During the Covid-19 pandemic, we were obliged to offer podcasts of our festival celebrations instead of meeting in public. These are links to the podcasts:

Beltane 2020:

https://wightdruids.podbean.com/mf/play/8uarj3/Beltane_2020_II.mp3

Summer Solstice 2020:

ttps://anchor.fm/wightdruid/episodes/Summer-Solstice-2020-efl0tb

Lughnasadh 2020:

https://anchor.fm/wightdruid/episodes/Lughnasadh-2020-ehbq09

Alban Elfed/Autumn Equinox 2020:

https://anchor.fm/wightdruid/embed/episodes/Alban-Elfed-2020-Autumn-Equinox-ejthtg

Samhain 2020:

https://anchor.fm/wightdruid/episodes/Samhain-2020-elpoq1

Alban Arthan/Winter Solstice 2020:

https://anchor.fm/wightdruid/episodes/Winter-Solstice-2020-Alban-Arthan-eo0jvn

Alban Eiler/Spring Equinox 2021:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/wightdruids

Beltane 2021:

 
Summer Solstice 2021

What is Druidry?

SO who are Druids and what is it they do?

Druidry is primarily a nature-based spirituality that honours and celebrates the ever-turning cycles of the natural year on this Earth and their reflection within each of us who inhabit this world, as immutably individual human beings. This is done through open ritual celebrated amid the wild beauty of nature as well as through the gift of learning, from nature, from our revered ancestors, from others in grove and order (and humanity in general) and through more focused schooling, should an initiate choose this, as well as from the greatest guru of them all – the god or goddess within each of us.

Druidry welcomes and respects any and all denominations. We are not interested in making converts and will heartily welcome all those who already have a firm commitment to their own religious or spiritual path, as well as those whose convictions may be entirely secular. No-one who shows reciprocal respect for its simple universal ethics will be turned away.

It is purely a path of peace and of love – love towards our fellow beings on this gorgeous blue planet, love towards the spirit that works through all of us and love towards the bountiful natural world that blossoms, grows, dies and then seeds again all around us every year. It is also a particularly effective means of pursuing and experiencing to the full the deep and, so often, hidden well of inspiration that lies within each of us.

In Druidry, this is known as the Awen, the flowing spirit of creativity, and is symbolised by three (a magickal number) rays of light emanating from the sun /|\

Each Druid rite incorporates the lovely Awen chant – at its simplest, the three-syllable word, AA–OO–WEN, chanted three or nine times (again, symbolic magickal numbers) to remind us and, perhaps, to also energise us in our quest to be truly ourselves, to live life to the full and to enjoy being all that we can be.

Each Druid rite also includes the Druid’s Prayer (also known as the Gorsedd Prayer), which underpins the Druidic ethic:

Grant, o God/Goddess/Spirit, thy protection
And in protection, strength
And in strength, understanding
And in understanding, knowledge
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it
And in that love, the love of all existences
And in the love of all existences, the love of God/Goddess/Spirit,
God/Goddess/Spirit and all goodness.

Druid rites also often involve a vow. Any who might perhaps feel uncomfortable with the vow are invited to opt out, as is always the case with any part of any ceremony/rite/celebration, and no offence will be taken – each individual’s ethic/conscience is fully respected as their own:

We swear by truth and love to stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now
Confirming this, our sacred vow.

Modern Druidry is, indeed, just that – modern. In its current form it is less than 300 years old yet, although a relatively young and dynamic movement, it is rooted very firmly in ancient Celtic tradition and practice dating back thousands of years.

It is a tradition that seeks to reawaken and foster our latent, perhaps dormant creativity through ritual and celebration, music, poetry, storytelling, dance, the visual arts and by re-kindling humanity’s ever-dwindling but once deep connection with the land, sea and sky – the natural world of Mother Earth in whose warm and bountiful lap we make our home.

An excellent and concise precis of modern Druidry was given in 1997 by Prof Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at Bristol University, as part of a statement to a London court in which he was defending the right of pagan Druid leader Arthur Pendragon to carry his ceremonial sword.

Cornerstones of the Druid ethic include peace, respect, justice, truth and love, with the quest for harmony and balance a central theme.

Druidry is a teaching and learning tradition with three grades through which an initiate may choose to work for the acquisition of knowledge, skills and, ultimately, wisdom – those of Bard, Ovate and Druid. It is also a fast-growing tradition, globally as well as within the British Isles.

And it is a tradition that encourages free thinking and individuality within a nurturing community, above all promoting personal growth in the quest for the Awen within each of us.

>> For much more information on Druidry, visit the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids website at http://www.druidry.org
or The Druid Network at http://druidnetwork.org.

 

THIS area is designed to ultimately be a repository of useful and essential information for those currently pursuing - or considering embarking on - a Druid path.

We hope and trust you will enjoy returning as this area and, of course, the site as a whole grows.

/|\

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

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.

Beltane

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.

Lughnasadh

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

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
http://www.druidry.org/

EISTEDDFOD, for the groves adopting this form of celebration, follows the formal ritual of Druidry and is the party bit of the festival.

All those taking part in the festival rites are invited to share the harvest of their personal inspiration, through music, storytelling, poetry, dance or other form of creative expression. Each member of the grove is invited to bring a contribution for the Eisteddfod - read a poem, tell a story, play or sing music - whether it be their own work or simply something that has inspired them. But nobody is put on the spot and asked to deliver when the time comes. It's up to each to share what they will, if they will and, if not, simply to observe and enjoy and, if they will, join in.

The Eisteddfod area of this site, which includes offerings from grove members and friends, works in much the same way. Offerings will appear as items in the drop-down Eisteddfod menu above.

Submissions are invited for this area of the website, including sound and video files.

* Submissions will not necessarily be published, although we operate an open and liberal policy that means most are likely to be approved. In common with most ethical websites, we also operate a 'take-down' policy, which means that any items generating what we consider to be valid objections will be removed from the site. That remote situation has not yet arisen and because of the qualities of our contributors and site moderators, we feel it is a pretty unlikely scenario.

E-mail contributions for consideration to:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.