THE NEMETON OF MANANNAN MAC LIR
Manannan mac Lir Grove is located in Walnut Creek. The core of the grove is focused around a grove of eight valley oak trees which date back as far as three hundred years. It contains sanctified druid circles, in which druids from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids perform their rituals. It is a designated Druid grove, within the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. The grove honors Mannanan mac Lir, the Irish Under-Sea God. The original creek bed of Walnut Creek runs through the grove, adding the spirit of water. Blue Heron Cottage, a 1919 reproduction of a Cottswald Cottage, is located within the grove, and is home to Rodney Karr, and his partner Bill, and various animals and spirit-friends.
The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir is recognized and blessed as a grove of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. It is a physical place composed of sacred trees, stone circles and altars prescribed by ancient Celtic Druid traditions. Druid Rituals traditionally are carried out in Sacred Groves with stone circles under the stars, moon and the sun. These Sacred Groves were called Nemetons (Celtic word meaning sanctuary or sacred place). They were located at the sites of ancient oak groves or yew groves.
One of the functions of the Druid priest/priestess caste was the intuitive discovery of, blessing of and development of the Sacred Nemetons. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir is located in the San Francisco East Bay. It is located at Blue Heron Cottage—a “Hansel and Gretel” cottage built in 1919 by a poet.
The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir conforms to requirements of druid tradition for sacred sites. A preexisting oak grove of more than eight trees and in this case, up to 300 years of age, graces this sacred site. Additionally, many of the 22 Sacred Celtic Trees have been planted. There is also a well or spring at this sacred site. The sacred space is in a dry creek bed—the creek was moved in 1934 for flood control. The underground nature of the sacred space and its underground spring connect it intensely with the energies of the underworld, otherworlds and the Earth Goddess.
Present in the Nemeton are circles (ritual spaces) for each of the three Druid Level Orders: Bardic, Ovate and Druid Circles. Altars are to be found to the Tripartite Goddess: Mother, Maiden and Crone; Dualistic (two part) God: Dark and Light underworld Earth Gods and Outer World Solar Gods; and the Fairy King and Queen and other elemental spirits.
This Nemeton is located on ancient Native American land of the Miwok Nation. In addition to having Druidic blessing and sanctification, it is dedicated to honor the names of the Miwok ancestors and sanctified by a living Miwok Shaman. We honor, adopt and have been adopted, in our work, by our Miwok ancestors in this process. The Grove is dedicated as a home and place to honor our Native American ancestors and to seek their help in our stewardship of this American Land in the loving harmony in which they have lived for millennia.
We of the Grove of Manannan Mac Lir follow the teachings of our teachers R.J. Stewart and Josephine Stewart regarding the absolute necessity of working with ancestors, spirits, gods and goddesses, plants and animals, Earth and water of this American land where we stand/are. We cannot simply transplant a European Celtic Tradition upon this land. We must, as stewards of this land become—Be American Druids; “of this land” and “for this land.” Therefore, we must adopt and be adopted by this land, its ancestors and spirits and be bridges to a New American Native American/Celtic Druid Tradition. Our goal is to be the instrument to spirits in the development of this new/old tradition. As Druid Shamans have always done, we serve as bridges connecting peoples, lands and spirits.
In addition to being a physical place in the middle world, the Nemeton of Manannan Mac Lir is a gateway and welcoming place to connect human communities i.e., of the Order of Bards; Ovates and Druids; Five Shaman Circles and other realms of Being, such as: gods and goddesses; spirits, birds; animals; plants, minerals and water; elements, and the Oneness of Being. Manannan Mac Lir is a sacred place of welcome to come together, communicate and a place to work together for the common good of this universe, honoring all beings and ways of being—the Grove is a welcome place to ALL BEING-NESS.