January 31, 2012

Giant Jesus at Primrose Hill?

I have always, in the back of my mind, had a notion that when I finally visit England,
I’d reach out to the various Druid groups in England and hopefully be able to attend some of the rituals around the country.  I had always figured that a visit to Primrose Hill would occur, even if by myself as it has traditionally been the site for so many Druid rituals and is so well known for it. 

However, doing so under
the gaze of a giant fiberglass Jesus would be very disconcerting.  It really is up to the local Druids to take up a call to action about this project.  But, I will say if they don't stop it and a giant fiberglass Jesus (It may as well be a giant plastic Jesus.) is erected, I probably won't be interested in visiting the site.  It certainly won't be on my registry of "Important Druid Sites" to visit.

I'll be interested in following this issue and see of the London Area Druids take take any action regarding the project.

Druid News « Druid Life
Plans to erect a giant fibreglass replica of the Rio De Janeiro ‘Redeemer Statue’ on top of London’s posh Primrose Hill have been revealed. The project will be funded by the Brazilian government to mark the end of the London 2012 Olympics and the hand over of the torch to the Rio Olympic committee for the 2016 Games. The installation, is based on the famous statue which overlooks Rio harbour from Corcovado mountain.

For the rest of that article, go to http://www.artlyst.com/articles/residents-up-in-arms-over-primrose-hill-jesus

As yet, no one has mentioned Druids. However, Primrose Hill in London has been an important meeting place for UK Druid groups for pretty much as long as there have been modern Druids. Those early groups would have been more fraternal and probably self-identifying as Christian, so it’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, their contemporary descendents have to say about it....

January 23, 2012

Remembering Marija Gimbutas

Marija Gimbutas was born on January 23, 1921 and passed on February 2, 1994. She was an was an archeologist who incorporated linguistics and mythology. In her work she developed the Kurgan hypothesis which stated that a peaceful gynocentric (matriarchal) society was, in the Bronze Age, replaced by an androcratic (patriarchal) society. In her view the the gynocentric societies were peaceful, respected homosexuals, and were egalitarian.

Gimbutas' books, particularly The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: Myths and Cult Images (1974); The Language of the Goddess (1989), and The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe (1991), were really important in defining much of what is today modern Goddess belief and built upon speculation that Neolithic Goddess cultures had superior social structures. She also defined a "Great Goddess" of which many other focused goddesses, such as river goddesses, snake goddesses, etc., were manifestations of.

In the 70's, I became read (The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe) and found it extremely interesting - eye opening even. She helped me understand the ramifications of Goddess worship from a social viewpoint. My understanding of how the various gods and goddesses can be viewed as manifestations of a single god and goddess was clarified by her writings. Although I continue to be a true polytheist, I understand the pantheistic view of deity because of Gimbutas.

Of course, several of her books are in my library. Her vision of "The Goddess" has given me an understanding of goddess worship and the implications of the social impact of such worship.

Today, on the 91st anniversary of her birth, I remember Marija Gimbutas and give thanks to her as an Ancestor.

January 4, 2012

Remembering Doreen Valiente

Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente was born on 4 January 1922 and passed 1 September 1999. She was interested in magic from an early age and studied occult. When she was 30, she met Gerald Gardner and was initiated into his coven the following year. She went on to become his High Priestess, split from him, and became the High Priestess of several other covens -- some that she formed. She went on to write several important books including An ABC of Witchcraft, Natural Magic, and much later, The Rebirth of Witchcraft.

During the mid 1970’s I was investigating various religious paths. Doreen’s book, An ABC of Witchcraft was one of the first books I read regarding Witchcraft. Her approach made more sense to me than Steward Farrar’s What Witches Do. I thought her approach was more in tune with Nature than some of the other materials I read at the time. (She may have been influenced by Robert Cochrane.)

She had a very positive approach to relationships with coven members and with the outside world in general. It was a refreshing approach to Witchcraft and was the closest thing I had found to my beliefs and expectations before I found modern Druidism.

Of course, we still have her books in my library. (Many of them are now out of print.) Her vision of Witchcraft gave me a much broader vocabulary of modern Witchcraft (Wicca) and an understanding of what it should be about. She provided a clear perspective of the Craft as a positive, life affirming, religion that was important for me to understand at a time when "Witchcraft" conjured visions of Satanic Rituals.

Today, on the 89th anniversary of her birth, I remember Doreen Valiente and give thanks to her as an Ancestor.

January 3, 2012

Remembering J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 and passed 2 September 1973. A university professor at Oxford, he is particularly noted for his fantasy works, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Ringstrilogy.

The Hobbit
was probably the first full-length novel I ever read. Certainly, I read it as a preteen and it is the first "real" book I can recall reading. I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy sometime in my teens and, of course, have seen all of the movies - several times. His detail of the Middle Earth helped give me a desire to understand the historical places that gave inspiration to his world.

Although not a direct influence upon my spiritual life, Tolkien's books helped to pave the way to my accepting alternative worlds and alternative world views.

I know that I still have copies of his books in my library that have made the move across the country and back again as his books have always been important to me. Although far down on my "I'd like to read again" list, his writings will always hold an important place in my heart.

Today, on the 120th anniversary of his birth, I remember J. R. R. Tolkien and give thanks to him as an Ancestor.