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At our Winter Gathering in Glastonbury on 5th December, it was a great honour to be welcomed by the first mayor of any town to declare themselves an openly practising Druid, Denise Michell. Here is an edited extract from her welcoming speech:

I am the 316th Mayor of Glastonbury and the first Green Mayor Glastonbury has ever had. I am also a Druid Ceremonialist and in 2005 founded, with a little bit of help from my friends, The Bardic Gorseth of Ynys Witrin. Thank you all for coming. That so many of you have traveled such long distances to be here only serves to remind how important the Work is that will be done here this weekend.

The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids Branch in Glastonbury is, I am sure, committed to actively raising the Town's energies through acknowledging the God and Goddess in everything and in all we do. I am also quite sure we want all of our Communities, regardless of race, creed or circumstance to attain full loving relationships with each other, building, potentially, the power that can stop wars and bring back a Golden Age of Peace in our times.

I believe our task is, as practising, Druids, to do our own little bit to make this possible. We start, of course, as is always the only way to Peace, with ourselves and in our day to day lives. Our mission, certainly my mission on the path, is to find practical tools to help develop the skills I need to foster a healthy relationship with my own personal thoughts, words and deeds, which in turn helps me to foster healthy relationships with others...

I love it when you all arrive and the ripple goes out.. 'The Druids are in Town'! I see these hazy days of theatre, talks, music, all the things in-between, as a process to personal enlightenment for you guys. I don't mean that 'big' enlightenment everyone thinks they should have, what I mean is by being together, for a while, brothers and sisters together, learning and teaching, empowering, forgiving, letting go, sharing joys and traumas, everyone gets a chance to see and reflect themselves in a safe environment, and pick up some hints from each others 'coping tricks'. Tricks that we all use, in our vain attempt to be that most lovely, the most thoughtful and perfect person, the one that the God and Goddess loves better than all the rest!

So hopefully, you lovely people will get all your buttons pushed this weekend. Pushed to let go of the old ways. Your Speakers, I hope, will empower you to rid yourselves of worn out patterns that are no protection at all anymore except to shield ourselves from ourselves. I am guessing your Speakers will also be presenting some of the many Spiritual Practices that allow us to experience Spirit directly and come into deep connection with Her.

This Gathering should be  a massive magical, spiritual experience for you all. I am quite sure you will be very well looked after and guided with care from beginning to end. I hear tell the grand party is something to write home about too!

I give you a warm and very big welcome on behalf of the people of  Glastonbury and Avalon. See us now, united in our diversity! So, as Mayor of Glastonbury and Lady Archdruid of Avalon, I declare this Winter Gathering  of The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids well and truly open!