An Interesting Take on Obama’s Stance on Guns

I love listening to the rants about Obama and how he’s anti-gun. Sure, he appears that way, he talks the talk but he doesn’t really walk the walk, does he? Truth is, Obama’s presidency has been the best thing for gun manufacturers ever. There are TWO publicly traded gun manufacturers in the country. Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson. Sturm Ruger’s stock has increased in value 10 times (YES, TEN TIMES) since Obama became president, all on fears that ‘Bama is gonna take our guns. S&W? 7 times. I wish to all the Gods that I’d invested in either one before he took office.

In fact, NO PRESIDENT that I can find has done more to bolster the gun industry.

In fact, since Obama took office, the rights of licensed chl holders have increased, we can now carry in National Parks and on Amtrak. Interesting isn’t it? He also called Holder to the carpet at the beginning of his presidency and read him the riot act about saying how his administration would support a Clinton style AWB and then released a statement repudiating Holder’s statement.

But the NRA endorsed Romney. Mitt Romney as governor of Mass. signed into a law a PERMANENT Assault Weapons ban. That means he signed into a law a piece of legislation that was WORSE for gun owners than the Clinton Ban, which had a sunset clause (Which means that when Clinton signed it into law he KNEW that that law would eventually die a horrible death suffocated by political hubris). Not only that, but Romney signed into law a gun registration law …something the NRA says they would fight and fight and fight. Then, after that he signed into a law a TRIPLING of the registration fee. Remember, this the man that the NRA says is a friend to gun owners. Then, just before his first run at the White House, he goes and joins up with the NRA and hypocritically claims to be a hunter.

What has Obama done, other than, as an Illinois legislature toe the line (except of course for that vote to allow retired police officers to concealed carry in Illinois), and as president give lip service to the anti-gun crowd?

The truth is Obama has been very pro-gun control in his speech, but very neutral on gun control in his actions. Did he support Feinstein’s stupid attempt last year? Yes, but I think that was a political maneuver because the only person who thought that pig would pass was Feinstein herself ( and as far as I’m concerned, she’s the devil).

No. Anyone who thinks Obama is really pro-gun control simply hasn’t assembled the evidence for themselves and either is busying listening to Fox or the NRA (of which I am a life-member). Obama, for all his faults, has been very astute on this topic. Telling people what they want, maintaining the appearance of being a good little “gun grabber” all the while quietly undermining their position. I don’t think I could ever call him pro-gun, he’s an Illinois politician after all, but to say he’s an anti-gun president is a big, big stretch.

What’s Wrong at the NRA?

Those of you who know me know that no sane person would ever say I’m anti-gun.  The fact that I’m an NRA Life-Member, Instructor and RSO goes further to support the theory that I’m very pro-gun ownership and pro-2nd Amendment.   What I am against, are half-truths, lies, panicky-ness, and zealotry.  As such I do have some issues with the current leadership of the NRA.

This is one of them.  I’ve just casually gone through three of their monthly magazines.  In those magazines there are at least (and I have to confess to not be UBER thorough) fifteen articles about gun RIGHTS.  Articles about how the gubment is trying to tramp on your right to own, carry, shoot, buy, etc. whatever firearm you want.  Invariably, these turn into rants against Obama, or Biden, or Feinstein, their favorite targets.  In those same three magazines, I saw ONE article about gun owner RESPONSIBILITY.  An article about safes, which, if you’ve been paying attention, you know is something that I personally harp on.   If you are a gun owner, then you should also be a gun safe owner is very much a mantra of mine.

The tone, which this current crop of NRA “leaders” have cultivated to create fear and division, is one of “I want, I want, I want” when in fact, we should take a primary position of “I MUST.”

Instead of “I WANT MY GUNS,” the attitude should be “I MUST be responsible with my guns.”  The constant hew and cry against the Obama administration, while endorsing a gun-grabber like Romney for President, simply makes the organization look like a bunch of partisan boobs.

I’m struck by article about some idiot who went out and followed V. Pres. Biden’s advice on how to chase attackers off from the house.  That is, take your double barrel shotgun outside and shoot it into the air.  Now, anyone with a lick of sense knows that this is not only stupid and dangerous, but in many cases, simply illegal.  I’m not even going to get into how many laws here in Texas this would violate, reckless endangerment, illegal discharge, disordely conduct, and those are only the things that are at the top of my head.  Well, our particular idiot did just that and sure enough was arrested.  He now claims that he was just doing what the VP said to do.  The NRA article is trying to make it out that this is somehow Biden’s fault.  I do not agree.  Biden said something ignorant, yes.  But he’s not the person who shot the gun!  As a gun owner, this person had a HIGHER duty to know the laws, to know what he is allowed and not allowed to do in defense of his property.  It wasn’t Biden’s duty to teach him that – thought I DO wish the VP would shut the hell up about things he clearly has no knowledge of.  That said, ANYONE who listens to the “advice” of a politician on the pulpit, falls squarely into the category of moron.  Morons should NOT own guns.  The NRA seems to think the man has a valid defense, but I’m of the opinion that gun owners have a higher responsibility than to listen to kneejerk advice – especially from a career politician who is know to suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.  I hope this particular idiot is convicted and disallowed to own firearms.  He’s making it harder for those of us who actually have a brain and giving ammunition to the Feinsteins and Brady Campaigns types out there.

I’m still wondering if there might be room out there for a new gun owner organization. One that pushes for the “Well Regulated Militia” as well as The Right to Bear Arms not being infringed?  Sure would be nice to see a balanced approach for once, and not one based on politics, dogma and fear.

The new voice to text in Android Jelly Bean needs work.

I was using the notepad on my phone to transcribe some thoughts. …and I get this.

“One of the worst policies come out of the Second World War in the concept of the enemy of my enemy is my friend . This policy this unstated policy the United States has what is down the garden path in many ways and every single conflict that we have been involved in since the world war has resulted from this unstated policy here so beautiful and this evening inability hopper have a headache all legend decisions that correct glad to tucson or if you kill the superbowl. Some of the boy in the summit road villa deviation mine when you get write down to it in a billion comprehend what asian lady is based solely on western arrogance”

I think I want to write a book with this software.   We can all be surprised!

Ding Dong Doma’s Dead

June 26th, 2013: Today is an interesting day; It is the tenth anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), wherein the Supreme Court threw out Texas’ and thirteen other states sodomy laws.  It is also the day that the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and annihilated the case against California’s Prop 8 by ruling that the plaintiff did not have standing.

You know, whether one agrees or disagrees with the idea of marriage equality, I don’t really see how anyone can think it is a good thing for governments to decide the legitimacy of marriage between consenting adults.  If a church doesn’t want to marry gay people, fine, whatever.  But that same church enforcing its beliefs on the entire country by engendering a political process which restricts people’s rights…how is that good?  Yeah, if that’s what you want, I have a list of countries you can move to…Iran is at the top.

DOMA was a bad law, and it’s a crying shame that it took this long for the Supreme Court to weigh in.  But, there is a process that is followed and it isn’t necessarily speedy.  After all, all DOMA did was prevent a single class of people from legalizing their relationships and gaining certain benefits we afford those who have entered into a legal marriage.  It did nothing, NOTHING to “Defend Marriage.”  First marriage success rates still hover in the 40-50% range.  DOMA did not a thing to address that.   It’s like having a firebase, in a war zone, and guarding only one side of it against a perceived – but in my opinion over-hyped threat.  While the Viet Cong, the Nazis, and the Jung Horde are assaulting the gates, your C.O. orders you to defend against “the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”*

It is time to end all the bigotry, and I’m not talking about Paula Deen saying nigger once in a while – and yes, I used the word, why? Oh, I must be a racist? White boy from Pasadena, Texas must be a klansman.  Hell no, I grew up around those assholes out on Redbluff at their “bookstore” in their clown suits trying to recruit on the weekends.  Found them to be the very definition of ignorant redneck moron.  So no, I’m simply being intellectually HONEST… it’s a WORD people, just a fucking word…I find saying “The N-Word” to be stupid, dishonest, and ignorant and a hell of a lot more offensive than the legitimate, editorial or academic use of an offensive term.**  I actually stopped a class discussion once over people using “the N-word” in an academic setting, arguing that it was dishonest and stupid… like saying pee pee and hoo hoo in a sex-education class.  I find it much more offensive that certain elements, on a fairly regular basis try to edit it out of certain pieces of classic literature…as if that can somehow change history.  I find it EXCEEDINGLY offensive that some black preachers chose to stand with the bigots and even used many of the same arguments used to support miscegenation laws before Loving v. Virginia in 1967!***  FYI, Samuel Jackson seems to agree with me on how stupid “the N-word” is.  SAMUEL JACKSON. ****

NO, what I’m talking about are people who feel the need to restrict other people’s rights, people who are willing to use their political power, and their religious dogma to force their idea of what society should be on others and lying, telling half-truths, fabricating evidence to do so.  I’m talking about hating people for their minor, inconsequential differences.  I’m talking about fanaticism, and the evils associated with it.  Whether that be the political fanaticism of the Tea Party, the religious fanaticism of a terrorist or, Gods help us, Westboro “Baptist” “Church” (and yes, the quotes are intentional).  The arrogance of some people claiming to know Gods will… just astounding to me and an indication of their lack of intelligence and self-reflection.

So here we are, moving on.  Today, fifteen states recognize marriage equality.  One more than yesterday. There is a long ways to go, but today the Supreme Court removed at least a few roadblocks to progress towards true equality.  Given the importance of the decisions reached on this day, I think that June 26th should become as big a holiday for the LGBT community as any. In fact, I have created a petition at Whitehouse.gov requesting just that.  Go! Sign it! Forward this link to your friends, to your enemies, to strangers in the street.  We have a month from June 26, 2013 to get 100,000 signatures. Good luck to everyone!

Freedom and Equality Day Petition:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/freedom-and-equality-all-day/Y6ZQv3bW

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* With apologies to Gen. Jack D. Ripper

** I can’t recall the last time I used this word in casual conversation, I prefer the more generic and universal term Ignorant Asshat.  It works on all the idiots no matter what the color of their skin.

*** Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1

****And I’m sorry, when Samuel Jackson tells you to do something, motherfucker you do it!  Louis CK has a great skit on how “the N-Word” is just white people getting away with saying nigger.  I don’t disagree with him.  But this is a side issue; maybe I’ll do an article on “Things We Find Offensive, That Are Really Fucking Stupid, and I Don’t Care If You’re Offended Anyway.” I should probably shorten the title to something like, “Where In the Bill of Rights Does it Say You Have the Right to Not Be offended?”…that’s not really shorter, is it?  Oh well. Look, just don’t expect any overwrought apologies from me for not being culturally sensitive to stupidity.  I’ll just say that white, black, brown, yellow, green, purple; I don’t give a shit about the color of your skin, but I do care about the quality of your soul. If it’s a good soul, we can be friends, I could even possibly love you.  If it’s a shit soul, then you’re an ignorant asshat.  Deal with it.

Killing Bambi

So, this week I ran up to my dad’s up in Crockett, Texas.  He has a farm where he raises quail and chicken and rescues the odd abandoned Whitetail fawn (yes, he’s registered).  On my way up I noticed two very large deer, either does or antlerless bucks, dead on the side of the road, on the way home today I saw another.  One assumes, and I think it is a logical assumption, that these deer lying on the side of the road were victims of being struck – or of striking – a vehicle of some sort. It got me to thinking about what a crying shame such waste of a beautiful, useful and tasty animal is.  I mean, it’s not like this is some squirrel or skunk that gets squished under your tires, or even a large dog you clip with your bumper and just shrug your shoulders and keep driving – by the way…if you are the type of person who runs over a dog and doesn’t stop…you are utter scum.  No, these are large, potentially 150-200 or even in the case of a large buck, 300 pound animals, if you hit one, even a glancing blow, you are almost certainly at least are going to pull over, return to the scene and probably get pictures for your insurance company because your car now screwed up.

deer-crossing-road

So this is a large animal.  It is also a lot of meat.  Meat that can, if prevented from spoiling, feed a fairly large number of people.  A good sized adult Whitetail will dress out in the 140 – 160 pound range (that 300 pounder will of course be more…but let’s talk averages here).  A family of four – parents, two kids of average age – will need 8-10 pounds of meat a week.  That means a single doe, dressed out to 140 lbs will feed a family of four for 14-17 weeks. Alternatively, that same doe will feed 14-17 families of four for one week…..  However you want to work it.  As a lean, protein rich meat, it is better for you than just about anything you can buy in the stores today.

Additionally, even though venison is rarely seen in the commercial market, Whitetail venison does have a market value in the gourmet meats market.  What that value is depends on a number of factors – the cut of the meat (just like beef, a venison tenderloin is valued higher than say, venison stew meat or ground venison), availability, state regulations, etc.  That value can range between $9.00 – $22.00 lb. or more.  The total market value of our 140 lb. dressed doe depends largely on how it is processed, if you turn it all into ground venison, you’re looking at a value of a little over $1200.00.  Most people won’t want to turn the entire deer into hamburger, which means that the $1200.00 is a starting figure.

What this all means is that THIS WEEK ALONE, I have seen enough meat to feed 42-61 families for one week, or a single family for either just under, or just over a year.  That same meat is worth at least $3600.00 (we aren’t even discussing the value of the pelt, of the bones, the organs, the horns, the hoofs, etc.)  Sadly, that meat – which can do so much good – was rotting by the side of the road for the scavengers.  I hate that. It’s wasteful and really kind of stupid.  But what can you really do about it here in Texas.  Turns out, you can do some, but not much.

The questions that I want to answer are these;

  • If a person accidentally – and accidentally is key here – hits a deer, what should they do?
  • When they do that, what happens to the deer?
  • If you snag up Bambi without following the law, what are the potential consequences?

So… you’re driving home, late one night, on a back country road and a Whitetail bounds out in front of your car… boom, you peg her.  What do you need to do?

deer_on_road_big

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPDW) website has this to say about the topic.

 “If the deer is just injured call your local game warden dispatcher. If you are absolutely sure the deer is dead, you may move it off the roadway and leave it there. Texas Department of Transportation will remove the dead animal. It is illegal to tag the deer (or any game animal for that matter) and take it with you.”

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/faq/huntwild/general_questions.phtml

 Well that’s all good and fine, but I actually think that their write up creates as many questions as it answers.  So let’s get into this scenario a bit.

Many believe that if the animal is dead, the person who struck it gets first dibs on the deer!  In many states this appears to be true.  As late as 2005 the TPWD released a news release saying that often, the responding game warden would make a determination at the scene. It was not unusual for the person who hit the deer to wind up with it.  However, today, I’m afraid that seems to have changed and now, in Texas it is unlawful to possess a deer or any part of a deer that has been hit by a motor vehicle. What does happen, sometimes, but clearly not all the time is that the deer may be donated by the Game Warden or TPWD to orphanages, group homes, prisons, etc.  In the case of the Tyler, Texas region, struck animals often go to Tiger Creek, a big cat rescue facility.  Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies, including our amazing game wardens in Texas, have more than enough to do without having to collect every deer that gets pegged in this state – There are, about 1.5 million auto deer collisions per year, I cannot find a breakdown by state, but Texas ranks 9th for number of deer v. vehicle accidents.  That means that what happens more often than not is that the animal is merely left on the side of the road to rot.

I personally think this is a tad bit silly.  Not to deny the tiger’s and lions their fair share of venison, I’m happy to share with them. But, if say, you hit a deer, or I hit a deer, we know that animal is still fresh and has not begun to decompose. We know from inspecting it that the animal has not been damaged internally in a way which spreads toxins throughout the flesh – and this can happen with an animal struck by a vehicle.  We know, usually from personal experience that the animal is simply a fresh kill and that a fresh kill is a fresh kill whether done with a bullet or a Buick.  I honestly think that, if the game warden isn’t going to show, or doesn’t want to take possession of the animal (and I have no problems with TPWD having first dibs), then I should be able to claim that animal, in season or out of season as long as it is obvious that I wasn’t intentionally trying to hunt animals with my car.  However, and I want to be very clear about this, are you listening?  Good.  THIS is just my opinion.  As I’ve stated already, in Texas it is unlawful to possess a deer or any part of a deer that has been hit by a motor vehicle.  And while I may think the law is a bad law, it is still the law.  I may even violate it someday should the opportunity present itself.  I hope it doesn’t, I simply don’t want the hassle.  But if my car is cracked up by some blasted Whitetail, then the least the State of Texas could do is let me fill my fridge with tasty, tasty venison!  If you violate the law in Texas, then it’s your own damned fault. Don’t come crying to me because you read my criticism of the law and for some reason had a logical disconnect and thought that in some way I gave you permission to break it.  I didn’t. I do not have the authority to do so. I don’t care if you do break the law in this manner, just don’t blame me for your own actions.

Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that anyone go out and scavenge roadkill.  I know there are people who do so, but the idea grosses me out beyond imagining.  That deer that’s been sitting in the Texas sun for even a few hours… let’s just pass that one on by.  If you didn’t hit that animal yourself, or see it hit and watch it die… you eat that at your own peril.

What should you do if the deer you hit is wounded and hurting?  You felt the thud, you pulled over, and the doe is lying on the ground, her back broken and she’s flailing and screaming – yes, deer scream. Well, I know what I’d do.  But what should you do?  Well, I can’t answer that.  Only YOU can answer that.  There are numerous considerations though.  Approaching a wounded animal is a dangerous thing.  A deer, even severely injured can turn and severely injure – or kill – you.  If you do not know what you’re doing, call the police, the sheriff, or the local game warden and let them deal with it.  A lot of us Texans carry firearms, I know I do.  So should you pull out your pistol, or rifle or shotgun or whatever and shoot the deer to put it out of its misery?  That seems like the right thing to do, right? Well, maybe not.  Are you going to shoot into concrete?  Maybe get a ricochet? Maybe into a passing motorist?  Additionally, with certain exceptions, discharging a firearm on a public road is a crime in Texas – Texas Penal Code § 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT.  (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (9) discharges a firearm on or across a public road.  It is a class C misdemeanor, which means you can be fined up to $500.00 (Title 3, Sec. 12.23 of the Texas Penal Code)*   This, I think is clearly a case of knowing one’s own limitations and being a responsible gun owner.  In my case, I will put an animal out of its misery and let the chips fall where they may.  It is against my personal faith, and my upbringing to allow an animal to suffer when it is clear nothing can be done for it.  But I will dispatch that animal in safe and sane manner.  I also have decades of experience using firearms, you may not.  What I would tell the average, less familiar person to do is just exactly what the TPWD tells you to do.  Call local law enforcement.  The dispatcher will guide you.  More than likely they will contact the local game warden, who will come out and make a decision.  But if that animal is in the middle of the freeway at night thrashing around, you may have to take action just to prevent a more serious accident!  Every situation is different, and it is something to think about.

game warden

So, let’s say you’ve hit the deer, put the deer out of its misery and in all this, never called the local LEO’s or game wardens.  You put that deer in the back of your truck, or in the trunk or in the back seat and start heading for the house.  You get a bit down the road and you look behind you and see that fella in the big green truck pulling up on your bumper.  What happens next… well, it won’t be fun, that’s for sure! Well, first, that deer is gone.  Sorry, too bad so sad.  But they don’t let poachers; even accidental poachers keep their catch in Texas.  Next, there are criminal penalties, certainly a fine, probably probation and possibly jail time. Next, there is civil restitution.  You will be required to pay the TPWD the value of the deer.  This alone ranges from $500.00-$4000.00!  Next, any weapons in the car are confiscated, gone.  It is even possible the vehicle itself will be confiscated.  There are plenty of websites out there that discuss fines and sentences related to poaching cases, I recommend that before you take your deer home, you read a few of those. You may decide it just ain’t worth it.

One other thing, there are all sorts of ancillary myths surrounding this sort of thing.  Let me dispel one of the more pervasive ones right quick.  Some people believe that you can make a claim through the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and the state will pay your insurance deductible…well, as nice as that would be, it’s simply not true.  Sorry.  I personally can’t believe anyone would believe that to begin with, but apparently they do.  Stop it!

By the way, hitting a deer at any amount of speed is a bad idea.  If you can safely avoid the animal, then by all means, you should endeavor to do so.  If the choice is between hitting the deer and hitting the oncoming septic truck…take the deer out.  But be aware that deer strikes kill and injure not only the deer, but very often the drivers as well.  In 2000, deer-vehicle collisions lead to about 200 human deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage, and that appears to be about average for that sort of thing.  If you’re a biker…well…do I really need to address that?  I myself have nearly been pegged by a buck bolting in front of me on my way to Austin on the V-Star in the wee hours of the morning out in West Montgomery County.  We are talking high pucker factor, man!

I think, in the end, we should all work to change the law so that these animals do not go to waste.  There are plenty of places in this country where the option to take possession of the dead animal exists, I can find no real reason that it should be the same here in Texas.  In the meantime, we should also endeavor to be more aware of the dangers of hitting them in the first place and avoid doing so if at all possible.

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*Let’s be clear, I am NOT an attorney, I do NOT practice law and I do not play one on TV.  I am a researcher and an opinionated S.O.B.  I know how to look these things up and I will express MY opinion on these topics on MY blog.  MY opinion may differ from what is considered legal canon in the State of Texas.  If you take anything I write on this blog as legal advice, then I don’t even think there is a level of stupidity out there to describe you. So don’t do it.  If you do, then, once again, don’t come whining to me when you find your ass in a sling. IF you want legal advice, find an attorney.  Just look in the yellow pages, or the internet, or the State Bar website for A.T.T.O.R.N.E.Y.  There are, according to the Bar website, more than 89,900 active members of the State Bar of Texas – I am NOT one of them.

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One other thing, I mentioned Tiger Creek out in Tyler, Texas.  It is a great facility that is doing wonderful work for animals that we as human beings have let down.  http://www.tigercreek.org/. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit; I also recommend adopting a big cat or simply donating to the cause.

Modern Neo-Druidry

PREFACE:

Neo-paganism has seen a surge in popularity in the past three decades and with the growth came the founding of new organizations resulting in a market for many new books on Pagan studies being established.  Publishers have jumped on that horse and have ridden it pert near to death.  We’ve also seen those same books move from the shelves of specialty “witch” shops to mainstream bookstores such as B. Dalton and Barnes & Noble.  One knows they are mainstream when they find Paganism for Idiots on the shelf!  This is both good and bad.  As with anything that gains popularity it attracts a lot of chaff that one must go through in order to get to the wheat.

Right now, publishers of pagan oriented materials are going through a “chaff” phase.  In a recent search for resources through local bookstores, what I mostly found was “Shake and Bake Witchcraft” books.  These books provide spells, chants, poetry, and ritual, and all the trappings of pagan worship, but little of the substance that truly makes up serious study of the network of ancient faiths, nature religions, shamanistic practices, et al. that span over ten millennia.   Many other books are written by self-professed experts who present no verifiable or even questionable credentials (of course, how much trust one puts in Zoltar, the commander of the Atlantian space fleet is an individual decision).  Some books obviously cater towards the current trend of “Pop Witchcraft” (oh, if only things worked like they worked on Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer) or are downright ridiculous in their scope (my apologies to the Atlantians if it proves they were the original Druids and builders of Stonehenge and the Pyramids…but right now I’m standing my ground).

I have been a practicing pagan for over three decades, a (poor) student of Druidry for about half that, and a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids for over fifteen years.

While I have removed myself from the Houston Pagan community for the past ten years in protest against various practices that I consider detrimental to the community, at one time I was a locally recognized expert in Pagan lore and ritual.

As a Pagan Priest, by whatever title that may be I have presided over hundreds of rituals.  My last “official” post was as Oak King (Chief Warrior) of the now defunct Brie Leigh Grove in Webster, Texas.

Today, I practice an informal family tradition that combines aspects of Druidry, Wicca, and Kabalistic practices with a select group of “chosen” family.

NOTE: This is not meant to be a complete dissertation of Druidic history, tradition and practice but simply a broad overview of a complicated and growing faith.

INTRODUCTION:

The full Moon gazes down upon the hilltop, her light illuminating the erected stone circle casting mystifying shadows upon the white robed and cowled individuals gathered there.  Each bears a torch lighting the night as they encircle a pyre of sacred woods, Oak, Ash, Hawthorne, Holly, Willow, Alder, and Apple.  Chanting flows on the night wind, joining together with the sounds of the night birds, the rustling of leaves, and the mumble of the wind to knit a tapestry of power around the hill.  In unison, the robed figures stop, turn to face the pyre and then one by one, pitch their torches on the pyre setting it ablaze.

On the nearby lake bob boats stacked high with weapons, cauldrons, vases, mirrors, musical instruments, furniture, jewelry of gold, silver and copper.  This is a full quarter of the tribe’s wealth to be sacrificed to Lugh, the God of Light.  At the climax of the chanting, the fire reaches its zenith, an ethereal finger of smoke and flame reaches upwards towards the full moon.  Then, the apparent leader of the robed priests and priestesses throws a sachet on the fire transforming the color of the flames from yellow and red to yellow and green, a sign to the warriors standing in the boats to heave the treasure overboard to sink to the bottom of the loch.

This is the sacrifice requisite for the Sun God to gift his light power, the power of life over death, to the body of Mother Earth to guarantee a good harvest by the time Samhain (sow – een NOT SAM-HANE as it is commonly mispronounced), the third and final harvest rolls around and winter sets in.  Such sacrifices were critical in a time when the darkness and cold of winter could mean death if the crops were to fail.

This is the festival of Lughnasadh and is one of the four chief Celtic/Druidic festivals of the year.  Lughnasadh along with the three other fire festivals, Beltane, Samhain, and Imbolc, all symbolize vital changes in the seasons and in the cycle of life that the Celts witnessed on a yearly basis.  Is it possible that this festival was celebrated in this dramatic a fashion?  Yes.  Do we, as modern scholars, know for sure that it was celebrated in this dramatic fashion?  No.  The only thing we know for certain is that tons of treasure has been discovered by researchers at the bottom of lakes in lands that were traditionally Celtic.

Who were these robed men and women around the fire?  These men and women were the Druids.

DRUIDRY DEFINED:

What is Druidry?  To answer that question one must understand what a Druid is and what it is not.

It’s much easier to tackle what Druidry is not.  Druidry is NOT any sort of devil worship.  It is not any sort of demonology; the ancient Celts did not even have a concept of a demon or malevolent spirit.  The Christian church spread rumors and propaganda that Druids were a gang of murderous baby-blood-drinking demon-worshippers who were regularly defeated by the miraculous actions of their missionaries with the blessing of the “one true god”.

The dilemma presented to scholars when trying to affirmatively classify Druidry is a distinct lack of hard evidence.  As is common during this time period, much of the population of Celtia and Gaul was illiterate; this included not only the lowly pig farmer and many craftsmen but even extended all the way up to even the warrior kings, with the Druids being the only truly educated class it seems.  As such, the Druids themselves practiced an oral tradition in which the myths and legends of the Celts and Gauls were memorized by bards and told or sung to the people to pass them down.  Therefore, I must caution my reader, that this article, as a very brief overview of a faith and culture that is rich with history that spans Europe may create more questions than provide answers!  But, as a Druid, I know and accept that this is the way things generally are, the more you learn, the less you know.  So let’s get on with it, shall we?

The earliest known writings about the Druids were by the Greeks; for better or worse, these writings are lost to antiquity.  The earliest writings about Celtic and Gaulish culture that remain available to us are from the Roman invaders of Gaul and the British Isles.  Julius Caesar himself wrote of the Druids between 58 and 49 B.C.E. during his conquest of Gaul.   Today one can still purchase a copy of The Conquest of Gaul in which Caesar describes the Druids as practicing a cruel and beastly faith of human sacrifice.  It was Caesar who spread the belief that the Druids practiced ritualistic human sacrifice in the form of the “Wicker Man”, a huge woven figure in which men were placed and then set ablaze.  It is now known that Julius Caesar never witnessed or even spoke to any witness of a “wicker man” sacrifice but relied on second and third-hand testimony for his descriptions.  Today, many Neo-Druidic traditions have adopted the “Wicker man” ceremony as part of their Samhain festival to welcome the coming of the Celtic new year (sans the human sacrifice of course).

While scholars of the times of yore (and presumably the Roman Senate) took these works on their word (after all, this was Julius Caesar), today, there is more skepticism about the veracity of such writings.  Scholars have developed a bit of healthy skepticism about these writings and after a bit of legitimate research it is now held that while the Celts and Gauls had capital punishment, no evidence exists supporting the notion of ritualistic human sacrifice amongst the Druids.

It has been suggested the Caesar embellished his tales to gather greater monetary, political and military support from Rome.  And let’s be honest here, asking Romans to describe Druids, even the redoubtable Caesar of the Juliei, is a lot like asking Klansmen to describe African Americans, or Nazi’s to describe Jews.

DRUIDRY’S MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS:

There is an old saying amongst neo-pagans, “Ask two pagans, get three answers”.  This holds true with Druidry and the history of Druidry as well.  This is partly caused by the wide scope of Druidry, which extended from the British Isles, into Gaul (France) on up into Germany and parts of Scandinavia.  Some evidence exists that Druids may have had contact as far away as India.  So logically, having such a large range and touching on so many diverse cultures, Druidry comes in many “flavors” so to speak.  Even so, much of the focus of the modern (20th Century) Neo-Druids (and of this article) has been on the Celtic Druidry of the British Isles.

Depending on whom you ask, Druidry originated in Czechoslovakia, Egypt, and India or even, yes, say it with me, Atlantis.  There are even some who claim that Joshua of the Old Testament, or even Jesus Christ himself brought Druidry to the British Isles.  As Druidry was written of at least 2500 years ago, legitimate scholars find both claims pathetically lacking in either evidence or historical accurateness and have generally been dismissed.

What is known is that the Druids were the learned class of the Celtic people and acted as priests, magi, and judges.  They filled a role similar to the Brahmans of Indian society.   In an exciting twist of history, scholars are coming to realize that the nature worship in the Indus valley is likely the foundation for many European tribal faiths which started spreading approximately 5000 years ago from the Indus Valley up through Europe and over to the British Isles.  This potentially includes Druidry!  At this time little “hard” evidence exists to support these theories.  There is however an unusual synchronicity linking language, stories, myths and song that exist between modern Druidry and modern Hinduism.

For instance; cut to County Kerry, Ireland, where historian, Dr. Bryan McMahon sings an Irish folk song and then asks Indian guests to complete the tune. Almost always they will correctly finish the song.  There is evidence in similarities of practices; the horse sacrifices of the Irish kings mirror those of the Brahmin to commemorate battle victories.  Both Celts and Hindus worship a Goddess named Danu, a mother goddess that is astonishingly similar in both cultures (Appendix A). Even the Greek historian, Cornelius Tacitus (c. 55 B.C.E. –c.117 C.E.) commented on the similarity between the Brahman and Druidic ritual of bathing in rivers at the break of day to welcome the Sun.  Other observations of cultural similarities include a lack of slavery, a warrior/king class, and strong ethical systems.

HISTORY OF NEO-DRUIDRY:

The ascendancy of Christianity saw the collapse of Druidry and paganism in Europe.  Some Druidic orders died off, others went underground and still others converted to the new faith and commenced to record Druidic lore as Christian mythology and convert Celtic Gods and Goddess into the Catholic saints of Ireland, Scotland and England.

The Goddess Brigid (pronounced breed or bride depending on the dialect) is a direct example of the Celtic Goddess of Healers, Poets, Smiths, Childbirth and Inspiration being converted to Catholicism.  The newly frocked monks started converting the old ways and adapting them to the new, now, St. Brigid is recognized as the patron saint of Ireland.

Starting in the late 18th century C.E. the Druid Revival started with several fraternal and cultural Druidic organizations came into being culminating in 1874 C.E. with a group of Freemasons organizing the Ancient & Archaeological Order of Druids (AAOD), a group that is historically significant in that it included several famous members including one Sir Winston Churchill (left).The AAOD was not a religious organization but was instead a fraternal organization meant to support members and charitable causes.  It was in the early 20th Century that Druidry emerged as a spiritual path in its own right.

In Britain, George Watson MacGregor-Reid founded the Ancient Druid Order from which modern Druidic organizations such at the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD) and some Wiccan paths (particularly the highly ritualistic Gardnerian Tradition) have branched off.

Today, the major Druidic organization include, the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, based out of Great Britain, The Ancient and Archeological Order of Druids and The British Druid Order both also based out of Great Britain, The United States based organizations include the Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, the Henge of Keltria and the Reformed Druids of North America.  See Appendix B for a list of internet links to these organizations home pages.

SO WHAT THE HECK IS THIS DRUIDRY* STUFF ANYWAY?

According the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, Druidism, or Druidry is for some a spiritual path, for others a religion, and for others a cultural activity.  Well, that narrows it down to… well, pretty much anything doesn’t it?

Here’s where I stand.  The OBOD elders pretty much got it right in most respects, except where they place an “or” in their description; I place an “AND” in mine.  Modern Druidry (or Neo-Druidry) is a way of thinking. It includes a spiritual path, a religious affiliation and a cultural activity.  As with Buddhism, anyone, Pagan, Christian, Hindu, Jew, whatever, can be a practitioner of Druidry.

Druidry’s prime focus is a desire to know and understand the universe around us.  It is holistic in nature in that a modern Druid, while honoring the God(s) in which he or she has faith, tries to comprehend the supernatural, natural and man-made around him/her and using this knowledge (imperfect though it may be) attempt to minimize the harm they do in this world.

Like their cousins the witches, Druids today also study and teach of those things that are unseen in the physical realm.  Psychological animalistic transformation, the study of lore, study of nature, and the study of magick* and divination are all a part of Druidry.

Druids had (and have) a close connection with nature, a deep knowledge of the plants and animals, it is said that when the Gods vanished from the face of the Earth, that they passed their knowledge of healing plants and herbs to the Druids.  Much of this knowledge has been lost over the years.

As with Hinduism and other eastern religions, the ancient Druids believed in transubstantiation.  Reincarnation into human and animal forms as well as trees, rocks, and features of the geography of the Earth are all supported.

A belief in the “Otherworld” included a belief that to be born in this world meant one had to die in the “Otherworld” and vice-versa.  Thus the “Otherworld” is another life entirely, in a universe or existence that is unseen to most.  Others represent the “Otherworld” as the “Cauldron of Rebirth” in which souls rest awaiting their next lives.

Neo-Druids, and Neo-Pagans in general, have also adopted the concept of Karma from Eastern faiths often expressed in the Law of Three Fold Return which states, “That which you send out, returns three times”.  Meaning that if one does good, then good shall be visited upon him three times, but if one does evil, the three times rule applies also to the evil that will return upon him. I have seen no evidence indicating that the ancient Celts held a similar theory, but I admit my research in this particular area may be lacking.

As to being able to prove any of this to the satisfaction of naysayers, to quote Chakotay from the Star Trek series Voyager, “I accept there are things in the universe that can’t be scanned with a tricorder.”

ETHICALLY SPEAKING:

Druids today do everything they can to cause as little harm to the world around them as possible and in general follow a creed that is commonly referred to as the “Wiccan Rede” (Wicca is probably the most studied neo-pagan faith) which states; “And that it harm none, do as thy will”.   When pagans refer to the one rule and one law, the one rule is the Rede while the one law is the Law of Three Fold Return discussed in the previous section.

Many Druids however add to that a profound belief that it is their duty and obligation to prevent harm from occurring as well and recognize that in the course of a “normal” life one will cause harm!   While it is common to hear of “bunny-huggers” within Wiccan circles, these are pagans who take the Rede to the extremes of total pacifism in an attempt to literally “harm-none”.   In the most extreme cases, these individuals are willing to accept being harmed by others to avoid what they feel would result in an accumulation of karmic debt if they harm anything even by protecting themselves.  While some may see this as a laudable goal, most modern Druids would see it as foolish and an attempt to live “outside” the real world.  Humanity is not meant to contemplate their belly buttons!

For Druids, the phrase “it does little good for the sheep to vote for vegetarianism, if the wolves do not agree” holds truth.  No matter how much an individual may wish to not do harm, they must be prepared to appropriately deal with individuals whose goal is to do harm.  Thus, Druids practice martial arts, both old and new. The taking of life in self-defense does not conflict with Druidic religious beliefs.

Beltainne Ceremony:

As previously mentioned, not much is known of the rituals practiced by the ancients.  What those who conquered Great Britain wrote cannot be taken as an objective chronicle of ancient Druidry.  Later, during the start of the Christian era, the Druids were for all intents and purposes wiped out and their religion and ceremonies banned in an attempt to gain control of the people, and to replace their gods and beliefs with Christianities god and dogma. Thus the Druids were discredited and painted as ‘barbaric, sadistic priests of a dark religion.’

Neo-Druidic organizations have pieced together the writings of ex-Druid Christian monks, ancient historians, archeological evidence and many other sources to develop ceremonies for today.

The celebration of Beltainne (or Beltane, or Beltaine, or any number of other regional spellings representing the Rite of Spring) is one of, if not the most important of the four fire festivals.

Follows is just one example of a Neo-Druid Beltane Rite of Spring.

BeltainneRite

Todd D. Rainer

PRE-CEREMONY PREP:

The Senior Druid blesses the ritual space, the cauldron, the chalice and the water/wine used in the ceremony.

ENTERING

The ceremony begins with everyone gathered outside the Western edge of the ritual space (usually defined as a circle).  As people enter the Senior Druid and the Holly King greet them:

Holly King:  Do you enter this circle with peace in your heart and of your own free will? (In some groves, the Holly King, who is charged with protecting the circle from danger, holds the point of a dagger (also called an athame) to the heart of the supplicant.  This practice has fallen into misuse for safety reasons).

Supplicant:  Answers the Holly King’s question.  Answer TRUTHFULLY!  There is nothing that can destroy the power of a ceremony quite like a foul spirit of one of its members!  This is what destroyed Brie Leigh Grove.  If you feel any negativity, hate or doubt then a magick circle is not place to be and you should bow out.

             However, assuming that the supplicant answers in the affirmative

The Senior Druid States: Then join us in this holy rite my brother/sister.

  • The supplicant is allowed to enter the circle and take their place.

Once the circle is complete the ceremony proper begins.

Purpose and Precedent

Generally spoken by Chief Druid, but can be split up as necessary:

“Slainte agus failte! Welcome to the offering rite of Beltainne, the Hinge of Summer, and the Day of Blessings. Now the earth grows green again in fact, warmed by the power of the Sun and the Waters’ cool strength. Shoot has become bud and bud is flowering as all life burns with the kindling of love’s fire. Now we rejoice in the heat of May, and look forward to the greater heat of summer.

In elder days the feast of Beltainne was a day of power and duty, when every fire was extinguished and every clan held fast to its luck for the coming season. The folk left their work and went into the fields and the greenwood. They roved among the blossoms and made love to one another to celebrate the Power of Life. They went into the Groves and made their worship of the Gods and Goddesses that sustained them.

As the ancients did before us, so we do now, and so our descendants may do in the future. We are come into the Grove to worship as they did, to offer to the Ancestors; to offer to the King and Queen of the Sidhe clans and all the Nature Spirits; and to offer to the beloved Shining Ones. Today we honor Aine, the Queen under the Mound, and the erotic power of renewal. Today we honor the Mac Oc as Aengus the Harper, the enchanting life of the Earth. Today we kindle new flame in ourselves as we dance among the Beltainne fires. And tonight, may we practice the Rites of Love in whatever way our spirit may guide us, to sustain the Power of Life. Ta go maith!”

Honoring the Patron Powers

A cloaked woman emerges, stands to the north of the Hallows with head bowed and cloak closed. Druid speaks:

In elder days, Erin the goddess was the mother of clans, called Aine, queen of the noble ones. Aine the mighty mated with mighty men and from them she bore many peoples. As each of them grew old she would renew her youth and love again.

So for us is the living earth goddess, who grows old with the winter and renews her youth in this merry, magical time. With each of her renewings she brings the flowing of new life, the erotic blossoming of every kindred, not just for the continuing of clans, but for the delight and regeneration of all beings.

Aine the ancient

Calleach the mighty

Bones of the Earth

Answer your children

Mother to maiden

Winter to summer

Root into blossom

Answer us, changer

Flow now the waters

All hearts rejoicing

Laughter and loving

Bounty and blessing

Now in the hinge-time

Wise ones are calling

Show us your wonder

O maiden of May!

All: Aine, accept our sacrifice!

An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire. The woman removes her cloak to reveal a young maiden, erotically dressed.

All cry:  “Hail the queen of the May!”

The May Queen speaks, saying:

“Let the goddess of Earth hear our call as I hear it! Blessings upon all who do honor to the shining ones. In this season of renewal we do honor to the goddess of the wells, for the sacred well is the eye of the earth, the giver and receiver, the gate of the Sidhe!”

Maiden holds large bundle of cut flowers, says:

“Now let the well be dressed, honoring our simple symbol of all the worlds’ sacred wells.”

Nine men come forward in turn to dress the Well, surrounding it with flowers.

All sing ‘Way to the Well’.

When all are finished the Druid speaks:

“Surely it is true that when the maid of May appears in any place or any heart the delight of love cannot be far behind. In Erin the power of love’s joy was worshipped in Aengus Og, the son of Dagda and Baonn. He is the golden harper, whose music wakens longing and fulfillment in mortal hearts. He is the silver voice, calling all to come away from earthly care and join in the joy of May. Now let us welcome the young lord.”

The young son Maponos

Aengus the harper

Son of the Dagda

Whose staff is the strongest.

Born of enchantment

The son of the Mother

Sing, O enticer

Delighter of maidens

Sap in the branches

All making merry

Bee to the blossom

Hie to the Maying

Raise now the May-rod

Aengus we name you

Wonder child rising

Come to our calling

All: Aengus Og, accept our sacrifice!

An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire. The Bile, or other phallic rod is passed from woman to woman with much merry jesting, kissing of the pole, etc…

The May Queen then places the pole in the Earth again, saying:

Awake, O King-To-Be! Enter now the maiden Earth and bring joy and blessing to us all! Beannachtai!

Offering to the Sidhe*

The Faery Tree is brought out, or the Druid walks to the Tree (at the South?) Clouts of many colors, sparklies and amulets are available to hang on the Tree.

Druid speaks:

“In the elder days Aine the goddess was a queen of the Sidhe-folk, ruling form her mound in the south of Erin. Likewise Aengus was a king of the gentle people, making the faery music beneath the Brug Na Boyne. Now we call to them to open the way to the people of peace.

On the feast of Beltainne the veils between the worlds are thin. Now we honor the noble clans of the otherworld, the spirits of Earth to join our dance and receive due offering.

Come to the gates, gentle and lovely ones. Hear our call, we the children of Earth, who remember you. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our blessing.

You who rule in the wildwood, who give luck or bane, you who teach us the hidden ways and aid the wise, receive now these offerings made in your honor:”

*The Druid will recite the various Powers of the Sidhe, and one of the folk will tie a ribbon or clout or whatever to the Tree for each. This should go on for as long as necessary to raise the appropriate level of power in the circle.

The Druid recites things, such as:

  • To the queens under the hill — Oonagh the Lovely, Cailleach the Ancient, Medb the Mighty and all…
  • To the kings under the hill — Finvarra the Handsom, Bodb the Red, Eochaid the Stallion and all…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of poetry and wisdom — Inspirers and singers, you who grant sight and hearing…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk who are warriors, wardens and keepers, champions and hunters, wrathful protectors…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of the makers, iron Sidhe and gold Sidhe, wood Sidhe and clay Sidhe and the folk in the loom…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of the soil, tillers and reapers, cattle Sidhe and arbor Sidhe and folk of the hearth…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of the Earth, stone and soil, stream and pool, bird and beast…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of the sea, merrow and selkie, of sunlit shallows and the deeps…
  • To all the Sidhe-folk of the air, trooping Sidhe and the voices on the wind…
  • To all of you we give these gifts and ornaments, asking you to bless us in the joy of the living…

all: Noble Sidhe, accept our sacrifice!

Praise Offerings

The company is instructed that if they do not have a praise offering they may come quietly to the Tree through the rest of the rite and make their offering. The Tree will be planted in the country after the rite.

The Blessing

Following the Hallowing and Drinking of the Waters (A ritual performed during the formation of the circle prior to the start of the ceremony) the Druids work the Fire of Blessing.

Druid Speaks:

“Now as we stand filled with the power of our Goddess and God, let us work the spell of the Beltainne fires to drive away ill and bring us luck in the coming summer.”

Two fire-vessels are brought out and prepared. Sacred woods are available as in the charm.

One man and one Woman bring fire from the Fire. Fires conjured, saying:

We kindle these magic fires

In the presence of the mighty ones

In the power of the lovers

By Dagda the fire and by Brigid the fire

By oak — grant strength

By rowan — grant magic

By hazel — grant wisdom

Spring from darkness into light

Rise as the warmth of summer’s sun

This Beltainne day

Kindle within each of our hearts

A flame of love and wit and might

To friend and foe and all beings

Bring peace and beauty to the land

As life begins anew.

Ta Go Maith!

Now join hands all…

Step lightly in the dance and leave your winter cares behind

Receive the blessing of the shining ones

As you pass between the faery fires

Dance now, in the joy of May!

Final Blessing:

Music is struck up and a line dance led by one of the Druids, dancing between the two Fires, maybe doubling back for kisses.

All finally spiral into clump with a roar or “om”.

Druid deepens trance one last time, then speaks:

Bless, O great ones true and bountiful

Ourselves, our kind and our friends

Our work and our wealth.

May the Waters of Life sustain us

May the Fire of Passion enliven us

From day to day through every turning moon

From season to season

Through all the sacred year.

May the ancestors strengthen us

May the Sidhe-folk open our ways

May the goddesses and gods grant us wisdom.

Let the seeds of spring shoot and bud

And let our lives blossom with the May.

By our magic and gby the blessings of the old ways

Let all our blossoms come to fruit!

Ta Go Maith!

Closing

Druid speaks:

“Now by the keeper of the gates and by my magic I end what I began.

Let the fire be flame,

Let the well be water,

Let all be as it was before.

Let the gates be closed!

We have done as our ancestors have done, and as our children will do and the Kindreds have answered. We go now, children of the Earth, in peace and blessings. The ritual is at a close.

Biodh sé amhlaidh!

Conclusion:

Druidry has a rich history and a bright future.  Beyond that, it is up to the individual to draw their own conclusions about the importance of the Neo-Druidry movement.  I have neither written this, nor intended to ask the reader to come here to pass any sort of judgment on either ancient or modern Druidry.

My first teacher in the Pagan faith told me as I now tell my own students.  Read, read, read, read, read, and read some more.  When you feel you have read enough, read more.  Then speak with those in the know, the elders of the community, the leaders of the order, and even those who would be our enemies.

The more knowledge one has, the better armed one is to make up their own mind about anything.

It is my hope that in this short study that you, my reader, have found something of interest.  If not, I apologize.  But if so, then I advise you as I would advise my students; read, read, read, read, read and read some more.

Beannachd Dia dhuit*

(*blessings of God be with you – ScotsGaelic)

Sources:

  1. The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids: http://www.Druidry.org/
  2. History: http://www.Druidry.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=PagEd&file=index&topic_id=1&page_id=7
  3. Detailed history: http://www.Druidry.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=PagEd&file=index&topic_id=1&page_id=51
  4. Origin of Modern Druidry:  http://Druidry.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=PagEd&file=index&topic_id=1&page_id=114
  5. The ADF: www.adf.org
  6. ADF Rituals: http://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/stepbystep.html
  7. Henge of Keltria: http://www.keltria.org/
  8. The Reformed Druids of North America http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/
  9. The American branch of the Ancient and Archaeological Order of Druids http://www.aoda.org/
  10. A Druidic History of the Celts – http://members.tripod.com/~Diogenes_MacLugh/histframe.html
  11. Druidic History: http://www.magickalmeltingpot.com/Druidic-History
  12. The Seekers Way: http://www.seekersway.org/seekers_guide/celts_and_Druids_1_l.html
  13.  Our Lady of the Woods, http://www.ladywoods.org/lammas.htm
  14. Pagan Holidays: http://www.sabbatarian.com/Paganism/PaganHolidays.html
  15.  The Catholic Forum: http://www.catholic-forum.com/Saints/saintb03.htm
  16.  Julius Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul Penguin Classics; Revised edition (February 24, 1983) : http://www.amazon.com/Conquest-Gaul-Penguin-Classics/dp/0140444335

Vedic Druids:

  1. DeDanaan, Myth is what we call other people’s religion. http://dedanaan.com/vedic-origins-children-of-danu/our-Druid-cousins/
  2. Common Ground of European Celts & Indian Vedic Hindus http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/europeanceltsvedichindus.html
  3. The Celtic Vedic Connection: Part I http://www.geocities.com/indianpaganism/celticvedic.html

MYTHS: (LIES)

  1. Ancient Worlds: Hu Gadarn- Founder of Druidry: http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/426341
  1. Hu Gadarn – http://www.answers.com/topic/hu-gadarn

Appendix A:  A Few Important Gods and Goddesses

  • Danu: a Hindu primordial goddess who is mentioned in Vedic texts. The word Danu described the primeval waters, which this deity perhaps embodied. She is called the mother of Vrtra, a demonic personality, who does combat and is defeated by Indra. In later Hinduism, she becomes the daughter of Daksha and the consort of Kasyapa. The Hindu goddess has 2 temples in Bali Indonesia.
  • Danu: the Mother Goddess and River Goddess in Celtic/Druidic culture. The European rivers like Danube, Dneiper etc are named after her. Her children are called Danavas are believed to be the equivalent of the Danes. Denmark or Danmark is said to be the colloquial form of Danava-marga.
  • Dagda – The Good God, the King of the Tuatha de Danaan. Dagda was a performer of great miracles. “All that you promise to do, I shall do myself alone.” He could strike people dead with his club and then reanimate them, but was better known for his comical, grotesque appearance. He was the father of Brighid, among others.
  • Brighid – The Exalted One. It is said Dagda had 3 daughters named Brighid, the goddesses of poetry, smithcraft, and healing. Imbolc is held in her honor. A goddess of spiritual guidance, a muse, a mother figure.
  • Lugh – The Bright One, Many Gifted One, The Long Arm. Like Dagda, Lugh was good at everything. Lughnasadh is named for him. He is the image of perfection which we should all strive, it is said. The Samildanach. He is best contacted by those who wish to learn more about physical crafts and skills.
  • The Morrigan – The Phantom Queen, the Old Veiled One. The Morrigan is a triple goddess made up of the three crone goddesses of war and death. The three goddesses were Badb, Macha and Nemain. The Morrigan meets Dagda every Samhain and they mate. She is often associated with the raven or the black crow. Call upon The Morrigan in times of battle, banishing etc.
  • Cernunnos – The Horned God of the Hunt. Cernunnos is usually pictured with antlers and is sometimes seen with a club or sack of coins. Cernunnos is the God most used to represent male fertility, often called upon at Beltainne. He is also the God of animals, the forest and the hunt. Unfortunately, it was his image that was used to portray Satan as a way to frighten people away from the Celtic religion and convert to Christianity.
  • Tuatha de Danaan – The Tuatha de Danaan is not a deity, but the race of Irish deities, to which most of the ones above belong. This race serves as the divine foundation for all of the Irish traditions.

There are over 300 Celtic deities that reigned over different tribes, sects, and regions.  These are just a few of the more commonly encountered in modern Neo-Druidry.

Appendix B: Druidic Organizations

Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – http://www.Druidry.org/

Ancient Order of Druids in America – http://www.aoda.org/

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship – http://www.adf.org/core/

The Henge of Keltria – http://www.keltria.org/

The British Druid Order – http://www.britishDruidorder.co.uk/home.htm

The Reformed Druids of North America – http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/