By Tony Taylor
The 2010 Gathering of the Keltrian Tribe was a great success. Kudos go to BeanSidhe, GreyBoar and the members of Olde Stone Grove for hosting the event. Workshops were conducted at a Holiday Inn Express, but the rituals and a potluck were held at their home, which includes one of the nicest personal ritual spaces I’ve ever visited.
Of course, I am eagerly anticipating applications from members who are interested in hosting next year. Look for notice elsewhere in this issue to submit your proposal to the Henge Office by Yule. This year we were in the southeast, last year in the northeast, and the year before that in western New York. It is a great chance to meet the Board, Council of Elders, and other members and initiates.
Congratulations to GreyBoar who was welcomed to the Ring of the Oak on Friday, August 13th, 2010. Also, congratulations to Aauriane Veleda, who was welcomed into the Ring of the Birch on Saturday, August 14th. May the mysteries revealed to them help them grow in their relationships with the Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods and Goddesses of our tribe.
I am pleased to receive the good news that the Druid Network received notification that their application to be registered as a charity furthering the religion of Druidry was accepted on 21 September 2010. A great accomplishment; they spent over five years working to receive their acceptance. I celebrate their success and wish them continued recognition and further successes in all their endeavors.
On the other hand, the news regarding two national druid figures was sad. Alexei Kondratiev passed away last May after a heart attack. I never met him in person and really wish I had. I first learned of Alexei’s work back in the 1980’s when he authored a tarot deck. If my memory serves me right, it was “The New York Tarot” and consisted of photo images of New York. In the late 80’s, I enjoyed his comic books Vidorix the Druid, and read all of the issues I could find. They were intelligent comics based in Celtic myth. He has long been on our recommended reading list with The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual and Celtic Rituals: An Authentic Guide to Ancient Celtic Spirituality. So much so, that one Keltrian Grove adopted the name Apple Branch Grove. Alexei became a member of the Henge in the mid-90’s, wrote Lesson Two for the Keltria Correspondence Course, and participated in the Keltria List. Although he didn’t post often, when he did it was spot-on and clearly from a true Celtic scholar. I will definitely drink to Alexi this Samhain night and for many Samhains to come. May his continued journeys be filled peace, love, and wisdom.
Isaac Bonewits also passed this year on August 12th. I will really miss him as. We first contacted Isaac in the early 1980’s (’81 or ’82) to help convince him to start a new Druid organization. We, along with several others, convinced him there was a great deal of interest in a national Druid organization; he eventually founded Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship in 1983. Grove of the Twin Oaks, my first Druid Grove, became one of the first ADF Groves, after the Mother Grove in 1983 or 84. Isaac blessed my initiation and my elevation to second at Pagan Spirit Gatherings in the mid-1980’s. Isaac became a member of the Henge in the mid-90’s and remained both a member and a friend for many years. In 2009, by unanimous decision, Isaac was awarded the first, and only, Druid Academy Nomination Award Committee (DANAC) Lifetime Achievement Award for his thirty-three years of publications, organizing activity, presentations, wit, humor, research and dedication to Druidism. His Druidic life was an inspiration to me; he is sorely missed and will be honored this Samhain with many toasts. May he travel well and be blessed by all the Ancestors, Nature Spirits and Gods and Goddesses whom he encounters.