ALG incorporates as a non-profit: Founder’s Open Letter to the Grove

Bards, Ovates and Druids and Seekers,

I love the title for the meetup (MONEY, POWER, RITUAL, (SEX?) IN THE GROVE). I think it bears some reflection as everyone crosses the threshold into the order and of Awen’s Light Grove.

Over the years, I’ve found that a few things lead practicing druids, or all Pagans for that matter, out into the world of ‘group’ activity. One ventures out because there is something inherently meaningful for doing so. I particularly like this quote, as it points to that spiritual realization that you can only dwell in your inner grove for so long:

“To forget yourself is the secret of life; to forget yourself in some worthy purpose outside of yourself.” – James Freeman Clarke

We come to a group to do something bigger than ourselves. In particular we built ALG for these specific goals that appears on our website and act as a touchstone for our purpose:

– Support the modern druid in his/her spiritual growth through the OBOD path

– Help make a difference by honoring our ecological values, and

– Celebrating the Wheel of the Year through druid ceremony and ritual.

That is the core. No personal agendas, no confusion on why people join and what you are doing.

So stay focused though you are building a bigger structure for the organization. Remember your identity as a group – you are a specific group, not an eclectic organization that follows the whims of membership as they come and go, and

Remember that peace and harmony are the essence of a well functioning Druid group. When you focus on your identity and goal, everything else makes sense and synchronicity occurs.

Blessing of Star and Stone as you celebrate your incorporation and new era!


Matthew Len Hilliard-Pinkston 1966 – 2012

Matt (pictured right) was an early leader of Awen’s Light Grove (2007, 2008). One of the originals, he helped us to form a solid ritual presence. His understanding of energy, nuance and his solid Earth feel gave a grounded presence to every circle he was a part. He was our ‘standing stone’. That presence in the North anytime we performed Wheel of Year rituals.

He was a personal mentor to me, helping me integrate my ritual practice and understand how to work those energies. Matt was not the type to ‘join’ something like ALG, he was a consultant. Staying with us just long enough to get our kinks worked out and one of the last words before he drifted away from the Grove was ‘You have enough ritual to last the Grove a long time’, which was a statement of how well the Grove had stepped up to good meaningful ritual thanks completely to his efforts in training us.

I had lunch with him a couple of years ago, hadn’t heard from him since. Though he’d just had his surgery when the Melanoma was just diagnosed, I remember a solid positive attitude, just like you’d expect from a standing stone.

So to you Matt: “In the name of the great bear of the starry heavens and of the element of earth, we thank the powers of the North.”  Blessings of Star and Stone, your service to the Grove will not be forgotten.

Matt crossed over June 11th 2012.

Druid Camp 2012 Recap

I want to thank everyone for a wonderful camp this year. We had a big turn out, about 13 – with a few day campers too. Next year we may have to find a bigger group campsite to get us all in. We had a great program, everyone learned something new to fit into their spiritual practice, and the topic was geared this year to Druidry and Shamanism.

We enjoyed the blessing of Water in the form of a deluge Saturday night.. Wow.. 2 days before, 10% chance of rain, to 100% chance of rain and over an inch fell on us. We stayed dry though – sort of. The camp drained well and we all have a fun story to tell. The rain waited till the end of our day program, which has been the typical synchronicity of our druid grove.

Beltane ceremony and Bardic initiation was observed Sunday morning in a large clearing near our camp area. The rain had subsided, and the location was a beautiful place for ritual. We had wonderful ceremony with 7 OBOD Bards accepting the first EVER initiation by Awen’s Light Grove.

After totaling up the expenses, we’re still short about $200 though. I’d like to make up about half of that, and our Secret Druid Patrons will cover the other half. So, if your heart and wallet are in alignment, please go to the website, hit the ‘donate’ link and pitch in for these expenses. Some of you have already provided extra, both on Paypal and in person, and I give you a BIG druid blessing and an organizer THANK YOU!

We had great quality speakers for both last year’s camp and this year. We also have Pagan Pride Days coming up, and we’ll have expenses with that coming too. Your contribution keeps us ‘out there’ in the world, growing our cause and spirituality and makes for a group that is active, contacted and whole. 🙂

UNC opens to the spirit of Druidry

I had the wonderful opportunity to be Guest Lecturer last week at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I had an audience of 22 students in the art history seminar class ‘The Druids’ who have been learning about classical druidry (what we know of it) and their professor wanted to give the students an opportunity to get a modern perspective of how the druid inspiration lives on today in the 21st century.

Though I’ve spoken at a few Pagan Pride Day seminars and visited with countless interested people on druidry, I found this particular engagement to be quite challenging. This was the first group of people who a) were all between the ages of 18 and 20 years old; and b) not necessarily interested in modern druidry or spirituality at all.

I didn’t want to just talk history (yawn) and plus their professor had covered that thoroughly. I wanted to bring the ‘nature’ to the nature spirituality and I wanted to impress the magic available to them in a wonderful universe of mystery and discovery. I knew I’d first have to dispel the misconceptions – prep the canvas of sorts, before I could paint a new picture.

If the audience had any preconceived notions, they were being too polite to voice them. I started with my ice breaker, sharing a triad and asking when they believed it was written. A front row student guessed ‘during the early days of Christianity’ and I got a mercy chuckle from a girl at the back of the room when I said that I had wrote it myself last year.

We went through the druid path and I’m sure I painted a masterpiece that challenged the senses, rational mind and spirit deep with in them. We danced through augury, magic and herbal medicine; we even talked about ritual, ceremony and wheel of the year. It was wonderful, albeit silent.

After my lecture, the professor and 3 students came along for lunch and more discussion. I found this delightful that after an hour and 15 minutes, they hadn’t had enough. We talked more on their backgrounds and thoughts, celtic history and more nuances of the druid path that I had saved for the truly curious. It was a great experience and I was taken back by the politeness and attentiveness the entire group afforded to the subject and me personally.

The mark of a worthwhile discussion like that is if anyone gets something from it. In the end, opening minds, making things ‘main stream’ or less foreign is the goal. And with such young minds, only a couple degrees of refraction can create a rainbow of colors.