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UK Pagan

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UK Pagan last won the day on April 6

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About UK Pagan

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  • Birthday 03/19/2001

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    UKPagan is a web community site for Pagans in the British Isles and across the world.
    Running since March of 2001, we have relaunched in 2004 and again in 2011.
  • Goals and Aims
    UK Pagan is…
    * a site for all Pagans, whatever path, whatever stage of their learning.
    * a place where Pagans discuss issues with tolerance and respect for others.
    * made for the community and by the community.
    * a place where followers of other religions are welcome if they show respect and tolerance.
    * a neutral forum with no “site line” or “site view”.

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    Being the best pagan forum on the internet.

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  1. Well, it’s been a while… I’ve just got back home from a two week tour on the European mainland. Starting with 5 days in the Czech Republic at the BMWC camp, then onto Vienna for a concert there, and finally to the Netherlands for the OBOD International Camp. It was quite an adventure but it actually started a couple of days before we flew out to Prague… It was a Bank Holiday weekend, and off I went to the river to walk Oscar. It was a lovely sunny day and there were a lot of dog walkers there. As we approached the bank of the river I saw what could only be described as a pack of dogs – a big group of dog walkers had stopped and the dogs were playing together. Oscar lost it. He got so excited, running around playing. It was lovely. But then he wouldn’t come back… It doesn’t happen often but sometimes I just cease to exist in Oscar’s world, and this was one of those times. I saw him running towards me. I saw the harness on his back. I reached out to grab the harness. Oscar is a German Shepherd/Labrador cross. He’s a big strong boy. As I reached out to grab the harness, my ring finger got caught, and was bent at a right-angle sideways to the left, as he ran passed. I couldn’t feel the tip of my finger. By the time I got home both knuckles were turning black. I couldn’t bend it, and it’s the third finger of my chord hand. Right then and there I knew I couldn’t play the guitar, but Cerri made a splint of cardboard, and taped it up. There was no time to go to the hospital as we were packing to leave for the trip. I figured that as the first gig of the trip was 5 days away, I should be ok by then, but I didn’t know for sure. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s easy to take something like playing music for granted. But when an injury literally stopped me from playing, all I could think about was playing the guitar. Having this injury reminded me once more just how much I love music, so in a way it was a gift, but nonetheless, there would have been easier ways to have learnt that particular lesson. So we travelled to Prague and were picked up from the airport to travel to the location of the BMWC. I think it was about 5 years since I last played in the Czech Republic. Way too long. And it was wonderful to see everyone again. The Czech Pagans have an energy that is so vibrant and alive. I love them, and I always come away with a new story to tell. Some years ago I had a stage diver when I played a gig in Prague. You read that right. A stage diver. At a folk concert. Beat that Dylan! I was playing Lughnasadh from Herne’s Apprentice, a song that had been adopted as the anthem for the Czech Pagans, when I noticed someone climb onto the stage. ‘Oh! He’s going to dance on the stage, thinks I’. No. He goes to the front of the stage, the crowd surged forward and he crowd-surfed, right there, in front of me. Awesome. At a gig in Prague a year later a lovely red bra was thrown on stage and dangled from the end of my guitar. What would happen this time? We shall see… So we arrived at the venue and were instantly taken to The Beer Place. Some of you might not know this but Pilsner beer was invented by the Czechs. Subsequently Czech beer is, to my mind, the best in the world, so I was quite happy to be led to a beer barrel with a cooling contraption where you simply poured a beer, and left a tick beside your name to pay at the end of the camp. It was 27 degrees. The beer was cold and tasty. Much shouting of ‘cheers’ was heard as people arrived. I think this will be the first of a few articles about the tour so I’ll focus with this one on that pesky finger. I took the splint off on the Wednesday and moved it around a little. I couldn’t bend it properly, and began to worry about Friday’s gig. I decided not to try to play the guitar until the Thursday afternoon, and then only play a little, just in case I made it worse. So on the Thursday afternoon I went back to my room, and got out the guitar. It was mostly ok. As the finger had been pulled sideways it didn’t hurt too much when I pressed down on the string directly. But. For chords like D Minor I had to reach out a little sideways, and I simply couldn’t do that. And there are quite a few Dm chords in my songs. There was only one thing to try, and that was to place a capo on the 5th fret and transpose all of the songs with a Dm to an Am in that new position. It would mean playing completely different chords for those songs, but would it work? Just about. So I put the guitar away and was a little happier about the gig the next day. Friday morning arrived. Along with clouds of pollen from the trees that surrounded the site. Yup. The asthma then hit. So I had a damaged finger, and lungs that were refusing to cooperate. But the Show Must Go On! So at 10.15pm on the Friday night I took the stage, and I’m so happy to be able to report that both the finger a lungs worked. There is a loop of energy that spins from me to the audience, then back to me from them, and around it goes, time and time again. It’s powerful magic, and on that night there was so much energy I nearly forgot about the finger and lung situation completely. I did lose my voice a little towards the end but it was a great gig, and those wonderful Czech Pagans gave me another story to tell. I started to play Lughnasadh, transposed to Am on the 5th fret, but that was fine. The audience went bonkers, raising the horns and singing along as if I was some Heavy Metal band. Then two things happened. Three young ladies began to wave bras in the air, and then the audience began to cheer, really loudly. I thought, wow, they are really enjoying this! What I didn’t know, and didn’t find out until the next day, is that one of the people at the camp had climbed onto the stage behind me, and was holding antlers at my head. Apparently the lights were blazing my shadow onto the side of the building and it looked like Cernunnos had just arrived, pounding out a song on the guitar. Here is a small clip, just so you can see what I mean. https://www.paganmusic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/dee7d9e7-f267-4f49-ab6a-ee4e963d133e.m4v During the concert I completely forgot about my damaged finger, but the next day it had swollen again, however I once more had a few days to recover before the gig in Vienna. But Vienna is another story. It was wonderful to be back in the Czech Republic again, and I promise it won’t be another 5 years before I return! View the full article
  2. Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 143 Niiv’s Cauldron – Omnia – https://www.worldofomnia.com Professor Graham Harvey from AnderidaFest 2018 – What we can learn from Indigenous Peoples – http://www.open.ac.uk/people/gh2744 Suck my Flute – Omnia – https://www.worldofomnia.com DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – http://www.paganmusic.co.uk For further information about the Druid Tradition – http://www.druidry.org View the full article
  3. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you come upon the tarot for the first time and try to learn the esoteric meanings for all the cards and the card combinations. Here, Tarot Magic author Donald Tyson presents ten steps to familiarizing yourself with the cards of the tarot. View the full article
  4. We are on the edge of a monumental shift: On May 15, 2018, Uranus, the planetary archetype associated with awakening, freedom, revolution, radical change, and shaking up the status quo, is moving into Taurus, where it will stay until 2026. Taurus is a Venus-ruled sign, and the Goddess is poised to take center stage. We've already felt the rumblings, and over the next eight years we can expect to see unprecedented focus and movement in all issues connected to women, the feminine, and our planet. What does this shift mean? And how can we embrace the sacred feminine as Uranus enters Taurus? View the full article
  5. Living a cozy life means different things to different people; around the world, there are many different ways people embrace cozy living, including Hygge, Lagom, Shinrin-yoku, and more. Melissa Alvarez, author of The Simplicity of Cozy, presents five ways to help us get started. View the full article
  6. I thought it was about time that I gave you all an update on the next album – Y Mabinogi – The Second Branch. I wrote the spoken word section late last year and was looking for the perfect time to record it all when the Beast from the East arrived and snow fell across the country, including a very rare covering here in Sussex. The spoken word of the First Branch was recorded after 9pm each day, as the microphone picked up the light aircraft flying across to Brighton having taken off from Shoreham airport. The road outside my house was also quieter after 9. But the Beast from the East was a gift to me, as the snow, although not very deep, kept people from driving along back roads that had yet to be gritted. Out street was silent during those days, so with snow all across the Isle of Albion, the spoken word section of the Second Branch was recorded. If you are familiar with the Second Branch of Y Mabinogi you’ll know that this is a tragic tale of epic proportions. There really is no retribution in the story, it is a tragedy in true Shakespearian and, in truth, Game of Thrones style. Whilst I wrote and recorded the First Branch Cerri had made me a bronze pendant of Rhiannon that I wore in her honour and as guide. For the Second Branch she made be a pendant of two ravens, signifying Bran and Branwen. Over the past couple of months however I found the energy of that pendant, and of their story, completely overwhelming. In the end I had to take it off, and ask them to be a little more gentle with me, placing the pendant on my studio alter instead of wearing it. Although the tale is a tragedy, it is also epic, so the next thing I did was write the orchestral intro music. It was one of the things that made the First Branch so powerful for me, and Bran and Branwen’s tale could have slipped into melancholy, but I let my hands drift across the keyboard until they found a theme tune that I hope will lift the tale to tell of the war, and the Cauldron of Rebirth. Just as with the First Branch, the Second Branch is a magical tale, with vast depth, subplots and twists. But as time has moved on, and I’ve moved deeper into the tale, I’ve realised that I’m now completely out of my comfort zone. If you listen to my music apart from a couple of songs, they are uplifting and generally positive. There are anthems that bring people together. No such places are there within the Second Branch. There is no place for an uplifting anthem here, but instead music and lyric that speak directly to the heart of loss and sorrow. So this little Gemini who loves to see the world through rose glasses is having to dig deep, and it’s not easy. Which is good, and how it should be. I will be stretched by this story, and by the time it is finished I think I may be wrung dry, and in need of a break. So the thought of leaving Branches Three and Four and having a break until I’ve recorded an album of Pagan songs is very inviting right now. What a Journey this is turning out to be. View the full article
  7. Every day the news is filled with stories of women speaking up and finally being heard.The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, along with the marches and political activism of women at every level all over the planet, are society's reaction to what kabbalists have been expecting for many hundreds of years. Its teachings about the relationship between the sexes, although written long ago, resonate with current events in surprising ways. Devi Stern, author of Energy Healing with the Kabbalah, explains. View the full article
  8. Lost Souls Podcast coming May 4 Friday, May 4 Loreena shares the inspirations for all nine tracks from the Lost Souls recording, along with the music from each song. This is the first in a series of exclusive experiences for members of the LM Community. To experience this and other future events, be sure to subscribe today! loreenamckennitt.com/community Members, stay tuned for your email invitation to experience this streaming podcast. This podcast will be available to the general public beginning June 1. The post LM Community Exclusive – Lost Souls Podcast coming May 4 appeared first on Loreena McKennitt. View the full article
  9. Well hello! The blog fell quiet last week. Me and Cerri went on our first holiday, an actually holiday, for three years. The 10 days started with a trip north for a weekend exploring the ancient Bull’s Hide Trance, a ritual we have written down from various sources. It was a great weekend and I think it needs an article of its own, so I’ll leave that there for now. On Monday morning we arrived in Cornwall where we would spend the week. We had hired a wonderful self-catering cottage overlooking the river Fowey, in a tiny hamlet called Golant. What an amazing space and view. Watching the tide go in and out, and the call of the birds was a delight for the senses. The owners had asked when we thought we would arrive and when we got there we found out why – there was a lovely Cornish Cream Tea waiting for us on the balcony. Noms. The first day was wet, so we just spent that in the cottage, chilling out. But the next day the heatwave hit and we were off! Albion had been so cold and grey and the change was so sudden it was as if we’d climbed onto a plane in the grey, and got off on some Caribbean island. This Sun worshipper could not have been happier, although we had taken no hats, nor sun cream… But up we got and off to the Eden Project we went. The Eden Project is an amazing place with a wonderful back story. The St. Austell area of Cornwall was a very industrial place some years ago, and quarries are still visible across the landscape. So in 1995 the person who was responsible for the restoration of the nearby Lost Gardens of Heligan needed something new to focus on. A huge china clay quarry was nearing the end of its financial viability and often these spaces are simply abandoned, leaving huge scars upon the land. So Tim Smit turned his gaze towards this space with the dream for it to host some of the most important plants from around the world. Doors opened after a vast amount of work in 2002, and I think my first and only visit was about 2003, so it was very new and wasn’t quite established. It was amazing then, but now, some 15 years on, and it feels like it has come to fruition. Much had changed, and the huge Biomes were incredible. One exhibit I am so pleased is still there is a tribute to Bacchus, Dionysus, the God of the Vines. I could spend hours in front of it, and the power seriously tempts you to grab a bottle and join in! During the Bull’s Hide Trance one of the visions I received was an eye of what I thought was a canine. But as I looked at this vibrant display I realised it wasn’t canine at all, but the eye of a Bull. Maybe Baccus is calling me to work with him, or Mithras. We shall see where that leads… A tipple of a different kind caught me eye in the Eden Project shop… Well, when in Cornwall. I had to try it, and can report, it is lovely. Just the slightest hint of cream in the finish. After Eden it was time for a visit to our first fishing village. The sun was still high and warm so Mevagissey was calling. I had some things that I needed to do this holiday most of which revolved around food. So the Cornish Cream Tea was already ticked, and next the Cornish Pasty by the harbour, listening to the crashing of the sea against the cliffs. Thank you Mevagissey for supplying both! The end to a perfect day. Other highlights for me? Seeing an Atlantic Seal off the coast of Lizard Point, the southern-most tip of the Island of Albion. Luckily this was one day I had brought my binoculars and, with a little bit of fiddling about, I managed to catch this photo on the iPhone, through the binocular lens. Such magical animals. The Lizard has within its bones a particularly beautiful stone called Serpentine. Some say that is how it got its name, whilst others say it is a fisherman’s tale that when out to sea and looking back to land, the coast of the Lizard looks like, well, a lizard. Maybe both stories are true. Either way it’s a blessing that the commercialism that consumed Land’s End (I remember as a child only being rocks and sea there too) hasn’t appeared here. There is a shed containing work from local artists, and two fairly old cafes. The seal photo was taken when at one of those, sitting and eating, ok, I confess, another Pasty. And the Lizard Point is better for being left alone, as you can see in this shot. The roundest stone circle on the island was way down beyond Penzance and, again, I hadn’t been there for many years, so a visit to the Merry Maidens was very much on the cards. For much of our visit we had the stones to ourselves. Peace, magic, a communion with the ancestors. I know that thousands of people go to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice each year, but that huge party has never appealed to me. In fact I feel more at these smaller circles than I do within the Giant’s Dance, wonderful though it is. And finally the beautiful Mullion Cove, another harbour on the Lizard peninsula. For years this little place was my favourite spot on the planet. You could lay there, high above the crashing waves, and listen to the call of the hundreds of gulls that lived on the rock out to sea. And sometimes, just sometimes, those calls seem to change into the sound of children playing in the playground. The harbour is still just as beautiful, and here I ticked another Cornish culinary delight off from my list. A Cornish ice cream cone, with a nice dollop of Cornish Clotted Cream on top. Oh man. Where they meet the cream goes hard, and, well, you have to just try it to understand… As I stood on the balcony of that little cottage on the last night, and watched as the sun set, and the river Fowey rolled in from the sea, I realised something. I was born in Cornwall. My bones and teeth were made from the food and water of that place, but my parents moved us away when I was very young, so I’ve lived most of my life in Sussex. But for years I never felt at home here. I was a child of Granite and Moor, and the gentleness of Sussex was, well, to pretty and gentle. But some years ago I found out that, on my Father’s side, our family have lived in Sussex for centuries. I have an ancestor buried in Portslade cemetery from the 1700s, which is about a mile from where I’m sitting right now. My ancestry is Sussex. When I learned that I thought I’d managed to get Cornwall out of my system. But as I watched the river, listened as the owls begin to hoot, and the sun set, suddenly the air became crisp and chill, it smelled earthy, and sweet, a smell that took me right back to my childhood, and I began to cry, because I will never be someone with just one home. I will always and forever have two. When I leave this body it will be laid in the earth of Sussex, with my ancestors, but my Druid robe, that I have asked Cerri to burn, and to take the ashes of that sacred garment and scatter in on the headland of Cornwall. But I hope that won’t be for a long time yet. View the full article
  10. Freemasonry is a living paradox, full of secrets, wisdom, and speculation. So, what exactly is Freemasonry? Jean-Louis de Biasi, author of Esoteric Freemasonry, explores the history of Freemasonry and answers the question of esoteric Freemasonry. View the full article
  11. Shownotes for Druidcast Episode 133 Look to the Water – S J Tucker – http://sjtucker.com The Talky Bit – Helen Woodford-Dean – Spiritual Orkney, from the OBOD Winter Gathering – https://www.spiritualorkney.co.uk The Coming of Spring – Dancing Hare – http://www.dancinghare.co.uk Story Time – The Lady of the Lake – Roland Rotherham – https://www.rolandrotherham.co.uk DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard – https://www.paganmusic.co.uk For further information on the Druid tradition – https://www.druidry.org View the full article
  12. Tarot in Wonderland was created in the space where tarot and the Alice stories (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass) by Lewis Carroll meet. What makes this liminal place so perfect for the Tarot? Barbara Moore explains. View the full article
  13. I was on a panel at the recent Pagan Federation Devon and Cornwall conference and said something that a number of people have mentioned to me since, so I thought maybe a blog article on it would be of value. Over the years I’ve heard some Pagans lament that our Pagan ancestors, particularly the Druids, didn’t write anything down. That it would be a lot easier if we all just had a book, like the Bible, that told us what to believe. I couldn’t disagree more, and this was the focus of what I said on the panel. A book like the Bible is useful if, as Philip Carr-Gomm has said over the years, you like to be in the restaurant. You can read through the menu (books) and chose your denomination and off you go. The meal has been made for you. Enjoy it. But most Pagans and Druids I know prefer to be in the kitchen, with all of the ingredients, creating something that exactly suits their taste. Neither is better than the other, it’s all personal choice. So the pattern is reversed for Pagans. With the ‘revealed’ religions the book contains the belief system. Of course people still argue about the meaning, but it’s there. From reading, listening to, going to church, a person following that path may then have experiences that back up those beliefs. The huge benefit I think is that, if a person has some kind of crisis of faith, comfort can often be found within the pages of the book. But Pagans don’t have a book. We do have myths, poetry, sacred sites, places of power, folklore, but no one book. So when a person’s feet fall for the first time upon a Pagan path, we might read the myths, or take a walk to an ancient sacred site, we might find out if there is a place nearby that has connections to stories of the Fair Folk. If there is, maybe those first few steps might take us there, to that hill with the three trees, or the old Barrow, or the crossroads in the woods. We actively seek out experience. We might join a Coven or a Grove, take part in an open ritual, be led on a path of creative visualisation. All of those things give us experiences, direct connection with the Great Big whatever It Is (They Are). So gradually, and it might take a very long time, those experiences shape the way we view the world – from the prayers we might say, to the food we eat, the choices we make, the way we live our lives. So with the revealed religions the belief leads to experiences, with Pagan paths the experiences can lead to beliefs. Which is why people chose the path they follow, and can indeed change that path if the experiences just don’t feel right anymore. Now, as I said above one of the strengths with having a book is that there is comfort within those pages. When life takes a turn for the worse, or maybe it just gets so busy we feel a disconnect from our path, where does a Pagan turn? If life is so busy that we stop going to our Grove or Coven (or maybe resent the time it is taking up), or stop taking those walks to our favourite sacred space, it might not be long before we begin to question those beliefs. If we are no longer experiencing the magic, how strong is the faith? Will it see us through, or will we walk away? It’s ironic that, when things get on top of us, when life gets crazy, the first thing many people drop are the things that are good for them. One, being their spiritual growth. “I haven’t got time to meditate/read/walk/maintain my altar/go to Grove meetings, or Coven meetings, or a Moot” etc etc. So we don’t. Then we wonder why we are feeling even more disconnected. Maybe we even question the validity of our path. Was it all just nonsense? It is when life gets in the way that the experiences of Spirit/the Gods whatever you call it/them are so important. That is the very time to start a daily practice (or restart it, if you stopped). Experiences are the Pagan’s book. It takes more effort to seek them out instead of just reaching for, and reading the contents of pages, but it’s not the experiences that have stopped, they are all still there. We just need to show up, and open up again. So I get up early, and head off into the countryside. Maybe up that hill to the old Iron Age hill fort. You know, the one where it’s said the Faeries dance on Midsummer Eve. It’s not yet dawn and as I walk the birds begin the dawn chorus. They sound so beautiful, as if they are singing just for me. Staff in hand I walk the last few feet, up the ramparts, and look out across the valley below. The sky is turning from red, to orange and blue. The undersides of the occasional cloud begins to shine out, and then the Sun, in all of his glory, breaks the horizon. I raise my wand high to be blessed by the rising sun and sing the Awen. Below in the valley I see a hawk soaring. The Hawk of Dawn, soaring in the clear, pure air. A moment of bliss, of magic, or wonder, of connection. Some might say that all happened because of my presence, but that sounds a little self-important to me. The truth is that these magical moments happen all the time. The difference today was I got up to be there, I made the effort to witness and experience it. I turned up. It was actually the other way around. It was the countryside, the Sun, the clouds, the hawk saying to me, “Ah! There you are! We’ve been here for ages!” View the full article
  14. Every Monday at 8pm UK time Philip Carr-Gomm does a live broadcast from the Facebook page of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids called Tea with Philip. Hundreds of people from all around the world tune in and connect with a meditation, and then Philip will give a little talk about an aspect of Druidry and the Order. Yesterday Philip was away in the USA so he asked if I would step into his shoes and host the broadcast, and I was delighted, if a little nervous, about doing it. Yesterday at 8pm UK time we shared Coffee with Damh. We tuned in with each other, then people asked me a couple of questions about my music, and I played a couple of songs live. The sound quality during the songs isn’t brilliant, but it’s ok, and it was wonderful imagining people all across the Earth listening and join in. So here is the video. Grab a coffee (or tea if you prefer) and enjoy the chat and music. View the full article
  15. Having a successful paranormal investigation goes beyond simply being in the right place and having the right equipment. It also helps to have a set of guidelines to ensure safety, proper documentation, helpful results. Here, Haunted Heart of America author Logan Corelli provides six basic fundamentals of paranormal investigation to ensure a great experience in the field of the unknown. View the full article
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