DUN LAOGHAIRE, Ireland — When David Ryan, a documentary film writer and creative producer, witnessed a Druid ritual in his native Ireland a few years ago, he was shocked – literally. Ryan and his colleagues with Tile Films, an Irish documentary production company, were filming Sacred Sites: Ireland, a pilot for a proposed series on such places around the world. “We did some filming in the Slieve Bloom Mountains with a group of local Druids who do rituals in honor of the ancient Celtic gods,” Ryan said during a Skype interview from his office in Dún Laoghaire just south of Dublin. “One of the Druids — quite an old man, a very nice man — brought me around the back of a farmhouse and showed me two standing stones. He said, ‘There’s an energy between these – put your hands out.’
“I was like I suppose your typical, skeptical 21st-century male,” said Ryan, who matter-of-factly noted he’s an agnostic when asked about his spiritual path.
ENGLAND — : An open letter was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby by the UK-based Odinist Fellowship asking for the return of sacred sites now occupied by Christian churches. These ‘stolen’ buildings must be returned, writes The Odinist Fellowship leader Ralph Harrison. The Fellowship, established by Harrison (“Ingvar”) in 1996, was formed after a split with the Odinic Rite, an Odinist group originally established by John Yeowell. As a result of the 2006 legal case Royal Mail PLC v Holden, the Odinic Rite reportedly became the first Odinist group to be granted charitable status in the UK in 1988. On its website, the current Odin Fellowship states that it seeks to increase awareness of one of the original faiths present in the UK, as practiced by the Saxons, Angles and Jutes.
In 2012, Wild Hunt founder Jason Pitzl-Waters published an article called, “Saint Patrick, Druids, Snakes, and Popular Myths.”* To this day, it remains one of our most popular posts. Every year as March approaches, and even as March leaves, the article is read and re-read and read again. So today, we revisit that popular article with updated links, information and quotes. “Today is St. Patrick’s Day, a yearly holiday celebrating Ireland’s favorite patron saint. While it’s a big event in Ireland (and used to be a very solemn occasion), in America it’s a green-dyed bacchanal where everyone is ‘Irish for a day’ (let’s not even start on the horridly stupid ‘unofficial’ St.
“I can’t begin to wrap my mind around the fact that this senseless act of violence happened on sacred ground. It does not matter that my spiritual path is different from those at Mother Emanuel … what matters is the sacredness of where they were when this occurred.” – Kelly Scott, Chairwoman of the Charleston Area Lowcountry Council of Alternative Spiritual Traditions. In recent months, it seems that news report after news report speaks of violence either against or within a sacred space. These acts range from the horrifying terrorist attack at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel to the destruction of ancient religious sites.