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.
UNITED KINGDOM — Every year, the sleepy little market town of Tenbury Wells, near the border of England and Wales in the county of Worcestershire, hosts an annual Mistletoe Festival. Mistletoe is an important product in this corner of England, due to its numerous apple orchards. Worcestershire and neighbouring Herefordshire mark the start of cider and perry country, which covers most of South West England). As Suzanne Thomas of the Mistletoe Foundation states: “Viscum album, the English mistletoe is such an amazing plant. It has a wonderful energy and to see it growing in the trees locally is just so lovely.
The Druid Network (TDN) is ending 2016 on a high note after being accepted as a full member by The Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN). Established in 2003 by prominent Druid Emma Restall Orr, TDN has gone from being a primarily web-based interface to establishing the Honouring the Ancient Dead (HAD) project, which aims to restore dignity to the human remains of those likely to be British Pagans, including those whose remains predate Christianity. TDN evolved further, becaming a charity and, most recently, the organization was granted full membership in the IFN, alongside the Pagan Federation. TDN Media co-coordinator Joanna van der Hoeven says, “TDN now has an even greater legal standing, which others can follow, in having both legal and religious influence in the UK. There will also be greater communication between Druids and members of other religions, which is a wonderful thing to happen.”
The Druid Network was originally launched to bring together Druids from around the world, as well as others from similar Pagan/natural philosophy-based paths.
UNITED KINGDOM — On Oct. 6 this year, the British Government granted fracking company Cuadrilla permission to begin operations at two sites in Lancashire (north-west England). This decision, taken by Business Secretary Sajid Javid, overturned a previous decision made by the Lancashire County Council to grant permission at just one of the two proposed sites. Under the banner of Frack Free Lancashire, a coalition of local anti-fracking groups has formed. Included in the coalition is the inimitable mothers and grandmothers group The Nanas.
BRIGHTON — For people travelling to this year’s Witchfest in Brighton, there will be additional entertainment option: the premiere of the play Doreen: An English Witch. This new theatrical production is the brainchild of director Roman Withers and writer Gavin Caine of Normal People Productions. The Wild Hunt caught up with Caine and Withers to talk about the play, its impact, and the creative process that led to its birth. Withers explained how a meeting with the late John Belham Payne inspired the very latest celebration of Valiente’s life:
“We met John Belham Payne last November, as he was the Head of the Doreen Valiente Foundation, and knew Doreen, so I decided it would be really good to put a play on. We’re both in the craft ourselves and it seemed only fitting as Doreen lived in Brighton and spent many, many years here.”
The play Doreen: An English Witch is the second outing of Normal People Productions, an up and coming new theatre company.
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IRELAND – In June, we reported on Pagan Life Rites (PLR), an Irish group focused on promoting its celebrancy service through local communities as a way of giving Pagans a voice.