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Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America

Summer Solstice Y.R. 39 (June 21st, 2001) 
Volume 17, Number 4

Midsummer, Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. On this day the Sun rises and sets at its most northerly points along the horizon and reaches its most highest point in the sky of the entire year at Solar Noon (1 p.m. daylight time).

While there are several Celtic deities who are considered a Sun god or goddess, in the RDNA tradition it is Belenos who we honor and praise this Midsummer day.

Belenos, also know as Beli, Belin, or Belinus in Britain, is perhaps associated with the Phoenician word Ba'al, meaning master. The variant Belenos is found widely distributed in early inscriptions in Gaul and northern Italy. Beli Mawr (Great Beli) appears in The Mabinogion as a powerful king of Britain and ancestor-deity of the Welsh royal line, and may be identical in origin to Belenos Himself. The ancient name element "Bel-" (root), is also found in the Latin bellus, meaning bright or brilliant, beautiful, and all the words subsequently derived from it; in the Goidelic "bile," meaning sacred tree, and other words of distant origin.

Bel was the young-god counterpart of the old-god Bran, as Jupiter was the counterpart of Saturn in the Roman pantheon or as Zeus was the to Cronos in the Greek pantheon. In general the first half of the year may well have been associated with Bran and the second half with Bel or Belenos.

Caesar's Gaulish Apollo is generally to be taken to be Belenos in His native guise. Apollo is actually a latecomer to the Greek pantheon, and one of a variety of theories about His origins is that He was adopted from the Celts. Both are known as gods of light and of the sun. Both are gods of sacred springs. In the Shetlands as well as in the Orkneys, the sick visited the wells which were circled sun-wise before drinking from them. This is another tribute to Belenos, who like Apollo, is also a healer-god. Water and solar symbolism are closely linked in healing cults.

Whereas dedications to the Celtic gods in the form of inscribed altars appear to chiefly recur within one area, a few individual dedications are distributed widely. Belenos was one deity to be honored in such a way. His dedications are relatively common and widespread in Celtic Europe, particularly in southern and central Gaul, North Italy, and Noricum in the eastern Alps. Ausonius, a Bordeaux poet writing in the later half of the fourth century A.D. mentions sanctuaries in Acquitaine and writes of Phoebicius, who had been a temple-priest there.

Belenos is commemorated in place names as well. In England examples include Billingshurst in Sussex and Billingsgate in London. In France a number of places bear His name. The high rocky islet off the coast of Normandy formerly called Tombelaine, which in the slightly altered form of Les Tombelenes is a reef off Jersey's north coast. Belenos also appears to be venerated in some parts as St. Bonnet.

It is thus not coincidence that in the liturgy for the Special Order of Worship for the Summer Solstice it is suggested that the altar fire be especially large. We welcome Belenos on this day of days asking Him to fill us with life, and warmth, and light our way as we honor Him with His element, and enjoy this glorious season before He begins to wend His way southward again.

 Hail Belenos, God of the Sun!
Hail Belenos, Giver of Life!
Hail Belenos, Lord of Light!

 News of the Groves

 Carleton Grove

Skip Wolcott had his vigil for Third Order last Friday night, 8 June. We have a good crowd of people who are enthusiastic. Steve Crimmins also vigiled, and in addition is Patriarch of the new Order of Hephasteus (Vulcan) the fire god after spending a night with fire water and a bonfire. He says it is not a higher order (i.e. 4-10th) but rather a "side order". (Does fries come with that?) Carleton is going on a Summer break until September.

 Birch Grove

No News

 Monument Grove

Regular services have begun on Sunday morning near Georgetown, but no one has shown up to participate with me, as I restart the Grove (besides a few passing squirrels and robins). We've undergone a few liturgical changes on the Order of worship. As listed below:

Vestments: Due to my wife's mischief, my red and white ribbons are now sewn into an inseparable loop with knots where they join. These symbolize Beltane and Samhain. Before starting the ritual, I rotate it once, and then guestimate the date on the red-ribbon (i.e. June 2 is about 18% past the knot), give it a kiss and put that spot at the nape of my neck. You can tell the date by looking at me.

Invocation: We dance in a circle while singing and then we've added two lines:
"You have no need of names, yet we call on these names."
"We know not all your ways, yet seek to live in harmony with them."

 Grove of One in Garden City, MI

They have apparently disbanded.

 Volcano Grove News

No news, except my tan is very good and my skin rashes are gone!

 Staggs Trail Grove

 Ice Floe Grove

To put it gently, "my ass is freezing down here" in our mid-winter. My research will be finished in October for this year and I'll return to Tucson.

 Akita Grove

Patrick Haneke has produced the ultimate quick and easy ritual for those tired of schlepping baskets of materials, scripts, and such to the site. This can be performed anywhere, even in the middle of Wall Street without drawing too much attention.

Pat calls it the "Quick Order", (but other members of the Grove, call it "Lugh's Loogey Liturgy," "Mannanan's Mucus Mass," "Sirona's Spit Service," etc.) and it is best done solitarily (as you 'll see).

The Quick Order Liturgy
1. Scratch a sigil at your feet.
2. Whistle or hum something.
3. Ask, "How was that?" Look around you for signs.
4. Say, "Not bad, huh?"
5. Ask, "What is precious to us?"
6. Answer, "Waters."
7. Ask, "Where is the waters?"
8. Answer, "Right here." Pour something (or spit) into your hand.
9. Raise your hand.
10. Say, "Bless these and all waters that give us life."
11. Drink the waters.
12. Say, "Here's the extra." Return the extra to the ground.
13. Think of something clever, or ordain people.
14. Say, "Good bye"
15. Rub away the sigil.

(Estimated time for completion: 2 minutes 12 seconds)

 Druid Heart Spirit Grove

Druid Heart Spirit Grove is getting ready for an all night jumping over the fires of Alban Hefin on June 24th. The sixth night of the New Moon Mistletoe rite falls on the same night so we will be having two rituals. Then next we are preparing for an open Druid campout for Gwyl Ifan ( Lugnassah ) on the weekend of Aug. 4th. Anyone who wishes to attend, send me an e-mail to mailto:jbeltain@pacbell.netor a snail mail to:
Druid Heart Spirit Cohasset, CA. 95973.

Our stone circle was completed just before the last Beltain which we had thirty-five attend including my Catholic father who completely enjoyed himself dancing the May Pole, and made it through the whole ritual! I don't think that that will be his only Druid ritual he attends.

I'm almost done with the book I've been working on for so long. All I have next to do is the Gaelic pronunciation guide and glossary, and the artwork. I need any other authors of similar books to read it for me and write any comments back. I think a good title would be Workbook for a Druid's Healing Ritual.

 Creeks-Called-Rivers Grove

In early June, Creeks Called Rivers had our first ever yardfood potluck. The idea was to create dishes from the various edible weeds and common plants here in Midwest suburbia. Happily, no one was hurt, and we ended up with some surprisingly palatable fare. We're going to work on making some repeatable recipes, and make them available on the CCR site. If anyone else out there is interested in yardfood (or is an accomplished yardfood chef), tell Feck (

All things considered, things are going well here in Columbus. I finally bought a house (on Royal Forest Blvd. no less), so Creeks Called Rivers now has a permanent (if not particularly private) outdoor space.

This evening I sat on my patio and began re-reading Drawing Down the Moon by fading sun and flickering candle light. I heard the first cricket of the year. Life is good; and the Reform is, indeed, groovy.

 Hazel Nut Grove
Stefen and Debby are thinking of moving in a month or two. But they can be reached indirectly (they are "computer orphans" now) through a mutual grove member

 Duir de Dana
The Grove had a ritual for BAPA's (Bay Area Pagan Assemblies) Gaia's Gateway. The ArchDruid MaDagda did an outstanding job of leading the ritual and doing his by now renowned Tree of Life Guided Meditation. All the rest of the evening after the ritual we got compliments on it. After Stephen Abbott McCauley and his wife Debby moved up to Sacramento and took the Hazelnut Mother Grove with them, there was a definite vacuum in the Silicon Valley. Druidically speaking, I was going to put together a Grove I called Boudiccea's Birch, but MaDagda beat me to the punch with Duir de Danu. If you know anything about the god Dagda, you know about the ever-full cauldron of delicious food. MaDagda is a splendid cook, which is welcome to Druids, we being a chronically famished bunch.

Duir de Danu (Oaks of Danu) had its first ritual for Samhain at Sanborn Park in Los Gatos. It was a beautiful, but very expensive site. The Grove then sat dormant thru the Season of Sleep until MaDagda arranged to do the Gaia's Gateway ritual for the month of May.

MaDagda is also preparing to move from Newark in the East Bay to a house in Cupertino. Now there will be a place to have Celtic Nights during the Season of Sleep. MaDagda, Darren (my significant other), and I went up to Sacramento at least twice to do demo Druid rituals for Sacramento Cross Traditional Circles, the Sacramento answer to Gaia's Gateway. On the last Sunday of each month, a different group does a ritual in its tradition. It is followed by a potluck feast. The people of Gaia's Gateway follow their rituals with a meeting at Marie Callendar's (a local restaurant famous for its pies).

Baccharis Grove

Sometime between Yule and the first service of the New Year in the electricity went out in the little cabin we rent below the Grove site on the property of our esteemed posthumous member Emmon. Getting permission from the estate several weeks ago to have electricity restored, the lawyer for the estate recommended an electrician, who unfortunately turned out to be a flake. After three weeks going back and forth, missed appointments, and no work or estimate done I fire him.

Keeping in Emmon's spirit I wanted to look for an electrician who was a woman (deciding this even before I got a chance to fire the other fellow). Doing a search on San Francisco Bay area web sites for a directory of women in business proves futile, so I call the local feminist bookstore for any leads. The woman on the phone gives me the name of two woman contractors who would be able to recommend an electrician. I call number two. She says she is a contractor but is also an electrician. She is very matter of fact, understands the job, describes what needs to be done, provides an estimate. Fine, she is hired.

When I call her back to coordinate a time and date I could tell by her voice that she was of a generation of women in the trades who had to fight to where she got and is probably in her late 40s to mid 50s. Hmm. I get to thinking. I've got a copy of Emmon's address book that we used to locate friends to invite to his memorial Samhain of '99. I get it out and look under the appropriate place.

This woman's name was there...same number.

I gasp.

And the freaky experience continues. I call the electrician back and tell her I want to ask her something that might make it easier for her to find the house and cabin. I ask her if she knew Emmon and she says yes! In fact she had worked on that very cabin before!! The last time was in '97. She says that when she heard Emmon died she wanted to get in contact with someone who knew her, but didn't know how. I guess she has now.

I find it amazing, when being open to otherworldly experiences as Druids tend to be, how we are at times directed to do something. It validates our sense of path and connection, and is both awe inspiring and humbling when it happens.

 Gandalf Grove

Greetings and Salutations,

I found your website while doing some basic research on modern Druidism. As an un-baptized heathen who was raised by Southern Baptists, I can also sincerely appreciate the fact that the RDNA began as a protest against coerced religion. My wife and I are essentially solitaires but we are serious Pagans within the limits that our fondness for the ironies of life allow. We do have some contact with other Pagans through going to a couple of festivals each year, but all of the organized groups that we have explored thus far have been too structured and/or too self-aggrandizing for us to be comfortable.

From what I could gather from your website, inanimate objects and pets are acceptable as grove members. Our intent is to make our Dalmatian the Arch-Druid of our grove. If you have ever had a cat, you will understand that we've encountered some difficulty in getting that member of our family to even agree to membership.

One of my oldest and dearest friends is Senior Druid to an ADF grove and my self appointed task is to keep him from taking himself too seriously. I think an alternative Grove with a Dog as Arch-Druid will serve us well in that pursuit.

I do have a serious interest in legitimizing Paganism, but I am beset by the same conundrum as so many others with the same goal: How do you create an organization of anarchists?


 Flatulent Waters Grove

NEW GROVE I guess I'vebeen a Reformed Druid most of my life and never knew it. My spiritual philosophy / theology is most influenced by American Transcendentalism, my own experiences hiking and birdwatching, studying the local flora and fauna of wherever I am and, of course, wing tip shoes / argyle socks.

My sense of the absurd has kept me sane and largely unemployed (until I discovered New York State Civil Service). My disdain for organizational hierarchy has made me unpopular with virtually every boss, priest, pope, archdruid, executioner, president, king, viceroy, prime minister, beauty consultant and bean field overseer I've ever met. The latter and former combined makes joining an organized religion (including ADF and nearly every other religion / organization / sect I've every researched) unthinkable for me. Heck, I've even been impeached as Editor of the newsletter for the Central New York Aquarium Society!

Looking forward to many mutually gratifying correspondences with other RDNA'ers and the chance to swap recipes for daring "treats" for gerbils is my main motivation for asking you to initiate / include / absorb / assimilate me. Also, I've been ruminating of late about different ways to approach a website I'm thinking of creating and a tie-in with RDNA would fit right in, me thinks.

I look forward to many long, tedious years as a member of RDNA.

Ken Zauter
Buffalo, NY

Rollcall of The Groves

Carleton Grove, RDNA, Northfield MN, 120 members, founded 1963,
Greenwood Grove, ZDNA, Seattle WA, 80 members, founded 1974, no contact and unreachable.
Hazlenut Grove, NRDNA, Bay Area, 15 members, founded 1977,
Birch Grove, NRDNA, New Hampshire, 4 members, founded 1986,
Ice Floe Grove, RDNA, Antarctica, 5 members, founded 1991, Iam Frizin, Amundsen bay, Antarctica
Akita Grove, RDNA, Akita Japan, 6 members, founded 1996,
Tokushima Grove, RDNA, Tokushima Japan, 1 member, founded 1997,
Staggs Trail Grove, ReDNA, Alta CA, 4 members, founded 1997,
Circle Grove, RDNA, Parish NY, 3 members, founded 1999,
Duir de Danu Grove, NRDNA, Silicon Valley, 7 members, founded 1999,
Baccharis Grove, NRDNA, Bay Area, 5 members, founded 1999,
Volcano Grove, RDNA, Tonga Island, 8 members, founded 5/00, Irony Sade, c/o Peacecorps, Nukualofa, Tonga
Creeks Called Rivers Grove, Druids of the Reform, Columbus OH, 3 members, founded 8/00,
Monument Grove, RDNA, Washington DC, 3 members, founded 9/00,
River Oaks Grove, RDNA, Jacksonville FL, 4 members, founded 9/00,
Grove of One, RDNA, Garden City MI, 1 member, founded 10/00,
Tampa #3 Grove, RDNA, Tampa FL, 3 members, founded 12/00,
Draoi Croi Crogga Garran, RDNA, Chico CA, 3 members, founded 1/01,
Dragonfs Eye Grove, RDNA, Calgary Alberta, 3 members, founded 2/01,
Dravidia Grove, RDNA, Location Unknown, ? members, founded 5/01,
Gandalf Grove, RDNA, Location Unknown, 3 members, founded 6/01,
Flatulent Waters Grove, Rodent DNA, Niagara Falls NY, 3 members, founded 6/01,
Dragon Oak Grove, RDNA, Virgiania Beach VA, 4 members, founded 6/01,


What is Arbor Day?

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care. National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

The first Arbor Day was celebrated in the state of Nebraska in 1872, in response to a state proclamation urging settlers and homesteaders in that prairie state to plant trees that would provide shade, shelter, fruit, fuel, and beauty for residents of the largely treeless plains.

On that first Arbor Day, more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska's communities and on its farms. The Arbor Day idea was promoted by J. Sterling Morton, (possibly a relative of the RDNA's Shirine Morton?) editor of the Nebraska City News, who later helped the idea spread to neighboring states and eventually to all of the United States and many other nations.

Today, Arbor Day celebrations are held in communities all over America, with the date determined by the best tree-planting times in each area. Celebrations are held as early as January and February in some southern states, and as late as May in more northern locations. For information on the date your state will observe Arbor Day, contact the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Our National Tree Has Been Chosen!

It could be that the United States is a country of closet Druids! The Oak was voted the national tree.

April 27, 2001. The people have selected the oak as their choice for America 's National Tree in a nationwide vote hosted on the Arbor Day Foundation web site. Results of the Vote for America's National Tree were announced April 27th at a tree planting ceremony on the Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C. "The oak is a fine choice to represent all of America's trees, and to exemplify the importance of trees in our lives," John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said. "People of all ages and backgrounds responded enthusiastically to the vote, which was the first time that the entire American public has been able to state their pick for a national emblem."

People were invited to vote for one of 21 candidate trees, based on broad tree categories (genera) that included the state trees of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, or to write in any other tree selection. The redwood, maple, pine, and dogwood rounded out the top five choices.

An oak was planted the same afternoon at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the birthplace of Arbor Day in 1872.

"We undertook this vote to remind Americans of just how vital trees are to us all, and to emphasize the history and grandeur of our trees," Rosenow said. "By any standard, oak merits the distinction of being named the people 's choice for America's National Tree."

Among the many strong attributes of oak, Rosenow cited its diversity, with more than 60 species growing in the United States.

"This magnificent tree is significant in sheer numbers alone," he said, "with oak trees being America's most widespread hardwoods. From the earliest settlement of our country, oaks have been prized for their shade, beauty, and lumber. "Oak's amazing strength and longevity have also made this tree a central part of our history," he added, "with leaders as diverse as Abraham Lincoln, William Penn, and Andrew Jackson being associated with them. Another early 'hero' of American history, 'Old Ironsides,' or the USS Constitution, was famed for repelling British cannonballs thanks to its thick, live oak hull. The American people have chosen wisely in so honoring the oak."

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member, nonprofit education organization that helps people plant and care for trees.

To print out a poster of the Oak as the National Tree go to: This 8.5 x 11 inch image can be printed on a color or a black and white printer.

This information is courtesy of the National Arbor Day Foundation at or call 402-474-5655 or write 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410.


Celebrate the Celtic Wheel of Life with Mara Freeman

Mara Freeman, British writer, storyteller, Archdruidess of the Druid Clan of Dana, an Irish Druid order, faculty member at the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California, and author of Kindling the Celtic Spirit offers The Feast of Lughnasa: A One-Day Workshop on the Celtic Harvest Festival.

Sunday, July 29, 10am to 5:30pm,
Lotus Heart Center, 530 Sunlit Lane, Santa Cruz, California.

In this one-day workshop you will:
Learn all about the gods and goddesses who preside at this sacred time. Find out about Lughnasa customs and traditions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales from ancient to modern times. Listen to Celtic myths and legends of the harvest. We will then take the teachings of this hallowed time into our souls through ritual, song, meditation and circle dance. Special Guest Linda Carol Risso, teacher of sacred arts and illustrator of Kindling the Celtic Spirit, will teach a traditional Lughnasa craft.

The cost is $89.00 per person and craft materials are included in the fee. Major credit cards are accepted. Call to register: 831 644 9393 or 800 694 1957 (toll-free) or email:

Register early! Space is limited!


Contributed by Alex Stewart, 2nd Order. Currently in deep woods.

"Living off the Land"

Contacts: Yes, we all want that mountain cabin, but we need a little help from our friends.

Helpful Internet Sites:
Backwoods Home Magazine
Country Home Magazine
Homesteading/Rural Living Site
Rural Living Web Magazine
Rural Living Canada
Homesteaders Ring
Back Home Magazine

Helpful Books and Magazines:
Readers Digest, Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills, (1987)
Skip Thomsen and Cat Freshwater "The Modern Homestead Manual" (1994)
Countryside and Small Stock Magazine 800-551-5691, (715) 785-7979
Backwoods Home Magazine, PO Box 40, Montague, CA 96064
Back Home Magazine , 119 Third Ave. West, Hendersonville, NC 28792


Summer Solstice, when the Sun enters Cancer, will occur on June 21, at 12:38 a.m. PDT. Solstice services will be held on Saturday, June. 24 at Solar Noon. Please call for carpool arrangements (510) 654-6896. For the social observance of the Solstice we will be going immediately after the service to AD's house. Regular Druid services will be held at Solar Noon on July 8 and 22. Please call the above number to confirm.

 About the Missal-any

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

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