Here’s the first little trailer for the forthcoming movie, enjoy!
Here’s the latest Spirit of Albion production diary. Love this one!
Last Sunday, after the Anderida Gorsedd open ritual at the Long Man of Wilmington, many of the people stayed behind to be extras in the Spirit of Albion movie. It was an amazing day, and here is a short interview conducted by my friend Greg while I had a little time out of filming, and had the opportunity to watch a scene from the film develop.
On the Spring Equinox 2000 7 people met up at the Long Man of Wilmington to celebrate the season. We walked up to the flat hill beneath the figure, and there we set our circle, uttered the Druids prayer and oath of peace, and drummed on a sour cream and chives Pringles tin. Small beginnings indeed for the Anderida Gorsedd that this Spring Equinox celebrates 10 years of open rituals at the Long Man. Now you will find anywhere between 50 and 100 people there on the Sunday nearest to the festival.
10 years is a long time in magical circles for anything to survive, so maybe it’s time to look back and reflect on how this small gathering developed into a group of people who celebrate 8 times a year at the Long Man, have held 11 camps, and two conferences. A group that without aiming to be, has become a tribe in the truest sense of the word.
That initial 7 quickly grew, and by the Summer Solstice of 2000 the average attendance was around 35 people. In the Winter of that year after our Winter Solstice ritual I called down to the Giants Rest pub in Wilmington to see if they were open. The landlord said they were closed, but how many people were with us. I told him around 35 so he said, “come down, I’ll open for you!” So it was that the Gorsedd’s relationship with Adrian and his glorious pub began. I gave him the dates we were planning to meet, and he opened for us. After a few years he opened on Sundays as a matter of course, and now he also offers food. But each year I still let him know the dates, and he gets extra staff in to cope with the rush. In the Winter the pub provides a warm shelter, and a friendly place to retire after the rituals so that the Anderida Clan can continue the celebration with a social pint. In the Summer the garden at the front of the pub is full of Druids, and Pagans, sitting in the sunshine together. If the Mythago Morris have danced for us up the hill, they will often also dance outside the pub – perfect!
Over the years we have met some amazing people who just happened to be at the Long Man when we were there. A Peruvian Shaman, a group of Native Americans, some Egyptian Dancers, to name just a few. Walkers, people on picnics, and ramblers often join the circle and celebrate with us. The Long Man, being a Sacred Site to many people seems to draw people of a like mind, and many of these random encounters have developed into long lasting and close friendships.
Over the years we have heard the clash of swords as the Oak and Holly King do battle at the Solstices, we’ve created Flesh-henge and Flesh-grange out of the people attending, we’ve walked labyrinths, planted snowdrops, called out the names of loved ones who had moved on from this world to let them know they are still being thought of, we have regularly chosen the May Queen through divination, and the May King by hunting the Stag Horns. In February 2007 we held the first open Eisteddfod competition for the Bardic Chair of Anderida, an annual event at Imbolc ever since. In sunshine, high winds, rain and snow we have let the Old Gods know that there are still those who honour the Sacred Days, and still love them dearly.
But it hasn’t always been easy. For many years we held the rituals in the picnic area near the Long Man as this had easier access for people with walking disabilities. But the picnic area land was leased to the local Council, and the landlord complained, so we were given no choice but to move the rituals back up the hill. Sadly some people just cannot make that walk. We did fight as hard as we could, but in the end we lost the fight to ignorance and prejudice. We have been up the hill ever since, and although we thought it might put some people off, it seems that the Gorsedd is made of sterner stuff, and even in bad weather people will make the trip to mark the time of year. No fair-weather Pagans here!
In 2003 we held our first Anderida Gorsedd camp. We wanted the Gorsedd camps to be tangible magical journeys that worked with a theme throughout the weekend. Over the years we have worked with the Wickerman, a Three Worlds journey, the Faerie, Arthurian Legend, the Battle of the Trees, and many more. We keep the camps small and intimate with a maximum number of 60 adults. This has also resulted in the feeling of a true tribe with people returning to the camps time and again. The Anderida camps now sell out within 24 hours of the tickets going on sale. We could easily make them bigger, but we don’t want to do that as the size and intimacy is one of the things that make them special. But this year in July we are putting on AnderidaFest – our first open no limit camp. Still the same idea of working with a theme, just bigger. Check out www.anderidagorsedd.org for details.
The Gorsedd has also held two conferences at the wonderful Southwick Community Centre, but this year we have replaced that with AnderidaFest. We do plan to put on another conference in 2011.
I cannot tell you what an honour it has been to have been a part of such a group. These things begin as dreams, and we are blessed to be surrounded with people who listen to what me and Cerri dream up, and then dive in fully with it. Pure magic. So here’s to the next 10 years!!
About this video:
‘A documentary about the nature of modern druidry, its historical origins and spiritual message made by the Holistic Channel www.holisticchannel.org.uk‘…holisticchannel
Yesterday about 100 people gathered on the flat hill beneath the Long Man of Wilmington to celebrate the Spring Equinox together. The Gorsedd Mound, as we call it, is probably part of the remains of the chalk pit on the right hand side of the hill figure, but to us it has formed the perfect place to gather for the Anderida rituals. The day couldn’t have been better. The sun was shining and the Weald and Downland looked breathtaking. The fields below the Long Man were green with freshly growing corn.
For the last few years the Spring Equinox has felt anything but Spring-like, so it was wonderful to be there and to actually feel and observe the changes. We created the circle, a space for our rites. We do this for a number of reasons – to ask permission of the Spirits of Place for our Rite, to set the space for the central part of the ritual, but also to help people who might have driven many miles, then walked up to the hill, still feeling somewhat hassled, to slow down and relax.
The circle set, we all faced outward and took in the view of Spring across Sussex. Then a horn was blown 3 times and the people, after each sounding of the horn, shouted “Wake!” to the God and Goddess of the Land. To let them know that we want them to return, that the realm of Annwn must now be growing colder, and darker, and that Abred needed them to bring their caress, to feel their feet falling on the Earth, to touch the bare branches and coax the leaves into being.
The Goddess spoke her words, giving her blessing to seeds we had brought with us, and she asked us to bless them too with our voices, as the Awen was sung 9 times. Then four children gave out the seeds, one to each person, to plant, and watch it grow.
The circle was unwound, and finally we held hands, closed our eyes, and imagined the darkness behind us, and the light before us. We were standing on the point of balance, the Equinox, and when we were ready, and with full intent, we awoke, took a step forward, and stepped into the Light of Spring. Hengwah!
As ever, the welcome at the Giants Rest pub was warm and friendly, and for the first time this year, we could sit outside, in the sunshine, with friends, and enjoy the moment.
Well, 2009 is now here, but what of 2008? I have to say that, if 2006 was the year I finally decided to put my all into my music, then 2008 was the year it all started to come together. A new album that has received positive reviews all over the world, a song book of my first three albums, gigs almost every weekend including overseas concerts, my songs being covered by other recording artists, I’ve met the most beautiful people playing smaller home concerts, it was truly a wonderful year.
I started playing the guitar when I was 8 years old, so it’s not been quite an overnight, X Factor thing for me, but 35 years later and I feel I can finally call myself a professional musician, and it feels so good, a dream. So thank you 2008, and to everyone who has sung along with me live, or to my music in your homes, to everyone who is strumming along and hopefully writing your own songs, who has taken time out to travel and see a show, to all of you who read my blog, get my newsletter, listen to the podcast, to everyone who has come to the Long Man of Wilmington to one of our rituals, or our camps, to the musicians I’ve played with, and everyone else.
I write my music because I love the tradition, I love this land and our Old Ways, and it’s the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to share that with you. So please allow me a gushy moment to thank you.
So have a wonderful 2009! I do hope our paths will meet this year and if they do, come and say hello!!