Tag Archives: druidry and the ancestors

Druidry and…

Many years ago, when I sat down to write Druidry and Meditation I imagined that I might do a whole series of books that were Druidry and… titles. It seemed a good way in. I went on the write Druidry and the Ancestors, and then lost my nerve and did a couple of books as ‘pagan’ instead.  Druidry is a bit of a niche, and publishing books in an ongoing way rather depends on selling books. It doesn’t help that I’m not a great self-publicist, although I’m trying to do better with that. Hence this blog post and any others like it.

Introductory books tend to get the best sales. I for one, am bored with generic introductions to Paganism and Druidry, I’ve been doing this for far too long. There’s little joy in reading it and there is no amount of money that would make me want to write it. It’s also easier to pitch books that promise people quick and easy solutions to their needs, and that’s never attracted me either. So be it.

This year I wrote Druidry and the Future – I am back to that original Druidry and…. plan and I am happier for making that choice. I have a new Druidry and…. title in mind to start working on in the autumn. I self-pubbed the future one because there’s a nine month and more lead time in publishing with Moon Books and I felt I needed to move with this now. But the next one I will try with my publisher first.

Things have been fairly quiet on the Druid books side in recent years. I’m excited by new work from Andrew Anderson – whose The Ritual of Writing came out this year, and who has another very exciting project in the pipeline. But on the whole, there haven’t been many new Druid books I’m excited about for some time. Until this spring, I hadn’t felt excited about trying to write anything, either.

My gut feeling is that Druidry has needed some quiet time. We’re moving beyond Very Important Druids and big names with big claims. This is good. I think what’s coming next will be a greater diversity of voices, and ideas, with less authority. This may not be the best outcome for book selling, but it is definitely the best outcome for Druidry.

Anyone who wants to talk about getting started as an author, or taking the next step (wherever you are with things) is always welcome to contact me. If I like what you do, then I’ll do what I can to help you navigate the publishing options and I’ll be here to promote your work when it comes out. I may be a lousy self-publicist, but when I’m excited about a book, I am an enthusiastic champion. It’s so much easier to do that with other people’s work!


Druid for sale

If you find this post about the time it was written, then Druidry and Meditation is still on sale in ebook form. A mere 99p on the English Kindle site  or $1.65 on the American site. Otherwise, console yourself with a freebie! More of that later…

Druidry and Meditation offers a range of creative, and engaging approaches to meditation, looking at how it impact on body, and mind as well as the spiritual dimensions. There are guides to creating your own meditations and there’s information about group work, and meditation in ritual. There is also a paper version.

My other Druid title, Druidry and the Ancestors is also available from all the sorts of places you might normally buy books.  This is the amazon.com link if you get the urge to have a look. Ancestors are an uncomfortable subject for many people, and for Pagans there are all kinds of extra complexities. Not least, most of us have a lot of non-Pagans between us and our Pagan ancestors. This is very much a book about the stories we tell of our ancestors and how those stories inform our lives. At least, that’s what I was aiming for!  It’s not a how-to sort of book, more a selection of ideas to play with.

I have a smaller and broader book, in the form of Spirituality without Structure – amazon uk link this time. This is very much a tiny book with big ideas, exploring the difference between religion as a social structure, and spirituality as personal experience. It’s written primarily for people who are trying to carve out their own path – so often the way of it for Pagans. It’s a book of approaches, no dogmatic how-tos, just questions to ask and things to consider that might spare a person from re-inventing the wheel.

Then with my other, far less serious hat on, there’s quite a bit of fiction out there too. Intelligent Designing for Amateurs  is a bit of a Steampunk riot. There are comedy Druids – mostly inspired by the crazy revival folk, so if you’ve been a bit depressed by our actual ancestors of tradition and need a giggle, this one may be for you. Other fictions also exist, if you poke around in my amazon stuff there is also Hunting the Egret and a bundle of short stories.

Hopeless Maine is a gothic graphic novel series I do with my other half. It’s Tom’s work adorning the blog, including the cover for Druidry and the Ancestors. If you’d like to explore the world of Hopeless freely, then www.hopelessmaine.com has the first two books in webcomic form. For more Tom Brown, you can check out his deviant art page.

Finally, if you’d like some poetry, saunter over to this bit of Druid Life  and there are two poetry collections – Beyond the Map and Lost Bards and Dreamers which are free to download as pdfs.


The ancestors of Druidry

This is a bit from Druidry and the Ancestors, which, if you get the urge, is on amzon and assorted other places in both book and ebook form.

We have a vague collective awareness of ancient Druids, as a religious group associated with Celtic peoples. As Ronald Hutton went to some length to demonstrate in Blood and Mistletoe, all of the written information about the Druids has come from other sources, and none are without issue. In a much older text, archaeologist Stuart Piggott also explained there are no sites featuring a word for ‘Druid’ that give us a definite link between physical evidence and Druidry. iii Outside those uncertain classical texts, we can only infer Druidic practice by first assuming the presence of Druids. Consequently, there are many things we ‘know’ that could be true, but no indisputable facts. However, the past few hundred years have been full of speculation about the early Druids, including all kinds of ideas that probably had no historical accuracy. Picking through these is very difficult, not least because the ideas and images are so widespread, like the claims for a Stonehenge association, human sacrifice and the white-nighty-robes. None of this necessarily has anything much to do with our ancient Druid ancestors.

In his books, Graham Talboys makes a case for the survival of bardic schools and the transmission of Druidry by other means. If ‘Druid’ basically meant the educated classes, then Druidic ideas will have survived in stories, wisdom teachings, and so forth. It’s a very tempting argument, and one my heart wants to believe even if my head remains uncertain. I hold a duel understanding of this theory. I feel it as truth; I accept it intellectually as unproven. This is entirely comfortable for me.

If our ancient Druid ancestors were complicated, the more recent ones are far more troublesome. The Druid revival began with antiquarians. Archaeology was a new science, for which the rule books had yet to be written. Men with all kind of drums to bang and personal theories to shoehorn in somewhere piled in. Men with political agendas looking for icons to work with. Men who just wanted some fame and money and weren’t too fussy how they got there. Yet from amongst the flights of fancy, forgeries and self importance of the Druid revival, came the seeds that have grown into modern Druidry. Just as we may look back at our blood ancestry with mixed feelings, so too can we find our ancestors of tradition are a challenging lot as well.

Understanding that influence, and facing up to it, is essential. We need to own the story, warts and all. Some of the prayers we use in modern ritual, the forms themselves, and even the cherished awen symbol probably originated with Iolo Morganwg, a man set on forgery and self aggrandizement, who used those around him and betrayed every Druid principle he ever put on paper. His inspiration was beautiful, his life was not. We can make our peace with that.

Mark Lindsey Earley, writing in the handbook for Exeter’s Bardic Chair sums the situation up in this way:
It is worth pointing out, at this juncture, that the historical accuracy of Iolo’s claims is highly dubious and that in all likelihood no such ‘ancient manuscripts‘ ever existed, despite his ironic espousal of the bardic/Druidic motto ‘The truth against the World‘! However, we think it’s rather harsh to label such an important ‘hero’ of the movement as an out-and-out fraud. A more mystical perspective might theorise that he ‘channeled’ his information. At the very least we like to think that he was creatively inspired, and that, although the history he outlined was possibly a purely ‘romantic’ one, it is no less important or valid, as long as we distinguish it from academic history.

The less we make outlandish claims about our historical heritage, the better. The more we focus on our behavior in this time, the better. We need to know how we got here and how that shapes us, and we need to hold a realistic understanding of what modern Druidry is, and where it comes from. With that in place, we have room to talk quietly about the other ways of knowing, the heartfelt truth, the wisdom inherent in trees and the land that comes down to us regardless of human foibles, or any other story that we feel compelled to share. Stories are wondrous things, but it’s important not to confuse them with anything else.


Imagining the ancestors

Some of you may have read Druidry and the Ancestors. For those of you who haven’t… it’s not a history book, but a contemplation of the stories we tell about history. The narrative shapes we wrap around the past can tell us a lot about ourselves, and other people’s stories reveal a lot about cultures and assumptions too.
For many Pagans, the idea of ancestry can be uncomfortable. Many of us have rejected the religions of our most recent ancestors, and struggle with the people we are most closely related to.

Those of us who do not fit too well in the here and now may hark back to an imagined Pagan past in which we had a proper role as village wise woman, druid elder, cunning man, or however we self-identify. We may picture a culture in which our way of being would have made sense to those around us, and been supported.
We imagine the past. The stories we create around the ancestors we hope we had, help us work out how we want the world to be. History is all about the future. However, not all of our ancestral stories are consciously chosen, some come to us subliminally via our cultures and families. Not all stories are right, and not all are useful – wrong and useful may be a lot better than an unhelpful story with a factual basis.

If you happen to be in the north of England, I should like to invite you to an event. “Imaginary Ancestors” 9 August at 19:00, The Grand Hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire
http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/1388873817996797/
It says ‘talk’ but it’s going to be a mash up of assorted things. I’m going to ask people to think deeply about the imagined ancestors. There are no wrong answers here, only the truths that we carry with us, and the implications our personal truths have for how we live our own lives. If you don’t have a sense of distant pagan ancestry to root you, that’s not going to be a problem. Maybe I can help you build that thought form. If you’re just curious, that’s fine too. I’m not terribly despotic about this sort of thing!

If you aren’t in viable striking distance for Scarborough but are thinking this sounds like a good idea, feel free to get in touch. This event is happening because local-to-Scarborough pagan Debora undertook to set it up. I am travelling in the UK, I am willing to do moots, workshops, conferences, camps and other events, and any topic that pertains to the books or you’ve seen me cover on this blog is fair game. If there’s something you’d like me to tackle, ask. I’m more than happy to have a go at requests. I’ll give priority to events that are closer to home, able to help with transport or accommodation costs, (putting me up is one solution) and that fit in with the rest of my life, but my preferred answer is to say yes as much as I can.


Poetry, Druidry and Ancestors

I didn’t realise until I did the final proof read of Beyond the Map, just how much a companion piece this is to Druidry and the Ancestors. Partly because the writing and research for the non-fic happened in the same time frame, partly because the real life experiences shaping one, also shaped the other. I moved back to Gloucestershire, land of my ancestors, had the pleasure of introducing my child to a vast array of history, story, connection and people. Landing in Slimbridge we lived for a while in a cottage that had been in my family for a good eight generations, and found distant relations amongst the locals, ancestors in the graveyard, and stories. It was quite a journey.

Ideas about family, ancestry, progress and connection lace through Beyond the Map. It was also written during a time when my relationship with my son was at a heightened level of intensity. That process of radical life change and upheaval created a degree of mutual dependence and greater closeness as we dealt with all manner of challenges. What it means to be a parent, what it means to be a future ancestor, were all very much on my mind.

It was also fascinating watching my son developing and changing relationships with his own ancestors. The sense of engagement and connection he experienced, living in that cottage, and meeting people, were really important to him. In the same time frame he also gained access to his paternal family in a way that hadn’t been available to him before, and seeing him find his place there and other feelings of belonging was also powerful.

There’s so much in normal, modern life that encourages us to cut away our own roots. The pressure to move, for work and study, the financial issues around rural living that make it impossible for many people to stay in the villages they were born in, the age divides we’re encouraged to accept… so many things unroot us. I think in the last few years I’ve become more conscious of just how much our cultures have changed around age. The tribe meant everyone. Smaller communities, historically, included people of all ages. The rise of the car and the television combine to reduce our contact with our neighbours, making us less aware of the people around us who don’t engage in our much more restricted social circles. We divide more readily by age, affluence, level of education and leisure preferences than ever before, and its easy to go through life only engaging with other people who resemble us, missing so much of the diversity.

Walking makes a lot of difference. I’ve actively sought spaces where I could engage more diversely. Steampunk, folk and Druidry are notably communities where people of all ages can mingle. That way you get communities with elders in them, shared ancestors of community become relevant and available. Ancestors of tradition are much more present in life.

Beyond the Map is the emotional journey that went with Druidry and the Ancestors. It’s full of comparable ideas and concerns, explored in different ways. I think they go rather well together, which is a happy accident – I certainly didn’t plan it that way, and didn’t even realise what I’d done until this week! The poetry isn’t in order of writing though, there is no narrative chronology – at least, no intentional story being told across the book.


Speculating wildly

I’ve been talking a bit lately about the issues of shoddy history, and crazy interpretation, which comes up a fair bit in the new book, Druidry and the Ancestors. I’m being careful not to replicate content, so whatever comes up here is not in the book, for purposes of keeping life interesting. I don’t actually have any problem at all with wild and creative speculation. It is, after all, the foundation of much fiction writing. Wild speculation can lead to testable theories, new interpretations and other good stuff. It can also create confusion, spread misinformation and generally mess people about.

The first rule of good speculation is to be clear what you are doing. Offering interpretation of facts is fine, but it needs to be said that you are giving an interpretation, not ‘obviously this is the only way of reading the data’. It won’t be. There are always alternative stories available. One good way of keeping your speculation under control is to do a lot of it, ironically enough. Postulate half a dozen interpretations, and then talk about which one you like the most or which ones seem the most plausible.

Giving a bloody stupid interpretation alongside your pet theory and suggesting this somehow demonstrates your theory is the only good one that can fit the fact, is bullshit. Don’t go there.

Be mindful of the stories you already have an investment in. The odds are good that you will interpret in line with existing beliefs and will have blind spots around things you either do not know, or believe. I have an axe to grind about how we interpret human sacrifice into archaeological data, for example, so there’s every chance I will deliberately go the other way, perhaps more than the evidence supports. I am positive about historical pagans and therefore unlikely to give critical theories the same weight as celebratory ones. At least I know this. Many of the people who have written history books about pre-Christian folk had an agenda – to prove the superiority of both Christianity and the more industrialised and colonising culture they came from. As I commented on recently in the post about the trouble with animism, so much of this thinking is still ingrained culturally. Perhaps a little bias the other way is a necessary counterbalance for the time being.

Many of us have work or life experience that calls upon us to interpret information. That may be formal data analysis, but more likely about deciding what someone else’s behaviour means, or who to trust, which expert to follow, which political party to vote for. We are all unavoidably in the business of turning raw information into stories. Sometimes it is the wild speculations that take us forward. Could we…? What would happen if…? Radical things can only come from wild and original thinking. Include Green movements, feminism, new technology and modern paganism in that list. We need wild speculation. Without it, we stagnate.

There is also the wild speculation of politicians who want to make us afraid of the wrong things to keep us pliable. There are the wild speculations of creationists, and the incredible theories of people who can imagine rape as part of God’s Grand Plan. Think about it and you will see some interesting differences. The most dangerous, sick and deluded of wild speculations assert themselves as unassailable truths.

Where there is even a small margin of doubt and uncertainty, there is hope. We need uncertainty. A wild speculation that is not complacent about its own merits will be tested, explored, and only taken forward if it starts generating some kind of evidence. The sick and mad speculations automatically assume their own veracity and will mow down anything that fails to agree. Thus when a misguided vision in the hands of the right people turns out to provably not work, it gets dropped, while those who have no grip on reality keep peddling their madness. People who cannot tell between what is real and what they have imagined can get things right – by accident, if by no other means. But an argument you do not know how to back up or verify is not a very useful thing to take out into the world.

The Pagans I’ve met have all tended to be speculative people, and we do like our wild theories (Atlantis, aliens, dolphin priestesses, the burning times, conspiracy theories etc.) There can be a lot of fun to be had playing with ideas, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and make sure we can test what we think is true, and not rely on our beliefs to reinforce our beliefs.


The trouble with animism

This is a history of ideas thing, I have nothing negative to say about animism at all, just to be clear. The trouble with animism is the way it seems to be classified in a particular kind of story about human progress. Druidry and the Ancestors has a lot of material in it about the kinds of stories we invent about history. This isn’t in the book, but is an example of how problematic those stories can be.

I’m currently reading K.M Sen’s book on Hinduism – which is fascinating, but includes as a statement of fact the idea that primitive people have primitive, animist beliefs and that advancing civilization goes with more sophisticated polytheism, moving towards monotheism. It’s not a new theory, I have seen it other places. I’m pretty sure it’s in The Golden Bough, and that it goes with more 19th century attitudes to ‘primitive’ people and ‘primitive’ belief. (Pile in if you know more than me or have your sources to hand, please!)

This is in essence a story about progress, in which moving towards ever more complicated ways of living is seen as a good thing. It’s a whole line of thinking that exists to prop up the status quo, to let us tell ourselves how much better we are than people of ages past, and of course ‘primitive’ people whose land we would like to appropriate. Progress theory is pretty much inherent in colonial attitudes and is underpinned by ideas about economic growth being an unquestionable good, industrialisation being an unquestionable good, and monotheism being also an unquestionable good.

Except that nothing works like that anyway. Hinduism seems to be a fine example of a complex dance between polytheism and monotheism, including turns with agnosticism and materialism. Once you get to a great big monotheistic belief then it’s very easy to go pantheistic. The one big all powerful all present God, is everywhere! So God is in everything. So everything has spirit, and suddenly you’ve gone round a great big loop and come back to animism again. It’s not a line of progress, it’s a circle, or a spiral, or a big mush of interconnected things, depending on who you are and how you do it. The only way you get a line is if you take atheism as some sort of exit trajectory. Then what you get is the idea that we only have what exists materially. At which point treasuring and honouring those material realities can start to make a lot of sense. At which point…yes… you’ve spotted the punch line.

The trouble with animism is what happens when you try and talk about it using the outmoded language of people with bloody stupid ideas and a very narrow view of the world. If you engage with people who use the language of separation and difference, mind body dualism, matter and spirit, us and them, the object and the subject, and you talk on their terms, you talk about animism in a language that by its nature, deconstructs animism and makes a nonsense of it. It can be tempting to want those mainstream languages of science, reason and philosophy, except that they make you fit. Which for animism, means make you into small, dysfunctional pieces of wrong.

Which leaves me wondering quite what we do with that.


Cover story

There’s something utterly lovely about having a book with my name and Tom’s art on the cover. Druidry and the Ancestors is the first paperback to land with this setup. We’ve done ebooks before, and there is Lost Bards and Dreamers – but that’s self published, which is different.

When we started contemplating the cover, we knew there would have to be a tree. You can’t have a Druid book without some kind of plant life on the cover!  The tree in question lives fairly near the canal. We knew there were some good, gnarly trees in the area, and I like ivy, so the pair of us went out with a camera, and came back with images for Tom to play with. I like willows. I know an oak says ‘druid’ more obviously, but the area in which I wrote the book is all willow and alder, oaks aren’t so partial to the damp. I love the capacity of willow to regenerate, and its beautiful flexible wood is wonderful to craft with. I have a wicker man in my history.

How to represent the idea of the ancestors? I didn’t want anything too obvious, so that ruled out standing stones and the like. I also didn’t want to peg it to one period. So we settled on a sort of charm bracelet, each individual image representing something I find meaningful.

Up at the top there’s a pentagram – which probably doesn’t need much explaining. This is a book I feel is as much for the wider pagan community as it is for Druids, even though I’ve come in from a Druidy angle. Then below to the right, we have a Celtic cross, because I’m very conscious that plenty of my ancestors were Christian, and their presence in the mix is important to me. Next down is a Pictish boar. Now, I’m not aware of being ethnically Pictish but I love the art style, and it also gave us a creature because I have a broader definition of ancestry than just immediate human bloodline stuff.

Then, going down the left side, there’s an awen symbol, not just for the Druidry, but for the crazy revival folk who invented so much and who I have a real love-hate thing going on with. Below that, an oak leaf, not just for the obvious Druid reference, but to include plant life in my depiction of ancestry. Then a skull. Because we like dead people, and skulls evoke all sorts of useful things, and we like skulls and I’m a bit of a goth at heart still.

Right at the bottom is a symbol Tom created for me years ago. Squint closely, and you’ll see it also features on this blog, and on the cover of Lost Bards and Dreamers. One of these days I shall get it tattooed onto my person. It’s a purple poppy, for dreams and visions, but the leaves are arranged in the style of a triskel, picking up on the Celts again, on all things that come in threes. This is my image of self, constructed from things historical, very much me, dangling off the bottom of the chain.

Peer at the background and you’ll see a hill that could well be Cam Peak or Silbury, or Glastonbury Tor, and some houses that could be Celtic roundhouses, or then again might not be.

There isn’t much that I do that doesn’t get thought about a lot. There’s a wonderful, magical process going from ideas in my head to things Tom creates. They never look how I expect them to. They always look better.

 


Druid con soon!

Next Saturday is the Druid Network’s convention, in Birmingham, (UK) about which there will be plenty of info at www.druidnetwork.org

While I’ve done all manner of events, Pagan and otherwise, this is, weirdly enough, my first airing at a specifically Druidic convention. I shall be talking about Druidry at the end of History – as the theme for the day is Druidry in changing times. It’s a topic that lets me ramble the countryside around Druidry and the Ancestors without just regurgitating bits of it. I’ve no desire to bore me witless, or anyone else and banging away at the same old promotional speak gets tired, fast. So, I shall be talking about the end times, or absence thereof. I will probably put the talk up here in stages the following week – it’s about 45 minutes, which should be about 6000 words, so it may take a while to do it in small bite sizes.

This event is going to be personally significant for me in a number of ways. Last time I was at the Bilberry Hill centre in the Lickeys was for a Druid Network AGM, before I was married to Tom, back when I had an entirely different name and a different life. There are people I’ve not seen since then, and between that and the place – so close to where Bards of the Lost Forest used to meet for rituals, it could be quite emotional. There are also people I only currently know online who I should get to meet for the first time – Cat Tredwell and Paul Newman especially.

This will be the first outing for copies of Druidry and the Ancestors, and the first time I’ve taken a big pile of books to a big Pagan event (Pooka’s Pageant was not, in terms of numbers, vast). It also looks very much like we’ll have copies of Hopeless Maine volume 1 for that weekend, so will be in the rather odd position of launching a gothic/Steampunk graphic novel at a Druid gathering. But, there is overlap, after all…

For anyone who is going, we will be easy to find. I gather I’m the first speaker of the day – so please do show up nice and early so that I’m not just talking to Bish! And otherwise we’ll be at our table, we may have a banner, and if not that, the books and the spoons should be a dead giveaway.


Of Graeme and Ancient Druids

Continuing then, with the story of what underpinned writing Druidry and the Ancestors. It was one of those serendipity things, that not long after reading Ronald Hutton’s Blood and Mistletoe, I was sent some very relevant review books. Graeme K Talboys’ Way of the Druid, and The Druid Way made easy. I review quite a lot of Pagan and Druid writing for The Druid Network.

In many ways, the larger, more detailed Way of the Druid is the perfect companion to Blood and Mistletoe. Where Ronald Hutton carefully deconstructs certainty, Graeme Talboys shows the means by which something of Druidry might have survived. We’re in the realms of interpretation here, and he never creates a false impression of certainty, which I like. After the necessary doubts Blood and Mistletoe creates, Way of the Druid offers possibilities, potential, and hope.

It also made me realise a thing, and that thing turned out to be critically important.

All of history as a subject, is guesswork, story making, looking for plausible explanations. There is, as Ronald Hutton makes clear, precious little certainty. What I learned from Graeme was that I wanted to believe in the literal and dependable truth of every word he’d written. If I do that, and I carry forward in my own work, inspired by those words and by a possible path, what happens?

All we can ever hope to be, is inspired by the idea of something. Hard, solid truth is never going to be available to us, because other interpretations are also always available. Inspiration is more dependable. Which matters most, the facts, or what we do with them? Well, in terms of life lived in the present, and the future we choose to create, what we think about the past will have at least as much influence as what actually happened. What we do with history, how we use it, what we make out of it, is far more important in terms of our own, individual lives, than anything else. For some, that will manifest very precisely as a quest for truth and accuracy. For some the inspiration of the story will carry more weight. We use and subvert our own and other people’s histories in just the same way that we use and subvert other things in order to make sense of our lives, justify our actions, and craft our futures.

I figure, if I’m going to do it, I may as well do it consciously and deliberately. I may as well knowingly pick the stories and ideas I find most powerful and inspiring and work with those. I want Graeme’s vision of ancient Druids and Druid survival to be true. I have no way of knowing whether it is. I made a conscious choice to take those ideas and run with them, as though they were true. In the same way, others take inspiration from myths, from modern fairy tales like Lord of the Rings, and then there’s the glorious creative, chaotic Steampunk scene which is all about taking inspiration and having a history story that is quite deliberately not history. It’s what we want history to have been, and we have the option to make the future out of that retro-aspiration.

I have huge respect for Graeme’s work and he’s been a source of considerable inspiration to me. Not least, he made me realise that the best thing I can do is choose my story and run with it. I’ll keep following the quest for truth alongside it though, inspired by the greatest Druidic fraud, Iolo Morganwg, who claimed ‘the truth against the world’ as his motto. There is however, more than one kind of truth. Sometimes it is the soul truth, the heart truth of a story that really matters, not the technical accuracy. I think that’s why so many people find things like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings affect them so profoundly. Heart truth matters.

Out of the tension between known history, and the history we might want, came Druidry and the Ancestors. And, for added strangeness, it turns out that Graeme and I have ancestral connections, our people were close neighbours in the past! Sometimes, it’s a very small world.