Gatherings for Order Members
Many members join the Order and follow the course without ever meeting other members – either because they prefer to be solitary (sometimes calling themselves ‘hedge-druids’) or because they are geographically far away from other members. Members often say that they are not usually the ‘joining type’ but still feel drawn to join the Order. Others like gathering together for friendship, support and exchange, and the Order and its members have created a whole range of ways to fulfil these aims: virtually in the online Discussion Forums on this website (there are public and members-only forums), on Facebook, and physically in Seed Groups and Groves, camps and gatherings, retreats and assemblies. Over the years, the OBOD community has grown to become a flourishing network in which deep relationships are formed, overseas visits are made, and interests are shared. In this section of the website we share with you some of the aspects of this community of like-minded souls around the world.
On this page we offer an overview of Order gatherings.
Seed Groups and Groves
Members and friends meet together in Seed Groups and Groves, and across the world there are over 200 of these groups in the Order now.
A Grove may meet in a member’s house or garden, but more often than not they will try to meet out of doors – in a garden, forest clearing or local park. In addition to celebrating the eight seasonal festivals, they may come together to perform rites of passage when a Grove member wants to name their child, or when members marry or die. Some Groves will also meet regularly aside from these special times. And at these Grove meetings there may be initiations of new members, ceremonies enacted or teachings explored. More often than not the meeting will become a social gathering – with impromptu story-telling and music-making, and with everyone bringing food and drink to share.
Groves can be made up of just a few members, or may number thirty or more, and although certain members will take responsibility for organising aspects of the grove’s activities, no one person acts like a priest or priestess.
Workshops, Retreats, Talks and Events
Members can announce their workshops, retreats, talks, or other events in the Events section of the Order’s magazines and website.
The Order has arranged retreats on the isle of Iona, in Scotland, in Snowdonia in Wales, in Devon, and at Compton Dundon and Chalice Well in Glastonbury. In Autumn 2020 an online training programme will be available for members who would like to develop their skills in giving workshops and talks, and in running retreats.
Moots, Gatherings, Camps & Conferences
Groups of members organise regular moots in local pubs, and camps, conferences and gatherings. In Britain, two big gatherings are held each year around the time of the solstices. We hire Glastonbury Town Hall, hold rituals on the Tor, in Chalice Well Gardens and at Stonehenge. We have grove meetings, lectures, a buffet supper, live music and a party.
In Australia members have been holding annual assemblies each Spring for many years. In New Zealand an annual camp is held near Wellington in February. In the Netherlands and Germany camps and gatherings are held regularly, and in France we often hold retreats in the magical forest of Broceliande in Brittany or in Bourgogne.
The course is now also available in Portuguese and Italian, and events are also held in Italy and Portugal.
There are camps in Britain, and individual groves sometimes organise retreats or camps for grove members and friends. Members organise camps under the own initiative, such as White Horse Camps and international camps have been held in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. Details of upcoming camps are announced in the members’ magazine Touchstone.