Return to Missal-Any News Desk

Newsletter of the Reformed Druids of North America

Yule, 38 Y.R.

Yule, Winter Solstice, is one of the four minor Druid High Days. More so
than any other of the High Days, Yule seems to be especially associated with
plants and trees. In the dark days of Winter it is the evergreen that
reminds us of the “continual flow and renewal of life.”

The Mistletoe is one of the few plants that naturally bears fruit this time
of year. It is commonly found on such trees as the apple, ash, walnut, and
hawthorn, and much less often on the oak. Though it manufacturers its own
food through photosynthesis, it depends on its host tree for water and

The Mistletoe was held sacred by the Druids. In Wales it is still called
druidh his, “Druids’ Weed.” The Roman author Pliny the Elder gives an
account of the mistletoe gathering ceremony in his Natural History:

“The Druids…held nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree that
bears it, always supposing that tree to be the oak. But they chose groves
formed of oaks for the sake of the tree alone, and they never perform any of
their rites except in the presence of a branch of it…In fact they think that
everything that grows on it has been sent from heaven and is a proof that
the tree was chosen by the god himself. The mistletoe, however, is found but
rarely upon the oak; and when found, is gathered with due religious
ceremony, if possible on the sixth day of the moon…They chose this day
because the moon, though not yet in the middle of her course, has already
considerable influence. They call the mistletoe by a name meaning, in their
own language, the all-healing. Having made preparation for sacrifice and a
banquet beneath the trees, they bring thither two white bulls, whose horns
are bound then for the first time. Clad in a white robe, the priest ascends
the tree and cuts the mistletoe with a golden sickle, and it is received by
others in a white cloak. Then they kill the victims (i.e. the cattle),
praying that God will render this gift of his propitious to those to whom he
has granted it. They believe that the mistletoe, taken in drink, imparts
fecundity to barren animals, and that it is an antidote to all poisons.”

Pliny doesn’t explain why the Druids held the mistletoe so highly other than
the reference to it being all-healing. It is extremely poisonous. I overhead
this past week while waiting for the train home that some florists, when it
is sold yearly at Christmastime, have removed the berries because there have
been cases of children picking them off the branches, eating them, and
dying. (And where were the parents in this?) Mistletoe has been used (the
leaves, not the berries) however, though greatly diluted, in modern times to
much success in treating serious illnesses. A specially prepared homeopathic
tincture is used in the treatment of cancer and herbalists use mistletoe to
strengthen the heart and reduce blood pressure. So the Ancients did have it
right after all, it just took us moderns a little while to uncover it, and
as with any medicinal, probably used it with great wisdom, caution, and

Poems of the Season

From our Server, Susan Press

Winter has come, The song has been sung, The days have been white and cold.
The dark has been deep, The earth was asleep, Dreaming a dream of old.
Now hear Her blood drum, For the time has come, For the days to grow long
and warm.
For the dark becomes light, And the earth will take flight, Greeting the Sun
’s return.

Nights of Winter
In deep of winter, In the middle of the night, Jack Frost paints your
windows With nary a light.
Look thru his icy artwork, Know each to be unique, You’ll see a starlit
world revealed, A world that some would seek.
A world that is within, without, A fragile world of wonder and glitter A
world that from his paintbrush flows, In the deep, dark nights of winter.

Walk Amongst the Trees
Murmuring softly, Father Winter walks amongst the trees, gently easing them
into sweet white slumber. He stops to rest with those who keep vigil during
the long winter, the Holly, the Mistletoe, & the Evergreen.
They are old, old friends & pass the long white winter sharing tales &
talking of things they have seen & heard throughout their long lives.
Go walk amongst the trees. Be quiet and still, listen for their voices &
then for their wisdom. Share with them your dreams, your wonders & your
woes, for they will become the substance of tales told in the
future......the knowledge & wisdom of the trees.

News of the Groves

New Groves!

Staggs Trail Grove
The Druids of Staggs Trail Grove (ReDNA) in Alta, CA has been
re-established. There are currently four members and they would like to meet
more people of like mind. Contact Kelly and Tenby at

Tampa #3 Grove, Tampa, FL
Paul Jantzen is establishing his own grove, should there be no others in the
area. He has a neurotic parrot and a rather stately cymbidium orchid who
would happily take up roles in such a group. There may be some wayward
humans who have interest as well. Contact Paul at

Obelisk Grove, Washington D.C.
Mike Scharding reports that Obelisk Grove is doing poorly. Many students
never came back after the first few meetings, but perhaps this will change
next term. They had a few events, but as it is the first term for the group,
they will regroup and start anew next term. Mike is doing well, adding on to
the RDNA site (about 15-20 hits a day, after an advertising blitz) and
recently added the Druid Archives access site at The latter will be completed by his
birthday on Jan. 15th. With all the bad vibes in DC right now, Mike hasn’t
really felt very good, but his first term in Grad school is over.

Florida Groves
Swamp Grove (Naples, Southwest Florida) and River Oaks Grove (Jacksonville,
The Florida groves appear to be doing well, despite all the hullabaloo over
the election. Without giving away any positions, the general consensus is
“enough.” Both have nice websites up and running. Swamp Grove: and River Oaks Grove:

Carleton seems to be doing quite well so far this year. A new batch came
over this fall and the Samhain was well attended and the weather held out
for most of the rituals. So far none of the members have burned out after
three years in leadership positions. Carleton College is on winter break
from Thanksgiving to January 11th. Carleton also appears to have a new
college chaplain who is very friendly to the Druids, which has generally
been the case since 1985.

Akita Grove, Japan
Akita Grove is well, in difficulty. Kibo Nozomi has gone to Oregon in
America, and the group remaining in Japan is struggling to reorganize. Ikari
Sekigawa ( is still in Japan and is currently on
sabbatical, reexamining his life and thinking about things. He says he will
resume active Druidry next year, perhaps.

Baccharis Grove
Samhain was celebrated in the patio below the Grovesite this year due to the
AD still recovering from pneumonia. In RDNA tradition of the new Third Order
leading the first service after ordination, our Preceptor led the service.
Though a bit on the giddy side prior to the service, and losing the second
sacrifice bounding down from the Grovesite (it actually got lost in the
folds of her robe), the service went very well. The Full Moon rising over
the patio wall through the trees during the service was unspeakably

The Live Oak acorns that have fallen over the course of this past Fall at
the Grovesite are already showing signs of sprouting. Our Server has
collected some in the hopes of growing them at her new house. This has given
me the inspiration and impetus to post the first in a series of see and do
articles. My teacher always told me that Druidism is a “see and do” religion
versus Judaism or Christianity which are talk-think religions. And so we
bring to you

Planting Your Own Grove

Do you have a reverence for trees, particularly oaks? You can grow these
mighty trees yourself, from seed.

Start by gathering acorns. Let your favorite kids help or find acorns at the
foot of an oak that has a special meaning for you. Make sure the tree is
healthy. Use a fishing pole or other long pole to shake them from the tree.
Your best chances of successful acorns are those picked directly from the

Gently twist the acorn’s hat. If it comes off easily, you’ve got a candidate
for your project. Toss out any cracked, rotten, or hole-y acorns as well as
those that seem very light by comparison. As a final test, place the acorns
in a bucket of water and get rid of the floaters.

Don’t keep acorns too long before you plant them! Once they dry out, they
probably won't germinate.

Using plastic bags, mix a handful of acorns with a handful of perlite.
(Vermiculite can be added to the mix, if you like.) Seal the bag, date it,
and place it in your refrigerator. It may take as much as three cycles of
the moon for the acorns to germinate or as little as one cycle, depending on
the type of oak. At the full moon and the new moon, check your acorns to see
if they are starting to sprout. When several have sprouted, its time to
plant all the acorns in the bag.

To plant the acorns, use large plastic pots (this is one time I actually
like plastic anything!). I tend to use the large black ones left over from
the previous spring’s azalea purchase. Use one-gallon size at a minimum. The
little oaks will develop looooooong tap roots, so they'll need plenty of
depth. Make sure the pots drain well, too, with holes in the bottom.

Fill the pots with potting soil almost to the top. Leave about one inch.
Place a single acorn on its side and cover it with half an inch of potting
soil. Then water, taking care not to wash the soil away from the acorn.

Place your pots in a protected area so the cold won’t freeze them or dry
them out. Water them whenever the soil dries on top.

Now sit back and wait! Hopefully in the spring, you’ll see the first signs
of growth. When the little oaks are growing nicely, you can move the pots to
an Eastern sunny spot and fertilize them every Sabbat. At Mabon or Samhain
when the little oaks are one to two years old, plant them in a permanent

The thing I really like about having these small oaks in pots is that I can
arrange the pots in a circle for special workings. In the side yard, on the
back deck, or even in a pasture, I can let them grown (almost) naturally and
feel the power of this magickal tree. As they grow, I can move them out,
away from the center of the circle, to make room for their future growth.
Once a lot of rituals have taken place in this circle of young trees, the
place becomes sacred, and its a good spot to plant the trees in a special

c 2000 Lorna Tedder

Statement of Policy

1. The RDNA does not own, publish, or control the Missal-Any, although it
uses the Missal-Any as its official journal, i.e. we print all announcements
the RDNA is legally required to make. All other items published in the
Missal-Any are the opinions of their authors and not of the RDNA.

2. The Missal-Any will not violate copyright and give credit for all
contributions; however, we will exercise our legal right to quote
copyrighted material in reviews , criticism, and scholarly articles.

3. The Missal-Any will not quote anyone or publish their photos without
their knowledge and permission.

4. The Missal-Any will publish material (including rebuttals and alternate
opinions) by authors whose opinions differ from ours; however, we reserve
the right to append disclaimers to such material.

5. The Missal-Any accepts paid ads from individuals and neo-pagan groups for
products we think worthwhile; we do not accept “relationship” ads.

6. Post mail subscriptions cover the cost of postage and paper. We will
exchange subscriptions with other neo-pagan publications that we think
worthwhile. People without money can barter for subscriptions e.g. by
writing an article).

7. The Missal-Any is published eight times a year, two weeks before each
Druid high day; the Missal-Any shall come out on time.

8. All articles will be typed, or the equivalent. A typical issue of the
Missal-Any will contain:

a. A lead article discussing some aspects of the current holiday.
b. News of the Groves.
c. Letters and questions from subscribers.
d. Cartoons and quotes from the media (but note item 2 above).
e. Contributions, including songs, poems, ceremonies, articles on
philosophy, research, experiences, and opinion.
f. Official announcements of the RDNA, including notices of elections, names
of officers, etc.
g. Resources available for further research and study.


The Abrams Planetarium at the Michigan State University publishes Sky
Calendar. Sky Calendar promotes skywatching for people of all ages.  As its
name implies, the sheet for each month takes the form of a calendar.
Diagrams in the boxes invite the reader to track the moon's rapid motion
past the planets and bright stars of the zodiac, as well as to follow the
more leisurely pace of the planets in their conjunctions with bright stars
and other planets. The reverse side consists of a simplified star map of the
month's evening sky. The sky maps are printed for mid-evenings, at Latitudes
similar to Lansing (43 N).

The Sky Calendar has become the nation's most highly illustrated
easy-to-follow guide to sky events. Not only is it enjoyed by its over
10,000 paid subscribers, but it is reproduced (with permission) by classroom
teachers for their students, by planetariums and astronomy clubs for their
members and the general public, and by park interpreters for audiences at
sky talks. Frames from the calendar appear in the planets pages of Sky &
Telescope magazine. Both the sky map (on the reverse side) and the calendar
appear in each issue of Science and Children, a journal of the National
Science Teachers Association.

A full year subscription is available for $10.00 per year, starting any
time. Write Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI 48824

S&T's Weekly News Bulletin and Sky at a Glance stargazing calendar are
provided as a service to the astronomical community by the editors of SKY &
TELESCOPE magazine. In cooperation with the American Association of Amateur
Astronomers (, S&T's Weekly News Bulletin and Sky at
a Glance are available via electronic mailing list. For a free subscription,
send e-mail to and put the word "join" on the first line
of the body of the message. If you should have any problems either
subscribing to or unsubscribing from the list, send a message to list
administrator John Wagoner at for assistance.

Premiering in January 2001 is Bay Nature, the first natural history magazine
for the San Francisco Bay Area. Every season Bay Nature will bring in-depth
views of the Bay Area’s open spaces, wetlands, animals, plants, weather,
geology—as they are now, and as they were before—as well as the best of Bay
area wildlife photography and landscape art, and news of the local
conservation community and upcoming related activities.

A one year charter subscription costs $16 for four issues. Send a check to
Bay Nature, P.O. Box 1493, Martinez, CA 94553-9903, call (925) 372-6002, or
email to start your subscription today!


Yule, Winter Solstice, when the Sun enters Capricorn, will occur on December
21, 2000 at 5:38 a.m. PST. Yule services will be held on Sunday, Dec. 17 at
Solar Noon. Please call for carpool arrangements (510) 654-6896. For the
social observance of Yule we will be going immediately after the service to
AD’s house. Regular Druid services will be held at Solar Noon on January 7
and 21. Please call the above number to confirm.

The Missal-Any is published eight times a year. Post mail subscriptions are
$4.00 and online subscriptions are free, but might not include everything
that is in the post mail edition. Or write an article or send us a cartoon
and receive a year’s subscription free. Write The Missal-Any, c/o
Weinberger, 309 63rd St, Apt. C, Oakland, CA 94618.

This is the end of the Winter Solstice 2000 Issue.

To return to the main news page.


Comments on the Missal-Any?

Submissions to


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