On Friday my family and I are heading out of the country for the first time in nearly five years. The last time was when we last visited Canada in 2013. This time we are taking just over a week in England and then two weeks in Canada before returning home with a single night stop in London. It will be my first trip back to the UK for eleven years. Eleven years since I found Druidry in Glastonbury. Eleven years since receiving an initiation at Avebury and Stonehenge. Eleven years since I’ve seen my teacher Morgan. I’m excited to go back.
Our first stop is going to be Stonehenge on our very first day. We will arrive early in the morning and plan to stop there on our way over to Glastonbury where we will be staying on our first night. I’m looking forward to seeing this special place and wonder what it will bring up for me to return there. The last time I was there it was winter solstice and in the darkness, surrounded by the giant stones and about a hundred other Druids, I got up to make a promise to share what I’d learned of Druidry in Australia. It’s been quite a journey since then. I am looking forward to being near that space again.
Glastonbury too, I’m sure, will bring up a lot. I lived there for nearly a year in 2007. It was there that I first discovered Druidry and started learning about it and practicing it. The experience changed my life and put in the grounding for what I would later write about in my book ‘Australian Druidry’. I will be seeing my teacher Morgan again and just can’t wait to share with her everything that has happened in the time since I left. I am also hoping to have enough energy to climb the Tor, visit the wells and if we have time, to visit the Celtic Lake Village museum which has reconstructions of beautiful roundhouses.
Regretfully the trip won’t be more about Druidry and visiting sacred sites and museums, however it will be a great family time and I feel it will be filled with experiences of the land and of the ancestors. The main purpose of this trip is certainly reconnecting with family. After Glastonbury we will visit family in Devon and then head up to York where my mum’s family are. My cousin is getting married while we are there. She will marry her fiancé in the same church that my parents were married in forty-one years ago. Her mother and father now live in the house my grandparents lived in, and that my great grandfather built, which is just down the road from the church. It will be wonderful to see our extended family on my mother’s side and to show Lugh, my son the place where his treasured Granny grew up. My parents and brother and his family will all be with us there too, so it will be quite a big family get together!
In the week or so we will be staying there, we plan to visit Scarborough Beach, where my grandmother’s ashes were scattered and will partake of a ritual eating of an Eton Mess – a dessert they serve there made with layers of strawberries, meringue and cream which my Grandmother loved. Yum. Donkey rides on the beach will also be a necessity for Lugh. We will also visit ‘The White Horse’ where my Grandfathers ashes were scattered. Not a genuinely historical one like the White Horse of Uffington, this one is much more recently created and sits on the side of the hill of Sutton Bank near the gliding club that my Grandad was a member of for many years. It was built by a school group in 1857 perhaps just to see if they could. It’s called the Kilburn White Horse. I’m sure my Grandad would have looked down on it as he flew around in his glider high above the hills. I like to think he’s still there now. Our ritual for him, no doubt, will be remembering all the things he did that made us laugh. He had a wicked sense of humour and was always belly laughing.
There will be lots of family time, but there will also be time for other adventures. We plan to visit The Druid’s Temple which is about an hour and a half north of York city. It was built in 1820 and is another recreation of an historical site, in much the same way as the Kilburn White Horse! It was built by William Danby and a group of workers in a time of agricultural depression. It gets called a “folly” meaning it is thought it was made purely for decoration, however with the rise of the Druid fraternities at this point in history being as prominent as they were, I do wonder if there were other intentions behind its creation. These modern recreations can, I believe be just as interesting as their ‘genuine’ historical counterparts. I’m curious to see what kind of an energy it has there.
We will also be taking a look at the Jorvik Centre which is a Viking museum. Lugh loves Vikings and I am quite interested in learning more about our Viking heritage. There’s also various museums, castle ruins and the city walls to explore. York has much more of a Viking and Roman history that is easily accessible, rather than Celtic, so we will explore that part of our history. The process will be an interesting exploration into the lives of our ancestors in that place.
After our time in England we will be off to Canada for two weeks. My husband is from the East Coast area called The Maritimes, just north of Halifax in Nova Scotia. Lugh is very much looking forward to seeing his Nana and Pop again as well as his aunty and uncles and to meet his cousin for the first time. It will be lovely to see them all as these trips are spread with so many years in between. The realities of a global society! So we will make the most of it and spend a lot of time together.
It’s an interesting place to go to as well. It’s a very flat land, by the ocean, with an abundance of beautiful freshwater lakes, waterfalls, farmland, and rocky shorelines. I love looking at the very different rocks there and I hope I’ll be able to do some fossicking while there for my jewelry work. If we get a chance we might head up to Cape Breton too, which is an area where Scots Gaelic is a local language as well as English and French. We went there for our honeymoon as a part of our last trip. It’s a beautiful place.
So, over the next few weeks I am going to be blogging a bit about these experiences and sharing what it’s like for us to return to the motherlands of our families. I hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me!