I’ve been watching the druid/pagan community for a while, and I’ve started to notice that things seem to be coming together, somewhat, from a few different sources, making a movement more relevant to our modern times, making up a tradition that is more than a collection of different orders doing similar things in their own slightly different way.
From my own view down the microscope, this is what I have noticed. Several seemingly different strands of druidry converging to challenge the black snake…
In September 2013, the first Warrior’s Call ritual was held, at the base of Glastonbury Tor. This was described by Philip Carr Gomm, the head of The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, in his blog as “the biggest magical operation ever carried out on Earth” where he noted the part that OBOD had played in this ritual and the people involved, including the OBOD camp which has now developed in its own right as the free standing White Horse Camps
Things kept on bubbling… in 2016 the world saw hundreds of indigenous American tribes come together as Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock in North Dakota, USA, where the Dakota Access PipeLine was portrayed as the Black Snake of Lakota legend. The ripples of reclaiming spiritual inheritance spread across the Atlantic, and this is when the head of another druid group, The British Druid Order picked up the baton in September of that year, making a post on Facebook saying “What’s happening at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota is galvanising spiritual and environmental groups around the world in a way I’ve really not seen before, at least not since the anti-war demos of the 1960s.”
Sure, lots of people were making similar statements, but from here on the convergence started to gel.
On 26th October 2016, Chief Arvol Looking Horse issued a statement about the protesters at Standing Rock, its message simple: “We are asking the religious leaders to come and support them to stand side-by-side with them because the are standing in prayer”
This was taken up by the head of the British Druid Order, who quickly organised an all night prayer and healing ceremony in response.
“Tomorrow night (Saturday) and through until sunrise on Sunday morning (6.50am after the clocks change), a group of us here at the White Horse Samhain camp at Wildways will be holding a prayer and healing ceremony in our Iron Age roundhouse. We will seek to invoke powers of healing to counteract some of the weirdness happening in the world at the moment: DAPL pipeline, fracking, badger, deer and wolf culls, increasingly insane local and global politics, etc. The black snake of destruction is being invoked by multinational corporations. We challenge it with the white serpent of healing. If you feel so moved, please drum and chant with us wherever you are. Water is life this Earth is the mother of us all “
This was taken up across the UK with other pagans joining in, holding their own ceremonies, drumming and praying in solidarity. One such account is here. Likewise, an account of the White Horse ceremony is here
The White Snake of healing, invoked to counter the Black Snake of destruction, has roots in British legend, as written about by Greywolf, head of the BDO, in his blog piece from 2016 he also writes about rite of healing that forms part of the BDO ovate course
“Disease is seen as a black snake that has wormed its way into the body and is wreaking havoc within it. The aim is to drive out the serpent and dispose of it in such a way that it can do no more harm. The weapon used is a bundle of dried herbs with protective or healing properties, or having power over serpents, such as Wormwood, Feverfew, Vervain, St. John’s Wort, Mugwort, Adder’s Tongue and Agrimony. When fresh, the herbs are bundled together, pressed tight with the hands, then wound tightly around with thread and hung up to dry where air can circulate all around them….
…I’m wondering if maybe this chanted spell, or an edited version of it, could be used against the Black Snake of fracking here in the UK and elsewhere?”
It is now the summer of 2017, and looking through my microscope, I see the black snake of fracking starting to take form in Lancashire, at cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site. In response, I also see the white snake starting to take form, from the different sources of OBOD, the BDO and The Warrior’s Call…. there’s one extra element to join in the mix….
It is early July. A film about Sacred Stone Camp arrived on a mini-tour of the South of England, and as a literally, last minute addition, it went to Lancashire. William Hawk, Lakota Water Protector from Standing Rock continued the mini-tour in the South of England and was due to return back to the states, but he halted and sent a message back to campaigners in the NorthWest – he has been told by Spirits of our Land to come back to the frontline in Lancashire for 3 weeks.
Here is a video of William Hawk being interviewed, he speaks about the campaign at Preston New Road in Lancashire, the similarities, and the differences between this and Standing Rock, and why he has decided to stay there for a few more weeks
The Warrior’s Call have independently at the same time announced their ritual for 2017: Plant Spirit Essences: Protective Offerings from the Four Directions . Have a read of it… there is certainly similarity to the BDO healing ceremony, but this one is about protection, as indeed suggested by Philip Shallcrass in the quote above.
The four directions were meant to be – well – the four directions, but under my microscope, I also see four spiritual directions of OBOD, BDO, TWC and Standing Rock all submitting their own particular spiritual offering to give form to the White Snake of Healing….