Groves in the Rest of the World
The three great melodies of Creation:
The wind in the trees;
The stream at snowmelt;
The cry of a new-born babe.
Not all OBOD Groves wish to be listed on a public site, but those that do can be found here, with links to their websites and email contacts. For more groups see the Seed Groups in the Rest of the World page.
A Seed Group or Grove needs a common purpose and we have found that celebrating the Eightfold wheel of the year to be a sufficient common purpose. When things get tough, you can always return to this. Caring for local sites, and supporting events sponsored by like-minded folks, can further serve to unite the individual members of the group.
The Melbourne Grove has been in existence since 1998 and has evolved along the way. They are facilitated by a central pool of experienced members. The grove also organizes events such as interstate assemblies where initiations and teaching opportunities exist.
The grove has worked to translate the rituals of the northern hemisphere into ones that honour and work with the spirits and energies of the southern hemisphere, whilst maintaining their druidic core.
The Melbourne Grove welcomes members of OBOD to apply for membership. As a member you can also bring guests at your own discretion and responsibility.
Grove of the Four Southern Dragons c/o Tom Robertson and Dawn McKenzie, Palmerston North email
This Grove is based in Manawatu, and started when a group of one OBOD Ovate and two Bards formed a Seed Group. This group is now all Druids, and forms the nucleus of the Grove of the Four Southern Dragons. Two organise the eight seasonal ceremonies, and the third ‘supplies’ the venue, usually held inside in a large lounge. A small group of mostly OBOD members, but including other interested individuals, are invited. Usually attendance is about 8 to 10 members from a total membership of 12.
The ceremonies follow those provided by OBOD, suitably modified to suit the Southern Hemisphere and New Zealand. They work from scripts with modification by the person holding the role if this is wanted. In particular the Direction Holders are encouraged to invite in the Spirits of the Direction that call to them. They seem sure the ‘Energies’ of the scripts often create themselves.
Grove of the Summer Stars c/o Pamela Meekings-Stewart, Pukerua Bay, Wellington email
In 1999 the Grove of the Summer Stars was created at ‘The Woolshed’ - a beautiful farm of 52 hectares at Pukerua Bay outside Wellington.
The Grove is a true grove of native trees (te kouka – cabbage tree) set in a natural bowl in the land. The physical location of our Grove was felt to be important. We cleared it of gorse and rubbish and clothed the Grove herself and the walk-in with many varieties of native plants to provide a place out of space and time where we could perform our rituals. We also have a beautiful banner depicting their sea.
The grove has approximately 25 members of OBOD plus over twenty others. All seasonal festivals are attended by at least 30 people (this last Autumn Equinox – 38!) and these are not always the same 30. The invitation to attend is extended through the website and the monthly Woolshed Programme sent out to 380 people around New Zealand.
New people are either brought by other ‘Grovers’ or they have read about it on The Woolshed website (www.thewoolshed.com) and have asked if they might attend.
It is made very clear to all new people that they are expected to respect the ritual and participate. A new person is often assigned a ‘buddy’ to look after them, explain any ‘housekeeping’ matters and make sure they feel safe. Our Grove is based on the values of respect, equality and spiritual safety.
The grove meet for the 8 seasonal festivals. We hold 7 seasonal rituals at The Woolshed, however the Winter Solstice is held at Stonehenge Aotearoa (See the article on this in the Library Section). The grove meets in the morning of the nearest Sunday to the particular festival, except for Beltane and Samhain which are held at night.
We hold a Druid Camp around Lughnasadh time.
The OBOD rituals as received in the Bardic Grade are used as a ‘spine’ and then we incorporate Maori and other elements important to our land, place and people.
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, we reverse the order to fit in with the correct season. As the farm is situated in a very ‘weatherly’ position and ‘The Woolshed’ is a very large barn converted into living and workshop spaces, we decide on the day whether to hold the ritual inside or outside. Sometimes we hold Eisteddfodau during the ritual if it’s fine and feast inside the house afterwards, or otherwise we hold the Eisteddfod at the end of the ritual inside, after feasting!
Everybody brings a food contribution for the feast. One of our members is making his own mead and he brings that as a contribution. Some of it has been very good (and some of it akin to paint stripper!). The grove keeps in touch via a closed group on Facebook and by email.
Regular events include:
Winter Solstice at Stonehenge Aotearoa
Lughnasadh Camp – 5 days with rituals and workshops
Tree Planting days (usually 2 a year)
Tree Nurturing days (usually 2 a year)
Women’s Full Moon Circle every moon month (though not strictly Druid)
Monthly Men’s Group (though not strictly Druid)
Interaction with the Community at Large
* For several years now we have been invited by the Phoenix Astronomical Society to hold our Winter Solstice ritual at Stonehenge Aotearoa which is an astronomically correct copy of Stonehenge in the UK but tracks the southern stars, sun and moon. 200 members of the public also attend and it is made clear that they are required to participate by being part of our circle. It is emphasised that this is an important ritual and not a performance. It has become very popular.
* Our Celebrant has given a Druid blessing at a community fair.
* Our Grove was invited by a Christian Church (Ephesus at Kapiti) to come and talk to them at their church about Druidry and 7 of us attended. We then invited them back to share Summer Solstice with us at The Woolshed. This has been a wonderful sharing of heart space and the connections are ongoing.
* We invited local members of the NZ Celebrants’ Association to join us for the Autumn Equinox to experience a seasonal ritual. 10 members took up our invitation and thoroughly enjoyed the day, while also learning about ‘holding the space’ for ritual.* Some of our senior members have been asked to be guest speakers at various functions and
* Our Celebrant/Host is also a registered marriage celebrant who is in demand to provide ‘druid-like’ marriage ceremonies and civil unions.
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