Henge Happenings #59
The Henge of Keltria, P.O. Box 1060 Anoka, MN 55303-1060
Taylor (at) Keltria.Org
Lughnasadh is an interesting time, a time of great
blessings tinged with a distant sadness. Traditionally, this is a
time of feasting and merriment, and yet, this feast was originally
implemented as funerary games in remembrance of Tailtiu, Lugh's foster-mother.
In our own lives, with all of the abundance, joy and warmth of the
first harvest comes the nagging reminder that all things must eventually
wither and die to make way for the new. Behind the lazy days of summer,
there is urgency in the air as the sun begins its waning course, and
we prepare to reap what we have sown over the course of the year.
May your own harvest provide you, both physically and spiritually,
with the things you need for the coming dark time.
Most of you may know by now that, at the Annual
Members Meeting in Minnesota at Midsummer, I was elected the new President
of the Henge. I humbly thank you all for demonstrating your confidence
in my ability to serve you in this capacity. In my way of thinking,
the office of President is not about a title or status. It is a position
of service, a position that requires a great deal of hard work and
decision-making intended to best benefit you, the members of the Henge
of Keltria. Having served for six years as your Secretary and knowing
well the intimate workings of the Order, I have a vision for the Henge
that I and other Board members will be guiding us toward for the next
two years. It is a road that we have been slowly traveling together
for some time now, but I hope to see it come to fruition in the very
As an Irish-American Druid, I believe in the original
vision that the founders of the Henge of Keltria set out for us and
I will continue to guide us in ways that best reflect our dedication
to bringing the old knowledge into practical use for our modern times.
Things are moving quickly now. The Correspondence Course has been
a long time coming, but it has proven to be well worth the wait, and
we have been accepting students for some time. Chartered Groves continue
to grow and teach, study groups are applying for Chartered Grove status,
and more study groups are forming. We have honed our focus toward
the Druid ways from the Gaelic-speaking cultures, and we are hard
at work implementing a course for the legal ordination of Keltrian
Clergy, as well as 501c3 status for our Order. I plan to continue
what our former President Wren set into motion, as well as make adjustments
to things that have not been accepted by the membership as well as
we might have thought. Change is a constant, and that is a good thing,
for it helps us to improve and grow.
I want to thank Wren for all of her hard work and
sacrifice as our former President, and I welcome her with delight
to the office of the Vice-President, where her varied skills will
be put to good use. I also want to thank our former Vice-President,
Rain, for her extraordinary efforts over the last few years, and it
is my sincere hope that she will continue to advise and contribute
to our ongoing ventures. And last but never least, I welcome Tony
to the office of Secretary, and rest assured that all of our important
documents are in the best of hands.
Upon my election as your President, the Minnesota
Druids charged me with the care of certain "sacred cows." Although
presented to me as a gift (of actual cow figures), I view this charge
as a great responsibility. In ancient Celtic societies, the number
and quality of its cattle demonstrated the prosperity of a tribe.
Within the Henge of Keltria, we avail ourselves of our prosperity
in many forms: in our spirituality and dedication to our Ancestors,
the Nature Spirits, and the Gods of Our People, in our fellowship
and support of each other as we travel the often-difficult path of
Druidism, and in our constant quest for the knowledge that brings
wisdom. These are the "cattle" I have been entrusted with, to keep
safely so that all of our tribe may benefit.
The Druid's Path
The Life of a Solitary Druid
by Ni Bhrigid
Sometimes I wonder if there was a beginning for me. I feel like I
was always druid so the concept of a beginning seems very vague. Many
twists and turns lead me to the decision that a solitary path was
the right path for me. Being in the Ring of the Yew, initially at
least, I entertained a vision of starting a grove in northern Maryland.
But for reasons that fate can only explain fully, every time I tried
to seek out like minded souls, it invariably lead to a dead end. Perhaps
my vision was an ideal, but the thought of what others might bring
to a fuller expression of druid embodiment seemed worth pursuing.
I never did meet other Keltrians but I did run into many pagans that
seemed more caught up into the social bonding of calling themselves
Pagan than any religious calling. And one by one, all interaction
led me deeper into a quiet path instead.
I was very glad that Keltria offered a correspondence course since
it provides an option for those of us who are alone most of the time.
I think the emphasis on required Druid and Celtic reading makes Keltria
stand apart. Sometimes I think of the Henge of Keltria as producing
a literary type of druid, which made me think that we were one step
closer to our learned counterparts so long ago. I think of them all
the time. Being one with the forest is something all druids feel a
kinship with. But the night beckons me as well. There is something
intensely magickal about a starry night. I like to lay in the grass
with the entire sparkling night before me. Stars are remnants of things
that have long been gone. I think of all our ancient brothers and
sisters who saw the same sky. Oh, if the night had eyes, what a song
it would sing. Recording everything that ever was. I think of them
and I close my eyes and try to envision their very thoughts. It makes
me think of the reflection in a mirror that reflects a mirror, with
a repetition of images getting smaller and smaller. The vastness of
the night feels like a connection. I feel safe there.
Alone and minus a grove, it probably takes longer for the actual
verbiage of the ritual to sink it. Since you are responsible for the
entire ritual, at first I felt hyper aware of getting everything "right".
It actually detracted from the ritual itself but was necessary. Its
actually very easy to tap into a collective vibe on major holidays.
Feeling the energy of my brothers and sisters at that same time is
tangible. But being by myself, I take it a step further. On Beltaine,
part of my tree meditation invariably includes envisioning the past
in 3-D. It brings to mind an image of a clear night, and rolling hills
speckled with the fires of Beltaine for as far as the eyes can see.
And the echoes of singing, of voices trailing off in reverie. It is
a very personal, spiritual place.
I feel closer to some gods and goddess than others. They are personified
to me and through perception, some seem to be a better fit for my
personality. Being born right after Samhain, I must confess a special
kinship with the Mórrígán. Surely her name alone evokes a shudder
to some, her whole affinity as the Battle Goddess.. the goddess who
reigns over chaos and death/regeneration, seems to remind me of a
Scorpio. I cannot help but think of her literally as a Scorpio chick.
There is something living and breathing about ritual life. Oh, have
they seen me through troubled times. Times when it seems impossible
to find comfort. They are always there though. There more I gave myself
over to my ritual life, the closer I got to centeredness. For some
reason, some rituals end up being more profound. When you get past
the words alone and truly become one with the moment, it's almost
a high. I feel a sense of elation that makes me unable to stop smiling,
I feel physically light and airy. Its like the ritual moves through
Ritual magick became an area I feel the strongest about because I
was forced to learn about ethics. It saddens me when I see advertisements
for what I call "willing the inappropriate". Money, love, prestige
- they have no place in that arena. I think ritual magick is best
suited for knowledge, understanding, empowerment so that one may "give"
instead of "get". Following the rules of karma, maybe you're not meant
to have it all. More importantly, focus on whatever you're given,
as a gift. I learned about ethics the hard way. Out of sheer inexperience
and not knowing how profound the results can be, I once very foolishly
asked for all the wrong things. At the time I was at a very low point
in my life. For all of you who ever fell in love with the wrong person,
you may have some sympathy here. I desperately wanted to feel something
intangible that was not within my grasp. At the time I worked with
a fellow that I barely knew but had great admiration for. He was married
and was really a family man. I intensely respected him from afar.
Then. right after my selfish requests in magick-mode-for moi alone,
within 1 week he was hovering around me like a bee. I was horrified!
It was contradictory to everything that held him special to me. "That's
not what I meant", I remember saying to myself. The closer he maneuvered,
the worse I felt. I felt unbelievably awful. Then came the equally
selfish "I didn't really mean it!!!" ritual to reverse things. And
I could almost hear them smirk at my lesson learned. I felt I had
lowered myself and I made a commitment to fully understand and above
all, respect that venue forevermore.
I had a dream earlier this year. Two men are sitting in the middle
of a swiftly moving stream, silently reminiscing about their lives.
One of the men notices a woman on the shore just as she has fallen
into the water. He doesn't really understand that she is drowning
until the last of her hair is lost under the surface of the water.
Diving in, he finds her body. At that moment a shaft of light pierces
the water and illuminates her face. Her moment of death is fated for
him. He is lost in the rapturous moment of capturing her essence when
he looks into her face. Floating, silent, ethereal beauty. I am able
to hear his thoughts and he is thinking: It is like looking into the
Face of Eternity. I abruptly woke from the dream and grabbed my little
recorder and recited as much as I could of the dream, as the exactness
of the words seemed terribly important. Imagery of love and hope aside,
the point of illumination is what stirred me months later. Something
reminded me of the choices made for a religious life. Illumination.
through the death of everything false around me. The winding path
that many more worthy than myself, have walked before me. The druid
flame. The face of eternity.
The Bard's Path
© 2003 - Rose of Ravenwood
Spirits of my path,
as I walk, walk with me.
Show me the beauties
of the places that I pass.
Spirits of my path,
as I walk, walk with me
Reveal the secrets
of the places that I pass.
Spirits of my path,
as I walk, walk with me.
Teach me the lessons
of the places that I pass.
The Green Man Within and Without
Review by Owen Draig-Ferengel
Last May, Gina Ruthe's Holistic Center For Massage
Therapy (710 North Church Street, Rockford, IL) hosted a one-day
Hermetic Journey entitled: The Green Man Within & Without: Exploring
A Masculine Archetype. The event included presentations by John
Matthews and Jim Bertolacini. The following is a review and comments
from one member of the Henge who attended the event.
The Greenman: Within and Without, Exploring A Masculine
Archtype was marvelous. About 15 men from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana
and even Ohio came to Rockford for this inaugural event of "Hermetic
The day was divided into several segments of lecture,
discussion, shamanic journeying and mask making. All of this together
involved the participants far more than merely sitting listening to
talks all day. We began the day, after a social "meet and greet" , by
opening the Circle and placing on the altar something we had brought
with us that was personal.
John Matthews was introduced and began to give us a bit
of the history of Greenman, showing that he had no actual point of coming
into existence that has been recorded . He just seemed to have always
been there in several cultures, making his appearance at various times
of the year from pre-history right up to the present day. John offered
some visual images he had taken over the years of Greenman. These were
not only the well known iconographic forms carved into cathedral ceilings,
but also images of modern festivals from around the world where a Greenman
We were introduced to the idea of Greenman being a symbol
of "wildness". This would include the wildness of more primative humankind
and that wildness of nature which connects with a natural wildness,
a raw energy of men. We spoke of this in terms of our modern world recalling
the "back to nature" themes of the 60's and the rise of environmental
concerns around the world. However we were more concerned with the concept
of wildness, or naturalness, in the masculine ethos of our world today.
Seeing the archtypes in history, literature and culture would help us,
as men in our society, to direct our "wild" creaive natures. John gave
us a view of Greenman throughout the cycle of the year as well as related
to the Quarters.
In the North we find the Winter King which is exemplified
in the Tale of the Green Knight who visits King Arthur's court at Christmas.
He plays a beheading game with Sir Gawain, which is symbolic of losing
the intellectualism we have adn becoming more "natural". It had to do
with change and losing old patterns of behaviour.
In the East we met the Greenlord of the Wood, Robin of
the Wood or Robin Hood who teaches us focus and one pointedness by the
image of archery. Here we also learn to let go of distractions and stay
In the South we find the Lord of Summer, and continue
the Green Knight story with particular regard to King Arthur and the
challenge given him by a giant knight. The challenge is that Arthur
has a year and a day to discover what it is that women want most. If
he returns without an answer the giant will behead him. Arthur spends
a year asking every woman he meets and enlists Sir Gawain to help him.
Toward the end of the year he meets a frightful looking woman who tells
him that she knows the answer but will only give it if he promises to
marry her to Sir Gawain. Arthur agrees and Gawain obeys and Arthur's
life is spared. At the wedding all of the Court is sorrowful for Gawain
now married to a horrible hag. As they prepare for the wedding night
the woman becomes absolutely the most beautiful woman Gawain has ever
seen. She tellshim that she is under a curse and now that he married
her she can appear to him, when alone, in this present state and when
with others as the hag; but that he could choose the other way if he
wished. He chose that she be beautiful with him and that he would show
great love for her at all times even when she was ugly. She told him
he has chosen wisely and that that had completely broken the curse and
she would be beautiful always. This lesson is given to show that men
need to seen beyond appearance.
In the West we are told the story of Green Jack, or John
Barleycorn, who is killed and buried in the ground only to rise up out
of the earth in the next season. He is a symbol of rebirth.
Along with these talks, John Matthews led us through several
Shamanic Journeys. These were to first discover what our mask would
look like, and then to see the face of the Greenman, to ask what attribute
we as individuals would carry in this circle and how we would know to
release the intellect and become natural.
Intersperced with these we spent time with Jim Bertolicini
making our own Greenman masks. Jim had collected boxes and boxes of
various types of Oak leaves for this and had glycerined each leaf to
keep them supple. He gave us simple instruction and turned us loose
with mask base, glue and leaves to create our own mask. At times we
felt as though we were in kindergarten at play time, and from that grew
a camaraderie that worked into everything thing we did the rest of that
day. In the end we Blessed and donned our masks in the Closing Circle,
speaking or acting out what attribute we received in our meditations.
We closed and left with a greater feeling Brotherhood.
Silver Drake who put this day together has since begun
a Yahoo Group for the Hermetic Journeys we have all become part of.
I will be travelling to Scotland and England in the next two weeks and
will be meeting with John and Caitland Matthews when I visit Oxford.
So to quote a couple of old hippies (like me!)..."and the beat goes