Welcome to the web site of The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir, the Irish Undersea God. We are an acknowledged Grove of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, an ancient British Order of Druids, which is now international in scope. (See O.B.O.D.’s own website at http://www.druidry.org/). Persons interested in attending this monthly meeting must first talk with Chief Druid of the Grove of Manannan mac Lir, Dr. Rodney Karr. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, to explore being invited to this monthly meeting.
Our grove is composed of members in all three levels of the order: Bards, Ovates and Druids. We welcome any and all O.B.O.D. members to these meetings. A primary goal of this website is to facilitate contact between O.B.O.D. members in Northern California and connect them with us.
If you would like to be added to our email list, please send us an email with your address.
The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir has two sacred groves it maintains where the celebration of the 8 Festivals of the Celtic Wheel (8 Seasons of the year) are held. The four Solar Sabbats occurring at the times of the Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox are held in our Sacred Grove located in San Francisco during nights close to these solar occurrences. These vary from year to year so we post information on our website indicating the date, time and ritual celebrations. Please refer to the home page for dates of these ritual celebrations.
The Four Lunar Sabbats (Fire Festivals) occur about the midpoints of the solar festivals. These festivals are Samhain (about November 1), Imbolc (about February 1), Beltane (about May 1), and Lughnasadh (about August 1). These four Fire Festivals are held at our sacred grove in the East Bay. Schedules and information are posted on this site concerning dates, times and the nature of the festival. All O.B.O.D. members are welcome to attend and participate in our celebrations of the 8 Festivals of the Celtic Year. Please call (415) 931-1934 for an invitation. Non-O.B.O.D. members may be able to attend and participate in these 8 festivals. Participation is required by all attending the festivals. Please note that only participants are encouraged to attend. Participants celebrate according to individual preference and decline ceremonial forms not suitable to or that conflict with individual preference.
The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir of The Order of Bards, Ovates And Druids: Philosophy
Respect and honor is in order to all spiritual and religious traditions. All members and attendees are expected to show courteous regard for differing traditions and religions. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir is comprised of members who practice Druidism as well as other spiritual and religious ritual forms (e.g., Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Wicca, Hinduism, Rosicrucianism etc.). Attendees are expected to respect and honor individual choices, diversity and individuality. A safe and loving environment is supported in the Grove of Manannan Mac Lir. Respect and honor is conveyed to all of varying ethnic, cultural distinctions and backgrounds. All are welcome who respect others, Spirit and nature. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir is inclusive of all, NOT limited to those of Celtic ancestry.
Being part of the ethos and fabric of the San Francisco Bay Area, we welcome equally men and women and persons of diverse sexual and gender identities, including Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender persons. Our membership currently includes such a diversity of participants.
The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir, in harmony with the philosophy of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, is non-political and attempts to follow the construct of disarrangement—that is, the less organization, the better. Though modern Druids, we observe the ancient Druid tradition of our ancestors, but in modern living and personallys relevant forms. No attempt is made to recreate or act out an ancient tradition as it once might have been practiced 3,000 years ago. Rather, the constituents of the Grove of Manannan Mac Lir manifest, in a living way, an organic, changing and growing Celtic Druid tradition that has continued to live, grow and change with each succeeding generation of our ancestors and is now expressed by us and will be expressed by future generations in their unique ways.
Druid ancestors discouraged writing about its traditions in the past so that it would not become "dead set" forever in time and space by the written word. Ancient Druids thought traditions would remain viable if allowed to grow and change through oral rather than through written tradition.
Due to the long history of persecution of pagans, including witches and druids, we are sensitive to the need for our membership and attendees to respect the confidentiality of our membership. People can still, in current times, and in the Bay Area, lose their jobs or worse because another failed to respect their need for confidentiality. As in 12-step meetings, first names are adequate.
The Grove, as well as O.B.O.D., does not proselytize; that is, induce an initiate of one order to convert to O.B.O.D. We believe strongly that Spirit created a huge diversity of paths and our path is not for everyone. Those who are meant for our path will find us. Some find that we are not what they are seeking and therefore, leave. Our tradition is an inner path and flows like some others from the ancient Western Mysteries Traditions. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir does not have the answers for you. It can however, support the inner and outer discovery of each person. Each person must find his or her own unique truth. Most of our spiritual work is done solo, that is, alone with God, Goddess and Spirit.
Unlike some religious traditions, we do not offer to do the spiritual work for you. Participants must do their own spiritual work. However, we can support and share each other’s personal and collective work. We must all, in a sense, be our own priests and priestesses. It is an error to expect someone else to do ones own individual spiritual work. It seems in modern times many look to the external i.e., to the outside, to the other, to make them happy, or to spiritually save or to enlighten them: the same do not choose our path. Our path involves a great deal of personal time and work that no one else can do. This is the responsibility of the individual.
Our Grove, just as O.B.O.D., is very concerned about the current ecological crises, e.g., global warming, deforestation of the Earth and human overpopulation. We support and participate in O.B.O.D.’s efforts to plant trees and groves and to save the environment. We, like other Earth-based traditions, have an animistic philosophy that believes that all matter, rocks, earth, trees, the stars, the moon, human beings, animals, fish, rivers, lakes etc., have Spirit, God and Goddess within them. Therefore, respect and honor is due for everything and everyone as an incarnation and expression of the Divine Spirit. If modern peoples still practiced the animistic love of Nature and in particular, the love of our Mother, The Earth, then perhaps we would not be on the brink of destruction and annihilation of life as we know it on this planet. We encourage all of our members to be actively involved in our sacred living environment and in helping to preserve it.
Ideally, Druid rituals and celebrations occur in sacred groves under the stars or sun, beneath trees, with animals, humans and with spirits present, within sacred stone circles. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir provides two sacred groves that are used as settings for magic to occur in this traditional manner.
O.B.O.D. in Britain, in cooperation with other British Orders of Druids, is actively involved in identifying and preserving ancient sacred sites. It is the goal of the Grove of Manannan Mac Lir to identify ancient sacred sites in Northern California and help in their recognition and preservation. We will be featuring some of these sacred sites here and offer field trips to visit them.
Writer R.J. Stewart, a major teacher of Celtic tradition and resident of Northern California, emphasizes the importance of "being where you are" on the Earth relevant to spiritual practice. Spirituality and practice are seen as heavily influenced and affected by where you are on Earth, by proximity of oceans, rivers, mountains, plains, by climate, animals, trees and by the local spirits of "the land where you are." Therefore, it is imperative that we as Northern Californians and American Druids, honor and connect to the land—"where we are" and not discount it in favor of an idealized Britain or Stonehenge. It is important that we develop close relationships with the animals, trees, rivers, mountains, ancestors and spirits of our land. It is also important that we honor the ancestors, spirits and sacred sites of this—our Sacred Land. The whole Earth is equally sacred and must be honored wherever one is, even in cities where the sacred land exists beneath a thin layer of concrete. Modern Man's tendencies toward spiritual materialism may honor a few sacred sites, such as Stonehenge, but ignore and neglect the rest of our sacred Earth.
Another aspect of Druidism is its deep connection to the arts, such as, poetry, music, dance, theatre, painting, and architecture etc. God, Goddess and Spirit manifest through creative expression. We must, as Druids, be Bards & artists first before we can become priests, priestesses or teachers. Therefore, we encourage each other in developing creativity and discovering our unique talents. Here in our Eisteddfod section is a venue for our members and others to share their creative efforts. These creative efforts of individual as well as collective expression are not to be judged or compared, but rather to be experienced and witnessed.
The Grove Of Manannan Mac Lir: History
More than twelve years ago, the grove began as an O.B.O.D. seed group of Bards. A seed group or grove is the Druid version of a Wiccan Coven. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir functioned as a Golden Gate Seed Group of O.B.O.D. for over five years. The Grove of Manannan Mac Lir has been a full O.B.O.D. grove for more than two years. A Grove must have at least two recognized Druids of O.B.O.D. We have celebrated all the eight festivals of the Celtic Wheel for over seven years. We have a core group of eight members from all three levels of O.B.O.D. In addition, we have about forty other people who regularly attend our festivals. These regular auxiliary participants are composed of friends and students of core members as well as people from other related Earth-based and Western Mystery Traditions, i.e., Native Americans, Rosicrucians and Wiccans etc. We are therefore, a relatively small and supportive group of people. We follow the Wiccan Coven concept that spiritual development is best supported by a relatively small group of bonded and committed participants who have come to know each other over a long-term period of time and through collective creativity and participation. We are a family.
After twelve years of work together, the Grove of Manannan Mac Lir and our family of Druids is ready to open to new members. Most of us O.B.O.D. Druids are solo practitioners and introverts. This is therefore a major step for us to reach out to others, even within O.B.O.D., through this medium, our website. Please be welcomed by us to connect with us and join with us in joy and celebration.
PO Box 590810
San Francisco, CA 94115-590810