Sherborn –The Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids celebrated Winter Solstice at the Peace Abbey on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
The Druids celebrate eight ceremonies a year. The Winter Solstice welcomes the sun back and is a “new beginning,” said member Sarah Fuhro of Natick.
“For the last three years we’ve been at the Peace Abbey, and part of that is because we usually are doing them [ceremonies] on public land, but the Peace Abbey is nice because it’s private land and we can have a large fire,” said Fuhro, noting the Boston “grove” has been in existence for about 20 years.
Cat Hughes of Berlin has been involved with the Order since 2005. She attended this year’s Winter Solstice with her toddler son.
“This is one of my favorite ceremonies; I really like the bonfire,” said Hughes, noting that she attends a ceremony every six weeks. “It’s a nice contrast between the really cold weather [and the hot fire] and it’s neat to see the light shining in the dark of winter which is the major symbolism of the ceremony — the return of the sun.”
According to http://www.druidry.org, the Winter Solstice (called in the Druid Tradition Alban Arthan [the Light of Arthur]) is the time of death and rebirth.
The site says “Druidry is for some a spiritual path, for others a religion, and for others a cultural activity. As a spiritual way or philosophy, Modern Druidism began to develop about 300 years ago during a period known as the â€˜Druid Revival.’ ”
James Dempsey is a Shamanic energy healer with the Order, and has been involved since 2003 when he first met Fuhro whose “grove”‘ does a lot of rituals at the Boston Arboretum which Dempsey frequents.
“We’ve been coming to the Peace Abbey for this particular ceremony for three or four years,” said Dempsey, whose wife, Liz Tobin, is also an energy healer. “It’s nice because the mission of the Peace Abbey goes with our mission; the goals of Druid practices are similar to the practices of the Peace Abbey such as embracing Mother Earth.”
This may be the last year the Druids will celebrate at the Peace Abbey, however, as the buildings are up for sale.
“Hopefully we can sustain ourselves,” said Dot Walsh of the Peace Abbey.
According to www.PeaceAbbey.org, the Peace Abbey is dedicated to creating innovative models for society that empower individuals on the paths of nonviolence, peacemaking and cruelty-free living. They offer a variety of programs and resources that teach, inspire and encourage one to speak out and act on issues of peace and social justice.