Glastonbury Order of Druids............Origins.
The Glastonbury Order of Druids has its roots in remote antiquity. The current order was first conceived in the late 60's and early 70's and finally established in 1988. The Founder Heads of the Order, Rollo Maughfling and Jacqueline Paterson re-established, after 1500 years, public performances of the basic elements of Pagan Pre-Christian nature based ritual in both it's Lunar and Solar phases, both at Glastonbury and Stonehenge.
Tentative datings for the giant series of earthworks south of the Tor known as the Glastonbury Zodiac are based on the equinoctial sunrise line of 2700 BC, shortly prior to the proto-druidic foundations of Stonehenge circa 2500 BC. Archaeological dating has similarly placed the maze or labyrinth round the Tor at circa 1500 BC. Early references record the activity of the legendary Druid Abaris in the region circa 500 BC, thought by some to be the instructor of Pythagoras. It seems that roughly every five hundred years the order is at a high peak of activity.
The coming of Joseph of Aramathia and the boy Jesus to Glastonbury at the dawn of the christian era is regarded as fact locally, along with the memory that the Druid Order of the day gave Joseph twelve Hides of land on which to build the first Christian Church in the world after the crucifiction, long before Romanised Christianity !
5oo years later again, at a time when the original message of the Celtic Druid Christian infusion was being lost, Arthur and the Archdruid Merlin strove to preserve the ancient wisdom against the coming of the Dark Ages. 500 years later again, the Celtic scholar Dunstan, often referred to as the Christian Merlin, unified the Kingdom, wrote the coronation service still in use to this day and re-established much of the old Druidic lore in Christian guise. 500 years later Dr. John Dee, Queen Elizabeth 1st's astrologer, and fellow confidant, Edward Kelly, rediscovered the outines of the Glastonbury Zodiac, claimed to have obtained the philosopher's stone, and substantiated the claim of Elizabeth I to be Defender of the Faith in Britain on the grounds that Glastonbury recieved the Christian message over a hundred years before Rome !
500 years later in our present era, Honorary Archdruid and dear friend of the Order, the antiquary and visionary writer John Michell, popularlised and extended research into Ley Lines and Stone Cirlcles, such that the Ley Lines of Britain are now a common household word. Much of his early work such as "The View Over Atlantis", was written in Glastonbury, and it was his encouragement and enthusiasm for the old ways that led to the order as it is today, being formed by the late Jacqueline Memory Paterson, author of Tree Wisdom, and Archdruid Rollo Maughfling, whose name comes from the Irish Maughlin or Merlin. Traditionally, Glastonbury is the seat of the Archdruid of Britain, and Stonehenge is Britain's High Place of Assembly.
Rollo had been working since 1988 with one objective, the free and open access for all to visit and worship at Stonehenge for Equinoxes and Solstices, particularly Summer Solstice, and was delighted to have Arthur Pendragon give even more impetus to the campaign to re-open Stonehenge, a battle fought by many groups and individuals on many fronts.
In 1988 Rollo was raised Archdruid of Britain at a ceremony in Glastonbury Abbey, before becoming a founder member of the Council of British Druid Orders- CoBDO.
At the Spring Equinox, 1991, Rollo was also raised as Archdruid of Stonehenge, and at Beltain the same year Arthur Pendradon was raised Pendragon and Swordbearer to the Glastonbury Order of Druids, to represent the male/Warrior side of the work, particularly in regard to Stonehenge.
In 1993 Donna Brooke was raised as Archdruidess and female Head of the Inner Order.
At Beltane 2005, Dreow Bennett was raised as an Archdruid, but has since moved to Portugal. At Beltain 2007, Victoria Marsden was raised acting archdruidess and local representative of the Glastonbury Order.
The present day order recognises Glastonbury as the fountainhead of three major religions, Wicca, Druidry and Christianity, and Stonehenge as the omphalos of the natural ecology of Britain. We celebrate May Day, Samhain, Lammas and Imbolc at Glastonbury, and/or Avebury, because the May Day sun rises approx. 27.2 N of E, which is the angle of orientation of the Tor and the ley line on which it and Avebury stand. We celebrate Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, Spring and Autumn Equinoxes at Stonehenge, because the summer solstice sun rises approx. 51 N of E, which is the angle of orientation of Stonehenge and the Hele Stone and its Ley Line.
The Glastonbury Order have been at the forefront of discussions between English Heritage and druids, witches, pilgrims and travellers to promote peaceful celebration at Stonehenge there now, and in the future.
The Order encourages the Druid arts appropriate to the spiritual development of those who work with them, Druids and Druidesses. These are the bardic skills of music, art, poetry, drama, film, etc. We have two theatres at our disposal; the magnificent outdor setting of Glastonbury Abbey for traditional pieces, and the unusual indoor ambience of the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms for more controversial works.
The Ovate skills we encourage relate to alternative medicine, clairvoyance and the magic arts, natural philosophy, ecology and druidic folklore. The Druid skills we encourage relate to the performance of seasonal rituals, meditation, solar and lunar knowledge, self discipline and direction, and the enlightenment of the people by means of re-enactment of the ancient truths, through sacred drama.
Those who wish to join us are advised that meetings take place mainly in the West Country at the three ancient centres of Gastonbury,Stonehenge and Avebury, and that it helps to have some practical knowledge of these places beforehand.
Spell weaving, storm raising, levitation and invisibility take a little longer !
The Glastonbury Order of Druids (GODS) are founder members of the Council of British Druid Orders (CoBDO) .................................................................................www.cobdo.org.uk
We also work regularly with The Loyal Arthurian Warband (LAW)...............www.warband.org.uk
The GODS often work together with The Dolmen Grove .........................................................www.dolmengrove.co.uk