The Legend of the Green Man A modern myth by Diane Narraway When I was younger I travelled to many lands, and it was in one of these lands tha I first met the old magician. It was a cold one winters evening when the snow was fell so hard that it was difficult to see and the cold wind bit at my face. I was lost, cold and very tired and as the sky grew darker I donâ€™t mind admitting I was afraid. It was then that I chanced upon a cottage. An old man who I would later come to know as the Old Magician welcomed me in from certain death and as we shared a drink beside the fire we got to talking. As it was the eve of the winter solstice he told me the tale of the real â€˜Father Christmasâ€™- The Green Man His tale began long ago when the trees had just begun to grow upon the Earth and as the summer drew to a close the first trees began to shed their leaves. As the days grew gradually colder and darker, the young trees became afraid that the sun was gone forever. The nature spirits tried to reassure them but to no avail so they gathered the fallen leaves, and petitioned the high Gods, who breathed life into the fallen leaves and the Green Man was born. He was the guardian of the land whose first gift was the evergreen. This was a symbol of eternal life and a sign that one day both the warmth and light of the sun would return to the land.
Over time the trees grew and became thick dense woodlands that were home to a variety of birds and animals, and eventually mankind. The Green Man welcomed the Earths new inhabitants, changing his role to spread a feeling of hope and good cheer during the dark, cold months when food is scarce and times are difficult. People were grateful for the gifts of the evergreens and holly to feed their livestock and initially honoured the Green Man of the woods with a sacrifice followed by feasts and celebrations. Over time they came to honour his gifts by emulating his generosity and they began to give gifts to each other especially around the midwinter solstice as it came to be a symbol of hope for the return of warm sun and the continuation of life. People of all cultures knew him, and he went by many names, and in many cultures came to represent the rebirth of the sun. For this reason he was occasionally considered to be a feminine spirit or goddess. Whether he was known as the old man of the wood, Dionysis, Baccus, Pan, Woden, Odin, Jack of the Green, The Green Man or even Beiwe; the arctic goddess who rode through the sky in a chariot made from reindeer bones with the promise of returning fertility to the land, his role as the
spirit of winter remained ever constant. So strong was the spirit of the winter especially around the solstice that newer faiths adopted this time of year…give or take a bit of poetic licence on their part. In fact by Tudor times the Green Man had become known as ‘Old Father Christmas and was depicted as an old man dressed in a fur trimmed green cloak, hardly unfamiliar attire for a man of the woods. Now whether the old magician spoke the truth or not I cannot say, that is up to you to decide but the image of the Green Man is a familiar site in Pagan homes and churchyards alike…and while the Coca Cola company’s ‘Father Christmas’ in his red and white attire has for many become the new spirit of winter … As Pagans we know that neither new religions nor clever advertising campaigns can ever truly silence the heartbeat of the Green Man…The true spirit of winter …The true spirit of Yuletide!
Illustration : Father Christmas Enjoying a Christmas Feast, Sir John Gilbert (18171897) Photograph : Autumn Sunlight, Mark Vine
Illustration : Sem Vine
GREEN MAN Teach Carter
Teach Carter has become a familiar face at Dolmen Grove Camps as he and his partner regularly host the Green Man and Faerie walks bringing the magick of the his childhood to the next generation. Here he recounts his personal journey which led to his deeper understanding of the natural world and a greater sense of connection. Since joining the Dolmen grove I have often been asked about my love of woods, wild places and my affinity with the Green man. In order to fully explain this we have to travel back to when I was three years old and my father was posted in Belfast. We settled in a place called Finagee where opposite my house was a golf course and to the rear of there was woods; it was a great place to live with lots of land to explore. The winter of 64 was very cold and there was snow a foot deep in our garden and over on the golf course it was even deeper. This particular day my mum had left me
in my room to play and like many kids I had a secret friend. It so happened that my secret friend was a faerie who would often take me to a strange land with her, but this particular day something different happened. My brother came into my room looking for me but I wasnâ€™t there. The family dog, an Old English sheepdog was barking at the front door. When they realised I was not in the house my parents became worried as to where I could have gone. There were no footprints outside in the snow but the dog seemed to know where I was and led my brother to me. I was found a couple of miles away sat
in a lush green circle of grass and spring flowers. They had had to trudge through the snow to find me yet all I had on was a pair of shorts and a beaming smile and when they asked me what I was doing there and how I got there I explained that the wee folk had brought me to meet the silver lady. Ireland is full of stories about young children disappearing and turning up changed and up until I was four years old I was blond haired and blue eyed like my mother but after this particular winter my hair turned darker and my eyes changed colour depending on my moods. As for the silver lady all I can remember is that it was magical. While the wee fairies danced around me in a circle, I sat with her and she spoke to me telling me I was a child of the earth and that I was gifted. You may think that Iâ€™m just pulling your leg but trust me Ireland is a magickal place. In 1967 we left Ireland and moved to Germany, my love of wild places hadnâ€™t gone and we lived next to some woods where I would often play. One day I saw a beam of sunlight shining down through the trees and I walked towards it. Once there I saw a toadstool it was about a foot tall, its cap was red with white spots and it shone with its own inner light. I sat there with a wee faerie and we chatted as if we were old friends. Eventually the light be-
gan to fade and I became aware that it was getting late and I had to return home but I promised I come back the next day. The following day I returned to that magical place but the toadstool had gone and there was no sign of my faerie friend. I never saw them again although I looked. As a young adult I travelled the world in the merchant navy and along the way I took part in an Aboriginal shamanic trance, a work-in with an African Witch Doctor and experienced peyote in Mexico. All of which were interesting magical experiences but something was still missing. Several years passed and I experienced a lot of heartache and soul searching especially when my brother died. Having left the sea, I was often at a loss as to what to do with my time and for a while I lost myself in a haze of drug use. It was around this time that I visited to Badbury rings, an old hill fort near Wimborne. As I was walking around there I came across
a large oak tree with a toadstool beneath it. I lay there and as I did, I felt the grass begin to wrap its self around me the birds in the tree seemed to be talking; even the tree had a voice. Everywhere I looked I could see bright colours it was like waking from a long sleep - the shaman in me had returned and I felt at one with nature again I could see faces in all the trees and I felt I was home again. The real me.
A couple months later I am driving a friend to Rodden for the Tribal Dreams camp. I got there and said I would see them later as I was heading home. I remember Taloch Jameson (founder of the Dolmen Grove) just looked at me and said “No you’re not Teach, you’re staying” The rest, as they say, is history.
MUSIC REVIEW :
WINTER SOLSTICE The Dolmen An album to rock the heart of any pagan, Winter solstice captures the very essence of Yuletide. The album begins with ‘Witches Reel’, an ancient chant adapted from the transcripts of a 16thcentury witch trial and continues with made a clever mix of ballads, rock and traditional folk music centred solely around the seasonal celebrations and traditions associated with witchcraft and Paganism. As is the case with all Dolmen albums the musical talents of the individuals are intricately woven with beautiful poetry to produce the sound that is uniquely Dolmen, with the vocals of Taloch Jameson, Keri Pinney and bassist Kayleigh Marchant perfectly complementing each other throughout. The timeless vocals of Keri Pinney on ‘Summerland’ are nothing short of hypnotic as she performs a song that although originally dedicated to a much loved friend, is one of the most spiritually important pagan songs ever written focused upon the continuing journey and rebirth of the soul. The songs on Winter Solstice focus upon many aspects of our Pagan history and traditions. From the dark times of ‘Witches Reel’ to the happy optimism portrayed in ‘Bringing the outside in’ which was written as a tribute to Marc Bolan and T-Rex for the music that provided the soundtrack to the ‘good times’ of the 70’s Winter Solstice is a uniquely Pagan album that will still be relevant many years from now. Available to buy from thedolmen.com, itunes and cdbaby.
THE GREENING OF MAN
compiled by Sharon Zak & David Bradshaw Slippery Jacks Press Walk with me through the Ancient Grove. We have known this path for a thousand years with the Oaks, the Birch, the Briar and the Bluebell, the Badger, the fox and the owl...all of which are here to guide and comfort us... to inspire and intrigue... In the words of Chief Seathl â€˜We are part of the earth and it is part of usâ€™ The Greening of Man will take you on not just this walk but many, many more. Whenever you need to reconnect, to escape or to journey to the very heart of your true spirituality then light the candles and open these pages. Breath-taking images, paintings and photography combined with intoxicating, haunting poetry and prose to guide you through the ancient grove and all that lies within. Review by Mike Wagstaff The Greening of Man is available from www.thegreeningofman.com
The Dolmen Grove Magazine Further information on the Dolmen Grove Magazine, including back issues, up and coming features, and article submissions can be found on Facebook.com The Dolmen Magazine Editor Diane Narraway To submit articles email Diane Narraway : email@example.com The Dolmen Grove Further information about regarding Dolmen Grove Membership, courses, up and coming events and ceremonies is available through The Dolmen Grove website : www.dolmengrove.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org Or through Facebook.com The Dolmen Grove To apply for membership or for further information : email@example.com The Dolmen Further information about music from The Dolmen, including CD and merchandise, is available at : www.thedolmen.com Email UK firstname.lastname@example.org Email USA email@example.com Or through Facebook.com The Dolmen
A CIRCLE IS CASTED Before the dawn they gather, those merry few, biting wind ripping into their bones as the rain lashes across their faces. Wet through they march on following the drum beat. They form a circle each aware of that brief moment of silence before the quarters are called – wind, fire, water, and earth. Elemental magic is worked as the rain ceases and the wind subsides. Instead the sun appears - a blazing golden light. Within the circle a chalice is offered up by a man and a woman dips the blade of her Athame into it symbolising the union of the goddess and the god, male and female. There is something sensual in the way the blade dips into the chalice as the ohm is vibrated building the energy within the circle. “AS above so below” says the male, the female smiles and responds “So shall it be”. They return to their places as all are equal in this sacred place. Another enters the circle encouraging all those present to look within their hearts and take a moment to consider the words he speaks because it is for all that this magick is woven. We are reminded that it is only when we can look with ourselves and see that which can’t be seen that we can truly begin to understand the meaning of magic. When you look at a tree do you can see branches, leaves and bark or do you see life. Looking back at you from deep within those branches, leaves and bark is a face. This is the face of the green man - the face within. This face is not only visible in trees but can also be seen in rocks, the sea, the clouds and flames. These are the faces of an elemental magic that is as old as the earth. It is through these elemental spirits that we come to know the god and goddess. The circle is closed as in turn they bid them farewell to the elements. A new day is here with children to feed; the cat to let in and work to be done. ‘So shall it be’ is the final chant as the sun’s golden ray’s drift across the circle. And as most of the world goes about its day a few of us will see beyond the obvious and shall never forget that wherever you look in nature… the green man is looking back at you. Teach Carter
â€˜The Oak & Holly Kingâ€™ : Audrey(Stormy) Haney
The Oak and the Holly King In summers months a fight does come for the oak king with his mighty sword does fight his brother the holly lord for right to sit upon the throne his brother Holly does not win and at the underworld sleeps within when leaves turn gold and then fall down to rest upon and turning ground The oak king upon his throne watches as the winter comes that soon it will be time to fight when he does hear the hounds of night Now rests the trees of his gentle kin are sleeping in the ground within and lord of oak now knows its time from underworld his brother climbs The evergreen of holly bright brings back the holly king to fight. The holly lord bows to his brother he will not bow to any other lifts up his sword of winters rest and plunges it into his brothers chest His hounds of night do howl and bark as the oak kings face turns dark And so he falls to the underworld to heal and rest while in the winters cold the holly lord is now the king and on the throne sits there within. and toasts with mead his brother gone. and sings aloud the yuletide song For joyful times winters season bring to ready for the start of spring. and when the sun does rise once more and brings his rays on winters floor the oak king will rise again and from his brother will then reign. Audrey Haney
Membership of the Dolmen Grove How to become a full member
The Dolmen Grove offers a lifetime membership, which simply means a one-off payment of ÂŁ20 for those who wish to embrace and enjoy the freedom, Clanship and the right to practice their own spiritual path within the Grove family. Full Members of the Grove will enjoy reduced rates for events such as Gatherings like the Beltane Spirit of Rebirth and Tribal Dreams, and to many other events when stated. A Full member will receive a Membership Card and a unique Membership Number that identifies who they are when wishing to attend Member only Ceremonies and other Dolmen Grove Events. The Dolmen Grove does not have a hierarchy, as we do not believe that people need titles or labels to follow a spiritual path; instead the spiritual ethos of the Grove is facilitated by a Round Table, a circle of people from all walks of life. For further information on the Dolmen Grove and becoming a member please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also find us on faceboook - thedolmengrove and thedolmengrovemagazine
The Dolmen Grove T-Shirt
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DOLMEN GROVE MOOTS All Dolmen Grove Moots hold regular meetings where people can find out more about Dolmen Grove membership, ethos and upcoming events such as camps, workshops and talks. Portsmouth - The Salisbury Hotel, Every second Wednesday of the month, 7:30pm onwards Lonsdale Road, Cosham, Portsmouth Hampshire PO6 2PX Essex - East Thurrock Community Association 77 Corringham Rd, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex SS17 0NU Weymouth - The John Gregory (The Dolmen Grove’s oldest and most established moot) Every second Wednesday of the month, 7:30pm onwards 113 Radipole Lane DT4 9SS Portland - The George Inn Every last Wednesday of the month, 7:30pm onwards 133 Reforne, Portland, Dorset, DT5 2AP 7.30pm onwards Cornwall - Polgooth Inn Every first Wednesday of the month, 7:30pm onwards Ricketts Lane, Polgooth, St.Austell, PL26 7DA Berkshire (Bracknell) - The Boot Public House Every 3 third Wednesday of the month, 7:30pm onwards Park Road, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 2LU Poole - The Kings Head Every third Tuesday on the month , 7:30pm onwards 6 High Street, Poole, Dorset BH15 1BD Moots are advertised regularly on The Dolmen Grove facebook page
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The DOLMEN GROVE CHRONICLES : VOLUME 1 The pioneering physical copy of The Dolmen Grove Chronicles is currently available from: Body,Soul and Spirit 14 Gloucester St, Weymouth DT4 7AP Fossil Beach 107 St Mary St, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8NY Happy Glastonbury 11 Market Pl, Town Centre, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9HH The Speaking Tree Book Shop 5 High St, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9DP Moon Goddess 12-13 Pannier Market, Back Quay, Truro TR1 2LW Akasha Unit 5 Chapel Street Arcade 61-62 Chapel Street Penzance TR18 4 AE Craft Crazy 165a West Street, Fareham, PO16 0EF Wonky Witches Wardrobe 3 Quarters, 48 North Street, Havant, PO9 1PT Gothic Image Publications 7 High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9DP It is also available from Dolmen Grove Events/Moots, Dolmen Gigs
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