August 03, 2004

A Day With King Arthur

Many years ago, I was invited to partake in a Druid ceremony at Stonehenge, for the Winter Solstice. Of course, the ceremony was to happen during sunrise, so it was necessary to stay nearby in my girlfriend's car, during the previous night. This would have been a splendid option had it been the Summer Solstice, but instead, we spent a miserable, chilly night waiting desperately for the dawn to come. I really don't think I have ever been as cold as I was on that night, before or ever since.

My girlfriend at that time was Poppy Palin, who is now a very respected Pagan artist, tattooist, writer and teacher.

The gathering consisted of several members of the The Bardic Order Of Druids. This order is led by a fascinating man, who calls himself Arthur Uther Pendragon, and strongly believes that he is the reincarnation of the original famous king. This should, of course, set off alarm bells of crankiness. However, anyone who has had a chat with him, will discover a very intelligent, thoughtful, charismatic character.

For many years, Arthur has led a crusade against the British government for not allowing Pagans to celebrate freely, without restrictions at the Stonehenge site. He has even taken the complaint to the European courts, charging that the banning of Pagan rituals within the stone circle, was an infringement of a person's individual right to worship. His efforts have paid off, with the authorities now allowing controlled gatherings when necessary.

He has also been involved in the fight to protect Britain's diminishing countryside, and has made several stands against road developments and woodland destruction.

After the very cold, but pleasant Druid ritual, which took place outside of the stone circle, due to the enforced restrictions at that time, Poppy offered to give Arthur a ride. On the journey back, we dropped off at my parent's home. I will never forget how uncomfortable I felt informing my mother and father that King Arthur was visiting! However, both my parents were enormously interested in him, and we all had a very pleasant afternoon.

A couple of years after my arrival in Japan, my parents unexpectedly met Arthur at Avebury Stone Circle, in Wiltshire. They recorded a message from him, wishing me good fortune from the Isle Of Avalon to the Land of the Rising Sun!

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