about

THE BERENGARIA ORDER OF DRUIDS


The Berengaria Order of Druids was founded in June 1996 at the time of the Summer Solstice after its founders had attended the Wolf 359 'Encounter' Sci-Fi convention at Blackpool, which featured some of the cast members of Babylon 5. Sci-Fi buffs will know that Wolf 359 is the name of the rendezvous point in the ST:TNG episode "The Best of Both Worlds", it is also the name of an actual star. The Orders name comes from the Classic Trek episode 'This Side of Paradise', where Spock refers to the planet Berengaria, 'where there be dragons...'. Berengaria is also the name of the Plantagenet queen wife of King Richard the Lionheart of England, the name of a Celtic chieftain form the Isle of Man there is as well a USS Berengaria, need one say more?


We are a Druidic Order dedicated to the aims, ideals and whatever else of Star Trek (ice IDIC - Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) and Babylon 5 (we suggest you follow the story arc, you'll be surprised!), plus any other sci-fi that takes our fancy. Plus, of course, lots of traditional Druidic silliness! As a response and a call felt by us for there to be more fun and light-heartedness in Druidry, and by the noticeable number of Wiccans, Druids and other Pagans who were also sci-fi fans, the Order was born with our growing study of the plot story-arcs of Star Trek (in all its incarnations), Babylon 5, The X-files, and others, with certain references of a metaphysical nature in these series, which we felt was too much of a coincidence by the writers of these shows and also not highly un-noticeable on closer examination.


The Order of based on fun, silliness and lunacy that is characteristic of Sci-fi fans. We plan to meet up at conventions, and also Druidic events and gatherings. Members need not be Druids to join, though we have an Initiation Ceremony for those interested with a sci-fi theme! Sci-fi dress is encouraged, any alien race, though we do hope that members will attend in traditional robes. In addition to this, we hope that the odd drop of Druidic wisdom is shared and experience is shared and experienced by all in Awen (the Welsh word for 'Inspiration'). As the Order sufficiently establishes, we hope to conduct the Eight Festivals as appropriate according to Inspiration, Originality and Imagination.


There are now ceremonies written for each of these, plus those for the Five Rites of Passage, sci-fi style. And there is also a basic and advanced 'Book of Lights and Shadows, too'. Copies of all of these are available on receipt of an SAE to the Archdruidess. The Order is dedicated to dedication through the media of Druid sources (and others in popular sci-fi shows, which manage to convey more than the odd grain of truth in their content. Also, studies of a Druidic nature in the Bardic, Ovate and Druidic fields is equally important for those so inclined - please contact the Archdruidess. for details of this, sci-fi style, of course!


Please note that this is a DRUIDIC order and NOT a Sci-fi fan club. The Order does have a serious side, (Life, the Universe and Everything), but unfortunately it CANNOT run as one, however much it may seem to be so. There are plenty of other organisations and groups who serve this purpose for those wanting that.


The founders are the Archdruidess, Sarah Rooke, Priestess Hierophant of the Fellowship of Isis and also Ardbandraoi of the Druid Clan of Dana, Dame Commander of the Noble of Tara,  Bard of Caer Abiri,  Taruka Quauhetzcatl, Keeper of the Sacred Animals and Priestess of the Devil, Bear and Condor in her South American traditions. The Order naturally has its Chief Oracle, Ceilaer, the Sacred Oracle of Murp, who appreciates an offering of tuna-flavour cat-biscuits for her wisdom. She is assisted as and when they feel like it by Lucky, Uisce, Ro Laren, Jadzia Minbari, Fluff, Sapphira, Spot, Cleo, Zathras and Delenn. The Order has its Twin Groves of Minbar located at the founders addresses.


The Order is founded on the premise of love, beauty and truth, and at the time of writing, is free to join, though there is a subscription fee of ¬£5.00 a year ($10) to cover printing and postage. For those who are interested in going where no-one has gone before, please contact Sarah by telephone 023 92 341946, Mobile/Text: 07714 092151 or e-mail a message through the ‘Contact Me’ page.

Remember, the truth is out there and what do you want.....

Live Long and Prosper

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Paganism, Druidry and Wicca
By Sarah Rooke

What are Paganism, Druidry and Wicca?  They are simply the Old Religions of these Isles that existed prior to Christianity's arrival.  They are also recognised by the Home Office as a religion.  They are of essence nature based.  No, we don't go flying on broomsticks or dancing naked round cauldrons (we wish).  The first is impossible, and the second tends to be ruled out by the British Climate!  'Nature based' means recognising humanity's links to the environment and trying to reconnect with it.  Our ancestors were much more attuned to this than we are today, as they lived close to the land.  To us, "God" is in all living things and beings.

How did I get involved?  I'll start at the beginning.  My late father's side of the family are all Spiritualists.  When I was young, we'd hear terms like "auras" and "spirit guides", so I grew up never afraid.  I'd always been able to recall past lives and a mediumistic friend of the family revealed several lifetimes when I was 18.  I found a book relating to Egyptian magic and I knew exactly what the author was talking about, so I wrote to her.  She gave me the address of the Fellowship of Isis in Ireland.  I wrote to them, but back then my mother wasn't too keen on me joining.

In 1989, I decided to join the Fellowship of Isis and started their priestess-training course.  I was initiated in 1990 and in 1992 I was ordained as a priestess of the goddess.  That year I joined the Noble Order of Tara (a chivalric order dedicated to the environment) and the following year I joined the Druid Clan of Dana.  Both of these are affiliated to the Fellowship of Isis.  In 1994, the local Insular Order of Druids was founded and I attended their meetings.  In 1995, I gained my hierophancy with the Fellowship of Isis and started my own Lyceum or teaching centre.  In 1996, a friend and I decided to found the Berengaria Order of Druids.

Some people have misconceptions about us due to history and the media.  I have experienced this in the past in the workplace and have been a target for people's jokes, but I have learnt over the years to laugh it off and make a joke back.  For example, many people associate us with Satanism, and think we are something sinister.  Paganism, Druidry or Wicca has nothing to do with this.  The time of Halloween is a typical case; for us it is the time for remembering the ancestors and Celtic New Year.  It is certainly not for things that go bump in the night.

More recently, however, people have taken a more considered interest, which gives me the chance to tell them about what we do.  I have been to Stonehenge for private summer solstice ceremonies (different groups are allowed access at different times, as long as we abide by English Heritage's terms and conditions).  We have had handfastings (druid weddings), Celtic baptisms and shared cake and mead around at these - so it isn’t that different from what happens in a Christian church.

Basically, Druidry is solar orientated and the ceremonies are performed in public in stone circles or groves, whereas Wicca is lunar orientated, and the ceremonies are private, performed in a coven at someone's home.  Paganism is a collective term for other denominations such as Shamanism, Astaru or Odinism, etc.  "Pagan" comes from an old word meaning 'people of the heath'.  We celebrate eight festivals throughout the wheel of the year, denoting the changing of the seasons:

Winter Solstice              21/22 December

Candlemas                         2 February

Spring Equinox                   21/22 March

Beltaine                              30 April

Summer Solstice                21/22 June

Lammas                              2 August

Autumn Equinox                 21/22 September

Samhain (Halloween)        31 October


There are three grades in Druidry, the Bard (storyteller and musician) the Ovate (healer and mystic) and the Druid (wise man or woman).  Depending on what Order you belong to (and there are many in Druidry, each with its own ethos), you can either study the three grades at different times, progressing through each one, or study them concurrently.  Druid comes from the Gaelic word 'Duir' meaning oak. There are also heads of orders called ‘Archdruid’ or ‘Chief Druid’ for example, that basically are the leaders of their respective orders.

In Wicca, there are also three grades: Initiate, Priest or Priestess, High Priest/Priestess and it generally takes a year and a day to reach each of these (as in the old phrase, 'forever and a day').  When you reach High Priesthood status in Wicca, you can then 'hive off' or found your own coven or group.  Wiccans use a ceremonial black knife called an athame (this is blunt) that is used for invoking the protection of the elements in the circle.  Wicca is the old English term for Witchcraft and simply means 'craft of the wise'.

It's hard to describe our beliefs in general, as there is much diversity.  If you ask any Pagan or Wiccan or Druid to define Paganism, Wicca and Druidry you would get a variety of answers. This is because not all adherents subscribe that it is a religion, some see it as a way of life or philosophy even. 

Everyone expresses it slightly differently though there are common threads.  For example, my own beliefs span what would be termed the Egyptian, Celtic and Greek paths.  In other words, I follow elements found in these old pantheons.  But you won't find me standing on a soapbox in Hyde Park proclaiming the wonders to be gained through the service of Isis, Dana or Demeter (the mother goddesses in each of these paths). 

But these basic laws are common in all: 'For Love is the Law, and You Shall be True to the Whole of the Law', 'Do As Thou Wilt, And May it Harm None', 'Perfect Love and Perfect Trust', and 'Blessed Be as Blessed Is, and Blessed May We All Be'. In other words, we try to live a good life, and help others as best as we can. Sure there are some individuals who may give the rest of us a bad name, but they are a minority.

I hope this has shed some light on what is an Ancient Faith.

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Tribes Past and Present
By Sarah Rooke,
Archdruidess, Berengaria Order Of Druids
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A survey some years ago called 'Genetic and Population Studies in Wales', (University of Cardiff, 1986), yielded some important data with regards to our ancestors and genetics in relation to blood groups.

There were three main findings: Firstly the B gene which being the eldest, is found on the moors and in area of some megalithic significance and is rare. The gene is different compared with the same blood group of the Far East, and would therefore be part of the Welsh indigenous people. Secondly, the O gene which is more commonly occurring in central and northern Wales and is like that of the Goidelic Celts, who were dark-haired. Similar genetic frequencies can be found amongst the peoples of the Caucasus, the Mediterranean and North Africa, like the Berbers and Basques. And thirdly, the A gene which is found in southern Wales and interestingly, also Cornwall and Brittany.

However, those subject to Flemish settlers in these regions in the Middle Ages (not Viking as was thought), but is also of a higher occurrence than the B gene, thereby relating to the Brythonic Celts, who were fair haired. This would then give evidence of the immigrations of the O and A genes into Wales at the time of the diffusions of the early Celts.

Globally, the distribution of the O gene tends to be peripheral and is the most common at 46%. It is found mainly in the north-east Europe (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Iceland) and also south-west Africa, Australia, North , South and Central America. The B gene is mainly found in eastern Europe, India and Asia, among the Mongols and Oriental races, but is rare at 9%. And the A gene is mainly in Scandinavia, central Europe, Australia and North America at 42%.

But the rarest blood group is AB at 3%. however, blood tests on Inca and Egyptian royal mummies in the British Museum both showed traces of the A gene, which was totally unusual to where they should show the presence of the O gene compared to the rest of their relative populations. Coincidence, or is it all an 'X-Fire'? What is going on here?

Murry Hope, in 'Atlantis: Myth or Reality?' puts forward the hypothesis that Atlantis is the answer to these genetic polymorphism's. The Frisian 'Oera linda Book' makes mention of the three founders or mothers of the Human race being black, yellow and white. Lyda's people were predominantly O, Finda's people were B and Frya's people were A respectively. The Frisians called their homeland 'Atland'. This is also comparable to the Mayan 'Aztlan', as recorded in the Popul Yu.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

There is a theory that the A rhesus-negative factor is somehow connected to the royalty and the priesthood of Atlantis. Currently, 85% of the planet is rhesus positive and 15% rhesus negative. The Basques, Berbers and Mayans all carry the rhesus-negative factor, that is also seen to be linked to Cro-Magnon man.

There are other schools of thought on this, but for clarity and brevity we shall keep to the basic facts. The Atlanteans would surely have been multi-racial if they lived on such a large continent, if we are to believe Plato and what other writers have written on the subject. Murry Hope sees the ruling classes as being fair, freckled and blue-eyed, which would accord with the descriptions ot the colourings for the Egyptian Isis and her family.

The other main race was auburn, olive-skinned and green-eyed slightly Mu-an type, whom must have settled there after the inundation of Mu and prior to the sinking of Atlantis. In later times, there was also an influx of people from the black and yellow races to their shores. Interestingly, Murry remembers the Atlanteans as being slightly Mongolian in appearance, with high cheekbones and slanted eyes for both the red and fair haireds, (though the Mu-ans had slightly straighter eyes and backward sloping foreheads). They were very tall, thin people, some seven feet high.

During the Leonine Age, when Atlantis opened up its doors to world trade, the O group peoples like the Basques and Berbers intermarried with the native Atlanteans, thus planting the A gene into their own gene-pool. Therefore, anyone with the A and O gene could claim Atlantean or Cro-Magnon ancestry, for did not the Atlanteans colonise other parts of the globe after the Flood and when their continent finally sank? It bears something to think about! Perhaps the proposed Genome Project may shed further light on our genetic origins if it is allowed to go ahead.

Leaving our Atlantean heritage aside, it is also interesting to correlate the information regarding the distribution of the Celtic tribes. The most data we have of this was recorded when the Romans invaded Britain, mapped the country and renamed it 'Britannia'. The main tribes in Scotland were the Picti mainly in the Highlands and the Caledonian Confederacy mainly in the Grampians. Also, the Damnonii and Novantae are mainly in the Boarders and Lothian. These are then separated from the rest of the Roman Empire by Hadrian's Wall.

In Wales, there is the Din Lligwy clan mainly at Anglesey (Mona), the Deliangli mainly at Clywd and also the Ordivices mainly in Gwynedd. Also, the Demetae are found mainly in dyfed, and the Silures mainly in Glamorgan. In England, we have the Carvetii mainly in Cumbria, though the north is mainly dominated by the Brigantes, with the Setantii mainly by the Mersey. The Corieltauvi are the main East Midlands tribe from Trent to Nene. In Humberside, the Parisi are the main tribe.

In Cheshire, the Cornovii are the main tribe. The Dobunni with their Uffington White Horse dominate the Cotswolds from Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. And in the areas surrounding Londinium (London) and above the Thames, the Catuvellauni are the main tribe. We also have the Iceni found mainly in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The Trinovantes with Camulodunum (Colchester) are mainly in Essex and Suffolk.

The Cantii are mainly in Kent, and the Regni tribe with Butser are mainly in Hampshire and Sussex. The Atrebates can be found mainly below the Thames like in Berkshire; with the Belgae by the Mendips, from Avon and parts of Somerset and Maiden Castle. The Dumnonii are mainly in Devon and Cornwall with Tintagel. In Ireland there is the tribes of Ulster at Emain-Macha, Connaught at Crach, Meath at Kells and Tara, as well as Munster and Leinster. There is also the tribes of the Diriada and Dea-fiatach.

The early Celtic tribes were not a single race, but a collection of tribes or clans, that all displayed certain common characteristics.

Each had a chieftain and their priesthood, the Druids, and their warriors that were spread throughout the Celtic world. The earliest reference to the Celts occurs in Greek literature from 500 BCE.

By then, the Celts had migrated form their own native lands of Southern Germany and Bohemia (the Hallstatt Culture), and were already inhabiting a wide are in Europe, like Gaul in France, Iberia in Spain, Ireland and Britain. By the fourth century BCE, they had diffused into Italy, the Alps, Switzerland (the La Tene Culture) and across the Danube. By the third century BCE, they had expanded even far afield as Thrace and Galatia in Asia Minor.

Some of the Celtic tribes like the Regni readily took on the Roman way of life, as writer Guy de la Bedoyere has said, simply it offered them a far better one compared to how they had been living. Some did not, like the Iceni, and rebelled against their new masters. However, the Romans were tolerant of the native religions of places the conquered, and many Celtic deities became fused with some Roman ones, like Sulis-Minerva at Bath (Aquae Sulis).

The Romans offered the Britons luxurious villas with central heating, grand temples with their pillars, and hot relaxing baths, so that that it must have seemed like a gift from the Gods. As many Britons lived in round wattle and daub huts or simple stonework houses, who can blame them if the chance ws offered to swap it for something else?

There is a danger here of imagining that the Celtic Britons were a primitive, backward race, who lived out an agricultural life on their lands. This is not the true picture. As much as though the Celts were close to nature and farming, they were also skilled artists and storytellers.

The fine craftsmanship produced by the La Tene Culture rivals anything like what the Romans, Greeks or the Egyptians made. The Bardic tales that have come sown to us in 'The Mabinogion' constitutes a fine repertoire that features in the British mythology.

Though the Celtic race had spread far, it was unable to maintain its staying power in those places where they settled in an ever changing world. In time, the Celts diffused even more. In Britain many were pushed further back into Wales, Scotland and Cornwall to preserve their way of life under the Romans. The advent of Christianity meant that many old customs and traditions were being swept away or replaced by new ones, though they survived in Ireland well into the Middle Ages.

The revival in Celtica has sparked off a new interest of forgotten ways and beliefs. Modern bards, like Enya and Clannad, and craftsman with their Celtic designs, are helping to renew this revival in these matters. This is true of the modern Druid movement, who seek to revive the old religion and its beliefs for todays world. What is present is now past, and what is past is sometimes the future. For we are the new Celtic tribes of tomorrow, with our roots going back to our ancestors. They live on in though our genes and in our memories of what was, is and shall be.

Some Suggestions for Further Reading:
Mysteries of Celtic Britain - Lewis Spence
Celtic Britain - John Rhys
Sacred World of the Celts - Nigel Pennick
The Celts: Artists and Storytellers
Practical Atlantean Magic - Murry Hope
Distribution of Human Blood Groups and other Polymorphisms - Oxford University

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LIST OF ORACLES IN THE BERENGARIA ORDER OF DRUIDS

Current Oracles:

Alqamari Michi (Alley), Chief Oracle of the Jach'a Mallku – a cat belonging to Karen

Baldrick, Oracle of the Blackadder – a cat belonging to Josie (my sister)

China, Oracle of Kwan Yin – a cat belonging to Debbie S

Dusty, Oracle of Dusty Springfield – a cat belonging to Lisa

Freya, Oracle of the Goddess Freya, - a cat belonging to Denise

Husky, Oracle of Marge Simpson – a cat belonging to Heidi

India, Oracle of Lakshmi – a cat belonging to Debbie S

Kerrang, Oracle of the Guitar – a cat belonging to Lisa

Kiki , Oracle of Kiki Dee – a cat belonging to Lisa

Kinky, Oracle of Mata Hari – a cat belonging to Heidi

Kusichaski Kittensized (Rosie), Oracle of Inti – a cat belonging to Karen

Moonim, Oracle of the Moon - a cat belonging to Lisa

Ozzy, Oracle of Ozzy Osborne – a cat belonging to Lisa

Pebbles, Oracle of the Flintstones – a cat belonging to Debbie S

Piccolo, Oracle of the Flute – a cat belonging to Lisa

Pickle , Oracle of Chaos – a cat belonging to Lisa
Scooby, Oracle of Scooby Doo – a cat belonging to Lisa

Scuzz, Oracle of Loki – a cat belonging to Lisa

Squeaky, Oracle of Sylvester – a cat belonging to Debbie S

Tigger, Oracle of Tony the Tiger – a cat belonging to Lisa

Venus in Brown Fur, Oracle of Aphrodite – a cat belonging to Karen

Willow, Oracle of Buffy – a cat belonging to Lisa

 

Past Oracles

These oracles may have gone or passed over,but they are not forgotten by us x


Bester, Oracle of the Psi Corps – a cat belonging to Lisa

Boxleitner the Catfish, Oracle of Tlaloc – a fish belonging to Karen

Bubble, Oracle of Servalan – a cat belonging to Lisa

Carmen, Tosca and Harvey, Honorary Oracles – my sister Josie’s cats

Catch-Claws, Oracle of Uhura – a cat belonging to Lisa

Ceilear of Bubastis, Chief Sacred Oracle of Murp –a cat belonging to Karen

Cheesy Wotsit and Nelson, Oracles of Quetzalcoatl – Karen’s canaries

Cumulonimbus Ascendant (Nimbus), Oracle of Zeus - a cat belonging to Karen

Darwin, Honorary Oracle – a dog belonging to Liz

Diamond Nefartari (Lucky), Chief Oracle of Atlantis – a cat belonging to Karen

Ellie, Oracle of Polaris – a dog belonging to Jill

Fluff under the Bed, Oracle of Sekhmet – a cat belonging to Karen

Frehya, Oracle of the Tok’Ra – a cat belonging to Lisa

Geordi La Fart, Oracle of Architect of the Universe – a cat belonging to Karen

Gremlin, Oracle of Sarek – a cat belonging to Lisa

Gresley Mk III, Oracle of Quetzalcoatl – a budgie belonging to Karen

Hathor Cleopatra (Cleo), Oracle of Denderah – a cat belonging to Karen

Hecate, Oracle of the Goddess Hecate – a cat belonging to Lisa

Hopscotch and Fiesta, Oracles of the Ewoks – cats belonging to Lisa

Isis Delenn, Oracle of Philae – a cat belonging to Karen

Jadzia Houdini of Minbar, Oracle of Minbar – a cat belonging to Karen

Kusi Kamaq, Oracle of Inti, Messenger of the Sun - a cat belonging to Karen

Liquorice, Oracle of Loki – a cat belonging to Josie (my sister)

Little Liquorice, Oracle of Bast  - a cat belonging to Karen

Mantred, Oracle of the Hunter – a cat belonging to Karen

Maeve Giggorota, Oracle of Mab – a cat belonging to Karen

Myrddin Emrys, Oracle of Merlin – a cat belonging to Karen

Morgan, Oracle of Morgan le Fey – a cat belonging to Debbie K

Neelix, Oracle of Talaxia – a rabbit belonging to Lisa

Osiris Zathras, Oracle of the One – a cat belonging to Karen

Ro Laren of Bajor, Oracle of Bajor – a cat belonging to Karen

Sapphira, Oracle of Sophia – a cat belonging to Karen

Sheriden T Furrybits, Oracle of the First Ones – a cat belonging to Sarah

Spot the Kitten, Oracle of Sirius – a cat belonging to Dave

Tigerlily, Oracle of Tahiti – a cat belonging to Lisa

Uisce, Oracle of the Architect of the Universe – a cat belonging to Karen

Zev, Oracle of the Two Universes – a cat belonging to Karen

Twiglet, Claude, Sammy, Skittles – cats belonging to Lisa

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