1 Foghamhnar 43 - Lughnasadh 2005 - Vol.3 No. 4
www.mithrilstar.org


Once more the liberal year laughs out
O'er richer stores than gems or gold:
Once more with harvest song and shout
Is nature's boldest triumph told.
~~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

~~ John Keats, To Autumn

Lughnasadh is often defined as a cross-quarter day midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox, which is half way through Leo (in the northern hemisphere) or Aquarius (in the southern hemisphere). Lughnasadh in the northern hemisphere coincides with Imbolc in the southern hemisphere. As a Sabbat it is preceded by Midsummer and followed by Mabon.

Lughnasadh festivals lasted from 15 July until 15 August. Aside from three days of religious rituals, the celebrations were a time for contests of strength and skill.

~~ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This next excerpt was written by Kathleen Dupree of the Celtic Republic of Appalachia:

...Lughnasadh is named for Lugh, the Celtic deity who presides over the arts and sciences. According to Celtic legend, Lugh decreed that a commemorative feast be held each year at the beginning of the harvest season to honour his foster mother, Tailtui.

Tailtui was the royal Lady of the Fir Bolg. After the defeat of her people by the Tuatha De Danaan, she was obliged by them to clear a vast forest for the purpose of planting grain. She died of exhaustion in the attempt. The legend states that she was buried beneath a great mound named for her, at the spot where the first feast of Lughnasadh was held in Ireland, the hill of Tailte. At this gathering were held games and contests of skill as well as a great feast made up of the first fruits of the summer harvest....

...As years passed, traditions surrounding the feast at Tailte began to solidify into events and ceremonial activities designed to celebrate not only Tailtui and the bounty of the harvest that her original sacrifice provided but also to honor the work and sacrifice of human beings as they strove to provide sustenance for their families and community....

...With the coming of Christianity to the Celtic lands, the old festival of Lughnasadh took on Christian symbolism. Loaves of bread were baked from the first of the harvested grain and placed on the church altar on the first Sunday of August. The Christianized name for the feast of Lughnasadh is Lammas which means "loaf mass".... (More at http://www.leyline.org/cra/articles/lughnasadh.html)

Incense: Aloes, rose, sandalwood

Colours: Orange, gold, and yellow

Stones: Aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx

Plants and Herbs: Acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflower, wheat

Taboos: Not sharing food

Foods: Homemade breads, barely cakes, nuts, wild berries, apples, rice, roasted lamb, berry pies, elderberry wine, meadowsweet tea.

More on Tailtiu

Tailtiu was a noble Rígh-bhean, or Queen, of the Fir Bolg, the race of peoples who inhabited Ireland before the coming of the Tuatha De Dannan. Tailtiu was Lugh's foster-mother. His fosterage with Tailtiu begins his intimate experience with the energies of the Land, preparing him as a future champion of the Tribe for a bountiful Harvest.

Tailtiu shines as a goddess with the most supreme of virtues, self sacrifice. Tailtiu gave her life in a most extraordinary way. One year the Fir Bolg had a bad harvest and many were starving. Tailtiu took up an axe and began to clear a forest with her own two hands in the space of one year. Little did the Fir Bolg know that this act would kill her. At the end of her labors it is said: "Her heart burst in her body from the strain beneath her royal vest."

Before she died she told the Fir Bolg to celebrate her passing every year on the anniversary of her death, the 1st of August:

Long was the sorrow, long the weariness of Tailtiu, in sickness after heavy toil; the men of the island of Erin to whom she was in bondage came to receive her last behest. She told them in her sickness (feeble she was but not speechless) that they should hold funeral games to lament her . . . White-sided Tailtiu uttered in her land a true prophecy: that so long as every prince should accept her, Erin should not be without perfect song.

It was Lugh who held the very first Óenach Tailtenn or "Tailtiu Games" to remember and honor his foster-mother. The Fair of Tailtiu was a time of peace, first held by the Fir Bolg in their time, by the Tuatha De Dannan after them, and then by the Sons of Míl until the coming of the Adzehead:
A fair with gold, with silver, with games, with music of chariots, with adornment of body and of soul by means of knowledge and eloquence. A fair without wounding or robbing of any man, without trouble, without dispute, without raping, without challenge of property, without suing, without law-sessions, without evasion, without arrest.

A fair green with three marvels it possessed: a man without a head walking about it, the son of a boy of seven years, held on a finger, the fall of the priest from the air.

Tailtiu is a reminder of how much the Land gives to us, and the Óenach Tailtenn a time to remember her sacrifice for the fertility of the Land, and how much she gave in return for that boon.

MUSINGS FROM THE ARCH-DRUID
by Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear

This is one season that I am glad that Sybok and I live on the Redwood Coast, where the weather is most gentle and temperate (well, except for the tsunami warning a couple months ago!) - where our temperatures average in the mid to upper 60's (plus humidity, of course) - while just a few miles inland they are hovering around the 100's! And of course, if it ever feels too hot, a short walk to the Sea to dip my feet in her waters provides an instant cool-off! And interestingly, this is the time of year that our friends most want to visit us, for besides the cooling of the ocean, there is the cool shade of our majestic Redwoods - a perfect place for Summer camping...

Anyway, within this issue of The Druid's Egg, we have added a new feature: Barding Writings From OMS Members. We have so many talented writers/poets in OMS that we decided to provide for them a venue wherein they can share their work - and we are starting off with a number of beautiful and evocative submissions that I hope you will all enjoy! For this issue, we thank Sezo and Myrddin for their multiple offerings...and we also would like to thank Stephen Abbott (though not a member of OMS, he is a friend of the Order), Arch-Druid of the Hazlenut Mother Grove RDNA and NRDNA online branch, for his submission of two of his wonderful articles/stories!

Also in this issue, besides honouring Lugh, we are paying homage to his foster mother Tailtiu - as well as the Mother aspect in general - since this is also her time of the year...

And finally, the Mother Grove of OMS would like to thank all the members who donated generously to our fund-raiser to aid the tree-sitters in the Humboldt County Redwoods - enough was raised to provide them with a whole lot of food and other much-needed supplies, and they asked us to pass along their immense gratitude for our Order's aid and support! Well done, everyone! :)

Dance, Lady, dance on the Oak King's tomb
Where he lies half a year in thy quiet womb.
Dance, Lady, dance at the Holly King's birth,
Who has slain his twin for the love of Earth.

Dance, Lady, dance to the Sun God's power
And his touch of gold on field and flower.
Dance, Lady, dance with thy blade in hand,
That shall summon the Sun to bless thy land.

Dance, Lady, dance in the Silver Wheel,
Where the Oak King rests, his wounds to heal.
Dance, Lady, dance for the Holly King's reign,
Till his brother the Oak shall rise again.

Dance, Lady, dance in the moonlit sky,
To the Threefold Name men know thee by.
Dance, Lady, dance on the turning Earth,
For the Birth that is Death, and the Death that is Birth.

Dance, Lady, dance to the Sun on high,
For his burning splendor, too, must die.
Dance, Lady, dance to the year's long tide,
For through all change must thou abide.

~~From Janet and Stewart Farrar's A Witches' Bible

The following two Bardic writings were generously submitted to us by Stephen Abbott -
Arch-Druid of the Hazelnut Mother Grove RDNA and NRDNA On-Line Branch - for the purpose
of sharing his talent and inspiration with the readers of this newsletter...

In Search of the Lady Rhiannon's Mystery
by Stephen W. Abbott McCaully, AD

The following prose-poem dedicated to the Goddess Rhiannon, Goddess of the Wind and Song, was written in a mediumistic trance on Thursday,March 29th,1979 at 3AMpst. I was inspired to some degree by Fleetwood Mac's song about Rhiannon sung by Stevie Nicks. The greater part of my inspiration came from my recent studies and researches in relation to this particular goddess,material which I intend to publish at a later date. I'd like to thank Zai Zatoon for her lovely artistic rendering of the Goddess Rhiannon. I am interested in all comments about this work.

The Journey

I am being taken out of my body,directed out of my body some unknown force. At first I resist, but after a time I realize that this unseen force does not will to do me harm. Quite the contrary,it wills to take me hither and yon away from the confines of my body and mind into another world which I have seen only in glimpses. A world of unearthly beauty and light. An immortal world where time ceases its unending pace. A place where dwelleth the divine kindred of my Celtic race.

I am out of my body floating on my thoughts and allowing them to transport me to this other-worldly place, beyond time and space and even mortal memory. I gaze down at the sites below me and see an earth strange and transfigured. Vestiges of the 20th Age are not to be found in any form. There are no cars, nor street lights,nor planes,nor trains. Just masses of green and patches of rivers and streams,and occasionally a village flows by. The air about me is fresh and clean,no smug to poison my lungs and brain. My motion slows its pace, and my memory relates to me its tales of the Celtic race. The winds about me are pressing closer and closer and growing cooler. But I feel not the wind's harshness, for I am now clothed in fine ,white linen which magically fits my body as if it had been patterned for me and me alone. It smells of crisp fresh snow. I am no longer in free flight,but standing on a hilltop which seems to me a familiar place, and evokes to mind my Celtic race. My mind tries to trace this rock strewn hill within the bounds of my living memory. After a time it finds the passage to the hidden door which conceals this long buried memory. Through my mind I pass through this door of memories lost and come at last to realize where I am,even to know what force has brought me hither through the bounds of time and space, to dwell at last with my Celtic past.

The Encounter with the Lady

My mind has done it's work. A great feeling of warmth and mirth now consumes my inner being. I am in a place of grace and power and beauty. A place that I have known before in another life and time, a place where many a sacrifice has been performed to truth and light.

The name of this place is whispered on the lips of the winds, and I listen to what the winds will to tell me:

"Thou hast been transported to this place beyond time and space, and even beyond your deepest memories. This place thou knowest by the name Gorshedd Arberth, the hill-throne of Justice and Sacrifice of this world and the Otherworld, presided over by the Lady of Justice and Light, Wind and Air and Beauty bright. Rhiannon is my name and love and song be my might. To my abode thou hast come this night."

The wind now takes the form of the most radiant and beautiful woman that I have ever seen in all me life,dressed in a gown of clouds and light,whose airy presence brings to me tears of grand delight. And in a moment of timelessness the Great Goddess of Singing Birds and Loving Life stands before my trembling being. I gaze upon her and my mouth forms words that seem strange to my senses. I speak to the Lady of the Wind's True Song:

"Oh Rhiannon, Oh Rhiannon, Beauteous Goddess of Life,Light and Love,fashion for me a dove of love."She gazes upon my linen-draped frame, with eyes so wise and tinged with flame, and speaks to me and calls me by name,with a voice so musical I cry in shame.

The Grey-eyed Lady speaks:
"Oh Bard of my people, Oh scholar of Life, I have brought you hither to this place of light, back to your time-honored home this night. Be not ashamed of thy lips desires, for thou art welcome in my sight. Here in my throne room thou stay the night and listen to my tales of woe and plight, which I shall impart to thee with grand delight."

And with the wind which is her element, she tells me tales of woe and bedevilment, which brought so many tears from out of my eyes that a river began to form which reached my thighs,and a fire consumed my ears and eyes. Then she blew away my river of tears and cleansed the redness of my eyes and ears.

After a time the Lady spoke to me again:
"Oh Bard of my people, you have passed this test. Your tears flow honestly down thy breast. In many ways thou art the best, but still thou must pass the final test."

Then she told me tales of love and beauty that went beyond the rest, and I found myself laughing and then crying like all the rest. Once again a river formed and as before she blew it away and cleansed the redness from my eyes and ears and wiped away all my left over tears.

Then she spoke to me a sleeping rune which made my mind sway and swoon. But before my lids had fully closed, I heard her say to me in repose:

"Oh Child of Earth,Oh Bard of Loving Heart, I send thee back to relearn thy art, and when thou hast accomplished this, I shall call thee back to dwell in this thy true abode of immortal bliss".

When I awoke I was back in my earthly home, and suddenly I felt so alone and saddened. But when I realized all that had happened, my heart and mind happy and gladdened.

The Pledge to the Lady

"Oh Lady Rhiannon, Oh Patroness of those who follow the Bardic path, I shall relearn my art and return to the path of Bard and Druid , of Mage and Sage, and Wisdom of Age,and ever shall I strive to reach the highest path to the highest goal of life and love and freedom of soul. Farewell to thee Oh Lady of Memory, farewell to thee Oh Lady of the Wind's true song, farewell to thee who taught me this song of life and love and wisdom gone. Farewell to thee sweet Rhiannon. And now I sit before my desk to study and learn the true poet's quest, and one day soon I shall come again to her holy place of wisdom and learn the arts which will grant me the freedom to live and love within her kingdom.

Why we are Druids?
by Stephen W. Abbott McCaully,
AD

The sun shining in all her brilliance in the early morning light. The moon bright in her fullness in the deepest night. The green plants growing wild in the deep woods. The deer frolicking happily in the
dale. The salmon swimming lazily in his sun-lit stream. The ancient rocks and stones standing still, keeping their secrets.

These are things of Nature be she Danu or Don. These are things of which we Druids adore and honor. We Druids are followers of Nature's Ancient way. We are her sons and daughters who will honor her to our
days undying For death hast no sting for us Druids for we know it is just a change for when we have passed we will join Nature once again.

For as Druids we are of Nature and Nature is of us...

We are at one with the lizard below and the dove flying high above. How do we help our Lady of Nature in this her time of need? We do it by giving her all of our love. We do it by taking care of her children the ancient trees, both Birch and Elder, Pine and Redwood, Oak, Ash and Beech, whose tops rise high in the daylight sky. We do it by being true to our Druid selves. Through our actions and our rituals we do honor our Mother Nature be she Danu or Don. We do it by bringing up our children to respect and honor our
Mother Nature in all her works and deeds. It is up to us Druids both female and male to honor her strength and love which can create a lizard below and a dove flying high through the air above.

Oh how wonderful is our Mother Nature in all that she creates. Surely her protection should not be a thing for debate. For we Druids are charged as Druids with the responsibility for protecting and caring for all that she creates. For this indeed is a great responsibility that we Druids have taken on from the path that we
have chosen.

Why are we Druids? This should now be obvious. We are Druids because we want to know our Mother Nature. We want to know her secrets, her powers, her knowledge, her love and yes her beauty. We're Druids because we want to know her ways and the many secrets of her children,her animals and other living creatures, her green plants, her trees, her rocks and stones, her rivers and streams and all who dwell within.

We're Druids because we want to link up to the knowledge and wisdom of the Ancient Druids of our distant past. Which most us have sadly forgotten. We want to know what these Ancient Druids thought. We want to know how they venerated Mother Nature be she Danu or Don in their works and deeds. We are Druids because we use our wits and our magic ks which we learned at the knees of our Mother Nature be she Danu or Don. We are still children in her eyes. Like children we still have much to learn from our Mother Nature and her other children the animals and other living creatures,birds and fish and her green plants and trees and rocks and stones and her rivers and streams and all who dwell within.

I hope these thoughts have helped my fellow Druids understand why they are Druids both female and male. Let us as Druids grow strong and powerful with these thoughts. May new thoughts come out of these and may we ever continue to grow and learn and always shall we know why we are Druids.

I would like to dedicate this piece to the loving memory of two Arch-Druids who were taken to Tir Na Nog too early. AD Robert Lawson and AD Emmon Bodfish. I miss them deeply. "May the Goddess Bridgit hold their memories for all time in our Hearts". Yours Always in the Mother Danu: Arch Druid (AD) Stephen W.
Abbott. Peace, Peace, Peace.


AVALON RISEN

In January, Avalon Risen moved to it's own domain at http://avalonrisen.info
We are growing by leaps and bounds, and are continually expanding our line of unique Pagan and Metaphysical jewelry, books and ritual supplies!

There are now hundreds of items from which to choose that perfect gift for holidays, initiations, birthdays or any other special occasions (like maybe rewarding yourself for something you've accomplished) - at a wide range of prices to fit every budget.

We now have an alphabetical INDEX for our 1000+ books!
They are now searchable by Title and Author!

"The Grove's Bookshelf" is also included for those who wish to continue their Druid education, or for those taking the RD101 self-study course who wish to peruse the
source materials from whence the lessons
were derived.

As always, a portion of our sales will be used in our ongoing
work towards saving the
Coastal Redwoods.


Bardic Writings From OMS Members

(The following writings were generously submitted to us for the purpose of sharing their talents and inspirations with the readers of this newsletter. This will hopefully become a regular feature, as we have several budding Bards in the group!)

From Tiny Seeds Mighty Redwoods Grow
by Sezo (written July 10, 2005)

We have all (well the vast majority) have taken our 1st degree ritual and felt honoured to be formally welcomed into OMS, the virtual grove and to feel our God-head and to celebrate with our waterkin. I for one hold that ritual as a key part of this past year in my development not only in a druid way but in all areas and aspects of life, and how it works together to form my unique person. However, rather than the usual course of joining the Order and being initiated into the 1st degree and then undertaking the course, I obviously had to go about it the other. I was mostly through the course before becoming a member, with the 1st initiation at the end of the course. So, the learning and growing of a Very Tall Tree had to come from somewhere else rather than the course .Waiting is, and it definitely was!

I have to admit, that when I first signed up as saw that each degree was dedicated and patron of certain things, I thought hmm how pretty, how interesting and thought little about it. However in the past few weeks as I come back through the Underworld of a very bad phrase in my life I can feel and grok somewhat Sequoia's presence in my meditations as I sit amongst a grove of them (which was rather unplanned I may add), and feel that spirit as I walk, wake up and helps me carry through the days, good and bad. Its not really since my Reiki 1 attunement that I have become so aware of the energy ever so gently moving and vibrating that I can truly acknowledge what has been helping me all these months without me knowing and it took me a friendly Pine tree (another very tall tree, well for the UK) to tell me.

The first degree is all about walking your talk. Simple, easy, right? Wrong or at least it was for me. I remember that even Mike in SiaSL took awhile to grok how to learn about life and how to live it, and I take comfort in that I will never be the only one! During my depressive time in the Underworld as I like to call it, the moments of thinking `dark thoughts' of self harm and suicide it took me a while to fully realise it. Heaven knows I had had dreams about it for the past couple of months telling me, I had failed to touch my tarot cards, runes or astrology charts to read for myself and pay attention etc, a spiritual lack of appetite and only being `force fed' at Pagan events and socials. My perspective grew darker. I was deep in the ground, a seed so desperate and alone in the darkness, and had to draw on its strength and resources to get what it needed to push its way from the soil and into the air ­ to become a shoot, a sapling. Rather than food and water, I started to read my tools, acknowledge my dreams and draw on my ancestors ­ my family of blood and waterkin to help me gather a voice to tell others of my deep unhappiness. The more I talked about it I found so many open arms and helping arms, their energy coming together and humming around me wishing me to come out, but at the end of the day it was me that had to crawl my way to the surface.

The first gulp of air, the kiss of the breeze against my skin as the sun smiled down on me was so inspiring to do more. The pressure was off, as I saw my first true dawn in over 6 months. I cried as I realised how magical this moment was for me as I cried out and worked through my issues. Each time I cried, talked about it, realised something else be in logically, in meditation etc, each time I made moves in the mundane world to sort my life out, was like a new layer of bark. Whenever I needed help I had friends, family and my mate around me to listen to me, help me through my depressive `wobbles' and to hold me as I cried, their love and energy was a sprinkle of water to keep me going through the heat of the summer, keep me well watered and fed to keep growing and grokking. My `tribe/nest' was as if the Gods were tender gardeners talking to me and helping me grow ­ spot of compost, feed and water. They worked together and brought love and care.

Each day I grow and grow. I was a sapling and now I am a small tree with a trunk and a few branches. I am doing well, but I need to grow more. I am happy being what I am, but I need to reach my potential and the clouds. Even now as I type I can feel myself stretching like a very tall tree, as I learn, as I walk my talk and learn some more! Often I have ramblings or poems (which become more often now that the Awen is starting to flow more freely through me) that at first are about one thing and then later I can read about something else, another unfolding of my perspectives, my Druid way and myself. I see things in a new way and even catch a glimpse of the every beautiful fey which I love and only now welcome into my life, when they aren't tripping me up or hiding my much needed books or tarot decks!

It is only as I reach higher to the sky and really feel at peace with Earth, Sea and Sky that I can welcome names to my deity. Athena and Ceridwen still keep their ever-piercing stare on me, but now I can welcome other deities. Freyja and Thor want me to experience their light and love in all its forms. Before Thor would hardly look at me (and I did try at one point) but now Thor sees me as a worthy opponent, a friend at his table and someone to chuckle with ­ Freyja brings her feline messengers to me who can never be ignored. I found my inner cat, and found my inner `owner'. Freyja will feed me, love me and offer me her many lovers and presents, but always with a price. I hold my chalice to OMS for the necessary teaching of there being no such thing as a free lunch in preparation for what Freyja offers!

Still this is not enough. Still I do not fully see and need to reach higher to see all around me, there's so much more to grok! The more I grow and see around me, the more I see within me, count the rings, the experiences, the blessings and learn some home truths and to take action. I can sit and be my own very tall tree and feel nearly fully-grown. I am happy to keep growing, to reach the clouds, the sky and even the Mithril Star, but I can't keep growing like this. With water brother Derfel's beautiful wand on my altar I see this as an omen from the Gods (and the Redwoods!) that I have reached the top. I have outgrown this meditation, this analogy of the past year that I need a new one ­ the second degree, the powers of Boann and the rivers to ripple through my life.

I wonder, how many of us take the pretty grid about the initiations seriously? How many of us work through those symbols and meditate on them, welcome their powers to help and transform us? I wonder what other tales the other Very Tall Trees around me in our Grove can whisper to me?

It took a Pine tree to make me fully realise all the above, and the Awen to help me write it, but it took me to type and relive all the darkness again and find so much light in it. I feel that the powers of the Very Tall Trees have brought me out my deadweight and into an even balance which the Rivers already want to rock, want to make them change with the tides and the weather. However, I still do and always will savour this moment of simply being my own Very Tall Tree, this space where I can walk my talk, where I can be in the moment and feel myself rather than feel and open myself to everything else. The present is so precious to the Sequoia, for that is all it knows and finds worthy. Time is no linear to it, but all is a big blob, everything affects the present therefore it is all part of the present, and the future is part of that present so let us be strong and proud in THIS moment, let us do, let us be. And so it is only know I open myself to this cusp, as I eventually did to the others, and have acted rightly as I grok.

The Redhead
by Sezo (written June 28, 2005)

Your fire burns and rages against my skin
entices my head and heart
so enraptured am I.
Then you destroy me
use me to slake your hunger
perpetuate your lust
your constant thirst for more.

I leave as ashes,
a fragile shell of what I was
broken and battered,
only then do I hate you as I
feel hollow and abused
but loved, wanted and desired.
You feed from a chosen few

I am honoured to be
considered worthy of your light
your passion
your charm
You love me and I feel whole and refreshed
as I hunt for more I can offer you
in blessed sacrifice.

GREENING of the LAND
by Myrddin Faolwen

Of greater value
That which comes
With the arrival of Spring

She comes riding
Astride Her horse
Bridled and saddled in flowers

Hair flying behind
Arm extended to Her side
With sword in hand

To the left and right
And all behind
Change's golden Light extended

Trees bud and flower
Young leaves stretch
To bring in the Light

Grass glows green
Giving joy in beauty
While reaching for the Light

In Her wake
Life springs up in youth
And blossoms to give joy

Flowers of every description and hue
Follow Her footsteps
Perfuming Her advance

Renewed life and growth
After winter's cold sleep
Awakened in joy

Awaken, Oh Man
Open to joy
In the Greening of the Land

Through the Limbs of the Trees
by Myrddin Faolwen

At sunrise I saw the moon
Through the limbs of an oak
Her happy face glowing silver-white
Through the blueing sky

Just two nights past full
Her beauty radiant
She was embraced, held perfectly
In the arms of the oak

I saw the sun rise
Through the limbs of a birch
His red-gold face peaking
Over the horizon

His day's journey beginning
In morning's radiant beauty
He sent the stars to bed
In morning sky's blueing

At the sun's rising
The moon is setting
Beauty repeated daily
For all to see

May all who see remember
And carry in their hearts
The day's beginning splendor
Seen through the limbs of the trees

A Walk
by Myrddin Faolwen

I took a walk
Through the woods
Down the old road
On top of the ridge

A light wind stirred
Leaves on the trees
Small clouds of dust
Kicked up by my feet

Out of the hollow
Up the ridgeside
Came a young stag
In full regal stride

His manner was calm
At peace inside
Eyes clear and bright
Antlered head held high

Down the road
We two walked
I at his side
And he at mine

At ease in companionship
Onward we walked
Under green canopy
And blue summer sky

Our paths separated
He to his
And I to mine
Through forest and time

Yet we are together
In heart and mind
In friendship and kinship
Linked in Spirit forever

Stats

As of today we have 153 members, of which:
20 members are eligible for ordination into the First Degree.
16 members are ordained First Degree Druids.
2 members are eligible for ordination into the Second Degree
9 members are ordained Second Degree Druids
3 members are eligible for ordination into the Third Degree
7 members are ordained Third Degree Druids
4 members are eligible for ordination into the Fourth Degree
1 member is an ordained Fifth Degree Druid
2 members are ordained Seventh Degree Druids

During the 3rd quarter of YR 43, the Order experienced a net Membership gain of 3

Total Groves: 2
Total US Members: 129
Total Canadian Members: 9
Total UK Members: 5
Total International Members: 23
Total Countries represented: 8
Total US States represented: 31
Total Canadian Provinces represented: 6
Top 5 US States: OR=12, CA=11, WA=12, FL=11, NY=7
Total members in areas with Redwood Groves: 5

Lughnasadh is traditionally the time for making every kind of solemn oath. Here under the
shade of the ancient oak, the druids stand ready to witness your promise,
whether it be to clan, to partner, or to yourself. Renew old vows or seal new promises!
Celebrate marriage, friendship and all honorable alliances!
(Graphic created by Amlaidh Niafer)

BY THE GODS OUR PEOPLE SWEAR BY, SO BE IT!

ASTROLOGY FOR PAGANS

Ceridwen currently has four Advanced sessions and one Intermediate session in progress. Because of this large amount of classes, she is taking a long "hiatus" from the group class format for quite some time (at least until all of her current students graduate)...

Ceridwen is, however still offering PRIVATE TUTORING sessions! Because of the increased "personal attention" these entail, there will be a sliding scale fee required...

If you wish to take advantage of this offer, or need more information about it, send an email to: Ceridwen Subject line: AstroPagan private tutoring

You will then be contacted immediately and a private database and schedule will be set up that will conform to your own personal needs - NO WAITING! All of the pertinent charts and tables will be calculated and sent to you, as you need them. Each lesson will be offered whenever YOU are ready for it - no homework deadlines! - and if you need to take time off at any point for personal business or holidays or whatever reason, your schedule will be adjusted accordingly!

Or...

If you are interested in a private consultation about your Astrological chart, please visit her home page at:

http://hunters-moon.org

Holiday Rite by John & Caitlin Matthews

O God of the ripening fields,
Lord of the Grain,
Grant me the understanding of sacrifice as
You prepare to deliver Yourself
Under the sickle of the Goddess and
Journey to the lands of eternal summer.
O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
Teach me the secrets of rebirth
As the Sun loses its strength
And the nights grow cold.

Lughnasadh Ritual:

Place upon the altar sheaves of wheat, barley or oats, fruit and breads, perhaps a loaf fashioned in the figure of the Sun or a man to represent the God. Corn dollies, symbolic of the Goddess, can be present there as well.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of stones (any familiar casting of circle will do)

Recite the Blessing Chant. (free worded style, can be used)

Invoke the Goddess and God (invite them to attend)

Stand before the altar, holding aloft the sheaves of grain, saying these or similar words:

“Now is the time of the First Harvest,
when the bounties of nature gives of themselves
so that we may survive.

O God of the ripening fields, Lord of the Grain,
grant me the understanding of sacrifice as you
prepare to deliver yourself under the sickle of the
Goddess and journey to the lands of eternal summer.

O Goddess of the Dark Moon,
teach me the secrets of rebirth
As the Sun loses its strength and the nights grow cold.”

Rub the heads of the wheat with your finger so that the grains fall onto the altar. Lift a piece of fruit and bite it, savoring its flavor, and say:

“I partake of the first harvest, mixing its energies

with mine that I may continue my quest for the starry
wisdom of perfection.

O Lady of the Moon and Lord of the Sun,
gracious ones before Whom the stars halt their courses,
I offer my thanks for the continuing fertility of the earth.
May the nodding grain loose its seeds to be buried in
The Mother's breast, ensuring rebirth in the warmth
of the coming spring.”

Consume the rest of the fruit.
Works of magic, if necessary, may follow.
Celebrate the Simple Feast.
The circle is released.


ALMANAC

Today is Lughnasadh / Lammas, or August 1, 2005 CE.

It is the 276 the day of the 43rd Year of the Reform, the 1st day of the Season of Foghamhnar, and the 1st day of the Month of MÌ na Lynasa.

It is also Monday, in the common tongue, or Dydd Llun in Welsh.

It is the Druidic day of the Willow.

FULL MOONS occur on 19 Foghamhnar, 48 Foghamhnar, and 78 Foghamhnar.

NEW MOONS occur on 4 Foghamhnar, 34 Foghamhnar and 64 Foghamhnar.

The Sun enters Virgo on 22 Foghamhnar.

The birthday of our Arch-Druid, Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear , occurs on 23 Foghamhnar.

Me·n Fumhair (September) begins on 32 Foghamhnar
(a Thursday - Dydd Lau - Day of the Oak).

The OMS "schismed" from the RDNA on 35 Foghamhnar YR 41.

Mabon / Alban Eluid, or the Autumnal Equinox occurs on 53 Foghamhnar.

The Sun enters Libra on 53 Foghamhnar.

Deireadh Fumhair (October) begins on 62 Foghamhnar
(a Saturday - Dydd Sadwrn -- Day of the Coast Redwood).

A Solar Eclipse occurs on 64 Foghamhnar.

"Invasion Day" is observed by the First Nations of North America on 71 Foghamhnar.

A Lunar Eclipse occurs on 78 Foghamhnar.

The Sun enters Scorpio on 84 Foghamhnar.

United Nations Day is 85 Foghamhnar.

In the United States, Daylight Savings Time ends at 2:00 AM on 91 Foghamhnar.

The Season of Geimredh, the first day of YR 44, Samhain / Calen Gaef, 1 Geimredh 44 begins at Sunset on October 31st.

Lammas Cookies*

These sunny cookies are eaten at feasts honouring the Sun God, Lugh.

· 1 cup butter, softened
· 1 cup sugar
· 3 eggs
· 2 cups flour
· ¼ cup Irish whiskey
· ¼ cup candied lemon peel
· ¼ cup of sultanas or golden raisins
· ¼ cup almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add flour and Irish whiskey and beat until smooth. Add fruit and nuts and mix well. Drop dough from a tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from sheet while cookies are still warm.

*From Celtic Folklore and Cooking by Joanne Asala. Llewellyn Publications, 2001

Lughnasadh Pie*

Blueberries, also known as fraughans, herts or bilberries, are connected with the ancient festival of Lughnasadh. In later years, the Sabbat came to be known as Garland Sunday, a time when the whole village would gather for a day of singing, dancing, courting, feasting and picking wild blueberries.

· 1 cup sugar
· ¼ cup flour
· Grated zest of ½ lemon
· Salt to taste
· 5 cups of fresh blueberries
· Pastry for 9 inch, 2-crust pie
· Juice of one lemon
· 1 tablespoon butter

Combine sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt to taste. Add blueberries, tossing to thoroughly coat fruit. Pour mixture into a pie crust drizzle with lemon juice and dab with butter. Place top of pie crust over pie; seal and flute edges. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

*From Celtic Folklore and Cooking by Joanne Asala. Llewellyn Publications. 2001

To Autumn
by William Blake

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

"The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

"The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees."
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

The Mother Grove wishes all of you a most blessed Lughnasadh,
and abundant blessings throughout the season!

May you never thirst!

Arch-Druid Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear, Managing Editor/Webmaster
Sybok Pendderwydd, Clerk
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng Y Bydoedd Grove, OMS

NEXT ISSUE WILL BE PUBLISHED ON Samhain / Calan Gaeaf - 1 Geimredh YR 44

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The Druids Egg -- 1 Foghamhnar YR 43 -- Vol. 3 No. 4
Send letters, submissions to mithrilstarnews-owner@yahoogroups.com
There is no guarantee that your submission will be published.
All submissions become the property of OMS.

*One graphic of Tailtiu is from Jim Fitzpatrick*
http://www.jimfitzpatrick.ie/intro.html )

All other pictures are believed to be public domain, gathered from around the internet
and/or sent to us by friends. However, if there is an image(s) that has copyright
information associated with it and the copyright holder wishes for it to be removed, then please email us and we will remove it. Or, if any of the artwork is yours and you
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send us your link/banner and we will be happy to do so.

Published four times each year by The Mother Grove of the
Order of the Mithril Star
Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove
Eureka, California USA
"An autonomous collective of Reformed Druidry"

Copyright © 2005