Keltrian Druid Altars and Shrines

Altar, in the traditional sense, means a place of sacrifice. Keltrian Druids, like most modern religions, find the modern altar to be more of a ritual tool storage table than anything else. It is still a sacred place, and the objects on the altar are made sacred through consecration before being placed upon it. The tools used during the ritual are there, used when needed, then replaced.

Keltrian Druid altars may be as simple as a table with a couple of candles, a pair of vessels for Earth and water, and an incense burner. Other altars may hold many optional tools such as a candle snuffers. In either event, the altar holds the tools during the ritual. An altar is populated with sacred tools before the ritual begins. The tools are removed immediately following the ceremony and, once the tools are removed, the Keltrian altar is dismantled.

Shrines, on the other hand, are places that remain set up indefinitely. Typically, a shrine is a place dedicated to a specific entity of awe and respect where that entity may be venerated. The most common Keltrian Druid Shrines are dedicated to the Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, or the Gods. They too can be simple or complex. I have neighbors who don’t know I am Pagan and have seen my Ancestor Shrine, which is a wall in my den with photos and some mementos of my ancestors on it. Nothing spooky, just photos and objects that remind me of my ancestors. I see the shrine every day and think of them. When people visit, I often point out each of my ancestors to the visitors and explain how they are related to me. My earliest ancestor image is a circa 1881 drawing of a 4th Great Grandfather.

pencil sharpener water pump

Water Pump reminder of my great-grandmother.

Objects you keep with your shrine may be directly related, that is to say something from the individual, or the object might be something that reminds you of something about the ancestor.  For example, on my Ancestor Shrine, I have a metal pencil sharpener in the shape of a hand water pump. In the early 1960s, my great-grandmother still had a hand pump in the kitchen drawing water from a shallow well.  Whenever I see the pump, I remember her and my helping by priming the pump and getting the morning water started. I think remembering her and the morning ritual helps keep me in touch with my great-grandma and my other ancestors.

Do you have a shrine? Is it a Keltrian Druid Shrine?  If so, who is it dedicated to; the Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, or the Gods and Goddesses?

Below is a photo of an altar from a Keltrian Gathering. Please share a photo of your Keltrian Druid or personal altar, ritual table, or shrine. Tell us a bit about it and why the objects on it are important to you.

Walk with wisdom,
- Tony Taylor

Altar - Keltrian Druid - Gathering 2012

Keltrian Druid Altar (Gathering 2012)

  • Three cauldrons, for Ancestors (water), Gods (charcoal & incense), and one of Nature Spirits (earth).
  • Grove Candle and a God candle and a Goddess candle.
  • Two Chalices (one for water one for mead).
  • Sacrificial Branch and Sickle.
  • Bell Branch.
  • Shell for calling Manannán mac Lyr.
  • Offering Bowl.
  • Oil for blessing, mistletoe extract, and incense (also spare charcoal).

Support the Henge: Shop with the Amazon Affiliate Program

Did you know that you can support the Henge of Keltria without it costing a cent? It is really easy! Just use our direct Amazon link throughout the Yule-tide season.

To help the Henge, go to http://tinyurl.com/gnhchas .  That will bring you to an Amazon page having searched for Keltria in the Books section. Once there, you can go anywhere on Amazon and the Henge will receive a small percentage of your purchases. You don’t pay any more and the Henge benefits.

Next Bookmark the page.  Then use that bookmark whenever you want to purchase on Amazon.

Better yet, to the left of the web address box is a little green lock. Drag it and drop it to your bookmarks bar and use it there. (the bookmarks bar is right under the URL entry space.) Then you can then use the Amazon button you just created to go to Amazon and while there the Henge will benefit from anything you purchase.

Easy-pea-zy.

While you are there, if you don’t already have a copy, order the Book of Keltria: Druidism for the 21st Century.

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Editor’s note: The Tree of Wisdom has gone digital

Jenne Micale

Jenne Micale

The morning is still and hot here in upstate New York, and the plants are thirsty for the rains that have yet again passed us by.

Normally, today would be the day I put together the Lughnasadh issue of Henge Happenings, furiously darting between files and muttering, "What the hell, Open Office?" at the inevitable moments when something went wrong.

Today is different.

Right now, at this moment, I am sipping a cup of coffee and writing this piece directly into the Well of Wisdom, our Henge of Keltria blog. There is no hair-pulling, no alternate cursing and blessing of open-source software. As 21st century Druids, we have finally gone digital.

Just as life evolves, so has our platform. Fewer people were downloaded and reading the extensive PDF file I put together on the cross-quarters, so it made sense to go directly to the web. By posting articles directly, it will be easier for you to read them, share them on Facebook or social media, or find just what you're looking for on the Keltria website/blog.

Plus, I will be able to post articles as they come in -- at any time of year. Did you write a poem for the Spring Equinox, or have some great Winter Solstice recipes? Send them along and I can post and share them in real-time! No more writing articles months in advance, or waiting for the next issue.

With no page-lengths to consider, articles can be as short or long as you need. From a 10-chapter "short" story on Mad Suibhne to a couple of lines sharing your gratitude, we'll take it!

Important: I still need your content to make this work! And yes, I can still help you polish it and get it into a form you can be proud of -- no judgments rendered! So don't be shy; I'm a friendly sort of critter. Send me your poems and stories, essays and recipes, photos and artwork. Send me a recap of that last great ritual you did, or a review of that book, CD or rune set.

Send your submissions to: HH-Editor@keltria.org, HHSubmissions@keltria.org or dulcimergoddess@keltria.org.

The Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual Released

The Fifth Edition of the Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual was released 17 Feb 2016.

Book of Ritual
The Henge of Keltria Book of Ritual provides the fundamentals of Keltrian Druid Ritual practice including when and where to perform Druid rituals as well as how to follow the Keltrian Druid ritual formula. Appendices include ritual tools, music, meditation practice, and sample scripts of various Feasts.
Price: $15.95
Ships in 3-5 business days

Editor’s Note: Lughnasadh 2014

A Warm Welcome in this Harvest Season!

By Jenne Micale

Photo of Editor Jenne Micale

A blessed Lughnasadh to you all! As the new editor of Henge Happenings, let me introduce myself.

You may have seen my poetry and articles in previous issues, or my occasional postings on Facebook or in the Keltria Yahoo group. Perhaps you've checked out my music at www.kwannon.net, or my sporadic musings at whitecatgrove.wordpress.com. Or, perhaps I am completely unfamiliar to you, a new face in your field of vision. To all of you, I give my greetings.

I've been with the Henge for a number of years and am a Keltrian initiate currently in the Ring of Birch; previously, my spiritual path took me to the Dianic and Reclaiming traditions, and finally to ADF, where I spent a number of years before transitioning to the Henge. A proud Jersey girl, I am now planted in the Southern Tier of New York, where I continue to be fascinated by the natural world.

While I once had a small grove – White Cat – and occasionally do Keltrian rituals with a sister Pagan, I am largely solitary in practice. I know that many of you are, too. And that's what makes Henge Happenings so important: it, along with social media and the Yahoo group, helps create a faith community that we can't always experience in the flesh.

Appropriately enough for Lughnasadh, one of the lessons of the harvest is that communities must work together in order to survive – whether it's bundling John Barleycorn in the field, or putting together a newsletter. In short, Henge Happenings needs you – all of you, solitary and grove member alike – to be successful.

We come out four times a year on the Celtic holidays, and always need articles! Do you have a great idea for Grove's Choice or a craft activity related to the season? A meditation or magical practice? A recipe you love to use on the Feast Days? Share it! Are you interested in ancient Irish law, one of the Gods, Goddesses or heroes, or other aspects of Druidic culture? Consider writing an article! Share your work with ancestors, nature spirits and the Gods, or do a review on that really cool book, enticing music CD or interesting Tarot deck you've just picked up.

More of a visual type? We need artwork: cool photographs, paintings or drawings of nature, your ritual set-up, that interesting tree or stone.

Shy and uncertain about your writing? Don't be! I've worked as a professional writer and editor for 15 years, and before that, as a college writing instructor. I am more than willing to help you achieve your vision and work with you on your wordcraft, if you so desire.

Have a great idea, but one that doesn't fit with the current holiday cycle featured in Henge Happenings? I accept submissions year-round and will happily use it in a future issue, so press that send button!

We Keltrians are a talented people, a people of skill – and we honor our tribe by sharing those skills.

Please send submissions to me at dulcimergoddess@hotmail.com.

P.S.: I am trying to create this newsletter in OpenOffice, and I must say that it's challenging! If the technically minded among you can recommend reasonably-priced or open-source software for easy newsletter creation, please drop me a line! I'll love you to bits.

Book Review: The Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe

Book Review

The Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe: Goddesses, Sacred Women and the Origins of Western Culture

      by Sharon Paice MacLeod

Review by Karl Schlotterbeck

Cover for Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe.This work is an exploration of the presence of the Divine Feminine throughout European history in all her diversity. The book is intelligent without being dry, uses image without falling into fantasy, and is factual without boring the reader. Rather than some cold piercing gaze of analytics, Sharon Paice MacLeod embraces her subject with clear-eyed warmth.

She works through the first half of the book deconstructing our popular modern mythologies about the Feminine Divine by taking us through Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze-age periods, describing what we can know of history based on burial practices, architecture, artistic creations, implements and other artifacts. She shows us a much richer tapestry of European development than would be evident in many popular accounts. In so doing, she restores the beautiful diversity and depth of the Feminine Divine by exposing modern myths promulgated by empire builders and cultural biases – such as myths about the singular basis of our culture in Greek and Roman civilization, and the reductionist notion of a pervasive Mother Goddess tradition. Goddess-based religions, she shows, were not uniform nor based only on fertility or mothering, but arose everywhere, in many different forms, reflecting every aspect of life.

Most chapters begin with a brief narrative story of how things might have been, given the information she then explores. She gives the reader a feeling of being inside the subject, from a place where the people lived out the things she discusses. She provides enough data to give us a feel for the times without getting lost in minutiae.

Recognizing that history is connected to the present, without being preachy, she calls attention to parallels between our own time, climate changes in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic times, and enriches her text by using quotes from indigenous peoples who still have a close relationship with the Earth as did our ancestors.

The Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe is a firm but gentle call to restore our ancestors’ place in history, which was shaped by the land, with recognition of the interactive relationship among humanity, the Earth and its cycles, and the wide spectrum of roles play by the Divine Feminine.

She helps us to remember – not just remember history, but to honor the breadth and intelligence of our ancestors’ lives and their spiritual relationships, as well as calling us to restore our own relationship with and responsibility to the world around us. I hear in her writing a call to heal our “collective soul loss” and recognize that our land, our culture and our interaction with the Divine all exist in living interactive relationships.

Highly Recommended.

Published by McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2014.

Available at Amazon.com.

(On the basis of the intelligence, readability, perspective and depth of The Divine Feminine in Ancient Europe, I’ve purchased the author’s previous work, Celtic Myth and Religion: A Study of Traditional Belief, with Newly Translated Prayers, Poems and Songs.)

 

GROVE REPORT – GryphonSong Clan

Originally published in Henge Happenings - Beltaine 2014

Our clan members are enjoying the first signs of Spring in Georgia and we enjoyed a beautiful evening under the stars for our Feast of Flowing/Equinox Rite. The weather in our part of the U.S. is a little unpredictable this time of year but usually settles down by our Feast of Flowering in May.   We focus our energy to stir and lift with the life emerging all around us. It is sheer joy to be able to bring our Tree Selves together under the canopy of massive Ash, Oak, Beech, Hickory and Sweet Gum that embrace our much loved Nemeton. The tree frogs are singing, Cranes fly through our vision to the healthy wetlands just over the crest of our Northern hill. Soon we’ll have the gorgeous fire flies making the tree tops sparkle with their flickering brilliance.

We wish all of our Henge Kin a blessed, positively abundant and deeply contented Spring and Summer. Welcome back the Life and Vibrancy of the Land!

Walk with Wisdom, Strength and Gratitude
Eíbhlean/Ulchabhán


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Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe

From the President

Photo of Tony Taylor taken by Karl

Tony Taylor

The Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe and Annual Meeting of the Henge of Keltria is held at various locations in the United States. The site location is selected by the Board of Trustees based upon proposals submitted by the membership. The following is a list of past gatherings.

  • 1999 – Camp Gaia (Kansas City) KS
  • 2000 – Quincy (Boston), MA
  • 2001 – Coon Rapids, MN
  • 2002 – Syracuse, NY
  • 2003 – Coon Rapids, MN
  • 2004 – Clarksburg, WV
  • 2005 – Chittenango, NY
  • 2006 – Clarksburg, WV
  • 2007 – Shreveport, LA
  • 2008 – Letchworth State Park, NY
  • 2009 – Bangor, ME
  • 2010 – Cumming, GA
  • 2011 – Ham Lake, MN
  • 2012 – Cumming, GA
  • 2013 – Estes Park, CO
  • 2014 – Vestal (Binghamton), NY
  • 2015 (Proposed) – Decatur, GA
    (For information regarding any of the gatherings, please contact the Henge Office.)