Report for 2011
by Moss Magill

The Circle of Coll Seed Group (http://circleofcoll.org) unofficially began to sprout in July, 2006. A group of three adventurous souls established its original format as the Seattle Druid Meetup Group (http://www.meetup.com/druid-232/) in order to give those in the northwest Washington area who are interested in Druidry a place to meet and socialize. In the beginning, the three amassed mostly in Seattle pubs where they sipped schooners of Guinness and wondered how they would be able to change the world through Druidry.

A year passed as the Seattle Druid Meetup Group socialized monthly and tried to keep the seedling alive. Some of the faces changed, and oddly, the number of core members remained for the most part, a constant three, but a common connection with nature and Druidry was the thread that kept the band from unraveling. The following summer the group scurried to establish themselves as a Seed Group with OBOD, quickly established a naming poll, and on March 20, 2007, we began to call ourselves “The Circle of Coll” after the 9th letter of the Ogam, corresponding to creativity, enlightenment, and the cherished Hazel.

Over the next couple of years the Meetup Group (also confusingly known as “The Circle of Coll”) flourished in membership, appealing to over 150 meetup members, celebrating with the 8 OBOD rituals of the year, holding public educational forums, book clubs, social events and field trips. In 2010, the Circle of Coll officially diverged from the Seattle Druid Meetup Group establishing its own charter and to become more focused, providing space for a deeper spiritual practice. The Meetup Group remains organized by the Circle and still maintains its original mission to give those in the northwest Washington area who are interested in Druidry a place to meet, socialize, share, and celebrate Druidry.” Many members are drawn to OBOD and to the Circle of Coll by way of the Meetup Group while others prefer a peripheral association.

Although today the Circle of Coll is smaller and more contained, it blooms, having represented the Seattle area internationally as well as domestically at various OBOD and similar events and has more than a dozen contributing core members. The Circle meets privately for all fire festivals as well as hosts public solar festivals in Seattle.

In addition to a rigorous ritual and planning schedule, 2011 proved to be a rather busy year for the Circle as we hosted a variety of private and public events that are of curiosity to those with an enthusiasm for Druidry. Our regular recurring offerings include The Herb of the Month Club where we invite the public to research the magical, medical, ritual, decorative, and/or culinary uses of a particular plant and to bring what has been learned to a meeting to share in conversation.

Another very popular regular event is the Seasonal Sex Chat. Here attendees come together in a private setting during each quarter for a guided visualization to recognize connections between our bodies and our sexuality. The event may include the showing of a pertinent documentary film or a free-form discussion about gender identity as it relates to Druidry and pagan spiritual practices.

The Circle of Coll loves a night out on the town as well and hosts a semi-monthly Druid Social Meetup where anyone can join us for good conversation, good company and a pint at one of our many friendly Seattle pubs. New members to the meetup are especially welcome!

In addition to our repeating events, we offer the talents and knowledge of our Circle of Coll members who design and deliver interesting workshops to the public under the umbrella of our Hedge School. Last year, we provided a session entitled Whispers through the Veil: Tidings of Earth Stewardship where attendees learned an original divination method seeking the ancestral realms for guidance about participation in the Great Healing of Mother Earth.

Another well-attended session was called Prayer to Aphrodite: An Introduction to Erotic Poetry. Here, focus was directed to the erotic poem, sampling different cultures, reviewing a few poetry styles, and exploring many of the world’s greatest poets. The workshop attendees took a look at the difference between the erotic and the pornographic and opened up a discussion about love, sex, society and its mores.

We facilitated two different types of tree walks; one to familiarize seekers with the sacred trees of the Ogam while the other was a walking meditation through groves of non-native, exotic trees in our local Arboretum for inspiration about ways to promote international peace.

September 11, 2011 marked our second annual Druid Weekend Retreat held in the conifer forests of the Olympia Peninsula of Washington State. As this was the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, we invoked peaceful energies for ourselves and the rest of the world among the noble Cedars on Sequim Bay, and gathered for ceremony, Bardic initiations, deep reflection, community and fun.

Other events last year included a release party for a new Pagan publication called By the Way. Several of our Circle of Coll members had a hand in writing, editing and fundraising for this exciting new magazine and Web-zine. We also facilitated a very important interfaith tree blessing ceremony to save twin Scarlet Oaks that were planted in an old Seattle Neighborhood over 70 years ago. The Scarlet Twins as they were known, were in danger of being destroyed by the construction related to a future transit center. We invited the public, spiritual leaders and even the gentleman who helped his father plant these trees to bring clooties, feathers, herbs, and other items to hang as prayer and as blessing. As of this writing, the trees are still thriving; however their futures are still unknown to us.

As we look ahead to 2012, our calendar is already filling to the brim with activities and enthusiasm. Not only will you find our usual, monthly and seasonal offerings, but we are growing our core membership and public membership from a steady flow of interested seekers, and we are receiving new requests for more diverse activities such as Morris dancing and discussions about Paganism and the Occupy Movement. There are a couple of our members who are on their way to the Druid grade in OBOD, so it won’t be long until we can apply for Grove status.