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Henge Happenings: Official Newsletter of the Henge of Keltria

Henge Happenings

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 labor.

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 you can.

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.

Blessed Lughnasadh,
TopazOwl


Henge of Keltria

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The Bard's Path

Tailtiu: Three Cinquains By Autumn Rose

Tailtiu
foster mother
rearing Lugh with Lir's son
binding him with chains of fondness:
mentor

Tailtiu
forest clearer
tearing trees from topsoil
dying spent,
to Lugh's great sorrow:
martyr

Tailtiu
fair inspirer
cause of games and races,
merrymaking for her mourning:
memory


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.
Procession.
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 land.
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 of the Roll Right Stones.
Rollright Stones
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 ordination rite.

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 guidance.

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!

Beannacht Oraibh,

Jaysun O'Scalleigh
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 season.

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. See http://www.savestonehenge.org.uk 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 the wine.

See http://news.mailtribune.com 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....

See http://news.scotsman.com or http://news.bbc.co.uk for more details.

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.

Books

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.


Henge Happenings is intended for members of The Henge of Keltria. However, many of the particularly interesting articles have been made available to non-members. If you are a member of the Henge and need a replacement copy of Henge Happenings, please contact the Henge Office. Please report any broken links to the Web Master.

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