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Left: King Arthur. Photo: Lou Purplefairy. Right: Astrologer Royal, Bapu. Photo: Tooba Masood.

I

t is a dreary Wednesday morning at the Royal Courts of Justice. Barristers in black robes chat idly at the doors of courts. Litigants in blue pin stripe suits send emails from their phones. Pacing between them, muttering to himself, is a man in white robes that depict a red dragon with a stonking erection. This is King Arthur. He is here to apply for a judicial review of the Ministry of Justice’s alleged duplicity regarding the internment of ancient bones found under Stonehenge. He claims they have simultaneously reassured the Druid community that the bones will be returned to the ground after testing, while telling the University of Sheffield that they will change the Burial Act which currently obliges the institution to rebury the bones by 2015. Around a dozen Druids wait for him outside in the drizzle. They come from as far away as Yorkshire and the Netherlands. This disparate group has found itself fighting to keep our ancestors’ remains in the ground and struggling to keep nature and our past sacrosanct in the face of uncompromising modernity.

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Nobody knows exactly how many Druids there are in the UK. The consensus among those outside the court puts the figure in the thousands. Notwithstanding methodological problems, 4,189 people reported themselves as Druids in the 2011 census. This puts Druidism slightly behind “Heavy Metal” as a religion, which returned 6,242 adherents. A companion of Arthur was more mystical about the number of British followers: “We reveal ourselves when we find our like-minded people.” Liz, a longstanding Druid living in London explains that the main focus of Druidism is the concept of time, spiritualism and an awareness of the seasons. She says that Arthur himself is very political but she is a member of several Druid orders, some of which focus much more on celebrating nature.

E

ach Druid fashions their own set of rituals and beliefs. Bapu, the Astrologer Royal for the Loyal Arthurian Warband, puts his faith in concentrations of energy. He was born

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...

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