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Druids to mark 300th anniversary of autumn equinox ceremony on Primrose Hill

Participant says she is fed up with people thinking pagan event is part of 'some sort of satanic cult'

21 September, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Last year’s autumn equinox ceremony

A PROCESSION of white-robed druids will climb Primrose Hill tomorrow (Friday) to mark the 300th anniversary of an autumn equinox ceremony.

The pagan event – which draws dozens of druids from across the United Kingdom and Ireland – marks the founding of the summit as the “mother grove” by the Druid Order on September 22, 1717.

A woman from Gospel Oak, who did not wish to be named because some critics wrongly saw druids as “some sort of satanic cult”, is one of the chief organisers of the event – and is also in charge of the laundry for the white gowns.

She said: “I had always known I had God in my heart, but the religion I belonged to was all about punishment and cruelty. I tried other things. I tried to be a Mormon. I tried Buddhism and Taoism. Then I met a woman who had come back from the summer solstice at Stonehenge. Her hair was shrunken from the rain into tight curls and she gave off such an emanation of peace, contentment. I said to her: ‘I don’t know where you’ve been, but I want some.’ She took me to my first autumn equinox 25 years ago, and I found my spiritual home.”

Druids hold weekly meetings at Treadwell’s bookshop, in Store Street, Bloomsbury, where they debate ethical matters, “chat and drink tea and rise above our difficulties”.

“There is a lot of psychology,” according to the druid procession organiser. “It’s like being in a club, and you all learn together – there are some super-intelligent people there. The idea is to let go of your thoughts – ‘Is the cat fighting in the garden?’ , ‘Have I left the gas on?’, all that crap – until you are at peace. “There is a lot of rubbish in the world, there’s Trump and awful stuff in the media. World politics comes up at our meetings, but we try not to get too involved in political movements. We try to be objective about politics – and rise above it.”

According to the Druid Order website, a typical member should “behave like the sun that shines on both the just and the unjust”.

Hypnosis, possession by spirits, drug-taking, the oppressive use of power and “posing as being advanced or special” are banned. Racism, sectarianism and “the selfish development of the ego” are also outlawed.

For druids, equinox is a time when seeds of ideas sown earlier in the year come to fruition. “For example, earlier in the year I was thinking ‘God, I need a new car’ and then my son arrived this week and he had bought a new car,” said the druid organiser. A plaque at the top of the hill commemorates Welsh druid priest Iolo Morganwg.

A line by poet William Blake, who was part of the Druid Order, is laid out in stone. It reads: “I have conversed with the spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”

After the 1pm procession, druids will celebrate in a pub.

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