Lughnasadh 2004 - Issue 63
From the President
The first harvest! This is an exciting time for us as we begin to gather
our first crops from our gardens - tomatoes and zucchini, green beans
and cucumbers, all ready to pick now here in the Northeast. We spent
a great deal of time and energy nurturing these plants over the course
of the growing season, and it pleases us to reap the rewards of our
My own personal garden is five raised beds that range from 4' x 7'
to 4' x 4'. That's a very small growing space, and one box is full of
my culinary herbs, leaving only four boxes in which to grow my seasonal
vegetables. There are four tomato plants and six pepper plants in another
box, two zucchini plants in a smaller box (that have taken over the
space around it, too), a bed of green beans and a small box of cucumber
plants. In spite of the small space, the garden is promising to supply
me with a bushel of sweet peppers and at least three bushels of tomatoes
before the frost comes. It's hard to estimate the squash and bean crops,
but they will also be abundant.
On the farm, the 50 acres of onions are doing well in spite of the
weather, and the potatoes will be ready to harvest for potato chips
right after Lughnasadh. Two weeks ago, they were a beautiful mass of
pink flowers floating above a sea of dark green vines. The sweet corn
season has just started.
I have always considered myself blessed to live in an agricultural
community. I am close to the land and live by the seasons out of necessity
- a way of life appropriate to my Druidic practice, because one of the
many hats a Druid wears is as a Steward of the Land. It has always bemused
me that most Pagan gatherings are held in the "wild" and consist of
primitive camping in order to be "closer to Nature." I suppose my living
on a farm and seeing more than my share of "wild" every day has jaded
me to the dubious pleasures of primitive camping, but a four-star hotel
on a Florida beach would be a real vacation for me. Give me luxury for
just a few days!
You see, my understanding is that Nature is all around us, and we are
part of Her. It doesn't matter if you live in an apartment in the city.
Apartments have windows, and plants can be brought indoors. Cities have
parks and tree-lined streets. Weeds of all sorts, some even with medicinal
properties, grow through the concrete sidewalks, and birds are everywhere.
There are numerous ways to be "close to Nature" as a way of life even
if you don't live on a farm or spend weekends in the "country." Identify
your sidewalk weeds. Feed the pigeons. Grow a terrace garden or plant
a window box. Grow pots of herbs on your kitchen sill. Plant a community
garden on a vacant lot. Become a Steward of the Land in any way that
On this Lughnasadh, if you can't harvest from your own garden, take
a trip to your local farmer's market and buy local produce for your
feast. In this way, you can honor the sacrifice of Tailtiu, foster-mother
of Lugh, who died clearing the fields in preparation for planting. You
also honor your local land spirits by consuming the gifts they worked
hard to provide, and you support your local farmers.
After Lughnasadh this year, the Board of the Henge of Keltria will
be gathering in West Virginia for the Annual Members Meeting. At that
meeting, we will assess the spiritual harvest of the Order in much the
same way that a farmer might currently assess his fields - deciding
what parts of our efforts have ripened completely and successfully,
what labor must continue, and what should be improved upon for the next
cycle of the Wheel. There are several amendments up for member consideration
and two Trustee positions to fill this year. The direction of the Henge
depends on each and every one of you, the members. Voting is one important
way to make your voice heard.
May all your harvests be plentiful, both physically and spiritually.
The Bard's Path
Tailtiu: Three Cinquains By Autumn Rose
rearing Lugh with Lir's son
binding him with chains of fondness:
tearing trees from topsoil
to Lugh's great sorrow:
cause of games and races,
merrymaking for her mourning:
Purple Roses I By C. Leigh McGinley
Purple roses in the rain
Weeping droplets from soft petals,
As the sky echoes the sorrows
Of a warm summer day.
Cars dressed in black,
Day clouded in gray,
A ring of mourners
Paying homage to a wound
In the grass, gaping ugly,
A box on green plastic,
Holding love lost.
The rain does not yet heal
The ulcer in the ground,
Nor does it wash the pain away.
The purple roses
So unnatural here,
Stems cut, left to wilt,
And then fade.
Three Sisters By Sarah Donelson
Deep in the night of the woods
Deep in the time of the circle the three Sisters stand.
Guarding, watching, remembering,
Speaking to those who listen
Recalling the ancient mysteries, the ancestors, and the old gods.
Tiny crescent new moon arises as the
Pathways to the Sisters glow and pulse with the energy of the
Calling me home to the warmth of her embrace
Calling me through the webs of time
Calling me to the knowing
Reminding me of all
© Copyright 2004
Photo by Sarah Donelson
The Druid's Path
Keltrian gives Ordination Blessing
On June 13th, in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, the Druid
blessings of "All time is now" was given at the New Seminary Ordination
Ritual. SmutŠn Duir, Keltrian Druid in the Ring of the Oak and 2002
graduate of the New Seminary gave the blessing to the Class of 2004
and the five to six hundred guests. The blessing was at the opening
of the ordination ritual along with several other faith's blessings.
The blessing given was as follows:
We are gathered as a community within this sacred space. Let us
now transcend the veils of time to embrace the timelessness of all
that is sacred.
Our spiritual roots run deep into the past. I SmutŠn Duir, cast
my voice back into the ancient times, when our gods walked amongst
us. I call upon my spiritual forbearers, the Druids from the shining
days of Erin, Alba, and Avalon. Bring forth your energy through our
roots to bless, witness and enrich this ordination rite.
From within the beating of the Heartwood, I cast my voice out
to the Druids of the present. To the Druids of the Mists of Stone
Forest, of Keltria and many others. As our Groves once again provide
a spiritual home, let our forests grow strong in the light of today.
Focus now your Heartwood energy to bless, witness and enrich this
Our branches reach forward through time and the winds of change.
I cast my voice out into the future, to our children's children. To
the Druids of the future. I ask you to reach back in time, to connect
your roots to our branches. Focus your energy to bless, witness and
enrich this ordination rite.
We are the past, and We are the future. All time is now and the
universe is renewed.
SO BE IT
The Solitary Path
A Homecoming By Jaysun O'Scalleigh
I'm sure that we have all heard it said, or said it ourselves, that
coming into a Neopagan practice is like coming home. I have felt this
feeling of home coming many times in my religious life; I have moved
around quite a lot, after all.
I recently renewed my membership with the Henge of Keltria upon realizing
that my most comfortable home, that place where I feel that Inner
and Outer meet most perfectly, is a Druidic one. I was a member of
the Henge ten years ago when I was wrapping up my Bardic studies in
the OBOD. After a while, though, I started to feel the urge to look
at some other spiritual traditions.
I studied and practised Asatru (Heathenry or Norse paganism) for
a time and in that time I learned the value of sacrifice, about the
give and take of existence, I learned the value of leading a virtuous
life, I came into a sense of my own strength, and I gained a respect
for reconstructionist religion generally. The next house I moved into
was a Christian one where I was welcomed by a wise and caring Anglican
priest who, when it was time to move on, let me go with abundant grace;
Christianity taught me about the value of grace. I went back to Wicca
after being awed by a large public Samhain ritual held by a local
Wiccan group. I say "went back" because I had spent most of my teen
years and early adulthood practicing Wicca...this time round as with
those earlier times I learned the value of balance, of connection,
and of the resultant magick. Next came my foray into Thelema. I befriended
local Thelemites, received the Minerval initiation of the OTO, and
did a whole lot of study and practice in ceremonial magick generally
and Thelemic magick specifically. I took from that experience a sense
of the value of the contributions that Aleister Crowley made to the
Pagan and magickal communities-I had an opportunity to see beyond
the popular image of Crowley, the hedonistic black magician.
From there I moved back to Asatru taking a membership in the Troth
for a couple of years. The circle becomes complete with me moving
back into my Druidic House.
This spiritual move has coincided with a very physical relocation.
I have moved with my wife and child to a wonderful place called Salt
Spring Island. It is one of a number of Gulf Islands that dot the
waters separating Vancouver Island from the British Columbia mainland.
Cedars grow here as do firs, arbutus, and the local native oak trees-the
Garry Oaks. Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Turkey Vultures, and a host
of smaller birds fly here. Orcas, seals, otters, and salmon share
the surrounding waters with many other marine creatures. Deer graze
without fear of predators. Frogs and newts, rodents a-plenty, and
garter snakes abound.
I kept dreaming about snakes when I came here from Victoria to work...I
knew that something special was happening when I discovered that I
kept seeing the snakes that I had dreamt about the night before. Around
that time I'd watched Whale Rider. That film's presentation of the
Maori belief that they are descended from whales got me to thinking
about the snake as Ancestor. I recalled reading somewhere that the
Druids were often referred to as snakes so I started to think that
I was being contacted by my Druidic ancestors. Perhaps it was the
Land itself trying to contact me?
With these dreams came the powerful sense that I belonged here on
Salt Spring Island. I prayed to Brighid, Goddess of the Hearth, for
Before long my wife, Maggie, and I were looking for a place to rent.
Things were not looking all that promising as finding Summer accommodation
is next to impossible. After a series of happy coincidences we did
find a beautiful place on a wooded five acre lot with much gardening
potential. When we first looked at the place I was elated to see a
number of Goddess images, with their names in bold print beneath them,
taped to the window panes of the bedroom door. There on that door,
in the place that would be our new home was an image of Brigit!
After much effort we moved from Victoria and all the while my Keltrian
ritual implements seemed to flow together out of the ether, I started
reacquainting myself with Keltrian ritual-with the aid of an appendix
that wasn't available (I think) ten years ago I practised solitary
ritual. I performed the Midsummer rite and the following night the
Mistletoe rite . Just this past weekend, right about the time of the
Vervain moon I bought a small vervain plant off of a vender at the
local Saturday market; this is not an easy plant to come by...the
vender was frankly surprised that I knew anything about it. I planted
the vervain with a blessing and an offering of mead and incense. I
hope it will come in handy when I am ready for the Vervain rite.
All of these events and the twinges of wonder and joy that accompanied
them are proof that I am coming home. This wonder and joy, I feel
them in my heart...and home is indeed where the heart is!
Salt Spring Island
From the Internet By Tony Taylor
Plans for Stonehenge by-pass tunnel.
Various sources are reporting that the Highways Agency has outlined
a controversial plan to reroute roads around Stonehenge. The current
plan includes closure of the A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and Airman's
Corner and building new road with a two kilometer (1.24 mile) tunnel.
The new road would join the existing road at the Amesbury bypass and
reduce the impact on the site.
Objectors believe the tunnel should be longer to "conserve and enhance"
the site. About one million visitors a year come to Stonehenge and
the roads gets clogged with traffic, particularly during the tourist
Keep an eye on this issue. The £192 million project, which sounds
good at first hearing, will effectively result in a four-lane highway
cutting right through the heart of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
for more details.
Druid Architecture in California?
The St. Helena Star of St. Helena, CA (in the Napa
Valley) reported they are moving into the Galleron Building, which
was originally called the "Noble Building" for its first owner, John
S. Noble. John Noble, a Scot, bought the property with help from the
United Ancient Order of Druids (UAOD). UAOD held its first meeting
in St. Helena on April 4, 1885.
They report that the Noble building, built in 1903 as a combination
furniture store and mortuary, was designed by Napa architect and Knights
of the Maccabees (KOTM) member Luther Turton. Because Turton was a
member of another secret society, he was probably familiar with the
Druids. In his design, he created the building's unusual architectural
features: the square of stone pillars that originates at the curb.
According to the Star, the rocks that form the Galleron's pillars
are "coursed," or stacked "ŗ la Stonehenge".
The paper also reports that there were at least two oak trees on
the property before Noble built the building and that Druids must
have gathered there, under the moonlight, to do whatever Druids do.
If [anyone] could take a photo of the building, I'm sure our members
would be interested in seeing it. See
http://www.napanews.com/star for more details.
2001 Druid Fluid Still Available
The Mail Tribune, of Medford, OR, reports that Troon Vineyard has
opened up a new tasting room. Their many wines include the hearty
Druid Fluid 2001, blend of syrah, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon,
$18.75. Those of you in Oregon, might enjoy a day trip and check out
for more details.
Stonehenge to return to Wales?
The Scotsman, BBC, and a host of others are reporting that the Archdruid
of Wales, Dr. Robyn Lewis, is calling for Stonehenge to be pulled
down and carted back to the principality where it belongs after 4,300
years. Dr. Lewis claims , the monument was built when Wales included
what is now England.
Archdruid Lewis appears to be trying to make it to be embarrassing
to be a Druid. How can anyone take such a demand seriously. It is
more likely that Wales will conquer England than for anyone to move
these stones. Anyone have an E-Mail address for Archdruid Lewis? Sigh....
or http://news.bbc.co.uk for
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
The Scotsman reported that the (estimated 21,000) people at Stonehenge
for the Summer Solstice mingled happily. Wiltshire Police made only
a "handful" of arrests, all for public order offenses.
According to The Scotsman, Druid leader "King Arthur Pendragon" presided
over the festivities standing amid a ring of flaming torches overshadowed
by a pair of giant horns, themselves lit by burning branches."
It is great to hear that the Stonehenge Solstice celebrations have
returned to order. See http://news.scotsman.com
for more details.
The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga
Edward Rutherfurd, author of several historical novels, Sarum:
The Novel of England, Russka: The Novel of Russia, The
Forest, and London, has chosen the capital of the Irish
Republic to tell the story of The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin
Saga. Ireland, known for myth, legend and political violence,
is the backdrop for Rutherfurd's story. It begins as the Roman Empire
is fading, about 430 A.D., and Dubh Linn, or Black Pool, is ruled
by Druid chieftain Fergus. The story leaps forward to the Viking colonies
of the 10th century and again to the 12 century clashes with English
rule. Rutherfurd wraps up the story in the 1500s as the Fitzpatrick
tests Henry VIII's rule over Ireland.
The reveiws on this one are mixed, but if you are interested in historical
novels that encompass the sweeping Irish saga, this one may be for
you. It is on my "want to read" list and I'll be watching for the
paperback version to be released.