Friday, 21 November 2008

Expensive Holiday Tours

I have booked my holiday for next year already. I enjoy visiting prehistoric or mystical sites and, in particular, megaliths, so I have done so with Neil at Megalithic Tours. I did this, because Neil provides an excellent services going to places that few others do at a very reasonable cost. Only, I did not realise just how reasonable until this week when I saw two separate tours advertised.

The first I encountered in a well-known pagan magazine. It was called Celtic Trails and it advertised a seven day tour taking in Highland Perthshire, the Isle of Iona and the West Coast. The prices ranged from £1,100 to £1,500 depending on itinerary and accommodation. As much as I want to get to Iona one day, that was way out of my price range.

The second tour company operates out of Australia, and calls itself Dragon's Eye Tours. It runs two tours: one to the West Country of England and another to Ireland. Granted, the first is 11 days long and costs AUD$4,500, but the Irish tour is only 9 days long and comes in at AUD$3,000, but this is land cost only, flights not included.

Now I realise both of these companies provide specialised guides for the tours and, in some instances, secure private access to certain sites, and this may justify some of the cost, but it is often possible to arrange access to sites through special interest groups, and often volunteers from said groups will provide you with good, honest information.

I'm just glad Megalithic Tours follows these kind of itineraries, otherwise I would probably not visit the sites. As I travel alone which adds to the cost and the miles involved can make a fun trip tedious, so having a tour guide and fellow travellers makes more sense. Apparently, Megalithic Tours can now be found on facebook, too.

Still, if you want to go to these places, here's a nice selection of what's on offer:
Stonehenge, Avebury and Glastonbury ~ 4 days (private access to Stonehenge included)

Do have a search around and see if you can't find better. I lived in the UK for over a decade and I've yet to find a better touring company than Megalithic Tours for visiting historic or mystical sites.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Night of the Bard

I wrote a piece last year entitled "The Night of the Bard" about a night of storytelling by Steve Patterson, as a guest of Wicca Moon. Well, Steve returned to Wicca Moon last night and I was lucky enough to attend. Sadly, he left his lyre behind, but this did not detract from his storytelling.

This time the talk was centred on charms and Steve brought with him a lovely collection of items for us to view whilst he discussed various aspect of folk magic through the ages in Cornwall. There were only two tales this evening and, unfortunately, less attendees. I made the mistake of believing you had to book, and I passed this erroneous information to others, who obviously decided it was too much trouble. Alas, it was open to all.

Steve also had some items he had made himself available for purchase. One item of particular interest was made from the nails of a church floor and blackthorn. He had a lovely collection of bull-roarers, athames (one made from 40,000 year old bones retrieved from the North Sea), wands, labyrinth boxes, obsidian mirrors, hag stones, and various other charms for sale, too. I have not seen anything to match his work anywhere in the UK and its worth tracking him down if you can.

And, if you happen to hear he is in the area offering his bardic delights, make sure you go, as you are sure to be entertained.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Groups

I have seen a few discussions recently on group work and how most of the people I know through the internet do not work in groups.

I am not sure this is altogether true, though. I mean, we may not all meet up (in the physical world) to work together for a common aim, but how often do you see those messages asking for support or healing and people responding that they are acting upon the request? Is that not a form of group working, i.e. the group operating in the virtual and magical realms only?

I do participate in groups, but only online where a sharing of information takes place. I have only ever worked with one person magically, but we worked separately as it were to achieve the same end. I just wouldn't trust anyone else; its not in my nature to trust anyone that way.

When it comes to spirituality, I have participated in group (ritual and informal), but I still prefer the sharing of information through internet groups. That said, a chance encounter with a well-know pagan witch did give me assurance I could be more open about my experiences with others, something of which you are never sure when most contact is via the internet.

I am still very wary of group working and I will probably always work alone, but I wonder ... am I truly working alone if I am interacting with others through the medium of the web?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Call to Put Gaelic TV on Freeview

As a new learner of Scots Gaelic, I was dissapointed to find that the new BBC channel, BBC Alba is not available on freeview boxes, despite being a "free" channel on subscription services, such as Sky. Apparently, this will be the case until a review in 2010.

So, I found out that there is a petition doing the rounds to urge John McLeod of the Scottish parliament to release the channel onto freeview. Why is this important? Because not everyone can afford to subscribe to cable/satellite television and why should they if the channel is paid for by their television licence fees? What's more the Scottish government state they wish to promote gaelic culture, yet by having
BBC Alba available on subscriptions services, it limits the potential for promotion that television can provide.

So, if you are new learner of the language, a native speaker or just interested in the culture of Scotland, why not sign the petition, so everyone can enjoy what only the priveleged few can at the moment.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Progress

I have started to make progress towards my goal of relocating to my "spiritual home". I have found someone to assist me in learning more about the history, language and culture of the area. At last, I feel like I am moving forward. Its seems I've spent a lot of time in reflection, planning and thinking about what I want to do instead of actually doing it, so this development is welcome.

Its not to say I have not made any effort towards reaching my goals, as I have spent months seeking the right people who can help. I have been contacting various groups, societies, and various other organisations, all without result. Finally, I contacted a college and they, rather suprisingly, provided me with further contacts. Its given me hope that I will be able to locate others who will be able to provide me with assistance in my goal.

As much as these new studies will take up much of my time, I still have other smaller goals to achieve all of which will contribute to the ultimate goal of relocation and I will devote more energy to achieving these. I just hope that these will require less prep work!