Beginning with a like-minded friendship that has now endured for nearly fifty years, a small and dedicated gathering has grown, ebbed, and flowed over time, forming close, strong bonds and a connection of kinship!
Having explored and followed various personal, individual, and collective pathways of teaching, learning and experience, including Druidism, Paganism and Taoism, combined with a deep connection with the natural world, its flora and fauna and the life of the Sun-wheel, we have developed a real understanding!
Together, as well as the sciences of Astronomy, Geology and Biology, we also have a keen interest in Archaeology, Megalithic Astronomy and Ancient History!
Over the years we have travelled and spent time living and camping, sometimes for extended periods, in Woodlands, parklands and on quiet and secluded riverbanks, as well as many other natural places, including the Welsh mountains, hills, and valleys. We have undertaken many pilgrimages to important and interesting ancient sites and landmarks, both natural and man-made. We have also experienced a wide variety of retreats, gatherings, and celebrations, both as a part of various groups and individually, finding an understanding and a connection with the Earth, Nature, and the Inner Self!
The Sunwheel Grove started life as a pilgrimage to Wayland’s Smithy and Avebury, before becoming an annual and much anticipated event for Summer Solstice for well over a decade!
Starting from our local stone circle, the Rollright Stones, we walked and cycled as the crow flies along old B roads and ancient trackways, through Burford, Carterton and Faringdon, picking up the Ridgeway at Uffington White Horse Hill and following it to Avebury!
The initial foundation stone of the Sunwheel Grove Druid Order was laid with the advent of our original journey of Pilgrimage, when our arrival at Avebury, on the evening of Tuesday the 16th of September 1997, coincided perfectly with a spectacular Lunar Eclipse and really was an incredibly special and unexpected welcome!
Over the years we have explored much of Avebury and the Ridgeway’s rich history and gathered with friends and other Pagan groups such as Wiccans, Odinists and Shamans as well as Druids and other free minded spirits!
Stepping into the early 2000’s we began our spiritual transformation, and the foundation of the Sunwheel Grove Druid Order came into being. For nearly a decade we gathered and celebrated our Ceremonies in ancient woodland and a multitude of other personal and sacred sites, all the while looking for a suitable site to establish the roots of our Grove!
We finally found our home in the Spring of 2008, when the construction and transformation of our Grove began. It has since grown and evolved over the years to become its own personal sanctuary and a natural ecosystem in its own right!
The layout of our Ceremonial Year and the Sun-wheel cycle is governed by the creation of The Sunwheel Calendar, which was originally drawn up in the mid 1990’s and has given us our fixed dates and structure up until the present day!
Here within the sacred circle of the Sunwheel Grove, as a Druid Order, we believe that life and the energy of all existence, is brought into being with the foundation of the Triad, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and the relationship between them and one another!
- We respect and honour the majestic subtlety and power of the Elements with their natural will and influence, sculpting and moulding both our world and our daily lives, as we travel our chosen pathway and the cycle of evolution along the spiral of infinity!
- We also respect and honour our beautiful Home, Planet Earth, and all of Nature’s creation. We are all children of Mother Earth, the myriad of flora and fauna, with the breath of life and hope, love, and peace, sharing in the harmony and balance of all living things!
- We believe that it is wrong to abuse and exploit the Earth and its resources in the name of greed and ignorance; we should work in harmony with its cycle of life and one another, not mistreat, smother, and suffocate our fellow spirits!
- We believe that faith is a personal thing, ‘each to their own’ as they say, we all see the world through our own eyes, with our own personal thoughts, experiences, and influences. Our collective consciousness holds its roots firmly within the natural world, the Pagan framework, and the growth of Modern Druidry. This can be interpreted in many ways and gives our own personal faith and understanding the room to breathe, it is our similarities, our connection, trust, and belief that give us and our lives structure and brings us together in unity to celebrate the seasons of the Earth and the cycle of the Sun-wheel!
- We celebrate nine Ceremonies during the Sun-wheel and the course of our Ceremonial year!
Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice which is celebrated in two parts, the Ceremony of Re-birth, and The Ceremony of Sunset, celebrated at the beginning and the end of the Sun-wheel of the year respectively!
Our Ceremonies are made up of three parts, The Opening, The Rite and The Closing!
*These Ceremonies are written and produced specifically by and for The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order and are available to Grove members only!
- We believe that the memory of our Ancestors should be honoured and celebrated for their wisdom and understanding of life and its lessons, those we have loved and those who have touched our lives, as well as those who reach back through the ages of history, all sharing a connection with our past, present, and future, the threads of our lives and who we are!
- We also believe in the art of self-expression, communication, and the inspiration of the spiritual growth of the seed within, nurtured and tended through to the birth of creation, celebrating the gift of creativity in the form of word, art, craftwork, music, and dance!
With our Order fast approaching its twenty fifth anniversary and the settlement of our Grove now rolling into its second decade, we are reminded of our early days and how we found it hard for friends and like-minded people to find a local group or Order to contact with a view to an introduction, understanding, guidance or even joining for celebration and Ceremony!
This is particularly difficult if you are either new to these gatherings, re-defining your personal beliefs, you have been practicing as a single person and are looking to expand and become part of a collective, or simply curious and would benefit from help in finding your own connection with a more natural understanding and way of life and living!
To this end, over the last three or four years, we have seen the foundation of our open apprenticeship and welcomed our first small group of interested parties to the United Fellowship of Apprentices!
More recently, over the last couple of years, we have also seen the advent of our first Seed Group and the beginnings of the Sunwheel Grove network!
As we look to the future, with the impending expansion of our home and our Grove, we are hoping to continue with the growth of our website and its regular updates, of helpful, interesting, and hopefully thought-provoking information and images, as well as regular contributions to our ever-growing blog, with a multitude of submissions from various authors, of poetry and observational poetry as well as tales and accounts of nature, experience, and discovery!
We are not looking to mindlessly grow with countless numbers and believe that there is a lot to be gained and appreciated with a smaller and more friendly and personal touch!
With the founding of the ‘United Fellowship of Apprentices’ we would like to encourage genuine, like-minded individuals to get involved, whether you are curious and new to the whole natural pagan way of thinking, and the idea of finding your own Druid path is intriguing and have questions or would like to know more; or you are more experienced and find that our website and its content strikes a chord!
You may even have a friend, partner or group of friends that would benefit from a connection, that can help with organisation and the structure of your gatherings, including developing your own personal space or building your own Grove, as well as Ceremony and its layout throughout the Ceremonial year!
As a part of ‘The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order’ and the ‘United Fellowship of Apprentices’, we would like to encourage interested parties, depending on your location, to either join our Grove or to organise and form your own gatherings, whether you are a single practitioner, a couple or a group of friends, that would like to belong or would benefit from the affiliation with a close and like-minded gathering, with a view to becoming a part of a close and friendly network!
We really like the idea of having more personal and local Groves or Seed Groups as part of the Sunwheel Grove network, for individuals, friends, and local interested parties, where they are accessible, for celebration and to work with and around your own locality, either in a quiet local spot or a garden or site of your own choosing, you could start with various quiet places as we did and in time you can evolve and hopefully find a permanent home for your Grove as your gathering becomes more established and grows!
As well as the idea of building a Grove, one of the stumbling blocks in getting started is the whole idea of celebration and Ceremony. In becoming a part of our network, you will receive friendly help, support, and advice, where we will be in a position to help with the structuring of your gatherings by sharing our understanding and experiences of building a Grove and help with Ceremonial content, layout and scripts!
Our Ceremonies cater for different group sizes, whether that involves everyone included in your personal gathering or by chosen representatives or sentinels for a gathered like-minded audience – (to share for free and not monetary gain!)
Our Ceremonial Year is made up of Eight Seasonal celebrations and Honoured by Nine Ceremonies, each made up of, The Opening, The Rite and The Closing!
We have what we call the ‘North & South’ version of each Ceremony, for 2 participants, which runs for about three quarters of an hour - to an hour!
For bigger gatherings we have what we call the ‘Full’ version of each Ceremony which is designed for 3 – 9 participants, which runs for about an hour - to an hour and a half!
These Ceremonies are written specifically by and for the Sunwheel Grove Druid Order and can be used in full or adapted by you to suit your own or your Seed Group’s needs!
As your Seed Group grows and evolves, this in turn could lead to the possibility of establishing independent offshoot projects, working with Woodland, Waterways, Nature and other Conservation and Environmental ideas!
As we look to the future, we are also hoping to organise a Summer Camp in time, so that we can all meet up and celebrate together, depending on your location, if you are overseas, you could arrange your own!
Hawk Elderin and Morien Ravenstone
on behalf of The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order!
A Sunwheel Grove Representative Speaker!
If you belong to or are part of a group – society – organisation – gathering – fellow Druid Order or Pagan collective and would be interested in hosting a representative of our Order – to give a talk on The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order and its Belief System – please contact us at the above address for more details!