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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 nutrients. 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 efficacy. Poems of the Season From our Server, Susan Press Solstice 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 http://www.geocities.com/druidarchives. 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, FL) 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: http://people.goplay.com/mousepolice/home.html and River Oaks Grove: http://personal.jax.bellsouth.net/jax/e/z/ezandmz/index.html. Carleton 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 (email@example.com) 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 beautiful. 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 oak. 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 spot. 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 ceremony. 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. Resources 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 (http://www.corvus.com/), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to start your subscription today! Calendar 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.
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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