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Events on the Isle of Wight

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This policy was last modified on 07/06/2012.

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Druids of old were traditionally teachers, as well as advisers to their kings.

Indeed, it is recorded that students would travel from Europe to receive the much-sought-after wisdom of the British Druids and royal offspring would often be placed in their charge to learn the many arts and traditions that would be an essential part of their armoury as future rulers. Druid school was very much the exclusive university of its day.

In their earliest times the Druids would advise and assist their kings in warfare and battle and, indeed, there is anecdotal evidence of them using the entrails of disembowelled captives to scry or peer into the future. But later they seem to have become peacemakers, perhaps finally perceiving the folly of warfare and the wisdom of peaceful solutions, and this is echoed today in Druid rite with a call for peace before each ritual gets properly under way.

The apprenticeship to Druidry was an immensely long one, perhaps made more arduous by the fact that it was purely an oral tradition, with teachings through story, myth, anecdote and example committed to memory. Nothing appears to have been written down. This might have been because of a perceived need for secrecy or as a test of the initiate’s mettle and fitness for his particularly onerous future role.

Today some Druids may learn “on the job” from those around them in the grove or order and from the considerable lessons afforded by the natural world, although formal teaching is now available.

The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids offers courses which guide the novice through its three degrees and more details can be found on its wesbite at http://www.druidry.org

Online addresses for other major UK Druid orders can be found on the links page of this site and most offer some kind of teaching and/or support for the initiate.

A Perennial Course in Living Druidry

WIGHT Druids have embraced A Perennial Course in Living Druidry, developed by Emma Restall Orr (Bobcat), founder of our affiliates, The Druid Network, and author of many books on the subject of modern Druidry.

Emma has made the course material freely available online, so anyone wishing to get involved can always go at their own pace. No pressure, here. No exams. Simply learn for yourself, grow – and enjoy!

There are no fees involved – everything Wight Druids do is also always offered free of charge – and anyone interested can begin at any point of the annual cycle.

This course does not directly address the ‘nuts and bolts’ of Druidry, but is designed to lay the best possible foundation for integrating Druidry as a personal way of life, and to offer deep inspiration to all who are already following this beautiful natural path, or simply considering walking this way.

If either statement applies to you … click here. And may the Awen be with you /|\

THE word Awen in the Welsh language means “inspiration,” “essence”, “the poetic muse”. In modern Druidry, the Awen represents the breath of the divine.

This breath of the divine is the life essence of the natural world. The breath flows constantly around and through us and is the source of spiritual strength and illumination, prophetic insight and poetic inspiration. In chanting the Awen we seek to connect to the breath of the divine to achieve balance with it and replenish our energy system.

Symbolized by three straight lines that spread apart as they move downward, the three strokes in this symbol are three shafts of light from the Sun which represent “earth, sea (water) and air”; “body, mind and spirit”; “love, wisdom and truth”. Three separate parts that the Awen brings into perfect balance.

Repeated three or nine times, the word ‘Awen’ is chanted as three syllables: AH-OO-WEN


Awen, Power of inspiration, attend to us.

Voice of the fire of wisdom,

Voice of the well of inspiration,

Come into our hearts.

Make us aware of every good or ill.

O Brigit, guide our rite in the way of truth.

I ask you to make our hearts clear within us.

Awen, Power of inspiration in this sacred place,

Awen, Power of inspiration at this sacred time.


Beltane sunrise
Beltane sunrise

DRUIDS today celebrate eight festivals, which mark the key points of the cycle of each year in the natural world.

They are points of the year which would have had particular significance to our ancestors, whose lives depended on their crops and their livestock and so were profoundly affected by the changing seasons and the vagaries of the weather.

Probably the best-known of the year’s key points is the Summer Solstice, when modern Druids traditionally descend on Stonehenge in the UK to watch the sun rise over the Heol Stone and to celebrate the peak of the power of the Sun at Midsummer. Yet the most powerful is arguably quite the opposite nodal point, the Winter Solstice, when the year is rekindled and dark is defeated by light, as the Sun King is reborn as the Mabon to grow into the fresh new year with all its gleaming bright new opportunities.

Four of the festivals, including the Summer Solstice, actually mark turning points in the year and are solar festivals, characterised as male, while the four intermediate ones are lunar and female (satisfying the Druid love of balance) and are associated more with turning tides, within man and within nature.

The festivals are:
February 1/2: Imbolc (Candelmas).
March 20/21: Alban Eiler or Spring Equinox.
May 1: Belteinne (Beltane).
June 21/22: Alban Hefin or Summer Solstice.
August 1: Lughnasadh.
September 20/23: Alban Elfed or Autumn Equinox.
October 31: Samhuinn (Hallowe’en).
December 20/21: Alban Arthan or Winter Solstice.

Each has its own symbolism and its own particular form of celebration which is closely related to all that is happening in the natural world around us at that specific time and what is to come through the year ahead.


Imbolc is the time of the quickening of the year with the first foetal stirrings of Spring in the womb of Mother Earth. The first shoots and the appearance of the Snowdrop herald the fire of Spring to come. A rejuvenating Spring that will occur not only in the outer World of Nature but also within our hearts.

Hail Brighid, bright one, the Light Bringer.
She of the sacred fire, the fertile Earth,
Patron Lady of smithcraft, of poetry and of healing.
It is with bright hearts we welcome your return to this land.

Alban Eiler (Spring Equinox)

Winter sometimes seems so long we could be forgiven for wondering whether Spring will ever return. But the Goddess is merely sleeping through the darkness of Winter and while she stirs at Imbolc at the beginning of February, she is truly awake by the time of the Spring Equinox.

Alban Eilir means “the Light of the Earth”. This festival at the Spring Equinox marks the point in the year when day and night are the same length, Light and Dark are in balance and Light is gaining. The earth awakens, new life emerges, sap rises, buds shoot and spring flowers are celebrated as gifts from nature. Spring returns and rejuvenates our own life force. This Equinox is also known as Ostara or Eostre (pronounced “Eas-tra”) and is celebrated as a festival of new growth, renewal, a re-balancing of energies and the return of longer days.


At Beltane we honour the fertility of all living things. We celebrate the returning warmth of the Sun, the greening of the Earth. After the darkness and quiescence of the winter months, the gentle stirrings of Imbolc and the balance of Alban Eilir (the Spring Equinox), the natural world now tips into an exuberance of creation. We seek to bring into our own lives the strength, vitality, passion and joy that we now see present throughout the natural world. At Beltane, we honour Life.

Alban Hefin (Summer Solstice)

Alban Hefin means “The Light of Summer” and Solstice means “Sun stand still”. Now is the balance point of the year as the natural world seems to pause as the waxing power of spring and early summer reaches its zenith. The Sun is at its height and the Land graces us with abundance. As the Goddess crowns the Sun God the King of Summer, we stand at the gateway into the waning powers of late summer and autumn.We welcome the Sun Father who with our Earth Mother brings us the Sacred Gift of Life. At this time and at this place, we open our hearts to the warmth of their love that lives within us all.


At Lughnasadh we celebrate the deity of Light, Lugh, the Shining One. Since we celebrated Imbolc, his Light from the Sun has triumphed over the cold winds and frosts and with its strength has nurtured and matured the crops. Now is the last moment of rest before the harvest begins that will complete by Alban Elfed (the Autumnal Equinox). With the expectation of the abundance to come, this is a time of joy but also a time to turn our minds to preparing for the Autumn to come.

To Lugh, the Lord of Harvest
To the Goddess, Lady of the Land
In reverence and respect
We give thanks for the first fruits of harvest.
We give thanks for the richness that is to come.

Alban Elfed (Autumn Equinox)

Alban Elfed means “Light of Autumn” and we celebrate the second harvest at this time of the Autumn Equinox. The fields are nearly empty and the crops have been stored for the coming winter.

But at this time of plenty, we recognise that the word “Equinox” means “the time of Equal Day and Night”. After this celebration, we begin the descent into winter.


Samhuinn in the Irish Gaelic means “Summer’s End” and is the time of the Celtic New Year. Now we stand on the Gateway to winter and give thanks to the Goddess for the fruitful harvest that will see us through the dark, bitter days that lie ahead. Samhuinn is also one of two points in the year, the other being Beltane, when the veil between this World and the Otherworld are stretched thin and we can join with our Ancestors to celebrate the bounty and love of the Goddess.

Alban Arthan (Winter Solstice)

Solstice means ‘Sun stand still’ as the Sun at this time in the Northern Hemisphere appears to rise in the East and set in the West in the same place for several days. The time of Longest Night, the Earth seems to pause in the face of overpowering dark. But then the Sun is reborn and begins its long journey back to power. Alban Arthan means ‘Light of Winter’ or ‘Light of Arthur’ where Arthur is the personification of the God of Light who is reborn as the Celtic ‘Son of Light’, the Mabon, on this day.

Alban Arthan therefore marks the time of completion and a new beginning and this moment of rebirth is marked by a great celebration called ‘Yule’ with feasting, dancing and merry-making.

Much more information on this subject and many others related to Druidry available online at