It’s now been a week since our residential retreat at Anybody’s Barn. For me it marked a shift from an awareness raising phase to a tradition building one. In a way, the key moment was after the retreat itself, when we agreed to make this retreat an annual event. ‘We’ are the four co-facilitators of the retreat – Elaine Knight, JJ Middleway, Karen Webb and myself. We decided to stay together as a team, stay with the same venue, and book the equivalent weekend next year. These are all decisions that lean on the side of continuity and stability as important features of tradition building. We will continue to inquire and innovate: inquiry and innovation are essentials components of the tradition as we see it. But we now also have the opportunity to refine and develop the residential work within an established framework. We call this framework The Birchwood Retreat, linking it to the land we are on rather than a building.
The Gloucestershire contemplative group has been around for nearly three years and has developed its own tradition, which certainly influenced the retreat since all the facilitators are members. Quite a number of our members will be involved in Druid Camp 2015 – see http://www.druidcamp.org.uk – our input to the larger event will reflect our tradition as well. We have a Contemplative Day in Stroud on 3 October which will both reflect existing practice and provide new material. The facilitators on this occasion will be Elaine Knight, Nimue Brown and me – see also http://contemplativedruidevents.tumblr.com/ where information will be updated as the programme develops.
All of the above have been in development for some time. None of the above is new information. And yet something has changed for me. It’s a move from primarily inquiring, exploring, sharing ideas (e.g. through the Contemplative Druidry book) and trying things out in groups, to a place of a primary concern with co-creating a Contemplative Druid tradition in which inquiring, exploring and innovating have an honoured place. It’s a subtle difference, but a significant one. The agreement to hold an annual Birchwood Retreat marks this shift for me.