Sun shines on druids at Primrose Hill equinox celebration

Druids on Primrose Hill to mark the autumn equinox. Picture: Emily Hislop

Druids on Primrose Hill to mark the autumn equinox. Picture: Emily Hislop - Credit: Archant

Poet William Blake, perhaps the most famous member of the Druid Order, wrote, “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”

A druid holds a ceremonial flask of wine, which was offered to the earth during the celebration. Pic

A druid holds a ceremonial flask of wine, which was offered to the earth during the celebration. Picture: EMILY HISLOP - Credit: Archant

And the sun certainly shone on the autumn equinox today, as druids gathered in white robes at the top of Blake’s celebrated hill, overlooking the skyline of the City of London.

This year was also a historic equinox for the Druid Order, marking the 300th anniversary of the group, and the founding of the summit of Primrose Hill as the ‘Mother Grove’.

The druids observe a moment of silence. Picture: EMILY HISLOP

The druids observe a moment of silence. Picture: EMILY HISLOP - Credit: Archant

It was a fascinating fusion of modernity and tradition, with druids in long robes standing around a circle of harvest fruits, though with many wearing sunglasses and white trainers.

“As the tree is in the seed, the answer is in the question. Our harvest is the one we deserve,” said David Loxley, chief Druid, during the ceremony.

A list of deceased group members is read during the ceremony. Picture: EMILY HISLOP

A list of deceased group members is read during the ceremony. Picture: EMILY HISLOP - Credit: Archant


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Even the ceremony was a mixture of old and new, with scrolls and wine offered to the earth, followed by an address which was distinctly modern, touching on responsible consumerism, online advertising, and social media culture.

The equinox traditionally marks the autumn harvest, but this celebration was centred around personal and spiritual harvest, when the fruits of seeds of intention are brought to bear.

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Passersby congregated around the circle, some observing, others joining in with the prayers.

Mr Loxley, 71, led the ceremony, touching on the history of the druid movement and the changes in social politics which it has witnessed since its founding in 1717.

Mr Loxley has been Druid Order leader since 1981. Under the shade of a tree, he told the Ham&High of the challenges of spirituality in the modern age.

He spoke of the mental clarity to be enjoyed from being on the hilltop, where the best of intentions and thoughts can be expressed, “Here, your mind is also high-up.”

He talked about the global political climate, and the “depressingly primitive set of emotional responses” demonstrated by leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. He explained these attitudes coming into the open could lead to resolution: “It could be a miracle… Or a war.”

The Druid Order has hundreds of members and affiliates in the UK, who meet several times a year to celebrate special events.

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