We've been working hard to get out and about in the wake of the Blue Plaque day on 21st June and we have a few things to be involved with, not least the Pagan Pride festival in Nottingham on Sunday 4th August, which is the biggst free Pagan event in the UK. More info is available here: www.paganpride.org.uk
Ashley has just given a talk in Milton Keynes and will be giving a talk at the LindHu Esoteric Gathering in Lincolnshire on Saturday 10th August, probably during the morning. More info on this lovely, laid back camping weekend is here: www.lindhuesotericgathering.co.ukwww.lindhuesotericgathering.co.uk
We are also about to make an announcement about our next conference which will be in April 2014 so keep your eyes and ears open for this . . .
Sunday, 30 June 2013
On Midsummer's Day 2013 Doreen Valiente made posthumous history by becoming the first Witch to be awarded a blue plaque for her life and achievements. Tyson Place, a council block in Brighton, made history too as the first building of its kind to have a blue plaque on its walls.
The day began with an open Midsummer ritual on Brighton's Steine Gardens a few yards from the seafront where several hundred gathered to the thunderous sound of The Pentacle drummers. Respected Sussex witch Ralph Harvey and The Order Of Artemis led a moving and dignified ritual utilising many of Doreen's words. As the busy Brighton traffic and public stopped to observe, many commented that, had it not been for the likes of Doreen and her work, such an event would have drawn very different attention to the respect the onlookers gave it, some even joining in!
At Tyson Place an atmosphere of expectation grew as the Pentacle Drummers and Hunter's Moon Morris took turns to entertain the growing crowds. Councillor Denise Cobb, the Mayor Of Brighton, arrived to applause and Ashley Mortimer of the Doreen Valiente Foundation began the formal proceedings with a quip that while Doreen "might not be the most influential witch in the world, she was definitely in the top one"! After speeches from the Mayor, Ann Ewings of Tyson Place Residents Association, a reading of Doreen's poem "The Sussex Witch" and Rufus Harrington raising a cheer with his proclamation of "Up the Old Goat!" John Belham-Payne, Doreen's last High Priest, gave an emotive insight into her personality and the moment finally arrived. Julie Belham-Payne and the Mayor pulled the cord, the blue curtains parted and the magnificent plaque was finally revealed to a barrage of camera flashes and exuberant cheering which drowned out even the Pentacle Drummers. History was made!
The Doreen Valiente Foundation have been overwhelmed by the donations we received for the plaque and the support we raised from Brighton Council, the Sussex Heritage Commission and the Blue Plaque Committee and this has provided us with the basis for further plaques for other important Pagans. We have now secured the support of the owners of Gerald Gardner's old house near Christchurch and we are putting the remainder of Doreen's blue plaque fund towards a campaign to have Gerald recognised in the same way, hopefully we'll move on to others too . . .
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Midsummer 2013 is going to be quite a day in Brighton United Kingdom. We have organised a day's programme packed with activity, of course including the special event unveiling of the commemorative plaque to Doreen Valiente. All of this is free all you have to do is get to Brighton for the Merry Meet at 12 midday. All the information is on the map below and you can download the flyer for the event too. In the evening we are helping to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Greenmantle Magazine, in Brighton which will start at around 7pm. Tickets are 5 Pounds each and they are limited to 200. To ensure your place please purchase them from the Greenmantle website which is http://greenmantle.org.uk Please download the flyer for the day here
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
We are very pleased to announce that our trustees have been hard at work researching the archives of Doreen's written material to collect together her poetry. The first printing of "Charge Of The Goddess" contained a selection of her poems we have attempted to do a thorough job of researching the material and have been astonished at her prolific output of poems. A new extended edition will be published in mid 2013 which will contain twice as many poems as the first, lots of previously unpublished material, some new images and several of Doreen's short stories. Watch this space for more news as we have it . . .