17 January 2010

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

        Three years ago (21 March 2007) we invited you to join us on a unique exploration of our shared sacred landscape, by collaborating to map its locations and stories (particularly those whose origins are in dispute, and which may show Celtic influences) in the creation of the first known, commonly shared Druid map of North America. The idea was partly rooted in the assumption (based upon Avalonian oral tradition lore) that Druids had inhabited North America in the very distant past. At the time, this was a fairly radical proposal, since most academics and scientists scorned the idea that ancient Europeans could have made their ways to such distance shores. Today, that scorn is fading in the face of mounting evidence that ancient Europeans were here with, or possibly even preceding the peoples who crossed the Bering Straits from Asia.

        For our examples and model, we proposed using the earliest of the Dindsenchas (Celtic stories of place). We allowed that different Druids would want to approach their investigations differently, in accordance with their own teachings, but proposed centring our work on two basic energies that most Druids agree define the character of a place: the energy inherent in its nature; and the overlay of residual energies that make up its atmosphere (the result of residual energy from feelings and events remembered within the land itself). Our thought was that, while all serious Druids are familiar with these ideas as they apply to the stories of place within the Old World Celtic lands, few of us could make the same claim for our knowledge of the lands many of us inhabit today.

        We proposed that today's Druids have as much to gain from an intimate knowledge of the sacred body of our land -- and from collaborating on efforts supporting our common good -- as did our Druid ancestors in time long past. And while "Turtle Island" is larger than the Celtic isles, it is not less enchanted, less powerful, or less deserving of honour--nor by Celtic standards is it less of an island.  (In fact, by Celtic standards, North America could be seen as being comprised of several large islands.) We believed that, while we could certainly undertake this exploration as part of the "secret lore" of our own Order, such an attitude runs against the common good and contradicts what we know of ancestral practices, which attest to wisdom sharing across colleges, Orders, continents, and tribes. It is this very universality that makes such a *map* invaluable.

        Nor could any one Order or group discover and hoard all of the place lore and stories of an entire continent, given that no existing group has enough skilled members in every region and country of North America. For all of these reasons we invited you to join us at a Council Fire of North American Druids, at which we would all be equal ambassadors for our respective Orders. We did not propose to lead this quest, but suggested that the gathering elect its own facilitators based upon demonstrable knowledge and experience of such endeavours.  We also suggested that facilitation be on a rotation, so that no one person or group could assume too much power or wield too much influence over the process.

        While participants were free to use their customary methods of exploration, we suggested that certain criteria be held in common and asked that everyone include in their shared reports the following:
Discussion of submissions (and submitters) was subject to one simple rule: Comments were to be polite, respectful considerations of results, rather than criticisms of (or competitions between) different groups or methods. The map would be subject to change with changes in the land and its remembered history; thus, once completed it would need occasional revision. In recognition of the magical potency of such a *map* and the potential for its misuse, results would be published to active participants only.

        Unfortunately, excepting those listed below (and a few "borrowers" who have taken the idea and tried to pass it off as their own), very few of you have expressed real interest in this project -- despite the large number of hits this page has received since being published. Perhaps the word simply didn't get out.  Or perhaps, given that ADO is a small group lacking the "star power" or resources of larger, Neodruid organisations, you are concerned that we might harvest your work for our own glory. If so, be assured we have no interest in imposing our views on you, in usurping control, or in co-opting others' work. We simply believe that an authentic Druid map of North America could prove invaluable in working to heal the Wasteland that is emerging all around us, and that it would be to all of our benefit to collaborate on creating one.

        To this end, we are continuing this work on our own. Anyone who shares this interest is welcome to participate with us -- or to head up a higher visibility (but inclusive) effort of their own. The point is that it be done, and that the results be available to all N. American Druid groups. We look forward to the day we can all collaborate on this and other mutually  beneficial projects.

Bendithion Afallon,


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[Note: The above-listed participants have chosen to publish their findings online themselves, rather than prepare and send documents that will sit unseen until the project is completed. We respect their wishes, though we continue to believe that information submitted in document form to a central location makes it likelier that the information will be compiled into one document which can easily be shared / distributed later on.]