Caroline Wise after the Council of British Druid Orders Summer Solstice Ceremony
on Primrose Hill, London in 1994.
The Druid Clan of Dana and the Council of British Druid Orders
Summer Solstice Ceremony on Primrose Hill in London, 1994
Caroline writes: "The Druid Clan of Dana were asked to facilitate the ceremony. We had taken part before in these summer Solstice observations, alternating between Primrose Hill and Parliament Hill. These two sacred hills linked us back directly to the Druid Revival rite in 1792, held on Primrose Hill.
Our own Druid Clan of Dana, being formed exactly 200 years after that seems significant. I felt we were softening those very patriarchal origins (a product of their time) with the beauty of the Goddess. I made sure that FOI priestesses had speaking roles. I brought in Dana, Elen, Brighid, and Diana, the latter three having London connections, and Dana being our patron. Primrose Hill and Parliament Hill were once part of the 'Great Chase', the hunting park of Henry VIIIth, accessible only to royalty.
The cult of Diana, bound up in the founding of London, attached itself, allegorically, to Elizabeth 1st, Henry's daughter. In our more egalitarian and enlightened times, we could connect to, and interpret these origins and myths in a more relevant way. What an honour for us to be leading this rite. I tried to be aware of this as we conducted the ceremony, and of the Hill's link to Blake and his vision of the New Jerusalem.
Olivia was present, with her niece Lucy. Olivia gave a blessing of Dana to end the rite. Liz Murray, an early FOI member, was there, a leading light in the Druid World. Liz is the widow of the famous Druid the late Colin Murray, founder if the Golden Section Order. I remember about 150 druids, friends and fellow-travellers, and entranced dog-walkers who stumbled upon us.
These rites have now moved to Stonehenge, but if you are passing Primrose Hill at dawn on the Equinoxes and Solstices, look up through the mist and you will see white clad druids, sometimes a lone one, observing the sunrise. It is an evocative sight! The Druid's Prayer was included in the Rite. It has been adapted to add 'Goddess'.
Grant us O God and Goddess, Thy Protection,
And in Protection, Strength,
And in Strength, Understanding,
And in Understanding, Knowledge,
And in Knowledge, Knowledge of Justice,
And in Knowledge of Justice, The Love of it,
And in Love, the Love of all Existences."
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Text and photo copyright © Rt. Rev. Caroline Wise, AU, Isis of the Thames Lyceum, London.