Report of the 2017 Gathering of the Keltrian Tribes

 Karl Schlotterbeck, President Emeritus

The 2017 Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe was held August 4 and 5 in Coon Rapids, MN. We had members attending from New York, Maine, Minnesota and, by phone, Georgia. Seminars were presented on the topics of:

  • Ancestors of Place, by Tony Taylor
  • Flidais: A Discussion of the Deer Mother from Irish Tradition, by C.L. McGinley (TopazOwl)
  • Denizens of the Otherworld, by Karl Schlotterbeck
  • Ancestors, History, and Finding Yourself, by Rain
  • The Irish Spirit Wheel: Space, Time and Soul, by Karl Schlotterbeck
Photo of a reverie harp

Revere Harp

We were entertained with the assistance of Wren’s Phred the reverie harp, demonstrating that, indeed, music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.

On the secular side of things, the Board of Trustees decided to send to the International Druid Archives of Carlton College (home of the Reformed Druids of North America) Keltria’s various archives that now fill elders’ attics and shelves. In addition, the Keltria website and blog will be funded for five years. Thus, we expect that interested Keltrians and others will continue to have a “home” for articles, reports of research, and the general exchange of ideas.

Attendees at the Annual Meeting addressed the dwindling number of members able to serve in administrative roles by voting to dissolve the corporation. As readers may know, the Henge of Keltria was incorporated in Minnesota as a non-profit corporation in 1995. Of course, corporations operate under various state and federal requirements, and these became increasingy difficult to maintain in such a small organization without the same people moving around in administrative roles. As required for dissolution of the corporation, designees were appointed to carry out the necessities of dissolution, including dispersal of assets toward maintenance of the Druid Archive at Carlton College. Dissolution will be effective as of sundown on October 31 of this year. Tony Taylor and Karl Schlotterbeck were identified as the “Designated Authorities” for activities regarding the dissolution.

While the Henge will no longer exist as a legal entity, Keltria will continue in its new form, continuing to evolve as Druidism for the 21st Century. Those having been heavily involved in administrative duties will now turn their attention more fully to their spiritual practices. As before, mentoring in the unique approach of Keltrian Druidism can be available through direct contact.

Wicker warrior burning - Carrying messages to gods.

Wicker warrier carrying messages to the gods. Photo by Wren.

After the seminars and administrative duties were completed, attendees traveled to a beautiful site in Ham Lake and engaged in a Transition Ritual written for the occasion) to honor what has been and to embrace possibilities for what is to come. Prayer slips were put into a wicker warrior (made for this purpose) who carried the prayers into the Otherworld through fire. (Pictures can be found on the Keltrian Druid Facebook page.) Then, a small cairn was built and blessed to honor the past and to lay a foundation for the future. Finally, light from the Central Fire was dispersed (as has been the tradition of Beltane fires on the Hill of Uisneach), with each participant taking a candle lit from the Center of All Things.

In casual moments, we enjoyed each other’s’ company, reminisced over past events (the good, bad, ugly and beautiful), envisioned what form Keltria might take in the coming years, and talked of a Gathering next year.

Thus, even with our small numbers, we had an event with educational, administrative, legal, musical, social and ritual elements – a testament to the work of the founders and the depth of our active colleagues.

The staff of the Best Western Plus in Coon Rapids were always happy to help, and provided a perfect meeting space for our group.

From the President: This year’s Gathering and Annual Meeting

Featured

Shield logo for Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe.I hope the warming days of Spring are bringing renewal to all.

Our annual Keltrian gathering is only two months away. As many of you know, with the Gathering also comes our Annual Meeting with elections, along with consideration of any other Henge business (some major items this year, but more on that later).

Serving as a board officer is one way to show support for the Henge, to embody Keltrian ideals and to serve one another. Elected offices include those of president, vice-president and secretary. Trustees at large have also been an option, but we may or may not be electing one trustee this year, depending on the outcome of proposed bylaw revisions that will be presented this year. Regardless of that outcome, I encourage members who have an investment in the activities of the Henge to run for one of the offices coming open. (I will run for re-election, but would be delighted to see others showing a similar interest.)

If you think you might be interested, but are unsure of the responsibilities, feel free to check the bylaws for officer qualifications or write to the existing officers with your questions.

If you are attending this year’s gathering, please let me know at president@keltria.org so we can better plan. The registration fee for the Annual Gathering is only $20 and can be paid on arrival.

Finally, in addition to ritual, social time and the Annual Meeting, some of the most valued elements of the Annual Gathering are workshops and seminars presented by members on topics of Keltrian interest. If there is a topic you’d like to see presented, or would like to present one yourself, please let me know.

An organization is only as strong as its members’ willingness to serve.

Reminders:

Dates of Gathering: August 4 & 5

Place:    Best Western

3420 Northdale Blvd NW

Coon Rapids, MN 55448

Call the Best Western directly (763-576-0700) for our “Keltria Group” rates - $80 for single occupancy and $90 for double occupancy.

Karl Schlotterbeck

president@keltria.org

Imbolc greetings from the President

Photo by Cypresseyes

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this coming season of Imbolc, beginning February 1, reflects the first stirrings of returning warmth. We’ve already noticed the days getting longer and may be aware of the first stirrings of life around us. Similarly, the Henge of Keltria is also stirring into new life with changes in membership process, administrative structure and website emphasis.

At our most recent meeting, the Henge’s board of trustees has decided to move to a fee-free membership process. We have opted to put our emphasis not on organizational structure, but on spiritual practice. Thus, Keltrians will be known not by membership dues, but by adherence to the Keltrian Hallmarks and to ritual practice. (Doubtless there will be details to work through as we move forward, but our intent is clear.) While published material is provided to general subscribers, more individualized training and mentoring can be contracted, as well as possibilities for initiation, Grove participation, and service through the Board of Trustees and Council of Elders. Financial support through donations is always appreciated, of course. More changes are in the offing and will be laid out in the coming months.

Meanwhile, let us enjoy the blessings of this season, renew our practice of the Keltrian Hallmarks and remember the value of ritual practice as well. Our relationship with Nature Spirits, our Ancestors and Divinity, and with our Keltrian practices can be a safe harbor in a world of unpredictable storms.

Karl Schlotterbeck, President

Board of Trustees

From the President: Happy Solstice!


Sunrise between the stones at Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice in the mid 1980s. By Mark Grant, via Wikimedia Commons

In the hustle and bustle of this time of the year, amidst endless demands for our attention and dollars, and in the manufactured tension between “political correctness” and expressions of individual devotion, let’s remember the reason for this season. (The malcontent complainers are hardly a credit to their faith, whichever it is.)

In the northern hemisphere, this is the darkest time of the year and, at the solstice, we anticipate the rebirth of the sun. The Unconquered Sun is the reason the emperor Constantine declared Sunday (day of the Sun) as the official day of rest – now celebrated by most Christians as the day of worship -- and December 25 was only fixed as a Christian celebration during the fourth century. The Solstice had been long celebrated as the birth of solar deities and was a fitting time to mark renewal through the birth of the Christian and Mithraic (Roman) icons. Gift-giving was already a part of the Roman celebration of the Saturnalia. 

From Northern Europe comes the tradition of the shaman who, at the time of the Solstice, rode his reindeer-powered shaman’s sleigh into the heart of the Sun and returned to his people to bring gifts and guidance – the original figure who has become known today as Santa Claus.

So, let’s get beyond these petty late-coming internecine squabbles. No matter with what sectarian group we identify and may pretend is the original or truest, let’s remember what pre-dated them all: the cycles of life where, out of the darkness of the year, is born divinity originally found in Nature as the renewed Sun; where light arises out of darkness, life out of death. The words we put on these cycles are but clothing on the body of the Great Mystery of life, death and renewal. 
So, Happy Solstice, along with whatever else you may be celebrating!

Book Review: Founding Fathers, Secret Societies

Freemasons, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, and the Decoding of the Great Seal
by Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D

Review by Karl Schlotterbeck

Cover - Founding Fathers, Secret SocietiesCertainly, this is a book for anyone interested in American history or in the various secret societies that may have had an influence on America’s founding. Dr. Hieronimus uses the development of the Great Seal and the relatively recent appearance of the reverse side of the seal as signifying a positive change in America’s destiny.

Beginning with the way the Iroquois Confederacy was used as a model for the development of this country, he writes, “This rich Native American democratic tradition was the real source of the new Americans’ distinctive political ideals. Indeed, centuries before Columbus arrived in the New World, democracy was alive and well, just waiting for the Founding Fathers to discover it.” Also mentioned are pre-Columbian visitors to North America and legends of Masonic concepts and practices existing among Native groups – including the speculation of one writer that this may have come through Druids.

In his historical context of his subject, he includes the development of Freemasonry, Rosicrucians, various Illuminati groups, along with biographical information about of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson (including their astrological charts) and lesser known players.

Of particular interest to Hieronimus is how both sides of the Great Seal were designed but only the one side was ever struck – the side we usually see with an eagle, arrows, stars, etc. The reverse side (with pyramid and eye-in-triangle floating over it) was never struck and did not even come to public display until it was put on the one-dollar bill in the 1930’s. Fundamentalists have objected to the design on the reverse with paranoid ideation linking (in their imagination) the pyramid with such nefarious organizations as the United Nations, Zionism, NATO, Communism, taxes and secret societies.

All-seeing Eye / Eye of Providence

All-Seeing Eye

Hieronimus, if I read him accurately, makes a more indirect connection between the design and these groups, giving the design a much deeper and archetypal meaning that speaks of the Founding Fathers’ dual vision for this country. The two sides, as he sees it, indicate their vision that included both physical and spiritual destinies. To that end, Hieronimus analyzes the symbols found on both sides, including the Latin phrases (which contain both Pagan and Christian origins). For example, he relates the pyramid to the sacred mountain and thereby the Great Mother, the floating eye to the Eye of Horus and the polestar, and the number 13 as representing transition - not just the number of states. The reverse side of the seal is more than a sign for some time-limited society; it is an archetypal image pointing to our self-realization and rebirth.

Further, Hieronimus asserts that the rise in interest in the reverse side of the seal during the last century paralleled the rise of feminine consciousness and may be “initiating a higher level of integration in the American consciousness. . .”

In Appendices to the main body of the work, Hieronimus also includes various theories about the age and meaning of the pyramids; and a discussion of the nature of talismans.

On a personal note, I knew Robert Hieronimus when, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, he taught classes in symbology and was well-known in Baltimore for his symbolic murals and other paintings. His interest and expertise in symbols is one of the primary cornerstones of his work.

Founding Fathers, Secret Societies is a rich feast of history, esoteric movements, symbology, and psycho-sociology.

Founding Fathers, Secret Societies: Freemasons, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, and the Decoding of the Great Seal, by Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D., with Laura Cortner. Published by Destiny Books, 2006. Recommended.