A group of druids gathered in London yesterday to hold a ceremony celebrating the autumn equinox, marking the arrival of the harvest.
The annual ceremony of The Druid Order was held at Primrose Hill, northwest London. Participants were dressed in white robes and walked in line.
The ceremony was first recorded in 1717. However, The Druid Order, which George Watson MacGregor Reid founded in 1909, is an updated version of the tradition.
The autumn equinox happens when the sun rises directly above equator. It means that the days and nights in the world are approximately equal length. It usually occurs between September 22-24.
This year it took place at 8.20pm yesterday, and the same thing happens again in March for the spring equinox. The autumn equinox is a Druid’s beginning of the year.
A statement on The Druid Order’s website read: “This is the start of the Druid year, when day and night are equal. The harvest festival, when the power of heaven is infused into the fruits of the earth, and you reap what you have sowed.
“You see the full reality, what you made of your dreams, projects and plans, the actual reality, the truth that gives understanding and wisdom.
“The start of the academic year, of inner work, of assimilation and unbiased reflection that will later be the proper basis for the choosing and sowing of seeds.
“The auto-tombing process of autumn, judgement day, Libra, sign of balance, cardinal air.”
The earliest reference to druids dates back to the fourth century BCE.
They were once part of the elite in ancient Celtic culture.
Druids have been subject to persecution in the past. First, they were subjected to the Roman Emperors’ invasion of Gaul in the 1st Century CE. Later, they were subjected again to the Roman Church during the 12th century.
Nowadays The Druid Order runs weekly classes on philosophy and religion in a house they own in south London.
Modern druids also enjoy other benefits. The sunglasses that the group of yesterday used to protect their eyes from the sun’s glaring equinox rays were a great idea, something their forefathers would not have been able to do.
There are more than 200 druid societies worldwide, and they are available to everyone.
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