We are Wight Druids

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THE Isle of Wight is a small but beautiful and sunny Island just off the south coast of England where the ancestral torch has been re-kindled after many hundreds of years so its inhabitants may once again celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year in harmony with their roots and with their natural surroundings.
Wight Druids, or the Grove of Ynys Wyth, was established at Midsummer 2004 to celebrate the eight Druid festivals at the key nodal points of each year in open rite and to provide a nurturing ‘home’ for all those in search of their true inner selves, their wellspring of inspiration.
All are welcome who approach with an open heart and mind, and embrace the spirit of mutual respect that is central to the Wight Druids ethic.
May your spiritual journeying be Blessed. /|\


Changing places on the web

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As many of you will know, no sooner had we launched the new and instantly popular Wight Druids Network website than Ning – the social networking platform on which it was built – announced it was withdrawing its free services, profoundly irritating for a vast number of people who had put countless hours into building some good interactive sites this way.

Feeling rather unhappy at the ethics of this sudden move, we decided to develop a new version through another provider, and this is now up and running at http://wightdruids.spruz.com/.

If you haven’t come over and joined us so far, please do so as soon as you can. There is now a ‘button’ link on the front page of the Ning site that allows you to jump straight into the new site without having to fill in most of your details again.

Meanwhile, a longer-term aim is to completely redevelop the main Wight Druids website, making it much wider-ranging and far more interactive, as well as making it simpler for anyone signing up for the free membership to add their own content. This work is just getting under way now on our new server space at http://wightdruids.com. You can visit this embryonic site now if you’d like to see how we’re getting on with this and keep an eye on the construction work as it progresses. It’s already even possible to register as a member of the site, although content is still sparse at the moment.

As ever, we would welcome your comments on either or both of the new sites.

Bendithion Llawen/|\Bright Blessings

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Druid

Honouring the Ancient Dead

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My teacher, Emma Restall Orr, recently appeared on BBC’s Newsnight in an item about the reburial of ancient pre-christian remains, which is a cause she is closely involved in through her campaign group, Honouring the Ancient Dead.

If you have a few moments, you might well find it worthwhile to take a look at the item through the BBC’s online iPlayer at:
The item in question comes up around 36 mins into the programme.

Emma is, as many of you will already know, the author of A Perennial Course in Living Druidry, as well as founder of The Druid Network and co-founder of the British Druid Order, and has written many books on Druidry and paganism, including the superb Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics.

Also well worth a look, while you’re in iPlayer:
There’s a nice piece about the Marsden Imbolc celebrations around 26min 30sec into the programme (preceded, incidentally, by an interesting seg on the Cheddar whitebeam).

Introducing … Wild Wood Ways

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Wild Wood Ways logoA NEW campaign, backed by Wight Druids, has now been officially launched on the Isle of Wight: to buy a tract of land for use by pagans for ritual, and as an educational resource to bring a greater understanding of the natural world to the wider community.
A key intent of the project is to preserve and conserve the land in as natural a state as possible for future generations.
The project, named Wild Wood Ways, was established at Samhain with a special ritual and a committee of nine was formed to drive it forward, although the project was publicly launched at Yule.

A few preliminary fund-raising events raised several hundred pounds, without any publicity and mostly before any coherent structure was in place. A great start, although there is obviously a long, long way to go.

An embryonic blog-style website has now been launched at
http://www.wildwoodways.co.uk , where the ‘mission statement’ declares the intent: ‘To honour and share the knowledge and harmony of the land’.
Eventually it is intended to offer a variety of teaching and learning experiences on the land, including tree and wildlife walks, camps and
workshops aimed at schools and the wider public.
There is no shortage of enthusiasm or ideas in the group, although none of us has ever been involved in such a major project before.
We are already in touch with a couple other groups with similar projects under way or completed, but would welcome advice from anyone else who might have been involved in something similar.
Wild Wood Ways would welcome your support. Do visit the website at http://www.wildwoodways.co.uk
Many thanks and Bendithion Llawer – Many Blessings

Wet and wintry Solstice

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Merry Solstice
Merry Solstice

A HUGE thank-you to all the brave and hardy souls who turned out in the cold winter rain to join our rite and celebration of Alban Arthan (or Arthuan) – the Winter Solstice – at The Longstone.
Around 30 people gathered to see if they could spot the sunrise, under inky clouds that delivered as much as they threatened.
High point of the event was probably the couple of dozen of us who ran through a necessarily abbreviated ritual, joining hands and risking a slip, slide and splodge in the mud to warm up a bit with a spiral dance.
Once again, many thanks, very well done – and Solstice Blessings to one and all!

Fire Friend Moon

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Newtown Creek
A peaceful Newtown Creek, November 15, 2009.

ELEVEN good folk gathered in a peaceful grove at Walter’s Copse, near Newtown, today to look at the latest module in Emma Restall Orr’s Perennial Course in Living Druidry, covering the moontide she calls Fire Friend.

With the sun shining on a delightful autumn day, the day after some of the heaviest rain on the Island for quite some time, we felt blessed by the weather sprites as we talked about the teachings of this module, also discussing the yew tree and mistletoe, both of which hold special significance to the moontide. We even enjoyed a visit from the local Heather Ladybirds.

Afterwards, most of us took a gentle stroll down to nearby Newtown Creek.

We meet for this informal course near Dark Moon in a different location in the wild each month, the next scheduled for Wroxall Copse.

Blessings of Samhain

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Bloodstone Border morris side
The Bloodstone Border morris side at The Longstone, Isle of Wight, Samhain, 2009.

A ROUSING first performance by the Bloodstone Border morris side created a delightful – or perhaps, de-darkful? – atmosphere for the Wight Grove’s 2009 celebration of Samhain/Samhuinn.

Amidst a lightly shrouding autumn mist, this new Isle of Wight team produced a raucously fun show that beautifully and fittingly counterbalanced the traditionally regular Beltane – or May Day – event of the Men of Wight, their black and red garb adding a perfect seasonal touch for Samhain.

A wonderful prelude to the usual Wight Druids open public ceremony, but much more, a hugely enjoyable performance we hope and trust many more folk will have the privilege to witness in the future.

Our thanks, once again, to Rob and all the crew for making this event possible – and such fun!

We wish them Many Blessings and all success for this new venture, keeping alive one of the finest ancestral traditions of these islands.

Bendithion Llawen