Category Archives: Druidry

Of Birch, Bee and Blackbird.

Tuesday 24th March, New Moon♓>♈

Note from Locksley2010: Ironically, I wrote this before the UK went into lock down and set it to publish automatically. Where ever you are, dear reader, stay safe! Tues 23rd March, 08:12 GMT

This was supposed to be a post talking about the renewal of spring. It still is in a sense, but considering what’s going on in the world right now, I thought I’d share what I learned from the little walk I did and how it may help these times of ours.

I was in town (before the full seriousness of Social Distancing was recognised by HM Government) and was thinking about everything I needed to do. It was a warmish and sunny day, so I walked through the Arboretum and visited Young Birch.

As I stood there, breathing slowly and being still, I saw movement amongst the daffodils: worker bees doing their thing! I also saw a Mr & Mrs Blackbird looking for things, food, I’d imagine. I tried to get a photo of them, but they weren’t having it.

I gained a sense of calm from these beings and learned the following lessons from them and how they can help us….

Birch: Be calm and be flexible. Through stillness we can collect our thoughts and gain perspective. Things might not be as we wish, but we can reorganise and plan around what outcomes may come forward. If the birch can venture into new territories to grow, so can we. If you are in Self Isolation, see if you can take the time to learn a new skill or language.

Bee: Be patient. There are certain things we can only do when the conditions are right. And when the opportunity presents itself: get it done. The hive of the bee is an entity in its own self, each part serving for the whole as well as helping others (pollenation). Like the bee, we must do what must be done when the time is right. This might involve social distancing or waiting until we can pick up the pieces again. If able, help others: even if it’s just communicating with them or doing something for them.

Blackbird: Keep active. These guys work and stay in the UK all year round, through all the seasons. For those off work, it’s important to keep yourself busy. Not only for getting things done, but for your mental health too. Get yourself organised, see what needs doing and if necessary: learn how to get them done; or do that thing you always wanted to but never got around to doing.

Friday the 20th was the Spring Equinox, the time of balance and everything beginning anew. Right now, things have gone a bit topsy-turvy. See if you can turn this time of chaos into some kind of benefit for you and others. Don’t panic and remember:

Be calm, be flexible, be patient and be active.

Next New Moon: Thursday 23rd April.

Mrs Blackbird, doing what blackbirds do….

Of Faith, Kindness and Beauty

Sunday 23/2/2020, New Moon

Another one inspired by being out doors! Seriously, being out in the world is the best way to connect with it and give you something to write about. When you’re someone whose as much as a book-thinker and over-thinker as I am, I’m now all for accepting the experience of things….. I believe that’s what’s called…. adventure! This originally took place on Tuesday 18th February 2020.

Inspired by this morning’s conversation with Devi about getting out of the house, I decided to go for a walk about town and the Arboretum.  Well, as far as I can physically go, I did take regular breaks as I’m still recovering from my hernia operation.


As soon as I got off the bus, I was approached by two Christians from the church up the road. Two friendly lads called George and Miles. They asked if I had anything they could pray for.  My response: “There’s nothing to pray for directly for me, but if you could pray for people to think rightly about climate change, that would be awesome“.  They seemed very pleased with that and invited me for tea at the church whenever I liked. I didn’t see the point in telling them I wasn’t Christian, I figured that if prayer could help inspire people in doing what they could with the crisis, then I might as well steer the Church-goers in that direction.

After a nice sojourn around the Arboretum, I found beauty in the young birch, and was impressed it was still standing after the storms, an older tree wasn’t so lucky and another young tree is now growing diagonally, almost horizontally. Young birch was very pleased for company and its spirit told me of the winds.

Young Birch speaking of the wind and the full moon.

The sign regarding kindness is from the cafe Fox Talbot’s, here in Nottingham. The cafe is a place that is both welcoming and has a relaxed and kind atmosphere, especially when I went to close the door (twice) and ended up opening it for two older ladies as they came in.  The timing was impeccable.

On the exterior of Fox Talbot’s

Sometimes, all you need is fresh air, beauty in the world and spreading kindness.

I’ll be aiming to publish my blogs on the New Moon now, as it feels right to do so.

Next New Moon: Tues 24th March.

Of Lights and Shadows….

Photo from Nohat.cc
Photo from Nohat.cc

As Winter becomes stronger, as the air becomes cooler and the leaves of the leaves have left their branches empty and skeletal. I find my thoughts reflecting on the season.

On the themes of light and dark, naturally.

I actually find it interesting that our first assumptions upon both “light” and “Dark” in the modern Western world fall into “Good” and “Evil”. This is most likely an influence from Christianity, although there are parallels with Gallic Mat and Anm meaning “Good” and not good and were both used to describe the 62 months from the Calendar of Coligny (The only reliable record on how the Celts measured time we have) into which were good or not. If I understand correctly, each month consisted of 29/30 nights and was divided into a ‘bright’ half and a ‘dark half’. Nothing sinister, mind you, this was based on the halves of the moon. But I digress, and will update this post when my understanding of the Calendar of Coligny increases.

The practical versions of this point of view are obvious: The light half of the year is the warmer months, where more produce can grow, the animals follow their mating cycles (providing numbers for meat, tallow and leather) and the longer days allow for longer working hours…. although I can imagine that was met with mixed reactions. And the darker half allowed for harvesting, slaughter for Winter provisions and shorter working days, again met with mixed reactions. Either way, both extreme versions could prove disastrous: The Sun could bring drought, forest fires, famine. The freezing temperatures could bring hypothermia, diseases, death for those without stores for Winter as well as hardship.

Like nature, magic (are they not the same thing?) is neither good nor evil. Both can be beneficial and both can be destructive.

Both light and dark certainly have their benefits and drawbacks:

Light can reveal what was unseen or hidden. It can provide security and warmth. It can also provide good humour and positivity. But too much light can leave one feeling exposed, keep us awake when we should sleep. We can be blinded and even a refusal to accept harsh truths that must be met.

Likewise, the dark can provide cover for unseen deeds, it can provoke the “fight or flight” responses. It can be depressing to awaken to, go to work and come home in. It can feed our fears and open us up to despair. But it can also bring rest, comfort, coolness and stillness. It can provide cover for us when we feel vulnerable or wanting to retreat. And once you get past all the pre-made associations about the dark, it really isn’t that scary. There are animals, insects, birds and fish that live in it quite well.

I, myself prefer the times of dawn and dusk. Especially in the evening twilight when the sun has just gone down and the sky is a mixture of gold, bronze, baby blue fading into teal, indigo then black. When there is enough dark to see the first stars and enough light to give that excitement when I can feel magic in the air.

Light and dark are a cycle of continuity, how do you work with them? Do they affect you in different ways? Do you agree with the Modern Pagan view of Summer being a time of life and Winter a time of rest? Or do both seasons simply mean you crack on working regardless? The only difference being temperature, light and whether you’ll be dry or wet?

How do I apply my Druidry?

Is the question that was brought up when filming ‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’. The question isn’t about what methods I use in my Druidry, it’s about how I apply it to my everyday life.

New question: is Druidry something I am or is it something I do? Is more accurate in the basis of what I mean.

There are a few people for whom, their Druidry defines them. It’s what they do, it’s who they are and it’s what they make of themselves. And fair play to them. Not everyone can market themselves as a Full-Time Druid and make it their living.

For some, being a Druid is having a flashy title they can use as a status symbol, some people love the pomp and decoration when they say “Oh, I’m a Druid you know” knowing full well it makes them appear a little bit mysterious and of course, they become the talking point. And it isn’t just in Druidry you find this type….

For the majority, being a Druid is belonging to something. It’s being in touch with a path that resonates with you and allows you to see the world in a more respective way. It also shows you things about yourself you may not have been aware of; both good and ill. It was for me at least. Still is.

For me, I’m being a Druid when I’m there for someone who needs somebody to talk to. Or organising and running my Robin Hood Moot here in Nottingham. I’m being a Druid when I’m asked about something spiritual or being asked to perform a ceremony for a milestone event (I have one child blessing under my belt now). I’m being a Druid when I go to a place, pick up on the spirits there and pay my respects, or say a blessing of peace upon the rat one of my three cats killed and decided to bring back with them. I’m being a Druid when I’ve been asked to give a talk to a group of some kind. In short, I’m being a Druid when being of service to people and in my approach to the world.

When learning my Gwers, I am both being a Druid and doing my Druidry. In reading the course material, making notes, researching and practising out the Practicum, I am being, doing and learning all at the same time.

I am doing my Druidry when I pick up my books and start researching and making notes, or practising a solo ceremony, or meditating. I do my Druidry when lighting my candle and giving thanks or leaving offerings to the gods. I do it when telling a story to an audience.

There are two spheres in my life I don’t apply my Druidry, or it’s not the main focus, should I say. The first is on my acting. Being an actor, I have to become someone else, and they aren’t Druids. So, here at least it becomes secondary. Although I can feel the energy of the cast and crew and work with it accordingly. Strangely enough, there’s a lot of talk about energy when it comes to performing, not just in terms of stamina, but also in that it becomes something palpable and can either feed or drain the performer. Plus, a lot of performing work is ebbs and flow. My Druidic outlook stops me from feeding envy and arrogance, instead it encourages acceptance and knowing when to act and when to let go.

And there’s the survival job. Druidry and sales don’t really mix, although going through my day to day business, Druidry applies to my job more than I thought: being consciously mindful of materials I can recycle and re-use, reading a customer and either working with the energy they bring, or respecting their privacy when they have made it very clear they don’t want any assistance. And then there’s my thing about being truthful and honest. I remember reading in Peter Berresford-Ellis’ book ‘A Brief History of the Druids’…. (this was the book that introduced me to what Druids were and I put a lot of stock in his research, even if there are a few things that have been found to be false), and reading a part about Druids searching for the concept of Truth above all else. And this has informed how I look at things, and so if a customer tells me something that won’t work on their project, I have to tell them. Both in my service and in my core beliefs.

I take it back, Druidry does apply to my both my work and performing life, it wasn’t until I considered the questions raised in this post that I didnt realise how much.

So, if you ever feel the need to question how your beliefs and practices apply to your everyday life, or if, like me, you weren’t even sure until you start accounting for it, then look at what you are, what you do and when you are being.

Awen pendant by Tatterhood, photo by Locksley2010
Awen pendant by Tatterhood, photo by Locksley2010

Reflections from Alban Hefin 2019

As the light goes out....
As the light goes out….

Alban Hefin “The Light of Summer” is the name aptly used in OBOD for the Summer Solstice. Sometimes Alban Heruin “Light of the Shore” is used, either way, both names are used for the festival of Midsummer and neither are wrong.

This year, the Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) was on Friday 21st June. I spent the morning walk to work reflecting on the nature of the Solstice and about what I wanted to do in the evening when I got home and how to celebrate midsummer in the garden.

I thought of the things I have achieved this year so far as well as the one stumbling block I just couldn’t think of a way round. Until I decided to take time out and regain my energy. And so, the following came to mind:

Every now and then the Sun, much like life, is obscured by cloud. It might be a short while, or it can be weeks. We might get a patch of sadness or frustration or we can’t see the light to a situation because all we see is the grey around us. Our minds fogged by confusion and fear.

And yet, behind those clouds, like the next day to our night, the Sun still burns. It’s light still shines in the cold universe, it keeps on going.

There is that saying about the darkest hour being just before the dawn, and I think there is truth in that.

In Modern Druidry, there is the maxim of “In light there is darkness, and in darkness, there is light.”

And for a few years after first reading that, I didn’t really get it. Until one night when I saw the first stars come out.

The light you may be seeking might be as brilliant as the Sun, breaking out of the cloud cover and it’s heat clearing the sky. But beware of staring at it for too long!

Or the light you seek may be as soft as the moon, close yet far and reflecting the sunlight to show the way.

Or the light you seek in your darkness could be as faint as the first stars before the night grows dark and even though you can’t see it at first, once it shows itself you can’t un-see it. And that star might be distant and faint, but it’s shine could be brilliant once night sets in.

The point is, that we may have times of cloudiness in our lives, we may have the confusion of fog, or even be lost in the dark. But these are temporary, and the light you are looking for might not be what you were expecting. Sometimes we have to make our own light, make our own way out of the dark. In other situations, we simply have to wait, let our eyes adjust to the dark, or to wait for the cloud to move, the star to show itself, or for the dawn to come.

Whatever your cloud or darkness is, keep shining!

‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’ – a Druid-Actor’s perspective.

Nine Stone's Close, Photo by Author
Nine Stone’s Close, Photo by Author

What is it?

‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’ is a documentary about modern day Druids and what they do. The documentary follows the narrative screenplay of a young girl, Gemma, who stays with her aunt and uncle, only to catch her uncle in his robes and performing a prayer to a tree. Her uncle introduces her to the concept of Druidry and takes her into the Derbyshire countryside on a pilgrimage. Asking questions along the way, Gemma learns about the spiritual path, the outdoors and herself. Throughout the film, footage of interviews with real-life, Druids will be shown to answer either one of her questions, or to back up a point the characters discuss.

How and why did I get involved?

In that weird and wonderful way of being contacted by a friend, who has a friend who knows a friend making a film. Seeming that I was one of the few Druids my friend knew who might be up for getting involved, he contacted me, then I was put in contact with the film director Roly Keates.

Roly had made more than a few documentaries previously, all based in Derbyshire: ‘The Wheel’ – a documentary about a spring in Belper. ‘If Walls Could Talk’ – the Romanticism of Drystone Walling. ‘Shred of Rome’ – A documentary on Romans in Derbyshire. ‘Lost History of Belper’ – a historical look at Belper, Derbyshire.

After talking with and meeting Roly, I felt relaxed in that he was sincere and genuine in his interest regarding Druidy. He came across it and felt it important enough to make a doumentary on the subject. I was initially an advisor, telling him my interpretation of Druidry as well as what little we know of them historically. In talking and chatting, and yes I had mentioned I am an actor, he asked if I’d be interested in playing the part. Well, I wasn’t going to say no to that kind of opportunity!

So, why did I do it? Because there is so little media representation that makes Druids and Pagans look good. Let’s be honest, we’re often portrayed as either being middle-aged hippies to be laughed at best, or robed lunatics seeking attention at worst. After talking with Roly about his project and seeing for myself he was taking Druidry seriously and wanted to portray this in a good way, I figured this would be a good thing for modern day Druidry and Paganism too.

What did I learn from it?

I learned to see Druidry through the eyes of another, how they perceive what I practice in a different light. The character I played (Dylan, very apt as that’s also my stage name) saw Druidry as a force for good in the world and seeking harmony in our existence. This made me realise how ‘bookish’ my Druidry tends to be and made me question how much and how little I actually practise it in my everyday life. I also learned that I can never learn my lines enough. One scene includes a huge monologue which, when filming, I just couldn’t stop getting wrong! I was very frustrated with myself but I learned something valuable: it’s not enough to know your lines, you have to know them backwards and upside down too. Kinda goes without saying, really, but hey-ho.

I learned how essential it was to use play to make my co-star feel at ease. By this I mean the girl who played Gemma, whom at 11, was playing in her first proper film. I felt it important for her to be relaxed, so we got to know each other through chatting, making faces at each other and playing games in between takes. Apart from going through our lines too! By the end, we’d developed a good camaraderie and when Roly told us to talk amongst ourselves in the Pilgrimage shots. It might look like we’re in deep conversation, but we were really talking about favourite colours, what our pets are like, pop songs and even a one-word-story game. She was cool, we made each other laugh.

Not really something I learned, but feel I have to say was how beautiful the Derbyshire countryside is. Whether it was standing before the oldest pear tree in the county (In Roly’s Aunt’s huge back garden, no less!), walking up to the stone circle at Arbor Low in both sunny and cloudy weather, walking amongst the buildings of Magpie Mine, sitting on rocks in a stream at Shining Cliff Woods, or standing on tall rock and visiting the “Druid’s Chair” at Harborough Rocks.

Would I do it again/get involved in another project like it?

If we had to reshoot something, absolutely! Would I do another project like it? No. Once I finish a project, I consider it done, so why would I do another of a similar ilk? I enjoyed performing in this one and I’m looking forward to it’s completion. If there was another documentary being made on the subject, I’d have to question the maker before joining in.