland. Tuan mac Carell describes the primeval invasions of Ireland, which he witnessed, to Saint Finnen. He also claims to have been reincarnated successively as a stag, boar, eagle, and salmon. During his various shape-shiftings he witnessed all the great events that took place in Ireland and he passed on this knowledge to the historians before he eventually died. In this last form he was caught and eaten by an Irish queen, who conceived him as a human child. Similarly, the legendary Welsh poet Taliesin claims:
I have been a blue salmon
I have been a dog
I have been a stag
I have been a roebuck on the mountain
I have been a grain discovered...
I rested nine nights in her womb, a child
I have been dead, I have been alive.
I am Taliesin.
The Salmon is mythically famous for its association with Hazelnuts. The primary story is that of young Fionn (nicknamed Demne) who as a boy was learning bardic skills from Finegas on the rivers of Boyne. Finegas had been patiently fishing for seven years for the Salmon of Knowledge, which had fed on fallen hazelnuts from nine magical (non-descript) hazel trees. The Salmon gained a spot for every hazelnut that it ate. Soon after Fionn's arrival, the fish was caught. Fionn was frying the fish for Finegas, who was off on a trip, and a boil rose on the fish, he pushed it down with his thumb and burned himself. When he put the thumb in his mouth, the knowledge had all transferred to him. Finegas was, of course, a little disappointed, but Fionn shared the remainder with him and promised another Salmon would come along soon.
Fionn's way of discovering whatever was happening and hidden was always the same. A shallow, oblong dish of pure, pale gold was brought to him. This dish was filled with clear water. Then Fionn would bend his head and stare into the water, and as he stared he would place his thumb in his mouth under his "Tooth of Knowledge," his "wisdom tooth."
|http://members.aol.com/guenhumara/fionn.html Great Story on salmon and Fionn. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ift/ift02.htm Other boyhood tales of Fionn. http://www.ealaghol.demon.co.uk/celtenc/celt_f2b.htm More on Fionn.|
The ancient Fianna warband had many special fighting techniques that would be the envy of any martial art movie. One of the most famous besides Caber tossing (to throw bridges for chariots over rivers) was the "Hero's Salmon Leap," which consisted of leaping on top of a standing shield and leaping high up for a "smackdown" on your opponent.
There are also references in Goidelic lore to Salmon being kept in wells (near Hazel tree orchards) for oracular consultation. In the ancient text "Cormac's Vision" the hero sees a royal fortress with four houses in it, and a "bright well" surrounded by ancient hazels. In the well were five salmon, which ate the nuts as they dropped. In the palace, Cormac meets Manannan the sea-god who reveals the Land of Promise to him and presents him with a magic cup and branch . www.enya.org/stories/story06.htm. Later on, Cormac MacArt, king of Ireland in 266 AD, died at Cleiteach, the bone of a salmon sticking in his throat, on account of the siabhradh genii which Maelgenn, the Druid, incited at him, after Cormac had turned against the Druids, on account of his adoration of God in preference to them. So beware Druids bearing dinner. In Christian monastic communities, there were often salmon ponds for eating. In May 11, 1113AD; "A salmon was caught at Cluain-mic-Nois this year, which was twelve feet in length, twelve hands in breadth without being split, and three hands and two fingers was the length of the fin of its neck." (This is the site of the ruins of the monastery of Clonmacnoise in County Offaly on the River Shannon below Lough Ree and above Portumna, which is in County Roscommon. The arms of Co. Meath incorporate the salmon also.) Christ is also known as in t-eo sénta cas corcra, "The Blessed Curled Purple Salmon." This seems strange, considering that grown salmon prefer salt-water, but I suppose they can remain in fresh-water if not given a choice;
Virtually all salmon live in the ocean, and return to streams to spawn (or are farmed in net pens along the coastline) but Atlantic salmon have been experimented on in terms of stocking in lakes, and they seem to do well, but still won't self-propagate. In other words, they have to be re-stocked to remain as a stable population. There are now some types of Atlantic Salmon called "freshwater salmon." Apparently, they have been farmed and adapted to freshwater by people. This, in fact, makes them much more like trout than salmon.
Water spirits are plentiful in Celtic countries as quoted below
|"the spirit of the waters was often embodied in an animal, usually a fish. Even now in Brittany the fairy dweller in a has the form of an eel, while in the seventeenth century Highland wells contained spring fish so sacred that no-one dared to catch them. In Wales Saint Cybi's well contained a huge eel in whose virtues the villagers believed, and terror prevailed when any one dared to take it from the water. Two sacred fish still exist in a holy well at Nant Peris, and are replaced by others when they die, the dead fish being buried. This latter act, solemnly performed, is a true sign of the divine or sacred character of the animal. Many wells with sacred fish exist in Ireland, and the fish have usually some supernatural quality, they never alter in size, they become invisible, or they take the form of beautiful women." [MacCullach]|
Salmon, like the proverbial "Frog in the Well" can plum the depths of the unconsciousness for lost treasures and truths. Gantz's Early Irish Myths and Sagas has the story of Froech and Findabair. Findabair loses her ring and her father accuses her of lying to him in order to date Froech. Findabair later prepares a salmon for him that had swallowed it. Saint Kentigern is similarly associated with the Salmon. The story of St. Kentigern is similar. He was the patron saint of Glasgow, from which he proselytized in Cumbria. Folklore makes him the grandson of Urien of Rheged. He and his mother were set adrift in a coracle but were miraculously saved. He vindicated the virtue of a queen who had given her ring to her lover: when the king demanded to see it, it was discovered in a salmon's belly. The salmon is Kentigern's device. During a time of drought St Kevin fed his community with salmon brought to him by an otter. He was reputed to have baptized Merlin before his death. This last story is borrowed from the legend of SUIBHNE GELT, who was confessed by Saint Moling after a life of paganism and madness.
There are many legends of holy wells that held salmon in them and suddenly became great rivers due to an accident. http://www.iol.ie/~sinann/grove/sinann.html tells of the origin of the river Shannon in Ireland. The Boyne and well of Segais has a very similar story with a young lady named Boan whose curiosity was too great. The site is at: http://www.geocities.com/mythical_ireland/mythology/tuathade/boann.html. Latis was a Lake Goddess who later became a Goddess of ale and mead. Evidence of her worship still remains at Birdsowald, England. Latis fell in love with a salmon, which represents knowledge, and out of pity for her, the other deities turned him into a warrior. However, each winter he must submit to becoming a salmon again until spring.
In Brythonic Lore (i.e. Welsh), the Mighty Salmon of Llyn Llyw (The Lake of the Leader), was so ancient and powerful that he gained a truce with the Eagle of Gwern Abwy, who agreed to take 50 fish-spears out of the venerable Salmon's back for him. In the Arthurian tale of Culhwch and Olwen, it is the salmon--and only the salmon--who carried Kai and Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoe on its shoulders to find the Mabon, the Divine Child of Celtic tradition, the being who brings eternal life and vigor. Indeed, fairies are known to wear stylish salmon-skin caps, showing a link to the afterworld.
Other Mythological Resources
The Well Rite (slow load) http://www.conjure.com/wisdom.html
Salmon Chalice http://www.sourceworksceramics.com/salmon%20large.asp
Christian Salmon? http://www.monasticdialog.com/bulletins/64/CelticSpirituality.htm
Magical Lore of the Salmon:
The salmon was revered by the Celts. It was from eating the Salmon of Knowledge that Fionn mac Cumhal gained his wisdom. The salmon has been substituted by the herring in modern Scottish Samhain customs. You must eat a raw or roasted salt herring, in silence, just before going to bed. You will dream of your future partner offering you a drink of water with which to quench your thirst. A similar version is found in the Isle of Man:
The treatment of the boiled broken little fish to you
The Roasting of the salmon to the very end on you
Slainte an Bhradain Chugat The health of the salmon to you.
Grilled Salmon with Lemon Hazelnut Sauce
by Angela Major
The juice of 1 large lemon
2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup Frangelico (Hazelnut Liqueur)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped shallots (scallions-mild/sweet onion OK)
2/3 cup white wine or dry sherry
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients (i.e. not the nuts and Lemon Zest)
in a zipper bag. Do not use metal container, it'll change the taste.
2. Marinate the salmon in this mixture 4 hours or overnight.
3. To roast hazelnuts, spread shelled nuts in a shallow pan and roast
4. In a 275 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until skins crack. To remove skins, rub warm hazelnuts with a rough washcloth. Chop relatively finely - to the consistence of Grape Nuts. DO not put them into a food processor-you' ll get Hazelnut butter.
5. Combine the roasted hazelnuts and last 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest. Set aside
6. Grill 6-8 minutes per side per one inch of thickness of fish. Baste with marinate during cooking.
7. Garnish with the lemon-hazelnut mixture.
8. Serves 4 people.
All's Well That's Dug Well
By Nozomi Kibou, Akita Grove
Wells are holes in the ground with water. Water is life. Water moves below our feet in aquifers and over our head in clouds. It is in our bodies of all creatures and in the Earth-Mother. Hazel is used in dowsing to find water and salmon live always in water.
Holy Wells in Celtic countries are often dug holes in hills or valleys. Water falls on hill, goes in earth, is cleaned, and pops out in well. Many legends say that wells were the start of rivers, and are sacred, you must not make them angry. Never do laundry in them. Like caves, men can't resist going into holes, and see them as enter the Earth-Mother, to the wet inside where life starts. In England, many dry well are filled with bones (pig, dog, horse, sheep, taxmen), coins, tree trunks, grain. Like the RDNA, they gave a part of the harvest to gods of the Earth and hoped for a big reward the next year.
The Hazel grows near wells in Europe and famous saints (i.e. gods with new name) planted them. Many wells' water will heal blindness, childlessness, or pain (like Onsens in Japan). Sometimes fish (Salmon) or snakes live in the well, and people talk to them after giving a penny. This is a famous wishing-well custom. If people are sick, they will tie a strip of clothing on the hazel tree. The tree will wash the sick out of the clothes and person. The Irish have a story of a hazel nut falling in water, eaten by fish, and fish eaten by man, who is wiser.
In Japan, wells are also the doors to underworld. In the now popular "Inu yasha" by Mrs. Rumiko Takahashi (she wrote "Ranma 1/2") a young girl falls in a well and goes to 1135 AD Japan, and fights demons like St. Patrick. Mike Scharding says the English version is in Comic Book Stores now. The town wells are now covered or locked. Too many people committed suicide in wells during WWII from poverty (Akita is number one in Japan for suicides and alcoholism). Japan is a wet country, with many people walking into the ocean or dying at fishing. That is why I started the Order of Llyr here.
There are positive things about wells too. Every shrine (Jinja) has a spring or well or river for washing of hands and face and mouth (like Muslims). In the old days, you took a whole bath and changed clothes there. People are too busy, now. Japanese shrines often have very old trees next to the well. When people buy a fortune at a shrine, they tie it onto the tree and hope it comes true. They also write wishes on wood and hang them on the tree.
This is where Japanese custom of making holy paper comes from. In Japanese, "Kami"
means paper, gods, and hair. All shrines have special papers called "O-Shide" or
"go-hei" that are blessed by priests. O-Shide are attached to strings to protect
or show that a place is holy. Hazel trees are protection too, so maybe you'll
tie a string of O-Shide around your grove's hazel tree?
Winter Tree Care
and Planting Tips
By Stacey Weinberger, Baccharis Grove
From the February edition of Leaf Lines, Newsletter of The National Arbor Day Foundation. Though Spring officially begins on March 20 this year, in many places it is still cold and there is still snow on the ground. These are excellent recommendations until the weather warms.
1. Watching Your Trees In Winter
Take a walk outside to observe the buds and stems of your trees. Look at your mature trees and any new plantings from last fall or spring. What will you find?
Carefully remove a sealed bud and gently open it. Inside you will find tiny immature leaves and perhaps the beginnings of a flower. The buds are triggered to life each spring by day length. Temperature changes hasten or slow down the development of the buds.
Select several trees in your yard and tie a piece of string to their branches. Take just a moment each day, or once a week, to carefully inspect the tightly closed buds on the branches. Plant breeders use this very technique to search for ways to develop cold-hardy trees, particularly for the fruit industry.
Watching the buds awake and noting the date of the event is called phenology* an ancient forerunner of ecology. Mark on your calendar the exact dates the buds actually emerge on each tree. You can also record when your trees blossom and leaf out. Each year you will begin to learn more about the characteristics of your trees. This process of keeping yearly records will prove to be very useful --especially if you are raising fruit trees.
2. Wabbits and Other Wascals In Winter
While you are on your winter walks you may encounter other signs of life in your orchards or gardens besides simple bud development. Check your trees for signs of rodent damage. It is common for mice or rabbits to chew the tender bark of a young tree right down to the heartwood. Don't worry...if you find a girdled tree, the damage can usually be repaired by a technique known as "bridge grafting." Bridge grafting literally bridges the gap in the living tissues so they can continue the tree's growth as well as transport needed nutrients to and from the leaves and roots.
Mark the site of the damaged tree and return with a sharp knife. Remove all frayed or loose bark from around the wound. Next, remove a sucker or a slender, long, branchlet from the tree and cut it into lengths just a little bit longer than the wound, measured from top to bottom. Sharpen these sticks into wedges at both ends and insert them under the bark at the top and bottom of the wound. Several of these "bridges" will be needed, spaced at intervals around the tree.
Finally, protect the wound by covering the entire area with grafting wax. In a few years, the wound will be healed and the tree will grow normally. If you can't find grafting wax at your local nursery, try searching for it on the web.
3. Consider Your Planting Site
While the act of planting a tree may only involve a few hours, proper care and maintenance may last a lifetime. This winter, care for your new trees by simply taking the time to study the future site upon which they will be planted. Consider the environment in which you'll be working--whether you are planting on your property or planning an Arbor Day tree-planting event at a local park.
In selecting a tree, your first consideration must be what the tree needs. In other words, what environmental factors limit the ability of a particular species to live a healthy life? One indication is to look at the native species in your area. Some non-native species and horticulturally-developed cultivars may also do well on your site. Remember to always select the right tree for the right place.
4. Buy your trees now for spring planting
While you are on those winter walks, consider how your trees define the scenery. Now is the time to create plans for your desired landscape. What would you like to see when you take this same walk in future years? Imagine planting trees and shrubs to create a beautiful, productive, "edible landscape" surrounding your home with delicious fruits and nuts to benefit your family and the wildlife outside your back door.
Consider planting some of our fruit trees...a Stayman Winesap Apple, an Early Richmond Cherry, or perhaps a delicious Belle Of Georgia Peach. If you like nut trees, you might choose the beautiful Hall's Hardy Almond, American Hazelnut, Shellbark Hickory, or Black Walnut. The Sourwood is an excellent honey tree for beekeepers.
To brighten up future winter scenes around your home, select trees for their bright colorful fruit, unique branch structure, or peeling bark. Our online Tree Store offers many possibilities. Some of our favorites are the Prairifire Flowering Crab, River Birch, Lacebark Elm, Northern Catalpa, or the Kousa Dogwood.
Make a large photocopy of your property plat. Here you can create an inventory of all the trees on your property and position them on the map. Include the botanical names of the trees for your reference. As you select trees for later plantings, you can share this map with friends, nursery growers, or use it to consult with your local County Cooperative Extension Agent.
As you plant trees, work to shape your landscape with a diverse selection of strategically placed plantings to create a landscape of beautiful, useful, edible trees for all four seasons.
5. Forcing Spring To Arrive
Now that the coldest days of winter are behind us, you can slip outside on a mild day to take care of some dormant winter pruning. Remove any crossing limbs that might rub together, sucker shoots, and any broken or dead branches. From the cuttings you remove, save a few heavily budded branches for forcing indoors to brighten up your home with colorful blooms and leaves. Good candidates for successful forcing are hazelnuts, redbuds, willows, forsythias, apple and crabapples, magnolias, and red maples.
Bring your cuttings (up to 1/2 inch diameter or smaller) inside and place them in a bucket of tepid water (about 100 degrees) with a floral preservative. The preservative will increase hydration and control any bacterial growth. Fill up a vase with warm water and preservative as well. The water in your vase will need to be changed in your container about once a week too.
Now, fill up your sink with very warm water and place the ends of the branches into the sink. Cut the stems of the branches off under the warm water. Size the branches so they fit into your vase and then proceed to create an arrangement. When you are finished, set the vase away from bright sunlight in a cool location. It will take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks for the blooms and/or leaves to burst from their buds.
We encourage you to forward these Winter Tree Care and Planting Tips on to your friends and family around the country.
Thank you for planting and caring for America's Trees!
*Phenology looks at the relationship between climate or seasons and periods of biological activity. Phenologists study and record the changes and movements of animals and plants in relation to weather and seasonal changes taking place in their surrounding environment.
Assembled by Stacey from below listed sources.
Scottish Gaelic Workshops in Seattle
Slighe nan Gaidheal presents Feis Shiatail (pronounced FAYSH hee-AT-ul) from May 28 through June 2, 2002 at Fort Worden State Park and Conference Center, Port Townsend, WA. This Scottish Gaelic cultural festival features workshops and performances from renowned scholars and musicians from North America and Scotland.
Feis Shiatail provides a rare opportunity for North American audiences to learn about the Scottish Gaelic language, music and culture. While many Gaelic speakers and scholars reside in Canada and the U.S., seldom do they come together on the West Coast. This year's Feis builds on the momentum of the 1998 and 2000 festivals; once again uniting scholars, students and enthusiasts.
Class topics will include Gaelic language, Gaelic song, Gaelic poetry and literature, harp, fiddle, Cape Breton step dance, and bagpipes.
A concert on Friday, May 31 will be one of the festival's highlights. Faculty and local performers will delight audiences with traditional and modern Gaelic music, dance and poetry.
"One of the unique aspects of the Feis is the quality of instruction that we have arranged," said Pandora Fitzpatrick, Feis organizer. "We believe that the study of the language, music, dance and literature of the Gaels happens best within the context of the culture as a whole, and luckily, we have been able to attract instructors who share that view."
Feis Shiatail is funded in part by the Washington State Arts Commission, SAFECO, the Clan MacLeod Society, USA and The Dunvegan Foundation.
About Slighe nan Gaidheal (pronounced "shlee-uh nun GAY-ul")
Slighe nan Gaidheal is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation based in Seattle, Washington. The organization's mission is to teach and disseminate to the general public the Scottish Gaelic language in its contemporary and historical context through classes, performances, the encouragement of its routine use, and otherwise. Seirm, the Gaelic choir of Slighe nan Gaidheal, performs regularly in the Seattle area. Slighe nan Gaidheal produces classes and workshops throughout the year in Gaelic language, song and more. For more information about Gaelic activities or becoming a member, please visit www.slighe.com.
About Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic, one of six modern Celtic languages in danger of becoming extinct, is primarily spoken in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. However, many fluent speakers reside all over the world, due in part to mass emigrations to the U.S., Canada and Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries.
For more information:
Pandora Fitzpatrick, 206-789-2522, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seumas Gagne 206-297-8398, email@example.com
Kathryn Cole, 206-340-1623, firstname.lastname@example.org
Time: Classes: 8:45 am - 5:45 PM, May 29 through June 1, 2002 (register by March 1, 2002 to save $50) Concert: 8 PM, Friday, May 31, 2002 concert (tickets on sale April 1, 2002)
Witness the Vernal Equinox Sunrise
and Sunsetat the UMass Sunwheel!
Members of the University community and the general public are invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Prof. 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 VERNAL EQUINOX.
Visitors for the sunrise viewing should arrive at 5:45 a.m., and visitors for the sunset viewing should arrive at 5:00 p.m. The sunrise and sunset events will be held on both Wednesday and Thursday March 20 and 21, 2002. 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 VERY WARMLY; a $3 donation is requested. Sunwheel T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase to help cover the cost of future stone paths at the site.
The exact instant of equinox is 2:16 p.m. EST on March 20. 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 observers not located on the equator and not at the poles, the Sun on the equinox is up for 12 hours and down for 12 hours, illuminating all latitudes on Earth! From the Sunwheel here in Amherst, the equinox Sun will be seen to rise and set through the stone portals in the East and West, a very beautiful sight as we experienced last year. This year, the sky will be particularly beautiful at sunset with the first quarter Moon also visible.
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, 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 FROZEN 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, check out the web site at http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/index2.html or call Dr. Judy Young at 413-545-4311. To arrange a Sunwheel visit for your class or group, call or e-mail email@example.com
For those with web access, there is the Celtic Curse Generator at http://hermes.lincolnu.edu/~focal/scripts/mallacht.htm recommended by Sam Adams. Impress your friends, coworkers, and enemies with curses they won't be able to understand and will frighten them all the more!
Spring Equinox, when the Sun crosses the Equator, will occur on March 20, 2001 at 11:16 a.m. PST. Spring Equinox services will be held on Wednesday, March 20 at sundown when the Sun sets due West. Please call for carpool arrangements (510) 654-6896. For the social observance of Spring Equinox we will be going immediately after the service to Sushi Afloat on Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Regular Druid services will be held at Solar Noon on March 31, April 14, and April 28. Please call the above number to confirm.
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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