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Report for 2013

The Circle of Coll Seed Group/Seattle
Report for 2013
by Moss Magill

2013 marked the Circle of Coll’s seventh year, and as we look back through the months, we see a very active calendar with traditional CoC gatherings as well as new activities, collaborations, and outreach opportunities that could continue on into 2014 and beyond.

We started the year in Ravenna Park joining EarthCorps, Seattle Green Partnership, and Seattle Parks and Recreation, removing invasive plants and preparing planting sites. Our Herb of the Month series continued on with unique group studies of Ferns and Cedar, and we accompanied the Grove of the Scarlet Oaks in bidding a blessed farewell to the pair of trees for which the newly formed OBOD grove is named. Sadly, the twin oaks were removed to make way for a construction project.

Other new activities for the Circle included an implementation of the Sharing Circle which gave us all opportunities to dive more deeply into our relationships with the Circle of Coll and with each other. We also reached out to the Interfaith Community by facilitating a very special Celebration of the Sun Ceremony for the members of the Interfaith Community Sanctuary and School where we gifted and planted a young oak on the grounds.

A new series called the Stone of the Month was launched in 2013 that provides space for the study of sacred minerals and gems. The first session featured the mystical Blue Stones of Stonehenge, and we eagerly look forward to more of these gatherings in 2014. Also new to our events list was “The Bard’s Tent” that we co-created with the help of the Bards of Caer Pugetia and the Order of the White Oak, for the Tacoma and the Seattle Scottish Highland Games. This was our foray into the “Games Circuit” where we tended a society tent providing reading materials, stories, conversation, and general information about Druidry. It was a grand success as we met lots of interesting and curious people, and we will no doubt be asked back to do it again this year.

2013 has been the year for partnerships with the Circle of Coll. It was an honor to be invited by the Airway Heights Corrections Center near Spokane, WA to facilitate a ceremony and workshop for the OBOD members who are incarcerated there. We developed an Alban Arthan ritual especially for the residents of AHCC as well as a workshop entitled Finding the Light of Arthur Within. Permission to enter a corrections facility would have been a first for the Circle of Coll, but unfortunately, a severe snow storm that covered much of Washington State prevented us from traveling to the remote location in person. Instead, we forwarded the ritual script and workshop outline to the chaplain who enlisted a local Druid to assist with the events. We hope that this will be the beginning of a partnership between CoC and AHCC and we are planning another ceremony and workshop for the spring.

Our traditional activities such as the Druid Socials, Hedge School Workshops, Tree Walks and Quarterly Healing Rituals continued throughout the year. One very special healing ritual aligned with the annual Concentric Circles event sponsored by the Our Lady of the Earth and Sky Church and with, in particular, the Warrior’s Call. This global plea was heralded by OBOD to all Seed Groups and Groves requesting that we send energy and healing to the sacred sites in the UK that are currently being threatened by fracking and other endangerments to our Earth. We, of course, heard the call and gladly focused our healing intentions toward this cause.

The theme of our Druid Retreat for 2013 was “Encountering the Greenwood” which featured a Forest Walk through the beautiful grounds at Mosswood Hollow, a Fire Procession, chanting, meditation workshops, an Eisteddfod, and a masquerade.

As usual, the Circle of Coll celebrated all eight Festivals of the Wheel. Our Alban Hefin festivities included a Summer Solstice picnic at Carkeek Park and a Celtic Literary Reading Circle, spotlighting the Vita Merlini (Life of Merlin) written in the 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth. At Alban Arthan we invited each participant to commence his or her own internal Grail Quest that will be referenced in the coming months at future rituals.

In addition to the tending of our many scheduled events, the Circle of Coll has been ebbing and flowing like the tides, with growth and contraction while we fondly remember former members, get to know new faces, and become familiar with our recently revitalized charter. A new Council of Three is in place as well as new Stewards, committee members and officers. A year of further spiritual growth and evolution lay before us as we eagerly welcome the changes and traditions ahead in 2014.

If you would like more information about the Circle of Coll, please visit our web site http://circleofcoll.org . Also, please feel free visit the Circle of Coll Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/circleofcoll/ .

Report for 2011

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.

Our Report for 2012

The Circle of Coll Seed Group/Seattle
Report for 2012
by Moss Magill

The year 2012 proved to be a rather busy one for the Circle of Coll as we gathered for our regular events such as the Herb of the Month, Druid socials, and the eight festivals of the Wheel. We started the New Year with an honoring of the apple trees when the Sound and Fury Morris dancers invited us to Meridian Playfield for a traditional English Wassail. The dancers led all well-wishers in a toast to the good health of the apple trees so that they would bear an abundance of fruit in the coming year. Revelers sang songs, danced noisily to frighten malevolent spirits, placed bread in the trees for the birds, and shared apple cider and cake. It was a joyous way to extend the holiday cheer to Mother Nature with an enjoyable tradition dating back hundreds of years.

The Occupy Movement was in full swing in January 2012 and the CoC jumped in feet first holding informative meetings for those interested in the cause. We also provided individual representation as one member joined the ranks of the Occupy Seattle Chaplains as the first (and only) Druid chaplain in the organization.

Last year’s Imbolc was celebrated as a special ceremony when the Gods and Goddesses chose the first Keepers of the Flame of Brigid and the Vessel of Water from the Chalice Well. Henceforth, these sacred items have been present at all subsequent ceremonies and will be passed on to new guardians during Imbolc 2013.

There was a special Herb of the Month field trip to the Hermit’s Grove Magical Gardens and Woodlands where we were greeted by the ever gracious Reverend Paul Beyerl of the Rowan Tree Church. Here, we toured the beautiful grounds graced by many herbs, flowers and trees and our questions were answered by Reverend Paul and his partner gerry.

June marked the first public Quarterly Healing ritual where we gathered to provide space and attention to those in need of nurturing and compassion. The first ritual was inspired by the Seven Operations of Transformational Alchemy, structured with cleansing applications that are described in the ancient Emerald Tablet. This powerful ceremony was refined and offered again in September, and also when the Circle of Coll presented for the first time at the Concentric Circles gathering, facilitated by our friends at OLOTEAS. We raised sacred healing energy a fourth time on December 30 under sacred oaks, where we gathered to acknowledge those who needed physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing in the past year. In this ceremony, we walked in silence through the Arboretum and asked for the healing powers of the trees and of the sacred pools.

The Hedge School gained traction in 2012 with several engaging free public workshops such as Teacher’s Toolbox, Recreating the Rainbow, The Colors of Fall, Meditative Tree Walk, Active Dreaming I & II, Listening with Heart, Soul, and the Tarot. These community outreach projects were delivered by Circle of Coll members who shared their talents and expertise in wide variety of subjects ranging from workshop facilitation to active dreaming to poetry writing to compassionate listening!

Shape-shifting was the theme of our Druid Retreat in August, inspiring union with all creation through the magic of craftwork, journeywork, and body work. Retreat activites focused on Soul Collage, the Taliesin myth, and connections via the senses through physical movement.

There were two new regular offerings that launched in December. The first was the Active Dreaming Monthly Circle which allowed attendees to dream together and to explore the nature of dreams. The second event offered those who participated in the Washington Park (Arboretum) Cleanup with EarthCorps and Green Seattle Partnership an opportunity to help restore the urban forest near the Japanese Garden, removing invasive plants, connecting with nature, and meeting new people.

A very special Alban Arthan was planned to coincide with the much anticipated galactic alignment that peaked on December 21, 2012. The celebrations began just before dawn as Circle of Coll members and others gathered at the Earth Mound in Seattle’s Gasworks Park for a morning vigil and ceremony to greet the rising sun. This was followed by a quick breakfast at a local café, and then a Hedge School Workshop: Alban Arthan – Envisioning with the Light of Arthur that included storytelling, divination, envisioning, and reaffirming our relationship to the land.  After the workshop, members and guests attended a matinee showing of the newly released film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D at the Cinerama theatre downtown. Our public Alban Arthan Ritual was held at the Standing Stone Healing and Arts retreat center where we honored the return of the Divine Child (the Mabon), and the rebirth of the golden solstice Sun, asking both for warmth, light and life to return to Earth again.

The Wheel of the Year continues to turn through life and through light and the Circle of Coll revolves and evolves in attunement. Ongoing projects for 2013 continue and new ones emerge as we, the members, transform ourselves personally and gain new wisdom and inspiration. Our Charter is being rewritten, our website will be redesigned and we are reaching out beyond the Druid community to offer our services to wider pagan and interfaith circles. We take on new challenges building upon our spiritual knowledge and creative energies as this period of Great Change unfolds with ever increasing vigor.

If you would like more information about the Circle of Coll, please visit our web sites (http://circleofcoll.org and http://www.meetup.com/druid-232/) or email us at crane@circleofcoll.org.

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