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Greywolf with 900-year-old yew treeGreetings and blessings of Calan Mai! I'm writing this on May 1st, here at my home in Wiltshire. For the first day of the year's Summer half, it's a little chilly and overcast, though no rain and the trees have recently burst with bright new greenery. If you look down the left side of this page, you'll see that we've added many new events to the site this year, beginning with our bardic storytelling weekend offering a precious opportunity to learn from one of the greatest masters of the art, Robin Williamson, co-founder of the Incredible String Band and Primary Chief Bard of Britain.
Next comes the Druid Network Conference, this year featuring both a talk and an evening music session from yours truly, as well as talks from Graham Harvey, Gordon 'The Toad' Maclellan, Nimue Brown and others, plus entertainment from our very own Adam Sargant.
Then there's the ever-magical WildWays Folk Festival in the heart of rural Shropshire, this year featuring music from Jake Thomas, Andy (Telling the Bees) Letcher, Greywolf (i.e. me), Norwegian shamanic band, Balfolket, plus special guests. All for a mere tenner, with a special offer of overnight accommodation for only an additional £10. Staying overnight would make it easy for you to attend the Midsummer Night's Dreaming concert at the nearby Severn Centre the following night, featuring Andy, Greywolf and Balfolket performing different sets at a great indoor venue with seating for 100.
Balfolket2015bx600The following weekend there's an opportunity to both learn and experience a wide range of shamanic healing techniques, guided by Norwegian practitioners, Kyrre Franck White Cougar, LeNa Paalviig Johnsen, Bobby Kure and Anita Dreyer, four of the nicest and most spiritually attuned people we know. Rural setting, 40 acres of woodland, sauna, and a Norgwegian chef!
On the weekend prior to Midsummer (Northern hemisphere) we're promoting events for World Peace & Prayer Day. And that's only the next two months! We do like to keep busy 🙂
Blessings to one and all for a summer blessed with beauty and strength,
Greywolf /|\

The Druid TarotIt's been a while ... well, 15 years, so quite a long while really, but we're delighted to announce that The Druid Tarot, designed by Greywolf back in the early 1990s, is now back in print and available via our wonderful webshop. Do check it out by clicking here. We love it!

In other news, BDO head honcho, Greywolf, will shortly be zooming off to the USA for the first time in a decade, revisiting old friends in the Pacific Northwest, attending a gathering of the BDO-founded Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Pugetia in Seattle, and offering talks and workshops in the magical setting of LaPush, coastal home of the Quileute people who LaPush Shorelineare descended from shape-shifting wolves. Check out details of happenings at LaPush by clicking: LaPush 2014 flyer. For further details and booking, please telephone Seattle-based Pagan priest, great friend and long-time BDO member, Leon Reed on 206-329-6260.

Due to Greywolf's absence, there may not be many new posts here for a while as he tends to write most of them ... So, see you in a little while and don't forget, as another of our Seattle friends, guitar-maker, Denis Merrill, taught us to say, "Be the Awen!"

Ovate 2 The Path of the SeerWell, it's been, as I suspected it would be, a long, strange trip, but our ovate course is now almost complete. It will run to over 1200 pages, of which there are only 60 left to fill. I'm just waiting on a couple of articles from colleagues and we're there. The first five packages, i.e. ten months' worth, are ready to go, indeed the first half of the course is already online.

Why did I suspect it would be a long, strange trip? Well, for one thing, I've known a lot of people who've worked through the OBOD Ovate course and many of them have experienced life-changing events of one kind or another during it, often of a disturbing nature. I also knew the sort of stuff we were going to be dealing with in our course, including things like illness, madness and death. OK, we were going to be presenting many ways of dealing with those things, nevertheless, they are life's great traumas. So, I plunged in singing the Boy Scout mantra, "Be Prepared."Ovate booklet 19 cover
I made sure to program into the course many things that have helped me deal with life's crises over the years, rediscovered some long lost ones and came up with some new ones. I figured I would need them. I hadn't realised quite how much I would need them, nor that I wouldn't be the only one.
At the end of August 2012, my son, Joe, was rushed into hospital with a seriously infected appendix. Two weeks later, Joe was back home, thank the gods, when I was rushed to the same hospital with chest pains. It turned out that I had contracted pleurisy and my left lung had stopped working.
Through the winter, I kept hearing from people I knew who were suffering financial crashes, illness and emotional turmoil.
Now, obviously, it wasn't the fact that I was editing an ovate course that caused these things to happen, they just coincided with awful precision. However, as is my way, I kept my head down and, as much as possible, kept working.
Birger MikkelsenI was rewarded with moments of great wonder, magic and elation, of awen's unfettered flow. One example was the re-discovery of an ancient Irish system of healing concealed in a cryptic passage in the middle of a medieval law text. I uncovered a huge amount of material to do with our ancestors approach to health and healing and how we can use the same methods today. This tallied beautifully with the Druid Herbal I'd been given by my old friend, Leon Reed, to incorporate into the course. I also came up with a new/old way of working with the spirits of trees, with assistance from friends in OBOD.
And then there were the Norwegians. As you'll see elsewhere in these bLena M. Paalvig Johnsenlogs, we had the most amazing time hosting the World Drum, created by Sami drum-maker, Birger Mikkelsen (that's him, left). In April, we had the huge joy of meeting the shaman whose vision inspired the making, White Cougar, along with the overseer of the Drum's global travels, Morten Wolf Storeide, and two fellow Norwegian shamans, Lena M. Paalvig Johnsen (that's her, right) and Will Rubach. Lena and Will are members of a band called Balfolket. Check out this video of them on Youtube. They turned out to be four of the most amazing, inspiring people I've ever met. And to cap it all, I got to sing a duet with my all-time musical hero, the great Robin Williamson, co-founder of The Incredible String Band. Wow! I was truly blissed ... ecstatic ... on another plane ... Check out Robin's website, or search on Youtube for his beautiful music.
So, yes, it has been the proverbial roller coaster ride, but it's almost done. Has it been worth it? Emphatically and absolutely, yes. I truly believe that this course represents the best that contemporary Paganism and Druidry have to offer. It should Rib Cageestablish once and for all that Druidry is a spiritual path capable of standing proudly alongside any other. You can check out samples from some of the booklets here... BDO Ovate Course Sampler ... bear in mind, however, that you will need to have successfully completed our bardic course before you can access the ovate course. The reason is simple. The bardic course lays a lot of foundations that are necessary to successfully follow the ovate course. Sorry, but there simply wasn't any other way to go about putting these courses together. However, I'm pretty sure you'll find it worthwhile. After six years of intense work, I certainly have. I've learned a lot. I've also had a lot of fun locating and creating a range of weird, wonderful, colourful illustrations for the booklets, of which this is one on the left. No, it's not what you think! It's actually a model of a rib cage and internal organs which was deposited 2,000 years ago into the healing spring that becomes the River Seine, sacred to the goddess Sequana, one of whose functions is to assist in healing and one of whose attributes is ... a duck!
Many blessings,
Greywolf /|\