100th Touchstone

"The light shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us…" John Muir


We have two achievements to celebrate this year: the hundredth edition of Touchstone and the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Order.

Just as in a seasonal festival we pause for a moment to open fully to the moment and to celebrate the journey of our lives and the Earth, so with anniversaries like this, we have the opportunity to pause for a moment and reflect on what we have achieved and the journey we have taken.

Druidry has come a long way since Nuinn, and fellow Druids of the Ancient Druid Order, founded our Order forty years ago. Sometimes I sit by the central fire at the Summer Camp, watching the stars come out, listening to people chatting, stories being told, music being played while children play in the field, and I imagine Nuinn sitting next to me. “Look where we’ve got with this!” I say and he smiles contentedly, because forty years isn’t a long time really…just the twinkling of an eye in the Otherworld. And from a few of us gathering over thirty years ago on Glastonbury Tor for Beltane, or in Nuinn’s flat for Imbolc, the Order has grown to thousands of us now celebrating all over the world: holding solstice parties, summer gatherings, planning artistic events, workshops, books, web sites, projects of all kinds .

The other day the Raven’s Claw Seed Group in Canada sent me a DVD of a retreat they held in the woods last autumn. There I saw a gathering of members whom I’ve never met (at least in this life) talking to the camera about their beliefs and experiences, and I was struck by the originality and the commonality of what they said. Each of them were individuals – giving their own opinions, with no signs of cultish group-think – and yet the common themes of a love for the Earth and a deep sense of the inherent spirituality and sacredness of life shone through each of their presentations.

Looking through the hundred editions of Touchstone, and its earlier manifestations as simply the ‘OBOD Newsletter’, I am struck by a similar feeling: there is so much original thought, so many unique voices, and yet we are held together by these common themes. And then I’m reminded of John Muir’s words: ‘The light shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us…’

I’ll write about the Order’s fortieth birthday in a later edition. Meanwhile I’d like raise a glass of mead and propose a toast to all the editors of Touchstone – Penny, Damh, Maddy, & Walter – and to Nuinn for having started it all forty years ago:

“Congratulations and Bravo!”

Peace and Blessings to all,

Philip /|\

July 2005

N.B. John Muir (1838-1914) was America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He has been called the Father of National Parks and a Wilderness Prophet. He once described himself as a ‘poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist. He was a tenacious Scot who became a Californian during the final forty-six years of his life.

As a wilderness explorer, he is renowned for his exciting adventures in California’s Sierra Nevada, among Alaska’s glaciers, and world wide travels in search of nature’s beauty. As a writer, he taught the people of his time and ours the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage . His writings contributed greatly to the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks. He helped to form the influential Sierra Club.