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" A good traveller has no fixed plans,

and is not intent on arriving "

Lao Tzu

Visitors from the Mediterranean and the Alps

October 5th, 2010

Twice a year the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids holds a big gathering at Glastonbury. Over the last few years we’ve started to have more members arriving from abroad – contingents from Italy, Portugal, Germany and beyond. Reading the following post on the BBC website shows a nice continuity of this practice:

Chemical tests on teeth from an ancient burial near Stonehenge indicate that the person in the grave grew up around the Mediterranean Sea. The bones belong to a teenager who died 3,550 years ago and was buried with a distinctive amber necklace.
“The position of his burial, the fact he’s near Stonehenge, and the necklace all suggest he’s of significant status” Said Professor Jane Evans British Geological Survey. The conclusions come from analysis of different forms of the elements oxygen and strontium in his tooth enamel.
Analysis on a previous skeleton found near Stonehenge showed that that person was also a migrant to the area….Tests carried out several years ago on another burial known as the “Amesbury Archer” show that he was raised in a colder climate than that found in Britain.
Analysis of the strontium and oxygen isotopes in his teeth showed that his most likely childhood origin was in the Alpine foothills of Germany… The Amesbury Archer was discovered around 5km from Stonehenge. His is a rich Copper Age or early Bronze Age burial, and contains some of the earliest gold and copper objects found in Britain. He lived about 4,300 years ago, some 800 years earlier than the Boscombe Down boy. The archer arrived at a time when metallurgy was becoming established in Britain; he was a metal worker, which meant he possessed rare skills.
“We see the beginning of the Bronze Age as a period of great mobility across Europe. People, ideas, objects are all moving very fast for a century or two,” said Dr Fitzpatrick. “At the time when the boy with the amber necklace was buried, there are really no new technologies coming in [to Britain]… We need to turn to look at why groups of people – because this is a youngster – are making long journeys.”He speculated: “They may be travelling within family groups… They may be coming to visit Stonehenge because it was an incredibly famous and important place, as it is today. But we don’t know the answer.” Other people who visited Stonehenge from afar were the Boscombe Bowmen, individuals from a collective Bronze Age grave. Isotope analysis suggests these people could have come from Wales or Brittany, if not further afield.

Read full article

A Day of Druidic Scholarship

June 11th, 2008
The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids invites you to The Mt. Haemus Lectures
A day of Druidic scholarship and pleasant company, including lunch and sundry entertainments
at The Medieval Hall, Salisbury
From 10am – 5pm on 31 August 2008
With papers from:
Dr Brendan Myers
How Beautiful Are They – Some thoughts on Ethics in Celtic and European Mythology

Professor Roland Rotherham
Working With Animals

Dr Adam Stout
Universal Majesty, Verity and Love Infinite-
The Extraordinary Career of George Watson Macgregor Reid, Chosen Chief of the Ancient Druid Order

Philip Carr Gomm
‘I would know my Shadow and my Light’ –
An exploration of Michael Tippet’s The Midsummer Marriage and its relevance to a study of Druidism

It is with great pleasure that we draw together the four scholars who have been engaged in druidic research on our behalf. This year the lectures will be held in the magnificent Medieval Hall in the Cathedral Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EY, and our simple lunch will be taken across the cathedral green at Old Sarum College. Salisbury is easily accessible by public transport: the area is rich in natural beauty and history, including the landmark sites of Old Sarum and Stonehenge.

For B&B enquiries & local information, including parking, city maps and park & ride, contact Salisbury Tourist Information Centre, Fish Row Salisbury SP1 1EJ Telephone: 01722 334956

Lunch: simple and vegetarian. Total cost for day £25/US$50. Please email for bookings or any further information about any aspect of the day:

Blogging as a Funereal Experience

December 27th, 2007

I once attended the funeral of the old Pendragon of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, Vera Chapman, who died when she was in her nineties. She was a remarkable woman – one of the first to matriculate from Oxford once they realised the world order would not be threatened by women gaining degrees. She was a druid, a freemason, a member of the Kibbo Kift, supported the monetary reforms of the Social Credit movement and in her later years was a successful author. She wrote an Arthurian trilogy from a feminine perspective, one of which was turned into an awful Disney adaptation.

Her funeral was in a church by London zoo. A choir of women sang beautifully in the service, and afterwards we all went to a wake in the upstairs room of a pub by Primrose Hill – one of the most magical spots in London, where the Druid Revival was begun in England with Iolo Morganwg’s 1792 Eisteddfod. Anyone who has seen ‘101 Dalmatians’ will remember it – it was the small rounded hill that overlooks London with lamp-posts leading to the summit. From there the dogs sent out their barking message to alert all dogs to the dalmatians’ kidnapping.

The elves’ funeral lament from Lord of the Rings was sung at the wake by a young opera singer – to commemorate Vera’s founding of the Tolkien Society – another of her achievements.

One of the interesting experiences at this event was to notice the different groups of Vera’s friends meeting each other for the first time – and meeting members of her family. To us all it was a surprise to encounter such a diverse range of people that included literary agents, publishers, druids, Tolkien fans, women freemasons.

And I’ve come to realise that a blog can act rather like such a wake, in which relatives get to meet the weird and wonderful friends one has made over the years. Or, put another way, where one’s friends can get to meet the weird and wonderful relatives. Blogging gives one the chance to bring together the diverse interests and enthusiasms of one’s life in a way that could surprise those who knew only one facet of that life.

But why wait until you’ve died?

Some people like to compartmentalise their lives, so that their working life is kept separate from their family lives, for example. But for me, and I’m sure many people, the thought of bringing together the diverse strands of one’s life is appealing.

Some people find knitting or weaving enjoyable and creative. I’ve realised that I do too, but instead of knitting jumpers I’m knitting this blog.