Many years ago, reaching back to the rich and varied world of wonder that we discover in childhood, when we first found we had an affinity with nature and the glorious multitude of the flora and fauna, we felt a natural connection with the sky above us and the Earth beneath our feet!
We all find our own natural influences, whether they be trees, water, mountains, the stars or one or more of the many creatures with which we admire or identify with, in our own unique way!
We have all found solace in the quiet moments, we have shared with the peace of nature, special times and places, however fleeting, that have helped mould our formative years with their comfort and inspiration!
With the advent of adulthood comes responsibility and commitment and we can sometimes find that our childhood connection becomes less of an influence on our everyday lives, yet from time to time, we feel the need to reaffirm our natural calling with the peace and reassurance of nature and its symphony of life!
It may be that you have found your natural connection and influence in later life, as you have found the time, or come to re-evaluate your personal beliefs, through experience, intuition, or circumstance. We are never too old to appreciate the energy of the world around us, to find our place amongst the bigger picture and find the peace in our hearts. As we reflect upon a cascade of memories, it is never too late to celebrate the feeling of experience and rejoice in the celebration of life!
We feel its enrichment and draw on its strength in times of doubt and weakness and find that our connection with the Earth and the natural world is an important part of who we are!
We believe that we are here to tend to the garden of life and living, and should live in harmony with the natural world, to look after our environment in an ethical and locally sustainable way!
We believe that knowledge, compassion, and creativity, are of far more importance than greed and profit and enrich our lives and the lives of others!
And as part of the modern Druidry movement we believe in the science of the natural world, the planets and the influence of the elements that govern our lives!
The Sunwheel Grove – United Fellowship of Apprentices!
For many years, like many people, either discovering or identifying with a more sensitive and naturalistic pagan sensibility, individually, we began to investigate the concept of Druidism, Modern Druidry and the meaning of the Druid Way, from those inspired by ancient tomes and tales, to the many collectives of modern thinking and their wide variety of inspiration, influences, and ideas!
After decades of research and study, pilgrimage, and experience, it was felt that we needed to find our own identity and our own path. Coming together with the birth of The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order in 1997, it was agreed that we should encourage others to join us and work in the same way, with their own inspiration and influences and help people to find their own answers, in their own time, in the belief that personal beliefs are personal, and it is our similarities and shared natural understanding and experience that brings us together!
If you feel that you would like to get involved or would benefit from becoming a part of a like-minded collective and would like to share your journey of creativity and experience with others, to be able to share in the inspiration of your fellow apprentices, through regular correspondence and the structure of an open apprenticeship, to help you to evolve and fine tune your own natural way of thinking as a member of The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order and our natural pagan belief system, and maybe even as a starting point for setting up your own Seed Group!
If you would like to join our small and friendly, current, and dedicated growing number of Apprentices, with a view to becoming a part of The Sunwheel Grove – United Fellowship of Apprentices, we would love to hear from you!
As a starting point, we are more than happy to allocate you with a Mentor, as an introduction to the Grove and to help you find your own connection!
A Mentor is not there to tell you what to do or think, but more of a friendly guide to help you to find your own answers, at your own pace, with regular contact and advice, as well as a friendly ear as you begin to discover and follow your own Druid path within the Modern Druidry movement!
What we would like to offer is the opportunity to become a part of a collective, where your inspiration and natural beliefs are your own, where you will be encouraged to find your own answers, in your own time, in a like-minded, understanding, and friendly way!
Regardless of your locality, whether you are close to our Grove, one of our Seed Groups or not and travelling is either difficult or an impracticality due to circumstance or location, you may even be abroad, we have regular website visits from all around the world!
In time, you may have the opportunity to get involved or set up your own Seed Group, however large, small, or personal. We offer you the chance to join our growing network of Apprentices and share in the collective knowledge, experience and understanding. We can encourage you to find your own path, we can also help you to host your own Ceremonies and celebrations in your own locality, either by yourself or with friends and like-minded people and plant a seed that can grow!
The Inspiration of Nature!
An important philosophy encouraged by the Sunwheel Grove is how we respect, interact, and live in harmony with the world around us, the Earth and its contours, water and its flow, the vast and diverse multitude of the flora and fauna, the inspiration of the many facets of nature and the infinite wonder of the cycle of life!
Nature by its very definition, influences us and our everyday lives in so many different ways, starting with the world of discovery in our childhood and our natural surroundings, as we grow, our understanding and influence grows with us, and we begin to find our own connection!
We all see and experience this inspiration differently, for some it becomes a passion and can inspire our creative talents, however they manifest themselves, it is a very rewarding and personal connection, and we find that it can add great colour and texture to our lives.
For others who are yet to share in, and fully appreciate the healing power of nature and the real calling of the wild, it can be a whole new experience. In time you will discover that you have an understanding with certain aspects of nature, be it a flower, an animal, bird, a tree, maybe a mountain range or the rolling hills, a naturally wild landscape, a forest or woodland walk, the relaxing energy of both still and running water, a park or parkland, or even a shared public garden or a personal garden of our own creation!
We all find different aspects of comfort and solace in nature, for some it can be a very spiritual experience and be an aid to meditation and relaxation, while others find a more practical and mindful view, calming the emotions and helping with the structure and clarity of constructive thought, both for the everyday and the bigger more important, real-life decisions!
We encourage everyone to spend time with nature, with as much or as little time as you can spare or are happy to afford or can manage, whether it be a gentle walk, or finding a quiet spot of your own choosing, somewhere to sit and relax. It could be amongst the trees on a woodland trail, it could be beside a pond, stream, river, a lake, or the ocean, it could be a quiet area in a favourite wild place or in a peaceful garden!
Anywhere you can relax undisturbed, where you can observe the natural world going about its everyday life, it doesn’t need to be exotic, as long as you can share in the flora and fauna in its own surroundings. If the weather is in your favour, watch how the sunlight shines and reflects, how the shadows are created to give shelter and the effects the wind has upon your surroundings!
As well as watching the world go by, you can also close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the world around you and using all of your senses, you can really take in the experience as a whole!
Put your phone away, unless you intend to use it as a camera and capture any images that may interest you, you may also like to have a notebook or sketch pad handy to help you remember any experiences or ideas that may manifest themselves while you are at peace!
You do not have to visit the same place on each occasion, although it does have its benefits as it becomes more familiar and you can also watch how it changes through the seasons!
If you choose different locations, you are able to experience a more diverse range of nature and wildlife, either way it gives you the opportunity to soak up the energy of the natural world and over time you will discover your own connections and passions, helping us to find an inner peace and inspiration!
Knowledge & Learning!
Whether we are new to this more natural way of thinking, looking to grow and expand on our own understanding or more experienced in the way of the Druid, we believe that it is important to live with, learn from and love and respect the natural world around us!
We each live our own personal journey, the stories of our lives and its influences and decisions. As we travel our path, we are given the opportunity through circumstance to enrich our lives by gathering knowledge and experience!
We are all different and have our own thoughts, feelings, influences, and interests, some of these cannot be found in books or on the internet and rather than simply recommend a list of books or links, we firmly believe that we learn best when we follow our own intuition and will achieve far more by learning, witnessing, or participating in the things that genuinely capture our attention!
If we start on familiar ground, it is easier to find our footing and we are more likely to feel comfortable and see learning as less of a chore, increasing our knowledge with a genuine interest, leading to other avenues or branches and expanding our horizons. The more we experience, the more we are inspired by, whether it be the specifics or the many aspects of the flora and fauna, the sky above us, the Earth’s contours and environment or our individual understanding of the bigger picture as we might see it!
The more we learn about life and the natural world around us, the more we can understand of our role and our place within it. Some might specialise in specific areas of knowledge while others prefer a broader palette, again depending on the individual, we all find that spark of interest, whether that be from a view of the spiritual, the practical or the romantic and emotional connection we share!
This knowledge can often become the basis of our own personal faith and can also be shared in a number of ways, be it an aid to creativity and self-expression, a driving force and a passion to know and understand more, or simply a comfort we find in our own peace of mind, sharing in the peace of nature by ourselves, as we travel our path with our family and friends, or as we might share with a gathering of the like-minded around the fire and contribute to the pool of knowledge!
One of the things we like to encourage at the Sunwheel Grove and the United Fellowship of Apprentices, is the individual and collective human capacity for creativity and self-expression, whether it be through Creative writing, Poetry, Drawing, Painting, Pottery, Handcrafts, Building and Creating Installations, Music, or Dance, we all have a passion, however we choose to express it!
Some of us find it easier than others to channel our creative energies, some of us find it easier to express our emotions than others, some of us are doers and some of us are thinkers, we are unique in our outlook and our personal thoughts and so is our natural creative flow!
Some of us are dedicated if not slightly obsessed with our creative avenues, the creative process and need to create, while others are still to find their inner voice or struggle to find the time, drive, motivation, or self-belief to explore their creative persona and would benefit from a little friendly help and guidance, reassurance and understanding!
We believe that the art of self-expression, whatever our skill level, imagination, or technical ability, is an important extension of the self and helps with the growth of the spirit and being, as well as becoming a passionate and fulfilling distraction for the mind and the senses!
At Spring Equinox, as an important part of our Ceremony, we gather in celebration for the planting of the seed, with our traditional connection with the Ancestors, we sow the seed of our symbolic wheat crop!
As well as encouraging and sharing in the gift of artistic and creative freedom as and when the compulsion or inspiration arises, with the coming of Spring Equinox, we also plant the seed within!
A seed of hope, to be loved and nurtured within, awaiting the spark of a thought and the germination of an idea. An idea that can grow in shape, form and meaning with our own reflective individuality, a thread of creativity that can flourish in time and become its own entity, something that we can hold precious and personal, something that can live and evolve into a tangible creation, something that could start a chain reaction of other ideas and something that we can share on completion with the Ancestors at Samhain, either by ourselves or with a Samhain gathering!
It could be a timeless and yet simple artifact or practical item, for ourselves or created as a personal gift, either for someone special in our lives, for our friends as a collective, or for the wider world, something created out of love and reverence, something with a temporary lifespan or something of permanence that can exist into the future and hold a thought, a memory, or a connection!
Not only can this experience expand our personal horizons, but it can also encourage each and every one of us, with the satisfaction and warm glow of accomplishment and give us a sense of achievement with the sharing of our own unique knowledge, experience and inspiration, with an expressive extension of the self!
We can live remarkably busy and complicated modern lives, the positive energy of a happy, productive, and passionate mind and spirit can only benefit and enrich our lives, with a focus to our attentions, we can make a real connection with the natural world around us as we live in harmony with the flora and fauna, with the people in our lives and the earth beneath our feet!
If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, either for a friendly chat or to learn more, please fill in a Comments Slip on our website or email us at the address below!
Hawk Elderin & Morien Ravenstone
On behalf of The Sunwheel Grove Druid Order