The People of Peace

Late yesterday I returned from a thoroughly lovely weekend in Glastonbury attending the 50th anniversary OBOD gathering. I'm not actually a member, but was encouraged to go by several friends who are, in order
to meet new people and broaden my social horizons. Which it most certainly did.
Not being terribly organised I left booking a B&B rather late and the town was swamped, so ended up in one of the villages. It was a nice place to stay, but slightly limited sociability in terms of relying on a friend to drive back there rather than staggering back after making merry.
Thankfully there was plenty going on during the day, and I found myself drawing inspiration from things that could be included in rituals back here in Ipswich ~ such as the rolling chants (though that would most likely need lots more people than we have to be really effective).
On Friday I attended an LGBT group, which was far better attended than I think anyone had expected, with some interesting and thoughtful people with some good stories to share. People were genuinely friendly and welcoming, and there was a certain nostalgia value in meandering the streets of Glastonbury looking at all the shockingly overpriced crystals, spangles and tat (with the occasional beautifully crafted piece hidden amongst the tourist tack).
Ronald Hutton's informal talk on Saturday morning about the history of revival druidry was very funny and fascinating. I had not realised quite how closely aligned the early movements had been with politically radical humanitarian campaigning groups.
The section in which people decked out with tree/ogam imagery each recited a relevant verse stimulated all sorts of creative ideas for later reflection.
After some more socialising we eventually went up the Tor where I watched a celebratory ritual, and was able to join in some bits which I understood (like the chanting). There are a number of differences between what OBOD do and what I do, both in terms of the ritual structure and the beliefs that underpin it, but it was intriguing to watch. The Tor is, as always, an amazing place to be with spectacular views and a wonderful vibe. As mentioned in a previous post, the Tor is traditionally considered the home of Gwynn app Nudd, leader of the Tylwyth Teg (People of Peace), a euphemism for the wild faeries.
A lot of the OBOD ritual was given over to mention of peace, though I must confess my own thoughts were running along other lines with alternate understandings of the fairies ~ not only the use of the word as an insult, but also deeper, more subversive uses of the term for the followers of Gwynn.
The evening entertainment was enjoyable, most especially the opera singer. I loved the fact that they included opera, instead of just assuming all pagans want to listen to off-key folk music. Intoxicated by the home brew mead, I became embroiled in some intriguing conversations with some enchanting people.
Sunday was spent signing and selling books, plus a lovely lunch with some excellent company and a last wander round town. I left feeling properly alive for the first time in years, and inspired to write poetry (which may get posted up here in time). Getting home I found a few things had changed in other people's lives, some of which took decisions out of my hands and left me better able to make some plans for what I want out of the future. Onwards and upwards!


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