OBOD Druid CampSite - Lughnasadh Camp

Alex Rigg's 2008 Lughnasadh Report

(Alex's photos of the 2008 camp)

I arrived at my first OBOD camp with some trepidation, not really knowing what to expect. I met with Philip (my neighbour for the next few days) and his wife (later to be known as the shit-pit fairy) at the top of the field to ask whether I was in the right place then was guided to the gatekeeper for a cup of tea and a chat. Friday was a chill out day, and still being in my manic mode from work I found it difficult so walked about thinking of what could be done to improve things. Ending up helping a gorgeous woman by the name of Kirsten and one William Wallace type character (with kilt on moday!!), with the wooden structure near the canteen. Then as the sun faded and the sky became full of stars joined the few around the fire adorned with cloak and “borg” ear light.

And no, I’m not a star trek nut.

Saturday morning breakfast was followed with a beating of the bounds by I think Arthur and Jayjay (this was my first camp and my recollection of all the names is still hazy). It was a marvellous meditation sitting at the fire while the drums beat and the chanting soared as the beaters circled the fire, so much so I sat each morning to get the same experience for the two remaining days of my camp! The morning meeting followed where I started feeling slightly more as a family member and less of an outsider.

I regretted not joining the frolicking adults in the mud pit – perhaps next year I will find more courage! The events become a blur after I returned home – Most enjoyable was Philip CGs meditation in the grove – despite the hoverflies becoming enamoured with the insects falling on me from the tree branches above, the sustainability talk (also in the grove), which led me to dig and take away 6 oak saplings from the field to prevent them being strimmed by the farmer at some later point. There were various meditations throughout the day in the yurts, however the day being as hot as it was I personally didn’t fancy the idea. The bardic talk was fabulous and some very different ideas came from it – the group I was in produced this poem:

I am the creative life force expressing itself
I am the deep pool of life refreshing water
I am a bubbling stream
I am a rushing river
I am the deer in the forest
I am the stone in the stream
I am the eye of the hawk
I am the wings of the eagle
I am the flow of the river
I am a silent witness
I am the silent watcher on the edge
I am the changing woman
I am the humm of the bee
We are the creative life force expressing itself

Each of us (including a Portuguese couple) contributed two lines. And the order was purely based on who came with their portion first.

The first time it was read (by a lovely Portuguese woman whose name I forget) the hairs on my back stood erect with the electricity created. I knew then that the bardic creativity at that point had happened – we had had a task to do, we had a moment of uneasiness and inability before our bardic abilities shone through.

I had my doubts about “the games” I recall various school-parent activities where the adults would become very focussed on their child winning. However of note was the tug o war and the bardic-ovate-druid game which turned out to be a variation on the stone paper scissors game. After dinner many needed a rest with the result they missed out on the Stephanie vrs Philip pillow fight match. Steph won though I think the wellies she had stuffed into the pillow may have given her a small advantage.

Sunday night the camp fire was the place to be with wind instruments and violin playing some music that caused various people to dance and jig through the evenings light. There were three Alex’s at that point and we vowed on Monday to wait for the talking stick and announce ourselves as one. Things did not go quite to plan as the talking stick did not go around the circle for people to introduce themselves. Still there’s always next year eh gang?

The final bit of synchronicity was to meet someone at camp who went to the same school as me in Luxembourg! Just shows you how small this world is!

The last talk before I left was Ron Hutton’s talk on the significance of OBOD. Certainly he seemed to hit a nerve with some. Is OBOD merely a correspondence course? Does OBOD teach us enough to lead others away from climate change? And other such questions reared their head. For me and I didn’t get a chance to say but OBOD is a way, a path, it is not an ending. It suggests and gives some guidance towards finding goals. In the end providing expertise, which Ron seemed to be hinting OBOD should provide, is in my opinion not what OBOD does and should never do directly. OBODies become experts due to the Gwers invoking a response within the student. Nothing in the course is enforced. You don’t become a druid because you live without electricity, gas, mains water, and have your own ecosystem perfectly balanced, I think you travel through the Gwers and it changes you, but the direction you lean and the depth of your vision and understanding is largely down to the individual – and so it should remain.

The weather (always an English point of moaning) despite the BBC weather forecast of thunder and lighting was fabulous. Bright sunny and HOT all weekend long – in fact it was only as I headed home on Monday afternoon, fuzzy headed, very red across my back and still in meditative space when the thunder and rain broke out.

Interestingly as I headed south on the A34 from Newbury and the massive 1 inch drops of water started falling on the windscreen I could hear the sound of men chanting. It was clear enough for me to look at my missing radio just to check I hadn’t tuned into classic FM or some such. Either side of me were hills and as I was roughly travelling at 70mph :^) I doubt it was someone else’s radio. After some thinking I figured I was still in camp mode and very switched on to spiritual phenomena. The sound died as I approached the A303 turn off.