- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BRYAN PERRIN This is Why You Should Know Who He Is

Bryan's Blog...
Bryan's ADF Grove...

BTW,    Bryan is a professional artist and holds copyright on all of his works, so please don't repost his work without his express permission.  -earrach

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Grail and the Stricken King

The Lore tells us of gods, demigods or great kings of a solar nature who, in the height of their potency, are struck down and then fade away into a twilight state as the landscape of their kingdom likewise fades into a literal wasteland.  Some, like the great King Arthur are borne away across the Waters to the West to an otherworldly place of healing and rest, to someday return in the Hour of Greatest Need. Among the various justifications offered for the symbolism of these stories is the easily seen seasonal theme of the solar lord rising to his apex at the Summer Solstice and thereafter ever so gradually declining in stature through the rest of the year.

The Golden One, Struck Down...

The myth of the stricken Solar Lord, wasting away in impotence and desolation, is a particularly tragic version of the Sun’s cycle through the year, perhaps most clearly so in the story of Balder the Beautiful from the Northern Tradition.

The gods, marveling at the radiant Balder’s invincibility ( hmm... Solis Invicti ?), were making a sport of casting weapons at Him: there was virtually nothing which could harm the Golden One. The ever-jealous and crafty Loki had managed to find the one thing in the world which hadn’t promised to spare Balder harm:  the mistletoe. Placing a dart fashioned from  the mistletoe in the hand of the blind god Hoder, Loki whispered directions into his ear and Hoder loosed the dart, felling Balder, who then lay slowly dying in the arms of His grieving mother, Frigga. The whole world, it is said, wept...

Although in the Northern Tradition, the Sun and the Moon had specific deities assigned to them (the Sun in fact was once Sunna, a goddess,) Balder has long been rec­ognized as a Solar metaphor and His story may have passed into the northern pantheon from an earlier or neighboring tradition. 

The  Grail  as  a  Symbol  of  the  Hope  for  Restoration

The Holy Grail or Sangreal comes down to us in the tales of King Arthur compiled by Thomas Mallory in the 15th Century CE, although the Grail Romance itself is a story-form popularized by earlier continental writers from medieval France, Germany and Italy.  The Grail is depicted as the holiest object on earth; the most hallowed, sought after and desirable object in existence. The Grail most often is portrayed as the long lost link with the sacred past which can only be apprehended after a long and dangerous quest, yet  it also sometimes shows up unannounced and uninvited. Encounters with it can result in harm, for the unworthy, or transfiguration and healing for the few who reach or maintain a state of purity worthy of its blessing. Similar transformative vessels or more commonly,  cauldrons,  with magical or regenerative powers are common in the lore of the Celtic peoples. 

Most of us are familiar with the Grail as a feature of the Mystical Christian side of the Arthurian myth. Just as the earliest written stories of Arthur date from 500 years after his time, the heroic and mythic themes in those stories are perhaps more representative of the ending-twilight of the Northern Tradition in the 15th century British Isles than it had to do with themes current in the age of Arthur (ironically, who lived around the 5th century, at the dawn of Britain’s overrun by the Scandinavians). Arthur as a tragic-hero, again clearly in the type of the stricken solar-lord, became a fitting substitute for Balder in the minds of a people too long distanced from their ancient heritage by centuries of Northern influence. 

Often, as traditions undergo radical change, vital new symbols enter the mix, sometimes powerful symbols, long suppressed; symbols which return from the distant past as if called back to reconcile an ancient disorder; to heal an ancient wound.           
                                      - Earrach
(c) 1996, 2016
This was originally an article I did for our grove newsletter back in the late 1990's. It was an effort to link the Stricken Solar Hero and the Grail themes for use in a Summer Solstice grove rite. Nonetheless, I still hold firm with gods and myths and spirits taking a back seat to the use of overt veneration of the REAL SUN (yep, that one, up there) at the Summer Solstice.

Ah, but our Summer Solstice “Grail Rite”? It was memorable… Our Pagan community had just suffered a serious fracturing and many of our groups suddenly were cut off from the meager local resources we had come to rely upon for getting together and worshiping as Pagans, Wiccans, Goddess Worshippers (this was the 90’s,) and Druids. There was a palpable sense of our ragtag community being now wounded and in danger of losing hope. Our rite took place at the UU church’s garden garth with the church’s great black stone tower and walls wrapping around us on three sides. We had about 35 attendees and it was night time and the event was lit solely by a group of tiki-torches… At the height of the rite we called out an invocation to the Stricken Solar Lord in His various mythic guises to come forth, to as it were, “return to us, in our hour of greatest need…” Then, slowly out of the shadows at the side of the garden there emerged three veiled maidens, the middle of whom was dressed and veiled all in white (“white samite”?). She held out before her a beautiful silver grail-chalice, also veiled in white. The three of them came before me, the presiding priest of the rite standing before the hallows on the flagstones of the head of the ritual space, and she presented to me the Grail, our symbol of Hope for Restoration…  As she stood there holding it aloft, I bent down and in the space between us, I pried-up a large flagstone, under which I had earlier dug an offering shaft… She handed the Grail to me, I held it aloft for veneration of the assembly and then after a choice few words binding our intention to it, I plunged it down the shaft and carefully re-positioned the big flagstone covering it. It’s been over 15 years since we’ve done a rite in that garden and I often wonder if that chalice is still buried there, working its magic. It certainly seems to have, since it was only a year or two later that our grove quickly “blossomed” and really began to attract a number of the very special folks that have carried it through the years from then, to now.

occurs on MONDAY JUNE 20th at  6:34 PM, EDT

"Midsummers Eve" - Here's an illustration I did back in 1977 
which was recently used on the cover of ADF's magazine Oak Leaves...

(c)1977 earrach; Click to enlarge...






-Earrach of Pittsburgh

"If I am asked whether it accords with my nature to worship the Sun, then I say once again, ‘Completely!’ For it is a revelation of the most high, and in fact the mightiest which has ever been granted us mortals to perceive. I worship it in the light and creative power of God, whereby alone we live and move and have our being, and all plants and animals together with us.”

 - - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Gespraeche, Vol. IV: 441-42).


"Why Not the Sun?" 
- my standard essay on the Sun and Neodruidic practice. 

"The (Neopagan) Solar Apostasy"


Remembering THE SUN at the SUMMER SOLSTICE


"What's a SOLSTICE ? (vs. Equinox, etc.)"
SOLSTICE (SOLC): Either of the two extremes of the Earth’s constant 23.4° axial-tilt, relative to the sunlight falling on its surface. Only at the June Solstice is the Earth’s north pole tilted the full 23.4° towards the Sun... and only at the December Solstice is it tilted the full 23.4° away from the Sun.
EQUINOX (EQX): The Spring or Autumn quarter begins as the Earth’s terminator, the boundary-line between night and day, momentarily crosses the North and South Poles. Therefore, with the Earth’s day/night boundary line briefly poised simultaneously over both poles, only on dates near these times of year are the number of hours of night and day equal all over the globe.


more info at 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RITUAL TECH, Sorting It All Out for Your High Day Themes


Sorting out the seasonal, symbolic  and practical meanings related to a high day is a very important process in having things end up “making sense” and thereby having your annual round of liturgical works become  a dynamic,  interrelated system  - rather than just a series of thematically disparate ‘events’.


        The Nornic Modalities :

 From          Past         Urd            Formerly
 Through    Present    Verdandi      Presently
 To              Future      Skuld         Consequentially…

The Seasonal Delineators

( Don’t even get me started on folks who don’t integrate  
seasonal factors into the themes of their Rites of the Wheel! )

What’s  peaking?           = The  beginning of the end  of
What’s  finally ending?   = The  end  of...
What’s  beginning?        = The  beginning  of…

A better approach for getting a handle seasonal factors? SEE THIS...

Symmetry :  oppositional relationships across the Wheel…

         Yule               is opposite          Summer Solstice
         Imbolc           is opposite           Lughnasa
         March Eqx.    is opposite          September Eqx.
         Beltane          is opposite          Samhain

A good exercise:  
Come up with a sensible and dynamically functional justification for the following: “Why would ( “should”)  Imbolc/Brigantia  be held on the February crossquarter-day instead of some other time of year (ewes and lambs excluded) ?”

Think back / think ahead..
The core of this factor is about seeing if there is a sensible relationship between this rite and the last and/or this rite and the next - but make sure you’re not just duplicating one of the following...

Beware of the Neopagan High Day "SEASONAL SMEARS” 
You’ll have to make a decision. These simply can’t  all  be “right”…
HINT:  Clear this up by using the Seasonal Delineators above.
Candle-rite:       Samhain                                                              
Candle-rite:       Yule;                                                            
Candle-rite:       Imbolc.                  

Springtime!        Imbolc
Springtime!        VernEqx
Springtime!        Beltaine
Wedding rite:    Betaine**   
Wedding rite:    Summer Solstice  
Wedding rite:    Lughnasa    

              Harvest!           Lughnassad
              Harvest!           AutEqux
              Harvest!           Samhain

Dark Descent:   AutEqx
Dark Descent:   Samhain
Dark Descent:   Yule

**BTW, there’s a wealth of old European traditions about May weddings being unlucky.
…leading consequently to the familiar June-weddings custom

The Methodology of the Mysteries

The Rites of Eleusis, the grand religious initiatory celebration of the ancient Greeks was performed continually for nearly 1400 years and thereby developed a specific and apparently very effective set of operants for the dispensing of its profound mystery-teaching. A writer contemporary with the Rites tells us that the Eleusinian Mysteries were delivered through a sequence of special methods:

the    dromena                  “things acted”,
the    legomena                  “things said”,

the    deiknymena          “things shown”

AND so, we put it all together, and come up with a map...

Friday, December 18, 2015

So WHY is it the LONGEST NIGHT ?


And, there ya' go. 

The dashed line is the path of an average city in the US (or the UK) as it circles the North Pole at the December Solstice. Just look at how much time we spend in the dark compared to the light! The whole rest of the year the margin of the Earth's day/night boundary (formally known as the Earth's "terminator") falls inside the Arctic Circle, which in our diagram here is marked as the heavy-black circle encompassing the central dot which represents the North Pole. ( * compare with June Solstice shown at bottom of page. )

The modernized name is actually the "December Solstice"
since it's only the "winter..." solstice for us in the Northern Hemisphere.
For folks in Argentina, South Africa or Australia, it's their "Summer" solstice.

W A S S A I L  !
With Yuletide blessings to you and yours
The 2015 Yule Solstice stick... broken at 11:48 PM Eastern...

With Yuletide blessings to all.

occurs at 11:48 PM Eastern Standard Time
Monday, Dec. 21st, 2015

Here’s a trove of Book of Sassafras
YULETIDE goodies from days of yore…

"Bah- humbug?" - No way... 
Yes, Christians should keep
"the Christ in Christmas", 
...but   YULETIDE  belongs to everybody!

The three faces of the Spirit of the Yule and
the Fractal Mystery of the Twelve Nights
between Solstice Eve and New Years Eve...

The oldest records of Yuletide may be 
from England of the Dark Ages, not Germany...

Don't overlook these basic themes when creating
ritual celebrations for the December Solstice...

 Yes, it's true, you can hear the year turn...

Looking for  D R U I D  - ish 
Y U L E T I D E   T U N E S  ?
Check these out:
by Steeleye Span 

on their holiday album



((  * For comparison, here's the JUNE Solstice...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I don’t like it but I’m significantly stupider than I was five years ago….

It’s not Alzheimer’s, nor have I had a stroke and ended up with aphasia or other related condition. It it is a neurological condition and was something that came on rather suddenly and occurred as a direct outcome of the fact, well, that I’m still alive…

In the spring of 2012 I was diagnosed with cancer (it’s called “CLL”, a common form of Leukemia) and had my first three rounds of chemotherapy that autumn. I remained ok until the spring of 2015 when I had to have another round of chemo. Right after my first round is when things had started to change. Within a month or two I could articulate a difference in my cognitive experience of life that I eventually discovered is described by others as “Chemo Brain”. Chemo Brain has a clinical name* but it is not yet a formally recognized disorder by the medical establishment (probably under duress by their lawyers). Chemotherapy is vastly more sophisticated, improved and more effective now than it was even 20 or 30 years ago. Far fewer patients are sickened or face losing their hair; and far more folks are living productive lives in spite of their conditions. Many cancers that were a death sentence then have now been moved into the category of “manageable”. The chemo that I get is very effective yet does not make me feel fatigued or nauseous and it doesn’t cause hair-loss. For a person with the diagnosis of cancer, things could be so much more difficult; I consider myself extremely fortunate.


Through my whole life I’ve operated on a tight pattern of reflex that would be instantly recognizable by artists and other highly creative individuals. I was always discovering new ideas and perspectives and immediately found myself compelled to carry-through with these ideas to some creative end. For me that meant creating artwork, or later in my life, written word to capture and convey these stimuli to others in unique or instructive ways. When I say “compelled” I mean it; it was never a matter of bootstrapping myself into figuring out how I could “get” myself to do the next thing. No, they crowded at the edges of my perception, all simultaneously clamoring for my attention, drawing me into their gravitational fields of excitement and promise. For me, creativity was a compulsion, not  a “choice”.

Before I started chemo, it was as if I was a healthy frog on a staircase of six-inch high steps; I happened to be a frog who could jump six and ¼ inches so I had no trouble merrily hopping along and continually ascending the staircase. After chemo started, the small but significant difference became evident - - it was clearly as if my frog-self could now only jump to a height of five and 7/8 inches and that tiny change made all the difference in the world…

My ever robust creativity-as-a-compulsion dynamo was broken. My productivity cycle spun down to a crawl. Everything was just a tiny bit harder to do. Tiny, but oh so a meaningful of a difference. This was not simply a change in the quantity of the output of my writings, diagrams and drawings… this struck directly at the core of my self-definition. I was no… longer… “me”.

These small cognitive after-effects of chemotherapy have been a very dramatic change in my life. Oddly enough, I’m now realizing that I have been becoming acclimatized to this increasingly less-new chemo-brain “dullness” and the memory of what it was to be “that other ('me') person” whom I’d been for the whole previous history of my life has already begun to fade significantly. As a consequence the urgency is diminished but it is no less distressing in retrospect.

SO... If you've noticed that I've been recycling more and posting less - it's got a lot to do with this stuff, but I promise I'll keep trying, er, "doing".


Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Gallery of MY ARTWORK

"Asleep Beneath the Stone"  (c) 1975 earrach

Much more on my

"The Last Druid"  (c) 1977 earrach

"The Enchantment" (c) 1972 earrach

"Dolmen in the Rain" (c) 1978  earrach

"Math and Goewin" (c) 1978 earrach

"Issac Bonewits in the Nemeton at Wellspring" (c) 2005 earrach


Book of Sassafras