- 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
About the Above: 

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 that year's Sassafras 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, Druids, and Goddess Worshippers (yes, worshippers of "The" Goddess; this was the 90’s,). There was a palpable sense of our ragtag community being now wounded and in danger of losing hope. 

Our rite took place at the Unitarian (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 nighttime 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

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

"Midsummers Eve"

(c)1977 earrach






-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.)"
(click here)
The Gayatri Mantra
(click here)

Is the Sun conscious? Is it "divine"?
(click here)

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