Category Archives: Druidry

‘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.

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An Inspired Triad

“A Druid seeks to balance the qualities of: Spirituality, wisdom and Nature.”

– Roly Keates, Director and Writer of ‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’ coming soon in 2019!

A Druid’s Pilgrimage

1st Waning Gib ♏

Well, hello there! It’s been a whilst since my last blog post. Sorry about that. Life stuff. Will explain later, I promise.

For now, I Just wanted to share this link showing a clip from last week’s filming.

I’ve been involved in a documentary about Druids called ‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’ Directed by Roland ‘Roly’ Keates. In fact the snippet shows me (under my actor name “Dylan Knight”) playing in the drama narrative that threads the interviews with real life Druids together. I’m currently on day #3 of filming and can’t wait to see it when the whole thing is done.

Anyway, here’s the link, sorry it’s on FB at the present, but more blogs will follow in regards to making it as well as the premier.

All the best,

Locksley. 😉

Imbolc 2019- Brigid’s Message.

Originally written on Sunday 3rd February 2019. 7th Waning Crescent, Cap.

The celebration of the returning lighter nights and the coming of Spring is here.

The snowdrops are in bloom amongst the frost; in recent years Winter always seems to bite the hardest in January-February. I must say that this winter has concerned me: It was mild for a long time. That doesn’t feel right…. especially after the abnormally hot Summer we had last year. But of course, the frost and snow did indeed come, and we will have to see if Winter’s cold kiss disappears quickly, or if it stays as long as it did in 2018.

Darkness and tragedy have affected many whom I know this winter. And I thought upon what kind of theme I could have for my Moot’s open ceremony. And then it struck me: enlighten the darkness.

Brigid’s Message

Since my beginnings in Paganism, I had always held a respect for Brigid, she appeared again in my more experienced Pagan years and again at the end of my Bardic Journey a few years ago when she told me:

When faced with the dark, look for the light. If there is none, then make your own“.

It has only been in the past year I truly understand what that means. Or should I say what it means to me. Your interpretation may be different from mine and rightly so.

For me, it means that we make our own light, we make our own way, our own destiny. I spent a lot of my life looking for signs and to be shown the right way that my life was supposed to go in order to fulfil its purpose. I gave my life over to fate. At almost 40, that’s a large portion of my life just….. waiting. And I’m done with that.

As I have written before, in what I call the‘Way of Fire and the Way of Water’, there is a time to wait and it is after you have taken the steps of action in order to make things happen. The gods will show you the directions, but they cannot tell you what to do or how to get there. That is for us to decide and the choices are for us to make. Whether we rise or fall is our responsibility and ours alone. If the gods are indeed ancestors as opposed to creators, then it is because they were seen as the best at what they were in their lifetimes.

The Inner Flame

Here we are, in the last part of the dark half of the year. Soon will come the longer days and the awakening of the plant realm (it already has), Imbolc is a time of creativity and of new beginnings. And so we can look to the light that inspires us; and if you can’t see it, make one. Because the gods aren’t going to do things for you. Allow yourself to follow that calling for something you want to do and want to achieve. It might be a new skill or a new project, whatever it is, let it allow you to shine with the light that you find/make. Allow it to shine out from within, whether it is something you can see or something you have to bring into being yourself.

You might be surprised at what it reveals.

“Fire and Blood”

So, 2019, we meet at last. A new year, a new card drawn for myself at the very beginning of the New Year. And fortunately, the title of this blog isn’t really what the year has in store….. I just used the Targaryen family motto because I thought it was cool! And, y’know, Fire Dragon and all…… I’ll get my coat!

2018 had the card of Owl-reversed (Cailleach Oidhche) the card of Detachment, Change and Wisdom. Although, being reversed, it warns of not seeking detachment as escape, the potential death of something and beginning of another…. And that even though night is here, to look for the approaching dawn.

Detachment: Watching out for not escaping or withdrawing into myself, I made sure I kept in contact with friends, visiting family when possible. I was even approached by the Pagan Community for doing talks for them and rediscovered not only could I do this, but that I also had a respect and welcome within the community I hadn’t realised I had…. I figured my pursuit of acting had estranged me from them. I’m glad to say it hasn’t and that I have a good friend base within the community and have even been asked to perform a handfasting for at least one couple this year! In Nottingham’s acting scene, I got to work with some lovely people and good friends. I proved to myself that I am good enough to come joint second in a monologue competition and that people want to work with me. So no, no shrinking away for me.

Death of one thing….. actually there was quite a few. Artemis and I are no longer housemates, as she went to Lincoln. We atill meet up to play D&D and bug each other on whatsapp now and then. The Grove of the Corieltauvi lost our fellow Druid, Luch Dorcha this year. We lost our friend, but his memory remains and we shall honour him. However, the Grove of the Corieltauvi no longer exists. At least not as it once did….. I have also pushed for the death of my marriage. I applied for divorce at the end of November, my spouse had received, signed and sent off the paperwork. All I’m waiting on now is the Court to get back to work and do their thing. And Artemis lost her father as well, a kind and humorous man. So yes, 2018 was a year of things and people dying…. “Light is born, light dies, in dying there is rebirth, in birth there is dying, so it is, so it always is”……

The Approaching Dawn….. Devi and I celebrated our first year together, we stayed in a Hobbit House at the beginning of the year in North Yorkshire. We don’t get to see each other every day, so we spend as much time together as possible and most importantly, we make each other happy and are looking forward to more years and adventures to come. In my working world, at the end of 2018, I was informed that I’ll be moving to a brand new store in Nottingham, rather than bussing it to Derby and back everyday. This means I get at least one hour back into my day instead of using two to get there and back again. I came into my own at work this year. I know who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are and I am proud of my current team. I m looking forward to my new adventure with Mr S, who will be my new boss. And I’ll be looking forward to that extra hour for myself too. It will make all the difference….. not to mention more sleep!

2019 – Fire Dragon

Transmutation, Energy, Mastery are the keywords to the Fire Dragon (Draig Teine) card. This card speaks of connecting with the inner flame (something I’m very big on), finding the courage and drive to face life’s challenges as well as focussing one’s energies to overcome obstacles and gain objectives. This is a card less to do with gaining power or going into anything with all guns blazing; and more to do with the lesson I learned: the element is actually about combining will with responsibility. For how can you work with fire if you have no sense of control?

Alban Elfed 2018

Personal ceremony performed on Sunday 23rd September. Moon: 6th Waxing Gibbous (Pisc).

Today had seen me getting down and dirty….. I’d been weeding Devi’s garden and taking today slowly. We were blessed with a warm sun, so we took to working the gardens since noon. At just after 7, I went into the back garden and stood facing the centre. Fig trees and houses to the North, the hedge and distant trees to the East, the plum tree and black lace elderflower bush and distant birch trees to the South, a Mountain Ash with bright red berries to the West. A see of green all around and below me, a sky of pastel blue amid blazing pink and dark grey cloud all above.

The breaths were taken and the circle cast, I called to Fox of the North as Devi had caught foxes playing in the garden at summer.

Once sitting on the grass, I let the Awen take me and began speaking to the gods about summer’s end: the baleful eye of Balor now closed. For the exceedingly hot summer had dried out much of Great Britain’s green to a dried out yellow. Lugh was indeed victorious against Balor, for as July ended and August began, the heat started to decline and the rain came!

Like the last sun of summer, Lugh had led the Tuatha Dè Danaan to a time of peace until they were finally overtaken by a new race, the Milesians. After a last battle with these new people, Lugh and the Tuatha Dè Danaan had agreed to surrender the Isle of Destiny and take refuge in the hills of the land. Their memory remaining thereafter.

I told of Oisin’s return from the Otherworld to find his people and his warrior band, the Fianna, now gone after 300 years when he had spent only 3 years away. Telling his tale to a traveller before he died also, after coming into contact with the land.

I told of Arthur’s fatal wound and how he had asked Percival to return the Sword of Power to the Lady of the Lake. How upon telling Arthur the truth (after the third time, because Percival could not surrender the Sword the previous two times), Percival then saw Arthur being taken by Morgana Le Fae and her maidens on to a boat, carrying him to the Isle of Avalon, where he now supposedly sleeps until he is needed once again.

Things end, the cycle turns and things begin once again. I began to reflect on my own harvest for the year, I gave thanks for:

Gaining my flat.

Devi and I growing closer, for her being in and a part of my life.

My successful entry in the Monologue Jam.

I declared to the gods that I would use the autumn and winter to hone my skills as both actor and Ovate. Finding a way to balance the two.

And then I closed my eyes and listened…… to the wind in the trees and felt the specks of rain falling upon me, the blessings of the season; not a cleansing of renewal, but a cleaning and tidying of sorts.

Without seeking, visions came to mind telling me to say goodbye to the past, that I am safe and a toast to the future……

Upon waking and coming to, the sky had given way to dusk, and the garden’s solar lights had come on, like distant stars on the ground and in thr trees. At the time of recall I looked to the dying sunlight saying:

As the sun goes down, may it’s light and heat remain within my heart….

Alban Elfed, the Light of the Water indeed.