Claire Dixon is a Bardic level druid with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and a member of the Pagan Federation. She is a married mother of three based in Worcestershire, England. Claire is an avid astrologer, having studied the subject since her early teens, and has written extensively on astrology/astronomy for Pagan publications. She also loves researching British and Irish history and mythology. Claire is also an 80s TV boxset freak (Kip Carpenter’s Robin of Sherwood is a particular favourite) and Earl Grey tea fan.
The Path of Paganism: An Experience-Based Guide to Modern Pagan Practice by John Beckett. Published by Llewellyn Publications (336 pages). Walking a Pagan path will always have its challenges and whatever stage of the path we are on, a guide who give us pause for reflection on key aspects of our beliefs and practices is most welcome. This is why John Beckett’s new book The Path of Paganism, to be released in May, is so important. Beckett is a Druid who was raised in what he describes as a fundamentalist Christian family, finding his way to Paganism when he was an adult. Beckett is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) and an officer of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS). With a foreword by the renowned Kristoffer Hughes, head of the Anglesey Druid Order, Beckett’s book is made up of four parts: Building a Foundation, Putting it Into Practice, Intermediate Practice, Living at the Edge.
UNITED KINGDOM — Winter in the UK is often a dull and dreary affair. The winds are cold and biting, the skies are grey and loaded with drizzle. Any snow, with its temporary sense of wonder and magic, tends to be short-lived. So what do we have to get us through the Winter Fire festivals! Britain, Scotland in particular, has a long history of winter fire festivals to mark the end of Yuletide and welcome the returning spring and days of more sun.
KILDARE TOWN, Ireland — Revered by Pagan and Christian alike, the Irish figure of Brigid is perhaps the perfect symbol of the spirit needed in our troubled times. She left an inspiring legacy as a spiritual leader, peacemaker, woman of the land, advocate for the poor, and giver of hospitality. And in her native County Kildare, Brigid is honoured at the Solas Bhride centre, run by the Brigidine Sisters. In 2017, the centre has just used its annual Feile Bride festival to celebrate 25 years of work spreading her message to people of all faiths and none. The order was founded in County Carlow in 1807, under Bishop Daniel Delany, as a restoration of an old order of St.
BOSTCASTLE, Eng. — The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, the south-western corner of the Isle of Britain, has been a rich repository of artefacts and lore since 1960. Its collection has grown to more than 3,000 objects and some 7,000 books to cement it as a place of pilgrimage for Pagans of all stripes and a curious draw for tourists visiting the fishing village. However, sited between Bude and Tintagel – the fabled seat of King Arthur – on the county’s rugged northern coast, getting to tucked-away Boscastle, is not easy for a majority of Brits, never mind those from further afield. To help out the curious or those unable to make the journey, a new book was published giving a glimpse of 100 selected items in the museum, including wax dolls, wands, statues, daggers, pendants, robes and amulets.
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fall’n beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas … NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, U.K. — The poem above, by John Keats, reveals three things about English folklore: the power of the figure of Robin Hood, the sacred nature of the oak tree, and the indelible link between the two of them. Writing in 1818, Keats was invoking these powerful images as he railed against the Royal Navy’s plundering of the nation’s forests to take oak for shipbuilding. Today, the figure of Robin Hood is again being invoked as his very heartland of Sherwood Forest, and the great ancient oak, fabled to be his hideout, are now facing a very contemporary threat. Anti-fracking campaigners in the UK recently learned that chemical multinational INEOS has been in discussions with the UK’s Forestry Commission to carry out seismic surveys in Sherwood. If agreed, the survey will allow INEOS to spend up to two years burying charges and using other seismic equipment to search for shale gas in the forest, which is designated as a National Nature Reserve.